AFT ADDS ITS VOICE FOR EVOLUTION
The chorus of support for the teaching of evolution continues, with a statement from the American Federation of Teachers, adopted in 2014.
In its statement, the AFT observes that “biological evolution is a fundamental underpinning of modern biological thought and research and is not the subject of controversy among scientists … [but] the unfettered teaching of evolution in public schools has been under attack since the early part of the 20th century and before.” Now in the twenty-first century, “a strategy to teach creationism, intelligent design[,] or evolution denial into public science classrooms has emerged with the passage of laws intended to teach these theories as science under the guise of protecting academic freedom in the classroom”; Louisiana and Tennessee are cited as cases in point.
Invoking the expertise of the American Association of University Professors and NCSE, the statement concludes by affirming that “the American Federation of Teachers encourages and expects science teachers, in presenting evolution and other topics, to understand, respect[,] and communicate the consensus of the scientific community, in order to present the science curriculum effectively to their students” and that “the AFT will be on alert for, and opposed to, bills at the state or federal level that attempt to use the guise of academic freedom as a means of introducing creationism, intelligent design[,] or evolution denial into science classrooms.”
The AFT’s statement is now reproduced, by permission, on NCSE’s website, and will also be contained in the fourth edition of NCSE’s Voices for Evolution.
For AFT’s statement, visit:
And for Voices for Evolution, visit:
FRIEND OF DARWIN AND FRIEND OF THE PLANET AWARDS FOR 2015
NCSE is pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of Darwin award for 2015: Neil Shubin, the Robert R. Bensley Distinguished Service Professor of the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago, codiscoverer of Tiktaalik roseae and author of Your Inner Fish (2008), and Ronald L. Numbers, the Hilldale Professor of the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and author of The Creationists (1992, expanded edition 2006).
“It would be hard to think of anyone who has contributed as much as Ron Numbers has to the understanding of creationism as a historical and social phenomenon, through his own work and the work that it has inspired,” commented NCSE’s executive director Ann Reid, “while it is hard to know whether to praise Neil Shubin more for his outstanding research in vertebrate paleontology or for his equally outstanding efforts to explain the power—and wonder—of evolutionary biology in language that everyone can understand.”
NCSE is also pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of the Planet award for 2015: Naomi Oreskes, Professor of History of Science at Harvard University and coauthor of Merchants of Doubt (2010); Greg Craven, creator of “The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See” and its sequels and author of What’s the Worst That Could Happen? (2009); and the Alliance for Climate Education, a non-profit organization that has delivered informative and compelling presentations on climate change to almost two million high school students.
Ann Reid praised Oreskes’s work on the history of climate change denial as “ten years of unflinching, erudite, and accessible reporting on where science denial comes from and how it works” and Craven’s outreach efforts as “a touchstone for the climate education movement.” Through its series of in-school assemblies, the Alliance for Climate Education “has made truly impressive contributions to informing and inspiring youth, helping them to appreciate the essential science of climate change and what can be done to address it,” she added.
The Friend of Darwin and Friend of the Planet awards are presented annually to a select few whose efforts to support NCSE and advance its goal of defending the teaching of evolution and climate science have been truly outstanding. Previous recipients of the Friend of Darwin award include Sean Carroll, Marjorie Esman, Brandon Haught, David Hillis, Lawrence Lerner, Patricia Princehouse, and Howard Van Till, to name only a few. The first recipients of the Friend of the Planet Award, inaugurated in 2014, were Michael E. Mann and Richard Alley.
For information about the two awards, visit:
National Center for Science Education, Inc.