NCSE Past Events
Queensland University of Technology
2 George Street
Brisbane QLD 4000, Australia
In the United States, the First Amendment requires schools and other state institutions to be religiously neutral. Courts have held for decades that any advocacy of creationism in science class is unconstitutional, but creationists have evolved new adaptations. One of the cleverer recent developments was “intelligent design theory,” which grew in the 1990s and 2000s to challenge the teaching of evolution. In 2004 a Pennsylvania school district passed an ID policy, and was challenged in court in 2005. Evolution won as the teaching of ID was declared unconstitutional, and the case virtually stopped similar policies from being passed. But in the ten years since Kitzmiller v. Dover we have learned that eternal vigilance is essential. The creationist movement continues to adapt to its legal environment and has evolved new strategies. These call for teaching the “strengths and weaknesses of evolution” or the “critical analysis of evolution” which are creationism in disguise. A common form of these laws is “Academic Freedom Acts” in which the disguised teaching of creationism is claimed to reflect a student’s right to learn or a teacher’s right to teach.
Tickets for the whole weekend convention are $280, $240 for students.
La Peña Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Avenue
In 2005, an important trial was held in a Federal District court to test the constitutionality of the Dover, Pennsylvania, school board policy requiring the teaching of a new form of creationism, "intelligent design." To commemorate the 10th anniversary of this case, Kitzmiller v. Dover, expert witness Dr. Kevin Padian, former board president of the National Center for Science Education, explains how the trial required rehearsal not only of First Amendment rights, but of how science is done and not done, and what qualifies as an explanation in science.
This is one of a monthly series of
sponsored by the
Bay Area Skeptics
Kevin Padian is past president of NCSE's board of directors and also Professor of Integrative Biology and Curator in the University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1980. An international expert on the evolution of vertebrates, particularly dinosaurs and their relatives, his principal interest is in the origin of major adaptive changes. It was on this subject, as well as on phylogenetic relationships, homology, and the nature of science, that he testified in the Dover, Pennsylvania trial on "intelligent design" in 2005. He is the author of over a hundred scientific articles and numerous books. He was one of the authors and editors of the California Science Framework K-12 in 1990, and has served on three panels advising the adoption of textbooks and other instructional materials in science to the state of California. He has received numerous awards and academic honors and appointments, including the Carl Sagan Award for the Popularization of Science.
Visit the Bay Area Skeptics website
Commonwealth Club of California
555 Post St.
San Francisco CA 94102
Scientists are often puzzled when members of the public reject what we consider to be well-founded explanations. They can’t understand why the presentation of scientific data and theory doesn’t suffice to convince others of the validity of “controversial” topics like evolution and climate change. Recent research highlights the importance of ideology in shaping what scientific conclusions are considered reliable and acceptable. This research is quite relevant to the evolution wars and the public’s opposition to climate change, and to other questions of the rejection of empirical evidence.
Tickets are $20, $7.00 for students, free to members of the Commonwealth Club.
Tropicana Las Vegas
3801 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas NV 89109
What if the judge in Kitzmiller had ruled that “intelligent design” was legal to teach? Very little would change in the science community—“intelligent design” repeatedly has been shown to lack scientific merit. But the politicization of education and science would have increased exponentially. What are the legal, political, scientific, and educational implications of the trial and its aftermath?
A talk for The Amaz!ng Meeting (TAM) sponsored by the James Randi Educational Foundation. Basic registration is $499; a single-day pass is $299. See the meeting's website for further pricing information.
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 NCSE's Josh Rosenau 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.
Buffalo Marriott Niagara
1340 Millersport Highway
Amherst NY 14221
A talk for the Center for Inquiry international conference, Reason for Change.
Anthropology, the science of humankind, deals with evolution, human biology, and archaeology, all in the context of the behavioral complexities of culture. Perhaps this breadth – and the fact that the subject is ourselves – is why there is such a huge amount of misinformation, misunderstanding, and just plain pseudoscience about human evolution and human nature. Anthropology is cursed with the Aquatic Ape theory, the Paleo Diet, Raelianism (of various kinds), theories of relict hominoids, the Killer Ape, Krishna Creationism, some very far out ideas about race and sex – and that’s just for starters. Being human, however, does not make one an expert on anthropology. What does the actual science of anthropology say about these popular, if incorrect, ideas?
visit the conference website
Buffalo Marriott Niagara
1340 Millersport Highway
Amherst NY 14221
NCSE's Josh Rosenau, along with Mark Boslough, Scott Mandia, and Jan Dash, will participate in a discussion of climate change at the Center for Inquiry international conference, Reason for Change.
Oakland Asian Cultural Center
388 9th Street #290
Oakland CA 94607
Ebola, influenza, bird flu, SARS, HIV, West Nile, Hantavirus, measles––one could go on. Each of these viruses has, at one time or another (or in some cases repeatedly), been the subject of breathless front-page scare headlines. Fear, after all, grabs our attention. And fear, when it comes to viruses, can be a highly appropriate response. But our fears are often disproportionate to the actual degree of risk. Furthermore, because fear is a highly effective tool for manipulation, emphasizing––or sometimes exaggerating––risks plays a big part in public communications about viruses. So what’s a layman to do? When is it appropriate to be afraid, and what kinds of precautions are reasonable? Three case studies will illustrate the complicated ways that fear can get in the way of a clear-eyed view of how much risk a virus poses, and what a reasonable person should do about it. First, the 1918 influenza virus killed between 20 and 50 million people worldwide. What made it so lethal, and are warnings that bird flu could cause a similar outbreak justified? Second, how concerned should we be about Ebola, and what is an appropriate response? And finally, how has fear of vaccination superseded fear of the diseases it prevents?
A plenary address at SkeptiCal 2015. Tickets (to the whole day's events) start at $40.00.
Art and Education Building room 385
California State University, East Bay
25800 Carlos Bee Blvd.
Hayward, CA 94542
NCSE's Josh Rosenau will present a guest lecture for science teacher credential candidates in Dr. David Stronck's class. He will discuss NCSE's work, challenges to teaching evolution, and how teachers can present evolution effectively in schools.
Contact Dr. Stronck.
Shasta Public Libraries - Redding Library
1100 Parkview Avenue
Redding CA 96001
Kitzmiller v. Dover, the 2005 case establishing the unconstitutionality of teaching intelligent design creationism in the public schools, was a pivotal event in the history of the creationism/evolution controversy in the United States. Why was Kitzmiller the effective end of the second phase of antievolution strategy? And what is the third phase going to be like?