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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2014/12/12

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

Kentucky nixes tax incentives for a creationist theme park. NSTA
Recommends likes NCSE's Mark McCaffrey's Climate Smart & Energy Wise.
And a new survey assesses public attitudes toward evolution in Latin
America.

NO TAX INCENTIVES FOR ARK PARK

"Kentucky's Tourism Arts & Heritage Cabinet Secretary Bob Stewart
informed representatives of the proposed Ark Encounter tourist
attraction today that their project will not be eligible for up to $18
million in tax incentives from the state, due to their refusal to
pledge not to discriminate in hiring based on religion," Insider
Louisville (December 10, 2014) reports.

As NCSE previously reported, in 2011, the Kentucky Tourism Development
Finance Authority voted to grant tax incentives -- in the form of
retained sales taxes -- to the proposed creationist theme park in
northern Kentucky, to be run by Ark Encounter LLC, a for-profit
company, and the young-earth creationist ministry Answers in Genesis.

The state agency's decision prompted concerns about whether it would
be consistent with the federal and Kentucky constitutions for the
state to grant the incentives to the project, but there was no
consensus, and until recently all signs were that the state remained
willing for Ark Encounter to benefit from the tax incentives.

In Stewart's letter, dated December 10, 2014, however, he writes, with
a notable choice of verb, that "it is readily apparent that the
project has evolved from a tourism attraction to an extension of AIG's
ministry that will no longer permit the Commonwealth to grant the
project tourism development incentives."

"There are two reasons for this conclusion," Stewart explained in his
letter. "1) [T]he Commonwealth will not grant incentives to a company
that intends to discriminate in hiring its employees based on
religion; and 2) It is a violation of the Constitution for the
Commonwealth's incentives to be used to advance religion."

Daniel Phelps of the Kentucky Paleontological Society, a persistent
critic of Answers in Genesis and Ark Encounter, told NCSE, "I am glad
to see that Tourism did the right thing after the bigoted hiring
practices of Ark Encounter and its convoluted relationship with
Answers in Genesis and the Creation 'Museum' were exposed."

For the article in Insider Louisville, visit:
http://insiderlouisville.com/metro/lost-ark-kentucky-will-not-grant-tax-incentives-ark-encounter/ 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Kentucky, visit:
http://ncse.com/news/kentucky 

KUDOS FOR CLIMATE SMART & ENERGY WISE

NCSE's Mark McCaffrey's Climate Smart & Energy Wise: Advancing Science
Literacy, Knowledge, and Know-How (Corwin Press, 2014) received a
positive review from the National Science Teachers Association's NSTA
Recommends.

Citing the fact that "[t]he United States has a serious science
literacy problem as witnessed by the statements made by local, state,
and federal officials about global warming and other topics," the
reviewer concluded, "This should be a valuable reference for those
involved in science education."

A sample (chapter 7: "Countering Skepticism, Denial, and Despair") is
availableg on NCSE's website, and McCaffrey contributed a series of
blog posts describing the chapters of the book to NCSE's blog.

For the NSTA review, visit:
http://www.nsta.org/recommends/ViewProduct.aspx?ProductID=22194 

For the publisher's description of the book, visit:
http://www.corwin.com/books/Book241767 

For the sample chapter (PDF), visit:
http://ncse.com/files/pub/evolution/excerpt--smart.pdf 

And for McCaffrey's series of blog posts about the book, visit:
http://ncse.com/users/mccaffrey 

OPINION ON EVOLUTION IN LATIN AMERICA

"Overall, Latin Americans embrace the idea that humans and other
living things have evolved over time." That was the upshot of a Pew
Research Center survey on "Religion in Latin America" which included a
question about evolution: "Thinking about evolution, which comes
closer to your view? Human beings and other living things have evolved
over time, or humans at other living things have existed in their
present form since the beginning of time."

Preferring the evolution answer were 74% of Uruguayans, 71% of
Argentinians, 69% of Chileans, 66% of Brazilians, 65% of Puerto
Ricans, 64% of Mexicans, 63% of Venezuelans, 61% of Panamanians, 59%
of Colombians and Paraguayians, 56% of Costa Ricans, 55% of
Guatemalans, 51% of Peruvians, 50% of Ecuadorians, 49% of Hondurans,
47% of Nicaraguans, 46% of Salvadorans, 44% of Bolivians, and 41% of
Dominicans.

The report noted that "Catholics tend to be more accepting of
evolution than are Protestants," with 20-point differences in the
percentages of Catholics and Protestants who accept evolution in Peru
and Venezuela. Urban respondents were generally more likely to accept
evolution than rural respondents; respondents with more formal
education were generally more likely to accept evolution than
respondents with less formal education.

The survey was conducted between November 2013 and March 2014.
According to the report, "The survey was conducted via face-to-face
interviews under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates
International ... . The survey is based on samples of
non-institutionalized adults ages 18 and older." For each country, the
sample size was at least 1500, with margins of error between
plus/minus 2.8 points and plus/minus 4 points.

For the Pew Research Center's Report (PDF), visit:
http://www.pewforum.org/files/2014/11/Religion-in-Latin-America-11-12-PM-full-PDF.pdf 

For NCSE's collection of polls and surveys, visit:
http://ncse.com/creationism/polls-surveys 

WHAT'S NEW FROM THE SCIENCE LEAGUE OF AMERICA

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

* Steven Newton marveling at a creationist's critique of the Field Museum:
http://ncse.com/blog/2014/12/do-you-know-how-complex-feet-are-adventures-creationist-at-0016042 

* Glenn Branch discussing Theodore Roosevelt's letter to a creationist
about evolution:
http://ncse.com/blog/2012/12/two-theodores-0016037 

* Josh Rosenau applauding a recent call to distinguish skeptics from deniers:
http://ncse.com/blog/2014/12/standing-up-skepticism-0016044 

And much more besides!

For The Science League of America, visit:
http://ncse.com/blog 

Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website --
http://ncse.com -- where you can always find the latest news on 
evolution and climate education and threats to them.

--
Sincerely,

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
800-290-6006
branch@ncse.com 
http://ncse.com 

Check out NCSE's new blog, Science League of America:
http://ncse.com/blog 

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http://reports.ncse.com 

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