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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2010/03/26

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

A Templeton Prize for NCSE Supporter Francisco J. Ayala. Plus a new
resource on NCSE's website provides information about polls and
surveys relevant to the creationism/evolution controversy, while
congratulations are in order for the National Evolutionary Synthesis
Center (NESCent).


NCSE congratulates Francisco J. Ayala on winning the Templeton Prize.
The prize, worth about $1.5 million, is awarded annually by the John
Templeton Foundation to "a living person who has made exceptional
contributions to affirming life's spiritual dimension." A March 25,
2010, press release from the Foundation highlighted Ayala's vigorous
opposition to "the entanglement of science and religion while also
calling for mutual respect between the two," saying, "Even as he has
warned against religion’s intrusion into science, Ayala, a former
Dominican priest, also champions faith as a unique and important
window to understanding matters of purpose, values and the meaning of
life." Ayala told the Los Angeles Times (March 25, 2010) that he
regarded the award as honoring his scientific work and its "very
important consequence of making people accept science, and making
people accept evolution in particular."

In his essay "Science and religion: Conflict or dialogue?" posted on
the Washington Post's On Faith blog (March 25, 2010), Ayala sketched
his views on science and religion, writing, "Science and religious
beliefs need not be in contradiction. If they are properly understood,
they cannot be in contradiction, because science and religion concern
different matters. ... The proper relationship between science and
religion can be, for people of faith, mutually motivating and
inspiring. ... As I see it, scientific knowledge is consistent with a
religious belief in God. More so than the 'creationists[']' assertion
that everything in the world has been precisely designed by the
Creator. Because, then, how to account for human crimes and sins
(including the Biblical Fall) and for all the catastrophes that
pervade the natural world?" His Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion
(Joseph Henry Press, 2009) presents his views in greater detail.

A Supporter of NCSE since its founding, Ayala is University Professor,
the Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, and Professor of
Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine; he received the
National Medal for Science, the nation's highest award for lifetime
achievement in scientific research, in 2002. Among his contributions
to the defense of the integrity of science education was his testimony
for the plaintiffs in McLean v. Arkansas and his coordination of
support for evolution education at the National Academy of Sciences,
including his lead authorship of the publication Science, Evolution,
and Creationism (National Academies Press, 2008). NCSE's executive
director Eugenie C. Scott commented, "Ayala's contributions to NCSE
and its goal of defending the teaching of evolution in the public
schools are comparable to his contributions to biology in general:

For the Templeton Foundation's press release, visit: 

For the story in the Los Angeles Times, visit:,0,1500604.story 

For Ayala's essay in the Washington Post's On Faith blog, visit: 

For information about Darwin's Gift, visit: 

For information about Science, Creationism, and Evolution, visit: 


NCSE is pleased to announce a new section of its website that provides
information on polls and surveys relevant to the
creationism/evolution controversy. You've seen the alarming

* Evolution is accepted by 97% of scientists in the United States, but
by only 61% of the public.
* Among thirty-two countries surveyed, the United States was
next-to-last for its public acceptance of evolution.
* One out of eight high school biology teachers in the United States
presents creationism as scientifically credible.

Now you can find it all in a single spot -- NCSE's coverage and links
to external resources -- organized in the categories of general polls,
international polls, polls on creationism, polls on evolution, polls
on religion, and scientist, student, and teacher polls.

For the polls and surveys section of NCSE's website, visit: 

For reports on the cited statistics, visit: 


NCSE is happy to congratulate the National Evolutionary Synthesis
Center (NESCent) on the renewal of its grant from the National Science
Foundation. According to a March 2, 2010, press release, NESCent was
awarded a five-year grant renewal in the amount of $25 million, to
continue its core programs in evolution research, informatics, and
education through 2014. NESCent plans to expand its most successful
programs and add a number of new initiatives, including graduate
fellowships, international research partnerships, and targeted calls
for proposals on specific themes.

A collaborative effort of Duke University, The University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, NESCent
seeks to facilitate broadly synthetic research to address fundamental
questions in evolutionary biology. NESCent's Education and Outreach
group communicates the results of evolutionary biology research to the
general public and scientific community, provides outreach to groups
who are underrepresented in evolutionary biology, and works to improve
evolution education.

For the press release, visit: 

For information about NESCent, visit: 

Thanks for reading! And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- -- where you can always find the latest news on 
evolution education and threats to it.


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

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