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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2009/06/05

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

NCSE's Eugenie C. Scott is interviewed in Science, while NCSE's Steven
Newton explains what's wrong with the new Texas state science
standards. And two antievolution bills in the Texas legislature are
now dead.


NCSE's executive director was interviewed in the latest issue of
Science under the headline "Eugenie Scott Toils in Defense of
Evolution." Introducing the interview, Science's Yudhijit
Bhattacharjee remarked, "Last week, Scott won the inaugural Stephen
Jay Gould Prize from the Society for the Study of Evolution, only
weeks after Scientific American ranked her among the country's top 10
science and technology leaders for her self-described role as
'Darwin's golden retriever.'"

Explaining that the antievolution movement has become more diverse
over the last twenty years, Scott reviewed the present situation,
noting especially the prevalence of "closet creationism being
introduced through wording not obvious to those unfamiliar with the
history of the controversy." Asked what scientists should do to help
the cause of defending the teaching of evolution, she answered,
"Universities need to do a better job of teaching evolution because
that's where high school teachers get their training. Evolution needs
to be brought into every course of biology instead of getting tacked
on as a unit to the intro class."

For the interview (subscription required), visit:


Writing in The Earth Scientist, the journal of the National Earth
Science Teachers Association, NCSE's Steven Newton explains in detail
what's wrong with the new state science standards adopted in Texas in
March 2009, focusing on the Earth and Space Science standards in
particular. At the behest of the creationist faction on the state
board of education, references to the specific age of the universe,
common descent, and evolution were removed, and language that
misleadingly suggests that established scientific results are in doubt
was introduced. Newton concludes, "Although the original ESS standards
were based on strong science and outlined an excellent course in earth
sciences, a number of creationist and anti-science amendments have
weakened the ESS standards and disrespected the hard work and
expertise of the writing team. The standards are finalized and in
place, bad amendments and all. The struggle for science education in
Texas now shifts to the adoption of textbooks in 2011, when these
deeply-flawed amendments may be used to force a creationist agenda
into Texas science classrooms."

For Newton's article (PDF, pp. 30-33), visit:

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


Two antievolution bills -- House Bill 2800 and House Bill 4224 -- died
when the Texas legislature adjourned on June 1, 2009. HB 2800 would
have exempted institutions such as the Institute for Creation
Research's graduate school from Texas's regulations governing
degree-granting institutions, thus freeing the ICR to offer a master's
degree in science education despite the Texas Higher Education
Coordination Board's 2008 decision to deny the ICR's request for a
state certification of authority to offer the degree. The ICR is
currently suing THECB in federal court over its decision. HB 4224
would have required the Texas state board of education to restore the
controversial "strengths and weaknesses" language in the Texas state
science standards. Although creationists on the board were
unsuccessful in restoring the "strengths and weaknesses" language,
they successfully introduced a requirement that students examine "all
sides of scientific evidence." Partly due to his attempts to undermine
the treatment of evolution in the state science standards, the senate
voted not to confirm Don McLeroy in his position as chair of the
board; the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (May 31, 2009) editorially
commented, "It is overly optimistic to say the Senate’s rejection of
Don McLeroy as chairman of the State Board of Education will end the
missteps and arguments that have plagued the board during the past two
years. Still, we can hope."

For the text of the bills, visit:

For the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's editorial, visit:

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

Thanks for reading! And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- -- 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 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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