Pharyngula

Archives for October, 2009

Shocking evidence!

Don’t faint. I met some people at this meeting. What did you think, I’d strip half-naked, paint myself blue, and start swinging a broadsword?

Man, philosophers sure take a long time to get to the point. OK, his outline: 1) development and differential entrenchment in evolution. 2) application of these principles to culture. 3) what new phenomena this theory can capture. Plunges into “thick, thin, and medium viscosity theories of culture”. I have no idea what he’s talking about:…

Darwin didn’t know the basic mechanisms of evolutionary change. Mechanism of inheritance was a black box. Darwin’s last publication before his death was “on the dispersal of bivalves”. Why are freshwater bivalves so homogeneous in morphology? Describes a beetle with a conch attached to its leg, which provided a mechanism of dispersal. Turns out the…

How can I resist an opportunity to see Ruse gibbering on the stage? I’m curious to see whether he annoys or enlightens. It could go either way. He’s not going to talk about evo-devo! OK, I’m already annoyed. Criticizes the infamous New Scientist cover, “Darwin Was Wrong”; received email from Paul Nelson (boo) claiming the…

Shubin had a tough act to follow, coming after Kingsley’s great talk. I’m sure it will be good, though — last night I got a tour of his lab, saw the original Tiktaalik specimens and some new ones, and some of his work in progress (which I won’t tell you about until it’s published), so…

Photos from the conference!

Jerry Coyne has put up a few photos from the conference, including one of me hunched over my teeny-tiny note-taking laptop doing the exciting live-blogging thing. It doesn’t look as glamorous as it actually is.

This talk should put me back in my comfort zone—developmental biology, evolution, and fish, with the stickleback story, one of the really cool model systems that have emerged to study those subjects. What is the molecular basis of evolutionary change in nature? How many genetic changes are required to produce new traits? Which genes are…

Darwin had problems with the fossil record that he explained as a result of imperfections. Modern paleo has corrected some of that with the discovery of many intermediates. Jablonski is going to talk about the fossil record as a laboratory for testing evolutionary hypotheses. Marine bivalves are model systems with both modern forms and good…

Kimberly Daniels of the Christian Broadcasting Network has a warning for trick-or-treaters. “[M]ost of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches,” Daniels wrote. “I do not buy candy during the Halloween season. Curses are sent through the tricks and treats of the innocent whether they get it by…

Happy Halloween!