NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2012/11/23
(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)
Dear Friends of NCSE, A preview of Rudolf A. Raff's Once We All Had Gills. NCSE's Joshua Rosenau writes about science denial in Trends in Microbiology. And a creationist radio show is accused of trademark infringement and cybersquatting.
A PREVIEW OF ONCE WE ALL HAD GILLS NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of Rudolf A. Raff's Once We All Had Gills (Indiana University Press, 2012). The preview consists of chapter 19, "Creationist Makeovers," in which Raff reviews the last half century or so of the contentious history of teaching evolution, addressing "creation science," "intelligent design," and the fallback strategy of calling for "teaching the controversy" -- of which Raff drily remarks, "No one asks ninth graders to decide on alternative views of [number] theory, chemistry, quantum mechanics, or black holes." Rudolf A. Raff is James H. Rudy Professor of Biology at Indiana University, the editor-in-chief of Evolution & Development, and one of the founders of the field of evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo). Of Once We All Had Gills, Donald R. Prothero writes, "Raff's book is ... a fascinating story of how a young boy interested in natural history became a scientist ... and also a polemic arguing about the importance of science and its defense against the powers of ignorance," adding, "It is a lively read, no matter how much background you might have in biology." For the preview of Once We All Had Gills (PDF), visit: http://ncse.com/book-excerpt For information about the book from its publisher, visit: http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/product_info.php?products_id=151220 And for Prothero's review on SkepticBlog, visit: http://www.skepticblog.org/2012/10/03/foundation-of-the-founder-of-evo-devo/ NCSE'S ROSENAU IN TRENDS IN MICROBIOLOGY NCSE's Joshua Rosenau's invited essay "Science Denial: A Guide for Scientists" was published in Trends in Microbiology 2012;20(12):567-569. After a discussion of a successful vaccination drive at the Dragon*Con science fiction and fantasy convention, promoted by conference-goers in Harry Potter costumes, Rosenau comments, "Microbiologists are at the forefront in defending vaccination. Yet they are also in a position to combat creationism, climate change denial, rejection of the link between HIV and AIDS, and many other science denials. Winning on any of these fronts requires an understanding of what science denial is and where it comes from. Science denial is wrong and harmful, but not antiscience nor irrational. It is driven by genuine fears and deep personal values." After briefly reviewing a variety of the psychological processes and social pressures that produce and sustain science denial, Rosenau recommends, "Scientists and science communicators can use these lessons to improve their outreach to audiences sympathetic to science denial. The messengers most likely to break through will be those who share a social identity with the science-denying audience. Their mere existence undercuts the belief that an individual cannot belong to this group and accept the science. When they discuss how they accommodate their scientific understanding and their social identity, they offer the audience a possible roadmap towards acceptance of the science" -- in the case of the Dragon*Con drive, "with a syringe in one hand and a wand in the other." For Rosenau's essay (PDF), visit: http://download.cell.com/trends/microbiology/pdf/PIIS0966842X12001783.pdf CREATIONISTS IN TRADEMARK SUIT The producers of the NPR show Science Friday filed a suit against the operators of a right-wing radio show that features a creationist segment, Real Science Friday, according to the New York Post (November 15, 2012). In documents filed with the Supreme Court of New York on November 9, 2012, ScienceFriday Inc. accused Bob Enyart -- who describes himself as "America's most popular self-proclaimed right-wing religious fanatic homophobic anti-choice talk show host" -- as well as his company Bob Enyart Inc. and his cohost Fred Williams of trademark infringement and cybersquatting. In particular, ScienceFriday complained, "Defendants have adopted the name 'Real Science Friday' and are making a number of infringing uses of it in commerce," citing various uses on their websites, audio programs, and videos, and concluded, "it is Defendants['] desire to continue to encroach on the Plaintiff's trademarks to steal Plaintiff's decades of goodwill." Indeed, the Post's story observed that Enyart's website for Real Science Friday contains the joking line "Don't Be Fooled by NPR's parody titled Science Friday ;) Welcome to the REAL Science Friday." On Real Science Friday, according to its website, the show's hosts "talk about science to debunk evolution and to show the evidence for the creator God including from biology, geology, astronomy, and physics. (For example, mutations will give you bad legs long before you'd get good wings.) Not only do we get to debate Darwinists and atheists, and easily take the potshots from popular evolutionists like PZ Myers and Eugenie Scott, but we also occasionally interview the outstanding scientists who dare to challenge today's accepted creed that nothing created everything." In contrast, NPR's Science Friday provides accurate information about science, including evolution, and -- with its April 10, 2009, interview with NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott about the treatment of evolution in the latest revision of Texas's state science standards -- about social controversies over the teaching of evolution. ScienceFriday is asking the court for a permanent injunction prohibiting the defendants from using "Science Friday" and "Real Science Friday" and similar names, logos, and URLs, as well as for legal fees and statutory and punitive damages. For the story in the New York Post, visit: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/science_radio_showdown_i2J7ECpnKzBVHElg0jrYuI For court documents from the case, visit: http://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/iscroll/SQLData.jsp?IndexNo=653879-2012 For Scott's April 10, 2009, appearance on Science Friday, visit: http://www.sciencefriday.com/segment/04/10/2009/texas-schools-and-evolution.html 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 and climate education and threats to them. -- Sincerely, 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 800-290-6006 firstname.lastname@example.org http://ncse.com Read Reports of the NCSE on-line: http://reports.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/join