A Conversation With a TE

UD Editors:  This is an update from an article originally posted in 2014.  We are posting it again in honor of the publication of “Theistic Evolution.”   Preliminary Note:  I have put words in the TE’s mouth based on my understanding of what he would in fact say.  If I have gotten it wrong, I trust […]

Why so many useless science papers are written

Because it pays. From physicist Sabine Hossenfelder at BackReaction: To the end of producing popular papers, the best tactic is to work on what already is popular, and to write papers that allow others to quickly produce further papers on the same topic. This means it is much preferable to work on hypotheses that are […]

Darwinism fails again: Human bodies did not change make walking easier, as claimed

Pleistocene humans walked as well as modern ones do. From ScienceDaily: Traditionally, it was thought that the leaner skeletons of modern humans reflected biomechanical advantages which made locomotion a more efficient activity. The slimmer pelvis of our species entails greater difficulty for childbirth, but it reduces the force the abductor muscles of the hip have […]

The Scientist on the biggest science scandals of 2017

Much of their tale features politics and sex. But in terms of science as such, from Jef Akst at the Scientist, for example: Last month, 19 editorial board members of Scientific Reports resigned from the journal over a 2016 study that was allegedly plagiarized but that the journal refused to retract. Lots more. Keep up […]

Researchers: Chances of life on exoplanets less than supposed, due to stellar winds

Despite the recent NASA announcement, which kind of fizzled. From ScienceDaily: Researchers led by space physicist Chuanfei Dong of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and Princeton University have recently raised doubts about water on — and thus potential habitability of — frequently cited exoplanets that orbit red dwarfs, the […]

Could Stone Age clubs really kill?

It’s a tougher question than at first appears. Just because a fossil human is found with a bashed-in skull doesn’t strictly prove violence or lethality of weapons. So, following in the footsteps of the one-proud maxim of journalism, “If your mother says she loves you check it out,” some researchers wanted to know if Stone […]

Plant studies: Intelligence does not require a brain or nervous system

From philosopher Laura Ruggles at Aeon: What does it even mean to say that a mallow can learn and remember the location of the sunrise? The idea that plants can behave intelligently, let alone learn or form memories, was a fringe notion until quite recently. Memories are thought to be so fundamentally cognitive that some […]

Darwin, Marx, and Freud: Now Freud is the “triumph of pseudoscience”?

Last year it was… oh, never mind. From Harriet Hall at Science-Based Medicine, a review of Frederick Crews’s Freud: The Making of an Illusion: He treated pampered, rich socialites. His attitude towards them was cynical; they provided a steady source of income by not being cured, and in one case he rushed back to see […]

Darwinism is toast. But what will replace it?

A friend draws our attention to this piece by Brian Miller at Evolution News & Views: Intelligent Design and the Advancement of Science DNA was expected to be the primary source of causality behind the operation and development of life. Such beliefs have previously raised concerns from leading scientists and mathematicians. For instance, physicist Walter […]

Rob Sheldon: NASA’s big announcement about exoplanets”underwhelming”

A mere desire to support the notion that we are nothing special. At 1:00 pm ET, December 14 (yesterday), we were told by NASA: NASA will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EST Thursday, Dec. 14, to announce the latest discovery made by its planet-hunting Kepler space telescope. The discovery was made by researchers using machine […]

The agit prop, spreading lie/slander well-poisoning game

Just now, I responded to a point JM made in the current James Tour thread. I think the comment chain is worth headlining: KF, 14: >> why debate someone when instead: [a] you can ignore, marginalise and rob of publicity? [b] you can caricature, smear, slander and poison the well? [c] you dominate institutions and […]

Stake in heart of school Darwinism lesson: Bilaterian nerve cords probably evolved many times

“This puts a stake in the heart of the idea of an ancestor with a central nerve cord,” says Greg Wray, an evolutionary developmental biologist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. “That opens up a lot of questions we don’t have answers to — like, if central nerve cords evolved independently in different lineages, […]

Guest Post — Template-Assisted Ligation: A New OOL Model

Dr E. Selensky occasionally requests that UD posts an article on his behalf. What follows is his latest: ______________ Arguably, the RNA world model is excessively complex: it operates too complex structures and involves too complex interactions. The origin of life, some researchers believe, must have been simpler.In an attempt to close the gap between […]

Synthetic chemist James Tour wonders why “everyone is lying” about the origin of life

From James Tour at Inference Review: Life requires carbohydrates, nucleic acids, lipids, and proteins. What is the chemistry behind their origin? Biologists seem to think that there are well-understood prebiotic molecular mechanisms for their synthesis. They have been grossly misinformed. And no wonder: few biologists have ever synthesized a complex molecule ab initio. If they […]

New butterfly has 46 chromosomes, like a human, not the expected 68, like a close relative

From ScienceDaily: Finding a new species is a rare event in easy-to-see and well-studied organisms like butterflies, especially if they inhabit well-explored areas such as Europe. Researchers have now discovered the previously unknown South-Russian blue using an array of modern research techniques. Furthermore, the new species was found to possess 46 chromosomes, just like a […]

A look at earliest human ancestors so far known (350 kya), found in modern-day Morocco

From Zach Zorich at Archaeology: The Jebel Irhoud hominins apparently lived 350,000 years after Neanderthals and Homo sapiens last shared a common ancestor, long enough for the two lineages to develop some obvious differences. The people of Jebel Irhoud had flat and short faces like modern humans, but their brains were more elongated and their […]

God as a necessary, maximally great, endless being vs. the challenge to an actual infinity

In a recent thread, the Kalam Cosmological argument family was challenged on the issue: can an actual infinity exist? If not (presumably due to Hilbert’s Hotel-like absurdities), then God could not be an infinite being as such is impossible of being. A thread of discussion developed, and I thought a summary intervention may be helpful. […]

New Yorker on the late Jerry Fodor, a careful thinker who took on the “natural selection” cult

From Stephen Metcalf at the New Yorker: Jerry Fodor’s Enduring Critique of Neo-Darwinism … But nothing inspired his skepticism more than the current vogue for Charles Darwin—specifically, the fusion of evolutionary biology, Mendelian genetics, and cognitive neuroscience known as neo-Darwinism. “Neo-Darwinism is taken as axiomatic,” he wrote in “What Darwin Got Wrong,” co-written with Massimo […]

Peter Woit on what’s wrong with Jerry Coyne’s argument for a multiverse

Facebook and YouTube, he says. Columbia mathematician and string theory skeptic Peter Woit at Not Even Wrong: The Youtube video he found makes the standard tenuous argument that the CMB provides evidence for inflation, inflation should be eternal, thus there should be a multiverse. As I explained in detail here, the models of inflation one […]

Viruses hijack “junk” (non-coding) RNA, turns out many non-coding functions “have not been identified”

From Nicholas S. Heaton & Bryan R. Cullen at Nature: Long non-coding RNAs (non-coding RNAs more than 200 nucleotides long) have roles in many aspects of cell biology4,5. In the nucleus, they are involved in transcriptional regulation and remodelling of chromosomes, and in the cytoplasm, they regulate microRNA function as well as the translation of mRNAs […]

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