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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2010/02/12

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

A new antievolution bill in Kentucky. A Facebook milestone for NCSE; a
new batch of photographs from the Scopes trial; and a chance for
biology faculty to learn how to understand and apply evidence-based
research in biology education. And Darwin Day is here at last!


Kentucky's House Bill 397 would, if enacted, allow teachers to "use,
as permitted by the local school board, other instructional materials
to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific
theories in an objective manner, including but not limited to the
study of evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human
cloning." HB 397 was introduced in the Kentucky House of Representives
on February 8, 2010, and referred to the House Education Committee;
the sole sponsor of the bill is Tim Moore (R-District 26).

The text of HB 397, entitled the Kentucky Science Education and
Intellectual Freedom Act, is substantially similar to the so-called
Louisiana Science Education Act, Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:285.1,
which was passed and enacted in 2008, over the protests of the state's
scientific and educational communities. A novelty in the Kentucky bill
is the phrase "advantages and disadvantages of scientific theories," a
variation on the familiar "strengths and weaknesses" and "evidence for
and evidence against" rhetoric.

Kentucky is apparently unique in having a statute (Kentucky Revised
Statutes 158.177) that authorizes teachers to teach "the theory of
creation as presented in the Bible" and to "read such passages in the
Bible as are deemed necessary for instruction on the theory of
creation." But it is unclear whether teachers take advantage of the
opportunity. The Louisville Courier-Journal (January 11, 2006)
reported that in a November 2005 survey of the state's 176 school
districts, none was teaching or discussing "intelligent design."

For information about Kentucky's HB 397, visit: 

For the text of KRS 158.177 (PDF), visit: 

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


A milestone: there are now over 5000 fans of NCSE's Facebook page. Why
not join them, by visiting the page and clicking on the "Become a Fan"
box by NCSE's name? You'll receive the lastest NCSE news delivered
straight to your Facebook Home page, as well as updates on new
evolution-related scientific discoveries. Or if you prefer your news
in 140-character chunks, follow NCSE on Twitter. And while you're
surfing the web, why not visit NCSE's YouTube channel, one of the
hundred most popular non-profit channels on the site? It's the best
place on the web to view talks by NCSE's executive director Eugenie C.

For NCSE's Facebook page, visit: 

For NCSE's Twitter feed, visit: 

For NCSE's YouTube channel, visit: 


A batch of photographs from the Scopes trial was recently acquired by
the Smithsonian Institution Archives. Taken by William Silverman, a
nineteen-year-old student, the photographs show "famous players and
unknown spectators: Clarence S. Darrow, William Jennings Bryan,
defense attorneys Arthur Garfield Hays and Dudley Field Malone,
drugstore owner Fred E. Robinson, a mysterious man on the Rhea County
Courthouse lawn, a young woman posing for the camera, and others,"
according to a post at The Bigger Picture, the Smithsonian Photography
Initiative's blog. The photographs are available on the Smithsonian
Institution’s photostream in the Flickr Commons.

The historian Marcel Chotkowski LaFollette, whose book Reframing
Scopes: Journalists, Scientists, and Lost Photographs from the Trial
of the Century (University Press of Kansas, 2008) examined the trial
from the perspective of journalist-photographers Watson Davis and
Frank Thone, commented in a separate post at The Bigger Picture,
"William Silverman's images provide another set of valuable confirming
perspectives. Recorded from yet another view, they infuse action into
the official trial transcript and reveal faces from different angles,
famous celebrities and ordinary visitors alike, all captured in the
moment, fascinated with the trial."

For the posts from The Bigger Picture, visit: 

For the trial photographs on the Smithsonian's photostream, visit: 


The Education Department of the American Society for Microbiology is
currently soliciting participants for its Biology Scholars Program
Research Residency -- a year-long virtual residency geared toward
helping undergraduate biology faculty understand and apply
evidence-based research in biology education. According to the
program's website, the purpose of the Research Residency is to develop
biologists' understanding of evidence-based research in biology
education learning; skills to create, design, and implement an
experiment to assess student learning; and community of practice
available for consultation and support. The 2010 Research Residency
begins with the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Institute,
planned for July 14-17 at ASM's headquarters in Washington DC.
Applications for the 2010 Biology Scholars Program Research Residency
will be accepted until March 1, 2010; space is limited to twenty

For information about the residency program, visit: 


Are you recovered from 2009's celebrations of the bicentennial of
Darwin's birth and the sesquicentennial of the publication of On the
Origin of Species? Good, today -- February 12, 2010 -- is Darwin Day
2010! 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. 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, 2010, 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, 850
congregations in all fifty states (and twelve foreign countries) were
scheduled to hold Evolution Weekend events.

For the Darwin Day registry, visit: 

For information about Evolution Weekend, 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

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