New England Science Public to engage the community

NE-SciencePublic Center is a partner initiative among New England Colleges and Universities, launched on November 29, 2012 and housed at Roger Williams University. Growing anti-science sentiment in the United States has permeated current public discourse on health, global processes including climate change, acceptance of evolution and policy decisions (e.g. ‘anti-vaxxers’). NE-SciencePublic (NESP) aims at promoting science literacy and the communication of scientific research among diverse populations (=the public) to improve science literacy.

The New England Science Public: Series Evolution

(ISSN: 2326-0971) is published yearly by New England Science Public and New England Center for The Public Understanding of Science at Roger Williams University

Mission and Vision

The mission of the NESP is the public understanding of science. NE-SciencePublic Center furthers the training and educational activities with a cross-disciplinary, organizational, regional, national and global perspective.

Vision: NESP envisions a citizenry informed and critical of three big concepts that influence educational development and community wellbeing: a) Health literacy (capacity to process and understand health information to benefit personal/community choices and outcomes); b) Scientific evidence vs. pseudo-science and anti-science (misconceptions/deniers of cosmic evolution; climate change, evolution of biodiversity; vaccinations); c) Benefits of Science in daily life.

History: Since 2007, Roger Williams University and NESP have led intercampus outreach collaborations through Biology New England South. BioNES has seeded future challenges for New England Science Public. NE-Science Public will sponsor simultaneous events across institutions to celebrate iconic scientific achievements, their relevance and value in modern society. New England Science Public has taken the challenge to debate the difficult issues and thus reach out to the public and foster the proper understanding of reality.

The Series publishes original, hypothesis-testing research articles, comprehensive reviews, current trends articles, conceptual viewpoints that challenge traditional scientific consensus and advance knowledge, and data and meta-data analytical studies in evolution and its directly related disciplines and sub disciplines (e.g. cosmic evolution, organisms and evolution of biodiversity, the continuum micro-to-macro evolution, systems biology applied to evolution, ecology and evolutionary biology, behavior and ethology, cognition and perception, philosophy of science/ evolution, history of science/ evolutionary theory, the evolution of technology, the evolution of cultures and languages, evolutionary psychology and medicine, educational assessment about evolution in the classroom, evaluation and research in the communication of evolutionary principles to all audiences). New England Science Public: Series Evolution aims at translating complex and technical research –conducted by specialized scholars— into documents that can be understood and used by other scholars in academia, professionals outside academia, communicators of science, and educators to disseminate knowledge, promote evolution literacy and the public understanding of science.

Download the Open Access Special Issue released on Darwin Day:

Paz-y-Miño-C G & Espinosa A. 2013. Attitudes toward Evolution at New England Colleges and Universities, United States. New England Science Public: Series Evolution 1(1): 1-32.

Synopsis: Paz-y-Miño-C and Espinosa compile the most significant results of their conceptual and quantitative studies on the patterns of acceptance of evolution at New England colleges and universities, conducted between 2009 and 2012. The authors examined the views of New England Faculty and Educators of Prospective Teachers (higher-education faculty themselves, specialized in training future teachers) from 35 colleges and universities, as well as a representative sample of College Students from a Public, Private and two Religious institutions who were polled in three areas: the controversy over evolution versus creationism versus Intelligent Design; their understanding of how science and the evolutionary process work; and their personal convictions concerning the evolution and/or creation of humans in the context of their religiosity. The authors conclude that the controversy over science/evolution and creationism is inherent to the incompatibility between scientific rationalism/empiricism and the belief in supernatural causation, and that long-term harmonious coexistence between science/evolution and creationism –and all its forms— is illusory. According to Paz-y-Miño-C and Espinosa, societies will struggle indefinitely with this incompatibility, therefore the interaction between science/evolution and religiosity is destined to fluctuate historically between intense and moderate antagonism.