Tag Archives: Intelligent Design

A Creationist Blog Quote Mines Peer Reviewed Research about Protein Evolution

ResearchBlogging.orgIt is difficult to imagine how point mutations, a large number of which are neutral, a certain number of which are deleterious, and a tiny number of which are fitness-enhancing, can add up to the sorts of evolutionary diversity and adaptive elegance we see in real life. However, there are only two possible explanations for what we see in nature: 1) Evolution happened more or less as we think it did or 2) God created life and made it look exactly like evolution happened. Take your pick. I’m betting on number 1.
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Did Noah Build A Road To His Ark? I Don’t Think So, Kentucky

According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, the developers building the new Noah’s Ark museum in Kentucky are asking for the gummit to build ’em a road to the place. The State Transportation Cabinet, as they call it there, is officially stating that no commitments have been made, which I’m sure means, “The deal’s done and we’z gonna build that road before you ask about it again” or words to that effect.

This is not that unusual or abnormal, actually. State transportation departments normally make road improvements when new things are built. Why, in Kentucky, the state spent 45 million dollars on roads to support a race track ten years ago.

What is important here is that we recognize that when somebody does build a big-ass religious facility, be it a church or a creationism museum or just some whopping big cross that people come from miles to see or some quaint grotto with a tea shop, there is a public cost, and taxpayer money is used. Which I have no problem with because the tax revenues raised by new developments generally offsets the costs of improving infrastructure.

Or does it?

From the NCSE:

The news prompted a further editorial from the Louisville Courier-Journal (December 29, 2010), which previously (in, for example, its December 2, 2010, editorial) expressed serious concern about the state’s entanglement with the park. The new editorial complained, “Ark Encounter, the creationism theme park proposed for Northern Kentucky, looms as a more expensive proposition than state officials first suggested,” citing both the request to the Transportation Cabinet and the prospect that “sooner or later someone is likely to want help building hotels, restaurants and service stations for park visitors.”

The editorial also alluded to two ongoing controversies involving the park. First, the developers have applied for development incentives that would allow Ark Encounter to recoup 25 percent of its development costs by retaining the sales tax generated by the project. The estimated budget is 150 million dollars, so the incentives would amount to 37.5 million dollars over ten years. “[Governor] Beshear argued that the state would not be out any money if the park failed,” the editorial reported, adding parenthetically, “Actually, the state would be out taxes the park could collect before it went under, but who’s counting?”

Second, there is the question whether the park would be able to discriminate on the basis of religion in hiring if it receives the state incentives. Answers in Genesis already requires its employees to endorse its statement of faith. Governor Beshear told the Louisville Courier-Journal (December 9, 2010), “We’re going to require that anybody that we deal with is going to obey all of the laws on hiring and not discriminate on hiring.” The editorial commented, “In other words, if a gay Muslim with an advanced degree in evolutionary biology wants a top job at the park, he’ll be welcomed by the creationists with open arms. Right?”

Kentucky: Don’t be a stupid state.

Teachers: You can be punished if you teach evolution

The other day, a science teacher remarked that a student who had previously declared herself to be a creationist, and who’s parents had previously expressed concern over the teaching of evolution, was suddenly all talky-talky and engaging the teacher in more or less polite and friendly discussion about the topic, coming to visit the teacher outside of class and everything.

I thought at the time, “That’s unusual. But it does happen.”

What I wasn’t thinking is that a recent court decision supports the idea of a teacher who teaches evolution to christians, who does not cave when the christians complain about it, can be reassigned, fired, or otherwise be harassed and have the backing of the courts. I wonder. Was this student acting on instructions? Does the creationist community, and they do talk to each other, have a plan to try to trap a few science teachers, to get them fired, for not bowing to their religious demands? Probably not. Probably, I’m just being paranoid. But just in case, if you are a science teacher, you need to know that a federal court just decided that you can be punished if you teach evolution. At least in North Carolina.

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Update on Louisiana from Barbara Forrest and the LCS

So much bad publicity spins out of Louisiana about so many things that we don’t often get a chance to shine a spotlight on the competent, dedicated people who are the real reason that this state works at all. And since Thanksgiving is almost here, it is a good time to tell the world that Louisiana has intelligent, accomplished, dedicated citizens, teachers, scientists — and students! — who are trying to stop the damage that the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF) and their allies are doing to Louisiana science education. Several of Louisiana’s finest testified on November 12, 2010, in favor of accepting the biology textbooks that had already been approved by the Louisiana Textbook Review Committee. ….


Read the rest here

California Science Center Strikes Back against Discovery Institute/AFA Conspiracy

Last year, the American Freedom Alliance, a California based Don’t Think Tank, attempted to insert, Trojan style,* a creationist film called Darwin’s Dilemma into the repertoire of films shown at the California Science Center.

The film is a pro-Intelligent Design film, and behind this insulting and immature ruse was, you guessed it, the Discovery Institute.

Continue reading California Science Center Strikes Back against Discovery Institute/AFA Conspiracy

Louisiana Does The Right Thing, But Will Still Probably Screw It Up

Louisiana is one of those states where really stupid stuff tends to happen, especially when it comes to evolution in the school curriculum. Recently, a state panel was in a position to chose either creationist textbooks with which to abuse the children for whom they are responsible, or good biology textbooks to educate the children for whom they are responsible. Under considerable pressure to not become the next national laughing stock, the advisory council voted 8-4 to use the correct books.

That’s good news, but it ain’t not over yet. This was only a preliminary vote, and the final vote will be carried out next moth by the state board of education.

Barbara Forrest writes on the LA Science Coalition blog:

We now have a Texas-style attack on the selection of biology textbooks, courtesy of the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), which brought us the creationist Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA) of 2008…. This attack began with a volley of letters written by LFF operative Darrell White to various Louisiana newspapers in July…

Barbara then goes on to explain the recent history of this particular attack. This is a very worthwhile read, as an exemplar of this sort of shenanigans.

In the end, there may be creationist textbooks used in Louisiana. Or, there may be stickers inserted in actual biology books. And then there will be law suits. And Louisiana will be forced, at great expense, to do the right thing. What a waste.

See also Erik Robelen’s blog post covering recent events in Louisiana. I’ll keep you posted, and the NCSE will probably have an update soon (their current press release is here).

Update: This jsut came out from Barbara Forrest’s blog at LCS: Hell just froze over in Louisiana.

Citizens of Illinois: Alert! Alert! Creationist Alert!

I just received this dispatch from Monica Metzler, President of the Illinois Science Council. This is important.

The current leading candidate in the Illinois Governor’s race has acknowledged his belief in intelligent design and his willingness to permit individual school districts to allow it to be taught. Teaching ID in schools isn’t a top campaign issue and doesn’t get addressed in debates, but the outcome of this election could mean a disastrous turning point for Illinois schools and science in general. The situation in Illinois is such that if Sen. Brady wins, many school districts in the southern half of the state may pursue teaching creationism in schools. …

This clip is State Senator Bill Brady who is the Republican candidate for Illinois Governor in an editorial board interview. Brady is from southern Illinois and extremely conservative both fiscally and on social issues. This is a very heated and close race for governor. Brady was ahead in polls for several weeks but the race is now very close between him and the Democratic candidate, current Governor Patrick Quinn.

Also, in a Congressional race in the very large 14th district, State Senator Randy Hultgren is challenging Congressman Bill Foster in an extremely tight contest. Congressman Foster is currently one of only 3 physicists in Congress. (The others are Vernon Ehlers of Michigan who is retiring, and Rush Holt of New Jersey who is in a close race.) This seat has been targeted by the Republican Congressional Committee and the Tea Party for takeover. It is a swing district (previously held by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert) and if Congressman Foster loses, it will be tough to win this seat back. This clip shows Hultgren stating his belief in intelligent design and willingness to allow school districts to permit it.

The contentiousness of campaigns nationally and the general disaffection people have with politics means most voters know very little about the candidates. I would greatly appreciate any assistance you can provide in getting the word out about these candidates. In races this tight, every bit helps.

This is the web site of the guy who is running against the creationist in the governors race (he is the current gov.)

Here is scientist and congressperson Bill Foster’s web site.

Evolution

The Wrong Way to Approach the Evolution-Creationism Debate

Amy Binder and John H. Evans, associate professors of Sociology at the University of California at San Diego, have written a piece on efforts to force religion in the guise of Intelligent Design and Creationism down the throats of children in Texas.
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Intelligent Design’s Legal Status after Dover

ResearchBlogging.orgFirst, there was plain and simple creationism, a Christian idea that, in an ideal Christian world, would be taught as part of any science dealing with the past, including biology (evolution), geology, and presumably history.

But the constitution stood in the way of implementing basic Christian teachings in public schools in the United States, though that battle took decades. Just as creationists were being driven off he landscape, a sort of Battle of the Bulge occurred, in the form of Intelligent Design.
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