Posts tagged with ‘evolution’

Quito, the Galapagos and stuff

Well, I’m in Quito. Annoyingly, I can’t log into my webmail for some reason – some horrible bug in IE7 perhaps. I spent the morning looking at pre-Hispanic stuff at the museum, which I enjoyed, and then took a token look at the glories of colonial Quito before deciding I needed to sit down for […]

In the Galapagos

I´ve got a couple of hours in Puerto Ayora (on Santa Cruz, in the Galapagos), so I thought I´d post a quick note. I can recommend the Galapagos. For a start, the landscape is more varied and more beautiful than I expected; somehow in my head it was all rocks, but from island to island […]

Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin

Oliver Sacks fans will remember Temple Grandin as the autistic slaughterhouse designer in An Anthropologist on Mars. She has a particular affinity with animals and has used her talent for understanding them to help her design corrals, feedlots and slaughterhouses which are less stressful for the animals. The subtitle of Animals in Translation is ‘Using […]

Flies, flies and more flies.

Someone posted this photo of a scorpionfly to the Flickr group ID Please: Schorpioenvlieg, originally uploaded by Wue. Which reminded me of something I said a week or so ago. I take a casual interest in insects and other invertebrates, but one thing you quickly realise is that they’re really hard. I first really appreciated […]

After 200 million years of abstinence…

An interesting story about darwinulids. As far as anyone could tell, darwinulids (a type of crustacean) had been reproducing exclusively asexually for 200,000,000 years, but now a researcher has found 3 male specimens, which implies that at least one darwinulid species has sex. Sex is a bit mysterious in evolutionary terms because it’s so much […]

Atheism again

I said a few posts ago, about my own atheism, “I don’t believe in unicorns either, but I’m not about to go to any meetings about it.” Well, I haven’t been going to any atheist meetings, but I have been reading the comment threads at Pharyngula, which is a pretty good internet equivalent. My own […]

Transitional species

I was looking back at old PFFA threads yesterday, and there was an argument about religion, evolution and so on during which someone asserted that “there are no verifiable fossil records of transitions from one species to another.” This morning I feel inclined to make a point which I don’t think is always appreciated by […]

Evolution, ID, Carl Zimmer, monkey-men and suchlike. Again.

I’ve just added The Loom to the linkroll. The Loom is the blog of Carl Zimmer, who wrote the excellent and rivetingly eye-opening Parasite Rex, as well as the excellent but marginally less riveting At the Water’s Edge. They’re both worth reading, but the parasite one would be my recommendation just because the subject matter […]

Vatican Starman Slams ID!

“The Vatican’s chief astronomer said on Friday that Intelligent Design Theory isn’t science and doesn’t belong in science classrooms.” The ‘Vatican’s chief astronomer’? I wonder if CERN has a head priest who can be consulted for a theological perspective on particle physics. I don’t suppose the Vatican astronomer is empowered to define the Catholic Church’s […]

‘The Mating Mind’ by Geoffrey Miller

I’ve just read The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped Human Nature by Geoffrey Miller. The book’s argument is that many of the typical characteristics of human behaviour are best understood as products of sexual selection. Sexual selection is the process where you start with some ancestral bird species where the females have a bit […]

‘The Ancestor’s Tale’ by Richard Dawkins

I’ve just read The Ancestor’s Tale by Richard Dawkins. The book traces back human descent to the earliest forms of life as a ‘pilgimage’, marking the points where other branches of our family tree ‘join’ us; the first rendezvous is with the chimps, then the other apes, then the rest of the primates and so […]

teaching ID alongside natural selection

I do actually think there’s an argument for teaching about the idea of Intelligent Design alongside natural selection. Or, to be more exact, in teaching natural selection in the context of ID. That’s not because I think ID is a valid alternative to NS. It’s clearly not. On the contrary, school biology lessons ought to […]