NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2010/01/29
(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)
Dear Friends of NCSE, Barbara Forrest is profiled in Church and State. Plus a preview of Douglas J. Futuyma's textbook evolution, and a reminder about Darwin Day 2010.
BARBARA FORREST PROFILED IN CHURCH AND STATE Barbara Forrest was profiled in the January 2010 issue of Church and State, published by Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "For Barbara Forrest, fighting for church-state separation and quality science education in Louisiana -- and the rest of the nation -- has become her civic duty," the article explains, citing both her testimony in Kitzmiller v. Dover and her efforts to mitigate the impact of the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act, which threatens to open the door to creationism in the science classrooms of the state's public schools. A professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University, Forrest is the coauthor (with Paul R. Gross) of Creationism's Trojan Horse (rev. ed., Oxford University Press 2007), and a member of NCSE's board of directors. For the profile, visit: http://www.au.org/media/church-and-state/archives/2010/01/intelligent-defense.html For information about Kitzmiller v. Dover, visit: http://ncse.com/creationism/legal/intelligent-design-trial-kitzmiller-v-dover For NCSE's previous coverage of events in Louisiana, visit: http://ncse.com/news/louisiana For information about Creationism's Trojan Horse, visit: http://www.creationismstrojanhorse.com FUTUYMA ON NATURAL SELECTION AND ADAPTATION NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of a chapter from the second edition of Douglas J. Futuyma's popular textbook Evolution (Sinauer Associates, 2009). The chapter is on natural selection and adaptation. As Futuyma explains, "The theory of natural selection is the centerpiece of The Origin of Species and of evolutionary theory. It is this theory that accounts for the adaptations of organisms, those innumerable features that so wonderfully equip them for survival and reproduction; it is this theory that accounts for the divergence of species from common ancestors and thus for the endless diversity of life. Natural selection is a simple concept, but it is perhaps the most important idea in biology." Joel Cracraft writes, "Because it strikes the right balance between breadth and detail, and is conscientiously written with the student in mind, Futuyma's Evolution will resonate in the classroom," and Kevin Padian adds, "His coverage of topics such as the history of the field and macroevolution is not matched in other texts; the level of integration of different evolutionary fields is superior; and his own experience in raising scientific literacy and the public understanding of evolution really comes through." A Supporter of NCSE, Futuyma is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. For the sample chapter (PDF), visit: http://ncse.com/files/pub/evolution/Evolution--Futuyma--chap11.pdf For information about the book, visit: http://www.sinauer.com/detail.php?id=2238 DARWIN DAY APPROACHES Are you recovered from 2009's celebrations of the bicentennial of Darwin's birth and the sesquicentennial of the publication of On the Origin of Species? Good, because less than a month remains before Darwin Day 2010! Colleges and universities, schools, libraries, museums, churches, civic groups, and just plain folks across the country -- and the world -- are preparing to celebrate Darwin Day, on or around February 12, in honor of the life and work of Charles Darwin. These events provide a marvelous opportunity not only to celebrate Darwin's birthday but also to engage in public outreach about science, evolution, and the importance of evolution education. NCSE encourages its members and friends to attend, participate in, and even organize Darwin Day events in their own communities. To find a local event, check the websites of local universities and museums and the registry of Darwin Day events maintained by the Darwin Day Celebration website. (And don't forget to register your own event with the Darwin Day Celebration website!) And with Darwin Day comes the return of Evolution Weekend! Hundreds of congregations all over the country and around the world are taking part in Evolution Weekend, February 12-14, 2010, by presenting sermons and discussion groups on the compatibility of faith and science. Michael Zimmerman, the initiator of the project, writes, "Evolution Weekend is an opportunity for serious discussion and reflection on the relationship between religion and science. One important goal is to elevate the quality of the discussion on this critical topic -- to move beyond sound bites. A second critical goal is to demonstrate that religious people from many faiths and locations understand that evolution is sound science and poses no problems for their faith. Finally, as with The Clergy Letter itself, Evolution Weekend makes it clear that those claiming that people must choose between religion and science are creating a false dichotomy." At last count, 755 congregations in all fifty states (and eleven foreign countries) were scheduled to hold Evolution Weekend events. For the Darwin Day registry, visit: http://www.darwinday.org/events/ http://www.darwinday.org/events/register.php For information about Evolution Weekend, visit: http://www.evolutionweekend.org/ 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 education and threats to it. -- Sincerely, Glenn Branch Deputy Director National Center for Science Education, Inc. 420 40th Street, Suite 2 Oakland, CA 94609-2509 510-601-7203 x310 fax: 510-601-7204 800-290-6006 firstname.lastname@example.org http://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. Join today! http://ncse.com/membership