Category Archives: science education

Why science needs philosophy: an op-ed in PNAS

Although some scientists (I believe Lawrence Krauss is one) have said that philosophy is useless to scientists, I’m not one of these miscreants. Although I recognize that philosophy can’t find out truths about the real world as opposed to “truths” within logical systems, it can certainly be an aid to thinking about science. Two examples […]

Good news about the teaching of evolution in American public schools

A new report from the journal Evolution: Education and Outreach gives some pretty good news about the state of evolution teaching in American high schools. In particular, in two surveys of teaching methods published 12 years apart (2007 vs. 2019), the number of hours that teachers devote to the subject of evolution has become greater, […]

Science educator invites questions about evolution from public by walking around with a sandwich board

I have to admit that Maggie Ryan Sandford is much braver than I. In the article below from Nature, and in the short video embedded in it (I put it below), she dons a sandwich board that says, “Ask me anything about evolution,” and parades around the Minnesota State Fair.  (Sanford is identified as “a […]

Early feminist education

In this world of patriarchy, where structural sexism is ubiquitous, it’s important to educate future women in the nature of their oppression. Here I am teaching little Selma, granddaughter of my friends, about the great women of history, emphasizing that women can be whatever they want. I also taught her about penguins, which seemed to […]

This Sunday: Cosmic volcanoes, future humans and Neanderthals!

by Matthew Cobb This post is an unashamed plug/PSA.  RATIO is a regular popular science festival held in Sofia, Bulgaria. I have spoken there a couple of times, as has Jerry. The event attracts hundreds of attendees, and is a major event. Now they are opening their doors to everyone, all over the planet – […]

Secularism on the rise: new Gallup poll shows that 40% of Americans are young-earth creationists, 33% are theistic evolutionists, and 22% are naturalistic evolutionists

Over at a Gallup poll site, you can see the headline below reporting the newest iteration of Gallup’s sporadic—now yearly or biennially—survey of American belief in creationism. (It’s really belief in human evolution, so be aware that there are many who think that while other species evolved à la Darwin, humans alone required divine intervention. […]

Human Phylogeography: The lessons learned, 1

by Greg Mayer UPDATE. A couple of readers have drawn attention to the website, gcbias, of Graham Coop, a population geneticist at UC Davis. He has excellent discussions, with nice graphics, of issues in genetic genealogy, including calculation of the number of “genetic units” in particular generations. As an example, 7 generations back you have […]

National Review: Conservatives should accept evolution

Both the Left and Right have their issues with evolution. On the Right, many are evangelical Christians and reject evolution on religious grounds. Even Orthodox Jews like Ben Shapiro have found themselves flirting with Intelligent Design, and when I saw Shapiro implicitly attacking modern evolutionary biology I gave up all hope for him. The voting […]

Teaching Evolution: Sewall Wright: Evolution in space

by Greg Mayer Our next installment of Teaching Evolution for this spring concerns Sewall Wright. His contributions were wide-ranging, but he is most noted for his integration of population structure (population size, migration) and selection into what he called the “shifting balance” theory. In this theory, genetic drift, migration, and selection interact to produce what […]

Five Books: Adam Hart-Davis’s choice of the best books on popular science

Adam Hart-Davis is an English writer, photographer, and broadcaster, known for being the presenter of several popular BBC series. In a Five Books piece (click on screenshot below), Hart-Davis lists and discusses what he sees as the five best popular-science books. According to the site, “Adam Hart-Davis says clear simple writing is the key to […]