NCSE Past Events
Room: Regency B
Hyatt Regency Chicago
151 E. Wacker Drive
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
Science Community Center
Modesto Junior College
2201 Blue Gum Avenue
How is science education, particularly related to socially and politically controversial issues, being taught in public 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.
Royal Ontario Museum
100 Queens Park
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.
Royal Ontario Museum's
Darwin Day Commemoration
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 presented 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.
Arnold Arboretum Public Lecture Series
University of 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?
visit the Darwin on the Palouse web page
N Center Street at E Sycamore Avenue
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 Director 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.
E. Kenwood Blvd. and N. Cramer St.
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.
visit the University of Wisconsin event page
155 Fell Street at Van Ness
San Francisco, California
When evolution education is in danger, who do you call? Today, it would be the Oakland-based National Center for Science Education, but in the 1920s, you'd call the Science League of America, based in Sausalito. Join NCSE’s Josh Rosenau to see how the Science League of America dealt with many of the same issues that confront us today, and to learn more about this fascinating piece of Bay area skeptical history.
This presentation is one of three this month at
Nerd Night SF
Visit The Nerd Night website