As an organization, NCSE is focused on science education—and as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, it tries to stay out of politics as much as possible. With the recent Republican National Convention making headlines though, politics was definitely on my mind this week (and no doubt your mind too!)

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Some time ago, I wrote about Lamar Smith (R–Texas and chairman of the House Science Committee) and his efforts to intimidate climate scientists. In that post, I noted that Smith had issued:

…a Congressional subpoena—the King Kong of information requests—for all emails and correspondence between the paper’s authors and NOAA officials.

You might say that as taxpayers we have a right to see everything that government employees and government-funded scientists write to each other…but when the only correspondence that is sought is that concerning a scientific finding that pisses off a politician, society’s collective you-know-what detector really ought to go off.

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07.20.2016

Two things I really like are whales and blogger/author/fossil hunter Brian Switek. So, naturally, when I saw that Switek had written about whales, I was excited. His piece “When Whales Started Living Large” summarizes new research by paleontologists Nicholas Pyenson and Geerat Vermeij—but before I get to that, a diversion…

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Theodosius Dobzhansky’s “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” is my favorite science quote, as it sums up perfectly how important evolution is to our understanding of biology. Unfortunately, in far too many schools evolution is not taught all, or not taught to its full extent. When it comes to human evolution in particular, the statistics are even more depressing.

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07.18.2016

James Clerk Maxwell. Engraving by G. J. Stodart, via Wikimedia Commons

I was recently reading through “The Passing of Evolution,” George Frederick Wright’s contribution to The Fundamentals (1910–1915). Wright (1838–1921) was a minister and self-educated geologist who, under the tutelage of the botanist Asa Gray, became (as Ronald Numbers describes him in The Creationists [1992]) “one of Darwin’s most enthusiastic advocates.” But in the 1880s, when he was a professor at Oberlin College, “the thrust of his efforts shifted from defending evolution and the scientific enterprise against biblical literalists to defending the historical accuracy of the Bible against critics who applied evolution to the making of the Bible itself,” and by the time that A. C. Dixon was recruiting authors for The Fundamentals, he was a natural choice to be asked to contribute a screed against evolution.

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