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Antiscience bills in Florida

Two bills introduced in the Florida legislature — House Bill 899 and Senate Bill 1018 — are ostensibly aimed at empowering taxpayers to object to the use of specific instructional materials in the public schools, for example on the grounds that they fail to provide "a noninflammatory, objective, and balanced viewpoint on issues." There is reason to believe that evolution and climate change are among the targets.

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"Creationism Whistleblower"

Zack Kopplin

Writing in The Daily Beast (December 28, 2015), Zack Kopplin reviews the last decade of antievolution strategies — with the assistance of a former employee of the Discovery Institute, the de facto institutional home of "intelligent design" creationism.

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Alfred G. Gilman dies

Alfred G. Gilman, via University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

The eminent pharmacologist and biochemist Alfred G. Gilman — a member of NCSE's Advisory Council — died on December 23, 2015, at the age of 74, according to The New York Times (December 24, 2015). Gilman and Martin Rodbell were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1994 for "their discovery of G-proteins and the role of these proteins in signal transduction in cells." The Times explains that their "research helped scientists understand how the body receives signals and transmits outside stimuli like light and odor, and from a variety of hormones in the body" and also increased understanding of certain types of cancer and hereditary glandular disorders.

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The Royal Astronomical Society adds its voice for evolution

The chorus of support for the teaching of evolution continues, with a statement from the Royal Astronomical Society, adopted in 2011.

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Facebook: n > 140,000

A milestone: there are now over 140,000 fans of NCSE's Facebook page. Why not join them, by visiting the page and becoming a fan by clicking on the "Like" box by NCSE's name?

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ID at Kitzmiller+10: They still don't get it

Panda's Thumb - Sun, 2015-12-20 23:57
Well, I can’t believe it’s been 10 years, but the anniversary of the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision is finally upon us. Looking at the Discovery Institute’s posts over the last few days, and comparing them to the discussion that was going on in December 2005 (see the Panda’s Thumb archive for 2005 – John West is all over that feed as well!), I guess the main thought I have is: just like 2 days after... Nick Matzke http://www.talkdesign.org
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Kitzmas -- tenth anniversary of Kitzmiller victory

Panda's Thumb - Sun, 2015-12-20 23:57
Professor Steve Steve’s cousin, Dr. Steffi Steffi, a lesser giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca minor), was in Peru on December 21, 2005, and she read about the previous day’s decision in the Times Digest. Here she looks with pleasure at the announcement by Wesley Elsberry in The Panda’s Thumb on December 20 and a longer article by Laurie Goodstein in the Times the following day.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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Bonus material on The Evolution of Antievolution Policies After Kitzmiller v. Dover

Panda's Thumb - Sun, 2015-12-20 23:57
On PhyloWiki, I have just posted a page of bonus material on the Science paper “The Evolution of Antievolution Policies After Kitzmiller v. Dover.” Highlights include: pre-print text (for those without university access to Science or ScienceExpress) supplemental material & data (also archived at Science, but may not be generally available until the article moves from ScienceExpress to Science A version of the phylogeny that is CC BY-SA 4.0 licensed (for those of you who... Nick Matzke http://www.talkdesign.org
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Discovery Institute: So much for Academic Freedom!

Panda's Thumb - Sun, 2015-12-20 23:57
(Update: paper preprint and bonus material available free here) It appears that John West and the Discovery Institute skipped past reading the Science paper and went straight to accusing the author of misconduct. So much for “Academic Freedom”! I don’t even think they read the Supplemental Material, and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t understand if if they did. It’s conceivable they aren’t up on the latest in phylogenetic methods and their applications. In any event,... Nick Matzke http://www.talkdesign.org
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University rescinds honorary degree awarded to Konrad Lorenz

Panda's Thumb - Sun, 2015-12-20 23:57
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported yesterday that the University of Salzburg has posthumously rescinded an honorary doctorate it had awarded to the ethologist Konrad Lorenz because of what Haaretz called “his fervent embrace of Nazism.” Some people consider Lorenz, the man who famously got a gaggle of geese to imprint on him, to be the father of ethology. Haaretz says, Lorenz describes himself as “always a National Socialist.” He says his work “stands to serve... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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The evolution of antievolution policies after Kitzmiller v. Dover

Panda's Thumb - Sun, 2015-12-20 23:57
(Update: paper preprint and bonus material available free here) It is 7 am in Australia, but this is finally out on Thursday afternoon in the U.S.…just in time for the tenth anniversary of Kitzmiller v. Dover! I will do a longer post a little later, but for now - be sure to check out the Supplemental Material! Matzke, Nicholas J. (2015). “The evolution of antievolution policies after Kitzmiller v. Dover. Science, Published online Dec. 17,... Nick Matzke http://www.talkdesign.org
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The War Before Kitzmas

Panda's Thumb - Sun, 2015-12-20 23:57
Over at Elizabeth Liddle’s “The Skeptical Zone” (TSZ) blog, Salvador Cordova had something to say about being banned from the “Uncommon Descent” (UD) blog, now being managed (loosely speaking) by Barry K. Arrington. Arrington did something for Cordova that he doesn’t do for most people banned from UD, which was to send Sal an explanatory letter, which Sal included in his TSZ post. I’ll quote it below the fold.... Wesley R. Elsberry http://www.antievolution.org
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Kitzmas is Coming!

Panda's Thumb - Sun, 2015-12-20 23:57
The tenth anniversary of the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision, which came out on December 20, 2005, is right around the corner. There have already been some good retrospectives, including a series of pieces by the York Daily Record, another series in Reports of the National Center for Science Education, and a “What If Intelligent Design Had Won?” discussion by Eugenie Scott and Kenneth Miller in York College, Pennsylvania, in November. There will undoubtedly be more... Nick Matzke http://www.talkdesign.org
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Toxicodendron rydbergii

Panda's Thumb - Sun, 2015-12-20 23:57
Toxicodendron rydbergii – western poison ivy, South Boulder Creek Trail, Boulder, Colorado, September, 2015. Poison ivy is red only in the fall.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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Game over for antievolutionary No Free Lunch argument

Panda's Thumb - Sun, 2015-12-20 23:57
This has been obvious from the start, but as far as I know it has taken 10 years for the ID guys to finally admit it. Winston Ewert writes at the Discovery Institute blog: However, Felsenstein and English note that a more realistic model of evolution wouldn’t have a random fitness landscape. Felsenstein, in particular, argues that “the ordinary laws of physics, with their weakness of long-range interactions, lead to fitness surfaces much smoother than... Nick Matzke http://www.talkdesign.org
Categories: Pro-Science News

Climate change: Point of no return?

Panda's Thumb - Sun, 2015-12-20 23:57
Eli Kintisch at Science magazine has put together a remarkable collage called After Paris: The rocky road ahead. Rocky indeed! The upper left graph shows steadily rising global emissions of carbon dioxide, with not even a glitch after the Kyoto meeting. The projections after the Paris meeting are not comforting either, unless we undertake a massive effort. But now look at the lower-right graph. Does anyone believe that we – that is, the world –... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Toxicodendron radicans rydbergii

Panda's Thumb - Sun, 2015-12-20 23:57
Toxicodendron radicans rydbergii – western poison ivy, South Boulder Creek Trail, Boulder, Colorado, July, 2015. As I was taking the picture, a little voice approached me and asked, “Do you know —? Is that —? Could that be —? Poison ivy?” Yes, and it was one of the lushest fields of poison ivy I have seen this side of New Jersey, growing right along the trail. You can identify it because it has 3... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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Dembski: "Moving On" from ID

Panda's Thumb - Sun, 2015-12-20 23:57
From William Dembski’s new blog, for November 9th: In the last few years, my focus has switched from ID to education, specifically to advancing freedom through education via technology. All my old stuff on ID is on the present site (it was previously at DesignInference.com, which is no more), and can be accessed by clicking on “Design” in the main menu. I still have a few ID projects in the works, notably second editions... Dave Thomas http://www.nmsr.org
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Evolution finally winning?

Panda's Thumb - Sun, 2015-12-20 23:57
Good article in Slate, Evolution Is Finally Winning Out Over Creationism, by Rachel Gross. I have not checked the surveys myself, but Gross reports, The people responsible for this shift are the young. According to a recent Pew Research Center report, 73 percent of American adults younger than 30 expressed some sort of belief in evolution, a jump from 61 percent in 2009, the first year in which the question was asked. The number who... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

How Ark Park is taking everyone for a ride

Panda's Thumb - Sun, 2015-12-20 23:57
Excellent article, What Ken Ham Isn’t Telling You About Ark Encounter Funding, by Tracey Moody, regarding the financing of the Ark Park. Much is already known to PT readers, but the iceberg is bigger than we thought. Besides for-profits masquerading as nonprofits, it appears that the Ark Park is eligible for tax-increment financing, whereby the Ark Park (or some incarnation thereof) receives a loan that is paid back (if at all) by property taxes. The... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News
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