There is some brand new research on those New Caledonian Crows that seem to be able to do all sorts of things we thought only smart Humans could do (like making tools, understanding physics, that sort of thing). I’ve written it up here: The Incredulous New Caledonian Crows, on 10,000 Birds, where, as you know, I write a monthly entry on bird evolutionary biology. It turns out they can do something that I’m not so sure all humans are great at. Other than flying.
What could be wrong with presenting in a science class “both sides” of controversial topics like evolution or climate change, or having students debate the topics, using argumentation to improve their critical thinking skills? In the case of evolution, presenting supposed alternatives, such as intelligent design or young-earth creationism, is not only considered bad practice, but also unconstitutional in public schools due to the separation of church and state. However, in the case of climate change, the practice of teaching it as controversial and presenting “both sides” as if they are equally valid, is a too common practice among science teachers. This paper examines the reasons why teachers may be encouraged or drawn to “teach the controversy” about climate change, why it is not an effective practice and leaves students more confused, and how the Next Generation Science Standards may help to transform how we teach about climate and global change science and solutions.
Polls in Minnesota show that the anti-Same Sex Marriage constitutional amendment on this year’s ballot could pass, but it is close. If Minnesota defeats this amendment, it could signal a turning point in this battle for basic civil rights. This, right now, today, this minute, would be a very good time for you to give three dollars to Minnesotans United for All Families, which has been leading the fight against the amendment, very effectively, and very efficiently.
Here’s an ad they just put out (This is their first TV ad):