Archive for Science

The First Americans and the Extinction of the Mammoths (and other Megafauna)

North American Megafauna

The end of the Pleistocene marks the end of the last ice age and is accompanied by the extinction of several large fauna. Perhaps the most noticeable of these happened in North America. This also marks the migration of man from Eastern Asia into North America. The existence of kill sites, as well as the contemporaneousness of man’s arrival into the Americas and the disappearance of large fauna, has led some researchers to conclude that these Paleoindians hunted large megafauna to extinction, in what’s known as the Overkill or Blitzkrieg hypothesis. Read more

Transitional Fossils: Archaeopteryx, Dinosaur-Avian Evolution and Creationism

Archaeopteryx - Dinosaur Bird evolution

Transitional Fossils: Archaeopteryx, Dinosaur-Bird Evolution and Creationism

Charles Darwin predicted that the fossil record would reveal transitional fossils, showing intermediate features between the different types if animals. If everything evolved from ‘lower’ orders, then we should indeed find fossils that show traits of both modern and ancestral (ie if birds evolved from reptiles, we should find birds with reptilian features, and/or reptiles with avian features) forms. Worth noting of course, is that such a finding would seriously contradict the Biblical notion of the contemporaneously “created kinds.” Because of this, existence of transitional fossils has become probably the biggest target of anti-evolution propaganda. Read more

Is Evolution a Fact?

dinosaur bird evolution

Claim: Evolution is a lie.  It’s just a secular religion.
Fact: Evolution is simply what several separate and unrelated lines of evidence converge upon.  The fossil record, DNA similarities, geographic patterns, embryonic similarities, homologous structures, vestigial structures, phylogenetic similarities, various methods of dating (carbon, tree ring, radiometric, coral,etc) and other factors all independently point to evolution.  Anti-evolution arguments are a collection of logical fallacies, most often straw man arguments that don’t take the actual available evidence into account.

Since Origin of Species was published, the theory of evolution has been the source of much controversy, especially in religious circles.  To this day, a cottage industry that purports to “debunk” evolution exists in the form of books, lectures, videos, and even creation museums.  Often referred to as “creationism” or “creation science,” this industry doesn’t provide actual science but rather feeds its readers, listeners and viewers, a straw man version of evolution.

Creationism and non-acceptance of Evolution

evolution acceptance US
While often laughed off as the realm of hucksters and religious zealots, this industry contains many persuasive writers/debaters and a large portion of the United States continues to deny evolution.  Creationist arguments are often clever and in line with folk reasoning (which rarely aligns with complicated science).  In many cases, understanding the fallacy behind a creationist claim requires a fairly thorough understanding of a subject.  This is why evolution successfully preys on the less scientifically literate (there exists an entire cottage industry of creationist/apologist books, videos and websites that purports to keep its readers/viewers educated on science).  In fact, evolution far less accepted in the United States than in other advanced western countries. While this is not a specifically politically-based phenomenon it is far stronger among Republicans, where non-acceptance appears to be growing.  While this might seem harmless and “silly at best” to many, it does have some serious ramifications.  According to Evolution Outreach:

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