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NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2010/08/13
Submitted by Peter Burns on Fri, 2010-08-13 15:07. National Center for Science Education
(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)
Dear Friends of NCSE, A new batch of videos for your edification and entertainment on NCSE's YouTube channel, plus a new batch of statements in NCSE's Voices for Evolution. And a chance to explore Darwin's Universe.
MORE VIDEOS ON NCSE'S YOUTUBE CHANNEL NCSE is pleased to announce the addition of a further batch of videos featuring NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott to NCSE's YouTube channel. Featured is "Getting Evolution Right: Tips for Writers" -- a talk delivered at the annual meeting of the University Research Magazine Association in 2010. Additionally, there's "Who Pulled the Stake Out? The Resurgence of Young Earth Creationism," delivered at the Atheist Alliance International conference in 2007; Scott's commencement address to the Ohio State University in 2005; "Darwin under the Microscope: Questioning Darwinism" -- a confrontation between Scott and William Dembski on KTEH's Uncommon Knowledge series in 2001; "Charles Darwin and God" -- a panel discussion with Scott, Dembski, and Robert Russell of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences on KTEH's Uncommon Knowledge series, also in 2001; "Evolution? Creation? Both? Neither?" -- a presentation at the Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1999; and "Biology, the Bible, and the First Amendment" -- a panel discussion with Scott, the Discovery Institute's Stephen C. Meyer, Elliot Mincberg of People for the American Way, and Charles Haines of the First Amendment Center, filmed in 1997. Tune in and enjoy! For NCSE's YouTube channel, visit: http://www.youtube.com/user/NatCen4ScienceEd VOICES FOR EVOLUTION CONTINUE The chorus of support for the teaching of evolution continues, with three statements from the American Society of Plant Taxonomists, the American Statistical Association, and the Union for Reform Judaism. In its statement, the American Society of Plant Taxonomists endorses "the use of evolution in the scholarship of its members and supports teaching this theory in schools, colleges and universities," adding, "As educators, we believe that evolution is an essential component of science education. In the absence of an evolutionary context, our understanding of the origin and complexity of the earth’s biodiversity and our ability to realize critical advances in medicine and agriculture would not be possible. Acknowledging our obligations as scientists and educators, we join the many other scientific societies that have endorsed the role of evolution as a unifying principle both in scientific scholarship and science curricula at all educational levels." The American Statistical Association, according to its statement, "takes no position on whether intelligent design is right or wrong. Nevertheless, it is clear that intelligent design is not a scientific theory subject to empirical testing, and thus has no place in science education." It therefore resolved, "Intelligent design should not be taught as part of any science curriculum," adding, "Further, the Association urges its members to continue to support vigorously those principles of inquiry and verification that characterize sound scientific practice." (The statement was published in Amstat News, the monthly membership magazine of the ASA, in 2006, and seems not to be presently available on the ASA's website.) And the Union for Reform Judaism, noting that "the overwhelming majority of the scientific community, which supports theories that are testable by experiment or observation, oppose treating ['intelligent design'], which is neither, as scientific theory. A 1999 report by the National Academy of Sciences states, 'Creationism, intelligent design, and other claims of supernatural intervention in the origin of life or of species are not science because they are not testable by the methods of science," resolved to "[o]ppose government efforts and policies that seek to redefine science or the scientific method to incorporate religious, theological or other theories, including "intelligent design" and creationism, that are neither testable by experiment nor observation." Also of interest, although not addressing biological evolution, is a statement by the Affiliation of Christian Geologists on the physical age of the earth and universe, reading, in part, "... the scientific evidence clearly favors a vast age for the earth and the universe. Current scientific calculations indicate that the universe began about 13 billion years ago and the earth about 4.6 billion years ago. These conclusions are based on cumulative evidence and are refined with each new study. ... Although Scripture contains essential information on origins that gives meaning and perspective, technical details of the method and timing of creation are not major concerns of the Biblical text, and many orthodox theologians do not see a conflict between the Bible and an old creation." All four of these statements are reproduced, by permission, on NCSE's website, and will also be contained in the fourth edition of NCSE's Voices for Evolution. For the ASPT statement, visit: http://www.aspt.net/society/evolutionstatement/ For the ASA's website, visit: http://www.amstat.org/ For the URJ's statement, visit: http://urj.org//about/union/governance/reso//?syspage=article&item_id=1943 For the ACG's statement (PDF), visit: http://www.wheaton.edu/ACG/ACGstatementv2_1.pdf And for information about Voices for Evolution, visit: http://ncse.com/voices A CHANCE TO EXPLORE DARWIN'S UNIVERSE NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of Richard Milner's Darwin's Universe: Evolution from A to Z (University of California Press, 2009). Featured are articles on the pioneering paleontologist Barnum Brown and the creationist crusader William Jennings Bryan, the Clever Hans phenomenon, Answers in Genesis's Creation Museum, the Darwin Correspondence Project, feathered dinosaurs, extinction, Stephen Jay Gould, the Hawaiian radiation of honeycreepers and fruit flies, the Laetoli footprints, saltation and Darwin's Sandwalk, uniformitarianism, and Alfred Russel Wallace -- together displaying the variety and charm of Milner's encyclopedia. Reviewing Darwin's Universe for Reports of the NCSE, Carol Anelli described it as "anything but a somber, run-of-the-mill encyclopedia of alphabetically arranged entries ... at once an eclectic romp and an illuminating vade mecum for anyone interested in evolutionary science and Darwin's pervasive influence on human thought, behavior, and endeavor." For the preview (PDF), visit: http://ncse.com/files/pub/evolution/Excerpt--DarwinsUniverse.pdf For further information about Darwin's Universe, visit: http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520243767 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 email@example.com 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
Antievolutionists Say the Darndest Things
Antievolutionists often express outrage over alleged incivility from those who oppose their efforts to evade the establishment clause of the First Amendment. But they have no difficulty in dishing out the abuse themselves. Here is a sample from the Invidious Comparisons thread that documents egregious behavior on the part of the religious antievolution advocates.
Darwinian evolution with its blind watchmaker thesis makes me think of a great battleship on the ocean of reality. Its sides are heavily armored with philosophical barriers to criticism, and its decks are stacked with big rhetorical guns ready to intimidate any would-be attackers. In appearance, it is as impregnable as the Soviet Union seemed to be only a few years ago.