NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2010/08/20
(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)
Dear Friends of NCSE, It's not too late to submit your cartoon to Florida Citizens for Science's Stick Science contest! Plus videos from the University of Chicago's Darwin conference are now available on-line, and Lauri Lebo rehearses the connections between "intelligent design" and earlier manifestations of creationism at Religion Dispatches.
REMINDER: THE RETURN OF STICK SCIENCE Less than two weeks remain to submit entries for Stick Science -- the science cartoon contest sponsored by Florida Citizens for Science, a grassroots organization defending and promoting the integrity of science education in Florida. At the FCFS blog (August 1, 2010), Brandon Haught explains, "The basic concept here is to draw a cartoon that educates the public about misconceptions the average person has about science." And lack of artistic ability isn't a problem: "all entries must be drawn using stick figures. This is about creative ideas, not artistic ability." Entries are due (by e-mail or post) by August 31, 2010. Prizes include various books and t-shirts, and even a telescope kit. Judges are NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott, Carl Zimmer, the author of The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution, Jorge Cham, the writer and artist of the Piled Higher and Deeper on-line comic strip, and Jay Hosler, the author and illustrator of The Sandwalk Adventures and Optical Allusions. Full details of the contest are available on FCFS's website. For the announcement on FCFS's blog, visit: http://www.flascience.org/wp/?p=1210 For information about Stick Science, visit: http://www.flascience.org/sshome.html DARWIN/CHICAGO 2009 VIDEOS ON-LINE Videos of the presentations from Darwin/Chicago 2009 -- the University of Chicago's conference celebrating the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the Origin of Species -- are now available on-line. Among the thirty-one speakers featured are NCSE executive director Eugenie C. Scott -- asking "What Would Darwin Say to Today's Creationists?" -- as well as NCSE Supporters Douglas J. Futuyma, Philip Kitcher, Richard Lewontin, Michael Ruse, and Elliott Sober. (The plenary addresses, by Lewontin, Ronald L. Numbers, and Marc Hauser, are not yet available but will be posted shortly.) Also included on the conference's website are video interviews of thirteen of the speakers, including Scott, Lewontin, and Ruse; a gallery of photographs from the conference; and information about the University of Chicago's conference in 1959 celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Origin. For the conference's website, visit: http://darwin-chicago.uchicago.edu/ "STILL TRYING TO GET CREATIONISM IN SCIENCE CLASSES" Writing on Religion Dispatches (August 11, 2010), Lauri Lebo anticipates the fifth anniversary of Kitzmiller v. Dover by rehearsing the connections between "intelligent design" and creationism, both in Dover, Pennsylvania, in 2005 and in Livingston Parish, Louisiana, in 2010. In a previous post at Religion Dispatches (August 5, 2010), Lebo commented incisively on a column in which Bruce Chapman, the president of the Discovery Institute, "backpedaled from a Louisiana creationism mishap he helped spawn." The mishap in question was the fact that certain members of the Livingston Parish School Board explicitly considered the Louisiana Science Education Act, supported by the Discovery Institute, to license the teaching of creationism. As NCSE previously reported, members of the board asked, "Why can't we get someone with religious beliefs to teach creationism?" and declared, "Teachers should have the freedom to look at creationism and find a way to get it into the classroom." The board formed a committee to explore the possibilities of incorporating creationism in the parish's science classes, although no action is expected to be taken during the 2010-2011 school year. In his column, Chapman tried to distance the Discovery Institute from the Livingston Parish School Board members, and compared them to the Dover Area School Board members who in 2004 adopted the policy that provoked eleven parents to file suit in Kitzmiller v. Dover. Lebo, who reported on Kitzmiller v. Dover for the York Daily Record and then wrote a book on the case, The Devil in Dover: Dogma v. Darwin in Small-Town America (New Press, 2008), replied, "just as in the case of Livingston, Dover board members correctly interpreted that code language like 'intelligent design' and 'teach the controversy' were merely other ways of saying 'creationism.' And after the board members' remarks about creationism became too widely reported to ignore, the Discovery Institute tried to distance itself from the case and ran away." A Discovery Institute blogger, David Klinghoffer, then complained that Lebo was ignoring "the enormous difference" between creationism and "intelligent design" -- prompting Lebo, in her August 11, 2010, post to retort, "No matter how many times they deny it, intelligent design relies on the supernatural." She added, "But don't take my word for it. Especially when Discovery Institute and its fellows have so many words of their own that reveal their intention." Citing the Wedge Document, the booklet Intelligent Design in Public School Science Curricula: A Legal Guidebook, and the copious documentation provided in Barbara Forrest and Paul R. Gross's Creationism's Trojan Horse, she explained why, as Judge John E. Jones III wrote in the Kitzmiller decision, "The writings of leading ID proponents reveal that the designer postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity." "So it's a bit early at this point to speculate whether Louisiana and the Livingston Parish School District will be the site of the next constitutional test case of the Discovery Institute's latest brand of creationism," Lebo concluded. "But the echoes of Dover are certainly interesting." For Lebo's August 11, 2010, post at Religion Dispatches, visit: http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/science/3124/still_trying_to_get_creationism_into_science_classes Thanks for reading! And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- http://ncse.com -- where you can always find the latest news on evolution education and threats to it. -- Sincerely, Glenn Branch Deputy Director National Center for Science Education, Inc. 420 40th Street, Suite 2 Oakland, CA 94609-2509 510-601-7203 x310 fax: 510-601-7204 800-290-6006 firstname.lastname@example.org http://ncse.com Subscribe to NCSE's free weekly e-newsletter: http://groups.google.com/group/ncse-news NCSE is on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter: http://www.facebook.com/evolution.ncse http://www.youtube.com/NatCen4ScienceEd http://twitter.com/ncse NCSE's work is supported by its members. Join today! http://ncse.com/membership