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Three antievolutionists have been appointed to a six-member committee to review the draft set of Texas state science standards, and defenders of the integrity of science education are livid. "The committee was chosen by 12 of the 15 members of the board of education, with each panel member receiving the support of two board members," as the Dallas Morning News (October 16, 2008) explains. Six members of the board "aligned with social conservative groups" chose Stephen C. Meyer, the director of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, Ralph Seelke, a biology professor at the University of Wiconsin, Superior, and Charles Garner, a chemistry professor at Baylor University.
On October 10, 2008, NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott was presented with the Field Museum's Award of Merit at a ceremony at the museum, where she gave a talk, attended a gala dinner, and received a $7500 honorarium for NCSE. The award is presented by the Field Museum's Founders' Council each year to "a leading scientist who has brought issues of cultural and environmental understanding to the forefront of public attention." Previous recipients include NCSE Supporter Stephen Jay Gould, Edward O. Wilson, James Watson, Richard E. Leakey, Jane Goodall, NCSE Supporter Lynn Margulis, Walter Alvarez, and NCSE Supporter Niles Eldredge.
Randy Moore is the winner of the 2008 Evolution Education Award from the National Association of Biology Teachers, according to a press release issued on October 14, 2008, by the American Institute of Biological Sciences. The award, sponsored by AIBS and the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, recognizes innovative classroom teaching and community education efforts to promote the accurate understanding of biological evolution.
Texas's newspapers are beginning to express their editorial support of the draft set of science standards, released by the Texas Education Agency on September 22, 2008, and applauded for their treatment of evolution by the Texas Freedom Network, Texas Citizens for Science, and the newly formed 21st Century Science Coalition.
After her lawsuit challenging the Understanding Evolution website on constitutional grounds was dismissed for lack of standing on March 13, 2006, Jeanne Caldwell appealed the decision to the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit. In a ruling dated October 3, 2008, the appeals court rejected her appeal, affirming the lower court's decision.
A new coalition of Texas scientists voiced its opposition to attempts to dilute the treatment of evolution in Texas's state science standards, which are presently undergoing revision. At a news conference in Austin on September 30, 2008, representatives of the 21st Century Science Coalition challenged the idea that students should be told that there are "weaknesses" in evolution.
The International Planetarium Society recently issued a statement on the ancient age of the earth and universe, noting that "Many independent lines of scientific evidence show that the Earth and Universe are billions of years old.
The Clergy Letter Project's "Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science From American Rabbis" was the topic of a story in the Chicago Tribune (September 19, 2008), beginning, "For Rabbi Gary Gerson of the Oak Park Temple B'nai Abraham Zion, evolution does not oppose religious belief but strengthens it
Anticipating the bicentennial of Darwin's birth and the sesquicentennial of the publication of On the Origin of Species, the Church of England unveiled a new section of its website entitled "On the origin of Darwin," discussing Darwin's relationship to the church, the development of his own views on faith, and a brief historical sketch, bibliography, and listing of celebrations of the Darwin anniversaries.