We wantz too be edyoukators two!

(via Pharyngula and The Thumb) The Institute for Creation Research, which was denied its request to be an accredited degree-granting institution, has decided to sue the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board! It’s 67-page complaint “reads kind of like stereo instructions.” Not only are they suing the members of the board institutionally, but also individually, at their homes. The first couple pages of the complaint are grand, you should check it out, but in case you were thinking to read all 67 pages – there’s a lot of mindless crap in it and your time is better spent searching for lint in your belly button.

They are suing for viewpoint discrimination, religious discrimination, a violation of their first amendment rights, and even violations of interstate commerce! I didn’t know they had a traveling road show – I ought to see it sometime.

Here’s my favorite part of the complaint: Continue reading We wantz too be edyoukators two!

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Happy Paul Nelson Day!

Five years, oh where has the time gone? Five years ago today, a creationist promised the science blogging community that he would explain a fancy new term that he came up with. Supposed to be a measurement of the degree of development of an organism, “Ontogenetic Depth” interested PZ Myers because he himself studies developmental biology. But the creationist never explained what it was, how it was calculated, and why the most developmentally well-characterized metazoan model species, C. elegans, had an OD of ‘somewhere between 7 and 9.’

That creationist’s name is Paul Nelson. Five years ago today he made a promise, Continue reading Happy Paul Nelson Day!

Wisconsin Citizens for Science!

PZ Myers just alerted me to a new organization taking up the mantle of watching over science education in the great state of Wisconsin: Behold Wisconsin Citizens for Science. I’ve already signed up, and if you’re in WI, especially Madison – its home base – I recommend adding yourself to its roster! There is little information up on the site yet, nor any indication of agenda items to watch, but in time I’m sure there will be plenty of that. But they have just announced today that their membership is now up to 72 – pretty good for just starting out!

In the same thread, I also learned of the Madison Skeptics society. No familiar faces in the pictures there yet, but Madison is a big place. Yet also quite small.

Now PZ is suggesting that Wisconsin is behind the times: just now organizing to help with science education in the schools – and that his home state of Minnesota is way ahead. Heck, even the Dakotas get higher marks from him. Now I don’t know about you but I think he’s got his numbers backwards. Kansas was the state that started it all – with Kansas Citizens for Science. Kansas was arguably the worst state when it comes to evolution in science education – and it trickled down to states with fewer problems. So doesn’t that suggest that by coming in last, that there isn’t as much of a problem here as in other states, like our puddly neighbor to the West? 🙂

I’ll try to help spread the word about the first meeting, when it comes.

Did Hume destroy Empricism? Did Kant save science?

John McDonald, the Director of Student Ministries at Westminster Presbyterian Church, has stopped by my blog to drop a few comments. He has been seen previously at the Florida Citizens for Science blog prodding them with taunts and ill-informed criticisms of evolutionary science.

One of the interesting claims that he has been making repeatedly is that David Hume destroyed Empiricism, and that Immanuel Kant saved science from the pickle Hume put it in. This seemed rather odd, considering that Hume was himself an empiricist – he believed that knowledge derived through observation, rather than pure reason (Descartes et al.) was the way to go. Here are John’s comments on this topic on the KCS blog: Continue reading Did Hume destroy Empricism? Did Kant save science?

Nancy Pearcey at Niceville, a review

A little more than a week ago, I received an email from Marni Chidsey, a librarian at Okaloosa-Walton College in Niceville, Florida. She heard about a “Beyond Expelled” event that was about to take place in her locale, and the speaker was going to be Nancy Pearcey. Yes, that Nancy Pearcey. Mrs Totaluberdoubleplus Truth herself.

Marni emailed me, PZ Myers, Ken Miller, and a few others asking for advice on how to represent science and reason at the event, and what would be a good question to ask. Nick Matzke helped me out with my question then, so it was time to pay it forward. I sent her a few good proposed questions for her to ask Pearcey, and explained a little background on her arguments and its basic flaws.

Ken Miller sent the both of us a preview of his now-published essay about Expelled and how utterly dishonest it is. Check it out when you have the time. Ken suggested that Marni hand out copies of it if she could, and I asked her to record it if possible. How did it go? Continue reading Nancy Pearcey at Niceville, a review

Truth Tickets

This weekend, the “documentary” Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed comes out. Actually, if I wanted to skip my midterm this morning and see a showing, I could. Hah. I expect that sometime this weekend I will be finding the time to attend a showing of this film, for pure journalistic reasons. I imagine that many of you may also be tempted to go see it, just to see what arguments are being made first-hand, but a quick look at the reviews online shows that unless it’s a religious news source, Expelled flunks out big time.

Some of you may be thinking, why you should give them your money and not wait until it appears on DVDs in thrift stores? Wouldn’t paying $10 for a ticket help undermine science education somehow? Well, if you’re conflicted about that, there’s no need to be. Originally proposed by blogger Alonzo Fyfe, you can buy “Truth Tickets” to offset the negative effect of sending the Expelled folks your money. Send ten bucks to the National Center for Science Education and you can feel good about counterbalancing the situation. It’s like carbon offsets – planting a seed for science education that could grow to become a fruitful tree! Head on over to the NCSE Donation page if you plan on visiting the Box Office. I’ll be pledging a little extra.

Also, check out Michael Shermer and Ed Brayton on Expelled.