NAGT AdvocacyAs President, I get to serve on occasion as the Public Face of NAGT, and recently I have been able to fill that function in particularly satisfying ways. NAGT is a sponsor of the National Center for Science Education, which many of you know for its activism and resources around the teaching of evolution (http://ncse.com/). NCSE has recently added climate change to its portfolio of "threatened" sciences, and through our affiliation with NCSE, NAGT has recently been asked to weigh in on bills in the Tennessee and Oklahoma state legislatures that would weaken evolution and climate education in K-12 science classes. In each case I wrote letters to the Governor and/or state legislators expressing NAGT's position that science classes should teach science, and science content consists of "peer-reviewed, tested and confirmed results, not debates based on political or religious convictions."
From NCSE's website: ... in her March 27, 2012, letter, Elizabeth Wright, the president of the NAGT, expressed her organization's concerns with the bill, writing (PDF) that "the scientific theory of evolution should be taught to students of all grade levels as a unifying concept without distraction of non-scientific or anti-scientific influence" and reiterating NAGT's acceptance of the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its commitment to "intensive public education, increased awareness, and action" on the issue of climate change.
Opportunities like this come up for all of us, and I urge you to consider making your voice heard as a professional geoscientist and educator. We have several tools that can help you.
In writing my letters I was greatly aided (i.e. I cut and pasted a lot from) NAGT's official position statements on the teaching of evolution and climate change, which can be found at http://nagt.org/nagt/policy/position.html. I commend these to your attention, especially should you be moved to write this kind of lobbying letter.
We also have an NAGT Public Policy Email List, which can inform you of policy debates and decisions as they occur, usually in time for you to respond. This can be found at http://nagt.org/nagt/policy/lists.html.
Finally, if any of you are ready for a quick petition signing opportunity, try this one:
https://web.archive.org/web/20120306064659/http://www.change.org/petitions/apple-inc-classify-creation-science-ibooks-ebooks-under-religion-not-life-science. This is a demand that Apple reconsider its policy of listing creationist books under the category of "Science" based only on an author's self-categorization. For example, I found the following book description by Hezekiah Clark under the category "Life Sciences":
This writing is called: Scientific Creation, Our Life - Beginning To End. As stated, all facts are not pragmatic or seen by human eye. Where did all nature and life start? What is the beginning? Was it by The Big Bang Theory, or Beginning by God? or some Intelligent Designer? The miraculous human body is investigated in time. In Catastrophic development of life and all nature, there was an Earth Canopy of translucent, crystalline, ice and a Great Global Flood, a deluge, scientifically verified. Then, all life and nature is discussed as always coming in a trinity, which is the characteristic of and mode of the great I.D.
Please join me in signing this one. Thanks.