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Mississippi University for Women has reinstated Nancy Bryson, an untenured associate professor of chemistry, as its division head of science and mathematics following accusations that she was demoted because of a lecture she gave advocating “intelligent design.” The university administration denies these accusations; the Chronicle for Higher Education (March 17, 2003) reports that according to the university counsel, her lecture played no part in her demotion, and that there were previous concerns about Bryson’s job performance.
On February 20, 2003 the West Virginia Board of Education voted to adopt new science standards developed over the past year. The vote to approve the draft standards without any of the changes proposed by supporters of "intelligent design theory" was unanimous. Evolution features importantly in the new guidelines, which are based on frameworks suggested by the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Texas Tech University biology professor Michael Dini is reportedly the target of a Justice Department inquiry for refusing to award letters of recommendations to students who deny human evolution.
House Bill 1397, sponsored by Representative Carmel Wells-Smith, was introduced in the Mississippi House of Representatives and referred to the Education Committee on January 20, 2003. On February 4 the bill died in committee when it missed the House's deadline for action. HB 1397 would have required the inclusion of a version of the Alabama evolution disclaimer in every textbook that discusses the subject. Wells-Smith introduced two antievolution bills in the 2002 legislative session, both of which also died in committee.
On December 11, 2002 the South Carolina Board of Education voted 10-5 to approve a number of new biology textbooks for local adoption across the state next fall. Several board members had objected to the way evolution was presented in some of the books, but a motion to remove two biology texts from the list failed by a 9-6 vote. Some board members were quoted in a December 22 news story in the Charleston Post & Courier as opposing one book because its preface referred to "creation science" and "intelligent design" as "pseudoscience".
On February 3 this year's session of the Oklahoma state legislature will open. Among the bills scheduled to be introduced at that time is House Bill 1504, sponsored by Rep. Bill Graves. This bill would require an evolution disclaimer in every textbook which discusses the subject.
Similar bills have been introduced in Oklahoma in the past, but failed to pass. The complete text of the bill, available on the Oklahoma legislature's website, reads as follows:
BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA:
A Georgia newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has published the results of its December 2002 "Voice of Atlanta" internet survey regarding evolution education. The results cannot be considered either accurate or precise, since they are not based on a random sample of the population. In addition, the single question asked was somewhat ambiguous:
Do you agree or disagree: The theory of evolution should be taught in public schools to the exclusion of all other theories, such as creationism or "intelligent design."
The Wisconsin Badger Poll reports that of 514 state residents surveyed, 50% of them would support a law requiring "the biblical theory of creation as an alternative to the theory of evolution” according to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan 26, 2003. Fifty percent said yes, 43% were opposed, and 6% had no opinion. The margin of error was reported to be plus or minus 4 points.
Dr. Elizabeth Stage, a member of the NCSE Board of Directors, has been appointed Director of the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, California. Currently the Director of Mathematics and Science Professional Development, Educational Outreach, University of California Office of the President, she is responsible for grants to higher education campuses throughout the state.