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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2016/04/01

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

A failure in Louisiana. Congratulations to Jay Labov. And a new survey
of meteorologists on climate change.


Louisiana's Senate Bill 156, which would have repealed the state's
Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act, was
rejected on a 4-2 vote in the Senate Education Committee on March 29,
2016, according to the Associated Press (March 29, 2016).

The law targeted for repeal was enacted in 1981 and declared to be
unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in Edwards v.
Aguillard in 1987. Yet it remains on the books. SB 156 represents the
third attempt of Dan Claitor (R-District 16) to remove it.

John Milkovitch (D-District 38) was "the most outspoken opponent of
the repeal proposal," according to the Associated Press, saying that
the repeal would have "basically create[d] a situation where only the
secular review [sic] of creation is taught."

Louisiana blogger Lamar White Jr., who attended the committee meeting,
reportson his blog (March 29, 2016) that Milkovitch moreover asked
Claitor, "are you aware that there is an abundance of recent science
that actually confirms the Genesis account of creation?"

Also still on the books in Louisiana is the so-called Louisiana
Science Education Act of 2008, which former governor Bobby Jindal (R),
speaking to NBC News in 2013,said (at around 9:00) allows teachers to
"teach our kids about creationism."

Five attempts to repeal the 2008 law -- SB 70 in 2011, SB 374 in 2012,
SB 26 in 2013, SB 175 in 2014, and SB 74 in 2015 -- have been
introduced by Karen Carter Peterson (D-District 5). So far no such
bill has been introduced in the current legislative session.

Louisiana Family Forum president Gene Mills told the Baton Rouge
Advocate (March 27, 2016) that he was unsure whether to oppose the
repeal of the 1981 bill, since "discussing creationism in the
classroom is protected by the Louisiana Science Education Act."

Interestingly, the on-line version of the story was later revised,
with "discussing creationism in the classroom" replaced by "discussing
the weaknesses of the theory of evolution and other scientific
theories in the classroom."

For the text of Louisiana's Senate Bill 156 as introduced (PDF), visit: 

For the Associated Press story (via the New Orleans Times-Picayune), visit: 

For the report from Lamar White Jr., visit: 

For the NBC News interview of Bobby Jindal, visit: 

For the story in the Baton Rouge Advocate, visit: 

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


NCSE is delighted to congratulate Jay Labov onreceiving the
Distinguished Service to Science Education Award from the National
Science Teachers Association.

The award is presented to "NSTA members who, through active leadership
and scholarly endeavor over a significant period of time, have made
extraordinary contributions to the advancement of education in the
sciences and science teaching." NCSE's founding executive director
Eugenie C. Scott also received the award in 2014.

Labov is Senior Advisor for Education and Communication for the
National Research Council and the National Academy of Sciences. He
received NCSE's Friend of Darwin award in 2013.

For the announcement from NSTA, visit: 


A new survey of members of the American Meteorological Society finds
that nearly all respondents think that climate change is happening and
that a majority of respondents think that human activity is causing
most of the changes in the climate over the past fifty years.

Presented with the AMS's definition of climate change and asked,
"Regardless of the cause, do you think climate change is happening,"
96% of respondents answered yes, 1% answered no, and 3% indicated that
they didn't know.  The AMS defines climate change as "Any systematic
change in the long-term statistics of climate elements (such as
temperature, pressure, or winds) sustained over several decades or
longer. Climate change may be due to: natural external forcings, such
as changes in solar emission or slow changes in the earth’s orbital
elements; natural internal processes of the climate system; or
anthropogenic forcing."

Asked to complete "Do you think that the climate change that has
occurred over the past 50 years has been caused ..." and presented
with various ranges, 29% of respondents selected "Largely or entirely
by human activity (81% to 100%)," 38% selected "Mostly by human
activity" (60% to 80%)," 14% selected "More or less equally by human
activity and natural events," 7% selected "Mostly by natural events
(60% to 80%)," 5% selected "Largely or entirely by natural events (81%
to 100%)," and 6% indicated that they didn't know; 1% had already
indicated their belief that there has been no climate change over the
past fifty years.

Sponsored by the George Mason University Center for Climate Change
Communication, the survey was conducted by e-mail in late 2016 and
early 2016; the sampling frame contained 7682 people. The
participation rate was 53.3% and the survey completion rate was 51.4%.

For the report of the poll (PDF), 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:

* Ann Reid pondering James Hansen's approach to climate change communication: 

* Glenn Branch disentangling a misleading and misattributed quotation
from Norman D. Newell: 

* Guest blogger Brendan Casey describing how he teaches ecology with a
medical metaphor: 

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 510-788-7971 

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

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