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"Defending Science Education: Climate as a Second Front for Biologists"

A viewpoint column entitled "Defending Science Education: Climate as a Second Front for Biologists" (PDF), by NCSE's deputy director Glenn Branch, appeared in the September 2013 issue of BioScience, published by the American Institute of Biological Sciences.

"It is now routine for evolution and climate change to be targeted together in attacks on science education in the United States," Branch observed, citing laws in Tennessee and Louisiana, recent bills in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, and Oklahoma, the Texas state science education standards, and the recent resistance to adopting the Next Generation Science Standards in Kentucky. "Even in the absence of organized opposition to the teaching of evolution," he added, "the situation in K-12 classrooms is famously dire," citing survey results about the teaching of evolution and of climate change.

Praising biologists for their resistance to creationism, Branch urged, "It is time for biologists to help resist the danger posed by climate denial, too. ... As with evolution, it is important to defend the teaching of climate science simply because it is sound science that students have a need — and a right — to understand." He added, "if further reasons seem necessary, consider that climate change denial affects the way in which biology is learned and taught, studied and applied ... in biological disciplines ranging from agriculture to zoology." And he suggested a few basic ways for biologists to take action.

Recalling the rallying cry of Don McLeroy as he sought to degrade the treatment of evolution and climate change in the Texas state science standards in 2009, Branch concluded his column by countering, "Experts, in short, have to stand up to the likes of McLeroy."