We’ve all been there: Thanksgiving dinner with that uncle—the outspoken climate-change-denier (“Please, it was so cold this winter!”); a phone call with an anti-vaxxer friend (“Everyone knows that vaccines contain dangerous chemicals!”); or an attempt to impress by a daughter’s new boyfriend (“But I’ve heard that the mammalian eye is way too complicated to have evolved by chance!”).
Although evolution education often focuses, appropriately, on the evidence—fossils, embryos, homologies, genes, etc.—one of the most compelling categories of evidence we have is ignored: evolution in action. We have seen evolution happening—not just the results or effects of evolution, but the process. Read more about it in this week's Misconception Monday!
Hey Friday Flicks Fans, I’m letting my good buddy, friend of NCSE, lover of science, and movie blogger, Max Yip, pick this month’s Friday Flick! Max had a million ideas, but I was able to convince him to select just one video (not a conventional ‘flick’, but definitely worth a watch.) Never one to hide from controversy, Max chose the surprisingly controversial Bill Nye Big Think video called “Creationism is Not Appropriate for Children.”
I’ve been doing a fair bit of traveling lately, and although generally exhausting, traveling is great for playing podcast catch-up. I had been hopelessly behind on most podcasts, especially Science Friday. But I have been diligently listening away in airports, airplanes, cars and cabs and finally, last night, I got to last week’s Science Friday.
A few times while reading about the history of the creationism/evolution controversy, I’ve noticed references to a policy adopted by the Columbus, Ohio, board of education in 1971 that provided for the teaching of creationism along with evolution. But there are rarely any details. In The Evolution Controversy in America (1994), for example, George E. Webb writes, “The board of education in Columbus, Ohio, passed a resolution in 1971 encouraging teachers to present special creation along with evolution,” and that’s all. As someone who was enrolled in Columbus, Ohio, public schools from kindergarten to high school, I find that irritating. As fate would have it, however, a copy of the resolution surfaced in NCSE’s archives recently, and a kindly colleague placed it on my desk.
I’m writing this blog from NCSE HQ and, dear readers, there is something in the air here other than awesome ideas. My histamines are in overload. My eyes are watering, my head is a cotton ball, and my nose is a faucet. As a result, I am feeling punchy, too.
“But it’s just a theory!”
“So, why are there still monkeys!”
“Evolution is not real!”
As a science teacher and evolutionary biologist in the Southeastern United States, these are things I hear on a regular basis, but it’s never any less surprising to me when I hear it.