Posted on March 17, 2015 * Comments

I made my second trip out to NCSE HQ a couple of weeks ago. In addition to basking in the 70° sunshine, the trip was fabulous because it yielded some new ideas and exciting discussions. No details yet, but watch this space—things are going to get awesomer (yep, that’s a word—or it is now).

Posted on March 11, 2015 * Comments

orwell big brotherFlorida has banned the phrase “climate change,” at least as far as the staff of the state’s environmental agency are concerned. Also “global warming.” And “sustainability” is verboten, too, according to an investigative report in the Miami Herald

Posted on March 09, 2015 * Comments

Reports of a new human fossil circled the media last week. What was discovered? Why is it important? and Why should you care?

Interactive timeline of hominid evolution from from the Smithsonian human origins site. ©Smithsonian's Human Origins Program

Posted on March 05, 2015 * Comments

Jim Krupa is a professor of biology at the University of Kentucky (UK), member of the Kentucky Academy of Sciences, and 2012 recipient of the National Association of Biology Teachers Evolution Education award. During his 25 years at UK, he has taught more than 23,000 students and I think it’s safe to say that not a single one left his classroom without a solid grounding in the theory of evolution and its central role in biology.

Posted on March 02, 2015 * Comments

(MichaelZahniser - via Wikimedia Commons) In which the common wood frog launches us into a discussion about complexity: what is it, has it been increasing over evolutionary time, and if so... why?

Posted on March 02, 2015 * Comments

Eugenie Clark, via Wikimedia CommonsThe recent death of Eugenie Clark, the famous ichthyologist, was sad news, though not unexpected. After a very full and productive life, she died at 92. Her passing reminded me of an article I wrote back in 2011 that I thought I might share with you on the Science League of America. Read on.

Posted on February 25, 2015 * Comments

Great auks. John Gerrard Keulemans via Wikimedia Commons.

“Why Are There No Penguins at the North Pole?”—a February 6, 2015, article in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano by Carlo Maria Polvani, a biochemist-turned-priest working in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State—raises a good question, although in the service of a bad agenda. The agenda isn’t creationism: Polvani correctly describes evolution as “shared by the majority of the scientific community” and moreover cites Pope John Paul II’s 1996 Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences as sufficient to show that “few today doubt the evolution of life on Earth.” Rather, the agenda is opposition to “Darwinism,” which he defines as holding that there are “two, and only two, forces to explain the phenomenon of evolution,” namely chance, “which creates diversity at the genotypic level,” and selection, “which supports the emergence of the phenotypes most likely to guarantee survival.” 

Posted on February 23, 2015 * Comments

Full disclosure: I ran the four-part (newly renamed!) natural selection misconception diagnostic because my idea well had run dry. I was hoping that by retreading some old misconception tropes, I would get inspired. Imagine my delight, then, when Larry Moran gave me an idea for this post in the comments.