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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: 5 days 23 hours ago

Teaching about climate change can be injurious to your academic freedom

Tue, 2016-09-20 02:15
By Gaythia Weis. An uproar fanned by the right-wing media has left a University of Colorado at Colorado Springs professor and two instructors with quite a tightrope walk. The uproar involves an online humanities and environmental health class at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, entitled “Medical Humanities in the Digital Age.” The three faculty members (and others) may have to walk softly when teaching courses that may be a subject of public controversy.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

U.S. Presidential Candidates Answer ScienceDebate 2016 Questions

Mon, 2016-09-19 16:58
Science Debate questions and answers here. I have not read the responses yet. From a press release we received this morning from Science Debate: U.S. Presidential Candidates Answer ScienceDebate 2016 Questions WASHINGTON, D.C., September 13, 2016 –Three of the four major candidates for United States president have responded to America’s Top 20 Presidential Science, Engineering, Technology, Health and Environmental Questions. The nonprofit advocacy group ScienceDebate.org has posted their responses online at http://sciencedebate.org/20answers. Hillary Clinton, Donald... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Selasphorus platycerus

Mon, 2016-09-19 16:58
Photograph by Vivian Dullien. Photography contest, finalist. Selasphorus platycerus – broad-tailed hummingbird, male.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Charadrius vociferus

Wed, 2016-09-07 07:49
Photograph by Paul Burnett. Photography contest, finalist. Charadrius vociferus – killdeer standing her ground, protecting her eggs from a vicious photographer three feet away.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

How the Church "documents" "miracles"

Wed, 2016-09-07 07:49
Advocates for canonizing Marguerite d’Youville hired a hematologist to decide why a woman had recovered from incurable leukemia after praying to the aforementioned d’Youville. The hematologist, Jacalyn Duffin, warned the investigators that she was an atheist. The investigators reasoned that if an atheist could not figure out why the woman had recovered, then obviously the recovery must have been a miracle. The hematologist went further and investigated hundreds of “miracles” in the archives of the... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Scudderia sp.

Wed, 2016-09-07 07:49
Photograph by Richard Meiss. Photography contest, finalist. Scudderia sp. – Scudder’s bush katydid nymph, bedded down for the night in the flower of a lily (Lilium maculatum [?]). Not shown in this view are the several species of ants that have also found this refuge to be congenial. For (temporarily) flightless insects, such cover must have some survival value.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Macaca fuscata

Wed, 2016-09-07 07:49
Photograph by Dan Moore. Photography contest, finalist. Macaca fuscata – snow monkey, or Japanese macaque, mountains of Nagano, Japan, due west of Tokyo, March, 2016. These monkeys have adapted to the cold more than any other subspecies, and they have adapted to almost totally ignoring humans (which is good for photography).... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

The cure for pseudoscience: alternative medicine

Wed, 2016-09-07 07:49
I just saw my colleague Paul Strode, with whom I wrote a book a few years ago. Knowing my interest in pseudoscience, Mr. Dr. Science Teacher (the name of his blog) directed me to his article Acupuncture Study as a Cure for Pseudoscientific Thinking. The article is, I think, really two articles. The first describes an experiment that his students perform, but he sets it up so that they generally overlook one important variable. The... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Chapman's Peak

Wed, 2016-09-07 07:49
Photograph by Neil Taylor. Photography contest, finalist. A group of (shortly to be long distance running*) Homo sapiens enjoying the sunset at Chapman’s Peak, Capetown. Chapman’s Peak is an offshoot to Table Mountain and hence has the same geology. There is a famous and very beautiful road between Noordhoek and Hout Bay which has been cut right into the vertical cliff which makes up the southern side of the peak. The photo is at one... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Lyssomanes viridis

Wed, 2016-09-07 07:49
Photograph by Al Denelsbeck. Photography contest, runner-up. Lyssomanes viridis – magnolia green jumping spider, juvenile female. All jumping spiders have excellent binocular vision for use in obtaining food, but since the cornea is a fixed part of the exoskeleton, the eyes must move internally. With the magnolia green jumpers, the exoskeleton is translucent enough to allow the internal movement of the eyes to be seen, and they can move independently. I had captured this one... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Creationists evolve "new" arguments to explain genetic diversity

Wed, 2016-09-07 07:49
Guest post by David MacMillan. David MacMillan is an author, engineer, and researcher who formerly wrote for Answers in Genesis before obtaining his degree in physics. He now writes about science and culture for Panda’s Thumb, the Huffington Post, and several other blogs. In the buzz of excitement surrounding Opening Day at the Ark Encounter, the team of writers at Answers in Genesis continues their struggle to explain how all terrestrial life could have been... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Slot canyon in soft bentonite clay

Wed, 2016-09-07 07:49
2016 Contest Winner. Bentonite clay, by Alan Rice. Slot canyon in soft bentonite clay – Panaca formation, Cathedral Gorge State Park, Nevada... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Happy 272nd birthday, Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Lamarck!

Wed, 2016-09-07 07:49
And the 1st of August is his birthday. I will list some of his real biological achievements below the fold, and dispell some myths. We've discussed this every year, so I will keep this short. Suffice it to say that the inscription on his statue in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris declares that he was the "Fondateur de la doctrine de l'évolution", and there is a good argument that he really was.... Joe Felsenstein http://evolution.gs.washington.edu/felsenstein.html
Categories: Pro-Science News

Rob Asher on "Did Arabic Scholars Discover Evolution in the Ninth Century?"

Wed, 2016-09-07 07:49
Rob Asher of the University of Cambridge Department of Zoology has an interesting post up at HuffPo on “Did Arabic Scholars Discover Evolution in the Ninth Century?” Here’s the beginning: One thousand years ago, when the United States of America did not exist and Oxford and Cambridge were backwaters of ignorance, the light of human reason shone brightly in places like Tunis, Cairo, and Baghdad. During the Abbasid caliphate for much of the 8th through... Nick Matzke http://www.talkdesign.org
Categories: Pro-Science News

The problem with science is naturalism

Wed, 2016-09-07 07:49
Curious article Is scientific research flawed? on the AIG website. The author, Callie Joubert, is identified only by name and has no bio. The article correctly enumerates some of the problems with science, particularly medicine, and blames conflict of interest, competition, and so on – the usual suspects. The author also notes two papers in physics, the Bicep2 experiment in Antarctica and the “superluminal neutrinos at the Swiss-Italian border.” Both papers apparently had drawn erroneous... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Photography Contest VIII: Finalists

Wed, 2016-09-07 07:49
Here are the finalists of the 2016 photography contest. We received 38 photographs from 14 photographers. We had considerable difficulty choosing a half-dozen finalists – most of the pictures were excellent, as you will no doubt see during the coming months. We finally enlisted our wife to help with the choices, which are displayed below the proverbial fold. Unfortunately, the submissions did not lend themselves to being divided into categories, so we present one general... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Evolution Misconceptions on the Fuzzy Logic Science Show (podcast link)

Wed, 2016-09-07 07:49
One thing I’ve loved about living in Australia this past year is how much more generally pro-science the culture seems to be (PT blogmeister Reed Cartwright was just in Canberra to visit collaborators, but sadly he forgot Prof. Steve Steve). We have the annual Australian National Science Week coming up next month – can you even imagine having a National Science Week in the United States? Another thing I’ve loved is how there seem to... Nick Matzke http://www.talkdesign.org
Categories: Pro-Science News

Atheist group warns public schools against field trips to Ark Park ...

Wed, 2016-09-07 07:49
… and Ark Park responds predictably. More specifically, the Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a “warning” to more than 1000 school districts in Kentucky and neighboring states, advising them against field trips to the Ark Park. The Ark Park, says FFRF, is a Christian ministry (as opposed to an educational museum), and they quote Ken Ham as having penned a letter, “Our Real Motive for Building Ark Encounter,” in which he writes: Our motive is... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Photography Contest VIII

Tue, 2016-06-21 08:06
Polish your lenses, dust off your tripods, search your archives (and, if you have entered before, remember that you are not limited to 3 good pictures per lifetime) – the eighth Panda’s Thumb photography contest, begins – now! Pierce extinction meter, still-camera version. They sold for $1.95 in 1946. We will accept entries from 12:00 CST, Monday, June 20, through 12:00 CST, Monday, July 4. We encourage pictures of just about anything of scientific interest.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Avida-ED Web, The Beta Release

Tue, 2016-06-21 08:06
Avida-ED is educational software that provides an accessible presentation layer on the Avida artificial life platform. The first version was released nine years ago, and today marks Prof. Rob Pennock’s release of version 3, with a formal presentation at Evolution 2016. Avida-ED is geared toward the needs of undergraduate and advanced high school curriculum use. The new version, Avida-ED Web 3.0, is a web application: it runs in your browser (Firefox or Chrome currently; Safari,... Wesley R. Elsberry http://www.antievolution.org
Categories: Pro-Science News