Pharyngula on Deck

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During those periods when I'm posting regularly on science topics (it'll come back eventually, I promise!), PZ Myers' blog Pharyngula is a great source of fun biology-related stories. Moreover, it is a founding component of the Panda's Thumb group blog, which focuses on tracking and discrediting creationists and other breeds of evolutionophobe.

Next Wednesday PZ Myers will be giving the weekly Physics Colloquium; nothing too earth-shattering, just a quick rundown of the many reasons why Intelligent Design proponents are either lying or stupid. Come, bring your friends, and more importantly try to drag along those Maranantha Christian Fellowship wankers who keep using our lecture halls to host anti-science speakers. It'll be good for them, and fun to watch for the rest of us, since Dr. Myers long ago renounced the kid glove treatment.

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By way of follow-up, said talk was interesting, but PZ Myers is not nearly so firey in person as his blog manages to sound. Rather laid back, actually. A bit like RMS that way, except, you know, better groomed.

Anyhow, most of the talk consisted of walking through two examples -- the blood clotting cascade and the flagellum -- commonly used by IDists to claim that certain biological subsystems are "irreducibly complex" and thus could not have evolved. This is, of course, wrong. Dr. Myers illustrated several well-known (to evolutionary biology) mechanisms by which such complex systems can be built up.

The common thread amongst them being that organisms are only as optimized as they need to be to get by. So there's often plenty of spare machinery, genetic or otherwise, available to be comandeered for some advantageous purpose by a lucky mutation, which can happen in various ways.

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This page contains a single entry by Milligan published on December 9, 2005 6:03 PM.

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