What is the evidence for evolution?

Credit: Wikimedia commons

Evolution as a “theory”

One of the most common misconceptions in the public scientific arena is that evolution is “just a theory.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary lists several definitions for the word “theory” [Merriam2009]. The two that are the most relevant here are: (a) “a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or

Continue reading What is the evidence for evolution?

The origin of life in an inflationary universe

RNA (on left) compared with DNA (on right); courtesy Wikimedia

The abiogenesis problem

Exactly how life first emerged on Earth (the “abiogenesis” problem) remains a critical unsolved question in biology. Was it inevitable, given a favorable environment, or was it a fantastically improbable event? All we know for sure is that it occurred at

Continue reading The origin of life in an inflationary universe

Pseudoscience in the age of Coronavirus

The Covid-19 virus (courtesy U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

A pandemic is upon us

As this is being written (April 2020), the entire world is gripped in the throes of the rapidly spreading and deadly Covid-19 pandemic. International travel has been greatly curtailed worldwide; many businesses, large and small, have shut their

Continue reading Pseudoscience in the age of Coronavirus

Why are people embracing astrology in an age of science?

An age of unparalleled progress

Though many do not recognize the fact, behind the disturbing headlines that dominate the news today, scientific progress marches forward, unabated and undiminished. Just within the past 100 years, researchers have discovered the theory of relativity, quantum mechanics and the standard model; unraveled the structure of DNA; sequenced the

Continue reading Why are people embracing astrology in an age of science?

The scientific debate is over: it is time to act on climate change

Credit: IPCC

The facts of climate change

At this point in time, the basic facts of climate change are not disputable in the least. Careful planet-wide observations by NASA and others have confirmed that 2018 was the fourth-warmest year in recorded history. The only warmer years were 2016, 2017 and 2015, respectively, and 18

Continue reading The scientific debate is over: it is time to act on climate change

How many habitable exoplanets are there, really?

The TRAPPIST-1 system of exoplanets, approximately 40 light-years away

Exoplanets galore

As of the present date (August 2019), more than 4000 exoplanets have been discovered orbiting other stars, and by the time you read this even more will have been logged. Several hundred exoplanets were announced in a July 2019 paper (although these await

Continue reading How many habitable exoplanets are there, really?

Pi, climate change denial and creationism

Introduction

Right off, it may not sound like pi, climate change denial and young-Earth creationism have much in common. In fact, there is an important connection. Here is some background.

Credit: Michele Vallisneri, NASA JPL

Computing pi

Pi = 3.1415926535…, namely the ratio between the circumference of a circle and its diameter, has fascinated

Continue reading Pi, climate change denial and creationism

Does the punctuated equilibrium theory refute evolution?

Introduction

Both creationist and intelligent design writers assert that there are large gaps in the fossil record, and that the conventional scientific picture of a gradual evolution is a myth. To a certain extent, this is true: the fossil record includes transitions that appear abrupt. In 1972, paleontologists Niles Edgredge and Stephen Jay Gould published

Continue reading Does the punctuated equilibrium theory refute evolution?

Marcelo Gleiser wins Templeton Prize

Credit: Templeton Foundation

The Templeton Foundation has announced that Marcelo Gleiser, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist at Dartmouth University in New Hampshire, USA, has been awarded the 2019 Templeton Prize.

The Templeton Prize, which includes a 1.1 million pound stipend, is awarded each year to a person “who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming

Continue reading Marcelo Gleiser wins Templeton Prize

When did life start on Earth?

Introduction

Both creationist and intelligent design writers assert that science has yet to understand the origin of life, and further claim that this is a fatal flaw in evolutionary theory [Behe1996; Dembski1998]. More importantly, creationist-minded members of the public have, in numerous cases, attempted to capitalize on this perceived weakness to persuade school boards and

Continue reading When did life start on Earth?