Category Archive: Evolution

Oct 10 2013

Darwinian bookery

We’re doomed. Evolution is an ineluctable process; once it gets started, it’s not just an optional alternative, it becomes unstoppable, short of nuking the planet from orbit (and even then, all it takes is one surviving bacterium for it to begin again). Charlie Stross has noticed that books have crossed the threshold and are now …

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Oct 08 2013

A hopeless muddle

James May, one of the presenters on Top Gear, is trying his hand at providing a little science education. I want to say…please stop. Here he is trying to answer the question, “Are humans still evolving?” In the end he says the right answer — yes they are! — but the path he takes to …

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Oct 04 2013

This cat is going to be insufferable

(a) Orthologous gene clusters in mammalian species. The Venn diagram shows the number of unique and shared gene families among seven mammalian genomes. (b) Gene expansion or contraction in the tiger genome. Numbers designate the number of gene families that have expanded (green, +) and contracted (red, −) after the split from the common ancestor. The most recent common ancestor (MRCA) has 17,841 gene families. The time lines indicate divergence times among the species.

You may have heard we’ve got this satanic feline padding about the house now, getting into mischief — she has discovered my collection of cephalopodiana, and her favorite toy is one of my stuffed octopuses that she wrestles and bats around the floor. It’s like she’s rubbing it in. Anyway, a new paper in Nature …

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Sep 20 2013

Cool free stuff

I’ve mentioned the Earthviewer app from HHMI before: think of it as a bit like Google Earth, only you can dial it back to any period in the planet’s history. There have been a couple of developments: it’s also available for Android, and it’s added some new features, including tracking for major fossils. So now …

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Sep 12 2013

Are you prepared?


Coming this Spring, a three-episode series on PBS: I’ll be watching it.

Sep 11 2013

You can study the past scientifically

One of the most common rhetorical games creationists play, especially those influenced by those frauds at Answers in Genesis, is to erect a phony distinction between historical science, which they claim is not a science, and observational science, which they claim is the one true kind of science. It’s a way for them to deny …

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Sep 03 2013

The Carnival of Evolution: Eclectic September

The The Carnival of Evolution for September is available. Good reading there, while I plod away at grading. Already.

Aug 29 2013

What do you get when a creationist visits the Galapagos?

I think it’s an anti-Darwin: instead of observations, you get pretty pictures; instead of insights, you get a cloud of murk and lies. Georgia Purdom of Answers in Genesis visited the Galapagos, and now she’s coming out with a book of religious apologetics. After my return, I started thinking about writing a book on the …

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Aug 27 2013

Don’t be that guy

There are really bad, dogmatic ways to defend evolution, and every once in a while I run into them. And because I’m a wicked jerk, I criticize the people who do that, even when they announce that they are atheists. So this morning I ran into this nonsense on Twitter: @DrewJPS ‘Evolved from mokeys’ is …

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Aug 17 2013

They’re still bacteria…and fish…and apes…and…

Ray Comfort has been doing a great job of stirring up his minions on twitter, who, without exception, seem to be as ignorant as he is. I already mentioned one, Republican Mom, who combines dismal stupidity with chipper smugness, but there are others. And they seem to be going after everyone with a reputation for …

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