Thursday, May 31, 2007

I Believe In Evolution, Except For The Whole Triassic Period

I Believe In Evolution, Except For The Whole Triassic Period
(The Onion)
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not one of those religious nut cases who denies that evolution is real. Of course evolution is real, just not during the “Triassic period.”

This so-called Triassic period saw the formation of scleractinian corals and a slight changeover from warm-blooded therapsids to cold-blooded archosauromorphs. Clearly, such breathtakingly subtle modifications could only have been achieved by an active intelligence.

The secular Triassicists would have you believe that these changes were just the result of millions of years of nature favoring certain genes over others in order to adapt, the same way evolution worked prior to the Triassic. Obviously, that doesn’t make any sense.

Yeah, I’ve had niggling doubts about those archosauromorphs myself.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Darwin’s God

Darwin’s God
(New York Times)
A second mental module that primes us for religion is causal reasoning. The human brain has evolved the capacity to impose a narrative, complete with chronology and cause-and-effect logic, on whatever it encounters, no matter how apparently random. “We automatically, and often unconsciously, look for an explanation of why things happen to us,” Barrett wrote, “and ‘stuff just happens’ is no explanation. Gods, by virtue of their strange physical properties and their mysterious superpowers, make fine candidates for causes of many of these unusual events.” The ancient Greeks believed thunder was the sound of Zeus’s thunderbolt. Similarly, a contemporary woman whose cancer treatment works despite 10-to-1 odds might look for a story to explain her survival. It fits better with her causal-reasoning tool for her recovery to be a miracle, or a reward for prayer, than for it to be just a lucky roll of the dice.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Menstrual Mood Swings May Have a Use After All

Menstrual Mood Swings May Have a Use After All
(New Scientist)
Indeed, previous experiments have shown that women report getting more pleasure from cocaine and amphetamine use during the follicular phase compared to the luteal phase, says Dreher. He believes his findings may therefore help treat women with drug abuse problems, or those with mood disorders.

Dreher also speculates that increased feelings of reward during the follicular phase—when a woman is ovulating and therefore most likely to get pregnant—may have an evolutionary benefit. “It is interesting to note that, from an evolutionary perspective, the increased availability, receptivity and desire that may occur during the ovulatory period has been thought to facilitate procreation,” he says.

Really? That goes against everything I know of the phenomenon.

“Hobbit” human “is a new species”

“Hobbit” human “is a new species”
In the new study, Dean Falk, of Florida State University, and her colleagues say the remains are those of a completely separate human species: Homo floresiensis.

They have published their findings in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The remains at the centre of the Hobbit controversy were discovered at Liang Bua, a limestone cave on the Indonesian island of Flores, in 2003.

Hooray for Bilbo!