It's time to dust off your Darwin costume again: less than a month remains before Darwin Day 2015!
"Groups that support teaching students about the evidence showing that humans are contributing to a global rise in temperatures are speaking out against West Virginia's changes to the state's new K-12 science education standards," reports the Charleston Gazette (January 4, 2015).
Anyone who relies on the Supreme Court to guarantee that creationism will not be taught in public school or that the Ark Park’s threatened lawsuit will necessarily fail might want to read an article by Erwin Chemerinsky in the January 1 issue of The Washington Spectator. In that article, which I take to be a longish abstract of his book, Chemerinsky argues that the Court has generally not lived up to its “lofty expectations” and...
Michael Behe is very thrilled that a PNAS paper published this year “confirms a key inference I made in 2007 in The Edge of Evolution.” The Discovery Institute is also thrilled, enough so to reprint Behe’s July 14, 2014 op-ed on ENV as this year’s #4 in the top-story countdown. Says Behe, regarding what he describes as “the need for multiple, specific changes in a particular malarial protein (called PfCRT) for the development of resistance...
Photograph by Jim Kocher. Photography contest, Honorable Mention. Painted Wall – Black Canyon of the Gunnison River, Montrose, Colorado, May, 1999; Kodachrome 64. Proterozoic schists intruded by pegmatite dikes (~1.25 Ga). Vertical relief is ~2,200 ft....
The dismissal of a creationist lawsuit seeking to prevent Kansas from adopting the Next Generation Science Standards on the grounds that doing so would "establish and endorse a non-theistic religious worldview" is now under appeal. The Associated Press (December 31, 2014) reports that the plaintiffs in COPE et al. v. Kansas State Board of Education et al. filed a notice of appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit on December 30, 2014.
"At the request of a West Virginia Board of Education member who said he doesn't believe human-influenced climate change is a 'foregone conclusion,' new state science standards on the topic were altered before the state school board adopted them," reported the Charleston Gazette (December 28, 2014), in a detailed story.
Wyoming's House Bill 23 (PDF), introduced on December 23, 2014, would, if enacted, repeal the footnote in the law establishing the state budget for 2014-2016 that precludes the use of state funds "for any review or adoption" of the Next Generation Science Standards.
According to a blurb in Science yesterday, researchers have discovered a fossilized fish whose eyes show traces of pigment and also fossilized rods and cones. The existence of the cones suggests that color vision developed at least 300 Ma ago. You may read the full article, which appears in Nature Communications, by following the link from the Science article; you can read it only on screen – a pdf will cost you $32. _____ P.S....
I would not exactly call it a Christmas present, but today I happened to learn of a press release circulated by the Nature Publishing Group on December 2 of this year. The press release was not exactly a model of clarity, but if I understand it correctly, subscribers to any of a number of the publishing group’s journals can legitimately make articles available to individual colleagues who are not subscribers. In addition, readers of “100...
That is, are male members of the species Homo sapiens idiots? No, but according to a recent article, they are more likely to be idiots than women are. The only thing surprising about this conclusion is that it is so unsurprising. For years now, whenever my daughter or I see a bicyclist dash madly across 4 lanes of traffic, we announce to each other, “Another male trying to improve the gene pool.” We are uncertain...
NCSE is pleased to congratulate Patricia Kelley — a professor of geology at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and a member of NCSE's Advisory Council — on her selection as one of four Outstanding Professors of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
(Reprinted from Recursivity.) As each year draws to a close, we can expect being treated to the annual ritual of self-congratulation by intelligent design advocates. Why, they have accomplished so much in the last year! The movement is simply overflowing with ideas! And honest, god-fearing people! And real scientists! And publishing successes! Not at all like those dogmatic, liberal, communistic, intolerant, censoring, Nazi-like evolutionists! 2014 is no different. Here we have the DI's official clown,...
Michigan's House Bill 4972, which would, if enacted, have required that Michigan's "model core academic curriculum standards shall not be based on the Next Generation Science Standards," died in the House Committee on Education when the legislature adjourned on December 19, 2014.
The chorus of support for the teaching of evolution continues, with a position statement on evolution from Leeds Museums and Galleries.
The Scottish government rejected the proposal to ban the teaching of creationism in publicly funded schools in Scotland, according to the Glasgow Herald (December 16, 2014). The head of Curriculum Unit at the Learning Directorate told the newspaper, "I can ... confirm that there are no plans to issue guidance to schools or education authorities to prevent the presentation of creationism, intelligent design or similar doctrines by teachers or school visitors. The evidence available suggests that guidance on these matters is unnecessary."
The authors of House Bill 597, the anti-common core science distorting bill introduced in the Ohio legislature, is dead for now. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer (via NCSE), the bill won’t be debated or voted on this term. However, according to the bill’s author, Republican State Representative Andy Thompson, the issue will be revived in the next term of the Legislature. I’ll note that the Bill’s co-author, Republican Speaker Pro Tem Max Huffman, will...
Richard B. Hoppe
This is the fourth in a series of articles for the general public focused on understanding how species are related and how genomic data is used in research. Today, we talk about some common fallacies in phylogenomics. Where do humans fit on the evolutionary tree of life? This is an important topic in evolutionary biology. A lot of people believe humans are the most important and highly-evolved organisms, but in reality, all modern species are...
Libellula pulchella – eight twelve-spotted skimmer, Elmer’s Two-Mile Creek, Boulder, Colorado. See here for eight-spotted skimmer, L. forensis....