Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education, Inc. is a non-profit educational organization that promotes the education of the public about the methods and values of science and advocates excellence in the science curriculum. Activities include participation in educational and scientific organization conferences, workshops for science teachers, operation of a speakers' bureau, maintenance of an informational list serve, and related activities.
The formation of OESE was prompted by the attempts in the Oklahoma State Textbook Committee in 1999 to diminish the teaching of evolution by the introduction of creationist textbook disclaimers to be inserted into any textbook used in public schools that discussed evolution. There have been bills introduced almost every year since 1999 for legislation that would allow teaching creationism in science courses; OESE has opposed all such attempts.
OESE is seeking members. Memberships are available for $10. Please print and fill out the OESE membership application and mail to the address indicated on the form. Tax-deductable donations are also welcomed. Further info in the OESE brochure.
Recognizing the increased attention climate change education has received in recent years, OESE has added an emphasis on the support of the teaching of climate science in public schools. To that end, we have added links to climate change and climate change denial sites. Many of the recent bills that have attacked the teaching of evolution in the public schools have also included attacks on climate science. We have also added a section on climate and earth science on our teaching resources page.
EVOLUTION IN OKLAHOMA AND TEXAS: A ROAD TRIP.
Thursday May 30 thru Sunday June 2, 2013
Time is running short to register for the Oklahoma Evolution Road Trip! It is May 30 through June 2 and costs $350 which includes travel, accommodations, and most meals. (The cost is $400 if you prefer single accommodations.) This is a real bargain; a recent Big Bend ecotour of similar length cost almost $3000. Home base is the University of Oklahoma Biological Station on beautiful Lake Texoma. We will see fossil deposits, dinosaur footprints, and living trees, and visit creationist museums. There will be plenty of time for discussion. Dr. Stanley Rice and Dr. Gordon Eggleton, both of
Southeastern Oklahoma State University, will lead the trip. The tentative deadline is May 3, though we may extend this upon request. Pre-college teachers will receive professional development credit. More information, and registration information, is available at http://www.ou.edu/uobs/evolution.html as well as at Dr. Rice's blog (http://www.honest-ab.blogspot.com) and website (http://www.stanleyrice.com). If necessary you may attend for just part of the trip, although registration costs remain the same.
We've talked about evolution; now let's go see some stunning evidence for it!
If you have questions, please contact Dr. Stanley Rice .
Coming this Fall: Workshop for Teachers: Science of Climate Change and Variability
Weekend workshop (Sept. 20-22, 2013) at the University of Oklahoma Biological Station on Lake Texoma
Topics include current climate science, inquiry-based learning, state curriculum and classroom issues
Workshop organized and sponsored by: Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education, Oklahoma Climatological Survey, National Science Foundation, and The University of Oklahoma Biological Station
Here is the workshop application form. Registration deadline is September 10.
Check out the flyer for more information.
Anti-science bills in 2013 Oklahoma Legislature, bills dead for now
Oklahoma continues to have the most creationist bills filed THAN ANY OTHER STATE DURING THE PAST 12 YEARS.
Three bills are of most interest to OESE members this year.
House Bill 1674 (Rep. Blackwell), "Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act," is a bill promoted nationally by the creationist Discovery Institute. These so-called 'academic freedom acts' have been filed in at least 15 states more than 45 times and has become law only in Louisiana (where attempts at repeal are ongoing) and last year in Tennessee. The repeal in LA has drawn the support of many Nobel Laureates and is unanimously opposed by the New Orleans City Council. It has recently been rejected by a parish school district in New Orleans that calls for the teaching only of evolution and not creationism in any form in public school science classes. For more on events on this bill in Louisiana see NCSE reports HERE and HERE.
HB1674 was heard by the House Common Education Committee on Tuesday, February 19. OESE board members Dr. Victor Hutchison and Dr. Richard Broughton testified against the bill. The bill passed the committee by a vote of 9-8.
HB1674 was passed by the House Calendar Committee on March 6 by a vote of 13-5. The bill was not heard the House Floor by the March 14 deadline, and thus is dead for now. Thanks to all who wrote messages against the bill.
The bill has gathered a great deal of commentary around the country, including Why Evolution is True,
the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, The Week, Mother Jones, and The Daily Beast.
OESE Board member Dr. Vic Hutchison was interviewed by News9 about the bill.
Dr. Hutchison also had a Letter to the Editor published in The Oklahoman on February 23.
The Oklahoma Daily, the student newspaper at the University of Oklahoma published an editorial, Academic freedom shouldn't mean academic disaster against.the bill. The paper also published a letter to the editor by OESE Board member Dr. Richard Broughton.
Criticism of the bill also on YouTube, Creationism Bill = FAKE Academic Freedom?.
Senate Bill 758 (Sen. Brecheen), "Oklahoma Science Education Act," is a shorter and somewhat different version of HB 1674, and follows Brecheen's attempts earlier to pass similar bills. However, unlike HB 1674, this bill does not mention the usual 'controversial' topics of biological evolution, chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning. Both of these bills use the usual buzzwords, 'critical thinking,' 'strengths and weaknesses' of evolution, etc. — these are simply attempts to oppose the teaching of valid evolutionary science and are attempts to get around all previous Federal Court decisions declaring such bills as religious creationism.
SB 758 was not heard by a Senate Committee before the February 25 deadline and is dead for now. Thanks to all who contacted the Senate Education Committee regarding this bill. Numbers do count! Our work was recognized in a post by NCSE.
HB 1674 and SB 758 are discussed in some detail, with history of previous attempts in Oklahoma, at the NCSE web site HERE.
Additional information and commentary at Okie Funk, and The Thinking Atheist.
NCSE's Josh Rosenau talks about the threat of the bills to Oklahoma's science education on the Smash Walls Radio podcast.
OESE Board member Rich Broughton has written this analysis of SB 758, Why SB 758 by Brecheen Is a Bad Bill and Oppose HB 1674, the Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act.
Americans United's Legislative Bill Preview discussed the bills. Coverage at NewsOK.com
We will continue to monitor activities at the legislature to make sure the wording of the bills is not slipped into other bills as amendments or reintroduced in some other way.
The MIT Survey on Science, Religion and Origins: the Belief Gap
We present a detailed survey of how different US faith communities view origins science, particularly evolution and Big Bang cosmology. We find a striking gap between people's personal beliefs and the official views of the faiths to which they belong. Whereas Gallup reports that 46% of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form less than 10,000 years ago, we find that only 11% belong to religions openly rejecting evolution. This shows that the main divide in the origins debate is not between science and religion, but between a small fundamentalist minority and mainstream religious communities who embrace science. The fact that the gap between personal and official beliefs is so large suggests that part of the controversy might be defused by people learning more about their own religious doctrine and the science it endorses, thereby bridging this belief gap.
OU Religious Studies Journal article
Nolan Kraszkiewicz, an OU senior, has published a paper that examines the history and implications of the Creationism/Intelligent Design vs. Evolution debate raging in America's schools, courts, and churches. Link to the paper is here.
Video of Judge Jones talk in Norman
The video of the talk at the OU Law School on December 6 in Norman by Judge John E. Jones III, on "The U.S. Constitution's Intelligent Design" is available from the Maiinstream Baptist.
Darwin interviews Dr. Victor Hutchison
Board member Dr. Stanley Rice has added an interview with Dr. Victor Hutchison to his YouTube channel, http://youtu.be/IW2MRpkyVEM discussing evolution in Oklahoma. Dr. Rice's channel can be accessed at http://www.youtube.com/stanEvolve.
Dr. Victor Hutchison recipient of Oklahoma Academy of Science's Award of Merit
OESE founder Dr. Victor Hutchison was named winner of the Oklahoma Academy of Science's Award of Merit at the November 9, 2012, Annual Technical Meeting of the group, at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. The award was given for "His Noteworthy Contributions to Science Education in the State of Oklahoma and the Nation". Congratulations Vic!
Bethany Lorenz named Outstanding Biology Teacher for Oklahoma
OESE congratulates Board member Bethany Lorenz, the 2012 recipient of the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award for Oklahoma from the National Association of Biology Teachers. The award is given each year to a life science teacher in each state who demonstrates exemplary practice in the teaching of life science. Lorenz has been a biology teacher at Putnam North High School since 2001. She teaches sereral inclusion classes in which special education students are mainstreamed, and uses judicious groups of students to implement peer tutoring and leadership. Lorenz said "I believe that all students can learn. They may learn at different rates, but they all have the capacity to learn." Congratulations Bethany! More information at the Oklahoma Science Teachers Assocation web site.
Free Evolution Poster available to High School Science Teachers
Attn: High School Science Teachers
How would you like to receive a FREE Evolution Wall Poster for your classroom? To apply for this five-foot wide, unique teaching resource, all you have to do is fill out a simple form, and while supplies last, we'll send it directly to your school for display. Here's what it looks like:
We've had several educators from around the globe expressing their satisfaction. In the state of Arkansas alone, we estimate that 2100+ students have been exposed to the impressive classroom poster...Your students could be next!
If you are interested in receiving "Earth and Life: changes over time", please visit the following link and complete the application. It's that easy!
Middle School science teacher is Oklahoma City Teacher of the Year
Daniel Buckmaster was named the Oklahoma City Teacher of the Year. Buckmaster teaches sixth-grade science at Belle Isle Enterprise Middle School. Read more at newsok.com. OESE offers our heartiest congratulations!
Darwin videos on YouTube
Dr. Stan Rice, faculty member at Southeastern Oklahoma State and a Board member of OESE is producing a series of YouTube videos where he portrays Darwin on various topics.
ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL OESE TEACHERS WORKSHOP
OESE held the eighth workshop for high school teachers on teaching evolution at the University Biological Station on Lake Texoma, 5 -7 October, 2012. For the first time teachers from north Texas were included. OESE is considering offering future workshops on the science of climate change. Look for announcements next year!
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Clergy Letter Project: All clergy members are encouraged to go to this link to sign the nationwide outpouring of support for teaching evolution. For too long, the misperception that science and religion are inevitably in conflict has created unnecessary division and conflict concerning the teaching of evolution. The project is also described at the link.
OESE Joins Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science.
Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education (OESE) has joined the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS), organized coordinate efforts to improve public outreach and science education. The goals of COPUS are:
- Building the COPUS network - Underpinning the COPUS effort is a growing network of organizations and individuals who share a common goal: engaging sectors of the public in science and increasing their appreciation and understanding of the scientific enterprise. Find out more about participating in the COPUS Network.here
- Developing state-level benchmark science-indicator reports on the importance of science to the U.S. economy and standard-of-living
- Supporting a national effort to promote the public understanding of science in a year-long celebration: Year of Science 2009 (also available: Year of Science 2009 fact sheet [PDF])
- Integrating efforts with the Understanding Science website project currently under development at the University of California, Berkeley