The Most Dangerous Idea in the World?

September 16, 2010 § 1 Comment

What is the most dangerous idea in the world? Kyle Munkittrick has one. How dangerous do you think it is?

To think scientifically is to think dangerously. Scientists, from Copernicus to Galileo to Darwin, are among the many “Great spirits [who] have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds,” as Einstein so eloquently put it. Daniel Dennett, a prominent New Atheist and philosopher of science, aptly named one of his tomes on evolution Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. Constantly challenging the status quo, science is the engine of the future. Science generates the ideas and science fiction gives us whole universes in which to explore them. Science fiction classics like Brave New World, Nineteen Eighty-four, Slaughterhouse-Five, and A Wrinkle in Time are oft challenged on the premise that they are dangerous or harmful to the impressionable minds reading them. So science and sci-fi push the envelope, but among all of the guesses, theories, and what-ifs, is there an idea most dangerous? Please read the full story…

via The Most Dangerous Idea in the World | Science Not Fiction | Discover Magazine.

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What is the next step in evolution?

September 7, 2010 § 1 Comment

In case you missed it like I did, Susan Blackmore wrote a terrific article about memes for the New York Times.

Of course cars and books are passive lumps of metal, paper and ink. They cannot copy, let alone vary and select information themselves. So could any of our modern meme products take the step our hominid ancestors did long ago and begin a new kind of copying? Yes. They could and they are. Our computers, all linked up through the Internet, are beginning to carry out all three of the critical processes required for a new evolutionary process to take off. Read the full story… View comments and Sue’s responses here

via The Third Replicator – NYTimes.com.

You Fall in Love Because Your Brain is a Jellyfish, Lizard, and Mouse Ice Cream Cone | Science Not Fiction | Discover Magazine

August 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

Check out this wonderfully creative article on human evolution by Kyle Munkittrick. I love the picture.

“Human beings are the peak of evolution, right? Our advanced brains allow us to poke one another on Facebook, send rockets to the moon, and order complex drinks at Starbucks. We can even fall in love. How are we able to do all of that? NPR’s Science Podcast has been doing a running series “The Human Edge” in which they discuss various things about humans that make us, well, human. NPR’s John Hamilton tackled brain evolution and how we humans still carry parts of other animal brains within us. Feel that pebble in your shoe? Thank a jellyfish. Ever duck before a rogue Frisbee collides with your noggin? Thank a lizard. Remember where you left your keys? Thank a mouse.”… Read the full story

via You Fall in Love Because Your Brain is a Jellyfish, Lizard, and Mouse Ice Cream Cone | Science Not Fiction | Discover Magazine.

Capturing the world’s oldest living things

August 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

Lately it has been harder to find the beauty in the world. Then I remembered, I choose what I look at. So here is something beautiful I saw and wanted to share.

Rachel Sussman is a time traveler. For the last few years, the American photographer has journeyed across the globe on a mission to bring back images of the world’s oldest living organisms.In her ongoing project, Sussman has traveled to the primal landscapes of southern Greenland, the timeless high-altitude Andean deserts of South America and even under the ocean.” Read the full story

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Update 9 September 2010:

“Rachel Sussman shows photographs of the world’s oldest continuously living organisms — from 2,000-year-old brain coral off Tobago’s coast to an “underground forest” in South Africa that has lived since before the dawn of agriculture.” -TED

Visit Rachel Sussman: photography to view her groundbreaking work on photographing the worlds oldest living organisms.

What’s wrong with evolutionary biology 101?:Pharyngula

July 24, 2010 § 5 Comments

It's more than genes, it's networks and systems|pharyngulaI learn more about biology reading PZ Myer’s blog than I ever did in school. Of course I went to mostly private religious schools, and then their were the dark ages spent in the Utah public school system. I don’t remember them teaching biology in Utah. They did have an animal husbandry class. I skipped that one.

“Here’s the problem, and also a brief introduction to Evolutionary Biology 201.

First, [evolutionary biology 101] it’s not exactly wrong — it’s more like taking one good explanation of certain kinds of evolution and making it a sweeping claim that that is how all evolution works. By reducing it to this one scheme, though, it makes evolution far too plodding and linear, and reduces it all to a sort of personal narrative. It isn’t any of those things. What’s left out in the 101 story, and in creationist tales, is that: evolution is about populations, so many changes go on in parallel; selectable traits are usually the product of networks of genes, so there are rarely single alleles that can be categorized as the effector of change; and genes and gene networks are plastic or responsive to the environment. All of these complications make the actual story more complicated and interesting, and also, perhaps to your surprise, make evolutionary change faster and more powerful.” Please read the full story on Science Blogs

via It’s more than genes, it’s networks and systems : Pharyngula.

We are never ever alone

July 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

No metazoan is an islandPZ Myers is still writing.  Get ready for some poop.

“It is our conceit to regard ourselves as individuals of Homo sapiens, a body of cells clonally derived from a single human cell. It’s not true. It turns out that each one of us is actually a whole population of species, linked by our evolutionary history and lumbering through the world as a team.”

Read the entire article on Panda’s Thumb “No metazoan is an island

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