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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2017/05/05

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(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

Disappointing news from Alabama. A preview of A Global Warming Primer.
And finally good news from Oklahoma.


The Alabama Senate voted to adopt House Joint Resolution 78 on a voice
vote on May 2, 2017, joining the Alabama House of Representatives,
which voted to adopt the resolution in April 2017.

The resolution ostensibly urges state and local education authorities
to promote the academic freedom of science teachers in the state's
public schools. "Biological evolution, the chemical origins of life,
global warming, and human cloning" are specifically identified as

As NCSE previously reported, Amanda Glaze, writing on (April
27, 2017), noted that the lead sponsor of HJR 78 acknowledged that his
intention was to encourage the teaching of creationism, asking, "So
HJR 78 is aimed at encouraging teachers not only to miseducate their
students but also to violate the law of the land. Is this a
responsible legislative goal?"

Joining Glaze in criticism of the resolution was the editorial board
of the Anniston Star (April 28, 2017), which observed, "HJR 78 serves
one purpose -- to allow teachers to weaken the state Board of
Education’s science curriculum on evolution if they so choose,"
adding, "This is yet another example of legislators ignoring Alabama's
true needs."

HJR 78 is the second example of a non-binding resolution version of
the familiar "academic freedom" acts; the first, Indiana's Senate
Resolution 17, was passed by the Indiana Senate on February 27, 2017.

For Alabama's House Joint Resolution 78 as adopted (PDF), visit: 

For Amanda Glaze's op-ed and the Anniston Star's editorial, visit: 

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


NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of Jeffrey Bennett's A Global
Warming Primer (Big Kid Science, 2016). The preview consists of
chapter 2, "The Skeptic Debate," in which Bennett attempts "to explain
the four major points of debate that have been raised by the skeptics
[of anthropogenic climate change], and ... examine what the evidence
says in each case."

NCSE's executive director Ann Reid writes, "A Global Warming Primer
delivers on its promise. In engaging, accessible, and accurate prose,
Jeffrey Bennett clearly explains the science of climate change, ending
with a thoughtful exploration of ways to solve the problems it poses
for our future." Bennett, as Claire Adrian-Tucci noted, donated five
hundred copies to science teachers via NCSE.

For the preview of A Global Warming Primer (PDF), visit: 

For information about the book from its publisher, visit: 

And for Claire Adrian-Tucci's blog post about Bennett's generosity, visit: 


Oklahoma's Senate Bill 393, which would empower science denial in the
classroom, failed to receive a vote on the floor of the House of
Representatives on April 27, 2017, the last day on which it could do
so, and is therefore blocked -- for now.

SB 393 would have allowed science teachers to teach anything they
pleased, while preventing responsible educational authorities from
intervening. No scientific topics are identified as controversial, but
the main sponsor is Josh Brecheen (R-District 6), who previously
introduced similar legislation that targeted evolution.

Previous versions of the bill sponsored by Brecheen -- SB 758 in 2013,
SB 1765 in 2014, SB 655 in 2015, and SB 1322 in 2016 -- uniformly died
in the Senate Education Committee. But the committee voted to pass SB
393 in February 2017, and the Senate subsequently passed the bill in
March 2017.

SB 393 was expected to be heard by the House Education Committee, but
that committee never scheduled a hearing for the bill. Its sponsors
withdrew it and submitted it to the General Government Oversight and
Accountability Committee instead, which passed it on a 4-3 vote on
April 13, 2017.

Among the state-level organizations opposing the bill were the
Oklahoma Science Teachers Association, the Oklahoma State School
Boards Association, the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School
Administration, the Oklahoma chapter of the Sierra Club, and the
grassroots pro-science-education group Oklahomans for Excellence in
Science Education.

Among the national organizations opposing the bill were the National
Science Teachers Association, the National Association of Biology
Teachers, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the
National Coalition Against Censorship, the American Institute of
Biological Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement
of Science.

Since the bill was not voted down, it is technically still alive, and
the Oklahoma legislature may consider it again in the second half of
the current legislative session, which begins on February 5, 2018.

For the text of the most current version of Oklahoma's Senate Bill 393
(PDF), visit: 

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


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

* Emily Schoerning describing the expansion of NCSE's Science Booster
Club program: 

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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