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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2017/07/28

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(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

BioScience reviews 2017's antiscience bills. And a preview of Teaching
Evolution in a Creation Nation.


"In statehouses around the country, the 2017 legislative session saw a
flurry of attacks on science education," according to a story in the
August 2017 issue of BioScience, published by the American Institute
of Biological Sciences. "This was 'on the busy side of normal,'
according to Glenn Branch, deputy director of the National Center for
Science Education, in Oakland, California."

The article focused on two bills. Florida's House Bill 989 was
intended to make it easier for Floridians to challenge instructional
materials used in the public schools, and its backers explicitly cited
evolution and climate change as topics to which they took objection.
The bill passed and was enacted in June 2017.

Oklahoma's Senate Bill 393 would have empowered teachers to
misrepresent "controversial" subjects and prevented administrators
from restraining them. The bill passed the Senate but stalled in the
House of Representatives. Bills like Oklahoma's are common, with over
seventy introduced, often under the rubric "academic freedom," since

NCSE's Branch received the last word: "Branch notes that the 2017
legislative session was a further weakening of that strategy, with
academic freedom laws being rewritten as nonbinding resolutions that
passed in Alabama and Indiana. 'I would expect to see a lot more
resolutions like that in states where sponsors have failed,' said
Branch. 'At least they got something across the finish line.'"

For the story in BioScience, visit: 

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


NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of Adam Laats and Harvey
Siegel's Teaching Evolution in a Creation Nation (University of
Chicago Press, 2016). The preview consists of chapter 3, "The Dog That
Didn't Bark," which discusses "the long period between roughly 1930
and 1960 in which the issue [of evolution education] disappeared from
the nation's headlines. However, people hadn't stopped caring about

"What do you get when you cross a historian and a philosopher? If it’s
Laats and Siegel, the answer is Teaching Evolution in a Creation
Nation. Thoughtful and provocative, historically detailed and
philosophically informed, this book is a must for anyone interested in
understanding the conflict over evolution education in the United
States," wrote NCSE's deputy director Glenn Branch.

For the preview (PDF), visit: 

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


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

* Emily Schoerning reporting from the National Science Teachers
Association's National Congress on Science Education: 

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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