Astronauts surveying the geology of the Grand CanyonAstronaut Roger Chaffee and geologist Elbert King explore the Grand Canyon, March 5-6 1967.
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Will Saletan has an amazing, thoughtful, and compelling essay on Slate, exploring the hypocrisy and science denial of certain GMO opponents.

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In part 1, I described how I responded to an interesting question about the extinction of the Neanderthals. My correspondent was perplexed. Although he could see how competition, disease, interbreeding, and hunting might have reduced the population of the Neanderthals appreciably, he didn’t see how any of these forces could have driven them to extinction. It’s a big planet, after all, and various hominids had managed to coexist on it for a long time.

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One of the joys of working at NCSE is the chance to explore and explain cool science to interested members of the public. Such a chance happened recently when I got a note asking why the Neanderthals went extinct.

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The mission of NCSE has never been to teach everyone science. So how do we help improve understanding of evolution, climate science, and science as a way of knowing while simultaneously steering clear of the broader business of teaching science? Ann Reid and I had a breakthrough that has clarified the balance we need to strike.

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The Sixth Extinction coverA year ago, I had a chance to interview New Yorker staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert about her book

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Were you lying all the time? Was it just a game to you?
But I’m in so deep. You know I’m such a fool for you.
You got me wrapped around your finger, ah, ha, ha.
Do you have to let it linger? Do you have to, do you have to,
Do you have to let it linger?

—The Cranberries, “Linger” from the album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?

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Last week I made a case that origins-of-life research doesn’t usually fall under the evolution umbrella. I offered my analogy that the first spark of life was a bit like a baton hand-off from chemical evolution to biological evolution. Today, I’ll get into some aspects of the topic that tend to evoke the most, well, heated and let’s say spirited discussion.

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04.02.2015

Could we combat science denial by getting scientists to play Rock Band with non-scientists? Well, that might just be crazy enough to work.

A little background: I commute each day by bicycle and train, and there’s not quite enough time on the train to get any work done. For a while I listened to books on tape, but lately I’ve discovered podcasts. (“Hi Ann, the 21st century welcomes you!”)

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