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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2011/04/29

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

Kenneth R. Miller is to receive the Stephen Jay Gould Prize.
Supplementary biology materials submitted for approval in Texas are
"laced with creationist arguments." A new poll offers insight on
public opinion on evolution and creationism globally. And no fewer
than forty-two Nobel-prize-winning scientists call for a repeal of
Louisiana's antievolution law.


NCSE congratulates Kenneth R. Miller for winning the 2011 Stephen Jay
Gould Prize from the Society for the Study of Evolution. Professor of
Biology and Royce Family Professor for Teaching Excellence at Brown
University, Miller is a Supporter of NCSE as well as a recipient of
its Friend of Darwin award. Miller will receive the Gould Prize and
present a public lecture on June 18, 2011, at the Evolution 2011
conference in Norman, Oklahoma.

The announcement of the award from the SSE described Miller as "an
eloquent and passionate defender of evolution and the scientific
method," citing his testimony in Kitzmiller v. Dover, the 2005 case
establishing the unconstitutionality of teaching "intelligent design"
in the public schools, as well as his widely used high school
textbooks coauthored with Joseph Levine and his books Finding Darwin's
God (1999) and Only a Theory (2008).

The Stephen Jay Gould Prize is awarded annually by the SSE "to
recognize individuals whose sustained and exemplary efforts have
advanced public understanding of evolutionary science and its
importance in biology, education, and everyday life in the spirit of
Stephen Jay Gould." NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott was the
recipient of the first Gould Prize, in 2009, followed by NCSE
Supporter Sean B. Carroll in 2010.

For the announcement from the SSE, visit: 


Materials "laced with creationist arguments" have been submitted for
approval by the Texas state board of education, charged the Texas
Freedom Network and the National Center for Science Education in a
joint press release issued on April 25, 2011. As the press release
explains, "The Texas Education Agency has made available on its
website science instructional materials -- all of them web-based --
that publishers and other vendors have proposed for high school
biology classes across the state. Materials approved by the state
board in July could be in Texas science classrooms for nearly a
decade. An initial review by NCSE and TFN has revealed that materials
from at least one vendor, ... International Databases Inc., promote
anti-evolution arguments made by proponents of intelligent

"International Databases' materials are not only laced with
creationist arguments," said NCSE's Joshua Rosenau, "they are also
remarkably shoddy, teeming with misspellings, typographical errors,
and mistaken claims of fact." The press release cited "intelligent
design"-tinged claims such as "life on Earth is the result of
intelligent causes" and "students should go home with the
understanding that a new paradigm of explaining life's origins is
emerging from the failed attempts of naturalistic scenarios. This new
way of thinking is predicated upon the hypothesis that intelligent
input is necessary for life's origins." The materials describe
"intelligent design" as a "legitimate scientific hypothesis" and even
as "the default position," despite the consensus of the scientific
community that it is not. Examples of these claims are posted at the
TFN's website.

"Two years ago State Board of Education members thumbed their noses at
the science community and approved new curriculum standards that
opened the door to creationism and junk science," said TFN President
Kathy Miller. "Now they are getting exactly what they wanted -- the
chance to make Texas the poster child for the creationist movement.
The state board would be aiding and abetting wholesale academic fraud
and dumbing down the education of millions of Texas kids if it doesn't
reject these materials." All of the materials submitted for approval
will be examined in June 2011 by teams of reviewers appointed by the
Texas Education Agency; the Texas state board of education is
scheduled to hold a public hearing and final vote on the materials in
July 2011; public schools could then decide to purchase approved
materials for classroom use in the 2011-2012 school year.

For the press release, visit: 

For examples of the claims (PDF), visit: 

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


A new poll conducted by Ipsos for Reuters News in twenty-four
countries found that 41% of respondents identified themselves as
"evolutionists" and 28% as "creationists," with 31% indicating that
they "simply don't know what to believe," according to a press release
issued by Ipsos on April 25, 2011.

Respondents were prompted with "There has been some debate recently
about the origins of human beings. Please tell me which of the
following is closer to your own point of view" and presented with:

* Some people are referred to as 'evolutionist's' [sic] and believe
that human beings were in fact created over a long period of time of
evolution growing into fully formed human beings they are today from
lower species such as apes;
* Some people are referred to as 'creationist's' and believe that
human beings were in fact created by a spiritual force such as the God
they believe in and do not believe that the origin of man came from
evolving from other species such as apes; and
* Some people simply don't know what to believe and sometimes agree or
disagree with theories and ideas put forward by both creationist's and

The countries were Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada,
China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Indonesia,
Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa,
South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United States.

The "evolutionist" view was most popular in Sweden (68%), Germany
(65%), and China (64%), with the United States ranking 18th (28%),
between Mexico (34%) and Russia (26%); the "creationist" view was most
popular in Saudi Arabia (75%), Turkey (60%), and Indonesia (57%), with
the United States ranking 6th (40%), between Brazil (47%) and Russia

Consistently with previous polls, in the United States, acceptance of
evolution was higher among respondents who were younger, with a higher
level of household income, and with a higher level of education.
Gender was not particularly important, however: the difference between
male and female respondents in the United States was no more than 2%.

The survey was conducted on-line between September 7 and September 23,
2010, with approximately 1000 participants per country except for
Argentina, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa,
South Korea, Sweden, Russia, and Turkey, for which there were
approximately 500 participants per country; the results were weighted
to balance demographics.

For the press release, visit: 

And for NCSE's collection of material on polls and surveys, visit: 


Forty-two Nobel-prize-winning scientists have urged the Louisiana
legislature to repeal "the misnamed and misguided Louisiana Science
Education Act (LSEA) of 2008," describing it as creating "a pathway
for creationism and other forms of non-scientific instruction to be
taught in public school science classrooms." The statement, circulated
by Zach Kopplin, the Baton Rouge high school student who is
spearheading the effort to repeal Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:285.1,
which implemented the LSEA, was released to the press on April 21,
2011, and is available on the Repeal Creationism website.

As NCSE previously reported, Senate Bill 70, prefiled by Karen Carter
Peterson (D-District 5), in the Louisiana Senate on April 15, 2011,
and provisionally referred to the Senate Committee on Education,
would, if enacted, repeal Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:285.1. The
legislative session begins on April 25, 2011. A rally in support of SB
70 took place at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge at 11:00
a.m. on April 28, 2011, and there was also a table with information
about the repeal effort in the atrium of the capitol from 9:00 a.m. to
4:00 p.m. on the same day, according to the Facebook page for the

Roger Kornberg of the Stanford University School of Medicine, a
signatory of the statement who was awarded the Nobel Prize in
Chemistry in 2006 for his studies of the molecular basis of eukaryotic
transcription, told the Associated Press (April 21, 2011) that the
passage of the LSEA was "a tragedy for the young people of Louisiana
and an embarrassment for the entire state and the nation. Shame on the
legislature that enacted it, and especially on the governor who signed
it into law." A spokesperson for Governor Bobby Jindal told the
Associated Press that Jindal opposes any attempts to repeal the law.

For the Nobelists' statement, visit: 

For information about the rally to support SB 70, visit: 

For the Associated Press story (via the New Orleans Times-Picayune), visit: 

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