Skip navigation.
The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2017/06/16

  • : Function split() is deprecated in /var/www/vhosts/antievolution/public_html/drupal-4.7.3/modules/filter.module on line 1067.
  • : Function split() is deprecated in /var/www/vhosts/antievolution/public_html/drupal-4.7.3/modules/filter.module on line 1067.
  • : Function split() is deprecated in /var/www/vhosts/antievolution/public_html/drupal-4.7.3/modules/filter.module on line 1067.
  • : Function split() is deprecated in /var/www/vhosts/antievolution/public_html/drupal-4.7.3/modules/filter.module on line 1067.

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

CNN addresses climate change education. And there are concerns in
Wisconsin about the possibility that a "Campus Free Speech Act" would
protect science denial.


A story from CNN (June 14, 2017) discusses "the confusion that the
climate change issue has presented to many schools across the country.
Although 97% of climate scientists agree that global warming is linked
to the burning of fossil fuels, a majority of middle and high school
teachers are not aware of this consensus."

The story relied both on interviews with teachers on the front lines,
such as Eric Madrid in Texas and Ann Akey in California, and
spokespeople for the California State Education and Environment
Roundtable, the National Science Teachers, and NCSE, particularly the
NCSE/Penn State national survey on climate change education.

Improvements to state science standards make a difference, the story
observed. But the last word came from NCSE's Glenn Branch: "at the end
of the day, when the classroom door closes, it's really going to be
the individual teacher who determines whether or not climate change is
going to be properly presented or not."

For the CNN story, visit: 

And for Mixed Messages, the report of the NCSE/Penn State survey, (PDF), visit: 


A "Campus Free Speech Act" proposed in Wisconsin might protect college
students who feel intimidated from expressing their opinions about the
age of the earth in geology classes, according to the bill's lead

The bill in question, Assembly Bill 299, would require the board of
regents of the University of Wisconsin system to adopt a policy on
free expression with various provisions affecting students, faculty,
speakers, the public, and the institutions that are part of the system
themselves, and to appoint a council on free expression to report on
free expression issues to the board, the legislature, and the

The Capital Times (June 7, 2017) reported that during a May 11, 2017,
committee hearing, Jesse Kremer (R-District 59) was asked, if a
student was advancing the view that the earth is 6000 years old in
class, "Is it okay for the professor to tell them they're wrong?"
Kremer replied, "The earth is 6000 years old," adding, "That's a
fact." The fact-checking service Politifact (June 8, 2017) duly
investigated, rating his statement false.

Kremer also said that "this bill stays out of the classroom." "Yet
Kremer immediately speculated that students who felt intimidated from
expressing their opinions in class could bring their complaints to the
Council on Free Expression, an oversight board created in the bill,"
the Capital Times reported. "So the law could potentially cover things
that happen in the classroom, he suggested."

During the hearing, a fellow sponsor of AB 299, Robin Vos (R-District
63), cited a different scientific topic that might be affected by the
bill's passage. "Probably the biggest debate is global warming," Vos
was quoted as saying. "A lot of people think it's settled science and
an awful lot of people think it isn't. I think both sides should be
brought to campus and let students decide."

A provision of the bill would require the state's public universities
to be neutral on "public policy controversies," prompting Matt
Rothschild of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign to ask, "So ... [UW
researchers] would not be allowed to argue that climate change is
real, and caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels? ... You are
saying that UW institutions should remain neutral on the question of
Darwin and natural selection versus creationism."

AB 299 was introduced on May 5, 2017, and referred to the House
Committee on Colleges and Universities, where it passed with
amendments on June 2, 2017, and was then referred to the House
Committee on Rules. A counterpart bill, Senate Bill 250, was
introduced on May 17, 2017, and was referred to the Senate Committee
on Universities and Technical Colleges, where it remains.

Asked recently about his view of the age of the earth by the
Associated Press (June 7, 2017), Kremer replied by avowing "my
biblical belief. Other people believe the same thing. That's all I'm
going to say."

For information about Wisconsin's Assembly Bill 299 and Senate Bill 250, visit: 

For the Capital Times story, visit: 

For the Politifact story, visti: 

For Matt Rothschild's comments, visit: 

For the Associated Press's story (via the Wisconsin State Journal), visit: 

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


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

* Emily Schoerning discussing NCSE's outreach to teachers in the San
Francisco Bay Area: 

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 

Check out NCSE's blog: 

Read Reports of the NCSE on-line: 

Subscribe to NCSE's free weekly e-newsletter: 

NCSE is on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter: 

NCSE's work is supported by its members. Join today!