Fundamentalist Christian schools in Louisiana will soon be citing the existence of the Loch Ness monster as proof that evolution is a myth. [more inside]
Soo Bin Park in Nature has reported that South Korean highschool textbook publishers will be removing examples of evolution due to demands of creationist groups [more inside]
On Friday, July 22, the Texas Board of Education voted 14-0 to support scientifically accurate high school biology textbook supplements, rejecting the proposed creationist materials. Instead of including such material, the education board voted to let Education Commissioner Robert Scott work with the publishing company Holt McDougal to find language that is factually correct and fits the standards adopted in 2009. "My goal would be to try to find some common ground," Scott said.
I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., err, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries...
A Miss USA delegate from each state (and D.C.) was asked whether or not they felt evolution should be taught in schools.
Charles Pierce, author of the 2005 essay "Greetings from Idiot America" decrying the rise of faith-based anti-intellectualism, has expanded his rant into a full length book: Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free. (via) [more inside]
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."
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.
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.
"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!
Creationism in our schools may be more a product of liberal relativism than of Christian Fundamentalism. "But even on a seemingly clear-cut issue such as creationism, the division is not so sharp. Liberals have often been at the forefront of questioning the authority of science. It is liberals who have argued that science education should respect cultural differences and that the curriculum should be immediately relevant to everyday life of students. Creationists have leapt at the opportunity presented by educational theories to put the knowledge of pupils on the same level as that as scientists, by putting forward the demand to 'teach the controversy'." Previous (and very different) MetaFilter discussion of ID here. Current FPP about the dangers of PC liberalism here.
[Resolved, the Kansas Dept. of Education is hereby directed to collect comments from the public regarding the various proposed changes to the Science Curriculum Standards, either contained within the Science Curriculum Standards Draft or contained within the minority report.] Kansas Citizens for Science are arguing that the intelligent design folks are just trying to put religion in the schools. But are the proposed changes in the minority report really pro-religion, or are they just pro-"raise kids to be inquisitive"? I, for one, am honesty not sure.
Just found this one. The San Francisco Chronicle reports on a Berkeley website for supporting science teachers teaching evolution. The project was built with a grant from the National Science Foundation and has received an additional grant to expand the site to develop content for students and adults. More coverage from The Daily Bruin at UCLA and a brief clip from Science News.
Don't believe in evolution? Don't get a recommendation. The Justice Department has been asked to look into the case of a Texas Tech biology professor who has made it clear that you won't get a recommendation from him if you believe in creationism. In his online notes to students, Dini writes "If you set up an appointment to discuss the writing of a letter of recommendation, I will ask you: 'How do you think the human species originated?' If you cannot truthfully and forthrightly affirm a scientific answer to this question, then you should not seek my recommendation for admittance to further education in the biomedical sciences." The Liberty Legal Institute, calls the policy "open religious bigotry." Texas Tech supports Lini, saying the decision on whether to recommend someone is a personal one. Clearly, it should be a professor's call on whether to give a student a recommendation or not, but did Lini make himself a target by laying out this criteria this way?
15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense From Scientific American..."Opponents of evolution want to make a place for creationism by tearing down real science, but their arguments don't hold up. Besieged teachers and others may increasingly find themselves on the spot to defend evolution and refute creationism. The arguments that creationists use are typically specious and based on misunderstandings of (or outright lies about) evolution, but the number and diversity of the objections can put even well-informed people at a disadvantage. To help with answering them, the following list rebuts some of the most common "scientific" arguments raised against evolution. It also directs readers to further sources for information and explains why creation science has no place in the classroom." Creation "science?"
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?
Kansas Evolves Yet some school board members still have doubts about the science behind Darwin's theory of evolution. Can't we do an emergency air drop of Cosmos for these folks?
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?