Natural Selection of Mouth?

I find it interesting to see how people land on my site.

Search: "natural selection of mouth during industrial revolution"

That search stumped me momentarily, and then I thought to mentally remove a 'u'.

For some reason, this site appeared at the top of the search even though I only mention "mouths-to-feed" in relation to evolution of the industrial revolution.

Ah well, at least that u-inserting person in Singapore was interested in the greater survival of darkly colored Peppered Moths (Biston betularia) after the industrial revolution.

"Today, we should consider changes in the colors of the moths as an example of natural selection in which one factor is predation by birds."

That searcher was not looking for stupid arguments for YECreationism or IDiocy, as was a person in St. Petersburg, Florida, who searched for "ken miller chromosome 2 fused refutation".

To refute is to "prove wrong by argument or evidence", so looking for evidence counter to demonstrated fact seems like a hopeless task from the outset, and, I'm happy to say, certainly would be hopeless on this site. (Arguments alone cannot refute demonstrated facts, as most religionists remain blissfully unaware.) I'm even happier that this site popped up ahead of the Anti-Discovery Institute's falsehoods on the subject.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

How to con the maximum number of people -- provide a mixed message.

Ecclesiastical Sexual Politics

More on Matt Ridleys' book The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature:

I found the following particularly interesting – given my utter disdain for the manipulative underbelly of religion…..

Betzig’s analysis of medieval history includes the idea that the begetting of wealthy heirs was the principle cause of Church-state controversies. A series of connected events occurred in the tenth century or thereabouts. The power of kings declined and the power of local feudal lords increased. As a consequence, noblemen gradually became more concerned with producing legitimate heirs to succeed to their titles as the seigneurial system of primogeniture was established. They divorced barren wives and left all to the firstborn son. Meanwhile, resurgent Christianity conquered its rivals to become the dominant religion of northern Europe. The early Church was obsessively interested in matters of marriage, divorce, polygamy, adultery, and incest. Moreover, in the tenth century the Church began to recruit its monks and priests from among the aristocracy.

The Church’s obsessions with sexual matters were very different from St. Paul’s. It had little to say about polygamy or the begetting of many bastards, although both were commonplace and against doctrine. Instead, it concentrated on three things: first, divorce, remarriage, and adoption; second, wet nursing and sex during periods when the liturgy demanded abstinence; and third, “incest” between people married to with seven canonical degrees. In all three cases the Church seems to have been trying to prevent lords from siring legitimate heirs. If a man obeyed the Church in the year 1100, he could not divorce a barren wife, he certainly could not marry while she lived, and he could not adopt an heir. His wife could not give her baby daughter to a wet nurse and be ready to bear another in the hope of its being a son, and he could not make love to his wife “for three weeks at Easter, four weeks at Christmas, and one to seven weeks at Pentecost; plus Sundays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays—days for penance or sermons; plus miscellaneous feast days.” He also could not bear a legitimate heir by any woman closer than a seventh cousin—which excluded most noble women within three hundred miles. It all adds up to a sustained attack by the Church on the siring of heirs, and “it was not until the Church started to fill up with the younger brothers of men of state that the struggle over inheritance—over marriage between them began” Individuals within the Church (disinherited younger sons) were manipulating sexual mores to increase the Church’s own wealth or even regain property and titles for themselves.
All internal quotations are from:
Betzig, L.L., 1992. Medieval monogamy. In Darwinian Approaches to the Past (ed. S Mithen and H. Maschner). Plenum, New York.

Dumbing Down & Slamming Shut

The author of the following is talking about political opinion, but her remarks certainly apply to the attitudes of religious conservatives:

"As dumbness has been defined downward in American public life during the last two decades, one of the most important and frequently overlooked culprits is the public's increasing reluctance to give a fair hearing -- or any hearing at all -- to opposing points of view. . .

Genuine fairness does not mean the kind of bogus objectivity that always locates truth equidistant from two points, but it does demand that divergent views be understood and taken into account in approaching public issues. . .

A vast public laziness feeds the media's predilection today to distill news through polemicists of one stripe or another and to condense complex information into meaningless sound bites."

Talking to ourselves, LA Times April 20, 2008. Opinion written by Susan Jacoby, author of "The Age of American Unreason."

Darwin online

"The first draft of Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" is among a wealth of papers belonging to the intensely private man who changed science that have been published on the Internet for the first time.

Comprising about 20,000 items and 90,000 images, the release on is the largest in history, according to the organizers from Cambridge University Library, which holds all the Darwin papers."

full article at Los Angeles Times

Dreaming up Mythologies

The above image has proven popular – it's a native pictogram in Anbangbang Rock Shelter, Kakadu National Park, Australia.

Some time after humans first arrived in Australia they invented explanations for their presence there, and those explanations came to be accepted as possessing literal truth:

"What is certain is that 'Ancestor Spirits' came to Earth in human and other forms and the land, the plants and animals were given their form as we know them today.

These Spirits also established relationships between groups and individuals, (whether people or animals) and where they traveled across the land, or came to a halt, they created rivers, hills, etc., and there are often stories attached to these places.

Once their work was done, the Ancestor Spirits changed again; into animals or stars or hills or other objects. For Indigenous Australians, the past is still alive and vital today and will remain so into the future. The Ancestor Spirits and their powers have not gone, they are present in the forms into which they changed at the end of the 'Dreamtime' or 'Dreaming', as the stories tell.

The stories have been handed down through the ages and are an integral part of an Indigenous person's 'Dreaming'."

Which, of course, is utter nonsense no matter how firmly some Australian Aboriginal people may feel about the myths concerning their origins. Genetic and archeological evidence indicates that humans began to migrate into Australia at least 50,000 years ago (estimates range from 60,000 to 40,000 years ago). Mungo Lady and Mungo Man, named for Lake Mungo, are the earliest known skeletal remains of Australia's indigenous inhabitants.

Australian Aborigine playing a dijiridu with Uluru (Ayers Rock) in background.