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Fwd: [ncse-news] Evolution education update: an apology, Italy, MO, OK, and a new book

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  • Mikey Brass
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2004
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      >Date: Fri, 30 Apr 2004 11:28:03 -0700
      >To: ncse-news@...
      >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
      >science curriculum.
      >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
      >May 14.
      >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".
      >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.
      >Glenn Branch
      >Deputy Director
      >National Center for Science Education, Inc.
      >420 40th Street, Suite 2
      >Oakland, CA 94609-2509
      >510-601-7203 x305
      >fax: 510-601-7204
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