Category Archives: evolution

Dawkins’s Darwin Day lecture for Humanists UK: “Taking Courage from Darwin to Fight the Hubris of Faith”

Reader Michael called my attention to Richard Dawkins’s Darwin Day Lecture to Humanists UK (HUK). Richard is introduced by Humanists UK President and evolutionary biologist Alice Roberts, who was the moderator when I gave this lecture a few years ago. Richard’s lecture was just posted today, and as I write there are only 194 views. […]

Rich Lenski answers ID creationist Michael Behe, dismantles “Behe’s First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”

Rich Lenski, a well known biologist at Michigan State University and head of the team which has conducted an equally well known long-term evolution experiment in E. coli (they have a generation every twenty minutes or so, and the experiment has run for 30 years), is the subject of a long attack in Michael Behe’s […]

Americans’ acceptance of evolution: does it depend on how you ask them?

One thing you learn from looking at surveys of American acceptance of evolution: the statistics vary dramatically depending on which organization asks the question. And it also depends on how the question is asked. About a week ago, a Pew Survey tested this by assessing acceptance of human evolution in two ways. Read their summary—and […]

Scientists scrutinize just two examples in Behe’s new book; find them deeply misleading

Here’s a post by biologists Nathan Lents and Arthur Hunt (Hunt’s name isn’t under the title), examining just two cases touted by Michael Behe as showing “de-evolution” in Behe’s new ID book Darwin Devolves: The New Science about DNA That Challenges Evolution. The cases involve the loss of fur pigment and changes in fat metabolism in polar bears, […]

The Discovery Institute’s “Scientific Dissent from Darwinism” not so scientific

The Discovery Institute (DI) likes to make its case for Intelligent Design simply by getting people to sign a petition, the “Scientific Dissent from Darwinism“, which reads thusly: Signatories of the Scientific Dissent From Darwinism must either hold a Ph.D. in a scientific field such as biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, computer science, or one of […]

British school cancels play about evolution after complaints from Christians

Seriously? A public-school musical play about evolution got canceled in England? And because religious parents complained? That’s not supposed to happen! Here are the stories from the BBC and The Independent (click on screenshots to read): Note that the musical was written by a Christian.   From the BBC: A school has axed a musical on […]

Radiolab on sexual selection in birds

Here’s the latest Radiolab podcast, this time about sexual selection in birds and about Richard Prum’s revival of the idea of “runaway sexual selection,” which he calls the “beauty happens” theory. (It’s in his book, The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory Shapes the Animal World—and Us.) I’ve written about Prum’s book before, and about my […]

More about sexual selection in the New York Times

With the publication of his book The Evolution of Beauty (subtitle: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World—and Us), Yale ornithologist Richard Prum gained an extraordinary amount of publicity in the popular press.  His theme was that “beauty”—that is, the evolution of extreme and stunning displays and ornamentation in male birds—results from a […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

I’m scheduled to go to Antarctica in the fall of next year, lecturing on evolution on two separate cruises to Patagonia, Antarctica, and the Falklands, so I was excited when reader Daniel Shoskes sent me some photos of a trip he took recently to Antarctica and Chile. I present his photos (bonus Darwiniana!), with Daniel’s […]

A few thoughts about altruism

When I got my new driver’s license last week, I was asked if I still wanted to be an organ donor (that stipulation is put on the license). I said, “Of course.”  There’s no reason not to be a donor: it doesn’t cost you anything since you’re dead and don’t need the organs (unless you’re […]