Agnostic views & images I like

Thoughts about things on the web

Posts Tagged ‘evolution

Genomes, humans and Neanderthals

leave a comment »

The Wikispecies logo created by Zephram Stark ...
Image via Wikipedia

Are you still wondering about the evolution of the human species?

Olivia Judson writes about the latest DNA analysis of Neanderthal bones and explains how that evidence tells us about the human/Neanderthal nexus.

In here usual way of teasing us about our human realities she writes thus to end her article in the NY Times:

Here, lots of ideas have been put forward — a sure sign that no one knows. Perhaps they died of mad Neanderthal disease, owing to a habit of feasting on one another’s brains. (This has been put forward as a serious hypothesis.) Perhaps they were victims of a changing climate. Perhaps they were “inferior” beings, unable to match our capacity for innovation in the face of adversity. Perhaps their populations became too small, and too sparse, for them to find mates. Or — and this is the most haunting possibility — perhaps they were eventually murdered by their puny cousins. That is, us.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/05/12 at 15:24

Olivia Judson offers practical advice about positive and negative body rhythms

leave a comment »

A phylogenetic tree of living things, based on...
Image via Wikipedia

Olivia JudsonOlivia Judson on the influence of science and biology on modern life.

Yes she is a molecular biologist who writes well, but she is also very good with advice about dealing with our health and dis-ease care. Check her latest ideas out!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/12/23 at 17:48

More Muslims are deciding that the discovery of Ardi disproves Darwin’s basic theory

leave a comment »

Human evolution mural at Dover High School
Image by Colin Purrington via Flickr

Here is an excerpt from

If you learned about Ardi on the Arabic-language version of Al Jazeera’s website, however, you discovered something else: The find disproved the theory of evolution.

“Ardi Refutes Darwin’s Theory,” Al Jazeera announced, in an Oct. 3 article not available on the English version of the website. “American scientists have presented evidence that Darwin’s theory of evolution was wrong,” the article opened. “The team announced yesterday that Ardi’s discovery proves that humans did not evolve from ancestors that resemble chimpanzees, which refutes the longstanding assumption that humans evolved from monkeys.”

I guess the interpretation of a scientific discovery is treated one way in Western culture and completely the other in the Muslim world. Go figure!


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/11/01 at 08:55

More public insanity

leave a comment »

creationism...? not, just "divine" art!
Image by jesuscm via Flickr

How else to characterize wide spread public opinion favourable to Creationism:

Darwin teaching ‘divides opinion’

More than half of adults in a survey of 10 countries thought school science lessons should teach evolutionary theories alongside creationism.

Among those who knew of Darwinism, on average 53% felt other possible perspectives should also be taught.

The figure was 68% in Argentina, in the poll for the British Council, which promotes educational opportunities.

In Great Britain 60% felt this way. In Egypt, 27% said such theories should not be in science lessons at all.

The British Council, the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations, is running a programme of activities under the banner Darwin Now.

And the truly insane factoid is that the sample in Egypt is only 27% for the teaching of Creationism along with Evolution. Is the Western World going mad, sad or just plain bad?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Since it’s the 3rd day of 2009, I have decided to post a statement of beliefs

leave a comment »

This is developed from a text model in Bill Cohen’s book about Life Mapping. But the story told below is all mine. My notion in posting this is to put down a mark in the sands of my time in this Universe.

The purpose of my life

I believe that there is a natural force and random (genetic) process that made all aspects of the Universe possible, including human life. My own life came from the fertilization of eggs in my mother’s womb from my father’s sperm introduced by penis penetration of my mother’s cunt. But that genetic process is simply another in a long line over billions of years looking backward in time and a no less long line into the future.

I am a unique genetic instance. I have left my genetic imprint since I fathered 3 children and will eventually die and turn to “dust”.

The purpose of my life is to find a satisfactory understanding of this Universe and my itty bitty place in it, so that I can enjoy the good days and not rue too long the bad and horrible ones. In this way I should live up to my full potential and not be too much of a burden to those closest to me.

My way to understanding my emotional dilemma in this world is the recognize the ANGUISH I bring on for myself, understanding the cause and nature of that anguish, accepting all that and taking a path of action to address the negative aspects of my anguish and its immediate causes.

My beliefs

Evolution exhibit (Taronga Zoo, Australia)
Image by Colin Purrington via Flickr
I believe that Darwin spoke practical sense when he said:  “My theology is a simple muddle: I cannot look at the Universe as the result of blind chance, yet I can see no evidence of beneficent Design.” (Letter to Joseph Hooker, July 12 1870).

I believe that it’s not the what fate and my lifetime cause for me but how I deal with it to live as well as I can and not destroy my spirit by mindless resentment and obsession with redress of the wrongs I receive.

I believe every being is unique and must deal with circumstances in his own way with or without help from others.

I believe everyone makes mistakes, but the wise one learns from them.

I believe in the Golden Rule of “do unto others as I would hope for myself”.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/01/03 at 08:05

Oh how I love the all “the news fit to print”ness of NY Times!

leave a comment »

Tree of life.

Image via Wikipedia

And here is another evolutionary biology piece by Olivia Judson. First the exquisite image in the article which is below:

All Hail the Apple Maggot! - Olivia Judson Blog -

And here is the link!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/11/19 at 06:56

War and homo sapiens

with one comment

sky day 281

Image by maureen_sill via Flickr

New Scientist reports thus:

For the first time, anthropologists, archaeologists, primatologists, psychologists and political scientists are approaching a consensus. Not only is war as ancient as humankind, they say, but it has played an integral role in our evolution.

The theory helps explain the evolution of familiar aspects of warlike behaviour such as gang warfare. And even suggests the cooperative skills we’ve had to develop to be effective warriors have turned into the modern ability to work towards a common goal.

I guess they are trying to tell us that war is more natural to humans than peace is!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/11/13 at 08:00

Doing biological science these days

leave a comment »

The concept of irreducible complexity was popu...

Image via Wikipedia

If I get it, doing biology today involves evolving to an understanding of greater and greater complexity. To quote Nathalie Angier in NYT’s Science Times:

“We have evolved to solve problems,” Dr. Keller said. “Those do not include an understanding of the operation of our own systems — that doesn’t have much evolutionary advantage.” It’s quite possible, she said, that biology is “irreducibly complex,” and not entirely accessible to rational analysis.

Which is not to say we’re anywhere near being stymied, she said: “Our biology is stretching our minds. It’s another loop in the evolutionary process.” And if canonical genes are too thin a gruel to explain yourself to yourself, you can always reach for the stalwart of scapegoats. Blame it all on your mother, who surely loved you too much or too little or in all the wrong ways.

When does the reality of this kind of complexity lead to the argument for Intelligent Design for those who prefer a simple explanation to the complicated reality of what things are about in this Universe.

Is God the source of all this complexity?

And it’s not just about our DNA. Now our RNA is an active part of animal biology. Click here for more, much more.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Putting a rational end to Darwinism

leave a comment »

Geographical isolation of finches on the Galáp...Image via Wikipedia

but not to evolutionary biology seems to be the reasonable thesis of Olivia Judson in the latest of her NYT essays in this 150th anniversary of Darwin.

And here is a chime-in by other scientists!

Zemanta Pixie

Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/07/16 at 09:09

Truth, atheism, quantum mechanics, the Bible and a personal God

with one comment

Science and Religion are portrayed to be in ha...
Image via Wikipedia

These are some of the weighty subjects discussed in two articles by well known spokespersons for ID on one side, David Berlinsky of the Discovery Institute and on the other side for atheism, John Derbyshire a National Review regular. Posted along with a lot of comments on Pajamas Media today.

I liked the notions posted by this commenter:

New European:

I am an atheist. Yet I will be the first to defend believers against atheist “crusades” like the one from richard dawkins. I have no problem at all with praying in schools or the “under god”. And I think that believing in something greater than yourself is very important for your sanity.

But from reading this article I get the impression that the author thinks that evolution does not work and that the bible is closer to the truth than quantum mechanics.

Well, if that is the case, then please refrain from using technology based on quantum mechanics and evolution in the future. That includes every single drug that has been developed since 1980 or so, most modern agricultural products, and also the computer you are currently using. They are all based on the intimate knowledge of quantum mechanics and genetics.

I will in turn promise not to use any drugs or computers developed by “creationist scientists”.

Apr 28, 2008 – 2:29 am

Are Europeans better prepared than North Americans to understand these matters less dogmatically?

With a different perspective Prof. Francisco J Ayala, in his latest book “Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion” (Joseph Henry Press, 2007), writes that as a theology student in Spain he had been taught that evolution “provided the ‘missing link’ in the explanation of evil in the world” — a defense of God’s goodness and omnipotence, despite the existence of evil.

Here are some of my ill-formed notions on this.

For me Truth is as elusive a concept as a personal God. Elusive, metaphysical and entirely non-scientific.

It seems to me that science is a process of discovering the latest version of materialistic theory. It’s like a pursuit which is valuable to humans because we benefit from new technology developed from the latest theories that work.

But scientific understanding is not rock-like since a new theory begets new questions and new paradigms, which lead to the next step in the pursuit.

The Bible for some is rock-like truth but for me it is an attempt by believing human beings to explain and justify their beliefs in the unprovable. It is metaphysics rendered many centuries ago in an mythical story form. The concepts its authors declaim are unprovable but lift our thoughts to an ineffable notion much greater than most notions we have about ourselves.

I prefer the position of Science, but not scientism, because it seeks new contexts and frameworks of materialistic understanding. I believe in freedom of thought and action in the pursuit of better understanding of myself and the universe I am a part of.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/04/29 at 09:46