08.05.2016

It’s pretty much all evolution, all the time, this week. Pokémon, humans, creationists, even our understanding of the past—everything evolves.

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Let me begin by saying that while I’m not a Luddite, I’m also not a technology whiz. I’m one of those less-than-cool people who still use Facebook, have no idea what WhatsApp is, and don’t know which expresses approval—swiping left or swiping right. I recently asked my way-cooler-than-me au pair to show me SnapChat and I didn’t really get it. So it should come as no surprise that while most of the rest of the world was playing Pokémon GO, I remained happy in a cocoon of ignorance.

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Snippet from the title page of The Evolution of Man Scientifically Disproved

What a joy is William A. Williams’s The Evolution of Man Scientifically Disproved (1925)! Previously, I’ve discussed its use of a quotation from “Dr. Traas, a famous paleontologist” who supposedly said that the idea that humans descended from any simian species was “certainly the most foolish ever put forth by a man writing on the history of man”; Traas proved to be Oscar Fraas, with a F instead of a T, and he was writing in 1866. I’ve also discussed its use of a quotation from “W. H. Thompson,” who supposedly said that “The Darwinian theory is now rejected by the majority of biologists, as absurdly inadequate”; Thompson proved to be William Hanna Thomson, with no p, and he was talking about natural selection, not evolution in general, and he was doing so in 1911, fourteen years before Williams’s book was published. But recently I noticed a passage in The Evolution of Man Scientifically Disproved that nicely intertwines two threads of contemporary creationist silliness.

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In my previous installment in this series on NCSE’s first evolution summer camp, I described working with creationist campers. If you are just tuning in, yes, NCSE ran a summer camp on evolution!  And yes, we had creationist campers! After an open conflict, which group leaders responded to calmly and by deescalating the situation, our creationist campers actually began to show signs of accepting evolution.

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08.01.2016

I’ve been writing lately about our first ever NCSE evolution camp. Yes, NCSE is actually running a camp. So far I’ve told you about challenges we faced from creationist campers, and how the friendly, respectful, and open culture we promoted around discussion in our camp helped kids talk about evolution. In this segment, you’ll see how this played out the rest of the week.

 

Hiking!

 

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