Posted on February 05, 2016 * Comments

Ce n’est pas un football Just a few choice reads this weekend because I know you’ll all be busy watching the Super Bowl L festivities. Wait, you don’t know what that is? It’s a football game—football, it turns out, is quite popular in the U.S. This is the last football game of the year and it’s being played right here in San Francisco. Well, technically, about an hour away in Santa Clara, but don’t let the organizers know that, since they’ve taken over much of downtown San Francisco with a Super Bowl “City.” Anyhoo, once that’s out of the way, we can get back to watching the Warriors play the most beautiful basketball ever. Or reading about science. Your call.

Posted on February 05, 2016 * Comments

I’m not going to lie, guys: I’m still feeling pretty smug about stumping you all last week. Will I be able to do it again? I rather doubt it. Surely you’ll recognize this creature. It’s the next stop on my tour of awesome backbones. If you know what it is and leave the first comment identifying it here, you’ll get to brag about it all next week!

Until Monday!

Posted on February 03, 2016 * Comments

John Hutton Balfour, via Wikimedia Commons

Carelessness, thy name is T. T. Martin. Martin (1862–1939) was, as you’ll recall, the Mississippi evangelist described by Ronald L. Numbers in The Creationists (1992) as “among the earliest and most outspoken critics of evolution … an itinerant evangelist with a reputation for combining doctrinal fanaticism with compassionate Christianity,” perhaps best remembered for his unforgettably titled indictment of the teaching of evolution Hell and the High Schools (1923). Here at the Science League of America I’ve mentioned his attempting to hoax Maynard Shipley (the founder of the original Science League of America) and his being hoaxed in turn in Dayton, Tennessee, by H. L. Mencken and Henry M. Hyde, and more recently I investigated his use of a quotation from “Sir Roredick Murchison”—a typographical error, obviously, for Sir Roderick Murchison (1792–1871)—in chapter 5 of Hell and the High Schools, entitled “Evolution Repudiated by Great Scientists and Scholars.”

Posted on February 01, 2016 * Comments

Last week, I told you that you’d all recognize this specimen once I told you what it was, and I stand by that. Meet Deinonychus.

Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University

You don’t recognize the name? Or the skull? Well, do you recognize this foot?

Posted on January 29, 2016 * Comments
The Apollo 10 crew: Gene Cernan, John Young, Tom StaffordThe Apollo 10 crew, credited as the fastest people in history.
Posted on January 28, 2016 * Comments

This week’s fossil will be familiar, I’m sure, to all of you once it’s revealed. As presented here, however, it is perhaps not obvious to most of you. I’m being cryptic, I know… so here’s a hint: I’m feeling thematic, so this week’s fossil is in some way connected to last week’s

Have you figured it out yet?

Catch you Monday!

Posted on January 28, 2016 * Comments

NCSE’s Science Booster Clubs are off to a great start in 2016. We now have clubs operating at four locations: our original club in Iowa City, as well as three new clubs in West Branch, Cedar Rapids, and Clear Creek Amana. Membership is growing, and so is community enthusiasm. We have fun science events on the calendar from January to June throughout our region. And momentum is building—we’ve connected with more people in the last week than we did in our first four months (and our first four months weren’t too shabby)!

Posted on January 27, 2016 * Comments

title page of The Other Side of Evolution

There is nothing particularly odd, I suppose, about the fact that opposition to evolution sometimes runs in families. Henry M. Morris, the father of modern creation science, was also the father of John D. Morris and Henry M. Morris III, president emeritus and chief executive officer, respectively, of the Institute for Creation Research. The flamboyant young-earth creationist Kent Hovind of Creation Science Evangelism is the father of Eric Hovind of Creation Today. The young-earth creationist and “intelligent design” promoter Paul Nelson of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture is the grandson of Byron C. Nelson, a young-earth creationist of the Scopes era. Along with the young-earth creationist Ken Ham, Answers in Genesis also reportedly employs a whole crowd of his relatives and in-laws. Doubtless there are further examples. As I say, there is nothing particularly odd, or discreditable for that matter, about it. So perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised by the two Pattersons.

Posted on January 26, 2016 * Comments
President Obama, wearing a kipper (why not), walks past props from the moon landing that was totally a hoax to perpetuate the myth of a round Earth. From a NASA image, with help from @darth.
Posted on January 26, 2016 * Comments

I’m often approached by teachers looking for new ways to connect their students to climate change. Sure there are lessons and videos galore through groups like the CLEAN network, but what about books that are engaging and, most importantly, age-appropriate? That becomes a trickier task, particularly as middle school and elementary teachers try to find new ways to engage their students.