Monday, July 21, 2008
Out and About the Intertubes
The Anti-Defamation League submitted a statement of policy priorities to the platform committees of both the Democratic and Republican National Committees. Under the category "Protecting Church-State Separation," the ADL expresses its concerns about Faith-Based Initiatives, voucher programs and religious harassment and unwelcome proselytizing in the military. As to recent attempts to inject creationism into the public school curriculum, the ADL states:
Creationism, creation science and "intelligent design" theory are three religious theories of creation offered to explain the origins of the universe and are based on varying interpretations of the Bible. Any attempt to supplant or supplement the teaching of evolution – a theory supported by overwhelming scientific evidence – in public schools in order to accommodate students' beliefs in creationism, creation science or "intelligent design" would have a religious purpose. Advocating the right of students to learn science independently of religious doctrine honors the purpose and the promise of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.Salamander Standup
Christopher Hitchens has an article in Slate that promises to show how blind salamanders make nonsense of creationists' claims. I'll leave it up to you to decide if he delivers. (Richard Dawkins seems a little dubious.)
Big Time Politics
Well, the time is coming for the all important election season and I suppose it's time for me to start focusing on the contest that will shape our world for the next few years:
The Kansas State Board of Education!
Okay, so maybe that election won't be deciding what happens next in Iraq and Afghanistan, who will sit on the Supreme Court shaping the nation's laws, the fate of health care or how the government reacts to our economic woes. But it could decide what the next generation of children in Kansas will learn about science and, through ripple effects, what children across broad swaths of our country will learn. And, in terms of long-term influences on the fate of the United States, few if any will be more important than our ability to produce scientists and a citizenry able to intelligently deal with the difficult issues that science and technology will present the nation over the next decades.
The Lawrence Journal World has a summary of the contests. It reportedly looks good for maintaining a sane board ... unless Alan Detrich wins.
Myself, I would not have dignified them with the word "theory".
As for "theory," maybe the ADL adopted the creationists' definition of "wild-assed guess." ;-)