The theory of evolution is a fundamental, unifying theme in the sciences.  Astronomical, biological, and geological evidence supporting the theory is robust and widely accepted.  While details regarding the exact mechanisms are still being debated by scientists, there is no denying that gene frequencies in populations change over time in response to natural selection.

For more information on evolution and science education, go to the National Center for Science Education and the WVSR Position Statement on the Teaching of Evolution and Intelligent Design.

Climate Change
The impact that climate change can have on public health is rarely reported by the mainstream media.  Climate change leads to extreme weather, which can create insect breeding sites, contaminate clean water supplies, and destabilize predator/prey interactions.  All these factors can promote the emergence of infectious diseases.

For more information on the impact of global climate change, visit the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Alternative Medicine
In the US, herbal and other dietary supplements are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as foods.  This means they do not have to meet the same standards as prescription or over-the-counter medications for proof of safety or effectiveness.  The National Institutes of Health only recently began funding research involving complementary and alternative medicine.  The public should be made aware of the lack of evidence supporting the effectiveness of these treatments.

For more information on alternative medical treatments, go to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and Science-Based Medicine.
West Virginians for Science & Reason is an informal assembly of critical thinkers opposing pseudoscience and nonsense in the Mountain State.
Garden Opus
Aquarium of the Pacific

Misconceptions regarding evolution, global warming, and alternative medicine could be reduced dramatically if more Americans were trained to think critically.  Important decisions involving education, the environment, and healthcare should be based on peer-reviewed, quantitative data.  Unfortunately, our citizens are more likely to respond quickly and emotionally to issues that appear to conflict with their personal world views, and they tend to give credence to anecdotal testimonials rather than statistically significant experimental results.

While West Virginia has yet to face the evolution/intelligent design conflict in court, we must prepare for it.  We must also deal with a host of other controversial issues, including the environmental impact of mountaintop removal and the epidemic of obesity plaguing our state.

For more information on the mission of WVSR, contact:

Shawn K. Stover, Ph.D.
Dept. of Biology & Environmental Science
Davis & Elkins College
100 Campus Drive
Elkins, WV 26241
(304) 637-1275
West Virginians for Science & Reason