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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2010/08/20

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

It's not too late to submit your cartoon to Florida Citizens for
Science's Stick Science contest! Plus videos from the University of
Chicago's Darwin conference are now available on-line, and Lauri Lebo
rehearses the connections between "intelligent design" and earlier
manifestations of creationism at Religion Dispatches.


Less than two weeks remain to submit entries for Stick Science -- the
science cartoon contest sponsored by Florida Citizens for Science, a
grassroots organization defending and promoting the integrity of
science education in Florida. At the FCFS blog (August 1, 2010),
Brandon Haught explains, "The basic concept here is to draw a cartoon
that educates the public about misconceptions the average person has
about science." And lack of artistic ability isn't a problem: "all
entries must be drawn using stick figures. This is about creative
ideas, not artistic ability."

Entries are due (by e-mail or post) by August 31, 2010. Prizes include
various books and t-shirts, and even a telescope kit. Judges are
NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott, Carl Zimmer, the author of
The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution, Jorge Cham, the writer
and artist of the Piled Higher and Deeper on-line comic strip, and Jay
Hosler, the author and illustrator of The Sandwalk Adventures and
Optical Allusions. Full details of the contest are available on FCFS's

For the announcement on FCFS's blog, visit: 

For information about Stick Science, visit: 


Videos of the presentations from Darwin/Chicago 2009 -- the University
of Chicago's conference celebrating the 200th anniversary of Darwin's
birth and the 150th anniversary of the Origin of Species -- are now
available on-line. Among the thirty-one speakers featured are NCSE
executive director Eugenie C. Scott -- asking "What Would Darwin Say
to Today's Creationists?" -- as well as NCSE Supporters Douglas J.
Futuyma, Philip Kitcher, Richard Lewontin, Michael Ruse, and Elliott
Sober. (The plenary addresses, by Lewontin, Ronald L. Numbers, and
Marc Hauser, are not yet available but will be posted shortly.) Also
included on the conference's website are video interviews of thirteen
of the speakers, including Scott, Lewontin, and Ruse; a gallery of
photographs from the conference; and information about the University
of Chicago's conference in 1959 celebrating the 100th anniversary of
the Origin.

For the conference's website, visit: 


Writing on Religion Dispatches (August 11, 2010), Lauri Lebo
anticipates the fifth anniversary of Kitzmiller v. Dover by rehearsing
the connections between "intelligent design" and creationism, both in
Dover, Pennsylvania, in 2005 and in Livingston Parish, Louisiana, in

In a previous post at Religion Dispatches (August 5, 2010), Lebo
commented incisively on a column in which Bruce Chapman, the president
of the Discovery Institute, "backpedaled from a Louisiana creationism
mishap he helped spawn." The mishap in question was the fact that
certain members of the Livingston Parish School Board explicitly
considered the Louisiana Science Education Act, supported by the
Discovery Institute, to license the teaching of creationism. As NCSE
previously reported, members of the board asked, "Why can't we get
someone with religious beliefs to teach creationism?" and declared,
"Teachers should have the freedom to look at creationism and find a
way to get it into the classroom." The board formed a committee to
explore the possibilities of incorporating creationism in the parish's
science classes, although no action is expected to be taken during the
2010-2011 school year.

In his column, Chapman tried to distance the Discovery Institute from
the Livingston Parish School Board members, and compared them to the
Dover Area School Board members who in 2004 adopted the policy that
provoked eleven parents to file suit in Kitzmiller v. Dover. Lebo, who
reported on Kitzmiller v. Dover for the York Daily Record and then
wrote a book on the case, The Devil in Dover: Dogma v. Darwin in
Small-Town America (New Press, 2008), replied, "just as in the case of
Livingston, Dover board members correctly interpreted that code
language like 'intelligent design' and 'teach the controversy' were
merely other ways of saying 'creationism.' And after the board
members' remarks about creationism became too widely reported to
ignore, the Discovery Institute tried to distance itself from the case
and ran away."

A Discovery Institute blogger, David Klinghoffer, then complained that
Lebo was ignoring "the enormous difference" between creationism and
"intelligent design" -- prompting Lebo, in her August 11, 2010, post
to retort, "No matter how many times they deny it, intelligent design
relies on the supernatural." She added, "But don't take my word for
it. Especially when Discovery Institute and its fellows have so many
words of their own that reveal their intention." Citing the Wedge
Document, the booklet Intelligent Design in Public School Science
Curricula: A Legal Guidebook, and the copious documentation provided
in Barbara Forrest and Paul R. Gross's Creationism's Trojan Horse, she
explained why, as Judge John E. Jones III wrote in the Kitzmiller
decision, "The writings of leading ID proponents reveal that the
designer postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity."

"So it's a bit early at this point to speculate whether Louisiana and
the Livingston Parish School District will be the site of the next
constitutional test case of the Discovery Institute's latest brand of
creationism," Lebo concluded. "But the echoes of Dover are certainly

For Lebo's August 11, 2010, post at Religion Dispatches, 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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