Last week, on National Fossil Day, our Stephanie Keep organized a twitter conversation where folks could ask paleontologists their pressing questions. It rocked, and you can find the whole thing on the #askapaleo Storify.

Stephanie’s icebreaker question about the disappointingly featherless dinosaurs in Jurassic World got this reply from paleontology reporter Brian Switek:

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Alabama state coat of arms, via Wikimedia CommonsIn September 2015, something amazing happened. It isn’t what we traditionally think of as ground-breaking or life-changing, but to millions of young people in one southern state, this will be the first step toward a new lens on science. What was it?

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Those are pretty shocking words to read in a classroom, and even more so when coming from a student. But that is exactly what S.K. saw scrawled across the last page of a biology exam she graded last year.

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Eight years ago, the Pew Research Center released a massive survey of American religion. Pew’s researchers surveyed over 35,000 people, a massive sample that was necessary to give representative subsamples of even the smallest of religious denominations. By contrast, most public opinion surveys sample 600-1000 people. This week, they did it again, publishing initial findings from their survey of 35,071 Americans.

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Hey Friday Flicks Fans, I’m letting my good buddy, friend of NCSE, lover of science, and movie blogger, Max Yip, pick this month’s Friday Flick! Max had a million ideas, but I was able to convince him to select just one video (not a conventional ‘flick’, but definitely worth a watch.) Never one to hide from controversy, Max chose the surprisingly controversial Bill Nye Big Think video called “Creationism is Not Appropriate for Children.”

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Downtown Columbus, Ohio. Photograph by  Derek Jensen (Tysto), via Wikimedia Commons.

A few times while reading about the history of the creationism/evolution controversy, I’ve noticed references to a policy adopted by the Columbus, Ohio, board of education in 1971 that provided for the teaching of creationism along with evolution. But there are rarely any details. In The Evolution Controversy in America (1994), for example, George E. Webb writes, “The board of education in Columbus, Ohio, passed a resolution in 1971 encouraging teachers to present special creation along with evolution,” and that’s all. As someone who was enrolled in Columbus, Ohio, public schools from kindergarten to high school, I find that irritating. As fate would have it, however, a copy of the resolution surfaced in NCSE’s archives recently, and a kindly colleague placed it on my desk.

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We asked applicants for the NCSE Grand Canyon Teacher Scholarship to explain, in 500 words, what lessons or knowledge they expected to gain from rafting the Grand Canyon, to enrich their students’, colleagues’, and neighbors’ understanding of evolution, deep time, climate change, and the natural world. Here is part of scholarship winner Scott Hatfield’s explanation of what he hopes to bring back from the Grand Canyon to his Fresno, California, high school.

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