Timefulness: How thinking like a geologist can help save the world

by Paul Braterman Timefulness: How thinking like a geologist can help save the world, Marcia Bjornerud, Princeton University Press, 2018/2020, pp 208, sale price $8.84/£7.00 through publisher There are many excellent overviews for the general reader of how life on Earth has changed over time (see, for a recent example, Neil Shubin’s Some Assembly Required,…

Creationism, Noah’s Flood, and Race

by Paul Braterman                                                                                     20th-century creationism and racism Henry Morris, founding father of modern Young Earth creationism, wrote in 1977 that the Hamitic races (including red, yellow, and black) were destined by their nature to be servants to the descendants of Shem and Japheth. Noah was inspired when he prophesied this (Genesis 9:25-27) [1]. The descendants…

Darwin does devolve. Sometimes. So what?

by Paul Braterman “[T]here is in fact nothing that can alleviate that fatal flaw in Darwinism” says Professor Behe, stating the book’s central claim in the mendaciously mislabelled creationist web journal Evolution News. The claim is clickbait, the book title misleading, and the argument long since rebutted. The historical roots of the argument show the close…

Evolution, the Iraqi Translation Project, and rebuilding science in the Arab World

by Paul Braterman Translations change the course of civilisations. The translation project begun by Caliph al-Mansour in the 8th century CE, and accelerated under his grandson Harun al-Rashid, made available in Arabic scholarly writings from Greek, Aramaic (Syriac), Persian, and Indian sources, and laid the foundation for the flowering of science and philosophy in the…

EVOLUTION: What the Fossils Say and why it Matters, Donald R. Prothero (2nd edition)

by Paul Braterman EVOLUTION: What the Fossils Say and why it Matters, Donald R. Prothero (2nd edition) If you are interested in evolution, get this book. And make sure that your library gets it. And your children's high school library. Incidentally, it's incredible value; list price $35.00/£27.95 from Columbia University Press, with over 400 lavishly…

How do we know where the carbon is coming from?

by Paul Braterman In 1957, Charles Keeling of Scripps Institution of Oceanography began regular measurements of carbon dioxide concentration at Mauna Loa, Hawaii. By 1960, he was already in a position to report a steady increase, together with seasonal variations. In the northern atmosphere, CO2 concentration falls during the spring and summer growing season, but…

The “scientific method”, a needless stumbling block; with a note on falsification

by Paul Braterman Below, R: How not to; "The Scientific Method", as inflicted on Science Fair participants. Click to enlarge Consider this, from a justly esteemed chemistry text: Scientists are always on the lookout for patterns.… Once they have detected patterns, scientists develop hypotheses… After formulating a hypotheses, scientists design further experiments [emphasis in original]…

Democracy or theocracy? The bid to reform Scotland’s educational committee system

by Paul Braterman A 1929 law* imposes three unelected clergy on each of Scotland's local Education Committees. This was based on practice dating back to the 1870s, with the formation of the Scottish educational system from a merger of church and non-church elements, and to the 1918 incorporation of Catholic schools into the system. The…