NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2010/07/23
(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)
Dear Friends of NCSE, Barbara Forrest slams the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act again. Meanwhile, a host of new videos is now available on NCSE's YouTube channel, and there's unsurprising poll data on the acceptance of evolution in Canada, Great Britain, and the United States.
FORREST BLASTS THE LSEA Writing in the Shreveport Times (July 18, 2010), Barbara Forrest blasted the Louisiana Science Education Act, which opened the door for creationism to be taught in the state's public schools. Responding to the executive director of the Louisiana Family Forum, who in a previous column praised "the courage of our policy writers," she replied, "The LFF announced on their website that they wrote the bill. They were assisted by the Discovery Institute (DI), a creationist think tank in Seattle that has hawked 'intelligent design' for almost two decades." She also noted the anomaly of the bill's including a disclaimer prohibiting "discrimination for or against religion or non-religion": "But legislation that is about real science education need not include religion disclaimers," she explained. "Disclaimers are typically included in creationist laws, which are precisely about promoting religion." Additionally, she observed, it was creationists who were foremost in pushing for the bill. "Public school science teachers did not request this law. On the contrary, they opposed it." Forrest, a member of NCSE's board of directors and of Louisiana Coalition for Science's board of directors, is Professor of Philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University and the coauthor with Paul R. Gross of Creationism's Trojan Horse (revised edition: Oxford University Press, 2007). For Forrest's column, visit: http://www.shreveporttimes.com/article/20100718/OPINION03/7180314/1058 For information on Louisiana Coalition for Science, visit: http://lasciencecoalition.org/ For information about Creationism's Trojan Horse, visit: http://creationismstrojanhorse.com/ And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Louisiana, visit: http://ncse.com/news/louisiana WHAT'S NEW ON NCSE'S YOUTUBE CHANNEL NCSE is pleased to announce that a further batch of videos featuring NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott is now available at NCSE's YouTube channel. Featured is "The Evolution of Creationism" (in three parts), recorded at North Dakota State University in February 2010. In addition, there's "God, Darwin, or Both" (in five parts), featuring Scott in a panel discussion with old-earth creationist Hugh Ross and young-earth creationist Duane Gish, filmed at Santa Clara First Baptist Church in Santa Clara, California, in September 2001; "Reinventing Evolution," delivered to the Skeptics Society in Pasadena, California in 1998; and a radio discussion with young-earth creationist Kent Hovind recorded in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1993. Plus there's Kevin Padian, the president of NCSE's board of directors, appearing on WNET's "Inside the Law" program along with Charles Haynes, Michael McIlwrath, William Dembski, and Wendell Bird in 1996. Tune in and enjoy! For NCSE's YouTube channel, visit: http://www.youtube.com/user/NatCen4ScienceEd POLLING EVOLUTION IN THREE COUNTRIES A new poll indicates that public acceptance of evolution is significantly higher in Great Britain and Canada than in the United States. The poll, conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion, asked, "Which of these statements comes closest to your own point of view regarding the origin and development of human beings on earth?" and offered the choices "Human beings evolved from less advanced life forms over millions of years" and "God created human beings in their present form within the last 10,000 years." In the United States, there was no statement commanding the assent of the majority of respondents: 35% of respondents preferred the evolution statement and 47% preferred the creationism statement, with 18% unsure. In Canada and Great Britain, however, evolution was the majority view. In Canada, 61% of respondents preferred the evolution statement and 24% preferred the creationism statement, with 15% unsure. In Great Britain, 68% of respondents preferred the evolution statement, and 16% preferred the creationism statement, with 15% unsure. The results were also presented by region. Acceptance of evolution in the United States was lowest in the South (27%, as opposed to 51% accepting creationism) and highest in the Northeast (43%, as opposed to 38% accepting creationism). In Canada, acceptance of creationism was highest in Manitoba/Saskatchewan (39%, as opposed to 50% accepting evolution) and Alberta (31%, as opposed to 51% accepting evolution). In Great Britain, acceptance of creationism was highest in London (25%, as opposed to 58% accepting evolution). The choices offered by Angus Reid are similar, but not identical, to Gallup's, which offers two versions of the evolution statement, specifying "God guided this process" and "God had no part in this process." In 2008, 36% of Gallup's respondents preferred the "God guided" statement and 14% preferred the "God had no part" statement, for a total of 50% accepting evolution, as opposed to 44% accepting the creationist statement. Gallup's results are more or less consistent from 1982 to 2008. The Angus Reid poll was conducted on-line between July 1 and July 9, 2010, among 1009 Canadian adults, 1002 American adults, and 2011 British adults. The margin of error is +/- 3.1% for Canada and the United States and +/- 2.2% for Great Britain. Angus Reid explains, "The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of Canada, the US and Great Britain. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding." For the report from Angus Reid (PDF), visit: http://www.visioncritical.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/2010.07.15_Origin.pdf For the data from Gallup, visit: http://www.gallup.com/poll/21814/evolution-creationism-intelligent-design.aspx For NCSE's collection of information on polls and surveys, visit: http://ncse.com/creationism/polls-surveys 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 education and threats to it. -- Sincerely, 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 800-290-6006 firstname.lastname@example.org http://ncse.com Subscribe to NCSE's free weekly e-newsletter: http://groups.google.com/group/ncse-news NCSE is on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter: http://www.facebook.com/evolution.ncse http://www.youtube.com/NatCen4ScienceEd http://twitter.com/ncse NCSE's work is supported by its members. Join today! http://ncse.com/membership