“That’s not what we were looking at”

I should post follow-ups on old posts more often. Minda Berbeco at the NCSE’s new blog, Science League of America, has tracked down the primary author, Morgan Kelly, of a paper that Brian Thomas misinterpreted back in June about adaptation in sea urchins. Kelly answered a few of Berbeco’s questions on her research, including:

Could you explain how the ICR article misrepresented your results?

There were a couple problems with their interpretation of my research. First of all, there is a difference between the potential to adapt and having already done so. It seems that they have misinterpreted our findings to say that urchins have already adapted. That’s not what we were looking at.

There’s more. Of course there’s more. I’ve emailed researchers in the past to notify them of ICR articles, and the typical response notes that the creationist piece does indeed horribly mangle their research and conclusions. Rarer is a detailed explanation of what is really going on – real scientists are busy – but when it happens it’s a treat. Read on!

SRGAP2 Duplication & Inhibition

Wednesday’s Daily Science Update comes from Dr Jeffrey Tomkins, who claims that Newly Discovered Human Brain Genes Are Bad News for Evolution. Well, he would take the contrary view to the other news coverage on this study: see, for example, The humanity switch: How one gene made us brainier in the New Scientist for an example of the other.

The genes in question are SRGAP2, along with three (partial – they are not the full gene) duplicates only found in humans. Tomkins claims that these other genes are not – and indeed could not be – duplicates, and are instead ‘unique’ (and all the rest of it). Nevertheless, problems with his article begin with the title: the genes are not ‘newly discovered’ at all.

My quick inkscape drawing of the chimp/human chromosome 1 with the genes highlighted. Click through for the abstract of the paper w/ the figure this is based on Continue reading

Cenomanian Last Stand

Not all that far from the Institute’s HQ in Dallas, Texas, is the recently discovered Arlington Archosaur Site (AAS). In February a paper was published in Palaios called Feeding traces and paleobiology of a Cretaceous (Cenomanian) Crocodyliform: Example from the Woodbine formation of Texas. Now, Brian Thomas claims Chewed Dinosaur Bones Fit Flood. We’ll see if they do.

During the Cenomanian the sea level would have been slightly less than this, with the Dallas area being on the coast Continue reading