The increasingly cold grip of fall and the horror of near endless winter

There’s no doubt fall can be beautiful and the first arrival of cold weather invigorating, but trees don’t lose their leaves because they want to.  Energy is scarce in winter, and all living things have been shaped by the timeless evolutionary challenge of how to spend it wisely, even ourselves. Unlike many, I can’t bring… Continue reading The increasingly cold grip of fall and the horror of near endless winter

Key moments in humanity’s early and more recent history remain written in our DNA

Two new studies illuminate long standing mysteries in our evolutionary and cultural history.  Why were early humans smarter and more adaptable than our Neanderthal cousins even though their brains were about the same size?  When and where did the earliest Indo-European languages emerge leading to what about half the world speaks today?  DNA is a… Continue reading Key moments in humanity’s early and more recent history remain written in our DNA

Early humans walked the earth millions of years earlier than we believed and your teeth might be the scales of a fish

A new analysis continues to confirm Charles Darwin’s hypothesis that the first step towards humanity was walking upright, and his thoughts on the matter in Descent of Man still ring true over 150 years later, an incredible feat.  Meanwhile, other scientists are finally beginning to solve the riddle of where teeth came from.  It’s Darwin’s… Continue reading Early humans walked the earth millions of years earlier than we believed and your teeth might be the scales of a fish

The Big Bang: The scientific establishment strikes back

Confronted by obvious, measurable, and specific flaws in the theory, proponents in the scientific establishment revert to the usual tactics of appealing to authority, misdirection, and smearing those who disagree.  We might call this the “Dr. Fauci Dodge,” reserved for real card carrying experts. It’s a story that has become all too common in recent… Continue reading The Big Bang: The scientific establishment strikes back

The insanity of claiming everything is sentient and the collective delusions of modern scientists

According to some experts, everything is sentient these days, from computers to honey bees, but this is a radical redefinition of a term once applied to humans and perhaps a few of our close relatives.  Sentience used to require awareness and understanding.  Suddenly, merely adaptive behavior will do as activists start calling for insect rights,… Continue reading The insanity of claiming everything is sentient and the collective delusions of modern scientists

Dogs rule the world, from essential worker to best friend and now master of their domain

Dogs began their descent from wolves some 130,000 years ago when an enterprising pack discovered a new source of food and warmth ripe for exploitation.  Today, there is little doubt who is in charge in most households, as canines have transitioned from essential workers for hunters and farmers to loveable, furry, spoiled parasites, doted over… Continue reading Dogs rule the world, from essential worker to best friend and now master of their domain

The miracle of spring and the endless beauty of evolution

The natural world is reborn every spring as flowers bloom and animals return like clockwork, but beneath the surface each species’ unique evolutionary history gives this rebirth an endless, almost magical variety.  In New Jersey, there are some 2,100 varieties of plants alone, each similar and unique in how they respond to the coming of… Continue reading The miracle of spring and the endless beauty of evolution

Evolutionary biology and the beauty of confirming hypotheses with data and experiments

Two groundbreaking new studies provide important evidence for key theories about the evolution of humans and the interplay between viral RNA and our own cells, offering a glimpse of how science evaluates competing ideas and a potential window into the nature of all life on Earth. Last month, a groundbreaking new study in Proceedings of… Continue reading Evolutionary biology and the beauty of confirming hypotheses with data and experiments

Can creationism and evolution be combined into a coherent whole?

Christian philosophers are using the latest genealogical and genetic research into human ancestry to reconcile evolution with the traditional concept of Adam and Eve as described in the scripture, proposing that both ideas can be true at the same time, but combining science and philosophy is always a tricky business, even for an atheist. There… Continue reading Can creationism and evolution be combined into a coherent whole?

The entire “Tree of Life” is online after the idea was first proposed over 200 years ago, and it’s a humbling, interactive experience open to everyone

Meet the “Google Earth of Biology,” the OneZoom Explorer, recently launched by the Imperial College of London.  This interactive, online experience maps the connections between 2.2 million living species in a visual, searchable format, including over 85,000 images.  Yes, the Tree of Life is now online, fulfilling a quest of over two centuries, allowing you… Continue reading The entire “Tree of Life” is online after the idea was first proposed over 200 years ago, and it’s a humbling, interactive experience open to everyone