A document recently received by NCSE outlines the Discovery Institute's upcoming plans for its so-called teach the controversy strategy. In 2007, the Discovery Institute plans to release a "supplemental textbook" entitled Explore Evolution. According to the document, the textbook and auxiliary materials will teach the students the Discovery Institute's talking points against evolution. These talking points will evidently include the standard list of long-refuted creationist claims promoted by the Discovery Institute, including the inadequacy of the fossil record, biological+ read
The first I heard of it was when I got an e-mail from a Turkish colleague, Cengiz Camci, in aerospace engineering, who had read an article of mine in American Scientist about the threat that "intelligent design" poses in the US. Cengiz told me that representatives from the Turkish Harun Yahya movement were coming to our campus (Penn State) to speak. He asked me to attend to support a small group of faculty and students who were opposed to the Harun Yahya sect and wanted to counter their presentation with pertinent questions and rebuttals.
Cengiz succinctly called
Like a zombie in a horror film, the "Critical Analysis of Evolution" effort returned to haunt the Buckeye State, despite a series of stakes through its heart. In 2002, Ohio adopted a set of science standards including a requirement that students be able to "describe how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory" (see RNCSE 2002 Sep/Oct; 22 : 4–6). When the indicator was introduced, it was widely feared that it would provide a pretext for the introduction of creationist misrepresentations of evolution. In 2004, those fears+ read
The Ohio Board of Education voted 11–4 at its February 14, 2006, meeting to remove both the "Critical Analysis of Evolution" model lesson plan and the corresponding indicator — which called for students to be able to "describe how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory" — in the state standards. Board member Martha Wise, who spearheaded the drive to eliminate the anti-evolution material, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer (2006 Feb 15), "I’m ecstatic ... It’s a win for science, a win for students and a win for the state of Ohio."+ read
It is educational and exciting to witness firsthand the evertwisting plot that arises in battles over evolution education. I joined with other Florida Citizens for Science (FCS) members and our associates in the Florida capital, Tallahassee, February 19, 2008, when the board of education met to decide the fate of a brand new set of state science education standards (see RNCSE 2008 Mar/Apr; 28 : 4–7). There is nothing quite like sitting elbow to elbow in a room packed with your friends, your opponents, and more television cameras than can be found at a Britney Spears court+ read
Curriculum standards have many important applications. They are used as guidelines by curriculum developers, by textbook publishers, and by examination writers, among other things. I was first asked by the Thomas B Fordham Foundation to evaluate the science education standards of every state that had them in 1997. I surveyed 36 documents — a pretty dull but (I hope) useful task (Lerner 1998).
When I did a second review in 2000 (published as part of Finn and Petrilli 2000), the number of documents had increased to 46. As in 1997, far too many were mediocre to bad. There were
Senate Bill 561, styled the "Louisiana Academic Freedom Act," was prefiled in the Louisiana Senate by state senator Ben Nevers (D–District 12) on March 21, 2008, and provisionally assigned to the Senate Education Committee, of which Nevers is the chair. In name, the bill is similar to the so-called academic freedom bills in Florida, House Bill 1483 and Senate Bill 2692, which are evidently based on a string of similar bills in Alabama as well as on a model bill that the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, the institutional home of "intelligent design" creationism,+ read
The National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine recently released Science, Evolution, and Creationism, a book designed to give the public a comprehensive and up-to-date picture of the current scientific understanding of evolution and its importance in the science classroom. In a January 4, 2008, press release, National Academy of Sciences President Ralph Cicerone was quoted as saying, "Science, Evolution, and Creationism provides the public with coherent explanations and concrete examples of the science of evolution. The study of evolution remains one+ read
In forcing Chris Comer to resign as Texas Director of Science, the Texas Education Agency has confirmed in a most public, unfortunate way the central point of my Austin presentation, "Inside Creationism's Trojan Horse," the mere announcement of which TEA used as an excuse to terminate her: the "intelligent design" (ID) creationist movement is about politics, religion, and power. If anyone had any doubts about how mean-spirited ID politics is, this episode should erase them. Texas school children depend on the adults at the TEA to protect the quality of their education. For the last nine+ read
The revisions of my state's science standards (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, TEKS) by the State Board of Education (SBOE) are confusing and controversial. News articles following the March 25–27, 2009 meeting reported that the scientific community had succeeded in turning back proposals by the Discovery Institute (DI) and religious radicals on the SBOE that would have weakened science education. The DI and radical SBOE members, on the other hand, gleefully claimed a great victory in their blogs and reports. Who was right?
The correct answer is neither. The results were+ read
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