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Robert J. Asher
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Robert J. Asher is a paleobiologist specializing in mammals and the author of "Evolution and Belief" (Cambridge University Press, 2012). Raised in western New York state, he is a former Curator of Mammals at the Berlin Natural History Museum and Frick Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History. Currently, he is the Curator of Vertebrates in the University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge, where he leads a research group in evolutionary biology focusing on the fossil record, development, and comparative anatomy.

Entries by Robert J. Asher

A New Objection to Intelligent Design

(243) Comments | Posted January 9, 2014 | 1:34 PM

The title of this essay derives from Stephen Meyer's latest anti-evolution book, in which he continues to argue that life is too complicated to have naturally evolved. For years, Meyer has been delivering popular books and lectures that portray selection and other natural processes as insufficient.

They...

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Macroevolution for the People

(12) Comments | Posted May 26, 2013 | 6:44 AM

Evolution is about genetic and developmental continuity across generations, the same ones that join you with your children, parents, and grandparents. Broad consensus exists among scientists that variation in this continuity from one generation to the next, extrapolated over geological time, comprises a (and probably the) fundamental mechanism behind the...

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Republicans and the Unsung Fossils (Starting With 'A')

(21) Comments | Posted August 28, 2012 | 4:14 PM

"Intelligent design" is not particularly newsworthy in 2012, except for the fact that it, along with climate skepticism and peculiar views on human reproduction, seems popular among some conservatives. In both 2008 and 2012, several Republican candidates felt they had to scoff at Darwin to have...

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Evolution and the Tree of Life: How Hyperbole Poisons Everything

(56) Comments | Posted June 29, 2012 | 6:39 PM

Some of the most egregious abuses of the English language take place at the hands of real-estate agents. Quasi-poetic crimes typical in the U.K. include "delightfully presented" or "well-proportioned." These phrases mean nothing, because when you're trying to sell a crappy house at an inflated price, you write to confuse,...

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Agreeing With Someone Who Is Wrong

(9) Comments | Posted April 19, 2012 | 6:48 PM

Perhaps you know the feeling: someone who makes an eloquent and insightful point in one context advocates nonsense in another. I find myself in this situation regarding my Huffington Post colleague Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. Some months ago in his blog, Rabbi Boteach made a remarkably astute point about...

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Science, Religion And The First Amendment

(297) Comments | Posted April 4, 2012 | 7:38 AM

The first amendment of the United States Constitution forbids state-sanctioned religion, yet guarantees the right to its expression: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Today, certain groups seem eager to promote nonsense in public education derived (openly or not) from...

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Why I Am an Accommodationist

(52) Comments | Posted February 29, 2012 | 12:24 PM

"To accommodate" has a number of meanings. The positive ones include reconcile and cooperate; in a more pejorative context, it could mean to surrender or capitulate. In a diverse and civil society, there is clearly a need to accommodate in a positive way and to honestly distinguish between cooperation and...

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'Religious' Scientists and the Legacy of Christopher Hitchens

(350) Comments | Posted February 2, 2012 | 12:50 PM

Christopher Hitchens could inflict substantial rhetorical pain upon his opponents in debate and in print. Much like Steve Martin's character (a sadistic dentist) in the 1986 film adaptation of "Little Shop of Horrors," he was exceedingly good at dispensing discomfort. I like to flatter myself in thinking that had Hitchens...

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