Denyse O'Leary is the News blogger for Uncommon Descent
Human evolution

Is the human race really only 200 thousand years old?

Liechtenstein’s Daily Bell features Vedic (Hindu) creationist Michael Cremo on “Forbidden Archeology, Our Billion-Year-Old Human History and the Spiritual Satisfaction of the Vedas” (Sunday, May 22, 2011 – with Anthony Wile): Daily Bell: Tell us about your book, Forbidden Archeology , and why it is so controversial in the West. Give us its main thesis.[ Read More…

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 Read More…

'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 Read More…

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 Read More…

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 Read More…

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 Read More…

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, Read More…

Intelligent Design

Mediaeval alchemists were real scientists, it turns out

In “The Alchemical Revolution,” Sara Reardon (Science 20 May 2011) tells us, A growing number of science historians hold that alchemists—”chymists” is their preferred, less-loaded term—were serious scientists who kept careful lab notes and followed the scientific method as well as any modern researcher and are testing that hypothesis by recreating their experiments. If the Read More…