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Pro-Science News

Branch reviews Why Science Does Not Disprove God

NCSE's deputy director Glenn Branch reviewed Amir D. Aczel's Why Science Does Not Disprove God (William Morrow, 2014) for eSkeptic (April 22, 2015).

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Creationism revealed in Louisiana schools

Writing in Slate (April 21, 2015), Zack Kopplin reports, "I have evidence that religion, not science, is what's being taught systematically in some Louisiana school systems. I have obtained emails from creationist teachers and school administrators, as well as a letter signed by more than 20 current and former Louisiana science teachers in Ouachita Parish in which they say they challenge evolution in the classroom without legal 'tension or fear' because of pro-creationism policies."

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Comings and goings at NCSE

NCSE is pleased to announce that Emily Schoerning has joined the NCSE staff as Director of Community Organizing and Research.

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Repeal effort revived again in Louisiana

Senate Bill 74 (PDF), dubbed the "Intelligent Outcomes Wanted Act," would, if enacted, repeal Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:285.1, which implemented the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act, passed and enacted in 2008.

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Reaction to West Virginia's new science standards

"Some groups that denounced now-rejected changes to West Virginia’s upcoming K-12 science standards regarding global warming are disappointed in new modifications but view them as less harmful than the previous version," according to the Charleston Gazette (April 11, 2015).

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NCSE's latest in Evolution: Education and Outreach

"Wading into the Undeniable" (PDF), by NCSE's Stephanie Keep, Ann Reid, and Glenn Branch, was just published in Evolution: Education and Outreach.

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Climate Education Week, April 18-25, 2015

Panda's Thumb - Sat, 2015-04-11 23:44
NCSE tells us, April 18-25, 2015, is the inaugural Climate Education Week, sponsored by Earth Day Network. To celebrate, the Climate Education Week website is providing K-12 educators with the Climate Education Toolkit – “a free, easy-to-use, ready-to-go resource with everything you need. The Toolkit includes a week’s worth of lesson plans, activities, and contests for K-12 students that meet Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core. Each day covers a different theme related to... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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Science standards adopted in West Virginia

The West Virginia state board of education adopted a new set of state science standards largely based on the Next Generation Science Standards on April 9, 2015 — "but," the Charleston Gazette (April 9, 2015) explains, "not without adding in changes suggested by board member Wade Linger to the teaching of global warming."

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Climate Education Week Approaches

April 18-25, 2015, is the inaugural Climate Education Week, sponsored by Earth Day Network. To celebrate, the Climate Education Week website is providing K-12 educators with the Climate Education Toolkit — "a free, easy-to-use, ready-to-go resource with everything you need. The Toolkit includes a week's worth of lesson plans, activities, and contests for K-12 students that meet Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core. Each day covers a different theme related to climate change with two highlighted activities handpicked by Earth Day Network for your use." There are videos, contests, a downloadable Earth Day poster, and even an interactive on-line textbook for middle school students — all aimed at helping to promote climate education!

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Announcing a climate bumper sticker contest!

It's time to sharpen your pencils, cudgel your brains, and consult your muse: NCSE is running a bumper sticker contest! This is your chance to help to spread the word about climate change education. Your brilliant idea could end up on the tail end of thousands of (carbon-dioxide-emitting) cars. Your climate change-themed bumper sticker can be funny, fierce, fiery — whatever, as long as it's good. Full details of the contest, and a list of the luscious prizes on offer, are available on NCSE's website. The contest ends on May 31, 2015.

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Evolutionary medicine: Studying disease in a Darwinian context

Panda's Thumb - Tue, 2015-04-07 20:34
What do Charles Darwin, wisdom teeth, and cancer have in common? They are all related to an emerging field called evolutionary medicine, the application of evolutionary principles to understanding why and how organisms get sick. Scientists in the field believe that an evolutionary perspective can help improve our diagnosis and treatment of disease. In his keynote address at the inaugural meeting of the International Society for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health (held March 19-21 in... Emily Thompson http://cartwrig.ht/people/
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Eudyptula Minor

Panda's Thumb - Tue, 2015-04-07 20:34
Eudyptula Minor – little penguin, Kangaroo Island, Australia. These penguins are nocturnal, but are apparently blind to the red light. Unfortunately, according to Kangaroo Island Penguin Center, “Our nocturnal Penguin Tours ceased in November 2013 due to the very low numbers of Penguins in the Kingscote colony. Predation by the increasing numbers of New Zealand Fur Seals from 2010 onwards has decimated the Penguin Colony, because the seals kill the adult penguins as they swim... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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Public support for climate change education in West Virginia

"The vast majority of official comments on new statewide K-12 science standards — the first to require teaching about global warming in mandatory courses — were in favor of them, according to the West Virginia Department of Education," reports the Charleston Gazette (April 6, 2015). With the comments in hand, the West Virginia state board of education is expected to have its final vote on the standards at its April 8, 2015, meeting.

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Congratulations to the NCSE Grand Canyon Teacher Scholarship winners!

NCSE rafters examining Vulcan's Anvil, one of Grand Canyon's geological wonders. Photo by Josh Rosenau, 2014.

NCSE is pleased to announce the winners of the first teacher scholarships on our annual Grand Canyon raft trip: Alyson Miller of Nashua High School North, Nashua, New Hampshire, and Scott Hatfield of Bullard High School, Fresno, California. They will receive an all-expenses-paid eight-day raft trip through the Grand Canyon, guided by two members of NCSE's staff and joining twenty other NCSE members and supporters who purchased seats on the trip. The scholarship funds were donated by the generosity of NCSE's members.

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Fitness surfaces and searches: Dembski, Ewert, and Marks's search for design

Panda's Thumb - Wed, 2015-04-01 23:02
This post is by Joe Felsenstein and Tom English Back in October, one of us (JF) commented at Panda’s Thumb on William Dembski’s seminar presentation at the University of Chicago, Conservation of Information in Evolutionary Search. In his reply at the Discovery Institute’s Evolution News and Views blog, Dembski pointed out that he had referred to three of his own papers, and that Joe had mentioned only two. He generously characterized Joe’s post as an... Joe Felsenstein http://evolution.gs.washington.edu/felsenstein.html
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Governor seeks dismissal of Ark lawsuit

Panda's Thumb - Wed, 2015-04-01 23:02
Tom Loftus reports in the Louisville Courier-Journal that Gov. Steve Beshear has asked a federal court to dismiss the Ark Park’s lawsuit on the grounds that “[p]roviding the public funding sought for religious purposes …would constitute an unlawful establishment of religion” and thereby violate both the state and federal constitutions. Governor Beshear and his co-plaintiff, state Treasurer Bob Stewart, told the Courier-Journal that “the state’s denial of public funds for the ark park [sic] ‘reflects... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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AFT adds its voice for climate change education

The American Federation of Teachers adopted a resolution in 2014 affirming the role of science in climate change courses.

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Polling evolution in Canada

Science Culture: Where Canada Stands, a new report (PDF) from the Council of Canadian Academies, includes data on Canadian public opinion about evolution and related topics.

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A preview of The Atlas of Climate Change

NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview (PDF) of Kristin Dow and Thomas E. Downing's The Atlas of Climate Change: Mapping the World's Greatest Challenge (University of California Press, 2011). 

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Origin-of-life puzzle cracked?

Panda's Thumb - Wed, 2015-03-25 21:36
A pair of recent articles on the Science website seems to think so. Staff writer Robert Service says Researchers may have solved origin-of-life conundrum and writes, Chemists report today that a pair of simple compounds [HCN and H2S], which would have been abundant on early Earth, can give rise to a network of simple reactions that produce the three major classes of biomolecules—nucleic acids, amino acids, and lipids—needed for the earliest form of life to... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
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