Category Archives: science education

The textbook—and misguided—presentation of natural selection

I was reading a nice article by Andrew Shtulman* on the most common misconception people have about natural selection (that it involves not differential reproduction among genetically different individuals but the gradual and simultaneous transformation of all individuals in a population), when I came across his presentation of Darwin’s “variational” theory of natural selection. That’s the […]

Brian Cox defends free speech, calls no-platforming and censorship “nonsensical”

There are many parallels between Brian Cox and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Both are trained physicists, both are extremely popular science popularizers (Cox is probably the most widely recognized science promoter in the UK, and Tyson is the same in the U.S.), and both are charismatic—and handsome as well (I’ve heard women sigh over both of them). […]

On the denigration of science: Atul Gawande’s commencement address to Caltech

A short while ago, when we were chewing over Siddhartha Mukherjee’s distortions about epigenetics published in The New Yorker, I reproduced an email from a colleague discussing the magazine’s generally absymal and postmodernist take on science—but also singling out one author as an exception: The New Yorker is fine with science that either serves a literary purpose (doctors’ portraits […]

ID advocate Eric Hedin gets tenure at Ball State

You may remember Eric Hedin, the Ball State University physics professor who, as I discovered in 2013, was teaching Intelligent Design (ID) in a student seminar. Since Ball State is a state university, that was a violation of the First Amendment, which, as the Supreme Court has ruled, prohibits teaching creationism in public (government) schools, […]

Suggest some science questions to ask the Presidential candidates

A consortium of high-class science organizations, including those on the screenshot below, are asking for citizens to suggest science questions that can be put to the Presidential candidates. Click on the screenshot to go the pages, where you can both suggest questions or vote on the many already suggested. Some are good (“How do you […]

Lego Beagle Project passes threshold, now in review for commercial production

Reader Mark R. informed me, to my delight, that Luis Peña’s H.M.S. Beagle Lego kit project announced a year ago February (see here and here), has reached its goal of 10,000 votes and is now at this stage: It’s being reviewed by Lego, and, if approved, it will be made into a commercial kit and sold in stores. […]

The “Angry Cat Man” talks to high-school biology students

I spent an hour this morning talking about Why Evolution is True with two classes of advanced biology students from the University of Chicago’s Lab School. It was a great pleasure to interact with such a bright and interested group of kids, and they had lots of good questions. I won’t go into details, but two things […]

The New York Times science section: yet another big fail

This is the third time I’ve surveyed the ScienceTimes, or the Tuesday science section of the New York Times. It’s one of the few free-standing science sections left in American newspapers, and is important not just for that fact, but because it’s historically employed good journalists who report on “pure” science in an interesting way—people […]

Another fail for the New York Times’s science section

This is the third time I’ve gotten the paper copy of the New York Times and read its “ScienceTimes” section, determining the proportion of all science articles that are about “pure” science that has nothing to do with our species, versus those articles about health, global warming, and the like that are relevant to human well-being. The previous […]

Social media excoriates British teacher for claiming there’s more evidence for the truth of the Bible than of evolution

This incident was reported on January 26 by the Godless Spellchecker: the head teacher of a British faith school, one Christina Wilkinson of St. Andrews Church of England School in Lancashire, pushed back against another teacher (Tom Sherrington), who had earlier posted his support of evolution. Below is Wilkinson’s tw**t that caused all the trouble (note that her handle […]