Some time ago, I wrote about Lamar Smith (R–Texas and chairman of the House Science Committee) and his efforts to intimidate climate scientists. In that post, I noted that Smith had issued:

…a Congressional subpoena—the King Kong of information requests—for all emails and correspondence between the paper’s authors and NOAA officials.

You might say that as taxpayers we have a right to see everything that government employees and government-funded scientists write to each other…but when the only correspondence that is sought is that concerning a scientific finding that pisses off a politician, society’s collective you-know-what detector really ought to go off.

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Since December 2005, when Judge John E. Jones III ruled that “intelligent design” is not science and cannot be forced into public school science classes, we’ve celebrated December 20 as Kitzmas. We write carols (and haikus). But we’ve never really had a Kitzmas tree before.

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As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, NCSE can’t try to change the outcome of elections, which means we keep mum about candidates who attack climate science and evolution from the hustings. But that doesn’t mean we don’t keep watch: candidates become policymakers, and it’s valuable to know what our future leaders are saying.

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’Twas the night before Kitzmas and all through the land,
No creationist was stirring, not even Ken Ham;
The briefs had been drafted and filed with great care,
In hopes that Judge Jones’s decision’d be fair;
The plaintiffs were nestled all snug in their beds,
While Bill of Rights visions ran round in their heads;
And Nick blogged for PT, and Vic played The Boss,
And fretted and fussed o’er the chance of a loss,

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When there’s something strange in your neighborhood school, who you gonna call? If there’s something weird in your kid’s homework and it don’t look good, who you gonna call? If you’re seeing creationist bills running through your legislature, who you gonna call?

Hopefully, my modest changes to those classic lyrics have you shouting “NCSE!” rather than “Ghostbusters!”

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The history of the “intelligent design” creationist textbook Of Pandas and People is probably known in greater detail than the history of just about any other textbook. Pandas was central to 2005’s Kitzmiller v. Dover trial, and was the first publication to lay out the major themes of the “intelligent design” movement.The chart from Barbara Forrest's Kitzmiller testimony showing that references to creation were switched to design in 1987 In the course of the Kitzmiller trial, material from NCSE’s archives led to a subpoena for the early drafts of Pandas, which demonstrated that the textbook started out as an overtly creationist project, and that references to “creationism,” “creationist,” “creator,” and related terms were swapped for “intelligent design,” “design advocates,” “designer,” and so forth. The infamous chart from Barbara Forrest’s testimony in Kitzmiller showed that switcheroo, and featured prominently in Judge Jones’s conclusion that intelligent design is a form of creationism.

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