Denyse O'Leary is the News blogger for Uncommon Descent

“Extremely ancient” genus stays put 150 million years

From ScienceDaily (May 5, 2011),we learn more about “if it ain’t broke, don’t …” Horsetail grass decidedly ain’t broke: “Horsetail Plant Developed Successful Set of Tools for Extreme Environments – For Millions of Years” The authors discovered that in many ways the morphology and anatomy of this fossilized Equisetum is indistinguishable from those of species Read More…

Darwinism Science

Darwinism now in same sort of mess that “floored” astrology – Fuller

Agnostic Warwick U sociologist Steve Fuller asks some questions in Dissent from Descent, Modern evolutionary theory, as we have seen in these pages, is subject to vagaries of interpretation just as fundamental as those that ultimately floored astrology. Here is a list: 1. Is the overall process of evolution directed or undirected- Lamarckian or Darwinian? If Read More…


He said it: Darwin’s Origin of Species “cannot be evaluated strictly as a work of hard science”

Darwin’s argument contains so many questionable assumptions, starting with his views about God, that it cannot be evaluated strictly as a work of hard science. It is not rigorously empirical in the way Mendel’s “Experiments in Plant Hybridization” is. To pick up Mendel’s concise and carefully reasoned paper after reading the circular and often cloudy Read More…

'Junk DNA'

The ballad of junk DNA

An unknown poet’s riff on “junk DNA”, arrived by post at the top secret UD bunker in an undisclosed, unimaginable location: (Would go well to tune of “Way Up on Old Smoky” – here. Try it! ) On top of our genome All covered with cash, I see BioLogos And they’re talkin’ trash.

Informatics Irreducible Complexity

An information systems prof has some questions about Ken Miller’s “spitball” mousetrap

While explaining how he believes complex biochemical information just happen to arise through random processes, Brown University’s Ken Miller dismisses Mike Behe’s mousetrap, introduced in Darwin’s Black Box. To show that it is not an example of irreducible complexity that points to design, he recounts a childhood recollection of a pupil using a mousetap to Read More…

Christian Darwinism Intelligent Design

Atheist philosopher has some questions for anti-ID Catholic biochemist (and recent Darwin prize recipient) Ken Miller

The most recent Stephen Jay Gould prize has been awarded to anti-ID Catholic biochemist Ken Miller of Brown University: Through his writings, teaching and appearances in court, Dr. Miller has proved an eloquent and passionate defender of evolution and the scientific method. Some Miller comments: The argument for intelligent design basically depends on saying, ‘You Read More…

Cosmology Intelligent Design Philosophy

Coffee!!: Why cosmologists should avoid being armchair philosophers

Look, it’s the armchair, okay? It’s got to go. There are real philosophers out there, besides which great scientists have taken the philosophy of science very seriously. Undeterred by that history, Stephen Hawking recently dismissed philosophy in The Grand Design (with Leonard Mlodinow). In his view, philosophy did not contribute to knowledge compared with science. Read More…

Evolutionary psychology

Slate reporter muses on Harvard’s recent evolutionary psychology scandal

At Slate , reporter David Dobbs muses (May 2, 2011) on the Marc “but the monkeys talk to ME!” Hauser research scandal, which he covered: First, let’s recall that “scientific misconduct” in this case does not mean sloppy work; it means, by the NIH definitions Harvard uses in such investigations, either plagiarism (not on the Read More…

Intelligent Design

Jerry Fodor shows why Dawkins is wrong in saying “We must believe Darwinism”

Here at “Does Darwinism depend on evidence?”, Richard Dawkins’ has said we must, because it is the only plausible theory of evolution. But Fodor responds that being a materialist atheist like himself,  his co-author Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini, and Dawkins has nothing to do with needing to believe Darwinism. Fodor and Piatelli-Palmarini respond in What Darwin Got Read More…

Darwinism Mathematics

Can Darwin’s enemy, math, rescue him?

Oxford is hiring a mathematician to try to rescue Darwinism. Because it was the math that got Darwinism into trouble in the first place: The concept of fitness optimization is routinely used by field biologists, and first-year biology undergraduates are frequently taught that natural selection leads to organisms that maximize their fitness. Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene Read More…

Intelligent Design

Steve Fuller asks, Why shouldn’t religious commitments influence one’s science?

Agnostic Warwick U sociologist Steve Fuller, author of Dissent over Descent (2008) offers: One wishes that the US legal system exercised the same diligence in authenticating people’s religious beliefs s their scientific beliefs. Ayala, Miller and Collins claim that their scientific inquiries are driven by their faith in God. Yet, as they are the first Read More…