As reported last week by Glenn Branch, NCSE board member Ben Santer was on Late Night with Seth Meyers this past Wednesday. If you haven’t watched it yet, please do so now—you won’t regret it.

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Each year, in May, I have the distinct pleasure of serving as a volunteer judge for the Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair (MSSEF). The event, which takes place at MIT, is one of my favorite days of the year. I spend most of my days alone in my home office immersed in some of the less appealing aspects of science education—the politics, the standards, and of course, the denialism that worms its way into far too many classrooms. MSSEF is like a booster shot of morale—an inoculation against despair and frustration.

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You know how they used to peddle orange juice by saying, “It isn’t just for breakfast any more?” That’s how I feel about informal science education. No, silly: not that it isn’t just for breakfast any more. That it isn’t just for kids any more. (Unlike Trix, silly rabbit, which are just for kids.)

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The mission of NCSE has never been to teach everyone science. So how do we help improve understanding of evolution, climate science, and science as a way of knowing while simultaneously steering clear of the broader business of teaching science? Ann Reid and I had a breakthrough that has clarified the balance we need to strike.

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Last week I made a case that origins-of-life research doesn’t usually fall under the evolution umbrella. I offered my analogy that the first spark of life was a bit like a baton hand-off from chemical evolution to biological evolution. Today, I’ll get into some aspects of the topic that tend to evoke the most, well, heated and let’s say spirited discussion.

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