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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

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...

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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...

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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...

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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...
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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...

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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...

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(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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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 

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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...

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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...

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End Times: Oreskes and Conway's Collapse of Western Civilization

(0) Comments | Posted April 17, 2015 | 11:01 AM

Historians of science Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, authors of Merchants of Doubt, have written a new book as ambitious as it is concise. The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future is told from the perspective of a Chinese historian several centuries in the future, looking...

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Top 5 Creationist Claims About Grand Canyon: The Great Unconformity Was Caused By Noah's Flood, Part 1

(1) Comments | Posted April 14, 2015 | 11:17 AM

Visitors to Grand Canyon gaze awestruck at vermillion rock layers stacked like plates, one after another from rim to gorge, an endless parade of Earth's history basking in the fierce Arizona sun. Beholding Grand Canyon can really make you stop and think. You think of how the expanse of time...

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Why Does Deepak Chopra Hate Me?

(226) Comments | Posted April 9, 2015 | 2:47 PM

I've never done anything to Deepak Chopra. At least, not in this lifetime. Perhaps I've mocked his surrealistically bizarre anti-science pronouncements among my friends a few times, or a few thousand times. How could I not when he tweeted that his personal meditation caused an earthquake or claimed that

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Adventures of a Creationist at the Field Museum

(37) Comments | Posted April 2, 2015 | 12:35 PM

"I don't know how to say this word, so I'm just going to pretend that I know how to say it."

That's how creationist Megan Fox opens her self-styled "audit" of the exhibits of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. This homeschooling mom's video...

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If You Can't Stand the Heat, Get Out of the Universe

(12) Comments | Posted April 1, 2015 | 3:06 PM

The New York Times ran an interesting article back in January by Adam Frank titled "Is Climate Disaster Inevitable?" This piece posed an intriguing answer to this puzzling question: Where are all the extraterrestrials?

(If you think the answer is "Roswell, New Mexico," go sit with Bigfoot and be...

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Florida Bans the Term "Climate Change"; or, Orwell Visits Miami

(3) Comments | Posted March 17, 2015 | 4:58 PM

Florida has banned the phrase "climate change," at least as far as the staff of the state's environmental agency are concerned. Also "global warming." And "sustainability" is verboten, too, according to an investigative report in the Miami Herald.

This policy seems to have started in 2011, when...

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