A scan of the Baton Rouge Advocate article showing the text subsequently revisedState Senator Dan Claitor (R–District 16) is leading an effort in Louisiana to repeal various outdated laws on its books. In a recent report on these efforts, there’s an interesting comment from radical cleric Gene Mills.

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Since December 2005, when Judge John E. Jones III ruled that “intelligent design” is not science and cannot be forced into public school science classes, we’ve celebrated December 20 as Kitzmas. We write carols (and haikus). But we’ve never really had a Kitzmas tree before.

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When Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell took the gavel as Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, he swore that the first bill to reach the floor would be aimed at forcing the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. Climate activists have waged a pitched battle to block the pipeline, which would carry an abrasive sludge, mostly highly-polluting bitumen (and perhaps a soupçon of leftover sand) from fields in Canada to refineries and export terminals on the Gulf of Mexico.

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As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, NCSE can’t try to change the outcome of elections, which means we keep mum about candidates who attack climate science and evolution from the hustings. But that doesn’t mean we don’t keep watch: candidates become policymakers, and it’s valuable to know what our future leaders are saying.

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Honoré Daumier, Le Ventre Législatif  (1834)

I’m sometimes asked, even by my colleagues, what it takes for a bill to be counted as antiscience at NCSE. Precisely what is it about a piece of legislation that makes our flesh crawl, our brows furrow, and our hackles rise—and, less physiologically, impels us to summon defenders of the integrity of science education in the affected state to the ramparts?

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Enrico Fermi

Once in a while, a journalist will ask a question that really makes me think. Such a question arose recently, when I was asked whether Missouri’s House Bill 1472—which I earlier said “would eviscerate the teaching of biology in Missouri”—was the worst antievolution bill to come down the pike in a long time. At first, I was inclined to respond by saying that they’re all horrible, which indeed they are. But pondering it further, I realized that there was enough survey data available for me to make a back-of-the-envelope estimate of the expected effect—measured in lost student-hours of effective evolution education—of the two antievolution bills currently before the Missouri General Assembly.

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When there’s something strange in your neighborhood school, who you gonna call? If there’s something weird in your kid’s homework and it don’t look good, who you gonna call? If you’re seeing creationist bills running through your legislature, who you gonna call?

Hopefully, my modest changes to those classic lyrics have you shouting “NCSE!” rather than “Ghostbusters!”

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Humpty Dumpty illustration from a 1917 edition of Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

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