Would you shake hands with a man who could write stuff like that? Would you share a platform with him? I wouldn't, and I won't. Even if I were not engaged to be in London on the day in question, I would be proud to leave that chair in Oxford eloquently empty.
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Jonathan M. at evolution news recently criticized the hypothesis of a monophyletic origin of the eyes.
The common evolutionary rationalization of this phenomenon is to posit that the gene in question had some kind of propensity for promoting the development of the respective structure. But this solution appears dubious, particularly in the case of the even more spectacular example of eye development…
Scientists call it LUCA, the Last Universal Common Ancestor, but they don't know much about this great-grandparent of all living things. Many believe LUCA was little more than a crude assemblage of molecular parts, a chemical soup out of which evolution gradually constructed more complex forms. Some scientists still debate whether it was even a cell.
New evidence suggests that LUCA was a sophisticated organism after all, with a complex structure recognizable as a cell, researchers report. Their study appears in the journal Biology Direct.
The study lends support to a hypothesis that LUCA may have been more complex even than the simplest organisms alive today, said James Whitfield, a professor of entomology at Illinois and a co-author on the study.
In this comment at the DI blog, Casey seems bewildered by the fact that researchers can spot selection at work without knowing the exact function of the new gene:
To illustrate why I used the word “magic,” we often see that papers (which Nick would probably claim show the “origin of new genetic information”) invoke natural selection, but then:
DO NOT EVEN KNOW THE FUNCTION OF THE GENE, AND THUS HAVE NO IDEA WHAT FUNCTION WAS BEING SELECTED FOR
(For example, the following papers invoke natural selection to explain the origin of a gene whose function was at-the-time unknown, meaning they did not even know what function was being selected
Forgive me Nick, but I have trouble accepting claims of natural selection when evolutionary biologists:
(a) don’t even know the function that is being selected,
Casey meet Kimura
My nostalgic streak continues
If Eoandromeda appeared after the cnidarians, the authors argue, bilateral symmetry would have to have evolved twice — once for the cnidarians and again for the bilateral organisms that came after Eoandromeda. Far simpler is the idea that Eoandromeda evolved first (see 'Simplest solution'). "This model of animal relationships calls for the least number of origins of bilateral symmetry," says Bengtson.
It'd hardly be worth noting, if not for the fact that the only 9/11 "truther" I've seen pop up on either side of the creationism/evolution blogosphere is Bilbo, formerly of the pro-ID Telic Thoughts blog. Bilbo defended his regular postings about how 9/11 must've been an elaborate plot by whoever, writing:
I don't think that 9/11 truthiness resembles anything, whether it be ID or "Darwinism". Yes, ID creationist Bilbo was (and still is) a toofer (and we've debated on this issue). However, there are toofers on all sides of this debate, such as philosopher James Fetzer, co-editor of the ID critique published in Synthese recently.
Over at the DI blog we read this about a recent PLOS paper
This is a further indication, of course, that non-coding regions of the genome, previously dubbed "junk DNA," are functional.
I don't see how finding high levels of conservation for non-protein coding sequence around some, but not all, wing development genes means that all non-coding regions are functional (particularly around the key gene Wingless and Ecdysone Receptor).
It's doubtful this heroic effort has shed any light on evolution. Nor is likely that similar efforts will do so any time soon
That's a strange thing to say considering that, among other things, they identified an expansion of the family of alcohol dehydrogenase genes (via duplication):
Among the genes identified, we discovered five tandemly arranged genes similar to Alcohol dehydrogenase (Adh), which potentially represent an expansion in the Lepidoptera. Comparative studies of sequence, expression and function of these genes are necessary to shed light onto their evolutionary history and ecological importance.
Like many of my generation, I became an interventionist in Bosnia. Sickened by carnage, and by the lies and ignorance of Western politicians who prolonged the carnage, I understood that caution — or more accurately hypocrisy masquerading as prudence — can be as criminal as recklessness.
A war with very specific reasons and equally specific crimes committed overwhelmingly by Serbian forces was dressed up as a millennial conflict beset by Balkan fog and moral equivalency in order for craven Western leaders to justify an inaction that killed.
A very interesting philosophical paper on these issues by a danish philosopher. Discusses one of the many physical conditions I find interesting, the closeness of the "Hoyle state" to the 4He+8Be threshold. If this closeness would not exist, there would not be enough carbon and oxygen.
Since its origin in the early 1970s the anthropic principle has exerted a major influence on ideas of theoretical cosmology. Although it is today as controversial as ever, its impact is beyond discussion. This paper examines some of the early formulations of anthropic ideas, including those of Russian cosmologists G. Idlis and A. Zelmanov. These early formulations are at best vague anticipations of the anthropic principle, which as a research tool for cosmological theory was first proposed by B. Carter in 1973. The paper offers an account of how Carter came to the idea of the anthropic principle and how he originally formulated it.