Darwin: a Not-So-Happy 200th Birthday

Article ID: 548817

Released: 5-Feb-2009 2:50 PM EST

Source Newsroom: National Center for Science Education

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Newswise — Will February 12th be a happy 200th birthday for Charles Darwin? Maybe not, says Glenn Branch, Deputy Director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) in an article that just appeared on the U.S. News & World Report web site (www.usnews.com/sections/opinion).

On one hand, the scientific community remains convinced about the validity of evolution--and how understanding evolution is essential to scientific literacy and ultimately, to our competitiveness as a nation.

But Darwin would be shocked to learn that almost half of Americans don't accept evolution--and that thanks to misinformation campaigns backed by creationists and other anti-science groups--teaching evolution is still controversial across the United States.

"The news gets grimmer" says Branch. "Last year, Louisiana enacted a law that encourages teachers and students to debate the 'strengths and weaknesses' of evolution". This, says Branch, is the latest creationist attempt to dumb down the science curriculum by pitting phony arguments against evolution in the classroom and in textbooks. A world-class education, in short, relies on solid scientific reasoning-- empirical evidence, logic, and scientific testing to evaluate scientific explanations. Half a dozen other states--including Oklahoma, Florida, and Minnesota--have or are now considering similar laws.

But in this era of global competition and environmental crisis, says Branch, "scientific literacy is not a luxury. Yet the United States is next-to-last among developed countries—ahead only of Turkey—in its public acceptance of evolution."

How are creationists tearing up science standards, pressuring teachers and textbook publishers, and otherwise promoting their political agenda at the expense of kids? And how are scientists, teachers, parents, and organizations like the NCSE fighting back? Check out Glenn Branch's article, "Intelligent Design is Not Science, and Should Not Join Evolution in the Classroom" at www.usnews.com/sections/opinion
or
www.usnews.com/articles/opinion/2009/02/02/intelligent-design-is-not-science-and-should-not-take-the-place-of-evolution-in-the-classroom.html

To see more news from NCSE, go to: http://ncseweb.org/news


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