Pharyngula

Archives for February, 2016

This is a recently caught specimen of Onykia robusta, the third largest species of squid in the world. Everyone knows the colossal squid and the giant squid, which can get to be about 15 meters long, but the Robust Clubhook squid is #3 at 4 meters.

Uh-oh. A television station in the Philippines recently aired a program on human evolution. I don’t speak a word of Filipino*, so I can’t judge directly, but skimming through it it seemed to show evidence and discuss reasonable dates and was definitely enthusiastically sciencey, so it seemed like a good thing to me. But the…

The Smithsonian is sponsoring a traveling exhibit called Exploring Human Origins: What Does It Mean To Be Human?, which is going around the country to various libraries. By all accounts, it’s an excellent exhibit, and they also promote good education: they offer workshops on human evolution to local teachers (they also offer tours to local…

No restraint or decorum, they just go at it out there in public. It’s good to be the squid.

Uncommon Descent linked to my criticisms of the Biology of the Baroque, Intelligent Design creationism’s latest misconception, that biologists believe every detail of every organism is the product of natural selection…but they didn’t bother to quote any of my criticisms. It’s weird. They could have quoted the gist of my complaint: So evolution should produce…

If you watch the Discovery Institute, you’ll discover they’re constantly playing games, trying to find that winning PR technique that will persuade the hapless ignorati. Some of them are effective, even if dishonest: “irreducible complexity” injected all kinds of misleading chaos into the brains of their followers, and “teach the controversy” was a potent slogan.…

The Seattle aquarium isn’t playing the matchmaking game with their octopuses anymore, for a chilling reason: they’re afraid that a date might turn into a public cannibal orgy. I don’t recall that peril from my youth, back when I was actively dating. I’m lucky to have escaped Seattle alive!

The structuralist heresy

Larry Moran has heard the words of Michael Denton, and has come away with a creationist interpretation of structuralism. I have to explain to Larry that Denton, as you might expect of a creationist, is distorting the whole idea. Here’s the Denton/Intelligent Design creationism version of structuralist theory. As Denton says, the basic idea is…

We’ve got an interesting seminar coming to Morris next Thursday. Thursday, February 18, 2016, 5 p.m. Location: Imholte Hall 109 The origination of novel structures has long been an intriguing topic for biologists. Over the past few decades it has served as a central theme in evolutionary developmental biology, in part to highlight explanatory gaps…