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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2017/02/17

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(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

A Darwin Day bill appears in the U.S. Senate. The envelope, please,
for 2017's Friend of Darwin and Friend of the Planet awards. Plus
Washington's governor declares February 12, 2017, as Darwin Day. And
climate change is censored from Idaho's state science standards.


Senate Resolution 59, introduced in the United States Senate on
February 10, 2017, would, if passed, express the Senate's support of
designating February 12, 2017, as Darwin Day, and its recognition of
"Charles Darwin as a worthy symbol on which to celebrate the
achievements of reason, science, and the advancement of human

Sponsored by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), S. Res. 59 is
the third Darwin Day resolution ever to appear in the Senate. A string
of similar bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives,
the most recent of which -- H. Res. 44 -- was introduced by
Representative Jim Himes (D-Connecticut) on January 11, 2017.

For information about Senate Resolution 59, visit: 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of House Resolution 44, visit: 


NCSE is pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of Darwin award
for 2017: Edward J. Larson, the Pepperdine University historian and
legal scholar who won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 book about the
Scopes trial, Summer for the Gods; Richard E. Lenski, the Michigan
State University evolutionary biologist famed for his E. coli
Long-Term Experimental Evolution Project; and Daniel J. Phelps, a
geologist and unrelenting critic of a young-earth creationist ministry
headquartered in his native Kentucky.

"The legal history of the creationism/evolution controversy is
important to NCSE, and nobody has studied it more thoroughly and
insightfully than Ed Larson," commented NCSE's executive director Ann
Reid, "while it would be hard to think of anybody who has done as much
to show that evolution is among the experimental sciences than Rich
Lenski." She added, "As for Dan Phelps, he's the sort of activist who
is a walking argument for human cloning: we could use a dozen of him!"

NCSE is also pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of the
Planet award for 2017: CLEAN, the Climate Literacy and Energy
Awareness Network, which provides a curated collection of resources on
climate and energy science and coordinates a professionally diverse
network of climate change education stakeholders; Peter Sinclair, the
founder of the website and producer of the Climate
Denial Crock of the Week video series; and the Yale Program on Climate
Change Communication, which researches and develops strategies for
effective climate change communication.

"All of the Friends of the Planet for 2017 shine as climate
communicators, in different but complementary ways," Reid explained.
"CLEAN is the single best resource for teachers out there, while Peter
Sinclair's sharply satirical and scientifically rigorous videos are a
constant delight. And the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication
provides a steady stream of important research and thoughtful analysis
that nobody interested in engaging the public about climate change can
afford to ignore."

The Friend of Darwin and Friend of the Planet awards are presented
annually to a select few whose efforts to support NCSE and advance its
goal of defending the teaching of evolution and climate science have
been truly outstanding. Previous recipients of the Friend of Darwin
award include Barbara Forrest, Philip Kitcher, Zack Kopplin, and
Patricia Princehouse. Previous recipients of the Friend of the Planet
Award include Richard Alley, Greg Craven, and Katharine Hayhoe.

For information on the awards, visit: 


Washington's governor Jay Inslee declared February 12, 2017, Darwin
Day in the state of Washington, urging all citizens in our state to
join me in this special observance."

The declaration describes Darwin's birthday as "an appropriate period
on which to celebrate, reflect, and act on the principles of
intellectual bravery, perpetual curiosity, and hunger for truth."

For the declaration (PDF) via Humanists of Washington, visit: 


"The House Education Committee voted Thursday [February 9, 2017] to
remove references to climate change and human impact on the
environment from a new set of science standards," reports Idaho Ed
News (February 9, 2017).

The committee was considering a new set of Idaho state science
education standards developed during 2016 and temporarily in effect,
pending legislative approval. As NCSE previously reported, a previous
set of standards was rejected by the legislature in 2016, and there
was reason to think that hostility toward the inclusion of evolution
and climate change played a role in the decision.

The removed standards included "Ask questions to clarify evidence of
the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the
past century," with "human activities (such as fossil fuel combustion,
cement production, and agricultural activity)" listed in a
clarification statement among the examples of such factors. (The
standard is taken from the Next Generation
Science Standards.)

Scott Syme (R-District 11) led the charge against the treatment of
climate change in the new standards; according to Idaho Ed News, he
argued that they failed to present "both sides of the debate." Paul
Amador (R-District 4B), however, opposed the removal of the standards,
saying, "While I appreciate teaching both sides, I think this was a
very transparent process where we relied on our highly qualified

Idaho Ed News explains, "Technically, the committee approved a
temporary rule including the new science standards. When the
Legislature adjourns, the new standards will take effect, without the
climate change language. Then, SDE and State Board officials will
develop a permanent rule. ... [I]t appears likely state officials will
draft new language to replace the references to climate change.
Legislators would review the standards again in 2018."

In 2016, a bill permitting the use of the Bible in Idaho's public
schools in connection with "astronomy, biology, [and] geology" was
introduced, passed in modified form without the reference to
scientific topics, and ultimately vetoed.

For the story from Idaho Ed News, visit: 

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


Have you been visiting NCSE's blog recently? If not, then you've missed:

* Claire Adrian-Tucci discussing A Global Warming Primer and the
generosity of its author: 

For NCSE's blog, 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.
1904 Franklin Street, Suite 600
Oakland CA 94612-2922
fax 510-788-7971 

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