Category Archives: evolution

Feathered dinosaur tail in amber!

In a market in Myanmar, the Chinese scientist Xing Lida, shown in the picture below, found a piece of amber about the size of a dried apricot, and it had an inclusion. The seller, thinking the inclusion was a piece of plant, raised the price, for biological items in amber dramatically increase its value. Still, Xing bought […]

A new criticism of evolution

Well here’s one I hadn’t heard before—if it’s not a joke. And believe me, the criticisms of evolution are often so ludicrous that they seem to be jokes (the classic is “if we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?). And why are criticisms of evolution so frequently misspelled? h/t: Barry

David Sloan Wilson: There is a god, and it’s the “superorganism” of insect colonies and group-selected humans

David Sloan Wilson is known as an ardent promoter of group selection, the evolutionary idea that the unit of selection is not the gene or individual, but groups of individuals whose differential extinction and reproduction (group “splitting”) can give rise to traits that are maladaptive within groups, like purely altruistic behavior. (E. O. Wilson, not […]

My talk at NUS in Singapore on the nature of and evidence for evolution

When the local Humanist Society invited me to talk in Singapore, I proposed to talk about the relationship between science and religion. That made the organizers nervous, because offending religious sentiments is against the law in that country. But it’s easy to give such a talk without saying anything that would violate the law, and, […]

Another journalist falls for the modern-evolutionary-theory-is-woefully-incomplete scam: says human agriculture is an epigenetic “adaptation”

Yet another journalist seems to have fallen for the epigenetics mavens: those revisionists who think that a form of Lamarckian inheritance can be important in evolution. These people claim that the environment itself directly changes the DNA, not by altering the sequences of bases, but by somehow placing methyl groups on some of the DNA […]

A evolutionary interlude for the holiday

Note that cats are barely intelligently designed, since most, including members of the breed, are much closer to their wild ancestors than are various dog breeds. Remember the sad specimen at bottom was artificially selected from an ancestor depicted at the top. h/t: John S.

Once again: misguided calls for a thorough revamping of evolutionary biology

On November 7-9 there was a special meeting of London’s Royal Society on “New Trends in Evolutionary Biology: Biological, Philosophical, and Social Science Perspectives.” I believe it was organized by Denis Noble, a physiologist who believes that modern views about evolution are ripe for a thorough revision.  Many of the speakers at the meeting are part of the […]

Kelly Houle’s Darwin cards available again

I’ve sent out tons of Kelly Houle’s fantastic Darwin greeting cards, and was disappointed to learn that they were out of stock and that no more were available. Here’s what they look like: they are gorgeous, with Darwin’s famous “I think” phylogeny, and the memorable phrase from the final paragraph of The Origin—all in heavy raised […]

An upcoming book by Dan Dennett

Lord is this man prolific! Like Steve Pinker (another man I admire), Dan just keeps cranking out the books, and they’re often very good ones. These two men seem to have books arrayed in their heads like planes coming in for a landing at O’Hare, all arrayed in a sequential order. Dan’s latest book, which […]

A MOOC on Homo floresiensis, the “hobbit” hominin

I just want to let you know about a new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Homo floresiensis that reader Dermot C. called to my attention. As you may recall, new dating methods have shown that this 3.5-foot diminutive hominin died out about 50,000 years ago rather than the 12,000 originally posited, and arrived in Flores (Indonesia) […]