Happy Paul Nelson Day!

Five years, oh where has the time gone? Five years ago today, a creationist promised the science blogging community that he would explain a fancy new term that he came up with. Supposed to be a measurement of the degree of development of an organism, “Ontogenetic Depth” interested PZ Myers because he himself studies developmental biology. But the creationist never explained what it was, how it was calculated, and why the most developmentally well-characterized metazoan model species, C. elegans, had an OD of ‘somewhere between 7 and 9.’

That creationist’s name is Paul Nelson. Five years ago today he made a promise, Continue reading Happy Paul Nelson Day!


200,000 wish Darwin HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Today is the 200th Birthday of one Charles Darwin, Huzzah! It also marks 150 years since he published On the Origin of Species.

Well the internet community has got something really special in mind for ol’ Chuck: A pile of us joined a facebook group to spread the word about his Birthday. The goal was to have 200,000 members by tomorrow. Err, today. It’s 2 am here in Madison, and the membership count just passed 200,000. 200,030 to be exact:

There’s still time to join in on the big party! Go here to join the Facebook group.

You know, I sometimes get really annoyed at facebook. All those little applications that want a piece of your data, and spread from one person to another. Ghosts from the past trying to contact you, all sorts of weirdness. BUT, I have noticed that science bloggers have been using Facebook for some killer networking. I guess it’s not all bad.

Now the count is at 200,159. Send it to the roof!

Nancy Pearcey at Niceville, a review

A little more than a week ago, I received an email from Marni Chidsey, a librarian at Okaloosa-Walton College in Niceville, Florida. She heard about a “Beyond Expelled” event that was about to take place in her locale, and the speaker was going to be Nancy Pearcey. Yes, that Nancy Pearcey. Mrs Totaluberdoubleplus Truth herself.

Marni emailed me, PZ Myers, Ken Miller, and a few others asking for advice on how to represent science and reason at the event, and what would be a good question to ask. Nick Matzke helped me out with my question then, so it was time to pay it forward. I sent her a few good proposed questions for her to ask Pearcey, and explained a little background on her arguments and its basic flaws.

Ken Miller sent the both of us a preview of his now-published essay about Expelled and how utterly dishonest it is. Check it out when you have the time. Ken suggested that Marni hand out copies of it if she could, and I asked her to record it if possible. How did it go? Continue reading Nancy Pearcey at Niceville, a review

Richard Dawkins at the Wisconsin Union, A review and more!

Tuesday, the 11th of March, 2008, Professor Richard Dawkins came to Madison, Wisconsin. As I mentioned before, he was here for two talks, and I was going to try to get him on my show for an interview. It was a busy day for me in class, and in lab as well, plus my backpack was broken and I had to use two shoulder bags all day, but I carried around my books, notes, computer, and recording equipment for what was a jam-packed day.

First, there was the talk in the afternoon, of which I caught the latter half. It was a casual affair, a discussion between Dawkins and mostly students. If you want a more complete description of this event, visit Missives from the Frontal Lobe or The Uncredible Hallq. My reason for being there was to approach Dawkins after the discussion to ask him for an interview.

Continue reading Richard Dawkins at the Wisconsin Union, A review and more!

Thursday Madness: No Intelligence Allowed

What happens when someone who was interviewed for a creationist propaganda tries to see how he is portrayed in the film? He gets Expelled. I guess some weeks the Madness in this world takes a little while to come forth. But when it does, it really comes out. In a special Thursday edition of Monday Madness (on Friday), I give you Thursday Madness: No Intelligence Allowed. Continue reading Thursday Madness: No Intelligence Allowed

Dawkins in Madison

Richard Dawkins is coming to my humble city of Madison, Wisconsin! Sweet. I last met Dawkins in San Francisco one and a half years ago at the Palace of Fine Arts. It was there that I learned that if you don’t know what question to ask a big speaker, don’t wait to get in line – think of it in line! Doesn’t always pan out… but at least you get the chance.

Many people in Madison already know about the Tuesday night talk, but Dawkins is doing a little more than that while he’s here. Here are the events I’ve found relating to his visit: Continue reading Dawkins in Madison

Refuges slow resistance to Bt in cotton

(Mind nod to the Thumb and ResearchBlogging)

A post at Further Thoughts discusses a paper in Nature Biotechnology that reviews the research on the evolution of resistance to a Bt toxin that has been engineered into Cotton.

Cotton, as you may or may not know, requires a HUGE amount of pesticides to grow a good crop. The introduction of Bt cotton in China in 2001, engineered to produce a bacterial gene toxic to certain insects (but not mammals), eliminated a quantity of pesticides roughly equal to all the pesticides that California uses in a year.

The insects were not particularly pleased. Evolution charges on, however, and it would seem that resistance is only a matter of time, and eventually we’d be back where we started. Continue reading Refuges slow resistance to Bt in cotton

Neil Shubin on hiccups

Neil Shubin, who was just on the Mindcast two weeks ago, has just been interviewed by Quirks and Quarks in Canadia (where the Canadians are from, duh.) Apparently, those annoying hiccups are another example of how the awkward evolutionary history of our species has taken us from one form to another. Another challenge for anti-science zealots – explain Hiccups. And then tell us that an omnipotent omniscient being unknown unnamed designer created designed it. Without making us laugh.

It’s Intelligently Designed Stupid!

Read about it at The Panda’s Thumb.