January 24, 2017

One of the biggest intellectual potholes in thinking about the origins of life is the idea of irreducible complexity.

This is the conceit that that there's no way a complex system like, for example, the mammalian hormone, aka endocrine, system, could have evolved through natural selection.

No-one has contributed more to bolstering this idea than, ironically, one of the leading scientists in the history of astrobiology: Brit...

January 17, 2017

Evolutionary biologists are stuck thinking inside the cellular box

Last year, several hundred evolutionary biologists gathered at the Royal Academy in London for a tie-and-jacket PowerPoint showdown.

As Carl Zimmer reported, the conference "New Trends in Evolutionary Biology" pitted adherents to the Modern Synthesis of evolutionary theory against upstart flag-bearers for the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis.

In a nutshell, the ext...

January 10, 2017

How an American astronomer's scientific conversion set the foundation for bridging Darwin's gap.

In science, it's remarkable how often the expression of the idea that something is impossible to achieve simultaneously plants the slow-germinating seed for its discovery.

Take for example Charles Darwin dismissal of the immediate possibility of learning about the origins of life, what I've called Darwin's Gap.

Darwin saw a gap, and...

January 3, 2017


   After the 1859 publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species a scientific friend wrote asking about Darwin's thoughts on a missing link in his treatise: The origin not just of species of animals and plants, but life itself.

Bah-humbug, replied Darwin.

"It is mere rubbish thinking, at present, of (the) origin of life; one might as well think of the origin of...

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