Category Archives: evolution

How the whale lost its genes

The evolution of whales, porpoises, and dolphins—the “cetaceans”—is well understood thanks to a plethora of fossils, mostly found in recent years (for a good general summary of the data, go here). Starting from a small, deerlike artiodactyl living around 48 million years ago (Indohyus may be related to the common ancestor of whales), this evolution […]

Bret Weinstein goes awry when claiming that neo-Darwinian theory is missing an important part

After Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying resigned from The Evergreen State College under trying circumstances, Bret started a Patreon site and a YouTube channel in which he discusses evolutionary biology. As I mentioned in a post yesterday, Weinstein has been claiming in some of his onstage conversations that modern evolutionary theory has made no progress […]

Bret Weinstein unfairly disses evolutionary biology (and New Atheism)

While Bret Weinstein is a stalwart champion of free speech and progressivism because of his brave behavior at Evergreen State, his views on evolution often seem to me to be pretty wonky. And not just biology: look at these tweets he exchanged with Sam Harris: I’m a “New Atheist,” and I don’t know what you’re […]

More on my Quillette critique of David Gelernter

A while back I wrote a critique on this site of computer scientist David Gelernter’s attack on evolutionary theory, itself published in the conservative venue The Claremont Review of Books. Here’s a link to his original piece (click on screenshot): My critique, as is usual with pieces on WEIT, was written quickly, so I didn’t […]

My Quillette piece criticizing the anti-evolution arguments of David Gelernter

I’m off to have my post-operation inspection at the hospital, so I don’t have time now to write about my new piece in Quillette. The article pretty much stands on its own as a critique of a recent (and widely cited) article by well known computer scientist David Gelernter—a piece that recycled many familiar Intelligent Design […]

Superfluous article of the month

Do we really need another article that telling us that evolution isn’t always “progressive”, going in a straight line towards traits that we consider “advanced”? (These are nearly always traits that humans have, like intelligence, high consciousness, and big brains.) This form of evolution, often represented by the “straight line” diagram of human evolution shown […]

Evolution Illustrated by Waterfowl

by Greg Mayer Since Jerry’s not feeling compelled to write much today, I thought I’d bring to readers’ attentions a must-have book: Evolution Illustrated by Waterfowl, by David Lack. Many WEIT readers, like Jerry, are devoted anatophiles, which means you’ll want to have this small classic by the great British ornithologist, David Lack. Lack, though […]

The disgusting sex life of the Adélie penguin

I’m writing a series of lectures to deliver when I’m a guest speaker on two Antarctic cruises this October and November. One of my talks will be on Scott’s Terra Nova expedition of 1910-1913, in which Scott and his crew, arriving in Antarctica aboard the eponymous ship, attempted to reach the South Pole. Scott actually […]

A caterpillar changes color to match its background using “extraocular photoreception”: it can see with its skin!

Many of you have heard of the famous peppered moth Biston betularia, a paradigmatic case of evolution by natural selection. (The normally inconspicuous white, speckled moth evolved a cryptic black coloration when smog blackened tree trunks in industrial England; and the same thing happened in the United States. When anti-pollution laws were enacted in both […]

Secularism on the rise: new Gallup poll shows that 40% of Americans are young-earth creationists, 33% are theistic evolutionists, and 22% are naturalistic evolutionists

Over at a Gallup poll site, you can see the headline below reporting the newest iteration of Gallup’s sporadic—now yearly or biennially—survey of American belief in creationism. (It’s really belief in human evolution, so be aware that there are many who think that while other species evolved à la Darwin, humans alone required divine intervention. […]