I got caught up in the holidays and completely forgot to mark the 10-year anniversary of Cobb County’s “evolution disclaimer” court case (which started in 2004). In case you missed it, the Atlanta area school board decided to glue this sticker onto the front inside cover of students’ biology textbooks:
This sticker was designed, of course, to make it seem like evolution is just an interesting idea, one that might be useful, but only time would tell. The sticker delighted the creationists in town who had pushed for the language.
I played a very, very small part in the trial: I sent a page of snarky disclaimers (below) to the plaintiff’s lawyer to amuse her, and she decided to print some up as posters to show in the courtroom. I heard the judge liked them a lot. If you are having a Darwin Day party on February 12, consider printing a bunch as party favors. Print some as bookmarks for kids while you’re at it.
If you liked the above, you might also like the version I did for the New York Times. Felix Sockwell did the figurines, which really added a lot.
For those of you who object to the existence of evolution, here’s a handy sticker to place on your health insurance card so you don’t get vaccinated by accident. Just print PDF onto sticker paper … and give extras to your like-minded friends. The flu virus is constantly evolving, so hoping these will come in handy. Or, if you don’t think the flu virus is evolving, ask for last year’s vaccine … it’s much cheaper!
Just a Public Service Announcement from Charles Darwin: get a flu shot now so that you’ll (likely) be alive to fret endlessly about Ebola.
And if you don’t get the vaccine and end up getting the flu, please consider quarantining yourself: you are infectious because flu is airborne and kills a lot of us (36,000+). From the CDC:
“Most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 days. Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.”
(Charles Darwin painted by Carl Buell. Background mural by Borgny Bay. Photo by me.)
Nothing in religion makes sense except in the light of imagination.
I posted this graphic on Flickr in 2006, but thought I’d re-post here since I’d long ago stopped using Flickr. It shows how religions might have evolved from pre-existing religions, which in turn evolved from the early myths of ourprehuman ancestors. If you are a religion buff, you are no doubt frothing at the mouth because of all the mistakes I’ve made … in my defense, it was just a quick sketch because I needed an “evolution of religions” slide for a talk and I couldn’t locate one on the internet thingy.
If you’re interested in the evolution of religions among primates, check this out:
McClenon, J. 1997. Shamanic healing, human evolution, and the origin of religion. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 36:345-354. JSTOR
By the way, my lead sentence is just a riffing on the phrase and article by Dobzhansky, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”