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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2012/09/21

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

A preview of Bill McGuire's Waking the Giant. NESCent is taking its
show on the road again. And NCSE's Mark McCaffrey debunks the idea of
"teaching the controversy" about climate page in The Earth Scientist.


NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of Bill McGuire's Waking the
Giant: How a Changing Climate Triggers Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and
Volcanoes (Oxford University Press, 2012). The preview consists of the
bulk of chapter 2, "Once and Future Climate," in which McGuire
observes, "some past climates can provide a useful, and somewhat
terrifying, [guide] to what our planet might look like by 2100 and in
the centuries that follow. In particular, the post-glacial period
provides us with the perfect opportunity to examine and appraise how
abrupt and rapid climate changes drive the responses of the solid

McGuire is Professor of Geophysical and Climate Hazards at University
College London and the author of numerous books, including Global
Catastrophes: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press,
2006), Surviving Armageddon: Solutions for a Threatened Planet (Oxford
University Press, 2007), and Seven Years to Save the Planet
(Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2008). Of Waking the Giant, Library Journal's
reviewer wrote, "The author succeeds at interpreting complex earth
science into compelling reading for a popular audience. Anyone with an
interest in climate change, geology, and atmospheric science will
enjoy this work."

For the preview of Waking the Giant (PDF), visit: 

For information about the book from its publisher, visit: 


The Darwin Day Roadshow is returning! The Roadshow is a project of the
National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, in which NESCent staff shares
their enthusiasm for evolutionary science with students, teachers, and
the general public on the occasion of Charles Darwin's birthday,
February 12. According to NESCent, "Our teams talk to students,
teachers and the general public about their research in evolutionary
science, describe what it takes to become an evolutionary biologist
(and what some of the rewards and challenges are), and convey why
evolutionary science is relevant to everyone."

And the results are delightful: as NESCent's Craig McClain wrote at
Pacific Standard (May 15, 2011), "for all of us the Darwin Day Road
Show was a gratifying adventure that no one will forget. From the
landscapes with their silos, combines, center pivot crop circles, high
school gymnasiums, to the indelible interactions we had along the way,
we absorbed it all." Applications from schools interested in hosting
the Roadshow, especially those who would not be likely to have access
to Darwin Day activities otherwise, are now being accepted. Act soon,
though; the application deadline is November 9, 2012.

For information about NESCent's Darwin Day Roadshow and about applying
to host it, visit: 

For McClain's article in Pacific Standard, visit: 


NCSE's Mark McCaffrey contributed "Teaching controversy" to a special
issue of The Earth Scientist focusing on climate change education. The
abstract of his article:

What could be wrong with presenting in a science class "both sides" of
controversial topics like evolution or climate change, or having
students debate the topics, using argumentation to improve their
critical thinking skills? In the case of evolution, presenting
supposed alternatives, such as intelligent design or young-earth
creationism, is not only considered bad practice, but also
unconstitutional in public schools due to the separation of church and
state. However, in the case of climate change, the practice of
teaching it as controversial and presenting "both sides" as if they
are equally valid, is a too common practice among science teachers.
This paper examines the reasons why teachers may be encouraged or
drawn to "teach the controversy" about climate change, why it is not
an effective practice and leaves students more confused, and how the
Next Generation Science Standards may help to transform how we teach
about climate and global change science and solutions.

The Earth Scientist is the journal of the National Earth Science
Teachers Association. McCaffrey's article appears in the fall 2012
issue (vol. 28, no. 3), pp. 25-29.

For McCaffrey's article (PDF), visit: 

For information about The Earth Scientist, visit: 

For information about NESTA, 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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