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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2008/12/05

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

The Cincinnati Zoo distances itself from a widely criticized promotion
involving Answers in Genesis's Creation Museum.  Plus Kevin Padian, who
serves as president of NCSE's board of directors, is continuing to speak
and write in enthusiastic defense of the teaching of evolution.  And a new
batch of selected content from NCSE's journal is now available on-line.


"A promotional deal between the Cincinnati Zoo and the Creation Museum was
scuttled Monday after the zoo received dozens of angry calls and emails
about the partnership," reported the Cincinnati Enquirer (December 1,
2008).  The promotion involved a package deal for tickets to the zoo's
annual Festival of Lights and to a Christmas-themed event at Answers in
Genesis's Creation Museum.  The museum, which opened its doors in northern
Kentucky during Memorial Day weekend 2007, aims to illuminate "the effects
of biblical history on our present and future world" -- that is, to
evangelize for Answers in Genesis's particular brand of young-earth

On November 30, 2008, biologist and blogger P. Z. Myers complained about
the promotion at his blog Pharyngula, writing, "the Cincinnati Zoo has
betrayed its mission and its trust in a disgraceful way, by aligning
themselves with a creationist institution that is a laughing stock to the
rest of the world, and a mark of shame to the United States," and urging
his readers to write to the zoo to "point out the conflict between what
they are doing and what their goal as an educational and research
institution ought to be."  Other bloggers echoed his call, and the zoo was
evidently flooded with calls and e-mails, prompting it to cancel the
promotion because of the uproar.  No refunds will be necessary, since no
packages of tickets had been sold.

NCSE's previous coverage of the Creation "Museum" includes Daniel Phelps's
review and overview and Timothy H. Heaton's account of his visit.  NCSE
also sponsored a statement, signed by almost one thousand scientists in the
three states surrounding the museum -- Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana --
expressing their concern about the effect of the scientifically inaccurate
materials displayed there:  "Students who accept this material as
scientifically valid are unlikely to succeed in science courses at the
college level.  These students will need remedial instruction in the nature
of science, as well as in the specific areas of science misrepresented by
Answers in Genesis."

For the story in the Cincinnati Enquirer, visit:

For P. Z. Myers's blog post, visit:

For Phelps's and Heaton's articles, visit:

For the NCSE-sponsored statement of concern, visit:


Kevin Padian, who serves as president of NCSE's board of directors, is
continuing to speak and write in enthusiastic defense of the teaching of
evolution.  To inaugurate Evolution '09, San Francisco's celebration of the
bicentennial of Darwin's birth and the sesquicentennial of the publication
of the Origin of Species, Padian spent about sixty minutes in a spirited
and lively discussion of evolution and religion with Alan Jones, the dean
of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, on November 22, 2008.  Now video of
the event is available on-line from  Discussing the challenge of
educating the public about evolution, Padian suggested that scientists need
to talk about the major transitions in evolution -- his specialty as a
vertebrate paleontologist -- "faster, harder, and more often."  For
specifics, see his commentary in the February 2008 issue of Geotimes and
his article in Integrative and Comparative Biology 2008; 48 (2): 175-188.

Additionally, Padian discusses "The evolution of creationists in the United
States: Where are they now, and where are they going?" in a forthcoming
paper in Comptes Rendus Biologies, the proceedings of the French Academy of
Sciences for life sciences.  There he writes, "As evolutionary biology in
all its forms continues to bring forth amazing new insights from the origin
of whales to the evolution of microbial resistance, one would think that
the anti-evolutionists would have less to cling to each year, and that they
would give up their arguments as disproven misapprehensions.  They will
not, despite recent victories against ID as science and the lunacy of
'creation science'.  Creationists reject the notion of a rational universe
because they believe that evolution depends upon the dominance of 'random
processes' that allow no divine direction or teleological goal.  This is
the core of the resistance to evolution in America, and it will not go away
anytime soon."

In addition to serving as president of NCSE's board of directors, Padian is
Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of California at
Berkeley and also Curator of Paleontology at the University of California's
Museum of Paleontology.  He recently received the 2008 Western Evolutionary
Biologist of the Year award from the Network for Experimental Research on
Evolution.  He testified for the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller v. Dover, the
2005 case establishing the unconstitutionality of teaching "intelligent
design" in the public schools.  In his decision, Judge John E. Jones III
wrote, "Padian's demonstrative slides, prepared on the basis of
peer-review[ed] scientific literature, illustrate how Pandas systematically
distorts and misrepresents established, important evolutionary
principles."  He also noted that "Padian bluntly and effectively stated
that in confusing students about science generally and evolution in
particular, the disclaimer makes students 'stupid.'"

For the video of Padian's talk with Jones, visit:

For Padian's commentary in Geotimes, visit:

For Padian's article in Integrative and Comparative Biology (subscription
required), visit:

For Padian's paper in Comptes Rendus Biologies (subscription required),

For information about Padian's Webby award, visit:

For Padian's testimony in Kitzmiller, with the slides he used, visit:

For the Kitzmiller decision (PDF), visit:


Selected content from volume 28, number 2, of Reports of the National
Center for Science Education is now available on NCSE's website.  Featured
are NCSE's Josh Rosenau's account of how the e-word -- evolution -- was
finally included in Florida's state science standards and NCSE's Glenn
Branch's report on the Texas Higher Education Coordination Board's decision
to deny the Institute for Creation Research authority to offer a graduate
degree in science education.  And there are reviews, too:  NCSE Supporter
G. Brent Dalrymple discusses Pascal Richet's A Natural History of Time, Ken
Feder reviews David Standish's Hollow Earth, and Kevin C. Armitage assesses
Michael Lienesch's In the Beginning:  Fundamentalism, The Scopes Trial, and
the Making of the Antievolution Movement.

If you like what you see, why not subscribe to RNCSE today?  The next issue
(volume 28, numbers 5-6) is a special issue devoted to debunking the recent
creationist propaganda film, Expelled, containing not only the material
already to be found at Expelled Exposed, but also reports on the reception
of Expelled at the box office, among critics, and in Canada; a summary of
the ways in which organizations with a stake in the creationism/evolution
controversy reacted to the film; a summary of the various controversies
over Expelled's use of copyrighted material; and a detailed explanation of
Expelled's unsuitability for the classroom.  Don't miss out -- subscribe now!

For selected content from RNCSE 28:2, visit:

For Expelled Exposed, visit:

For subscription information for RNCSE, visit:


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Thanks for reading! And as always, be sure to consult NCSE's web site:

where you can always find the latest news on evolution education and
threats to it.


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

Not in Our Classrooms:  Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools

Eugenie C. Scott's Evolution vs. Creationism

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