Monday, July 27, 2015

The Ironic History of Evolution in the Scopes Era

My presentation from the 2015 Scopes Festival is now available online for free from Core Academy (it's also free to share on your website).

I want to acknowledge one of my primary sources: Philip Pauly's excellent 1991 article, "The Development of High School Biology: New York City, 1900-1925" (Isis 82:662-688).  There's a free PDF of the paper available at this link.

Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pluto: the beginning

I just finished watching the NASA press conference, and here are the first high-res photos released from the Pluto/Charon system. First a close-up of Pluto, and then a full, clear shot of Charon, one of Pluto's moons.

Now I'm not a planetary scientist and therefore cannot speak with much authority, but one thing I kept wondering about was how clean the surfaces of both Pluto and Charon appeared.  I expected something more akin to the surface of the moon or Mercury, pockmarked with craters, but that's not what we got.  Instead, these bodies appeared to be "active," in other words, their surfaces appear to be quite "young."  I'll just leave you to draw your own conclusions.

What a day!  And what a view!

So when are we going back?  New Horizons 2 anyone?

Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Happy Pluto Day!

This is it!  Our first good look at Pluto should be happening right now!  If everything went according to plan, the New Horizons probe went silent last night at a little past eleven Eastern time, and it will check in again tonight at a little after nine Eastern time.  Why the silence?  New Horizons has finally reached Pluto, and it's gathering data on the dwarf planet and its moons.  The probe needs to put all its attention on the planet because it is literally moving faster than a speeding bullet!

Some of the fastest bullets come out of tank guns, and they travel around 3800 miles per hour.  New Horizons is traveling at 31,000 mph, which is almost about 8 times faster than our fastest bullets.  To put that in perspective, if New Horizons traveled as fast as a speeding bullet, it would need more than 70 years to get to Pluto.  If you wanted to drive to Pluto in your car at highway speed, it would take 4900 years of nonstop driving to get there.

New Horizons is going so fast, it will fly by Pluto's surface in a just a few minutes.  It doesn't have enough power to slow down, and Pluto's gravity is too weak to drag something going that fast into orbit.  (How weak is Pluto's gravity?  it's about 7% the gravity of earth.  So if you weigh 200 lbs here on earth, you would weigh only 14 lbs on Pluto.)  If you've ever tried to take photographs of something as you drive by on the highway, imagine that but 443 times faster.

I'll be waiting up tonight to see what happens after New Horizons checks in.  The photos won't be available right away, because it takes 4.5 hours to transmit a message from the probe to earth, and there will be a lot of data to download.  But by this time next week, we should have some really stunning views of the latest frontier in our solar system.

Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Wonder of Yellowstone

I know some of my readers are wondering if I actually shot any content in Yellowstone, or if I just took silly videos and pretty pictures.  Actually, I did shoot some content in Yellowstone, and I'll be getting to that over the next few weeks.  In the meantime, I hope you'll indulge me for a "pretty" video.  I think it's important for creationists to experience creation.  I think sometimes we get wrapped up in trying to win arguments, and when we do that, I think the wonder of creation can get lost.  The wonder and beauty of God's creation are important to me, and I hope they are to you too.

So here, in my simple, clumsy way, I've tried to capture some of that wonder.

Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Origins 2015 schedule

Here is the official schedule for Origins 2015.  There is still time to register if you are interested in attending.  For me, this is easily one of the highlights of the year.  Sign up below or visit

Wednesday, July 22
Noon – Check-in begins
6:00 pm – Dinner

Thursday, July 23
9:00 – 9:15 – Welcome
9:15 – 10:15 – Biology Session 1: Foundations
  • Wise and Spivey – AIM Teleology and a Creationist Philosophy of Science
  • Davis – A Note on the Firmament of Gen. 1:6-8: The Raqia and Biblical Theology
  • Doran and Davis – Handwriting on the Wall: Dual Interpretation in Creation
10:25 – 11:50 – Geology Session
  • Austin – Sandy Gravity Currents as the Primary Sediment Transport Mechanism during the Global Flood
  • Heerema – Density Overburden in Relation to Salt Tectonics
  • Sprague – On the Aquatic Habits of Sauropods – An Antiquated Theory in Need of Revival?
  • Wise – Lance Formation Stratigraphy (Maastrichtian, Upper Cretaceous): Research Status Report
Noon – 1:30 – Lunch
1:30 – 3:00 – Biology Session 2: Design
  • Doran and Doran – Creation as Visual Music: Repetition, Contrast, and Variation
  • Passburg – Language in DNA? Analysis of Statistical Linguistic Features in Human Chromosome 1
  • Guliuzza – A Microbe Interface System: Design Analysis Confers Better Understanding of our “Immune” System
  • Francis, Wood, Sanders, and Blaschke – Observation of Ips and Dendroctonus Pine Bark Beetle Activity in the American Southwest: Ips pini May Serve as a Model Organism for How Bark Beetles Can Provide Beneficial Activities in a High Desert Forest
3:10 – 4:40 – Biology Session 3: Baramins and Biological Change
  • Sanders – Testing for Bias in an Original Baraminic Distance Dataset
  • Wise – Paleontological Notes on the Baraminology of Frogs
  • Doran – Decoupling Genetic and Species Diversity: Post-Flood DNA Substitution Rates Decrease Exponentially
  • Brand – Epigenetics and Origins: a Kuhnian Revolution in Progress?
5:30 – 7:00 – Dinner
7:30 – CBS and CGS Executive Council meetings

Friday, July 24
8:30 – CBS and CGS membership meetings
9:00-12:00 – Workshop: The Science of the Flood, part 1
12:00 noon – lunch
1:30-4:30 – Workshop: The Science of the Flood, part 2
6:00 – Dinner

Saturday, July 25
9:00 am – Meet at the flagpoles for field trip to Smithgall Woods

Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com.