NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2010/02/05
(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)
Dear Friends of NCSE, The first antievolution bill of 2010 is dead. Meanwhile, chances abound to see NCSE's Eugenie C. Scott on-line, congratulations are in order for Carl Zimmer, and Darwin Day continues to approach.
ANTIEVOLUTION BILL IN MISSISSIPPI DIES Mississippi's House Bill 586, which if enacted would have required "scientifically sound arguments by protagonists and antagonists of the theory of evolution" to be presented in the state's schools, died in committee on February 2, 2010, according to the legislative website. In 2009, the bill's sponsor, Gary Chism (R-District 37), introduced a bill, HB 25, requiring biology textbooks in the state to include a hybrid of two previous versions of the Alabama evolution textbook disclaimer; that bill also died in committee. For NCSE's previous coverage of events in Mississippi, visit: http://ncse.com/news/mississippi NCSE'S SCOTT ON-LINE NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott recently read from, and discussed, the second edition of her book Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction (University of California Press, 2009) in Albany, California -- and video is now available on NCSE's YouTube channel. Additionally, she was recently interviewed for three different podcasts: The Skeptic Zone ("the podcast from Australia for science and reason"), Skeptically Speaking, and the Rational Alchemy blog. And if that's not enough, a talk that she gave on "Evolution versus Creationism" at Stanford University in 2008 is now available on-line. For NCSE's Youtube channel, visit: http://www.youtube.com/NatCen4ScienceEd For the three podcasts, visit: http://www.skepticzone.tv/ http://skepticallyspeaking.com/episodes/44-evolution-education http://rational-alchemy.com/guest-interviews/917-dr-eugenie-scott For the Stanford talk, visit: http://academicearth.org/lectures/evolution-versus-creationism CONGRATULATIONS TO CARL ZIMMER NCSE offers its congratulations to Carl Zimmer for winning the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award for 2009 in the large newspaper category. Zimmer will receive $3000 and a plaque at the AAAS Annual Meeting in San Diego in February 2010, in recognition of three articles on aspects of genetics and evolution he wrote for The New York Times in 2008 and 2009. A press release issued on November 10, 2009, explained: *** The judges applauded the graceful style and breadth of Zimmer's entry. From the biology of fireflies to the evolution of viruses to the secrets of RNA, Zimmer "finds fresh and original ways to introduce readers to complex basic science," said Lauran Neergaard of the Associated Press. "His beautiful writing hooks you to the very end." Nancy Shute, a freelancer formerly with U.S. News & World Report, said Zimmer "brings surprising insight and perspective to subjects as heavily covered as the swine flu virus." Hotz, of The Wall Street Journal, said Zimmer's work "demonstrates the continuing strength of print journalism and the commitment of newspapers" to convey compelling research to their readers. *** Zimmer is the author of a number of popular books about biology, including Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea (Harper Perennial, 2006), the companion volume to PBS's Evolution series, and The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution (Roberts and Company, 2009) -- a sample chapter from the latter is available on NCSE's website. Zimmer also received NCSE's Friend of Darwin award for 2005. For the press release, visit: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2009/1110sja.shtml For the sample chapter (PDF), visit: http://ncse.com/files/pub/evolution/Zimmer--Tangled%20Bank--chapter%2010--with%20notice.pdf 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, 793 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. 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