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Pro-Science News

Ham-handed attack on governor of Kentucky

Panda's Thumb - Fri, 2014-11-28 09:35
Joe Sonka reported the other day in Insider Louisville that Ken Ham has now attacked his old friend, Steve Beshear, the governor of Kentucky. As Mr. Sonka puts it, Mr. Ham “penned a fundraising letter last week claiming the governor is launching a ‘massive attack’ on their religious freedom and persecuting his organization ‘because of our Christian message.’” Mr. Ham blames atheists and “secularists” for putting pressure on state government officials and avers that “our... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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Analyzing the Genome with Statistics

Panda's Thumb - Mon, 2014-11-24 20:04
This is the third 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 the challenges of using statistics to analyze phylogenomic data. Suppose you were a door manufacturer trying to figure out the average height of a population living in a certain country. You might conduct an experiment where you ask a group of people... Emily Thompson
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Gilbert, Arizona, school district to abort page from biology textbook ...

Panda's Thumb - Mon, 2014-11-24 20:04
… because it (gasp!) uses the word, “abortion.” But wait – there is a glimmer of hope: The new superintendent, who was ordered to offer a plan for redacting the textbooks, says that the books comply with the law already and instead plans to hold a public discussion. Meanwhile, as a service to the affected high-school students, Rachel Maddow has posted the offending page on a blog, ArizonaHonorsBiology.com, which her show apparently owns. If you... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Lenticular clouds

Panda's Thumb - Mon, 2014-11-24 20:04
Interesting cloud formation, Boulder, Colorado. The camera is facing south, and the wind is coming from the west, or right. One hour later, in Golden,... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Evolution in a new PRRI survey

Attitudes toward evolution and the compatibility of science and religion were addressed in a new survey (PDF) from the Public Religion Research Institute (which, as NCSE previously reported, was mainly focused on climate change).  Presented with "Evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life on earth," 24% of respondents completely agreed, 29% mostly agreed, 14% mostly disagreed, and 27% completely disagreed, with 5% of respondents saying that they didn't know or refusing to answer.

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Climate change in a new PRRI survey

A new survey (PDF) from the Public Religion Research Institute hopes to help to explain, in the words of its report's subtitle, "Why Americans are Conflicted about Climate Change, Environmental Policy, and Science." Included in the survey was a series of questions probing beliefs about climate change and its causes.

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Corrected textbooks adopted in Texas

The Texas state board of education voted to adopt a slate of social studies textbooks for use in the state on November 21, 2014. Among the books approved were several textbooks that, after criticism from NCSE and its allies in the scientific, educational, and civil liberties communities, were revised by their publishers (including Pearson and McGraw-Hill) to eliminate misrepresentations of climate science.

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Creationist legislation in Brazil

A bill introduced in the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies would, if enacted, require creationism to be taught in the country's public and private schools.

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On the road again with NESCent

The Darwin Day Roadshow is returning! The Roadshow is a project of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, in which NESCent staff shares their enthusiasm for evolutionary science with students, teachers, and the general public on the occasion of Charles Darwin's birthday, February 12.

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Opposition to new science standards in South Dakota?

A South Dakota state senator dislikes a proposed new set of state science standards, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader (November 18, 2014). At a November 17, 2014, public hearing — the second of four — on the standards, Phil Jensen (R-District 33) expressed concern about the treatment of evolution and climate change.

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Further progress in Texas

"McGraw-Hill, the second-largest educational publisher in the world, has removed key passages from a proposed Texas textbook that cast doubt on climate science," reports the National Journal (November 17, 2014). 

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Philae craft lands on comet

Panda's Thumb - Sat, 2014-11-15 04:21
Rosetta headquarters announced a few moments ago that the Philae lander is now sitting on the surface of the comet and transmitting data. Unfortunately, the European Space Agency is not exactly releasing a trove of pictures. I know this is not biology, but where did you think those hydrocarbons came from in the first place?... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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RNCSE 34:6 now on-line

NCSE is pleased to announce that the latest issue of Reports of the National Center for Science Education is now available on-line.

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Progress in Texas

"Climate scientists can breathe a bit easier," the National Journal (November 13, 2014) reports. "Pearson Education — the largest educational publisher in the world — has cut material from a proposed Texas social-studies textbook that cast doubt on the human causes of global warming."

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Net Neutrality and the Contrarian Backlash

W.R. Elsberry's The Austringer - Fri, 2014-11-14 07:20
Earlier this week, President Barack Obama gave a speech laying out strong support for “net neutrality”. Obama called on the FCC to change classification of broadband internet providers to “common carrier” class, meaning that they would be prohibited from privileging — or blocking — particular sorts of traffic passing through their systems. The backlash was […]
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The latest from Texas

The pressure on the Texas board of education to require the correction of errors in the coverage of climate change in social studies textbooks presently under consideration continues.

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Update from Scotland

The Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament heard testimony supporting the proposed ban on teaching creationism as scientifically credible in Scotland's public schools on November 11, 2014, according to the Press Association (November 11, 2014). The committee agreed to write to the Scottish government, the Educational Institute of Scotland, the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association and the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland to receive their views on the matter.

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Phylogenomics: Deciphering a Billion-Piece Puzzle

Panda's Thumb - Sun, 2014-11-09 00:23
This is the second 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 phylogenomics, the application of whole genome sequencing to understand evolutionary relationships among species. DNA Chemical Structure. Source: Madeleine Price Ball The haploid human genome is 3.2 billion DNA bases long, and each base can be one of four nucleotides: A, T, C, and... Emily Thompson
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Michael Peroutka elected to county council

Panda's Thumb - Sun, 2014-11-09 00:23
Or, as Right-Wing Watch puts it, Neo-Confederate Republican Michael Peroutka Wins Maryland Election. Mr. Peroutka operates the family foundation that donated the allosaurus fossil to the Creation “Museum,” as we reported here. I will not synopsize the Right-Wing Watch article, but I think that you will find that being a neo-Confederate is the least of Mr. Peroutka’s problems; if he is not completely crackers, he is giving a convincing imitation.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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Andreas Wagner: Arrival of the Fittest: Solving Evolution's Greatest Puzzle

Panda's Thumb - Sun, 2014-11-09 00:23
I started this post thinking I’d write a review of Andreas Wagner’s recent book “Arrival of the Fittest: Solving Evolution’s Greatest Puzzle” (links below), an engrossing book about how biological innovation arises from the structure of metabolic, genotype, and protein networks, and how robustness–the stability of phenotypes in the face of underlying genetic variability–is critical in evolutionary innovations. But there are several excellent reviews already out there, so another would be redundant. I’ll mention only... Richard B. Hoppe
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