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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2011/12/02

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

News from Texas, where there's a challenge to the Institute for
Creation Research's eligibility to receive donations from the state
employee charitable campaign, and where the Texas Freedom Network is
warning of a possible resurgence of controversies over the treatment
of evolution in textbooks.


The presence of a creationist group on a list of charitable
organizations approved to receive donations from state employees is
under challenge, according to the Austin American-Statesman (November
30, 2011). David Hillis, a professor of biology at the University of
Texas, Austin, was surprised to discover that the Institute for
Creation Research was included in the list of organizations eligible
to receive donations through the State Employee Charitable Campaign.
Such organizations are supposed to provide "direct or indirect health
and human services."

But, Hillis told the newspaper, the ICR works "to undermine the
mission of the university and of science in general, and especially
the science that is the very basis for health and human services. How
could such an organization possibly be listed as a charitable
organization to be supported by state employees?" His colleague John
Hoberman, a professor of Germanic studies, added that the ICR's
activities "do not qualify as the sort of humanitarian activity we
associate with charity in the proper sense of the word."

The ICR is currently described in the list as follows: "Science
strongly supports the Bible's authority and accuracy. With scientific
research, education programs, and media presentations, we equip
Christians to stand for the Truth." Hillis and a number of his
colleagues will be asking the State Employee Charitable Campaign
Policy Committee, which oversees the State Employee Charitable
Campaign, to remove the ICR from the list at its December 2, 2011,
meeting. Asked by the American-Statesman for comment, current and
former members of the committee were noncommittal.

For the Austin American-Statesman's story, visit: 

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


"Just when it looked like science education might be safe for a while
in Texas public schools, the State Board of Education could soon be
dragging the state back into the textbook wars over evolution," the
Texas Freedom Network reported on its blog (November 23, 2011). At its
most recent meeting, the Texas state board of education considered a
proposed schedule on which new science textbooks would be adopted in
2013, in time for classroom use in 2014.

"A full textbook adoption in 2013," TFN explained, "would give
creationists another opportunity to pressure publishers into dumbing
down instruction on evolution." Even in 2011, when only a limited
adoption process for supplementary materials was conducted, there were
attempts to introduce materials laced with creationist arguments as
well as to undermine the treatment of evolution in scientifically
accurate materials, as NCSE previously reported.

Complicating the situation is the fact that owing to redistricting in
Texas, all fifteen seats on the state board of education are up for
grabs in the November 2012 election. And the impact of state textbook
adoption may be muted in any case due to a new state law -- analyzed
in detail by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund -- that allows
local school districts to buy textbooks not on the state board's
approved list.

For TFN's blog post, visit: 

For the analysis of the new state law (PDF), visit: 

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