On the Front Lines


In "On the Front Lines in the War Over Evolution," in the March 10, 2006, issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education, Richard Monastersky reports on recent efforts to rally the scientific community to support evolution education -- "to recruit new troops," as he puts it, "for the escalating war against creationism and its spinoff doctrine, intelligent design."

The article begins with a description of a speech given by the president-elect of the National Science Teachers Association, Linda K. Froschauer, at the AAAS's annual meeting in St. Louis in February 2006. "Go home," Froschauer, a middle school science teacher, told the scientists assembled in the audience. "Identify science teachers in your own neighborhood. Offer to help them ... Go to the board of education and speak up."

The speakers at the AAAS's "Evolution on the Front Lines" event -- most of which is available in RealPlayer video form on-line at the AAAS's website -- also included Alan I. Leshner, Gilbert S. Omenn, Russ Carnahan, Peter Raven, the Reverend George V. Coyne, Jeff Corwin and, in a panel discussion, Robert M. Hazen, Kenneth R. Miller, Scott Sampson, and NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott.

Monastersky noted that NCSE's Scott was in increased demand: "She has spoken at the AAAS meeting several times and is a regular at gatherings of evolutionary scientists. But for the first time, she has been invited in the past year to speak at meetings on astronomy, biochemistry, human genetics, and microbiology. She has also started receiving requests from medical schools." Scott was quoted as saying, "it's finally trickling down ... These scientists are saying, I've got to do something."

Also featured in the article were two praiseworthy initiatives to defend the teaching of evolution: the Alliance for Science, which seeks to "heighten public understanding and support for science and to preserve the distinctions between science and religion in the public sphere," and the Clergy Letter Project (and its spin-off, Evolution Sunday), which lists more than 10,000 clergy who attest to the compatibility of faith with science.