Evolution Creation Debate
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Judge Rules Against Dover School Board
Yesterday, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III struck down the Dover, Pa. school board's decision to require biology students to hear about the concept of Intelligent Design.
He said “We find that the secular purposes claimed by the board amount to a pretext for the board's real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom, in violation of the Establishment Clause.”
More comments from his 139-page opinion are at: Globe and Mail
The actual text read to grade 9 students is at Dover Pensylvannia School District
UPDATES: The new School Board elected in November decided not to appeal and on January 3, 2006 unanimously voted to rescind the policy.
February 21, 2006 The Dover Area School Board agreed to pay $1 million in court costs
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Textbook Warning Label
The Washington Post is reporting that the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments today whether stickers on text books calling evolution a theory, not fact, are unconstitutional.
In January, schools in Cobb County in suburban Atlanta were forced to remove the stickers by a federal judge. The labels read:
"This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."
Saturday, December 03, 2005
Proposed Kansas University Course Cancelled
Kansas University has cancelled a proposed course titled 'Intelligent Design, Creationisms and other Religious Mythologies'. The motives of religious studies department chair Paul Mirecki were called into question when he posted the following email on a Yahoo list-serv discussion board moderated by the student organization for which he served as faculty adviser :
To my fellow damned,
Its true, the fundies have been wanting to get I.D. and creationism into the Kansas public schools, so I thought “why don’t I do it?”
I will teach the class, with several other lefty KU professors in the sciences and humanities. Class is:
REL 602 Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationisms and other Religious Mythologies.
Tuesdays 7:00-9:30pm. Smith Hall room 100. Open to undergrads and grads.
Enrollment limited to about 120. 3 credit hours.
The fundies want it all taught in a science class, but this will be a nice slap in their big fat face by teaching it as a religious studies class under the category “mythology.” I expect it will draw much media attention. The university public relations office will have a press release on it in a few weeks, I also have contacts at several regional newspapers.
Of course, I won’t actually be teaching I.D. and creationisms, but rather I’ll be teaching ABOUT I.D. and creationisms as modern mythologies, indicating that these ideas have no place in a public school science class, but can certainly be analyzed in humanities classes for their function in society. Basic approach is my usual: anthropology with a focus on religious thought and behavior.
Any ideas for textbooks, guest lecturers and panels would be appreciated.
So far, six faculty have eagerly signed up to lecture. I can probably pull Chancellor Hemenway into this also, especially in the light of his public comments supporting evolution.
Doing my part to piss of (sic) the religious right,
Evil Dr. P.
UPDATE: The Associated Press reported December 6 that police are investigating a roadside beating of Paul Mirecki 6:40 a.m. Monday on a rural road south of Lawrence, Kansas. Mirecki told the Lawrence Journal-World that the two men who beat him were making references to his proposed course.
December 7 the university announced Mirecki had resigned as chairman of the religious studies department. 2 days later Mirecki told the Lawrence Journal-World he had been forced to step down.