For the centenary of Alfred Russel Wallace’s death, November 7, 2013, I assembled a host of on-line resources about Wallace’s life and work, which was posted to ncse.com and sent in Evolution and Climate Education Update, NCSE’s free weekly e-newsletter. (Not a subscriber? That’s easy to fix.) After he received the update, Norman Sleep, a professor of geophysics at Stanford University, sent me Kevin Zahnle’s 2001 article (subscription required) from Nature about Percival Lowell’s ideas about canals on the planet Mars. Although Lowell didn’t discover the canals—that credit belongs to Giovanni Schiaparelli—he was responsible not only for popularizing them but also for promoting the idea that they were the products of intelligent design. Lowell’s views were dotty; Zahnle admits that “Lowell’s flamboyance, combativeness, and inflexibility made him look ever more like a crank” on the topic. But what’s the connection to Wallace?
Do you take global warming seriously and think it is caused by humans? Do you know a lot about the topic? How do you feel about specific strategies to limit its impacts? And is it extremely important to you personally?
I'm here in Austin, Texas, waiting for the Texas State Board of Education to finish their morning agenda (at 5:00 p.m.) and move on to science textbooks.
While we wait for the fun to begin, here's the statement I plan to deliver.
Madam Chair, members of the board:
In part 1, posted on the forty-fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Epperson v. Arkansas, I related how the state law prohibiting the teaching of evolution (“the theory or doctrine that mankind ascended or descended from a lower order of animals” in Arkansas’s public schools was enacted in the first place.
When beggars die, there are no comets seen; the heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes. —William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act II.
On Wednesday afternoon, I’ll be back in Austin, Texas, attending the state board of education hearings on textbook adoptions.
The second funniest thing that happened to me this week was discovering a package from the Heartland Institute in my faculty mailbox. Most well-adjusted people wouldn't find this amusing, but I was already well-familiar with Heartland's recent climate denialist mailing to teachers, and had even blogged about its strange alternative reality.
This week's fossil is one of my all time favorites. Not just because of the animal it came from, but because of the way it has decayed over time.
Can you guess what animal it came from? Better yet, which California Bay was it found in?