Category Archives: evolution

How best to communicate science?

It is increasingly evident that, unlike acceptance of most scientific “truths” (i.e. provisional truths), acceptance of evolution rests not on knowing the many facts supporting evolution, but about being part of a “tribe” (liberals, intelligentsia, and so on) that either accepts evolution, or of a “tribe” (conservative religionists and Republicans) that rejects evolution. Here, for […]

Stick insects can disperse like plant seeds: in bird poop

One of the striking observations about life on oceanic islands—those islands, like Hawaii and the Galapagos, that arose, bereft of life, from volcanic activity below the sea—is the prevalence of native birds, insects, and plants, and the paucity of native reptiles, mammals, and amphibians. (Continental islands, like Great Britain, that were once connected to larger […]

Evolution largely omitted and diluted from Arizona’s new education standards

Arizona has revised its educational standards for the first time in 15 years: these guidelines cover kindergarten through grade 12 (age about 18), and they’ve watered down the evolution standards, deleting several mentions of the “e-word” and severely qualifying others. You can see the reports below, at The Hill (click on screenshot), at the Arizona […]

Another lousy article on epigenetics, this time in the New York Review of Books

I don’t know who the New York Review of Books is getting to vet its biology articles, but this one below (free access) is really confusing. One reason may be that the authors have no particular expertise in evolution. Israel Rosenfeld is an MD with training in neuroscience, while Edward Ziff is a professor at NYU […]

Natural history museum in Jerusalem covers exhibit on evolution to avoid offending ultra-Orthodox Jews

UPDATE: A kind reader sent me the email for the Natural History Museum, muzteva@gmail.com, and if you want to write to them about this, feel free. Here’s my email: ********* To whom it may concern: As an evolutionary biologist of Jewish ancestry, I am deeply offended at your practice of covering up the human evolution exhibit lest […]

A New Yorker evolution-cartoon contest

In a recent post on The New Yorker, several readers beefed that they no longer like the cartoons. Well, I still like most of them, and always read the cartoon contest on the magazine’s last page, where an artist submits a cartoon drawing without a caption; readers submit their own caption, and the editors pick […]

Spot the Tiktaalik!

As you probably know, my colleague Neil Shubin was on the team of biologists and paleontologists who uncovered the fossil Tiktaalik, a lobe-finned fish that lived about 375 million years ago. Three skeletons of this species are now known, all found on Ellesmere Island, part of the Canadian territory of Nunavet. Below in red is […]

Geneticist David Reich responds to critics of his views on race

On March 23, I called your attention to paleoanthropologist David Reich’s op-ed in the New York Times, “How genetics is changing our understanding of ‘race’.” I thought the article was quite good, one of the few articles that takes a pretty objective and open-minded stand on “race”. It noted that conventionally named races are social […]

Edinburgh Coursera lecture equating evolution and creationism as equally “faith based” vanishes from the web, but the science-bashing continues

Three days ago I put up a post showing a short lecture by philosopher S. Orestis Palermos that was part of a University of Edinburgh Coursera course on Science and Philosophy. His lecture basically equated evolutionary biology with creationism, dismissing both as “pseudoscience”. (The course was also sponsored by—to its eternal shame—the John Templeton Foundation.) […]

A relatively new anti-creationist book

It’s a slow news day here at WEIT, and my brain is equally slow. Let me just call your attention to a new review of an anticreationist book by Darren Naish at his Sci Am site Tetrapod Zoology. The review is new but the book has aged a bit: it’s the 15-month-old God’s Word or Human Reason?: An […]