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Science Education, Communication on Display at CSICon

Stuart Vyse

One of my favorite moments of CSICon came during Richard Dawkins’s onstage conversation with Jamy Ian Swiss. An audience member asked Dawkins to consider the three most important aspects of his career—evolutionary biologist, defender of atheism, and science educator—and identify which one made him most proud. Dawkins said science educator. A man whose book The Selfish Gene has just come out in a fortieth anniversary edition (see book excerpt in this issue) and whose The God Delusion was a huge bestseller considered science education his most important activity.

Science education is a central concern of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and science educators and communicators were prominently featured in the CSICon schedule. Eugenie Scott, former executive director of the National Center for Science Education and a CSI fellow, spoke about the current state of evolutionary science in schools in the United States. Although she pointed to some positive trends, the overall picture is one of poor quality teaching of evolution and large pockets of resistance. Many teachers take what Scott called the cautious approach to evolution by “teaching the controversy”—as if there were a controversy. She reported that science teachers face numerous obstacles as they approach this topic, including lack of knowledge of the subject, lack of time in the curriculum, and negative pressure from students and parents.

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About Skeptical Inquirer

The Selfish Gene revisited RICHARD DAWKINS JAMES RANDI Interview CSICon Las Vegas 2016 A Special Section God's Own Medicine PAUL A. OFFIT and more...

Other Articles in this Issue


FROM THE EDITOR
“... promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation, and the use of
NEWS AND COMMENT
Center for Inquiry and Richard Dawkins Foundation Now Formally Merged
An agency of the federal government is finally taking systematic
CONFERENCE REPORT
CSICOP invented the skeptics’ conference. Over the past four decades,
Can one be simultaneously dazzled and disabused? Indulging in flights
Excerpts from Center for Inquiry CEO Robyn Blumner's welcoming remarks at CSICon 2016 Las Vegas
I used to make my living as a stage actor,
On the plane ride to Las Vegas, I took the
It used to be that we meager humans had no
We human beings, thanks to the Internet, are producing 2.5
Physicist, cosmologist, and CSI Fellow Lawrence Krauss of Ari zona
One of my favorite moments of CSICon came during Richard
INTERVIEW
The famous conjuror, investigator, and author—and founding fellow of CSICOP—sat
SPECIAL REPORT
Here are extended excerpts from Goldsmiths College (University of London) psychology professor Chris French’s letter nominating Elizabeth Loftus for the 2016 John Maddox Prize (see News and Comment, p. 7)
FORUM
Do you remember January 18, 2012? That was the day
INVESTIGATIVE FILES
Joe Nickell, PhD, is CSI’s senior research fellow. He is
A MAGICIAN IN THE LAB
James Randi began his career as a stage magician and
PSYCHIC VIBRATIONS
Robert Sheaffer has been writing the “Psychic Vibrations” column in
SCIENCE WATCH
Kenneth W. Krause is a contributing editor and “Science Watch”
SKEPTICAL INQUIREE
Benjamin Radford is a research fellow at the Committee for
FEATURES
On the fortieth anniversary of the book that made him
History’s unlearned lesson about opium-based pain relievers and addiction
Sasquatch, Broken Windows, and Public Policy
Our brains are wired for self-justification and dissonance-reduction. We can override that impulse by learning how to admit our mistakes and separate them from our self-esteem
Shouldn’t Skeptics Know What They Are Talking about When They Are Talking about It?
REVIEWS
Between Two Worlds: Memoirs of a Philosopher-Scientist. By Mario Bunge
Ghostly Encounters: The Hauntings of Everyday Life. By Dennis and
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
In his excellent article on nuclear power (“Nuclear Power and
THE LAST LAUGH