This post is by Joe Felsenstein and Tom English Back in October, one of us (JF) commented at Panda’s Thumb on William Dembski’s seminar presentation at the University of Chicago, Conservation of Information in Evolutionary Search. In his reply at the Discovery Institute’s Evolution News and Views blog, Dembski pointed out that he had referred to three of his own papers, and that Joe had mentioned only two. He generously characterized Joe’s post as an...
Tom Loftus reports in the Louisville Courier-Journal that Gov. Steve Beshear has asked a federal court to dismiss the Ark Park’s lawsuit on the grounds that “[p]roviding the public funding sought for religious purposes …would constitute an unlawful establishment of religion” and thereby violate both the state and federal constitutions. Governor Beshear and his co-plaintiff, state Treasurer Bob Stewart, told the Courier-Journal that “the state’s denial of public funds for the ark park [sic] ‘reflects...
The American Federation of Teachers adopted a resolution in 2014 affirming the role of science in climate change courses.
Science Culture: Where Canada Stands, a new report (PDF) from the Council of Canadian Academies, includes data on Canadian public opinion about evolution and related topics.
A pair of recent articles on the Science website seems to think so. Staff writer Robert Service says Researchers may have solved origin-of-life conundrum and writes, Chemists report today that a pair of simple compounds [HCN and H2S], which would have been abundant on early Earth, can give rise to a network of simple reactions that produce the three major classes of biomolecules—nucleic acids, amino acids, and lipids—needed for the earliest form of life to...
Photograph by James Rice. While we are still thinking of icicles, here is another ice stalagmite that James Rice sent us. We showed his picture of a natural ice stalagmite here, as well as another anthropogenic ice stalagmite here....
Scientists and science educators of all stripes — students, postdocs, faculty, and full- or part-time science communicators — are invited to enter the Fifth Annual Evolution Video Competition, sponsored by the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Society for the Study of Evolution.
NCSE is pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of Darwin award for 2015: Neil Shubin, the Robert R. Bensley Distinguished Service Professor of the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago, codiscoverer of Tiktaalik roseae and author of Your Inner Fish (2008), and Ronald L. Numbers, the Hilldale Professor of the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and author of The Creationists (1992, expanded edition 2006).
Today is Pi Day, and the time will be exactly pi at 3/14/15 9:26:53, or a little thereafter. We will not see another Pi Day till 2115, but I am sure that someone next year will point out that pi = 3.1416 within a thousandth of 1 percent or so. Won’t be the same, though!...
Remember the two studies published at the end of last year that produced groundbreaking evolutionary trees of birds and insects? The researchers in these studies used data from whole sequenced genomes to construct these more reliable trees. This is a practice that is somewhat novel but gaining importance in phylogenomics. But we’ve talked about how large data sets, like genomes, can lead to incorrect conclusions if analyzed improperly. How did the researchers avoid this problem?...
That is one of the disquieting results of a new survey, Enablers of doubt, by Michael Berkman and Eric Plutzer. The two Penn State professors interviewed a total of 35 students on 4 Pennsylvania campuses in 2013. All the students were training to be biology teachers; many were not comfortable with the theory of evolution, and many were “concerned about their ability to navigate controversy initiated by a student, parent, administrator, or other members of...
In 2005, Prof. Steve Steve visited Harvard for the Ig Nobels. We have had a request to use one of the pictures taken on his trip. If you are the photographer, please get it contact with us....
Reed A. Cartwright
An Icicle showing ripples due to impurities in the water. How the impurities cause the ripples is unknown....
The Wyoming state board of education voted on March 17, 2015, to return to the task of adopting new science standards, according to Wyoming Public Media (March 17, 2015) — but a proposal to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards outright was rejected.
"The debate over choosing standards for science education in South Dakota's public schools has become a divisive battleground with a clear split between science professionals who strongly support the new standards and opposing parents who disbelieve climate change and evolution," reports the Rapid City Journal (March 17, 2015).
I get email. One of the email messages I got yesterday was from Battle for the Net, a group advocating strong net neutrality rules enforced by the FCC under Title II. In the House of Congress, there is a move by Reps. Thune and Upton to propose and pass legislation that claims to establish “net […]
Added October 31, 2006:A discussion of the main models on the spontaneous origin of life that aims to show how cellular complexity could have gradually emerged from simple systems - in contrast to the sudden appearance of complexity that creationists claim to have been necessary at the beginning of life. Central issues like the composition of the early atmosphere of the Earth and the origin of the homochirality of amino acids and sugars are reviewed as well.