Kitzmiller v. Dover team, climate science leaders honored by NCSE

The Friend of Darwin Award recognizes the Kitzmiller v. Dover legal team and a stalwart evolution writer. The new Friend of the Planet award recognizes an outspoken climate scientist and a revered writer

It was the final legal nail in the coffin of creationism. In 2005, lawyers at Pepper Hamilton, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, working hand in glove with NCSE, convinced U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III that "intelligent design" had no place in the public classroom. It was a stunning victory, blocking ID in public school science classrooms across America.

"The Kitzmiller legal team performed a huge service for this country" said Ann Reid, NCSE's executive director. "They effectively stopped intelligent design in its tracks, preventing copy cat school districts from adopting Dover's ID policies. They have indeed earned their Friend of Darwin award."

©Tom Cogill

Climate change deniers have faced a similarly impressive foe: Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State. More than almost anyone else, Mann has been the public face of climate science. The author of more than 160 peer-reviewed papers, Mann has appeared before countless Congressional committees, battled climate change deniers in court, and written breakthrough books (such as The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars). Along the way, Mann co-authored the report that won the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. NCSE's Friend of the Planet award will join a crowded trophy case.


Says environmental writer Bill McKibben: "Very few people have sounded more important alarms about our climate future and...have paid a higher price for doing so. Michael Mann is a hero."

Finally, the Friend of Darwin and Friend of the Planet awards were also bestowed on two writers who have fought the good fight respectively for evolution and the environment: Faye Flam and Richard Alley. Flam wrote "Planet of the Apes"—the only newspaper column dedicated to evolution—for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2010 to 2012. Said Ann Reid: "Faye's scientifically informed (and witty) explanations of evolution and her responses to creationism have been a major contribution towards our mutual goals."

Richard Alley, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Penn State, is also a noted climate communicator. His breakthrough book/PBS series Earth: The Operators' Manual reached millions of people. Dr. Ben Santer, noted climate researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and NCSE board member, notes: "Richard’s research has been directed toward answering the key questions about climate change—how fast and how high will sea levels rise, and what can past climates tell us about the sea level changes we might see in the 21st century? His research—and his engaging, crystal-clear writing about climate change—have definitely earned him this award."

NCSE presented the FOD awards to Eric Rothchild (Pepper Hamilton), Stephen G. Harvey (formerly Pepper Hamilton, now at Steve Harvey Law LLC), Witold Walczak (ACLU of Pennsylvania), Richard Katskee (formerly Americans United, now with Mayer Brown LLP and now a member of NCSE's board of directors), and Faye Flam, at a special ceremony held at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia. At the same ceremony, Michael Mann and Richard Alley received NCSE's first Friend of the Planet awards.

MEDIA NOTE: For images of the Friend of Darwin award, the Friend of the Planet Award, and the winners, go to our press image page.

Videos: Faye Flam
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Videos: Richard Alley
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Videos: Michael Mann
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CONTACT: Robert Luhn, Director of Communications, NCSE, 510-601-7203,

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The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is a not-for-profit membership organization that defends the teaching of evolution and climate science in the public schools. The NCSE provides information, resources, and advice to schools, teachers, parents, and concerned citizens defending science education. We educate the press and public about the scientific, educational, and legal aspects of these issues at local, state, and national levels. Our 5000 members are scientists, teachers, clergy, and citizens with diverse religious and political affiliations.