by Denyse O'Leary
From "A Small Step for Lungfish, a Big Step for the Evolution of Walking" (ScienceDaily, Dec. 12, 2011), we learn,
Extensive video analysis, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveal that the African lungfish can use its thin pelvic limbs to not only lift its body off the bottom surface but also propel itself forward. Both abilities were previously thought to originate in early tetrapods, the limbed original land-dwellers that appeared later than the lungfish's ancestors.
The observation reshuffles the order of evolutionary events leading up to terrestriality, the adaptation to living on land. It also suggests that fossil tracks long believed to be the work of early tetrapods could have been produced instead by lobe-finned ancestors of the lungfish.
Walking fish are nothing new, but there's more to terrestrial life than that.
See also: Land-based fish helps researchers assess how animals moved to land Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and stayed there
Darwinists censor writer re: Fish that jump onto land unaided complicate the water-to-land transition story
by Denyse O'Leary
In "You don't really exist, do you?" (December 10, 2011), at his blog Rationally Speaking, philosopher Massimo Pigliucci,
offers reasons to reject the materialist claim that our consciousness is an illusion:
For some time I have been noticing the emergence of a strange trinity of beliefs among my fellow skeptics and freethinkers: an increasing number of them, it seems, don't believe that they can make decisions (the free will debate), don't believe that they have moral responsibility (because they don't have free will, or because morality is relative Ã¢â‚¬â€ take your pick), and they don't even believe that they exist as conscious beings because, you know, consciousness is an illusion.As co-author with Jerry Fodor of What Darwin Got Wrong, he might be expected to have thought of this:
... a closer look at the evidence does not bear out the increasingly persistent myth that "it's all unconscious anyway." Here very interesting work has been done by Alfred Mele at Florida State University. In his Effective Intentions: The Power of Conscious Will, Mele critically examines claims to the effect that, for instance, our brains make decisions before we become conscious of them, or that intentions don't play a role in producing actions. He finds the evidence for such extraordinary claims extraordinarily deficient and Ã¢â‚¬â€ to the contrary Ã¢â‚¬â€ lines up evidence from neurobiology for the conclusion that consciousness plays a major role in (some, most certainly not all) of our decisions, particularly when it comes to the sort of decisions we normally do attribute to conscious deliberation (like whether to change career, say, not just when to push a button on a computer screen, a la Libet experiments).As a matter of fact, the older one gets, the more likely one is to take some time to make a decision - because all aspects of one's mind are not reporting at once. Not all decisions are equally easy, or fact-rich.
That is why David Brooks' "The young and the neuro" have got it all wrong.
It's interesting how many atheists are pulling back from the materialist conclusions.
by Denyse O'Leary
Natural Science is now in grave disrepute. It survives in its present from only because of a media- and academia-generated program of propaganda which needs the constant distractions of novelties, spurious discoveries, outright fraud, and smokescreens of personal invective, all of which are designed to keep the punters guessing, and ordinary people from asking the most fundamental of philosophical questions about cause and effect, reason and purpose, and loss and gain. ... This is not science. This is unmitigated wickedness.
Strong stuff. But spend a while on the "The Aliens are really OUT There!" desk and you'll find it harder to disagree.
- Metamorphosis, p. 52 (a companion book to the film, Metamorphosis
by Denyse O'Leary
A long time ago Here.
by Denyse O'Leary
Speaking of Dawkins, "I watch from the sidelines with engaged curiosity, and I shall not be surprised if within the next few years, chemists report that they have successfully midwifed a new origin of life in the laboratory." - The God Delusion, 2006, p. 165. Anyone remember which year it was that the great breakthrough occurred?
by Denyse O'Leary
In "Life on Earth: Is our planet special?" (BBC News , 9 December 2011), Howard Falcon-Lang tells us,
Far from being unique, many now regard Earth as an ordinary lump of space rock and believe that life "out there" is almost inevitable. But could the truth be somewhat more complex?
On Friday, top scientists are meeting at the Geological Society in London to debate this very issue, posing the question: "Is the Earth special?". What emerges is that aspects of our planet and its evolution are remarkably strange.
Prof Monica Grady is a meteorite expert at the Open University. She explained in what sense the Earth could be considered special.
It gets better.
"Well, there are several unusual aspects of our planet," she said. "First is our strong magnetic field. No one is exactly sure how it works, but it's something to do with the turbulent motion that occurs in the Earth's liquid outer core. Without it, we would be bombarded by harmful radiation from the Sun."
A key barrier to determining the odds of the habitability of other planets has been the need to minimize the ways in which Earth is special. "Special" doesn't mean that no other planets could be like Earth, but that we need to assess our chances rationally.
As opposed to pointless speculation like "Could exoplanets support life that has a different chemical composition?" Absent the proposed composition, who knows?
by Denyse O'Leary
Here's Physorg on those recently found tintinnids from 635-715 million years ago. In "New fossils reveal oldest known ciliates" (November 16, 2011), Jennifer Chu reports,
Anyone who has taken high school biology has likely come into contact with a ciliate. The much-studied paramecium is one of 7,000 species of ciliates, a vast group of microorganisms that share a common morphology: single-celled blobs covered in tiny hairs, or cilia. These cilia Ã¢â‚¬â€ Greek for "eyelash" Ã¢â‚¬â€ are used to propel a microbe through water and catch prey.
Now, geologists at MIT and Harvard University have unearthed rare, flask-shaped microfossils dating back 635 to 715 million years, representing the oldest known ciliates in the fossil record. The remains are more than 100 million years older than any previously identified ciliate fossils, and the researchers say the discovery suggests early life on Earth may have been more complex than previously thought. What's more, they say such prehistoric microbes may have helped trigger multicellular life, and the evolution of the first animals.
"These massive changes in biology and chemistry during this time led to the evolution of animals," says Tanja Bosak, the Cecil and Ida Green Career Development Assistant Professor in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. "We don't know how fast these changes occurred, and now we are finding evidence of an increase in complexity."
This is not the Darwin forced on us in school. It's not Darwin at all.
Nicholas Butterfield, a lecturer in paleobiology at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., says the group's findings provide convincing evidence for ancient organisms that are "significantly similar" to modern ciliates. However, in his view, the fossils mark a minimum date for the evolutionary appearance of tintinnids Ã¢â‚¬â€ the hairy organisms could have been floating about hundreds of millions of years earlier.
See also: Why do some life forms never really die?
by Denyse O'Leary
In "Can physicists crack the big puzzle?" ( MSNBC Cosmic Log, November 30, 2011), Alan Boyleinterviews Oxford physicist Frank Close on his new book, The Infinity Puzzle , wherein we learn that "an even bigger puzzle remains: Why is the cosmos built the way it is?" Meanwhile,
Q: When it comes to the Higgs boson, the question has arisen as to whether it actually exists. One of my colleagues has joked that if it's found, that's worth a Nobel. And if it's ruled out, that's worth a Nobel as well. Is that the way it works?
A: The idea that has led to the Higgs boson is a piece of beautiful mathematics. Whether nature actually does it is a question that only experiments can answer. Although the theorists are the ones that get all the press ... the Einsteins and the other names that trip off the tongue ... it's ultimately the experiments that decide. That's where we are at the moment.
The idea that there should be a Higgs boson, or something else that masquerades as that particle, has been around for a long time. It's only now that are finally able to do the experiments that will tell us one way or the other if that is the case. And if it is the case, we might find out exactly how nature plays this particular trick. When Peter Higgs and a group of other people first put the idea forward, they were trying to solve a particular conundrum, and they came up with the simplest way of doing it Ã¢â‚¬â€ that is, that there was a single particle known as the Higgs boson. That was 50 years ago. Since then, people have refined those original ideas, based on the discoveries we have made.
There are several possible ideas as to how nature might actually do this conjuring trick. It might be there's a whole family of particles called Higgsinos and other weird names. It might not be a simple particle. It might be a compound Ã¢â‚¬â€ just as an atom has a nucleus that's made of protons and neutrons, which are made of smaller things called quarks, there might be new sorts of particles waiting to be found, called techniquarks, which collectively act as if they were a single boson.
We didn't know that nature was a personality who could know anything, but we didn't know about Higgsinos and such ...
It might be those, it might be something else. We simply don't know. And that's the exciting thing. Nature knows the answer at the moment, and we're trying to find out at last what it is.
by Denyse O'Leary
From "The Driver of Human Evolution Isn't the Climate Around You, It's the Worms Inside You" (Discover Crux blog, December 2, 2011), we learn what one team of researchers concluded:
the authors found that adaptation to pathogens exhibited particularly strong signals of local adaptationÃ¢â‚¬â€in particular, adaptations to varieties of worms. This aligns with the deduction of some evolutionary biologists that host-parasite interactions drive much of adaptive evolution in complex organisms. Why the local adaptation with worms? The authors posit that worms evolve slower than bacteria, and are also more localized in distribution. Climate and diet? Not so much effect. At least for humans the public perception is close to 100% wrong. Humans adapt to local biological forces, not to the local natural environment.
Well, that might be the reason so much of Darwinist evolutionary biology is a mess. On the other hand, it could be growing incoherence in the face of mounting disconfirmation. By 2011, they weren't even doing reigns of terror well any more.
Finally, this should perhaps allow us to reconceptualize adaptation. It's not due to something out there, but something in there. Biological organisms by and large aren't reacting to geological forces, but to other biological entities. This is what makes biology such a frustrating science when you're faced with the beauty and linearity of physics. The planets may move, but they move regularly. In contrast, as organisms trace evolutionary paths they exhibit chaotic creativity, responding to each other's dodges and jabs. Evolution is not a smooth gradual geological process, but a noisy and scattered perpetual re-oganization of living organisms again and again in kaleidoscopic patterns.
by Denyse O'Leary
From "Astronomers Find 18 New Planets: Discovery Is the Largest Collection of Confirmed Planets Around Stars More Massive Than the Sun" (ScienceDaily, Dec. 2, 2011) , we learn:
Discoveries of new planets just keep coming and coming. Take, for instance, the 18 recently found by a team of astronomers led by scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
So many of them might not exist?
"It's the largest single announcement of planets in orbit around stars more massive than the sun, aside from the discoveries made by the Kepler mission," says John Johnson, assistant professor of astronomy at Caltech and the first author on the team's paper, which was published in the December issue of The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. The Kepler mission is a space telescope that has so far identified more than 1,200 possible planets, though the majority of those have not yet been confirmed.
By searching the wobbly stars' spectra for Doppler shifts -- the lengthening and contracting of wavelengths due to motion away from and toward the observer -- the team found 18 planets with masses similar to Jupiter's.Question: These planets are unlikely to support life, and no one has suggested they do. But what if we find 18,000 planets that don't support life and none that do? Would it be time for a revisit of the basic "They're Out There" hypothesis?
"They" may very well be out there. Or not. But at what point would we be justified in using cold analysis - as opposed to brave, faint hopes - to make a decision?
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Evolution has become a favorite topic of the news media recently, but for some reason, they never seem to get the story straight. The staff at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture started this Blog to set the record straight and make sure you knew "the rest of the story".
A blogger from New England offers his intelligent reasoning.
We are a group of individuals, coming from diverse backgrounds and not speaking for any organization, who have found common ground around teleological concepts, including intelligent design. We think these concepts have real potential to generate insights about our reality that are being drowned out by political advocacy from both sides. We hope this blog will provide a small voice that helps rectify this situation.
Website dedicated to comparing scenes from the "Inherit the Wind" movie with factual information from actual Scopes Trial. View 37 clips from the movie and decide for yourself if this movie is more fact or fiction.
Don Cicchetti blogs on: Culture, Music, Faith, Intelligent Design, Guitar, Audio
Australian biologist Stephen E. Jones maintains one of the best origins "quote" databases around. He is meticulous about accuracy and working from original sources.
Most guys going through midlife crisis buy a convertible. Austrialian Stephen E. Jones went back to college to get a biology degree and is now a proponent of ID and common ancestry.
Complete zipped downloadable pdf copy of David Stove's devastating, and yet hard-to-find, critique of neo-Darwinism entitled "Darwinian Fairytales"
Intelligent Design The Future is a multiple contributor weblog whose participants include the nation's leading design scientists and theorists: biochemist Michael Behe, mathematician William Dembski, astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, philosophers of science Stephen Meyer, and Jay Richards, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson, molecular biologist Jonathan Wells, and science writer Jonathan Witt. Posts will focus primarily on the intellectual issues at stake in the debate over intelligent design, rather than its implications for education or public policy.
A Philosopher's Journey: Political and cultural reflections of John Mark N. Reynolds. Dr. Reynolds is Director of the Torrey Honors Institute at