Denyse O'Leary is the News blogger for Uncommon Descent
Culture Global Warming Intelligent Design

Prager: Secular apocalypses undermine public’s view of science

Lots of people, including us folk at Uncommon Descent are accused of  “undermining science.” Dennis Prager, reflecting on last weekend’s “Prepare to Meet Thy Doom“-fest observes that secular apocalypses (that never really happen) have done our work for us: There is one major difference between leftist and religious doomsday scenarios. The religious readily acknowledge that […]

Intelligent Design

Bradley Monton on methodological naturalism and “control of the supernatural”

One of philosopher Robert Pennock’s arguments for methodological naturalism (which rules out evidence for design in nature in principle, because it cannot be considered) is that “we cannot control the supernatural:” Experimentation requires observation and control of the variables. We confirm causal laws by performing controlled experiments in whichthe hypothesized independent variable is made to […]

Intelligent Design stasis

Spider in amber is 49 million-year-old member of living genus

Further to “Recent Uncommon Descent posts reveal starkly different standards of evidence out there” (Uncommon Descent, 18 May 2011), this ScienceDaily story (May 18, 2011) about a trapped spider is instructive: Imaging Technology Reveals Intricate Details of 49-Million-Year-Old SpiderScientists have used the latest computer-imaging technology to produce stunning three-dimensional pictures of a 49 million-year-old spider […]

'Junk DNA' Intelligent Design

At least Forbes.com’s John Farrell, while trashing Jonathan Wells’ “junk DNA” book, doesn’t threaten to actually read it.

He sniffs that he might, in the end, review it, as time permits. One hopes he’ll read it first. Some readers of reviews like that sort of thing, and there is simply no accounting for tastes. PZ Myers, however, has threatened to read the book. Farrell (“Jonathan Wells’s “The Myth … of the Myth of […]

Evolution

Whether large bird and mammal brains arise from common descent or convergent evolution is uncertain

From paleontologist R. Glenn Northcutt’s “Evolving Large and Complex Brains”(Science, 20 May 2011) we learn: During the Mesozoic (~250 million to 65 million years ago), two distantly related groups of reptiles—the cynodont (or mammal-like) reptiles and the coelurosaurian theropod dinosaurs—gave rise to mammals and birds, respectively. Both mammals and birds evolved brains some 10 times […]

Intelligent Design

The Goldilocks zone is real enough, but the Goldilocks number …

The term “Goldilocks zone” sometimes references Earth’s position, as just right for carbon-based life. The number, as it happens, is a phantom, but a powerful force in shaping opinion nonetheless. Marvelous fun fromBrooke Gladstone at Slate(May 19, 2011) about the Goldilocks number, 50,000, used in media to gin up scare stories. Here’s an interesting item […]

Origin Of Life

Timeline for development of life squeezed even more?

From “Young Graphite in Old Rocks Challenges the Earliest Signs of Life” (ScienceDaily, May 21, 2011) we learn: The team — which includes researchers from Boston College, the Carnegie Institution of Washington, NASA’s Johnson Space Center and the Naval Research Laboratory — says new evidence from Canada’s Hudson Bay region shows carbonaceous particles are millions […]

Chemistry Intelligent Design

Photographer Lazslo Bencze offers Scrabble letters, viewed by aliens, as analogy to design

Let us imagine a strange alien race that sets out to learn about humanity. By chance they have encountered a single Scrabble tile imprinted with the letter “e”. Because these aliens are extremely thorough materialists, they undertake to study the tile as deeply as possible. Not only do they subject it to chemical analysis but, […]