Posted on October 13, 2015 * Comments

A recent study published in Environmental Research Letters, “The climate change consensus extends beyond climate scientists,” offers encouraging data, while at the same time perpetuating many of the errors that plague the public understanding of climate science.

First, the good news. The paper reports the results of university science faculty polling:

Posted on October 13, 2015 * Comments

In honor of National Fossil Day (yep, it’s a thing), There's going to be a live twitter Q&A tomorrow, October 14, 2015, 2–3 p.m. EST* with me and a couple all-star paleos**:

Posted on October 12, 2015 * Comments

Scott Hatfield was one of NCSE’s Grand Canyon Teacher Scholarship winners. He teaches biology at Bullard High School, in Fresno, California. Teachers can apply for a scholarship on next year's trip, and you can donate to the scholarship fund or sign up for the trip now.

Posted on October 12, 2015 * Comments

Here’s a look at our specimen from last Friday with scale:

This fossil was collected from the Niobrara of Kansas. This wonderful American fossil site was first explored in the 1870s, and has yielded many excellent and dramatic vertebrate specimens: everything from mosasaurs to pterosaurs. This particular specimen is the humerus of a Pteranodon, species unknown.

Posted on October 09, 2015 * Comments

Amazing what NCSE staff can do with just a cup of coffee and a smartphone

Here are some of the stories that caught NCSE’s eye this week. Feel free to share articles that crossed your screen in the comment section, or e-mail us directly during the week with things that caught your eye. We’ll add the best to our weekly posts.

Posted on October 09, 2015 * Comments

This week on Fossil Friday, another exciting specimen from one of our top fossil commenters, Dan Phelps! Check it out:

Two clues again: this fossil is from the late Cretaceous, and its kind of smashed appearance is worth noting. Be the first to identify it in the comments, and win bragging rights for the week!

Posted on October 08, 2015 * Comments

Nobel Prize medal. (Via Wikimedia Commons, public domain in the US)On Monday, Tu Youyou, Satoshi Omura, and William Campbell were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine, for their discoveries of the antimalarial artemisinin, and avermectin, a key part of treatment for the parasitic diseases river blindness and lymphatic filariasis.

Posted on October 07, 2015 * Comments

Banksy, The Elephant in the Room (2006). Photograph: Bit Boy, via Wikimedia Commons. Used under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license,, The Elephant in the Room (2006). Photograph: Bit Boy, via Wikimedia Commons. Used under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license,

I was reading through Paul Johnson’s Darwin: Portrait of a Genius (2012) recently—not, I admit, with particularly high expectations. The reason was not just that there are plenty of excellent biographies of Darwin already, including Adrian Desmond and James Moore’s Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist (1992) and Janet Browne’s Charles Darwin: Voyaging (1995) and Charles Darwin: The Power of Place (2002). The reason was also that knowledgeable historians of science panned the book as shoddy and tendentious. In The Historian, for example, John van Wyhe complained of Johnson’s retelling “traditional legends” and inventing new ones, noting that, in discussing Darwin’s supposed influence on eugenicism and imperialism, he offered “a guilt-by-association argument … normally made by creationists,” while in Reports of the NCSE, John M. Lynch similarly complained (PDF) of “strange things” claimed by Johnson and noted the “not very subtle attempt to engage in polemic and guilt by association.”