Genetic Similarity Does Not Necessarily Mean Common Inheritance
Different populations of stickleback fish have parallel genetic adaptations to similar local habitats.
Is There Biological Evidence of Life's Recent Creation?
During one of my frequent visits to the office of my high school headmaster, his individual tutelage yielded a life lesson that I’ve never forgotten. His exact words were, “You think you’re right!” Of course I thought I was right, wouldn’t anyone who thought they were wrong change their mind and then immediately think they are right? Now that I’m an adult biologist, I still think that I’m right. Inevitably…
A Review of the Nature Documentary “The Riot and the Dance”
Most nature documentaries include some language that refers to an underlying naturalistic understanding of origins. However, the recently released nature documentary “The Riot and the Dance” breaks this common pattern in a refreshing way.
DNA and Design
Imagine walking down the beach and coming across the words “Romeo loves Juliet” written in the sand. Most of us have experienced something like this and would not be surprised, but most people would be surprised to find the entire text of William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet written in sand. Why is this? The obvious reason is that sand is the wrong material for large writing projects. Sand grains…
Archaeopteryx: Bird or Reptile? Or Not?
Archaeopteryx is arguably the most famous fossil ever discovered. It has a mixture of bird-like and reptile-like traits, and was first reported only two years after Charles Darwin published his book, The Origin of Species. Since then, another eleven Archaeopteryx specimens have been recovered from the limestones near Solnhofen, Germany.
Organisms in Their Niche: Passive Modeling Clay or Problem-Solving Entities?
One person’s cultural background can bias their view about people from other cultures… even before they have ever met. Could people also have a bias about how they think about other creatures? It may even be possible that scientific culture could prejudice the way researchers see creature-environmental relations with the potential to bias whole research programs.
Microbes, Symbiosis, and the Lesson of Interdependence
A very common reaction to the thought of “microbes” is a compelling desire to slather up in hand sanitizer! However, it is seldom realized that the greatest majority of microorganisms are at the very least not harmful, and at the most necessary for human life! Many aspects of microbial interaction with our environment allow it to be so perfect for humans. Some of these aspects include oxygen generation,…
What Is Biology? Part 4 of 4
There is no simple clear definition of what life is. This is appropriate as life is a wonderful, complex, beautiful, enigmatic phenomenon that defies any effort to over-simplify it. Still, most people have no difficulty recognizing living things and differentiating them from non-living things.
What Is Biology? Part 3 of 4
The scientific method uses inductive reasoning to generate theories that explain data. Deductive reasoning is used to generate testable hypotheses that must be true if a theory is true. When the hypothesis is tested, it may fit well with the new data generated, thus supporting the theory (but not proving it true). If the hypothesis is inconsistent with data, then the theory is inconsistent with data…
What Is Biology? Part 2 of 4
There are still some rules that we have to follow if we are to do any science, including biology. The first is that empirical data is the authoritative test of all ideas in science.
What Is Biology? Part 1 of 4
Biology is the scientific study of life. But what is “science?” And what is “life?” Most of us use these words all the time and have a general idea of what we mean by them, however, it is common for scientists themselves to not have a clear understanding of what science is and this is not as surprising as it sounds. Philosophers of science struggle to define their own area of study, with different…
Teeming Creatures of the Sea!
The number of different kinds of living organisms is one measure of biological diversity, or what has become known as “biodiversity.” Our world’s oceans have the highest known biodiversity, second only to the number of species found in the tropical rainforest.
Red in Tooth and Claw
During 1833, Arthur Henry Hallam died suddenly and unexpectedly. This would be one of those sad but unremarkable facts of history were it not for his close friendship with Alfred Lord Tennyson. Tennyson spent the next 17 years struggling with the death of his friend. During this time, Tennyson composed “In Memoriam,” a long poem that wrestles with the shock, sadness and despair he experienced and his…
Creation, Flood and Biogeography: Part 3
The third part of this series on biogeography examines how the flood might have influenced the present patterns of distributions of various types of living organisms.
Creation, Flood and Biogeography: Part 2
The second part of this series on biogeography emphasize important features that may have affected survival of organisms during the flood.
Creation, Flood and Biogeography: Part 1
Biogeography is the study of the distributions of living organisms. The major goal of biogeography is to explain why different regions of the earth are inhabited by different types of organisms. Biogeographers seek to discover what historical and ecological factors explain why a species lives in one particular area but not in another area.
Sociobiology and Creation
Picture a ground squirrel who spots a predator and gives an alarm call. The call alerts other squirrels who run for cover, but the call attracts the predator to the one giving the alarm. This unfortunate squirrel may give its life to protect its neighbors. How could this altruistic behavior, assisting other individuals at the expense of the calling squirrel, result from evolution? This seems contrary…
Change in Species – Biblical or Not?
Many kinds of animals appear designed for predation and violence, in contrast to what one would expect based on the biblical description of Edenic peace. It seems that animal species must have changed in major ways since the creation, but is this idea compatible with biblical teachings? Many people have asked this question, wondering whether changes in species point to evolution rather than creation.…
Biomimicry: The Search for Brilliant Design
The West Chester University Professor of Biology, Frank E. Fish, was vacationing along New England's coast frequented by magnificent humpbacked whales. While browsing in a gift shop one day he couldn't help but notice a gifted sculptor’s rendition of one of the splendid creatures and commented to the shop owner that the artist had put bumps on the wrong side of the pectoral fin. The bumps should be…
Where Did Life Come From?
Among those who reject the Biblical record of God’s action in creating everything, including all living things, the process of chemical evolution from atoms to the first cell is usually explained something like this: elements reacted with each other spontaneously forming simple molecules. These simple molecules continued to react forming larger and more complex molecules such as the nucleotide building…
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