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Skepchick Presents: A Conversation with Dr. Eugenie Scott (Parts 1 & 2)

On September 30, Dr. Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, was in Houston to give a talk at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

When I heard she was going to be in town, I thought it would be fun if I could somehow swing an interview with her to post here on Skepchick. I was sure a print interview would be the best I could do, and in the back of my mind, I knew there was a good chance she wouldn’t even have time for that.

But we don’t get these chances often, so I decided to go for broke, and I asked her if she wouldn’t mind sitting down with me for a video conversation. I figured if she agreed, we could talk about her work, the NCSE, and basically what it’s like to be Dr. Eugenie Scott.

And to my amazement and great delight, she said she would love to do it!

I was psyched, but at the same time I was nervous, because now I had to find a way to make it happen.

Fortunately, my friend and fellow Greater Houston Skeptic Society member, Chris Moyer, has his own audio/video production business, and without hesitating a second, he agreed to produce the video.

Things were coming together nicely, but now the question was, where to shoot the interview.

Well, since Dr. Scott was lecturing at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and since it is the epitome of cool places in Houston for science enthusiasts and skeptics, it just made sense to ask them first.

And again to my amazement and great delight, the museum staff said they would love to have us use their facility! In fact, they said they could set us up in one of their classrooms, which I found appropriate, considering a good portion of Dr. Scott’s work is geared toward keeping good science in public schools. And they agreed to provide us anything we needed within reason. Hey, sometimes being polite and asking in a friendly manner works wonders.

At any rate, we were set.

Well, the day finally came, and when Dr. Scott and I got to chatting, we covered topics that ranged from the Texas State Board of Education to the evolution of creationism to women in science and skepticism. And before we knew it, time had gotten away from us. So what follows is the first two segments in a series of nine videos chronicling our conversation.

Hope you enjoy.

Part 1

 

Part 2

 

Now by way of brief commentary, I will just say what you all no doubt know. Eugenie Scott is an amazing person. I am proud to have spent even a short amount of time with her. In a post last year, I said of Neil deGrasse Tyson:

“. . . he is the type of person, the kind of mind, this world needs. He sees things clearly, but he does not arrive at conclusions and opinions without deep consideration. He is passionate, personable, and bright. I thoroughly enjoyed his company, brief as it was.”

And I can say no less of Dr. Scott. I am not easily impressed, but I found her very impressive.

Also, Chris Moyer deserves to be sainted or knighted or both for producing this interview with very little compensation. His company is called Dropframe Video. You can contact him at Malachi Constant (even if you’re not a Vonnegut fan), and if you ever need audio or video work done, show him some love and hire him. You will definitely be pleased with the result.

Skepchick reader, Naomi (Geek Goddess), also donated her time freely to help out. Big thanks to her as well.

And finally, hat’s off to Steven Cowan, Erin Flis, and Melodie Wade of the Houston Museum of Natural Science for accommodating us, and allowing us to disrupt their normal day for a little while. Next time you’re in the Houston area, take the whole family down to the museum for a day, and help them celebrate their 100th birthday. You won’t regret it.

Stay tuned for Parts 3 and 4 of my conversation with Dr. Scott to be posted tomorrow.

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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9 Comments

  1. Dr. Scott is a class act, calm, rational, and in all the interviews and confrontations that I’ve seen or heard, unflappable. Great job in recognizing and pursuing this opportunity, and bringing it to skepchick! Awesome.

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