Category Archives: evolution

The recurrent laryngeal nerve as evidence for evolution

On pages 82-84 of Why Evolution is True I discuss the recurrent laryngeal nerve of humans (and other tetrapods) as an example of evolution. It’s evidence via “retrodiction”, which is what I call the situation when a previously unexplained and puzzling phenomenon can be understood only in light of a theory, thus supporting that theory—in […]

Rich Lenski continues his demolition of Michael Behe’s new book

As you probably know from reading this site, ID creationist Michael Behe has a new book coming out this week: Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA That Challenges Evolution (note the unclear antecedent, which could be either “New Science” or “DNA”).  Various scientists have weighed in, none of them positively, and there’s been considerable […]

Once again: Why do zebras have stripes? (And once again the answer: it’s the flies, stupid!)

Over the past three years I’ve written about research, mostly by Tim Caro’s group, dealing with the perpetual question: “Why do zebras have stripes?” (See earlier posts here, here, and here.) There used to be lots of hypotheses, including confusing predators like lions, aiding thermoregulation, camouflaging these equids, keeping groups together, and so on, but […]

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 […]