Paleoanthropologists Disown Homo habilis from Our Direct Family Tree

An Associated Press article titled “African fossils paint messy picture of human evolution” explains that common popular conceptions of human evolution are incorrect: “Surprising fossils dug up in Africa are creating messy kinks in the iconic straight line of human evolution with its knuckle-dragging ape and briefcase-carrying man.” Indeed, the inappropriateness of such “straight line” depictions of human evolution was one of Jonathan Wells’ main points in chapter 11 in Icons of Evolution, “From Ape to Human: The Ultimate Icon.” A Harvard biological anthropologist stated the newly reported fossils reveal, “how poorly we understand the transition from being something much more apelike to something more humanlike.” The Associated Press article goes on to explain why Homo habilis can no longer Read More ›

Pandas Thumb Fails to Refute Michael Behe on HIV Evolution

Pandas Thumb guest contributor Abbie Smith has posted an alleged refutation of Michael Behe. Behe stated in The Edge of Evolution that “in just the past few decades HIV has actually undergone more of certain kinds of mutations than all cells have endured since the beginning of the world.” However, Behe then observed that “those mutations, while medically important, have changed the functioning virus very little. It still has the same number of genes that work in the same way. There is no new molecular machinery.” Smith claims that Behe’s statement is refuted, but her evidence is nothing more than the fact that Human HIV-1 has a gene called Vpu which was present in HIV when it first infected humans, Read More ›

Mathematician Makes Hopeful Predictions about the Future of Evolution Education

Mathematician and intelligent design supporter Granville Sewell has posted an article, entitled “How Evolution Will Be Taught Someday,” where he makes some interesting predictions about the future state of teaching science. He asks whether intelligent design will be taught and says, “probably not in my lifetime.” In Sewell’s view, “in the not-too-distant future, biology texts will refer to evolution as an amazing, mysterious ‘natural’ process, which scientists do not now understand, but hope to understand some day.” Sewell continues to explain that this result would not be opposed by the Discovery Institute, which is not trying to push ID into schools: But for most ID proponents, this will be a quite satisfactory outcome, certainly a huge improvement over the current Read More ›

MSNBC Promotes Darwinian Just-So Stories that are For The Birds

Question: What do you do when a theory logically predicts both (a) and not (a)? Answer: Apparently you heavily promote it. MSNBC recently published two articles promoting Darwinian just-so stories to the public. The first article about the evolution of Waterfowl genitalia contends, “Scientists had speculated that male waterfowl evolved longer phalluses to give them a competitive edge over those not as well-endowed when it came to successfully fertilizing females.” That makes sense, I suppose. But the article makes one admission that strikingly contradicts that little just-so hypothesis: “Most birds lack phalluses, organs like human penises. Waterfowl are among the just 3 percent of all living bird species that retain the grooved phallus…” If long phalluses are so advantageous for Read More ›

Is Panda’s Thumb Suppressing the Truth about Junk DNA?

The best way to rewrite history is to delete the views of those who remember it personally. The Scientist‘s editor Richard Gallgaher’s recent article on “junk”-DNA mentions that Dr. Andras J. Pellionisz suggested that The Scientist publish an “obituary” for “junk”-DNA. Gallagher wrote: Andras J. Pellionisz, to whom I am grateful for bringing this notable 35th anniversary to my attention, suggested that The Scientist publish an obituary to “formally abandon this misnomer.” Pellionisz’s objection is that scientific progress is being inhibited, and declaring junk DNA dead would align us with his own organization, the International PostGenetics Society (postgenetics.org), which disavowed the term on the 12th of October last year. Pellionisz is not alone. (Richard Gallagher, “Junk Worth Keeping,” The Scientist, Read More ›