Pharyngula

PZ Myers

A primer in eyes

Michael Land was one of those people who totally warped my brain. I’ve been interested in science since I was a kid, but I’m embarrassed to say that I never heard a whisper about evolution in the public schools I attended. Although I read about it avidly, I came out of high school and charged…

His latest column chides the climate Cassandras, and makes a really bizarre argument. Did you know that there have been severe disruptions of human activity by non-anthropogenic climate change in the past? And if climate Cassandras are as conscientious as they claim to be about weighing evidence, how do they accommodate historical evidence of enormously…

The genetic load problem

Dan Graur has written a good summary of genetic load. It’s an important concept in population genetics, and everyone should be familiar with it…and this is a nice 2½ page summary with only a little math in it. I’ll try to summarize the summary in two paragraphs and even less math … but you should…

On the importance of luck

That paper that proposed that most cancers were due to bad luck, that is, that they were a consequence of biological factors that could not be controlled, has been surprisingly controversial. I thought it was a fairly unsurprising paper that confirmed what we already suspected, but wow, the furious pushback has been something to behold.…

Bafflingly hyperbolic

Oh, look. The creationists have been routed, and the problem of the origin of life has been solved. Would you like to learn about the brilliant new science that has creationists and the Christian right terrified? The Christian right’s obsessive hatred of Darwin is a wonder to behold, but it could someday be rivaled by…

Cancer: bad genes or bad luck?

If there is one cause of cancer, it would be genetic damage to somatic cells. So all we have to do to cure cancer is prevent all genetic damage! That’s not a very useful prescription, unfortunately; it’s rather like saying that all we have to do to prevent accidental deaths is prohibit all potential causes…

All right, I definitely want to go there. It also looks as though MBARI has a multi-barrel squid-sucker, according to this video. I want one!

Let’s slap ENCODE around some more

Since we still have someone arguing poorly for the virtues of the ENCODE project, I thought it might be worthwhile to go straight to the source and and cite an ENCODE project paper, Defining functional DNA elements in the human genome. It is a bizarre thing that actually makes the case for rejecting the idea…