Category Archives: evolution

Why do some scientists always claim that evolutionary biology needs urgent and serious reform?

UPDATE: I forgot to add this bit from Welch’s paper about the John Templeton Foundation: It is remarkable, for example, that much of the funding for challenging current practice in evolutionary biology comes from The John Templeton Foundation (Pennisi 2016), which is committed to using science to reveal underlying purpose, and rejecting what Nagel (2012) […]

Robert Wright in the NYT: Evolution could have a “higher purpose”

The article I’m writing about today at length—and I apologize to the “TL; DR” crowd—was brought to my attention by more than a dozen readers, which shows how eagerly they wanted a response—and a refutation. But the article is so muddled and philosophically weak that it basically refutes itself. Nevertheless, because it’s a big piece […]

The evolutionary aversion to eating fish: another one of my theories which is mine

Here’s a post (indented) that I put up on January 28 of this year, and it garnered nearly 300 comments. Here’s a theory (which is mine) for which I’ll surely get shellacked.  My theory, which (again) is mine, is this, and here it is. It’s just below:  In general, people don’t like fish nearly as much […]

A photo book of biological marvels (and my own take on two of them)

I can’t brain today, which is lucky because there’s nothing substantive to write about—and I have other work to do. So enjoy these photographs from Robert Clark’s new photo book: Evolution: A Visual Record. I’ve selected a few photographs from a longer selection in the December 8 Washington Post. The notes at flush left are mine but are […]

Feathered dinosaur tail in amber!

In a market in Myanmar, the Chinese scientist Xing Lida, shown in the picture below, found a piece of amber about the size of a dried apricot, and it had an inclusion. The seller, thinking the inclusion was a piece of plant, raised the price, for biological items in amber dramatically increase its value. Still, Xing bought […]

A new criticism of evolution

Well here’s one I hadn’t heard before—if it’s not a joke. And believe me, the criticisms of evolution are often so ludicrous that they seem to be jokes (the classic is “if we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?). And why are criticisms of evolution so frequently misspelled? h/t: Barry

David Sloan Wilson: There is a god, and it’s the “superorganism” of insect colonies and group-selected humans

David Sloan Wilson is known as an ardent promoter of group selection, the evolutionary idea that the unit of selection is not the gene or individual, but groups of individuals whose differential extinction and reproduction (group “splitting”) can give rise to traits that are maladaptive within groups, like purely altruistic behavior. (E. O. Wilson, not […]

My talk at NUS in Singapore on the nature of and evidence for evolution

When the local Humanist Society invited me to talk in Singapore, I proposed to talk about the relationship between science and religion. That made the organizers nervous, because offending religious sentiments is against the law in that country. But it’s easy to give such a talk without saying anything that would violate the law, and, […]

Another journalist falls for the modern-evolutionary-theory-is-woefully-incomplete scam: says human agriculture is an epigenetic “adaptation”

Yet another journalist seems to have fallen for the epigenetics mavens: those revisionists who think that a form of Lamarckian inheritance can be important in evolution. These people claim that the environment itself directly changes the DNA, not by altering the sequences of bases, but by somehow placing methyl groups on some of the DNA […]

A evolutionary interlude for the holiday

Note that cats are barely intelligently designed, since most, including members of the breed, are much closer to their wild ancestors than are various dog breeds. Remember the sad specimen at bottom was artificially selected from an ancestor depicted at the top. h/t: John S.