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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2012/11/16

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(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

Carl Zimmer wins a prestigious science journalism award. And
antievolution legislation is likely to resurface in Indiana.


NCSE offers its congratulations to Carl Zimmer for winning the AAAS
Kavli Science Journalism Award for 2012 in the large newspaper
category. Zimmer will receive $3000 and a plaque at the AAAS Annual
Meeting in Boston in February 2013, in recognition of three articles
on evolution, microbes, and scientific journal retractions he wrote
for The New York Times in 2011 and 2012. A press release issued on
November 14, 2012, explained:


The judges praised Zimmer's entry as an example of sustained
excellence in reporting on a range of science topics. His story about
evolution at work on organisms living in and around New York City --
from white-footed mice in an urban park to native ants to fish in the
Hudson River -- was a "surprising, intriguing, and amusing look at
science in unexpected places," said contest judge Laura Helmuth,
science editor for the online magazine Slate. Robert Lee Hotz, a
science writer for The Wall Street Journal, said Zimmer's reporting on
urban evolution and on the microbes that exist on and in the human
body "makes us see the world with new eyes." At the same time, Hotz
added, Zimmer "does not shy from exposing the shortcomings and frauds
of science, as retractions and examples of misconduct become more


Zimmer is the author of a number of popular books about biology,
including Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea (Harper Perennial, 2006),
The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution (Roberts & Company,
2009), and, with Douglas Emlen, Evolution: Making Sense of Life
(Roberts & Company, 2013) -- a sample chapter from the latter is
available on NCSE's website. Zimmer also received the Kavli Award in
2009 and NCSE's Friend of Darwin award for 2005.

For the press release from AAAS, visit:

For the sample chapter from Evolution: Making Sense of Life (PDF), visit:


Efforts to undermine the teaching of evolution are likely to be
revived in the Indiana legislature, according to a columnist for the
Lafayette Journal and Courier (November 10, 2012). At the center of
the efforts is state senator Dennis Kruse (R-District 14), who told
the newspaper that he plans to introduce a bill drafted by the
Discovery Institute, presumably along the lines of the bills adopted,
despite the protests of the scientific and educational communities, in
Tennessee in 2012 and Louisiana in 2008. NCSE's executive director
Eugenie C. Scott was quoted as describing such bills as a "permission
slip for teachers to bring creationism, climate-change denial and
other non-science into science classrooms."

In 2011, Kruse's Senate Bill 89 would have allowed local school
districts to require the teaching of creation science -- despite the
Supreme Court's ruling in the 1987 case Edwards v. Aguillard that
teaching creation science in public schools is unconstitutional. SB 89
passed the Senate but was amended to delete the reference to creation
science and to require reference to "Christianity, Judaism, Islam,
Hinduism, Buddhism, and Scientology"; the speaker of the House of
Representatives declined to let it come to a vote there, and the bill
died when the legislature adjourned. Now, Kruse told the Journal and
Courier, "We?re going to try something a little different this time."

Although the text of the bill that Kruse eventually introduces in the
senate may disclaim any intention to promote a religious doctrine, it
seems likely that in Indiana as in Tennessee and Louisiana, it will be
difficult for the legislative sponsors to avoid disclosing their true
intentions. "I'd guess 80 percent of Indiana would be oriented with
the Bible and creation," Kruse was quoted as saying. His previous
efforts -- SB 89 and two similar bills he introduced in 2000 and 2001
while serving in the Indiana House of Representatives, plus a 1999
pledge to introduce legislation to remove evolution from the state
science standards -- might also be taken as indicative.

For the story in the Lafayette Journal and Courier, visit:

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

Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- -- where you can always find the latest news on
evolution and climate education and threats to them.


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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