NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2010/10/15
(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)
Dear Friends of NCSE, NCSE's Eugenie C. Scott visits Orange County, California; NCSE is about to visit the nation's capital for the USA Science & Engineering Festival; and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction revisits, and reaffirms, its commitment to teaching evolution.
NCSE'S SCOTT IN THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER In Orange County, California, to give a talk at Chapman University, NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott was interviewed by the Orange County Register (October 11, 2010). She explained why creationism is wrong for the public school science classroom, observing, "The scientists tell us claims of scientific support for special creation are invalid. So why would we deliberately teach students information that the scientific community says is not accurate?" She addressed the creationist strategy du jour of presenting evolution but "balancing" it with the teaching of "evidence against evolution" -- which, she added, "is really just what they call creationism these days." And asked whether people in Orange County can "just relax and not worry" about the teaching of evolution in the absence of a major local controversy, she warned, "I think it would be a mistake to look at the newspaper and say, 'No creationism today. I can relax.' Because the creationist activity that matters is what's happening at local school districts and pressure on local teachers -- which never makes the newspapers." The Orange County Register (October 12, 2010) devoted a second column to NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott's recent talk at Chapman University. "Rumor was," the columnist joked, "some Bible-thumping creationists were going to try and smite down speaker Eugenie C. Scott and turn the rest of us into pillars of salt or some such. Didn't happen." Instead, she reviewed the history of the creationism/evolution controversy, from the Scopes trial of 1925 through the Epperson and Edwards cases to the Kitzmiller case of 2005. The latest creationist strategy is to encourage individual teachers to present evolution, as with the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008. "'Creationists have found that top-down agendas ... get knocked down by courts,' Scott says. The way they get around that is to appeal to individual teachers, some 25-30 percent of whom nationwide are believed to be sympathetic to creationism." For the interview with Scott, visit: http://www.ocregister.com/news/evolution-270586-creationism-schools.html For the report of Scott's talk, visit: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/evolution-270866-creationists-scott.html NCSE AT USA SCIENCE & ENGINEERING FESTIVAL NCSE will be participating in the Science Expo of the USA Science & Engineering Festival, October 23 and 24, 2010, on the National Mall in Washington DC. The culmination of a two-week celebration of science and engineering, the Science Expo is a giant science party on America's front lawn, aimed at inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers. All events are free and open to the general public. So come and explore the world of science and engineering with over 1500 free hands-on activities from over 750 science and engineering organizations, and over 75 stage shows featuring science celebrities, magicians, jugglers, rappers, and more. The two-day Expo is perfect for teens, children and their families, and anyone with a curious mind who is looking for a weekend of fun and discovery. And NCSE will be there too, inviting the general public to "find yourself on the tree of life" -- with displays featuring a panoramic view of the tree of life, the evolution of hominids, and the evolutionary path from dinosaurs to their avian descendants, as well as activities and NCSE buttons for kids. Look for NCSE's display in Booth 1420 at Freedom Plaza (Pennsylvania Avenue North at 13th Street). For information about the Festival and Expo, visit: http://www.usasciencefestival.org/ A VOICE FOR EVOLUTION FROM WISCONSIN The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, which adopted a strong statement on "Evolution, Creation, and the Science Curriculum" in 1982, revised its statement in 2005. The statement describes evolution as "a fundamental and important unifying concept in science," explaining, "Evolutionary evidence is found in geologic, meteorological, astronomical, and oceanographic events. Additional evidence is found in paleontology, comparative anatomy, biogeography, embryology, and molecular biology. This broad evolutionary evidence explains why evolution is one of the unifying themes for science." The department's statement is now reproduced, by permission, on NCSE's website, and will also be contained in the fourth edition of NCSE's Voices for Evolution. For the 2005 statement (document), visit: http://dpi.wi.gov/cal/doc/evolution.doc For the 1982 statement, visit: http://ncse.com/media/voices/wisconsin-department-public-instruction-1982 For information about Voices for Evolution, visit: http://ncse.com/voices 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. -- Sincerely, 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