02.01.2017
Let me tell you a story.
 
There is a little girl named Dora who is a member of my community. She likes me because I am not particularly strict, and because I am a reliable source of snacks. I teach her preschool class in our religious school. We play with letters from the aleph-bet and talk about the holidays and read stories. Last week I found a book I thought Dora would like, so I brought it to class.
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01.24.2017

Do you remember the map I showed you in my last post, about how many states had volunteers interested in starting Science Booster Clubs? Spoiler alert! I received emails from people in 18 states interested in starting clubs. The first wave of volunteer-led clubs is getting off to a formal start at the end of January.

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Image of Darwin from The Book of Knowledge

The Butler Act, outlawing the teaching in Tennessee’s public schools of “any theory that denies the divine creation of man and teaches instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals,” became law on March 21, 1925. But it really wasn’t a matter of national interest until May 1925, when, in short order, John Thomas Scopes agreed to become the defendant in a case testing the law’s constitutionality, William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow agreed to join the legal teams representing the prosecution and the defense (respectively), and Scopes was duly indicted. That was enough to kindle interest in the issue of teaching evolution around the country. And my choice of the particular verb “kindle” is deliberate.

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Happy New Year from NCSEteach, NCSE’s teacher outreach program! We are excited to be back in action for another year packed with climate change and evolution education.

Thirty-six scientist-teacher pairs across the country participated last semester in NCSEteach’s Scientist in the Classroom program, reaching several hundred students in all. As you know, after a first introductory visit, the scientist returns for a visit to work with the teacher to implement a hands-on activity.

There was a great diversity in the activities last semester! For example:

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01.05.2017

The example of the watch in William Paley’s Natural Theology (1802) is famous. A stone found on a heath, Paley explains, seems not to require any explanation, but a watch, with its component parts apparently designed to perform a function, demands to be explained, and explained, moreover, in terms of a designer. And the same is true, he argues at length, of living things. Although Paley is sometimes credited with the example of the watch, it is, I think, generally recognized that he was only the latest in a long string of writers to use horology in the service of natural theology: Cicero, in the first century BCE, similarly appealed to sundials and water-clocks in De natura deorum. So Paley wasn’t original. But was he a plagiarist?

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