NCSE Past Events

Understanding Public Opinion Polling on Evolution

Featuring: 
Glenn Branch
Time: 
12:00pm
Date: 
February 18, 2018
Location: 

Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
1413 NE 45th Street
Seattle WA 98105
 

What do the results of the Gallup poll really say about public opinion on creationism and evolution? In his minitalk for Darwin Day at the Burke, the National Center for Science Education’s Glenn Branch will explain that, on the one hand, the conceptual geography of the creationism/evolution controversy is more complicated than Gallup’s question acknowledges and, on the other hand, the public’s engagement with the controversy is less intensive than Gallup’s question presupposes.

Seattle Atheists logo

Part of Darwin Day at the Burke. Meet scientists, educators, and game designers. Celebrate the genius of Charles Darwin and the wonder of evolution. Snacks, crafts, activities for kids, and professional speakers for grownups, including Glenn Branch of the National Center for Science Education. Tickets give you access to the Burke Museum, 10–5, which is hosting its own crafts and activities. Sponsored by Seattle Atheists, an educational nonprofit.

For more information: 

There's space for only 100 people, so obtain a free ticket at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3319663.

+ read

Eugenie C. Scott

What Would Darwin Say to Today's Creationists?

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott
Time: 
8:30am
Date: 
February 10, 2018
Location: 

Rebstock Hall #309
Washington University Danforth Campus
St. Louis MO 63130

A talk for Washington University in St. Louis's Darwin Day celebration.

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 some 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.

+ read

Kevin Padian

Myths of Mass Extinctions

Featuring: 
Kevin Padian
Time: 
7:30pm
Date: 
November 9, 2017
Location: 

La Peña Cultural Center 
3105 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley CA 94709

Everyone talks about mass extinctions. But what are they, really? Can anyone even define them? Let’s see.

Kevin Padian is Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, Curator of Paleontology at the University of California Museum of Paleontology, and a past president of NCSE's board of directors.

A talk for Bay Area Skeptics; admission is free and open to the public.

For more information: 
+ read

Eugenie C. Scott

Why Do People Reject Good Science?

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott
Time: 
2:00pm
Date: 
October 28, 2017
Location: 

Excalibur Hotel & Resort
3850 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas NV 89109

A talk for CSICON, the national scientific skepticism meeting.

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, the antivaccination movement, the public’s opposition to climate change, and to other questions of the rejection of empirical evidence.

CSICON 2017 logo

+ read

Eugenie C. Scott

Race, Science, and Society

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott
Time: 
4:30pm
Date: 
October 21, 2017
Location: 

Holiday Inn Orlando International Airport
5750 T.G. Lee Blvd
Orlando FL 32822

A talk for FREEFLO 2017, the annual conference of the Florida Humanist association.

The concept of race in biology or anthropology refers to groups of populations in a geographic region that share some characteristics. As such, races, as open genetic systems, are neither permanent, stable, pure, nor are they discrete units. The concept of race to most Americans, however, includes most of this list, and thus has no scientific foundation. Yet socially, race is extraordinarily important in American society, and misunderstanding biology and genetics can have serious consequences for our society. How should we approach this subject to both reflect science as well as our social needs?

FREEFLO logo

For more information: 
+ read

Brad Hoge

Hurricanes and Heat Waves: Is This Climate Change?

Featuring: 
Brad Hoge
Time: 
7:30pm
Date: 
October 12, 2017
Location: 

La Peña Cultural Center 
3105 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley CA 94709

Are Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and the recent heat waves and extreme weather events in California, the product of climate change? If they are, how should they influence public discussions and teaching of climate change? To answer the first question, we must know what the predictions of extreme weather events from climate models are, and how these predictions are generated. Is there a consensus among climate scientists that extreme events are more likely? How much more likely are they? And how extreme are Harvey, Irma, and the California heat wave? Ultimately, how do we connect the dots? If a connection is made, how useful is this information for public discussion? Will the conclusions of climate scientists be more convincing due to the dramatic impacts of these events on people's lives, or are we being "insensitive"? Is it a good idea to use these events as examples of the impact of climate change in classrooms, or is it misleading and inappropriate pedagogically? This talk will answer these questions, and will present some perspectives from teachers in Houston and Florida who are on the front lines.

A talk for Bay Area Skeptics; admission is free and open to the public.

For more information: 
+ read

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

Featuring: 
Glenn Branch, NCSE Deputy Director
Time: 
11:00am
Date: 
September 17, 2017
Location: 

CFI Los Angeles
4773 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90027

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.

A presentation for the Center for Inquiry, Los Angeles; admission is $8, $4 for students, free for Planet-level or higher members of CFI.

For more information: 
+ read

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

Featuring: 
Glenn Branch, NCSE Deputy Director
Time: 
4:30pm
Date: 
September 17, 2017
Location: 

Training Room
Business Expo Center
1960 S. Anaheim Way
Anaheim CA 92805

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.

A presentation for the Center for Inquiry, Orange County; admission is $8, $4 for students, free for Planet-level or higher members of CFI.

For more information: 
+ read

Climate Change Education and Church/State Separation

Featuring: 
Glenn Branch
Time: 
1:45pm
Date: 
September 16, 2017
Location: 

Community Room
Irvine Ranch Water District Headquarters
15500 Sand Canyon Avenue
Irvine CA 92618
 

In state legislatures, local school districts, and individual classrooms, climate change deniers are assiduously trying to undermine the teaching of climate change, How do their efforts resemble the efforts of creationists who have been assiduously trying to undermine the teaching of evolution for the last ninety-five years? The National Center for Science Education’s Glenn Branch will discuss the similarities and differences in the tactics, rhetoric, and effects of these campaigns, and the overlaps and disjunctures between the institutions and individuals pursuing them.   

Orange County Americans United logo

A talk for the Orange County Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

For more information: 
+ read

Eugenie C. Scott

Evolution and Creationism in Kentucky

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott
Time: 
7:00pm
Date: 
September 13, 2017
Location: 

Jacob Science Building 121
University of Kentucky
Lexington KY 40506

A popular science event; free and open to the public.

In the 1920s, many states considered passage of antievolution laws. The law leading to Tennessee's famous 1925 Scopes Trial is the best known of these, but such legislation actually first was proposed in Kentucky. However, Kentucky scientists vigorously protested such laws, and the legislature backed down. Antievolutionism in Kentucky did not go away after the Scopes Trial, of course, and has manifested itself in many ways. In 1980-81, the Fayette County Public Schools Board of Education was approached by a citizens group promoting the teaching of creation science; the protracted struggle over what should be taught presaged battles to take place in communities all over the nation regarding state department of education policies, and the recent appearance of recreational facilities promoting creationism.  

+ read