Posted on January 13, 2015 * Comments

For the last few weeks, we’ve been tracking West Virginia’s flirtation with climate change denial in science standards.

Posted on January 13, 2015 * Comments

Huxley in a dunce cap“How extremely stupid not to have thought of that!” was Thomas Henry Huxley’s reflection on reading Darwin’s Origin of Species. What might elicit such a reaction from a contemporary biologist? Today the question is answered by Rudolf Raff, Distinguished Professor and James H. Rudy Professor of Biology at Indiana University.

Posted on January 13, 2015 * Comments

Huxley in a dunce capIn his essay “On the Reception of the ‘Origin of Species,’” which was published in The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin (1887), Thomas Henry Huxley famously commented on how he himself received it: “My reflection, when I first made myself master of the central idea of the ‘Origin,’ was, ‘How extremely stupid not to have thought of that!’”

Posted on January 12, 2015 * Comments
Rafters ponder their fate at Lava FallsRafters ponder their doom before rafting Lava Falls
Posted on January 12, 2015 * Comments

Okay, people, we’re getting back to the basics. After my (frankly) exhausting exasperation with Nicholas Wade, I need a palette cleanser. So what’s the most basic misconception I have on my to-do list? This one:

Misconception: Weather and climate are the same thing.

Correction: Weather and climate are related, but different, things.

Posted on January 08, 2015 * Comments

John T. ScopesJohn T. Scopes

What, specifically, were the grounds for Scopes’s appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court? That was the question that I began to address in part 1, relying on a copy (big PDF) of the brief at the Clarence Darrow Digital Collection of the University of Minnesota’s Law Library. I started to transcribe the headings in the “assignment of errors” from the brief submitted to the Tennessee Supreme Court by Scopes’s lawyers here—there are ten in all—and offer running commentary. (Because these are headings, they are set all in capitals; for the sake of legibility, I’ve transcribed them as regular text, so except for the capitals at the beginning of sentences, the capitalization is inferred. For explanations of the “motion to quash the indictment” and the “demurrer thereto” and “the defendant’s motion for a new trial,” consult part 1.) I addressed only the first three in part 1, and only the next four in part 2, so here are the final three.

Posted on January 06, 2015 * Comments

John T. ScopesJohn T. Scopes

What, specifically, were the grounds for Scopes’s appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court? That was the question that I began to address in part 1, relying on a copy (big PDF) of the brief at the Clarence Darrow Digital Collection of the University of Minnesota’s Law Library. I started to transcribe the headings in the “assignment of errors” from the brief submitted to the Tennessee Supreme Court by Scopes’s lawyers here—there are ten in all—and offer running commentary. (Because these are headings, they are set all in capitals; for the sake of legibility, I’ve transcribed them as regular text, so except for the capitals at the beginning of sentences, the capitalization is inferred. For explanations of the “motion to quash the indictment” and the “demurrer thereto” and “the defendant’s motion for a new trial,” consult part 1.) I addressed only the first three of the ten in part 1, so here are the next four.

Posted on January 05, 2015 * Comments

I interviewed for my post at NCSE in the wake of the Bill Nye/Ken Ham hullabaloo (which Josh Rosenau reviewed here), so watching the whole 2.5-hour-plus affair was part of my preparation. Looking back at my notes still makes me laugh, since there are all kinds of “what!?!?!”s and “this makes no sense”s.