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Category Archive: Evolution

Jul 17 2014

Quote-mined by Casey Luskin!

Once again, Casey Luskin demonstrates that he’s a biological ignoramus. He is much buoyed by a science report that chloroquinone resistance in the malaria parasite requires two mutations, claims that Michael Behe has been vindicated because that’s exactly what he said, and demands an apology from all of Behe’s critics. Will Ken Miller, Jerry Coyne, …

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Jul 05 2014

Must World Cup fever take over everything?

This month’s Carnival of Evolution has a World Cup theme, and I’m sorry, but I haven’t even watched a single game, so that side of it left me lost and confused. Apparently, in the evolutionary blog world, Canada has won the World Cup this year.

Jun 28 2014

The difference between astronomers and biologists

intellife2

The debate about intelligent, extra-terrestrial aliens goes on, with the usual divide: astronomers insisting that the galaxy must be swarming with alien intelligences, which is popular with the media, and the biologists saying no, it’s not likely, there are probably swarms of single-celled organisms, but big multicellular intelligences like ours are probably rare. And the …

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Jun 26 2014

So that’s what chemistry is good for…

Microphotographs of a slightly burned coprolite of putative human origin identified in El Salt Stratigraphic Unit X (sample SALT-08-13). The images under plane polarized light show the pale brown color and massive structure of the coprolite, as well as the common presence of inclusions, which are possibly parasitic nematode eggs or spores.

Stinky stuff! This fits perfectly with my biased preconceptions. So here are two examples of chemistry used to analyze things you’d normally run away from. The oldest traces of human poop have been dug out of a cave in Spain — and it’s Neandertal poop. It’s about 50,000 years old, and it’s been reduced to …

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Jun 16 2014

Deconstructing metaphors

Oh, that’s right — that’s what philosophers are good for. They’re really good at questioning models. John Wilkins has been busily dismantling the cheap and easy metaphors we use to describe molecular biological concepts in a series of posts, taking on genes as language, other popular gene myths and metaphors, and explaining why genes aren’t …

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Jun 16 2014

This is a test

studentprotests

It’s true — I’ve heard a lot more about student protests of commencement speakers this year. At the Twin Cities branch campus of my university, for instance, there was an eruption of student activism over inviting war criminal Condoleeza Rice to give the commencement address — although part of the protest may have been over …

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Jun 10 2014

Multi-component, schmulti-component

I’m having a light dinner while traveling off to a visit with Humanists of Minnesota, and I thought I’d deal with a little email. I got a request to address a fairly common creationist argument–here’s the relevant part of the claim. As a member of the Greater Manchester Humanists I was recently involved in a …

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Jun 09 2014

Get ‘em young

squeak

I got to meet someone in Seattle who is working on an evolution book for four year olds — this is a great idea, because I remember shopping for kids’ books and their usual idea for introducing zoology was something about Noah’s Ark. But the real story is so much more interesting! Rough sketches of …

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Jun 02 2014

Carnival of Evolution

This month’s carnival is at the Evolution: Education and Outreach blog.

May 20 2014

How to argue for evolution

Jerry Coyne reviews Genie Scott’s talk at the Imagine No Religion conference. It’s mostly positive — Genie always gives a thoughtful talk — but there are obvious points of disagreement. In the talk, Genie said several times that if you want to change people’s minds—about either climate-change denialism or evolution—the most effective way to reach …

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