Category Archives: evolution

A very early fish

Many readers sent me a note about this paper, but, given my schedule, I simply hadn’t gotten around to reading it. Fortunately, Greg did, and gives us a nice summary of what it means. by Greg Mayer In the latest issue of Nature, Simon Conway Morris and Jean-Bernard Caron provide a detailed description of Metaspriggina […]

Khan Academy’s strange accommodationism between evolution and intelligent design (aka God)

The Khan Academy is a site and an educational method that is widely used in America. Founded by Salman Khan, it’s free, and consists of a number of videos that are supposed to teach you just as well as, or better than, conventional classroom education.  The videos are crude, drawn by hand during the presentation, and […]

Tw**ets from Darwin and the Beagle: the Great Man envies kittens

Darwin had both cats and d*gs, but it’s clear that he loved his d*gs more. I’ll forgive him for that; after all, he wrote the best science book ever, and that outweighs a lot of flaws.  In fact, I don’t think The Origin even mentions cats, though I recall that it has a few words […]

Our letter to the New York Times criticizing Nicholas Wade’s book on race

Sunday’s New York Times Book Review (already up) features a letter signed by 139 population geneticists, including myself. It is, in essence, a group of scientists objecting en masse to Nicholas Wade’s shoddy treatment of race and evolution in his new book A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History.  The book was about the genetics of ethnic […]

Duke again offers free Coursera course: “Introduction to genetics and evolution”

I’m happy to see that my second Ph.D student, Dr. Mohamed Noor (now chair of biology at Duke) is again offering his immensely popular “Introduction to Genetics and Evolution” course online, as a MOOC (I hate that word!). The course will start on January 2 of next year and extend until March 23, and I’ve […]

The bonobo and the atheist-basher, part 2

I’ve now finished Frans de Waal’s book, The Bonobo and the Atheist, and my final evalution is what I said yesterday: it’s a decent disquisition on the evolutionary “roots” of human morality–roots discerned in behaviors like empathy, altruism, and concern for equity in our closest relatives, the chimpanzees. The book is useful reading for its eye-opening tales of […]

Evolution 2014: Talks now online

by Greg Mayer When I posted about Daniel Matute giving the Dobzhansky Lecture at the evolution meetings, one of the commenters asked if his talk was recorded so it could be viewed online. At the time I didn’t know– I knew some talks were recorded, but I didn’t know which ones. Well, the recordings which […]

Mashable video: Common myths about evolution

A short while back the people at Mashable told me that they wanted to produce a short video on evolution—one dispelling some of the common myths about it.  I talked to them in detail, and, using their ideas as well as input from me and others, they came up with this 3-minute video: The video is also on […]

Catholicism and theistic evolution

Below is part of a short post called “What does the Catholic Church teach about evolution,” appearing on The Catholic Difference, produced by the Parish of St. James in Hopewell, Virginia—very close to where I went to school in Williamsburg. This is pretty much official Catholic doctrine as I understand it. The emphasis in the second paragraph […]

A new feathered dinosaur suggests that most dinosaurs had feathers

What better evidence that birds arose from dinosaurian reptiles than the discovery of a fossil with both scales and feathers? Further, the fossil comes from the right time period: after reptiles had already evolved but before we see modern flying birds with fully-developed feathers. Of course, we already knew that birds are the only living descendants of dinosaurs—some […]


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