Developments in the United States could threaten our civil liberties as responses to the coronavirus pandemic test governments and social structures worldwide.
NCAC condemns the recent move by the Trump administration to censor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by forbidding the use of certain words in official communications.
The bill is vague, allowing challenges and changes to curricular selections made by ideological actors.
S.B. 393 is the latest in a string of similar “anti-science bills” introduced in states around the country. One such bill was rejected by South Dakota’s House Education Committee last month.
NCAC Objects to Bill Threatening to Undermine Science Education Standards in South Dakota; UPDATE: Bill Defeated in the House Education Committee
The bill removes the restraints on teachers that prevent them from straying from professionally-developed science standards adopted by state educators.
According to the bill, “no teacher may be prohibited from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information.”
NCAC has released the following statement on the climate change controversy brewing in Portland: On May 17, the Public School Board of Portland, Oregon unanimously adopted a resolution to “Develop an Implementation Plan for Climate Literacy,” which concluded with this recommendation: “The implementation plan should include a review of current textbooks for accuracy around the severity of the climate crisis and the [...]
A series of proposed changes to the sex ed curriculum in Omaha, Nebraska generated intense opposition late last year, with hundreds of angry parents packing a meeting to denounce plans to teach students about gender identity, emergency contraception, and abortion. Now it is up to the board to decide how and what students will learn.
Two new bills are designed to empower ideologically-driven activists to shape what is taught in Florida's classrooms.
Good news from Delaware: One school district dropped a plan to limit students' access to certain books, and in another district the effort to alter health curriculum in accord with religious objections appears to have failed.
Supplementation, Not Suppression: Officials in Gilbert, AZ Won’t Redact Pages from a Biology Textbook
In October, a few school board members in Gilbert, AZ attracted national attention when they voted 3-2 to yank two pages from an honors Biology textbook. Thankfully, redaction is off the table after the most recent board meeting.
UPDATE: After receiving NCAC's letter, pastor and school board member Shaun Fink has struck back against NCAC. Contrary to his earlier public statements, Fink now claims that he never called for the exclusion of materials on LGBT content or STD, HIV, and pregnancy prevention. At December 2's health curriculum subcommittee meeting, he also characterized NCAC's letter as a form of intimidation for the [...]
Some years ago, NCAC created the Knowledge Project: Censorship & Science, as national concern over the “politicization” of science escalated. The work of the Project revealed that the problem was more than just politics: censorship of science that did not support the government’s policies infringed the free speech of scientists, undermined the integrity of science, and jeopardized efforts to develop sound public [...]
News of GlaxoSmithKline's coverup of the health risks of their diabetes drug, "Avandia," has also highlighted serious problems with scientific integrity at the FDA. In 2006, an FDA scientist who recommended requiring a warning label about Avandia's possible heart health risks was shot down and reprimanded by her superiors. In 2007, the non-profit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, petitioned the [...]
An LA Times report details the disappointment expressed by some government scientists with a lack of improvement in scientific integrity since President Obama took office and called for new rules to protect scientific integrity. Such new rules have yet to be issued, and lower level government scientists still report political pressure to alter their results as well as a lack [...]
MMS distorted environmental assessment of offshore drilling in Alaska (2010) In March 2010, just days before the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report revealed that during the Bush administration, the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the agency responsible for regulating the oil industry, had altered the work of environmental scientists or pressured them to produce environmental [...]
Spurious investigation of UVA scientist sends a chilling message (2010) In May 2010, Union of concerned Scientists (UCS) reported that the University of Virginia was calling for an end to Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's investigation of internationally respected climate scientist Michael Mann. Cuccinelli has a reputation as a hero among conservative tea party activists, and provided no evidence of [...]
Scott Southworth, the district attorney of Juneau County, Wisconsin, is threatening to prosecute teachers who comply with a new state law that requires sex education courses to include “medically accurate, age-appropriate” information, including information on contraceptives. Southworth claims the law “promotes the sexual assault of children,” “[u]ndermines parental authority,” “requires school districts to condone controversial sexual behavior,” and “provides access [...]
In 2009, a handful of cancer patients, professional organizations, several individual doctors and researchers along with the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit challenging the decision to grant a patent to Myriad Genetics for the genes BRCA1 and 2, which are associated with hereditary breast cancer and ovarian cancer. In March 2010, the New York federal court ruled that [...]
On Friday, March 26, the Texas Board of Education struck down a bill that required evolution be taught with consideration of the "strengths and weaknesses" of the theory. The new bill, however, is not a striking victory for advocates of depolicized, science-based education. According to the NCSE: ...the revised biology standard (7B) reflects two discredited creationist ideas — that "sudden [...]
It’s refreshing to see President Obama moving forward on his promise to separate science from politics. By freeing scientists to do more research using stem cells, and by commissioning NIH to develop guidelines, the President has put scientific decisions where they belong – with scientists. Now maybe he’ll do the same with abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, which have been condemned as inaccurate [...]
A recent paper in the journal, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, examines censorship in medical research. Giovanni A. Fava describes the damages to intellectual freedom that result when academic medical researchers are influenced by corporate and special interests. He notes that censorship can take several forms in this arena, from suppression of accurate data that conflicts with industry interests, to retaliation against [...]
Science based policy had a rough time of it for the last eight years. More than any prior administration, Democratic or Republican, the Bush Administration censored, suppressed, distorted and ignored science. Government scientists were harassed and retaliated against and scientific research and even information gathering were de-funded. Censorship of science violates the values embodied in the First Amendment and the [...]
Time Magazine’s cover story this week is on the promise of stem cell research, and the scientists who persisted developing this field despite obstacles mounted by President George W. Bush. In 2001, without formal rulemaking or even an Executive Order, President Bush announced a policy that effectively put an end to federally funded embryonic stem cell research. He based his [...]
The New York Times reported yesterday on the fight in Texas over science standards. The standards for 20 years have required that science be taught in a way that show the “strengths and weaknesses” of Darwin’s theory of evolution. The third draft, passed in December 2008 didn’t include this phrase, but this year 7 of the 15 members of the [...]
by Sarah Falcon On Wednesday, three Reform Jewish leaders testified in Austin, Texas against a language change in the school curriculum which would require teaching "strengths and limitations" of scientific theories. Texas' current curriculum requires teaching the "strengths and weaknesses" of scientific theories. Testimonies from two of the rabbis is excerpted below:
A study published this month in PLoS Medicine, documents self-censorship of scientists in response to a political controversy. According to Joanna Kempner, the study’s author, the controversy at issue began in July 2003 when Patrick Toomey, a Republican Congressman, proposed the discontinuance of five NIH grants that were unworthy of taxpayer funding. As a result, the Director of NIH received [...]
We write regarding complaints about a middle school health teacher who apparently responded to students’ questions in a sex education class about homosexuality, masturbation and oral sex. We understand some parents have called for her termination and that in response the district has put her on paid-administrative leave while conducting an investigation.
Members, Assembly Judiciary Committee 1020 N Street, Room 104 Sacramento, California 95814 Re: AB 698 - Oppose Dear Members of the Judiciary Committee: The National Coalition Against Censorship writes to express concerns about AB 698, which would create a new cause of action for making disparaging comments about perishable agricultural products, because of its potential to chill protected [...]
The House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), conducted a hearing on the censorship of government climate scientists. Among the issues the committee addressed was the suppression of federal scientists’ speech and writing, the distortion and suppression of research results, and retaliation against those who protest these acts. In response to the [...]
Congressional Committee Holds Hearing on Political Influence on Government Climate Change Scientists
On January 30, 2007, the Oversight Committee heard testimony from a number of leading climate change scientists regarding allegations that officials edited scientific reports and made other efforts to interfere with the work of government scientists who study climate change.
Thomas Murphy, Superintendent Federal Way No. 210 31405 - 18th Ave. S. Federal Way WA 98003 Dear Superintendent Murphy: We have been following with interest the controversy over the Federal Way School Board's recent decision to declare a "moratorium" on showing the film, "An Inconvenient Truth," to students in your school district. We believe such a decision not only [...]
A bi-partisan letter from U.S. Senators Olympia Snowe (R - Maine) and Jay Rockefeller (D - West Virginia) pressed Exxon-Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson to "end any further financial assistance" to groups "whose public advocacy has contributed to the small but unfortunately effective climate change denial myth."
As part of its 2007 budget proposal submitted on February 6, NASA eliminated the phrase “to understand and protect our home planet” from its mission statement; a move that alarmed several NASA employees. Unlike the 2002 changes to the NASA mission statement that included an open process across the agency, this decision was made by NASA Headquarters without consulting NASA [...]
Dr. James E. Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, found himself under close scrutiny by his superiors at NASA due to his attempts to inform the public about global warming.
A federal district court in Dallas dismissed a lawsuit against the state for rejecting an environmental science textbook the commissioners didn't like. The case, Chiras v. Miller, brought by Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, charged that the textbook was rejected for "illegitimate, unconstitutional reasons." The commissioners had turned the book down for failing to adequately present the oil and gas [...]