New Journal - Evolution: Education and Outreach

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Hat tip Sparc

Editors in chief Dr. Niles Eldredge, Ph.D., Curator of the Division of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, New York and Gregory Eldredge, M.A. at the John F. Kennedy High School in the Bronx, New York have announced a new journal titled Evolution: Education and Outreach Launching at the conference of the National Association of Biology Teachers, November 28-December 2, Atlanta.

*** Evolution: Education and Outreach will be free online during 2008! ***

Hat tip Sparc

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution revolutionized scientific thinking. Since the publication of The Origin of Species 147 years ago, this theory has been extensively and rigorously tested. Overwhelming scientific evidence from many disciplines exists to support this theory. From the vast body of scientific evidence that has accumulated, we have come to an understanding of all areas of the biological world - from our cells and DNA to our lakes and forests. Evolutionary principles are the foundation of all modern biology and have led to major advances in fields as diverse as molecular biology, developmental biology, genetics, behavior, and paleontology. As such, evolutionary theory is a fundamental and necessary component of modern science education.

Evolution: Education and Outreach will promote accurate understanding and comprehensive teaching of evolutionary theory for a wide audience. Targeting K-16 students, teachers and scientists alike, the journal will publish articles to aid members of these communities in the teaching of evolutionary theory.

Fighting to keep Darwin in the classroom

New journal Evolution: Education and Outreach will arm educators for battle with creationists

Nearly a century ago, John Scopes was found guilty of violating a Tennessee statute when he taught evolution in his classroom. Though an appeals court later reversed his conviction on a technicality, the law lingered on the books, joined by later laws promoting “scientific creationism,” and, most recently, “intelligent design.” The battle to keep religiously based explanations of the history of life—especially human life—out of the science curriculum continues unabated. And though a number of educational institutions and organizations have had notable success in combating intelligent design in the classroom, what is needed now is a fresh source of evolution materials and anti-creationism ammunition for our school teachers on the front lines of this ongoing battle. Today, on Darwin’s 198th birthday, Springer announces plans for a new journal which will do just that.

A father-and-son team—a world-renowned evolutionary biologist and a highly skilled and sophisticated science high school teacher—have decided it’s time to help science educators fight back against the strong pressure creationists are exerting on public education. In the new journal Evolution: Education and Outreach, to be published by Springer starting in March 2008, editors-in-chief Niles and Greg Eldredge intend to fill the gap between scientific literature and curriculum materials normally available to educators and students.

Niles Eldredge has been a paleontologist on the curatorial staff of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) since 1969. His theory of “punctuated equilibria” (co-authored with Stephen Jay Gould) is a milestone in contemporary evolutionary biology. He has combated the creationist movement through lectures, articles and books and is the curator responsible for the content of the major exhibition Darwin which opened at the AMNH in New York in November 2005, drawing in over 500,000 visitors. Greg Eldredge has a Masters Degree in Education and has been a New York City school teacher for the past three years. He is a co-author of the children’s book The Fossil Factory. The two are supported by an international editorial board, made up of some of the most renowned scientists in the field.

Niles and Greg Eldredge are in agreement: “Evolution remains the central unifying idea in biology and yet is still a source of contention and confusion in the classroom. In Evolution: Education and Outreach, we’ll cover the gamut, from molecules to ecosystems and from ‘intelligent design’ to natural selection. We aim to make a big difference in evolutionary education.”

Amelia McNamara, Vice President, Publishing, Life Sciences and Biomedicine at Springer, said, “Springer stands behind evolutionary theory as a fundamental component of modern science education, especially now since the ‘intelligent design’ advocates have made worrying attempts to promote their views in public schools. We are committed to helping educators teach Darwin’s theory to students at all levels. Evolution: Education and Outreach will provide them with the tools they need.”

Evolution: Education and Outreach, a traditional peer-reviewed journal with non-traditional features, will address these concerns. Each quarterly issue will feature peer-reviewed articles on evolution, “letters from the trenches,” interviews with prominent scientists and educators, lesson plans, critical essays, cartoons, puzzles, reviews on evolution in the media (books, movies, museum openings and exhibitions) and more. The full-color online edition will offer added value, for example chat rooms, teaching resources and blogging opportunities. In addition, Springer has committed up to $10,000 annually in grants and prizes for the best paper, the best lesson plan, etc. The journal, aimed at members of the educational, museum, and scientific community involved in the teaching of evolutionary theory, will be available at a very affordable price.

Kathleen K. Smith, Director, National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, said, “As an official partner of Evolution: Education and Outreach, NESCENT is pleased to support this important endeavor. Focusing on the issues and challenges surrounding evolution education, it will provide a much needed resource for teachers presenting this important but often poorly understood subject. I believe that it will fill a valuable niche.”

Douglas J. Futuyma, Distinguished Professor at Stony Brook University, added, “Increasing public understanding of science is of utmost importance. This is most urgently required with respect to evolution, which commands acceptance by less than half the American public. Springer’s new journal is very timely and indeed well overdue. It is sure to play a major role in science education in the United States and beyond.”

Telmo Pievani, Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Milan, Italy, said, “Evolution: Education and Outreach is absolutely opportune in its mission. It is much needed today for European audiences as well, where some conservative and religious leaders have grasped the political power of the tricky ideas of ‘intelligent design.’ For such a project, education is the main pathway.”

Springer is the second-largest publisher worldwide in the science, technology, and medicine (STM) sector. Springer is part of Springer Science+Business Media, one of the world’s leading suppliers of scientific and specialist literature. The group publishes over 1,700 journals and more than 5,500 new books a year, as well as the largest STM eBook Collection worldwide. Springer has operations in over 20 countries in Europe, the USA, and Asia, and some 5,000 employees.

The editors-in-chief, Niles and Greg Eldredge, are available for interviews.

Contact: Joan Robinson, tel +49-6221-487-8130 Eric Merkel-Sobotta, tel +49-173-260-2377

6 Comments

There will be another new journal starting early next year - Evolutionary Applications. The focus will be on, you guessed it, applications of evolutionary biology.

Bob

Science education in general has to improve. You just have to point to the stupid polls where around 20% of the adults didn’t know that the earth orbited the sun and around 40% didn’t know that it took one year to do it. Compared to something as stupid as that, claiming that 50% don’t believe that biological evolution happened is not really a sign of anything but ignorance. Geeze, just imagine how many people deal with a calendar every year for their entire lives and don’t know what a year is. How can a 50% rate of ignorance about the theory of biological evolution compare to that?

If you folks have an open mind please read “By chance or by design” by Denyse O’Leary Both evolution and Darwin comes in many flavors. Are you on the narrow ““Time & Chance” Darwin total materialist level?. It’s OK for a scientist in his field of study to espouse atheism; but the universe made only of atoms lead me ,in humility, to a creator of all nature If evolution meant– a universal commonality of all life through all ages with the ascent to more complex forms, I would find it scientific and acceptable. Unfortunately you will toss in speculation and dub it as fact. That too is OK in a science group; but it does not belong in educating children. Education should be a ,in part, a search for wisdom and all society need a reasonable God concept. Take atheism out of all science classes.

Some thoughts Your atomic age is ? Just before your ancestors became an amoeba. Why didn’t your mama beget a chimp? Where are the descending forms of life? While you are figuring out DNA, genes, chromosomes, remember you and the rest of the universe is quite porous with TV, cosmic, cell phone waves whisking through our body and brain while atoms guide every thought

This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! Keep up the excellent work.

charles fisenne said:

If you folks have an open mind please read “By chance or by design” by Denyse O’Leary Both evolution and Darwin comes in many flavors. Are you on the narrow ““Time & Chance” Darwin total materialist level?. It’s OK for a scientist in his field of study to espouse atheism; but the universe made only of atoms lead me ,in humility, to a creator of all nature If evolution meant– a universal commonality of all life through all ages with the ascent to more complex forms, I would find it scientific and acceptable. Unfortunately you will toss in speculation and dub it as fact. That too is OK in a science group; but it does not belong in educating children. Education should be a ,in part, a search for wisdom and all society need a reasonable God concept. Take atheism out of all science classes.

Some thoughts Your atomic age is ? Just before your ancestors became an amoeba. Why didn’t your mama beget a chimp? Where are the descending forms of life? While you are figuring out DNA, genes, chromosomes, remember you and the rest of the universe is quite porous with TV, cosmic, cell phone waves whisking through our body and brain while atoms guide every thought

Ok first atheism have nothing ot do with the theory of evolution and second There should not be religion in any kind of way in all the classroom around the world, children are stupid enought like that already so give them a chance to learn something that is actually fact not fiction for once!

And no one here is stupid enough to trust the word of a person as stupid as Denyse O’Leary, who thinks that evolution is somehow disproven because kittens grow up into cats, or that the fact that humans and chimpanzees are closely related is somehow disproven because no one has ever tried to mate with a chimpanzee.

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