NCSE Past Events

Untold Stories from the Scopes Trial

Featuring: 
Glenn Branch, NCSE Deputy Director
Time: 
7:00pm
Date: 
November 20, 2018
Location: 

Razzis Pizzeria
8523 Greenwood Ave N.
Seattle WA 98103

If you thought that you knew everything about the Scopes trial, think again! To commemorate the ninety-third anniversary of the seminal episode in the long contentious history of evolution education in the United States, the National Center for Science Education's Glenn Branch will tell the story of the Scopes trial as it has never been told before — focusing on obscure, underappreciated, and amusing details.

Hosted by the Seattle Skeptics and Science Enthusiasts Meetup Group; please RSVP on-line.

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Eugenie C. Scott

Myth and Science; Creation and Evolution

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott
Time: 
12:35pm
Date: 
October 14, 2018
Location: 

North Steps, California State Capitol Building
1100 L Street
Sacramento CA 95814

A talk for California Freethought Day.

To a scientist, theory means something quite different than it means on the street. Similarly, anthropologists use myth to mean something quite different from how most people understand the term. The telling of myths in this anthropological sense is one of the ways that groups of humans symbolize what is important to them, which encourages group cohesiveness and the maintenance of these ideals, and provides a means of inculcating values and group identity into future generations.  Myths may be true, or they may be fantastic; what makes them important is their power to symbolize ideas, values, history, and other things that are important to people. The mythic importance to Christians of the Fall of Adam and Eve primarily has to do with the relationship of humankind to God, and it is multilayered – whether or not a particular Christian believes there actually were two human beings called Adam and Eve. Similarly, whether or not Horatio Alger actually lived, his rise from poverty to riches based on individual initiative is a classic American myth of great power and symbolism. Myths, then, because of their emotional power, cannot be taken lightly nor easily dismissed. It is not possible to understand the creation and evolution controversy without understanding the role of myth – whether religious or secular.

 

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Ann Reid

Capturing a Killer, Capturing the Imagination: The Power of Bringing Real Evidence Into the Science Classroom

Featuring: 
Ann Reid, NCSE's Executive Director
Time: 
7:00pm
Date: 
October 10, 2018
Location: 

Watt Family Innovation Center Auditorium 
Sigma Drive
Clemson SC 29634

A talk in the TIGERS ADVANCE Distinguished Speaker Series. Admission is free.

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Eugenie C. Scott

Evolution and Creationism as Science and Myth

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott
Time: 
4:10pm
Date: 
October 4, 2018
Location: 

International House Auditorium
University of California, Berkeley
2299 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley CA 94720

The second of Scott's Charles M. and Martha Hitchcock Lectures.

Myths symbolize ideas, values, history and other issues that are important to a people. They may be true or false, mundane or fantastic; their significance is their meaning, not their narrative content. Science is a way of knowing about the natural world. Its conclusions tentatively may be true or false, but its significance is its explanatory power: one has confidence in the process of science, even though some explanations change over time. Myth and science thus seem very different, but each has been utilized by proponents of both sides of the Christian creationism and evolution controversy. Understanding this role is essential in comprehending (much less mediating) this persistent conflict.

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Eugenie C. Scott

Why Do People Reject Good Science?

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott
Time: 
4:10pm
Date: 
October 3, 2018
Location: 

International House Auditorium
University of California, Berkeley
2299 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley CA 94720

The first of Scott's Charles M. and Martha Hitchcock Lectures.

Scientists are often puzzled when members of the public reject what we consider to be well-founded explanations. They can’t understand why the presentation of scientific data and theory doesn’t suffice to convince others of the validity of “controversial” topics like evolution and climate change. Recent research highlights the importance of ideology in shaping what scientific conclusions are considered reliable and acceptable. This research is quite relevant to the evolution wars and the public’s opposition to climate change, and to other questions of the rejection of empirical evidence.

 

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Twists and Turns in Teaching Evolution Over the Years

Featuring: 
Glenn Branch, NCSE Deputy Director
Time: 
7:00pm
Date: 
September 25, 2018
Location: 

Conference Room
Sammamish Family YMCA
831 228th Ave SE
Sammamish WA 98075

As a high school student, you study evolution routinely as part of your biology class. But did you know that the history of evolution education in the United States is fraught with controversy? In his talk for the Sammamish Teen Science Café, Glenn Branch, deputy director of the National Center for Science Education, traces the history through its twists and turns and its unlikely heroes.

A talk for the Sammamish Teen Science Café, the event is free and open to the public.

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Why Is It So Hard to Teach Evolution and Climate Change?

Featuring: 
Glenn Branch, NCSE Deputy Director
Time: 
1:30pm
Date: 
June 23, 2018
Location: 

Anthropology Lecture Hall
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131

Why is it so hard to teach evolution and climate change? In particular, why is it so difficult to teach these theoretically and practically important topics in the public schools of the United States? Certainly the problem isn't at the scientific end, where the scientific consensus is overwhelming. In his talk, NCSE's Glenn Branch will review the causes and effects of the difficulties, highlighting NCSE's ongoing efforts to support the integrity of science education around the country.

The keynote address for the 2018 membership meeting of the Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education; the event is free and open to the public.

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Doubt and Denial as Challenges to, and in, Teaching Climate Change

Featuring: 
Glenn Branch, NCSE Deputy Director
Time: 
7:00pm
Date: 
June 22, 2018
Location: 

Fuller Lodge
2132 Central Ave.
Los Alamos NM 87544

Scientists overwhelmingly agree about the occurrence, causes, and consequences of climate change. But the public is not so sure. And science education is suffering as a result. Reviewing recent controversies over the place of climate science in state science standards and summarizing the results of a recent rigorous national survey of science teachers, Glenn Branch from the National Center for Science Education will explain how doubt and denial about climate change are affecting science education.

Sponsored by the Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education, the event is free and open to the public.

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Discussing Tough Topics with Tact

Featuring: 
Brad Hoge
Time: 
11:00pm
Date: 
June 10, 2018
Location: 

Mountain View Masonic Lodge
890 Church Street
Mountain View CA 94041

It is hard to ignore the changes in our world, despite the best attempts of our leaders to sweep it under the rug. Join us for Discussing Tough Topics with Tact. Brad Hoge from the National Center for Science Education will explore ways to talk to family and friends about climate change and evolution.

A talk for Sunday Assembly Silicon Valley; admission is free and open to the public.

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Eugenie C. Scott

How Are Evolution and Climate Change Being Taught (or Not) in Schools?

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott
Time: 
4:00pm
Date: 
April 18, 2018
Location: 

1 West Auditorium, Wilson Hall
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Kirk Road and Pine Street
Batavia IL 60510

A talk for the Fermilab colloquium series. Free and open to the public.

Both evolution and climate change are “controversial issues” in education, but are not controversial in the world of science. Nonetheless, every year in the United States, state legislatures contemplate bills restricting the teaching of evolution, climate change and other allegedly “controversial subjects.” Known generically as “Academic Freedom Acts,” these proposed bills direct teachers to “critically analyze” (i.e., criticize) or to present the “full range of scientific views” (i.e., include creation science and climate change skepticism) of these scientific fields. In his analysis of data collected over decades by the National Center for Science Education, Matzke traced the origin of these “Academic Freedom Acts” in his “Evolution of Antievolution Policies” in Science, showing that these bills are the current manifestations of the creationism and evolution controversy that has dogged American science education for over 100 years. As documented by surveys carried out by the NCSE and others, such legislation has a chilling effect on the willingness of teachers to present these topics in the classroom, and both evolution and climate change are under-taught or avoided at the pre-college level.

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