National Center for Science Education | Wikipedia audio article


The National Center for Science Education
(NCSE) is a not-for-profit membership organization in the United States whose stated mission
is to educate the press and the public on the scientific and educational aspects of
controversies surrounding the teaching of evolution and climate change, and to provide
information and resources to schools, parents, and other citizens working to keep those topics
in public school science education. Based in Oakland, California, it claims 4,500
members that include scientists, teachers, clergy, and citizens of varied religious and
political affiliations. The Center opposes the teaching of religious
views in science classes in America’s public schools; it does this through initiatives
such as Project Steve. The Center has been called the United States’
“leading anti-creationist organization”. The Center is affiliated with the American
Association for the Advancement of Science.==History==
In 1980 Stanley L. Weinberg, a veteran high-school teacher in Iowa, began to organize statewide
Committees of Correspondence “committed to the defense of education in evolutionary theory,”
modelled upon the committees of correspondence in pre-Revolutionary America. Their purpose was to keep interested parties
informed about creationist endeavours and to share ideas for responses, allowing a political
response at a local level. This grew into volunteer networks in most
states, with the Creation/Evolution Newsletter interconnecting them, which was incorporated
as the NCSE in 1983. In 1987, author and lecturer Eugenie Scott,
who holds a PhD in Physical Anthropology, became its executive director. The Board of Directors and official supporters,
as explained by NCSE, “reflects our scientific roots.”In the 1990s, based upon its monitoring
of creationist efforts, it issued warnings of high levels of official anti-evolutionism
and a “sharp surge upwards” in creationist attacks on evolution, including attempts to
downgrade evolution from “fact” to “theory” (see evolution as theory and fact) or present
the “evidence against evolution” (see objections to evolution).The organization’s supporters
include Bruce Alberts, former President of the National Academy of Sciences; Donald Johanson,
discoverer of the “Lucy” fossil; and evolutionary biologist Francisco J. Ayala. Also the late paleontologist and writer Stephen
Jay Gould was a long-time supporter. As of 2012, the group has 4500 members who
are “scientists, teachers, clergy, and citizens with diverse religious and political affiliations.”In
November 2013 Ann Reid succeeded Eugenie C. Scott as executive director. Eugenie C. Scott served as executive director
for 27 years, 1986 to 2013.==Activities and programs==
The NCSE acts as a central information and resource clearinghouse, and helps to coordinate
the activities of people fighting creationists. It maintains up-to-date listings of current
events and information regarding creationist endeavours and evolution education. Historian of science Michael Shermer describes
its website as being one of “the two best resources on the Internet on the evolution/creation
topic” (the other being TalkOrigins Archive). The NCSE also opposes intelligent design and
other “alternatives” to evolution because it says they are misleading euphemisms for
creationism.NCSE “is religiously neutral, though it cooperates nationally and locally
with religious organizations, as well as scientific and educational organizations like the National
Academy of Sciences, the National Association of Biology Teachers, and the National Science
Teachers Association.” Its willingness to engage positively with,
and avoid taking sides against, religiously minded supporters of evolution has been noted
by historian of creationism Ronald L. Numbers and atheist author Richard Dawkins.The NCSE
offers a variety of lecturers, including biologists, anthropologists, philosophers, and theologians,
for topics relating to evolution, science, and education. Also it hosts activities including trips and
conferences. It publishes Reports of the National Center
for Science Education bimonthly, containing peer-reviewed articles, book reviews, and
news. From 1980 to 1997, it published the Creation/Evolution
Journal, which has since been merged into Reports of the National Center for Science
Education. Additionally, it publishes books, such as
a compilation of scientific analyses of creationist books.In 2003, the NCSE gained international
attention with Project Steve.In 2005, the NCSE assisted the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller
v. Dover Area School District, the most prominent case testing the constitutionality of intelligent
design in public school science classes, and put their extensive library of creationist
materials at the plaintiffs’ disposal. Nick Matzke, the NCSE’s Public Information
Project Director at the time, served as liaison to the legal team, and was responsible for
uncovering the substitution of “intelligent design” for “creationism” within drafts of
Of Pandas and People, which became a devastating part of the testimony of Barbara Forrest (also
an NCSE Director), and was cited extensively in Judge John E. Jones III’s decision.In April
2008, the NCSE launched Expelled Exposed, a website critical of the alleged documentary
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed starring Ben Stein. The website received press attention and a
large amount of traffic.In 2012, the NCSE announced they would be engaged in efforts
to keep climate change education, and global warming issues, safe from threats from special
interests.==Media==
Eugene Scott appeared on Uncommon Knowledge, as NCSE spokesperson, twice in 2001 debating
intelligent design creationist William A. Dembski. Then in 2004, NCSE was represented by Scott
on Penn and Teller’s Showtime television show Bullshit! on the episode “Creationism”. Scott offered scientific views about the creationist
and intelligent design movements. She noted, “it would be unfair to tell students
that there is a serious dispute going on among scientists whether evolution took place. There’s not.” She further noted that “a lot of the time
the creationists … they’ll search through scientific journals and try to pull out something
they think demonstrates evolution doesn’t work and there is a kind of interesting rationale
behind it. Their theology is such that if one thing is
wrong with the Bible you have to throw it all out so that’s why Genesis has to be interpreted
literally. They look at science the same way. If one little piece of the evolutionary puzzle
doesn’t fit the whole thing has to go.” Scott then explained “that’s not the way science
is done.” In November 2007 Scott discussed the NCSE’s
exploration of intelligent design on the NOVA documentary Judgment Day: Intelligent Design
on Trial, which documented Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.==Staff and supporters====
See also==Anti-evolution
Climate change denial Creation and evolution in public education
in the United States Creationism
Education in the United States Environmental groups and resources serving
K–12 schools Evolution
Fundamentalist–Modernist controversy#Background: Darwinism and Christianity
Intelligent design Intelligent design movement
National Council for Science and the Environment, an unrelated non-profit business-research
alliance on environmental policy Teach the Controversy
Wedge strategy==Notes

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *