KCFS Update – April 30, 2006

KCFS Update
April 30, 2006

Welcome to the KCFS Update.

Be sure to visit our website at http://www.kcfs.org. See Jack Krebs’s “Evolution 101” course resources, visit our new Web log, see past editions of “Update,” access information about the science standards, or click “Discussion Forums” and participate in fascinating discussions!

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Committee’s ‘Evolution 101’ course to be posted on Web

Hutchinson News – April 19, 2006

TOPEKA – Bypassed by the State Board of Education last year, a leader of the state science standards writing committee has created an “Evolution 101” course and plans to post it on a Web site so Kansans can brush up on a topic they might not have revisited since high school.

Jack Krebs, who is making presentations of the course in Johnson County, and other high school teachers say they simply want to promote better understanding of science.

“A lot of people have misconceptions about what evolution is and isn’t and about science in general,” said Hays High science teacher Cheryl Shepherd-Adams, another leader in the group Kansas Citizens for Science.

Their effort is one of several statewide activities planned as school board election season approaches. Science promises to be a hot topic in the races.

[See http://www.kcfs.org/kcfsnews/?p=26 for “Evolution 101” materials: PowerPoint slides, audio files and more.]

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http://www.redstaterabble.blogspot.com – April 28, 2006

3rd District Candidates on the Issues

About 60 people attended a 3rd District Candidate Forum at Shawnee Mission West High School in Johnson County last night to hear three challengers explain where they stand on the issues in the contentious school board election.

John Bacon, the incumbent Republican candidate who is part of the current board’s right-wing majority, declined to participate.

Nick Haines, the host of KCPT’s Week in Review acted as moderator.

Three candidates who are challenging Bacon, Harry McDonald, a moderate Republican and former president of Kansas Citizens for Science, Don Weiss, the Democratic candidate, and David Oliphant, a Republican, answered questions from Haines and the audience about the state board’s science policy, sex education, the appointment of controversial Education Commissioner Bob Corkins, vouchers, and other issues.

All three candidates said they would not have voted to approve the new science standards which have opened the door to intelligent design and include criticisms of evolutionary theory.

A member of the audience asked if science is anti-God. Harry McDonald responded by saying people don’t have to choose between God and science because faith lies outside the boundaries of science.

Don Weiss responded by saying that, in his opinion, the two are not in conflict because science is a way of discovering how God works.

David Oliphant answered the question by saying that as a cancer survivor, he has a strong faith. The science standards should be a matter of local control.

McDonald and Weiss seemed to agree on many of the issues. At one point Weiss urged those in the audience to vote for McDonald in the Aug. 1 primary and for him in the general election.

Oliphant said if he had his way, he’d do away with the Department of Education at the federal level. He said he is a strong proponent of limited government, local control, and parental involvement. He would have voted for the controversial opt-in sex education policy recently adopted by the right-wing majority of the state board.

On the hot-button issue of the Corkins appointment, both McDonald and Weiss suggested that if they were elected, Corkins would be looking for a new job. Oliphant said that while Corkins was unqualified to be a teacher in Kansas, he might be qualified to manage the Department of Education.

A group supporting the new science standards distributed literature at the event. Despite the claims of Bacon, Abrams, Morris, Martin, Willard and Van Meter that the new standards represent strong science, a flyer attacking people of faith who support evolution stated:

“Another problem with the theistic-evolutionary view is the doubt it instills in the authority and authenticity of the Bible. Christians believe the Bible to be divinely inspired revelation from god to man, interpretational differences notwithstanding.”

Asked about “pornographic books” used in the Blue Valley School District, Harry McDonald drew applause from the audience when he defended the district’s policy.

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District 5 BOE hopefuls sound off during forum

The Hutchinson News – April 21, 2006

GARDEN CITY – The three hopefuls for the District 5 Kansas Board of Education seat met for the first time this election cycle on Thursday, sounding off on Education Commissioner Bob Corkins, sex ed, language immersion and other topics.

Incumbent Connie Morris of Saint Francis, a member of the board’s conservative majority, is seeking her second term in the post. Sally Cauble of Liberal, a Republican, and Tim Cruz of Garden City, a Democrat, are challenging her for the western Kansas seat. . . .

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Group endorses two District 5 hopefuls

The Hutchinson News – April 19, 2006

DODGE CITY – A group that blasts the conservative Kansas Board of Education majority as outside the mainstream is endorsing the two hopefuls opposing Connie Morris in the race for the District 5 seat.

Don Hineman, chairman of the Kansas Alliance for Education, said at a gathering of the organization Tuesday that the group backs Tim Cruz, a Garden City Democrat, and Sally Cauble, a Liberal Republican. Morris, a Saint Francis Republican, is seeking her second term.

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Grant geared toward math and science

The Kauffman Foundation awarded $15 million in grants this month to entities including the Blue Valley, Olathe and DeSoto school districts.

The grants are for math and science education in an effort to nurture a new generation of engineers and scientists for the Kansas City area, said Kauffman Foundation President Carl Schramm. . . .

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Bill could boost interest in bioscience careers

Johnson County Sun – April 20, 2006

In the fall of 2007, Kansas’ brightest math and science students could have an opportunity to jump-start their college careers.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed a bill to create the Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science. . . .

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Author: ID backers aim to be in all aspects of life

LJ World – April 20, 2006

Intelligent design proponents plan to drive a wedge into all aspects of cultural and academic life, a prominent philosophy professor and ID proponent said Wednesday.

“They’ll carry the supernatural wedge in all social sciences and humanities,” Southeastern Louisiana University professor Barbara Forrest told a packed audience at the Dole Institute of Politics. . . .

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Dover ‘Intelligent Design’ Decision to be Topic of National Forum

Newswise – April 25, 2006 —

The first high-level public discussion of how science is taught in public schools — in light of the recent federal court ruling on the intelligent-design challenge in Dover, Pa. — will be conducted next month by a nationally known panel of scholars at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla.

[‘KEEPING SCIENCE AND RELIGION SEPARATE IN SCHOOLS: THE VIGIL AFTER DOVER’ will be held Wednesday, May 17 at 8:00 p.m. in the College of Medicine Auditorium of Florida State University. Participants include Michael Ruse, Eugenie Scott, Rob Pennock, John Haught, Deborah Blum and Stephen Gey.]

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Conversation with John Haught on Evolution, Intelligent Design, and the Recent Dover Trial

Metanexus – April 28, 2006

On September 30, 2005, Professor Haught testified as an expert witness in the trial Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District. The trial was the first to explicitly consider the presentation of intelligent design in U. S. public schools. Professor Haught was the only theologian to testify in this trial, and his testimony was cited on several occasions in the opinion for the plaintiffs rendered by Judge John E. Jones, III on December 20, 2005 . . .

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Seattle’s Discovery Institute scrambling to rebound after intelligent-design ruling

Seattle Times – April 26, 2006

When a federal judge stopped intelligent design from being taught in a Pennsylvania school district in December, the concept’s chief advocates issued a quick and pointed response. . . .

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Intelligent design hurts learning, expert says

[Lehigh University] Brown and White April 20, 2006

The ongoing debate over intelligent design has caused problems for teaching science, said Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, in her lecture on Monday at Packard Auditorium.

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Hot Air And Free Speech

TomPaine.com – April 18, 2006

The government is still denying climate scientists freedom to talk about global warming.

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Global warming behind record 2005 storms: experts

Reuters – April 24, 2006

MONTEREY, California (Reuters) – The record Atlantic hurricane season last year can be attributed to global warming, several top experts, including a leading U.S. government storm researcher, said on Monday.

“The hurricanes we are seeing are indeed a direct result of climate change and it’s no longer something we’ll see in the future, it’s happening now,” said Greg Holland, a division director at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. . . .

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America’s Top Prize in Medicine Awarded to Caltech Researcher who Pioneered the Field of Behavioral Genetics

ALBANY, N.Y., April 28, 2006

Seymour Benzer, Ph.D., a neuroscientist, molecular biologist and physicist who uncovered genetic links to behavior in fruit flies that today serve as the foundation for the study and treatment of human neurological diseases, has been named the recipient of the $500,000 Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research, America’s top prize in medicine. . . .

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Fossil Suggests Snakes Evolved on Land

AP – April 19, 2006

A fossil find in Argentina has revealed a two-legged creature that’s the most primitive snake known, a discovery that promises to fire up the scientific debate about whether snakes evolved on land or in the sea.

The snake’s anatomy and the location of the fossil show it lived on land, researchers said, adding evidence to the argument that snakes evolved on land. . . .

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Star Clusters Hold Secrets To Stellar Evolution

SPACE.com – April 18, 2006

Hubble has captured the most detailed images to date of open star clusters in a small galaxy orbiting our Milky Way. Such clusters contain thousands of stars all created from the same material and are excellent laboratories for studying stellar evolution. . . .

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Ancient DNA Provides Clues To The Evolution Of Social Behavior

Science Daily – April 22, 2006

A rare Patagonian rodent known as the colonial tuco-tuco fascinates biologists because it seems to defy all odds. Now Stanford University researchers are using DNA extracted from ancient teeth-some more than 10,000 years old-to unravel the rodent’s mysterious past and provide clues about the evolution of animal social behavior . . . .

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Francisco Ayala on the perfect compatibility of God and Evolution

Creationism does not exist for Francisco Ayala—he calls it “anti-evolutionism.” As an evolutionary biologist and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the most prestigious science association in the United States, Ayala often functions as the authority on evolution. . . .

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Weird ideas from the right

Johnson County Sun – April 20, 2006

The issue is not the reading materials selected for some classes in the Blue Valley School District, as whipped up by the 6-4 Christian conservative majority on the State Board of Education. The issue is whether the board should be wasting valuable time dabbling in local programs.

The answer is most certainly not. Nor should the ultraconservatives be delving into well-established sex education instruction, as they have in recent weeks. . . .

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Red State Rabble

The Panda’s Thumb

Talk Origins
The foremost source for information about evolution, creationism and related topics.

National Center for Science Education

Creationism’s Trojan Horse

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Kansas Citizens for Science is a not-for-profit educational organization that promotes a better understanding of what science is and does, by:

* Advocating for science education
* Educating the public about the nature and value of science
* Serving as an information resource

If you are a supporter of science education, please join KCFS now. Go to http://www.kcfs.org/join for details.

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Kansas Citizens For Science• http://www.kcfs.orgkcfs@kcfs.org