Posted on August 21, 2014 * Comments

Last week, the Dallas Morning News wrote a report on the continuing efforts of the Institute of Creation Research (ICR) to demonstrate the scientific accuracy of the Bible, as the ICR understands it. But surprisingly, it wasn’t the description of ICR’s work to push a completely unscientific and religiously motivated agenda that got my hackles up, it was the reporter’s description of evolution.

Posted on August 20, 2014 * Comments

Monument of John Cleves Symmes Jr. in Symmes Park, Hamilton, Ohio. Photo by Christopher Roehl via Wikimedia Commons

Having recently written no fewer than three blog posts (“Voliva!” “The Rim at the End of the World” and “Taking the Voliva Challenge”) on the idea that the earth is flat, I found myself yearning for new worlds to conquer—hollow worlds in particular.

Posted on August 19, 2014 * Comments

What do ISO 14000 and 4-ESS3-1 have in common? Both are standards. The first is a family of standards from the International Organization for Standardization developed in 1996 to “help organizations…minimize how their operations (processes etc.) negatively affect the environment (i.e. cause adverse changes to air, water, or land)…”

Posted on August 18, 2014 * Comments

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I used to work for a textbook company. When I first started, there was a wonderful woman who was the departmental expert on anything related to the nature and process of science. She was the go-to person for all our introductory “this is science, kids!” chapters. When she retired, everyone panicked because we knew that she left behind a tremendous void that, frankly, no one was interested in touching since introductory chapters tend to be both pretty dry and full of pitfalls.

Posted on August 18, 2014 * Comments

This past week on Fossil Friday, I presented you with a fossil from Fossil Fan Gerald Wilgus to keep you on your toes! Gerald was taking a motorcycle trip across Nebraska when he snapped the photo of an animal that had been entombed by volcanic ash way back in the Miocene.

Posted on August 14, 2014 * Comments

This week's Fossil Friday comes from another Fossil Fan: Gerald Wilgus!  Gerald snapped this picture on his travels through the Ashfall Fossil Beds site in Nebraska earlier this week.  Dating from the Miocene, this is just a small piece of the entire body - and I won't tell you which part as I like to keep our fans on their toes (hint! hint!).

Can you identify this fossil? First person to get it wins bragging rights for the week!


Posted on August 14, 2014 * Comments

Wilbur Glenn Voliva

Perhaps I’m channeling Robert J. Schadewald, a former president of NCSE’s board of directors who was a scholar of flat-earthery, but I can’t seem to help myself. While I was reading through old newspapers looking for information about Wilbur Glenn Voliva, the flat-earther who hoped to be called to testify in the Scopes trial (see “Voliva!”), I stumbled across the following challenge in the Ogden Standard-Examiner of September 10, 1922,  attributed to Voliva:

1—Why is it that stars are visible in broad daylight just by looking down a well?

2—Why is it that you see stars when you get a severe blow on the head?

3—If you were to dig a shaft straight down through the earth and you were to go down that shaft feet first, at what point during your descent would you have to turn end for end in order to come up in the antipodes right side up, and at what point would the blood rush to your head?

Posted on August 14, 2014 * Comments

In which a neurobiologist reviews a popcorn flick and a new blog series is born.

Posted on August 13, 2014 * Comments

In a recent post, I wrote about the establishment of a new Statistical Board of Reviewing Editors at Science magazine – a response, in part, to emerging concerns about poorly applied statistical methods in published research results. As I wrote, I believe that the establishment of a new research board is characteristic of how a healthy scientific community should react to signs of problems: no one benefits when insufficiently justified results are published.

Posted on August 12, 2014 * Comments

Map of the flat earth

As long as I have my copy of Christine Garwood’s excellent Flat Earth (2007) at hand, having retrieved it from the bookshelf to consult it for details about the flat-earther Wilbur Glenn Voliva, who hoped to be called to testify for the prosecution in the Scopes case (see “Voliva!”), I thought that I might take the opportunity to address a weighty question for flat-earthers: what keeps the ocean from cascading off the earth faster than it can be replaced by rain?