06.01.2018

NCSE conferred its Friend of Darwin award for 2018 upon two people—Robert Stephens and Tiffany Adrain—who have significantly contributed to efforts to increase the public’s understanding and appreciation of evolutionary biology in informal educational settings.

Robert Stephens, Molecular Biologist

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11.27.2017

Seal of New MexicoAt 9:30 p.m. on a recent work day, I called a reporter who had just e-mailed me, asking for comment on the latest developments with the New Mexico science standards. “Don’t you ever sleep?” he joked. I chuckled. Ten hours later, at 7:30 a.m. the next day, a different reporter called me, asking for comment on the same developments, and I happily, if a bit blearily, discussed the situation with him. I say this not to brag of my work ethic—my secret, I confess, is coffee—but to illustrate a benefit of your support of NCSE.

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Cover of Matthew Avery Sutton's American Apocalypse

Although it was published a few years ago, I don’t feel embarrassed that I have only recently finished reading Matthew Avery Sutton’s excellent American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism (2014). What I feel embarrassed about is that although I bought a copy of the book when it was published, I read a copy from my local public library, because my copy is in a box somewhere. Anyhow, as its title suggests, Sutton’s discussion centers on the attitude of American evangelicals toward the end-times prophecies of the Bible. Accordingly, the book addresses how they thought about and reacted to events of the day, from the Great War through the Depression, World War II, and the Cold War, to 9/11, interpreting them through the lens of their premillennarian convictions. Overall, I enjoyed, and learned a lot from, American Apocalypse.

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Henry Drummond

In part 1, I was discussing “The Last Word of Great Scientists on Evolution,” a 1925 antievolution pamphlet by J. J. Sims about which I have long been curious. The title is ambiguous: are the last words on evolution the final, conclusive, and binding verdict on evolution from the assembled host of great scientists, or their rattling deathbed croaks? Both, as it happens: Sims not only deploys the usual motley assemblage of putatively authoritative quotations but also relates not one but two deathbed recantations. The first, unsurprisingly, is Lady Hope’s story about Darwin. The second, which was unfamiliar to me, was a story about Henry Drummond (right; 1851–1897), the Scottish naturalist and Free Churchman whose The Ascent of Man (1894) was among the early influential versions of theistic evolutionism.

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