Sticking with it

July 21st, 2014 by Brandon Haught

I have a guest blog post published at the Florida Heritage Book Festival website: The Evolution of Going Ape. I talk about how the idea for Going Ape started off as a mere curiosity and over the course of a few years developed into a published book. It was a hard, exhausting and sometimes frustrating experience over the years, but I’m so glad I stuck with it.

I was invited to write the guest post because I’m one of the featured authors who will be giving a talk at the Book Festival in September!

Going Ape in Orlando Sentinel

July 16th, 2014 by Brandon Haught

Thank you to Orlando Sentinel reporter Leslie Postal for the nice story on me and Going Ape: Florida’s Battles over Evolution in the Classroom!

‘Going Ape’ relives Florida battles over evolution:

Despite his strong belief that evolution as a fundamental tenet of biology must be taught, Haught said he tried to make the book neutral and readable for anyone interested in the topic. And, Haught said, it’s a book without a true ending.

“I guarantee we’re going to see this come up again,” the Port Orange man said.

And Florida Citizens for Science president Jonathan Smith had some kind words for me. Thanks, Jonathan!

“Brandon’s a thinker,” said Jonathan Smith, president of Florida Citizens for Science. “He’s intrigued by stuff like that.”

This & That 7/16/14

July 16th, 2014 by Brandon Haught

Florida scientists press Gov. Rick Scott on climate change:

“We note you have been asked several times about how, as governor, you will handle the issue of climate change,” the scientists wrote in a two-page letter to Scott. “You responded that you are ‘not a scientist.’ We are scientists and we would like the opportunity to explain what is at stake for our state.”

Mystery Solved: Why Peacocks Got Their Eyespots:

“To settle this mystery, (Rebecca Kimball, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Florida) and colleagues sequenced nearly 2,000 segments on the genomes of 15 different bird groups, including the three with eyespots. When Kimball and her team reconstructed the likely genealogy of these birds, she found that eyespots had evolved and been lost multiple times.”

Tracking Florida’s Skunk Ape:

Physical description. The Florida Skunk Ape has generally black or “dark” long hair or fur—one report described it as seemingly “covered in fur, as if wearing a fur coat” (Jenkins 2010, 114). It may also be brown, or—in one 1848 instance—white. It has a large, round head with big, shining eyes, no appreciable neck, and broad, rounded shoulders. When standing upright, it has “long dangling arms,” in one case being ob­served “swinging its arms as dogs yapped at it” (Bord and Bord 2006, 244).

Catch the Loggerheads in Action via HD Florida Keys’ ‘Turtle Cam’:

“What people are more likely to see on the webcam is first a small miniature volcano cave-in and then a mad rush of turtles all coming out at once,” Appel said, via CBS Local Miami. “It could be 50 to 75 of them coming out of that hole and heading for the most ambient light they can, which is the moon.”

South Florida Science Center takes on sexual attraction:

A guy walks into a bar, and finds himself in the middle of a presentation on sexual attraction.

While it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, those walking into O’Shea’s Irish Pub at 7 p.m. on July 24 will likely have a similar experience.

“Laws of Attraction: The Science of Sex Appeal” is the theme for the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium’s third Science on Tap event.

Want to major in engineering or physics? What to look for when you are selecting a university:

“But you have to learn the basic science – and learn it with deep understanding – to become a strong professional engineer or physicist. So when selecting a university at which to study engineering or physics, look for one where the Physics Department and other academic departments in which you’ll be involved have adopted teaching models that give students the best opportunity to learn well.”

Radio Interview

July 13th, 2014 by Jonathan Smith

I have been contacted by WSLR 96.5 radio in Sarasota to participate in a live radio interview. The program “Stratosphere” is aired at 9.00am on Wednesday mornings and I will be interviewed this coming Wednesday July 16th at 9.15 am.  They want to know all about the Florida Citizens for Science. If you are not in the radio area, the show will be live streamed and archived.



Creationism in Holmes County school board race

July 10th, 2014 by Brandon Haught

Candidates in a Holmes County, Florida, school board race participated in a political forum held at a Baptist Church this past weekend. Holmes County political forum held:

Moderating the event was West Pittman Baptist Church Pastor Eddie Eaton, who asked candidates to introduce themselves before beginning the question and answer session by asking about each candidate’s spiritual beliefs.

All proclaimed Christian faith, and school board candidates expressed a desire to promote Creationism in Holmes County schools as opposed to Evolution.

Unfortunately, that’s the only mention of creationism with no further details about what each candidate said.

“… indoctrinated progeny …”

July 8th, 2014 by Brandon Haught

As a new author, I’m fascinated by every little milestone I cross. I’ve recently received my first Amazon customer reviews for Going Ape: Florida’s Battles over Evolution in the Classroom. One is a positive, thoughtful 4-star. Thank you, Jon E!

The other is … um … I guess incoherent is the word, 1-star. And no one is finding it helpful at all.

See for yourself. And I invite you to write your own review, or at least vote for the “helpful” status of the two reviews there now.

This & That 7/3/14

July 3rd, 2014 by Brandon Haught

College Won’t Accept Graduate Because School Is Not Accredited

“A teen from southwest Miami-Dade County just graduated from high school a few weeks ago, but she has discovered her diploma isn’t valid. [...] The 18-year-old spent the past two years taking classes at Il Savior Academy. But when she applied to Miami-Dade College, she discovered her diploma wasn’t valid.”

PEACE camp offers students lots of summer fun and learning

“This is the best way for kids to learn science — getting them out of the book and into the world,” said Chris Nehr, PEACE program instructor and Bayonet Point Middle English teacher.

University to allow students to rent drones from library

“These are not by any stretch of the imagination intended for just anybody to walk up and check out,” Garrison says. “They’re not for filming parties on campus and things like that.”

Ruse, FSU’s ‘public intellectual,’ refuses to slow down

“The issue that put Ruse on the map, as it were, is his unwavering defense of Darwinism and his opposition to teaching creationism in public schools. He was one of the star witnesses (along with Stephen Jay Gould) in the 1981 landmark test case McLean v. Arkansas, which resulted in that state’s creation science curriculum being declared unconstitutional.”

Deniers will deny

July 3rd, 2014 by Brandon Haught

Awesome! Going Ape was used in this Tallahassee Democrat column to help show how evolution deniers and climate change deniers are a lot alike: Evolution, climate change share a lot

In “Going Ape,” it is clear that nothing would convince some people that evolution is a scientific theory worth teaching. And I was struck by parallels with the battle over climate change.

First, there’s no single alternative theory. Deniers just know the prevailing one is wrong. [...] Second, Christian fundamentalism intrudes into both issues. [...] Third, deniers jump on any scientific misstep. [...]

Finally, if all else fails, it’s a conspiracy. In Haught’s book, over and over you hear from people certain that evolution is a plot to turn America into a godless nation. With climate change, the conspirators are many. It’s the big money behind climate change (though, if I were looking for money, I’d hit up Exxon before I knocked on the door of a windmill-maker). It’s scientists tailoring their results to get more grants. It’s President Obama conspiring to shut down coal plants (what does he have against West Virginia?).