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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2016/01/08

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(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

A new poll on public opinion on climate change. A preview of Eugenie
C. Scott's Evolution vs. Creationism. A new paper from NCSE’s Minda
Berbeco and Mark McCaffrey. And a voice for evolution from the
Rabbinical Assembly.


According to the latest Monmouth University Poll, "a large majority of
Americans acknowledge climate change is happening, although they are
divided on whether human activity is mostly responsible for it."
Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute Director Tony MacDonald
commented, "The data exposes the extent to which this has become a
partisan political issue in the U.S. rather than a scientific issue,"
yet added, "The polling shows that Americans believe we are all very
much in this together."

Asked "Do you think that the world's climate is undergoing a change
that is causing more extreme weather patterns and the rise of sea
levels, or is this not happening," 70% of respondents said yes, 22%
said no, and 8% volunteered that they didn't know. Yes answers were
more prevalent among Democrats (85%) than Independents (74%) and
Republicans (49%), those 18-34 (76%) than those 35-53 (70%) and those
55 or older (63%), and college graduates (77%) than those with only
some college (73%) and those with a high school education or less

Asked "Is climate change caused more by human activity, more by
natural changes in the environment, or by both equally," 27% of
respondents said more by human activity, 8% said more by natural
changes in the environment, 34% said both equally, 1% volunteered that
they didn't know, 22% already said that climate change is not
happening and 8% already said that they were unsure whether climate
climate change is happening. The same patterns of responses differing
by political affiliation, age, and education were present.

According to the report, the poll "was sponsored and conducted by the
Monmouth University Polling Institute from December 10 to 13, 2015
with a national random sample of 1,006 adults age 18 and older. This
includes 654 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone
and 352 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English.
... For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence
that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus
or minus 3.1 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design)."

For the report of the poll (PDF), visit: 

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


NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of the classic Evolution vs.
Creationism: An Introduction, second edition (Greenwood
Press/University of California Press, 2009), by NCSE's founding
executive director Eugenie C. Scott. The preview consists of chapter
3, "Beliefs: Religion, Creationism, and Naturalism," in which Scott
addresses the question, "What are the relationships among religion,
science, and philosophical naturalism?" The chapter also includes her
celebrated "creation/evolution continuum."

Edward J. Larson described Evolution vs. Creationism as "an invaluable
resource for those seeking to understand the American controversy over
creationism and evolution," adding that it "offers an insightful
overview of the American controversy over teaching evolution along
with a representative sampling of short excerpts from both
creationists and evolutionists. By reading it, teachers, parents,
students and the public can be better prepared to answer creationist
claims and defend the teaching of evolution."

For the preview of Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction (PDF), visit: 

For information about the book from NCSE, visit: 


What are the challenges to creating a resilient and confident
educational community capable of addressing natural hazards and
climate change in a scientifically accurate and pedagogically
appropriate manner? That was the question that NCSE’s Minda Berbeco
and Mark McCaffrey addressed in their "Fostering Educator Resilience:
Engaging the Educational Community to Address the Natural Hazards of
Climate Change."

Teachers, they explain in their conclusion, "would benefit from
greater support, both academic and emotional, on how best to address
these issues through professional development and other training
opportunities. It is clear, though, that professional development and
additional resources will not be enough to assist educators in
bringing these ideas into their classroom. ... In order to get
teachers to engage with these topics in a thoughtful and effective
manner, their own feelings and concerns cannot be overlooked. Both
their own potential discouragement and classroom conflicts are real
challenges that need to be addressed for a teacher to feel confident
in teaching a depressing and politically challenging topic in what
otherwise would be a fairly straightforward and apolitical science
course. The challenges to a resilient and capable educational
community are not limited to mere knowledge, but require a thorough
investigation of all of the conflicts, internal and external, that can
arise by addressing a scientific issue with complex political and
social implications."

"Fostering Educator Resilience" was published in Communicating
Climate-Change and Natural Hazard Risk and Cultivating Resilience:
Case Studies for a Multi-Disciplinary Approach (Springer 2015), edited
by Jeanette L. Drake, Yekaterina Y. Kontar, John C. Eichelberger, T.
Scott Rupp, and Karen M. Taylor. The accepted manuscript of the
chapter is available on NCSE’s website; the final publication is
available at Springer.

For the accepted manuscript of "Fostering Educator Resilience" (PDF), visit: 

For the final publication (PDF; paywall), visit: 


The chorus of support for the teaching of evolution continues, with a
statement from the Rabbinical Assembly, adopted in 2006.

Describing "intelligent design" as not having "the characteristics of
a legitimate scientific theory" and warning that the teaching of
"intelligent design" in the public school science curriculum would "1)
constitute a break down of the separation of religion and state which
is contrary to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution,
2) be a suppression and distortion of scientific findings by religious
groups; [and] 3) have serious consequences for human health, public
safety, and community well-being," the statement expresses the
Rabbinical Assembly's opposition to "any effort to introduce the
religious based teaching of Intelligent Design into American public
school science classes."

The Rabbinical Assembly'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 the statement (PDF), visit: 

For Voices for Evolution, visit: 


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

* Emily Schoerning reviewing a board game about extinction: 

* Guest blogger Bertha Vasquez praising NCSE's Scientists in the
Classroom program: 

* Stephanie Keep reporting on a hugely engaging climate negotiations simulation: 

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

Check out NCSE's new blog, Science League of America: 

Read Reports of the NCSE on-line: 

Subscribe to NCSE's free weekly e-newsletter: 

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NCSE's work is supported by its members. Join today!