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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2011/05/13

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

A new issue of Reports of the NCSE is now available. Plus Florida's
antievolution bill is dead, while support to repeal Louisiana's
antievolution bill continues to mount.


NCSE is pleased to announce the second issue of Reports of the
National Center for Science Education in its new on-line format. The
issue -- volume 31, number 2 -- includes Matt Cartmill's "Turtles All
the Way Down: The Atlas of Creation"; Alice Beck Kehoe's "The Lost
Civilizations of North America Found … Again!"; and, in his regular
People and Places column, Randy Moore's "Billy Sunday: 1862-1935,"
discussing the creationism of the ballplayer-turned-evangelist.

Plus a flurry of Darwinalia: Michael D. Barton reviews John van Wyhe's
The Darwin Experience; Steven Conn reviews James Lander's Lincoln &
Darwin; Piers J. Hale reviews David N. Reznick's The Origin Then and
Now; Allen D. MacNeill reviews James T. Costa's The Annotated Origin;
Michael Ruse reviews Phillip Prodger's Darwin's Camera and Barbara
Larson and Fae Brauer's The Art of Evolution, and Keith Thomson
reviews Julia Voss's Darwin's Pictures.

All of these articles, features, and reviews are freely available in
PDF form from Members of NCSE will shortly be 
receiving in the mail the print supplement to Reports 31:2, which
contains, in addition to summaries of the on-line material, news from
the membership, a new column in which NCSE staffers offer personal
reports on what they've been doing to defend the teaching of
evolution, and more besides. (Not a member? Join today!)

For the table of contents for RNCSE 31:2, visit: 

For information about joining NCSE, visit: 


When the Florida legislature adjourned sine die on May 7, 2011, Senate
Bill 1854 died in committee. If enacted, SB 1854 would have amended a
section of Florida law to require "[a] thorough presentation and
critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution" in the
state's public schools. In 2009, before introducing a similar bill, SB
1854's sponsor, Stephen R. Wise (R-District 5), announced his
intention to introduce a bill requiring "intelligent design" to be
taught in Florida's public schools. In 2011, discussing SB 1854 with a
reporter for the Tampa Tribune (March 13, 2011), he asked, "Why would
you not teach both theories at the same time?" According to the
Tribune, he was referring to evolution and what he called
"non-evolution." Wise further explained, "I think it's a way in which
people can have critical thinking ... what we're saying is here's a
theory, a theory of evolution, a theory of whatever, and you decide."
SB 1854 was vigorously opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union
of Florida, Florida Citizens for Science, the Florida Academy of
Sciences, and newspapers across the state, including Florida Today and
the Orlando Sentinel.

For the text of Florida's SB 1854, visit: 

For the story in the Tampa Tribune, visit: 

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


Adding their support for the effort to repeal Louisiana's
antievolution law are the New Orleans City Council and the American
Association for the Advancement of Science. Senate Bill 70, would, if
enacted, repeal Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:285.1, which implemented
the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act, passed and enacted in
2008. The American Institute for Biological Sciences, the American
Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Society
for Cell Biology, the Louisiana Association of Biology Educators, the
Louisiana Science Teachers Association, the National Association of
Biology Teachers, and the Society for the Study of Evolution together
with the Society of Systematic Biologists and the American Society of
Naturalists, as well as forty-three Nobel laureates, have already
endorsed SB 70.

At its May 5, 2011, meeting, the New Orleans City Council unanimously
passed Resolution R-11-207, supporting SB 70. According to the summary
of the council's meeting, "This act [the LSEA] undermines the teaching
of the scientific theory of evolution in the Louisiana public school
science curriculum. This theory of evolution is a widely and commonly
accepted scientific study and the basis for biology, medicine,
biochemistry, agriculture, ecology and other scientific studies."
Council member Gisleson Palmer was quoted as saying, "The Louisiana
Science Education Act inhibits science focused students of all ages
and inadequately prepares them for jobs in the science field. With the
New Orleans Medical Corridor poised for tremendous growth, this law
also profoundly impacts our ability to fill jobs in the cutting-edge
science fields with students educated in our state's public schools."

In a letter to the sponsor of SB 70, Karen Carter Peterson (D-District
5), dated April 19, 2011, the American Association for the Advancement
of Science's chief executive officer Alan I. Leshner wrote, "I write
in support of your effort to repeal the Louisiana Science Education
Act (LSEA). The LSEA features language that could be used for the
insertion of religious or unscientific views in science classrooms.
The bill disingenuously implies that particular theories, including
evolution, are controversial among scientists. In reality, the science
of evolution underpines all of modern biology. The principles behind
it have been tested and retested for decades, and it is supported by
tens of thousands of scientific studies. Evolution informs scientific
research in a broad range of fields such as agriculture and medicine,
work that has an important impact on our everyday lives."

For the summary of the New Orleans City Council's meeting, visit:{D5BF04A0-905F-4FAA-B525-9142A973504F}#story7 

For the letter from the AAAS's Alan I. Leshner (PDF), 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 x305
fax: 510-601-7204

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