Reports of the National Center for Science Education

NCSE Honors "Friends of Darwin" for 2005

Every year, NCSE honors a few exceptional people for their support of evolution education and/or their service to NCSE. The "Friend of Darwin" awards are proposed by the staff and approved by the board at its annual meeting; the recipients for the award for a given year are thus selected in the spring of the following year. NCSE usually arranges for the awards to be presented to their recipients by their family, colleagues, and friends, so it often takes a while before a public announcement is possible. Here, finally, are the Friends of Darwin for 2005.

Ed Barber served as the director of the college and trade department for the publisher WW Norton and Company, where he is now a senior editor. NCSE Supporter Laurie R Godfrey writes that Barber "took great pleasure in working with me on the first edition of Scientists Confront Creationism. Ed is a kind-hearted and knowledgeable editor; he has a sophisticated knowledge of evolutionary biology, having worked so closely and for so many years with one of my own mentors from Harvard, Stephen Jay Gould, among others. He was especially proud, I think, to have published a series of popular Gould books, including compilations of the articles that he wrote for Natural History magazine. Most of all, he knows how to help authors connect with the general public."

Fred Edwords is currently the leader of the United Coalition of Reason. He previously served as director of communications for the American Humanist Association, after having served as its executive director from 1984 to 1999 and as editor of its journal The Humanist from 1994 to 2006. Back in the heyday of creationism/evolution debates, Edwords was on the front lines, debating such creationist luminaries as Duane Gish and Henry M Morris of the Institute for Creation Research. As a result of his debate experiences, he cofounded and edited the journal Creation/Evolution from 1980 to 1991, originally published by the AHA but acquired by NCSE in 1991. He also served on NCSE's board of directors from 1982 to 1992. "Fred's knowledge, experience, and plain horse sense combined to make him a formidable ally in the evolution wars," commented NCSE's executive director Eugenie C Scott.

Jack Krebs, a high school teacher in Lawrence, Kansas, is a former president and current board member of Kansas Citizens for Science (, the grassroots organization that fought effectively for the integrity of science education in Kansas when the state board of education rewrote the state science standards to disparage the scientific status of evolution in 1999 and again in 2005. Always civil, always cogent, Krebs was tireless in his speaking and writing on behalf of the uncompromised teaching of evolution in the Sunflower State; thanks to his and KCFS's work, a scientifically appropriate and pedagogically responsible treatment of evolution was restored to the state science standards when moderates regained power on the board in 2001 and again in 2007.

Steve Rissing is professor of evolution, ecology, and organismal biology at the Ohio State University, and a member of the board of Ohio Citizens for Science (, the grassroots organization that fought effectively for the integrity of science education in Ohio when the state board of education adopted "critical analysis" language in its state science standards in 2002 and then adopted a corresponding model lesson plan derived from creationist sources in 2004. Always concerned with the public understanding of science in general, he also played a major role in revamping the way introductory-level biology courses are taught at Ohio State, coauthored a debunking treatment of creationist myths about Haeckel for The American Biology Teacher, and contributed a bimonthly column about science to the Columbus Dispatch.

Carl Zimmer is the author of such popular books about evolution and related topics as Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea, revised edition (New York: Harper Perennial, 2006), which Scientific American's reviewer described as "as fine a book as one will find on the subject"; The Smithsonian Intimate Guide to Human Origins (New York: HarperCollins, 2005); Microcosm: E coli and the New Science of Life (New York: Pantheon, 2008), and the forthcoming textbook The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution (Greenwood Village [CO]: Roberts and Company, 2009). His honors include the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences Science Journalism Award in 2004 and the National Academies Science Communication Award in 2007 for "his diverse and consistently interesting coverage of evolution and unexpected biology."

Michael Zimmerman is Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of Biology at Butler University. In 2004, concerned about attempt to undermine the teaching of evolution in Grantsburg, Wisconsin, he recruited local members of the Christian clergy to endorse a statement affirming the compatibility of evolutionary science with their faith. So successful was the Clergy Letter Project that Zimmerman took it national; today, there are almost 12 000 signatories from Christian denominations, with hundreds in parallel projects for Unitarian Universalist clergy and rabbis. Zimmerman also organized the Evolution Weekend project, in which members of the clergy conduct events centering on evolution and faith on or around Darwin's birthday; over 1000 churches participated in 2009. He is also helping to connect scientists with members of the clergy who have questions about science.

Finally, special Friend of Darwin awards were conveyed to the eleven plaintiffs in Kitzmiller v. Dover, the seminal 2005 case establishing the unconstitutionality of teaching "intelligent design" creationism in the public schools — Tammy Kitzmiller, Bryan Rehm, Christy Rehm, Deborah Fenimore, Joel Lieb, Steven Stough, Beth Eveland, Cynthia Sneath, Julie Smith, Aralene "Barrie" D Callahan, and Frederick B Callahan — in recognition of their bravery in challenging the Dover Area School Board's policy of requiring a disclaimer about evolution to be read to students in Dover's high school. The awards were presented in 2007 by Kevin Padian, the president of NCSE's board of directors, at a gathering of the plaintiffs and their friends and supporters to watch Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial, the NOVA documentary about the case.

We thank these and all NCSE members for their support of our organization and our mission. We cannot — and do not — do it alone!

By Glenn Branch
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