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Great Resources for Info on Evolution and Darwin (Merged)
Posted: 23 February 2010 04:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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Posted: Thursday, February 12, 2009 10:30 AM by Mark Murray

From NBC’s Mark Murray
Today it’s not only Abraham Lincoln’s birthday; it’s also Charles Darwin’s.

And a brand-new Gallup poll tied to Darwin’s birthday finds that just 39% of Americans believe in evolution.

I am beginning to wonder if the other 61% who do not, even know the meaning of the word. I wager that, if asked to give a general (non Darwinian) definition of evolution, the answer would still be a “we came from monkeys”, or some such answer. While these answers are related to the concept of evolution, they are the narrowest and most superficial interpretation of the term, and shows a general inability to conceptualize how things work. I believe it is imperative for teachers at any level to point out the almost infinite examples of evolution (evolving) at work, which do not have anything to do with humans per se. Once the concept of “the evolution of things and systems”, is more broadly understood, knee-jerk answers will become less frequent and creationism will become tempered with reason.

[ Edited: 23 February 2010 05:08 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 02 June 2010 01:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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Free book: Science, Evolution and Creationism from the National Academy of Sciences. Download a .pdf of it HERE. (You may have to give them an email address).

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Posted: 04 August 2010 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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dougsmith - 02 June 2010 01:10 PM

Free book: Science, Evolution and Creationism from the National Academy of Sciences. Download a .pdf of it HERE. (You may have to give them an email address).

This is a good reference - clear, an easy read, and not overly technical (for the non-science folks out there).  Thanks for sharing the link!

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Posted: 04 August 2010 01:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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You’re welcome! Now thank the NAS for writing it!

grin

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Posted: 08 November 2010 07:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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George - 16 June 2008 07:09 AM
awisemanoncesaid - 15 June 2008 11:05 PM

Why haven’t sharks or alligators evolved? Surely they aren’t at the peak of their performance, I see plenty of room for improvement in their cases.

Nobody needs to be at their “peak performance” in order to reproduce. Some animals indeed haven’t changed for a long time. Coelacanth has remained unchanged for millions of years. Why fix it if it ain’t broken?

P.S. I am sure you don’t look like Brad Pitt but it won’t stop you from having a family, will it?

The fact that they have survived for millenia proves they are extremely well adapted to their environment. It is only when the environment changes drastically that they may not be able to adapt, as can a cockroach.
Sharks are a marvel of efficiency as an ocean predator. They employ sensory tools which far outstrip our abilities.
Having had the good fortune of living close to the Amsterdam zoo and each day spending time observing and asking questions, I have come to the conclusion that man tends to underestimate the sophistication it takes for each species to remain successful, especially in a predatory environment.

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Posted: 10 November 2010 07:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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Write4U - 08 November 2010 07:41 PM

The fact that they have survived for millenia proves they are extremely well adapted to their environment.

Hmm, not quite. What it shows is that their environment hasn’t changed that much.

Write4U - 08 November 2010 07:41 PM

I have come to the conclusion that man tends to underestimate the sophistication it takes for each species to remain successful, especially in a predatory environment.

And I have come to the conclusion that we seem to overestimate the significance of a species going extinct. For example, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker might have gone extinct by now, but since species go extinct all the time, I think we are just making too much of a big deal of it.

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Posted: 10 November 2010 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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George - 10 November 2010 07:18 AM

And I have come to the conclusion that we seem to overestimate the significance of a species going extinct. For example, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker might have gone extinct by now, but since species go extinct all the time, I think we are just making too much of a big deal of it.

This attitude seems to ignore that life on this planet is dependent on a vast web of interconnecting organisms and processes, everyone of them depending on countless interactions with other organisms. “There really is truth to the old soundbite: Every species we lose is like another rivet popping off the space ship that is our planet.” Sure species always have and always will go extinct - it’s the rate of current extinctions. . .  the vectors in motion, that should be of great concern.
For instance, it’s perfectly OK to drive 60, 70mph on a highway, 80, 90 so far so good, 100, 110, 120 getting a little iffy here. There are limits we should learn to respect.

But then, for a race* that rather stick their heads into religious books and self-centered fantasies that generally believe Human’s are all that matters, thus holding our planet and its processes in relative contempt - it’s not surprising.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/10/27/20101027vertebrate-species-face-extinction.html

The five-decade survey of the extinction status of 25,780 vertebrate species, about half of all backboned animals, was released by the journal Science.

Led by Michael Hoffmann of the U.N. Environment Program, the results found that almost one-fifth of those species are threatened with extinction (from 13 percent of birds to 41 percent of amphibians), meaning either there are fewer than 50 individuals left or the species’ chances of extinction are 50 percent or greater within 10 years.

The declines mostly are tied to expanding farmland, overlogging, overfishing and competition from invasive species.

Fifty-two vertebrate species move closer to extinction in a typical year.

 

* Mind you, I mean people throughout the world.

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Posted: 10 November 2010 12:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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Okay, the war of the links:

From Stephen Budiansky’s Liberal Curmudgeon Blog:

In the “it must be true because I said it myself” department comes a new “study” in Science on the species-extinction crisis authored by 174 conservation biologists who looked at their own list of species they considered to be threatened and concluded from this that many species are threatened.

As I noted in a previous post, the whole science behind the extinction crisis is riddled with circular reasoning, but this is an especially fine example. No new research was involved, no field studies, no nothing that involved actual science as we know it. (The researchers for example concluded that habitat loss is one of the “root causes” of global biodiversity loss; this conclusion was derived from the fact that many of the species listed as threatened on the IUCN Red List were presumed to be threatened, and accordingly placed on the list in the first place, because of . . . habitat loss.)

Okay, go…  grin

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Posted: 10 November 2010 02:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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http://budiansky.blogspot.com/2010/09/teflon-doomsayers.html
There is no scientific dispute that extinctions are occurring, that they are occurring at a rate above the natural level due to human action, and that strenuous efforts are needed to protect critical habitats, to eliminate invasive competitors that threaten species, and to prevent overexploitation.

But the egregiously bad science that is still being invoked to shore up wholly unsubstantiated predictions  of catastrophic mass extinctions is only undermining the credibility of environmentalists, and is already causing a dangerous political backlash that has handed ammunition (exactly as in the case of global warming) to those who want to reject any and all evidence of human impacts on the natural environment.

I agree with large swaths of what Budiansky says, but he also displays a tendency toward exaggeration.
I would say witnessed declines, short of extinction, don’t fit his claim of “wholly unsubstantiated” that something big and scary is being documented.

http://budiansky.blogspot.com/2010/10/species-extinctions-and-question.html#ixzz14uii8bq2
“And of course, if we really are serious about setting aside land for nature preserves, the most effective steps by far would be to support intensive research on new GM varieties of staple crops with higher yields, more disease and insect resistance, and higher nutrient content so that more people can be fed on fewer acres; discourage land-gobbling organic farming; and above all unequivocally endorse the intensive use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, which more than any other single technology has spared land from the plow.*

*And fueled rampant overpopulation.
Also, if you are going to knock the ‘environmentalists’ for exaggerating - shouldn’t we also be skeptical of exaggerations such a N fertilizers being some silver bullet.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17965385
J Environ Qual. 2007 Oct 24;36(6):1821-32. Print 2007 Nov-Dec.
The myth of nitrogen fertilization for soil carbon sequestration.
Abstract
Intensive use of N fertilizers in modern agriculture is motivated by the economic value of high grain yields and is generally perceived to sequester soil organic C by increasing the input of crop residues. This perception is at odds with a century of soil organic C data reported herein for the Morrow Plots, the world’s oldest experimental site under continuous corn (Zea mays L.). After 40 to 50 yr of synthetic fertilization that exceeded grain N removal by 60 to 190%, a net decline occurred in soil C despite increasingly massive residue C incorporation…

At this link you’ll find an interesting review of the complexities, and side-effects of using Nitrogen fertilizers
http://www.idswater.com/Common/Paper/Paper_101/Surface Water Pollution by Nitrogen Fertilizers1.htm

Surface Water Pollution by Nitrogen Fertilizers

Gregory McIsaac, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

==========
Also, just because there has been a tendency to exaggerate the implications of past, and perhaps present studies does not mean we should just shrug it off as though nothing is happening.
Massive population declines (though not yet extinctions) are being witnessed and should scare us into more realistic - or perhaps more humble - appraisal.

==========

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hpftiFBrckhaI_mtTA15UzqTfubg
Half of mammals ‘in decline’, says extinction Red List
(AFP) – Oct 6, 2008
BARCELONA (AFP) — Half the world’s mammals are declining in population and more than a third probably face extinction, said an update Monday of the “Red List,” the most respected inventory of biodiversity.
A comprehensive survey of mammals included in the annual report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which covers more than 44,000 animal and plant species, shows that a quarter of the planet’s 5,487 known mammals are clearly at risk of disappearing forever.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080812135654.htm
Dying Frogs Sign Of A Biodiversity Crisis
ScienceDaily (Aug. 17, 2008) — Devastating declines of amphibian species around the world are a sign of a biodiversity disaster larger than just frogs, salamanders and their ilk,

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100905231237.htm
Fears of a Decline in Bee Pollination Confirmed
ScienceDaily (Sep. 7, 2010) — Widespread reports of a decline in the population of bees and other flower-visiting animals have aroused fear and speculation that pollination is also likely on the decline. A recent University of Toronto study provides the first long-term evidence of a downward trend in pollination, while also pointing to climate change as a possible contributor.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100805142945.htm
Bats Facing Regional Extinction in Northeastern US from Rapidly Spreading White-Nose Syndrome

ScienceDaily (Aug. 6, 2010) — A new infectious disease spreading rapidly across the northeastern United States has killed millions of bats and is predicted to cause regional extinction of a once-common bat species, according to the findings of a University of California, Santa Cruz researcher.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100825093649.htm
Deadly Bat Fungus Found in Several European Countries
ScienceDaily (Aug. 26, 2010) — Within five years the death toll of North American bats succumbing to “white-nose syndrome” has reached the one million threshold. Now, the causative fungus Geomyces destructans has been identified in a number of European countries—so far without detrimental effects for the native bat populations.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100504113117.htm
Fishing Fleet Working 17 Times Harder Than in 1880s to Make Same Catch
ScienceDaily (May 5, 2010) — The UK trawl fishing fleet has to work 17 times harder to catch the same amount of fish today as it did when most of its boats were powered by sail, according to new research.
They found that trawl fish landings peaked in 1937, 14 times higher than today, and the availability of bottom-living fish to the fleet fell by 94 per cent.

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Posted: 10 November 2010 02:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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Okay, you win, you have more links than me.  grin

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Posted: 10 November 2010 02:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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I don’t think anyone can beat CC in a link war.

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Posted: 10 November 2010 02:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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George - 10 November 2010 02:25 PM

Okay, you win, you have more links than me.  grin

Dead Monky - 10 November 2010 02:26 PM

I don’t think anyone can beat CC in a link war.


Maybe that’s just because I’m interested in what other smarter people have to say.
So why is quoting or referring to “Great Resources for Info” such a contemptible act in the minds of many?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I agree with large swaths of what Budiansky says, but he also displays a tendency toward exaggeration.
I would say witnessed declines, short of extinction, don’t fit his claim of “wholly unsubstantiated” that something big and scary is being documented.

What about the down side of Nitrogen Fertilizers fueling rampant overpopulation, and helping despoiling many water resources.
Also, if you are going to knock the ‘environmentalists’ for exaggerating - shouldn’t we also be skeptical of exaggerations such a N fertilizers being some silver bullet.

Also, just because there has been a tendency to exaggerate the implications of past, and perhaps present studies does not mean we should just shrug it off as though nothing is happening.
Massive population declines (though not yet extinctions) are being witnessed and should scare us into more realistic - or perhaps more humble - appraisal.

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Posted: 01 January 2011 06:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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we can sum this all up in one single documentary it’s called : Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life

I just finished watching this documentary so i thought i might contribute a little bit , sorry I don’t read a lot but i watch documentaries a lot tongue wink

http://stagevu.com/video/ynltlkkrznuq

so , Does this count as a resource ? smile

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Posted: 10 February 2011 05:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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dougsmith - 24 November 2006 06:52 AM

In a footnote at the beginning of his Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Dan Dennett lists a few of the better books attacking intelligent design. Can’t recall them right now, but you could go to a bookstore or library and look.

Or do some research on the websites I listed above. They are really FULL of great info.

Ken Miller’s Only a Theory is the best one I’ve found for dispensing knowledge to the non-scientific. It is uncomplicated and direct, and does not get bogged down in the more difficult nuances of evolutionary theory that seem to be where most non-scientists I know have turned away from the issue.

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Posted: 14 September 2011 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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Just finished stephen Budiansky’s blog as recommended by George. Very interesting for two reasons, 1. he makes sense. Adaptation is what all species do, and if not then they follow the Darwinian pattern into extinction. Just like us if we don’t pay heed to the problem of food producction and clean water. And we all know that this has nothing at all to do with religion. ( By the way, and I digress, Ann Coulter alluded to the idea that we are allowed to destroy the Earth because god will provide us with a new one anyway when he returns). And 2. Budiansky’s book on the blog concerns the Napoleonic navies, one of my favorite reading hobbies. Fantastic! a twofer.

Cap’t Jack

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