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NCSE newsletter

September 23rd, 2017 · No Comments

Dear friends of NCSE,

The end of the creationist kerfuffle in South Korea. A new honorary
degree for NCSE’s founding executive director. And a proposed new set
of science standards in New Mexico is suspiciously skimpy on evolution
and climate change.

CREATIONIST KERFUFFLE OVER IN KOREA

South Korea is not going to have a creationist heading a new ministry.
Park Seong-jin, nominated to head the newly created ministry of small
and medium venture business in South Korea, withdrew himself from
consideration for the post, according to KBS World Radio (September
15, 2017), after the National Assembly adopted a hearing report
finding him unfit for the post.

As NCSE previously reported, Park was a controversial nominee
primarily because of his affiliation with the Korea Association for
Creation Research, a young-earth creationist organization that
promotes creation science; Park reportedly resigned as its director
the day before he was nominated for the post.

According to a report from UPI (September 11, 2017), during a recent
hearing before the National Assembly, Park told legislators, “As an
adherent of creationism, [I believe] the Earth’s age is 6,000 years,
as put forward by the church.” Song Ki-hun, a Democratic member of the
National Assembly, commented that Park’s views “worried” people in the
“bio-sciences sector.”

For the KBS World Radio story, visit:
http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/news_Po_detail.htm?No=130205

For the UPI story, visit:
https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/09/11/Moon-Jae-in-nominee-sparks-uproar-over-creationist-views/9611505149184/

And for NCSE’s previous coverage of events overseas, visit:
https://ncse.com/news/international

CONGRATULATIONS TO EUGENIE C. SCOTT

Described as an “award-winning scholar and champion of science,”
NCSE’s founding executive director Eugenie C. Scott received an
honorary degree from Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky,
at the university’s Academic Convocation on September 15, 2017. Scott
delivered an address on the importance of a liberal arts education,
using the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial of 2005 as a source of examples
and anecdotes.

The honorary degree was Scott’s tenth. She was previously honored with
honorary degrees from McGill University in 2003, the Ohio State
University in 2005, Mount Holyoke College and the University of
Wisconsin, Milwaukee, in 2006; Rutgers University in 2007; the
University of New Mexico in 2008, the University of Missouri,
Columbia, and Colorado College in 2010; and Chapman University in
2013.

For NCSE’s collection of material from the Kitzmiller trial, visit:
https://ncse.com/library-resource/kitzmiller-v-dover-intelligent-design-trial

And for Scott’s memoir about the genesis of her interest in evolution, visit:
http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/inspired/article/1903/

SHENANIGANS IN NEW MEXICO

“New Mexico’s Public Education Department unveiled proposed teaching
standards … that critics say would omit references to evolution,
rising global temperatures and the age of Earth from the state’s
science curriculum,” reports the Albuquerque Journal (September 16,
2017).

The new standards are modeled on the Next Generation Science
Standards, which have been adopted by eighteen states and the District
of Columbia so far. But, as Mother Jones (September 15, 2017)
observed, “the draft released by New Mexico’s education officials
changes the language of a number of NGSS guidelines, downplaying the
rise in global temperatures, striking references to human activity as
the primary cause of climate change, and cutting one mention of
evolution while weakening others.”

“These changes are evidently intended to placate creationists and
climate change deniers,” NCSE’s deputy director Glenn Branch told
Mother Jones, and would, if implemented, “dumb down New Mexico’s
science education.” Kim Johnson, a physicist and former president of
the New Mexico Academy of Science, and Stephanie Ly, president of the
American Federation of Teachers New Mexico, were quoted by the
Albuquerque Journal as agreeing, Ly describing the proposed standards
as a “perverted, watered-down vision” of the NGSS.

A subsequent report in the Santa Fe New Mexican (September 19, 2017)
quoted the superintendent of the Santa Fe schools and the K-12 program
director for the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation (a
non-profit organization that supports New Mexican science teachers) as
opposed to the proposed standards, as well as NCSE’s Glenn Branch, who
reiterated that the divergences between the NGSS and the proposed
standards “water down the treatment of evolution and the [human]
impact [on] climate change.”

The Associated Press (September 19, 2017) also covered the story.
Ellen Loehman of the New Mexico Science Teachers’ Association
commented, “Our position is that the Public Education Department has
injected politics into science”; the NMSTA is urging the department to
adopt the NGSS without the objectionable changes. Also quoted as
opposing the proposed standards was the director of the Rio Grande
chapter of the Sierra Club. The department, according to the
Associated Press, declined to explain the rationale for the
divergences between the NGSS and the proposed standards.

There is still time for concerned New Mexicans to protest. The Public
Education Department will be accepting public comments on the
standards through October 16, 2017, and then will hold a public
hearing in Santa Fe.

For the story in the Albuquerque Journal, visit:
https://www.abqjournal.com/1064653/whose-science-excerpt-critics-say-proposed-nm-science-standards-omit-evolution-climate-change.html

For the story in Mother Jones, visit:
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/09/new-mexico-remove-climate-change-evolution-public-education/

For the story in the Santa Fe New Mexican, visit:
http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/education/sfps-board-questions-troubling-science-curriculum-proposal/article_8592980b-00c6-5b0f-ab52-d0408af42d43.html

For the Associated Press story (via the Las Cruces Sun-News), visit:
http://www.lcsun-news.com/story/news/education/2017/09/19/science-teaching-guidelines-trigger-criticism-new-mexico/683031001/

And for NCSE’s previous coverage of events in New Mexico, visit:
https://ncse.com/news/new-mexico

WHAT’S NEW AT NCSE’S BLOG?

Have you been visiting NCSE’s blog recently? If not, then you’ve missed:

* Brian Pinney describing what he’s been learning about coping with
religious conflicts in informal science education:
https://ncse.com/blog/2017/09/sbc-voices-navigating-religious-conflict-0018608

For NCSE’s blog, visit:
http://ncse.com/blog

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.
1904 Franklin Street, Suite 600
Oakland CA 94612-2922
510-601-7203
fax 510-788-7971
branch@ncse.com
http://ncse.com

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