Evolution Is Still Happening: Beneficial Mutations in Humans

One of my all-time most popular posts on Daylight Atheism, "The Scars of Evolution", lists some of the kludges, hacks and jury-rigs left behind in the human genome, the telltale signature of evolution. The vestigial structures and design compromises still found in human bodies are tangible evidence that our species has a long evolutionary history and didn't just pop into existence ex nihilo. But a different line of evidence comes in the form of ongoing mutations in the human gene pool. Most … [Read more...]

The Language of God: Deeper DNA Comparisons

The Language of God, Chapter 5By B.J. MarshallIn the last post, we saw Collins give a foothold to Creationists who want to deny macroevolution. Even granted that he should have never allowed this foothold in the first place, he makes a valiant effort to tear the false micro-v-macro wall down by comparing our genome to those of other animals. It is here that Collins asserts that "[t]he study of genomes leads inexorably to the conclusion that we humans share a common ancestor with other living … [Read more...]

The Language of God: Micro vs. Macro

The Language of God, Chapter 5By B.J. Marshall Before tackling the gritty details using DNA evidence to support human evolution, Collins addresses Darwin, mutations, and the "rather arbitrary" distinction between microevolution ("incremental changes within a species") and macroevolution ("major changes in species") (p.131-2). In my discussions with Creationists, the micro- v. macro-evolution thing always comes up. … [Read more...]

The Language of God: Size Doesn’t Matter

The Language of God, Chapter 5By B.J. MarshallIn this section, Collins describes how "the study of genomes leads inexorably to the conclusion that we humans share a common ancestor with other living things" (p.133-4). There are a lot of ideas in this chapter to unpack, so I'd like to start by reviewing Collins' material on DNA at a high level: size and broad similarity. It would be my hope that, even if Creationists only heard some of the material in this chapter, they would quickly see the … [Read more...]

Spread the Good News

By Richard Hollis (aka Ritchie)Two rather interesting and welcome stories have hit the headlines in as many days that I thought I'd bring up here.The first bit of news is that from next week, for the first time, an abortion advisory service is to screen an advert on TV in Britain. Centred around the slogan 'Are you late?' the commercial will advertise the services of the organisation Marie Stopes, which offers advice on sexual health matters, including abortion services.Abortion has been … [Read more...]

The Case for a Creator: Soup’s On!

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 9Chapter 9 is ostensibly about the origin of biological information, but what it's really about is the origin of life. We've discussed this in part in an earlier chapter, but Meyer has some other objections to raise.First up, Strobel raises the question of the "prebiotic soup" - the dilute broth of organic molecules that's believed to have existed in the Earth's oceans before the origin of life, a fitting stage for many kinds of complex chemical reactions. … [Read more...]

The Case for a Creator: Complexity Is Scary!

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 8In the previous installment, I discussed how creationists steer well clear of doing any real science. We can see another example of this in, ironically, the way Strobel falls all over himself lauding Michael Behe as a Real Scientist:He has authored forty articles for such scientific journals as DNA Sequence, The Journal of Molecular Biology, Nucleic Acids Research, Biopolymers, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Biophysics, and … [Read more...]

Weekly Link Roundup

A couple of noteworthy articles from this week that I didn't have time to write more about:• To begin with, there's this excellent and in-depth profile of the FFRF's Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, from a local alternative paper in Madison.• Archaeologists have discovered a genuine burial shroud from the first century CE. Unlike the Shroud of Turin, its radiocarbon date fixes it to the correct time period; it also has a very different weave than the more famous Turin … [Read more...]

A Sense of Kinship


This past summer, I was visiting the New York Botanical Gardens when serendipity struck: this beautiful little creature alighted on a stone railing around the edge of a pool, staying just long enough for me to snap this shot:I think, though I'm not an expert, that this is a blue dasher, Pachydiplax longipennis.I don't usually like close-up photos of insects - they have an eerie, alien feel that I find disturbing. (I admit it, I'm a mammal chauvinist.) But this one is one of … [Read more...]

Another Branch on the Human Family Tree

I haven't written about any new transitional fossils in a while, so it's a great pleasure for me to mention this one: a hominid skeleton nicknamed "Ardi", a specimen of Ardipithecus ramidus. This species was known from other fossil fragments, but Ardi is one of the oldest and most complete hominids found so far, and may give us the most insight yet into what the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees looked like.Ardi lived about 4.4 million years ago (by comparison, Lucy and her fellow … [Read more...]