Creationism legislation–Alabama (update 2)

Alabama’s House Bill 133, which would “authorize local boards of education to include released time religious instruction as an elective course for high school students”, cleared the Alabama House Education Policy Committee on February 29, 2012.  As discussed previously, this legislation is probably unconstitutional, violating the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution, mainly because the school boards would be responsible for setting the curriculum.  I didn’t realize this before, but each child could have access to studies about their own religion.  So there would have to be credit given for Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Christian (and which sect of christianity would be taught).  And what about atheists?  I guess those kids could actually study something real, like science.  Then get the great jobs.  And discover the cure for a disease.  Then the anti-science religious student will come begging for the cure. Continue reading “Creationism legislation–Alabama (update 2)”

Major scientific book publisher is considering a creationist book

Recently, Springer, one of the largest scholarly scientific book publishers in the world, was considering publishing a book entitled, Biological Information: New Perspectives.  In a purely scientific context, a book with that title might be interesting, because there is so many new ideas in biology.  For example, though there is no dispute about the Fact of Evolution, there’s still a lot of discussion about the mechanisms of evolution, one of the most fascinating and vibrant fields in biology these days. Continue reading “Major scientific book publisher is considering a creationist book”

Victory for teachers who say that creationism is nonsense

Yesterday, the Supreme Court “declined to hear an appeal Tuesday from a former high school student who sued his history teacher, saying he disparaged Christianity in class in violation of the student’s First Amendment rights.”  The case, C. F. v. Capistrano USD, involved a high school student who was insulted that his history teacher, James Corbett, didn’t think much of creationism and religion.  Some of Corbett’s comments (which deserve some sort of hero’s award) are:

“Conservatives don’t want women to avoid pregnancies — that’s interfering with God’s work.”

“When you pray for divine intervention, you’re hoping that the spaghetti monster will help you get what you want.”

Referring to creationism as “religious, superstitious nonsense”, which lead to the lawsuit.

Continue reading “Victory for teachers who say that creationism is nonsense”

Heartland Institute plans to discredit teaching of climate change

The New York Times article, Heartland Institute Leak, a Plan to Discredit Climate Teaching, obtained some leaked documents from the Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank that denies the link between second hand smoke and cancer; and denies anthropomorphic global warming (human-caused climate change).  These documents outlined “plans to promote a curriculum that would cast doubt on the scientific finding that fossil fuel emissions endanger the long-term welfare of the planet.”  According to the Heartland Institute, “Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective (pdf file).”

Continue reading “Heartland Institute plans to discredit teaching of climate change”

Canadian university to offer antievolution degree program next year–not really

UPDATED.

A few weeks ago, Memorial University of Newfoundland’s student newspaper, the Muse, published an article, “MUN to offer creation science program next year.”  It appeared that one of Canada’s top comprehensive universities, which has a some very good science programs in biochemistry and marine biology, had lost all sense of reality and decided to offer bachelor’s and graduate degrees in “Creation Science” (not a science).

The story was picked up by the Canadian University Press Newswire, “University to offer creation science program next year,” though clearly marked as “humour.”  Then it was published in an atheist/skeptical blog, “Canadian University to Offer Creation ‘Science’ Degrees.”  Then I read it, ready to publish it here.

But I have a policy about anything I write.  I go read the original sources to make sure that I’ve got my facts right, something that the pseudoscientific lunatics rarely do.  Memorial University’s website lacked any mention of it, except in the student Newspaper, where it was clearly labelled as “satire.”  Oops.  Very good satire too!

Oh well, I guess right-wing congressmen are not the only ones that get caught by satire.

Climate change denialists targeting classrooms

Why write anything when the LA Times (my hometown newspaper) says it perfectly:

❝The culture wars have been fought in the classroom for decades, waged over such issues as school prayer, the teaching of evolution and whether the Pledge of Allegiance should include the phrase “under God.” But the conflict usually pits backers of religious instruction against secularists. The latest skirmish, by contrast, is centered on a scientific issue that has nothing to do with religious teaching: climate change. Continue reading “Climate change denialists targeting classrooms”

Creationism legislation–Oklahoma update 2

An antievolution Republican Oklahoma legislator has introduced another anti-science bill in Oklahoma House of Representatives.  The bill, if passed by both houses and signed by the governor, encourages teachers to teach the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” of “controversial” topics such as “biological evolution” and “global warming”.  This is actually a slight modification to an original bill that was rejected by the House Education Committee last month, but the full house can ignore that vote and vote on it as a whole.

Continue reading “Creationism legislation–Oklahoma update 2”

Creationism legislation–Alabama, the Constitution update

According to the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), in its article Credit-for-creationism scheme unconstitutional?, the new creationist legislation being introduced into the Alabama House is probably unconstitutional.  Incredibly scandalous news.

As discussed yesterday, Alabama is trying to pass legislation that would “authorize local boards of education to include released time religious instruction as an elective course for high school students.”  In the landmark Supreme Court 1948 ruling, McCollum v. Board of Education, the court struck down a Illinois release time program as unconstitutional because of the public school system’s involement in the administration, organization and support of religious instruction classes. Continue reading “Creationism legislation–Alabama, the Constitution update”

Creationism legislation–New Hampshire

Not all anti-evolution legislation has been introduced in the southern or midwestern areas of the USA.  Two bills were introduced in New Hampshire, one of the few Republican areas of the northeastern part of the country.  Today, it was reported that a New Hampshire House committee dismisses bills on evolution.

The first bill, House Bill 1148, would have forced the state board of education to “[r]equire evolution to be taught in the public schools of this state as a theory, including the theorists’ political and ideological viewpoints and their position on the concept of atheism.”  Of course, from a scientific point-of-view, a scientific theory is about as close to a “fact” as you will find in science.  Evolution is a fact.   Although most atheists accept evolution (I’m always shocked to find a few atheists who dispute the fact of evolution), not everyone who accepts evolution is an atheist.  Like the whole Catholic Church, whose doctrine accepts evolution. Continue reading “Creationism legislation–New Hampshire”

Creationism legislation–Alabama, shocking news

The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is reporting that antievolution legislation has been introduced in the Alabama House of Representatives.  Alabama isn’t known for their progressive attitudes towards the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution given some past events like trying to put the Ten Commandments in the Alabama Supreme Court building and forcing prayer into schools.  The bill allows local school districts to give credits to students who attend religious courses. Continue reading “Creationism legislation–Alabama, shocking news”