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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2009/06/19

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

NCSE staff have been busy recently, delivering a talk at the Evolution
2009 conference, writing for the Washington Post, and giving
interviews on two radio programs. Meanwhile, a creationist teacher
facing dismissal has sued his school district.


NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott spoke at the Evolution 2009
conference on June 12, 2009, and video of her lecture -- "The Public
Understanding of Evolution and the KISS Principle" -- is now available
on-line in RealPlayer format. At the conference, Scott was presented
with the first Stephen Jay Gould Prize, awarded annually by the
Society for the Study of Evolution "to recognize individuals whose
sustained and exemplary efforts have advanced public understanding of
evolutionary science and its importance in biology, education, and
everyday life in the spirit of Stephen Jay Gould." According to the
citation, "As the executive director of the National Center for
Science Education she has been in the forefront of battles to ensure
that public education clearly distinguishes science from non-science
and that the principles of evolution are taught in all biology

For the video, visit:

For information about the conference, visit:

For the citation, visit:


NCSE's Faith Project Director Peter M. J. Hess contributed a guest
column, entitled "West of Eden," to the Washington Post's on-line "On
Faith" feature (June 16, 2009). "Too often, debates over the public
perception of evolution are dominated by the fringes, by
fundamentalist Christians and others who reject basic science due to
their literal reading of the Bible and by ardent atheists who reject
religion because they've embraced metaphysical naturalism -- that
nature is all that exists," Hess writes. "Evolution can certainly be
compatible with religious faith. Because the evidence for evolution is
so overwhelming, we must consider it to be a truth about the natural
world -- the world which we as people of faith believe was created by
God, and the world made understandable by the reason and natural
senses given to us by God. Denying science is a profoundly unsound
theological position."

For Hess's column, visit:


NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott was a guest on two radio
programs recently, and both shows are available on-line. On June 4,
2009, she appeared on the BBC 4's Leading Edge to discuss attempts to
undermine the teaching of evolution in the public schools. Other
guests were Denis Alexander, Director of the Faraday Institute for
Science and Religion, based at St. Edmund's College, Cambridge
University, and Gillian Beer, the author of Darwin's Plots:
Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century
Fiction (second edition; Cambridge University Press, 2000). The
thirty-minute-long show is available in RealPlayer format. Also on
June 4, 2009, she was a guest on Declaring Independence, a weekly
political talk show on Public Reality Radio, WPRR 1680-AM in Grand
Rapids, Michigan; the show is hosted by NCSE member Ed Brayton (who
also blogs at Dispatches from the Culture Wars, hosted by
ScienceBlogs). Their free-ranging and free-wheeling discussion begins
at 34:34 into the hour-long show, available in mp3 format.

For the Leading Edge show, visit:

For the Declaring Independence show, visit:


"John Freshwater, an eighth-grade science teacher facing dismissal for
allegedly preaching in the classroom, is suing the Mount Vernon City
School District, saying it violated his constitutional and civil
rights," the Columbus Dispatch (June 11, 2009) reported. Freshwater
was himself sued in federal court in June 2008 for allegedly
inappropriately bringing his religion into school -- including by
posting posters with the Ten Commandments and Bible verses in his
classroom, branding crosses into the arms of his students with a
high-voltage electrical device, and teaching creationism. The Mount
Vernon City School District Board of Education quickly voted to begin
proceedings to terminate his employment with the district, and
administrative hearings have been proceeding intermittently since
October 2008. (Detailed reports on the hearings by Richard B. Hoppe
are available on The Panda's Thumb blog.)

In his lawsuit, Freshwater names as defendants the Board, two
individual Board members and four other district administrators, a
investigative firm and two of its employees commissioned by the
district to investigate his teaching, and up to eight unknown (even to
him) "employees, agents or others associated" with the Board who may
have "conducted or facilitated" actions against him. The suit contains
sixteen counts, including religious discrimination, defamation,
conspiracy and breach of contract, and seeks $500,000 in compensatory
damages and $500,000 in punitive damages. Documents associated with
the case, Freshwater v. Mount Vernon City School District Board of
Education et al., are available on the "Creationism and the Law"
section of NCSE's website, as are documents associated with the suit
against Freshwater, Doe et al. v. Mount Vernon City School District
Board of Education et al.

For the Dispatch's story, visit:

For Hoppe's coverage at The Panda's Thumb blog, visit:

For the legal documents associated with the cases, visit:

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

Thanks for reading! And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- -- where you can always find the latest news on
evolution education and threats to it.


Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
510-601-7203 x310
fax: 510-601-7204

Eugenie C. Scott's Evolution vs. Creationism -- now in its second edition!

Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools

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