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FW: Evolution education update: Not over in Dover; Forrest and Gross in S&T News; NCSE's Scott on Fox, CNN

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  • Popplestone, Ann
    ... From: Steven A. Edinger [mailto:steven.edinger.1@ohio.edu] Sent: Monday, December 06, 2004 10:36 AM To: Science Education Subject: Evolution education
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 6, 2004
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Steven A. Edinger [mailto:steven.edinger.1@...]
      Sent: Monday, December 06, 2004 10:36 AM
      To: Science Education
      Subject: Evolution education update: Not over in Dover; Forrest and
      Gross in S&T News; NCSE's Scott on Fox, CNN

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      ---------- Forwarded Message ----------
      Date: Friday, December 03, 2004 12:19 PM -0800
      From: Glenn Branch <branch@...>
      To: ncse-news@...
      Subject: [ncse-news] Evolution education update: Not over in Dover;
      Forrest
      and Gross in S&T News; NCSE's Scott on Fox, CNN

      Dear Friends of NCSE,

      The "intelligent design" controversy is unabated in Dover, while Barbara
      Forrest and Paul R. Gross ponder the development of "intelligent design"
      and Eugenie C. Scott appears on both Fox News and CNN.

      NOT OVER IN DOVER

      The controversy over the Dover (Pennsylvania) Area School Board's
      resolution reading "Students will be made aware of gaps/problems in
      Darwin's Theory and of other theories of evolution including, but not
      limited to, intelligent design" continues to reverberate. On November
      30,
      2004, the San Francisco Chronicle carried a lengthy front page story
      entitled "Anti-evolution teachings gain foothold in U.S. schools,"
      focusing
      on the situation in Dover. NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott
      was
      cited as regarding the school board's decision as part of a growing
      trend: "There is a new energy as a result of the last election, and I
      anticipate an even busier couple of years coming on," she told the
      Chronicle. Although proponents of "intelligent design" usually maintain
      a
      strategic silence on the identity of the intelligent designer, the story
      observed, "supporters of the new curriculum in this religiously
      conservative slice of rural Pennsylvania say they know exactly who the
      intelligent designer is." (Similarly, an Associated Press story on
      December 1, 2004, quoted a local as saying that anyone who opposes the
      introduction of "intelligent design" in the Dover Area schools is
      "taking a
      stand against God.") Witold Walczak, legal director of the Pennsylvania
      branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Chronicle that
      his
      organization is deciding whether to sue the school board over the
      resolution.

      A story in the December 3, 2004, York Daily Record presents the local
      teachers' reaction to the resolution. Bill Miller, a union spokesman
      for
      the Dover Area Education Association, said that teachers were confused
      and
      frustrated by the lack of guidance as to how they are supposed to
      implement
      the resolution. Although the district administration promised
      eventually
      to develop guidelines collaboratively with the teachers, Miller said
      that
      the union would not do so: "If we have any directional discussions with
      the administration on how to answer these questions, it implies that we
      are
      cooperating on the issue," he told the Daily Record. "If given a
      direction
      by the administration, we will not be insubordinate. But they must be
      the
      ones to say how we answer the students in this area." Miller also
      disputed
      the administration's claim that the teachers were involved in the
      framing
      of the resolution -- "We never developed any language that allowed
      intelligent design into the classroom" -- and noted a seeming
      inconsistency
      between the resolution's proviso that "origins of life" will not be
      taught
      and the district's characterization of "intelligent design" as "an
      explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view." "We
      are really struggling with all of this," Miller said.

      For the San Francisco Chronicle story, visit:
      http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/11/30/MNGVNA3PE11.D
      TL

      For the York Daily Record story, visit:
      http://ydr.com/story/doverbiology/51229/

      FORREST AND GROSS IN S&T NEWS

      Barbara Forrest and Paul R. Gross contributed a piece to the December
      2004
      issue of Science & Theology News, a monthly newspaper reporting the
      latest
      on science-religion issues. "Like any evolving system," Forrest and
      Gross
      write, "ID has highly conserved traits. In this case, these qualities
      reflect the movement's creationist ancestry. The most prominent trait
      is
      its scientific sterility .... Such throwback attributes, like this
      blindness to relevant science, are stable. Others, however, are
      evolving
      relatively quickly." Tracing the development of "intelligent design"
      rhetoric, they conclude, "having evolved away from 'the Wedge'
      strategy's
      argument for "the integration of design theory into public school
      science
      curricula," the ID movement is in an odd predicament, a victim of its
      own
      PR campaign. Having developed the strategy to promote ID, they must now
      defend it with something other than the term 'intelligent design.' This
      will happen -- just like any other evolutionary process -- over a good
      deal
      of time." Forrest and Gross are the authors of Creationism's Trojan
      Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design (Oxford University Press 2004),
      a
      comprehensive investigation of the "intelligent design" movement, and
      Forrest is in addition a member of the NCSE board of directors.

      A response by John West and Jonathan Witt, both associated with the
      Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, also appears.
      West
      and Witt accuse Forrest and Gross of "fear mongering" and conspiracy
      theorizing, and say that they seem to think that "if intelligent design
      scholars have religious beliefs, then their writings are tainted and
      should
      be dismissed." They proceed to argue that "Gross and Forrest's main
      complaint seems to be that intelligent design proponents don't produce
      genuine scholarship, especially in peer-reviewed publications," citing
      inter alia a paper by Stephen C. Meyer in the Proceedings of the
      Biological
      Society of Washington that was repudiated by the BSW, and a recent paper
      by
      Michael Behe and David Snoke in Protein Science, which West and Witt
      misleadingly describe as making "a case against a key pillar of
      Neo-Darwinism." (See "Theory is as theory does" on the Panda's Thumb
      web
      blog for a critique of Behe and Snoke's paper). They conclude with a
      diatribe about supposed "Darwinist" persecution of proponents of
      "intelligent design."

      To read Forrest and Gross's essay, and West and Witt's response, visit:
      http://www.stnews.org/books_authors_1204.html

      For the Panda's Thumb critique of Behe and Snoke's paper, visit:
      http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archives/000480.html

      NCSE'S SCOTT ON FOX, CNN

      NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott appeared on the "Fair and
      Balanced" segment of Fox News on November 27, 2004, to discuss
      "intelligent
      design" opposite John West of the Discovery Institute's Center for
      Science
      and Culture. The segment began with a reference to the decision of the
      Dover (Pennsylvania) school board to require the teaching of
      "intelligent
      design," a subject that West evidently preferred not to discuss. After
      Scott said that the intelligent designer spells its name with three
      letters, the host pursued the question of the designer's identity with
      West, who struggled to explain that "intelligent design" is incapable of
      identifying the designer as God. Scott stressed that there is not a
      genuine scientific controversy about evolution, although questions about
      its patterns and processes remain.

      Scott also appeared on CNN on November 29, 2004, to discuss evolution
      and
      creationism with host Paula Zahn. The program began with a segment
      narrated by CNN correspondent Tom Foreman, who interviewed young-earth
      creationist Walter Brown and Jim Miller of AAAS's Dialogue on Science,
      Ethics, and Religion. In the studio, Scott and Jason Lisle of the
      young-earth creationist ministry Answers in Genesis were quizzed by
      Zahn.
      Emphasizing that evolution is good science and not necessarily
      antithetical
      to religion, Scott also noted that by lobbying school boards to include
      creationism or weaken evolution in their science curricula, creationists
      are politicizing science education.

      For the rush transcript of the CNN segment, visit:
      http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0411/29/pzn.01.html

      And for further information on Eugenie C. Scott's recent book on
      Evolution
      vs. Creationism, visit:
      http://www.ncseweb.org/evc

      Thanks for reading! And as always, be sure to consult NCSE's web site:
      http://www.ncseweb.org
      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 x305
      fax: 510-601-7204
      800-290-6006
      branch@...
      http://www.ncseweb.org

      ---------- End Forwarded Message ----------





      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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      Steven A. Edinger, Physiology Lab Instructor

      064 Irvine Hall
      Department of Biological Sciences
      steven.edinger.1@...
      Ohio University Office: (740) 593-9484
      Athens, Ohio 45701-2979 Fax: (740) 593-0300
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      "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of
      evolution." Theodosius Dobzhansky, 1973
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      ******************************************************
      "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of
      evolution." Theodosius Dobzhansky, 1973
      ******************************************************


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      "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of
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      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      ---
      Steven A. Edinger, Physiology Lab Instructor

      064 Irvine Hall
      Department of Biological Sciences
      steven.edinger.1@...
      Ohio University Office: (740) 593-9484
      Athens, Ohio 45701-2979 Fax: (740) 593-0300
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