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The Panda's Thumb is the virtual pub of the University of Ediacara. The patrons gather to discuss evolutionary theory, critique the claims of the antievolution movement, defend the integrity of both science and science education, and share good conversation. Movable Type Pro 4.381
Updated: 1 day 15 hours ago

Cognitive dissonance in Kentucky

Wed, 2016-05-04 16:00
Dan Phelps just sent us an editorial in the Lexington Herald-Leader. The editorial accuses Kentucky of seeking science jobs while at the same time denying science: not just evolution but also global warming, alternative energy sources, and conservation. The editorial notes that Kentucky is “perennially short of money,” in part because of tax breaks like that for the Ark Park, and concludes, Kentucky forgoes tax revenue to help deny science while telling students they need... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Celithemis eponina

Tue, 2016-04-26 21:01
Photograph by Robin Lee-Thorp. Photography contest, Honorable Mention. Celithemis eponina – Halloween pennant.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Cope vs. Kansas State Board of Education loses on appeal

Sat, 2016-04-23 10:47
NCSE informs us that the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has rendered a decision in the appeal of Cope vs. Kansas, which we reported on here. Specifically, the Court of Appeals upheld the District Court’s earlier dismissal of the case, largely on the basis of standing. Additionally, NCSE notes, “Interestingly, though, the decision observes in a footnote that COPE’s suggestion for ‘teleological’ explanations to be added to the standards would be unconstitutional.” NCSE’s report on... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

The Ark Park is hiring

Thu, 2016-04-21 00:51
Answers in Genesis is advertising a whole slew of jobs, but you do not have to read very far between the lines to realize that the hirees will be “detailed” to the Ark Park, presumably because AIG, as a religious organization, is allowed to discriminate on the basis of religion. I do not know why they are bothering, because recently a Kentucky judge ruled, in effect, that it was legal for the Ark Park itself... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Attacus atlas

Tue, 2016-04-12 01:25
Photograph by Diogenes. Photography contest, Honorable Mention. Attacus atlas – Atlas moth. This specimen is a captive male at the Museum of the Academy of Natural History of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

It's Paul Nelson Day, again

Sun, 2016-04-10 20:13
Solemn greetings, all. Today, as the more reverent among you know, is Paul Nelson Day. Today is the 12th annual feast day of St Nelson, patron saint of obtusity and procrastination, and we honor his contributions to science by...well, by not doing much of anything at all. You could make grandiose claims today and promise to make good on them tomorrow, a tomorrow that stretches out into a decade or more, I suppose, but that's... PZ Myers http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/
Categories: Pro-Science News

Metaconglomerate rock

Thu, 2016-03-31 13:12
Photograph by Dan Phelps. Metaconglomerate rock (commercially known as marinace; if anyone knows why, please comment below). Mr. Phelps writes: I originally became interested in this rock after reading this blog post. The material was hard to find in small quantities, but I found a company that sells interesting rock slabs to use as cutting boards. If you notice, my slab has handles, which I will probably remove. The rock is actually a metaconglomerate from... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

New Federal education law deserves a closer look from those interested in science education

Thu, 2016-03-31 13:12
By Gaythia Weis. I want to call attention to the newly enacted legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which relinquishes Federal control over many aspects of the education of our nation’s children. In so doing, this law may enable religious activists to exert their influence to a greater extent than previously possible. I need not remind readers of The Panda’s Thumb of the manner in which creationists attempt to subvert the public education system... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Kentucky school takes class to Creation "Museum"

Thu, 2016-03-31 13:12
I do not know why it is coming to light only now, but a few years ago a Kentucky elementary school rewarded students with “perfect” attendance by taking them on a field trip to the Creation “Museum.” Americans United has reported the story here, and a few days ago we received a press release from Daniel Phelps, a persistent critic of the Ark Park and the Creation Museum. Mr. Phelps has sent his press release... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Vestigial organs as proof of evolution

Mon, 2016-03-21 06:31
Interesting video, Proof of evolution that you can find on your own body, deals with several vestigial organs in the human body. It is certainly hard to see why a god might have included such organs if she had created humans by any method other than evolution. The video is only 4 min long; watch it!... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Billboard campaign vs. the Ark Park

Mon, 2016-03-21 06:31
The Sensuous Curmudgeon informs us today that the Tri-State Freethinkers of Newport, Kentucky, will launch a billboard campaign that, as they put it, intends to “counter” the grand opening of the Ark Park in July. They have launched an IndieGoGo campaign with an intended goal of $2000; when I checked a moment ago, it looked as though they had raised nearly $3100 in a single day. The billboard will read Genocide and Incest Park Celebrating... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Grus canadensis

Tue, 2016-03-15 00:56
Photograph by Robert Dullien. Grus canadensis – sandhill crane.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Intelligent design makes it into Plos One

Thu, 2016-03-03 05:31
We have just received an e-mail from one of the Panda’s Thumb crew to the effect that a paper “demonstrating” the intelligent design of the human hand has been published in the refereed journal Plos One. The paragraphs that caught the crew member’s attention are these: The explicit functional link indicates that the biomechanical characteristic of tendinous connective architecture between muscles and articulations is the proper design by the Creator to perform a multitude of... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Does the DI's latest Fund Raising Appeal Cross the Line?

Tue, 2016-03-01 01:41
This was sent out by the Discovery Institute around a week ago. Note the bolded sentence. Dear {Insert name of email recipient here}: Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck, originator of modern quantum theories and 1918 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, was quoted as saying, “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation... Dave Thomas http://www.nmsr.org
Categories: Pro-Science News

Hirundo rustica

Tue, 2016-03-01 01:41
Hirundo rustica - barn swallow, Goose Creek, Boulder, Colorado.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Ark "replica" to open around 7/7

Thu, 2016-02-25 04:55
Ken Ham’s Ark “replica” is scheduled to open around July 7, or 7/7, in part because Genesis 7:7 says “and Noah went in and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark,” according to a recent article and a short video by Karla Ward in the Lexington News-Herald. Sorry, no animals inside, but there will be a petting zoo outside. The animals inside the ark will be “sculpted.” Among... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Solar corona Cloud iridescence

Thu, 2016-02-18 08:25
Cloud iridescence. I am afraid that this is not a very good picture, first because the colors are not very well defined and second because I could not find a single, smallish object with which to block the sun, so I had to settle for this tree. I could not immediately find a halfway decent explanation of cloud iridescence. Wikipedia says it is a diffraction phenomenon, with no elaboration. Here is what I think... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

LIGO discovers gravitational waves

Thu, 2016-02-18 08:25
A friend of mine, a theoretical physicist, has been telling me for over 30 years that we will never discover a magnetic monopole, proton decay – or the graviton. So far, he appears to have been correct, but now scientists at LIGO have detected a gravitational wave that resulted from the collision and amalgamation of 2 black holes. The news was so exciting that the server at Physical Review Letters supposedly crashed earlier today. I... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Do not talk with your cell phone on your lap

Tue, 2016-02-09 01:00
Not if you are male, anyway. I ran across a Facebook posting which linked to an article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. The article warned of a “stark correlation … between heavy cell phone use and male infertility.” Haaretz advises that you never use your phone when it is less than 50 cm from your crotch and, oddly, that you not talk on your phone while it is charging. The second stricture seems to me to... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Presidential candidates' positions on science-related issues

Mon, 2016-02-08 18:48
Just a day before a handful of candidates dropped out of the race, Science ran an article on the candidates’ positions “on some select science-related issues (keeping in mind that the candidates have yet to sound off on many topics of interest to researchers).” The article was necessarily a little shallow but gives a good idea where most of the candidates stand on critical issues like science policy, the space program, climate change, vaccination, and... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News