Originally posted on 31 December 2010, we thought this post was relevant to the social context of the Ham-Nye debate on evolution versus creationism, in particular the value of being “right” on the evidence.
Mixed emotions over PZ Myers’ condescending response to a 12-year-old child‘s email supporting creationism, reminded of a very interesting conversation I had with my father at a dinner this holiday season. Lemons and lemonade, people.
During our conversational meanderings, we touched on the debate between creationism and evolution. We did not directly discuss the political/social issues surrounding the teaching of evolution in schools. Rather, we discussed the difficulty of convincing individuals that evolution is right and creationism is wrong. Continue reading
Missourians have voted overwhelmingly for a ‘right-to-pray’ constitutional amendment that creationists may use to let students opt-out of certain topics in science class. When I voted on Tuesday in my St. Louis suburb (against this amendment, of course), the ballot described the proposed amendment with a single, innocuous sentence that basically nobody could disagree with (except maybe Richard Dawkins or Jerry Coyne). No wonder the thing passed with 83% in favor – you can make anything sound good if you’re not constrained by honesty, which, when it comes to prayer, one would think ought to be a constraint.
From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
In the months leading up to the vote, Amendment 2 prompted unsuccessful lawsuits over its ballot wording, which its critics argued oversimplified the issue to the point of deceit. Continue reading
In honor of the great state of Missouri, birthplace of my doctorate and my eldest child (not in that order):
If you haven’t been following the dust-up over science publisher Springer’s announcement of a volume by creationists, you should head over to the Panda’s Thumb and follow the latest, if only for its entertainment value.
While you’re there, check out the slide from John Sandord, a creationist who claims that he’s a geneticist at Cornell*. He plots human lifespan as a function of centuries born after Noah, and gets an impressive R^2 of 0.90. I’m sure this is going to upend the field of lifespan genetics.
*As is usual, this is not quite what you think it is.
Springer’s editors in the field of engineering who aren’t familiar with the star figures of the intelligent design movement appeared ready to put the prestigious Springer stamp on a volume of pseudoscience:
As the National Center for Science Education reports, this one sounds like standard creationist pseudo-science-speak:
The volume in question, entitled Biological Information: New Perspectives, edited by R. J. Marks II, M. J. Behe, W. A. Dembski, B. L. Gordon, and J. C. Sanford, and slated to appear in a series of engineering books dubbed the Intelligent Systems Reference Library, was advertised by Springer as presenting “new perspectives regarding the nature and origin of biological information,” demonstrating “how our traditional ideas about biological information are collapsing under the weight of new evidence,” and written “by leading experts in the field” who had “gathered at Cornell University to discuss their research into the nature and origin of biological information.”