Maryland Citizens for Science

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Doug McNeil ([Enable javascript to see this email address.]), a computer field engineer from Baltimore, has in mind a statewide organization, called Maryland Citizens for Science, to promote good science education and to oppose the creationist threat in his state. In no particular order, its basic functions would be:

  • To monitor creationist activity in Maryland. Marylanders can’t know everything that happens in every classroom and every school board meeting unless people tell them. They need a well-known local organization that concerned parents and teachers know they can contact when they need help. It would be an information clearinghouse, similar to what the NCSE does on the national level.
  • To serve as an informed resource for the press. The group’s chair, who would be the main spokesperson, is particularly important here – more on this later.
  • To review and evaluate the current state of science education in Maryland (e.g. textbooks and state curriculum standards) and to promote improvements if needed, which they probably are.
  • To assist in coordinating lawsuits challenging any attempt to include pseudoscience in the curriculum, if this should become necessary.

Maryland Citizens for Science would be a group run by Marylanders for Marylanders.

What they need now is several people who are well informed about creation/evolution to help set this organization up. (Right now they don’t have the time to train people who want to learn about this issue, but they will later.) Political organizing experience would be a definite plus – Doug can coordinate the organizing, but he can’t do all the work myself. They also need a distinguished and articulate scientist who knows a lot about creation/evolution to chair the group. Political experience would not be necessary for this position. They need a good website designer. This will be one of our main means of communication with the public (press reports being the other). They need an attorney familiar with nonprofit law to set things up legally if we want to raise money from outside sources. Setting up such groups doesn’t take a lot of money, but it does take some. So let Doug know what you think about this idea, and of course he’s especially interested in hearing from anyone who would like to volunteer to work on this.

Maryland Citizens for Science can be contacted at [Enable javascript to see this email address.].

3 Comments

I can’t help directly with this, but I want to strongly applaud the effort.

The creationist strategy is to infiltrate local school boards, usually with “stealth campaigning” tactics (ie not mentioning creationism until they’re in office). Few people pay attention to school board campaigns at any rate. Once in control of the board, they initiate efforts to violate the rights of students by teaching ID/creationism as “science”, or more perniciously, censoring key elements from the scientific curriculum.

They also make extensive use of little noticed media vehicles such as “small town” and “suburban” newspapers, and locally broadcast radio shows, to “editorialize” their views. These media vehicles can have a strong effect on people at a local level (where curriculum decisions may be made), while attracting little attention from “outsiders”.

The commonality underlying these approaches is not Christianity but sneakiness.

Now that we know how they operate, we know how to fight back. Every state should have a “Citizens for Science” organization. But unity is critical. There should be an effortt to pull such organizations, as well as NSCE and the like, together, to share resources, and to form links with scientific organizations.

Once a creationist effort has been identified, locals can be reminded, through as many channels as practically possible, that…

1. Creationism in their schools violates US law, and the rights of families and leads to court battles, which can be devastatingly expensive for small localities. Most religious denominations do not oppose science education

http://www.mindandlife.org/hhdl.sci[…]section.html http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/ar[…]_19_2002.asp

2. Allowing their childrens’ science education to be distorted or denied may hamper their childrens’ economic future. 3. Employers who offer good jobs will be turned off by a local education system that distorts or censors science.

Efforts to sneak creationism into schools lead to significant economic losses.

The behavior of creationists who are trying to “sneak” ID/creationism into the classroom can also be highlighted, when it departs from mainstream views of ethical behavior.

Distortions of science, in particular the theory of evolution, can be corrected.

Organization is the key, and clearly, it’s beginning to happen.

I’m aiming at JHU for grad school next year… so if I make it out there, I’ll be glad to help in any way I can.

I still have a daughter left in high school and am adamant that she doesn’t get ID pushed down her throat. Fortunately she is likewise adamant. She will be done in two years so it is really the future I am thinking about.

I am in Baltimore and I will join. An email has been sent to the link in the initial posting.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on August 12, 2005 8:35 AM.

Kansas BOE wants to lie to students - Part I was the previous entry in this blog.

Flying Spaghetti Monsterism gets national press attention is the next entry in this blog.

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