NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2012/10/19
(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)
Dear Friends of NCSE, A new study of beliefs and attitudes about climate change in the United States. A milestone for NCSE's Facebook page. And a preview of a new textbook on evolution.
CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE AMERICAN MIND: SEPTEMBER 2012 Encouraging news about the level of public acceptance of climate change in the United States is at hand. The executive summary of Climate Change in the American Mind: Americans' Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in September 2012 reports, "For the first time since 2008, more than half of Americans (54%) believe global warming is caused mostly by human activities." Moreover, "[f]or the first time since November 2008, Americans are more likely to believe most scientists agree that global warming is happening than believe there is disagreement on the subject." (The report provides longitudinal data back to November 2008.) Presented with a definition of global warming as "the idea that the world's average temperature has been increasing over the past 150 years, may be increasing more in the future, and that the world's climate may change as a result" and asked whether they thought that global warming is happening, 70% of respondents said yes, while 12% said no and 18% indicated that they didn't know. Asked about the cause of global warming, on the assumption that it is happening, 54% of respondents said that global warming is caused mostly by human activities, while 30% said that it is caused mostly by natural changes in the environment, 6% volunteered that it is caused by both human activities and natural changes, 7% opted for "none of the above because global warming isn't happening," and 2% offered other views. Asked for their views about what scientists believe, 44% of respondents agreed that most scientists think that global warming is happening, while 3% agreed that most scientists think global warming is not happening, 36% agreed that there is a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether or not global warming is happening, and 18% said that they don't know enough to say. Respondents were also asked how much they trust or distrust various sources of information about global warming. Climate scientists were strongly trusted by 25%, somewhat trusted by 51%, somewhat distrusted by 13%, and strongly distrusted by 6% of respondents, and the report comments, "Three out of four Americans (76%) say they trust climate scientists as a source of information about global warming, making them the most trusted source asked about in the survey." The study was conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. The surveys were administered from August 31, 2012, to September 12, 2012, using an on-line research panel of 1061 American adults. According to the report, "The sample ... includes a representative cross-section of American adults -- irrespective of whether they have Internet access, use only a cell phone, etc. Key demographic variables were weighted, post survey, to match US Census Bureau norms." The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3% at the 95% confidence level. For Climate Change in the American Mind: Americans' Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in September 2012 (PDF), visit: http://environment.yale.edu/climate/files/Climate-Beliefs-September-2012.pdf And for NCSE's collection of polls and surveys on climate change, visit: http://ncse.com/polls/polls-climate-change NCSE ON FACEBOOK: N > 20,000 A milestone: there are now over 20,000 fans of NCSE's Facebook page. Why not join them, by visiting the page and becoming a fan by clicking on the "Like" box by NCSE's name? You'll receive the latest NCSE news delivered straight to your Facebook Home page, as well as updates on evolution-related and climate-related topics. Or if you prefer your news in 140-character chunks, follow NCSE on Twitter. And while you're surfing the web, why not visit NCSE's YouTube channel, with over 200 videos for your watching pleasure? It's the best place on the web to view talks by NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott and the rest of the staff! For NCSE's Facebook page, Twitter feed, and YouTube channel, visit: http://www.facebook.com/evolution.ncse http://twitter.com/ncse http://www.youtube.com/NatCen4ScienceEd A PREVIEW OF EVOLUTION: MAKING SENSE OF LIFE NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of Carl Zimmer and Douglas J. Emlen's Evolution: Making Sense of Life (Roberts & Company, 2013). The preview consists of chapter 8, "Natural Selection: Empirical Studies in the Wild," in which Zimmer and Emlen "consider a wide range of studies on natural selection in wild populations," explaining, "These studies are not just important for documenting that natural selection exists. They also reveal some of the marvelous complexity of natural selection's effect on species." Praising Evolution: Making Sense of Life, Neil Shubin writes, "Exciting is a word not often used to describe a new textbook. But by using powerful examples, beautiful images, and finely wrought prose, Zimmer and Emlen have produced a book that not only conveys the explanatory power of evolution, but is also permeated with the joy of doing science. Their text can only be described as an exciting moment for our field: it is an important accomplishment for our students and for evolutionary biology at large." For the preview of Evolution: Making Sense of Life (PDF), visit: http://ncse.com/book-excerpt For information about the book from its publisher, visit: http://www.roberts-publishers.com/authors/emlen-douglas-j/evolution-making-sense-of-life.html 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. 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