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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07.15.2016

Turtles and lizards and pterosaurs, oh my! And whales. Also, sorry to say, continued sobering reports of trends in and consequences of climate change, but also continued efforts to obfuscate and misrepresent the science.

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The past two weeks, I’ve been asking you on the Friday Forage to dive into the new website to find some of NCSE’s greatest historical writings. The first week’s forage had you searching for material on the Kitzmiller trial—kudos to Steve Bowden for foraging first! The next week’s forage was focused on NCSE’s position on science and religion. Congrats to Dan Hough for digging up that piece.

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