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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2011/06/10

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

The creationist propaganda movie Expelled is on the auction block. The
Christian Science Monitor discusses the attempt to repeal Louisiana's
antievolution law. And NCSE offers a preview of Darwin's Lost World.


Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed -- the 2008 creationist propaganda
movie fronted by Ben Stein -- is scheduled to be auctioned, lock,
stock, and barrel, pursuant to the bankruptcy proceeding of Premise
Media Holdings LP. According to a document filed in the United States
Bankruptcy Court of the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division,
on May 31, 2011, the trustee of the bankruptcy estate is seeking to
auction "[t]hat certain feature-length motion picture ('Picture')
'Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed' and all collateral, allied,
ancillary, subsidiary and merchandising rights therein and thereto,
and all properties and things of value pertaining thereto." The
auction is scheduled to take place on-line from June 23 to June 28,

The high bidder will become the owner of the movie that The New York
Times (2008 Apr 18) described as "[o]ne of the sleaziest documentaries
to arrive in a very long time ... a conspiracy-theory rant
masquerading as investigative inquiry ... an unprincipled propaganda
piece that insults believers and nonbelievers alike" and that was
denounced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science
for its "profound dishonesty" and condemned by the Anti-Defamation
League for its "outrageous" misuse of the Holocaust to "tarnish those
who promote the theory of evolution." (NCSE's Expelled Exposed
provides a collection of reviews, commentary, and resources
documenting the extensive problems with Expelled.) Caveat emptor!

For the document from the bankruptcy court (PDF), visit: 

For the review in The New York Times, visit: 

For the statements from the AAAS and the ADL, visit: 

And for Expelled Exposed, visit: 


The attempt to repeal Louisiana's antievolution law was discussed by
the Christian Science Monitor (June 2, 2011), which explained, "The
Louisiana Science Education Act, which allows teaching contrary to
science on the grounds it promotes critical thinking, is increasingly
serving as an inspiration to religious conservatives in other states."
Antievolution bills were introduced in Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico,
Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas so far in 2011, all dying except in
Tennessee, where a bill was passed by the House of Representatives;
its counterpart is on hold in the Senate until 2012.

Meanwhile, Louisiana's Senate Bill 70, which would have repealed the
state's antievolution law, was shelved on a 5-1 vote by the Senate
Education Committee on May 26, 2011, despite the wide support for it
from the scientific and educational communities -- including the
American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Louisiana
Science Teachers Association, and forty-three Nobel laureate
scientists. Harold Kroto, a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry
in 1996, was quoted as comparing a vote against the repeal to
"requiring Louisiana school texts to include the claim that the Sun
goes round the Earth."

Thus the law -- Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:285.1, which implemented
the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act, passed and enacted in
2008 -- remains on the books. The bill ostensibly promotes "critical
thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion
of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to,
evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning." It
also allows teachers to use "supplemental textbooks and other
instructional materials to help students understand, analyze,
critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner" if so
permitted by their local school boards.

Critics of the antievolution law worry that it promises to "embolden
those who may feel tempted to voluntarily introduce theories that
conflict with scientific teachings," the Monitor reported, quoting
NCSE's Joshua Rosenau as explaining, "For a teacher who wants to teach
creationism, it doesn’t stop them from doing it." While defenders of
the law claimed that there is no evidence that teachers are doing so,
Barbara Forrest of the Louisiana Coalition for Science responded, "it
might go on for years before we ever found out. It would take a very
gutsy kid who was alert enough to go home and tell mom and dad."

There is evidence that Louisiana's antievolution law emboldened
creationists in Livingston Parish. As NCSE previously reported, in
July 2010, the director of curriculum told the Livingston Parish
School Board that the law allowed the presentation of creationism in
science classes. The response was enthusiastic, with members of the
board asking "Why can't we get someone with religious beliefs to teach
creationism?" and saying, "Teachers should have the freedom to look at
creationism and find a way to get into into the classroom" and
subsequently declaiming, "We don't want litigation, but why not take a
stand for Jesus and risk litigation."

For the story in the Christian Science Monitor, visit: 

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


NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of Martin Brasier's Darwin’s
Lost World: The Hidden History of Animal Life (Oxford University
Press, 2009). The preview consists of the preface -- in which Brasier
explains, "Some 150 years ago, in 1859, Charles Darwin was greatly
puzzled by a seeming absence of animal fossils in rocks older than the
Cambrian period. He drew attention to a veritable Lost World that was
later found to have spanned more than eighty per cent of Earth
history. This book tells the story of his lost world, and of the quest
to rescue its hidden history from the fossil record" -- as well as the
first chapter, "In Search of Lost Worlds."

The Quarterly Review of Biology praised Darwin's Lost World as "a
scientific adventure that will entertain and inform general readers
and has the potential to inspire the next generation of young
researchers," and Roy E. Plotnick, reviewing the book for RNCSE,
wrote, "Reading Brasier's book will introduce readers to many of the
key localities and discoveries, as well as provide glimpses of many of
the major investigators, of Ediacaran and early Cambrian life. ... I
readily recommend this book as an entertaining introduction to a major
field in studying the history of life. It will give you invaluable
information for the next time you get asked to explain how evolution
explains the Cambrian 'explosion'."

For the preview (PDF), visit: 

For information about the book from its publisher, visit: 

And for Plotnick's review in RNCSE, 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 x305
fax: 510-601-7204

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