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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2017/06/30

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(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

Bad news from Florida. NCSE staff are among those honored by the
Society for the Study of Evolution. A preview of Tim Flannery's
Atmosphere of Hope. And dismaying news about evolution education in


Florida's House Bill 989, aimed at empowering Floridians to object to
the use of specific instructional materials in the public schools, was
signed into law by Governor Rick Scott on June 26, 2017, according to
the Tampa Bay Times (June 26, 2017). The bill was previously passed by
both chambers of the Florida legislature in April and May 2017.

As NCSE previously reported, climate change and evolution were clearly
among the targets of HB 989. Supporters of the bill submitted
affidavits that complained, "I have witnessed students being taught
evolution as fact ... rather than theory ... I have witnessed children
being taught that Global Warming is a reality."

With the law now in place, any county resident -- not just any parent
with a child in the country's public schools, as was the case
previously -- can now file a complaint about instructional materials
in the county's public schools, and the school will now have to
appoint a hearing officer to hear the complaint.

Brandon Haught of Florida Citizens for Science commented on the
organization's blog (June 26, 2017), "This means our fight is only
just now beginning. Each and every one of us has to be on alert. You
must keep an eye on your local school board and everyone who brings
forth a complaint about textbooks. If you don’t, we truly lose."

Haught also expressed concern that a recently enacted "religious
liberties" law -- Senate Bill 436 -- would be wielded in conjunction
with HB 989 to undermine evolution education in Florida, citing a
Frontline article (May 8, 2017) that quoted a backer of both bills as
vowing to do just that.

For information about Florida's House Bill 989, visit: 

For the article in the Tampa Bay Times, visit: 

For Brandon Haught's blog post, visit: 

For information about Florida's Senate Bill 436, visit: 

For the Frontline article, visit: 

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


NCSE is delighted to congratulate Laura A. Bankers, a graduate student
in the department of biology at the University of Iowa, and her
colleagues for winning the 2017 Thomas Henry Huxley Award from the
Society for the Study of Evolution, in recognition of their work with
NCSE's Science Booster Club program.

In addition to Bankers, Kyle McLeroy, Joseph Jalinsky, James Woodell,
Katelyn Larkin, and Jorge Moreno (all students at the University of
Iowa), Robert Todd (a student at Creighton University), Maurine Neiman
(a faculty member at the University of Iowa), and NCSE's Claire
Adrian-Tucci and Emily Schoerning were named in the award citation.

Initiated in May 2015 and largely staffed by graduate students, the
Iowa Science Booster Clubs now boast four clubs with over a thousand
members; they have reached nearly 80,000 Iowans through community
outreach activities and nearly 5000 students through grants to
individual science classrooms.

The chair of SSE's Education and Outreach Committee, which administers
the award, told Bankers, "We found your proposal to be exciting and
topical, and in addition to the clear scientific relevance of your
work, we are confident that the story will be an inspiring example for

For information about the Huxley award, visit: 

And for information about NCSE's Science Booster Club program, visit: 


NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of Tim Flannery's Atmosphere
of Hope: Searching for Solutions to the Climate Crisis (Grove Press,
2015). The preview consists of chapter 4, "How Are the Animals Doing?"
which discusses climate change's threat to biodiversity, as well as a
new afterword added to the 2016 paperback edition of the book.

"Thoughtful, candid and -- yes -- ultimately upbeat, Atmosphere of
Hope could not be more timely," writes Elizabeth Kolbert (author of
The Sixth Extinction). "It is just the book the world needs right
now." Tim Flannery is a scientist, explorer, and conservationist; he
served as head of the Australian Climate Change Commission from 2011
to 2013.

For the preview (PDF), visit: 

And for information about the book from its publisher, visit: 


"Darwin's theory of evolution has been excluded from the most recent
draft of Turkey's new national curriculum," reports the Hurriyet Daily
News (June 22, 2017).

As NCSE previously reported, a draft of the curriculum omitted
evolution, with a unit entitled "The Origin of Life and Evolution"
replaced with a unit entitled "Living Beings and the Environment." The
draft was subsequently approved by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A representative of the Education Ministry was quoted by the Hurriyet
Daily News as describing evolution and the origin of life as both too
difficult for ninth-grade students and as "controversial."

But a group of Turkish academics retorted that science education
"should be presented with a perspective that allows students to
connect it to subjects they will encounter in future years. It should
provide them with an evolutionary point of view."

The Guardian (June 23, 2017) commented, "There is little acceptance of
evolution as a concept among mainstream Muslim clerics in the Middle
East ... Still, evolution is briefly taught in many high school
biology courses in the region."

The teaching of evolution has been periodically contentious in Turkey,
owing in part to the efforts of Islamic fundamentalist groups and

For the articles in the Hurriyet Daily News and the Guardian, visit: 

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


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

* Glenn Branch discussing a philosopher's dismay over the Scopes trial: 

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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