[asa] FW: [ncse-news] Special action alert

From: Dick Fischer <dickfischer@verizon.net>
Date: Mon Oct 15 2007 - 19:39:24 EDT

FYI

Dear Friends of NCSE,

A special alert about the Vitter earmark to fund a creationist "science
education program" in Louisiana. Call your senator today!

SPECIAL ALERT ABOUT THE VITTER EARMARK

Alert! The United States Senate is poised to fund the development of an
antievolution "science education program" in Louisiana. Please contact
your senators to ask them to remove the earmark from the Improvement of
Education, Title III Fund.

Please do this today. It is possible that the bill will be voted on as
early as Tuesday, October 16, 2007.

Be sure that both your senators know that this earmark to the
Departments
of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
Appropriation Bill would be used to harm science education and breach
the
separation of church and state.

The funding bill is expected to reach the Senate floor some time this
week
(October 15-19), possibly as early as Tuesday.

It is vital that our senators remove this earmark before the bill is
voted
on. All senators will have a chance to vote on the bill and to suggest
amendments, but four senators have the greatest influence on the final
form
of the bill:

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on
Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies;
Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), the subcommittee's ranking minority
member;
Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), chair of the Senate Appropriations
Committee;
Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), the committee's ranking minority member.

Senators are most responsive to their own constituents, so please call
your
senators through the Capitol switchboard, and politely explain the
importance of this issue. Please also contact the four senators listed
above to ensure that they know the nation is watching. If you wish to
fax
them, a sample letter is included below; we encourage you to modify it
as
you see fit.

Capitol Switchboard
202-224-3121

Senator Tom Harkin
202-224-3254
fax: 202-224-9369

Senator Arlen Specter
202-224-4254
fax: 202-228-1229

Senator Robert Byrd
202-224-3954
fax: 202-228-0002

Senator Thad Cochran
202-224-5054
fax: 202-224-9450

SAMPLE LETTER

Dear Senator ...,

I am deeply concerned about an anti-science earmark in the FY 2008
Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and
Related
Agencies Appropriation Bill's Committee Report. Please remove this
earmark, which would fund unconstitutional religious interference in
public
school science education.

The earmark, sponsored by Louisiana Senator David Vitter, would fund
creationist evangelism by the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF). The group
has
a history of trying to undermine evolution education, and promote
creationism, in the public schools.

Federal courts have examined arguments and tactics like those advocated
by
the LFF and have consistently ruled that no form of creationism can be
taught in public schools. Federal funds should not be used to promote
unconstitutional actions.

Our public schools must provide our children with accurate scientific
information, uncompromised by narrow sectarian objections to
evolutionary
biology and related scientific fields. This earmark would fund
misinformation and breach constitutional protections.

Please remove the earmark.

Sincerely,

BACKGROUND

On September 22, 2007, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that
Senator
David Vitter (R-Louisiana) earmarked $100,000 in Title III of a federal
spending bill (p. 238) that would enable the Louisiana Family Forum to
"develop a plan to promote better science education." See:
http://www.nola.com/timespic/stories/index.ssf?/base/news-9/119052950131
0280.xml&coll=1

That earmark would be used to advance the Louisiana Family Forum's
long-term goal of promoting creationism in the public schools. The
Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), founded in 1999 as the Louisiana affiliate
of
Focus on the Family, has a long history of promoting both "intelligent
design" creationism and young-earth creationism. See the "Origins
Science"
section of "Forum Notes" at:
http://www.lafamilyforum.org

In 2001, Darrell White, former LFF co-director and now a consultant for
the
group, partnered with Louisiana Representative Sharon Weston-Broome in
an
unsuccessful attempt to persuade the Louisiana legislature to declare
Charles Darwin and evolutionary theory the source of modern racism.
See:
http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/news/2001/LA/549_louisiana_hcr_74_amend
ed_and_a_5_8_2001.asp

The Vitter earmark, if passed, would pay for the group to write a report
suggesting ways to improve Louisiana science education, develop and
distribute educational materials, and evaluate the effectiveness of the
Ouachita Parish School Board's controversial science curriculum
policy. That policy was promoted by the LFF's Darrell White. See:
http://www.ouachitacitizen.com/news.php?id=530

The LFF-drafted policy drew heavily on the infamous "Santorum
amendment,"
itself drafted by "intelligent design" leader Phillip Johnson and
removed
from the No Child Left Behind act under pressure from NCSE members, and
was
applauded by the Discovery Institute. The Ouachita policy was widely
criticized as opening the door to the explicit teaching of creationism
and
to the Discovery Institute-advocated "teach the controversy" tactic.
For
the policy, see:
http://www.opsb.net/downloads-file-166.html

The LFF also publishes textbook "addenda" that teachers could use to
undermine science education by promoting creationism. One such addendum
repeats "intelligent design" claims about the "irreducible complexity"
of
the bacterial flagellum, and later claims that the fossil record
requires
"very violent floods." It then quotes from young-earth creationist
Jonathan Woodmorappe's writings on flood geology. For the addendum, see
(PDF):
http://www.lafamilyforum.org/site100-01/1001014/docs/origin~1.pdf

Courts have consistently ruled that creationist material of the sort
that
the LFF disseminates is religious, not scientific, and that it is
unconstitutional for the government to teach this material as
science. Federal funds should not be used for such unconstitutional
purposes. For a brief summary of the relevant case law, see:
http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/articles/5690_10_significant_court_deci
sions_2_15_2001.asp

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services,
Education,
and Related Agencies

Majority staff: 202-224-9145
Minority staff: 202-224-7230

Appropriations Committee
Majority staff: 202-224-7363
Minority staff: 202-224-7257

Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related
Agencies Appropriation Bill, Fiscal Year 2008, Report of the Committee
on
Appropriations, U.S. Senate, on S. 1710.

PDF:
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgibin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_cong_report
s&docid=f:sr107.110.pdf

HTML:
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/T?&report=sr107&dbname=110

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Thanks for reading! And as always, be sure to consult NCSE's web site:
http://www.ncseweb.org
where you can always find the latest news on evolution education and
threats to it.

Sincerely,

Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
510-601-7203 x305
fax: 510-601-7204
800-290-6006
branch@ncseweb.org
http://www.ncseweb.org

Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools
http://www.ncseweb.org/nioc

Eugenie C. Scott's Evolution vs. Creationism
http://www.ncseweb.org/evc

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Received on Mon Oct 15 19:51:15 2007

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