Category Archives: science education

Tel Aviv’s new natural history museum (built to look like Noah’s Ark) deliberately omits mentioning evolution

I’ve previously written about two natural history museums in Israel that either didn’t mention evolution or covered up the evolution exhibits with curtains when school groups of creationist Haredis (hyper-orthodox Jews) were visiting (see here and here). The two were the Museum of Natural History and the Biblical Museum of Natural History, both in Jerusalem. […]

Shermer on consciousness, free will, and God

The latest Scentific American has a short column by Michael Shermer on why he thinks consciousness, free will, and God are “insoluble mysteries”. Click on the screenshot to read the piece.   When I read it, I jotted down some thoughts that took issue with Shermer’s notion that all three are “insoluble”, and sent a […]

Infinite Monkey Cage: Episode 100

The Infinite Monkey Cage, the entertaining BBC science and comedy show hosted by Robin Ince and Brian Cox, has just celebrated its 100th episode. You can hear the hour-long show at the link below; Matthew, who was in the audience. commented: They have a couple of vicars on it, heaven knows why, one an ex […]

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 […]

My WaPo review of Carl Zimmer’s new book

I wrote a short-ish review of Carl Zimmer’s new book on heredity, She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity, for the Washington Post. It appeared online today and will be in the paper newspaper on Sunday. You can read it for free by clicking on the screenshot (and please do, so […]

Why do people distrust science? It’s religion, stupid!

Well, yes, my title is a bit clickbaity, as of course there are several reasons why people distrust science. But according to a new post at Aeon by Dutch psychologist Bastiaan T Rutjens, shown below (click on screenshot), an article based on a scholarly paper by him and two colleagues that I haven’t yet read in detail […]

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 […]

Teaching Evolution: Charles Lyell: The principles of geology

by Greg Mayer Our fourth installment of Teaching Evolution is an extract from Principles of Geology, by Charles Lyell. Lyell was an enormously influential scientist, and a leading figure in scientific circles in 19th century Britain. His influence on Darwin was profound: in Janet Browne’s authoritative biography of Darwin, the entry for Lyell in the […]

Teaching Evolution: George Gaylord Simpson: The major features of evolution

by Greg Mayer Our third installment of Teaching Evolution is a paper by George Gaylord Simpson, the most influential paleontological contributor to the Modern Synthesis, and one of its key figures. In this paper, Simpson discusses a wide variety of phenomena revealed in the fossil record– parallelism, mosaic evolution, convergence, adaptation, conservatism, variation of evolutionary […]

Teaching Evolution: A.W.F. Edwards: The coral of life

by Greg Mayer Our second installment of Teaching Evolution is a paper by A.W.F. Edwards on the history and logical justification of methods of phylogenetic inference. In teaching evolution, the idea of the history of life is very important. Most students intuitively see the closer genealogical relationship between, say, a man and an ape than […]