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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2016/09/09

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Minda Berbeco is leaving NCSE. And news of the death of Phyllis Schlafly.


NCSE bids farewell to Minda Berbeco, who joined NCSE as a Programs and
Policy Director in 2012 to work on its climate change education
initiative. In addition to helping NCSE continue to develop its
expertise on climate education and threats to it, Berbeco also
spearheaded NCSEteach, NCSE's new outreach project now reaching nearly
six thousand teachers, and its Scientists in the Classroom project.
(In her absence, these projects will be temporarily supervised by
Claire Adrian-Tucci.) She was also highly effective in recruiting and
supervising a series of interns. As Berbeco explains in a farewell
post on NCSE's blog, she will be the new director of the San Francisco
Bay chapter of the Sierra Club. All of us at NCSE wish her the best in
her new endeavors.

For information on NCSEteach, visit: 

And for Berbeco's farewell blog post, visit: 


The conservative political activist Phyllis Schlafly died on September
5, 2016, at the age of 92, according to The New York Times (September
5, 2016). Her "grass-roots campaigns against Communism, abortion[,]
and the Equal Rights Amendment galvanized conservatives for almost two
generations and helped reshape American politics," according to the
Times. She is perhaps most notable for her campaign against
ratification of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the United
States Constitution: as the obituary in the Guardian (September 6,
2016) remarked, "Although she did not quite defeat the ERA
'single-handedly', as her supporters liked to claim, defeated it was."

The teaching of evolution was among Schlafly's targets. The Alabama
chapter of the Eagle Forum -- the activist organization founded, as
Stop ERA, by Schlafly in 1972 -- successfully lobbied for the
inclusion of evolution warning disclaimers in the state's textbooks in
1995; a version of the disclaimer is still required. Through the Eagle
Forum's newsletter Education Reporter, Schlafly regularly promoted
creationist material (such as Jonathan Wells's Icons of Evolution, its
book of the month for January 2001) and causes. In 2004, Schlafly
declared in her syndicated column, "The worst censors are those
prohibiting criticism of the theory of evolution in the classroom,"
and praised school boards such as that of Cobb County, Georgia, which
then required a disclaimer about evolution to be affixed to its
biology textbooks, for "allowing criticism of Darwin's theory." In
2006, she decried Judge John E. Jones III, a George W. Bush appointee,
after he "stuck the knife in the backs of those who brought him to the
dance in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District." There are signs
that the teaching of climate change was increasingly of concern to
Schlafly as well; in 2013, for example, Education Reporter claimed,
"Climate change is accepted as manmade in the [Next Generation Science
Standards] and children must accept this notion."

Schlafly was born Phyllis McAlpin Stewart in St. Louis on August 15,
1924. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 1944,
earned a master's degree from Radcliffe College in 1945, and married
Fred Schlafly Jr. in 1949. She became active in Republican politics,
running for Congress herself in 1952 and 1970, with a focus on
opposing international Communism. In the early 1970s, her focus
shifted to opposing feminism with a campaign to block the ERA. She
earned a law degree from Washington University in St. Louis, in 1978.
A prolific writer, she was the author of over twenty books, including
A Choice Not an Echo (1964), supporting Barry Goldwater's presidential

For the obituaries in The New York Times and the Guardian, visit: 

And for the most recent news about Alabama's evolution disclaimer, visit: 


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

* Minda Berbeco bidding farewell to NCSE: 

* Stephanie Keep addressing the idea of de-evolution: 

* Glenn Branch investigating the history of the epithet "just-so story": 

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.
1904 Franklin Street, Suite 600
Oakland CA 94612-2922
fax 510-788-7971 

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