NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2017/02/17
(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.
DARWIN DAY RESOLUTION IN THE SENATE 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 knowledge." 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: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-resolution/59/text And for NCSE's previous coverage of House Resolution 44, visit: https://ncse.com/news/2017/01/darwin-day-resolution-congress-0018433 FRIEND OF DARWIN AND FRIEND OF THE PLANET AWARDS FOR 2017 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 ClimateCrocks.com 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: https://ncse.com/about/friend-of-darwin https://ncse.com/about/friend-of-planet DARWIN DAY DECLARED IN WASHINGTON 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: http://humanistsofwashington.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Darwin-Day.pdf CLIMATE CHANGE LANGUAGE DELETED FROM DRAFT IDAHO STANDARDS "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 educators." 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: https://www.idahoednews.org/news/statehouse-roundup-2-9-17-house-committee-rejects-climate-change-language/ And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Idaho, visit: https://ncse.com/news/idaho WHAT'S NEW AT NCSE'S BLOG? 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: https://ncse.com/blog/2017/02/we-get-by-with-lot-help-from-our-friends-jeffrey-bennett-0018461 For NCSE's blog, visit: http://ncse.com/blog Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- http://ncse.com -- where you can always find the latest news on evolution and climate education and threats to them. -- Sincerely, Glenn Branch Deputy Director National Center for Science Education, Inc. 1904 Franklin Street, Suite 600 Oakland CA 94612-2922 510-601-7203 fax 510-788-7971 firstname.lastname@example.org http://ncse.com Check out NCSE's blog: http://ncse.com/blog Read Reports of the NCSE on-line: http://reports.ncse.com Subscribe to NCSE's free weekly e-newsletter: http://groups.google.com/group/ncse-news NCSE is on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter: http://www.facebook.com/evolution.ncse http://www.youtube.com/NatCen4ScienceEd http://twitter.com/ncse NCSE's work is supported by its members. Join today! http://ncse.com/join