Thursday, January 14, 2010

Eugenie Scott Receives NAS Public Welfare Medal

Eugenie Scott, the executive director of the National Center for Science Education, received the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Sciences. The press release has this to say:
"Eugenie Scott has worked tirelessly and very effectively to improve public understanding of both the nature of science and the science of evolution," said Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences. "She makes the case for science again and again."

"We honor Genie Scott for her many years of service organizing coalitions of scientists, parents, teachers, business people, clergy, and others to raise their voices to defend the teaching of evolution in public school," said John Brauman, home secretary of the National Academy of Sciences and chair of the Public Welfare Medal selection committee.

A physical anthropologist by training, Scott received her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. She holds six honorary degrees and has received numerous awards from scientific and civil liberties organizations. Scott has served on the board of directors of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study and on the advisory councils of several organizations defending the separation of church and state. Scott, a fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has also held elected offices in the American Anthropological Association and the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.
She has always been at least sympathetic to belief in God and the ability to practice science and yet hold religious beliefs. That was especially evident when she came and debated William Provine at the University of Tennessee. He was very spiteful and she was very gracious. She had not expected to discuss religion at the debate and he blindsided her. At the time (a decade back, at least) he said that he had a brain tumor and not much time to live. He has since had surgery and appears to have made a modest recovery, despite some speaking issues. Scott's performance led many people that I came into contact with to have a more open understanding of religion.

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