Images of an Island, Culture and People’s Hopes: Jamaica

Explore the planet. Do not take vacations; instead, travel. What you get to like most can come from where you least expect it. — Here I share a pictorial sample of the many facets of Jamaica. While visiting the island, I found myself surprised by the contrasts of its amazing nation, although all nations and cultures are supposed to be contrasting in their traditions. That is the nature and, sometimes, the beauty of the human experience. — GPC  

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In our latest visit to Jamaica, we covered 1,564 miles driving along and across the island (and on the left side of the road!). Not a lot in comparison to other trips, but the Jamaican roads were narrow (except for the toll highways, which were modern and impressive), rich in towns and places to stop. We tried to not miss anything. There were many details to appreciate, a single visit was not enough to explore all we wanted.

We thank the Jamaican people for being kind and friendly, generous and proud of their nation. They taught us much about culture, universities, traditions, values, food (the Jamaican Jerk is excellent), ambitions, socio-economic frustrations and hopes for the future. We wish them well and anticipate to see –some day– Jamaica as a Republic, and no longer a “constitutional monarchy,” a fraction of the British Crown. The maps below summarize our driving routes (yellow dashed lines) back and forth, every day. The rainforests across the Blue Mountains (East side of the island) were spectacular.

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Above: The island of Jamaica (4,240 square miles) is the third largest in the Caribbean, after Cuba and Hispaniola (Haiti and Dominican Republic).

In this post, I share a small sample of the 1,000+ images taken while traveling in Jamaica (in no strict chronological order, but reflecting related events that took place while exploring the island). The images alone tell the story, I provide little text. At times, I found myself surprised by the contrasts in the Jamaican nation, although all nations and cultures are supposed to be contrasting in their traditions. That is the nature and, sometimes, the beauty of the human experience. I must say, however, that the wealth divide was acute, and as epidemic and unfair as among other Caribbean or South American countries. It could be felt everywhere.

Examine the photo ride, be patient, open your mind to the message, and find depth in the details. At the end, I summarize my impressions in a concluding remark.

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Above: Arriving in Jamaica. Northwest part of the Island. We landed at Sangster Montego Bay International Airport (MBJ). There are several international airports in Jamaica and numerous small landing runways (see airports in Jamaica).

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Above: Ocho Rios, in the North-central part of Jamaica. An active, commercial town. Tourism is an important component of the local economy (see Jamaican Economy).

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Above: A close up of the central stage (structure built on bamboo and logs) at Ocho Rios’ Island Village. Spot the rock pigeon, there is one to be found.

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Above: African ancestry mixed with Spanish and… later… English heritage, Ocho Rios.

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Above: The Jamaican colors are everywhere, Ocho Rios.

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Above: Jamaican newspapers. The Gleaner.

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Above: Letter of the Day, Jamaican newspapers, The Gleaner.

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Above: Driving on the left-side of the road, right-side of the car… can be confusing. The brain, however, adapts to it surprisingly fast. The local advice is “stick to the left, drive slowly.”

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Above: Warnings to drivers… Ocho Rios (but common in urban, suburban and rural areas across Jamaica).

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Above: A country-wide road campaign. This is from the West part of the island, on our way to Negril.

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Above: At the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston. Quite nice guided visit (80 minutes).

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Above: It was the right decision! The Bob Marley Museum is “the” most visited place in Jamaica.

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Above: Bob Marley’s progeny. Mural at the Bob Marley Museum, Kingston.

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Above: Mural on the inside wall around the Bob Marley Museum. Learn some history about it.

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Above: Mural on the inside wall around the Bob Marley Museum. Learn some history about it.

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Above: Main entrance to the Bob Marley Museum. Learn about the museum’s history.

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Above: The beautiful, sensual and rebellious “Redemption Song” by Laura Facey, at the Emancipation Park, Kingston. – The statue design was selected among sixteen proposals in a national competition. – We liked this sculpture so much. Artists who do not shock do not live fully. With this sculpture, Facey did both.

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Above: Bauhinia at the impressive Castleton Botanic Gardens, central part of the island, a bit to the East. The tropical and subtropical rainforests in the area are spectacular.  

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Above: An old bench turned into another element of the forest. Mosses, ants, anoles and birds come to it, but rarely people, Castleton Botanic Gardens.

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Above: Gazebo at the Castleton Botanic Gardens. It was so quiet that B&W became ideal.

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Above: Bamboo, gentle shade, Castleton Botanic Gardens.

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Above: Stop near Orange Bay and Buff Bay, Northeast part of Jamaica. Although hesitant at first, choosing a small car was quite practical (the rural roads can be very narrow).

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Above: Fishes carved on wood… on our way to Port Antonio.

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Above: Port Antonio, relics of a romantic place, Northeast of Jamaica (image 1 of 3).

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Above: Port Antonio, relics of a romantic place, Northeast of Jamaica (image 2 of 3).

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Above: Overview of Port Antonio, Northeast part of Jamaica (image 3 of 3).

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Above: Our 2016 book, Measuring the Evolution Controversy, contemplating Pellew Island Bay, East of Jamaica.

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Above: Resident Magistrate’s Court or Portland Parish Court in Port Antonio.

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Above: Prestige Funeral Home in Port Antonio.

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Above: Above: Prestige Funeral Home, it reads “Sending Your Loved Ones Home in Elegant Style.” It provides “Burial clothing for both male and female…” and other services, Port Antonio.

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Above: At Life Yard community initiative in Kingston.

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Above: Our friendly host, Sabukie Allen, at Life Yard community initiative in Kingston. Thanks so much for introducing us to the project and for showing us the street murals.

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Above: The works and message of Paint Jamaica.

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Above: The works and message of Paint Jamaica.

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Above: The works and message of Paint Jamaica.

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Above: Boy, Girl and a Book… a possibility. Street mural in Kingston.

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Above: Women. The works and message of Paint Jamaica.

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Above: Inside, a school. We could hear the children cheering and singing. Outside, the most majestic street art. Murals depicting everyday Jamaican life. Powerful. Impressive. The works and message of Paint Jamaica.

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Above:  “Logic will get you from A-Z, creativity will get you everywhere.” – At first, we knew artistic expression was evident in the murals. At the end of our visit we realized a world class museum of art, expression and social message had been standing before us, in the streets of a gentle neighborhood. The best of Jamaica: its people. The works and message of Paint Jamaica.

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Above: Pause at Port Antonio.

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Above: The famous Jamaican Jerk, pork. Smoking is done with sweet-wood-tree wood (Nectandra cf. antillana; there are several species in the genus Nectandra).

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Above: The famous Jamaican Jerk, chicken.

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Above: Baby Jamaican bananas, about 3 inches in size. Sweet.

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Above: Egret comes to my camera.

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Above: Exploring the Green Grotto Caves.

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Above: Exploring the Green Grotto Caves.

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Above: Collapsed entrance to the Green Grotto Caves.

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Above: Top and base of the Green Grotto Caves.

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Above: Some parts of this cave are still alive and growing. Exploring the Green Grotto Caves.

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Above: Another entrance (among many) to the impressive Green Grotto Caves.

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Above: Searching roots of the Ficus tree-liana-epiphyte at one of the entrances to the Green Grotto Caves.

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Above: Inner pond (‘lake’) at the Green Grotto Caves.

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Above: Mummified bat inside the Green Grotto Caves. – The bat probably died while perching (hanging on its claws) and its body mummified in place. Caves are cool, often dry and keep stable temperature. – I could not capture a better image, it was quite dark (I used a flashlight for illumination).

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Above: Perhaps in the 1950s, the highway A1 (Northern Coastal Hwy) was memorable (we drove through it almost daily). Monarchies must vanish… long ago overdue. We look forward to seeing Jamaica as a Republic in the future. Currently, Jamaica is a “parliamentary democracy” and a “constitutional monarchy.” In other words, it continues to be part of the British Crown.

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Above: Queen Conches, threatened in some areas of the Caribbean due to over collection. Edible. Each conch $50-60 US (see 23 on display). Nearby Lucea, ironically on the A1 road (the “Queen Elizabeth II” road, see previous image), Northwest of the island.

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Above: Feral cat that happens to live nearby humans. We saw hundreds in Jamaica. – Islands all over the world have a similar problem (e.g. Hawaii, Galapagos, Sicily). Feral cats feed on the local fauna and are responsible for decimating endemic species. – This female became a bit more tolerant of my camera as I approached her slowly and during several minutes. Her attention was on a toad hiding in the bushes.

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Above: Modern architecture in Jamaica. Common in shopping malls, close to large resorts.

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Above: More of modern Jamaican architecture.

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Above: A close up of modern Jamaican architecture.

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Above: Basic Medical Science Complex of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

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Above: The Chapel (front view) at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

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Above: The Chapel (side view) at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

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Above: Our 2016 book, Measuring the Evolution Controversy, visiting the Chapel at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

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Above: The beautiful indoors of the Chapel at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

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Above: The Papine Village Monument at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

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Above: Enslaved Females’ Names (1832) — the Papine Village Monument in what today is the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

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Above: Mural at the Assembly Hall, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

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Above: Old aqueduct (18th Century) at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

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Above: Blighia tree at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. Jamaica’s national fruit.

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Above: Blighia, with the capsule open at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

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Above: The University of the West Indies Open Campus in Port Antonio.

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Above: The University of the West Indies Open Campus in Port Antonio.

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Above: The University of the West Indies Open Campus in Port Antonio.

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Above: An example of think globally, act locally.

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Above: An example of think globally, act locally.

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Above: Trifolia old fountain at the Castleton Botanic Gardens.

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Above: At the Toms River, Castleton Botanic Gardens.

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Above: Color at the Castleton Botanic Gardens.

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Above: The Alexander Bustamante Memorial at the National Heroes Park, Kingston.

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Above: Change of Guard at the National Heroes Park, Kingston.

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Above: The Marcus Mosiah Garvey Memorial at the National Heroes Park, Kingston.

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Above: A path to be taken at the Castleton Botanic Gardens.

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Above: More of the colors at the Castleton Botanic Gardens.

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Above: The absence of color, or presence of the rainbow colors combined (white), at the Castleton Botanic Gardens.

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Above: Penta-meros at the Castleton Botanic Gardens.

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Above: The name is Fleming, Ian Fleming. One of the few memories of Fleming in Jamaica. Author of the James Bond series and former British naval intelligence agent. He retired in Oracabessa, Northeast part of Jamaica. From his home, he wrote the James Bond novels. – The Ian Fleming International Airport is located near Oracabessa.

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Above: Ian Fleming as my camera found him being remembered (poster) at the mini Ian-Fleming International Airport in Oracabessa. This is what the airport website says about Fleming.

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Above: About Ian Fleming, as my camera found him being remembered on a poster at the mini Ian-Fleming International Airport in Oracabessa. This is what the airport website says about Fleming.

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Above: Celebrating the writer at the Ian-Fleming International Airport in Oracabessa.

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Above: Norman Washington Manley Memorial in Kingston.

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Above: Female at the Norman Washington Manley Memorial in Kingston.

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Above: Male at the Norman Washington Manley Memorial in Kingston.

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Above: Monument to Paul Bogle in Kingston. The struggles to free a nation.

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Above: Nearby Orange Bay, Northeast part of the island.

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Above: After a rainy and windy morning, the day cleared up, gazebo in Port Antonio.

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Above: Town at dusk, Ocho Rios. Our last evening… silence.

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Above: Our last aerial view of Jamaica (Northeast of the island).

Concluding Remark. The future of Jamaica belongs to its people. Despite the socio-economic struggles, the Jamaican spirit is strong and festive. Optimism is contagious and always present. The new generation shall build a Republic on the legacy of its ancestry and the challenges of modern times. One day, I shall return to this scenic Caribbean island and reflect again on its magic, walk its towns, talk to its people, and feel once more the affection of their character. — GPC EvoLiteracy © 2017

You can contact Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C via email at guillermo.pazyminoc@gmail.com — Follow us on Twitter @gpazymino and Facebook.

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Measuring the Evolution Controversy - Hard copies 2016

Paz-y-Miño-C, G & Espinosa, A. 2016. Measuring the Evolution Controversy: A Numerical Analysis of Acceptance of Evolution at America’s Colleges and Universities. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, United Kingdom. ISBN (10): 1-4438-9042-1, ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-9042-7.

BOOK small format - Measuring the Evolution Controversy 2016Measuring the Evolution Controversy can be ordered directly from Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Amazon US, or Amazon CA . The publisher has made available a “VIEW EXTRACT” (in PDF), which includes the first 30-pages of the book: Cover, Table of Contents, Acknowledgments, Preface, Chapter ONE and the beginning of Chapter TWO. For PDF of color illustrations go to Image Resources of Didactic Relevance.

“The great contribution of ‘Measuring the Evolution Controversy’ is the rich content of data and analysis that asks detailed questions about the social, economic and political backgrounds of those who tend to reject evolution vs. those who accept evolution as science. Paz-y-Miño-C and Espinosa deftly analyze their data drawn from institutions of higher learning in the United States and particularly New England —which stands as a microcosm of the rest of the country, and indeed elsewhere in the world. It is their scientific approach to these issues which makes this book stand out as a uniquely original contribution.” — Niles Eldredge, PhD, Curator Emeritus of Paleontology at The American Museum of Natural History, New York.

“Pro-science activists and educators constantly bemoan the resistance to the teaching of evolution in the United States. All of us have anecdotes about encounters with the public, parents and students who are misinformed by their churches, Religious-Right groups, and creationist organizations. Paz-y-Miño-C and Espinosa present hard data that support the anecdotal evidence. They also show that although anti-evolutionism typically begins with religion, it is a multi-faceted problem that intersects with political and cultural ideologies. Gathered through careful research over a period of years, their data will enable scientists and defenders of science education to comprehend the roots of the evolution controversy and counteract resistance to evolution more strategically and effectively.”Barbara Forrest, PhD, co-author with Paul R. Gross of Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design (2007), and expert witness for plaintiffs, Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District (2005).

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Paz-y-Mino-C_Book_Cover_Evolution_Stands_Faith_Up_JPEGPaz-y-Miño-C., G. 2013. Evolution Stands Faith Up: Reflections on Evolution’s Wars. NOVA Publishers, New York. By NOVA Publishers, New York Soft Cover. Find it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.comAmazon UK

“The sweet spot of this collection of essays is the interface of science, history and literacy. Paz-y-Miño-C is, in essence, a champion of rationalism and a passionate defender of literacy standards. His essays deftly weave hard survey data and memorable turns of phrase with evocative imagery… While the essays in this collection are vast in coverage —from climate change to energy policy, stem cell research, vaccinations and, especially, evolution— a clear underlying theme emerges: [the author’s] goal is no less than to counter, through the lens of history and the majesty of rationalism, social forces that sanction ignorance, celebrate denial and… continue to diminish our global status in the fields of science and technology.” Jeff Podos, PhD, Professor of Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA.

“Paz-y-Miño-C  is a firm believer in evolutionary processes. He would like to see decisions made on the basis of facts, not unsupported opinion. He abhors and fears irrational thinking, especially ‘the views of those who see evil in truth and menace in the realities discovered by science.’ He marvels at the intricacy and diversity of life, and how it came about through natural selection… and is clearly frustrated by the unwillingness of so many to see the beauty and majesty in this view of the world and all that it explains.” – Jan A. Pechenik, PhD, Professor of Biology, Tufts University, USA, author of The Readable Darwin: The Origin of Species, as Edited for Modern Readers.

The IDeA of Washington DC

Washington’s character is intrinsic to its museums, splendors of the arts and sciences, and the humanities of modern culture. They lead the world not by their past, which is recent (mid 1800s) in contrast to their European counterparts, but the future because they project the direction in which creativity, discovery and the human intellect should go.

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The Hunt – National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. The Hall Of Human Origins at the Smithsonian is one of the best in the world. Photo G. Paz-y-Miño-C.

I finally sketched this chronicle. During June 26-28, 2016, I participated at the Institutional Development Award meeting (IDeA) in Washington DC. As per its website, the “IDeA program broadens the geographic distribution of NIH [National Institutes of Health] funding for biomedical research. The program fosters health-related research and enhances the competitiveness of investigators at institutions located in states in which the aggregate success rate for applications to NIH has historically been low… IDeA [supports] faculty development and research infrastructure enhancement at institutions in 23 states and Puerto Rico.”

The gathering included 1000 attendees (scientists, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students, and science administrators), the presentation of 180 posters (on the research sponsored by IDeA), about 20 plenary talks, workshops and small(er)-group discussions. These meetings are important for catching up with information about trends in modern research topics suitable for NIH funding, new granting policies by the agency (which are always a moving target), expansion-contraction or ending of programs, emergence of new ones, and the idiosyncrasies of administrative and bureaucratic science-funding work. I have never met a scientist who likes these meetings, but all find them crucial to attend.

I am indirectly involved with IDeA via my research collaboration with Avelina Espinosa on the mechanisms of taxa-, clone- and kin-discrimination in protists (i.e. Entamoeba spp. –see publications). Avelina has been sponsored by IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) during the past ten years.

INBRE puts the IDeA approach into action.” It enhances “research infrastructure through support of a statewide system of institutions with a multidisciplinary, thematic scientific focus… INBRE’s goal is to “[develop] biomedical research (in Avelina’s case, her studies with pathogenic amebozoans)… and strengthen the research capabilities of… faculty, and provide access to… resources for promising undergraduate students throughout the eligible states (e.g. Roger Williams University in Rhode Island).”

As always, Avelina and I took time –before and after the meeting– to explore the museums, libraries and monuments, and to learn as much as possible about the local history and culture. But, with a difference on this occasion; the District of Columbia is quite known to us. We have been traveling to DC since the early 1990s, at first yearly, for professional reasons (I was a biodiversity intern/consultant at the World Bank in the Summer of 1993, as part of a Graduate Certificate in Tropical Biology and Conservation at the University of Missouri St. Louis), and later to visit the NIH medical campus. We did the latter for a decade and became familiar with Bethesda, DC, restaurants (many but not all in Adams Morgan), the metro system and public transportation. A great exposure to the “Washingtonian life.”

Washington’s character is intrinsic to its museums, splendors of the arts and sciences, and the humanities of modern culture. They lead the world not by their past, which is recent (mid 1800s) in contrast to their European counterparts, but the future because they project the direction in which creativity, discovery and the human intellect should go.

Below are some images in no hierarchical order, but they do show events in which we were involved during the trip and in a semi-chronological fashion, starting with the IDeA meeting and drifting into a combination of meeting-plus-traveling to the Washington Mall for the rest of the day, and to finally visiting Washington all day long. Most photos are in low definition and have little or no editing (click on them to enlarge). Please note that images are copyrighted, all rights reserved, enjoy watching them! — Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C – EvoLiteracy © 2016.

A - MTEC at National Zoo in DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: To start with humor, upon arrival to Washington DC, our book Measuring The Evolution Controversy, visited the Panda facilities at the National Zoo. Selfie with the “Giant Panda” sculpture by Eric Berg (2006).

Giant Panda feeding National Zoo Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Giant Panda feeding at the National Zoo in Washington DC. Wild animals belong in the wild…

IDeA name tag - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Prior to the IDeA meeting. I like meetings in which everything they give you fits in a 2-GB flash drive… which is part of the ID tag… and with all the presentations and posters in it.

B IDeA Meeting Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The IDeA opening session.

A IDeA Meeting Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: And the left side of the room, IDeA meeting in Washington DC.

C the iPosters at Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The iPoster session; all posters were presented on touch screens.

CC the iPosters at Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: At the electronic poster session, as they called it, the iPosters. The cup was for tips…

IDeA flashdrive - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above:  If anything, THIS IS ALL THEY SHOULD GIVE YOU TO TAKE HOME… at / from a scientific meeting (i.e. three days, 1000 participants, 180 posters, about 20 plenary talks, symposia and small discussions). All in a flash-drive, no paper, no pens (of which you have plenty in your office), no meeting-bags (which usually stay at the hotel-room –they are ugly). In fact, organizers should only give you –a priori– just a weblink to find everything which was uploaded to the flash-drive. So, no flash-drive in the future.

New Escalators Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: On our way to the Washington Mall. Brand new escalators in the DC’s Metro… very bright… easy to see.

Panoramic Library of Congress - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The majestic Library of Congress… Washington DC.

Interior Library of Congress - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The interior of the Library of Congress, Washington DC.

Main Reading Room Library of Congress Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The main reading room (central building), Library of Congress in Washington DC.

Decorations Library of Congress Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Decorations at the Library of Congress in Washington DC… The main building was completed in the late 1890s.

Ceiling Library of Congress Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The ceiling “flower” ornaments, Library of Congress, Washington DC.

MTEC at Library of Congress US - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Our book, Measuring the Evolution Controversy, posing for selfie at the main hall, Library of Congress, Washington DC.

Library of Congress Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: One of our last stops by the Library of Congress… Washington DC.

Tunnel to Library of Congress - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The “tunnel” from the Capitol to the Library of Congress (goes both ways), Washington DC.

The US Capitol - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The Capitol renovation continues. The dome, already finished, looks amazingly white, polished and shiny… Washington DC.

Constantino Brumidi painting US Capitol - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Despite the renovation going on at the U.S. Capitol, we could see the Constantino Brumidi’s paintings.

William Jennings Bryan and Junípero Serra - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: TALKING ABOUT CONTRAST – Nebraska chose William Jennings Bryan as the most prominent native to represent the state at the U.S. Capitol. California went for Junípero Serra. Indiana, in the back, a bit pale.

Museum African American History Culture Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The new building of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (still under construction), it shall open before the end of 2016, Washington DC.

Presidential 2 of 3 Mural Mama Ayeshas Rest Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The Presidential Mural at the Mama Ayesha’s restaurant in Adams Morgan (Part I)…

Presidential 3 of 3 Mural Mama Ayeshas Rest Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The Presidential Mural at the Mama Ayesha’s restaurant in Adams Morgan (Part II)…

D Hippo and Okapi Museum Nat Hist Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Up close – Hippo and Okapi at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.

Jaguar National Museum of Natural History - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Melanic Jaguar, National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC.

F Homo heidelbergensis Museum Nat Hist Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Homo heidelbergensis – National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. The Human Origins Exhibit at the Smithsonian is one of the best in the world…

E Children at Museum Nat Hist Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: PRIMATES – Children (next to bronze chimp statue) watching video about Morganucodon, the first mammals, and the extinction of dinosaurs. National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.

L Morganucodon Museum Nat Hist Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: And the Morganucodon Award goes to… National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.

A Great Inca Road Exhibit Nat Museum Ame Indian - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: At the GREAT INKA ROAD EXHIBIT, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. It summarizes the history of the Inka (Inca) Empire, open until 2018. Impressive, with excellent didactic options (touch screens).

B Great Inca Road Exhibit Nat Museum Ame Indian - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: INKA ROAD EXHIBIT, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC.

C Great Inca Road Exhibit Nat Museum Ame Indian - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: INKA ROAD EXHIBIT, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. Inka khipu (years 1400-1600s) Peru. Cotton, Agave fiber.

D Great Inca Road Exhibit Nat Museum Ame Indian - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: INKA ROAD EXHIBIT, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. This is a very good museum.

OJIBWE Birch Bark Canoe National Museum of the American Indian - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: OJIBWE Birch Bark Canoe at the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington DC.

Inside of OJIBWE Birch Bark Canoe - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Inside OJIBWE Birch Bark Canoe at the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington DC.

Pineapple lily Eucomis sp US Botanic Garden - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Pineapple lily, Eucomis sp., US Botanic Garden, Washington DC.

Another take Arlington National Cemetery - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: At the main entrance to the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia…

Memorial Amphitheater Arlington National Cemetery - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The impressive Memorial Amphitheater at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. It resembles –in architecture– the Greek archeological amphitheaters of Europe…

MTEC at the Arlington National Cemetery - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Our book visiting the Memorial Amphitheater at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia…

NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY in Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY in Washington DC. This is a world-class museum, Smithsonian quality, impressive, very well conceptualized and representative of the American portrait culture and legacy (a specialized collection on/about the United States). Entrance to the museum is free, as to all Smithsonian museums in Washington. Free education for anyone, from anywhere in the world, who decides to visit. You need an entire day to explore it well. What a treat!

Corridors NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY in Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Halls and corridors at the NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY in Washington DC.

THE DYING TECUMSEH - National Portrait Gallery - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: THE DYING TECUMSEH by Ferdinand Pettrich (about 1850s) National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC. Marble with painted copper. The beauty is that if you stare at the sculpture, Tecumseh seems to continue dying, he never ends dying.

Mohamed Ali National Portrait Gallery - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Mohamed Ali at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.

Rosa Parks by Marshall Rumbaugh National Portrait Gallery - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: ROSA PARKS, by Marshall Rumbaugh, 1983, National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC. Painted limewood (sculptured).

Close up Rosa Parks by Marshall Rumbaugh National Portrait Gallery - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: And detail of ROSA PARKS, by Marshall Rumbaugh, 1983, National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC. Painted limewood (sculptured).

BLACK HAWK Nat Portrait Gallery - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: BLACK HAWK, by George Catlin, oil on canvas, about 1835. National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.

Einstein by Jo Davidson Nat Portrait Gallery - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Up close: terra cotta and a cell-phone camera. – Work of Jo Davidson, terra cotta, 1934, National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.

EO Wilson by Jennie Summerall - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Edward O. Wilson by Jennie Summerall, National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC. Oil on canvas (2006).

WJC - National Portrait Gallery - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: WJC – National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC, by Chuck Close, oil on canvas (2006).

ACHELOUS AND HERCULES and ONE AND ANOTHER National Portrait Gallery - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: ACHELOUS AND HERCULES (back) by Thomas Hart Benton, and ONE AND ANOTHER (front) by Hugo Robus, National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC.

One And Another NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY in Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: ONE AND ANOTHER (1934), bronze on wood base, by Hugo Robus. National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC. This is such a beautiful piece, human size. An entire room for it. The paintings around seem static, almost watching at One And Another…

Close up ACHELOUS AND HERCULES National Portrait Gallery - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: ACHELOUS AND HERCULES, oil on canvas (1947), by Thomas Hart Benton, National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC.

Babbon National Portrait Gallery - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Baboon (1930s) by Bessie Stough Callender, National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC. It reminded us of the Egyptian baboons…

Babbon B&W National Portrait Gallery - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Close up of Baboon (1930s), in B&W, by Bessie Stough Callender; National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.

Falcons National Portrait Gallery - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Falcons (left unfinished, right finished, 1937) on black Belgian marble, by Bessie Stough Callender, National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.

Washington Sea Eagle National Portrait Gallery - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Washington Sea Eagle (1836-39) by John James Audubon, oil on canvas. Zoom in, you can see the carks on the canvas. National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.

Giant Panda B&W feeding National Zoo Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Giant Panda feeding on bamboo, National Zoo, Washington DC. Wild animals belong in the wild…

Welcoming Lion National Zoo Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Welcoming Lion, National Zoo, Washington DC.

Priscilla The Parrot Fish National Zoo Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Priscilla The Parrot Fish at the National Zoo, Washington DC.

Electronic Superhighway Nat Portrait Gallery - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Electronic Superhighway (2002) by Nam June Paik (born in Korea), pioneer of video-art. National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.

H The White House Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The White House, as close as you can get nowadays…

Jefferson Memorial Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The Jefferson Memorial awakening… by the Potomac, Washington DC

Jefferson Memorial Washington DC color - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The Jefferson Memorial, another view, Washington DC

MTEC US Supreme Court - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Remember EDWARDS V. AGUILLARD? The 1987 (June 19) US Supreme Court ruling concerning “…a Louisiana law (i.e. Creationism Act) requiring that creation science be taught in public schools, along with evolution, violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because the law was specifically intended to advance a particular religion…” Well, MTEC visited the US Supreme Court to reflect about that specific ruling. It was a beautiful, sunny day, dry and perfect to pose for selfies.

Pillars US Supreme Court - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The imposing architecture of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington DC.

The famous staircase at the US Supreme Court - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The famous staircase at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington DC. There are two of these beautiful stairways in the building.

When water breaks Bethesda MD - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: When Water Breaks, It Always Does, Bethesda.

Chesapeake Bays Fish Market Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: We visited the famous Chesapeake Bay’s Fish marketplace. This made the day!

Chesapeake B Bays Fish Market Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Close ups of the Chesapeake Bay’s Fish market.

Crabs Chesapeake Bays Fish Market Washington DC - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: And even closer… Chesapeake Bay’s Fish market, Washington DC.

Sooner or Later Nat Museum Ame Indian - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Sooner or Later, National Museum of the American Indian, Washington DC.

MTEC at the US Supreme Court - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Our Book at the US Supreme Court. MTEC took some time to visit the building. Here, the volume is posing with one of the Cherub sculptures (the “Pen and Mace”) of the flagpole base. Both look radiant.

You can contact Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C via email at guillermo.pazyminoc@gmail.com — Follow us on Twitter @gpazymino and Facebook.

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Promotion Measuring the Evolution Controversy Paz-y-Mino-C & Espinosa 2016

Paz-y-Miño-C, G & Espinosa, A. 2016. Measuring the Evolution Controversy: A Numerical Analysis of Acceptance of Evolution at America’s Colleges and Universities. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, United Kingdom. ISBN (10): 1-4438-9042-1, ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-9042-7.

BOOK small format - Measuring the Evolution Controversy 2016Measuring the Evolution Controversy can be ordered directly from Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Amazon US, or Amazon CA . The publisher has made available a “VIEW EXTRACT” (in PDF), which includes the first 30-pages of the book: Cover, Table of Contents, Acknowledgments, Preface, Chapter ONE and the beginning of Chapter TWO. For PDF of color illustrations go to Image Resources of Didactic Relevance.

“The great contribution of ‘Measuring the Evolution Controversy’ is the rich content of data and analysis that asks detailed questions about the social, economic and political backgrounds of those who tend to reject evolution vs. those who accept evolution as science. Paz-y-Miño-C and Espinosa deftly analyze their data drawn from institutions of higher learning in the United States and particularly New England —which stands as a microcosm of the rest of the country, and indeed elsewhere in the world. It is their scientific approach to these issues which makes this book stand out as a uniquely original contribution.” — Niles Eldredge, PhD, Curator Emeritus of Paleontology at The American Museum of Natural History, New York.

“Pro-science activists and educators constantly bemoan the resistance to the teaching of evolution in the United States. All of us have anecdotes about encounters with the public, parents and students who are misinformed by their churches, Religious-Right groups, and creationist organizations. Paz-y-Miño-C and Espinosa present hard data that support the anecdotal evidence. They also show that although anti-evolutionism typically begins with religion, it is a multi-faceted problem that intersects with political and cultural ideologies. Gathered through careful research over a period of years, their data will enable scientists and defenders of science education to comprehend the roots of the evolution controversy and counteract resistance to evolution more strategically and effectively.”Barbara Forrest, PhD, co-author with Paul R. Gross of Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design (2007), and expert witness for plaintiffs, Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District (2005).

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Paz-y-Mino-C_Book_Cover_Evolution_Stands_Faith_Up_JPEGPaz-y-Miño-C., G. 2013. Evolution Stands Faith Up: Reflections on Evolution’s Wars. NOVA Publishers, New York. By NOVA Publishers, New York Soft Cover. Find it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.comAmazon UK

“The sweet spot of this collection of essays is the interface of science, history and literacy. Paz-y-Miño-C is, in essence, a champion of rationalism and a passionate defender of literacy standards. His essays deftly weave hard survey data and memorable turns of phrase with evocative imagery… While the essays in this collection are vast in coverage —from climate change to energy policy, stem cell research, vaccinations and, especially, evolution— a clear underlying theme emerges: [the author’s] goal is no less than to counter, through the lens of history and the majesty of rationalism, social forces that sanction ignorance, celebrate denial and… continue to diminish our global status in the fields of science and technology.” Jeff Podos, PhD, Professor of Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA.

“Paz-y-Miño-C  is a firm believer in evolutionary processes. He would like to see decisions made on the basis of facts, not unsupported opinion. He abhors and fears irrational thinking, especially ‘the views of those who see evil in truth and menace in the realities discovered by science.’ He marvels at the intricacy and diversity of life, and how it came about through natural selection… and is clearly frustrated by the unwillingness of so many to see the beauty and majesty in this view of the world and all that it explains.” – Jan A. Pechenik, PhD, Professor of Biology, Tufts University, USA, author of The Readable Darwin: The Origin of Species, as Edited for Modern Readers.

Russia: A Saturation of Beauty

“…There is so much history in Russia, a cultural legacy for the world. Its splendor is overwhelming. The fantasy in the architecture of its cathedrals and palaces; the colors of joy on its paintings; the ballerinas dancing in the snow at the tempo of always original music; the transcendent prose and verse of its writers, above all –to me– the perfection of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. A nation of great contrasts like all mega homelands. Of imposed extreme inequality and oppression by its past ruling Tsars, shamelessly sheltered by the co-conspirator Orthodoxy, the Church and its wicked Patriarchs, enticers of the populous. Its 1917 Revolution was inevitable, as it later was the Cold War with the West, which sequels still mark the divide between the peoples of Russia and ‘the capitalists.’ But what impresses me most of Russia is its capacity to have rebuilt itself after the significant obliteration of its land during World War II. Only a collective mind that treasures culture could reconstruct it, despite its 27-million casualties while battling Nazism. — One day, in the distant future, just before the subversive cells of my skin take over the rest of the organs and inflict their final harm, I would like to see the Russian Cathedrals again. Not because an Atheist needs conversion before death; that will never happen, I will always reject Fraud. But because these ‘now museums’ represent the saturation of art-beauty that I have been looking for…” — GPC.

We just returned from Russia after attending the Moscow Forum Protists – 2016 held at Lomonosov Moscow State University, from June 6th to 10th. The program, sponsored by the International Society of Protistologists (ISOP), included five plenary sessions with keynote speakers, general oral presentations, two symposia (integrative co-evolution between mitochondria and their hosts, and protists of marine sediments), and poster presentations (two sessions with about 50 posters each) on diverse topics, including: evolution and phylogeny, taxonomy, systematics and DNA barcoding, genomics and molecular biology, cell biology, organismal biology, parasitology, diversity and biogeography, ecology of soil protists, ecology of aquatic protists, bioindicators and palaeoecology. The 200 participants had time to exchange ideas during informal, social gatherings.

Avelina Espinosa and I participated with a poster (something we have not done in years, perhaps since we were postdocs, although our students present posters often) titled “Aggregative Behavior, Cell Signaling and Morphometrics: Entamoeba Discrimination Studies.” It summarized our latest papers (2016) featured on the Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology (for details and links to articles see Symposium Kin-Discrimination in Protists just featured on JEUK). Here is the poster, you can click on the image to enlarge:

Aggregative Behav Cell Signaling Morphometrics Entamoeba Discrimination Studies 2016

The meeting included a pre-conference trip to Saint Petersburg and a post-conference tour to the Golden Ring of Russia; we joined both. Plus three excursions, two of which we did on our own (the Armoury Chamber and the Moscow Kremlin), and a visit to the State Tretyakov Gallery, which we missed due to a conflict on our schedule.

Below, I include some of the images of our trip, in no particular order. On purpose, I often use a phone-camera to document our traveling. Most images are in low definition and have little or no editing (click on them to enlarge). Please note that images are copyrighted, all rights reserved, enjoy watching them! — EvoLiteracy © 2016.

MTEC at downtown campus Lomonosov Moscow State University - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Our book, Measuring the Evolution Controversy (2016), at the downtown campus of Lomonosov Moscow State University. Quite a stop to start our official visit. The old campus is located nearby the Kremlin. The new campus is located South of the city’s center.

Opening ISOP 2016 - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Opening at Moscow Forum Protists – 2016. The Faculty of Biology Building, Lomonosov Moscow State University.

Main Building COLOR Lomonosov Moscow State University - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Main Building Lomonosov Moscow State University. There are seven identical buildings in Moscow, one of them belongs to the University.

VDNKH Metro Station in Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: VDNKH Metro Station in Moscow. Tiles covering an entire wall (18 x 6 feet). While we were admiring this “tile-mosaic,” a young couple, plus a boy with his mother, stopped by to take pictures, an indication that this was an appreciated spot.

Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin in Suzdal Russia - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin in Suzdal, Russia. My favorite; blue is the right color.

Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin INSIDE Suzdal Russia - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Inside the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin in Suzdal, Russia.

The Senate and The Secret Gardens Kremlin Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The Senate and The Secret Gardens, Kremlin, Moscow.

Kremlin Wall with tower - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The iconic Kremlin Wall with tower, Moscow. The Kremlin buildings (government and museums) are enclosed by the wall.

The Grand Kremlin Palace Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow.

MTEC exploring Moscow Map - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Our book, Measuring the Evolution Controversy, planning the next day’s activities in Moscow. The Metro system is quite efficient to explore the city’s historic buildings, monuments and museums.

Russian State Library Main Hall - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Russian State Library, Main Hall, Moscow. An old palace in current renovation.

Marble stairs at the Russian State Library - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Marble stairs at the Russian State Library; history polished on marble, perhaps by millions of people over the years, Moscow.

View of Kermlin from Russian State Library Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: View of the Kremlin from the Russian State Library in Moscow.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky Russian State Library - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Fyodor Dostoyevsky statue at the Russian State Library, frequented spot by pigeons and birdlife. Quiet, little explored by pedestrians now that the surroundings are in renovation.

Detail of Facade Russian State Library - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Detail of façade at the Russian State Library, Moscow.

Book Museum View - Russian State Library - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Book Museum at the Russian State Library. Its collection of old books is impressive, hundreds of volumes.

SURVEYING VOYAGES Book Museum Russian State Library - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Darwin’s SURVEYING VOYAGES (1839) at the Book Museum of the Russian State Library, Moscow.

HUMANI CORPORIS FABRICA Book Museum Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The original HUMANI CORPORIS FABRICA by Andreas Vesalius (1543) at the Book Museum, Russian Sate Library, Moscow. I have seen this book twice, the first time at the Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, in the US.

DON QVIXOTE OF LA MANCHA Book Museum Russian State Library - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: DON QVIXOTE OF LA MANCHA (1616), Book Museum, Russian State Library, Moscow.

1867 Das Kapital - Book Museum - Russian State Library - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: 1867 edition of Das Kapital by Karl Marx, Book Museum, Russian State Library, Moscow.

MTEC at Library Lomonosov Moscow State University - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Our book, Measuring the Evolution Controversy, enjoying a lovely day outside the Library of Lomonosov Moscow State University. MTEC was not allowed in the Library due to lack of proper “pass,” which was required for visitors. In any event, the book took some time for selfies and promotion.

Modern Moscow at sunset - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Modern Moscow at sunset, a view from our hotel.

Moscow River and Kremlin - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Moskva River and Kremlin (on the right), Moscow.

Saint Basil's Cathedral Moscow NIGHT - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Saint Basil’s Cathedral (night), Moscow.

Saint Basil's Cathedral Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, panoramic view.

Saint Basil's Cathedral Moscow closeup - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Saint Basil’s Cathedral, close up, Moscow.

Orthodox Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Orthodox Moscow, next to Saint Basil’s Cathedral.

The Historical Museum at Red Square Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The Historical Museum at Red Square, Moscow. It has an excellent collection of artifacts related to Russian history, starting from Homo erectus (the first archeological discoveries in Russian landscapes) up to the 20th Century.

The GUM Building at Red Square Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The GUM Building at Red Square, Moscow.

Annunciation Cathedral side-view Kremlin Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Annunciation Cathedral, side-view, Kremlin, Moscow.

Annunciation Cathedral B&W Kremlin Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Annunciation Cathedral in B&W, Kremlin, Moscow.

The Ivan The Great Bell Tower - Kremlin Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Ivan The Great Bell Tower, Kremlin Moscow.

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow.

Bolshoi Theatre Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow.

Bolshoi Theatre Stage Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Bolshoi Theatre’s stage, Moscow. We were fortunate to get tickets for the Opera Katerina Izmailova, an adaptation of Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District.

Bolshoi Theatre Central Balcony Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Bolshoi Theatre Central Balcony, Moscow.

Beautiful Moscow by night - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Beautiful Moscow by night.

Diptic MEMORIAL MUSEUM OF COSMONAUTICS Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: At the MEMORIAL MUSEUM OF COSMONAUTICS, Moscow.

MTEC at MEMORIAL MUSEUM OF COSMONAUTICS Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Our book, Measuring the Evolution Controversy, at the MEMORIAL MUSEUM OF COSMONAUTICS, Moscow.

Back View of Lenin's Mausoleum - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Back view of Lenin’s Mausoleum, Kremlin, Moscow.

Karl Marx Monument Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Karl Marx monument in Moscow.

Handcrafted Nature Boxes St Petersburg - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Handcrafted Nature Boxes, St. Petersburg.

Casual Moscow with Fast Food - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Casual Moscow… fast-food style.

Kazan Cathedral Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Kazan Cathedral, Red Square, Moscow.

MTEC posing before The Senate Kremlin Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Our book, Measuring the Evolution Controversy, posing before The Senate, Kremlin Moscow.

STONE FLOWER FOUNTAIN in Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: STONE FLOWER FOUNTAIN in Moscow.

The Friendship of People Fountain Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The Friendship of People Fountain, Moscow.

ARCHITECTURAL DETAIL CENTRAL PAVELION Moscow - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Architectural detail, Central Pavilion, Moscow.

Kazan Cathedral St Petersburg - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg.

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood St Petersburg - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg.

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood St Petersburg CLOSE UP - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Close up of Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg.

B&W Church on The Spilled Blood St Petersburg - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Church on The Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg. The church is so colorful that even in B&W the viewer can imagine the colors.

Close up Hermitage Museum St Petersburg - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Close up of The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.

The Royal Throne Hermitage Museum St Petersburg - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The Royal Throne at The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.

Wooden Floor Winter Palace Hermitage Museum St Petersburg - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Wooden Floor at The Winter Palace, The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.

RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES St Petersburg - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The old building of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg.

Main Entrance Summer Palace St Petersburg - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Main Entrance to The Summer Palace, St. Petersburg.

Meet me at the bridge St Petersburg - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Meet me at the bridge, St. Petersburg.

The last red phone St Petersburg - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The last red phone, St. Petersburg.

Dormition Cathedral Vladimir - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Dormition Cathedral in Vladimir, Russia.

Matryoshkas from the 1920s Trinity Church Vladimir - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Matryoshkas from the 1920s, Trinity Church, Vladimir, Russia. In the old(er) days, the dolls were of pale colors, which changed over the years to a more colorful design.

A Fowl Trinity Church Vladimir - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: A Fowl at the Trinity Church in Vladimir, Russia.

Lenin Stalin Trinity Church Vladimir Russia - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Lenin and Stalin on glass, Trinity Church, Vladimir, Russia.

Town of Suzdal Russia - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Town of Suzdal, Russia.

B&W House in Suzdal Russia - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Traditional old-house in the town of Suzdal, Russia.

Colorful Russia Suzdal - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Colorful Russia, the town of Suzdal.

Saint Euthymius Monastery Russia - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Saint Euthymius Monastery, Suzdal, Russia.

Detail of ceiling at Trinity Church Vladimir - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Detail of ceiling at Trinity Church in Vladimir, Russia.

The Former KGB - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The Former KGB building in Moscow.

Water reflection Convent Bogolyubovo Vladimir region Russia - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Water reflection of Convent Bogolyubovo in the Vladimir region, Russia.

Old Village Suzdal Russia - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Old Village in the town of Suzdal, Russia.

More of the Saint Euthymius Monastery Russia - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Saint Euthymius Monastery, Suzdal, Russia.

Golden Gate Vladimir Russia - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Golden Gate, Vladimir, Russia.

Church of The Transfiguration Russia - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Church of The Transfiguration, Suzdal, Russia.

Church of The Transfiguration Russia Close Ups - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The Church of The Transfiguration is completely built on wood, Suzdal, Russia.

Convent Bogolyubovo Vladimir region Russia - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Convent Bogolyubovo, Vladimir region, Russia.

Matryoshkas in color St Petersburg - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Matryoshkas in color, St. Petersburg.

MTEC inside the Russian State Library - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Our book, Measuring the Evolution Controversy, enjoying a visit to one of the reading rooms at the Russian State Library in Moscow.

You can contact Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C via email at guillermo.pazyminoc@gmail.com — Follow us on Twitter @gpazymino and Facebook.

Suggested Readings

Kin Recognition or Kin Discrimination in Single-Celled Organisms – Protists

Symposium Kin-Discrimination in Protists just featured on JEUK

Protisto-Biologists Flock to Seville for ECOP-ISOP Scientific Meeting

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy full text

*  *  *  *  *     *  *  *  *  *     *  *  *  *  *

D - Headline Book Measuring the Evolution Controversy 2016

Paz-y-Miño-C, G & Espinosa, A. 2016. Measuring the Evolution Controversy: A Numerical Analysis of Acceptance of Evolution at America’s Colleges and Universities. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, United Kingdom. ISBN (10): 1-4438-9042-1, ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-9042-7.

BOOK small format - Measuring the Evolution Controversy 2016Measuring the Evolution Controversy can be ordered directly from Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Amazon US, or Amazon CA . The publisher has made available a “VIEW EXTRACT” (in PDF), which includes the first 30-pages of the book: Cover, Table of Contents, Acknowledgments, Preface, Chapter ONE and the beginning of Chapter TWO. For PDF of color illustrations go to Image Resources of Didactic Relevance.

“The great contribution of ‘Measuring the Evolution Controversy’ is the rich content of data and analysis that asks detailed questions about the social, economic and political backgrounds of those who tend to reject evolution vs. those who accept evolution as science. Paz-y-Miño-C and Espinosa deftly analyze their data drawn from institutions of higher learning in the United States and particularly New England —which stands as a microcosm of the rest of the country, and indeed elsewhere in the world. It is their scientific approach to these issues which makes this book stand out as a uniquely original contribution.” — Niles Eldredge, PhD, Curator Emeritus of Paleontology at The American Museum of Natural History, New York.

“Pro-science activists and educators constantly bemoan the resistance to the teaching of evolution in the United States. All of us have anecdotes about encounters with the public, parents and students who are misinformed by their churches, Religious-Right groups, and creationist organizations. Paz-y-Miño-C and Espinosa present hard data that support the anecdotal evidence. They also show that although anti-evolutionism typically begins with religion, it is a multi-faceted problem that intersects with political and cultural ideologies. Gathered through careful research over a period of years, their data will enable scientists and defenders of science education to comprehend the roots of the evolution controversy and counteract resistance to evolution more strategically and effectively.”Barbara Forrest, PhD, co-author with Paul R. Gross of Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design (2007), and expert witness for plaintiffs, Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District (2005).

Today: International Darwin Day 02 12 2016

EvoLiteracy News 02 12 2016

“Darwin Day… signifies the celebration of the achievements of reason, science, and the advancement of human knowledge. The igniting moments in human history when light was brought into our own origins, when understanding that ordinary apes, like Homo, were capable of the extraordinary, of discovering the truth and debunking obscurantism; yet we still struggle to make science the sole guiding star in our survival decisions, the reliable source of concern and joy, the toolkit to plan our departure from Earth –before our Sun in agonizing heat engulfs its nearest orbiting planets– and seek home somewhere else in the cosmos”Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C

A few images and Evolution-Literacy links to celebrate International Darwin Day. — An update on our New England Science Public Series Evolution Volumes 1 and 2, including open access to the studies on acceptance of evolution in the United States. — Links to our Incompatibility Hypothesis papers (evolution versus supernatural causation). — A recount of a visit to the Down House (Darwin’s home). — And an article, from 2013, about the “history of Darwin Day” at the US Congress. Enjoy. – GPC

Here are some photos of Darwin’s statue at the British Museum of Natural History in London, taken back in 2010.

A - Darwin British Museum Nat Hist - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2010

Above: an overall view of Darwin’s statue (marble) at the British Museum of Natural History in London.

B - Darwin British Museum Nat Hist - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2010

Above: a close up of Darwin’s rostrum.

C - Darwin British Museum Nat Hist - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2010

Above: and another close up of this beautiful carving on marble.

E - Darwin British Museum Nat Hist - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2010

Above: the main hall at the British Museum of Natural History in London. Darwin’s statue is in the back, just at the end of the first level of the stairs.

F - British Museum Nat Hist - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2010

Above: the outdoors of the British Museum of Natural History in London.

Paz-y-Mino-C_Book_Cover_Evolution_Stands_Faith_Up_JPEGNOVA Publishers (New York) used one of these images for the cover of our book Evolution Stands Faith Up: Reflections on Evolution’s Wars (2013). “Paz-y-Miño-C doesn’t ask the reader to ‘believe’ in evolution. He provides overwhelming evidence, clearly written, that shows how scientific inquiry leads to important and practical results, while superstition and faith lead nowhere. Although we may not be able to reason someone out of what they were never reasoned into, the author presents a roadmap for those whose minds are open to discover the wonders and beauty of science.” – Herb Silverman, PhD, author of Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt. Find Evolution Stands Faith Up at NOVA: Soft Cover, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.comAmazon UK.

Update on NESP Series Evolution

The open access New England Science Public Series Evolution continues to be highly downloaded. Here are some updates:

NESP Series Evolution Vol 1 No 1 20131,670+ downloads of Volume 1, Number 1: Paz-y-Miño-C G & Espinosa A. 2013. Attitudes toward Evolution at New England Colleges and Universities, United States. New England Science Public: Series Evolution 1(1): 1-32 (ISSN: 2326-0971). The authors compile the most significant results of their conceptual and quantitative studies on the patterns of acceptance of evolution at New England colleges and universities, conducted between 2009 and 2012. They examine the views of New England Faculty and Educators of Prospective Teachers (higher-education faculty themselves, specialized in training future teachers) from 35 colleges and universities, as well as a representative sample of College Students from a Public, Private and two Religious institutions who were polled in three areas: the controversy over evolution versus creationism versus Intelligent Design; their understanding of how science and the evolutionary process work; and their personal convictions concerning the evolution and/or creation of humans in the context of their religiosity… Read MORE open access.

NESP Series Evolution Vol 2 No 1 2014430+ downloads of Volume 2, Number 1: Paz-y-Miño-C G & Espinosa A. 2014. Acceptance of Evolution by America’s Educators of Prospective Teachers. New England Science Public: Series Evolution 2(1): 1-92 (ISSN: 2326-0971). In NESP Series Evolution Vol 2 No 1, Paz-y-Miño-C and Espinosa use the conceptual framework of the Incompatibility Hypothesis (i.e. science/evolution and belief in supernatural causation are incompatible) to document the patterns of acceptance of evolution of 495 Educators of Prospective Teachers affiliated with 281 colleges and universities widely distributed in 4 regions, 9 divisions, and 50 states in the United States. These higher-education professionals (65% PhD-, 22% doctorate-holders) were polled in five areas: (i) their views about evolution, creationism and Intelligent Design, (ii) their understanding of how science and the evolutionary process work, (iii) their position about the hypothetical ‘harmony or compatibility’ between science/evolution and supernatural causation, (iv) their awareness of the age of the Earth, its moon, our solar system and the universe, and the application of the concept of evolution to the cosmos, and (v) their personal convictions concerning the evolution and/or creation of humans in the context of the educators’ religiosity… Read MORE open access.

The Incompatibility Hypothesis: evolution vs. supernatural causation

Incompatibility Hypothesis Paz-y-Mino-C Espinosa

“Like the oil vs. water experiment, evolution and supernatural causation don’t mix. Evolution raises to the surface.”

Supernatural causation (i.e. the belief in a Supreme Being, creator and sustainer of the universe, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient) is a cultural pollutant, incompatible with empirical reality. “Belief” disrupts, distorts, delays and/or stops (3Ds+S) the correct comprehension and acceptance of evidence. We have postulated that the controversy over evolution-and-science versus creationism is inherent to the incompatibility between scientific rationalism/empiricism and the belief in supernatural causation. This hypothesis (= incompatibility) helps us understand and explain the everlasting and fluctuating antagonism –in cycles, from moderate to intense opposition during human history– in the relationship between science/evolution and religion… Read MORE and access free PDFs of scientific articles, including  Evolution Controversy: A Phenomenon Prompted by the Incompatibility between Science and Religious Beliefs published in the International Journal of Science in Society (abstract below) [PDF].

Cover Int Journal Science Society Paz-y-Mino-C and Espinosa 2015Evolution Controversy – Science in Society: Paz-y-Miño-C G & Espinosa A. 2015. Evolution Controversy: A Phenomenon Prompted by the Incompatibility between Science and Religious Beliefs. Int. J. Sci. Soc. 7(2). ISSN 1836-6236. The incompatibility between science and the belief in supernatural causation helps us understand why people do not accept evolution. Belief disrupts, distorts, delays, or stops (3Ds + S) the acceptance of scientific evidence. Here we examine the evolution controversy under three predictions of the incompatibility hypothesis. First, chronological-conflict-and-accommodation, which explains the historical re-emergence of antagonism between evolution and religion when advances in science continue to threaten the belief in supernatural causation; in such situations, creationists’ rejection of and subsequent partial acceptance of the new scientific discoveries are expected. Second, change in evolution’s acceptance is a function of educational attainment, which explains the positive association between acceptance of evolution and level of education. And third, change in evolution’s acceptance is a function of religiosity, which explains the negative association between acceptance of evolution and level of religious beliefs… We emphasize that harmonious coexistence between science and religion is illusory. If co-persisting in society, their relationship will fluctuate from moderate to intense antagonism. Read MORE open access [PDF].

At the Down House: Darwin’s Home

Down House Side View from gardens“I visited the Down House, Darwin’s Home, in July 2010. Here are a few pictures I wanted to share in celebration of the International Darwin Day, February 12. Prior to visiting the Down House, which is located just a few miles South East of London, I went to Canterbury, Kent, to attend the International Society of Protistologists (ISoP) annual meeting, at the University of Kent. Coincidentally, back in 1991, as an undergraduate student, I obtained a Diploma in Endangered Species Management from the University of Kent, which offered such certification in partnership with the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust (nowadays Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust)”… Read MORE.

Some History about Darwin Day at the US Congress

Paul Broun R Georgia on Evolution

Click on image to watch video. Paul Broun (R) “All that stuff I was taught about evolution… all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell”

“…Bill H.Res.41, itself, embodies the never-ending battle against irrationalism, the latter vividly present in the views of those who see evil in truth and menace in the realities discovered by science. Take, for example, last year’s remarks by congressman Paul Broun (R), from Georgia, a physician and member of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology (the very Committee to which the “Darwin Day bill” was referred), who declared: “God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the big bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell.”

And Mr. Broun went on, as documented in video watched worldwide: “It’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.” “You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth.” “I don’t believe that the earth’s but about 9,000 years old.” “I believe it was created in six day as we know them.” “That’s what the Bible says.” Read MORE.

Related Stories

Darwin’s Skepticism about God

Evolution Wars Debunk II

Why the Notion that “The Theory of Evolution is Not an Explanation for the Origin of Life” is Wrong

Evolution Stands Faith Up – On Francis Collins’ and Karl Giberson’s “The Language of Science and Faith”

EvoLiteracy Update from Hawaii

Best wishes for 2016. A bit late, but I am still traveling and will resume the Evolution Literacy postings shortly. This last part of the journey comes from Hawaii.

Below, I share a few images from the island of Oahu. I have been coming to Hawaii yearly since 2012. Prior to that, I traveled to the Galapagos –yearly and non-stop– from 2005 to 2011. Comparatively, these archipelagos are amazing (i.e. volcanic origin, hot spots, endemism, adaptive radiation). Spectacular exemplars of evolution on islands.

For now, enjoy the images. I will discuss themes related to evolution on islands in the postings to come. You can find some of these images, and many more, on Twitter @gpazymino and Facebook. Aloha. – GPC

Shark Bernice P Bishop Museum Honolulu - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: A suspended-in-air shark at the Bernice P Bishop Museum, Honolulu.

Plumerias in bloom Koko Bot Garden Oahu - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Plumerias in bloom Koko Bot Garden Oahu, Hawaii.

Golden Barrel Cactus Koko Bot Garden Oahu - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: They look like moving, rolling as a group. Golden Barrel Cactus at the Koko Crater Botanical Garden, Oahu, Hawaii.

Golden Barrel Cactus close up Koko Bot Garden Oahu - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Golden Barrel Cactus at the Koko Crater Botanical Garden, Oahu, Hawaii.

Lady Columbia Honolulu Memorial - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The beautiful Lady Columbia, Honolulu Memorial, Hawaii.

The Bernice P Bishop Museum Honolulu - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The Bernice P. Bishop Museum (main building), Honolulu, Hawaii.

Sperm Whale Bishop Museum Honolulu - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Sperm whale cast at the Bernice P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Sperm Whale inside Bishop Museum Honolulu - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Real skeleton inside sperm whale cast at the Bernice P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii.

A - Achatinella spp evolution Hawaii - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Great didactic model (A) of Achatinella spp. snail evolution in Hawaii: “giant” introduction (for kids).

B - Achatinella spp evolution Hawaii - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Model B of Achatinella spp. snail evolution in Hawaii: real snails (very small, about 2 cm, less than an inch).

C - Achatinella spp evolution Hawaii - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Model C of Achatinella spp. snail evolution in Hawaii: real snails.

D - Achatinella spp evolution Hawaii - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Model D of Achatinella spp. snail evolution in Hawaii: real snails.

E - Achatinella spp evolution Hawaii - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Model E of Achatinella spp. snail evolution in Hawaii: real snails.

Achatinella spp snail diversity Hawaii - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Outcome F of Achatinella spp. snail evolution in Hawaii: real snail diversity (40+ species).

Wooden slit drums of Vanuatu Bishop Museum Honolulu - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Wooden slit drums of Vanuatu represent Hawaiian ancestors and ancestors’ voices. Bernice P Museum, Honolulu.

Plumerias Koko Bot Garden Oahu - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The beautiful Plumerias at the Koko Crater Bot Garden, Oahu, Hawaii.

Iolani Palace Honolulu Hawaii - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The majestic Iolani Palace, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Iolani Palace Red Room Honolulu Hawaii - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Iolani Palace, the Red Room, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Iolani Palace Red Room close up Honolulu Hawaii - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Iolani Palace, close up of the Red Room, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Sausage Tree Campus UH Manoa - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: “Sausage Tree” (looks like a giant tamarindo, although distantly related to the latter). In the genus Kigelia sp. (from Africa). Each fruit can weigh up to 15 pounds. I found this one at the University of Hawaii Manoa.

The Forest Tree Koko Bot Garden Oahu - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The forest at the Koko Botanical Garden, Oahu Island, Hawaii.

The Forest Koko Bot Garden Oahu - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The forest at the Koko Botanical Garden, Oahu Island, Hawaii.

The Forest Giant Cactus Koko Bot Garden Oahu - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The forest at the Koko Botanical Garden, Oahu Island, Hawaii.

The Cactus Section B Koko Bot Garden Oahu - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The forest at the Koko Botanical Garden, Oahu Island, Hawaii.

Pachypodium Koko Bot Garden Oahu - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Pachypodium (native to Madagascar) at the Koko Botanical Garden, Oahu Island, Hawaii.

The Cactus Section at Koko Bot Garden Oahu - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: The impressive cacti at the Koko Botanical Garden, Oahu Island, Hawaii.

Ukuleles four Hawaii - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: My ukuleles, the first one is a Mele from Maui (the box is built on mango wood); second, a miniature Kanile’a from the Big Island (koa wood); third is s DeVine from Oahu (mostly koa wood); and the last one is a tenor Kanile’a (koa) also from the Big Island.

Sunset Light House B&W Honolulu - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Evening in Honolulu – I don’t like sunsets much, but occasionally it is fun to play with an amateur camera and a lighthouse.

Sunset Sailing Boat House Honolulu - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: Oahu sunset, Hawaii.

USS Arizona Memorial Pearl Harbor Hawaii - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2016

Above: USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Related Posts:

Mauna Kea Telescopes to Sink in the Pacific

The Art Of Nature: Sculptures Of Dinosaur Tracks and Traces

By Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C PhD — © 2015

New England Science Public – An Initiative for the Public Understanding of Science – on Twitter @gpazymino@EvoLiteracy – Facebook – ResearchGateAcademia.edu

An Amazing Museum in the Heart of Massachusetts

[click on subtitle to be redirected to The Standard Times]

“…Edward Hitchcock’s collection of fossilized tracks and traces of dinosaurs is one of the largest in the world and the Beneski Museum of Natural History exhibits them as fine art, carved by nature… Under soft lighting, a saturation of textures emerges from or deepens into the flat rocks. The 200-million-year-old footprints are so exquisite…”

Anchisauripus and Grallator tracks - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Cast of Anchisauripus and Grallator tracks at the Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

The United States houses the world’s best exhibits of natural history. From the Smithsonian National Museum in Washington D.C., which opened in 1910 and now cares for 126 million specimens (the largest collection ever), to smaller local displays of high quality, like the University of Nebraska State Museum, in Lincoln (85,000 specimens catalogued since 1871). Its “Elephant Hall” and skeletons of the North American megafauna —which vanished 5,000-10,000 years ago— are spectacular.

Beneski Earth Sciences Building - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2015

Beneski Earth Sciences Building – Photo GPC

But my latest encounter with fossils just happened at the Beneski Museum of Natural History in Amherst College, where precious casts of dinosaurs’ footprints are showcased as fine art, sculptured by nature. An award-winning facility (for its architecture), the Beneski Earth Sciences Building (2006) blends a permanent exhibit for the public with a research collection of 200,000 objects available to scholars and students, and the teaching labs.

I returned to inland Massachusetts attending an invitation to present a seminar at the UMass Amherst Graduate Program in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. A privilege to reach an audience of 70, including faculty, postdocs and graduate students, and discuss with them my research on acceptance of evolution. Professor Jeffrey Podos, the host, organized a visit to the Beneski Museum during my two-day stay. What a treat.

“…More than feeding the public’s dinosauria-frenzy, the goal of the Museum is to educate about the geology and paleontology of New England by taking advantage of the fossils’ beauty…”

Although the collection of dinosaur tracks is the main treasure guarded by the Beneski Museum, its 1,700 objects on display for the general public are, not only introductory for what the visitor will experience once face-to-face with the fossilized footprints, but also cleverly distributed in three floors within the building’s brick, steel and glass structure. More than feeding the public’s dinosauria-frenzy, the goal of the Museum is to educate about the geology and paleontology of New England by taking advantage of the fossils’ beauty.

Dire wolf and Sabertoothed Cat - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Dire wolf (left) and Sabertoothed Cat (right) at the Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Beneski’s main hall welcomes the visitor with gentle, almost unpretentious bone casts of a dire wolf and a sabertoothed cat (both roamed 100,000 years ago). Behind them, however, enormous skeletons of a mammoth and a mastodon capture all the attention, to the point that the wolf, cat, and the soon-to-be-seen cave bear and Irish elk appear small in contrast to the tusks protruding out of the proboscideans‘ (elephants’) skulls.

Mammoth and Mastodon - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Mammoth and Mastodon at the Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

This floor includes two more displays. The evolution of the Equids (horses), which took place almost entirely in North America, from ancestral forms of dog-sized quadrupeds, which over 50 million years —since the Eocene— gradually increased in mass, decreased in the number of toes —from 5 to 3 and to the single middle digit on which modern horses gallop— and changed their diet from browsing to grassing, as revealed by their teeth. All visible traits in the fossil record and unequivocal evidence in support to Darwinian evolution.

“…Brontops was a browser shaped like a colossal rhino and with two blunt horns over the snout. On display, its cast shrinks the presence of its wall-of-fame, equally extinct hoofed companions…”

The Ungulate Wall of Fame - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

The Ungulate Wall of Fame, with Brontops at the bottom, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

The last prominent display in the main lobby is of ungulates. On a wall, half of their skeletons, as seen from aside, come out as 3D sculptures mounted on the silhouettes of their flesh. The largest is a Brontothere, member of a lineage that became extinct 30 million years ago, and that was remotely related to today’s rhinoceroses, which, by the way, belong to the odd-toed mammals (together with horses and tapirs). This Brontops was a browser shaped like a colossal rhino and with two blunt horns over the snout. On display, its cast shrinks the presence of its wall-of-fame, equally extinct hoofed companions.

The Museum’s tradition goes back to the foundation of Amherst College (1821) and the hire of Edward Hitchcock, who by 1825 had left the Congregational ministry to become Professor of Chemistry and Natural History. His “Ichnology Collection” of fossilized tracks and traces of dinosaurs became one of the largest in the world and the Beneski Museum exhibits casts of them in its lower level. I counted 25 by 15 steps while assessing the tracks’ gallery. It was divided in four alleys with eight parallel displaying walls. On them, and under soft lighting, a saturation of textures emerged from or deepened into the flat rocks. They were so exquisite.

“…Footprints of early Jurassic dinosaur transients were left on muddy soils along the Connecticut River Valley. The tracks dried out, hardened and rock formed over time…”

Casts of Fossilized tracks and prints B - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Casts of fossilized dinosaur tracks and prints at the Wolansky Gallery, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC – Click on image to enlarge.

Footprints of early Jurassic dinosaur transients were left on muddy soils (200 million years ago) along the Connecticut River Valley, and the geological chronology of this ancient plateau is explained in the third floor of the museum. The dino-tracks dried out, hardened and rock formed over time. Nowadays, we know they belonged to the hind limbs of bipedal species like Eubrontes (3-toes), Grallator (3-toes), Otozoum (4-toes), and the quadrupedal Anomoepus, with 5-toed forelimbs and 3-toed hind limbs.

“…As former clergyman, Hitchcock could not avoid espousing the fallacies of Natural Theology, and during his entire career attempted —and failed— to prove God’s existence in (from) nature. A dead-end path taken with his contemporaries Louis Agassiz, Richard Owen and Adam Sedgwick, who also opposed Charles Darwin’s proposal of evolution via natural selection…”

Edward Hitchcock - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Edward Hitchcock as carved on marble by artist Martin Milmore, Wolansky Gallery, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

As former clergyman, Hitchcock could not avoid espousing the fallacies of Natural Theology, and during his entire career attempted —and failed— to prove God’s existence in (from) nature. A dead-end path taken with his contemporaries Louis Agassiz (Harvard), Richard Owen (British Museum) and Adam Sedgwick (Cambridge), who also opposed Charles Darwin‘s proposal of evolution via natural selection. By 1845, Hitchcock became President of Amherst College, at times when highly educated academic administrators were still on demand. But not surprisingly, a later President, Julius Seeyle, a Reformist Pastor, prohibited, in 1877, the teaching of evolution on campus. In retrospect, Hitchcock’s Ichnology Collection —rather than his bureaucratic and creationist distractions— was destined to become the most valuable possession of the Beneski Museum.

Despite the abundance of splendid natural history exhibits in the U.S., where evolution is so creatively communicated to the public, only 40 percent of Americans —or just 60 percent of New Englanders— embrace the reality of evolution. A regrettable contradiction in a nation that continues to lead today’s most meaningful scientific discoveries. — © 2015 by Evolution Literacy all rights reserved.

Image Gallery:

Mammoth frontal view B&W - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Mammoth, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Mammoth close up - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Mammoth close up, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Mastodon frontal view B&W - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Mastodon, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Mastodon hind leg - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Mastodon hind leg, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Mastodon African Elephant Mammoth Teeth - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Mastodon, African Elephant and Mammoth Teeth, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Cave Bear - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Cave Bear, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Diceratherium - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Diceratherium, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Eryops megacephalus - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Eryops megacephalus, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Gryposaurus - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Gryposaurus, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Tyrannosaurus rex - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Tyrannosaurus rex, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Tyrannosaurus rex upper jaw - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Tyrannosaurus rex, maxilla or upper jaw, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Tyrannosaurus rex lower jaw - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Tyrannosaurus rex, lower jaw, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Triceratops - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Triceratops, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Diplodocus longus - limb - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Diplodocus longus – limb, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Gastropod fossils - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Gastropods in the fossil invertebrate collection, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Ammonites - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Ammonites parkinsoni, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Promicroceras - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Promicroceras, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Clypeaster - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Clypeaster, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Phacops - trilobite - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Phacops – trilobite, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Hominid micro exhibit lateral view - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Hominid micro exhibit lateral view, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

Hominid micro exhibit front view - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C Beneski Museum 2015

Hominid micro exhibit front view, Beneski Museum of Natural History – Photo GPC

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Suggested Readings: click on image for open access PDFs

Journal Book Covers Paz-y-Mino-C Espinosa Articles

 

Ecuador’s Academy of Sciences Earns International Recognition

By Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C. PhD — © 2015

New England Science Public – An Initiative for the Public Understanding of Science – on Twitter @EvoLiteracy@gpazyminoResearchGateAcademia.edu  

           “Ecuador and its Academy of Sciences (Academia de Ciencias del Ecuador, ACE) are in a unique position, regionally and internationally, to make a significant impact in the development of science and technology. The official recognition of ACE, in Ecuador and the world, adds formality to the country’s tradition of involvement in scientific endeavors. And there is much optimism, at home and abroad, for what this amazing nation can do with its brain power and new generations of young investigators.”

Uniquely rich in history, culture, scenery and biodiversity, Ecuador has just formalized its Academy of Sciences (Spanish acronym ACE). But this South-American country’s contribution to scientific discoveries of world relevance –owing to its people, endemic flora and fauna, and wealth of natural resources— goes back to centuries:

Charles Darwin‘s interest in traveling the world on board of the HMS Beagle (1831-1836), and subsequent visit to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, in 1835, was inspired by Berlinese Alexander Von Humboldt‘s Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of America (1799-1804), a recount of expeditions in pristine Neotropic landscapes –many in today’s Ecuador.

Humboldt and Darwin when young

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) and Charles Darwin (1809-1882), both at young age.

I formerly admired Humboldt, I now almost adore him; he alone gives any notion, of the feelings which are raised in the mind on first entering the Tropics…Darwin wrote in 1832 in a letter to English botanist John Stevens Henslow. Almost three decades afterward, in 1859, Darwin‘s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection did forever-transform humanity’s understanding of Nature. His observations of the Galapagos finches, tortoises and marine iguanas, together with museum specimens he and others collected, became textbook exemplars of evolution.

Humboldt‘s own adventurous traveling had been sparked by the French geographer Charles Marie de La Condamine, who, in the 1730s, led the geodesic mission to measure the length of a meridian arc at the equator, in present Ecuadorian Andes, and thus test Isaac Newton‘s postulate that the Earth, due to gravitational forces and its rotation at a stable angle in respect to an orbiting trajectory around the sun, should be an oblate spheroid flattened at the poles.

By comparatively measuring the arc at the equator (La Condamine‘s team) and at the North Pole (another crew sponsored as well by the Paris Academy of Sciences), Newton‘s laws of motion and universal gravitation (published in Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy in 1687), were confirmed and the two-centuries ruling model of our planet’s elongation at the poles was debunked. A major scientific paradigm shift in which the location of a field site, the to-be Ecuador, played a critical role, as well as the involvement in the expedition of local cartographer Pedro Vicente Maldonado.

Apparent_retrograde_motion

Motion of Sun, Earth, and Mars according to heliocentrism (left) and to geocentrism (right), before the Copernican-Galilean-Newtonian revolution. Note the retrograde motion of Mars on the right. Yellow dot, Sun; blue, Earth; red, Mars. (In order to get a smooth animation, it is assumed that the period of revolution of Mars is exactly 2 years, instead of the actual value, 1.88 years). The orbits are assumed to be circular, in the heliocentric case. Click on Image for SOURCE.

But this intertwined history of fascinating events gets even richer: the Newtonian proposal was rooted in Nicolaus Copernicus (1543) heliocentric hypothesis (= the sun as center of our solar system), confirmed by Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler, iconic figures in the astronomy of the 1600s and prior debunkers of the geocentric, creationist view (= the Earth as center of the universe). Another impactful scientific paradigm shift!

Thus, in hindsight, Ecuador’s geography and unique species richness have long been linked –and not coincidentally— to the very roots of modern science: from the Copernican revolution of the 1500s to the Darwinian revolution of the 1800s. This connection was possible due to the partaking of the Ecuadorian people in the success of so many expeditions to the New World led by naturalists and explorers, who ventured into Ecuador’s glaciers, the Amazon, the wet- and arid-coasts, and the “enchanted” Galapagos Islands.

Pedro Vicente Maldonado

Ecuadorian Geographer Pedro Vicente Maldonado (1704-1748). In 1736, he collaborated with the French Geodesic Mission.

Proud of such privileged heritage, the Ecuadorian scientists officially launched, only two years ago, on February 2013, their own Academy of Sciences. Although later than their counterpart Academies in the Americas, the Ecuadorians joined, as per July 2013, the Inter-American Network of Academies of Sciences (IANAS), and did it with historically distinctive credentials and originality: In the past two decades alone, Ecuador’s universities have hosted three world Evolution Summits in the Galapagos, sponsored field-research stations at the megadiverse Amazonian rainforests (Cuyabeno, Yasuní and Tiputini), led top executive positions at influential world conservation organizations (International Union for Conservation of Nature and World Wildlife Fund), and contributed to raise global awareness about the value of the indigenous peoples’ cultures and their impressive knowledge of the environment (fourteen distinctive ethno-nationalities coexist within a total population of 15 million). A remarkable vitae, indeed, for one of the small-sized countries in South America (284,000 square kilometers).

Acad Sci Ecuador Feb 2015

Induction Ceremony of ACE, Quito. Top: Dr. Carlos Soria, President of ACE; Dr. Michael Clegg Co-Chair IANAS; Ec. René Ramírez, General Secretary SENESCYT; Dr. Jaime Medina, Undersecretary of Innovation Science and Technology at SENESCYT; Dr. Santiago Ron, Secretary ACE. Middle: Dr. Carlos Soria and Dr. Michael Clegg. Bottom: audience.

And, just a few days ago, on February 19, 2015, ACE inducted twenty five new members –from ten different universities— to the Academy, which now consists of thirty one scholars, including six founders. President of ACE, Dr. Carlos A. Soria, Professor of Biochemistry at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, noted at the Induction Ceremony –held at the Eugenio Espejo Convention Center in Quito— that the Academy will continue to elect, as members, researchers in the life, earth, chemistry, exact and social sciences.

Dr. Soria remarked that ACE‘s broad purpose is to promote and disseminate research, facilitate the exchange of scientific information and technologies among partner institutions, sponsor professional development of researchers, and provide technical advice –upon solicitation— to the government and private sector. He drew attention to the significance of the applied sciences for the improvement of the quality of life, treatment of infectious diseases, like Ebola or malaria, and for addressing the challenges of air, soil and water pollution, or the sequels of climate change that, in the case of Ecuador, will affect its fragile ecosystems and biodiversity. His speech was an assertive, yet a gentle plea to attain support for the advancement of science, specifically from the government officials who attended the Ceremony. In fact, economist René Ramírez, General Secretary of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (SENESCYT) and Dr. Jaime Medina, the Undersecretary of Innovation Science and Technology at SENESCYT, listened carefully to ACE’s President’s statement.

In an extensive, multi-topic assessment of the status of science and technology in Ecuador, and the government’s commitment to finance research, Secretary Ramírez conveyed that SENESCYT will continue to support ACE, as it has since 2013, when, together with the National Secretariat for Planning and Development (SENPLADES), they recognized ACE as an official organization. The General Secretary emphasized the new regulations the government has introduced to improve the standards in higher education, accredit universities, validate degrees obtained overseas by Ecuadorian scientists, and strategically allocate funds for research and development. SENESCYT‘s intentions seemed sincere, but ACE will need long-term financial sponsors to sustain its presence in the country and abroad.

Why are academies of sciences important? Why does Ecuador need ACE? These queries were addressed by Dr. Michael Clegg, Co-Chair of IANAS and representative of both the Global Network of Science Academies –or Inter Academy Partnership (IAP)— and US National Academy of Sciences (US-NAS). Dr. Clegg‘s address harmonized with Dr. Soria‘s by giving importance to the local, regional, national and international professional services that members of such prestigious organizations –the Academies— can provide to society at large.

Academies are merit based and represent the scientific leadership within a country… They are self renewing institutions, free from political interference, and have credibility to inform the public and policy makers about looming problems and potential solutions.” – Dr. Michael Clegg, Co-Chair IANAS.

Academies are merit based and represent the scientific leadership within a country,” stated Dr. Clegg, also a Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at the University of California – Irvine and member of the US-NAS. These organizations “are self renewing institutions, free from political interference, and have credibility to inform the public and policy makers about looming problems and potential solutions.” After all, “science is the world’s most successful means of knowledge creation, because it deals exclusively with arguments based on evidence, and with results that are subject to independent confirmation by others.” Dr. Clegg‘s remarks were both philosophically inspiring and practical; he aimed at supporting the mission and vision of ACE, as much as persuading SENESCYT‘s officials, and even perhaps the one hundred attendees to the Ceremony, that science is the best bet for solving development struggles and nourishing progress.

As representative of IANAS, Dr. Clegg welcomed ACE to the network as one of its twenty two member organizations and he elaborated on IANAS’ programs in the Americas, to which ACE is already contributing: capacity building (strengthening science and technology in the region, creation of new Academies), energy (for underserved populations, renewable, bioenergy and efficiency), science education (networking, improvement of schooling standards, science communication and outreach), water (access to clean sources, decontamination, recycling and management of natural reservoirs), and women in science (action committees, increase participation, equality and leadership roles).

Ecuador and ACE are in a unique position, regionally and internationally, to make a significant impact in the development of basic and applied research. The government is investing 1.86% of its GDP in higher education and the number of PhDs in the university system, currently around 1,000, is expected to double within the next few years. The official recognition of ACE, both in Ecuador –by SENESCYT and SENPLADES— and in the world –by IANAS, IAP and US-NAS, adds formality to the country’s tradition of involvement in scientific endeavors. And there is much optimism, at home and abroad, for what this amazing nation can do with its brain power and new generations of young investigators. — © 2015 by Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C. all rights reserved.

Suggested Readings:

Helferich, G. 2004. Humboldt’s Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Latin American journey that changed the way we see the world. New York, NY: Penguin Group.

Montúfar, C. 2013. From Copernicus to Darwin (1473-1882). In: G.Trueba & C. Montúfar (Eds). Evolution From the Galapagos, Social and Ecological Interactions in the Galapagos.  New York, NY: Springer Science Business Media.

Paz-y-Miño-C, G & Espinosa, A. 2013. Galapagos III World Evolution Summit: Why Evolution Matters. Evolution: Education and Outreach 6: 28.

Trueba, G. 2014. Why does evolution matter? The importance of understanding evolution. Cambridge UK: Cambridge Scholars.

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