Fwd: [ncse-news] Evolution education update: an apology, Italy, MO, OK, and a new book
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>Date: Fri, 30 Apr 2004 11:28:03 -0700
>From: Glenn Branch <branch@...>
>Subject: [ncse-news] Evolution education update: an apology, Italy, MO,
>OK, and a
> new book
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>Dear Friends of NCSE,
>The latest news on evolution education from Missouri, Oklahoma, and abroad,
>along with information on a forthcoming book by NCSE's executive director.
>But first an apology and an explanation.
>On or around April 1, 2004, the ncse-news announcement list came under
>attack. A malicious "cracker" managed to send two messages with computer
>virus attachments to the list, spoofing the "From" addresses of NCSE staff
>permitted to post to the list. Several further messages came through the
>list as various recipients' ISPs' anti-virus software recognized the virus
>attachments and sent warnings. The list was taken off-line to prevent
>further distribution of virus attachments while we took steps to ensure the
>security of the list and prevent any recurrence of the attack. We regret
>any inconvenience caused by the attack to our subscribers, and we thank
>those of you who alerted us to the attack as it was occurring. Confident
>that the list is now secure, we are now resuming our use of it.
>Controversy erupted in Italy after a revised national middle school
>curriculum, released on February 19, 2004, was found to make no mention of
>evolutionary theory. (Italian students attend middle school for three
>years, while they are 11-14 years old, after which they enter either high
>school or a vocational school; middle schools thus provide the last
>education shared by all students.) A campaign to restore evolution to the
>curriculum was quickly mounted: leading Italian scientists, including Luigi
>Luca Cavalli-Sforza (head of the Human Population Genetics Laboratory at
>Stanford University and member of NCSE) drafted and signed a public
>petition urging the Ministry of Education to reverse its decision. The
>on-line version of the petition was endorsed by over 44,000 signatories by
>April 28. And a spokesman for the National Association of Natural Science
>Teachers was quoted as saying, that evolution "is the structure on which
>the entire teaching of natural sciences is based. We cannot talk of plants
>and animals without talking of evolution as well." On April 28, however, La
>Repubblica reported that the decision to omit evolution was reversed.
>Minister of Education Letizia Moratti named a commission, to be chaired by
>Nobel laureate Rita Levi-Montalcini, who helped to launch the petition
>drive, to provide specific guidance on the subject of evolution in the
>For a report from The Scientist, see:
>On April 7, 2004, House Bill 1722 was introduced in the Missouri General
>Assembly by Representative Wayne Cooper, who introduced a similar bill, HB
>911, late in 2003. Like HB 911, HB 1722, if enacted, would require "the
>equal treatment of science instruction regarding evolution and intelligent
>design" in Missouri's public schools. But where its predecessor specified
>that "Willful neglect of any elementary or secondary school superintendent,
>principal, or teacher to observe and carry out the requirements of this
>section shall be cause for termination of his or her contract" and that
>"Each public school classroom in this state from grades eight through
>twelve in which science is taught exclusively shall post a copy of this
>section in a conspicuous manner," HB 1722 is silent. Neither HB 911 nor HB
>1722 has been assigned to committee yet, and the current legislative
>session of the Missouri House of Representatives is scheduled to end on
>For the full text of HB 1722 as introduced, see:
>On April 28, 2004, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed House Bill
>2194 -- a bill governing textbook purchase contracts -- by a vote of 96-0.
>Conspicuously absent from the bill as passed was the disclaimer provision
>added to the bill on February 23 and removed by the Senate's Education
>Committee in late March. When HB 2194 returned to the House, the Senate's
>modifications were accepted by a vote of 55-41. According to the Associated
>Press, the vote was primarily along party lines; Bill Graves (R-Oklahoma
>City), who proposed the disclaimer amendment to HB 2194, urged his
>colleagues to vote against accepting the Senate's modifications. "I'm angry
>... that this evolution disclaimer won't get a hearing out here," Graves
>said. "We have the government taking away the rights of these children to
>know they were created by a God, and I think that's wrong." Opio Toure
>(D-Oklahoma City), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, opined
>that the adoption of Graves's disclaimer would have resulted in litigation;
>Victor Hutchison, George Lynn Cross Research Professor Emeritus of Zoology
>at the University of Oklahoma, explained, "All the major professional
>scientific societies in this country have issued official statements
>explicitly supporting the teaching of evolution."
>For the legislative history of HB 2194, see:
>Then select Status of Measures, then select History, then enter "HB2194".
>EVOLUTION VS. CREATIONISM: AN INTRODUCTION
>We are pleased to announce that NCSE executive director Eugenie C. Scott's
>Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction is scheduled for publication in
>July 2004. The publisher, Greenwood Press, writes: "Almost 80 years after
>the Scopes trial, the debate over the teaching of evolution continues.
>There is no easy resolution -- it is a complex topic with profound
>scientific, religious, educational, and legal implications. How can a
>student or parent understand this issue that is so vital a part of
>education? Evolution vs. Creationism provides the comprehensive and
>balanced survey that is so badly needed. Written by one of the leading
>advocates for the teaching of evolution in the United States, this
>accessible resource provides an introduction to the many facets of the
>current debate -- the scientific evidence for evolution, the legal and
>educational basis for its teaching, the various religious points of view --
>as well as a concise history of the evolution-creationism controversy."
>For a description and the table of contents, see:
>For more detail on these and other stories, be sure to consult NCSE's web
>where you can always find the latest news on evolution education and
>threats to it.
>National Center for Science Education, Inc.
>420 40th Street, Suite 2
>Oakland, CA 94609-2509
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