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White House Science Advisor: "Intelligent Design" not Scientific


Chris Mooney reports in The American Prospect that John H. Marburger III, director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, denounced "intelligent design" as unscientific.

Textbook disclaimer proposed in Shelby County


A member of the board of education of the Shelby County Schools has proposed a textbook disclaimer sticker for biology books used in the district. Shelby County surrounds the city of Memphis. According to news reports from the Associated Press and the Memphis Commercial Appeal, board member Wyatt Bunker made the suggestion at the February 15 board meeting. The proposed text of the sticker reads

Shenanigans in Kansas

In the wake of the November 2004 elections in Kansas, antievolutionists gained the majority of seats on the state board of education, and they are now using their 6-4 majority to try to undermine the treatment of evolution in the state science standards, which are undergoing revision. A first draft of the revised standards was submitted to the board in December 2004, and approved, despite complaints that the opinions of antievolutionists were ignored. Efforts to incorporate a "minority report" written with the aid of a local "intelligent design" organization were unsuccessful.

Uncertainty about the Beebe disclaimer

On February 10, 2005, the American Civil Liberties Union announced that the Beebe School District in Beebe, Arkansas, agreed to remove warning labels from its science textbooks which describe evolution as "a controversial theory" and refer to an "intelligent designer" as a possible explanation of the origin of life.

NCSE Supporter Dalrymple receives National Medal of Science


Noted geologist and NCSE Supporter G. Brent Dalrymple was named a 2005 National Medal of Science Laureate, in an announcement made on February 14, 2005, by President Bush. The medals will be awarded at a White House ceremony on March 14, 2005.

Antievolution resolution proposed in the Kansas legislature


According to the Lawrence Journal-World, an antievolution resolution was introduced in the Kansas House of Representatives on February 15, 2005. The sponsor is Representative Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee), who said that the proposed resolution, which is nonbinding, was meant to promote "objectivity in science education."

Ernst Mayr dies


NCSE joins the worldwide scientific community in mourning the death of Ernst Mayr, a towering figure in twentieth-century biology, on February 3, 2005, in Bedford, Massachusetts, at the age of 100. In more than twenty books and hundred of scientific papers, Mayr made fundamental empirical and conceptual contributions, not only to evolutionary biology but also to its history and philosophy.

"Alternatives to evolution" language dropped


According to the Associated Press [Link broken], a South Carolina education subcommittee removed the provision from S 114 that would have established a South Carolina Science Standards Committee to "study standards regarding the teaching of the origin of species; determine whether there is a consensus on the definition of science; [and] determine whether alternatives to evolution as the origin of species should be offered in schools." (For the history and purpose of the provision, see

"Alternative Theories" Legislation — Again

On February 8, 2005, a pair of bills — House Bill 352 and Senate Bill 240 — was introduced in the Alabama legislature, under the rubric of "The Academic Freedom Act." Virtually identical, these bills purport to protect the right of teachers "to present scientific critiques of prevailing scientific theories" and the right of students to "hold positions regarding scientific views." In language reminiscent of the Santorum language removed from the No Child Left Behind Act, they specify that "[t]he rights and privileges contained in this act apply when topics are taught that may generate co

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