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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2012/08/03

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

A change of mind for a scientist who doubted climate change. And sad
news of the death of former NCSE employee Skip Evans.


A climate scientist who was formerly dismissive of climate change now
describes himself as "a converted skeptic." Richard Muller, a
professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and
cofounder of the Berkeley Earth project, wrote in a column in The New
York Times (July 28, 2012), "Three years ago I identified problems in
previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very
existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive
research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global
warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming
were correct. I'm now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely
the cause."

Muller's volte-face was based on the project's analysis of "a
collection of 14.4m land temperature observations from 44,455 sites
across the world dating back to 1753," according to the Guardian (July
29, 2012); Muller wrote in the Times, "Our results show that the
average temperature of the earth's land has risen by two and a half
degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of
one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it
appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the
human emission of greenhouse gases." The analysis from the project is
not yet been published; it is presently undergoing peer review at the
Journal of Geophysical Research.

Michael Mann of Penn State University told the Guardian that he
welcomed the Berkeley Earth project's results as "demonstrat[ing] once
again what scientists have known with some degree of certainty for
nearly two decades." He added, "I applaud Muller and his colleagues
for acting as any good scientists would, following where their
analyses led them, without regard for the possible political
repercussions. They are certain to be attacked by the professional
climate change denial crowd for their findings." (A minor irony is
that the project is partly funded by the Charles G. Koch Charitable
Foundation, which is connected to various efforts to promote climate
change denial.)

For Muller's column in The New York Times, visit: 

For information about the Berkeley Earth project, visit: 

And for the article in the Guardian, visit: 


Skip Evans, a former employee of NCSE, died on July 26, 2012, at the
age of 49, according to a post at The Panda's Thumb blog (July 26,
2012). Born in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, on June 4, 1963, Evans
earned a B.S. in computer science from the University of Central
Florida in 1987, and thereafter worked as a programmer for a variety
of companies in Orlando, Atlanta, and New York City. A man of varied
interests, he was active in motorcycle racing, community theater (as
actor, director, and playwright), improvisational comedy, and,
increasingly, activism on behalf of church/state separation, serving
as the secretary of Central Floridians Against Censorship and the
president of the Atlanta chapter of Americans United for Separation of
Church and State. He worked for NCSE as Network Project Director,
succeeding Molleen Matsumura, from August 2001 to April 2004.
Afterward, he returned to programming, operating his own company from
Kalispell and Helena, Montana, and then relocating to Madison,
Wisconsin. He remained active in opposing creationism and promoting
evolution education, blogging at The Panda?s Thumb and helping to
found Wisconsin Citizens for Science and the Madison Science Pub. At
the time of his death, he was a senior programmer for SoLoMo

Even before coming to NCSE, Evans was already a stalwart defender of
teaching evolution in the public schools. A dogged critic of the
flamboyant young-earth creationist Kent Hovind, he requested a copy of
Hovind's "dissertation" from Patriot University, only to receive the
original document, complete with a taped-in clipping from a magazine,
to his surprise and delight. Among his publications in RNCSE were a
report of his visit to a "seminar" run by Answers in Genesis and a
review of a bizarre creationist novel. During his nearly-three-year
stay at NCSE, Evans worked closely with activists in California,
Georgia, Montana, Ohio, and Texas, who found his level of commitment
impressive and his trademark sense of humor infectious. He produced
effective critiques of the "intelligent design" movement's propaganda,
such as "Doubting Darwinism through creative license" and "The
Discovery Institute pioneers the misinfomercial." His delight in
NCSE's Project Steve, which he helped to conceive and implement, was
heightened by the fact that his given name, which he rarely used, was
Stephen. And as a self-described refugee from the dot-coms, Evans also
brought his expertise with information technology to bear,
substantially improving NCSE's ability to communicate with, and to
facilitate communication among, activists.

For the post at The Panda's Thumb blog, visit: 

For Evans's publications in RNCSE, visit: 

For Evans's critiques of "intelligent design" propaganda, visit: 

And for Project Steve (now with 1223 Steves), 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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