Daily Archives: October 26, 2011

Evolution Surrounded By Creationism? Arm Yourself with Books!

Suppose you are an intelligent, thoughtful person with a thirst for information, a desire to be challenged, and a tendency to not accept received knowledge at face value. You are embedded in a traditional Christian culture where most of your family, your child’s teachers and friends and those friends’ families, the people where you and your spouse work and most people in your social circles assume that Evolution is “only a theory” and should be taught, if at all, along side alternative theories such as that the earth is 6,000 years old and was created in seven days. But you don’t want that. You want your children to be educated using modern ideas, or at least, ideas that date to the mid to late nineteenth century and later, about how life works, where it comes from, and how it has changed over time both in terms of details (what was when and where) and process (how). But despite the fact that you are well educated and well read, you’ve not been exposed to that body of knowledge.

This will be a struggle, a fight even, against academic indolence, against strongly held opinions; An invasion across a sea separating two worlds … two world views. You might have to land on a beach somewhere. You hope, however, that this can be a surgical strike. You need to educate yourself on the basics of evolution. You need to find a way to talk your way out of confrontation should that happen. You need resources for your children. You may not realize it now, but you may also need training in Defense Against the Snark Arts, should you encounter paraprofessional creationists.

You need to arm yourself. With books.
Continue reading Evolution Surrounded By Creationism? Arm Yourself with Books!

Shawn Otto’s Book Launch Talk (with Don Shelby)

You’ll remember that I recently wrote up Shawn Otto’s talk at The Loft. The talk was filmed and is now a major motion picture!

Now that you’ve seen the talk, here’s your list of things to do:

  • Buy the book here.
  • Sign on to Science Debate.org here
  • Sign the American Science Pledge here
  • Join the Republican Party. Oh, and the NRA too!

God is important. Unless it costs too much.

The very controversial bible classes offered in Georgia Schools are threatened with extinction because a) Georgia has thrown education under the bus and now a public school class requires a higher number of students than ever to be considered affordable and b) they ain’t got the students signing up for them there bible classes.
Continue reading God is important. Unless it costs too much.

“One State Under God”

Texas is considering tossing the Constitution of the United States of America under the bus by issuing license plates depicting three crosses on a hill and reading “One State Under God”

The plan is, it will make some money, so it doesn’t really matter that the Constitution of the United States of America will be trampled on. “Think about this: It is a revenue stream that’s a discretionary purpose, how do you argue with it?” said Kim Drummond, spokeswoman for the company that would make the plates.

Well, I guess it’s OK then.

Details here.

It really is a fungus killing the bats

According to this press release:

Scientists have proven that the fungus Geomyces destructans causes white-nose syndrome, a fast-spreading and highly lethal disease of bats.

Research published today (Wednesday, Oct. 26) in the journal Nature provides the first direct evidence that this fungus is responsible for a disease that is decimating bats in North America.

Research at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and other institutions, showed that 100 percent of healthy little brown bats exposed to G. destructans developed white-nose syndrome while hibernating in captivity.

The study fulfilled established criteria for proving that a microbe causes an infectious disease: A pure culture of a suspected pathogen is able to infect a host plant or animal, which then develops the clinical signs of the disease, and then the pathogen is re-isolated from the experimentally infected host species.

White-nose syndrome is a skin infection that often begins around the muzzle, but the exact mechanism of mortality is unknown.

“By identifying the causative agent of white-nose syndrome, this study provides information that is critical for developing management strategies to preserve vulnerable bat populations and the ecosystem services that they provide in the U.S. and Canada,” says study author David Blehert, a microbiologist at the Wildlife Health Center, and a honorary fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UW-Madison.

More…