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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2017/05/19

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

Good news from Serbia. And Nature considers the year's spate of
antiscience bills.


A recent controversial petition challenging the teaching of evolution
and calling for the teaching of creationism in the schools and
universities of Serbia is apparently going to be ignored.

According to Nature (May 10, 2017), the May 3, 2017, petition, signed
by about 170 Serbian academics and intellectuals, was accompanied by a
letter addressed to the education, science, and technological
development ministry as well as to the education, science,
technological development, and information committee of the National
Assembly, The letter complained that there is no scientific evidence
for evolution and blamed the acceptance of evolution on "globalists
and atheists."

Ljiljana Colic, a professor at Belgrade University who lost her job as
minister for education in 2004 after ordering the removal of evolution
from the high school biology curriculum, agreed with the petition,
according to Radio Free Europe (May 14, 2017). But the dean of the
biology department, Zeljko Tomanovic, retorted, "It is the old
creationist ideas that are totally anachronistic and unscientific.
There is no scientific knowledge that supports the aforementioned
claims [of creationism] and that deny evolution."

The Serbian Biological Society, together with a number of Serbian
scientific societies and the science faculty at a number of Serbian
universities, sent a letter dated May 9, 2017, to the ministry and the
committee. The letter described evolution as "the backbone of modern
biology," observed that the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences
endorsed the IAP Statement on the Teaching of Evolution, and warned
that the goals of the petition were inappropriate for a secular
republic such as Serbia.

Subsequently, the Serbian state news agency Tanjug (May 10, 2017)
reported that Mladen Sarcevic, the minister of education, science, and
technological development, said that the ministry will not comply with
the petition.

For the story in Nature, visit: 

For NCSE's story about Colic in 2004, visit: 

For the story from Radio Free Europe, visit: 

For the IAP Statement on the Teaching of Evolution, visit: 

For the report from Tanjug (in Serbian), visit: 

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


With the 2017 legislative season nearing its end, Nature (May 12,
2017) turned to consider the year's spate of antiscience bills.

"State ... legislatures in the United States are experimenting with
new ways to target the topics taught in science classes, and it seems
to be paying dividends," the story observed, citing the passage of
Florida's House Bill 989, Alabama's House Joint Resolution 78, and
Indiana's Senate Resolution 17.

The Florida bill is aimed at empowering taxpayers to object to the use
of specific instructional materials in the public schools. NCSE's
Glenn Branch told Nature, "The people pushing the bill have been
complaining about evolution and climate change, adding, "It's obvious
that a strong motivation is getting that out of the textbooks."

The resolutions adopted in Alabama and Idaho have no legal force,
unlike failed bills in 2017 in Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas, the
story acknowledged. But by misrepresenting evolution and climate
change as scientifically controversial, Branch contended, they
encourage teachers to miseducate students.

Why the spate of antiscience bills? "It could be due to renewed
anti-evolution and anti-climate change sentiment; confidence that a
country led by US president Donald Trump -- who has expressed doubts
about climate change -- is more hospitable to such views; or an
increase in climate-change denial." Or it could be a statistical

The article concluded by quoting Branch again: "The opponents of
science education may feel newly invigorated -- but so do its

For the article in Nature, visit: 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in the states discussed, visit: 


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

* Ann Reid reintroducing Claire Adrian-Tucci, now in a new role at NCSE: 

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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