iOS app Android app

Steven Newton
Steven Newton is a project director for the National Center for Science Education. He can be reached at newton (at)

Entries by Steven Newton

Florida Drowning

(1) Comments | Posted January 25, 2016 | 12:51 PM

florida under waterA recent article in The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert's "The Siege of Miami," details disturbing consequences of sea level rise in Florida. The future will bring higher seas, but we normally think of climate change consequences happening nearer...

Read Post

Just What America Needs: Another Creationist 'Museum'

(0) Comments | Posted January 4, 2016 | 12:07 PM

Stunning! Interactive! Engaging! Creationist!

That's how the Institute for Creation Research might describe a new facility it proposes to build near its headquarters in Dallas. The prospective Dallas Museum of Science and Earth History" would be the "culmination of decades of study and research" by the Institute for Creation Research...

Read Post

And, But, Therefore: Randy Olson and the Art of Science Storytelling, Part 3

(0) Comments | Posted December 17, 2015 | 1:59 PM

In parts 1 and 2, we looked at Randy Olson's new book, Houston, We Have a Narrative: Why Science Needs Story, and saw a number of positive examples of how science storytelling can be done well to communicate science. But the techniques of dramatic storytelling are also available...

Read Post

And, But, Therefore: Randy Olson and the Art of Science Storytelling, Part 2

(1) Comments | Posted December 16, 2015 | 1:53 PM

Randy Olson, as you may know, is the scientist-turned-filmmaker whose movies include Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus and Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy. Olson also wrote Don't Be Such A Scientist, and now has a new book, Houston, We Have a Narrative: Why Science...

Read Post

And, But, Therefore: Randy Olson and the Art of Science Storytelling, Part 1

(1) Comments | Posted December 15, 2015 | 3:50 PM

Opening a book about science communication by talking about Comedy Central's hyper-vulgar South Park is likely to lose many readers. And among these readers may be the mature scientists who most need to rethink how they communicate. But Randy Olson's new book, Houston, We Have a Narrative: Why Science Needs...

Read Post

Heartland Institute Event Convinces Scientists--No, Wait, I Mistyped That

(2) Comments | Posted December 9, 2015 | 3:06 PM

With so many of the world's major players in climate change gathered in the City of Light for the COP21 climate talks, it is not surprising that climate denialist groups are riding the coattails of this event to promote their anti-science agenda.

The Heartland Institute is one such group. As...

Read Post

Top 3 Reasons Why 400 ppm CO2 Is/Is Not the End of the World

(9) Comments | Posted November 20, 2015 | 3:32 PM

We will soon live in a world with an atmosphere permanently above 400 parts per million (ppm) CO2.

10 nov 2015 co2

As I discussed in part 1, sometime in the next year the last sub-400 measurement will occur. In fact, measurements...

Read Post

Who Counts as a Climate Scientist?

(8) Comments | Posted October 20, 2015 | 4:52 PM

A recent study published in Environmental Research Letters, "The climate change consensus extends beyond climate scientists," offers encouraging data, while at the same time perpetuating many of the errors that plague the public understanding of climate science.

First, the good news. The paper reports the results of university science...

Read Post

The Cave of Homo Naledi: A Textbook Example of How to Do Science

(3) Comments | Posted October 20, 2015 | 4:01 PM

"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"  --Sherlock Holmes

homo naledi



Recently, a magnificent new hominin fossil was announced: Homo naledi, known...

Read Post

Where Have All the Teachers Gone?

(36) Comments | Posted September 29, 2015 | 4:51 PM

Every year, as August slouches toward September, public schools around the country resume classes--and bemoan the difficulty of finding enough teachers:

  • The New York Times proclaimed "Teacher Shortages Spur a Nationwide Hiring Scramble," reporting that one North Carolina district was unable to fill 200 open teaching jobs
  • The...
Read Post

Epic Climate Change Textbook Fail

(21) Comments | Posted September 16, 2015 | 3:13 PM

Are our children learning science?pearson science

If those children are being taught about climate from Florida's fifth grade science textbook from publisher Scott Foresman (Pearson), then those children are learning from a text so riddled with glaring and obvious errors that...

Read Post

Where Does Climate Change Education Fit?

(3) Comments | Posted September 1, 2015 | 7:12 PM

AP GeologyClimate change is the most urgent existential issue we face, yet education about climate change is often missing in action from K-12 schools. Every high school offers biology courses, but few offer earth science courses in which climate change would...

Read Post


(0) Comments | Posted August 27, 2015 | 2:37 PM

July was hot. It was the hottest July on record, but more than this: it was the warmest month ever recorded on Earth. Let that sink in a moment. The first seven months of 2015 were all record breakers, and 2015 is on track to take the record for warmest...

Read Post

Creationism in the Grand Canyon, Part 1

(12) Comments | Posted July 30, 2015 | 3:02 PM

The recent federal government shutdown involved not only furloughing federal employees but also restricting access to our national parks. From Yosemite to Yellowstone, from Bryce Canyon to the Bright Angel Trail, countless people were turned away from what, for some, could have been a once in a lifetime experience. At...

Read Post

There and Back Again, Grand Canyon Edition

(1) Comments | Posted July 29, 2015 | 7:23 PM

Deer Creek Falls

Josh Rosenau and I have just returned from NCSE's annual rafting trip down the Colorado River and through the spectacular geology and biology of Grand Canyon. Our two motorized boats were packed with an eclectic mix of scientists, teachers, NCSE...

Read Post

John Stossel's Science Wars Are a Phantom Menace

(1) Comments | Posted July 2, 2015 | 3:24 PM

john stossel

Recently, libertarian television journalist John Stossel vented about the phrase "war on science,"  declaring:

"This year is the 10th anniversary of a book called "The Republican War on Science." I could just as easily write a...

Read Post

Ken Ham Hits Miley Cyrus Like a Wrecking Ball

(2) Comments | Posted June 24, 2015 | 11:39 PM

Almost every day, I take time out to think about both Miley Cyrus and Ken Ham, usually in the same context. So imagine the joy that swelled in my heart upon seeing that Ham, who runs the Creation "Museum" in Kentucky and is trying to build a Noah's Ark theme...

Read Post

Top 3 Reasons Why 400 ppm CO2 Is/Is Not the End of the World, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Air Conditioning. Part 1: The Numbers

(26) Comments | Posted June 11, 2015 | 7:47 PM

We recently reached an interesting milestone: for the first time in human history, the global monthly average carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere exceeded 400 parts per million (ppm). This wasn't the first time that the 400 ppm barrier had been broken; that occurred at Mauna Loa back in 

Read Post

Climate Conference Cacophony, or How Good Intentions Go Bad When the Process Is Rigged to Fail

(14) Comments | Posted June 10, 2015 | 6:43 PM

Recently delegates from around the world gathered in Bonn, Germany, for a UN conference to discuss how the nations of the world can reach a "new, universal agreement on climate change." This agreement is meant to outline how nations will work together to reduce greenhouse gases and limit, to the...

Read Post

Misconception Monday: Oregon Petition Edition

(1) Comments | Posted May 18, 2015 | 7:32 PM

A pair of fierce, angry eyes followed me as I moved toward the exit of the conference room.

I had just delivered a talk about climate change standards in education at a meeting of the Geological Society of America. The presentation was received well enough, though I'm not sure everyone...

Read Post