Archive for the 'Education' category

More Bob Jones "Biology for Christian Schools" Howlers

A couple of weeks ago, I posted two ridiculous quotes that are found in the Bob Jones textbook that's involved in the California Creationism lawsuit. I'm still wading through these texts and Behe's report explaining why it's really a very good book for high school students to use to learn biology. It's a slow process, and a painful one, but I've found another couple of outstanding quotes to share with you.

This time, I'm including three different types of quote. There are a couple where the authors say things have absolutely nothing to do with science of any kind (and are totally out to lunch even by the standards of a lot of religious people I know). There's one where the book takes a brief detour into right-wingnuttery. I've also got one quote that I'm including as a special treat for those of you who might still want to claim that the book's fine if you just overlook the insane religious stuff - an example of a case where the authors manage to mangle a very basic concept from genetics.

We'll start with the insane, and move from there to the political, then conclude with the merely wrong.

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Dinosaurs, Birds, Feathers, and Conodonts (Oh, My!)

Most of the readers of this blog are intelligent, interested, scientifically literate individuals, but I'm guessing that at least a few of you aren't familiar with one of the nouns in the title. Those of you who do know what a conodont is are probably wondering what it has to do with the others. If you bear with me for a little bit, the connection will be clear shortly. It has to do with fossils, fossilization, and the latest spectacular misunderstanding of those two things at Uncommon Descent.

Conodonts are (or, rather, were) an interesting group of animals. They were around from late in the Cambrian period until the end of the Triassic, and were quite common during most of the period. They're not well known to most people outside of geology because the vast bulk of the evidence we have for them consists of very tiny tooth-like fossils. Most are only a millimeter or two in size, and are very hard to see without a microscope. They've received a lot of attention from paleontologists over the years because they're very useful little critters, particularly for geologists who work in the oil and gas industry. The thing is, for a long time nobody knew just what sort of critters they actually were.

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Donors Choose - Thank You

Jul 03 2006 Published by under Do Something, Education, Philanthropy, Science

The ScienceBlogs Bloggers' Challenge was wildly successful, raising well over 30,000 dollars in 15 days to fund education projects at individual schools. The challenge here at The Questionable Authority was also successful, bringing in a bit over $650.00, meeting the goal that I set.

Thanks to all of the donors to both my own little contribution and to the broader challenge.

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Growing Science in the Bronx

Jun 15 2006 Published by under Do Something, Education, Philanthropy, Science

Pick a Scienceblogger - any Scienceblogger - and you'll find someone who loves science, and thinks that everyone should be exposed to it. That's one of the reasons that we spend time hammering out these posts. We also, as a group, have this funny belief about science education. We think it's important. We think that it's a good thing for children to learn about the way their world works, and we're all for anything that helps with that.

That's why there are, as you may have seen on the main Scienceblogs page, a whole bunch of us clamoring for your money right now. We're embarking on a Bloggers Challenge to raise money to help teachers teach science. provides a way for individual teachers to take their proposals for projects directly to the public. What we've done is to set up challenges at the DonorsChoose website, where we've selected proposals that particularly appeal to us, and set our fundraising goals. My own goal for the challenge is on the modest size - less than $1,000 - but I think that the proposals I've chosen have enormous potential benefits. All three are at schools located near where I grew up, in The Bronx, New York. All three, if funded, will expose the students to something that most have absolutely no experience with - nature.

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