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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2017/01/13

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

Darwin Day is less than a month away! Plus a free excerpt from Robert
J. Richards and Michael Ruse's Debating Darwin. And a chance for
teachers to apply to raft the Grand Canyon with NCSE.


It's time to dust off your Darwin costume again: less than a month
remains before Darwin Day 2017! Colleges and universities, schools,
libraries, museums, churches, civic groups, and just plain folks
across the country -- and the world -- are preparing to celebrate
Darwin Day, on or around February 12, in honor of the life and work of
Charles Darwin. These events provide a marvelous opportunity not only
to celebrate Darwin's birthday but also to engage in public outreach
about science, evolution, and the importance of evolution education --
which is especially needed with assaults on evolution education
already under way in state legislatures. NCSE encourages its members
and friends to attend, participate in, and even organize Darwin Day
events in their own communities. To find a local event, check the
websites of local universities and museums and the registry of Darwin
Day events maintained by the Darwin Day Celebration website. (And
don't forget to register your own event with the Darwin Day
Celebration website!)

And with Darwin Day comes the return of Evolution Weekend! Hundreds of
congregations all over the country and around the world are taking
part in Evolution Weekend, February 10-12, 2017, by presenting sermons
and discussion groups on the compatibility of faith and science.
Michael Zimmerman, the initiator of the project, writes, "Evolution
Weekend is an opportunity for serious discussion and reflection on the
relationship between religion and science. One important goal is to
elevate the quality of the discussion on this critical topic -- to
move beyond sound bites. A second critical goal is to demonstrate that
religious people from many faiths and locations understand that
evolution is sound science and poses no problems for their faith.
Finally, as with The Clergy Letter itself, Evolution Weekend makes it
clear that those claiming that people must choose between religion and
science are creating a false dichotomy." At last count, 250
congregations in forty-three states (and seven foreign countries) were
scheduled to hold Evolution Weekend events.

For the Darwin Day registry, visit: 

For information about Evolution Weekend, visit: 


NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of Robert J. Richards and
Michael Ruse's Debating Darwin (University of Chicago Press, 2016).
The preview consists of the epilogue in which, after debating the
interpretation of Darwin for the majority of the book, Richards and
Ruse join forces to "sketch the major features" of the impact of
Darwin's ideas on "the sciences, humanities, and culture more
generally" since the publication of the Origin of Species in 1859.

Janet Browne -- the author of Charles Darwin: Voyaging and Charles
Darwin: The Power of Place -- writes that in Debating Darwin, "two
world-renowned historians explore what Darwin's proposals meant in his
own day and to us now ...  Back and forth, the ripostes sparkle with
intellectual energy. Through Ruse's and Richards' eyes, we can see
Darwin afresh, as the enthralling historical figure who not only
transformed biology but also our deepest sense of who we are."

For the preview of Debating Darwin (PDF), visit: 

For information about the book from its publisher, visit: 


The National Center for Science Education is pleased to accept
applications for its third class of Grand Canyon Teacher Scholars.
Lucky teachers will be given an all-expenses-paid seat on NCSE's
annual Grand Canyon expedition, an eight-day voyage through some of
the world's greatest geological wonders. It's an opportunity of a
lifetime, giving deserving teachers a hard-earned vacation and an
incomparable learning experience.

For over a dozen years, NCSE has chartered a raft trip through Grand
Canyon, with staffer Steve Newton currently taking the lead in the
unique and tongue-in-cheek "two model" tour of the canyon's geological
history. Rafters descend through the strata, considering the hundreds
of millions of years revealed on the canyon's walls, and examine how
creationists try to explain that same evidence, and why such efforts
are doomed to fail.

"The Grand Canyon is the best geology classroom in the world," said
Newton, a programs and policy director at NCSE and a geology professor
at the College of Marin. "There's no better way to see deep time and
explore the processes that shape our Earth than to raft down the
Colorado River as it cuts down through the eons, past the Great
Unconformity, to rocks almost half the age of the Earth."

"It's a unique experience," Newton added. "Aside from the wonders of
the canyon themselves, the winning teachers will have the opportunity
to interact with their fellow rafters -- a group of people who are
extraordinarily passionate about the importance of understanding deep
time, evolution, and climate change, and who appreciate the role of
science teachers in fostering that understanding."

In a blog post reflecting on his experience during the 2015 Grand
Canyon expedition, Scott Hatfield, a high school biology teacher in
Fresno, California, commented, "NCSE's Grand Canyon Teacher Scholars
program gave me opportunities and experiences that I never would've
achieved on my own, and I would make the voyage again in a heartbeat."
He described the expedition as "the trip of a lifetime."

"We all want to find ways to honor the amazing work science teachers
do, and I'm glad NCSE has this opportunity," explained NCSE executive
director Ann Reid. "It'll be exciting to see all the applicants, and
to give everyone a chance to help give teachers this spectacular
reward." Teachers are encouraged to apply now (the deadline is
February 1, 2017), and anyone interesting in helping teachers have
this experience can contribute to the scholarship fund.

For information about the 2017 expedition, visit: 

For Scott Hatfield's blog post about his experience, visit: 

For information on applying for the scholarship, visit: 

And for information about donating to support the scholarship, visit: 


Have you been visiting NCSE's blog recently? If not, then you've missed:

* Claire Adrian-Tucci describing the latest from NCSEteach: 

For NCSE's blog, 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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