KCFS Update – June 1, 2006

KCFS Update – June 1, 2006

Welcome to the KCFS Update.

Have you visited our new new “KCFS News & Resources” page at http://kcfs.org/kcfsnews ? There you will find complete information on the Kansas science standards from 1999 to date, links, book recommendations and more. It’s a great resource. E-mail us at kcfs@kcfs.org and let us know how you like it.

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KANSAS
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http://www.hutchnews.com/news/regional/stories/ed052406.shtml

Ed spokesman’s comments draw criticism

The Hutchinson News – May 24, 2006

TOPEKA – Kansas Department of Education spokesman David Awbrey’s comments on science at a recent forum have ruffled the feathers of a state school board member and science advocates. . . .

Awbrey said during the forum that many of those who support evolutionary theory engage in metaphysical speculation, which comes very close to religion.

“Religion is faith in what is unseen. Anyone see the origin? Anyone see the Big Bang? Anyone see the dinosaurs? These are metaphysical speculations,” he said, according to a transcript posted on the Kansas Citizens for Science Web site. . . .

[See http://www.kcfs.org/kcfsnews/?page_id=96 ]

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http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/may/26/evolution_religion_comments_put_heat_department_sp/?evolution

Evolution, religion comments put heat on department spokesman

LJ World – May 26, 2006

Normally, a government spokesman helps deliver news.

But David Awbrey, the mouthpiece for the Kansas State Department of Education, is making the news following his comments about science, evolution and religion at a recent public forum.

The controversy may drive him out of the job.

“I haven’t been house-trained in public relations,” Awbrey said Thursday, adding, “I’m going to have to spend some time during the next week or two thinking about where I’m going to go with my career.” . .

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NATIONAL
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http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/64259.htm

NY Mayor Bloomberg Gives D.C. an “F” in Science

NY Post – May 26, 2005

Excerpts:

“Today we are seeing hundreds of years of scientific discovery being challenged by people who simply disregard facts that don’t happen to agree with their agendas,” Bloomberg said, as he continued his new focus on largely national issues. . . .

“I’ve always wondered which science those legislators who create their own truths pick when their families need life-saving medical treatment,” he said.

Bloomberg said he cringed last year when Terri Schiavo’s death became embroiled in politics, as Republicans in Congress pushed to intervene.

“And it boggles the mind that nearly two centuries after Darwin and 80 years after John Scopes was put on trial, this country is still debating the validity of evolution,” he said.

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http://redstaterabble.blogspot.com/2006/05/dodos-at-discovery.html

DI Deeply Disturbed by“Dodos”

Red State Rabble – May 26, 2006

Apparently, the Discovery Institute isn’t happy about “Flock of Dodos,” the film by Kansas-born scientist/filmmaker Randy Olson. Seems he revealed more about the DI than they were comfortable with, and they told him about it in person, rather loudly. . . .

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OPINION/EDITORIAL
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http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/354/21/2277?query=TOC

Intelligent Judging – Evolution in the Classroom and the Courtroom
George J. Annas, J.D., M.P.H.

New England Journal of Medicine – May 25, 2006

Religious arguments have permeated debates on the role of the law in medical practice at the beginning and the end of life. But nowhere has religion played so prominent a role as in the century-old quest to banish or marginalize the teaching of evolution in science classes. Nor has new genetics research that supports evolutionary theory at the molecular level dampened antievolution sentiment. . . .

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http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/28/opinion/28judson.html?ex=1149480000&en=4bdfdf21e7712e51&ei=5070&emc=eta1

NY Times – May 28, 2006

Affairs to Remember
By OLIVIA JUDSON

Ever since scientists realized that the fossilized bones of ichthyosaurs and mastodons were relics of organisms past, debates have raged about what fossils mean for our understanding of the history of life on Earth, and especially of evolution. No longer. Fossils have become unnecessary to the argument: since we’ve learned to sequence whole genomes, we’ve had far more powerful ways to examine the past. . . .

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http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060529/princehouse

The Nation – Posted May 16, 2006 (web only)

Science and the First Amendment
By Patricia J. Princehouse

“. . .People ask me, Why pour so much energy into protecting science education? Why not fight for literacy generally or any of a thousand other educational issues? I have two answers. One is easy: I know about evolution, so it makes sense that I would work on what I know best. The second is harder to grasp. And that is that freedom of religion is the bedrock foundation of liberty in this country. If we allow certain special-interest religious groups to co-opt the public school science classroom, to use it as a vehicle for converting children to religious views their parents don’t hold, if we allow them to spout outright lies about the nature and content of science, what do we really have left? If you can lie about science and get away with it, you can lie about anything. . . .”

[Patricia Princehouse teaches evolutionary biology and the history and philosophy of science at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She is president of Ohio Citizens for Science.]

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SCIENCE DISCOVERIES!
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http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa003&articleID=0002E37D-944D-146B-944D83414B7F0000

Scientific American – May 18, 2006

New Antibiotic Eliminates Superbugs

A compound produced by a simple soil microbe may prove a new and extremely effective antibiotic. In recent decades, strains of Staphylococcus aureus and various Enterococcus bacteria have shown resistance to the most powerful antibiotics in the modern medical arsenal. The new compound has wiped out the two superbugs in vitro and in mice. . . .

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http://blog.sciam.com/index.php?title=neandertal_nuclear_dna_sequenced&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

Scientific American Blog – May 17, 2006

Neanderthal Nuclear DNA Sequenced

Rex Dalton at Nature is reporting that ancient DNA guru Svante Paabo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and his team have managed to obtain nuclear DNA sequences from a Neanderthal. The new sequences–which comprise about a million base pairs, or about 0.03 percent of genome–come from a 45,000-year-old male Neanderthal from Vindija Cave, located in northwestern Croatia. Paabo’s team discussed the work last week at a meeting at New York’s Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. . . .

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http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=health&id=4219549

Washington, D.C. (AP) – May 30, 2006

Is Poison Ivy Getting Itchier?

Another reason to worry about global warming: more and itchier poison ivy.

The noxious vine grows faster and bigger as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise, researchers report Monday. . . .

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CREATIONIST DISCOVERIES
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Well, there still aren’t any. But if you care to read the views of some “creation scientists,” you can do so at the website of the Institute for Creation Research:

http://www.icr.org

Here’s an article published on the ICR site shortly before the death of creationist icon Henry Morris, Founder of ICR and author of the seminal YEC book, “The Genesis Flood”:

http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=view&ID=2708

Intelligent Design and/or Scientific Creationism

Although we have published a number of articles dealing with the “Intelligent Design” movement, we at ICR continue to get numerous inquiries—both from Christians and from the secular media—as to ICR’s exact position relative to the ID movement. In particular, why do the leaders in that movement continually try to distance themselves from us Biblical creationists, even though our own leaders are also fully credentialed scientists just like theirs? . . .

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AUDIO
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http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5437861&ft=1&f=1003

Kansas School Board Defends Evolution Stance

All Things Considered, May 29, 2006

Listen to this story… by Greg Allen

The Kansas Board of Education is arguably the most controversial in the country — at least outside of Kansas. Its highly publicized stand on evolution in the science curriculum brought the state international attention and criticism. But the board members say they’re representing their own strong convictions, and those of their constituents.

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QUOTABLE QUOTE
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[Quoted at “The Panda’s Thumb” — http://www.pandasthumb.org .]

“In the meantime, we work with the premise that the Darwinian model is the best model for apprehending evolutionary biology. We believe the Darwinian model has proved itself the most fertile. It leads to new knowledge, which demonstrates its fertility. The difficulty with the Intelligent Design and Creationist models is that they lack fertility. They fail to produce progressive research programs. In a scientific sense, they cannot produce testable models. We believe that the dialogue with theology must take place with the best of science, not with a substitute that is a philosophical position and not science at all.”

Martinez Hewlett and Ted Peters, Who Sets the Evolution Agenda? Theology and Science, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2006, pp. 1-3

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BLOGS/SITES TO WATCH
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Red State Rabble
http://redstaterabble.blogspot.com

The Panda’s Thumb
http://www.pandasthumb.org

Talk Origins
http://www.talkorigins.org
The foremost source for information about evolution, creationism and related topics.

National Center for Science Education
http://www.ncseweb.org

Creationism’s Trojan Horse
http://www.creationismstrojanhorse.com

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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.

www.kcfs.org • Kansas Citizens For Science • kcfs@kcfs.org