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Evolution Nominated For Silver Birch® Award

by Daniel Loxton, Oct 26 2010

I'm elated to announce that my Junior Skeptic-based book Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be is a 2011 nominee for the prestigious Silver Birch® Nonfiction Award! This is a tremendous honor (for which I thank my illustration collaborator Jim W. W. Smith, my editor Valerie Wyatt at Kids Can Press, producer Pat Linse — and the Skeptics Society for making the project possible in the first place).

Each year, the Ontario Library Association showcases selected titles for its Forest of Reading® program — a heavily-promoted recreational reading initiative, widely supported throughout Ontario's public schools and public libraries. Among the 250,000 participating young readers, kids who read a minimum of five of the 10 books in their reading category will become eligible to vote for the award in that category.

The Forest of Reading program runs throughout the Spring, culminating with award ceremonies in front of an audience of several thousand at Canada’s largest literary event for younger readers: the Festival of Trees™ at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto (May 11 and 12, 2011).

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Charles Darwin … the Movie

by Michael Shermer, Jan 26 2010

A review of Creation: The True Story of Charles Darwin. Starring Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly. Jon Amiel Director, Jeremy Thomas Producer, John Collee writer. Recorded Picture Company with BBC Films and Ocean Pictures. Based on Randal Keynes’s book Annie’s Box. In general release January 22, 2010.

Creation movie poster

Creation is one of the most beautifully produced, artfully directed, factually accurate, and powerfully acted biopic films ever made. Full stop. It stars Paul Bettany as the Charles Darwin almost no one knows (and looking almost eerily similar if you match him to portraits of Darwin at that time), and Jennifer Connelly as the Emma Darwin almost invisible to history (and whose stunning Hollywood beauty is forgotten as she morphs into a realistic portrayal of a 19th century Englishwoman). The script is based on Randal Keynes’s biographical work, Annie’s Box, a moving portrait of the middle-aged Darwin—after the five-year voyage of the Beagle and before the white-bearded sage of Down basked in scientific triumph—as he struggled intellectually and emotionally to put the pieces of natural history together into a cogent theory. It is also about Charles Darwin the man, husband and father, besieged by health problems that curtailed his work days to only a few hours, stressed by the normal strains of marriage, and agonizing over the death from a mysterious disease of his beloved 10-year old daughter. Continue reading…

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Young Earth Creationism = Darwinism?

by Daniel Loxton, Dec 08 2009

DarwinEyes4

“News flash: skeptics hack the Answers in Genesis website!” Or, at least, that was the joke  Skeptic co-publisher Pat Linse made when I read her some pro-natural selection material from the young Earth creationist organization’s slick online portal.

For years, I’ve been surprised how rarely this is mentioned: young Earth creationists need Darwin to be right — and when you press them on it, they often agree that he was.

Doesn’t sound like the creationism you know? It’s not a hacker’s prank, and it’s not a radical re-thinking of creationism. It is, however, a nuance as important as it is surprising: creationist leaders share Darwin’s belief that species routinely change (and even originate) through mutation and natural selection.

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From Faitheist to Fundagnostical

by Michael Shermer, Dec 01 2009

Last week, while I was giving thanks for an abundance of family, friends, and food, a brouhaha was brewing over an invited opinion editorial I wrote for CNN celebrating the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (on Tuesday, November 24).

The title, “Religion, Evolution can Live Side by Side,” was written by the CNN editors, but it does capture the thrust of the piece which I concluded by noting that if you are a believer in an eternal god, what difference does six zeros make on when the creation happened — 10,000 or 10,000,000,000 years ago — or by what method of creation was used: spoken word or big bang?

Well, this set off a mild firestorm among some observers of the science-and-religion debate, most prominently the estimable Jerry Coyne, the author of one of the best books ever written on the subject, Why Evolution is True, in his website of the same title called me an “accommodationist” and even a “faitheist” (“faith atheist”?) Continue reading…

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Mythbusters endorse Darwin ’08

by Phil Plait, Nov 05 2008

Skeptics love The Mythbusters. The TV show brings the ideas of science and skepticism into the homes of millions of people every week. Adam Savage is a regular at Randi’s The Amaz!ng Meetings, in fact.

Adam Savage and his Darwin 08 shirt

Adam Savage and his Darwin 08 shirt.

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