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In the Beginning: Science, Origins, and Religion

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.
Eugenie Scott
Time: 
1:15pm
Date: 
September 19, 2012
Location: 
Coulter Science Center Lecture Hall
Westminster College
Fulton, Missouri


The subject of origins – of where we, Earth, and the universe come from – is one that has been considered by many religions since time immemorial. Science, Westminster Symposium logoas a relatively recent actor on the intellectual stage, also considers these topics, coming up with answers at variance with those of most religions, including Christianity. How do these two approaches differ? Are there similarities? And is there an uncrossable divide between the two? The answer is not just philosophically interesting, but directly relevant to decisions being made about what to teach in public school science courses.

A talk in the Westminster Symposium:
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE IN A GLOBAL SOCIETY
Sponsored by the Churchill Institute

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Solano Stroll

Featuring: 
NCSE Staff

NCSE table

Time: 
10:00am to 6:00pm
Date: 
September 9, 2012
Location: 
Solano Avenue
Look for us across from Cactus Taqueria, near the east end of the Street Fair
Albany, California

Come meet us in person at this fun family street fair -- music, food, entertainment, crafts, and a parade!

Hominin Skulls

We will have hominin fossils and real live hominins. Also, this is your chance to support NCSE with a purchase of a t-shirt, book, or bumpersticker. And if you have questions, we have resources.

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Survey of Pseudoscience

Featuring: 
Glenn Branch, NCSE Deputy Director
& others
Pseudoscience
Time: 
2:00pm to 5:00pm
Date: 
September 9, 2012
Location: 
Room 10
Sierra II Community Center
2791 24th Street
Sacramento, CA
(Click for map)


What is pseudoscience? What are the danger signs? How best to avoid magical thinking? How much doubt is too much doubt? And when should your personal crank-o-meter start red-lining? Panelists will include Shane J. Trimmer, local skeptical activist; Glenn Branch, Deputy Director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE); Liam McDaid, Sacramento City College astronomy professor; Sarah Strand, CSUS professor of neuroscience; and possibly Bob Carroll, author of the Skeptic's Dictionary, for a light survey of the many swamps and pitfalls to critical thinking.

You've had experiences with cranks, and isn't there a little bit of crank in all of us? But don't let rank crankism happen to you! Come to this meeting, listen, participate, have fun, and be ready to talk about your own adventures in pseudoscience.

Sacramento Skeptics logo

This will be a joint meeting with the Sacramento Area Skeptics.

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Deja Vu All Over Again: Denialism of Climate Change and of Evolution

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.
Eugenie Scott
Time: 
8:30pm
Date: 
September 2, 2012
Location: 
Dragon*Con
Atlanta Downtown Hilton
255 Courtland Street Northeast
Atlanta, Georgia

Both evolution and global warming are “controversial issues” in education, but are not controversial in the world of science. There is remarkable similarity in the techniques thatDragon-Con.jpg are used by both camps to promote their views. The scientific issues are presented as “not being settled”, or that there is considerable debate among scientists over the validity of claims. Denialists in both camps practice “anomaly mongering”, in which a small detail seemingly incompatible with either evolution or global warming is held up as dispositive of either evolution or of climate science. Although in both cases, reputable, established science is under attack for ideological reasons, the underlying ideology differs: for denying evolution, the ideology of course is religious; for denying global warming, the ideology is political and/or economic.

A presentation for the
Skepticism Track
at the popular cultural conference
Dragon*Con

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The Evolution-Creation Wars: A Discussion and Update

Featuring: 
Josh Rosenau and Eugenie Scott
Josh RosenauEugenie Scott
Time: 
5:30pm
Date: 
September 2, 2012
Location: 
Dragon*Con
Atlanta Downtown Hilton
255 Courtland Street Northeast
Atlanta, Georgia

Evolution is one of the core ideas in science, but almost half the population rejects evolution. Why? How do we promote good science education?

A panel for the
Science Track
at the pop culture conference
Dragon*Con

Dragon Con logo

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It's Not Just About the Science

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.
Eugenie C. Scott
Time: 
9:30pm
Date: 
August 21, 2012
Location: 
Philadelphia Marriott Downtown
1201 Market Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania




NCSE defends the teaching of evolution and climate change, two topics on which there is considerable scientific consensus but strong ideological pushback from the general public. How does one change the perception of the public to American Chemical Society logo: American Chemical Society logomore closely parallel that of scientists? The normal reaction of scientists is to bemoan the quality of science education, and propose that more and better science instruction will solve the problem. However, multifactorial problems require multifactorial solutions, and the rejection by a substantial proportion of the public of well-established science is certainly multifactorial. We need to go beyond science (and science education) to consider the underlying ideological sources of the rejection and how best to deal with them.

A presentation at the
Symposium honoring the retirement of Dr. Rudy Baum
at the
244th Annual Meeting of the
American Chemical Society

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A conversation with Eugenie Scott and Will Steger

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott and Will Steger
Eugenie C. ScottWill Steger
Time: 
3:00am
Date: 
August 6, 2012
Location: 
Cowles Auditorium
Humphrey School of Public Affairs
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota


Join Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, Eugenie C. Scott, and polar explorer and Minnesota native Will Steger for a free public forum as they share their experiences and Will Steger Foundation logoperspectives on climate change education. In early 2012, NCSE launched its climate science initiative to support the teaching of climate science in public schools. Steger has traveled tens of thousands of miles by kayak and dogsled over 45 years, leading teams on some of the most significant polar expeditions in history. Steger has been an educator and authored several books on his expeditions and environmental issues, including climate change.

Event is part of the conference
Climate Science in Schools:
the Next Evolution
sponsored by the
Will Steger Foundation
and the
Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Center for
Science, Technology and Public Policy


For more information: 

The Bedrock of Science Communication: The Nature of Science

Featuring: 
Josh Rosenau
Time: 
11:45pm
Date: 
July 21, 2012
Location: 

American Scientific Affiliation Annual Meeting
Point Loma Nazarene University
3900 Lomaland Drive
San Diego, California

In a session on "Communicating Earth Science to the Public," Rosenau will discuss the importance of the nature of science for uprooting creationist and climate change-denying misinformation.

Abstract: Discussing science as a process rather than simply presenting it as a collection of facts helps avoid common pitfalls in science education and science communication. Integrating key ideas about the nature of science into science communication and science education makes it easier for students and audiences to relate to new scientific ideas and to avoid seeing these ideas through the lens of social controversy. Providing the context of how scientists test their ideas provides the narrative drive that turns dry statistics into a thrilling story on film or in the classroom. By helping audiences see how scientific ideas are tested and become accepted by the scientific community, science communicators can guide audiences past social controversies surrounding scientifically uncontroversial topics like evolution and climate change.

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Could an Extraterrestrial be a Christian? Theology, Film, and the Evolution of Spiritual Consciousness

Featuring: 
Peter M.J. Hess, Ph.D.
Peter M.J. Hess
Time: 
12:15am
Date: 
July 20, 2012
Location: 
American Scientific Affiliation Annual Meeting
Cunningham A
Point Loma Nazarene University
3900 Lomaland Drive
San Diego, California

This paper explores two theological dimensions of the ongoing conversation about extraterrestrial life. In the spirit of moving beyond books, it contrasts the theology of ET life with portrayals of the subject through the art form of late modernity: film.

Numerous questions are raised by the evolution of rational life on chemically suitable planets within the habitable zone of suitable stars. If a religious response to the universe arises with consciousness, is belief in God a product of evolution? Since God became incarnate as Jesus at particular time in terrestrial evolutionary history, could the “Christ principle” become incarnate elsewhere in the universe as well, perhaps multiple times? If “the Christ” became incarnate a million years ago on Planet X, would the members of an expedition from that planet recognize Jesus of Nazareth as God incarnate? Is God necessarily triune, or is that an artifact of our own religious experience in a mono-solar cosmology? How might God be conceived of in a binary star system?

Hollywood’s portrayal of extraterrestrial life is too often blunt and two-dimensional. Aliens are portrayed either as malign or monstrous (Alien, Independence Day, Galaxy Quest) or as benign or angelic (E.T., Starman, The Day the Earth Stood Still). It is more likely that extraterrestrial life that has evolved (like Homo sapiens) within an ecological web of predator-prey relationships will reflect an evolutionary morality, moral ambiguity within a widening circle of ethical inclusion. Theologically such a species would likely be like us − "simuliustus et peccator" − at the same time justified and sinners.

ASA logo

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Visit the Grand Canyon with NCSE!

Featuring: 
NCSE's Eugenie C. Scott and Steven Newton
Time: 
12:00am
Date: 
July 16, 2012 to July 24, 2012
Location: 
Grand Canyon, Arizona

Twenty-two lucky members will raft the Grand Canyon from Marble Canyon to Diamond Creek, experiencing one of the most beautiful and majestic natural features on the planet.

Of course, as Eugenie Scott, NCSE's executive director, will inform the rafters, the whole Colorado plateau was laid down by the receding waters of Noah's Flood about 4,327 years ago, and the Grand Canyon itself was gouged catastrophically in a matter of days. Geologist Steven Newton will present the standard geological history of Grand Canyon to the rafters — and "they can make up their own minds."

NCSE's "Creation/Evolution Grand Canyon Raft Trip" is a wonderful way to learn about the creationism/evolution controversy in a fabulous natural setting.

Rafting rapids in Grand Canyon

For more information: 
Click here for more information or email NCSE

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