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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 4 hours ago
Photograph by Debbie Garelick. Rainbow. The rainbow is formed from relatively nearby raindrops. It is evidently raining lightly, because you can see a light cloud cover behind the rainbow. Direct backscatter from the clouds probably accounts for much of the brightness of the sky inside the arc and helps make a dramatic picture. See also here.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
The Human and Comparative Genomics laboratory at the Biodesign Institute is looking for a Software Application Associate who will work in a collaborative environment to design, construct, test, document and maintain software packages. Typical projects involve implementing high performance algorithms for the statistical analysis of large genomic datasets for studying questions related to evolution and population genetics. To apply visit http://links.asu.edu/job19991BR or search for ID 19991BR at https://cfo.asu.edu/hr-applicant. If you have any questions about the... Reed A. Cartwright http://dererumnatura.us/
A Federal judge ruled yesterday that the Ark Park is entitled to sales tax incentives that had been denied by the state of Kentucky, according to an article by Dylan Lovan. Briefly, District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove ruled that the state cannot exclude the Ark Park from receiving the tax incentive simply because the park has a religious purpose. Further, although Mr. Lovan does not note it, the judge opined that the Ark Park... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Photograph by Gabrielle Hovinen. Rainbow, showing a primary and a secondary rainbow, plus a bevy of Hovinens. The primary rainbow is overexposed, but the photograph clearly shows how the sky is brighter inside the primary rainbow and outside the secondary rainbow. See Figure 6 here.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
As part of the year-end Kitzmas festivities, The Discovery Institute’s PR organ Evolution News and Views re-posted an earlier article titled Following Kitzmiller v. Dover, an Excellent Decade for Intelligent Design. This uncredited article from September 2015 included the following, which caught my eye: In fact, the decade since Dover has been an excellent one for ID. Casey Luskin noted some highlights not long ago:… Theoretical peer-reviewed papers taking down alleged computer simulations of... Dave Thomas http://www.nmsr.org
Our server is having issues. The Crew is figuring out how best to proceed. For the moment, comments may not be working correctly. Stay tuned for updates.... Dave Thomas http://www.nmsr.org
Iridescence with wave clouds, Boulder, Colorado, December, 2015.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
The tree of birds just got a bit more accurate with a study published last October. We first covered the ever-evolving tree in 2014, when we posted about a study in Science magazine that used phylogenomics and thousands of genes sequenced from 48 bird species to produce what was thought to be the most accurate phylogenetic tree of birds to date (Jarvis et. al., 2014; see their tree here). Since then, a different team of... Emily Thompson http://cartwrig.ht/people/
From yesterday’s announcement on ENV: It is with a mixture of sadness and excitement that I write this to announce that, as the year 2015 closes, I am leaving Discovery Institute. I am doing so in order to fulfill a lifelong goal of furthering my studies. My colleagues, who entirely support this decision, are people of the utmost integrity and they have been incredibly generous and welcoming to me and my family. I know... Dave Thomas http://www.nmsr.org
By David MacMillan. David has been fascinated by the creation/evolution controversy for many years. Growing up, he was fully committed to creationist apologetics. He purchased a lifetime charter membership to the Creation Museum and even had blog posts featured on the Answers in Genesis website. During college, he continued to actively pursue creation apologism as he earned a degree in physics, but began to recognize the mounting religious and scientific problems with young-earth creationism. His... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Zack Kopplin, who has been opposing the antievolution nonsense in Louisiana since 2008, has an interesting new article in The Daily Beast: Kopplin, Zack (2015). Creationism Whistleblower: ‘Academic Freedom’ Is Sneak Attack on Evolution. The Daily Beast. December 28, 2015. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articl[…]olution.html Kopplin has really gotten the goods on what these “stealth creationism” bills mean on the ground – of course, what they mean is straight-up creationism taught in the public schools. Kopplin quotes from documents... Nick Matzke http://www.talkdesign.org
Lenticular clouds, Golden, Colorado, November, 2012. The camera was facing east, with its back toward the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The clouds looked as if they may have formed on the leeward side of South Table Mountain.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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
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
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
(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
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
(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
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
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
Antievolutionists Say the Darndest Things
Antievolutionists often express outrage over alleged incivility from those who oppose their efforts to evade the establishment clause of the First Amendment. But they have no difficulty in dishing out the abuse themselves. Here is a sample from the Invidious Comparisons thread that documents egregious behavior on the part of the religious antievolution advocates.
One thing that Jack Krebs and I agree with is that Pratt can be likened to an outpost under siege in a cultural war.
My wife and I just returned from a trip to Belgium. We visited Bastogne where a few brave Americans of the 101st Airborne Division were surrounded by the German Army during the battle of the bulge. The German attack was led by a crack SS unit that took no prisoners.
What were we fighting against in Bastogne? We were fighting against a Nazi regime that used the philosophy of Naturalism to justify a eugenics program of terrifying proportions. Naturalism is the belief that all phenomena result only from the laws of chemistry and physics and that teleological or design explanations are not valid. Naturalism is not science. It is a belief system.
In the same manner, the defenders in Pratt are fighting against Naturalism, although they may not realize it. Rather than fighting against science, they are actually fighting for science. They are fighting for science that is driven by logic and critical thinking rather than by a philosophy that teaches to the exclusion of all other teachings that we are the products of only chance and necessity. They are fighting for science that is driven by the scientific method rather than science that is driven by a philosophy of Naturalism.
Rather than using logic and good science to support its assault on the brave contingent in Pratt, the KCFS is using tactics one would expect from those that besieged Bastogne: scare tactics, misinformation and no substantive discussion of the real issues.
So, we are back looking at Pratt as the bombs fall. The question is whether the Board and the Community will be supported by the rest of us as they have had the guts that General McAullife and the other brave Americans had that cold winter day in Bastogne 54 years ago. McAullife's reply was very simple when asked to surrender: "Nuts!" McAullife and the 101st were subsequently relieved by elements of Patton's Third Army. In the same way we all need to rise up and put our hands together for the Pratt Board and Pratt Citizens that have just characterized the outrageous censorship by the science establishment as "Nuts!"