The subject of our celebratory Fossil* Friday last week was not a fossil, true, but it was an appropriate choice for Darwin Day. I tasked you with naming the common and scientific names of the photographed finch and also completing a relevant quotation, and John Macdonell met the challenge! Congratulations, John!
What follows is a response from Daniel Duzdevich, author of Darwin's On the Origin of Species: A Modern Rendition, to Michael Ruse’s review of his book in Reports of the National Center of Science Education. As a fitting close to Darwin week, we thought you might be interested in Duzdevich's effort to bring Darwin's classic to a wider audience.
This week in "What We're Reading", a special treat—NCSE's very own original, peer-reviewed article in Science magazine. Also, depression, anxiety, dinosaur sex, and the latest on "what did fossil fuel companies know, and when did they know it?" Enjoy!
Happy Darwin Day, everyone! To celebrate, I bring you this photograph:
You’ll say two things right away: 1) this is not a fossil, 2) this is very clearly one of Darwin’s finches. And you’re right on both counts! But since I didn’t have any photos of fossil barnacles handy, this seemed like an appropriate choice for a celebratory, if not unusual, Fossil Friday.
A month or so back, NCSE got an e-mail from John Pollock asking if we'd be interested in reviewing his new app, and it somehow ended up in my lap. Now, I’m not really an app person, but this app was right up my alley: The Darwin Synthetic Interview. Basically, Pollock and his colleagues have brought Darwin to life—on our portable devices, anyway—and made it possible for us to ask him questions.
John Tyndall (right; 1820–1893), is, of course, the Anglo-Irish physicist remembered for demonstrating the greenhouse effect. But he was also a supporter of Darwin, and a member, along with his friend Thomas Henry Huxley, of the x Club, which promoted evolutionary ideas, opposed religious interference in science, and sought to increase the authority of science in society. (The other members were William Spottiswoode, George Busk, Edward Frankland, T. A. Hirst, John Lubbock, Joseph Dalton Hooker, and Herbert Spencer; all but Spencer were Fellows of the Royal Society, and four of them—Spottiswoode, Lubbock, Huxley, and Hooker—were pallbearers at Darwin’s funeral, as I observed: part 1, part 2.) So it isn’t particularly surprising to find that Tyndall, like Huxley, is occasionally misleadingly quoted by creationists.
What do you do when you learn that an ally is a science denier?
As I anticipated, you guys jumped all over this one. Congratulations to Dan Coleman, who got it right in about 0.3 picoseconds.
What is it? Edaphosaurus boanerges!
Just a few choice reads this weekend because I know you’ll all be busy watching the Super Bowl L festivities. Wait, you don’t know what that is? It’s a football game—football, it turns out, is quite popular in the U.S. This is the last football game of the year and it’s being played right here in San Francisco. Well, technically, about an hour away in Santa Clara, but don’t let the organizers know that, since they’ve taken over much of downtown San Francisco with a Super Bowl “City.” Anyhoo, once that’s out of the way, we can get back to watching the Warriors play the most beautiful basketball ever. Or reading about science. Your call.