I have just weighed my copy of William A. Williams’s The Evolution of Man Scientifically Disproved (1925) on the postal scale in the NCSE office, and it weighs 6.7 ounces. For such a slight volume, it is awfully ambitious. According to the title page, it is designed “(1) As an up-to-date text book, and a companion to all other text books on evolution; and (2) As an antidote to books in libraries teaching evolution, infidelity[,] and atheism; and (3) As an aid to all students, parents, teachers, ministers, lawyers, doctors, and all other lovers of the truth.” The book packs a lot of quotations and misquotations from various scientific authorities into chapter 28, “Scientists Condemn Evolution.” As it happens, I have already blogged here at the Science League of America about a number of them: Lionel S. Beale, Albert Fleischmann (misspelled “Fleishman” by Williams), St. George Mivart (misspelled “Mivert” by Williams), Ernst Haeckel, Nathaniel S. Shaler (although Williams didn’t misattribute his words to Darwin), and Oscar Fraas (misspelled “Traas” by Williams). And now it’s time for the quotation from, as the slipshod Williams might have called him, “Homas Tenry Tuxley” (above).
Do you see it, readers? The steam pouring out of my ears? Picture this. It’s last Sunday night. I’m doing dishes and listening to some podcasts, scrubbing away not exactly merrily, but efficiently and contentedly, when I heard this: “I happen to believe that we should teach ‛intelligent design’ in classrooms. I think it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to teach.”
Those were the teeth, by gum, of Parahippus cognatus, a Miocene ancestor of the modern horse. And they’re especially interesting because Parahippus and its descendants were grazers, rather than browsers, specializing in eating grasses. Do you see that in the teeth with their high crowns and their fancy surfaces?
A beloved holiday tradition returns.
Whose teeth are these? If you think you know the answer, write it on a postcard or on a cast of a giant anteater skull, and mail it to NCSE, PO Box 9477, Berkeley CA 94709-0477. Or just leave a comment below.
In parts 1 and 2, I looked at Randy Olson’s new book, Houston, We Have a Narrative: Why Science Needs Story, and saw a number of positive examples of how science storytelling can be done well to communicate science.
Since December 2005, when Judge John E. Jones III ruled that “intelligent design” is not science and cannot be forced into public school science classes, we’ve celebrated December 20 as Kitzmas. We write carols (and haikus). But we’ve never really had a Kitzmas tree before.
That all changes this year, for the tenth Kitzmas. Today, Science released a prepublication version of “The evolution of antievolution policies since Kitzmiller v. Dover” by former NCSE staffer Nick Matzke, in which he analyzed NCSE’s database of “academic freedom” legislation—the successor strategy to “intelligent design.”