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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2016/04/22

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

A creationist lawsuit against Kansas's adoption of the NGSS fails
again. And the vacation creationism bill dies in Kentucky.

A DECISION IN THE COPE APPEAL

The creationist lawsuit seeking to reverse Kansas's 2013 decision to
adopt the Next Generation Science Standards on the grounds that the
state thereby "establish[ed] and endorse[d] a non-theistic religious
worldview" failed again on April 19, 2016, when the Tenth Circuit
Court of Appeals upheld the district court's dismissal of the case,
COPE et al. v. Kansas State Board of Education et al.

The court's decision mainly addressed the question of standing,
agreeing with the district court that the plaintiffs lacked standing
to assert any of their claims. Interestingly, though, the decision
observes in a footnote that COPE's suggestion for "teleological"
explanations to be added to the standards would be unconstitutional.

As NCSE previously reported, the lead plaintiff, COPE, Citizens for
Objective Public Education, is a relatively new creationist
organization, founded in 2012 but its leaders and attorneys include
people familiar from previous attacks on evolution education across
the country, such as John H. Calvert of the Intelligent Design
Network.

The NGSS have been adopted in eighteen states -- Arkansas (so far only
for middle school), California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas,
Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey,
Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia -- plus
the District of Columbia. The treatment of evolution and climate
science in the standards occasionally provokes controversy, but COPE
v. Kansas is the only lawsuit to have resulted.

For the court's decision (PDF), visit:
http://ncse.com/files/2016-04-19-Judgment.pdf 

And for NCSE's collection of documents from COPE v. Kansas, visit:
http://ncse.com/legal/cope-v-kansas-state-boe 

VACATION CREATIONISM BILL DIES IN KENTUCKY

Kentucky's Senate Bill 50 died in the House Education Committee when
the legislature adjourned on April 15, 2016. The bill would have
extended the duration of summer vacation in the state's public schools
in order to boost tourism -- including to a creationist attraction.

As NCSE previously reported, the bill's cosponsor Damon Thayer
(R-District 17) identified a creationist attraction as a beneficiary,
telling the Grant County News (August 12, 2015), "Grant County is set
to become a major tourist destination due to the presence of the Ark."

Thayer was referring to Ark Encounter, a Noah's-ark-themed attraction
-- now scheduled to open on July 7, 2016 -- operated by the
young-earth creationist ministry Answers in Genesis, which also
operates a "museum" in Kentucky.

As NCSE previously reported, educators in Kentucky have reportedly
been cool to the idea of the state requiring local schools to start
later in the year, citing both the ideal of local control of education
and the danger of impairing student learning.

The bill passed the Senate Education Committee (which revised it
somewhat), the Senate Rules Committee (which also revised it
somewhat), and the Senate, on a 33-4 vote, but ultimately stalled in
the House Education Committee.

For Kentucky's Senate Bill 50 as introduced (PDF), visit:
http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/16RS/SB50/bill.pdf 

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

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:

* Emily Schoerning lamenting biodiversity loss in a site with familial
significance:
http://ncse.com/blog/2016/04/so-much-left-to-save-0017017 

* Glenn Branch tracking a passage mistakenly attributed to Thomas Henry Huxley:
http://ncse.com/blog/2016/04/pseudo-huxley-quotation-part-1-0016857 
http://ncse.com/blog/2016/04/pseudo-huxley-quotation-part-2-0016858 

* Stephanie Keep applauding Carl Zimmer's take on the term "theory":
http://ncse.com/blog/2016/04/well-said-carl-zimmer-theories-0017021 

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.
1904 Franklin Street, Suite 600
Oakland CA 94612-2922
510-601-7203
fax 510-788-7971
branch@ncse.com 
http://ncse.com 

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

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