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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2010/12/17

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

A philosophy journal devotes a special issue to the
creationism/evolution controversy. Creationism appears to be at the
center of a new employment discrimination lawsuit. And selected
content from RNCSE 30:4 is now available on NCSE's website, as is a
free preview of Lee Meadows's The Missing Link.


"Evolution and its rivals" -- a special issue of the philosophy
journal Synthese focused on the creationism/evolution controversy --
was just published. Coedited by Glenn Branch, NCSE's deputy director,
and James H. Fetzer, professor emeritus of philosophy at the
University of Minnesota, Duluth, the issue (volume 178, number 2)
contains Glenn Branch's introduction; Robert T. Pennock's "Can't
philosophers tell the difference between science and religion?:
Demarcation revisited"; John S. Wilkins's "Are creationists
rational?"; Kelly C. Smith's "Foiling the Black Knight"; Wesley
Elsberry and Jeffrey Shallit's "Information theory, evolutionary
computation, and Dembski’s 'complex specified information'"; Bruce H.
Weber's "Design and its discontents"; Sahotra Sarkar's "The science
question in intelligent design"; Niall Shanks and Keith Green's
"Intelligent design in theological perspective"; Barbara Forrest's
"The non-epistemology of intelligent design: Its implications for
public policy"; and James H. Fetzer's "Evolution and atheism: Has
Griffin reconciled science and religion?" Fortuitously, as part of a
special promotion on the part of the journal's publisher, access to
Synthese is free until December 31, 2010.

For the table of contents, visit: 


"No one denies that astronomer Martin Gaskell was the leading
candidate for the founding director of a new observatory at the
University of Kentucky in 2007 -- until his writings on evolution came
to light," reports the Louisville Courier-Journal (December 10, 2010).
"Gaskell had given lectures to campus religious groups around the
country in which he said that while he has no problem reconciling the
Bible with the theory of evolution, he believes the theory has major
flaws. And he recommended students read ... critics [of evolution] in
the intelligent-design movement." As a result, Gaskell was not
appointed to the position, and subsequently filed suit against the
university in the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Kentucky on July 10, 2009, alleging that he was not
appointed "because of his religious beliefs and his expression of
these beliefs" in violation of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1991.

According to the Courier-Journal, the university "acknowledged that
concerns over Gaskell's views on evolution played a role in the
decision to chose another candidate. But it argued that this was a
valid scientific concern" -- particularly with regard to the prospect
that Gaskell's views on evolution would interfere with his ability to
serve effectively as director of the observatory -- "and that there
were other factors, including a poor review from a previous supervisor
and UK faculty views that he was a poor listener." On November 23,
2010, the court denied the defendant's and the plaintiff's separate
requests for summary judgment, noting, "The parties greatly debate
exactly what Gaskell personally believes regarding the theory of
evolution and the Bible." A jury trial is expected to commence in
Lexington, Kentucky, on February 8, 2011. Documents from the case, C.
Martin Gaskell v. University of Kentucky, are available on NCSE's

For the story in the Louisville Courier-Journal, visit: 

For NCSE's collection of documents from the case, visit: 


Selected content from volume 30, number 4, of Reports of the National
Center for Science Education is now available on NCSE's website.
Featured is Phil Senter's "Vestigial Structures Exist Even Within the
Creationist Paradigm" as well as the text of two talks delivered by
NCSE's Eugenie C. Scott at the University of Missouri, Columbia. Plus
reviews of Peter Wellnhofer's Archaeopteryx, Martin Brasier's Darwin's
Lost World, and Andrew Parker's The Genesis Enigma.

If you like what you see, why not subscribe to RNCSE today? The
upcoming issue (volume 30, number 6) features NCSE's Glenn Branch's
description of the latest "intelligent design" journal, Michael D.
Barton's account of his investigation of a misused quote from a
supporter of evolution, and -- from his regular "People & Places"
column -- Randy Moore's report from the creationist Glendive Dinosaur
& Fossil Museum. Plus there's the usual batch of news, reviews, and
commentary. Don't miss out -- subscribe (or renew) today!

For the selected content from RNCSE 30:4, visit: 

For subscription information, visit: 


NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of Lee Meadows's The Missing
Link: An Inquiry Approach for Teaching All Students About Evolution
(Heinemann, 2009). The excerpt, from a chapter entitled "Deepening
Students' Understanding and Addressing Objections," offers ideas about
how K-12 teachers can create lessons to address student misconceptions
about various aspects of evolution. Meadows urges, "Again and again,
say to the students, 'I'm not asking you to accept some specific
aspect of evolution, but I do want you to understand the evidence for
evolution and how scientists explain the evidence.' By blatantly
stating your expectation about understanding, but not necessarily
accepting, you're reiterating to your students that you affirm their
beliefs, but you're also helping them build the scientific
understanding that they'll need for life in public society. Constantly
reminding students of your approach is especially critical as you
focus on the objections that many of them raise." Recommending the
book, NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott wrote, "Especially
for those teachers who are apprehensive about teaching evolution,
Meadows provides not only encouragement, but a clear how-to that will
guide them and their more experienced colleagues towards teaching with
integrity the 'controversial subject' of evolution."

For the excerpt from The Missing Link (PDF), visit: 

For information about the book, 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.

With best wishes for the holiday season,

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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