Posted on March 18, 2016 * Comments

Cards, showing all four suitsImage by Enoch Lau, via Wikimedia Commons under a CC-BY-SA license. Take a card deck (no jokers). Pull out a card. What’s the probability that you’ll see a spade?

25%, right?

Posted on March 18, 2016 * Comments

A fossil!

Oh, the inexhaustible charms of the Ediacaran! The first person correctly to identify the specimen here in the comments below will find his or her name forever enshrined in the annals of Answer Monday. The first person to ask, “What are fronds for?” or to comment, “With fronds like these …” will find himself or herself to have been pre-empted. Also, they’re not fronds anyhow.

Posted on March 17, 2016 * Comments
Posted on March 16, 2016 * Comments

Chimpanzee at a typewriter. Via Wikimedia Commons.

“HUXLEY’S ARGUMENT FOR CHANCE EVOLUTION IS STILL CONSIDERED TO BE VALID IN MANY ACADEMIC CIRCLES TODAY. THE JOURNAL SCIENCE RECENTLY CITED IT AS SUCH. FEW HAVE RECOGNISED THE FATAL FLAW IN HIS REASONING.” That subheadline, in all its capitalized glory, caught my attention while I was looking through a strange book that surfaced in NCSE’s archives recently. The book in question is volume 3 of something calling itself the Christian News Encyclopedia for 1984–1988. It is essentially a thematically organized collection of reprinted articles from various newspapers, secular and Christian. “Creation” and “Evolution” are both themes in volume 3, so I peeked at the reprinted articles to see if the volume was worth retaining. The capitalized subheadline comes from “Time and Chance,” by A. E. Wilder-Smith (1911–1995), and the whole article is reprinted from Creation Ex Nihilo (1986; volume 8, number 4).

Posted on March 15, 2016 * Comments

Hello, readers! It’s been a while. I have a good excuse, though: I’ve been busy putting together the second issue of the “new” Reports of the NCSE (RNCSE), which you will receive sometime in early-mid April. (That’s assuming you’re a member. You’re a member, right? If not, that can be fixed.) With that giant TO DO crossed off from my list, I found myself in the market for a good blog topic. I did what I always do what I need something, whether inspiration or completely esoteric quote attribution—I asked Glenn Branch.

Posted on March 15, 2016 * Comments

 

Remember when Pope Francis called for action on climate change? That was back in the fall of 2015. Last week I had the opportunity to see what some Catholics are doing in response to his call for action when I visited one of our local partners, The Prairiewoods Center. The Center is run by nuns; it’s a ministry of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. They provide education on evolution and climate change to tens of thousands of people.

 

Posted on March 14, 2016 * Comments

A fossil!Lots of you identified the Ordovician element of the mélange here, but I wonder how many of you noticed the hint? I advised you to write big. And as it happens, the name of the genus of eurypterid you see here before you is Megalograptus—big writing. You might wonder why a genus of sea scorpion from about 450 million years ago should be so named. After all, it’s not like they were famed for their three-decker novels.

Posted on March 11, 2016 * Comments

One of the titles below will make Stephanie Keep’s head explode, or maybe she’ll just make like a hydra and tear off her face. Brownie points if you can identify which article, and why. And enjoy all the other interesting articles we found this week!

 

Posted on March 11, 2016 * Comments

Eileen Hynes is a teacher at Lake and Park School in Seattle, Washington. She is a member of NCSE’s teacher advisory board, a National Geographic Teacher Fellow, and a NOAA Climate Steward. 

Posted on March 11, 2016 * Comments

A fossil!The Quaternary (or Anthropocene, if you like) element of the mélange here is a USB flash drive belonging to Dan Phelps, who provided the photograph. But what is the Ordovician element?