The sun has a much bigger effect on the climate than humans, doesn’t it?
The climate’s always changing. So what?
Won’t animals just adapt to a changing climate?
As explained in part 1, we’re having a roundtable discussion of Joseph T. Spadafino’s “Americans’ Unwillingness to Accept Evolution En Masse Is a Failure of Science Education,” posted at (although later withdrawn from) the Huffington Post.
When you think of warriors against science denial, many names probably come to mind. Two of NCSE’s favorites are our 2016 Friend of the Planet award winners: professor John Abraham, and environmental scientist Dana Nuccitelli. Collectively their actions have pushed back against rampant climate change denial and misinformation that is spread voraciously through the media.
A couple of weeks ago, I was strolling through an airport on my way to visit friends in D.C. when I spotted a tweet by Amanda Glaze (@EvoPhD) regarding a post on the HuffPost Education blog about evolution education. Amanda wrote: “I would have loved to have been consulted on this piece, or perhaps @Paleophile or @icbinns. Problem is complex.” The post, by Huffington Post contributor Joseph T. Spadafino, is now unavailable (more on that below), but a cached version can be found if you do some digging.
A hallmark of science, of course, is that new data may always emerge that challenge accepted conclusions (why, just last week, we discussed such “unknown unknowns”). However, the more robust the conclusion, the more likely that new and unexpected data will serve to reinforce, not discredit it. And we find that here, with the longest known citizen-scientist record to date being found to be entirely consistent with all the other evidence for anthropogenic climate change. Also some nostalgia, and a few examples of the crazy coolness (and potential power for good) of evolutionary thinking.
A few weeks ago, we got an unusual query. A company—RapidWristbands.com—that manufactures the sorts of wristbands made famous by Lance Armstrong, wanted to donate the profits from a recent order to NCSE. The order by a creationist group that I won’t bother to identify had been for over 100,000 bands instructing the wearer to “DEBUNK EVOLUTION.”
From the Cambrian it came, Brain. (Is there an echo in here, Pinky?) Do the same thing you do every night, er, week, and leave your best guess about the identity of this fossil in the comments section below. The first person to do so correctly will have NCSE’s best wishes for his or her attempt to try to take over the world.
Discussing Darwin in In His Image (1922), the published version of his 1921 Sprunt Lectures at the Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, William Jennings Bryan complained, “His works are full of words indicating uncertainty. The phrase ‘we may well suppose,’ occurs over eight hundred times in his two principal works”—presumably the Origin of Species and the Descent of Man. Bryan’s estimate was in error, however. Searching Darwin Online for the phrase “we may well suppose” yields three hits, two of which are to a letter from Alfred Russel Wallace to Charles Lyell—Darwin Online isn’t limited to Darwin!—and one of which is to Darwin’s “Observations on the Parallel Roads of Glen Roy” (1839). There, in a footnote, Darwin quotes a personal communication from Lyell about a certain fossil bed in Norway, ending, “we may well suppose the percolation of water during antecedent ages of indefinite extent to have destroyed all signs of fossils in the more ancient and elevated patches of loam found more than 500 feet high in the adjacent hilly country.” Darwin himself seems never to have used the phrase in his own voice, at least in print.