Monday, October 15, 2012

"The power of science – nothing is taken as fixed, knowledge changes and increases, in a uniquely progressive way, enabling us to revise and refine our understanding, and even to reject what we previously thought to be true."

"The power of science – nothing is taken as fixed, knowledge changes and increases, in a uniquely progressive way, enabling us to revise and refine our understanding, and even to reject what we previously thought to be true."
-- Matthew Cobb at Putting our DNA clocks back.

In this post I'm not going to talk about America's science denying idiots except to say the science deniers translate scientific progress to mean "evolution has problems". This is why I call them idiots and a few other things. New research makes evolution stronger and that's a good thing.

One of the most interesting things about biology is the ability of molecular biologists to measure how long ago common ancestors of two species diverged on the tree of life. When one branch of that tree became two branches. They measure time by counting the number of mutations in a DNA sequence in both species, by knowing the average mutation rate per generation, and by knowing the length of time of each generation.

Recently according to Mr. Cobb new research shows old estimates of mutation rates were probably too high. Therefore, for example, the common ancestor of people and chimps may have lived 9 million years ago instead of 6 million years ago.

I recommend Putting our DNA clocks back because Matthew Cobb has the advantage of being a biologist who knows how to explain why new research shows estimates of mutation rates may have been wrong.

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