Category Archives: evolution

My “Road to Reason” interview

If you missed it and want to see it, here’s the YouTube version of my Skype interview last Sunday with Rob Penczak and Larry Mendoza, hosts of Fairfax County’s cable-access t.v. program “Road to Reason.” After some announcements and news, the interview begins at 12:30. I can’t bear to watch these things (Rob gave me […]

Evolutionary psychology, sexual dimorphism, and ideology

(Note to non-biologists: “sexual dimorphsim” refers to any trait or behavior that differs between the sexes, like the ornamented tail of the male peacock, the brighter color of the male painted bunting—and of many birds—and the bower-building behavior of male but not female bowerbirds.) There are some science-friendly folk (including atheists) who simply dismiss the entire […]

Does evolution need a revolution?

I’m a bit late on this one, but the Albatross has kept me occupied. This post will be of interest mainly to science buffs, particularly those who already know a bit about evolution. But I’ll weigh in anyway, for, like an egg-eating snake expelling the shell, I had to get this out. On October 9, the […]

The National Academy honors Ernst Mayr

by Greg Mayer Ernst Mayr (1904-2005) was one of the greatest biologists of the 20th century, an architect of the “Modern Synthesis” of evolutionary biology which harmonized Mendelism and Darwinism and showed that the phenomena of paleontology, systematics, and genetics formed a mutually consistent and coherent whole. Mayr in particular identified and explicated the importance […]

Baseball writer suspended from Twitter by ESPN after defending evolution against famous pitcher

I got this from a gazillion readers, but the first two to inform me were Jason and Scott, with thanks to all the rest. But the story isn’t pretty.  Curt Shilling was a great pitcher who played with the Red Sox, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Philadelphia Phillies. Since 2010 he’s been a broadcast analyst for the sports network ESPN, with […]

The RNA world

by Matthew Cobb I have just sent off the final version of my book Life’s Greatest Secret: The Story of the Race to Crack the Genetic Code (to appear in 2015 with Profile Books, and Basic Books in the USA). The book is mainly history, covering the period 1943-1961, but the final four chapters bring the […]

Calvinian teleological evolution

“The World That Knew We Were Coming” —Title of Chapter Six in Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul, by Kenneth Miller Replace Calvin in Sunday’s Calvin and Hobbes strip with “Homo sapiens“, and you have an accurate description of theological human exceptionalism, as well as an inkling of the evolutionary teleology of misguided philosophers […]

The cat genome: what does it say about domesticated moggies?

Not much, really, though there are some interesting but preliminary findings. Many readers sent me a link to a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Michael J. Montague et al. (reference at bottom, free download, too many authors to list!), and I found it interesting but not definitive. That’s […]

Only a theory?

Matthew Cobb sent a link to this video about the nature of a scientific theory, along with the note: Brief 3-minute video on theories in science from the Royal Institution, written by science teacher and atheist Alom Shaha and narrated by theoretical physicist and humanist, Jim al-Khalili Nothing you haven’t said a million times over, but nicely […]

The group-selection dustup continues: E. O. Wilson calls Richard Dawkins a “journalist”

I’ve been an admirer of Ed Wilson for a long time (after all, he helped me get into Harvard). He founded the discipline of evolutionary psychology, which is a branch of sociobiology, has been an ardent conservationist, and his work on ants is unparalleled, though he’s not really incorporated the latest statistical methodologies into his phylogenetic […]

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