Well, you might have seen it coming. In my post about the National Academy of Science’s 1923 statement on evolution, approved but never used, I asked, “And what about the Smithsonian’s statement on evolution?” and answered, “Well, as with the NAS statement, [Ellis] Yochelson provided only a sample page; I haven’t seen the full text. If I find it, perhaps I’ll discuss it in a sequel post here at the Science League of America blog.”
This week on Fossil Friday, we're bringing you another skull.
Eric Meikle, one of our house anthropologists, says that guessing this week's skull might be too easy. But this skull has had several scientific names and nicknames over the many years. Choosing which one to report will be hard!
Bonus points for each name you can list!
I’ve always liked Tim M. Berra’s books, ever since, in college, I read his Evolution and the Myth of Creationism (1990), a wonderfully clear and succinct refutation of creationism.
A recent paper in Current Biology1 offers some important insights into a question creationists have long raised about the Cambrian explosion, the grand diversification of animals that occurred between about 530 to 520 Ma (millions of years ago). To wit: Was the geologically fast diversification during the Cambrian too fast to be explained by normal evolutionary processes? Does the Cambrian explosion threaten the theory of evolution? To these questions researchers at the University of Adelaide offer a definitive answer: “No.”
What if they gave a conference and everybody (except the hosts) came? That was my surreal experience at a tri-agency confab for 100 climate educators organized by professionals from NASA, NOAA, and NSF. Thanks to the federal shutdown, the organizers couldn't legally attend the meeting held at a hip hotel near the Reagan National Airport.
“You seem to be traveling all the time” is a comment I get a lot. I don’t actually travel all the time, but some months are busier than others. Some of my travel is to give presentations, which are listed with all NCSE staff and board member presentations here. When a staff member gives a talk somewhere, the office will usually send out a notice to NCSE members in the area, in case they wish to attend.
If you’re interested in making fun of creationism, it’s not too hard to do it. Indeed, there have even been a few book-length efforts, such as Robert S. Dietz and John C. Holden’s Creation/Evolution Satiricon: Creationism Bashed (1987) and Barrett Brown and Jon P. Alston’s Flock of Dodos: Behind Modern Creationism, Intelligent Design & the Easter Bunny (2007). And if you work at NCSE, where you’re professionally obliged to keep your eyes on the steady stream of creationist silliness...well, the phrase “spoiled for choice” springs to mind.
Last week on Fossil Friday, I showed you a skull that our house anthropologist, Eric Meikle, called "one of the four most historically significant discoveries in the human fossil record" (in his humble opinion).
There were a few false starts from readers: Neandertal, Australopithecus sediba... giant sloth. But no, Adriaan Meijer was the first to correctly identify the skull. It was the Taung child, Australopithecus africanus, discovered in 1924 in South Africa.
You may have run across the trailer for the Genesis 3D movie, a forthcoming cinematic piece produced by, among others, young earth creationist Eric Hovind, son of Kent “Dr.
Since the start of the government shutdown, my Facebook feed has been filled with nothing but politics. Everyone has an opinion about what is going on and who is responsible. This response was of course expected, but what surprised me was that almost immediately, intertwined with the political commentary, was a flurry of distressed posts from my scientist friends. “Ack! I can’t reach this dataset that was hosted on a government website, how can I do my research?” and “the NSF’s website is down, how can I apply for that grant?” became common themes throughout the day.