Posted on September 14, 2017 * Comments

At the end of part 1, Marie Story had just refused to answer her students’ questions about why the Colorado River turns blue when it meets the Little Colorado. Here is how she plans to use that observation, or “phenomenon,” to guide her students through a lesson.

Posted on September 13, 2017 * Comments

Marie Story is one of three teachers who won an NCSE scholarship to raft the Grand Canyon with our own Steve Newton. She sent us a wonderful essay about her experience. I’m going to share some excerpts from her essay in a bit, but there is so much more about Story I’d like to share with you. I was able to chat with her while she was driving with her family to Idaho to get a better view of the eclipse.

Posted on September 07, 2017 * Comments

Want to do some science?

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that Science Booster Club volunteers rarely encounter open conflict even when we bring evolution and climate change activities to religiously and politically conservative areas.

But the truth is, doing this work is hardly problem-free. As we’ve expanded into increasingly socially, religiously, and politically conservative territory, we do come up against a variety of pressures. Of course, as a social being, I care deeply about feeling accepted just like anyone else. So do the people who come to our events­. People don’t want to avoid only outright violence and conflict. Some of our most painful encounters instead involve shame and rejection. When it comes to having conversations about uncomfortable topics, as an SBC leader, I have to be sure to be aware that the people I meet might expect rejection or condescension from someone identifying as a scientist. And I have to guard against reacting to what I perceive as hostility with defensiveness.

Posted on August 31, 2017 * Comments

Nate Chisholm was one of three teachers who accompanied Steve Newton on the NCSE Grand Canyon rafting trip. This is a blog post about his experiences.

Nate Chisholm

Posted on August 25, 2017 * Comments

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.

Posted on August 14, 2017 * Comments

Julia Dent Grant with micro-Grants, 1854, via Wikimedia CommonsSeptember is fast approaching—which means it’s time for our third annual back-to-school microgrant cycle. Every year NCSE’s Science Booster Club program uses the funds we raise to buy durable equipment for science teachers. Common requests include balances, thermometers, microscopes, and shop tools.

Posted on August 03, 2017 * Comments

Robyn Witty was one of three teachers who accompanied Steve Newton on the NCSE Grand Canyon rafting trip. This is a blog of her experience.


Posted on July 28, 2017 * Comments

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.

Posted on July 25, 2017 * Comments
I spent last week at the National Science Teachers Association’s Summer Congress. This was my first Summer Congress, as I was recently elected to NSTA’s Board as the Division Director of Research in Science Teaching.