Major Biology Conference Shuns Louisiana

"The executive committee of the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology decided not to hold any future meetings in New Orleans owing to 'the official position of the state in weakening science education and specifically attacking evolution in science curricula,' according to a February 5, 2009, letter (PDF) from SICB's president, Richard Satterlie, to Louisiana's governor Bobby Jindal. Noting that the last SICB meeting, held in Boston, attracted over 1850 scientists and graduate students to the city for five days, Satterlie observed, 'As you might imagine, a professional meeting with nearly 2000 participants can contribute to the economic engine of any community.' But in 2011, those economic benefits will accrue to Salt Lake City rather than to New Orleans."read more

Science education is under attack in TX and OK, right now!

Science may be returning to the White House this month, but anti-evolution forces are still hard at work trying to undermine science education in the public schools. And things are heating up right now in Texas and Oklahoma.

A bill has just been introduced in the Oklahoma Senate that would open the door for the teaching of creationism and intelligent design (not to mention "alternative" approaches to climate change and cloning).

In Texas, the news is better, but a big battle is looming. Educators have finalized improved curriculum standards that would protect the teaching of evolution, but the proposal is headed for a showdown with the creationist-packed State Board of Education.

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Evolution 1/ Palin 0

The Vatican has just announced that the theory of Evolution is compatible with the bible according to Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, the Vatican's culture minister.   Creationism belongs to the "strictly theological sphere" and could not be used "ideologically in science."

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The Precise Problem with Palin

There is an article in today's Salon called "The pastor who clashed with Palin"By David Talbot which concerns itself with Sarah Palin's religious fundamentalism as it relates to government.

The primary focus of the article is the interactions between Palin and Howard Bess, a retired Baptist preacher from Wasilla's nearby neighbor town Palmer, Alaska. Bess, the author of a book entitled "Pastor, I am gay," originally came into conflict with Palin over book banning, and eventually on other social issues as well.

One issue was abortion. This from the article:

Soon after the book controversy, Bess found himself again at odds with Palin and her fellow evangelicals. In 1996, evangelical churches mounted a vigorous campaign to take over the local hospital's community board and ban abortion from the valley. When they succeeded, Bess and Dr. Susan Lemagie, a Palmer OB-GYN, fought back, filing suit on behalf of a local woman who had been forced to travel to Seattle for an abortion. The case was finally decided by the Alaska Supreme Court, which ruled that the hospital must provide valley women with the abortion option.

The thing that shook me up the most in the article was a quote from another local progressive that raises the issue of Palin's knowledge, beliefs and clear danger if she were to become president:

Another valley activist, Philip Munger, says that Palin also helped push the evangelical drive to take over the Mat-Su Borough school board. "She wanted to get people who believed in creationism on the board," said Munger, a music composer and teacher. "I bumped into her once after my band played at a graduation ceremony at the Assembly of God. I said, 'Sarah, how can you believe in creationism -- your father's a science teacher.' And she said, 'We don't have to agree on everything.'

"I pushed her on the earth's creation, whether it was really less than 7,000 years old and whether dinosaurs and humans walked the earth at the same time. And she said yes, she'd seen images somewhere of dinosaur fossils with human footprints in them."

Munger also asked Palin if she truly believed in the End of Days, the doomsday scenario when the Messiah will return. "She looked in my eyes and said, 'Yes, I think I will see Jesus come back to earth in my lifetime.'"

And this from Bess:

Forget all this chatter about whether or not she knows what the Bush doctrine is. That's trivial. The real disturbing thing about Sarah is her mind-set. It's her underlying belief system that will influence how she responds in an international crisis, if she's ever in that position, and has the full might of the U.S. military in her hands. She gave some indication of that thinking in her ABC interview, when she suggested how willing she would be to go to war with Russia.

It is the clear danger of extreme religious views combined with the age and health history of John McCain that should make all voters review the potential of a radical creationist with a finger on the nuclear (noo-clee-ar) button.

Under The LobsterScope

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Inherit the Wind: 2008 redux

The real battle has now begun.
The Dark Ages or Enlightenment.
Mysticism or Science.
Regression or Progression.

In this election year, in this country, a fundamentalist is on a presidential ticket.  
In this country, founded by those who eschewed religion.
In this country, born out of the age of enlightenment.
Yes, in our country, created by men (and women) of reason, a fundamentalist has asked for our votes.

I visit this blog and read the comments.  I lurk in the background and wonder at the ridiculous requests for civility. At the mock outrage over sexism when noone is saying what is so glaringly obvious.  

This woman is a throwback to the Dark Ages.  She is an example of small intellect and should not be allowed to rise to a level of power that can affect the intellectual growth of our nation.

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