Nonrandom Evolution

“Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.”

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No, Chimpanzees Cannot Give Birth to Humans: (And, It Doesn’t Disprove Evolution…)

This will be as brief and as simplistic as possible for obvious reasons.

Humans share approximately 98.5% of their DNA with chimpanzees. So, for this example we will need to temporarily accept the premise that DNA can be mutated (changed) by at least 1.5%. The problem is that mutations are entirely random meaning that a mechanism potentially capable of mutating ~1.5% of a chimpanzee’s DNA to exactly match human DNA could also mutate it 1.1% or 0.45% or 0.37940%, or 1.20238943029423%, or 1.49% or 1.499% or 1.4999% or 1.49999%, or 1.499999%, or 1.4999999%, or 1.49999999%, or 1.49999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999…%, etc., ad infinitum, and in a virtually infinite number of “directions.” (This is known as an infinite series in calculus.) And, since there are only a finite number of specific genetic codes which could produce a human, to quote Douglas Adams, “any finite number divided by infinity is as close to nothing as makes no odds…” (And, that’s without mentioning that 98.5% is an average, meaning that slightly more or less DNA can be shared between certain individuals of both species.)  Continue reading

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On the Irrationality of Conspiracy Theorists

“If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts [or beliefs], he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.” — Bertrand Russell (1929)  Continue reading

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Europa, Water, and Life — [An Astrobiological Perspective]

Europa, Water, and Life – [An Astrobiological Perspective]

Without a doubt, Europa is one of the prime candidates in our search for alien life in the Solar System. Europa is one of Jupiter’s satellites, and you can think of it as big ball of ice filled with saltwater with some surprising estimates showing that Europa could quite possibly have a greater overall amount of water than does Earth.  It’s currently unknown how thick the ice shell is, with estimates ranging all the way from 3 km to 170 km thick! (I’ll explain this in further detail later.) But, we know life requires more than just a liquid like water to survive, it needs energy, too! Let’s dig in!               Continue reading

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An Introduction: What is the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection?

At last gleams of light have come, & I am almost convinced (quite contrary to opinion I started with) that species are not (it is like confessing a murder) immutable.” — Charles Darwin in a letter to Joseph Hooker, January 11, 1844

An Introduction: What is the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection? (The Evidence for Evolution #2) Continue reading


The Evidence for Evolution (Intro to Natural Selection)

“When it was introduced in the 1940s, penicillin was a miracle drug, especially effective at curing infections caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (“staph”). In 1941, the drug could wipe out every strain of staph in the world. Now, seventy years later, more than 95% of staph strains are resistant to penicillin.” — Dr. Jerry Coyne, Why Evolution is True, p. 131

In Why Evolution is True, Dr. Coyne used this example in the chapter entitled, “The Engine of Evolution.” The engine he’s referring to is none other than natural selection, and this little insight regarding the adaptability (evolution) of Staphylococcus aureus is excellent evidence for the theory of evolution by natural selection. It’s my go to “proof,” if you will, when someone asks me to provide proof of evolution Continue reading

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What’s Your Story, Kid? (Part 1)

“The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.”  ― Carl Sagan, Cosmos***

I couldn’t think of a better way to start this bio than with the opening line of Carl Sagan’s revered PBS series Cosmos, as Carl Sagan and Cosmos share most of the responsibility for rekindling my intense passion for science. I recommend that you read those words in Carl’s voice, or even better, use the link at the bottom of this page to hear him say it himself.*** My story is long and seemingly contradictory, but it serves to humanize me, and, who knows, maybe you’ll be able to relate. And that would be interesting, would it not? So, who am I? How did I get here? Why be passionate about science? What’s with the name of the blog? With those questions in mind, let us begin…

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