In pondering how many people think the earth is less than 10,000 years old, it’s worth remembering a key and often-ignored fact about creationism: Much creationism isn’t “young-earth” creationism.
Are we heading for a radically altered, roasty-toasty, potentially unlivable planet? Or might we make choices to steer toward a future Earth that is warmer than today but much more livable than the hot-house version? And given such starkly different scenarios, how do we convey the risks and responses to people who will ultimately shape the future, like the 76 million Americans now in school?
Genie Scott and I share a fondness for the songs of Tom Lehrer, the satirical songwriter of the 1960s. The NCSE holiday party where we were prevailed upon to sing his Christmas carol (“Christmas time is here, by golly, / Disapproval would be folly / Deck the halls with hunks of holly / Fill the cup and don’t say when”) will not soon be forgotten, unfortunately. So, in the words of a different Tom Lehrer ditty, gather ’round while I sing you of Wernher von Braun.
Today, November 12, 2013, is the forty-fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Epperson v. Arkansas, which struck down a state law prohibiting the teaching of evolution in Arkansas’s public schools.
In honor of the 100th anniversary of Alfred Russel Wallace’s death, I thought I’d post an essay I wrote for a special biogeography issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach. Wallace, in addition to being a co-discoverer of evolution through natural selection, is also the father of biogeography.
Last week, in a desperate attempt to do anything but a skull, I gave you an invertebrate specimen from our planet's past. Who was this delightful shrimp-like creature?
It was the infamous Waptia fieldensis from the Burgess Shale in what is now British Columbia. According to the UCMP website, "the Burgess Shale represents one of the most diverse and well-preserved fossil localities in the world."
Photograph by Steve Newton
Congrats! You survived the month-long Day of the Dead Skull-a-thon. In celebration of our first non-skull Fossil Friday in a long time, I decided to go non-vertebrate...or rather, invertebrate, as some might say.
Who was this lucky fellow?
First one to get it right wins bragging rights for a week.
A friend e-mailed the other day wondering just how many people in the United States are young-earth creationists.
The answer begins with a question the Gallup poll has been asking since the early ’80s: