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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2010/07/23

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

Barbara Forrest slams the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act again. 
Meanwhile, a host of new videos is now available on NCSE's YouTube channel, 
and there's unsurprising poll data on the acceptance of evolution in 
Canada, Great Britain, and the United States.


Writing in the Shreveport Times (July 18, 2010), Barbara Forrest blasted the 
Louisiana Science Education Act, which opened the door for creationism to be 
taught in the state's public schools. Responding to the executive director 
of the Louisiana Family Forum, who in a previous column praised "the courage 
of our policy writers," she replied, "The LFF announced on their website that 
they wrote the bill. They were assisted by the Discovery Institute (DI), a 
creationist think tank in Seattle that has hawked 'intelligent design' for 
almost two decades." She also noted the anomaly of the bill's including a 
disclaimer prohibiting "discrimination for or against religion or non-religion": 
"But legislation that is about real science education need not include religion 
disclaimers," she explained. "Disclaimers are typically included in creationist 
laws, which are precisely about promoting religion." Additionally, she observed, 
it was creationists who were foremost in pushing for the bill. "Public school 
science teachers did not request this law. On the contrary, they opposed it." 
Forrest, a member of NCSE's board of directors and of Louisiana Coalition for 
Science's board of directors, is Professor of Philosophy at Southeastern 
Louisiana University and the coauthor with Paul R. Gross of Creationism's 
Trojan Horse (revised edition: Oxford University Press, 2007).

For Forrest's column, visit: 

For information on Louisiana Coalition for Science, visit: 

For information about Creationism's Trojan Horse, visit: 

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


NCSE is pleased to announce that a further batch of videos featuring NCSE's 
executive director Eugenie C. Scott is now available at NCSE's YouTube channel. 
Featured is "The Evolution of Creationism" (in three parts), recorded at North 
Dakota State University in February 2010. In addition, there's "God, Darwin, 
or Both" (in five parts), featuring Scott in a panel discussion with old-earth 
creationist Hugh Ross and young-earth creationist Duane Gish, filmed at Santa 
Clara First Baptist Church in Santa Clara, California, in September 2001; 
"Reinventing Evolution," delivered to the Skeptics Society in Pasadena, 
California in 1998; and a radio discussion with young-earth creationist Kent 
Hovind recorded in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1993. Plus there's Kevin 
Padian, the president of NCSE's board of directors, appearing on WNET's "Inside 
the Law" program along with Charles Haynes, Michael McIlwrath, William Dembski, 
and Wendell Bird in 1996. Tune in and enjoy!

For NCSE's YouTube channel, visit: 


A new poll indicates that public acceptance of evolution is significantly higher 
in Great Britain and Canada than in the United States. The poll, conducted by 
Angus Reid Public Opinion, asked, "Which of these statements comes closest to 
your own point of view regarding the origin and development of human beings on 
earth?" and offered the choices "Human beings evolved from less advanced life 
forms over millions of years" and "God created human beings in their present 
form within the last 10,000 years."

In the United States, there was no statement commanding the assent of the 
majority of respondents: 35% of respondents preferred the evolution statement 
and 47% preferred the creationism statement, with 18% unsure. In Canada and Great 
Britain, however, evolution was the majority view. In Canada, 61% of respondents 
preferred the evolution statement and 24% preferred the creationism statement, 
with 15% unsure. In Great Britain, 68% of respondents preferred the evolution 
statement, and 16% preferred the creationism statement, with 15% unsure.

The results were also presented by region. Acceptance of evolution in the United 
States was lowest in the South (27%, as opposed to 51% accepting creationism) 
and highest in the Northeast (43%, as opposed to 38% accepting creationism). In 
Canada, acceptance of creationism was highest in Manitoba/Saskatchewan (39%, as 
opposed to 50% accepting evolution) and Alberta (31%, as opposed to 51% accepting 
evolution). In Great Britain, acceptance of creationism was highest in London 
(25%, as opposed to 58% accepting evolution).

The choices offered by Angus Reid are similar, but not identical, to Gallup's, 
which offers two versions of the evolution statement, specifying "God guided 
this process" and "God had no part in this process." In 2008, 36% of Gallup's 
respondents preferred the "God guided" statement and 14% preferred the "God had 
no part" statement, for a total of 50% accepting evolution, as opposed to 44% 
accepting the creationist statement. Gallup's results are more or less consistent 
from 1982 to 2008.

The Angus Reid poll was conducted on-line between July 1 and July 9, 2010, among 
1009 Canadian adults, 1002 American adults, and 2011 British adults. The margin 
of error is +/- 3.1% for Canada and the United States and +/- 2.2% for Great 
Britain. Angus Reid explains, "The results have been statistically weighted 
according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to 
ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of Canada, the US 
and Great Britain. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding."

For the report from Angus Reid (PDF), visit: 

For the data from Gallup, visit: 

For NCSE's collection of information on polls and surveys, 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

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