NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2008/12/05
(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)
Dear Friends of NCSE, The Cincinnati Zoo distances itself from a widely criticized promotion involving Answers in Genesis's Creation Museum. Plus Kevin Padian, who serves as president of NCSE's board of directors, is continuing to speak and write in enthusiastic defense of the teaching of evolution. And a new batch of selected content from NCSE's journal is now available on-line.
CREATION "MUSEUM" REBUFFED BY CINCINNATI ZOO "A promotional deal between the Cincinnati Zoo and the Creation Museum was scuttled Monday after the zoo received dozens of angry calls and emails about the partnership," reported the Cincinnati Enquirer (December 1, 2008). The promotion involved a package deal for tickets to the zoo's annual Festival of Lights and to a Christmas-themed event at Answers in Genesis's Creation Museum. The museum, which opened its doors in northern Kentucky during Memorial Day weekend 2007, aims to illuminate "the effects of biblical history on our present and future world" -- that is, to evangelize for Answers in Genesis's particular brand of young-earth creationism. On November 30, 2008, biologist and blogger P. Z. Myers complained about the promotion at his blog Pharyngula, writing, "the Cincinnati Zoo has betrayed its mission and its trust in a disgraceful way, by aligning themselves with a creationist institution that is a laughing stock to the rest of the world, and a mark of shame to the United States," and urging his readers to write to the zoo to "point out the conflict between what they are doing and what their goal as an educational and research institution ought to be." Other bloggers echoed his call, and the zoo was evidently flooded with calls and e-mails, prompting it to cancel the promotion because of the uproar. No refunds will be necessary, since no packages of tickets had been sold. NCSE's previous coverage of the Creation "Museum" includes Daniel Phelps's review and overview and Timothy H. Heaton's account of his visit. NCSE also sponsored a statement, signed by almost one thousand scientists in the three states surrounding the museum -- Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana -- expressing their concern about the effect of the scientifically inaccurate materials displayed there: "Students who accept this material as scientifically valid are unlikely to succeed in science courses at the college level. These students will need remedial instruction in the nature of science, as well as in the specific areas of science misrepresented by Answers in Genesis." For the story in the Cincinnati Enquirer, visit: http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081201/NEWS01/3120100 40 For P. Z. Myers's blog post, visit: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/11/shame_on_the_cincinnati_zoo.php For Phelps's and Heaton's articles, visit: http://www.ncseweb.org/creationism/general/anti-museum-overview-review-answer s-genesis-creation-museum http://www.ncseweb.org/rncse/27/1-2/visit-to-new-creation-museum For the NCSE-sponsored statement of concern, visit: http://sciohost.org/states/?p=3 THE LATEST FROM KEVIN PADIAN Kevin Padian, who serves as president of NCSE's board of directors, is continuing to speak and write in enthusiastic defense of the teaching of evolution. To inaugurate Evolution '09, San Francisco's celebration of the bicentennial of Darwin's birth and the sesquicentennial of the publication of the Origin of Species, Padian spent about sixty minutes in a spirited and lively discussion of evolution and religion with Alan Jones, the dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, on November 22, 2008. Now video of the event is available on-line from Fora.tv. Discussing the challenge of educating the public about evolution, Padian suggested that scientists need to talk about the major transitions in evolution -- his specialty as a vertebrate paleontologist -- "faster, harder, and more often." For specifics, see his commentary in the February 2008 issue of Geotimes and his article in Integrative and Comparative Biology 2008; 48 (2): 175-188. Additionally, Padian discusses "The evolution of creationists in the United States: Where are they now, and where are they going?" in a forthcoming paper in Comptes Rendus Biologies, the proceedings of the French Academy of Sciences for life sciences. There he writes, "As evolutionary biology in all its forms continues to bring forth amazing new insights from the origin of whales to the evolution of microbial resistance, one would think that the anti-evolutionists would have less to cling to each year, and that they would give up their arguments as disproven misapprehensions. They will not, despite recent victories against ID as science and the lunacy of 'creation science'. Creationists reject the notion of a rational universe because they believe that evolution depends upon the dominance of 'random processes' that allow no divine direction or teleological goal. This is the core of the resistance to evolution in America, and it will not go away anytime soon." In addition to serving as president of NCSE's board of directors, Padian is Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of California at Berkeley and also Curator of Paleontology at the University of California's Museum of Paleontology. He recently received the 2008 Western Evolutionary Biologist of the Year award from the Network for Experimental Research on Evolution. He testified for the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller v. Dover, the 2005 case establishing the unconstitutionality of teaching "intelligent design" in the public schools. In his decision, Judge John E. Jones III wrote, "Padian's demonstrative slides, prepared on the basis of peer-review[ed] scientific literature, illustrate how Pandas systematically distorts and misrepresents established, important evolutionary principles." He also noted that "Padian bluntly and effectively stated that in confusing students about science generally and evolution in particular, the disclaimer makes students 'stupid.'" For the video of Padian's talk with Jones, visit: http://fora.tv/2007/11/04/Kevin_Padian_Investigating_Evolution For Padian's commentary in Geotimes, visit: http://www.geotimes.org/feb08/article.html?id=comment.html For Padian's article in Integrative and Comparative Biology (subscription required), visit: http://icb.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/48/2/175 For Padian's paper in Comptes Rendus Biologies (subscription required), visit: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.crvi.2008.07.004 For information about Padian's Webby award, visit: http://nere.bio.uci.edu/ For Padian's testimony in Kitzmiller, with the slides he used, visit: http://www.ncseweb.org/creationism/legal/padians-expert-testimony For the Kitzmiller decision (PDF), visit: http://www.pamd.uscourts.gov/kitzmiller/kitzmiller_342.pdf CATCHING UP WITH RNCSE Selected content from volume 28, number 2, of Reports of the National Center for Science Education is now available on NCSE's website. Featured are NCSE's Josh Rosenau's account of how the e-word -- evolution -- was finally included in Florida's state science standards and NCSE's Glenn Branch's report on the Texas Higher Education Coordination Board's decision to deny the Institute for Creation Research authority to offer a graduate degree in science education. And there are reviews, too: NCSE Supporter G. Brent Dalrymple discusses Pascal Richet's A Natural History of Time, Ken Feder reviews David Standish's Hollow Earth, and Kevin C. Armitage assesses Michael Lienesch's In the Beginning: Fundamentalism, The Scopes Trial, and the Making of the Antievolution Movement. If you like what you see, why not subscribe to RNCSE today? The next issue (volume 28, numbers 5-6) is a special issue devoted to debunking the recent creationist propaganda film, Expelled, containing not only the material already to be found at Expelled Exposed, but also reports on the reception of Expelled at the box office, among critics, and in Canada; a summary of the ways in which organizations with a stake in the creationism/evolution controversy reacted to the film; a summary of the various controversies over Expelled's use of copyrighted material; and a detailed explanation of Expelled's unsuitability for the classroom. Don't miss out -- subscribe now! For selected content from RNCSE 28:2, visit: http://www.ncseweb.org/rncse/28/2 For Expelled Exposed, visit: http://www.expelledexposed.com/ For subscription information for RNCSE, visit: http://www.ncseweb.org/membership REMINDER If you wish to unsubscribe to these evolution education updates, please send: unsubscribe ncse-news firstname.lastname@example.org in the body of an e-mail to email@example.com. If you wish to subscribe, please send: subscribe ncse-news firstname.lastname@example.org again in the body of an e-mail to email@example.com. Thanks for reading! And as always, be sure to consult NCSE's web site: http://www.ncseweb.org where you can always find the latest news on evolution education and threats to it. Sincerely, Glenn Branch Deputy Director National Center for Science Education, Inc. 420 40th Street, Suite 2 Oakland, CA 94609-2509 510-601-7203 x305 fax: 510-601-7204 800-290-6006 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.ncseweb.org Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools http://www.ncseweb.org/nioc Eugenie C. Scott's Evolution vs. Creationism http://www.ncseweb.org/evc NCSE's work is supported by its members. Join today! http://www.ncseweb.org/membership