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NCSE and the Grand Canyon 2012

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  • Carol Smith
    Dear Friends of NCSE, Just two seats remain on NCSE s next excursion to the Grand Canyon! Plus a First Amendment award for Zack Kopplin, and the end of the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2012
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      Dear Friends of NCSE,

      Just two seats remain on NCSE's next excursion to the Grand Canyon!
      Plus a First Amendment award for Zack Kopplin, and the end of the road
      for three legislative attempts to attack the teaching of evolution and
      of climate change in Oklahoma.

      NCSE AND THE GRAND CANYON 2012

      Explore the Grand Canyon with NCSE! Only two are still available for
      NCSE's next excursion to the Grand Canyon -- as featured in the
      documentary No Dinosaurs in Heaven. From July 16 to 24, 2012, NCSE
      will again explore the wonders of creation and evolution on a Grand
      Canyon river run conducted by NCSE's Genie Scott and Steve Newton.
      Because this is an NCSE trip, we offer more than just the typically
      grand float down the Canyon, the spectacular scenery, fascinating
      natural history, brilliant night skies, exciting rapids, delicious
      meals, and good company. It is, in fact, a unique "two-model" raft
      trip, on which we provide both the creationist view of the Grand
      Canyon (maybe not entirely seriously) and the evolutionist view -- and
      let you make up your own mind. To get a glimpse of the fun, watch the
      short videos filmed during the 2011 trip, posted on NCSE's YouTube
      site. The cost of the excursion is $2625; a deposit of $500 will hold
      your spot. Seats are limited: call, write, or e-mail now.

      For information about the trip, visit:
      http://ncse.com/about/excursions/gcfaq

      For information about No Dinosaurs in Heaven, visit:
      http://www.nodinos.com/

      For NCSE's YouTube site, visit:
      http://www.youtube.com/user/NatCen4ScienceEd

      FIRST AMENDMENT AWARD FOR KOPPLIN

      NCSE is delighted to congratulate Zack Kopplin, the leader of the
      effort to repeal the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act, on his
      receiving the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award. According to a
      press release from the Playboy Foundation quoted by the Alexandria,
      Louisiana, Town Talk (May 27, 2012), the award was established in 1979
      and is intended to "honor individuals who have made significant
      contributions in the vital effort to protect and enhance First
      Amendment rights for all Americans. The award winners, many of whom
      are unsung heroes, come from various walks of life." Kopplin will
      receive a cash award of $5,000 and a commemorative plaque.

      Kopplin launched the effort to repeal Louisiana Revised Statutes
      17:285.1, which encourages the state's science teachers to miseducate
      their students about the scientific standing of evolution and climate
      change, as a high school senior in 2011. He renewed his effort in
      2012, aided with the support of seventy-eight Nobel laureates --
      "nearly 40% of all living Nobel laureate scientists in physics,
      chemistry, or physiology or medicine," as he observed in a press
      release. Senate Bill 384, which would have repealed the law, was
      rejected on a 2-1 vote in the Senate Education Committee in April
      2012. Its 2011 counterpart, Senate Bill 70, was tabled by the same
      committee on a 5-1 vote in March 2011.

      Endorsing the repeal effort -- in addition to the seventy-eight
      Nobelists -- have been the National Association of Biology Teachers,
      the Louisiana Association of Biology Educators, the Louisiana
      Coalition for Science, the American Association for the Advancement of
      Science, the American Institute for Biological Sciences, the American
      Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Society
      for Cell Biology, the Society for the Study of Evolution together with
      the Society of Systematic Biologists and the American Society of
      Naturalists, the Clergy Letter Project, the New Orleans City Council,
      and the Baton Rouge Advocate.

      Kopplin's initiative was previously honored by NCSE, which awarded him
      (and the University of California Museum of Paleontology's Judy
      Scotchmoor) its Friend of Darwin award for 2012. Kopplin is the second
      person to receive both a Hefner Award and NCSE's Friend of Darwin
      Award, following Patricia Princehouse, Lecturer in Philosophy and
      Evolutionary Biology at Case Western Reserve University. NCSE's
      executive director Eugenie C. Scott received a Hefner Award in 1999
      and subsequently served as a judge on the Playboy Foundation's award
      committee in 2006.

      For the article in Town Talk, visit:
      http://www.thetowntalk.com/article/20120527/NEWS01/205270336/Hasten-From-Playboy-honors-jet-setting-governor

      For the press release announcing the support of the Nobel laureates, visit:
      http://www.repealcreationism.com/678/75-nobel-laureate-scientists-call-for-repeal-of-louisiana-science-education-act/

      For the announcement of NCSE's Friend of Darwin awards for 2012, visit:
      http://ncse.com/news/2012/03/friend-darwin-awards-2012-007242

      And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Louisiana, visit:
      http://ncse.com/news/louisiana

      OKLAHOMA OKAY AT LAST

      When the Oklahoma legislature adjourned sine die on May 25, 2012, no
      fewer than three legislative attempts to attack the teaching of
      evolution and of climate change were finally laid to rest. All three
      would have encouraged teachers in the public schools of the Sooner
      State to present the "scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses"
      of "controversial" topics such as "biological evolution" and "global
      warming."

      Senate Bill 1742 was explicitly modeled in part on the so-called
      Louisiana Science Education Act, passed and enacted in 2008 as
      Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:285.1. The sole sponsor of SB 1742 was
      Josh Brecheen (R-District 6). It was his second attempt at
      antievolution legislation; in 2011, he introduced Senate Bill 554,
      which he described in the Durant Daily Democrat (December 24, 2010) as
      "requiring every publically [sic] funded Oklahoma school to teach the
      debate of creation vs. evolution." SB 1742 died in committee on March
      1, 2012.

      House Bill 1551 was originally introduced by Sally Kern (R-District
      84) and was rejected by the House Common Education Committee in 2011,
      but it was resurrected by Gus Blackwell (R-District 61) and passed by
      that committee, which heard no testimony from the public, in 2012. HB
      1551 passed the House of Representatives on a 56-12 vote on March 15,
      2012. The bill was then sent to the Senate Education Committee, where
      it died on April 5, 2012, the deadline for single-assigned house bills
      (such as HB 1551) to be reported from their senate committees.

      A last-ditch effort was a proposal from Steve Russell (R-District 45)
      to amend House Bill 2341, which dealt with unrelated educational
      matters (extending a deadline by which local school districts are
      required to meet certain standards for media, equipment, and
      textbooks) and was passed by the House on March 7, 2012, to include
      the language of HB 1551. The amendment would have been considered when
      the bill came to a floor vote in the Senate, but it was not brought to
      the floor before April 26, 2012, the deadline for bills to receive
      their third reading in the opposite house.

      Organizations opposing these efforts to attack the teaching of
      evolution and of climate change included the American Institute of
      Biological Sciences, the National Association of Biology Teachers, the
      National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the American Association
      for the Advancement of Science, and -- as always -- the indefatigable
      grassroots organization Oklahomans for Excellence in Science
      Education.

      For the website of Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education, visit:
      http://www.oklascience.org/

      And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Oklahoma, visit:
      http://ncse.com/news/oklahoma

      Thanks for reading.  And don't forget to visit NCSE's website --
      http://ncse.com -- where you can always find the latest news on
      evolution and climate education and threats to them.

      --
      Sincerely,
      Glenn Branch
      Deputy Director
      National Center for Science Education, Inc.
      420 40th Street, Suite 2
      Oakland, CA 94609-2509
      http://ncse.com

      Read Reports of the NCSE on-line:
      http://reports.ncse.com

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      --

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