Horizontal genome transfer by cell-to-cell travel of whole organelles by Alexander P. Hertle et al., Science Advances, 01 Jan 2021; and commentary:
Plant Cells Swap Organelles by Abby Olena, The Scientist, 07 Jan 2021.
Plant Cells of Different Species Can Swap Organelles (with video), by Viviane Callier, Quanta, 20 Jan 2021.
Viruses and Other Gene Transfer Mechanisms is our main webpage about HGT, with updates since 1997. The reach of HGT continues to surprise us.
Functional Long Non-coding RNAs Evolve from Junk Transcripts by Alexander F. Palazzo and Eugene V. Koonin, doi:10.1016/j.cell.2020.09.047, Cell, 25 Nov 2020.
...junk transcripts provide the raw material... for functional innovation with relatively little adaptation involved.
Testing Darwinism... discusses the need for demonstrations.
...Another Important Aspect of Planets That Could Host Life by Michelle Starr, ScienceAlert, 13 Jan 2021.
Thanks, Stan Franklin. The simplified chart tells the story.
Medusavirus Ancestor in a Proto-Eukaryotic Cell: Updating the Hypothesis for the Viral Origin of the Nucleus by Masaharu Takemura, doi:10.3389/fmicb.2020.571831, Front. Microbiol., 03 Sep 2020.
The Occurrence of Rocky Habitable Zone Planets Around Solar-Like Stars from Kepler Data, by Steve Bryson et al., arXiv, 05 Nov 2020. ...A new galactic survey holds a clue by Nadia Drake, National Geographic, 02 Nov 2020.
Carbonaceous chondrite meteorites experienced fluid flow within the past million years by Simon Turner et al., Science, 08 Jan 2021.
Meteorites From the Beginning of the Solar System May Have Carried Water Quite Recently by Isaac Schultz, Gizmodo, 09 Jan 2021. Thanks, Stan Franklin.
Decades ago, Hoyle and Wickramasinghe proposed a surprising way for radioactive isotopes to keep ice melted inside comets. Their research is wide in scope, mathematical, and deeply probing.
One manifestation of the Iron Rule is the "Tychonic Principle": the importance of observations with accuracy out to many decimal places. Kepler's use of Tycho's voluminous data exemplifies this principle. So would the careful measurement of the bending of starlight in the solar eclipse of 1919 — in theory at least. But the eclipse data were not very precise. In their interpretation, Eddington's prejudice had a much bigger role than precision. In general, Strevens' contentions — that early science was so primitive, the Scientific Revolution was so abrupt, and science is at last fully objective — seem debatable to me.
While reading the book, I often wanted to raise a hand and ask a question. Sometimes Strevens came around to the issue, but not always. For example, Strevens says that the Iron Rule guarantees consensus, which allows continuity, which he deems important. But sometimes consensus is completely lacking, as in the theory of evolution. How life evolves is one of the most contentious issues in the history of science. I see no consensus there, only crisis. Strevens has studied Thomas Kuhn but seems little persuaded by him.
Thanks to the Iron Rule, Strevens says, "Always there is something that even the most bitter enemies can agree to do next: another test." This is starkly wrong. The schism between Darwinism and Intelligent Design illustrates this. From my third-party perspective, the gridlock is especially obvious.
Still, I quite enjoyed reading The Knowledge Machine. I love knowing more about Aristotle, Francis Bacon, Descartes, Galileo, Newton, Kelvin, D'Arcy Thompson, Whewell and many others, in well-told episodes and colorful vignettes. Strevens' writing is easygoing, his scholarship is very impressive, and his ambivalence about his own Iron Rule is intriguing.The Knowledge Machine: How Irrationality Created Modern Science, by Michael Strevens, Liveright, 13 Oct 2020.
The Beginning quotes David Hume on the scope of science.
pps: I once asked Intelligent Design proponent Michae Behe, How does ID work? He admitted that ID's mechanism is unknown. He pointed out that Newton's theory of gravity, likewise, lacked a mechanism. But Newton's theory enabled astronomers to make many useful, precise predictions about the motion of the planets. With that level of demonstration, a material cause is almost assured. (Does quantum entanglement merit similar assurance?)
correspondence with Michael Behe, 12-25 Jun 2013.