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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2012/01/20

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

Big news from NCSE, with the launch of a new initiative aimed at
defending the teaching of climate change. Plus a reminder that Darwin
Day approaches, and a revealing comment from the sponsor of one of
Missouri's two antievolution bills.


NCSE is proud to announce the launch of its new initiative aimed at
defending the teaching of climate change. Like evolution, climate
change is accepted by the scientific community but controversial among
the public. As a result, educators trying to teach climate change,
like their counterparts trying to teach evolution, are often likewise
pressured to compromise the scientific and pedagogical integrity of
their instruction. But there was no NCSE for climate -- no
organization, that is, specializing in providing advice and support to
those facing challenges to climate change education.

With the launching of the initiative, NCSE itself becomes that
organization. As NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott explained
in a January 16, 2012, press release, "We consider climate change a
critical issue in our own mission to protect the integrity of science
education." She added, "Climate affects everyone, and the decisions we
make today will affect generations to come. We need to teach kids now
about the realities of global warming and climate change, so that
they're prepared to make informed, intelligent decisions in the

The response from the scientific and education communities has been
enthusiastic. Alan I. Leshner, the CEO of the American Association for
the Advancement of Science, commented, "AAAS has long admired the
NCSE's efforts to protect the integrity of science. We are delighted
to see the Center expand its activities to ensure that climate science
is appropriately taught in our nation's schools." And Francis Eberle,
the executive director of the National Science Teachers Association,
added, "We applaud the NCSE for its efforts to promote the teaching of
climate change in our nation's classrooms."

Included in the climate change initiative is a new area of NCSE's
website devoted to climate change education, with sections on "Climate
Change 101," "Teaching about Climate Change," "Climate Change Denial,"
and "Taking Action." During the week of January 16, 2012, NCSE
emphasized various aspects of the new initiative through a series of
stories on its website, excerpts from recent books on climate change
and controversies surrounding climate change, and videos on its
YouTube channel, as described below.

For Monday, January 16, there was a press release about the initiative
and a statement describing the initiative's mission, a sample chapter
from Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway's Merchants of Doubt, and a video:
"NCSE tackles global warming". Coverage in the press of the initiative
included the Guardian (January 13, 2012) and the Los Angeles Times
(January 16, 2012). Additionally, NCSE's Scott discussed the climate
change initiative with the Lab Out Loud podcast (January 16, 2012).

For Tuesday, January 17, there was a press release about the addition
of the climate scientist Peter Gleick to NCSE's board of directors, a
sample chapter from Robert Henson's The Rough Guide to Climate Change,
and a video interview of Peter Gleick. New coverage in the press of
the initiative included Nature (January 16, 2012), Ars Technica
(January 16, 2012), Science Insider (January 17, 2012), the Houston
Chronicle's science blog (January 17, 2012), and The New York Times's
Green blog (January 17, 2012).

For Wednesday, January 18, there was a press release about the
addition of Mark McCaffrey to NCSE's staff, a sample chapter from L.
Hunter Lovins and Boyd Cohen's Climate Capitalism, and a video
interview of Eugenie C. Scott. New coverage in the press of the
initiative included Erica Geis's blog at Forbes (January 17, 2012),
MSNBC's Cosmic Log (January 17, 2012), and John Farrell's blog at
Forbes (January 18, 2012). Plus Eugenie C. Scott was the guest on
Chris Mooney's Point of Inquiry podcast for January 16, 2012.

For Thursday, January 19, there was a sample chapter from Shawn
Lawrence Otto's Fool Me Twice, and a two-part video on climate change
misconceptions by Peter Gleick. New coverage in the press included
Chris Mooney at the DeSmog blog (January 17, 2012), Lynne Peeples at
the Huffington Post (January 18, 2012), Think Progress (January 18,
2012), and New Scientist (January 19, 2012). Plus Eugenie C. Scott
discussed the initiative with Steve Mirsky for Scientific American's
podcast (January 16, 2012).

And for Friday, January 20, there were no new press releases, videos,
or book excerpts. New coverage in the press of the initiative included
KQED's Climate Watch blog (January 17, 2012). And the launch of the
initiative prompted The Takeaway (January 18, 2012) to interview Susan
Buhr about the need to defend and support climate education. Plus
Eugenie C. Scott was interviewed on the Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation's As it Happens (January 18, 2012, beginning at about
10:00) and NPR's Science Friday (January 20, 2012).

For NCSE's on-line resources on climate change, visit: 

For the various NCSE press releases, visit: 

For the various sample chapters (PDF), visit: 

For the various videos, visit: 

For the coverage of the initiative in the press, visit:,0,2808837.story 

And for the various podcasts and interviews, visit: 


It's time to dust off your Darwin costume again: less than a month
remains before Darwin Day 2012! Colleges and universities, schools,
libraries, museums, churches, civic groups, and just plain folks
across the country -- and the world -- are preparing to celebrate
Darwin Day, on or around February 12, in honor of the life and work of
Charles Darwin. These events provide a marvelous opportunity not only
to celebrate Darwin's birthday but also to engage in public outreach
about science, evolution, and the importance of evolution education --
which is especially needed with assaults on evolution education
currently ongoing in Indiana, Missouri, and New Hampshire. NCSE
encourages its members and friends to attend, participate in, and even
organize Darwin Day events in their own communities. To find a local
event, check the websites of local universities and museums and the
registry of Darwin Day events maintained by the Darwin Day Celebration
website. (And don't forget to register your own event with the Darwin
Day Celebration website!)

And with Darwin Day comes the return of Evolution Weekend! Hundreds of
congregations all over the country and around the world are taking
part in Evolution Weekend, February 10-12, 2012, by presenting sermons
and discussion groups on the compatibility of faith and science.
Michael Zimmerman, the initiator of the project, writes, "Evolution
Weekend is an opportunity for serious discussion and reflection on the
relationship between religion and science. One important goal is to
elevate the quality of the discussion on this critical topic -- to
move beyond sound bites. A second critical goal is to demonstrate that
religious people from many faiths and locations understand that
evolution is sound science and poses no problems for their faith.
Finally, as with The Clergy Letter itself, Evolution Weekend makes it
clear that those claiming that people must choose between religion and
science are creating a false dichotomy." At last count, 437
congregations in forty-eight states (and ten foreign countries) were
scheduled to hold Evolution Weekend events.

For the Darwin Day registry, visit: 

For information about Evolution Weekend, visit: 


The chief sponsor of Missouri's House Bill 1227, which if enacted
would require "intelligent design" to be taught alongside evolution,
offered a revealing explanation to the Kansas City Star (January 14,
2012). Rick Brattin (R-District 124) told the newspaper that his bill
was not about religion. But he was also quoted as saying, "I keep
pointing to a Gallup poll that shows 90 percent of Americans believe
in a higher power. ... And yet our schools only teach that we emerged
from primordial ooze. I think students should get both sides of the
issue and get to come to their own conclusions."

Defending his bill, Brattin said, "The jury is still out on
evolution." NCSE's Joshua Rosenau countered, "The science of evolution
is not in dispute," and Francis Eberle, the executive director of the
National Science Teachers Association, agreed, adding, "There is no
evidence to support intelligent design." Rosenau explained that the
"intelligent design" movement emerged in order to circumvent the 1987
Supreme Court ruling that teaching creationism in the public schools
is unconstitutional -- but failed in its first attempt to do so in the
2005 case Kitzmiller v. Dover.

Brattin, nevertheless, was undaunted; the Star reported that "he will
discuss his legislation with Republican House leadership this week
with the hope of getting a committee hearing scheduled. He remains
optimistic about the bill?s chances." Previous versions of the bill
introduced in 2004 -- HB 911 and HB 1722 -- died when the legislative
session ended. HB 911 was drafted by a group calling itself
Missourians for Excellence in Science Education, headed by Joe White,
a member of the Missouri Association for Creation, according to the
St. Louis Dispatch (March 4, 2004).

For the story in the Kansas City Star, visit: 

For the text of Missouri's House Bill 1227, visit: 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Missouri, visit: 

Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- -- where you can always find the latest news on 
evolution and climate education and threats to them.


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

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