04.08.2014

“Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?” by Savile Lumley

How would the creationism-evolution controversy have been different if World War I had never happened? Today the question is answered by Ronald L. Numbers, the Hilldale Professor of the History of Science and Medicine Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Numbers is the author of The Creationists (1992; expanded edition 2006) as well as Darwinism Comes to America (1998).

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“Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?” by Savile Lumley

Because 2014 is the centennial of the outbreak of World War I, there’s been a lot of discussion of the causes, conduct, and consequences of the war lately.

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Tauriel: Wood elves love best the light of the stars.
Fili: I always thought it is a cold light, remote and far away.
Tauriel: It is memory, precious and pure.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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Maybe it’s just me, but lately I’m having trouble telling if normal news pieces are from The Onion. Consider these koan-like headlines about the new Noah movie:

noah's ark

Conservative Christians Criticize Russell Crowe’s ‘Noah’ Film as ‘Historically Inaccurate

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We humans are natural storytellers. For tens of thousands of years we have told and retold stories around campfires and in royal chambers and religious gatherings, in genres ranging from song to poetry, from performance to film.

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I’m still discussing a well-known but ill-sourced quotation from a “Dr. Etheridge, Fossilologist of the British Museum,” according to which, “Nine-tenths of the talk of evolutionists is sheer nonsense, not founded on observation and wholly unsupported by fact. This museum is full of proofs of the utter falsity of their views.” By now, I’ve established, at least to my own satisfaction, that it is a mistake to ascribe it to Robert Etheridge Jr., despite such a claim in a 1922 letter from the director of the British Museum; that it is in fact his father Robert Etheridge to whom the quotation was originally ascribed; that the original ascription appeared in the Evangelist newspaper in 1885; and that the ascription was plausibly the work of George E. Post, who was a professor at the Syrian Protestant College of Beirut as well as a pioneering botanist of the Near East.

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I’m still discussing a well-known but ill-sourced quotation from a “Dr. Etheridge, Fossilologist of the British Museum,” according to which, “Nine-tenths of the talk of evolutionists is sheer nonsense, not founded on observation and wholly unsupported by fact. This museum is full of proofs of the utter falsity of their views.”

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Another week, another Cosmos episode, and another ridiculous creationist reaction.

This week the third Cosmos episode aired, focusing on the wonders of comets—such as Halley’s Comet, whose grand elliptical circumnavigation of the solar system parallels a human lifespan, as it did for Mark Twain—and the inevitable, glorious collision of our own galaxy with Andromeda. These are fascinating topics that can spark curious imaginations and make kids want to know more about science.

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In part 1, I was discussing a well-known but ill-sourced quotation from a “Dr. Etheridge, Fossilologist of the British Museum,” according to which, “Nine-tenths of the talk of evolutionists is sheer nonsense, not founded on observation and wholly unsupported by fact. This museum is full of proofs of the utter falsity of their views.”

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