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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

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

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2015 | 2:06 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 | 3:58 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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Florida Bans the Term 'Climate Change'

(18) Comments | Posted March 12, 2015 | 9:27 AM

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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Neil deGrasse Tyson as "Censor of the Year"?

(11) Comments | Posted March 9, 2015 | 4:48 PM

The Discovery Institute is usually a reliable source of humorous "breathtaking inanity," and this Darwin Day I wasn't disappointed by its seasonal contribution to the festivities.

Well, I was disappointed for my own sake, since yet again I did not win the Discovery Institute's "Censor of the Year"...

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Megalodon Bites Back -- How the Discovery Channel Sank Its Credibility

(92) Comments | Posted August 8, 2013 | 4:49 PM

This week the Discovery Channel chose to air a program that calls into question whether this channel can continue to claim a shred of credibility. The channel was founded with the worthy goal of airing educational, scientific, and historical programming, and it has indeed aired some shows -- Mythbusters and...

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Creationism, Mr. Nye, and Dr Pepper

(327) Comments | Posted October 5, 2012 | 3:52 PM

Recently, Dr Pepper posted a picture to its Facebook page showing a mock evolution graphic -- a "pre-Pepper" chimp morphing into an upright "post-Pepper" human. There are many such humorous adaptations of this classic monkey-to-man "march of progress" graphic, and the Mad Men working for Dr Pepper probably had no...

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Tennessee Volunteers for Creationism

(542) Comments | Posted April 11, 2012 | 10:53 AM

Earlier this week, the Volunteer State took a big step backward when Tennessee joined Louisiana to become the second state in America to enact an "academic freedom" bill. Tennessee's new law invites creationist teachers to interject religion into science classrooms -- and forbids administrators from stopping them.

These "academic...

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Unleash the Kraken! Creationism, Kookiness, and Alleged Censorship

(37) Comments | Posted October 26, 2011 | 11:12 AM

Here are some recent headlines:

"Darwin Challenged, Research Censored"
"Global Warming Study Censored by EPA"
"Darwin Censors Strike Again"

You might get the impression from such headlines that scientists are engaged in systematic suppression of dissent, ruthlessly silencing all those...

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Can Teachers Criticize Creationism in Class?

(605) Comments | Posted August 30, 2011 | 8:37 PM

Should a teacher be sued for describing creationism as "superstitious nonsense"?

This question involves a lawsuit against California history teacher James Corbett. In 2007, a former student sued Corbett for a pattern of hostility "toward religion and favoring irreligion over religion." The student produced secret recordings of Corbett...

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Evolution, Creationism, and the 'Cautious 60 Percent'

(47) Comments | Posted February 21, 2011 | 11:41 AM

The recent headlines were disturbing:

13% of H.S. Biology Teachers Advocate Creationism in Class
Troubling: 13% of Biology Teachers Supporting Creationism
13% of US biology teachers advocate creationism: Welcome to 2011

These articles were responding to a commentary in Science by Penn State political scientists Michael B. Berkman and Eric...

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Darwin Was Not Wrong--New Study Being Distorted

(22) Comments | Posted August 26, 2010 | 4:37 PM

Science fares poorly in the media. Most news outlets devote little attention to scientific topics, and if they do have a website with a science section, it is likely to be filled with technology and medical reporting, rather than scientific discoveries. When scientific topics are reported, they are consistently misunderstood...

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Darwin, Creationism, and Creation

(19) Comments | Posted June 27, 2010 | 8:04 PM

No other scientific idea has endured as much unfounded hostility as evolution, and no scientist as much undeserved scorn as Charles Darwin. One hundred and twenty-eight years after his death, Darwin's good name is assaulted daily by all manner of creationists, who hold Darwin responsible for everything from the Columbine...

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Evolution, Creationism, and the Workplace

(39) Comments | Posted April 30, 2010 | 6:44 PM

In America, a state science director can be forced out of her job for forwarding an e-mail about an upcoming lecture about the creationism/evolution controversy. A veteran public school teacher can be ordered by his principal not to teach evolution, even though it is mandated by state standards. And a...

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In Defense of Scientific Methodology

(45) Comments | Posted April 26, 2010 | 5:39 PM

In a recent piece titled "The Scientific Method: An Educational Train Wreck?" Dr. Larry Dossey made a number of statements so factually inaccurate, so misrepresentative of the nature of science, that it reads like some ill-conceived parody gone awry, something meant for The Onion rather than The...

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Denying Science, Legislating Reality

(85) Comments | Posted February 25, 2010 | 1:37 PM

Last week, the South Dakota House of Representatives passed HCR 1009, a resolution calling for the "balanced teaching of global warming in the public schools of South Dakota."

HCR 1009 is so egregiously inaccurate, so appalling wrong in its contemptuous dismissal of established science, so mind-numbing in...

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Five Reasons Why Evolution Is Important

(9) Comments | Posted February 12, 2010 | 2:26 AM

Today is the 201st birthday of Charles Darwin. It is worth celebrating this anniversary not only because of Darwin's great contributions to science, but also because of the practical ways his theory of evolution improves our lives today.

Here are five reasons--drawn from medicine--why evolution is important:

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The Deep Impacts of Unfunded Science

(9) Comments | Posted January 27, 2010 | 2:27 AM

In the movie Deep Impact, scientists learn that a distant comet is on a collision course with Earth. Political leaders launch a secret program to intercept the comet, even as they construct underground bunkers to ensure at least some humans will survive. People may think such a scenario is how...

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Will Berkeley Be the Next Haiti?

(14) Comments | Posted January 22, 2010 | 12:09 AM

Americans who have been shocked by the devastation in Haiti may be surprised to know that a similar catastrophe is coming soon to America--and virtually nothing is being done about it.

Nearly two million people lived near Port-au-Prince. Nearly seven and a half million people live within a few miles...

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Science Denial on the Rise

(75) Comments | Posted January 6, 2010 | 4:27 PM

From evolution to global warming to vaccines, science is under assault from denialists--those who dismiss well-tested scientific knowledge as merely one of many competing ideologies. Science denial goes beyond skeptical questioning to attack the legitimacy of science itself.

Recent foment over stolen e-mails from a British research group inspired an...

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