NCSE is pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of Darwin award for 2017: Edward J. Larson, the Pepperdine University historian and legal scholar who won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 book about the Scopes trial, Summer for the Gods; Richard E. Lenski, the Michigan State University evolutionary biologist famed for his E. coli Long-Term Experimental Evolution Project; and Daniel J. Phelps, a geologist and unrelenting critic of a young-earth creationist ministry headquartered in his native Kentucky.
"The legal history of the creationism/evolution controversy is important to NCSE, and nobody has studied it more thoroughly and insightfully than Ed Larson," commented NCSE's executive director Ann Reid, "while it would be hard to think of anybody who has done as much to show that evolution is among the experimental sciences than Rich Lenski." She added, "As for Dan Phelps, he's the sort of activist who is a walking argument for human cloning: we could use a dozen of him!"
NCSE is also pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of the Planet award for 2017: CLEAN, the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network, which provides a curated collection of resources on climate and energy science and coordinates a professionally diverse network of climate change education stakeholders; Peter Sinclair, the founder of the ClimateCrocks.com website and producer of the Climate Denial Crock of the Week video series; and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, which researches and develops strategies for effective climate change communication.
"All of the Friends of the Planet for 2017 shine as climate communicators, in different but complementary ways," Reid explained. "CLEAN is the single best resource for teachers out there, while Peter Sinclair's sharply satirical and scientifically rigorous videos are a constant delight. And the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication provides a steady stream of important research and thoughtful analysis that nobody interested in engaging the public about climate change can afford to ignore."
The Friend of Darwin and Friend of the Planet awards are presented annually to a select few whose efforts to support NCSE and advance its goal of defending the teaching of evolution and climate science have been truly outstanding. Previous recipients of the Friend of Darwin award include Barbara Forrest, Philip Kitcher, Zack Kopplin, and Patricia Princehouse. Previous recipients of the Friend of the Planet Award include Richard Alley, Greg Craven, and Katharine Hayhoe.