Category Archives: evolution

For your evening’s entertainment, one evolutionary biologist extols another

W. D. “Bill” Hamilton is regarded by many as the greatest evolutionary theorist of his generation. Although he had some wonky ideas, he also had some great ones as well. (He was a fount of ideas!) Rather than read me telling you about him, listen to this 30-minute “Great Lives” show on the BBC,  in […]

Sydney Brenner: A revolutionary biologist. New BBC radio programme

by Matthew Cobb Earlier this year I went to Singapore to record a series of interviews with Sydney Brenner, one of the greatest biologists of the 20th century. This was part of a Sydney Brenner Research Fellowship from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, which I was awarded to study how Brenner and Francis Crick collaborated. I […]

A ten pound frog frog lived in ancient Madagascar

A frog that could swallow a small theropod dinosaur? Well, maybe: it was large enough, and weighed in at a hefty ten pounds (4.5 kilograms). This animal, with the clever name of Beelzebufo, was first described in 2008, but a new paper in PNAS by Susan Evans et al. (reference and free link below), describes […]

A lovely graph that tells our story

by Matthew Cobb I came across this beautiful graph in an article in the journal Cell this week. It shows declining levels of genetic variability among 51 populations of humans across the planet, plotted against the distance of each population from East Africa: The data in the figure are from a 2008 paper in Science […]

Theistic evolution is not science: More misrepresentation of a survey on British beliefs about evolution

Yesterday I wrote a brief post about a story published in the Guardian (really The Observer, but they post on the same site) called “Would you Adam and Eve it? Why creation story is at the heart of a new spiritual divide”. It also bore the invidious subtitle, “Major survey reveals that it’s atheists who perpetuate […]

Steve Jones reviews Wilson’s book on Darwin in the Times

My old friend Steve Jones, an evolutionary geneticist at University College London,  writer of popular science books, and a collaborator on field work in Maryland and California, has written a review in the Times of A. N. Wilson’s new book on Darwin, Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker, With 46 customer reviews on Amazon UK, the book […]

More reaction to A. N. Wilson’s new biography of Darwin

Yesterday A. N. Wilson‘s new debunking biography of Darwin, Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker, came out in the UK (it’ll be out the U.S. in December), but a while back it had already caused a fracas among reviewers. While a few reviewers liked it, most of them, including anyone who knew anything about evolution or Darwin, gave it very bad […]

New reviews of A. N. Wilson’s debunking biography of Darwin

The reviews are starting to come in for A. N. Wilson’s new Darwin-debunking book, Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker (out on September 7 in the UK, December in the U.S.),which I mentioned here. The book not only trashes Darwin as a white supremacist, careerist, and purloiner of other people’s ideas, but also goes after evolution itself, which Wilson […]

Wilson’s book on Darwin trashed again, this time in the Guardian and the Evening Standard

A. N. Wilson, prolific but seemingly sloppy biographer, at least of Darwin, has published two excerpts of his new book, Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker (out on September 7 in the UK, December in the U.S.). One was in the Evening Standard, and the other in the Times, but both were misguided and splenetic. (I haven’t yet read […]

A. N. Wilson beats up Darwin again, this time in The Times

I don’t know how A. N. Wilson managed to get several deeply misguided pieces published about his new Darwin biography, Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker (out on September 7 in the UK, December in the U.S.), but the piece in the Evening Standard, “It’s time Charles Darwin was exposed for the fraud he was” (oy!), has now been […]