Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Silenced! Selectivity too close to truth?

Should science pursue truth regardless of consequences? Or must we succumb to political correctness? Must selectivity of females always equal males? Consider:
Academic Activists Send a Published Paper Down the Memory Hole – by Theodore P. Hill
“In the highly controversial area of human intelligence, the ‘Greater Male Variability Hypothesis’ (GMVH) asserts that there are more idiots and more geniuses among men than among women. Darwin’s research on evolution in the nineteenth century found that, although there are many exceptions for specific traits and species, there is generally more variability in males than in females of the same species throughout the animal kingdom.” . . . Read More ›

Bird navigation designed around smell?

Sense of smell is key factor in bird navigation

researchers from the universities of Oxford, Barcelona and Pisa have shown in a new experiment that olfaction – or sense of smell – is almost certainly a key factor in long-distance oceanic navigation, eliminating previous misgivings about this hypothesis. . . .although the anosmic birds made successful trips to the Catalan coast and other distant foraging grounds, they showed significantly different orientation behaviour from the controls during the at-sea stage of their return journeys. Instead of being well-oriented towards home when they were out of sight of land, they embarked on curiously straight but poorly oriented flights across the ocean, as if following a compass bearing away from the foraging grounds without being able to update their position.

Their orientation then improved when approaching land, suggesting that birds must consult an olfactory map when out of sight of land but are subsequently able to find home using familiar landscape features.

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Discovery of 7 times higher complexity of protein folding!

Can protein folding complexity be formed by stochastic processes? With 14 intermediate steps?
JILA Team Discovers Many New Twists in Protein Folding

Biophysicists at JILA have measured protein folding in more detail than ever before, revealing behavior that is surprisingly more complex than previously known. . . .
They fold into three-dimensional shapes that determine their function through a series of intermediate states, like origami. Accurately describing the folding process requires identifying all of the intermediate states.
The JILA research revealed many previously unknown states by unfolding an individual protein. For example, the JILA team identified 14 intermediate states—seven times as many as previously observed—in just one part of bacteriorhodopsin, a protein in microbes that converts light to chemical energy and is widely studied in research.
The increased complexity was stunning,” said project leader Tom Perkins, a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) biophysicist working at JILA, a partnership of NIST and the University of Colorado Boulder. “Better instruments revealed all sorts of hidden dynamics that were obscured over the last 17 years when using conventional technology.”
If you miss most of the intermediate states, then you don’t really understand the system,” he said.
Knowledge of protein folding is important because proteins must assume the correct 3-D structure to function properly. Misfolding may inactivate a protein or make it toxic. Several neurodegenerative and other diseases are attributed to incorrect folding of certain proteins.

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Would Newton be allowed to teach science in public schools?

Sir Isaac Newton once said,

“In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God’s existence.”

The USA’s Founders required the Bill of Rights in the Constitution, including:

make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

Yet now we have US Senators coercing government officials of establishing atheistic materialism in public education, by accusing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos of supporting Intelligent Design in schools. Read More ›

Is most fMRI a false positive? Or the brain far more amazing?

Statistician William M. Briggs reports an amazing medical case where the

“skull was filled largely by fluid, leaving just a thin perimeter of actual brain tissue.”
Here’s the kicker: And yet the man was a married father of two and a civil servant with an IQ of 75, below-average in his intelligence but not mentally disabled…

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Stochastic or Intelligent Teleology?

Former Templeton Fellow John Fellow asserts: Why Teleology Isn’t Dead

Conway Morris argues that in the grand scheme, evolution will not be reduced to chance: constraints built into life at the most fundamental level guarantee that life is going to follow the same evolutionary pathways to achieve limbs, respiration, vision, balance, an immune system, indeed all the remarkable features we associate with living things across the great spectrum of life.

Morris begs the question by assuming a stochastic origin of these “constraints built into life”. Read More ›

Foundational Philosophical Alternatives

Criminologist and former atheist Mike Adams summarizes the three foundational philosophical alternatives to the Cosmos:

First, we can say that it came into being spontaneously – in other words, that it came to be without a cause. Second, we can say that it has always been. Third, we can posit some cause outside the physical universe to explain its existence. The second option is no longer reasonable. Science has been leading inexorably to the conclusion that the universe is not infinite but instead had a beginning. . . . Reasonable people grasp intuitively that it makes far more sense to say that something came from something than to say that something came from nothing. Of course, admitting that the universe was caused by something rather than nothing comes with a price. Any cause predating the physical universe must therefore be non-physical in nature.

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Mutations Degrade Inherited Intelligence

The remarkable “powers” of evolution are now shown to degrade (aka “mutate”) the human genes essential to intelligence.

Remarkably, they found that some of the same genes that influence human intelligence in healthy people were also the same genes that cause impaired cognitive ability and epilepsy when mutated, networks which they called M1 and M3.

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