UCMP takes a lead in supporting
the teaching of evolution

Building on the success of the National Conference on the Teaching of Evolution, which we hosted last October, UCMP has continued its efforts to support the teaching of evolution in our science classrooms, museums, and informal science centers. This has been facilitated by some key partnerships—in particular, our work with the California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) and the National Center for Science Education (NCSE).
It was clear from the NCTE that the scientific community needs to take a more active role to support the teaching of good science in our classrooms, and in particular the teaching of evolution. Evolution provides a coherent and powerful scientific explanation of the incredible history of life on Earth. At the same time it is essential to our understanding of issues of major importance to society including the health sciences, agriculture, and conservation. Not to teach evolution in our classrooms would be to deny our students a quality education and to deprive them of the understanding of science.
Unfortunately, evolution is also portrayed as controversial by some segments of society. It is labeled as “just a” theory, misrepresented as in conflict with religion, and even cast as the villain responsible for the moral decay in our country. Such misconceptions and resistance to evolution stem from a lack of understanding
  of the nature of science—what science is and what it is not—and in particular what evolution is. Misconceptions about evolution often lead to controversies over its teaching. Though it is not always easy or comfortable to contend with controversy, it is essential for teachers to be prepared to address these misconceptions.
Evolution is not a “theory in crisis,” as some would have us believe. No reputable scientific journal/publication/book denies that evolution has occurred and is still occurring. Lively discussions center on questions of how evolution proceeds—not whether it does! Evolution is a powerful and robust theory supported by multiple lines of evidence and as technology proceeds and new discoveries are made, we are able to fine-tune our understanding of the patterns and processes of evolution. The presence of these misconceptions leads to challenges to the teaching of evolution that we as teachers of good science need to defuse. This is not always easy, nor is it always comfortable, but it is essential.1
UCMP is grateful to all of its supporters and partners in this important effort and we are pleased to describe the following projects now underway:

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