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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2011/06/03

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

Texas's "intelligent design" bill dies in committee, while The New
York Times worries that Kentucky's ark park "pushes the constitutional
envelope" and the Arkansas Science Teachers Association adds its voice
for evolution.


When the Texas legislature adjourned sine die on May 30, 2011, House
Bill 2454 died in the House Committee on Higher Education without
receiving a hearing. If enacted, HB 2454 would have provided, "An
institution of higher education may not discriminate against or
penalize in any manner, especially with regard to employment or
academic support, a faculty member or student based on the faculty
member's or student's conduct of research relating to the theory of
intelligent design or other alternate theories of the origination and
development of organisms." The sponsors of HB 2454 were Bill Zedler
(R-District 96) and James White (R-District 12).

In a March 9, 2011, post on its blog, the Texas Freedom Network
commented, "Disingenuous efforts by creationists to portray themselves
as persecuted in mainstream academia for their anti-evolution beliefs
are getting a boost from a Texas lawmaker" and described the bill as
emulating "the strategy by creationist/'intelligent design' proponents
to portray themselves as martyrs." TFN added, "Zedler's bill would ...
require our colleges and universities to aid and protect academic
fraud. But with the State Board of Education promoting anti-science
propaganda in public schools, we shouldn't be surprised that higher
education is increasingly a target as well.

Of the nine antievolution bills introduced in seven states in 2011 so
far, seven -- Florida's SB 1854, Kentucky's HB 169, New Mexico's HB
302, Oklahoma's SB 554 and HB 1551, and Texas's HB 2454 -- are dead.
Tennessee's HB 368 -- nicknamed "the monkey bill" by House Speaker
Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh -- passed in the House of Representatives, but
its Senate counterpart SB 893 is on hold until 2012. In the meantime,
Louisiana's Senate Bill 70, which if enacted would repeal the state's
antievolution bill enacted in 2008, was shelved in the Senate
Education Committee on a 5-1 vote on May 26, 2011, and is not expected
to be heard again by the committee.

For the text of Texas's HB 2454, visit: 

For the TFN's blog post, visit: 

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


The New York Times offered its view on Kentucky's decision to grant
tax incentives to Ark Encounter, the proposed creationist theme park
in northern Kentucky. In its May 31, 2011, editorial, the Times wrote,
"A project just approved in Kentucky pushes the constitutional
envelope," arguing that although the incentives are likely to
withstand a possible legal challenge, "granting tax incentives to the
explicitly Christian enterprise clearly clashes with the First
Amendment's prohibition on government establishment of religion.
Public money is not supposed to pay to advance religion. Kentucky's
citizens should certainly ask themselves if this is really the best
use of taxpayer dollars."

Kentucky's own newspapers have been concerned about the state's
involvement with Ark Encounter -- as well as the message it sends
about the state's commitment to science. For example, the Louisville
Courier-Journal (December 2, 2010) editorially complained, "in a state
that already suffers from low educational attainment in science, one
of the last things Kentucky officials should encourage, even if only
implicitly, is for students and young people to regard creationism as
scientifically valid," and the Lexington Herald-Leader (December 3,
2010) editorially observed, "Hostility to science, knowledge and
education does little to attract the kind of employers that will
provide good-paying jobs with a future."

For the editorial in The New York Times, visit: 

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


The chorus of support for the teaching of evolution continues, with a
statement from the Arkansas Science Teachers Association, issued in
2008, updating its previous statement from 2006.

In its statement, the ASTA expresses its strong support for "the
position that evolution is a major unifying concept in science and
should be included and maintained in the state K-12 science education
frameworks and curricula," adding, "Evolution is not taught in many
Arkansas school districts. These students in these districts will not
achieve the level of scientific literacy they needed in an
increasingly technological and scientific society."

The statement discusses the scientific invalidity of "creation
science" and "intelligent design" as well as the constitutional
barriers to teaching them as scientifically credible in the public
schools, recommending that "[s]chool boards, district
administrators[,] and teacher[s] need to understand that science and
not religious ideas should be taught in science classrooms in our
public schools" and warning of the legal and administrative
consequences of not doing so.

The ASTA's statement is now reproduced, by permission, on NCSE's
website, and will also be contained in the fourth edition of NCSE's
Voices for Evolution.

For the ASTA's statement (document), visit: 

For Voices for Evolution, 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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