Plastic-eating worms and the nylonase story

Nylonase is a popular evolutionary icon as nylon is a recent human invention and a nylon-eating bacteria strand was discovered in 1975. But beyond inquiries into the “evolutionary mechanism” powering this strand, the question is: does this story even make sense? Recent research shows that common mealworms can safely biodegrade various types of plastic. Most […]

Why Evolution is True – by Jerry Coyne

Coyne’s book is a surprisingly honest and significant effort to support his viewpoint with good arguments. He still fails, but kudos for the effort and for not fighting straw men. Here are Coyne’s main arguments and the objections he will need to address: Coyne complains that Evolution is just like Newton’s Laws and should not […]

Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed – by Douglas Axe

In this new book supporting Intelligent Design, Douglas Axe is asking the eternal question: “to what or to whom do we owe our existence?”, and then he goes on disputing the materialist hypothesis. Too bad his arguments are not the strongest, his explanations are convoluted and unclear, and the chosen supporting examples are uninspired. Still, […]

‘New trends in evolutionary biology’ at The Royal Society meeting

Several sources reported on the recent “New trends in evolutionary biology” meeting at The Royal Society. We learn that the 50 years old “Modern Synthesis” needs to be “Extended”. As shown elsewhere, epigenetics argues for a sort of Lamarckism, but in the end both Darwin and Lamarck proposed only “just so” stories, rather that useful […]

Darwin’s finches story falls apart

“Shaking up the Tree of Life” – http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6314/817 Reproductive isolation was, until recently, part of the classic definition of a species. But this definition never worked, first because various species like Neanderthal and Homo Sapiens can mate and birth fertile descendants, and second because this definition left out all nonsexual reproducing organisms. What is not […]

The Accidental Universe by Alan Lightman

The Accidental Universe is a short (136 pages) collection of essays mostly on cosmology (what else?). All of these ideas have been discussed elsewhere, but they are still open. More or less convincing hypotheses have been offered before and some of them are described in this book with a personal touch of the author: “The […]

Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch

A long book (459 pages) better listened at double speed while enjoying another parallel activity than read. Because of its length, the book lacks coherence, although it contains several important ideas worth debating. Main ideas (in no particular order) include: “Enlightenment (good) versus Parochial (bad)” – but these are not necessarily opposite, and the words […]

The Kingdom of Speech by Tom Wolfe

A brief book that is not so much about Speech as it is about toppling false prophets. We learn a great deal about the sordid intrigue that made Darwin the historic personality he is while keeping the lowly “fly catcher” Wallace in semi-obscurity. One hundred fifty years later, a somewhat parallel story develops between Noam […]

A cinematic approach to drug resistance (Stunning Videos of Evolution in Action)

https://www.aaas.org/news/scientists-build-giant-petri-dish-film-bacteria-resistance http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/09/stunning-videos-of-evolution-in-action/499136/ The experiment (and video) shows bacterium Escherichia Coli adapting to increasingly higher doses of antibiotics on a dish divided into sections saturated with various doses of medication. Mutations to the antibiotic medium resulted in initial growth slowdown. New territory growth was lead by the strains that were sufficiently strong and close to the […]

Science Set Free by Rupert Sheldrake

Rupert Sheldrake’s goal is to dispute ten current scientific dogmas (“the scientific creed”). Dogma: Life is essentially mechanical. Dispute: The mechanical explanation of life is akin to trying to understand a computer by grinding it up and analyzing its component elements. All mechanistic supporters smuggle purpose in their model through concept such as “selfish gene”, […]