The Inevitability of Cancer and Why It Makes Us Great

If you live long enough, you get cancer. But without our mutating, blundering cells, we’d never have made it out of the primordial soup. … More The Inevitability of Cancer and Why It Makes Us Great

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A Creationist Response to “Human Errors” (and my rebuttal)

Last weekend, the Wall Street Journal published a teaser of my new book Human Errors (available May 1st!), which you can read here. As soon as the article dropped, I began to receive emails about the article, mostly positive, but I also knew from years of blogging about human evolution that not everyone would be … More A Creationist Response to “Human Errors” (and my rebuttal)

In Defense of Lamarck: Historical, Philosophical, and Biological Vindication of Evolution’s First Big Idea

Despite being one of the most influential of the early modern biologists and having crucially paved the way for Darwin, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck has mostly gone down in history for being wrong. His theory of “use and disuse” as a mechanism for evolution was roundly rejected and is often presented in introductory biology textbooks as totally misguided and even … More In Defense of Lamarck: Historical, Philosophical, and Biological Vindication of Evolution’s First Big Idea

Book Review: Population Wars by Greg Graffin

Greg Graffin, the front man for the punk band Bad Religion and also a lecturer in evolutionary biology at Cornell (!), has published a new book entitled “Population Wars: A New Perspective on Competition and Coexistence.” The first half of Population Wars reads like a piece-meal, out-of-order autobiography, with Graffin narrating several fairly ordinary moments of … More Book Review: Population Wars by Greg Graffin

Junk DNA: A Journey Through the Dark Matter of the Genome

Earlier this year, Columbia University Press published a book entitled “Junk DNA: A Journey Through the Dark Matter of the Genome” by Nessa Carey. A popular science book written for a general audience, “Junk DNA” is an exploration of all the ways that DNA can function without coding for proteins. As the author rightly decries, the protein-coding regions of our DNA have gotten … More Junk DNA: A Journey Through the Dark Matter of the Genome

Genes Found that May Explain Expansion of Higher Brain Function in Homo sapiens

In the study of human evolution, one conundrum has always vexed us: how did humans evolve such powerful brains? Few Differences in Chimp and Human DNA The genome of Homo sapiens is remarkably similar to those of  our closest extant relatives, the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and the pigmy chimpanzee, or bonobo (Pan paniscus). On the sequence level, we … More Genes Found that May Explain Expansion of Higher Brain Function in Homo sapiens

The Meaning and Meaninglessness of Genealogy

The practice of genealogy, researching one’s ancestors and family tree, has exploded lately. Ancestry.com has become a huge success, boasting millions of subscribers and a net worth well over half a billion dollars. Many, if not most, families in the US have at least one person actively researching the long-forgotten twists and turns of their … More The Meaning and Meaninglessness of Genealogy