Category Archives: teaching evolution

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 […]

Teaching Evolution: Darwin: Unity of type and adaptation

Note from Jerry: Greg plans to run a mini-MOOC here, so if you want some education in evolution, do the readings and answer the questions (to yourself). This is the first installment. by Greg Mayer This semester I’m teaching BIOS 314 Evolutionary Biology, an upper level undergraduate course. The students are all or mostly biological […]

My talk in Delhi

Well here’s a bit of self-aggrandizement, but it’s cool. The front gate of the Indian National Science Academy sports a big fancy poster advertising my talk—in English and Hindi! Professor L. S. Shashidhara from IISER Pune, who sponsored and arranged my whole visit here, took this vanity picture. Not shown are the two pi-puppies who […]

Lecture music

by Matthew Cobb I was reading the Times Higher Education this morning, and my attention was drawn to a set of articles about how to deal with sullen students. One suggestion, from Tara Brabazon, caught my eye as I had a 10 o’clock lecture this morning. I tw**ted: Hmm. Should I try this with 500 first […]

“Your Inner Fish”– TV version– has begun

by Greg Mayer Jerry noted in February that friend-of-the-site Neil Shubin will be presenting a three-part series on PBS this month based on his bestselling Your Inner Fish. The series began this past Wednesday; I was unable to see the whole episode (because at the same time I was writing an exam I had to […]

My TAM interview, part 2, and a book on secularization

Here’s the second of three installments of my interview at TAM with Joel Guttormson of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. In this short clip I raise my favorite thesis, which a while I thought was largely mine, but have discovered that it’s been a going hypothesis in sociology for a long time. I […]

Happy Darwin’s Birthday and Mardi Gras!

by Greg Mayer Well, as previously noted, today is Darwin’s birthday and Mardi Gras. Laissez les bons temps rouler! At the Dinosaur Discovery Museum in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the festivities began on Sunday. I am happy to report that some WEIT readers made it to the Museum for the activities; unfortunately, they had left by the […]

My paper on religious and social factors affecting American acceptance of evolution

I’ve written a paper for the “Outlook on Evolution and Society” section of the journal Evolution, “Science, religion, and society: the problem of evolution in America.”  They’ve agreed to free public access since it’s about education, and you can download it free at the link.  Be aware of two things: 1) this is the accepted manuscript, […]