Daniel Dennett, known for having previously explained thinking, religion, and consciousness, recently spoke at the Royal Institution where he did a most excellent job of explaining memes [1-hour video].
Troubles in Paradise is a review of the history and arguments of the creationism/intelligent design movement, written by James Downard.
The cosmos is also within us, we're made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos, to know itself.
Cosmos: A Personal Voyage is a thirteen-part television series of one hour shows written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, that was aired at the tail end of 1980 and was - at the time - the most widely watched series in the history of American public television. It is best introduced by an audio excerpt of one of his books, The Pale Blue Dot. Inside is a complete annotated collection of the series. [more inside]
Affirmed evolution (and anti-intelligent design) biologist Francisco Ayala has won the 2010 Templeton Prize. In 1981, Ayala was a pivotal expert in overturning an Arkansas law that required the side-by-side teaching of creationism and evolution. Besides his nationally recognized work in evolution and genetics, the former Catholic priest has sought to reconcile evolution with religious belief, noting that science and religion are not mutually exclusive. [more inside]
The Producer Cites Religious Controversy. The Director points to a recessionary trend against "serious" movies. A new film about Charles Darwin's life ("Creation") is reportedly having difficulty finding a US distributor. ( Creation: IMDB / Official Site / Trailer / Spoiler-laden review from Roger Ebert / LA Times review // Darwin: Previously on MeFi).
16% of US science teachers believe human beings have been created by God within the last 10,000 years. 25% of science teachers spend some time teaching about creationism or intelligent design. 12.5% teach it as a "valid, scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species". 2% say they do not cover evolution at all. Teachers who have taken more science courses themselves devote more time to evolution - "This may be because better-prepared teachers are more confident in dealing with students' questions about a sensitive subject."
Ben Stein's Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a pro-Intelligent Design, anti-evolution polemic, arrived in theaters Friday to overwhelmingly negative reviews and anemic ticket sales. In response to the claims made in the film comes Expelled Exposed, a website which seeks to "show you why this movie is not a documentary at all, but anti-science propaganda aimed at creating the appearance of controversy where there is none."
The National Academies release their new book Science, Evolution, and Creationism, targeted at the public, which summarizes the "scientific understanding of evolution and its importance in the science classroom." Download the 89-page book free in PDF format (you will be asked for your e-mail address, location, and employment sector first). Other resources on evolution from the National Academies, including other free online books (previously on MetaFilter). There's a brief NYT story about it as well.
Dinosaurs preach Young Earth creationism. "The Fossil Finders are a group of eight homeschooled children on a search for the [Biblical] truth on fossils." (This shorter excerpt cuts to the main argument, involving the discovery of flexible T. Rex tissue. Scientists remain interested in the find.) The video was produced by World's Biggest Dinosaurs, the people who now own the roadside landmark, Cabazon Dinosaurs -- and have turned it into a creation museum. [Previously]
The Inner Life of an Intelligently Designed Cell? Remember The Inner Life of a Cell animation (discussed here)? Apparently the Discovery Institute (recently discussed here) is showing it in presentations with a new title and narration, and without attribution.
Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial. Tonight on NOVA, a documentary on the six-week trial of Kitzmiller v. Dover. [Full transcripts of trial] The court's decision [PDF] by Judge John E. Jones III, chastised the defense's dishonesty and the "breathtaking inanity" of the Dover School Board's policy. Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education recounts the the trial here. According to Salon, the Discovery Institute is not quitting -- preferring now to "teach the controversy," as part of their ongoing attack on naturalism. [Previously 1 2]
Ben Stein, actor, game show host, economist and White House speechwriter has embarked upon a heroic and, at times, shocking journey in the new documentary Expelled to confront the world’s top scientists, educators and philosophers, regarding their 'persecution' of the academics who support the non-science that is Intelligent Design. Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers amongst others claim they were duped into appearing in the film believing it to be a film that was to be titled Crossroads (no not that Crossroads, nor this one) that would be a debate about creationism versus Darwinism. No wonder Ferris took a day off from school with this guy as his teacher (NSFW).
Guess who's censoring references to evolution out of David Attenborough documentaries? That's right, the Dutch. See the differences; here's a detailed write-up by a Dutch biologist and documentary enthusiast comparing the two versions side-by-side (in Dutch).
Another black eye for ID (youtube link): Zoologist Dan-Eric Nilsson of the University of Lund in Sweden explains how the complex human eye could have evolved gradually from a primitive light-sensitive eye-spot. Via Swift.
Ten things evolutionists can do to improve communication. Speaking as a battle-scarred survivor of a few battles over evolution on teh Interweb, I plead guilty to ignorance of a few of these rules. But I wonder, too, what good any of these would do in the grand scheme of things: could we expect Creationists to act as honorably, or as honestly? And what would the Flying Spaghetti Monster think?
Before the class, Crocker had told me that she was going to teach "the strengths and weaknesses of evolution." Afterward, I asked her whether she was going to discuss the evidence for evolution in another class. She said no.A "Biology 101" class turns into a gripe session for creationists at a state school, the Northern Virginia Community College. The lecturer then whines about being discriminated against when she fails to teach the subject she's hired to teach.
"Who's afraid of evolutionary biology?" (I've linked Bede before, but this piece bears a much more important message to Christians who feel it their biblical duty to get hot and bothered over evolution and origin-of-life issues.) Also see a Christian response to "Young Earth" apologetics, and the Young Earth Argument Index, both from "Old Earth" Creationists who disagree with 6-Day biblical literalism. (Note that Old Earthers may still be Intelligent Design advocates. Heaping spoonsful of salt all around.) If that's still too "Christian" for you, Talk.Origins has a summary of other Genesis interpretations.
BBC News: British unconvinced on evolution "More than half the British population does not accept the theory of evolution, according to a survey. Furthermore, more than 40% of those questioned believe that creationism or intelligent design should be taught in school science lessons." Nice to know that the maxim for the UK being five years behind the US still holds true, more or less.
The Clergy Letter Project has completed acquiring 10,000 signatures from clergy around the country. Their stated goal: For too long, the misperception that science and religion are inevitably in conflict has created unnecessary division and confusion, especially concerning the teaching of evolution. I wanted to let the public know that numerous clergy from most denominations have tremendous respect for evolutionary theory and have embraced it as a core component of human knowledge, fully harmonious with religious faith. They've declared February 12, 2006 as Evolution Sunday, a day when "hundreds of Christian churches from all portions of the country and a host of denominations will come together to discuss the compatibility of religion and science."
A conservative Metafilter loves to hate weighs in on the issue of intelligent design being incorporated into the classroom. Some of Orson Scott Card's views have been linked to before (see here; here; and most notably here.) This time, he seems to be less reactionary and more thoughtful. This is related to many prior Mefi threads on this issue some of which include this; this; and this.
Decision in Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District:
The weight of the evidence clearly demonstrates, as noted, that the systemic change from "creation" to "intelligent design" occurred sometime in 1987, after the Supreme Court's important Edwards decision. This compelling evidence strongly supports Plaintiffs' assertion that ID is creationism re-labeled.
Incompetent Design is yet another entry in the battle regarding the origin of humans.
Intelligent Design on trial! The ACLU of PA is blogging the current trial in Dover, PA between the parents of students and the local school board which wants to teach students Intelligent Design. Over at The Panda's Thumb, they're also keeping track of the goings on. The main ACLU website has statements from most of the plaintiff's experts in the case, including this long, well-supported pdf from philsopher Barbara Forrest, whose testimony is being used to dismantle the canard that ID is not Creationism. Over at the Legal Affairs Debate Club Beckwith and Laylock argued, last week, about whether teaching ID is legal. For background: this 2002 special report from Natural History Magazine on Intelligent Design Creationism.
Live next week in a Harrisburg, PA federal courtroom: the ACLU and a coterie of concerned parents fight the ongoing defenestration of empiricism.
Did the discovery of evolution lead to Darwin's agnosticism, as claimed? Carl Zimmer wonders. More importantly, can evolution be reconciled with Christianity?
Bush comes out in favor of teaching "intelligent design" alongside evolution in American schools. Is this the latest evidence of the White House willing to champion worthy but controversial ideas that have been sidelined by liberal bias, or strictly from Paul Krugman's theoretical headline, "Shape of Earth: Views Differ"? [Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Lone Star State, Texas educators ignite brouhaha by adding Bible study to the public-school curriculum].
Reason #48713 for teaching the Bible in schools: "The classics of British and American literature are filled with biblical allusions that would be lost on a reader without basic knowledge of the Bible"
"Set your irony meters on maximum." All this week, a three-member subcommittee of the Kansas State Board of Education is holding hearings on how to teach science. [background] Creationists, er, advocates of "intelligent design," are using it to bootstrap their claim that evolution through natural selection and creationism are two sides of a story. While many scientists are boycotting what one newspaper is calling "Barnum on steroids," IDers have brought out the big guns -- including one Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish, Muslim, newspaper columnist with a Masters in history and a close associaton with a group that presents evolution "as a conspiracy of the Jewish and American imperialists to promote new world order and fascist motives." Get your official scorecard to the Scopes Trial II here!
The evolution of the antibody-based immune system. And a few predictions about ID and evolutionary immunology for 2005.
"The lawsuits are coming," school board member Angie Yingling said. "It's like being on the Titanic. Everyone seems to see the iceberg, but no one is steering away." The ACLU sued the Dover (Pennsylvania) Area School District today to prevent the district from enacting their recent controversial decision to teach "intelligent design" in the classroom.
An Evolution of Evolution Warning Stickers. This intelligently designed website creation should be viewed with caution
Intelligent Grappling: the new creationism? Teachers for Equal Time hopes that the addition of the warning stickers will pave the way for the teaching of its alternative theory, Intelligent Grappling, the theory that certain intelligent and conscious agents "push" things together. (hey its friday)
The death of creationism? William Saletan is claiming that creationism is dead, because Intelligent Design isn't as reactionary as the old creationism, even though scientists still treat it as a threat. I think creationism in any brand is still a threat, regardless of how reactionary it is. What do you think?
Ohio school board considers adding "Intelligent Design Theory" to science curriculum. I wish I could find better links than these. I've been hearing about this on NPR every morning this week, but have been unable to find any news links - I can't even find the Ohio State School Board site. They are debating whether or not to start teaching IDT, which seems to be Creationism with a pseudo-scientific background. Here is a transcript of comments that were given to the board by John Calvert, J.D., a supporter of IDT. Anybody know any more about this theory?
Intelligent Design - Natural Selection guided by God? Is every facet of evolution guided by God then? What about fashion or politics?
XP demonstrates "Intelligent design." You mean they didn't evolve it with genetic algorithms? Boy, I could swear the past versions were composed of randomly generated code fragments. (Do read the original article.)
Are U.S Senator Rick Santorum and his 'intelligent design creationism' friends trying to sneak one by us in the Education bill?
Evolution resumes in Kansas. Two of the three state school board members who de-emphasized evolution in the science curriculum have lost in primary elections. Survival of the fittest is a bitch, ain't it?