BOOK: Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation by Bill Nye

Bill Nye speaks at Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR, October 25, 2014                       (Photo: Lewis & Clark College)

Last month, my wife and son were fortunate to see Bill Nye the Science Guy give a talk at Lewis & Clark College here in Portland, OR. This was exciting for my wife, having watched many episodes of his show growing up, and great for my son to hear from one of our leading advocates for science. His talk was wide ranging, from his own life story to climate change and his experience debating creationist Ken Ham last February.

That debate led Bill Nye to write a book all about evolution:

Bill Nye, Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2014), 320 pp.

Publisher’s description Sparked by a controversial debate in February 2014, Bill Nye has set off on an energetic campaign to spread awareness of evolution and the powerful way it shapes our lives. In Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation, he explains why race does not really exist; evaluates the true promise and peril of genetically modified food; reveals how new species are born, in a dog kennel and in a London subway; takes a stroll through 4.5 billion years of time; and explores the new search for alien life, including aliens right here on Earth. With infectious enthusiasm, Bill Nye shows that evolution is much more than a rebuttal to creationism; it is an essential way to understand how nature works—and to change the world. It might also help you get a date on a Saturday night.

I look forward to the copy of Undeniable that is on its way to me now! You can find the book through various vendors from the publisher’s page, here.

In the meantime, check out this post on Brain Pickings: Bill Nye Reads a Brilliant, Creationism-Busting Passage from His New Book on Evolution

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VIDEOS: Lectures from Darwin in the 21st Century: Nature, Humanity, and God (2009 conference)

Robert Richards: ‘All that is most beautiful’: Darwin’s Theory of Morality and Its Normative Validity

Peter Bowler: Imagining a World without Darwin

Darwin, God, & Design – Evolution & the Battle for America’s Soul

Darwin’s Revolution: From Natural Theology to Natural Selection

Videos of other lectures here, conference information here.

BOOK: How to Fake a Moon Landing: Exposing the Myths of Science Denial

I think this illustrated look at science denial complements Donald Prothero’s Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (my review) very well:

Darryl Cunningham, How to Fake a Moon Landing: Exposing the Myths of Science Denial (New York: Abrams ComicArts, 2013), 176 pp.

Climate change, fracking, evolution, vaccinations, homeopathy, chiropractic, even the moon landing – all hut-button controversies to which author-artist Darryl Cunningham applies cool, critical analysis. Using comics, photographs, diagrams, and highly readable text, Cunningham lays out the why and wherefores to expose the myths of science denial. Timely and well researched, How to Fake a Moon Landing is a graphic milestone of investigative science journalism.

BOOK: The War on Science Goes Batshit

Allen J. Woppert, The War on Science Goes Batshit (CreateSpace, 2013), 248 pp

Most students don’t challenge their teachers’ methods. But fourteen-year-old Timothy Thompson isn’t like most students. He’s a certified genius and science geek, and when Mrs. Barker, his biology teacher, tries to slip “intelligent design” into the curriculum and then refuses to teach evolution, Timothy simply won’t have it. What happens from there is an all-out Batshit war. Timothy attends Omar L. Batshit (pronounced baht-SHEET) High School in Batshit, Illinois, where, following his battle with Mrs. Barker, many perceive his actions as anti-Christian and consider him the antichrist. He is harassed and bullied by students and tormented by Mr. Braun, the gym teacher with more brawn than brain. Joined by an endearing crew of fellow science geeks—including Megan Chow, whom Timothy vows to make his girlfriend—Timothy plans a lecture series to teach the “real science” Mrs. Barker refuses to teach. While this causes almost everyone around Timothy to hate him all the more, the geek squad gets enough support from the school’s principal and librarian to pull the series together. As Timothy and his friends continue to plan the lectures, unsettling forces continue to work against them. He finds help from some unexpected sources, including Mike Petersson, the star of the school’s football team and self-described “dumb jock,” who takes on the role of Timothy’s bodyguard. Eventually, Timothy finds himself in a life-threatening situation, where not even his big, burly bodyguard can help him. Will Timothy survive? Or will he become a casualty of the war he started? A suspenseful, entertaining story, The War on Science Goes Batshit takes a fresh look at the war between religion and science from the perspective of a teenage geek, setting it up not only as a politically charged piece but also as a young adult, coming-of-age saga that tells a tale of ordinary and extraordinary teens experiencing their first year of high school, the bonds and insecurities of friendship, and first love.

BOOK: Trying Biology: The Scopes Trial, Textbooks, and the Antievolution Movement in American Schools

A new book about the Scopes Trail in 1920s America was recently published:

Adam R. Shapiro, Trying Biology: The Scopes Trial, Textbooks, and the Antievolution Movement in American Schools (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), 200 pp.

In Trying Biology, Adam R. Shapiro convincingly dispels many conventional assumptions about the 1925 Scopes “monkey” trial. Most view it as an event driven primarily by a conflict between science and religion. Countering this, Shapiro shows the importance of timing: the Scopes trial occurred at a crucial moment in the history of biology textbook publishing, education reform in Tennessee, and progressive school reform across the country. He places the trial in this broad context—alongside American Protestant antievolution sentiment—and in doing so sheds new light on the trial and the historical relationship of science and religion in America.

For the first time we see how religious objections to evolution became a prevailing concern to the American textbook industry even before the Scopes trial began. Shapiro explores both the development of biology textbooks leading up to the trial and the ways in which the textbook industry created new books and presented them as “responses” to the trial. Today, the controversy continues over textbook warning labels, making Shapiro’s study—particularly as it plays out in one of America’s most famous trials—an original contribution to a timely discussion.

A review in Times Higher Education by Simon Underdown, here.

Shapiro started a blog to accompany this book, here.