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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2012/06/01

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

Just two seats remain on NCSE's next excursion to the Grand Canyon!
Plus a First Amendment award for Zack Kopplin, and the end of the road
for three legislative attempts to attack the teaching of evolution and
of climate change in Oklahoma.


Explore the Grand Canyon with NCSE! Only two are still available for
NCSE's next excursion to the Grand Canyon -- as featured in the
documentary No Dinosaurs in Heaven. From July 16 to 24, 2012, NCSE
will again explore the wonders of creation and evolution on a Grand
Canyon river run conducted by NCSE's Genie Scott and Steve Newton.
Because this is an NCSE trip, we offer more than just the typically
grand float down the Canyon, the spectacular scenery, fascinating
natural history, brilliant night skies, exciting rapids, delicious
meals, and good company. It is, in fact, a unique "two-model" raft
trip, on which we provide both the creationist view of the Grand
Canyon (maybe not entirely seriously) and the evolutionist view -- and
let you make up your own mind. To get a glimpse of the fun, watch the
short videos filmed during the 2011 trip, posted on NCSE's YouTube
site. The cost of the excursion is $2625; a deposit of $500 will hold
your spot. Seats are limited: call, write, or e-mail now.

For information about the trip, visit: 

For information about No Dinosaurs in Heaven, visit: 

For NCSE's YouTube site, visit: 


NCSE is delighted to congratulate Zack Kopplin, the leader of the
effort to repeal the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act, on his
receiving the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award. According to a
press release from the Playboy Foundation quoted by the Alexandria,
Louisiana, Town Talk (May 27, 2012), the award was established in 1979
and is intended to "honor individuals who have made significant
contributions in the vital effort to protect and enhance First
Amendment rights for all Americans. The award winners, many of whom
are unsung heroes, come from various walks of life." Kopplin will
receive a cash award of $5,000 and a commemorative plaque.

Kopplin launched the effort to repeal Louisiana Revised Statutes
17:285.1, which encourages the state's science teachers to miseducate
their students about the scientific standing of evolution and climate
change, as a high school senior in 2011. He renewed his effort in
2012, aided with the support of seventy-eight Nobel laureates --
"nearly 40% of all living Nobel laureate scientists in physics,
chemistry, or physiology or medicine," as he observed in a press
release. Senate Bill 384, which would have repealed the law, was
rejected on a 2-1 vote in the Senate Education Committee in April
2012. Its 2011 counterpart, Senate Bill 70, was tabled by the same
committee on a 5-1 vote in March 2011.

Endorsing the repeal effort -- in addition to the seventy-eight
Nobelists -- have been the National Association of Biology Teachers,
the Louisiana Association of Biology Educators, the Louisiana
Coalition for Science, the American Association for the Advancement of
Science, the American Institute for Biological Sciences, the American
Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Society
for Cell Biology, the Society for the Study of Evolution together with
the Society of Systematic Biologists and the American Society of
Naturalists, the Clergy Letter Project, the New Orleans City Council,
and the Baton Rouge Advocate.

Kopplin's initiative was previously honored by NCSE, which awarded him
(and the University of California Museum of Paleontology's Judy
Scotchmoor) its Friend of Darwin award for 2012. Kopplin is the second
person to receive both a Hefner Award and NCSE's Friend of Darwin
Award, following Patricia Princehouse, Lecturer in Philosophy and
Evolutionary Biology at Case Western Reserve University. NCSE's
executive director Eugenie C. Scott received a Hefner Award in 1999
and subsequently served as a judge on the Playboy Foundation's award
committee in 2006.

For the article in Town Talk, visit: 

For the press release announcing the support of the Nobel laureates, visit: 

For the announcement of NCSE's Friend of Darwin awards for 2012, visit: 

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


When the Oklahoma legislature adjourned sine die on May 25, 2012, no
fewer than three legislative attempts to attack the teaching of
evolution and of climate change were finally laid to rest. All three
would have encouraged teachers in the public schools of the Sooner
State to present the "scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses"
of "controversial" topics such as "biological evolution" and "global

Senate Bill 1742 was explicitly modeled in part on the so-called
Louisiana Science Education Act, passed and enacted in 2008 as
Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:285.1. The sole sponsor of SB 1742 was
Josh Brecheen (R-District 6). It was his second attempt at
antievolution legislation; in 2011, he introduced Senate Bill 554,
which he described in the Durant Daily Democrat (December 24, 2010) as
"requiring every publically [sic] funded Oklahoma school to teach the
debate of creation vs. evolution." SB 1742 died in committee on March
1, 2012.

House Bill 1551 was originally introduced by Sally Kern (R-District
84) and was rejected by the House Common Education Committee in 2011,
but it was resurrected by Gus Blackwell (R-District 61) and passed by
that committee, which heard no testimony from the public, in 2012. HB
1551 passed the House of Representatives on a 56-12 vote on March 15,
2012. The bill was then sent to the Senate Education Committee, where
it died on April 5, 2012, the deadline for single-assigned house bills
(such as HB 1551) to be reported from their senate committees.

A last-ditch effort was a proposal from Steve Russell (R-District 45)
to amend House Bill 2341, which dealt with unrelated educational
matters (extending a deadline by which local school districts are
required to meet certain standards for media, equipment, and
textbooks) and was passed by the House on March 7, 2012, to include
the language of HB 1551. The amendment would have been considered when
the bill came to a floor vote in the Senate, but it was not brought to
the floor before April 26, 2012, the deadline for bills to receive
their third reading in the opposite house.

Organizations opposing these efforts to attack the teaching of
evolution and of climate change included the American Institute of
Biological Sciences, the National Association of Biology Teachers, the
National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the American Association
for the Advancement of Science, and -- as always -- the indefatigable
grassroots organization Oklahomans for Excellence in Science

For the website of Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education, visit: 

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

Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- -- where you can always find the latest news on 
evolution and climate education and threats to them.


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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