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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2012/10/19

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

A new study of beliefs and attitudes about climate change in the
United States. A milestone for NCSE's Facebook page. And a preview of
a new textbook on evolution.


Encouraging news about the level of public acceptance of climate
change in the United States is at hand. The executive summary of
Climate Change in the American Mind: Americans' Global Warming Beliefs
and Attitudes in September 2012 reports, "For the first time since
2008, more than half of Americans (54%) believe global warming is
caused mostly by human activities." Moreover, "[f]or the first time
since November 2008, Americans are more likely to believe most
scientists agree that global warming is happening than believe there
is disagreement on the subject." (The report provides longitudinal
data back to November 2008.)

Presented with a definition of global warming as "the idea that the
world's average temperature has been increasing over the past 150
years, may be increasing more in the future, and that the world's
climate may change as a result" and asked whether they thought that
global warming is happening, 70% of respondents said yes, while 12%
said no and 18% indicated that they didn't know. Asked about the cause
of global warming, on the assumption that it is happening, 54% of
respondents said that global warming is caused mostly by human
activities, while 30% said that it is caused mostly by natural changes
in the environment, 6% volunteered that it is caused by both human
activities and natural changes, 7% opted for "none of the above
because global warming isn't happening," and 2% offered other views.

Asked for their views about what scientists believe, 44% of
respondents agreed that most scientists think that global warming is
happening, while 3% agreed that most scientists think global warming
is not happening, 36% agreed that there is a lot of disagreement among
scientists about whether or not global warming is happening, and 18%
said that they don't know enough to say. Respondents were also asked
how much they trust or distrust various sources of information about
global warming. Climate scientists were strongly trusted by 25%,
somewhat trusted by 51%, somewhat distrusted by 13%, and strongly
distrusted by 6% of respondents, and the report comments, "Three out
of four Americans (76%) say they trust climate scientists as a source
of information about global warming, making them the most trusted
source asked about in the survey."

The study was conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change
Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate
Change Communication. The surveys were administered from August 31,
2012, to September 12, 2012, using an on-line research panel of 1061
American adults. According to the report, "The sample ... includes a
representative cross-section of American adults -- irrespective of
whether they have Internet access, use only a cell phone, etc. Key
demographic variables were weighted, post survey, to match US Census
Bureau norms." The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3% at
the 95% confidence level.

For Climate Change in the American Mind: Americans' Global Warming
Beliefs and Attitudes in September 2012 (PDF), visit: 

And for NCSE's collection of polls and surveys on climate change, visit: 


A milestone: there are now over 20,000 fans of NCSE's Facebook page.
Why not join them, by visiting the page and becoming a fan by clicking
on the "Like" box by NCSE's name? You'll receive the latest NCSE news
delivered straight to your Facebook Home page, as well as updates on
evolution-related and climate-related topics. Or if you prefer your
news in 140-character chunks, follow NCSE on Twitter. And while you're
surfing the web, why not visit NCSE's YouTube channel, with over 200
videos for your watching pleasure? It's the best place on the web to
view talks by NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott and the rest
of the staff!

For NCSE's Facebook page, Twitter feed, and YouTube channel, visit: 


NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of Carl Zimmer and Douglas J.
Emlen's Evolution: Making Sense of Life (Roberts & Company, 2013). The
preview consists of chapter 8, "Natural Selection: Empirical Studies
in the Wild," in which Zimmer and Emlen "consider a wide range of
studies on natural selection in wild populations," explaining, "These
studies are not just important for documenting that natural selection
exists. They also reveal some of the marvelous complexity of natural
selection's effect on species."

Praising Evolution: Making Sense of Life, Neil Shubin writes,
"Exciting is a word not often used to describe a new textbook. But by
using powerful examples, beautiful images, and finely wrought prose,
Zimmer and Emlen have produced a book that not only conveys the
explanatory power of evolution, but is also permeated with the joy of
doing science. Their text can only be described as an exciting moment
for our field: it is an important accomplishment for our students and
for evolutionary biology at large."

For the preview of Evolution: Making Sense of Life (PDF), visit: 

For information about the book from its publisher, 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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