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Darwin Laptop stickers from Colin Purrington Department of Biology,  Swarthmore College

ACTUAL REAL Disclaimer Stickers for textbooks

Dictionary for skeptics who would like to enhance their ability to tell people that they're probably wrong about intelligent design.

Children Learn by Monkey See, Monkey Do. Chimps Don't
 Mr. Lyons sees his results as evidence that humans are hard-wired to learn by imitation, even when that is clearly not the best way to learn

Article “Intelligent design is simply the most recent version of creationism, which is admittedly a religious concept,” said Alan Leshner, chief executive of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science and publisher of the journal Science. “There is no scientific basis to intelligent design.” Science is concerned with the natural world, while intelligent design supposes an agent independent of the natural world. You can teach such concepts, Leshner and Scott say; indeed, you should — just do it in philosophy and religion and literature classes. Don't do it in science classes, because, by definition, that's religion. It isn't science.

One side can be wrong
Accepting 'intelligent design' in science classrooms would have disastrous consequences, warn Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne. If ID really were a scientific theory, positive evidence for it, gathered through research, would fill peer-reviewed scientific journals. This doesn't happen. It isn't that editors refuse to publish ID research. There simply isn't any ID research to publish. Its advocates bypass normal scientific due process by appealing directly to the non-scientific public and - with great shrewdness - to the government officials they elect.

University of Texas - Webcast entitled "God, Darwin, and Design"
On April 4, 2008 at 7:00 pm CT (GMT - April 5, 2008 at 12:00 am), Dr. Kenneth R. Miller, a professor of biology at Brown University will give a talk entitled God, Darwin, and Design: Lessons from the Dover Monkey Trial. Miller was a lead witness in the Pennsylvania "intelligent design" case that began in September 2005, and which has been front-page news since it started.

The Inner Life of a Cell animation conception and scientific content by Alain Viel and Robert A. Lue. Animation by John Liebler/XVIVO.


Scientists figured out decades ago that chimps are our nearest evolutionary cousins, roughly 98% to 99% identical to humans at the genetic level.  No single, essential difference separates human beings from other animals -- but that hasn't stopped the phrasemakers from trying to find one. They have described humans as the animals who make tools, or reason, or use fire, or laugh, or any one of a dozen other appealing oversimplifications. Here's one more description for the list, as good as any other: Humans are the animals who wonder, intensely and endlessly, about their origin.

Dictionary of the History of Ideas

Watch the Journey of Mankind - VERY neat presentation (6-day creationists best avert their eyes) "A Digital Theory of Evolution" Cambridge University Library has placed Charles Darwin's private notes, drafts, and recipes on the Web--for free! The collection, which includes the first draft of On The Origin of Species, comprises some 20,000 items and 90,000 images.

Backward evolution” Spawns Ape-Like People

Watch Video

Turkey: Uner Tan of Cukurova University Medical School has discovered a genetic defect that may set back the clock on human evolution.  Victims of this condition, called "Unertan Syndrome, " walk on all fours and mouth a primitive language.  This mutation — known to run in one Turkish family — might offer scientists a new glimpse into human origins.  “This syndrome interestingly exhibits prehuman features” and represents “possible backward evolution,” Tan said.  The idea that evolution can run backward isn't new; some scientists say there have been confirmed cases of it in animals. But it's also a controversial subject and considered hard to prove. 

Behaviors of those with Unertan Syndrome:

Scientists consider the transition to upright walking as the most important event in human evolution. This freed the hands for skilled movements such as throwing and toolmaking. Upright walking became habitual by the age of Homo erectus 1,600,000  years ago.  Modern languages evolved about 40,000 years ago, though Homo erectus likely had a rudimentary form of language.

Experts Explore the mysterious story of five siblings living in a remote Turkish village in "Family That Walks on All Fours." Note: This program contains graphic information about physically and mentally handicapped individuals.
Please preview it to determine its appropriateness for your classroom. (Subjects covered: life science, evolution, genetics)
Teacher's Guide (Grades 9-12)
In this classroom activity, students use a viewing guide while watching a program about members of a Turkish family who walk on four limbs and discuss program themes after watching.
Program Transcript
The site includes a complete narration for this program.
The Genetic Factor (Grades 9-12)
Learn more about genes and mutations, the commonality of body-building genes among animals, and what factors may play a role in why five Turkish siblings are handwalkers in this interview with University of Wisconsin geneticist Sean Carroll.
The Family and Me (Grades 6-8, 9-12)
Find out how working with the family changed forever the life of Turkish psychologist Defne Aruoba.
Origins of Bipedalism (Grades 6-8, 9-12)
Sample leading hypotheses about why humans walk on two legs and cast your vote for your favorite. (Flash plug-in required; printable version available.)
Compare the Skeletons (Grades 6-8, 9-12)
See what made walking upright possible by examining the bone structures of a chimpanzee, an early human ancestor, and a modern human. (Flash plug-in required.)


Two Splits Between Human and Chimp Lines Suggested

The split between the human and chimpanzee lineages, a pivotal event in human evolution, may have occurred millions of years later than fossil bones suggest, and the break may not have been as clean as humans might like. A new comparison of the human and chimp genomes suggests that after the two lineages separated, they may have begun interbreeding.
The analysis, by David Reich, Nick Patterson and colleagues at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass., sets up a serious conflict between the date of the split as indicated by fossil skulls, about 7 million years ago, and the much younger date implied by genetic analysis, as late as 5.4 million years ago. The conflict can be resolved, Dr. Reich's team suggests there were in fact two splits between the human and chimp lineages, with the first being followed by interbreeding between the two populations and then a second split. The earliest human-lineage fossil remains, like Sahelanthropus, seem clearly to have been bipeds, walking on two feet, but the ancestors of chimps presumably walked on their two feet and the knuckles of their hands, as do modern chimps. [Parallel account from the Washington Post, "Human Ancestors May Have Interbred With Chimpanzees" appended.]



Duke University researchers say they've discovered the first brain regulatory gene that shows clear evidence of evolution from lower primates to humans. The study appears in the December issue of the Public Library of Science. They said the evolution of humans might well have depended in part on hyperactivation of the gene, called prodynorphin, or PDYN, that plays critical roles in regulating perception, behavior and memory. They reported that, compared with lower primates, humans possess a distinctive variant in a regulatory segment of the prodynorphin gene, which is a precursor molecule for a range of regulatory proteins called "neuropeptides." This variant increases the amount of prodynorphin produced in the brain.
While the researchers do not understand the physiological implications of the activated PDYN gene in humans, they said their finding offers an important and intriguing piece of a puzzle of the mechanism by which humans evolved from lower primates. They also said the discovery of the first evolutionarily selected gene is likely only the beginning of a new pathway of exploring how the pressure of natural selection influenced evolution of other genes.

Top 10 Useless Limbs and othe Vestigial Organs

In Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species (1859) and his next publication, The Descent of Man (1871), he referred to several “vestiges” in human anatomy that were left over from the course of evolution. These vestigial organs, Darwin argued, are evidence of evolution and represent a function that was once necessary for survival, but over time that function became either diminished or nonexistent.

"Missing link" fossils of walking fish awe scientists

4/5/06 Scientists are hailing a set of newfound fossils as a "missing link" that documents one of evolution's most spectacular transitions: the shift from water to land.
The fossils come from a fierce fish with bones in its fins, which gave it enough strength to walk on land a bit, researchers say.
Tiktaalik is believed to fill an evolutionary gap between two species it is shown between: an earlier fish of 380 million years ago, of an ancestral group known as lobe-finned fish and a later land-dwelling animal of 360 million years ago.
"Human comprehension of the history of life on Earth is taking a major leap forward," said H. Richard Lane, director of sedimentary geology and paleobiology at the U.S. National Science Foundation in Arlington, Va., which helped fund the research.
Dubbed Tiktaalik roseae, the species "blurs the boundary between fish and land-living animal," said the University of Chicago's Neil Shubin, co-leader of the research team. 
The group published its findings in two papers in the April 6 issue of the research journal Nature.
Tiktaalik was a predator with sharp teeth, a crocodile-like head and a flattened body that seems to have lived in shallow streams, scientists said. Well-preserved fossils from several specimens indicated a length from 4 to 9 feet long.
About 375 million years old, it had a skull, neck, ribs and part of a fin like the earliest limbed animals, but also fins, scales and jaws like a fish, the researchers said.
The fossils, scientists argued, show how the fish's pectoral fins-those behind the head-evolved into the limbs of tetrapods, or four-limbed animals.
The fins contain bones that correspond to the upper arm, forearm and primitive parts of the hand of land-living animals, they explained.
The skeleton "indicates that it could support its body under the force of gravity whether in very shallow water or on land," said Farish Jenkins of Harvard University and a co-author of the papers describing the research. "This represents a critical early phase in the evolution of all limbed animals."
"Most of the major joints of the fin are functional in this fish," Shubin said. "The shoulder, elbow and even parts of the wrist are already there and working in ways similar to the earliest land-living animals."
"When we talk about the fish's wrist, we're talking about the origin of parts of our own wrist," he added. "This animal is both fish and tetrapod."
The fins have bones indicative of powerful, mobile appendages, the researchers said, but also contain in reduced form the thin rods found in normal fish fins. The wide, flattened body was described as tetrapod-like, but covered by scales like those of fish.
The fossils were found on Ellesmere Island in Arctic Canada, which during the animal's time had a warm, subtropical climate like that of the Amazon basin today, the scientists explained. The species would have lived in the small streams of this system, an environment conducive to the water-land transition.
"We knew that the rocks on Ellesmere Island offered a glimpse into the right time period and the right ancient environments" for such fossils, said Ted Daeschler of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, a co-leader of the project.
But it wasn't easy to find them in the remote, rugged terrain, he added.
Paleontologists collected the specimens during four summers of exploration in Canada's Nunavut Territory, 600 miles from the North Pole. The fossils turned up in a remote valley of the island, where scientists said tantalizing fragments found in 2000 convinced them to return to the site.
Reaching the tundra site by helicopter and other aircraft, researchers said they battled frigid cold and biting winds to pull the fossils from frozen rock. Researchers carried guns because "we were always looking over our shoulders for polar bears-we saw lots of their tracks," Shubin said.
The finds came from layered rock of the so-called Fram Formation, deposits of meandering stream systems thought to have formed about 375 million years ago when North America was part of a supercontinent straddling the equator. These fossils and previously known fossil relatives suggest the evolution from fish to tetrapod occurred on this land mass, the researchers added.
Rather than using the traditional Latin or Greek to name the fossil, the scientists said, they asked local Nunavut residents to suggest a name. Community elders suggested Tiktaalik (tic-TA-lick), meaning large, shallow-water fish in the Inuktikuk language. The second part of the name, roseae, honors someone whose name is being kept under wraps because he or she helped fund the project on condition of anonymity.
Other fish species, notably the coelacanth, have gotten great attention among scientists and the public as representatives of ancient lineages close to the water-land transition in evolution. But coelacanths-although they are members of a class that evolved into amphibians-don't walk, and aren't themselves missing links. Nor are they the closest to such that has been found before.
Until now, the most tetrapod-like fish known was a vaguely crocodile-shaped predator from about 385 million years ago, Panderichthys, according to a commentary in the journal by Per Erik Ahlberg of Uppsala University in Sweden and Jennifer Clack of Cambridge University in the U.K. Fossils suggest this creature "was beginning to 'walk,' but perhaps in shallow water rather than on land," they wrote.
On the other side of the transition, they wrote, the earliest fragmentary tetrapods come from about 10 million years later, so that was the length of the "gap" for which fossils were missing. "Into this gap drops Tiktaalik," they wrote.


New Fossil Links Four-legged Land Animals to Ancient Fish
Arlington, Va.-How land-living animals evolved from fish has long been a scientific puzzle. A key missing piece has been knowledge of how the fins of fish transformed into the arms and legs of our ancestors. In this week's issue of the journal Science, paleontologists Neil Shubin and Michael Coates from the University of Chicago and Ted Daeschler from the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, describe a remarkable fossil that bridges the gap between fish and amphibian and provides a glimpse of the structure and function changes from fin to limb.
The fossil, a 365-million-year-old arm bone, or humerus, shares features with primitive fish fins but also has characteristics of a true limb bone. Discovered near a highway roadside in north central Penn., the bone is the earliest of its kind from any limbed animal.
" It has long been understood that the first four-legged creatures on land arose from the lobed-finned fishes in the Devonian Period," said Rich Lane, director of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) geology and paleontology program. "Through this work, we've learned that fish developed the ability to prop their bodies through modification of their fins, leading to the emergence of tetrapod limbs."
NSF, the independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, funded the research.
The bone's structure reveals an animal that had powerful forelimbs, with extensive areas for the attachment of muscles at the shoulder. "The size and extent of these muscles means that the humerus played a significant role in the support and movement of the animal," reported Shubin. "These muscles would have been important in propping the body up and pushing it off of the ground."
Interestingly, modern-day fish have smaller versions of the muscles. According to Coates, "When this humerus is compared to those of closely-related fish, it becomes clear that the ability to prop the body is more ancient than we previously thought. This means that many of the features we thought evolved to allow for life on land originally evolved in fish living in aquatic ecosystems."
The layered rock along the Clinton County, Penn., roadside were deposited by ancient stream systems that flowed during the Devonian Period, about 365 million years ago. Enclosed in the rocks is fossil evidence of an ecosystem teeming with plant and animal life. "We found a number of interesting fossils at the site," reported Daeschler, who uncovered the fossil in 1993. " But the significance of this specimen went unnoticed for several years because only a small portion of the bone was exposed and most of it lay encased in a brick-sized piece of red sandstone."
Not until three years ago, when Fred Mullison, the fossil preparator at the Academy of Natural Sciences, excavated the bone from the rock, did the importance of the new specimen become evident.
The work was also funded by a grant from the National Geographic Society. NSF PR04-35 NSF Program contact: Rich Lane,, (703) 292-8550

Evolution of "Irreducible Complexity" explained Oregon researchers prove system reducibility occurs in a Darwinian fashion
EUGENE, Ore.-(April 6, 2006)-Using new techniques for resurrecting ancient genes, scientists have for the first time reconstructed the Darwinian evolution of an apparently "irreducibly complex" molecular system.
The research was led by Joe Thornton, assistant professor of biology at the University of Oregon's Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and will be published in the April 7 issue of SCIENCE.
How natural selection can drive the evolution of complex molecular systems-those in which the function of each part depends on its interactions with the other parts-has been an unsolved issue in evolutionary biology. Advocates of Intelligent Design argue that such systems are "irreducibly complex" and thus incompatible with gradual evolution by natural selection.
"Our work demonstrates a fundamental error in the current challenges to Darwinism," said Thornton. "New techniques allowed us to see how ancient genes and their functions evolved hundreds of millions of years ago. We found that complexity evolved piecemeal through a process of Molecular Exploitation-old genes, constrained by selection for entirely different functions, have been recruited by evolution to participate in new interactions and new functions."
The scientists used state-of-the-art statistical and molecular methods to unravel the evolution of an elegant example of molecular complexity-the specific partnership of the hormone aldosterone, which regulates behavior and kidney function, along with the receptor protein that allows the body's cells to respond to the hormone. They resurrected the ancestral receptor gene-which existed more than 450 million years ago, before the first animals with bones appeared on Earth-and characterized its molecular functions. The experiments showed that the receptor had the capacity to be activated by aldosterone long before the hormone actually evolved.
Thornton's group then showed that the ancestral receptor also responded to a far more ancient hormone with a similar structure; this made it "preadapated" to be recruited into a new functional partnership when aldosterone later evolved. By recapitulating the evolution of the receptor's DNA sequence, the scientists showed that only two mutations were required to evolve the receptor's present-day functions in humans.

The Flagellum Unspun
The Collapse of "Irreducible Complexity"
by Kenneth R. Miller
This is a pre-publication copy of an article that will appear in volume entitled "Debating Design: from Darwin to DNA," edited by Michael Ruse and William Dembski, which will be published by Cambridge University Press volume in 2004. I will provide exact citation information for the article when the volume is published.


LONDON - An international team of scientists have discovered 4.1 million year old fossils in eastern Ethiopia that fill a missing gap in human evolution.
The teeth and bones belong to a primitive species of Australopithecus known as Au. anamensis, an ape-man creature that walked on two legs.
The Australopithecus genus is thought to be is the most primitivean ancestor of modern humans. The fossils were unearthed in the Middle Awash area in the Afar desert of eastern Ethiopia. The area, about 140 miles northeast of Addis Ababa, has the most continuous record of human evolution, according to the researchers.
The remains of the hominid that had a small brain, big teeth and walked on two legs, fits into the one million-year gap between the earlier Ardipithecus and Australopithecus afarensis which includes the famous fossil skeleton known as Lucy, which lived between 3.6 and 3.3 million years ago and was found in 1974. "We now know where Australopithecus came from before 4 million years ago."


Evolution Mama

To quote Tony Russell's notes "'My evolution Gal' was inspired by a young woman obsessed with the subject who stayed at the same hotel [as Smith]. Smith takes a conservative position on the issue but there is something comic about the lyrics and the lugubrious tune they are set
to, and we may here be in the presence of Walter Smith, Humourist." ~ Clifford J OCHELTREE


"Evolution Mama."

Elektra LP Even Dozen Jug Band - early 1960s.
Old Lucian Burn had a gal way down in Tennessee
She told Lucian all about evolution
She was sittin' down on his knee.
Then one fine day, she got gay,
And started steppin' out.
But old brother Lucian started a revolution
The neighbors all could hear him shout.
what did he say?

He said
Evolution mama, evolution mama,
Don't you make a monkey outa me.
He said, Evolution mama,
Don't you think you got me up a tree.
Now I remember the time I had you nice and tame,
You was eatin' right outa my hand,
Some fine day, I'm gonna take good aim
And knock that peanut whistle offa your stand.
Now evolution mama, listen while I get you told
I'm gonna tell you somethin's gonna make your blood run cold
Now I ain't half man and I aint half beast
But I can do ya more good than this store bought yeast
Evolution mama, don't you make a monkey outa me.

Evolution mama, sweet smellin' mama,
Don't you make a monkey outa me.
Now, evolution mama
Don't you think ya got me up a tree.
I remember the time ya had me nice and tame
I was eatin right outa your hand
Some fine day, I'm gonna take good aim
And knock that peanut whistle offa your stand.
Now evolution mama, listen while I get you told
I'm gonna tell you somethin's gonna make your blood run cold
Gonna make ya feel mighty old
Well, I got myself a razor, I got myself a gun
Gonna carve on you if you stand still
Gonna shoot you if you run
Well evolution mama, don't you make a monkey outa me.


What does Yeast have to do with this song:
Catherine Yronwode  ("Ironwood") gave an impeccableinterpretation of the term 'natural born eastman', as in Furry Lewis's Kassie Jones. She said that an 'eastman' is a 'yeastman', a dough-roller, one who would make her money 'rise'. In other words, he would make her some 'bread'. That may have been what the Even Dozens were singing about, albeit unconsciously. ~  Paul Stamler


"Evolution Girl"

Double Decker String Band, 1988

Once I met a fair young lady
and I learned to love her well
she belived ther is no Saviour
and she says there is no Hell.

Cheeks were red, her eyes do sparkle,
and her hair was chestnut brown;
she believes in evolution
and she lives in New York town.

And she said we came from monkeys
many, many years gone by
but I know she'll need a saviour
when her time shall come to die.

Won't you change your way of living,
won't you be a better girl
and prepare to meet the Saviour
in a bright and better world?

You must walk that lonesome valley,
you must cross that troubled tide.
Don't you want to meet your mother
over on the other side?

Don't believe in false teachings
for the truth to you I've told;
don't believe in evolution
or the devil will get your soul.
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