Creationist debacle at Michigan State

It’s yet another creationist conference in which the imminent demise of evolutionary theory will be declared this weekend, and it’s being held on a university campus, which is always jarring. The university is said to be “uneasy” about it all.

The 1 November event, called the Origin Summit, is sponsored by Creation Summit, an Oklahoma-based nonprofit Christian group that believes in a literal interpretation of the Bible and was founded to “challenge evolution and all such theories predicated on chance.” The 1-day conference will include eight workshops, according the event’s website, including discussion of how evolutionary theory influenced Adolf Hitler’s worldview, why “the big bang is fake,” and why “natural selection is NOT evolution.” Another talk targets the work of MSU biologist Richard Lenski, who has conducted an influential, decades-long study of evolution in bacterial populations.

News of the event caught MSU’s scientific community largely by surprise. Creation Summit secured a room at the university’s business school through a student religious group, but the student group did not learn about the details of the program—or the sometimes provocative talk titles—until later, says MSU zoologist Fred Dyer. The talk titles led Dyer to suspect that the student group was not involved in planning the conference, he says, prompting him to look into its origins.

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If you think the Pope is endorsing science, then you must agree with this guy too

The Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, explains that good ol’ polytheistic Hinduism is fully compatible with science, just like the Pope finds Catholicism compatible with evolution.

We can feel proud of what our country achieved in medical science at one point of time, the prime minister told a gathering of doctors and other professionals at a hospital in Mumbai on Saturday. We all read about Karna in the Mahabharata. If we think a little more, we realise that the Mahabharata says Karna was not born from his mother’s womb. This means that genetic science was present at that time. That is why Karna could be born outside his mother’s womb.

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No, the Pope doesn’t support evolution

He’s the Pope; you know he’s not going to defy his dogma to be honest with you. He doesn’t support gay marriage, either, but is good at giving the impression of tolerance, which will then be ‘clarified’ by Vatican spokesmen. Same here. Lots of people are telling me that the Pope says Christians should believe in evolution and Big Bang, but no, he actually isn’t. He’s telling you to believe in the Catholic Church’s weird-ass wink-wink-nudge-nudge version of evolution.

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There is a perfectly respectable tradition of including a photo of your experimental animal in a science poster

I’ve done it. Usually, though, it’s done to illustrate, for instance, normal morphology, for contrast with your experimental results. Or as a key for the anatomy. Or even sometimes as a small, tasteful bit of decoration, as long as it doesn’t detract or distract from the data. In this poster, Use of yeast lysate in women with recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis by Vrzal et al., presented at the 8th Vaccine & ISV Congress in Philadelphia, I’m rather at a loss to figure out the purpose of these illustrations.

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Stop freaking out, please

I’m staying at a cheap hotel in Augusta, Georgia these few days, and I take advantage of the free buffet breakfast (the only edible thing here seems to be a bowl of Raisin Bran, and the coffee is terrible), which means, of course, that I sit in a common room with the TV blaring at us. “News”. CNN and Fox. And everyone is running around in circles shrieking about a doctor diagnosed with Ebola in New York.

Jeez, but I have come to hate the 24 hour news networks. I never watch them at home.

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