NCSE Past Events
The Rockefeller University
1230 York Avenue at East 66th Street
New York, New York
The subject of origins – of where we, Earth, and the universe come from – is one that has been considered by many religions since time immemorial. Science, as a relatively recent actor on the intellectual stage, also considers these topics, coming up with answers at variance with those of most religions, including Christianity. How do these two approaches differ? Are there similarities? And is there an uncrossable divide between the two? The answer is not just philosophically interesting, but directly relevant to decisions being made about what to teach in public school science courses.
2013 Insight Lecture Series
Irvine Ranch Water District Headquarters
15500 Sand Canyon Avenue (at Waterworks)
Being a specialist in the evolution education versus creationism controversy, Dr. Alters has conducted research and authored books on the subject, testified as an Expert Witness in federal court and other important legal cases on these matters, and is President of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), and Founder and Director of the Evolution Education Research Center (EERC) created over a decade ago between faculty of McGill and Harvard universities.
He has published six books including his best seller, Defending Evolution, taught thousands of pre-service and in-service teachers, and won McGill University’s highest teaching award – the President’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching. He has given hundreds of talks worldwide. His work has been reported globally in thousands of articles and media outlets, including Associated Press, The New York Times, Scientific American, Nature, ABC, CNN, CBC, NBC, MTV, and a cover story on Rolling Stone.
Event sponsored by the
Orange County Chapter of
Americans United for Separation of Church & State
610 Langdon Street
Both evolution and global warming are "controversial issues" in education, but are not controversial in the world of science. There is a remarkable similarity in the techniques that are used by denialists in both camps to promote their views. The scientific issues are presented as "not being settled," or that there is considerable debate among scientists over the validity of claims. Both camps also practice "anomaly mongering," in which a small detail seemingly incompatible with either evolution or global warming is held up as dispositive of either either evolution or of climate science. Although in both cases, reputable, established science is under attack for ideological reasons, the underlying ideology differs: for denying evolution, the ideology of course is religious; for denying global warming, the ideology is political and/or economic.
California State University
A sustainable human population, based on the annual energy input of the sun, is in the range of two-to-five billion people. By this measure, Earth will be catastrophically overpopulated with a projected nine billion humans in 2050. Human demands for energy, water, and food are at the root of habitat loss, species extinction, farmland erosion, depletion of aquifers, ocean acidification, climate change, and the worldwide death of coral reefs. Temporarily maintained by plentiful cheap oil, the human population overshoot will be a significant stumbling block to long-term sustainability. The keys to reaching demographic stability are (1) developing comprehensive education on carrying capacity, (2) fostering cultural and religious leadership on population sustainability, and (3) encouraging replacement-sized families. Nature's minions are famine, resource wars and epidemic disease, and nature always bats last. To preempt these forces, the human community must tackle population issues proactively, employing religious and cultural sensitivity to seek honest and workable solutions.
This Way to Sustainability Conference VIII
Celebrate Darwin Day with a pot luck dinner commerating the birth of Charles Darwin. Speakers will include a Physicist who won the Nobel Prize, a Darwin expert, and a famous biologist.
Speaking will be Dr. George Smoot, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics for finding the non-uniformity in the cosmic microwave background radiation from the Big Bang.
Peter Hess, a leading expert on Darwin and the evolution-creation controversy with the National Center for Science Education, will speak on Darwin's vital contribution to religion.
The third speaker will be David Seaborg, cutting-edge evolutionary biologist and Darwin expert, who will discuss current evolutionary theory—what is known today, and the unsolved problems and controversies—dressed as Charles Darwin, and impersonating him.
After his lecture, David Seaborg will show fossils and live animals that illustrate evolutionary principles, and he will allow you to hold them—only if you want to.
This will be followed by a group discussion.
Finally, enjoy a pot luck dinner party with the speakers and many other interesting, stimulating, knowledgeable, and friendly people. Bring any dish to share.
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Many topics in the curriculum of American schools are controversial, but perhaps the one with the longest tenure is evolution. Politics plays a role in this controversy in a number of ways. Politicians have keen antennae for cultural values, and the "fairness" argument (i.e., it is only"fair" to "balance" evolution with creationism) regularly is exploited, regardless of the appropriateness of its application to science education. Variants of the fairness argument such as balancing evolution with "scientific alternatives to evolution" or balancing evolution with "strengths and weaknesses of evolution" have in fact become the current predominant antievolutionist strategy, partly in response to a series of legal decisions that have excluded the overt advocacy of creationism in public schools.
sponsored by the
U.N.I. Freethinkers and Inquirers
Southern Illinois University
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 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.
Southern Illinois University
Darwin Day Commemoration
Southern Illinois University
1249 Marin Avenue
"Academic Freedom" Bills are being introduced at the state level across the country to undermine quality science education. Originally devised to weaken evolution education in public schools, these bills have been expanded in recent years to include climate change science as well. Under the guise of teaching students critical thinking skills and protecting educators, this legislation insidiously erodes science education by promoting misinformation as scientific controversy. Dr. Berbeco will talk about the history of these bills, status of current legislation, and the future of science education in America.
Kol Hadash's Darwin Day Program
Over the past 10 years or so about 40 anti-science laws have cropped up around the country that teachers and scientists have strongly opposed. Where do these bills come from, and how do they relate to Indiana's recent legislative history and the teaching of allegedly “controversial” topics in science?
Hoosiers Association for Science Teachers