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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2016/02/05

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

A Darwin Day resolution in Arizona. The latest on South Dakota's
antiscience bill. Congratulations to Sean B. Carroll. And a reminder
about Darwin Day.


Senate Resolution 1001, introduced in the Arizona Senate on February
2, 2016, would, if enacted, express the Senate's recognition of
February 12, 2016, as International Darwin Day.

The resolution acknowledges the 207th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s
birth, honors his discovery of natural selection, and the theory's
role as "the foundation for ongoing advances in science, health,
philosophy, art, education, and many other areas of modern life." It
also celebrates Darwin's "strength of character" and the "great
courage, wisdom and honesty required to explore and publish" his work
on evolution, compares Darwin to Newton and Einstein, and deems his
birthday "an appropriate day on which to celebrate and to reflect and
act on the principles of intellectual bravery and perpetual curiosity
and the hunger for truth that contribute to the well-being of all

The bill's sponsor is Andrew Sherwood (D-26), who cosponsored the
similar House Resolution 2002 in 2015; that bill eventually died in

For the text of Arizona's Senate Resolution 1001 as introduced, visit: 

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


South Dakota's Senate Bill 83 -- which would, if enacted, allow
teachers to teach "the strengths and weaknesses of scientific
information" presented in courses aligned with the state education
standards -- received coverage from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader
(January 31, 2016).

The bill's principal sponsor, Jeff Monroe (R-District 24), told the
newspaper that science teachers often take a "unidirectional" approach
with regard to the Big Bang and climate change: "In societies those
are debates that rage, but in the schools they're taught as fact."

As NCSE previously reported, Monroe previously sponsored bills that
would have allowed teachers to teach "intelligent design" and that
identified "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global
warming, [and] human cloning" as scientifically controversial.

NCSE's Glenn Branch, however, argued that because the bill prevents
educational authorities from controlling teachers who purport to be
teaching the weaknesses of scientific theories, it is "a recipe to
encourage teachers to go rogue."

Julie Olson, the president of the South Dakota Science Teachers
Association, added that science teachers are not in the need of the
protection ostensibly offered by the bill as long as they're
presenting theories based on factual evidence.

For the story in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, visit: 

For the text of South Dakota's Senate Bill 83 as introduced, visit: 

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


NCSE is pleased to congratulate Sean B. Carroll, a member of NCSE's
Advisory Council and a recipient of NCSE's Friend of Darwin award, on
winning the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science.

Carroll's books include Endless Forms Most Beautiful (2005), about
evolutionary developmental biology; Remarkable Creatures (2009), about
the history of evolutionary theory;Brave Genius (2013), about Jacques
Monod and Albert Camus; and his latest, The Serengeti Rules: The Quest
to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters (2016). According to a
January 28, 2016, press release from the Rockefeller University, which
awards the prize, "Carroll's work as a science communicator embodies
the prize's original intent to honor those who inspire others. "

Carroll is vice president for science education at the Howard Hughes
Medical Institute and professor of molecular biology and genetics at
the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He will receive the Thomas Prize
at a March 14, 2016, ceremony.

For the press release from the Rockefeller University, visit: 


It's time to dust off your Darwin costume again: just a week remains
before Darwin Day 2016! Colleges and universities, schools, libraries,
museums, churches, civic groups, and just plain folks across the
country -- and the world -- are preparing to celebrate Darwin Day, on
or around February 12, in honor of the life and work of Charles
Darwin. These events provide a marvelous opportunity not only to
celebrate Darwin's birthday but also to engage in public outreach
about science, evolution, and the importance of evolution education --
which is especially needed with assaults on evolution education
already under way in state legislatures. NCSE encourages its members
and friends to attend, participate in, and even organize Darwin Day
events in their own communities. To find a local event, check the
websites of local universities and museums and the registry of Darwin
Day events maintained by the Darwin Day Celebration website. (And
don't forget to register your own event with the Darwin Day
Celebration website!)

And with Darwin Day comes the return of Evolution Weekend! Hundreds of
congregations all over the country and around the world are taking
part in Evolution Weekend, February 12-14, 2016, by presenting sermons
and discussion groups on the compatibility of faith and science.
Michael Zimmerman, the initiator of the project, writes, "Evolution
Weekend is an opportunity for serious discussion and reflection on the
relationship between religion and science. One important goal is to
elevate the quality of the discussion on this critical topic -- to
move beyond sound bites. A second critical goal is to demonstrate that
religious people from many faiths and locations understand that
evolution is sound science and poses no problems for their faith.
Finally, as with The Clergy Letter itself, Evolution Weekend makes it
clear that those claiming that people must choose between religion and
science are creating a false dichotomy." At last count, 351
congregations in forty-eight states (and eleven foreign countries)
were scheduled to hold Evolution Weekend events.

For the Darwin Day registry, visit: 

For information about Evolution Weekend, visit: 


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

* Glenn Branch unraveling a confusion among three writers named Balfour: 

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.
1904 Franklin Street, Suite 600
Oakland CA 94612-2922
fax: 510-601-7204

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