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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

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
branch@ncse.com 
http://ncse.com 

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