Posted on July 21, 2014 * Comments

Last week, I discussed the misconception that everything is adaptive. This week, I want to talk about ways we can help our students see and appreciate the wonder of life without their adaptation-everywhere goggles on.

Posted on July 18, 2014 * Comments

 

This week on Fossil Friday, I bring you another great fossil (or set of fossils) from Dan Phelps, the president of the Kentucky Paleontological Society. This photo has two different species in it, one stacked over the other. They were found in Kentucky and date from the Upper Ordovician.

What are they? How specific can you get?

Dan is not allowed to guess again this week, but he is welcome to taunt the commenters!

Posted on July 17, 2014 * Comments

Six Days or Forever? cover

While rereading Ray Ginger’s Six Days or Forever? Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes (1958) recently, I was struck by what even I considered to be a plethora of unusual, obscure, and confabulated words in the book.

Posted on July 16, 2014 * Comments

Josh, Steve, and I just returned from spending 8 days with a group of 21 NCSE members on NCSE’s Grand Canyon raft trip. Steve regaled us with the actual geological history of Grand Canyon, and Josh supplemented with a tongue-in-cheek presentation of the creationist view – with me helping a bit around the edges. Josh also kept up the natural history side of things as he introduced us to a variety of invertebrate and vertebrate varmints along the trail.

Posted on July 15, 2014 * Comments

Six Days or Forever? cover

In order to prepare for a talk about the Scopes trial, I was recently rereading Ray Ginger’s Six Days or Forever? Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes (1958).

Posted on July 14, 2014 * Comments

According to the Centers for Disease Control, drug-resistant bacteria cause more than two million infections, and kill at least 23,000 people every year in the United States. At the same time, the development of new antibiotics has slowed to a trickle, partially because pharmaceutical companies know that the inevitable emergence of resistance will cut short the useful lifespan of any drug they develop.

Posted on July 14, 2014 * Comments

Last week, we got into the distinction between natural selection and evolution. In my post, I tried to express the importance of exposing students to other mechanisms of evolution, namely genetic drift, gene flow, and mutation. This week’s misconception is closely related to the erroneous idea that evolution only happens by way of natural selection.

All traits are adaptive.

Posted on July 14, 2014 * Comments

Last week on Fossil Friday, I presented a fossil sent to me by a Fossil Friday Fan, Dan Phelps! I didn't let him answer in the comments, but he certainly did his best to taunt you. So what was this strange pod-like structure? A sloth zipper, or as NCSE's Glenn Branch suggested, a squirrel nut zipper?

Hardly!

From Dan Phelps:

Posted on July 11, 2014 * Comments

On June 25, 2014, the following scientific study made the cover of the prestigious journal, Nature: “Aspergillomarasmine A overcomes metallo-β-lactamase antibiotic resistance.” Doesn’t exactly sound earth-shattering, does it? But the discovery of a fungal compound that restores the efficacy of one of our antibiotics of last resort is, in fact, huge news.

Posted on July 11, 2014 * Comments

This week we have a very special fossil courtesy of Fossil Friday fan Dan Phelps—who also happens to be the president of the Kentucky Paleontological Society. What could it be? Looks like some sort of plant pod to me, or an ancient sloth zipper?