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Strategies for Defending Evolution Education

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.

Time: 
9:00am
Date: 
June 25, 2009
Location: 
North American Paleontological Convention
Great Hall, Tangeman University Center
University of Cincinnati Campus
Cincinnati, OH


Creationists have preferred to seize the imprimatur of science and its cultural power by claiming that their views are supportable through science. Creation science and intelligent design are examples of this. Because of legal decisions that recognized the inherent religious advocacy of both of these positions, the current creationist strategy emphasizes attacking evolution. Although the “creationism as science” approach is not yet dead, creationists today are more apt to argue that evolution should be presented as unsupported science with many “weaknesses.” Creationists are applying this strategy in various ways, such as arguing that teachers should present “the evidence against evolution” and contending that students should “critically analyze” (i.e., criticize) evolution as a critical-thinking exercise. Success in countering these - and other - ploys depends on our thinking and acting politically.

This presentation is part of the symposium, "Evolution and Society,” at the 9th North American Paleontological Convention

For more information: 
Contact: NCSE

The Public Understanding of Evolution and the KISS Principle

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.

Time: 
4:00am
Date: 
June 12, 2009
Location: 
The Society for the Study of Evolution
Event Center
University of Idaho
Moscow, Idaho


Dr. Scott will receive the first
Stephen Jay Gould Award for Public Outreach.

Americans have a strikingly high incidence of rejection of evolution, especially compared to citizens of other developed countries. The explanation is multifactorial: there are many cultural and historical threads that have lead to the present situation, and they involve religion, education, the public’s understanding of science, legal history, and, of course, politics. But one component that scientists can address directly is the understanding of evolution itself, as a science and as a powerful explanation of biology. The public picks up a lot of misinformation about evolution on the street, and teachers of evolution at the highschool or post secondary level have an important role to play to help dispel that misinformation. But it will involve the application of the KISS principle – Keep it Simple, Stupid – because it is the basic or foundational ideas of evolution that people misunderstand. Without a clear understanding of the basics, it is hopeless to seek an understanding of the details.

For more information: 

The Public Understanding of Evolution and the KISS Principle

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.

Time: 
8:00pm
Date: 
June 12, 2009
Location: 
The Society for the Study of Evolution
Event Center
University of Idaho
Moscow, Idaho


Dr. Scott will receive the first
Stephen Jay Gould Award for Public Outreach.

Americans have a strikingly high incidence of rejection of evolution, especially compared to citizens of other developed countries. The explanation is multifactorial: there are many cultural and historical threads that have lead to the present situation, and they involve religion, education, the public’s understanding of science, legal history, and, of course, politics. But one component that scientists can address directly is the understanding of evolution itself, as a science and as a powerful explanation of biology. The public picks up a lot of misinformation about evolution on the street, and teachers of evolution at the highschool or post secondary level have an important role to play to help dispel that misinformation. But it will involve the application of the KISS principle – Keep it Simple, Stupid – because it is the basic or foundational ideas of evolution that people misunderstand. Without a clear understanding of the basics, it is hopeless to seek an understanding of the details.

For more information: 

The Evolution of Intelligent Design

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.

Time: 
11:30pm
Date: 
May 31, 2009
Location: 
74th Symposium on Quantitative Biology
Evolution: The Molecular Landscape
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Watson School of Biological Sciences
New York

The form of antievolutionism called creation science gave rise in the 1980s to intelligent design (ID), which thrived during the 1990s and early part of the 21st century until its teaching was declared unconstitutional by a Federal district court in 2005. But even before its legal defeat, ID proponents were advocating a different approach that was intended both to avoid successful legal challenges and also appeal to American cultural values. This “evidence against evolution” approach arises from both a Supreme Court legal decision striking down the teaching of creation science, and a Senator’s attempt to modify the 2001 No Child Left Behind education act. It currently takes the form of proposed legislation to protect from legal action teachers who wish to teach alleged “weaknesses of evolution”, or proposed changes to state science education standards encouraging the “critical analysis” (i.e., criticism) of evolution as a student critical thinking exercise. These approaches are far less obviously examples of religious advocacy, and are believed to therefore be able to with stand constitutional challenge.

For more information: 
Contact David Stewart

The Evolution of Intelligent Design

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.

Time: 
3:30pm
Date: 
May 31, 2009
Location: 
74th Symposium on Quantitative Biology
Evolution: The Molecular Landscape
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Watson School of Biological Sciences
New York

The form of antievolutionism called creation science gave rise in the 1980s to intelligent design (ID), which thrived during the 1990s and early part of the 21st century until its teaching was declared unconstitutional by a Federal district court in 2005. But even before its legal defeat, ID proponents were advocating a different approach that was intended both to avoid successful legal challenges and also appeal to American cultural values. This “evidence against evolution” approach arises from both a Supreme Court legal decision striking down the teaching of creation science, and a Senator’s attempt to modify the 2001 No Child Left Behind education act. It currently takes the form of proposed legislation to protect from legal action teachers who wish to teach alleged “weaknesses of evolution”, or proposed changes to state science education standards encouraging the “critical analysis” (i.e., criticism) of evolution as a student critical thinking exercise. These approaches are far less obviously examples of religious advocacy, and are believed to therefore be able to with stand constitutional challenge.

For more information: 
Contact David Stewart

Dealing with Challenges to Evolution in Class; Recent Attacks on Evolution in the USA

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.

Time: 
9:00pm
Open Discussion at 2 PM
Date: 
May 19, 2009
Location: 
Darwin 2009 - Education Workshop
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario
Canada

After the failure of creation science and intelligent design to survive legal tests of their constitutionality, the creationist movement evolved new strategies. These call for teaching the “strengths and weaknesses of evolution” or the “critical analysis of evolution” which are creationism in disguise. In lieu of policies promoting the teaching of creation science or Intelligent Design, modern creationists try to change state science education standards or pass state legislation to promote these “softer” and less-obvious approaches. Such “Academic Freedom Act” legislation has popped up in several states already, and reflects the creationism du jour. Dr. Scott will offer strategies for handling these assaults on evolution education.

For more information: 

Dealing with Challenges to Evolution in Class; Recent Attacks on Evolution in the USA

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.

Time: 
1:00pm
Open Discussion at 2 PM
Date: 
May 19, 2009
Location: 
Darwin 2009 - Education Workshop
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario
Canada

After the failure of creation science and intelligent design to survive legal tests of their constitutionality, the creationist movement evolved new strategies. These call for teaching the “strengths and weaknesses of evolution” or the “critical analysis of evolution” which are creationism in disguise. In lieu of policies promoting the teaching of creation science or Intelligent Design, modern creationists try to change state science education standards or pass state legislation to promote these “softer” and less-obvious approaches. Such “Academic Freedom Act” legislation has popped up in several states already, and reflects the creationism du jour. Dr. Scott will offer strategies for handling these assaults on evolution education.

For more information: 

Tribeca Film Festival: A Tribute to Darwin

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott, PhD
Time: 
9:00pm
Date: 
April 25, 2009
Location: 

The 2009 Tribeca Film Festival will pay tribute to the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth with a retrospective screening of Stanley Kramer's Inherit the Wind, followed by a panel discussion examining how science, backed by evidence, can stir up public and private controversy. The panel includes Dr. Scott, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jonathan Weiner, and Jon Amiel, director of the Charles Darwin biopic "Creation". Stanley Kramer's epic movie, released in 1960 and starring Spencer Tracy, Fredric March and Gene Kelly, was a fictionalized version of the infamous 1925 Scopes "Monkey Trial". The trial was triggered by a public outcry surrounding the teaching of evolution in schools in the 1920s. Further details on the Festival can be found at www.tribecafilm.com/festival.

Event sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

For more information: 
Contact: Anna Dinces

Tribeca Film Festival: A Tribute to Darwin

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott, PhD
Time: 
1:00pm
Date: 
April 25, 2009

The 2009 Tribeca Film Festival will pay tribute to the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth with a retrospective screening of Stanley Kramer's Inherit the Wind, followed by a panel discussion examining how science, backed by evidence, can stir up public and private controversy. The panel includes Dr. Scott, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jonathan Weiner, and Jon Amiel, director of the Charles Darwin biopic "Creation". Stanley Kramer's epic movie, released in 1960 and starring Spencer Tracy, Fredric March and Gene Kelly, was a fictionalized version of the infamous 1925 Scopes "Monkey Trial". The trial was triggered by a public outcry surrounding the teaching of evolution in schools in the 1920s. Further details on the Festival can be found at www.tribecafilm.com/festival.

Event sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

For more information: 
Contact: Anna Dinces

The Evolution of Creationism

Featuring: 
Dr. Eugenie Scott
Time: 
1:00am
Date: 
April 20, 2009
Location: 
La Louisiane Ballroom (next to Exhibit Hall) Ernest N. Morial Convention Center New Orleans, LA 70128

With the passage of an "academic freedom" act in Louisiana, there's never been a more appropriate time to talk about the evolution of creationism. Providing the history, the overview, and a look at key creationist tactics will be Dr. Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education. Dr. Barbara Forrest from Southeastern Louisiana University, will discuss the likely impact of the new Louisiana law on teaching science in the state. The Honorable Judge John E. Jones, who presided over the landmark 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover trial (which banished intelligent design from the classroom), will discuss the case law leading to the Dover trial and how judges decide what is good science. Dr. Ken Miller, author of Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul, will dissect the "science" of intelligent design. Cost: High school teachers and students free with proof of status; others: conference registration fee ($445). Further details can be found on this page.

For more information: 
Contact: Peter Farnham

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