Although evolution education often focuses, appropriately, on the evidence—fossils, embryos, homologies, genes, etc.—one of the most compelling categories of evidence we have is ignored: evolution in action. We have seen evolution happening—not just the results or effects of evolution, but the process. Read more about it in this week's Misconception Monday!

+ read

I’m writing this blog from NCSE HQ and, dear readers, there is something in the air here other than awesome ideas. My histamines are in overload. My eyes are watering, my head is a cotton ball, and my nose is a faucet. As a result, I am feeling punchy, too.

+ read

In part 1, after explaining how I convinced Stephen Jay Gould to help me play a prank on my brother, I discussed Gould’s reaction, in his essay “Bully for Brontosaurus,” to a rather pointless squabble over a stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 1989.

+ read

For Christmas in 1996, my brother gave me a copy of Stephen Jay Gould’s Bully for Brontosaurus. On the title page, he wrote, “Steph, Should you continue in Biology/Zoölogy —no matter where you are—you’ll run into Mr. Gould and his slightly pedantic but fantastic writing. This is, then, an introduction into college-level scientific writing, a harbinger of things to, come, and, hopefully, a good read. Happy ‘studying.’” At the time, my brother was a senior at Harvard and about to launch into a very successful career in comedy writing. I was a senior in high school and about to turn down Harvard for Wellesley (Go Wellesley!). Nevertheless, I did continue in biology, and boy, did I ever run into Mr. Gould. Imagine my absolute delight when, in 2002 as his faculty assistant, I got Steve to write an inscription to my brother in an identical edition of Bully for Brontosaurus along the lines of, “Michael, if you think this is pedantic, wait until you see my Structure of Evolutionary Theory.

The look on my brother’s face when he opened his present? Priceless.

+ read

Last week I made a case that origins-of-life research doesn’t usually fall under the evolution umbrella. I offered my analogy that the first spark of life was a bit like a baton hand-off from chemical evolution to biological evolution. Today, I’ll get into some aspects of the topic that tend to evoke the most, well, heated and let’s say spirited discussion.

+ read