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

Entries by Steven Newton

There and Back Again, Grand Canyon Edition

(0) Comments | Posted July 29, 2015 | 6:23 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 | 2:24 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 | 10:39 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

(25) Comments | Posted June 11, 2015 | 6:47 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 | 5:43 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 | 6:32 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 | 10:01 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 | 10:17 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 | 1:47 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 | 11:35 AM

"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

(13) 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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