Center for Inquiry

through the Center for Inquiry and the State University of New York at Buffalo 


Enroll now! Summer classes with Chris Mooney and Michael Dowd

Earn your Masters Degree in Education with emphasis on Science and the Public. Explore the methods and outlook of science as they intersect with public culture and public policy. Understand the essentials of scientific literacy, communicating about science to the public, and making a difference to the national dialogue about science. Earn the new master’s degree in general education (Ed.M.) with an emphasis in Science and the Public, a cooperative initiative of the University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education and the Center for Inquiry.

This unique two-year degree, offered entirely online, is ideal for students preparing for careers in research, science education, public policy, and science journalism, as well as further study in sociology, history and philosophy of science, science communication, education, or public administration. Some of the courses required to complete this 33 credit hour master of education degree program include Scientific Writing; Science Curricula; Communicating Science to the Public; Science and Religion; Critical Thinking; History and Philosophy of Science; Science, Technology and Human Values; Research Ethics. Students interested in receiving a Certificate in Science and the Public, issued by the Center for Inquiry, need only complete the last four courses.

MA in Science and the Public website:



-Science and Religion.  May 23 to July 2, 2011. Lecturers John Shook and Michael Dowd

This course examines selected relationships between science and religion that have the greatest impact for understanding the process of communicating science to the public. Core issues and questions addressed in the course include the following: (1) What are the reasons people typically give for preferring religion over the scientific worldview? (2) Why is scientific explanation often perceived as a threat to religion and religious values? (3) Where exactly must science contradict religion? (4) Where science need not contradict religion, are compromises or alliances possible and productive? (5) What are effective techniques for gaining a public audience for science education?

-Communicating Science to the Public.  July 5 to August 12, 2011. Lecturers John Shook and Chris Mooney

 This course examines selected strategies for achieving these aims that have been researched and implemented both by the scientific community itself and by journalists, educators, communication theorists, and social scientists. We will especially focus on core questions such as: (1) In what ways do scientists fail to effectively communicate scientific ideas and theories to the adult population? (2) What particular obstacles confront science communication, and what are the dangers of inadequate public acquaintance with science? (3) How can techniques such as simplification, framing, rhetoric, and accommodation open up the public to better reception of science?


[object Object]Instructor for both classes:
John Shook, CFI director of education, author of The God Debates
John R. Shook is Visiting Assistant Professor of Science Education, and Research Associate in Philosophy, at the University of Buffalo. Shook is also Director of Education and Senior Research Fellow, and Coordinator for the MA in Science and the Public program for the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, New York. His new book is The God Debates, and he blogs for CFI at



dowd.jpgVisiting lecturer for Science and Religion:
Michael Dowd, lecturer and author of Thank God for Evolution
Reverend  Michael Dowd, an outspoken religious naturalist, is America’s evolutionary evangelist. His book, Thank God for Evolution, was endorsed by 6 Nobel Prize-winning scientists, noted skeptics, and by religious leaders across the spectrum. He and his wife, Connie Barlow, an acclaimed science writer, have traveled North America since 2002 and have spoken to more than 1,500 groups, sharing an inspiring view of cosmic, biological, and human evolution. They are also the creators of a leading website in the big history / epic of evolution movement at 



Chris MooneyVisiting lecturer for Communicating Science to the Public:
Chris Mooney, journalist and best-selling author
Chris Mooney is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science – dubbed “a landmark in contemporary political reporting” by and a “well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing’s assault on science and scientists” by Scientific American, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write “The Intersection” blog together for Discover blogs at In addition, Chris is a host of the Point of Inquiry podcast.


For more information about the courses in this program, contact John Shook, CFI Director of Education, at  Questions relating to the program and tuition costs may be directed to Dr. Xiufeng Liu at Questions relating to applications may be directed to the Office of Graduate Admissions and Student Services at or (716) 645-2110. 


Explore our other educational opportunities at the CFI Education page


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