Pharyngula

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Friday Cephalopod: En garde!

Lewontin & Ohta win the Crafoord Prize

The The Crafoord Prize in Biosciences has been announced. For those who don’t know, this is a very prestigious award, comparable to the Nobel prize, only not as well known. The categories are specifically designed to complement the Nobel. This year’s winners are Richard Lewontin and Tomoko Ohta, and it’s about time. Lewontin has been…

I found this picture on a site called “Wedding Flowers”, which is kind of interesting, since 30% of yellow evening primroses reproduce asexually. I think that means it’s the best wedding flower for marriages in which the partners intend to clone themselves.

Frauds through and through

Perhaps you’ve heard of these absurd creationist challenges: Kent Hovind challenge of $250,000 for scientific evidence of evolution; Joseph Mastropaolo’s challenge of $10,000 to “prove evolution”; Ray Comfort’s challenge of $10,000 to show him a transitional fossil. They all sound like easy money, but don’t try: they’ve loaded the dice in every case. Dana Hunter…

Why do we die?

I finally got around to finishing Greta Christina’s Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God. It’s good! This book is the sort of thing atheism needs more of: an acknowledgment that the phenomena most important to human beings can be addressed effectively without imagining fantastic supernatural creatures. Atheists have this reputation…

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…