Category Archives: evolution

Does evolution lead us to perceive reality, or is it all an illusion?

Donald D. Hoffman is a highly respected Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of California at Irvine.  He’s developed a “formal theory of conscious agents” that he describes in a new Atlantic article—or rather in an interview with Amanda Gefter called “The case against reality“. And for the life of me I can’t figure out […]

The textbook—and misguided—presentation of natural selection

I was reading a nice article by Andrew Shtulman* on the most common misconception people have about natural selection (that it involves not differential reproduction among genetically different individuals but the gradual and simultaneous transformation of all individuals in a population), when I came across his presentation of Darwin’s “variational” theory of natural selection. That’s the […]

Natural selection reduces years of schooling among Americans

As I’ve often said, the question I’m always asked after my public lectures on evolution is this: “Are humans still evolving?” And my answer is always the same: “Yes, but the evidence we have for evolution occurring right now involves traits that aren’t that interesting.” When people ask that question, what they really want to know […]

The truth about creationism vs. evolution

This “meme” came from reader Barry, and I don’t know where he got it. I hadn’t seen it before, either, but it’s so true. Which gets me wondering: if Intelligent Design is agnostic about the nature of the Designer, why are they always defending traditional religion, and attacking people like me who criticize Christianity and Judaism?

Top 10 evolution books: three are about creationism

It must have been ten years or more since advocates of Intelligent Design promised us that peer-reviewed evidence for a “Designer” (aka the Christian God) was right around the corner, but they’ve come up with. . . .bupkes.  Because they have no evidence, the ID websites, like those of the Discovery Institute (DI)m involve sniping at […]

Theistic evolution

Here’s a cartoon by reader Pliny the in Between inspired by yesterday’s post on theistic evolution. It’s called “Seems like a lot of work.” And indeed it is: God not only has to watch the sparrows fall, but make sure that every nucleotide in every individual either doesn’t mutate (after all, He’s “sustaining creation”) or […]

Complex interactions between caterpillars, ants, and butterflies

I don’t know the species of either the butterfly or the ant in this video taken in Peru, but the interactions are complex. One level is probable mutualism between the ants and the caterpillars. Although the authors don’t mention this for these species, there are a lot of caterpillar species that are guarded and protected […]

Larval fish mimic unpleasant, unpalatable, or nutritionally worthless invertebrate zooplankton

Mimicry is rife not just among animals, but among plants. But one group that’s been neglected in such studies is the juvenile stages of marine organisms. (This isn’t the case for juveniles of terrestrial animals, as seen by the numerous studies of caterpillar mimicry.) This has begun to be remedied by a brand new study by […]

Peppered moth mutation discovered at last

The story of the peppered moth, Biston betularia, is one of the most famous evolutionary tales known to the public, and is a staple of both popular literature and biology texts. It’s appealing because it’s an example of “evolution in action”: a case in which we could see evolution happening over only one or two human generations, and […]

Is the appendix a vestigial organ?

One of the main mistakes creationists make is arguing that if a vestigial trait is actually used for something, then it is neither vestigial nor gives us evidence for evolution. (Such features testify to common ancestry.)  Both creationist claims are wrong. They rest on the false argument that if the appendix, for instance, actually has some […]