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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2018/01/12

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

Sad news of the death of Richard B. Hoppe III. And a fourth bill of
concern in Florida.


Richard B. Hoppe III, a psychologist and pro-evolution education
activist, died on January 3, 2018, at the age of 76, according to a
notice from Kenyon College. The notice quoted a colleague who
described him as "a problem-solver, a person of deep intellectual
curiosity in a variety of areas, and a dedicated member of the
community," and noted, "Hoppe was widely published in professional
journals, with articles on subjects ranging from parapsychology to
statistics, from aircraft control designs to the battles between
creationism and evolution in the nation’s schools."

Hoppe was active in defending evolution in the Ohio state science
standards during a protracted dispute from 2002 to 2006 and was also a
cofounder of The Panda's Thumb blog, bringing his extensive experience
and excellent judgment to both endeavors. In 2008 he found himself
with a front-row seat to a local controversy in Mount Vernon, Ohio,
when a middle school science teacher was accused of inappropriately
bringing his religion into the school -- including by branding crosses
into the arms of his students with a high-voltage electrical device,
displaying posters with the Ten Commandments and Bible verses in his
classroom,  and teaching creationism. Hoppe carefully and thoughtfully
chronicled the ensuing fracas -- which stretched over six years and
included no fewer than three lawsuits -- in a series of posts at The
Panda's Thumb and a 2012 article for Reports of the NCSE. Ultimately,
the teacher was dismissed and his lawsuits over his dismissal were
unavailing. When the United States Supreme Court declined to hear the
teacher's final appeal in 2014, Hoppe exclaimed, "I'm simply glad that
the damned thing is over."

Hoppe was born in Winona, Minnesota, on May 19, 1941. He served in the
U.S. Navy from 1960 to 1964, and then attended the University of
Minnesota, receiving his B.A. in anthropology and psychology in 1968
and his Ph.D. in experimental psychology in 1972. He taught psychology
at Kenyon College from 1971 to 1991, returning occasionally as a
visiting faculty member in the biology department. In 1993, he
co-founded Intellitrade, a firm using artificial intelligence methods
to model financial markets. He was active in his community, especially
with the volunteer fire department.

For the obituary notice from Kenyon College, visit: 

For The Panda's Thumb blog, visit: 

And for Hoppe's article for RNCSE (PDF), visit: 


Senate Bill 1644, introduced by Tom Lee (R-District 20) on January 5,
2018, would, if enacted, revise the procedures for adopting
instructional materials to permit members of the public to recommend
instructional materials for consideration by the state or their
district school board, which would then be required to get in touch
with the publisher of those materials and allow it to submit a bid for

The bill is similar but not identical to House Bill 827, introduced by
Bryon Donalds (R-District 80); the divergences are listed in a January
6, 2018, blog post by Florida Citizens for Science's Brandon Haught.
Donalds was the main sponsor of HB 989 in 2017, which, as NCSE
previously reported, was intended to make it easier for creationists
and climate change deniers to pester their local school districts. HB
989 was passed and enacted in 2017.

Writing about HB 827, a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel (December
5, 2017) connected the dots: "Last session they passed a law to
empower activists who want certain books out of classrooms. And now, a
new bill would allow activists to suggest new books students read
instead -- and require school boards to solicit bids for the book, no
matter how nutty it is." The result, he argued, would be a  waste of

In addition to HB 827 and SB 1644, House Bill 825 and Senate Bill 966,
both prefiled in November 2017, are also of concern. These bills
would, if enacted, require "[c]ontroversial theories and concepts ...
[to] be taught in a factual, objective, and balanced manner," while
allowing local school districts to use either the state science
standards or alternatives "equivalent to or more rigorous than" them.

For Florida's Senate Bill 1644 and House Bill 827 as introduced, visit: 

For Brandon Haught's post at Florida Citizens for Science's blog, visit: 

For the column in the Orlando Sentinel, visit: 

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


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

* Claire Adrian-Tucci reporting on the fruits of one of NCSE's microgrants: 

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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