Category Science

Far from random, evolution follows a predictable genetic pattern, researchers find

Evolution, often perceived as a series of random changes, might in fact be driven by a simple and repeated genetic solution to an environmental pressure that a broad range of specieshappen to share, according to new research.

Princeton University research published in the journal Science suggests that knowledge of a species’ genes—and how certain external conditions affect the proteins encoded by those genes—could be used to determine a predictable evolutionary pattern driven by outside factors. Scientists could then pinpoint how the diversity of adaptations seen in the natural world developed even in distantly related animals.

Science Committees and Republicans – Meet the Experts (yes, dumber than a bag of hammers-type experts)

Ever heard of the “Committee on Science, Space and Technology” of the United States Congress ? This committee has jurisdiction over: “all energy research, development, and demonstration, and projects therefor, and all federally owned or operated non-military energy laboratories”.

So… you would expect the members of this committee to be well educated, right ? Or at the very least you would expect them to have at least a rudimentary understanding of science, wouldn´t you ?

Baba Brinkman Takes Down Romney On Climate Change

So Mitt Romney is in the news right now a little more than he should be. And it seems that people have very short memories with regards to his gaffes and ineptitude. And then he makes people laugh about climate change (that hilarious gag).

Here is high-brow rapper Baba Brinkman’s take on Romney and his climate humour:

On Seeing Lawrence Krauss Last Night – A Universe From Nothing?

So I went to see theoretical physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss last night in Portsmouth. This was great for two reasons. Firstly, Krauss is a great public speaker and a seemingly top bloke. Secondly, it shows that, occasionally, Portsmouth (UK) is not the cultural wasteland many think it is. Occasionally. Very occasionally.

The night started off well as a few of us Tippling Philosophers met in a pub and got talking to a playwright who had a vast and interesting array of knowledge in some areas close to our hearts – the making of Messiahs, philosophy and such like (so much so that he bought one of my books, The Nativity: A Critical Examination, there and then). After some fascinating discussions ranging from cognitive dissonance to Sabbatai Zavi and Appolonius of Tyana, we moved to the venue for the talk.

Krauss started off superbly by talking about the for of the question “why is there something rather than nothing” being problematic and question-begging. Funnily enough, we had just been talking about purpose in the pub, and this very problem. Krauss rightly pointed out that you cannot ask why questions without presupposing the notion of a purposer. ‘Why’ is seeking a purpose – ‘for what purpose did this happen?’. And an objective purpose requires there to be an ultimate being to give purpose. Intrinsic purposes are incoherent. For more on this, see my essay on the meaning of life.