Category Archives: science education

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 […]

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 […]