Posts Tagged ‘Evolution’

Statistics Link Candidacy and Insanity

April 26, 2008

Josh Neuman www.surrealart.comFrom Archaeoporn Posted on April 23, 2008 by archaeologyknits Click to read more.
Well, not really, but the news today concerning the presidential candidates and vaccine denialism goes a long way toward that conclusion.     McCain jumped on the band wagon a while back, and we really can’t be surprised considering he had already come out against evolution and loves popular issues like a hyena loves corpses.     However both Democratic candidates have outed themselves as apparently unable to read current scientific conclusions. (see here and here also, check out denialism blog on the issue)     Obama is quoted as saying     “We’ve seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it’s connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it.” [the ‘This person’ refers to the individual who asked the question Obama was responding to.]     Maybe I missed the news, but I understood that science, ie that stuff people do in labs or using statistics, was pretty conclusive on the issue right now, and that vaccines were safe and that most of them no longer used thimerosal anyway.     Clinton has pretty much parroted the same missunderstanding     Yes. We don’t know what, if any, kind of link there is between vaccines and autism – but we should find out.     This was in a question regarding her willingness to fund studies of vaccinated and unvaccinated children.  I can tell you the answer now, the second group probably has a higher rate of a variety of viruses, strangely enough the exact same ones they weren’t vaccinated for.     Now, there is every possibility that the candidates are just acting like cranks to get the nut vote, but it’s certainly scary even if this is the case, because it gives support to unscientific and repudiated claims and could potentially lead to the next president wasting our money on this research.     To conclude though, I would like to concede that these autism cranks aren’t always wrong.  The author of the first article linked to above, is himself a nut, and, inadvertently, he provides us with a valid statement on the issue:     So there you have it, our next President will share the views of such radical fringe crazies as, well, me, Democrat Robert Kennedy, Jr., Republican Joe Scarborough, former NIH and Red Cross chief Bernadine Healy, and several researchers at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, the Universities of California and Washington and elsewhere.

No-Lung Frogs found in Indonesia

April 11, 2008

Frog with no lungs found in Indonesian wild  by MICHAEL CASEY Associated Press April 10, 2008 at 1:09 PM EDT posted on the Globe and Mail.     BANGKOK — A frog has been found in a remote part of Indonesia that has no lungs and breathes through its skin, a discovery that researchers said Thursday could provide insight into what drives evolution in certain species.     The aquatic frog, Barbourula kalimantanensis, was found in a remote part of Indonesia’s Kalimantan province on Borneo island during an expedition in August, 2007, said David Bickford, an evolutionary biologist at the National University of Singapore. Bickford was part of the trip and co-authored a paper on the find that appeared in this week’s edition of the peer-reviewed journal Current Biology.     Mr. Bickford said the species is the first frog known to science without lungs and joins a short list of amphibians with this unusual trait, including a few species of salamanders and a wormlike creature known as a caecilian.     “These are about the most ancient and bizarre frogs you can get on the planet,” Mr. Bickford said of the brown amphibian with bulging eyes and a tendency to flatten itself as it glides across the water.    ‘These are about the most ancient and bizarre frogs you can get on the planet,’ biologist says. (AP)      “They are like a squished version of Jabba the Hutt,” he said, referring to the character from Star Wars. “They are flat and have eyes that float above the water. They have skin flaps coming off their arms and legs.”     Along with the lungless frog, Mr. Bickford said his team discovered two new lizard species and four other species of frogs during their two-month trip.     His Indonesian colleague, Djoko Iskandar, first came across the frog 30 years ago, and the biology professor from the Bandung Institute of Technology has been searching for it ever since. Five earlier expeditions had proved fruitless.     “We just suspected that something was peculiar about this frog because it died even in water,” Mr. Iskandar said. “When we cut it open, we found it had no lungs, no trachea not even a wind pipe.”  Read more.