Tag Archives: creationism

Have Fun with Aquilops

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with Aquilops americanus. That’s the small horned dinosaur found in Montana by a team that included Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History paleontologist Dr. Richard Cifelli.

The tiny fossil is now on display at the museum, but what better way to celebrate this historic find than to have your own version…sort of.

Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week is the place to go for the latest news on this awesome little creature. They’ve also passed on some most outstanding ways you can make Aquilops your own. Click here to see how you can make hand puppets, 3D models, even a baby Aquilops for the kiddos. It’s all very cool and a great way to teach kids about dinosaurs.

This Scientist Is OK- Dr. Stanley Rice

Dr. Stanley Rice is a botanist and professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant. He’s one of the more active scientists in Oklahoma in terms of public outreach. He works with Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education and he’s well known for channeling his inner Charles Darwin (check it out at the 1:50 mark) and click here to go to his YouTube channel.

Dr. Rice loves science and has made it his life mission to share his passion. He says, “What’s most important to me is that people can understand why science is important and how that fits in with their lives and their responsibility to all of humankind and to all the world. All the little things we do matter and science helps us understand how those little things matter.”

 

 

What is Scientific Evidence?

The amazing folks at Compound Interest are at it again. This time they’ve created an easy to follow guide explaining what makes up scientific evidence. The chart is below but you can click here to read their entire article.

Here’s why they made it,  “You might think science is science, but some evidence is ranked higher in the scientific community than others, and having an awareness of this can help you sort the science from the pseudoscience when it comes to various internet claims.” They go on to say, “The idea that sources of internet misinformation like the Food Babe might cease to exist with a better public understanding of scientific evidence is a bit of an idealistic one, but perhaps it might give those following cause to stop and question evidence provided, rather than merely accepting it at face value.”

Courtesy: Compound Interest

Courtesy: Compound Interest

Compound Interest has all kinds of wonderful information and they encourage teachers to use it in their classrooms.

Got STEM?

Phil Plait is the Bad Astronomer and writes for Slate. He wrote a short post about the need for STEM education and critical thinking in the U.S.

Check it out here.

There’s a fantastic video in that article about a talk at TEDx so be sure to click over there and take a peak. You’ll notice at the top of Plait’s post is a picture of that senator with a snowball, Jim Inhofe. So sad that one of our state’s leaders has become the poster child for a lack of critical thinking.

Evolution Explained

I’ve always said evolution is one of those things that you don’t get until you get it. In other words, it can be a difficult to understand until it’s explained the right way and then it’s so simple to understand. The talented folks over at Molecular Life Sciences have created an easy to follow infographic explaining evolution using some of the arguments against it. Here’s one of the many panels…

courtesy: http://molecularlifesciences.tumblr.com

courtesy: http://molecularlifesciences.tumblr.com

Evolution isn’t a belief system. It’s a systematic way to describe how life on Earth has changed over time. I don’t believe in evolution any more than I believe in the Thursday. I understand what it is, how it works, and why it’s the best way to explain the natural world. Major props to Molecular Life Sciences for creating this.

http://molecularlifesciences.tumblr.com/post/75224638930/top-5-misconceptions-about-evolution-a-guide-to

This Scientist Is OK- Kyle Davies

Kyle Davies is a paleontologist and a fossil preparator at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. He builds the displays you see on the museum floor. He most recently helped prepare Aquilops americanus display which debuted in February.

Davies is one of those people who’s living a childhood dream. He says all he ever wanted to do was build fossil displays. How abut that? Now he’s doing it and that makes him an OK scientist.

This is why your child needs braces

Ever wonder what’s up with crooked teeth? I mean, why don’t our teeth fit in our mouth? A recent report in the journal PLOS ONE says you can blame the switch to farming by our ancestors.

This article sums it up nicely. It includes some pictures that really show the difference.

The first humans were hunter-gatherers. They just fought it and killed it and ate it. They didn’t grow it and they didn’t cook it. The report says their teeth and jaws fit together perfectly. That’s how they evolved, big jaws were needed to chew their tough, uncooked food. As farming was developed and the food became more processed and not near as tough, humans didn’t need those big jaws so the jaws became smaller but the teeth stayed the same.

This is just one more example of how evolution works. Nature makes do with what it has. It’s not perfect, it’s not ideal. It just is what it is. Our teeth evolved to fit a different sized jaw and now we have to fork out thousands of dollars for braces to get it fixed.

Anti-Science Bill Update

We’ve been following an anti-science bill proposed in the state legislature. Sen. Josh Brecheen (R-District 6) is author of the bill. It’s his latest attempt to flush out climate change and evolution among other topics.

Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education does a great job staying on top of these bills. They say the best way to stop it is to contact the committee members where the bill starts. Here’s what OESE has on their website about SB 665:

Senate Bill 665, Oklahoma Science Education Act by Brecheen is the only legislation that directly attacks the teaching of sound science introduced in the legislature this year. Deadline for filing bills was January 22. The bill is virturally identical to a bill filed by Brecheen last year that died in the Senate Education Committee. Analysis of the bill by Rich Brougton is here. A description of the bill and its history is on the NCSE site. Additional information at the Sensuous Curmudgeon and Science is OK. We will let you know if and when it is assigned to a committee. Instructions for tracking bills can be found at Bill tracking in the Oklahoma legislature. There are several bills concerning science standards that we will keep an eye on as well. 
Action Alert: SB 665 has been assigned to the Senate Education Committee. Please contact the committee members and let them know you oppose the bill. Here is contact info for that committee: 
John Ford, Chair, 521-5634, fordj@oksenate.gov 
Ron Sharp, Vice Chair, 521-5539, sharp@oksenate.gov
Earl Garrison, 521-5533, whitep@oksenate.gov
Jim Halligan, 521-5572, halligan@oksenate.gov
Clark Jolley, 521-5622,jolley@oksenate.gov 
Susan Paddack, 521-5541, paddack@oksenate.gov
Marty Quinn, 521-5555, quinn@oksenate.gov
Wayne Shaw, 521-5574, shaw@oksenate.gov
Jason Smalley, 521-5547, smalley@oksenate.gov
John Sparks, 521-5553, sparks@oksenate.gov
Gary Stanislawski, 521-5624, stanislawski@oksenate.gov
Roger Thompson, 521-5588, thompson@oksenate.gov

What Scientists Think About Science Education

So what do scientists think about science education in this country? I’ve talked with a number of Oklahoma scientists over the past several months and they all seem to say the same thing…not enough critical thinking and too much meddling by politicians. As one biology prof. told me, “If they stay out of it and let the teachers teach we’d be fine.”

This video has comments from four Oklahoma scientists. In order of appearance…

Dr. Richard Cifelli– Paleontologist, University of Oklahoma and Curator for the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History

Dr. Charles Brown– Biologist, University of Tulsa

Dr. Amanda Falk– Paleoornithologist- Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Dr. Richard Broughton– Assistant Professor at the Oklahoma Biological Survey and in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma

 

This Scientist is OK- Dr. Jim Derby

Dr. Jim Derby is a geologist. He’s worked in the petroleum industry and taught at the University of Tulsa. He’s very proud of the textbook he authored about the geology that makes up most of North America. I always enjoy getting the chance to speak with him. He’s definitely an OK scientist.