Tag Archives | Darwinism

James Randi: Let Survival of the Fittest “Act Itself Out”

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James Randi, Skeptic… you betcha. Tolerant… not so much. via Daily Grail

I’ve previously posted here about the Social Darwinist-leaning comments of James ‘The Amazing’ Randi, such as this entry on his website where he supported the legalization of drugs, apparently largely for the simple reason that it would kill off a lot of people he doesn’t like:

“[T]hose individuals who were stupid enough to rush into the arms of the mythical houris and/or Adonis‘s they would expect to greet them, would simply do so and die – by whatever chemical or biological fate would overcome them… [T]he principle of Survival of the Fittest would draconically prove itself for a couple of years, after which Natural Selection would weed out those for whom there is no hope except through our forbearance.

…Any weeping and wailing over the Poor Little Kids who would perish by immediately gobbling down pills and injecting poison, is summoning up crocodile tears, in my opinion.

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Creationists Versus Dr. Pepper

It might not quite be The Innocence of Muslims, but the Dr. Pepper advertisement shown at right has creationists all hot and bothered. Via TIME:

If you’re in the mood to draw ire from people with excruciatingly rigid beliefs, the Internet is generally a good place to start. While you’re at it, might as well pick a particularly polarizing topic. Why not evolution?

Now, that probably wasn’t exactly how the conversation went down over at the marketing offices of Dr. Pepper, but a recent ad for the soft drink posted on Facebook — with the slogan “Evolution of Flavor” — sparked a healthy dose of controversy nonetheless. Based on the iconic evolution diagram “March of Progress,” the ad features an ape who, after drinking Dr. Pepper, turns into a man. The ad went up Thursday, and by Friday had garnered more than 26,000 “Likes” and over 4,000 comments.

This is, of course, still the Internet — so plenty of comments in question are loaded with snark from people who mainly appear to be provoking for the sake of provocation.

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The Idle Theory Of Evolution

Chris Davis writes:

The Survival of the Idlest

Like the Darwinian theory, the Idle Theory of Evolution is built upon the Malthusian theory. But it is arguably truer to Malthus than Darwin’s system. In Idle Theory, rising populations and falling food resources mean that the creatures simply have to work harder to survive, rather than become embroiled in a Darwinian tooth-and-claw fight for survival, and that their populations oscillate rather than remain at some stable environmental ‘carrying capacity’.

Almost entirely absent from both Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism is any description of the physics of life. Idle Theory employs a physical model of life, centred on the energy used by the creatures to live, grow, and reproduce. Idle Theory is built around physical concepts of energy, work, and power, rather than economic ideas of competition and war, or the genetics of reproduction.

In the Idle Life model, the creatures are assumed to expend energy continuously in maintaining and repairing themselves, but to work intermittently to acquire and store the energy needed to power this maintenance work.

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Tennesseans Evolved Thumbs After All

Courtesy of Brandt Hardin

Courtesy of Brandt Hardin

People think Tennesseans are remarkably stupid. Like the late Bill Hicks, who continually mocked my state during his comedy routines. “In many parts of our troubled world, people are yelling ‘Revolution!’” he ranted. “In Tennessee they’re yelling ‘Evolution! We want our thumbs!!‘” Whenever Tool or A Perfect Circle would come to town, singer Maynard Keenan always asked Tennessee audiences to put their thumbs in the air. As we held our opposable digits over our heads, Keenan came with the punch line: “Just making sure you have them.” What can I say? Stereotypes are hilarious.

So it is without resentment that this Tennessean wishes Charles Darwin a happy 203rd birthday today. I would love to celebrate with a heapin’ helpin’ of chilled monkey brains, but ’round these parts that would require cannibalizing the locals.

Despite the creationists’ best efforts, Darwin’s theory of natural selection reigns as the unifying concept in biology, and continues to give wider context to such disparate fields as ecology, epidemiology, and psychology.… Read the rest

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How Social Darwinism Really Works

File:Brazilian_indians_000

Author: Lecen (CC)

Via ScienceDaily:

Changes in social structure and cultural practices can also contribute to human evolution, according to a study that has recently been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), contributed to by the lecturer Mireia Esparza and assistant Neus Martínez-Abadías, from the Anthropology Unit of the UB’s Department of Animal Biology.

The study, coordinated by the expert Rolando González-José from the Patagonian National Research Center (CENPAT-CONICET, Argentina), examines physical, genetic, geographical and climatic patterns affecting over 1,200 people from the Baniwa, Ticuna, Yanomami, Kaingang, Xavánte and Kayapó indigenous groups of the Brazilian Amazon and Central Plateau.

According to the experts behind the study, one of the most interesting results is the rapid rate of morphological change in the Xavánte, which is up to 3.8 times faster than in the other groups studied. The changes observed in the Xavánte — who have larger heads, narrower faces and broader noses — follow an integration pattern of human skull shape recently described in the literature.

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Churkey: The Neck Of A Turkey And The Body Of A Chicken

Erdelyi_fekete_kopasznyakuThe Churkey, also known as a turken or naked neck chicken, has a unique genetic modification which gives the bird its unusual look. Scientists believe this species could help in understanding the evolutionary progression of such birds as the vulture. Also, with it’s featherless neck, the bird proves potential for underdeveloped countries in hot climates. BBC reports:

The “churkey” owes its distinctive look to a complex genetic mutation, according to scientists.

Experts at Edinburgh University set out to discover how the Transylvanian naked neck chicken came by its appearance.

The bird, which has also been dubbed the turken, has the neck of a turkey and the body of a chicken.

The scientists said the effects of the genetic mutation were enhanced by a vitamin A-derived substance produced around the bird’s neck.

This causes a protein, BMP12, to be produced, suppressing feather growth and causing the bird to have its bald neck, according to researchers at the Roslin Institute at Edinburgh University.

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