Panspermia (maybe life came from outer space) is back, in Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology

Abstract: We review the salient evidence consistent with or predicted by the Hoyle-Wickramasinghe (H-W) thesis of Cometary (Cosmic) Biology. Much of this physical and biological evidence is multifactorial. One particular focus are the recent studies which date the emergence of the complex retroviruses of vertebrate lines at or just before the Cambrian Explosion of ∼500 Ma. […]

New book challenges sexual selection theory in evolution

The book, Darwin’s Secret Sex Problem: Exposing Evolution’s Fatal Flaw: The Origin of Sex, by Bible commentator F. Lagard Smith,m is endorsed by emeritus biology prof (Cedarville University), John E. Silvius. From the publisher at Amazon: Darwins Secret Sex Problem What Darwin Ignored . . . For all his revolutionary insight into the fascinating processes […]

Neuroskeptic serves up some skepticism about a recent memory transfer claim

For sea slugs, via RNA transfer. At Discover: There’s a couple of reasons why I don’t think this is evidence of “memory transfer”. Firstly, what was transferred here was hardly a memory in the usual sense of the word. It is simply an increase in the sensitivity of a set of neurons, a single reflex […]

Asked at Gizmodo: Does Earth’s Shifting Orbit Influence How Life Evolves?

From Ryan F. Mandelbaum at Gizmodo: A team of researchers from the United States and New Zealand took a look at how likely species were to go extinct and how likely new species were to appear during a 60-million-year period, long before humans evolved. Upon analyzing fossil data, it seemed to them as if astronomical […]

Epigenetics: “[n]ew ideas closely related to Lamarck’s eighteenth-century views have become central to our understanding of genetics”

From Israel Rosenfield and Edward Ziff, in a discussion sparked by The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018) at New York Review of Books: When the molecular structure of DNA was discovered in 1953, it became dogma in the teaching of biology that DNA and its coded information […]

Researchers teach a spider to jump on demand

From National Geographic: They trained Kim by creating a gentle tool to repeatedly bring her from one platform to the other. This conditioned the spider to eventually start jumping to the target without the assistance of the tool. They used 3D CT scanning and high-speed cameras to capture and research the spider’s jumps.More. It seems […]

Astrophysicist as advice columnist: Question, should I study string theory?

From Sabine Hossenfelder at her blog BackRe(Action), responding to a physics major who has heard from cosmologist Brian Greene that string theory can be a grand theory of everything: Greene states very carefully that superstring theory “has the capacity to embrace” gravity as well as the other known fundamental forces (electromagnetic, weak, and strong). What […]

Convergent evolution: Green blood evolved four times in lizards

From Louisiana State U: Green blood is one of the most unusual characteristics in the animal kingdom, but it’s the hallmark of a group of lizards in New Guinea. Prasinohaema are green-blooded skinks, or a type of lizard. The muscles, bones and tongues of these lizards appear bright, lime-green due to high levels of biliverdin, […]

Are recent dark energy findings a blow for multiverse theory?

Dark energy. From Andrew Masterson at Cosmos: The question of dark energy in one universe does not require others to provide an answer. A hypothetical multiverse seems less likely after modelling by researchers in Australia and the UK threw one of its key assumptions into doubt. Dark energy is supposed to be responsible for the […]

Gunter Bechly: “Living fossils” under massive attack

From David Klinghoffer at ENST: If you ever encounter a horseshoe crab on the beach, you are a looking at a creature that would not have appeared out of place hundreds of millions of years ago. Arthropods breathtakingly similar to this, says paleontologist Günter Bechly, go back “almost a half billion years without significant morphological […]

Michael Medved discusses intelligent design theory with Darwin’s Doubt author Steve Meyer

 Darwin’s Doubt deals with the Cambrian explosion of life forms about 550 million years ago. Philip Cunningham, who forwarded this link, notes, Stephen Meyer joins Michael to discuss the origins of life and the biology’s big bang, the Cambrian explosion. Animal forms come and go, but what links them as “acts of mind” (as […]

Biophysics is starting to matter in evolution

From Suzan Mazur at Oscillations: The mechanics of morphogenesis is something European scientists, in particular, seem to find intriguing. However, physical biology is an approach many classical biologists in America have had a difficult time in the past understanding as well as accepting, as evidenced by vociferous attacks in the blogosphere on scientists working in […]

Butterfly “extinction” that wasn’t

From ScienceDaily: The evolution of wild species, adapting them to human management practices, can cause localised extinctions when those practices rapidly change. And in a new study published in Nature, Professors Michael C. Singer and Camille Parmesan have used more than 30 years of research to fully document an example of this process. A large, […]

Stars born only 250 million years after the Big Bang?

The universe is currently estimated to be about 13.8 billion years old. From Laurel Hamer at ScienceNews: That’s earlier than the 550 million years ago suggested in a previous estimate that also measured starlight from the early universe (SN Online: 2/9/2015). But it’s in the same ballpark as observations reported in March (SN: 3/31/18, p. […]

Science News Fact Check: Did Craig Venter create life?

As claimed in pop science media. David Nguyen asks, at Think Tank Learning: Worth noting, from Elie Dolgin at Nature: Scientists downsize bold plan to make human genome from scratch: With funding still scarce, GP-write project shifts focus to making virus-resistant human cells. “Church’s team used synthesis in follow-up work to recode seven codons in […]

Neuroscience: RNA can transfer memory in sea slugs

From Laurel Hamers at ScienceNews: EmailPrintTwitterFacebookRedditGoogle+ Sluggish memories might be captured via RNA. The molecule, when taken from one sea slug and injected into another, appeared to transfer a rudimentary memory between the two, a new study suggests. Most neuroscientists believe long-term memories are stored by strengthening connections between nerve cells in the brain (SN: […]

Physicist complains that climate scientists are giving science a bad name

From James Delingpole at Breitbart: Professor Garth Paltridge, formerly a chief scientist with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Division of Atmospheric Research, says that the behavior of certain members of the climate science establishment is “seriously threatening the public’s perception of the professionalism of scientists in general.” Many climate scientists are much […]

Henry Kissinger: The End of the Enlightenment dawns, due to artificial intelligence

Readers may remember Henry Kissinger, a 70s-era American diplomat (“U.S. secretary of state under Richard Nixon, winning the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize for the Vietnam War accords”). From Kissinger at The Atlantic: How the Enlightenment Ends: Philosophically, intellectually—in every way—human society is unprepared for the rise of artificial intelligence. As the internet and increased computing […]

Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig’s Long-Necked Giraffe book now free online

Readers have written to ask why Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig’s book, The Evolution of the Long-Necked Giraffe: (Giraffa camelopardalis L.) What do we really know? Testing the Theories of Gradualism, Macromutation, and Intelligent Design, is no longer available on Amazon: “Darwin (1871) and many African folk legends before him […] proposed a simple but powerful explanation for […]

Tom Wolfe 1931-2018

Tom Wolfe was the author of The Kingdom of Speech, in which he doubted a fully natural origin for human language. From Deirdre Carmody and William Grimes at the New York Times: In the end it was his ear — acute and finely tuned — that served him best and enabled him to write with […]

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