Children’s evolution book that US publishers found too hot to handle wins top Canadian prize

A NEW book about evolution that yellow-bellied publishers in the US were too afraid to publish has won the prestigious Lane Anderson Awardin the young reader category in Canada.

Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be, by Daniel Loxton, won the 2010 Lane Anderson Award in the young reader category for a book published in the field of science and written by a Canadian. The  book was also a finalist in the Silver Birch competition earlier this year – and is in the running for a third book award for Canadian children’s non-fiction.

According to this report, the book – aimed at young readers between eight and 13 – sent publishers in America running for the hills because they thought it might be controversial and was “too hot a topic”.

Loxton said that he has already received angry emails from creationists demanding to know why his book doesn’t give “equal time” to their point of view. He explains that his book is about science, not religion. Furthermore, the Christian creation story is only one of many from various cultures around the world.

No one objects to the Bible or creationism being taught in schools as literature or religion – just not as science.

However, over in Tennessee, educators have been given the green light to bring creationism and “intelligent design” into classrooms under the guise of “encouraging scepticism and evidence-based reasoning”.

Robin Zimmer, a biotechnology consultant and affiliate of the creationist Center for Faith and Science International in Knoxville, said in support of what is being called the Monkey Bill, nicknamed after the notorious ‘monkey trial’ of 1925, in which Tennessee prosecuted high-school science teacher John Scopes for violating a state law against teaching evolution:

Critical thinking fosters good science.

The new bill allows public-school teachers to:

Help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories.

Biological evolution, global warming, the chemical origins of life and human cloning are listed as examples of such theories.

Opponents say that the real goal of the bill is apparent from the list of subjects it singles out. Said Eugenie Scott, Director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) in Oakland, California:

HB 368 and other bills like it are a permission slip for teachers to bring creationism, climate-change denial and other non-science into science classrooms.

Hat tip: Canada Dave and BarrieJohn (Tennessee report)