FBB Support Helps NCSE Challenge Antievolution Bills Across the Country


NCSESecond-quarter education beneficiary the National Center for Science Education gave us this report about how they are using the funds contributed by members of Foundation Beyond Belief. NCSE was one of our first Encore Beneficiaries, having been our featured education charity in the second quarter of 2010. Members donated $3,630 to NCSE last quarter.

Evolution in the Balance
By Glenn Branch, Deputy Director, National Center for Science Education

In the seven-year period between February 2004 and February 2011, there were thirty-nine “academic freedom” antievolution bills introduced in state legislatures across the country. Seven years, whether fat or lean, and (not quite) forty bills—there’s something almost Biblical about the statistics.

And there’s something almost Biblical about the sponsors and supporters of these bills, too. These bills claim to be extending “academic freedom” to K–12 teachers in the public schools to teach the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution. But the true aim is to undermine the teaching of evolution—and to encourage the teaching of creationism.

  • In New Mexico, the leader of the creationist group supporting House Bill 302 told a newspaper that evolution was a “dogma” pushed by “a priesthood whose underlying philosophy is scientific materialism.”
  • In Tennessee, the chief lobbyist behind House Bill 368 and Senate Bill 893 insisted that those bills would allow teachers to recommend intelligent design as “a theory that many scientists are beginning to consider and hold.”
  • In Oklahoma, the sponsor of Senate Bill 554 proclaimed that his bill would require “every publically funded Oklahoma school to teach the debate of creation vs. evolution.”

As the only national organization wholly dedicated to defending the teaching of evolution in the public schools, the National Center for Science Education was tracking the “academic freedom” antievolution bills from the get-go.

But we’re not just tracking these bills. We’ve worked, and are working, with local groups to rally opposition to them. We’ve worked, and are working, with national scientific and education organizations to help to educate their members about the problems with “academic freedom” antievolution bills. And we’ve extensively discussed and documented the problems with them in publications for the general public and for the scientific community.

These bills are only the latest challenge to come down the pike, and we continue to defend the teaching of evolution whenever and wherever necessary. To do so, of course, we need the support of people concerned with the integrity of science education. We are thankful for the invaluable support of Foundation Beyond Belief and its members, whose generous donation will help NCSE prepare for the next onslaught of antievolution bills in 2012—likely to include a bill in the Tennessee senate and two bills in the New Hampshire legislature at the very least.