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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2010/11/26

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

A powerful op-ed on the importance of evolution in biological and
biomedical education. A plethora of new videos on NCSE's YouTube
channel, and a chance for Working Assets/Credo Mobile customers to
support NCSE. And calls for Louisiana to approve biology textbooks
despite the objections of creationists.


A recent op-ed in The Scientist insists on the importance of evolution
in biological and biomedical education. In his essay, published in the
November 2010 issue of the magazine, Leonid Moroz observes,
"[e]volutionary principles integrate all the concepts underlying cell
biology, genomics, and medicine." Thus, he writes, "[e]volutionary
theory, speciation, principles of biological classification, and
biodiversity must be part of the required curricula not only for
biologists but for medical students as well."

The op-ed concludes, "As Peter Medawar eloquently put it, 'The
alternative to thinking in evolutionary terms is not to think at all.'
The sooner evolution and biodiversity are inherent and required parts
of every biomedical student’s curriculum, the greater progress we can
expect from a new generation of scientists in the clinic and the
laboratory. Whether we like it or not, biology simply means
evolution." Moroz is a professor at the University of Florida College
of Medicine in Gainesville and the Whitney Laboratory for Marine

For Moroz's column, visit: 


NCSE is pleased to announce the addition of a further batch of videos
featuring NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott to NCSE's YouTube
channel. From 2010, there's "Why the Fuss about Darwin and Evolution?"
and "Creationism, Evolution, Law, Education, and Politics". From 2006,
there's "Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction," delivered at the
Loomis Chaffee School. And from 2010, there's "Is There a Need for a
Climate NCSE?" -- a short interview of Scott by Flock of Dodos's Randy

There are also videos of three panel discussions in which Scott
participated: "McLean v. Arkansas 20 Years Later" (in four parts); a
2001 panel with Francisco Ayala, Stephen Jay Gould, Harold Morowitz,
Ronald L. Numbers, and Scott; "The Vigil after Dover" (in three
parts), a 2006 panel with John F. Haught, Robert T. Pennock, Michael
Ruse, Scott, Joseph Travis, and Steven Gey; and Scott's presentation
to "Science and Religion: Confrontation or Accommodation?" -- a 2010
panel at the Council for Secular Humanism conference.

That's not all. Barbara Forrest, a member of NCSE's board of
directors, speaks on "Back to the Future: The Louisiana Science
Education Act" from 2010 and on "Inside Creationism's Trojan Horse"
from 2007. There's also footage of NCSE's booth at the Science Expo of
the USA Science & Engineering Festival on the National Mall in
Washington DC from 2010 -- watch NCSE's Robert Luhn, Steven Newton,
and Joshua Rosenau helping attendees to navigate the tree of life and
to explore the concept of common ancestry!

Additionally, there are three blasts from the past: "The Case of the
Texas Footprints," with John R. Cole, Laurie Godfrey, Ronnie Hastings,
Lee Mansfield, and Steven Schafersman, from 1983; "Dos and Dont's
Debating Creationists" (in four parts), with Fred Edwords, Jack
Friedman, Ronnie Hastings, Frank Lovell, Kenneth R. Miller, Wayne
Moyer, Scott, and Michael Zimmerman, from 1988; and a presentation for
children on "Genes Genes Genes!" with Alan Spector and Judith Spector,
featuring an interview with Scott, from 1997. Tune in and enjoy!

For NCSE's YouTube channel, visit: 


There's still time to vote for NCSE, if you're a Working Assets/Credo
Mobile customer. NCSE is slated to be a 2010 beneficiary of Working
Assets/Credo Mobile, the telephone company established "to give people
an easy way to make a difference in the world, just by doing the
things they do every day. Each time our members use one of our
services -- CREDO Mobile, CREDO Long Distance and the Working Assets
credit card -- we automatically send a donation to nonprofit groups
working for peace, human rights and the environment." Every year, the
donation pool is allocated among the groups supported by Working
Assets in proportion to the customers' votes. The more votes NCSE
gets, the more money we get! If you're already a Working Assets/Credo
Mobile customer, you can still vote on-line in the 2010 distribution.
NCSE is currently receiving 1.3% of the pool -- please help to
increase that percentage!

For the ballot, visit: 

For information on Working Assets/Credo Mobile, visit: 


In the wake of a recommendation to approve new high school biology
textbooks despite the ongoing complaints about their presentation of
evolution, columnists and editorialists in Louisiana are both
rejoicing and calling on the state Board of Elementary and Secondary
Education to heed the recommendation. As NCSE previously reported, the
board's Textbook/Media/Library Advisory Council voted 8-4 to recommend
the textbooks on November 12, 2010; the board is expected to make its
decision on the textbooks during its December 7-9, 2010, meeting.

Writing in the New Orleans Times-Picayune (November 17, 2010),
columnist James Gill commented, "It no longer makes sense to suggest
the creationists are making a laughing stock out of Louisiana. ... the
crusade against science and reason suffered a rare defeat. Biology
textbooks in public schools will not be required to serve up evolution
with a dollop of religion." He added, "This is a historic moment. When
the loonies on a state committee are outnumbered two to one, the
future has never looked so bright."

Gill warned, however, that "[t]he final decision rests with the Board
of Elementary and Secondary Education, where the Louisiana Family
Forum and other creationist stalwarts have always found a sympathetic
ear," recalling the incident in 2009 when BESE overruled the
recommendation of the state's department of education and in effect
allowed the LFF to dictate the procedures concerning complaints about
creationist supplementary materials used in public school science
classes under the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act.

In its November 18, 2010, editorial, the Baton Rouge Advocate strongly
criticized the Louisiana Science Education Act, which was invoked by
critics of the textbooks. "What is the spirit of the 'Science
Education Act' in reality?" the editorial asked rhetorically. "It is
to challenge evolution, not simply protect intellectual freedom of
teachers who want to 'question' evolution's 'weaknesses.' Forgive the
overuse of quotation marks, but every assertion of creationists in
this debate is so fraudulent that the quote marks are necessary."

The editorial continued, "Any reputable science text should teach
evolution, as that is one of the fundamentals of biological science.
The fraud behind the 'Science Education Act' is that it was called a
measure narrowly designed to deal with a specific problem. Rather, it
is part of an anti-intellectual crusade that can serve only to hobble
the education of Louisiana's children, and will have the effect of
bringing ridicule on this state," and concluded by calling upon BESE
to stand firm "against this campaign of ignorance."

For Gill's column, visit: 

For the Advocate's editorial, visit: 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Louisiana, 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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