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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2013/01/11

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

Science Friday's suit against a creationist imitator is settled, and
the second public draft of the Next Generation Science Standard is now
available for inspection and comment. Plus a preview of the new
edition of How to Build a Habitable Planet, and NCSE's Eugenie C.
Scott argues for the importance of understanding evolution,
adaptation, and phenotype in Frontiers in Evolutionary and Population
Genetics.

TRADEMARK SUIT AGAINST CREATIONISTS SETTLED

The suit against the operators of a right-wing radio show that
features a creationist segment was settled in a federal court on
December 28, 2012. As NCSE previously reported, in mid-November 2012,
ScienceFriday Inc., which produces the NPR show Science Friday, filed
suit against Bob Enyart -- who describes himself as "America's most
popular self-proclaimed right-wing religious fanatic homophobic
anti-choice talk show host" -- as well as his company Bob Enyart Inc.
and his cohost Fred Williams of trademark infringement and
cybersquatting. ScienceFriday was particularly concerned by the title
of the creationist segment: Real Science Friday.

The suit was originally filed in a state court but was then
transferred to a federal court in late November 2012. As the court was
beginning to schedule oral hearings on ScienceFriday's request for a
preliminary injunction to prevent Enyart's alleged infringement on its
trademarks, however, the parties reached a settlement. On December 28,
2012, the court ordered the case to be dismissed with prejudice (so
ScienceFriday cannot file suit again) but without costs. The
settlement agreement was filed under seal, so its terms are not
public. Significantly, however, the phrase "Real Science Friday" seems
to have been scrubbed from the website for what is now called Real
Science Radio.

For NCSE's previous coverage of the suit, visit:
http://ncse.com/news/2012/11/creationists-trademark-suit-0014635 

NGSS, TAKE TWO

The second public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards is
available on-line — and your feedback is invited. The NGSS are
intended to be "rich in content and practice, arranged in a coherent
manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an
internationally benchmarked science education." The second draft will
be available on-line for feedback from January 8, 2013 to January 29,
2013. After the writing team reacts to the review, a final draft is
expected in the winter of 2013, with the final version of the
standards released for adoption thereafter.

The second public draft of the NGSS is "the result of the first public
feedback, lead state and non-lead state feedback, National Science
Teacher Association (NSTA), and national and local critical
stakeholder feedback." Appendix B to the draft summarizes the public
feedback and the response. According to the appendix, "A small number
of reviewers asked that evolution not be included in the standards."
The response was, "Evolution was identified in the Framework as the
basis for understanding all the natural sciences. As such it was
included in the NGSS." Feedback about the treatment of climate change
in the standards was not mentioned.

As with the National Research Council's 2011 A Framework for K-12
Science Education, on which it is based, the second draft of the Next
Generation Science Standards is not reticent about evolution and
climate change. In life sciences, Biological Evolution: Unity and
Diversity is one of four main topics at the high school level and the
middle school level. Similarly, in earth and space sciences, Earth and
Human Activity is one of three main topics at the high school level
and the middle school level.

For information on the NGSS, visit:
http://www.nextgenscience.org/next-generation-science-standards 

A PREVIEW OF HOW TO BUILD A HABITABLE PLANET

NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of Charles H. Langmuir and
Wally Broecker's How to Build a Habitable Planet: The Story of Earth
from the Big Bang to Humankind (Princeton University Press, 2012). The
preview consists of chapter 20, "Mankind at the Helm: Human
Civilization in a Planetary Context," in which Langmuir and Broecker
write, "Because of our influence, we live in a time of profound and
rapid planetary change. Human actions have modified climate and the
oceans and may end in global catastrophe, not only for other species
but also for our own."

A thoroughly revised and generously expanded edition of the classic
introduction to the origin and evolution of our planet, How to Build a
Habitable Planet was praised by the reviewer for Nature Geoscience as
"a completely different book, wholly updated but also more detailed
and more comprehensive. Yet, it keeps the bright flavour of the old
version, and remains accessible without compromising on accuracy."
Charles H. Langmuir is the Higgins Professor of Geochemistry at
Harvard University; Wally Broecker is the Newberry Professor of Earth
and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University.

For the preview of How to Build a Habitable Planet (PDF), visit:
http://ncse.com/book-excerpt 

For information about the book from its publisher, visit:
http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9691.html 

EUGENIE C. SCOTT: "THIS I BELIEVE"

NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott contributed a "This I
believe" op-ed to Frontiers in Evolutionary and Population Genetics.
"I believe that there are three genetics-related concepts that, if
taught properly, would greatly improve the biological literacy of our
fellow citizens," Scott wrote, selecting evolution ("the big idea of
biology"), adaptation, and phenotype.

In addition to the scientific importance of these concepts, Scott
emphasized their civic relevance. With regard to phenotype, for
example, she wrote, "Consider the recent election season, in which
there were a fair number of women, African-Americans, Asian-Americans,
and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender candidates for office. How
often did you encounter, explicitly or implicitly, the misguided idea
that their genetically-based characteristics either qualified or
disqualified them? Such incidents remind us how useful the concept of
phenotype actually is."

Scott concluded, "Evolution, adaptation, and phenotype. If teachers
could do a better job teaching these concepts, Americans would be more
biologically literate, which -- dare I hope? -- might lead to more
thoughtful conclusions about what it means to be human." Her essay
appeared on the journal's website on January 2, 2013.

For Scott's op-ed, visit:
http://www.frontiersin.org/Evolutionary_and_Population_Genetics/10.3389/fgene.2012.00303/full 

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
branch@ncse.com 
http://ncse.com 

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