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Saturday, November 24, 2012 - 12:01 am

The reading list

“Critics claim that evolutionary biology is, at best, guesswork. The reality is otherwise. Evolutionists have nailed down how an enormous number of previously unexplained phenomena — in anatomy, physiology, embryology, behavior — have evolved. There are still mysteries, however, and one of the most prominent is the origins of homosexuality.

“The mystery is simple enough. Its solution, however, has thus far eluded our best scientific minds.

“First the mystery.\

“The sine qua non for any trait to have evolved is for it to correlate positively with reproductive success, or, more precisely, with success in projecting genes relevant to that trait into the future. So, if homosexuality is in any sense a product of evolution — and it clearly is, for reasons to be explained — then genetic factors associated with same-sex preference must enjoy some sort of reproductive advantage. The problem should be obvious: If homosexuals reproduce less than heterosexuals — and they do — then why has natural selection not operated against it?

“The paradox of homosexuality is especially pronounced for individuals whose homosexual preference is exclusive; that is, who have no inclination toward heterosexuality. But the mystery persists even for those who are bisexual, since it is mathematically provable that even a tiny difference in reproductive outcome can drive substantial evolutionary change.”

— From “The Evolutionary Mystery of Homosexuality” at chronicle.com

A quiz

What was the first film to be created solely with CGI – computer generated imagery?

Wisdom of the ages

“To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful.” — Edward R. Murrow

Current wisdom

“How do these just disappear from your life? That's just not right, man. I'm loyal. I love these things, and I'm diabetic.” — Charles Selke, 42, of Indianapolis, after word spread that Hostess Brands Inc., the maker of Twinkies and other snack cakes, was going out of business.

Quiz answer

“Toy Story” in 1995.

Snob words

neoteric (nee-uh-TER-ik), adj. – recent in origin; modern; new, as in: “The editorial writer wondered if the politician had acquired a neoteric love of opera or if he was attending merely to get the snob vote.” From the Greek neoterikos, from neoteros, “younger,” comparative of neos, “young, new.”

Today in history

On this date in 1963, the first live murder hit the broadcast airwaves as Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald; talk about “reality TV.”

Now you know

On Aug. 3, 2011, the national debt rose $238 billion, the largest one-day increase in the history of the U.S.