More antievolution bills

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More antievolution bills

Postby Ellen » Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:38 am

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/ncse-news/9WA-8frxb-8

This is a link to the NCSE (National Center for Science Education) weekly evolution and climate change update newsletter which describes and includes links for pending legislation.
Last edited by Ellen on Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Indiana Creationism Bill Passes Senate

Postby Ellen » Sun Feb 05, 2012 7:35 am

Well, okay. Perhaps no one is interested in creationism being pushed into public high school biology classes... but just in case any one wants to write legislators to show their discontent here is the the update from the NSCE:

Dear Friends of NCSE,

The Indiana Senate passes the creationist bill. Evolution matters when
Fordham rates the states for their science standards. And a reminder
about Darwin Day and Evolution Weekend.

INDIANA CREATIONISM BILL PASSES THE SENATE

On January 31, 2012, the Indiana Senate voted 28-22 in favor of Senate
Bill 89. As originally submitted, SB 89 provided, "The governing body
of a school corporation may require the teaching of various theories
concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the
school corporation." On January 30, 2012, however, it was amended in
the Senate to provide instead, "The governing body of a school
corporation may offer instruction on various theories of the origin of
life. The curriculum for the course must include theories from
multiple religions, which may include, but is not limited to,
Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Scientology."

The Senate spent less than twenty minutes considering the bill, with
its sponsor Dennis Kruse (R-District 14) defending it. Kruse
acknowledged that the bill would be constitutionally problematic but,
he told the education blogger at the Indianapolis Star (January 31,
2012), "This is a different Supreme Court," adding, "This Supreme
Court could rule differently." The American Civil Liberties Union of
Indiana's legal director Ken Falk was previously quoted in a story
from the Associated Press (January 26, 2012) as saying that the bill
is clearly unconstitutional and invites lawsuits: moreover, he added,
"when lawmakers propose legislation they clearly know will end up in
the courts, it wastes time and resources."

Speaking against the bill in the Senate were Tim Skinner (D-District
38), who expressed concern not only about the bill's constitutionality
but also about the lack of guidance it provides for local school
teachers and districts and the logistics of defending them against
lawsuits, and Karen Tallian (D-District 4), who was impassioned in her
opposition against the bill: the Times of Munster (January 31, 2012)
quoted her as saying, "In my mind, this violates everything we stand
for as Americans ... The very fact that we're talking about this makes
me heartsick." Tallian also mentioned the 2005 case Kitzmiller v.
Dover, arguing that the bill invites local districts in Indiana to
follow disastrously in the steps of the Dover Area School Board.

Skinner's and Tallian's arguments echoed the concerns of John Staver
of Purdue University, who previously testified against the bill in
committee. He told the Purdue Exponent (January 31, 2012), "If this
does become law, they are going to face legal problems and, given the
legal precedents, it is very likely to lose ... And then they're going
to have bills to pay and schools are struggling enough with bills to
pay without this happening." NCSE's Eric Meikle added, "I have trouble
understanding why people think it's necessary ... If they want classes
on philosophy or comparative religion, they can do that. There’s
nothing that stops classes about religion, just don’t promote
religion."

The bill now proceeds to the Indiana House of Representatives, where
its sponsors are Jeff Thompson (R-District 28) and Eric Turner
(R-District 32), who is also the house speaker pro tem. Thompson,
interestingly, is also a cosponsor, along with Cindy Noe (R-District
87), of House Bill 1140, which would require teachers to discuss
"commonly held competing views" on topics "that cannot be verified by
scientific empirical evidence." While evolution is not mentioned in
the bill, Noe cohosted a controversial dinner at the Creation Evidence
Expo in Indianapolis in 2009, according to the Fort Wayne Reader
(August 23, 2010). In any case, HB 1140 seems to have died in
committee.

For Indiana's Senate Bill 89 as introduced and as adopted, visit:
http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2012/SB/SB0089.1.html
http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2012/SB/SB0089.2.html

For the Indianapolis Star's education blog's post, visit:
http://blogs.indystar.com/education/2012/01/31/sen-kruse-u-s-supreme-court-could-overturn-evolution-ruling-next-time/

For the Associated Press story (via WLS in Chicago), visit:
http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local/indiana&id=8519725

For the story in the Times of Munster, visit:
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/ind-senate-votes-for-schools-to-teach-creationism/article_fab659bf-98ce-53b4-af5d-836dac998c89.html

For the story in the Purdue Exponent, visit:
http://www.purdueexponent.org/campus/article_b810956b-16ce-5f67-bf22-dc6027bab932.html

For Indiana's House Bill 1140 as introduced, visit:
http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2012/IN/IN1140.1.html

For the story in the Fort Wayne Reader, visit:
http://www.fortwaynereader.com/story.php?uid=1727

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Re: Indiana Creationism Bill Passes Senate

Postby Savonarola » Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:07 pm

Ellen wrote:Well, okay. Perhaps no one is interested in creationism being pushed into public high school biology classes...
Or perhaps we've kept a close eye on this before precisely because we care, but some of us no longer have the time to patrol the internet looking for these instances like we used to. I think that your posting this information on the forum is a great substitute. (Just because there aren't any replies doesn't mean that nobody wants to read it.)

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Re: Sixth antievolution bill introduced so far this year

Postby Ellen » Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:37 pm

Allrighty then - here's a petition to sign

http://www.change.org/petitions/say-no- ... bill-0089#

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Re: Sixth antievolution bill introduced so far this year

Postby Ellen » Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:39 pm

Indiana seems saner than its Senate, and a new poll on US attitudes towards evolution via the NCSE.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR INDIANA'S CREATIONISM BILL?

Indiana's Senate Bill 89, passed by the Senate on January 31, 2012, is
off to the House of Representatives, and speculations and
recommendations about its fate are circulating. As amended by the
Senate, the bill would allow local school districts to offer
"instruction on various theories of origins of life" which "must
include theories from multiple religions" -- prompting the Times of
Munster (January 31, 2012) to predict, "Hoosier public school students
soon may be taught life was created by God, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu,
Shiva, the human mind and/or Xenu, dictator of the Galactic
Confederacy."

The Times of Munster subsequently reported (February 2, 2012) that the
bill "probably will not be voted on by the Republican-controlled
House" on the grounds that House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-District 88)
"has not made a final determination on whether Senate Bill 89 will get
a hearing and vote, but said he believes the General Assembly should
not mandate what's taught in science classrooms." So far, the bill has
not been assigned to a House committee; it would have to be approved
by its committee and by the full House by March 5, 2012, in order to
be passed by the legislature.

Newspapers around the state have been critical of the Senate's passage
of the bill. The Indianapolis Star (February 1, 2012) described SB 89
as a "toxic mix of religion and science" and called on the state
attorney general and the state superintendent of public instruction to
speak out against it. The Evanston Courier & Press (February 3, 2012),
insisted that "it is clear that those lawmakers attempting to push
creationism into the public school biology class want it taught on
equal footing with evolution, which is based on scientific research
and evidence. Creationism brings no such scientific evidence to the
science class."

Why was the bill, which originally would have allowed school districts
to require instruction in creation science, amended? A blogger for the
Village Voice (February 1, 2012), after interviewing state senator Vi
Simpson (D-District 40), who introduced the amendment, explained that
it "was a brilliant attempt to sabotage the bill. By adding in other
religions (Islam, in Indiana!), her wording would probably make the
bill completely unattractive to local school boards, who are under no
obligation to follow its suggestion anyway." Simpson added, "My number
one intention is to kill the bill or at least kill the effectiveness
of it."

For the 1/3/2012 story in the Times of Munster, visit:
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/govt ... 98c89.html

For the 2/2/2012 story in the Times of Munster, visit:
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/state-and- ... 5529a.html

For the two editorials, visit:
http://www.indystar.com/article/2012020 ... on-science
http://www.courierpress.com/news/2012/f ... y-lit-not/

For the post on the Village Voice's blog, visit:
http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninsca ... on_the.php

EVOLUTION (PARTLY) RESTORED TO NSB REPORT

Almost half -- 47% -- of Americans surveyed in 2010 agreed that "human
beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of
animals," and 38% agreed that "the universe began with a huge
explosion." Those results are reported in Science and Engineering
Indicators 2012, a biennial report from the National Science Board.
The figures are basically unchanged through the years for which data
is provided, from 1985 for evolution and from 1988 for the Big Bang.
The report also contains a brief discussion of the public
controversies over evolution education.

Science Engineering Indicators 2010 deleted a section similarly
describing the survey results about the American public's beliefs
about evolution and the Big Bang, a decision which drew criticism at
the time, including from veteran science literacy researcher Jon
Miller, who originally devised the question about evolution, and from
NCSE's Joshua Rosenau, who told Science (April 9, 2010), "Discussing
American science literacy without mentioning evolution is intellectual
malpractice ... It downplays the controversy."

The National Science Board later acknowledged to Science (July 22,
2011) that deleting the text was a mistake. But although the new
report discusses the survey data, those questions are excluded from
its measure of science literacy. Eleven factual questions, covering a
variety of topics in addition to evolution and the Big Bang, were used
to assess science literacy in previous versions of Science Engineering
Indicators; nine questions, excluding evolution and the Big Bang, are
used in the 2010 and 2012 versions.

In 2010, the then chair of the Science and Engineering Indicators
committee told Science that the questions were excluded as "flawed
indicators because the responses conflated knowledge and beliefs." The
2012 report, however, argues that they were excluded as unnecessary:
"the social science foundation for using either 11 items or 9 items
together in one scale is well-supported," adding, "Whether or not
these two questions are included in a scale of factual science
knowledge has little bearing on the summary portrait of Americans'
knowledge that the scale portrays."

For Science and Engineering Indicators 2012 (PDF), visit:
http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind12/pdf/c07.pdf

For the longitudinal data (PDF), visit:
http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind12/a ... t07-09.pdf

For the articles from Science (subscription required):
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/328/5975/150.full
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6041/394.full

DARWIN DAY IS NEARLY HERE

It's time to dust off your Darwin costume again: Darwin Day 2012 is
practically here! Colleges and universities, schools, libraries,
museums, churches, civic groups, and just plain folks across the
country -- and the world -- are preparing to celebrate Darwin Day, on
or around February 12, in honor of the life and work of Charles
Darwin. These events provide a marvelous opportunity not only to
celebrate Darwin's birthday but also to engage in public outreach
about science, evolution, and the importance of evolution education --
which is especially needed with assaults on evolution education
currently ongoing in Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma.
NCSE encourages its members and friends to attend, participate in, and
even organize Darwin Day events in their own communities. To find a
local event, check the websites of local universities and museums and
the registry of Darwin Day events maintained by the Darwin Day
Celebration website. (And don't forget to register your own event with
the Darwin Day Celebration website!)

And with Darwin Day comes the return of Evolution Weekend! Hundreds of
congregations all over the country and around the world are taking
part in Evolution Weekend, February 10-12, 2012, by presenting sermons
and discussion groups on the compatibility of faith and science.
Michael Zimmerman, the initiator of the project, writes, "Evolution
Weekend is an opportunity for serious discussion and reflection on the
relationship between religion and science. One important goal is to
elevate the quality of the discussion on this critical topic -- to
move beyond sound bites. A second critical goal is to demonstrate that
religious people from many faiths and locations understand that
evolution is sound science and poses no problems for their faith.
Finally, as with The Clergy Letter itself, Evolution Weekend makes it
clear that those claiming that people must choose between religion and
science are creating a false dichotomy." At last count, 560
congregations in all fifty states (and ten foreign countries) were
scheduled to hold Evolution Weekend events.

For the Darwin Day registry, visit:
http://darwinday.org/events/
http://darwinday.org/wp-login.php?action=register

For information about Evolution Weekend, visit:
http://www.evolutionweekend.org/

Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website --
http://ncse.com -- where you can always find the latest news on
evolution and climate education and threats to them.

--
Sincerely,

Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
510-601-7203 x305
fax: 510-601-7204
800-290-6006
branch@ncse.com
http://ncse.com

Read Reports of the NCSE on-line:
http://reports.ncse.com

Subscribe to NCSE's free weekly e-newsletter:
http://groups.google.com/group/ncse-news

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http://www.facebook.com/evolution.ncse
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Re: Sixth antievolution bill introduced so far this year

Postby Savonarola » Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:28 am

Update: Indiana creationism bill procedurally killed in House, recognized as "lawsuit waiting to happen"

LINK

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More bills in TN & OK

Postby Ellen » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:49 pm

"MONKEY BILL" PASSES TENNESSEE SENATE

"The Senate approved a bill Monday evening that deals with teaching of
evolution and other scientific theories," the Knoxville News-Sentinel
(March 19, 2012) reported, adding, "Critics call it a 'monkey bill'
that promotes creationism in classrooms." The bill in question is
Senate Bill 893, which, if enacted, would encourage teachers to
present the "scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses" of
"controversial" topics such as "biological evolution, the chemical
origins of life, global warming, and human cloning."

Among those expressing opposition to the bill are the American
Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Civil
Liberties Union of Tennessee, the American Institute for Biological
Sciences, the Knoxville News Sentinel, the Nashville Tennessean, the
National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the National Earth
Science Teachers Association, and the Tennessee Science Teachers
Association, whose president Becky Ashe described the legislation as
"unnecessary, anti-scientific, and very likely unconstitutional."

The Senate vote was 24-8. According to the Tennesseean (March 20,
2012), Andy Berke (D-District 10) "noted the state’s history as a
battleground over evolution -- the so-called Scopes Monkey Trial in
1925 drew national attention and inspired the Oscar-winning film
Inherit the Wind -- and said the measure would cast Tennessee in a bad
light." Berke also objected that the bill would encourage
inappropriate discussions of religious matters, saying, "If my
children ask, ‘How does that mesh with my faith?’ I don’t want their
teacher answering that question."

The bill now proceeds to the House of Representatives, which passed
the counterpart House Bill 368 on April 7, 2011. SB 893 was amended in
committee before it passed the Senate, however, so the two houses of
the legislature will have to resolve the discrepancies between the
bills. Tennessee's governor Bill Haslam previously indicated that he
would discuss the bill with the state board of education, telling the
Tennesseean (March 19, 2012), "It is a fair question what the General
Assembly’s role is ... That’s why we have a state board of education."

For the story in the Knoxville News-Sentinel, visit:
http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/mar/1 ... enates-ok/

For the statement from the Tennessee Science Teachers Association, visit:
http://ncse.com/webfm_send/1564

For the stories in the Tennesseean, visit:
http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120 ... -evolution
http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120 ... nouncement

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Tennessee, visit:
http://ncse.com/news/tennessee

INTRODUCING ENERGY LITERACY

A new resource, Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental
Concepts for Energy Education, offers educators with guidance to help
individuals and communities make informed energy decisions --
including those related to climate change.

***

Energy is an inherently interdisciplinary topic. Concepts fundamental
to understanding energy arise in nearly all, if not all, academic
disciplines. This guide is intended to be used across disciplines.
Both an integrated and systems-based approach to understanding energy
are strongly encouraged.

Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for
Energy Education identifies seven Essential Principles and a set of
Fundamental Concepts to support each principle. This guide does not
seek to identify all areas of energy understanding, but rather to
focus on those that are essential for all citizens. The Fundamental
Concepts have been drawn, in part, from existing education standards
and benchmarks.

The intended audience for this document is anyone involved in energy
education. Used in formal educational environments, this guide
provides direction without adding new concepts to the educator's
curriculum. This guide is not a curriculum. The Essential Principles
and Fundamental Concepts offer a framework upon which curricula can be
based without prescribing when, where, or how content is to be
delivered.

***

The U.S. Department of Energy led the nationwide effort to develop
Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for
Energy Education. Thirteen federal agencies and numerous education
partners across the country participated in the effort. NCSE is among
the education partners on the project.

For Energy Literacy, visit:
http://library.globalchange.gov/product ... on-booklet

THE NASHVILLE TENNESSEAN ON THE "MONKEY BILLS"

The Nashville Tennessean (March 21, 2012) editorially denounced
Tennessee's "monkey bills" as "wedging open a door to include a
radically divisive, ultra-conservative Christian agenda disguised in
politically correct language." The bills -- House Bill 368 and Senate
Bill 893 -- would encourage teachers to present the "scientific
strengths and scientific weaknesses" of "controversial" topics such as
"biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming,
and human cloning"; both bills have passed their respective houses,
but it is still necessary for discrepancies between the two versions
of the bill to be reconciled before the legislation is sent to the
governor.

The editorial concluded, "these attempts to rewrite our curriculum by
some legislators are not about helping our children become
independent, rational thinkers capable of understanding and evaluating
alternative theories of life; witting or not, these legislators are
stooges for an agenda that would shackle our children to a life of
ignorance." The Tennesseean earlier editorially opposed House Bill
368, writing (March 29, 2011), "when a piece of legislation is so
distorted in fact, so misleading in its intent, and so fraught with
the potential to do more harm than good to the people and the
reputation of Tennessee, it must be shown for what it is."

For the editorial in the Nashville Tennessean, visit:
http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120 ... -disguised

NABT OPPOSES TENNESSEE'S MONKEY BILLS

The National Association of Biology Teachers expressed its opposition
to Tennessee's "monkey bills" -- House Bill 368 and Senate Bill 893 --
in a letter to Governor Bill Haslam. The bills, which if enacted would
encourage teachers to present the "scientific strengths and scientific
weaknesses" of "controversial" topics such as "biological evolution,
the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning," have
passed their respective houses; it is still necessary for
discrepancies between the two versions of the bill to be reconciled
before the legislation is sent to the governor.

In its letter, NABT's Jaclyn Reeves-Pepin explained, "We feel that the
wording of this legislation clearly allows non-scientific explanations
for topics such as biological evolution, the chemical origins of life,
global warming and human cloning to be introduced into the science
classroom," adding, "Concepts like evolution and climate change should
not be misrepresented as controversial or needing of special
evaluation. Instead, they should be presented as scientific
explanations for events and processes that are supported by
experimentation, logical analysis, and evidence-based revision based
on detectable and measurable data."

The letter concludes, "We respectfully request that you reject HB 368
and SB 893 in support of science education that imparts to students an
understanding of science based on the key components of the scientific
method and content agreed upon by scientists and professional
educators. As an organization dedicated to biology education, we are
confident that students of your state are best served when curriculum
reflects these issues appropriately and maintains scientific integrity
in the science classroom."

The NABT joins the American Association for the Advancement of
Science, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, the American
Institute for Biological Sciences, the Knoxville News Sentinel, the
Nashville Tennessean, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers,
the National Earth Science Teachers Association, the Tennessee Science
Teachers Association, and ten Tennessee members of the National
Academies (including Stanley Cohen, who won the Nobel Prize in
Physiology or Medicine in 1986) in opposing the bills.

For NABT's letter (PDF), visit:
http://ncse.com/news/2012/03/webfm_send/1767

GEOLOGY EDUCATORS OPPOSE TENNESSEE'S "MONKEY BILLS"

Adding to the chorus of disapproval of Tennessee's "monkey bills" --
House Bill 368 and Senate Bill 893 -- are the two leading associations
of K-12 geology educators: the National Association of Geoscience
Teachers and the National Earth Science Teachers Association. The
bills, if enacted, would encourage teachers to present the "scientific
strengths and scientific weaknesses" of "controversial" topics such as
"biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming,
and human cloning."

The NAGT's statement, signed by its president Elizabeth Wright,
emphasized that "the scientific theory of evolution should be taught
to students of all grade levels as a unifying concept without
distraction of non-scientific or anti-scientific influence" and
reiterated the organization's acceptance of the conclusions of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its commitment to
"intensive public education, increased awareness, and action" on the
issue of climate change.

The statement concludes, "We agree that critical thinking is an
essential skill for all students, one which is already embedded in the
teaching of science. But the content of science consists of
peer-reviewed, tested and confirmed results, not debates based on
political or religious convictions. We are convinced that rigorous
science education in Tennessee is badly served by SB 893 or HB 368,
and we urge Tennessee’s representatives, state senators and governor
to reject this legislation."

The NESTA's statement, signed by its executive director Roberta
Johnson, similarly affirmed "that evolution is central to biology and
to the earth sciences and that it is an essential component of science
classes" and "that Earth's climate is changing, that human activities
are responsible for much of the warming seen in recent years, and
[that] the science of climate change is a fundamental part of earth
science education."

Consequently, it continues, "While scientific research continues to
illuminate how evolution and climate change influence the world around
us, there is no scientific debate about whether they do so, and these
bills are wrong to suggest otherwise." The statement concludes by
warning, "HB 368 and SB 893 would damage the scientific preparation of
Tennessee’s students, harm Tennessee's national reputation, and weaken
its efforts to participate in the 21st century economy."

For the NAGT's statement and the NESTA's statement (both PDF), visit:
http://ncse.com/webfm_send/1765
http://ncse.com/webfm_send/1766

AIBS DENOUNCES TENNESSEE'S "MONKEY BILLS"

The American Institute of Biological Sciences denounced Tennessee's
"monkey bills" -- House Bill 368 and Senate Bill 893 -- as "bad for
science, science education, and the future economic health of well
being of Tennessee" in letters sent to the leadership of the Tennessee
General Assembly and to Governor Bill Haslam.

"It is important to note that there is no scientific controversy about
the legitimacy of evolution or global climate change," the letters
explained, adding, "These scientific concepts have repeatedly been
tested and grown stronger with each evaluation. Any controversy around
these concepts is political, not scientific."

The letters concluded, "As the nation struggles to reignite our
economy and prepare our children for the jobs of the 21st century, we
should be working to strengthen our science education system -- not
insert non-scientific concepts into the classroom to placate political
special interests."

AIBS also issued an action alert encouraging people in Tennessee to
urge their state representatives and the governor to oppose HB 368 and
SB 893. AIBS is a professional society whose approximately 160 member
organizations represent the breadth of the biological sciences and
have a combined membership of nearly 250,000 scientists and science
educators.

For the AIBS letters (PDF), visit:
http://ncse.com/webfm_send/1763
http://ncse.com/webfm_send/1764

For the AIBS action alert, visit:
http://capwiz.com/aibs/issues/alert/?alertid=61102976

TENNESSEE'S TOP SCIENTISTS OPPOSE "MONKEY BILLS"

Ten Tennessee members of the National Academies -- including a Nobel
laureate -- have signed a statement expressing their firm opposition
to House Bill 368 and Senate Bill 893. Both bills, if enacted, would
encourage teachers to present the "scientific strengths and scientific
weaknesses" of "controversial" topics such as "biological evolution,
the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning." HB
368 was passed in April 7, 2011, but SB 893 was stalled in committee
until March 14, 2012, when the Senate Education Committee passed a
slightly amended version.

The scientists object to the misdescription of evolution as
scientifically controversial, insisting, "As scientists whose research
involves and is based upon evolution, we affirm -- along with the
nation's leading scientific organizations, including the American
Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of
Sciences -- that evolution is a central, unifying, and accepted area
of science. The evidence for evolution is overwhelming; there is no
scientific evidence for its supposed rivals ('creation science' and
'intelligent design') and there is no scientific evidence against it."

The scientists also object to the encouragement to teachers to present
the so-called scientific weaknesses of evolution, which, they contend,
"in practice are likely to include scientifically unwarranted
criticisms of evolution. As educators whose teaching involves and is
based on evolution, we affirm -- along with the nation's leading
science education organizations, including the National Association of
Biology Teachers and the National Science Teachers Association -- that
evolution is a central and crucial part of science education.
Neglecting evolution is pedagogically irresponsible."

Their statement concludes, "By undermining the teaching of evolution
in Tennessee's public schools, HB 368 and SB 893 would miseducate
students, harm the state's national reputation, and weaken its efforts
to compete in a science-driven global economy." The statement is
signed by Stanley Cohen, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or
Medicine in 1986, Roger D. Cone, John H. Exton, George M. Hornberger,
Jon H. Kaas, Daniel Masys, John A. Oates, Liane Russell, Charles J.
Sherr, and Robert Webster; all ten are members of the National
Academies, one of the world's most prestigious scientific
organizations.

For the statement (PDF), visit:
http://ncse.com/webfm_send/1759

EVOLUTION-AS-THEORY BILL DEFEATED IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

"A bill that would have required public schools to teach evolution as
a theory, a move often used by proponents of creationism to discredit
the science of evolution, was handily shot down by the House of
Representatives Thursday, 280-7," the Nashua Telegraph (March 16,
2012) reports. The bill was House Bill 1148, introduced by Jerry
Bergevin (R-District 17), which would have charged the state board of
education to "[r]equire evolution to be taught in the public schools
of this state as a theory, including the theorists' political and
ideological viewpoints and their position on the concept of atheism."

Bergevin told the Concord Monitor (December 29, 2011), "I want the
full portrait of evolution and the people who came up with the ideas
to be presented. It's a worldview and it's godless. Atheism has been
tried in various societies, and they've been pretty criminal
domestically and internationally." He reportedly blamed the acceptance
of evolution for the atrocities of Nazi Germany and the 1999 Columbine
shooting, adding, "As a general court [the official term for the New
Hampshire legislature] we should be concerned with criminal ideas like
this and how we are teaching it."

NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott responded, "Evolutionary
scientists are Democrats and Republicans, Libertarians and Greens and
everything. Similarly, their religious views are all over the map,
too. ... If you replace atheism in the bill with Protestantism, or
Catholicism, or Judaism or any other view, it's clear to see it's not
going to pass legal muster." She also noted that the bill would
presumably require teachers to ascertain the political and religious
views of every scientist mentioned in their biology textbooks, a
requirement which she characterized as "pretty dopey."

The Telegraph added, "Another bill that also targeted the teaching of
evolution in public schools, mandating instructions about 'proper
scientific inquiry' (HB1457), was killed by voice vote last week."
That bill would have charged the state board of education to
"[r]equire science teachers to instruct pupils that proper scientific
inquire [sic] results from not committing to any one theory or
hypothesis, no matter how firmly it appears to be established, and
that scientific and technological innovations based on new evidence
can challenge accepted scientific theories or modes."

Although HB 1457 as drafted was silent about "intelligent design," the
initial request of its sponsor Gary Hopper (R-District 7) was to have
a bill drafted that would require "instruction in intelligent design
in the public schools." Hopper later told the Concord Monitor
(December 29, 2011) that although he would like to see "intelligent
design" taught in classrooms, he was not able to find a successful
legislative precedent. Instead, he explained, "I want the problems
with the current theories to be presented so that kids understand that
science doesn't really have all the answers. They are just guessing."

For the story in the Nashua Telegraph, visit:
http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/953 ... ve-in.html

For the story in the Concord Monitor, visit:
http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/3 ... -evolution

For the text of New Hampshire's HB 1148 and 1457 as introduced, visit:
http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legisla ... B1148.html
http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legisla ... B1457.html

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in New Hampshire, visit:
http://ncse.com/news/new-hampshire

OKLAHOMA ANTISCIENCE BILL PASSES THE HOUSE

Oklahoma's House Bill 1551 -- one of two bills attacking the teaching
of evolution and of climate change active in the Oklahoma legislature
during 2012 -- passed the House of Representatives on a 56-12 vote on
March 15, 2012. If enacted, HB 1551 would encourage teachers to
present the "scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses" of
"controversial" topics such as "biological evolution, the chemical
origins of life, global warming, and human cloning." The bill was
originally introduced in 2011 by Sally Kern (R-District 84), a
persistent sponsor of antievolution legislation in the Sooner State;
although it was rejected by the House Common Education Committee in
2011, it resurfaced in 2012 under the sponsorship of Gus Blackwell
(R-District 61), and a slightly amended version was passed by the
committee in February 2012.

In its current incarnation, HB 1551 differs only slightly from
Oklahoma's Senate Bill 320 from 2009, which a member of the Senate
Education Committee described to the Tulsa World (February 17, 2009)
as one of the worst bills that he had ever seen. Explaining his
opposition to such bills in the Oklahoman (March 16, 2012), Douglas W.
Mock, the George Lynn Cross Research Professor in the University of
Oklahoma's Department of Zoology, wrote, "Wrapped in the deceptive
language of promoting critical thinking, they aim to get the nose of a
malodorous camel (pseudoscience) inside the tent of science. This
camel has tried before, many times, and been rebuffed -- for good
reason." He added, "The low scientific literacy of our citizens is a
serious concern that's not helped by adding fake controversies."

For information about Oklahoma's House Bill 1551, visit:
http://www.oklegislature.gov/BillInfo.aspx?Bill=hb1551

For the story in the Tulsa World, visit:
http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article. ... LAHO853574

For Douglas W. Mock's op-ed in the Oklahoman, visit:
http://newsok.com/two-bills-in-oklahoma ... le/3657912

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Oklahoma, visit:
http://ncse.com/news/oklahoma

Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website --
http://ncse.com -- where you can always find the latest news on
evolution and climate education and threats to them.

--
Sincerely,

Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
510-601-7203 x305
fax: 510-601-7204
800-290-6006
branch@ncse.com
http://ncse.com

Read Reports of the NCSE on-line:
http://reports.ncse.com

Subscribe to NCSE's free weekly e-newsletter:
http://groups.google.com/group/ncse-news

NCSE is on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter:
http://www.facebook.com/evolution.ncse
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NCSE's work is supported by its members. Join today!
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Huffington Post & "Talk Nerdy to Me" on the TN Monkey bill

Postby Ellen » Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:08 pm


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Sign the petition against the TN Monkey Bill

Postby Ellen » Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:31 pm


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Re: More antievolution bills

Postby Dardedar » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:20 pm

Oklahoma antiscience bill dies

"Oklahoma's House Bill 1551, one of two bills attacking the teaching of evolution and of climate change active in the Oklahoma legislature during 2012, is now in effect dead, according to Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education. Originally introduced in 2011, HB 1551 was rejected by the House Common Education Committee in that year, but revived and passed by the committee in 2012, and then passed by the House of Representatives on a 56-12 vote on March 15, 2012, and sent to the Senate Education Committee, where it died. April 2, 2012, was the last meeting of the Senate Education Committee in the present legislative session, and April 5, 2012, is the deadline for single-assigned house bills (such as HB 1551) to be reported from their senate committees.

OESE credited the victory to the outcry, prompted by national and state organizations, from concerned Oklahomans to their state senators: "The result of these efforts resulted in HUNDREDS of messages being sent to members of the Senate committee. The messages were still arriving at committee members' offices on Monday morning as the Committee was meeting. These messages, along with some direct lobbying efforts with committee members by individuals and organizations, were certainly responsible for the defeat. All who helped are thanked for their important help. Thus, in influencing legislation, NUMBERS DO COUNT." But OESE also warned, "The creationists are not likely to stop," adding, "we must be prepared to continue the opposition in future years."

http://ncse.com/news/2012/04/oklahoma-a ... Z.facebook
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Looks like the TN bill will be signed by Gov. Haslam

Postby Ellenl » Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:03 am

To further conservative efforts at distorting science education...

Tenn. governor 'probably' will sign evolution bill
By LUCAS L. JOHNSON II, Associated Press – 12 hours ago
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee, where the nation's first big legal battle over evolution was fought nearly 90 years ago, is close to enacting a law that critics deride as the "monkey bill" for once again attacking the scientific theory.
The measure passed by the Tennessee General Assembly would protect teachers who allow students to criticize evolution and other scientific theories, such as global warming. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said this week he would likely sign it into law.
Haslam said the State Board of Education has told him the measure won't affect the state's current scientific curriculum for primary, middle or high school students. Louisiana enacted a similar law in 2008.
"I think the one thing about that bill is this: Nothing about the curriculum of the state of Tennessee will change, and the scientific standards won't change," he said. "So I think some of the discussion about its impact has probably been overblown."
The bill says it would encourage critical thinking by protecting teachers from discipline if they help students critique "scientific weaknesses."
Scientists in Tennessee and the American Association for the Advancement of Science are asking Haslam to veto the bill, saying that evolution is established science that shouldn't be taught as a controversy.
"The Tennessee legislature is doing the unbelievable: attempting to roll the clock back to 1925 by attempting to insert religious beliefs in the teaching of science," three Tennessee scientists wrote in an op-ed column in The Tennessean.
The three writers hold doctorate degrees and are members of the National Academy of Sciences: Roger D. Cone and Jon Kaas of Vanderbilt University and Robert G. Webster of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. They argue that the law is unnecessary and likely to provide expensive legal fights and hurt the economy in Tennessee, which is home to Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The Tennessee Education Association called the bill a distraction from the most pressing education issues in the state.
"I think at a time when we're trying to put a focus on science, math, education; to pass something like this really sends a signal that the state is going backward instead of forward," TEA lobbyist Jerry Winters said. " ... They're avoiding the real problems in education by dealing with some of these emotional hot-button issues."
The state held the famous Scopes "monkey trial" in 1925 in Dayton, Tenn., and opponents of the legislation say evolution is still under attack in 2012.
School teacher John Scopes was convicted of violating state statute by teaching evolution in biology class and fined him $100. The Tennessee Supreme Court overturned it on a technicality a year later. In 1967, Tennessee's anti-evolution law was revoked.
Some believe the bill could open the door for religious teaching in the classroom. The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee asked the governor to veto it.
State ACLU executive director Hedy Weinberg said allowing students to critique "scientific weaknesses" is language frequently used by those seeking to introduce non-scientific ideas like creationism and intelligent design into science curriculum.
"No one doubts the value of critical thinking to any serious course of scientific study, but this legislation is not truly aimed at developing students' critical thinking skills," she wrote.
House sponsor Bill Dunn, a Knoxville Republican, said the proposal states that it is "not ... construed to promote religion."
"What the bill says is that as long as you stick to objective scientific facts, then you can bring that into play," the Knoxville Republican said. "So if students start asking questions or if there's debate on it, it's not a one-sided debate. But it is a fair debate, in that it's objective scientific facts that are brought forward."
Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Oklahoma bill already rises again

Postby Ellenl » Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:41 am

A renewed assault on science in Oklahoma
April 3rd, 2012 Oklahoma Anti-Evolution Climate Change 2012
16

The attack on the teaching of evolution and of climate change in Oklahoma continues, despite the failure of House Bill 1551 and Senate Bill 1742. As introduced, House Bill 2341 would, if enacted, have extended by two years a deadline by which local school districts are required to meet certain standards for media, equipment, and textbooks. The bill passed the House on a 81-8 vote on March 7, 2012, and proceeded to the Senate Education Committee, where it passed on March 26, 2012.

But on March 28, 2012, Steve Russell (R-District 45) proposed to amend HB 2341 with the addition of a new section containing the language of HB 1551, encouraging teachers to present the "scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses" of "controversial" topics such as "biological evolution" and "global warming." The proposal will be considered when the bill comes to a floor vote in the Senate; it is currently on the Senate calendar, but not on the Senate agenda, for April 3, 2012.

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TN bill becomes law

Postby Ellenl » Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:13 pm

Now we have states with “Academic freedom” laws to the south, the east, and if the Oklahoma bill with the A.F. amendment passes, we will have one to the west as well. I am disheartened that conservatives are winning battles to lawfully allow under-educated, misinformed, and overtly fundamentalist teachers to guide K – 12 students towards mistrusting scientific theories and science in general. “Well, Susie, they say we are related to oysters! What do you think about that? Does that seem like good science to you?”. And, “Johnny, should we allow environmental regulations that rob us of our very freedom for these fears about global warming? Climate variation is natural! When we really look at science the right (and righteous) way… I know first-hand, it happens, and now laws say its okay.

Tennessee ‘monkey bill’ becomes law
A second US state lets schools ‘teach the controversy’ surrounding politically charged topics in science.

Helen Thompson
11 April 2012

An Anti-Evolution League book sale at the beginning of the 1925 Scopes trial in Tennessee. The state has once again become a science-education battleground.
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The governor of Tennessee has allowed the passage of the 'monkey bill', giving public-school teachers licence to teach alternatives to those mainstream scientific theories often attacked by religious and political conservatives.

Nicknamed for the ‘monkey trial’ of 1925, in which Tennessee prosecuted high-school science teacher John Scopes for violating a state law against teaching evolution, the new measure allows public-school teachers to “help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories.” Biological evolution, global warming, the chemical origins of life and human cloning are listed as examples of such theories.

The legislation, which was passed in both houses of the Republican-controlled state legislature with strong margins, was sent to Governor William Haslam, also a Republican, on 29 March. He neither signed nor vetoed the bill, so it automatically became law on 10 April.

“I do not believe that this legislation changes the scientific standards that are taught in our schools or the curriculum that is used by our teachers,” Haslam said in a written statement explaining his equivocal stance. “However, I also don’t believe that it accomplishes anything that isn’t already acceptable in our schools.”

Proponents of the law, House Bill (HB) 368/Senate Bill 893, maintain that its purpose is simply to encourage scepticism and evidence-based reasoning. “Critical thinking fosters good science,” said Robin Zimmer, a biotechnology consultant and affiliate of the creationist Center for Faith and Science International in Knoxville, at a legislative hearing on 2 March.

But opponents say that the real goal of the bill is apparent from the list of subjects it singles out. “HB 368 and other bills like it are a permission slip for teachers to bring creationism, climate-change denial and other non-science into science classrooms,” says Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) in Oakland, California.

Related stories
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More related stories
The American Academy for the Advancement of Science and the National Association of Biology Teachers have also denounced the measure, as have 4,400 Tennessee residents — many of them scientists — who on 5 April submitted a petition asking Haslam to veto the bill. The bill’s critics see it as a classic ‘academic-freedom’ measure aimed at giving teachers licence to treat evolution as a matter of scientific controversy. In recent years, the Discovery Institute, an intelligent-design advocacy group based in Seattle, Washington, has championed this approach as a strategic way around a prohibition on promoting religion in US public schools. That barrier, based on the separation of church and state in the US constitution, has thwarted previous efforts to mandate the teaching of creationism-like alternatives alongside evolution but it has not yet been tested against an 'academic freedom' law.  The Tennessee measure is only the second such law to be passed in the United States — Louisiana enacted the first in 2008 — but ten states have considered them in the past two years.  

It is hard to predict the new law’s real-world effects. “Curriculum decisions are made district by district and classroom by classroom,” points out Josh Rosenau, director of programmes and policy at NCSE. According to Barbara Forrest, a philosopher at the Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond and co-founder of the Louisiana Coalition for Science, the 2008 Louisiana law “has produced unintended changes in the state board of education’s implementation policy, which now doesn’t prohibit discussion of creationism or intelligent design and allows local school boards to select textbooks outside of those approved by the state.”

But in Tennessee, unlike in Louisiana, the law requires teachers to stay within the state science curriculum. So the ramifications of the law will depend on how local teachers and school boards interpret that requirement.  “There are school districts in Tennessee that don’t pay any attention to the state curriculum,” says Timothy Gaudin, a biologist at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. “So there are some people who are going to do what they want to do no matter what.”

Gaudin and Cone agree that the law could cost Tennessee dearly if parents sue — which they might have grounds to do. The US Supreme Court ruled in 1987 that the mandated teaching of creationism alongside the theory of evolution in public classrooms was unconstitutional. So far, no one has challenged Louisiana’s law in court.

For that reason, says Rosenau, “my guess is that the greatest practical effect will actually be on the climate-change and human-cloning fronts rather than evolution, because there’s no constitutional issue on those subjects.”

Whatever happens, says Scott, Tennessee’s law will be closely watched. “Just as the Tennessee bill was inspired by a similar law in Louisiana,” she says, “the Tennessee bill would surely inspire other states to go down this same dangerous path.” 

Nature doi:10.1038/nature.2012.10423

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The dark hearts of the anti-religious spewing venom

Postby Ellenl » Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:54 pm

[State Rep. Bill] Dunn said he is not sure why there is such an uproar over the bill, since its intention is quite clear. He said the anti-religious are turning this into a religious issue, misconstruing facts and using the bill as an excuse to be "mean and hateful."

"The opponents of the bill are prejudiced," he said. "I think they have an anti-religious bias and they use this bill as an excuse to spew their venom and hatred. And it is not based on the words of bill - it's based on the darkness in their hearts."


Golly gosh Bill, then why make a law? Why not use curriculum frameworks to nudge science over in the classroom? From your own words it is clear that you feel a need to save kids from the "dark hearts" of scientists. Unfortunately, your enacted bill is a step backward for a society that would be better off learning how to act responsibly towards future generations in terms of medical advancements and sustainability.

And, isn't it exclusively religious folks who have a problem with evolution anyway (yes, yes, yes)? Of course those same anti-evolution religious folks sure are useful voters when you link climate change (foe of big business) to such dark-hearted, venom-spewing evolutionary scientists. Better protect the children with blankets of irrational ignorance.

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Re: More antievolution bills

Postby Dardedar » Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:52 pm

This clip is precious:

http://www.skepticmoney.com/don-mcleroy ... bert-show/

Don McLeroy (Texas BOE Nutter) Proves He Is An Idiot On The Colbert Show
"I'm not a skeptic because I want to believe, I'm a skeptic because I want to know." --Michael Shermer

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Re: More antievolution bills

Postby Dardedar » Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:23 pm

Regarding that Theory of Evolution...

Excerpt from: "Intelligent Design: The Faith That Dare Not Speak Its Name"

"Let's start with the obvious place to look, the fossil record. Even in Darwin's time, there was evidence here supporting evolution, in the sequence of organisms laid down in the rocks. The deepest and oldest sediments show marine invertebrates; fish appear much later, and amphibians, reptiles, and mammals later still. Why should divine creation follow such a path, from the simple to the complex? Yet it is what we would expect with evolution. Darwin also observed that the species inhabiting any region-the living marsupials of Australia, for instance-closely resemble fossils found in the same place. This suggests that the former descended from the latter. We can trace evolutionary changes in lineages through the record: Diatoms grow larger, clamshells get ribbier, horses become larger and toothier, and the human lineage evolves bigger brains, smaller teeth, and greater proficiency at walking on two legs. There are transitional forms, too-but more on those later. Leaving behind the dead, we also find ample evidence of evolution among the living-relics that the evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould dubbed "the senseless signs of history." They are many: The tooth buds developed in the embryonic stage by birds and anteaters-buds that are later aborted and never erupt-are remnants of their toothed ancestors. The tiny vestigial wings hidden under the feathers of the flightless kiwi attest to its ancestors' ability to fly. Some cave-dwelling animals have rudimentary eyes that cannot see, degenerate remnants of their ancestors' sighted ones. What creator, or guiding intelligence, would give animals such useless tooth buds, wings, or eyes? Our bodies, too, are a palimpsest of our ancestry. The appendix is a familiar example. Less well known is the bad design of the recurrent laryngeal nerve-a nerve that runs from the brain to the larynx, helping us speak and swallow. In mammals, this nerve doesn't take a direct route but descends into the chest, loops around the aorta near the heart, and then runs back up to the larynx. It is several times longer than it needs to be; in the giraffe the nerve has to traverse the neck twice and so is fifteen feet long-fourteen feet longer than necessary! The added length makes the nerve more susceptible to injury, and its tortuous path makes sense only in light of evolution. We inherited our developmental pathway from that of ancestral fish, in which the precursor of the recurrent laryngeal nerve attached to the sixth of the gill arches, embryonic bars of muscle, nerves, and blood vessels that developed into gills. During the evolution of land animals, some of the ancestral vessels disappeared, while others were rearranged into a new circulatory system. The blood vessel in the sixth gill arch moved backward into the chest, becoming the aorta. As it did so, the nerve that looped around it was constrained to move backward in tandem. Natural selection could not create the most efficient configuration because that would have required breaking the nerve and leaving the larynx without innervation. Look deeper and you find evidence for evolution buried in our DNA. Our genome is a veritable farrago of nonfunctional DNA, including many inactive "pseudogenes" that were functional in our ancestors. Why do humans, unlike most mammals, require vitamin C in their diet? Because primates cannot synthesize this essential nutrient from simpler chemicals. Yet we still carry all the genes for synthesizing vitamin C. The gene used for the last step in this pathway was inactivated by mutations 40 million years ago, probably because it was unnecessary in fruit-eating primates." --Jerry A. Coyne, "Intelligent Design: The Faith That Dare Not Speak Its Name"
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Oklahoma HB 2341 goes down

Postby Ellenl » Fri May 04, 2012 8:08 pm

From the NCSE...

ANTISCIENCE EFFORT FALTERS IN OKLAHOMA

A last-ditch legislative attempt to attack the teaching of evolution
and of climate change in Oklahoma failed when a legislative deadline
passed. After two antiscience bills, House Bill 1551 and Senate Bill
1742, died in committee, Steve Russell (R-District 45) proposed to
amend House Bill 2341 -- a bill that would have extended by two years
a deadline by which local school districts are required to meet
certain standards for media, equipment, and textbooks -- by adding the
language from HB 1551, encouraging teachers to present "scientific
strengths and scientific weaknesses" of "controversial" topics such as
"biological evolution" and "global warming." The amended version of
the bill would have been considered when the bill came to a floor vote
in the Senate, but April 26, 2012, was the deadline for bills to
receive their third reading in the opposite house, so presumably no
floor vote will occur. The legislative session is not over until May
25, 2012, however, so the possibility of similar amendments to
unrelated bills remains. Resistance to the amendment to HB 2341, as
well as HB 1551 and SB 1742, was coordinated by the grassroots
organization Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education.

For Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education, visit:
http://www.oklascience.org/

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Oklahoma, visit:
http://ncse.com/news/oklahoma

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Tax dollars funding the teaching creationism

Postby Ellenl » Wed May 30, 2012 4:11 pm

Private school scholarships "a boon to creationism"?
May 24th, 2012 National Anti-Evolution 2012

http://ncse.com/news/2012/05/private-sc ... ism-007422

The NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/22/educa ... .html?_r=1

Private school scholarship programs "have been twisted to benefit private schools at the expense of the neediest children," according to The New York Times (May 22, 2012) — and part of the problem involves the teaching of creationism. At issue are programs in eight states that allow taxpayers to donate money to non-profit groups that award scholarships to students attending private schools; the taxpayers receive tax credits in return for their donations. "This school year alone, the programs redirected nearly $350 million that would have gone into public budgets to pay for private school scholarships for 129,000 students," the Times reported, adding, "While the scholarship programs have helped many children whose parents would have to scrimp or work several jobs to send them to private schools, the money has also been used to attract star football players, expand the payrolls of the nonprofit scholarship groups and spread the theology of creationism."

"Some of the schools use textbooks produced by Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Book, a Christian publisher in Pensacola, Fla.," the Times observed. Such textbooks were at issue in the 2005 legal case ACSI v. Stearns, where the plaintiffs charged that the University of California system discriminated against applicants from Christian schools by rejecting high school biology courses that use these creationist textbooks as "inconsistent with the viewpoints and knowledge generally accepted in the scientific community." In court documents, the university system described the books as "inappropriate for use as primary texts in college preparatory science courses due to their characterizations of religious doctrine as scientific evidence, scientific inaccuracies, failure to encourage critical thinking, and overall un-scientific approach." The plaintiffs, though aided by the expert witness Michael Behe, lost their case as well as their subsequent appeals.

According to the Times, "Most of the private schools are religious. Nearly a quarter of the participating schools in Georgia require families to make a profession of religious faith, according to their Web sites. Many of those schools adhere to a fundamentalist brand of Christianity. A commonly used sixth-grade science text retells the creation story contained in Genesis, omitting any other explanation." “You have to keep in mind that the curriculum goes beyond the textbook,” the headmaster of a Christian school in Georgia told the Times, adding, “Not only do we teach the students that creation is the way the world was created and that God is in control and he made all things, we also teach them what the false theories of the world are, such as the Big Bang theory and Darwinism. We teach those as fallacies.” The Times explained, "The programs are insulated from provisions requiring church-state separation because the donations are collected and distributed by the nonprofit scholarship groups."

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Next Generation Science Standard - Life Science

Postby Ellenl » Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:34 pm

The upcoming national Next Generation Science Standards are clear that evolutionary processes connect the myriad facts and observations of biology, YAY! Arkansas will be one of the first states to adopt these standards, YAY! Kansas also, but they are already back-pedaling as one would expect of Kansas.

Here is a link to the intro of the Life Science NGSS:

http://download.nap.edu/cart/download.c ... le=139-168

And, the woes being felt in Kansas:

TROUBLE ON THE KANSAS HORIZON?

"Kansas is headed toward another debate over how evolution is taught
in its public schools," the Associated Press (June 6, 2012) reports,
"with a State Board of Education member saying Wednesday that science
standards under development are 'very problematic' for describing the
theory as a well-established, core scientific concept." The standards
in question are the Next Generation Science Standards, a first draft
of which was released for public comment in May 2012. Evolution is
prominent throughout the relevant portions of the NGSS: in life
sciences, for example, Natural Selection and Evolution is one of five
main topics at the high school level, and Natural Selection and
Adaptations is one of five main topics at the middle school level.

Kansas is among the twenty-six "lead state partners" of the NGSS
development process, officially assisting in the development,
adoption, and implementation of the standards; although the lead state
partners are not required to adopt the standards, they have agreed to
give them "serious consideration" for adoption when they emerge in
their final form -- which may be as soon as the end of 2012. But
Kansas state board of education member Ken Willard told the Associated
Press that the draft embraces naturalism and secular humanism, which
he described as "very problematic" and as "preferring one religious
position over another"; he intends to raise the issue on June 12,
2012, when the board is scheduled to hear a presentation on the
present status of the NGSS.

"In the past," the Associated Press noted, "Willard has supported
standards for Kansas with material that questions evolution;
guidelines that he and other conservatives approved in 2005 were
supplanted by the current ones." As NCSE reported, in November 2005,
the Kansas state board of education voted 6-4 to adopt the draft set
of state science standards that were rewritten, under the tutelage of
local "intelligent design" activists, to impugn the scientific status
of evolution -- a decision roundly condemned by state and national
scientific and education groups. After the antievolution faction on
the board, which included Willard, lost its majority in the 2006
elections, the board reversed the decision in February 2007; the
antievolution version of the standards was not in place long enough to
be felt in the classrooms.

For the Associated Press's story (via the Washington Post), visit:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/ ... story.html

For information about the Next Generation Science Standards, visit:
http://www.nextgenscience.org/

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Kansas, visit:
http://ncse.com/news/kansas

Ellenl
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Public funds, anti-evolution lessons, and the Loch Ness Mons

Postby Ellenl » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:19 pm



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