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'S CLIMATE CHANGE INITIATIVE LAUNCHED 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 future." 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: http://ncse.com/climate For the various NCSE press releases, visit: http://ncse.com/climate-change/ncse-tackles-climate-change-denial/ http://ncse.com/climate-change/leading-climate-change-expert-joins-ncse-board http://ncse.com/climate/climate-change-education-specialist-joins-ncse For the various sample chapters (PDF), visit: http://ncse.com/files/pub/evolution/Excerpt--merchants.pdf http://ncse.com/files/pub/evolution/excerpt--roughguide.pdf http://ncse.com/files/pub/evolution/excerpt--capitalism2.pdf http://ncse.com/files/pub/evolution/excerpt--fool2.pdf For the various videos, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsMQkROVcmM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKIPL-ksU3k http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsOPXEcXlTA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3bgEIZ-mPQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcuIJ9n4HvI For the coverage of the initiative in the press, visit: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jan/13/teachers-support-climate-change-lessons http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-climate-change-school-20120116,0,2808837.story http://www.nature.com/news/evolution-advocate-turns-to-climate-1.9811 http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2012/01/science-education-group-decides-its-time-to-tackle-climate-change.ars http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2012/01/education-advocates-enter-the.html http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2012/01/evolution-in-education-defenders-adopt-a-new-cause-climate-change/ http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/17/helping-teachers-stand-up-for-science/ http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericagies/2012/01/17/climate-politics-stand-between-students-and-science-education/ http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/17/10175732-evolution-defenders-to-fight-climate-skeptics http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnfarrell/2012/01/18/education-group-to-defend-climate-change-science/ http://www.desmogblog.com/classroom-climate-battle-new-heavy-hitter-joins-fray http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/18/climate-change-skeptics-science-teachers_n_1214049.html http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2012/01/18/405831/national-center-for-science-education-climate-change-denial-in-schools/ http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21328483.300-us-education-advocates-tackle-climate-change-sceptics.html http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2012/01/17/climate-science-in-schools-the-next-evolution And for the various podcasts and interviews, visit: http://laboutloud.com/2012/01/episode-73-special-announcement-ncse-now-defending-climate-change-education/ http://www.pointofinquiry.org/eugenie_scott_defending_climate_education/ http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=a-second-science-front-evolution-ch-12-01-16 http://www.thetakeaway.org/2012/jan/18/climate-change-classroom/ http://www.cbc.ca/video/news/audioplayer.html?clipid=2188270816 http://www.sciencefriday.com/program/archives/201201201 DARWIN DAY APPROACHES 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: http://darwinday.org/events/ http://darwinday.org/wp-login.php?action=register For information about Evolution Weekend, visit: http://www.evolutionweekend.org/ UPDATE FROM MISSOURI 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: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/01/14/3371383/missouri-bill-would-require-the.html For the text of Missouri's House Bill 1227, visit: http://www.house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills121/biltxt/intro/HB1227I.htm And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Missouri, visit: http://ncse.com/news/missouri 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 and climate education and threats to them. -- 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