Category Archives: science education

Good news: South Dakota’s “teach the controversy” bill fails

On January 28 I reported that the South Dakota state Senate had approved one of those “teach all sides” bills used by creationists to sneak divinity into the science classroom, and to oppose evolution and global warming. The bill read like this: FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to protect the teaching of certain scientific information. BE […]

A new Field Museum video on non-alternative fact

This new short video, including several of my colleagues at Chicago’s Field Museum, shows scientists at the Museum standing up for the facts about ecology and evolution. I like that, and I also like the absence of anything overtly political. But of course we all know why this was made: it is a political video made in reaction to the […]

Texas Board of Education decides to leave soft-on-creationism language in state standards

On January 31, I noted that the Texas Board of Education was considering changing the state standards for teaching science, in particular the “teach the controversy” language that would enable teachers to drag tired old creationist and intelligent-design (ID) arguments into the biology classroom. Those earlier standards also used ID language to ask students to […]

Trump administration demands pre-publication political review of scientific findings by the EPA

When I used to get grants from government agencies like the National Institutes of Health, nobody, including the NIH itself, ever vetted my results. Although my research was funded by the taxpayers, I was free to disseminate it through publications, which were, of course, peer-reviewed. But they weren’t reviewed by the government. That policy, however, apparently doesn’t […]

Heather Hastie on the declining state of American education

I call your attention to Heather Hastie’s new post, “Has the US education system been set-up to fail?” It paints a dire picture of what’s happening in U.S. schools, discusses Trump’s appointment of Betsy DeVos (probably a creationist) as his education secretary, and explains why DeVos’s and Trump’s emphasis on “school choice” as a solution to […]

In defense of Richard Dawkins: Elaine Ecklund and team write a pointless, Templeton-funded paper saying that Dawkins “misrepresents science”

As you can see from the many posts I’ve written about Rice University sociologist Elaine Ecklund, she’s made a career out of showing that scientists are far more religious—or friendly to religion—than commonly assumed. But her methodology is often suspect, so that her data are cooked or twisted to meet her agenda: to show comity between science […]

My talks in Singapore

I know I’ve concentrated on the food and sights in Singapore rather than my academic duties, but there’s not much to say about those. On Monday I gave a talk at the National University of Singapore (NUS)—co-sponsored by the Humanist Society of Singapore (HSS)—on the evidence for evolution and why it’s not accepted in America […]

Attenborough, Darwin and Obama

by Matthew Cobb The new BBC series Planet Earth II, narrated by David Attenborough, airs in the UK on Sunday. I was lucky enough to chair a session at the Manchester Science Festival last week at which two of the film-makers, Chadden Hunter and Emma Brennand, presented some extracts from the series and talked about […]

Evolution rejection in the American South: It’s the religion, stupid!

Here’s a 9-minute video featuring science educator Amanda Glaze, who’s deeply concerned with the rejection of evolution by students and their parents in the American South. It was featured on NPR’s Science Friday, and imparts two important lessons: How much students know about evolution doesn’t affect whether they accept it as true. I believe earlier studies have verified […]

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 […]