Saturday, April 30, 2005


Strong Opinions

John Hanna, an Associated Press reporter, has an article out this morning titled, Kansans weigh into debate over evolution, other ideas. In his lead, Hanna writes, "Whether they're trained as scientists or science teachers, Kansans have strong opinions about teaching evolution."

His article goes on to quote Christy Swafford, a science instructor at Pratt High School, high school biology teacher Jeremy Mohn at Blue Valley Northwest High School, Steve Adams, superintendent of both the Highland and Midway school districts in Doniphan County, and freshman student Richard Kelly of Topeka West High School. They favoring limiting science, as Adams puts it, "to the study of the natural world."

Hanna also reports the views of Bruce Clark, an information and business technology specialist from Wichita, and Angel Dillard, a mother of two young girls in Wichita. Both would like to see equal treatment of evolution and Genesis in science classrooms.

Red State Rabble has two observations. First, Hanna's lead teases that we will be hearing from scientists and science teachers who have strong opinions about teaching evolution. In his article, however, with the exception of Richard Kelly, a biology student, all of those cited in the article as favoring evolution are teachers. None of those cited in the article who want to teach creationism are either scientists or science teachers.

In RSR's opinion, what Hanna delivers is not what he promised in his lead.

The fact is, scientists, represented by the Kansas Academy of Science and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and biology teachers, represented by the Kansas Association of Biology Teachers have made their support for teaching evolution quite clear.

Here's the second observation, Hanna's article must be cold comfort for intelligent design "theorists" John Calvert, William Harris, and Discovery Institute's Stephen C. Meyer. None of those cited by Hanna are persuaded by their "teach the controversy" Trojan horse strategy. Both Clark and Dillard are committed biblical literalists who simply want the bible taught in science class.

The intelligent design movement's "teach the controversy" strategy has made some headway in the media, but none at all with its creationist base.

Friday, April 29, 2005


Forum: Ending the Warfare between Evolution and Faith

The Kansas Coalition for Science is holding a forum on Wednesday, May 4 from 7:00 – 9:00 pm in the Grand Ballroom of the Ramada Inn located at 420 Southeast 6th Avenue,Topeka.

The Keynote speaker is Keith Miller the editor of Editor of “Perspectives on an Evolving Creation"

Harry McDonald and Jack Krebs of Kansas Citizens for Science will make introductory remarks and hold a news conference on the Science Coalition’s planned activities during the hearings March 5 – March 7 beginning at 7:00 pm.


Their Morals and Ours

You remember Cynthia Davis, the right-wing Missouri legislator who sponsored legislation to "teach the controversy" over evolution so that kids can hear all sides of the issue and make up their own minds. She's also introduced a bill to prevent them from learning about contraception in sex education class, but never mind.

Davis, you see, an old-fashioned gal, doesn't mind letting it all hang out in science class, but condoms -- that's a different matter.

Now our dedicated advocate for traditional values, morals, and old-time religion has reportedly broken the law by using her campaign fund to pay $1,084 in property taxes for a house in Jefferson City, according to a report she filed in April 2004 with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Don't worry though, it's okay if Christian fundamentalist break the law. Whatever they do, they're doing for God.

PS for Missouri voters: Our gal Cynthia has issued a statement saying, "Campaign finance rules are extremely complex," to excuse her conduct. Okay, we believe her, but do we really want someone who finds campaign finance rules so daunting to be writing laws for the state?


Wrapping Themselves in the Bible

"I think this is a major shift. I think it really does signal that there's absolutely no limit to which the radical religious right will . . . go to wrap their political agenda in the Bible."

The Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, a United Church of Christ minister and president of Chicago Theological Seminary, on "Justice Sunday" the radical right's attempt to brand Democrats as anti-Christian for refusing to confirm a handful of wingnut federal judges nominated by President Bush.


Send in the Clowns

At a forum for school board candidates at a local Methodist Church in Portland, Oregon, Charles McGee reportedly told those present, according to Oregon Public Radio, that "Christianity in itself, though I'm a Christian, is still a theory. When it boils down to it, they're all theories. So I believe students should learn all these various theories, so they can be able to decipher the theories, and put them into practical sense." (Material in quotes was reported by OPB, although no reporters were present at the meeting several people who were there confirmed the remarks - RSR)

Following the meeting, an e-mail quickly spread the word to thousands of Portland voters and now McGee is saying that he's been "misrepresented."

Maybe it's time to call in the clowns, I mean, the boys from Discovery (They're just up the road) to issue the standard "this has nothing to do with indoctrinating kids in Christian fundamentalism, we just want to teach the controversy" statement.

Thursday, April 28, 2005


Kansas Evolution Battle on NPR "Science Friday" April 29

On Science Friday, talk turns to how scientists might police themselves in the controversial area of stem cell research. Plus, a preview of next week's hearings in Kansas on how science will be taught in their schools. Also, a look at math on prime-time television and what it means for mathematicians of all ages.

The show airs on KCUR 89.3 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm in the Kansas City area.


Litigious Larry Rebuffed

A National Center for Science Education post states that NCSE believes the libel suit filed by Roseville, California intelligent design advocate Larry Caldwell against Dr. Scott "has no merit."

Scroll down for previous posts on the issue.


Nature Weighs In

From an article by Geoff Brumfiel, Nature's Washington physical sciences correspondent:

Perhaps surprisingly, many theologians are equally upset by intelligent design. "The basic problem that I have theologically is that God's activity in the world should be hidden," says George Murphy, a Lutheran theologian, PhD physicist, and author of The Cosmos in the Light of the Cross. Murphy says Lutherans believe that God's primary revelation came through Jesus Christ, and many find it distasteful that additional divine fingerprints should appear in nature. Catholics, for their part, have accepted evolution based on the idea that God could still infuse the natural human form with a soul at some point in the distant past. And even the evangelical Christians who make up the backbone of intelligent design's political supporters sometimes object to its inability to prove whether Christianity is the true religion.

In addition to explaining the theological disputes over intelligent design, Brumfiel reports that the movement is attracting new adherents among students, and quotes Eugenie Scott as saying that scientists are not doing a good job at explaining evolution. A must read.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Panda's Thumb on Litigious Larry

Timothy Sandefur has a post up today on Panda's Thumb that examines why, under California law, Larry Caldwell's libel suit against National Center for Science Education Director Dr. Eugenie Scott is going nowhere. Following a detailed examination of the legal issues, Sandefur makes exposes some of Caldwell's own misrepresentations, and notes the copycat language between a post on the Discovery Institute's Evolution News and Views blog (posted before Caldwell filed suit) and the language in Caldwell's brief.

Scroll down to read RSR's post on the affair from yesterday: "Litigious Larry Libeled?"

Stay tuned for more from RSR and the tactics lifted from the Karl Rove playbook by Discovery and Litigious Larry to silence critics.


Turmoil in Dover

The turmoil resulting from injecting private religious belief into public policy can clearly be seen in Dover, Pennsylvania. After the board voted to teach intelligent design there, three board members resigned. Now, seven Dover School Board seats are up for re-election in York County and 18 candidates are running for those vacant positions.


Teaching Creationism in a Scientific Manner

The online edition of Truth, an Elkhart, Indiana newspaper reports:

What students are taught about the origin of the world in science class depends on which Elkhart County school the child is sitting in.

In Elkhart and Concord, for instance, students are taught solely about evolution. At Baugo, Goshen, Fairfield, Middlebury and Wa-Nee students look at evolution and creationism as theories for how the world began.

Amy Charlwood, biology teacher at Fairfield High School, said her interpretation of the state science standards is she can teach creationism in addition to evolution as long as she presents them both in a scientific manner.

This interpretation is far more common than ordinarily thought. It amounts to taxpayer supported prostylitizing of school children for those sects that adhere to the out of the mainstream notions held dear by Christian fundamentalists.


Public Relations Geniuses

Just one year ago, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed into law the Kansas Economic Growth Act, which was created to advance the state's bioscience and research base. Over a 10-year period, the state plans to spend $500 million to promote the bioscience industry and bioscience-related jobs.

While there's been very little coverage of the biosciences initiative outside Kansas, the state school board's decision to put evolution on trial is now generating an Everest of news articles in the national media.

An Associated Press report has been picked up so far by: The Detroit News, The Provo Daily Herald, Yahoo! News, MSNBC, ABC, and the San Diego Union-Tribune.

"If you don't understand evolution," Emily Hane, a 17-year-old Topeka student tells AP reporter John Hanna in the article, "you don't really understand biology."

That's the real message the school board is sending about Kansas. Unfortunately, that message will likely speak louder to scientists and bioscience entrepreneurs than the $500 million appropriated by the legislature.


Alabama Legislator Proposes Book Ban

CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann reports:

Alabama lawmaker Gerald Allen, a Republican, says homosexuality is an unacceptable lifestyle. As , under his bill, public school libraries could no longer buy new copies of plays or books by gay authors, or about gay characters. "I don't look at it as censorship," says State Representative Gerald Allen. "I look at it as protecting the hearts and souls and minds of our children." Books by any gay author would have to go: Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and Gore Vidal. Alice Walker's novel "The Color Purple" has lesbian characters.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Litigious Larry Libeled?

Larry Caldwell who is suing the Roseville, California school district over its teaching of evolution now claims he was libeled by an article Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, wrote titled "In My Backyard: Creationism in California" for California Wild.

See "Litigious Larry" for an earlier post on the libel suit by Red State Rabble.

Now, in true right-wing echo chamber style, Discovery Institute is piling on with a post on its Evolution News and Views blog:

"WorldNetDaily has an article about the false smear of California parent Larry Caldwell by Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education. According to the article, Scott has yet to respond to Caldwell's request for a retraction."

Jason Rosenhouse, an assistant professor in the Math Department James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, who writes EvolutionBlog, has withdrawn a link to Scott's article with this post:
"In Monday's post I linked to, and quoted from, an article by Eugenie Scott published in the magazine California Wild. Some of the facts in the passage that I quoted are currently in dispute. For that reason I have decided to remove that post until the situation is resolved."
Red State Rabble likes EvolutionBlog -- we maintain a permanent link to it under Blogosphere in the sidebar. We read it often and regularly find many thoughtful posts on the site. Because the original post is now off-line, RSR can no longer read what EvolutionBlog originally quoted from Scott's article -- and therefore we want to say up front that we are dealing with incomplete information. We also don't know if Rodenhouse is somehow in possession of information that we are not.

With those caveats in mind, Red State Rabble is still reluctant to back away from Scott's article.

News of Caldwell's libel suit is reported in WorldNetDaily, which features articles such as: "Illegal aliens invading U.S.: Expose puts you on southern border as citizens battle human flood," "Why Are Christians Losing America? How the U.S. is becoming anti-Christian despite an 80% majority of believers," and "Warriors of Honor: The faith and legacies of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson."

Caldwell tells WorldNetDaily that says Scott claimed:

"that I purportedly subscribe to a number of creation science beliefs discussed in the article -- none of which I in fact agree with; and that I purportedly advocate a number of creationist activities in public schools that are enumerated in the article -- including the banning of evolution from science classes, and the use of the Bible in science classes."

In fact, Scott does nothing of the sort. In a long article that recounts many battles over creationism and intelligent design from all over the country Scott makes two points, first:

The history of creationism has followed a pattern. First, creationists attempted to ban evolution, then to teach creation science, next to teach ID, and now, most commonly, they lobby to teach EAE (evidence against evolution, RSR). The creationism/evolution controversy that occurred in the northern California community of Roseville during 2004 is a microcosm of this history.

Second, she writes, in the section devoted to Caldwell and the Roseville controversy:

In June 2003, the Roseville district was choosing a textbook for high school biology courses. One local citizen, Larry Caldwell, protested that the book favored by teachers took a "one-sided" approach to teaching evolution. Like all commercial textbooks, the Holt, Rinehart, and Winston textbook includes evolution but no creationist or antievolution content. Caldwell said that the textbook did not invite students to "think critically" about the subject of evolution and offered a stack of supplemental books and videotapes that would redress the book's deficiencies. These were an odd mixture of ID and creation science: DVDs promoted by the Discovery Institute; a young-earth creationist book, Refuting Evolution by Jonathan Safarti; and the Jehovah's Witness book Life: How Did It Get Here? By Evolution or Creation? Thanks to its free distribution, this book is probably the most widely-circulated creation science book in the country.

Scott correctly writes -- not that Caldwell advocates a number of creationist activities in public schools -- but rather that he advocates teaching the "evidence against evolution," the current Discovery Institute strategy. Caldwell, an attorney, has filed a 96 page (!) complaint against the Roseville school board saying that it ignored his complaints about the Holt, Rinehart, and Winston textbook and for refusing to bend to his demands that it supplement course material from a list which included the Jonathan Wells' book Icons of Evolution.

Wells is an intelligent-design "theorist" and fellow at the Discovery Institute. His book claims that some of the best-known evidences for evolution -- such as the peppered moths, the Miller-Urey abiogenesis experiment, and the finches of the Galápagos islands -- are false, fraudulent or misrepresented in college-level textbooks.

Wells is also a minister in the Unification Church -- A "Moonie" who obtained a Ph. D. in biology for the express purpose, he himself says, of discrediting evolution. He's hardly the poster child of scientific objectivity.

Red State Rabble has been searching for the entire list of "supplemental materials" submitted by Caldwell, but we have not been able to lay our hands on it yet. This seems the only possible remaining area where Scott's article might have gone wrong -- and we are by no means conceding that. RSR would be grateful to any readers who have access to that list, if they would forward it to us, or tell us where it can be found.

Even so, back when the school board voted against Caldwell's proposal, KXTV News 10 in Sacramento reported a parent's reaction to the "supplemental materials" (emphasis by RSR):

Caldwell and his supporters insist they are not interested in introducing religious concepts into the public schools, but other parents who have seen the alternative materials say they touch on religious theories about the creation of life. "These supplemental materials are religious in nature," said parent Pam Herman. "They don't belong in our science curriculum."

Having read the entire, mind-numbing 96-page brief (which can be found on the Discovery website) complaining that his rights to free speech, religious freedom, equal protection were violated by the Roseville school board, RSR agrees with a legal evaluation of the suit by Joe McFaul, on his Law Evolution and Junk Science blog which says of Caldwell's suit:

This is a terrible complaint and in fact is a risky strategy because there may be yet another U.S. District Court ruling addressing the Christian motivation underlying all evolution attacks. Keep up the good work.

It will take more than an article on WorldNetDaily, a post on the Discovery Institute blog, and another frivolous lawsuit to convince RSR that Scott has gotten it wrong. Certainly, on the evidence that can be checked today, Caldwell and WorldNetDaily are clearly wrong, and Scott has got it right.

Monday, April 25, 2005


On Message?

“Intelligent design. To hear some folks talk, you’d think it’s a scam to sneak Genesis into science classrooms. Yet intelligent design has nothing to do with the six days of creation and everything to do with hard evidence and logic." Mark Hartwig, an early organizer of the intelligent design movement, in the York Daily Record.

"Of course this is a Christian agenda. We are a Christian Nation. Our country is made up of Christian conservatives. We don't often speak up but we need to stand up and let our voices be heard." Kathy Martin, Kansas State School Board member and intelligent design proponent.


Wichita Eagle: There Is No Controversy

From an editorial in the Wichita Eagle:

The scientific community's boycott of the Kansas State Board of Education's upcoming show trial of evolution is right, because the very premise of the hearings -- that evolution is a "theory in crisis" -- is so wrong.

There is no "controversy" about evolution in the mainstream scientific community.

That said, it could be good that a Topeka attorney, Pedro Irigonegaray, has agreed to appear at the hearings -- not to defend evolution, but to defend Kansas children and taxpayers.


New Missouri Anti-abortion Law Has Implications for Stem Cell Research

An anti-abortion bill passed in the Missouri Senate may have implications for stem cell research in the state. The new abortion restrictions, sponsored by Sen. John Louden, a St. Louis Country Republican, change the way the legislature's intent is defined. Current law reads “to grant the right to life to all humans, born and unborn, and to regulate abortion to the full extent permitted.” The new bill reads, “to recognize and affirm the right to life of all humans, whether in utero or not.”

“There is no question that ‘in utero or not' is a world of difference from ‘born or unborn,' all of which happens within a woman's body,” says David Welte, general counsel of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City. The wording has implications far beyond the cutting-edge stem cell research that Stowers plans, he says.


Carnival Sideshow

"Sorry, but this evolution issue is nothing but a carnival sideshow. It's important only in that it's never a trivial matter when fanatics try to impose their ideology on others." -- Mike Hendrick's Commentary piece "Evolution should take a backseat" in today's Kansas City Star.

Sunday, April 24, 2005


Intelligent Design Faction: Holier Than Thou

"The Intelligent Design faction has made evolution the litmus test to determine if someone is Christian or not. If you disagree with them, your Christianity is in question," says Keith Miller a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Geology at Kansas State University and a devout Evangelical Christian.


Norman Newell, Influential Palentologist Dies

"Dr. Norman D. Newell, an influential paleontologist who challenged opponents of evolutionary theory and helped shape theories explaining the mass extinctions of species, died on Monday at his home in Leonia, N.J., his family said. He was 96," reports the New York Times.


Bush's God

The Dartmoth Review (We know, we know) has an interesting article by Jeffery Hart titled "God and Mr. Bush" that reveals some of the fissures developing between traditional conservatives and the evangelical foot soldiers the Republican party increasingly relies upon -- and panders to -- as part of its current electoral strategy.

Hart argues that, "(t)he Bush presidency often is called conservative. That is a mistake. It is populist and radical, and its principal energies have roots in American history, and these roots are not conservative."

Hart then recounts the history of the three Great Awakenings of evangelism in American history, including the role of William Jennings Bryan. Supporters of critical thinking and science will find many things to agree with in this analysis -- alongside a few things they will disagree with -- and some things they may come to a new appreciation of.

One valuable contribution of Hart's article is that he places the battle over evolution, creationism, and intelligent design into a larger historical context which reminds us that this latest awakening too will pass.

Saturday, April 23, 2005


Pastors Say Religion and Science Can Co-exist

Signers of the Clergy Letter Project, endorsed by roughly 2,500 clergypeople across the United States so far, believe that while religious truth differs from scientific truth, they can maintain peaceful co-existence. University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh College of Letters and Science Dean Michael Zimmerman, who is heading the campaign, says the Bible explains truths about human beings and God, it does not contain scientific information and should not be part of the science curriculum. The goal of the project is to collect 10,000 signatures from clergy members. The signatures of pastors who have signed the Clergy Letter Project can be viewed online.


Litigious Larry

According to WorldNetDaily, a consrevative Christian online newspaper, "A parent suing a school district over its teaching of evolution says he was libeled by the education establishment's chief spokeswoman on Darwin, Eugenie Scott, in an attempt to discredit his efforts."

Larry Caldwell also filed, according to WorldNetDaily, "a civil-rights lawsuit in federal court against the Roseville Joint Union High School District and school officials in Sacramento, Calif., alleging his constitutional rights to free speech, equal protection and religious freedom were violated when he was prevented from introducing a curriculum that changes how the theory of evolution is taught, without introducing religious content."

Take it from Red State Rabble, neither of these lawsuits are going anywhere.


Conservative Board Members Have Made Up Their Minds

"Even before the start of controversial hearings about the teaching of evolution in public schools, conservative State Board of Education members are saying they support a minority report criticized by many scientists as creationism wrapped in a new package," writes Scott Rothschild of the Lawrence Journal-World.


Teens Discuss Evolution Controversy

''We're being exposed to ideas other than evolution,'' says Emily Hane, a 17-year-old junior at Topeka West High School. ''We even talk about them at social events.''

Quoted by Associated Press writer John Hanna in "Evolution debate reaches students even without push from teachers."


Library Board Eliminates Bill of Rights

The Johnson County Library Board voted Wednesday to remove from its collections policy adherence to the American Library Association's “bill of rights.”

James Berger, a board member who voted for the change, said the library association guidelines stripped the library board of the ability to safeguard children from objectionable material, such as pornography.

Terry Goodman, a banker and member of the Overland Park City Council, said the action ran contrary to the philosophical underpinnings of library science and sent a message that was inappropriate, unfair and unfortunate.

Read more in an article by Finn Bullers in the Kansas City Star.


Alabama Legislators Debate "Academic Freedom" Bill

An bill in the Alabama legislature to introduce creationism into science classrooms under the guise of academic freedom is running into opposition there.

"This bill says that teachers must teach the state course of study, but then they can bring in any other information they want to," says Susan Lockwood, a spokesperson for school superintendents. "We don't believe that's appropriate for children."

Educators and critics are concerned that the bill would allow teachers to use unapproved materials to teach theories of life.

A similar bill has already failed in the Alabama legislature and there is little time in this session for the bill to be considered and voted on.


Lois Lowry's "The Giver" Under Attack in Cedar Rapids

A school district committee in Cedar Rapids, Iowa has decided that Lois Lowry's "The Giver" should not be taught in elementary schools there. The decision came following a complaint by Lorrie and Shaun Holcomb who didn't want their son to read the book. Teachers defended the book as age appropriate.

"I really liked this book and want younger kids to be able to experience it," one fifth grader told the committee.

The superintendant will have the final word on whether to follow the committees advice, or allow the book to be taught.


Fly Sheds Light on Birth of New Species

A unique fly from the Canary Islands has helped shed light on one driving force behind the birth of new species, Nature magazine reports this week.

"Imagine you have an island colonised by 100 species and a similar island colonised by 10 species," explained Dr Emerson. "If you leave that for a period of evolutionary time, the percentage of entirely new forms will be higher on the island with 100 species on it."

This research could help explain why islands in warm areas have a lot of unique speciesThe researchers can think of three reasons why this might be the case. First, species that are forced to share a space with a lot of other species usually have smaller population sizes. That means they are more susceptible to genetic drift, which can speed up speciation.

Secondly, islands with a rich biodiversity have more habitat complexity. In other words, instead of just one habitat - say, grass - there is, for example, grass, shrubs and trees. That means species are more likely to evolve new adaptations and, eventually, become different species.

Thirdly and, the researchers believe, most importantly, competition between species can encourage speciation.

Friday, April 22, 2005


Florida "Academic Freedom" Bill on Life Support

A so-called "Academic Freedom" bill sponsored by Florida State Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, is in trouble.

With little more than two weeks to go in this legislative session, Baxley's bill still has not cleared the House. A companion bill in the Senate hasn't been heard yet by the education committee.

Senate sponsor Steven Wise, R-Jacksonville, said the idea has been in "La-La Land over here."

Baxley's House bill "might be on life support," he says.

While Baxley says his bill would require a fair forum for all political ideas at state universities, critics accuse him of covertly trying to force teaching of creationism in science courses that feature evolution.


Ohio Board Stonewalls

Last year, the Ohio Board of Education voted to approve a lesson plan for 10th-grade science classes called “Critical Analysis of Evolution” designed to teach students about what the board majority thinks are flaws in the theory of evolution.

One year ago, Ohio Citizens for Science, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State requested all documents related to the adoption of the lesson plan, including the peer-reviewed scientific articles supporting intelligent design that a DOE official claimed to have before the vote.

In January of this year, a handful of documents were turned over, but few pertaining to the decision.

Today, more than a year after the board vote to inject pseudoscience in the Ohio public school curriculum, the board still has not provided the materials requested in the filing.

Alex Luchenitser, an attorney for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, says the DOE has not refused to turn anything over, nor explained the delay. Suing for access is a possibility, he says, but there are no plans for legal action at the moment.

Lynn Elfner, CEO of the Ohio Academy of Science, has requested to see drafts of the plans to be used to train 7th-to-10th-grade science teachers at Miami University this summer. His request has been denied. The board hasn't told him why, but he suspects it may have something to do with intelligent design.


Armor at the Perimeter

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of New York's Hayden Planetarium and co-author of the book "Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution," reflects the difference between the public acceptance of Darwin's theories on the origin of species, and Einstein's theories on relativity during a recent interview at the University of Washington conducted by Alan Boyle, Science editor at MSNBC.

So, when we speak of the theory of relativity, and the theory of evolution, they are each extremely important ways of understanding the world. But the tool kit that comes with the relativity theory, that comes with any physics theory, has a level of precision that puts it just in another category. It’s not simply an organizing principle.

When you predict that the sun is going to rise at 7:22 tomorrow morning, and someone wants to debate you … you’re going to be wasting your time having that conversation. Just walk away from it, because you know in advance what’s going to happen.

For that reason, Darwin’s theory of evolution, because it’s a theory of biology, because biology is a different kind of science from physics, it looks to the outsider as if you can just jump in and claim that things are just not what the biologist sees them to be. Now of course that’s false, but I’m just submitting to you that when you have your tool kit of predictive powers, that’s kind of like an armor at the perimeter. You’re not going to get past that to say that somehow that equation is wrong. The equation is demonstrably correct, so go home.


Scott: Evolution and God Can Coexist

From an article by Pat Gillespie in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer:

"Evolutionist Dr. Eugenie Scott says evolution and God can coexist, despite many people's perceptions. Scott spoke to a standing-room only crowd Thursday at Columbus State University's Davidson Student Center auditorium about evolution and the theories against it. Scott is the executive director of the National Center for Science Education Inc. in Oakland, Calif., and nationally recognized as a proponent of church/state separation."


Minister Says No Conflict Between Evolution and Christian Faith

An article by Scott Rothschild of the Lawrence Journal-World reports:

"There is no conflict between evolution and the Christian faith," said the Rev. Peter Luckey, the senior pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church. Luckey was preaching to the choir during a five-hour forum that featured scientists, teachers and politicians who argued in favor of teaching students evolution because it is the foundation of science, knowledge of which will be needed to compete for jobs in the growing bioscience industry. About 75 people attended the forum at Plymouth, which was founded in 1854 and was the first established church in the Kansas Territory.


Kansas Evolution Debate Drives Graduates From State

From an article in the Kansas City Star about a forum on "Evolution and the Kansas Bioscience Initiative" held at the Plymoth Congregational Church in Lawrence yesterday.

Rachel Robson, a doctoral student at the University of Kansas Medical Center says "some of her classmates who are graduating this year are questioning whether they want to take jobs and raise families in Kansas. This is actually a deal-breaker issue for some of them, Robson said at aforum about evolution."


Two Michigan Teachers Want to Include Intelligent Design

A report by Tim Martin of the Associated Press in the Lansing State Journal says:

"A Christian-oriented law center says it may sue Gull Lake Community Schools unless two middle school science teachers are allowed to include an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution in their classes."

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Delicious Irony

“This is not a legal proceeding,” says school board Chairman Steve Abrams, a member of the science hearings subcommittee. “This is an informational proceeding.”
- Quoted in Hearing to offer evolution defender, from The Kansas City Star, April 20, 2005

"You cannot cross-examine an expert witness without preparation," said Abrams. "I'm a little bit perplexed about why these witnesses need to be kept secret, especially in light of the boycott."
- Quoted in Evolution's defenders will testify, from The Wichita Eagle, April 20, 2005


The Wit and Wisdom of Kathy Martin

Kathy Martin, the Kansas Board of Education member from District 6 in Northeast Kansas, is one of the three Christian conservatives who will conduct the star chamber inquisition into evolution teaching in the science curriculum this May.

She -- and fellow creationist board members Steve Abrams and Connie Morris -- are doing their absolute level best to follow the playbook laid out by the Discovery Institute in Seattle. They really are. Even so, the sailing isn't smooth because things keep popping out of Kathy's mouth that must be giving Discovery's Stephen C. Meyers fits right now.

You see, Meyer's Discovery Institute decries the charge that Intelligent Design is nothing more than a Trojan Horse designed solely for the purpose of getting religion into the schools. Perish the thought, says Meyers. Why, we don't even want to teach ID, we just want to "teach the controversy" over evolution.

In fact Discovery recently got the Associated Press to print a correction for writing that the Scopes II hearings, "will have as many as 23 witnesses speaking in support of teaching public school children intelligent design alongside the theory of evolution."

Here are a few of Kathy's recent utterances that just might not have been in Discovery's game plan, at least not in the early innings:

Discovery, I think we have a problem.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Intolerance at the Air Force Academy

At the Air Force Academy, 55 complaints of religious discrimination have been filed over the past four years.

Are these complaints by Christian fundamentalists that they are being discriminated against by secularists? Not exactly. Complaints by biblical literalists that they have been exposed to evolutionary theory by remorseless scientists? Well, no.

You see, at the Air Force Academy evangelical Christians are in the driver's seat. More than 90 percent of cadets there describe themselves as Christians.

That means, for example, that the climate is ripe for Jewish cadets to be called "Christ killers" and told that the Holocaust was revenge for the death of Jesus.

Mikey Weinstein of Albuquerque, N.M., a 1977 graduate who has sent two sons to the school, told the New York Times that his younger son, Curtis, has been called a ''filthy Jew'' many times.

Some critics of the Academy say that public endorsements of Christianity by high-ranking officers have contributed to a climate of fear that exists there. Critics also believe the statements violate the separation of church and state in a public institution.

Tom Minnery, an official at Focus on the Family, told the New York Times that he doesn't believe evangelical Christians are pushing an agenda at the academy, and complained that ''there is an anti-Christian bigotry developing'' at the school.

You see, if you don't let them call people "filthy Jews" whenever the mood strikes, you are discriminating against them.

Red State Rabble views these reports as a sort of portal into the future. If the influence of Christian fundamentalists continues to grow unchecked we will see more and more stories like this one. First we see it at the Air Force Academy, next we will see it in Kansas public schools -- not as an aberration, but as a direct result of policies put in place by the board of education.

Maybe Connie will pray over it.

Read the New York Times article here.


Bible Stickers?

Christopher A. Duva, a psychology instructor and freelance writer living in Portland, Oregon, makes a novel proposal in Free Inquiry:

"Perhaps the following compromise can be reached: both sides could agree to put stickers that encourage critical thinking on biology textbooks as long as similar stickers are also put on religious texts, specifically the Bible. The proposed sticker might read something like this."

This book contains material on Christianity. Christianity is a belief system that explains the origin of the universe and all living things in it as an act of divine creation. This material should be approached with an open mind and critically considered. In no sense should what you are about to read be considered a theory, as theories are based on data and observation while religious beliefs are taken as articles of faith. While many claim that this book is the literal word of God, no evidence for divine authorship exists. It should be understood that Christianity is only one of hundreds of religions that exist today, each of which proposes an alternative view of the universe. As each religion requires no proof other than faith, each can be viewed as equally valid and none may actually be correct.


Scopes II Plans Finalized

A three-member Kansas School Board subcommittee composed of conservative Christians who are sympathetic to creationism and intelligent design announced final plans for hearings on proposed science curriculum standards for the state yesterday. Scientists, educators, and supporters of science education have dubbed the hearings Scopes II after the infamous trial of biology teacher John Scopes of Dayton, Tennessee in 1925.

The subcommittee's plan calls for the first three days of the hearings, May 5-7, to be set aside for supporters of intelligent design and opponents of evolution to make presentations on their point of view. Time will be reserved for questions from opposition, attorneys and board members.

The last three days, May 12-14 , have been set aside for evolution supporters, however, scientists are supporting a boycott of the hearings called for by the pro-science group Kansas Citizens for Science. To date, no supporters of evolution have agreed to testify.

Harry McDonald, president of KCFS, said rebuttal comments would be made outside of the hearings at the end of each day of the testimony from intelligent design witnesses.

Pedro Irigonegaray, a Topeka attorney representing a majority of the 26-member panel who wrote the science standards, said at Tuesday's meeting that the hearings would waste state money that should be spent on educating children.

"I can't imagine anybody taking a penny for this process," said Irigonegaray, who is representing his clients for free.


Niall Shanks to Join WSU Faculty

The Wichita Eagle reports:

Niall Shanks, the author of a book opposing the concept of intelligent design, has been appointed to a new history and philosophy of science professorship at Wichita State University.

Shanks, author of "God, The Devil and Darwin: A Critique of Intelligent Design Theory," will be the first professor in the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences hired with a faculty of distinction gift. He will start in the fall.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


The Alice in Wonderland World of Intelligent Design: Religion is Science, Science is Religion

Last Wednesday, Greg Lassey, an intelligent design proponent who is member of the Kansas Science Writing Committee reported to the board on the proposed changes the minority would like to see in the state's science curriculum. Lassey called the charge that intelligent design advocates are trying to put religion into the standards a straw man.

"This is completely untrue," said Lassey. "It totally ignores our concerted efforts to do just the opposite. Instead of seeking to import a religious problem into science, we seek to take a current one out."

You see, what the intelligent design backers call methodological naturalism -- the insistence by scientists that proof requires evidence -- is really a religion.

And yet, in the Alice in Wonderland, up is down world of intelligent design, who are the proposed witnesses for intelligent design who have been called to defend science against the religion of scientists? They are -- almost without exception -- creationists.

Red State Rabble and Josh Rosenau at Thoughts from Kansas have already documented the views and background of many of these "expert" witnesses, but a quick look at one we haven't yet looked at quickly makes clear what the real agenda is.

Angus Menuge, PhD, for example, is described as a Professor of Philosophy at Concordia University Wisconsin, and author of Agents Under Fire: Materialism and the Rationality of Science in the press release announcing the intelligent design witness list.

How does he describe himself? Well, there's this from his faculty web page, "My interests now are in promoting Christian teaching and scholarship."

interestingly, Menuge is listed in the faculty directory as being a member of the computer sciences department at Concordia. His faculty web page says he is chair of the Philosophy Department, although Concordia offers only a minor in Philosophy and is heavy with such courses as: PHIL 311, The Christian Mind; PHIL 325, Christian Apologetics; PHIL 334, Christ and Culture; PHIL 335, Readings in Bioethics; and REL 376, Christian Ethics. No graduate level courses are listed.

Concordia, by the way, is one of ten colleges or universities in the Concordia University System, which is owned and operated by The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod Concordia. It "provides a variety of educational opportunities for students who are preparing for vocations in the ministry of the church and for various professional and business careers in the community"

No matter what they say in public when you scratch an intelligent design "theorist" and you'll get a whiff of creationism. It's that Alice in Wonderland thing again, the defenders of traditional values and the Bible have a little problem with honesty -- they can't bring themselves to tell the truth. Now, RSR is a little rusty, which commandment is that again?


Discovery's Meyer at Heritage Foundation

Stephen C. Meyer, a Senior Fellow and Director in the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute speaks today on intelligent design at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based conservative think tank whose mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense."

Here's the description of Meyer's talk:

In the ongoing exploration of what DNA reveals about the origin of life, some anti-establishment scientists are abandoning naturalistic explanations for the origin of genetic information and looking to theories of design for answers. In almost every scientific discipline there is newly found evidence that supports the theory of intelligent design. A growing number of scientists around the world no longer believe that natural selection or chemistry, alone, can explain the origins of life. Instead, they think that the microscopic world of the cell provides evidence of purpose and design in nature – a theory based upon compelling biochemical evidence. Join us as Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, a key design theorist and philosopher of science, explains this powerful and controversial concept on the mysteries of life.

Not a word of it is true of course, but when has that ever stopped them?


Evolution and Kansas Bioscience

Thursday, April 21, 2005 1 – 5:30 PM
Plymouth Congregational Church
925 Vermont Street, Lawrence, Kansas 66049

Steven B. Case, Ph.D., Chairman of the State of Kansas Science Standards Curriculum Revision Committee, will speak on “Kansas Science Education: the Real Issues” as the keynote speech of a half-day Public Meeting on Evolution and Kansas Bioscience, Thursday afternoon, April 21st, in Lawrence, Kansas.

In the first part of the 3-part Program, Dr. Case and a panel of expert educators and scientists will connect the dots between the one-half billion dollar Kansas Bioscience Initiative and the debate over teaching evolution. A Biology teacher for 20 years, Steve also worked at Genentech for two years. He and has been in the middle of the evolution controversy at the Kansas Board of Education since 1999.

“This is no longer a harmless argument that parents and administrators can simply be fair about to religious partisans,” Dr. Case, said. “It’s a question of basic science literacy and, before long, it will be about jobs.”

Invited panelists will respond to Prof. Case’s ideas from multiple perspectives. Brad Williamson, High School biology teacher, co-author of a biology textbook, and past president, National Assn. of Biology Teachers; Rachel Robson, Ph.D. candidate, KU Medical Center; Andrew Stangl, KU student; Joseph Heppert, Director, Center for Science Education, and Chemistry Professor, KU; Charles Decedue, Executive Director, Higuchi Biosciences Center, KU; Leonard Krishtalka, Director of the KU Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center; Lee Allison, Special Advisor to the Governor for Science and Energy.

A Review of Intelligent Design Creationism. What the Board of Education is interested in. Presenters: Jack Krebs, High School math & science teacher and member of the Kansas Science Standards Curriculum Revision Committee; Evan Kreider, Ph.D. Candidate, Philosophy of Science, KU.

Monday, April 18, 2005


Einstein and Darwin: Scientific Revolutionaries and Cultural Icons

Kansas State University's Center for the Understanding of Origins will host a conference October 1-3, 2005 on "Einstein and Darwin: Scientific Revolutionaries and Cultural Icons." The conference will be a wide-ranging interdisciplinary meeting that will discuss both the scientific and cultural impact of these two great scientists.


Science and Religious Fundamentalism

The American Scientist has published an article, "Science and Religious Fundamentalism" by Edward B. Davis, Distinguished Professor of the History of Science at Messiah College that looks at religious pamphlets by leading scientists of the Scopes era to provide insight into public debates about science. Davis is best known for his work on Robert Boyle and early modern science. His current research focuses on the religious beliefs of American scientists in the 1920s. Support for his research has been provided by the National Science Foundation.

Here's an excerpt:

Although the ideas associated with Protestant fundamentalism have their roots in the 19th century, the word "fundamentalist" itself was not used in print until 1920. As originally defined by Curtis Laws, the editor of a national Baptist weekly, fundamentalists" were those "who mean to do battle royal" in defense of certain traditional Christian beliefs and against the efforts of liberal Protestants to make those beliefs more consistent with secular thought and culture. As this definition suggests, fundamentalism is best understood as an attitude—the militant rejection of modernity—rather than as a specific set of doctrines.


From Global Warming to Evolution, the Right Embraces Deconstruction

Chris Mooney has an a feature article "Some Like it Hot" at Mother Jones with evidence that forty right-wing public policy groups funded by ExxonMobil seek to undermine the scientific consensus that humans are causing the global warming.

There is overwhelming scientific consensus that greenhouse gases emitted by human activity are causing global average temperatures to rise. Conservative think tanks are trying to undermine this conclusion with a disinformation campaign employing “reports” designed to look like a counterbalance to peer-reviewed studies, skeptic propaganda masquerading as journalism, and events like the AEI luncheon that Crichton addressed. The think tanks provide both intellectual cover for those who reject what the best science currently tells us, and ammunition for conservative policymakers like Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, who calls global warming “a hoax.”

Is Red State Rabble alone in seeing a parallel here between right-wing think tanks that use pseudo-science to attack the scientific consensus on global warming and the Discovery Institute's "wedge strategy" to go after evolution?

For years, the right derided deconstruction -- that questioning of traditional assumptions about certainty, identity, and truth -- now it seems they've embraced Derrida fully.


Medved: Fox Blocker Shows Liberal Intolerance

Michael Medved, one of the sharpest minds in the Christian and conservative world today according to Salem Communications producer of Beyond The News Commentaries, is up in arms over the Fox Blocker, an invention a that attaches to your TV set and prevents it from receiving the Fox News Channel.

(Fox Blocker) Inventor Sam Kimery says he wants to "protect people" from the purported conservative bias of the channel-once again demonstrating the left's inclination to stifle, rather than answer, points of view with which they disagree.

It's the same impulse that leads die-hard Darwinists to try to ban any talk of Intelligent Design, rather than rebutting it with logic and science-opposing even stickers on text books that ask students to keep an "open mind" on evolution.

Is demanding that intelligent design be discussed in philosophy or religion classes rather than biology classes really the same as trying to "ban any talk" of it? Seems like here in Kansas -- where we've already successfully rebutted it in the science curriculum committee and in four hearings held around the state -- we hear talk of almost nothing else.

Polls show 20 percent of Americans think the sun orbits the Earth and 17 percent believe the Earth revolves around the sun once a day, should we keep an open mind on these issues, too?

By the way, RSR would like to know where we can get one of these handy little Fox Blockers.

Sunday, April 17, 2005


Why Creationists Can't Play Wheel of Fortune. Posted by Hello


More on Darwin and Hitler

Red State Rabble has been involved in a long-running debate with Richard Weikart over whether evolutionary theory is responsible for Nazi ideology. Now, Robert Richards, the Morris Fishbein Professor in the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Chicago, has addressed the topic in this year’s Nora and Edward Ryerson Lecture.

Richards' lecture was titled “The Narrative Structure of Moral Judgments in History: Evolution and Nazi Biology.”

Richards, a specialist in evolutionary philosophy, has been concerned with the nature of moral judgment for some time, he says. In his lecture, he explained that he was led to the specific topic of evolution and Nazism after reading several historians’ accounts of the connection between evolutionary theory and Nazi war crimes.

Richards concluded that it could only be “tendentious” and “dogmatic” to condemn Darwin for Nazism, although Richards confessed that he still has not made up his mind on Haeckel.

Read a complete account of Richards' lecture by Usman Ahmed in the Chicago Maroon.


The Take From Liberal

George Diepenbrock, a reporter for the Southwest Daily Times in Liberal, Kansas writes in an opinion piece that science supporters are making a mistake by boycotting the Board of Education science hearings.

"...refusing to step forward at the hearings," he says, "would either convey to the public arrogance or insecurity on the part of evolutionary advocates."


Goodbye Gideon

The News Telegraph (UK) reports that students in Scotland have voted to remove Gideon Bibles from residence halls:

Stirling University Students' Association (SUSA) has voted to remove up to 6,000 copies of the Gideon Bible from more than 2,000 halls of residence rooms.

A motion to have them withdrawn was passed by 15-1 at a recent meeting of student council. Seven members abstained.

Citing the Scottish Executive's One Scotland Many Cultures campaign, the students said representing one faith was not in the spirit of equality.

Al Wilson, president of the SUSA, said: "The one thing the students have come up with is that they do have a Gideon Bible in their rooms but they feel that's not really fair on those who practise other faiths.

"It's promoting one faith over others, so we're trying to encourage the university to still retain the Bibles within the buildings themselves, but not necessarily in the rooms."


Evolution Forum

As previously reported, a forum on the evolution controversy in Kansas, and its possible effect on bioscience research in the state will be held from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Plymouth Congregational Church, 825 Vermont in Lawrence.


Skipping Over Evolution

Scott Rothschild reports in the Lawrence Journal-World that even when evolution is in the standards, it is often skipped over in the classroom:

Two years ago, when Adrian Melott, a Kansas University physics and astronomy professor, learned that his son's sixth-grade teacher was skipping over evolution, he set up a meeting.

"She said there's a lot to cover and we can't cover everything in the book," Melott said the teacher told him. "I kind of insisted she cover it, and she did. But I'm sure this happens a lot. The classroom is the front line of the battle."


Golfers in the Eye of God

Red State Rabble reader Clay Farris Naff takes a look at how intelligent design would affect teaching of other sciences:
Of course, biology is not the only science in which intelligent design doesn't look too smart. Take geology. How does intelligent design hope to explain earthquakes? Are plate tectonics a sign of unfinished business? Or just sloppy craftsmanship?

Look at astronomy. Why is the solar system full of rubble? And why does so much of it hit the earth (100 tons a day!), occasionally wiping out most of life?

How will teachers explain why tornadoes flatten churches? Or why lightning kills more golfers than criminals?

Clay Farris Naff is a writer living in Nebraska. He is editor of a forthcoming volume on evolution in the Exploring Science and Medical Discoveries series published by Greenhaven Press. More information on the Lincoln Forum on Science and Religion may found at

Saturday, April 16, 2005


Holloway Demands a Do-Over

Linda Holloway, former chairperson of the Kansas State Board of Education and Christian fundamentalist who led the board in 1999 when it first devalued the teaching of evolution, has now weighed in on the evolution hearings proposed by proponents of intelligent design.

"Radical evolutionists refuse to acknowledge the existence of any controversy," writes Holloway in the JoCoKs Report. "If they refuse to debate and defend the issue, for example in the Kansas hearings, and they fall back on the tired old elitist arguments, they may soon go the way of the dinosaurs."

Two observations:

First, notice the "radical" in front of evolutionists. This is right from the Gingrich, Frist, DeLay playbook which calls for demonizing those you disagree with. As a young earth creationist, Holloway is unlikely to have any sympathy with moderate, or even conservative evolutionists. When Holloway lost to moderate Sue Gamble in the school board election that followed the 1999 attacks on evolution, it was not radical evolutionists who jammed the polling places in Johnson County to get rid of her. It was parents who were concerned that the antics of right-wing religious fanatics on the board would make it harder for their children to be accepted at top-flight universities around the country.

Second, scientists are not dodging the debate. They've already won it in the science curriculum committee. Defenders of science also won the debate hands down in four public hearings held around the state in February.

Having lost both those public debates, what Holloway and other biblical literalists (some of whom have traded their tattered bib overalls for a rented intelligent design tuxedo) are demanding yet another do-over.

The board has already made up its mind. More debate won't change that.


Dawkins Declines

Kansas Citizens for Science has posted responses from scientists to requests from the Kansas Board of Education to participate in its planned evolution show trial in May. Here are excerpts from some of their responses:

Richard Dawkins:
Thank you for your invitation to testify before the Kansas State Board of Education. Unfortunately I cannot attend, as I shall be busy debating the Flat Earth Society.I am sorry to be facetious but, as I am sure you are aware, the State of Kansas has made itself the laughing stock of the scientific world over this issue. The very idea of "representatives from both views" presupposes that there are two views to represent. In many fields of science there is indeed genuine controversy, and science thrives on genuine controversy. In the case of evolution, however, the only opposition comes from right outside science, and from people wholly ignorant of science. For real scientists to share a platform with the biological equivalent of flat-earthers would be to give them the credibility, respectability, and above all publicity that they crave.I am sorry, but count me out.

Denis Lamoureux, a PhD Scientist and Theologian
Pursuant to our phone conversation yesterday, this letter is to confirm my withdrawal from participation in the KSBE hearings this May "regarding the mainstream scientific view of the nature of science."As you will recall, I accepted your invitation the day it was offered (7 Apr 05) and wrote that I was delighted and honored"...
I have always enjoyed American hospitality. In particular, I have always appreciated the belief in fairness that the men and women in your country embrace. However, I feel that I was set up. In fact, I sense that I was going to be used in an injudicious and manipulative fashion. I am more than disappointed. It is now clear to me why scientists in the State of Kansas do not want to participate in these hearings. The KSBE has not organized these proceedings in a fair way. It has skewed the subcommittee to favor the "minority" view. Bluntly stated, this is professionally and ethically not acceptable. As a born-again Christian, I am an optimist. I trust that men and women of good Faith will contribute in the Lord's will being done in this matter. Should KSBE arrange fair hearings in future, I would be delighted and honored to participate.

Scott Brande, Ph.D.
I understand that at the January meeting of the Board, each of the motions made by representatives of the IDN (Intelligent Design Network) was discussed and defeated.I also understand that in response to these defeats, the IDN has proposed a more generalized discussion on views of the nature of science expressed by both representatives of the "mainstream" (i.e., scientific majority) as well as representatives of the IDN or other like-minded proponents of non-scientific views (i.e., intelligent design), especially as these views relate to the NCLB Act (No Child Left Behind) conference committee statement you quoted below.That the Board would order such a public discussion is especially odd for the following reasons.1) Viewpoints on the nature of science expressed by the IDN were made perfectly clear in their objections to the draft science curriculum standards.2) These views were defeated in formal motions.Further discussions of such views would appear to have a purpose for no reason other than trying to once again inject such viewpoints into the science curriculum, when in fact such views have already been rejected.This could be interpreted as unAmerican - the IDN gave its best shot, and the shot fell far short of the target. The IDN seems not to want to play by the rules (specifically Robert's Rules of Order). The controversial discussion ought now to be closed, and the Board should proceed with the adoption of the draft science standards without further interference by the IDN or its supporters.

To read the scientist's full responses go to KCFS.

Friday, April 15, 2005


Blasphemy Conviction Overturned

A Greek appeals court yesterday overturned the conviction of Austrian cartoonist Gerhard Haderer for blasphemy over a comic book portraying Jesus as a marijuana-smoking hippie.


Board Increasingly Isolated

As the creationist majority on Kansas State Board of Education pushes ahead with its plan to hold an evolution show trial in May, it is finding itself increasingly isolated from professional scientists and educators. The Kansas Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have declined to participate in the hearings.

Now it's being reported that efforts to schedule a joint meeting between the Kansas Board of Regents and the State Board of Education have been unsuccessful, according to Andy Tompkins, Commissioner of Education, and Steve Abrams, chairman of the State Board.


What's Good for the Goose, Isn't Good for the Republican Gander

Last week, the Republican controlled Missouri legislature voted to authorize many of Gov. Matt Blunt's proposals to eliminate Medicare coverage for 100,000 low income citizens, reduce benefits to others, and require many to pay more for health care from their own pockets.

Describing the cuts as cruel, hundreds of advocates for affected low-income parents, seniors and the disabled have protested repeatedly at the Capitol in Jefferson City.

This week, the legislature voted against a budget amendment introduced by Rep. Trent Skaggs, a Democrat from Kansas City, to cut 20 percent from the state's contribution to the health plans of legislators and statewide elected officials, such as Blunt.

"If we're going to ask other people to sacrifice, we should sacrifice first - I firmly believe that," said Skaggs.

Apparently, Republicans disagree.


AAAS Joins Boycott

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has declined an invitation from the Kansas Board of Education to appear at a May hearing on teaching evolution in public schools after concluding that the event is likely to sow confusion rather than understanding among the public.

In a letter to George Griffith, science consultant to the Kansas State Department of Education, association CEO Alan I. Leshner sided with the leaders of the Kansas science community who have described the hearings as an effort by faith-based proponents of "intelligent design" theory to attack and undermine science.

"After much consideration," Leshner wrote, "AAAS respectfully declines to participate in this hearing out of concern that rather than contribute to science education, it will most likely serve to confuse the public about the nature of the scientific enterprise."


Indiana School Board Wants Creationism in Biology Text

The East Porter County School Board in Indiana has delayed the adoption of biology textbooks because they don’t mention creationism, a theory that a divine being is responsible for the creation of life, reports Carole Carlson of the Post Tribune.


Defend Science Education in Public Schools -- Add Your Signature to the Letter

Add your signature to the position paper defending REAL science in Kansas public schools adopted by the coalition of The Kansas Academy of Sciences, Kansas Citizens for Science, Kansas Families United for Public Education, and MAINstream Coalition.

Visit the Kansas Citizens for Science web site to add your signature and lend your support.


Position Paper on the State Science Standards

The following statement has been adopted by a coalition of four organizations and individuals who support quality science education in Kansas:

Science has been stunningly successful in increasing human understanding of the natural world and in improving our quality of life. Yet science education is under attack. We support quality science education in public schools, and we oppose politically motivated attempts to insert theological concepts into science in public education classrooms.

The Science Standards Writing Committee, appointed last year by the Kansas State Board of Education, has developed a superb set of standards for teaching science at all levels in public schools. But instead of accepting these standards, the Board of Education has subverted the process. They are now planning on spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to stage a series of hearings intended to showcase a theology known as Intelligent Design creationism as a
substitute for science. We support the adoption of the standards written by the science standards writing committee. We reject the show-trial hearings, whose purpose is to make it appear that Intelligent Design creationism and the well-established science of evolution are on equal footing.

We recognize that there are many ways of interpreting our world, such as science, religion, and art. Science deals with investigating nature, while the others deal with different aspects of our life. The theory of evolution, a unifying concept in modern biology, is accepted as such by millions of devout believers of all major faiths. Fully understanding biology is impossible without understanding evolution. For this reason, we support the teaching of science, including evolution, that has passed intense scrutiny and review by the world’s science community, and we oppose attempts to dilute that teaching, whether by adding intelligent design creationism, young earth creationism, or trumped-up "evidence against evolution" to public school science curricula.

Kansans should refuse to allow our children to be left behind. Science is becoming increasingly important to economic growth in Kansas and nationwide. Our children need a good solid science education in order to compete in the global marketplace. In supporting quality science education, we support a bright future for our children, our state, and our world.

We urge all Kansans to join us in adopting the following positions:

  1. We request that the State Board of Education adopt the final draft of the standards offered
    later this spring by the writing committee, without revisions.
  2. We request that the State Board of Education cancel all special opportunities for the Intelligent Design minority to present their views. We especially urge the Board to cancel the so-called "science hearings" scheduled in May. The minority proposals were considered and rejected by a two-thirds majority of the science standards writing committee. The BOE should accept that and give the minority group no further special privileges.
The Kansas Academy of Science Mike Everhart, president
Kansas Citizens For Science Harry McDonald, president
Kansas Families United for Public Education John Martellaro, president
The Mainstream Coalition Caroline McKnight, director
Dr. Kenneth S. Schmitz, Biophysics and Physical Chemistry, Kansas City, MO


Coalition Defends Quality Science Education in Kansas

Four organizations dedicated to quality education have formed a coalition in response to recent attacks on quality science education in Kansas. The Kansas Academy of Science, Kansas Citizens For Science, Kansas Families United for Public Education, and The MAINstream Coalition have united to issue a Position Paper on the State Science Standards in support of the work of the state science standards committee and in opposition to the upcoming “science hearings” to be held by three conservative members of the Kansas Board of Education.

The three, Steve Abrams, Kathy Martin, and Connie Morris, are all opposed to evolution and in support of creationism. They propose to question “witnesses” who will testify for and against evolutionary theory, ostensibly in order to decide whether to accept the science standards adopted by the state 25-member Science Standards Writing Committee or to include content from the minority report presented by the eight Intelligent Design creationists on the committee.

Coalition members have resolved to boycott these “science hearings.” Scientists around the nation are supporting the boycott, refusing to participate in what they consider a “kangaroo court” in which the outcome is a foregone conclusion: science standards which do not support teaching evolution as it is understood and used around the world.

The Intelligent Design creationists have called 23 witnesses who will participate, at tax-payer expense, under the direction of retired trial lawyer John Calvert, head of the Intelligent Design Network, Inc.

These “science hearings” will be nothing but a tax-supported showcase for Intelligent Design creationism. The science, religious, and educational communities will not remain silent, however.

The coalition is planning a number of events to present their views outside the “hearings” process. Details will be announced as they are available. “Intelligent Design Creationism is a theological idea, which the Constitution does not allow to be taught in public school science classes,” said Harry McDonald, President of Kansas Citizens For Science.

“Our young people need to learn useful science, not religiously based ideas like Intelligent Design Creationism, in science classes," says McDonald. "The future is in bioscience, and we want our young people to be part of that future.”

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Connie Morris: Tragic Victim of Child Abuse?

Kansas State Board of Education member Connie Morris, one of six conservatives on the 10-member board, says whe was traumatized when she was taught evolution in a public school.

She said she remembered looking at pictures representing the Big Bang and thinking "my mom and dad drug me to Sunday School for all those years and lied to me."


Enlightenment, a Formidable Enemy of Christianity?

Intelligent design theorists, and their country cousins, the biblical literalists, are down on evolution, down on science, and down on the Enlightenment. Even Red State Rabble, worldly as we are, was surprised to learn this little fact.

For the skeptics among you, RSR knows you're out there, here's the evidence:

Ellen Myers writing at has this to say:
"As we defend the biblical Christian position, we must be alert and prepared to carry the battle into the enemy's camp. We will find that the unresolved and ever recurring internal inconsistencies in all worldly philosophies reasoning not from God but from man are the most vulnerable spots in the unbelievers armor. Let us consider the eighteenth century enlightenment, a formidable enemy of Christianity, as an example."

It was a little before our time, but as RSR remembers it, the 17th century was torn by witch-hunts and wars of religion where Catholics slaughtered Protestants, Protestants slaughtered Catholics, and Protestants slaughtered each other. In those dark days, people could be imprisoned for attending the wrong church, or not attending at all. Every pamphlet and book, was subject to prior censorship by both church and state, often working hand in hand.

The pilgrims who came to America to escape religious persecution, didn't come because they were under attack by humanists and scientists. Rather, they came to escape persecution at the hands of their fellow believers in the established churches, such as the Church of England.

Those in America now, who want the schools to teach their religious beliefs, want laws enacted that enforce those beliefs, demand the courts to be ruled by judges from the next pew, should remember that legacy. The freedom to worship, associate, and speak as they believe is a legacy not of the Christian fundamentalism they preach, but the Enlightenment they despise.


The Name Game

Not just anybody can say he has a slime-mold beetle named in his honor. But George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald H. Rumsfeld can. Entomologists Quentin Wheeler and Kelly B. Miller, who recently had the task of naming 65 newly discovered species of slime-mold beetles, named three species after the president, vice president and defense secretary. The monikers: Agathidium bushi Miller and Wheeler, Agathidium cheneyi Miller and Wheeler, and Agathidium rumsfeldi Miller and Wheeler.

From an Associated Press report.


Croc Skulls Prompt Rethinking

From an AFP report:

The fossilized skulls of two large crocodile-like amphibians, recovered from the sun-scorched Niger desert, are prompting palaeontologists to rethink the evolutionary path taken by four-legged beasts in Earth's distant past...

Until now, the supposition has been that Permian tetrapods (four-legged creatures) were rather tediously similar.

But the latest fossils, along with other discoveries made in Niger in the past few years, suggests that species diversification was well underway 250 million years ago.

During this time, the Earth had seasons that were alternative hot and humid, especially in equatorial zones, and a vast southern polar ice cap began to melt.

The notion of homogeneity during the Permian is "probably over-simplified," for the humble reason that there has been little effort to dig out fossils in tough regions like the Sahara, the authors suggest.


Board Accepts Two Reports on Science Standards

The Kansas State Board of Education, meeting yesterday in Hutchison, accepted two reports on proposed science standards, one from the majority of scientists and educators on the science curriculum committee which describes evolution as a key, unifying concept vital for students to understandand, and another, from the intelligent design minority of the committee, that proposes "teaching the controversy" over evolution.

Board Chairman Steve Abrams of Arkansas City said the board will consider the state's science standards - and evolution - at hearings tentatively scheduled to begin May 5 in Topeka.

Scientists are boycotting those hearings.


Bright Line

"Religious and philosophical issues should be taught in religious classes, and science should be taught in science classes," Steve Case, chairman of the science writing committee and a University of Kansas research professor, told the Kansas State Board of Education yesterday. "And there should be a bright line between them."


Science Standards Chair to Speak

Steve Case, chairman of the committee recommending revisions to the state science standards, will give the keynote speech during a public meeting from 1 to 5 p.m. April 21 on evolution and bioscience at the Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vermont.

Case is part of the majority of the committee that has rejected suggestions to add criticisms of evolution into the state's science curriculumstandards. The event will include several other speakers and presentations.


Charlotte Imax Shows Volcanoes of the Deep

Discovery Place, the science museum and Imax Theater in Charlotte, will show "Volcanoes of the Deep Sea three times today. The film will return to Discovery Place for a longer run this summer.

Discovery Place CEO John Mackay now claims he made the initial call not to show the film more on artistic quality than concerns over a backlash from creationists.

However, when news reports first revealed that Imax theaters in the south were taking a pass on evolution themed films, Mackay noted the issue of evolution had come up when museum staff looked at the film.

"The primary concern was that," Mackay said, "with other good film product out there, we didn't feel it was the film we should bring in at that time. We've shown many films and exhibits that touch on evolution. But we felt the way this was phrased was over the top. It was put out there with such in-your-faceness."Filmmakers can be strident in their language -- `This is the way it is' -- and what's held as theoretical is presented as fact."

Undoubtedly that "other good film product" included the Nascar Imax film with all its science content.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Jefferson Muzzle Award to Georgia Anti-evolution Legislator

Georgia State Rep. Ben Bridges, is among the recipients of this year’s Jefferson Muzzles — a “dubious distinction” bestowed by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, for proposing a bill to restrict teaching about evolution in public school science classes.

Bridges bill provided that teachers could only teach “scientific fact,” not theories. Guess he forgot that evolution and gravity are both theories.


Correction Correction

The Associated Press has published the following correction:
In an April 8 story about Kansas science standards, The Associated Press reported erroneously that public hearings next month will feature witnesses who advocate teaching intelligent design alongside evolution in public school classrooms. Instead, the witnesses are expected to advocate exposing students to more criticism of evolution, not teaching alternatives to it.

This correction is almost certainly a result of pressure from the Discovery Institute in Seattle which maintains it doesn't want to teach intelligent design, it just wants to "teach the controversy."

Here's what Discovery Institute fellow Jonathan Witt says on Discovery's Evolution News and Views blog:

AP Story Gets it Wrong: The Kansas Hearings are About the Weaknesses in Neo-Darwinism

An AP story on the upcoming hearings on Kansas science standards contains a crucial error.

According to the lead, the hearings “will have as many as 23 witnesses speaking in support of teaching public school children intelligent design alongside the theory of volution.”

In fact, few if any of the featured scientists are pushing for design theory in the curriculum. That’s not even on the table in the science standards. Indeed, some of those speaking, like Italian geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti, aren’t even design theorists. They’re simply calling for students to learn the strengths and weaknesses in Darwin’s theory of evolution, rather than the air-brushed presentation of evolutionary theory they currently get.

Why are some Darwinists so keen to obscure this fact? Why won’t they attend the hearings and explain why students shouldn’t learn about those weaknesses? Perhaps because such a position is indefensible.

The only correct statement in Witt's post is that "few if any of the featured scientists are pushing for design theory in the curriculum." As documented here and elsewhere, almost all the featured "scientists" are biblical literalists whose ultimate goal is the inclusion of the Biblical story of Genesis in science classes. A number of these so-called scientists have come under fire at their own universities for proselytizing their students.

Intelligent design isn't something they believe in, it's just an intellectually dishonest legal and political strategy they're willing to employ.

It is unfortunate that the Associated Press has given in to Discovery's pressure. It's another example of the mainstream media being bent to the will of right-wing ideologues in this country.


America's Split Personality Disorder

To be an American is to live with to split personality disorder.

This is nothing new for us, of course. From the moment a slave owner penned the words, "We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness..." we have been of two minds about ourselves, the country, and the world we live in.

Not long ago, we Americans were whipped into a war frenzy in order -- we were told -- to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of the thuggish Saddam Hussein.

And yet, as citizens of the nation with the planet's largest nuclear arsenal, we are mostly untroubled by the increasing influence at the highest levels of government of people who fervently believe that nuclear Armageddon -- the all-important end times signal of the second coming of Christ -- is not only drawing near, but is desirable.

Here's how Dr. John Walvoord, the long-time president and chancellor emeritus at Dallas Theological Seminary, who died in 2002, explained it:

"God does not look on all of His children the same way. He sees us divided into categories, the Jews and the Gentiles. God has one plan, an earthly plan, for the Jews. And He has a second plan, a heavenly plan, for the born-again Christians. The other peoples of the world -- Muslims, Buddhists, and those of other faiths as well as those Christians not born again -- do not concern Him. As for destroying planet earth, we can do nothing. Peace, for us, is not in God's book... " Quoted in Prophecy and Politics by Grace Halsell (Lawrence Hill and Co.)


Rights, Revenues and Realities: Challenges to Regional Public Education

The Definitive Conference on public education is happening this weekend, in Kansas City. A “must-attand-event” for teachers, school board members, parents and community activists who care about the health of our public schools. Over thirty experts on everything from funding to mandates to the political realities of both will share what they know.

April 15 and 16
Village Presbyterian Church
6641 Mission Road
Prairie Village

Featured Speakers: Claudio Sanchez, NPR’s National Education Correspondent (Friday at 2:30), and Frosty Troy, Oklahoma’s “Education Will Rogers” (Saturday at 2:15)

Special Note: A very generous last-minute benefactor has made it possible for Mainstream Coalition to offer discounts for partial attendance. Find the complete schedule here or call 913-649-3326 for more information.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


No Credibility

Randy Scholfield, writing or the editorial board of the Wichita Eagle:

The nation's scientific community has weighed in on the Kansas Board of Education's efforts to put Darwin on trial.

They're boycotting en masse.

This resounding rejection of the hearings speaks volumes about how the mainstream scientific community sees the Kansas evolution "controversy."

It has no credibility.

In recent weeks, the Kansas Department of Education staff has failed to find any scientists in Kansas or the nation who want to legitimize the upcoming May hearings with their presence.

Not one of Kansas' six major universities has agreed to send scientists.

Not one of the nation's top science organizations has responded to the request.

For the vast majority of scientists, the "controversy" about the legitimacy of evolutionary theory simply doesn't exist.

For them, evolution is a cornerstone of modern science in several fields, and its validity and usefulness is beyond dispute.


Dog and Pony Show

"It's a dog and pony show, and I can't see a point in participating," says Mike Everhart, president of the Kansas Academy of Sciences, explaining why scientists won't take part in the Kansas evolution show trial scheduled for May.


Pennsylvania Intelligent Design Bill

Daylin Leach, a Democrat representing Montgomery County’s 149th District, who sits on the education committee: "I would be surprised if this were ever brought up" adding "I’m certain the governor would never sign such a bill."


Kansas Leads the Way

"Study Kansas history," says Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline. "We were at the forefront of the abolitionist movement, the women's suffrage movement, prohibition…. Then we got conservatism and recognized the importance of faith."

"In many ways," Kline says, "Kansas leads the nation on social issues. And always will."

In the fall of 2003, Kline demonstrated the kind of leadership he has in mind. He issued an impassioned defense of a Kansas law that subjected sexually active teens to much steeper criminal penalties if they were gay.

Stephanie Simon an LA Times staff writer reports that in a legal brief, Kline argued that the state should

"punish a boy who had sex with an underage boy more harshly than a boy who had sex with an underage girl because the heterosexual couple might some day marry, and "marriage creates families" — a desirable outcome for the state.

"Treating "same-sex or bestial contact" the same as Romeo and Juliet pairings "will begin a toppling of dominoes which is likely to end with the Kansas marriage law on the scrapheap," he wrote."


Einstein a Creationist?

Yesterday, Red State Rabble reported on a list of 11 scientists "who doubted evolution" published by Rev. Jerry Johnston that included -- in addition to seven scientists who died before Darwin was born -- the name of Albert Einstein.

Now we read this:

"During April 2005, humanistic Jews across North America will be lighting memorial candles to Albert Einstein, Jewish humanist and scientist, on the fiftieth anniversary of his death.

"Albert Einstein was an ardent humanist who believed that human power and human responsibility were the foundations of the moral life," explained Rabbi Sherwin Wine, Dean of the Institute that trains humanistic rabbis. "Einstein maintained that ethical rules flowed from human experience and from the requirements of human survival. While he stood in awe of the wonders of the universe, he refused to worship them."

RSR shudders to think, could the good Rev. Jerry be wrong about Einstein, too?


Standing Up By Sitting Out

Inside Higer Ed has a commentary on the battle over science in Kansas:

Evolution and science are under attack again in Kansas, and academics there and around the country are refusing to participate in state Board of Education hearings designed to debate the concepts.

The head of the American Association for the Advancement of Science became the latest to beg off, saying in a letter to the board Monday that “rather than contribute to science education, [the hearings] will most likely serve to confuse the public about the nature of the scientific enterprise.”


Kansas Science Draft to be Presented at Board Meeting

Kansas Citizens for Science is urging supporters of science education to attend the April 12 and 13 state Board of Education meetings in Hutchinson, Kansas. There will be an Open Forum on Tuesday, April 12 at 10:30. On Wednesday, April 13, at 9:50 a.m. state science standards committee chairperson Steve Case will present the second draft (Draft 2) of the state science standards as recommended by the committee.

The Board is allowing the Intelligent Design minority to present their Minority report – another example of the Board giving the Intelligent Design minority unprecedented opportunities to present their arguments to the public. However, this will also give the pro-science Board members an opportunity to question the Intelligent Design representative, and they may have some pointed questions.

Another issue that may come up is the external review of the standards. Standard procedure would be to send Draft 2 out for external review. An excellent organization, McRel, has bid on being the external reviewer, but this was tabled at a previous Board meeting. No doubt the pro-science Board members will want the Minority proposal sent out for external review also, but the majority on the Board may wish to forestall or even forgo the external review. This will be an issue to watch for at the meeting.

And last, of course, is the issue of the “science hearings” the Board has scheduled in May. The Board is giving the intelligent design advocates a stage to present their ideas to a Board subcommittee that is known to be sympathetic with the Minority’s anti-evolutionary and creationist ideas.

Scientists around the world have joined the majority on the standards writing committee, the pro-science Board members, and Kansas Citizens for Science in refusing to legitimize these hearings by participating. This issue will undoubtedly hang over the Board meeting Tuesday and Wednesday even though it is not officially on the agenda.The Board meeting is at: Hutchinson Community College, Shears Technology Center - Justice Theatre at 1300 North Plum in Hutchinson, Kansas 620-665-3500


Science and Numinousness

Is science coldly rational -- utterly devoid of the human spirit -- as our friends on the Christian right would have it? Here's an elegant answer from PZ Meyers over at Pharyngula.

RSR also thinks Keats' "On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer" captures the wonder of discovery that can come from unlocking the mysteries of the natural world:

Then I felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star'd at the Pacific -- and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise --
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

Monday, April 11, 2005


Atwood, Kansas: Reaps It's Reward

Check out the Atwood, Kansas website. The site was designed by Daniel, a hometown boy, who happens to be gay. When the town voted to ban gay marriage April 5, Daniel took down the site he built for them and posted this instead. A just reward.


Jerry Johnston's "Sermonars" -- Scientists Who Don't Believe in Evolution

Jerry Johnston the Christian Fundamentalist pastor at First Family Christian Church in Overland Park, Kansas has turned his attention from denying gays the right to marry to leading a fight against evolution.

Supporters of science education should take a look at his “sermonars” on evolution here. They use sophisticated graphics to dazzle the gullible who won’t know the “science” Johnston offers has been debunked a million times.

Here’s one of Johnston's laughers: A list of Scientists who don’t believe in evolution which was first proposed by Charles Darwin in Origin of the Species in 1858.

Non-Evolution Scientists:
• LEONARDO DA VINCI (Died May 2, 1519
• ROBERT BOYLE (Died December 30, 1691)
• ISAAC NEWTON (March 20, 1727)
• LOUIS PASTEUR (September 28,1895) see below
• JOHANNES KEPLER (November 15, 1630)
• FRANCIS BACON (April 9, 1626)
• BLAISE PASCAL (August 19,1662)
• CAROLUS LINNEUS (January 10, 1778)
• MICHAEL FARADAY (August 25,1867)
• JOSEPH LISTER (February 10, 1912)
• ALBERT EINSTEIN(April 18, 1955) Oh, really?

Let’s look at the creationist’s scorecard: Of the 11 scientists listed as doubting the theory evolution, seven (64 percent) died before Darwin published Origin of the Species.

Concerned about the accuracy of the creationist’s citation of major scientists who died later? Farraday, inventor of the first dynamo, (who died less than 10 years after Origin of the species was published) or Lister, or Pasteur? A quick look at the note below from Talk Origins Archive on Pasteur will quickly set your mind at rest.

Well, at least the creationists can take comfort from Albert Einstein, the physicist who proposed the General Theory of Relativity, the first step on the road to the “Big Bang.”

Talk Origins on Louis Pasteur who “wrote little on the subject of evolution or creation. He was apparently skeptical of the popularity of Darwin's theory, but he accepted evolution. Along with most French scientists of his time, he probably did not accept natural selection as its cause.” Cuny (1965, 122) quotes Pasteur:

Virulence appears in a new light which cannot but be alarming to humanity; unless nature, in her evolution down the ages (an evolution which, as we now know, has been going on for millions, nay, hundreds of millions of years), has finally exhausted all the possibilities of producing virulent or contagious diseases -- which does not seem very likely.

Need we say more about the scientists who don't accept evolution? Oh, by the way, intelligent design "theorist" John Calvert is joining Johnston at First Family as a "special guest" for a little session on evolution next week. John "the facts, nothing but the facts" Calvert is apparently untroubled by the science behind Johnston's views.


After the rapture, can I have your car?

Need a car? House? Bass Boat? Some of us "left behinders" might have the opportunity to own a slightly used car (maybe even a Hummer) and other valuable property sooner than we thought.

According to the Rapture Index, the prophetic speedometer of end-time activity, as of April 4, the index stands at 153, not as high as the record of 182 set on September 24, 2001, but way above the record low set on December 12, 1993 (Hey, wasn't Clinton president then?)

Here's a guide to the numbers:

Hey, if you fasten your seatbelt, will that keep you from flying up to heaven?

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