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Antievolution legislation in Missouri

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.

Appeal in COPE v. Kansas

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. 

Disappointing news from Scotland

Flag-map of Scotland via Wikimedia Commons

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."

Antiscience bill dies in Ohio

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).

No tax incentives for ark park

"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.

Lawsuit over NGSS dismissed

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.

Evolution in a new PRRI survey

Believers, Sympathizers, & Skeptics cover

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.

Creationist legislation in Brazil

Map of Brazil with flag, via Wikimedia CommonsA bill introduced in the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies would, if enacted, require creationism to be taught in the country's public and private schools.

Opposition to new science standards in South Dakota?

A South Dakota state senator dislikes a proposed new set of state science standards, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader (November 18, 2014). At a November 17, 2014, public hearing — the second of four — on the standards, Phil Jensen (R-District 33) expressed concern about the treatment of evolution and climate change.

Update from Scotland

Flag-map of Scotland via Wikimedia Commons

The Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament heard testimony supporting the proposed ban on teaching creationism as scientifically credible in Scotland's public schools on November 11, 2014, according to the Press Association (November 11, 2014). The committee agreed to write to the Scottish government, the Educational Institute of Scotland, the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association and the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland to receive their views on the matter.

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