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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2011/01/07

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

A classic creationism/evolution debate from 1981 is now available.
Plus the first antievolution bill of the year surfaces in Kentucky,
and developments in a lawsuit involving a North Carolina teacher who
claims she was punished over evolution.


A debate on evolution versus creationism at Brown University in 1981
was so popular that the event had to be held in the largest building
on campus -- a hockey rink. There's no need for skates and sticks,
though: the debate between Kenneth R. Miller and Henry M. Morris is
now available from NCSE. A transcript is posted on NCSE's website, and
the complete audio, with illustrations, is posted on NCSE's YouTube

The debate was memorable for both participants. In a 2000 review of
Miller's Finding Darwin's God (HarperCollins, 1999), Morris wrote, "He
was clearly the most superficially convincing protagonist against
creationism I ever encountered in my more than 30 creation/evolution
debates," while Miller often -- as in the Brown alumni magazine in
2005 -- credits the debate with inspiring his passion for the
creationism/evolution controversy.

NCSE is grateful to Kenneth R. Miller and Henry Morris III of the
Institute for Creation Research for their permission to post the
debate and the transcript, and to Robert L. Camp, Richard B. Hoppe
III, Jason Rosenhouse, and Christopher Nedin for helping to transcribe
the debate. At NCSE, Glenn Branch compiled and proofread the
transcript, Robert Luhn processed the audio, and Steven Newton
selected the YouTube illustrations.

For the transcript, visit: 

For the audio version, visit: 

For Morris's review of Miller's book, visit: 

For the story in the Brown alumni magazine, visit: 


Kentucky's House Bill 169 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." Dubbed the Kentucky Science
Education and Intellectual Freedom Act, HB 169 was introduced in the
Kentucky House of Representives on January 4, 2011; the sole sponsor
of the bill is Tim Moore (R-District 26).

In the previous legislative session, Moore introduced HB 397, which
was substantially similar to the so-called Louisiana Science Education
Act, Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:285.1, except for introducing the
phrase "advantages and disadvantages of scientific theories." HB 397
died in committee on April 15, 2010. Where HB 397 explicitly cited
"the study of evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and
human cloning" as examples of scientific theories for which
supplementary instructional materials would be used, HB 169 is silent.

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 on HB 169, visit: 

For KRS 158.177 (PDF), visit: 

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


Was a North Carolina middle school science teacher unjustly treated
when she was reassigned to a different job after a complaint about her
presentation of evolution in the classroom? That is the question at
issue in a lawsuit originally filed in 2007.

In early 2005, the parents of a girl in Pamela Hensley's eighth-grade
science class alleged that Hensley gave their daughter a low grade in
retaliation for her comments during the class discussion on evolution,
complaining that she was "antagonistic and rude when her beliefs are
challenged by true 'Christian' students." After investigating, the
principal concluded that there was no retaliation. According to
Hensley, however, the parents lobbied the district to force her to
apologize, to transfer her, and to revise its curriculum to "include a
religious view of the teaching of science."

Hensley was eventually asked by the school district to sign a letter
of apology; regarding it as containing false statements as originally
drafted, she refused. She was then transferred, mid-year, to a
different position in the district. She was told that the incident
"remains a source of tension and distraction within the school system,
and it has diminished your credibility at North Johnston Middle
School." The new position was a remedial language arts position, which
Hensley contends is a "make-work position" and not suitable for her in
light of a congenital hearing problem.

In 2007, Hensley filed a complaint in the Johnson County Superior
Court, subsequently removed to the United States District Court for
the Eastern District of North Carolina, alleging that the district's
actions violated her rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments
of the United States Constitution, the North Carolina Constitution,
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Americans With
Disabilities Act. On December 23, 2010, the court dismissed all of
Hensley's claims except for her Americans With Disabilities Act claim.

There is presently no indication in the court documents whether
Hensley is going to continue with the case or not. Selected documents
from the case, Hensley v. Johnston County Board of Education, are
available on NCSE's website.

For the court's recent order (PDF), visit: 

For documents from the case, 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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