The Washington State Department of Health has declared a statewide epidemic for whooping cough (Bordetella pertussis). For the first three months of 2012, there have been 640 reported cases of the disease, mostly babies and infants. Continue reading “State of Washington declares whooping cough epidemic”
According to the Nashville News, Governor Bill Haslam told reporters that he will probably sign antievolution bill, which allows teachers to discuss the scientific “controversies” regarding the fact of evolution and the fact of climate change. Not to be overly pedantic, there is no scientific controversy over either theory; however, there is a political one. Another problem with the bill is how will a teacher discuss everything there is to know about evolution in a few hours. How can you critically analyze evolution or global warming denialism in just a few minutes? That would be like teaching someone to be a surgeon in a couple of days. It’s almost impossible.
Stay tuned. We’ll see if Governor Haslam actually signs the bill. Republicans rarely keep their word, so who knows what will actually happen.
There’s good news, modified with a bit of bad news, out of Oklahoma regarding the ongoing Republican legislative push for evolution and climate change denialist opinion to taught instead of real science. Oklahoma House Bill 1551, which passed the House, died in the Oklahoma Senate, since they were unable to report out of committee in time. Similarly, Senate Bill 1742 also died in the Oklahoma Senate. Both bills essentially required Oklahoma public schools to teach their students about the “debate” between creation and evolution, and about global warming. Continue reading “Creationism legislation–Oklahoma update 4”
There’s really not much more to report, except that House Bill 368 is still sitting on Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s desk, awaiting his signature or veto. Actually, there’s a third way, he can just ignore it, and it will become law after a set period of time.
The Los Angeles Times, in an editorial, Tennessee’s attack on the teaching of evolution, makes a few more points that were intended for the eyes of Gov. Haslam, if only we could be sure that he read the LA Times.
In deciding whether the bill advances a religious agenda, the governor needs to look at context and history as well as the text. A useful reference work would be a 2005 decision by a federal judge in Pennsylvania striking down a school board policy requiring that students be made aware of “gaps/problems in Darwin’s theory and of other theories of evolution including, but not limited to, intelligent design.” In that case, Judge John E. Jones concluded that intelligent design and teaching about “gaps” and “problems” in evolutionary theory are “creationist, religious strategies that evolved from earlier forms of creationism.” Continue reading “Creationism legislation–Tennessee Monkey Bill (Update 5)”
Update 2. Just added one more app that I’ve been using and just forgot to put in the original article.
When I write about skepticism, sitting at my trusty MacBook Pro, I have access to every source and bit of information that is required to write about evolution, vaccines, global warming, and the existence of sasquatch. If I need to dig up a link to an article that debunks some silly anti-vaccination lunatic’s claim, it’s easy to do. However, since people make pseudoscientific claims all the time, it’s always good to have access to information right at the tip of your fingers. Of course, it’s relatively easy to put your question in google, in the hope of getting a good answer. Then again, you have to weed through the 100 hits that might actually support the bogus claim.
Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari (meaning they refused to hear the cases, so the lower court decision stands) for two decisions from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has appellate jurisdiction over most western US states. Continue reading “Supreme Court refuses to review decisions to keep religion out of schools”
[pullquote]If you’re looking for a cure for your cancer, don’t look to evolution-deniers for hope. As for me, I give thanks to Darwin and the researchers who have stood on his shoulders.–Leslie Brunetta[/pullquote]
A quick update on Tennessee’s “Monkey Bill”, which is a Republican-led anti-evolution and global warming denying bill. The bill, HB 368, was sent to Governor Bill Haslam this week for consideration. Gov. Haslam has until April 9 2012 to either sign it, allow it to become law without his signature or veto it. The bill encourages teachers to present the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” in topics such as “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life (known as abiogenesis), global warming and human cloning.” The scientific weaknesses are nearly nonexistent, except in the mind of the science denialists that inhabit the Republican Party, particularly in the South.
Sometimes I run across articles and posts just because someone I follow on Twitter or Facebook will post a link that I happen to catch. Of course, I miss about 95% of what’s posted because I just don’t have the time to read them all. One person’s postings gets checked more frequently, since she focuses on vaccines, autism, and health care myths of all sorts. I ran across her while reading comments that followed an article in the LA Times (the story has long been deleted from my overloaded memory cells). She was responding to someone who maintained parents of autistic children were cheating the government out of disability payments. Let’s just say she was much nicer than I was.
Today, she posted a link to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia‘s History of Vaccines blog, which I had never seen before. I could go on about how much information is out there in the internet, but I pick and choose what I read and don’t read. This blog will be on the “must read” list. Continue reading “The history of the anti-vaccination movement, includes a theme song”
The reach of the crazy creationists always seemed like a southern thing. Mississippi and Alabama are backwards states with bad education where they invest more in football than science education. Tennessee is trying to relive the Scopes Monkey Trial. Oklahoma and Louisiana are trying to have their students deny all kinds of science from evolution to climate change.
But we have always assumed that the northern progressive parts of the USA were resistant to these science denialists. Unfortunately, the stupidity has reached north into the New York City Department of Education, by far, the largest public school district in the United States with over 1.1 million students. They have decided to ban the following words for testing, because it might offend some of their students: Continue reading “Antievolution and anti-science education–New York City?”
No, it’s not how the UK is getting our bad reality TV. We actually stole that from the BBC.
No, it’s not getting obese from eating too many fast foot restaurants. To use the old adage, “that ship has sailed.”
No, it’s not religion becoming a part of the political discourse. Oh wait, here we go.
First a little background. During a football match (the British version, what we call soccer, something we haven’t borrowed from them), a player named Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch (field). Only 23 years old, he had a cardiac arrest, and he was defibrillated 12 times over a 78 minute time period before his heart restarted. The newspapers in England (not always known for their ability to control sensationalist headlines) touted that he was dead for 78 minutes, and that it was some sort of miracle that he survived. Continue reading “The UK is learning bad habits from the United States”