Why A Politician’s Opinion of Evolution Matters

Since darwinbookcats is in part a blog about evolution, I’ve recently posted about the scientific opinions of the GOP presidential candidates.  One reason is because these candidates have decided to make their opinions on evolution known.  But a second reason is because these opinions are important.  In a new blog article for the Washington Post, biologist Richard Dawkins explains why. Continue reading

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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

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

What’s the difference between microevolution and macroevolution? The answer straight from one fish’s mouth.

ResearchBlogging.org
One common misconception about evolution is that the processes that produce phenotypic change between species (macroevolution) are different from those that produce phenotypic variation within species (microevolution).  For example, creationists might accept microevolution, since this can easily be observed in a lab, but would argue that since macroevolution is difficult to observe over the span of one human lifetime, there is no evidence for it and that large-scale differences must be the result of some designer.  In reality, however, there is no real distinction between microevolutionary and macroevolutionary changes: the same microevolutionary processes that result in variation within species give rise to macroevolutionary differences between species.  And this afternoon, evolutionary biologists from the University of Maryland and Syracuse University published a study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that nicely illustrates this link between microevolution and macroevolution.  Their study, titled “Craniofacial divergence and ongoing adaptation via the hedgehog pathway“, highlights the genetic basis of within and between species variation in jaw shape in African cichlid fishes. Continue reading

Bad Blogger’s Repost: Michele Bachmann is an IDiot

I’m a bad blogger — I’ve been too swamped collecting data and writing grants to post about the amazing science (microevolution vs. macroevolution) and books (Going After Cacciato, The Satanic Verses) I’ve been reading.   What’s more, today I’m going to repost old stuff.  I know, terrible.  But at least there’s an interesting story behind this one: Continue reading

Louisiana Science Education Makes the Funny Pages

If you’re like me, the first thing you read when you open Sunday’s newspaper is the comics.  And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in twenty years of reading the comics, it’s that being featured in the funny pages is usually an ignoble privilege at best.  Well, this Sunday, cartoonist Garry Trudeau lampooned Louisiana’s Science Education Act (LSEA) in his famous comic strip Doonsbury.

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