Punctuated Equilibria

It's explained here:The Panda's Thumb: Time: Stealth Attack On Evolution
“By the 1950’s, biologists had synthesized Darwin’s natural selection and Mendel’s genetics into the discipline of population genetics, the mathematical theory describing how genes spread through populations under the influence of natural selection. A direct deduction from population genetics is that small populations can evolve more rapidly than large populations. In 1972, Gould and Eldredge applied this result from population genetics to the fossil record, producing the model of 'punctuated equilibria.' They argued that the fossil record would most commonly record only widespread species, and that these would typically evolve slowly. New species (closely related to the old species) would tend to evolve in small, isolated populations, and then spread. They would therefore appear 'suddenly', geologically speaking, in transitions taking between 10,000-1,000,000 years. Punctuated equilibria therefore predicts that gradual species-species transitions would tend to be relatively rare in the fossil record. It specifically did not say that 'transitional fossils' in general are absent — Gould, annoyed at creationist misrepresentations of his position, specifically said in rebuttal, 'Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.'"

Who you gonna believe? | Gristmill: The environmental news blog | Grist Magazine

Dave Roberts writes about Crichton's State of Fear and concludes, "Me, I'm going with the scientists." Sounds pretty wise to me.


NASA - Cassini-Huygens: Close Encounter with Saturn

NASA has been having a fairly good run lately. Yet another triumph: NASA - Cassini-Huygens: Close Encounter with Saturn


Dr. Massimo Pigliucci has a blog.

(mostly) Rationally Speaking


Republicans out of touch? Imagine my surprise!

AlterNet: Evangelical Elitists: "These are the Sunday school nerds of yore, the kids who memorized their Bible verses before everyone else. They went to graduate schools and worked on Republican Senate campaigns. And now they have their very own church. That man walking in with the soft, slightly chubby face and horn-rimmed glasses, with his son dangling from his arm - it's Michael Gerson, the president's chief speechwriter! And that tall guy with the bow tie - it's Tucker Carlson! Indeed, The Falls Church membership directory reads like the White House Christmas card list. CIA director Porter Goss and his wife, Mary, are members. So are The Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes and Robert Bork Jr. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) belongs to the church. So does Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), who counts among his constituents Judge Roy 'Ten Commandments' Moore. The congressman has dutifully introduced the Ten Commandments Preservation Act in every session since he entered Congress in 1996. But on Sundays, he worships at The Falls Church where he can get a taste of evangelicalism without having to associate with run-of-the-mill evangelicals."
"While liberal churches preach about the dispossessed and evangelical churches focus on the unsaved, The Falls Church very consciously aims its ministry at the ruling class. Among other things, the church sponsors a fellowship program for recent college graduates that combines theological coursework with internships at lobbying firms and think tanks like the Heritage Foundation. On the Sunday after the election, the rector, Rev. John Yates, gave a sermon on the idea that Christians are called to live their faith not only in private, but in their professional roles as well. The theme is central to the church's theology, if not the entire Christian conservative movement. '[Congregants] have a broader view of calling and vocation,' says Loconte. 'The committed Christian person is not necessarily called to work as a missionary or as a pastor, but perhaps is putting in 70-hour weeks at the White House.'"


Theocracy vs. Democracy in America

What he says. FrederickClarkson.com


Not all Libertarians are Republican stooges, thankfully

Lew Rockwell via MaxSpeak. MaxSpeak, You Listen!: HEH. INDEED. READ THE WHOLE THING.: "What is the most pressing and urgent threat to freedom that we face in our time? It is not from the left. If anything, the left has been solid on civil liberties and has been crucial in drawing attention to the lies and abuses of the Bush administration. No, today, the clear and present danger to freedom comes from the right side of the ideological spectrum, those people who are pleased to preserve most of free enterprise but favor top-down management of society, culture, family, and school, and seek to use a messianic and belligerent nationalism to impose their vision of politics on the world. "

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: Rowe on Public and Private Morality

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: Rowe on Public and Private Morality: "(there is a) fundamental truth that so many Americans fail to understand about our Constitution: the Bill of Rights was intended to protect liberty from democracy. "

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