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Equipping Scientists to Better Understand and Converse with Religious Communities

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.
Eugenie C. Scott
Time: 
8:30am to 11:30am
Date: 
February 16, 2014
Location: 
AAAS Annual Meeting
Room: Regency B
Hyatt Regency Chicago
151 E. Wacker Drive
Chicago, Illinois

 

Survey research shows that fewer scientists believe in God or a higher power than members of the general public, but by no means does scientist equate to atheist. Scientists, like bricklayers or ballet dancers, can be religious, non-religious, anti-religious, or religiously indifferent. Scientists who are nonbelievers sometimes generalize their views to all scientists, which can miscommunicate to religious communities and the public in general that science is incompatible with religion. Although some religious views clearly are incompatible with the discoveries of science, and certain religious perspectives clash with the evidence-based method science uses to derive conclusions, most religious perspectives found among Americans do not reject either the methods or the conclusions of science. This in itself, though a simple idea, is also one that scientists need to communicate to the public. Conservative Christians, in particular, often reject science because they believe that in accepting science, they will be forced to accept materialist philosophy. Distinguishing between the methodological materialism of science and the philosophical materialism of humanism and other non-theistic views frees science for acceptance on its own terms. Scientists also must realize that the presentation of science, though necessary, is not sufficient in itself. For topics such as religion or climate change, where there may be religiously-based opposition, “mere” science will not be persuasive on its own. Research shows that ideological orientation trumps empiricism: liberals are more likely to accept information if they believe the position originates from a fellow liberal, conservatives are more likely to accept the identical information if they believe the position originates from a fellow conservative, and so on. To overcome ideological barriers to the acceptance of science requires establishing a relationship of trust and respect. This relationship is most easily established by individuals of the same ideology, but it is not impossible for “outsiders” to do so. Otherwise, an adversarial relationship is the default, to the detriment of the public understanding of science.

A talk for the Symposium on
Religious Communities, Science, Scientists and Perceptions:
A comprehensive Survey

Billion-Year Walk

Featuring: 
The Planet Earth
Billion-Year Walk
Time: 
9:00am to 3:00pm
(rain or shine)
Date: 
February 16, 2014
Location: 

Rotary Nature Center
600 Bellevue Avenue
Lake Merritt, Oakland, California

Click for Map

 

Take the whole family back a billion years and walk forward to the present around Lake Merritt (5 km = 3.1 miles). Follow dozens of signs describing the history of our Earth and its life. Personnel from UC Berkeley and NCSE will answer your questions as you travel through time around the lake and back to the Rotary Nature Center. Start anytime before 3PM to finish before the Center closes at 5.

[Billions of dinosaurs and other animals were harmed in the making of this history.]

Snacks, drinks, and goodies for the kids while they last. Test your knowledge with a trivia quiz. In-park parking $5. Street parking free.

The Billion-Year Walk is sponsored by the
Rotary Nature Center,
University of California Museum of Paleontology,

and NCSE
in partnership with the Lawrence Hall of Science.

Richard Owen, Charles Darwin, and the shaping of Victorian biology

Featuring: 
Kevin Padian, Ph.D.

Time: 
3:15pm
Date: 
February 14, 2014
Location: 

University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida

For more information: 

When is sexual selection not sexual selection?

Featuring: 
Kevin Padian, Ph.D.

Time: 
3:30pm
Date: 
February 13, 2014
Location: 

University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida

For more information: 

Sowing Doubt in the Science Classroom

Featuring: 
Minda Berbeco, Ph.D.

Dr. Minda Berbeco

Time: 
3:00pm
Date: 
February 12, 2014
Location: 

Room 115
Science Community Center
West Campus
Modesto Junior College
2201 Blue Gum Avenue
Modesto, California

How is science education, particularly related to socially and politically controversial issues, being taught in Modesto Junior Collegepublic schools? Who is working to undermine quality science education? How can scientists and science advocates work to ensure that good science is taught in our schools? In this presentation, Dr. Berbeco will discuss these topical issues and the landscape ahead.

What Would Darwin Say to Today's Creationists?

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.

Eugenie C. Scott

Time: 
7:00pm
Date: 
February 12, 2014
Location: 

Bronfman Hall
Royal Ontario Museum
100 Queens Park
Toronto, Ontario

Many elements of the modern American creationist movement would be familiar to Darwin, especially the argument from design, which of course was very well known (and well-regarded) by educated people of his time. Young-Earth creationism, on the other hand, would be puzzling to him; Bishop Ussher's 4004 BC age of the Earth was not considered mainstream Christian theology in the late 19th century, though certainly the view had its adherents among clergy. Darwin might have heard of the “scriptural geologists” who promoted a young-Earth view during the 19th century, but like other scientists of his time, he would have ignored them. The current creationist strategy of disclaiming evolution as weak science would have seemed more familiar to him, given the criticisms of evolution he encountered during his own time.

 

Presented for the
Royal Ontario Museum's
Darwin Day Commemoration

 

For more information: 
Visit this event description on the ROM website

Déjà vu all over again: Denialism of climate change and of evolution

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.

Eugenie C. Scott

Time: 
7:00pm
Date: 
February 10, 2014
Location: 

Arnold Arboretum
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

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 that are used by both camps to promote their views. The scientific issues are Harvard University logopresented as “not being settled”, or that there is considerable debate among scientists over the validity of claims. 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
Arnold Arboretum Public Lecture Series

Evolution and Climate Change

Featuring: 
Ann Reid, Eugenie Scott, Brian Alters, Ben Santer

Ann ReidEugenie ScottBrian AltersBen Santer

Time: 
4:00pm
Date: 
February 7, 2014
Location: 

Room 202
Argyros Forum
Chapman University
N Center Street at E Sycamore Avenue
Orange, California

The nation’s top experts in defending science education will host an open panel discussion on evolution and climate change at Chapman University. Leading activists in the controversy of creationism and evolution from the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) will form the panel, led by Dr. Brian Alters, Director of Chapman’s Evolution Education Research Center and also President of the NCSE.

Incoming NCSE Executive Chapman UniversityDirector Ann Reid, a molecular biologist by training, who most recently was Director of the American Academy of Microbiology, will lend her expertise on evolution and her vision for science education in schools as the event moderator.

The panel includes outgoing Executive Director of the NCSE Eugenie C. Scott who led the organization for the past 27 years. Rounding out the panel will be climate change expert and atmospheric scientist Ben Santer of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Member of the National Academy of Sciences, and NCSE Board Member.

90 years of fighting creationism: From the Science League of America to NCSE

Featuring: 
Joshua Rosenau and Harriett Hall, M.D.

Joshua RosenauDr. Harriett Hall

Time: 
6:30pm to 9:00pm
Date: 
February 7, 2014
Location: 

Administration Building
University of Idaho
Moscow, Idaho

In the runup to the Scopes trial 90 years ago, shoe salesman and criminologist Maynard Shipley organized the Science League of America to defend evolution in America’s schools. In the next decade, the Science League tracked and opposed 45 anti-evolution bills in 20 states, protected teachers from being fired for presenting evolution in classrooms, and educated the public about developments in biology. The National Center for Science Education, where Josh Rosenau works, was founded in 1981, with a nearly identical mission. In the last decade, NCSE has tracked and opposed over 50 antievolution bills in over a dozen states, defended teachers who cover evolution, and sought new ways to express Darwin’s great idea. Has the fight over evolution education changed at all in 90 years, and what lessons can we learn from Maynard Shipley’s successes and failures?

For more information: 

Untangling the Threads of Human Evolution

Featuring: 
Professor Andrew Petto

Andrew Petto

Time: 
8:00pm
Date: 
January 31, 2014
Location: 

Room 137
Physics Building
E. Kenwood Blvd. and N. Cramer St.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
 

Friday evenings just got spicier with these interactive performances that connect science with your everyday life. The UWM Science Bag educates as it entertains. Each one-hour show is free and designed for the curious, ages 8 to 108.

For more information: 

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