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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2009/05/08

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

Florida's antievolution bill is apparently dead; the winners of
Alliance for Science's third annual essay contest have been announced;
and NCSE is expanding its presence on Facebook.


With the close of the regular legislative session in Florida on May 1,
2009, Senate Bill 2396 apparently died in committee. If enacted, the
bill would have amended a section of Florida law to require "[a]
thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory
of evolution." The bill's sponsor, Stephen R. Wise (R-District 5),
originally announced his intention to introduce a bill requiring
"intelligent design" to be taught in Florida's public schools, telling
the Jacksonville Times-Union (February 8, 2009), "If you're going to
teach evolution, then you have to teach the other side so you can have
critical thinking."

The phrase "[a] thorough presentation and critical analysis of the
scientific theory of evolution" appeared in the previous legislative
session in Florida. House Bill 1483, which originally purported to
protect the right of teachers to "objectively present scientific
information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding
biological and chemical evolution," was eventually amended -- due to
concerns about its constitutionality -- to require the public schools
to provide "[a] thorough presentation and critical analysis of the
scientific theory of evolution." Both that bill and its Senate
counterpart died in committee.

After SB 2396 was introduced, Florida Citizens for Science quickly
denounced it, writing, in a February 27, 2009, press release, "Wise’s
antievolution bill is an insult to citizens who are tired of stomping
over the same ground over and over again. The Florida Board of
Education and last year’s state legislature have already debated the
teaching of evolution ad nauseam. To insist on bringing this up again
is irresponsible because it will distract our lawmakers from the
important tasks at hand, and could burden one of our school districts
with a million dollar legal bill" (a reference to the Kitzmiller

For the story in the Jacksonville Times-Union, visit:

For Florida Citizens for Science's press release, visit:

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Florida, visit:


NCSE congratulates the winners of Alliance for Science's third annual
essay contest, announced on April 30, 2009. Alliance for Science -- a
non-profit organization which seeks "to heighten public understanding
and support for science and to preserve the distinctions between
science and religion in the public sphere" -- invited high school
students to compare the achievements and dedication of a modern-era
scientist with those of Charles Darwin.

Alliance for Science received entries from students around the
country. The winning entry was submitted by Regina Parker, a high
school sophomore in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, who wrote about
Walter J. Gehring. She received copies of Lauri Lebo's The Devil in
Dover and Carl Zimmer's Microcosm as well as $300 as a prize, while
her teacher Jessica Jones received copies of Kenneth R. Miller's
Finding Darwin's God and Only a Theory as well as $150 toward
classroom supplies.

Parker's prize essay, as well as four other prize-winning essays from
the contest, are now posted in PDF form at Alliance for Science's
website. "Our winners this year really showed how well they grasped
the theme of the contest," said Dick Lessard, the director of Alliance
for Science's essay contest. "We hope that all of the students who
entered the contest learned to look at Darwin's work and career in a
new light, while also developing an appreciation for the challenges
and excitement of science today."

For the announcement of the winners (PDF), visit:

For the prize essays, visit:


NCSE is expanding its presence on the social networking website
Facebook with a new page, supplementing the existing NCSE group. The
new page enables NCSE to showcase its work and interact with its fans
to a greater degree than ever before. To become a fan of NCSE's page,
visit the page and click on the "Become a Fan" link in the upper
right. Almost 2000 Facebook users are fans of the new page already —
please join them! NCSE's Facebook group, with over 3000 members, will
continue to operate as well.

For the new NCSE Facebook page, visit:

For the existing NCSE Facebook group, visit:


Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
510-601-7203 x310
fax: 510-601-7204

Eugenie C. Scott's Evolution vs. Creationism -- now in its second edition!

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

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