07.29.2016

In my previous installment I discussed our first day at camp, how we talked with kids about evolution and DNA, then took them to tour the facilities and extract DNA at Integrated DNA Technologies. This was a great approach to dealing with creationist students, since it avoided many of the anti-evolution arguments they’ve often heard. This prevented kids from potentially hijacking the conversation with a prepared script, rather than engaging in learning.

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07.28.2016

In my first installment of this series reporting on NCSE’s first-ever summer evolution camp, I talked about how we arranged some of the necessary logistics to get our cool free summer camp up and rolling, and then almost immediately ran into creationist students.

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07.27.2016

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

In part 1, I began trying to verify a quotation supposedly from James Clerk Maxwell (right), who, according to George Frederick Wright’s “The Passing of Evolution,” said of all systems of evolution, “I have examined all that have come within my reach, and have found that every one must have a God to make it work.” Previous invocations of Maxwell by Wright suggested that it might have occurred along with a discussion of atoms as “manufactured articles,” which points to Maxwell’s article on “Atom” for the ninth edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica (1875). (Also a possible candidate is Maxwell’s “Molecules,” a public lecture published in Nature in 1873; it prefigures and is reflected in the encyclopedia article, so it requires no special treatment here.)

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07.27.2016

NCSE has been focusing more on outreach. We want to find ways to help communities connect positively with science education, particularly on the issues we care most about: evolution and climate change. As part of the Science Booster Club Project, I’ve been developing a lot of new outreach strategies. In a first ever experience for NCSE, I spent last week running a free science camp for fifth and sixth graders focused on evolution.

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“Silly,” “comically short,” “feeble,” “itty-bitty,” “teeny-tiny,” “useless,” and “wimpy” are not generally phrases you’d associate with a fearsome predator, but they are just some of the adjectives science writers used to describe one of the fiercest of the fierce—T. rex … or its arms, anyway. And now there is a new dino on the block with similarly disproportional arms. What if anything does it mean, evolutionarily, that there are now two predators with tiny arms? 

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