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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2015/09/25

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

What will happen to the evolution disclaimer in Alabama's textbooks?


When the Alabama board of education voted to approve a new set of
science standards on September 10, 2015, in which evolution was
described as "substantiated with much direct and indirect evidence,"
the question arose: what will become of the evolution disclaimer in
Alabama's textbooks?

According to the Washington Post (September 18, 2015), "state
officials will have to decide what to do about the adhesive label that
every high school biology textbook has been required to carry since
2001, a warning emphasizing that evolution is a 'controversial theory'
that students should question."

(The initial version of the disclaimer was adopted in 1996, when the
standards described evolution as "a controversial theory some
scientists present," and the state board of education voted to require
the insertion of a corresponding disclaimer in science textbooks.
Subsequent versions of the standards weakened the disclaimer.)

According to Newsweek (September 18, 2015), "The state superintendent
and state board of education is currently in the process of reviewing
Alabama's science textbooks to decide how they might change according
to the new standards. [They] will also evaluate whether or not the
insert will survive as-is in the new books, or whether it will be

The Montgomery Advertiser (September 21, 2015) editorially called for
the insert disclaiming evolution to be removed, writing, "Alabama
appears to be the only state that allows such anti-science
disclaimers, another stain on its poor reputation for educational
quality and a not-so-subtle disincentive for some teachers to fully
present evolution as fact in the classroom. It's time to rip off the

"Alabama needs to abandon its misguided practice of warning students
about evolution," commented NCSE's executive director Ann Reid. "The
disclaimers are scientifically unwarranted and pedagogically
irresponsible. Now that Alabama's science standards acknowledge the
scientific standing of evolution, it's time for the disclaimers to

For the story in the Washington Post, visit: 

For the story in Newsweek, visit: 

For the editorial in the Montgomery Advertiser, visit; 

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


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

* Ann Reid applauding a remarkable attempt at constructing a
comprehensive tree of life: 

* Stephanie Keep pondering the significance of Homo naledi: 

* Josh Rosenau deploring a recent change to the Associated Press's stylebook: 

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

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