A Reply to Carl Zimmer on Embryology and Developmental Biology

I recently read Carl Zimmer’s response to my critique of his November, 2006 article in National Geographic. In this post I will discuss Zimmer’s response to me regarding embryology and developmental biology. The embryonic hourglass is the idea that vertebrate embryos (like those of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals) start off developing very differently, converge with some similarities at the pharyngular stage, and then again diverge. I stated in my original article that “vertebrate embryos start off quite differently,” but that “Zimmer’s diagram selectively displays embryos from the encircled stage where they are most similar.” The implication is that this falsifies the idea that evolution proceeds by tacking on new stages of development because these vertebrate groups start off Read More ›

A Tall Tale of Evolution: The Neck of the Giraffe

German geneticist Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig Tackles Giraffe Evolution Last year, German geneticist Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig critiqued evolutionary accounts of the infamously complex long neck of the giraffe. He recounts how various Darwinists had claimed things like “the evolution of the long-necked giraffe can be reconstructed through fossils,” but Lönnig concluded that “the fossil evidence for the gradual evolution of the long-necked giraffe is — as expected — completely lacking.” Lönnig has now written part 2 of his refutation of this evolutionary tall tale, where he now shifts the focus away from paleontology and on to giraffe anatomy, diet, behavior, and zoology, tackling evolutionary hypotheses about giraffe origins. Part 2 can be read at “The Evolution of the Long-Necked Giraffe: What Do We Read More ›

Wikipedia “Intelligent Design” Entry Selectively Cites Poll Data to Present Misleading Picture of Support for Intelligent Design

I recently discussed how Wikipedia has inaccurate information on intelligent design, or constantly rebuts (fallaciously) the claims of ID proponents. This post looks at merely two sentences out of the long Wikipedia entry on intelligent design and finds inaccuracy, misrepresentation, bias, and hypocrisy. These two sentences come from Wikipedia’s discussion of polls and intelligent design. Wikipedia presently states: According to a 2005 Harris poll, ten percent of adults in the United States view human beings as “so complex that they required a powerful force or intelligent being to help create them”.[17] Although some polls commissioned by the Discovery Institute show more support, these polls have been criticized as suffering from considerable flaws, such as having a low response rate (248 Read More ›

Biologists Report Important Gene Regulation Function for Transposons

Transposons are a type of DNA which many Darwinists have written off as mere genetic junk. The pro-Darwin TalkOrigins archive tells us that transposons “can be thought of as intragenomic parasites.” But don’t feel bad for the poor transposons — it looks like they might be looking at a new career as “the DNA formerly known as junk”: biologists from Stanford and UC Santa Cruz are reporting that “‘Junk’ DNA Now Looks Like Powerful Regulator.” That type of “junk” is the transposon. As the press release about the study explains, “Large swaths of garbled human DNA once dismissed as junk appear to contain some valuable sections.” The scientists report that in the past, they “had identified a handful of transposons Read More ›

Neanderthals: Are They Us, or Are We Them (or Both)? Overcoming the Icons of Evolution

Who were the Neanderthals? Were they ape-like primitives with low intelligence, or were they more like us–perhaps nearly identical to modern humans in both body and mind? Biology textbooks often portray Neanderthals as unintelligent versions of modern humans. For example, this graphic from Biology: The Dynamics of Life (pg. 483, 2000 ed.) portrays Neanderthals as stooped primitives struggling kill a giant bear using clubs, spears, and incompetently, a burning stick: But according to a recent article in the Washington Post, Neanderthals may have been virtually indistinguishable from modern humans in terms of both their appearance and intelligence. A lead author on the study declared that “we would understand both to be human. There’s good reason to think that they did Read More ›