Bill Nye the Awesome Guy

Sorry for the dearth of new posts — classes start this week and my wife and I have been too busy to write.  But in case you missed it, here’s a quick interview with Bill Nye (the Science Guy).  In it, Nye discusses his  love of evolutionary biology. He says, “When you’re in love, you want to tell the world.”  So Nye’s in love with evolution and I am, too.

I guess we can share.

Old Misconceptions Die Hard: Scientific knowledge suppresses but does not supplant earlier intuitions

ResearchBlogging.orgTeachers operate on the assumption that students are “empty vessels” they can fill with new information.  But many students begin classes with assumptions about the world that, although intuitive, are actually incorrect.  For example, many students incorrectly believe that individuals can evolve or that all members of a species evolve together.  Teachers assume that instruction and testing will make students understand that both of these assumptions are wrong and that only populations evolve.  However, recent research suggests that simply providing students with factual information doesn’t make them drop their faulty assumptions.  As it turns out, old misconceptions die hard.
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TIME’s List of the Best Science Reads

Here at darwinbookcats I celebrate some of the best things in life: scienceliterature, and cats.  Now TIME celebrates the best of two of these worlds with its list of the All-TIME 100 Best Nonfiction Books, including the Best Science Books.  The list includes some terrific reads, including The Double Helix by biologist James Watson, and The Selfish Gene by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.  Enjoy! Continue reading

John Huntsman on Evolution: Call Me Crazy, But I Accept It!

The GOP presidential candidates have been in a race to announce either their acceptance or skepticism of scientific topics like evolution and global climate change.  I’ve previously commented on both Michelle Bachmann’s and Rick Perry’s stance on evolution.  Both Bachmann and Perry support teaching Intelligent Design Creationism in public schools, and so I’ve dumbed them IDiots.  Well, now former Utah Governor and US Ambassador John Huntsman made his position known via Twitter — and you’re in for a surprise! Continue reading

Evolution, Genomics, and J. Craig Venter’s Vision for Your Future

Biologist J. Craig Venter

The Washington Post Magazine published an interesting profile yesterday of biologist J. Craig Venter: “Rad Scientist: Maverick biologist J. Craig Venter is in a race to save the planet.”  The profile discusses Venter’s company Synthetic Genomics, the J. Craig Venter Institute (JVCI), and his recent effort to create a new species of algae that can generate biofuels and process green-house gases.  Venter’s work is truly ground-breaking and will one day change our lives — in fact, it already has (see below).  The article by Susan Okie is terrific and is a must-read for anyone interested in genomics and the future of biotechnology. Continue reading

Rick Perry on Evolution: I’m an IDiot too!

Two months ago, Michelle Bachmann expressed her doubt about the validity of evolution and support for intelligent design.  Well, tea-party candidates must really like this topic, because last week Texas governor Rick Perry said pretty much the same thing.  In an interview with the Associated Press, Perry said: Continue reading

Answers To One Reader’s Questions About Common Ancestry

I get email, albeit rarely.  Last week I received an email from one reader listing four questions about common ancestry.  Since I see questions like these pretty often — either from students or on evolution/creation comment threads — I thought I’d post the questions and their answers for all to see. Continue reading