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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2011/07/01

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(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

The New York State Museum adds its voice for evolution. A survey of
the opinions of evangelical leaders around the world revealed a divide
over evolution. And the bill that would have repealed Louisiana's
antievolution statute is officially dead.


The chorus of support for the teaching of evolution continues, with a
statement from the New York State Museum, a research and educational
institution that conducts systematic investigations into the geology,
biology, anthropology, and history of New York.

Emphasizing that "[t]he theory of evolution is central to the
scientific understanding of how life originated on earth and how it
continually changes and diversifies," the statement concludes, "the
Museum supports and encourages the teaching of evolution in schools as
a fundamental component of scientific competency and literacy."

The New York State Museum'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 museum's statement, visit: 

For Voices for Evolution, visit: 


A survey of the opinions of evangelical Protestant leaders across the
world, conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life,
included a question on evolution -- and found that the leaders were
divided. According to the executive summary of the Pew Forum's report,
"Slightly more reject the idea of evolution (47%) than believe in
theistic evolution, the notion that God has used evolution for the
purpose of creating humans and other life (41%). Few (3%) believe that
human life has evolved solely by natural processes with no involvement
from a supreme being."

Respondents were asked which of the following statements was closest
to their own views: humans and other living things have evolved over
time due to natural processes such as natural selection; a supreme
being guided the evolution of living things for the purpose of
creating humans and other life in the form it exists today; humans and
other living things have existed in their present form since the
beginning of time. As with other polls (such as Gallup's), it is
questionable whether the second option is worded specifically enough
to express theistic evolution.

Respondents from the Global North -- defined as Europe, North America,
Japan, Australia, and New Zealand -- were more likely to favor the
second statement than the third (50% compared to 39%, with 3% favoring
the first response and 8% not responding to the question), while
respondents from the Global South -- defined as sub-Saharan Africa,
the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and most of Asia --
were more likely to favor the third statement than the second (54%
compared to 34%, with 3% favoring the first response and 10% not

The survey was conducted among the participants of the Third Lausanne
Congress of World Evangelization, which took place in Cape Town, South
Africa, in October 2010. According to the executive summary, "The Pew
Forum conducted the survey in nine languages, including English, from
August to December 2010. A total of about 4,500 people registered to
attend the Third Lausanne Congress, and nearly half completed the
survey, using Web and paper questionnaires." The report emphasizes,
however, that "the survey results do not necessarily reflect the views
of evangelicals as a whole."

For the executive summary of the Pew Forum's report, visit: 

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


When the Louisiana state legislature adjourned on June 23, 2011,
Senate Bill 70 -- which would have repealed the antievolution law in
effect in the state since 2008 -- died in committee. SB 70 was
introduced by Karen Carter Peterson (D-District 5), but the driving
force behind the repeal effort was Baton Rouge high school senior Zack
Kopplin, working with the Louisiana Coalition for Science. The bill
swiftly won the support of scientists and educators throughout the
state and across the nation, including the American Association for
the Advancement of Science, the National Association of Biology
Teachers, the Louisiana Association of Biology Educators, the American
Institute for Biological Sciences, and no fewer than forty-three Nobel
laureates. On May 26, 2011, however, the Louisiana Senate Education
Committee voted 5-1 to shelve the bill. "With the law intact," as the
Christian Science Monitor (June 2, 2011) commented, "Louisiana is the
state that has gone the furthest in approving legislation that opens
the door to allowing alternatives to science taught in its schools."
But Kopplin, in a statement quoted by the Louisiana Coalition for
Science, vowed, "we'll come back with an even stronger repeal next

For the text of Louisiana's Senate Bill 70 (PDF), visit: 

For the website of the Louisiana Coalition for Science, visit: 

For the story in the Christian Science Monitor, 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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