NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2009/12/18
(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)
Dear Friends of NCSE, A free preview of Carl Zimmer's The Tangled Bank is available on NCSE's website, evolution appears in a new Harris poll, and selected content from RNCSE 29:4 is now available on NCSE's website. And NCSE is seeking help in translating selected resources from its website into Spanish.
VISIT THE TANGLED BANK NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of a chapter from Carl Zimmer's latest book, The Tangled Bank (Roberts and Company, 2009). The chapter, "Radiations and Extinctions," addresses biodiversity; Zimmer writes, "In this chapter we'll examine how scientists study biodiversity, analyzing patterns over space and time and then creating hypotheses they can test. We'll explore how lineages of species grow, and then how they become extinct. We may, biologists fear, be in the early stages of a catastrophic bout of extinctions on a scale not seen for millions of years. By understanding the past of biodiversity, scientists can make some predictions about the future we are creating." The Tangled Bank was described by E. O. Wilson as "the best written and best illustrated introduction to evolution of the Darwin centennial decade, and also the most conversant with ongoing research. It is excellent for students, the general public, and even other biologists." And NCSE Supporter Kenneth R. Miller praised it as "an extraordinary introduction to the depth and richness of evolutionary science." Zimmer is the author of a number of popular books about biology, including Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea (Harper Perennial, 2006), the companion volume to PBS's Evolution series; he also received NCSE's Friend of Darwin award for 2005. For the preview, visit: http://ncse.com/files/pub/evolution/Zimmer--Tangled%20Bank--chapter%2010--with%20notice.pdf For information about The Tangled Bank, visit: http://www.roberts-publishers.com EVOLUTION IN A NEW HARRIS POLL A recent Harris poll included questions on evolution and creationism, with unsurprising results. According to Harris's report, those surveyed were given a list of topics -- including God, miracles, heaven, Jesus as God or the son of God, angels, survival of the soul after death, the resurrection of Jesus, Hell, the virgin birth, the Devil, "Darwin's theory of evolution," ghosts, creationism, UFOs, astrology, witches, and reincarnation -- and asked, "Please indicate for each one if you believe in it, or not." For evolution, 45% of respondents indicated that they believed in it, 32% indicated that they don't believe in it, and 22% indicated that they were not sure. For creationism, 40% of respondents indicated that they believed in it, 30% indicated that they don't believe in it, and 30% indicated that they were not sure. The results varied by religion: 51% of Catholics, 32% of Protestants, 80% of Jews, and 16% of born-again Christians believed in Darwin's theory of evolution, while 37% of Catholics, 56% of Protestants, 20% of Jews, and 68% of born-again Christians believed in creationism. Overall, the results were basically unchanged from 2007, when 42% of respondents believed in evolution and 39% of respondents believed in creationism. The poll was conducted on-line on November 2 and 11, 2009, among 2303 adults in the United States; figures were weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. "Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel," the report explains, "no estimates of theorical sampling error can be calculated." Previous reports and analyses of polls on NCSE's website and in Reports of the NCSE include a report on a 2002 poll of the views of Ohio scientists with regard to "intelligent design," Otis Dudley Duncan and Claudia Geist's "The Creationists: How Many, Who, and Where?", Glenn Branch's "The Latest Polls on Creationism and Evolution" (summarizing the polls of 2004), George Bishop's "Polls Apart on Human Origins" (reprinted from Public Opinion Pros), a report on a 2008 poll on public opinion in Canada, and a report on the British Council's 2009 poll of public opinion in ten countries. NCSE plans in 2010 to add a special section of its website to summarize and collect such reports and analyses, so stay tuned! For Harris's report (PDF), visit: http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/pubs/Harris_Poll_2009_12_15.pdf For the cited reports and analyses, visit: http://ncse.com/creationism/general/ohio-scientists-intelligent-design-poll http://ncse.com/rncse/24/5/creationists http://ncse.com/rncse/24/5/latest-polls-creationism-evolution http://www.publicopinionpros.norc.org/features/2006/aug/bishop.asp http://ncse.com/news/2008/08/polling-creationism-canada-001375 http://ncse.com/news/2009/07/opinions-evolution-from-ten-countries-004885 CATCHING UP WITH RNCSE Selected content from volume 29, number 4, of Reports of the National Center for Science Education is now available on NCSE's website. Featured are NCSE's Glenn Branch's interview with Mark Perakh on the fifth anniversary of the publication of his Unintelligent Design (Prometheus, 2004) and Lawrence S. Lerner's reflections on the future of "intelligent design" creationism. And Arthur McCalla reviews John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark, and Richard York's Critique of Intelligent Design, Frank Steiner reviews Fazale Rana's The Cell's Design, and Burt Humburg reviews Lauri Lebo's The Devil in Dover. If you like what you see, why not subscribe to RNCSE today? The next issue (volume 29, number 6) focuses on issues in the teaching and learning of evolution, with contributions discussing changing student attitudes through engaged teaching techniques, using the documentary Judgment Day to assess attitude change in students, and the importance of public discourse by scientists in shaping attitudes about science and evolution. Randy Moore, in his regular column on the people and places of the creationism/evolution controversy, revisits Carl Baugh's Creation Evidence Museum. And there are reviews, too. Don't miss out -- subscribe now! For the selected content from RNCSE 29:4, visit: http://ncse.com/rncse/29/4 For subscription information, visit: http://ncse.com/membership ¿USTED HABLA ESPAÑOL? NCSE is seeking volunteers to assist in translating selected resources from its website into Spanish. If you read and write both languages fluently, are interested in helping NCSE's outreach to the Spanish-speaking community, and are able to make a serious commitment to the project, you are cordially invited to get in touch with NCSE's Peter M. J. Hess at email@example.com. For the same appeal on NCSE's website, visit: http://ncse.com/news/2009/12/usted-habla-espanol-005228 Thanks for reading! And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- http://ncse.com -- where you can always find the latest news on evolution education and threats to it. -- With best wishes for the holiday season, Glenn Branch Deputy Director National Center for Science Education, Inc. 420 40th Street, Suite 2 Oakland, CA 94609-2509 510-601-7203 x310 fax: 510-601-7204 800-290-6006 firstname.lastname@example.org http://ncse.com Subscribe to NCSE's free weekly e-newsletter: http://groups.google.com/group/ncse-news NCSE is on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter: http://www.facebook.com/evolution.ncse http://www.youtube.com/NatCen4ScienceEd http://twitter.com/ncse NCSE's work is supported by its members. Join today! http://ncse.com/membership