“Editing” embryos

Researchers are crossing the line into direct “editing” of human embryos, amounting to genetically modifying human beings.

Some of those who don’t approve of genetically modifying vegetables may not mind doing the same thing to babies.  But the new research is stirring up controversy in the scientific community. [Read more...]

The more prey, the fewer predators

One would think that the more prey animals–zebras, antelopes, rabbits, etc.–there are, the more predators there would be, since a larger food supply should support a larger population of animals that eat them.  But it doesn’t work that way.  According to a new study, predator populations decrease when the prey increases.  In fact, this seems to be the case with all animal populations, including herbivores whose “prey” is particular kinds of plants.  And the ratios can be described with a specific mathematical formula, suggesting that this discovery constitutes a new law of nature.

Now the obvious layman’s question is whether the causes might be reversed, that a decline in the number of predators allows for a greater population of prey, but apparently this is considered to be a different effect having to do with the fact that predators breed more slowly in more crowded environments. [Read more...]

More and more experiments aren’t reproducible

Scientists are worried because more and more experiments are not reproducible.  A principle of the scientific method is that for an experiment to be valid, another scientist who performs it must get the same results.  In many cases today, that is not happening.  This is especially true in the social “sciences.” [Read more...]

“The next Darwin” says life is inevitable

A 33-year-old physicist at MIT, Jeremy England, is being hailed as “the new Darwin,” for his mathematical models that suggest life is inevitable.  Though some are saying this will pose a problem for creationists and religious people, it looks to me like more evidence for Design.  (The doctrine of creation teaches not just that God created life, but that He created the universe and its laws.)  What many people are missing is that Prof. England, as a devout Jew, believes in God.  An account of this new Darwin and a summary of his theories after the jump. [Read more...]

The sixth extinction will include us

Some scientists are saying that we have entered the sixth phase of mass extinction of animal species, the biggest since the dinosaur days.  They add that this sixth extinction is likely–due to climate change, etc.–to also take out the human race.

For the original scientific article, go here.  Notice:  One of the authors is Paul R. Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb, which in 1968 predicted global apocalypse by 1995.  (For a list of his failed predictions see this.  See also The Bet, a book on Ehrlich’s environmental apocalyptic warnings vs. free market optimism.) [Read more...]

Why flies are so hard to swat

Scientists have figured out why flies are so hard to swat.  It has to do with the “quick-fire intelligence and good planning” of the fly, “the speed and complexity of the fly’s brain,” which processes information so fast that within 100 milliseconds it “plans” the direction it needs to go and launches its body accordingly.

Intelligence!  Planning!  A fly’s brain! [Read more...]