Category Archives: science education

CNN science completely botches natural selection in the headline, and is confusing in the text

I have little time to post this morning, but I call your attention to a really dreadful piece of science journalism at CNN. It refers to a new paper in PLoS Genetics by Arslan Zaidi et al. (reference below, free access) describing how natural selection based on climate (temperature and humidity) may have molded the nose shape […]

Neil deGrasse Tyson messes up a bit about linguistics

Most of us are picky about errors that laypeople make about our fields of expertise—as I’ve learned from the many misstatements I’ve made on this website. And that goes double for linguists, whose job is often to be picky about language itself. Here’s a tw**t from Neil deGrasse Tyson that has raised the hackles of some linguists. In […]

More on the March for Science, with added PCC(E)

Emily Atkin, who writes for The New Republic, interviewed me about the March for Science a few days ago, and has just written a piece about it, “Is the march for science bad for scientists?”  It’s a fair piece, and I’m chuffed that she talks about my old days of activism, including my arrest at […]

Michio Kaku gets human evolution all wrong on The Big Thunk

UPDATE: I forgot that I had an earlier post showing Kaku embarrassing himself about his own field, also on The Big Thunk. Go here to see the fun. ___________ When I saw this video on Larry Moran’s Sandwalk site, I remembered an old Jewish joke that goes something like this (“schnorrer,” by the way, is […]

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 […]