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"Call it a back-door approach to failed attempts to chip away at state standards on teaching evolution and to bring creationism into the public school classroom," wrote the Lafayette, Indiana, Journal and Courier (January 20, 2015), referring to Senate Bill 562, which if enacted would deprive administrators of the ability to prevent teachers from miseducating students about "scientific controversies."
Missouri's House Bill 486 (PDF), introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives on January 13, 2015, would confer "academic freedom to teach scientific evidence regarding evolution" to teachers. If enacted, the bill would in effect encourage science teachers with idiosyncratic opinions to teach anything they pleased, and discourage responsible educational authorities from intervening. The bill specifically cites "the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution" as controversial.
The dismissal of a creationist lawsuit seeking to prevent Kansas from adopting the Next Generation Science Standards on the grounds that doing so would "establish and endorse a non-theistic religious worldview" is now under appeal. The Associated Press (December 31, 2014) reports that the plaintiffs in COPE et al. v. Kansas State Board of Education et al. filed a notice of appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit on December 30, 2014.
The Scottish government rejected the proposal to ban the teaching of creationism in publicly funded schools in Scotland, according to the Glasgow Herald (December 16, 2014). The head of Curriculum Unit at the Learning Directorate told the newspaper, "I can ... confirm that there are no plans to issue guidance to schools or education authorities to prevent the presentation of creationism, intelligent design or similar doctrines by teachers or school visitors. The evidence available suggests that guidance on these matters is unnecessary."
Ohio's House Bill 597 — which if enacted would require students in the state's public schools to "review, in an objective manner, the scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories in the [state science] standards" — died in the legislature, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer (December 15, 2014).
"Kentucky's Tourism Arts & Heritage Cabinet Secretary Bob Stewart informed representatives of the proposed Ark Encounter tourist attraction today that their project will not be eligible for up to $18 million in tax incentives from the state, due to their refusal to pledge not to discriminate in hiring based on religion," Insider Louisville (December 10, 2014) reports.
A federal court dismissed a creationist lawsuit seeking to prevent Kansas from adopting the Next Generation Science Standards on the grounds that doing so would "establish and endorse a non-theistic religious worldview." In a December 2, 2014, order (PDF) in COPE et al. v. Kansas State Board of Education et al., Judge Daniel D. Crabtree of the United States District Court for the District of Kansas granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the case.
Attitudes toward evolution and the compatibility of science and religion were addressed in a new survey (PDF) from the Public Religion Research Institute (which, as NCSE previously reported, was mainly focused on climate change). Presented with "Evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life on earth," 24% of respondents completely agreed, 29% mostly agreed, 14% mostly disagreed, and 27% completely disagreed, with 5% of respondents saying that they didn't know or refusing to answer.