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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2012/09/07

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

A sign of progress in South Korea. NCSE's Eugenie C. Scott receives
the Richard Dawkins award from the Atheist Alliance of America. NCSE's
Mark McCaffrey and Joshua Rosenau argue that science literacy still
matters. And reservations are now available for NCSE's next excursion
to the Grand Canyon.


A panel overseeing revisions to science textbooks in South Korea
"reaffirmed that the theory of evolution is an essential part of
modern science that all students must learn in school," according to a
report in Nature (September 6, 2012). The panel was convened after it
was announced that, owing to pressure from a creationist organization,
the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology instructed
publishers to exclude discussions of the evolution of the horse and of
Archaeopteryx -- favorite targets of creationists, including the
"intelligent design" movement -- without consulting any biologists for
their advice.

Nature reported that on September 5, 2012, the panel concluded that
Archaeopteryx should still be included but conceded that "the
textbooks' explanation of the evolution of the horse was too
simplistic and should be revised or replaced with a different example,
such as the evolution of whales." Duckhwan Lee, the leader of the
panel, told Nature that he hopes that the panel's work will improve
the public's understanding of evolution, adding, "We welcome any
petition in the future ... if it is regarding flaws in the evolution
parts of science textbooks. But we do not want to waste our time if it
has any religious implication."

For the report in Nature, visit: 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of international events, visit: 


NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott received the Atheist
Alliance of America's Richard Dawkins Award at the group's annual
meeting in Denver, Colorado, on September 1, 2012. Unable to attend
the ceremony in person, the namesake of the award began his video
introduction by saying, "Eugenie Scott is one of my very favorite
people, although we have our civilized disagreements, as I shall
tell," and adding, "it's impossible to meet Genie without loving her,
whether you agree with her or not." Scott began her acceptance speech
by joking, "I now possess awards in the names of both Stephen Jay
Gould and Richard Dawkins. This demonstrates that I can get along with
everyone. Regardless of my historic amiability, however, I do not
anticipate ever being presented with the Ken Ham award, if such

Scott concluded by saying, "it is with much feeling that I accept this
award with Richard's name on it. It is meaningful to me and in some
ways brings full circle a respect I have had for his influence on
science and its significance to us as human beings. Not only in
influencing my own understanding and teaching of evolutionary biology,
but in my more recent career as director of NCSE, in trying to spread
more broadly the understanding of evolution as a science, and to
encourage people to think about it, regardless of the philosophical or
religious system they embrace. ... I can't hold a candle to Richard
when it comes to increasing scientific knowledge -- but I am honored
to be considered, with him, to be a strong advocate of increasing the
public understanding of that knowledge, and I join him in that
important task."

For Dawkins's video introduction, visit: 

For information about the Atheist Alliance of America, visit: 


"Science literacy still matters" -- a letter by NCSE's Mark McCaffrey
and Joshua Rosenau -- was published in the journal Nature Climate
Change (2012; 2[9]:636). Responding to mischaracterizations in the
media of a recent study finding that science literacy is negatively
correlated with concern about climate change, they noted that the
study in question failed to examine people's understanding of climate
science in particular, and thus cannot be regarded as evidence that
climate literacy efforts are fruitless. Different researchers have
found a correlation between understanding of climate science in
particular and concern about climate change, they added.

McCaffrey and Rosenau observed, "in US schools, climate change is
often skipped entirely and, if taught, is presented briefly or as a
political controversy. ... Most students rely on their schools for
climate change science and -- with rare exceptions -- they are not
getting what they need." They concluded, "strategic framing, including
minimizing doom and gloom by integrating science with solutions, is
vital, especially in educational settings. But dismissing literacy as
unimportant or irrelevant is wrong. Although literacy alone can't
solve the climate problem, it provides society with the tools and
shared basis for understanding the science and solutions before us."

For McCaffrey and Rosenau's letter (subscription required), visit: 

And for NCSE's resources on climate education, visit: 


Explore the Grand Canyon with NCSE! Reservations are now available for
NCSE's next excursion to the Grand Canyon -- as featured in the
documentary No Dinosaurs in Heaven. From July 15 to 23, 2013, NCSE
will again explore the wonders of creation and evolution on a Grand
Canyon river run conducted by NCSE's Genie Scott and Steve Newton.
Because this is an NCSE trip, we offer more than just the typically
grand float down the Canyon, the spectacular scenery, fascinating
natural history, brilliant night skies, exciting rapids, delicious
meals, and good company. It is, in fact, a unique "two-model" raft
trip, on which we provide both the creationist view of the Grand
Canyon (maybe not entirely seriously) and the evolutionist view -- and
let you make up your own mind. To get a glimpse of the fun, watch the
short videos filmed during the 2011 trip, posted on NCSE's YouTube
site. The cost of the excursion is $2530; a deposit of $500 will hold
your spot. Seats are limited: call, write, or e-mail now.

For further information about the excursion, visit: 

For information about No Dinosaurs in Heaven, visit: 

For NCSE's YouTube channel, visit: 

And for contact information for NCSE, visit: 

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


Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
510-601-7203 x305
fax: 510-601-7204

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