NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2011/09/16
(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)
Dear Friends of NCSE, A new issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach, a preview of Richard Conniff's The Species Seekers, and a landmark for NCSE's YouTube channel.
THE LATEST ISSUE OF EVOLUTION: EDUCATION AND OUTREACH The latest issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach -- the new journal promoting the accurate understanding and comprehensive teaching of evolutionary theory for a wide audience -- is now published. The theme for the issue (volume 4, number 3) is Material Cultural Evolution, edited by Anna Prentis. Articles include "Get Rad! The Evolution of the Skateboard Deck"; "Patterns of Evolution in Iranian Tribal Textiles"; "Exploring Mouse Trap History" (which will be of particular interest to anyone familiar with the use of the mouse trap in the "intelligent design" literature); "Convergent Evolutionary Paths in Biological and Technological Networks"; "Natural Selection and Material Culture"; and "History Written in Stone: Evolutionary Analysis of Stone Tools in Archeology." Plus there are various articles on the teaching of evolution, book reviews, and commentaries. Also included is the latest installment of NCSE's regular column, Overcoming Obstacles to Evolution Education. In "Banning Evolution," NCSE's Eric Meikle discusses the history of statutory bans on teaching evolution, devoting attention to a 1929 article in Popular Science describing how educators in Arkansas and Tennessee were planning to cope with the ban. Despite the eventual demise of such bans, he writes, "Unfortunately, there are still teachers who seem to have imposed a ban on themselves: Berkman and others (2008) report that 2% of high school biology teachers responding to their survey omit the topic of evolution altogether, with as many as 17% omitting the topic of human evolution altogether. ... We may not have advanced as far from the days of banning evolution as we would like to believe." For Evolution: Education and Outreach, visit: http://www.springerlink.com/content/120878/ For Meikle's article (subscription required), visit: http://www.springerlink.com/content/h05n1x4w165042l1/fulltext.html A GLIMPSE OF THE SPECIES SEEKERS NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of Richard Conniff's The Species Seekers: Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth (W. W. Norton, 2011). The preview consists of chapter 11 -- "'Am I Not a Man and a Brother?'" -- in which Conniff discusses "the anxiety inspired by simultaneously encountering other primate species and other human races for the first time" in the age of discovery. He explains, "people in Europe had lived largely apart from apes and monkeys, as well as other human groups, for a period extending roughly from the migration out of Africa 50,000 years ago and the extinction of Neanderthals 30,000 years ago to the start of the age of discovery not quite 700 years ago. It was long enough to develop a considerable sense of separateness from the rest of nature, as well as a splendidly puffed-up notion of their own special place in the world." The publisher describes The Species Seekers as "The story of bold adventurers who risked death to discover strange life forms in the farthest corners of planet Earth," adding, "At the start, everyone accepted that the Earth had been created for our benefit. We weren't sure where vegetable ended and animal began, we couldn't classify species, and we didn't understand the causes of disease. But all that changed as the species seekers introduced us to the pantheon of life on Earth -- and our place within it." And Carl Zimmer writes, "Modern biology and medicine would not be what they are today if not for the death-defying naturalists who set out to travel the world and find new species. In The Species Seekers, Richard Conniff creates a marvelous rogues' gallery of these brave, sometimes reckless heroes of taxonomy, full of surprising tales of gorillas, platypuses, and disease-laden mosquitoes." For the preview of The Species Seekers, visit: http://ncse.com/book-excerpt For information about the book from its publisher, visit: http://books.wwnorton.com/books/detail.aspx?ID=17194 A LANDMARK FOR NCSE'S YOUTUBE CHANNEL Over the Labor Day weekend, NCSE's YouTube channel achieved a landmark: its millionth view. Debuting in February 2009, NCSE's Youtube channel now contains over 220 videos, including presentations by and interviews of members of NCSE's staff, testimony before the Texas state board of education, footage from NCSE's regular trip down the Grand Canyon, the videos specially commissioned for Expelled Exposed, excerpts from news programs, and even the odd debate. And the videos are clearly appreciated: "Thanks for taking the time to upload all these fantastic videos," commented one viewer. "It renews my faith in humanity watching the work you folks do." Over ten thousand people currently subscribe to the channel. Recent additions to NCSE's YouTube channel include NCSE's Steven Newton's 2011 presentation "Teaching evolution in a climate of science denial" (in three parts), footage from the Texas state board of education's hearing on supplementary material for science classes (including testimony from NCSE's Joshua Rosenau, Texas Citizens for Science's Steven Schafersman, and the Texas Freedom Network's Kathy Miller), NCSE's Eugenie C. Scott and Alan Gishlick discussing flood geology in the Grand Canyon in 2011, and Eugenie C. Scott speaking on "Creationism, Evolution, Education -- and Politics" to the Greater Phoenix Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State in 2011. Tune in and enjoy! For NCSE's YouTube channel, visit: http://www.youtube.com/NatCen4ScienceEd 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 x305 fax: 510-601-7204 800-290-6006 firstname.lastname@example.org http://ncse.com Read Reports of the NCSE on-line: http://reports.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/join