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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2014/10/31

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

The latest from the state of Wyoming as well as the latest survey of
public opinion on evolution and climate change.


The Wyoming Tribune Eagle (October 26, 2014) reviewed the status of
the state's science standards. As NCSE previously reported, a footnote
in Wyoming's budget for 2014-2016 precluded the use of state funds
"for any review or adoption" of the Next Generation Science Standards,
in part owing to their treatment of climate change. The Wyoming state
board of education subsequently declined to develop a new set of
science standards independent of the NGSS.

Mary Throne (D-District 11), who wrote the final version of the
footnote, told the Tribune Eagle that it was misinterpreted: "My goal
was to allow the state board to use the Next Generation Science
Standards as a template and then basically 'Wyomingize' them -- tweak
them to fit Wyoming better, but not to throw them out all together."
Throne said that she hoped to seek a repeal of the footnote in the
next session of the legislature.

Marguerite Herman of Wyoming for Science Education defended the NGSS,
saying, "They are high-class, 21st century, peer-reviewed [standards]
and are based on what students need to know, what industry needs
students to know and an understanding of how people learn science."
She expressed hope that in the future Wyoming education would be free
of political interference. "The Legislature set the review process
back, and our kids are the losers in the process."

Despite the legislature's decision, local school districts are
apparently free to adopt the NGSS, and about fifteen (of forty-eight)
have done so. Still, the decision was disruptive: Jack Cozort of
Laramie County School District 2 commented, "We saw the footnote, and
we slammed on the brakes." Melanie Fierro of Laramie County School
District 1 added, "It does put us in a little bit of a bind," but
approvingly described the change to the NGSS as a "paradigm shift."

Herman worried about the effect of the lack of a set of state
standards that cover climate change on teachers: "If you're in a
district without [the NGSS], your hands may be tied, and you won't
have the resources." NCSE's Minda Berbeco added, "Standards help set
the guidelines for professional development and what teachers should
know going into the classroom ... If you leave out a topic, they're
less likely to learn about it."

For the story in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, visit: 

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


The Chapman University Survey on American Fears included a pair of
questions relevant to evolution and climate change.

Asked "Which of the following statements comes closest to your views
about the origin and development of man?" 39.9% of respondents
preferred "God created man pretty much in his present form at one time
within the last 10,000 years," 19.0% preferred "Man has developed over
millions of years from less advanced forms of life. God had no part in
this process," and 36.5% preferred "Man has developed over millions of
years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process,
including man's"; 4.6% of respondents refused to answer.

Asked "Which of the following statements best describes your personal
belief about global climate change (global warming due to the
Greenhouse effect)?" 59.1% of respondents preferred "Global climate
change is occur[r]ing and is significantly accelerated by human
activities and pollution," 16.2% preferred "Global climate change is
occur[r]ing, but is not the result of human activities and pollution,"
and 8.8% preferred "Global climate change is NOT occur[r]ing"; 12.6%
of respondents indicated that none of the statements accurately
described their beliefs and 3.2% refused to answer.

The survey was conducted on-line in April 2014 by the GfK Group using
a representative sample of adults in the United States; there were
1573 respondents in all.

For information about the survey, visit: 

And for NCSE's collection of polls and surveys on climate, visit: 


Have you been visiting NCSE's blog, The Science League of America,
recently? If not, then you've missed:

* Glenn Branch discussing a misquotation of Ernst Haeckel: 

* Josh Rosenau considering the use of humor as a tool against pseudoscience: 

* Mark McCaffrey debunking a misconception about the ozone hole: 

And much more besides!

For The Science League of America, 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.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
510-601-7203 x303
fax: 510-601-7204

Check out NCSE's new blog, Science League of America: 

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