June 24, 2007 - June 30, 2007 Archives

There has been controversy over a particular quote of Cheri Pierson Yecke. The Princeton (MN) Union-Eagle reported on October 9th, 2003 that Yecke had said local schools districts could teach “intelligent design”. I copied that quote in a post on my blog on August 30, 2005. A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from ReputationDefenders on Yecke’s behalf asking for removal of the quote on the grounds that it was false.

Several Minnesotans have said that the position noted by the Princeton Union-Eagle was, in fact, accurate. Over on Greg Laden’s blog, “Cat’s Staff” noted that a Minnesota TV station had video of Yecke discussing the science standards. I viewed it, then transcribed the relevant part. As far as I am concerned, the Princeton Union-Eagle is vindicated in this matter; at the time that they reported, Cheri Pierson Yecke was indeed saying that teaching “intelligent design” was a decision that local school districts could undertake. Both the quote from the Princeton Union-Eagle and the subsequent criticism I made of Yecke’s position on the issue are upheld by this source.

The issue really is intelligent design and evolution and the there was language that was put in the conference committee report that accompanied the no child left behind act that said you know students should be exposed to all sides of a controversial issue. […] And it is well understood now that this is a decision that would be made by local school boards and not the state.

Continue reading at the Austringer.

A rather unsavory character, Dr Johannes Lerle, was jailed in Germany for violating their laws against neo-Nazism and Holocaust denial. I discussed this earlier this week, and as Gerard Harbison and Andrew Brown have recently pointed out, he was not a very nice man at all…a bit of a kook, really.

For dinner this evening RPM over at evolgen organized a science bloggers dinner. Prof. Steve Steve and I managed to make it. (Of course, Steve Steve is just happy that he is not stuck in the AA system anymore.) On the suggestion (direction?) of John Logsdon we headed to il Mercato for some lovely Italian food. I had seafood spaghettini, and it was mm—mm—good.

At the end of dinner the waitress was nice enough to take a group picture.

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Back: John Logsdon Jason Stajich RPM Julius Lucks Reed Cartwright Prof. Steve Steve Rosie Redfield ?

Front: Jacob Tennessen ? ?

I’ll post names and urls of people as people claim themselves in comments.

2007-07_NG_cover.jpgGiven that malaria is more or less the preeminent case of intelligent design in Michael Behe’s The Edge of Evolution, I think everyone would find it interesting to read the July 2007 cover story of National Geographic, which is on malaria and the history of attempts, failures, and hopes of eradicating it. The story focuses on Zambia, where the infection rates are sometimes over 100% (i.e., people are infected more than once a year). I have a somewhat personal interest in this since when I was seven my family went to Zambia for a year, as my dad was on sabbatical. We all took chloroquine weekly – a nasty-tasting drug to a seven-year old, mind you. And despite religiously taking the nasty-tasting drug, I got malaria in the end anyway (the chloroquine-resistant kind, naturally), came down with it on the plane ride back to the states, and then, sick as a dog, I was paraded around undiagnosed before baffled American doctors who had never seen malaria, until someone had the bright idea that maybe I had picked up the most common disease in Africa. More nasty medicine cured it, but that was an early lesson in evolution for me, let me tell you.

The Supreme Court today issued an important decision addressing when taxpayers may sue government for spending taxpayer money in ways that support religious groups. The Justices had been urged to overrule a long-standing case that gave taxpayers unique power to sue the government in such cases, and they did not; but they did sharply restrict the ability to challenge such expenditures in ways that may have a major impact in future cases addressing the conflict between creationism and evolution education. The case is Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation Inc., and you can read it online here.

First the background:

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On June 17, I had the opportunity to return to Ken Ham’s House of (take your pick - Horrors, Thrills, Bible Stories) and really poke around the place. My friends Jason, Tara, and Wesley were there, along with some other great folk. I really learned a lot from the place, and I thought I would share some of my adventures with readers. Let’s take a look. (Warning - lots of images below the fold, may load slowly, especially for dial-up connections.)

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