Category Archive: Evolution

Dec 27 2013

Frugal to the point of vacuity


What does it take to get Carl Zimmer to review your research in the New York Times? I suppose it helps to be at Harvard. It also helps to have a combination of subjects — evolution and the human brain — that Zimmer has written about in the past. It helps to have a paper …

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Dec 12 2013

Proud to be a mutant, then

Chris Mooney has done it again: he has rationalized a piece of the conventional wisdom to support the status quo and to make it harder to break the creationist habit. He has an article on Mother Jones titled Seven Evolutionary Reasons People Deny Evolution, and I gakked at every word, from the linkbait in the …

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Dec 07 2013

The reification of the gene

Razib Khan poked me on twitter yesterday on the topic of David Dobbs’ controversial article, which I’ve already discussed (I liked it). I’m in the minority here; Jerry Coyne has two rebuttals, and Richard Dawkins himself has replied. There has also been a lot of pushback in the comments here. I think they all miss …

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Dec 03 2013

Higher order thinking

The one thing you must read today is David Dobbs’ Die, Selfish Gene, Die. It’s good to see genetic accommodation getting more attention, but I’m already seeing pushback from people who don’t quite get the concept, and think it’s some kind of Lamarckian heresy. It’s maybe a bit much to ask that the gene-centric view …

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Dec 02 2013

Now you too can pretend you were at Skepticon this year

Here’s my talk on the Cambrian from Skepticon 6. Oh, hey, I just realized I could post the content of that text-heavy slide I flashed, showing the sources I used. So here you go: Web reviews from Donald Prothero, Nick Matzke, Larry Moran. Briggs, D.E.G.; Fortey, R.A. (1989). The early radiation and relationships of the …

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Nov 09 2013

The curiously limited argument from convergent evolution raises an ugly tentacle/fin again


I am not a fan of the convergent evolution argument for humanoid aliens. I can well believe that it’s likely that intelligent aliens exist out there in the universe, but I’m not even going to try to predict what they look like: there are too many alternative paths that are possible. But for some reason, …

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Nov 05 2013

Brian Cox is the cute one of the pair, right?


I’m pretty sure, anyway. I should pose with bears. Would confuse everyone.

Nov 03 2013

Methinks it is like a fox terrier


I’ve had, off and on, a minor obsession with a particular number. That number is 210. Look for it in any review of evolutionary complexity; some number in the 200+ range will get trotted out as the estimated number of cell types in a chordate/vertebrate/mammal/human, and it will typically be touted as the peak number …

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Oct 28 2013

Guess who’s hosting the Carnival of Evolution?

I am! So I’m going to be picking through blog posts on Halloween night. Send your submissions now — early submissions get a Snickers bar, late ones get a Bible tract. Or maybe some dental floss.

Oct 20 2013

My turn

Today is the last day of the Paradigm Symposium, which is good — I don’t know how much more my poor brain could take. But this afternoon, after lunch, it’s my turn to speak. And I’ve been doing my homework, looking into what kinds of things paranormalists often believe about biology and evolution, and it’s …

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