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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2014/11/14

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

The latest in the battle over climate change in Texas's social studies
textbooks and on the proposed ban on creationism in Scottish schools.
Plus Camille Parmesan and Alan I. Leshner advise the Texas state board
of education to require the correction of errors about climate change
in social studies textbooks under consideration. And congratulations
are in order for Jay Labov.


The pressure on the Texas board of education to require the correction
of errors in the coverage of climate change in social studies
textbooks presently under consideration continues. In a press
conference on November 12, 2014, NCSE, the Texas Freedom Network, and
Climate Parents charged that textbooks published by McGraw-Hill and
Pearson are still problematic, as the Austin Chronicle (November 12,
2014) reports.

Observing that science textbooks manage to represent the scientific
consensus correctly, NCSE's Josh Rosenau described the social studies
textbooks as "irresponsible," adding that it's "hard to understand how
the social studies books went so far [a]field." Lisa Hoyos of Climate
Parents agreed, saying, "Parents are alarmed and angry that
[publishers] would knowingly expose kids to false information in their
social studies textbooks."

Released at the same press conference was a letter addressed to
McGraw-Hill and Pearson urging the publishers to "correct all factual
errors regarding climate change in draft textbooks for K-12 students
in Texas." Signing the letter, besides NCSE, TFN, and Climate Parents,
were the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the
Alliance for Climate Education, Bill Nye, Sojourners, and the Union of
Concerned Scientists.

Previously, a number of scientific societies and environmental
organizations urged the state board of education to require the
publishers to fix these errors: the American Association for the
Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the American
Meteorological Society and the American Association of Physics
Teachers, the Ecological Society, and the National Resources Defense

The state board of education is scheduled to hold a final public
hearing on the textbooks on November 18, with a vote on the textbooks
expected to follow on November 21. The TFN's president Kathy Miller
told the Austin Chronicle, "Parents must insist that students get
textbooks based on the recommendations of scholars and experts rather
than on the demands of politicians who pressure publishers into
distorting research and facts."

For the story in the Austin Chronicle, visit:

For the letter to the publishers (PDF), visit: 

For the letters to the Texas state board of education (PDF), visit: 

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


The Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament heard
testimony supporting the proposed ban on teaching creationism as
scientifically credible in Scotland's public schools on November 11,
2014,according to the Press Association (November 11, 2014). The
committee agreed to write to the Scottish government, the Educational
Institute of Scotland, the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association
and the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland to receive
their views on the matter.

As NCSE previously reported, the petition, filed by the Scottish
Secular Society, asks the parliament "to bar the presentation in
Scottish publicly funded schools of separate creation and of Young
Earth doctrines as viable alternatives to the established science of
evolution, common descent, and deep time," adding, "Nothing in this
request precludes the discussion of such doctrines in their proper
place, as part of the study of ideas, neither does it nor can it
infringe on individual freedom of belief."

Among the organizations submitting written testimony was NCSE, which
in a November 7, 2014, letter expressed its support for the proposed
ban, citing the statements from scientific and educational
organizations contained in Voices for Evolution as well as case law
from legal cases in the United States. The letter also argued, "Simply
devolving the question of how to address evolution and creationism to
individual teachers is not satisfactory," in light of reports of
creationist encroachments on science education in Scotland.

For the Press Association story (via The Courier), visit: 

For the petition (PDF) and related documents, visit: 

For NCSE's letter (PDF), visit: 

For Voices for Evolution, visit: 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events outside the United States, visit: 


Writing in the Austin American-Statesman (November 6, 2014), Camille
Parmesan and Alan I. Leshner called on the Texas state board of
education to insist on the correction of scientifically inaccurate
material about climate change in social studies textbooks currently
under consideration for state adoption. "Texas educators should reject
the new textbooks unless they are edited to address the serious
concerns outlined by the National Center for Science Education," they

Along with the Texas Freedom Network, NCSE previously charged that "an
examination of how proposed social studies textbooks for Texas public
schools address climate change reveals distortions and bias that
misrepresent the broad scientific consensus on the phenomenon." A
number of errors about climate science were present, as well as a
quotation from a notorious climate change denial organization
presented in rebuttal of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate

"Children cannot compete in the global marketplace of the future
unless they achieve science literacy," Parmesan and Leshner concluded.
"Students deserve to know the true scientific facts about human-caused
climate change." Parmesan is a professor of integrative biology at the
University of Texas, Austin, and a lead author for the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Leshner is the chief
executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of

The Texas state board of education is expected to hold a final vote on
the social studies textbooks on November 21, 2014. As NCSE previously
reported, petitions calling for correction of the errors on climate
science in the textbooks signed by over 24,000 Texans were delivered
to the board and the publishers on October 20, 2014. It isn't too late
for concerned Texans to add their voices in support of the integrity
of science education by signing the petition cosponsored by NCSE and
the Texas Freedom Network.

For Parmesan and Leshner's column in the Austin American-Statesman, visit: 

For NCSE and TFN's press release about the errors in the textbooks, visit: 

For the petition, visit: 

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


NCSE is delighted to congratulate Jay Labov on being named as a
Honorary Member of the National Association of Biology Teachers.

"Jay has truly been a leader, advocate and major driving force behind
numerous initiatives to improve biology education both nationally and
internationally," Jane Ellis, president-elect of NABT and chair of the
honorary membership committee said in a press release. "We are so
pleased to recognize his contributions."

Honorary Membership is the highest award conferred by the NABT, and is
given to those members who have "achieved distinction in teaching,
research, or service in the biological sciences." NCSE's founder
Stanley Weinberg received the honor in 1985 and NCSE's founding
executive director Eugenie C. Scott received the honor in 2005.

Labov is Senior Advisor for Education and Communication for the
National Research Council  and the National Academy of Sciences. He
received NCSE's Friend of Darwin award in 2013.

For the press release, visit: 


Have you been visiting NCSE's blog, The Science League of America,
recently? If not, then you've missed:

* Stephanie Keep discussing epigenetics: 

* Glenn Branch revisiting the 1923 debate between Darrow and Bryan: 

* Josh Rosenau celebrating the climate change agreement and Philae
comet landing: 

And much more besides!

For The Science League of America, 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 x303
fax: 510-601-7204

Check out NCSE's new blog, Science League of America: 

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