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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2015/03/27

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

A contest seeks short films about evolution, while the American
Federation of Teachers adds its voice for evolution. And NCSE is
pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of Darwin award and the
Friend of the Planet award for 2015.


Scientists and science educators of all stripes -- students, postdocs,
faculty, and full- or part-time science communicators -- are invited
to enter the Fifth Annual Evolution Video Competition, sponsored by
the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, the Howard Hughes Medical
Institute, and the Society for the Study of Evolution.

To enter, please submit a video that explains a fun fact, key concept,
compelling question, or exciting area of evolution research in three
minutes or less. Entries may be related or unrelated to your own
research, and should be suitable for use in a classroom. Videos should
be both informative and entertaining.

The finalists will be screened at the Evolution 2015 meeting in
Guarujá, Brazil.  (You do not need to attend the conference in order
to enter a video.) The winner will receive a prize of $1000; the
runner-up will receive a prize of $500. The deadline to submit a video
is 11:00 p.m. (EST), May 31, 2015. For further information, visit

For further information about the contest, visit: 


The chorus of support for the teaching of evolution continues, with a
statement from the American Federation of Teachers, adopted in 2014.

In its statement, the AFT observes that "biological evolution is a
fundamental underpinning of modern biological thought and research and
is not the subject of controversy among scientists ... [but] the
unfettered teaching of evolution in public schools has been under
attack since the early part of the 20th century and before." Now in
the twenty-first century, "a strategy to teach creationism,
intelligent design[,] or evolution denial into public science
classrooms has emerged with the passage of laws intended to teach
these theories as science under the guise of protecting academic
freedom in the classroom"; Louisiana and Tennessee are cited as cases
in point.

Invoking the expertise of the American Association of University
Professors and NCSE, the statement concludes by affirming that "the
American Federation of Teachers encourages and expects science
teachers, in presenting evolution and other topics, to understand,
respect[,] and communicate the consensus of the scientific community,
in order to present the science curriculum effectively to their
students" and that "the AFT will be on alert for, and opposed to,
bills at the state or federal level that attempt to use the guise of
academic freedom as a means of introducing creationism, intelligent
design[,] or evolution denial into science classrooms."

The AFT's statement is now reproduced, by permission, on NCSE's
website, and will also be contained in the fourth edition of NCSE's
Voices for Evolution.

For AFT's statement, visit: 

And for Voices for Evolution, visit: 


NCSE is pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of Darwin award
for 2015: Neil Shubin, the Robert R. Bensley Distinguished Service
Professor of the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the
University of Chicago, codiscoverer of Tiktaalik roseae and author of
Your Inner Fish (2008), and Ronald L. Numbers, the Hilldale Professor
of the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Wisconsin,
Madison, and author of The Creationists (1992, expanded edition 2006).

"It would be hard to think of anyone who has contributed as much as
Ron Numbers has to the understanding of creationism as a historical
and social phenomenon, through his own work and the work that it has
inspired," commented NCSE's executive director Ann Reid, "while it is
hard to know whether to praise Neil Shubin more for his outstanding
research in vertebrate paleontology or for his equally outstanding
efforts to explain the power -- and wonder -- of evolutionary biology
in language that everyone can understand."

NCSE is also pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of the
Planet award for 2015: Naomi Oreskes, Professor of History of Science
at Harvard University and coauthor of Merchants of Doubt (2010); Greg
Craven, creator of "The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See" and its
sequels and author of What's the Worst That Could Happen? (2009); and
the Alliance for Climate Education, a non-profit organization that has
delivered informative and compelling presentations on climate change
to almost two million high school students.

Ann Reid praised Oreskes's work on the history of climate change
denial as "ten years of unflinching, erudite, and accessible reporting
on where science denial comes from and how it works" and Craven's
outreach efforts as "a touchstone for the climate education movement."
Through its series of in-school assemblies, the Alliance for Climate
Education "has made truly impressive contributions to informing and
inspiring youth, helping them to appreciate the essential science of
climate change and what can be done to address it," she added.

The Friend of Darwin and Friend of the Planet awards are presented
annually to a select few whose efforts to support NCSE and advance its
goal of defending the teaching of evolution and climate science have
been truly outstanding. Previous recipients of the Friend of Darwin
award include Sean Carroll, Marjorie Esman, Brandon Haught, David
Hillis, Lawrence Lerner, Patricia Princehouse, and Howard Van Till, to
name only a few. The first recipients of the Friend of the Planet
Award, inaugurated in 2014, were Michael E. Mann and Richard Alley.

For information about the two awards, visit: 


Have you been visiting NCSE's blog, The Science League of America,
recently? If not, then you've missed:

* Josh Rosenau discussing creationism's relevance to the recent
elections in Israel: 

* Stephanie Keep warning against oversimplifying heredity: 

* Josh Rosenau analyzing poll data on the acceptance of evolution by
US and Israeli Jews: 

And much more besides!

For The Science League of America, 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 x303
fax: 510-601-7204

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