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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2015/10/09

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

Sad news of the death of Charles Coulston Gillispie. Plus
congratulations for Eugenie C. Scott and a preview of Ian Tattersall's


The eminent historian of science Charles Coulston Gillispie died on
October 6, 2015, at the age of 97, according to a tweet from Princeton
University. His books included Genesis and Geology (1951), The Edge of
Objectivity (1960), Science and Polity in France at the End of the Old
Regime (1980), Pierre-Simon Laplace, 1749-1827 (1997), and Science and
Polity in France: The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Years (2004). He
also was the editor-in-chief of the Dictionary of Scientific Biography

Gillispie's first book, Genesis and Geology: A Study in the Relations
of Scientific Thought, Natural Theology, and Social Opinion in Great
Britain, 1790-1850, is regarded as a modern classic. In it, he argued
-- as Nicolaas A. Rupke explained in a 1994 retrospective assessment
-- that the geological controversies in the generation before the
Origin of Species "did not represent a clash of science with theology
but stemmed from religious differences within the scientific community
itself; the conflict was not one of religion versus science but of
religion within science." Rupke added, "Gillispie's interpretation
marked a radical departure from the popular warfare model," but
reserved his highest praise for the book's historical methodology:
"With Gillispie's Genesis and Geology, the history of the earth
sciences became historical scholarship as we know it." The book was
reissued in 1996 with a foreword by Rupke and a new preface by

Gillispie was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on August 6, 1918. He
earned a degree in chemistry from Wesleyan University in 1940, served
in the US Army during World War II, and earned his Ph.D. from Harvard
University in 1949. His academic career was mainly spent in the
Department of History at Princeton University. His honors included the
International Balzan Prize for History and Philosophy of Science in
1997 and the History of Science Society's George Sarton Medal in 1984
for lifetime scholarly achievement.

For the tweet from Princeton University, visit: 


NCSE is pleased to congratulate Eugenie C. Scott on her election to
the board of trustees of Americans United for Separation of Church and
State. "Genie Scott is a longtime ally in the fight for church-state
separation," said the Reverend Barry W. Lynn, executive director of
Americans United. "I am extremely pleased that she will be serving on
the board at Americans United. AU will benefit greatly from her
expertise and knowledge."

"The bonds between NCSE and AU have always been strong," commented
NCSE's executive director Ann Reid, "and have helped to keep
religiously motivated pseudoscience out of the classroom of the public
schools, especially in the landmark case of Kitzmiller v. Dover. Now,
with NCSE's founding executive director Eugenie C. Scott on AU's board
and AU's legal director Richard B. Katskee on NCSE's board, the
partnership is sure to continue to thrive."

For the website of Americans United, visit: 


NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of Ian Tattersall's The
Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack (St. Martin's Press, 2015). The
preview consists of a portion of chapter 1, "Humankind's Place in
Nature," which briefly reviews the history of Western scientific
thought about humanity's place in nature from Aristotle to just before

According to the reviewer for Science, The Strange Case of the Rickety
Cossack "[t]races the contingencies, false starts, and diversity of
opinions that have characterized the intellectual history of
paleoanthropology from Darwin to today ... History, Tattersall reminds
us, defines who we think we are."

For the preview of The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack, visit: 

For information about the book from its publisher, visit: 


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

* Josh Rosenau pondering the evidence for liquid water on Mars: 

* Glenn Branch dissecting a tendentious passage in a biography of Darwin: 

* Josh Rosenau discussing the role of serendipity in the newest Nobelists' work: 

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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