CORVALLIS, Ore. - Eugenie C. Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, a nonprofit organization that studies and defends the teaching of evolution in public schools, is the first speaker in the 2006-07 Horning Lecture Series at Oregon State University.

Scott will speak on Sept. 28 and is one of six speakers from science, history and philosophy who will address the year-long series' theme of "The Cultural Politics of Evolution."

Scott's talk, "Politics, Education, and Evolution," begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, in the LaSells Stewart Center on the OSU campus. Scott is the author of the book "Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction." She served as a consultant for the plaintiffs in the 2005 Pennsylvania court case Kitzmiller v. Dover Area Schools, which resulted in a ruling against the school board's requirement for teaching intelligent design as an alternative to evolution.

Mary Jo Nye, Horning Professor of the Humanities at OSU, said the new Horning Lecture Series is both historical and contemporary.

"This series is especially timely after national attention last fall on the trial in Pennysylvania," she said. "While the court ruled against the school board in December, the issue of teaching evolutionary biology remains a hot political issue in the United States."

Nye said that evolution is not a debate in most industrialized countries. She said the United States is one of the few countries that have turned it into a political issue.

"In European countries, evolutionary science is not a political issue or part of a political agenda, whereas in the United States, evolution has become a matter of cultural politics," she said.

All the Horning lectures are free and open to the public. The rest of the speakers are:

  • Ronald L. Numbers, University of Wisconsin, "AntiEvolution in America: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design," 4 p.m., Oct. 19, Room 208, Memorial Union;
  • Edward J. Larson, University of Georgia, "From Dayton to Dover: A Brief History of the Evolution Teaching Controversy in America," 4 p.m., Jan. 18, LaSells Stewart Center;
  • David Kaiser, MIT, "Evolution on the Grandest Scale: Cosmology and Flashpoints of Controversy," 4 p.m., Feb. 19, Weniger Hall 153;
  • John DupreĀ“, University of Exeter, "The Friendly Germ Meets the Selfish Gene: Towards a Less Hostile View of Nature," 4 p.m., April 5, Journey Room, Memorial Union;
  • James R. Moore, Open University, "Darwin, Sex, and Slavery," 4 p.m., May 10, Journey Room, Memorial Union.

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Mary Jo Nye,