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Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 8:26 pm
by caliban
Windwalker wrote:It seems to me that the debate is not about morality, but about control -- of thought and behavior.
Well, yes, I'd agree, but--

--here it might serve us to recall for a moment Lacan who, I believe, argued that everything is about control and power.

Most or all of the non-controversies are, in some way, about control and power. The "debate" over climate change, for example, is also about control and power, namely, those who spin a narrative against climate change generally believe people, or at least corporations, should have the power to act in a way that maximizes profit and declares any other consideration "uncertain."

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:54 pm
by Walden2
Biologist fired for beliefs, suit says

Woods Hole states creationist stance at odds with work

By Beth Daley

Globe Staff / December 7, 2007

The battle between science and creationism has reached the prestigious Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where a former researcher is claiming he was fired because he doesn't believe in evolution.

Nathaniel Abraham filed a lawsuit earlier this week in US District Court in Boston saying that the Cape Cod research center dismissed him in 2004 because of his Christian belief that the Bible presents a true account of human creation.

Abraham, who is seeking $500,000 in compensation for a violation of his civil rights, says in the suit that he lost his job as a postdoctoral researcher in a biology lab shortly after he told his superior that he did not accept evolution as scientific fact.

"Woods Hole believes they have the right to insist on a belief in evolution," said David C. Gibbs III, one of Abraham's two attorneys and general counsel of the Christian Law Association in Seminole, Fla.

Evolution is a fundamental tenet of biology that species emerge because of genetic changes to organisms that, over time, favor their survival. Creationists reject the notion that humans evolved from apes and that life on Earth began billions of years ago, but Gibbs said Abraham "truly believes there was no conflict between religion and his job."

Woods Hole officials released a statement saying, "The Institution firmly believes that its actions and those of its employees concerning Dr. Abraham were entirely lawful," and that the center does not discriminate on the basis of religion.

Full article here: ... suit_says/

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:55 pm
by Walden2
Romania removes theory of evolution from school curriculum

Romania’s withdrawal of the theory of evolution from the school curriculum could be evidence of a growing conservative tendency in teaching

Evolution has been removed from the schools curriculum in a move, which pressure groups argue distorts children’s understanding of how the world came into being.

Meanwhile, religious studies classes continue to tell Romanian children that God made the world in seven days.

The theory of the Origin of Species and the evolution of humans is no longer present in the compulsory curriculum, through a nationwide decision made under the previous Government in 2006.

Before the change, Darwin’s theory was taught to pupils aged 18 or 19 years old. This was also in the curriculum during the Communist period of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

Information on natural selection, how fish turned into lizards and, more or less, a summary of the first 4.5 billion years of the world until man walked the earth is now optional.

“We don’t teach the theory of evolution anymore,” said one 38 year-old Bucharest-based biology teacher.

But the Minister of Education, Cristian Adomnitei, argues that biology is taught within the context of evolution.

“This subject can be found implicitly from middle school to high-school,” the Minister tells The Diplomat. “Do you think that the studies about the world where we live, its evolution or genetics can ignore the evolution theory? This is impossible.”

But Remus Cernea, president of NGO the Solidarity for Freedom of Conscience, is unimpressed by the Ministry’s position on implicit learning.

“How can the evolution theory be implicit?” Cernea says. “The evolution theory is either present in the curriculum and in the text books and is studied by everybody, or not present in the curriculum and nobody studies it.”

Meanwhile, in religious classes, pupils are taught that the world was created in seven days and God made plants on the third day and the sun on the fourth. Textbooks claim the first man was Adam, who was ‘made of ground’, and that Eve, the first woman, was made from one of her husband’s ribs.

“The Romanian state, whether it intends or not, offers pupils a unique perspective on the world, the religious one, without any critical scientific or philosophical offset,” argues Cernea.

Biology has been cut from two hours to one of teaching per week for the final two years in many high schools. In place of evolution, kids are taught more about human ecology and the environment. A subject which one biology teacher says children find boring.

“Kids find out what really happened from the Discovery channel,” she adds. “They don’t really believe the world was made in six days. Well, I hope they don’t.”

No one is accusing the Orthodox Church of any kind of conspiracy to replace evolution with creationism by the back door. “The only motivation I can see is the lack of vision on pupil’s education in Romania,” says Cernea.

In 2006, the Ministry of Education and Research also removed Voltaire, Camus and Nietzsche from the philosophy curriculum. These three writers are noted for their critical views on religion and Nietzsche’s pronouncement that ‘God is dead’.

Some teachers fear a creeping conservative tendency in Romania’s schools.

Full article here:

Yet another outrage

Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 11:14 am
by caliban
Here is another news item to get upset about. The director for science curriculum in Texas was forced to resign for forwarding a notice about an anti-creationism talk.

Read the article here, (and especially the memorandum therein attacking Ms. Comer) for details, but in essence the accusation is that, by endorsing a talk that dissects creationism, she was violating the "neutrality" of the agency. In other words, the Texas Education Agency is supposed to be neutral on the issue of evolution versus creationism. I wonder if they are also supposed to be neutral on whether or not the earth is flat or round, or whether or not a heavy and a light mass fall at the same rate....

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 6:53 pm
by intrigued_scribe
Gripping articles, all--thanks for sharing them here. They are indeed upsetting, most of all for the close-mindedness displayed by some of the parties mention therein, which goes beyond adhering firmly to a set of beliefs to open intolerance for differing philosophies. Romania's elimination of theory of evolution from school curriculums, to me, goes even further; this decision and similar choices spark the thought that there may not be such a great leap between vigorously enforcing specific beliefs to the exclusion of others, to outright thought-policing.


Posted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 12:49 pm
by Walden2
Iowa Citizens for Science Press Release on Gonzalez Case

By Wesley Elsberry ... s-f-1.html

Dr. Elsberry discusses the case of Iowa State University denying tenure to an ID
advocate, astronomer G. Gonzalez. (Off-site link.)

published: Dec 12, 2007

Posted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 1:32 pm
by caliban
Excellent and useful analysis of the Gonzalez case. In particular, there were three damning items:

1. Gonzalez's publications had fallen off; none of his students finished their degrees; he had failed to get grants. All of which justify not giving tenure.

2. Gonzalez included his book "The Privileged Planet" in his tenure application, so it was fair for the department to scrutinize it as part of his scholarship.

3. A third of tenure applicants in that department in recent years had been denied tenure, so Gonzalez was not unique by any means.

If Gonzalez had had a good publication record, gotten grants, etc; if Gonzalez had kept separate his scientific and creationist views; or if every one else who came along, no matter how bad his or her record, got tenure... then Gonzalez might make a case of unfair treatment. But, assuming this article is accurate, then Gonzalez's being denied tenure sound perfectly fair and normal.

Thanks for the link.

Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:48 am
by Walden2
My article on how science and faith have been getting rather
mixed up as of late, to no one's benefit:

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 2:12 am
by Walden2
Geologists Say 'Wall Of Africa' Allowed Humanity To Emerge

ScienceDaily (Dec. 22, 2007) — Scientists long have focused on how climate and vegetation allowed human ancestors to evolve in Africa. Now, University of Utah geologists are calling renewed attention to the idea that ground movements formed mountains and valleys, creating environments that favored the emergence of humanity.

"Tectonics [movement of Earth's crust] was ultimately responsible for the evolution of humankind," Royhan and Nahid Gani of the university's Energy and Geoscience Institute write in the January, 2008, issue of Geotimes, published by the American Geological Institute.

Full article here: ... 082604.htm

Posted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:10 am
by Walden2
I will be blunt and say, why are people so utterly deluded when
it comes to creationism:

You want to believe there is some being out there who made
every thing? That's your business. But if you have no solid
evidence, then don't push it on science.

I know I am preaching to the choir here, but I just had to
say it out of sheer frustration.

And if something did create the Universe, I bet anything it
is NOTHING like the god most xians expect it to be.

Posted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:01 pm
by caliban
It is ironic that P.Z. Myers was "expelled" from the screening. "Private screening" my foot. Can you spell "hypocrite"?
Walden2 wrote:And if something did create the Universe, I bet anything it
is NOTHING like the god most xians expect it to be.
The views of the Discovery Institute, of the makers of Expelled, and creationism and all its mutations, do not represent even a majority of Christians. Not only is it bad science, it's also bad theology.This is the Media's distortion through selection. The Media is drawn to the most extreme and most divisive elements and portray them as representative, which they are not.

Posted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:45 pm
by Windwalker
Since Myers' expulsion -- with its Biblical overtones -- a storm shook parts of the scientific community, after Matt Nisbet (supported by Chris Mooney) suggested that Myers and Dawkins should shut up and let others present science to the public in a way that is palatable to believers.

Neither Nisbet nor Mooney are scientists. Nisbet's idea of "framing the science" is like intelligent designers' sly evasion of "teaching the controversy". I'm all for making science understandable to non-scientists, or to scientists in other fields. I'm also aware that Dawkins and Myers can be abrasive. But Nisbet's exhortation is chilling, it smells of both censorship and appeasement.

Posted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:20 pm
by caliban
Yes, Dawkins can be abrasive; I have a lot of criticisms of his extra-science views (but my criticisms are not germane here). But to tell Dawkins and Myers to be quiet is ridiculous.

But this is what we have down to, isn't it? It reminds me of the US election -- arguments over who is the "most electable" rather than who is the best for the country. We've reduced ourselves to messenger IS the message.

Some time ago I started reading Mooney's The Republican War on Science. He was preaching to the choir here, folks, but I couldn't finish it. There wasn't any interesting analysis in it beyond what you could get from reading headlines -- no nuance, no depth of insight. So, in retrospect, I'm not surprised -- disappointed, but not surprised -- he's taking such a ham-fisted approach here.

Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:57 pm
by Walden2
Check out this Web site, Expell Exposed:

Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:52 pm
by caliban
Thanks for that link!