NCSE Past Events

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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Eugenie C. Scott

What the American “Evolution Wars” Can Tell us About Knowledge Resistance

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott
Time: 
11:20am
Date: 
September 7, 2017
Location: 

Wenner-Gren Foundation Center
Sveavägen 166
102 31 Stockholm
Sweden

A talk for the “Knowledge Resistance and How to Cure It” conference sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Scientific Research.

For decades in the US, evolution has been opposed by antievolutionists identifying themselves as “scientific” creationists. They claim that in addition to evolution being religiously unacceptable, it has serious scientific shortcomings, and therefore should be rejected (and not taught in schools) as a valid science. Antievolutionism is often considered the poster child of the failure of the knowledge deficit model (that rejection of accepted scientific views is founded in a lack of accurate information) but reality is more subtle. Indeed, many criteria in addition to scientific knowledge explain most of creationists’ rejection of evolution, but knowledge of evolution (and the nature of science) is thin within this group. In case studies of individuals who have switched positions from creationism to evolution (or vice versa) scientific information is claimed to play a role in the conversion – though not the only role. Knowledge is a necessary variable in overcoming resistance – but not sufficient on its own.

Wenner-Gren Foundations logo

For more information: 

The Wenner-Gren Foundations (look for "Upcoming Symposia")

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Ann Reid

What You Can Do About Science Denial (Hint: you might want to stop calling it that)

Featuring: 
Ann Reid, NCSE's Executive Director
Time: 
7:30pm
Date: 
June 23, 2017
Location: 

Oregon Ballroom
Portland Convention Center
777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Portland OR 97232

The Society for the Study of Evolution Public Outreach Lecture at Evolution 2017.

Surveys consistently show that about 40% of American adults believe that humans were created in their current form in the last 10,000 years. One-third of American adults do not believe that human activities are changing Earth's climate. Lack of societal consensus around topics that are scientifically well-established echoes in our nation's science classrooms, where at least half of middle and high school science teachers report that they equivocate when they teach evolution and climate change. Ann Reid, Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), will discuss the more-timely-than-ever phenomenon of science denial and why she finds that label neither accurate nor particularly helpful. She will also share tools and lessons for communicating effectively about topics that are societally, but not scientifically, controversial.

 

Evolution 2017 logo

 

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Eugenie C. Scott

The Science and Pseudoscience of Race

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott
TBA
Date: 
June 11, 2017
Location: 

Shattuck Hotel Plaza
2086 Allston Way
Berkeley CA 94704

Species, subspecies, races, varieties, demes – although these scientific terms are sometimes difficult to apply in nature, they can be useful for communicating about groups of organisms. But when we talk about Homo sapiens, these terms often are understood differently than when they are used to communicate about plants and animals. Whether races of song sparrows are “real” as a scientific issue is not nearly as important to us as whether there are “races” of humans, and what we think are the attributes of such entities. Pseudoscience about the concept of race abounds, and these misunderstandings of science can have serious consequences for our society. What is the real science – the genetic key to understanding – the concept of “race”?

SkeptiCal 2017 logo

A talk for SkeptiCal, northern California's science and skepticism conference. Paid conference registration is required.

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Eugenie C. Scott

Fighting Young-Earth Creationism and Intelligent Design in 2017

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott
Time: 
1:45pm
Date: 
May 20, 2017
Location: 

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

Though the “intelligent design” movement appears to have faded considerably after the federal district court case Kitzmiller v. Dover, traditional young-earth creationism continues to attract adherents. With the opening of the new Ark Encounter at Answers in Genesis in northern Kentucky, plus expected enthusiasm generated by the appointments being made at the federal level by the incoming administration, we should be prepared for an upsurge in state and local antievolutionism activism.

Orange County Americans United logo

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

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