July 23, 2006 - July 29, 2006 Archives

Kansas State Board of Education member Connie Morris was one of the anti-science gang of six who railroaded changes to the state standards past the normal processes of curriculum development. In “Reasoning Behind Evolution Vote” (full copy available on the flip side), she attempts to justify that decision. Her article was published in the Hays, KS newspaper, and we here at the Thumb were just cracking our knuckles to respond to it.

Alas, one of the stalwart science defenders in Kansas has beaten us to the punch, but we didn’t mope too long because the response was brilliant. Cheryl Shephard-Adams’s “ID Promoters’ Perpetual Folly” is highly recommended and you can find it at the Garden City Telegram Online.

Of note, Ms. Morris is up for re-election this year. She will be opposed by both a Republican, Sally Cauble of Liberal, and a Democrat, Tim Cruz of Garden City.

If you click through to the flip side, you’ll see the Google Cache version of Morris’ original screed and, in case the same fate befalls Shepard-Adams’ brilliant reply, a full copy of it as well.


Actually, it’s split into two posts, just as the original post by Casey Luskin was done in two parts. You can have a look at my response to Luskin’s attack on Judge Jones, and then continue with some comments on Luskin’s trashing of the TalkOrigins Archive. Basically, in the first I point out that Luskin’s real problem is with ID advocate Michael Behe, not Judge Jones, since it was Behe’s testimony that Jones relied upon to make the statements that Luskin finds objectionable. In the second, I take a look at the complete irrelevancies and odd reactions Luskin has to the TalkOrigins Archive article cited by John Derbyshire. Enjoy!

The latest on Dr. Dino:

Tax evasion suspect is flight risk, ruling states

Michael Stewart @PensacolaNewsJournal.com Pensacola evangelist and tax protester Kent Hovind won’t be lecturing on creationism in South Africa next month, prompting an irate letter from a sponsor of the trip to the prosecutor.

U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers this week denied Hovind’s motion to lift travel restrictions pending his Sept. 5 trial on 58 federal charges that include evading nearly $470,000 in employee taxes.

Hovind, who calls himself “Dr. Dino,” operates Dinosaur Adventure Land, a theme park on North Palafox Street dedicated to creationism.

He believes evolution is a religion and says man did not evolve from dinosaurs but, rather, lived alongside them.

At Hovind’s first federal court appearance July 13, U.S. Magistrate Judge Miles Davis agreed with prosecutors that Hovind posed a flight risk. Hovind was ordered to surrender his passport his travel was restricted to the local judicial district, stretching from Pensacola to Gainesville.

Hovind’s public defender countered with a motion contending travel restrictions violated his client’s constitutional rights to religious freedom.

Rodgers disagreed, pointing to U.S. Supreme Court decisions saying neutral restrictions that incidentally burden religious practices are not unconstitutional.

Hovind was scheduled to travel to seven South African cities between Aug. 12 and Aug. 21 to debate scientists.

Jack Krebs, president of Kansas Citizens for Science, gave a talk on “What’s the matter with the Standards” at Johnson County Community College this past Monday. Jack has kindly made the audio available as a set of MP3 format files. Jack’s original post on this is here. If what’s going on in Kansas is of any interest to you, you should check out these files. And these are the direct links to the downloads:

Jack Krebs’s JCCC Powerpoint Text of John Calvert segment. Calvert is the driving force behind the Kansas IDNet and effort to have the antievolution version of the standards stay in place.

MP3 sound files all zipped together (43 MB)

Introduction (MP3) Overview (MP3) The context (MP3) What was added (MP3) The Plan (MP3) Abuse of the process (MP3) The ID movement (MP3)

Calvert’s explanation (MP3) The rest of the audio (MP3)

Today, John Rennie, Editor-in-Chief of Scientific American, put up on the SciAm blog his thoughts on the Kansas election situation. See: Kansas, Undo the Damage. Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute issued an immediate reply in the comments, linking to his longer blog reply…but it was mostly just long quotes of his reply last week to my PT post showing that the current Kansas Science Standards are (a) wrong and (b) creationism/”intelligent design” in a very thin disguise.

So, I can just kill two birds with one stone by posting my reply to Luskin, which I also just put into the comments on Rennie’s blog. Here it is (short and sweet, plus a few edits):

Here is part 3 of James Downard’s autopsy of Ann Coulter’s book. As before, I am only posting this guest contribution by Jim Downard as a courtesy to him, without having myself contributed to it. Further installments from Jim are expected.

The last four chapters of Ann Coulter’s latest bestseller, Godless: The Church of Liberalism (thus a third of her book) are devoted to roasting “Darwiniac cultists” for their evolutionary delusions. As explored in the first two parts, Coulter’s ebullient confidence is inversely proportional to her knowledge. In the third part of an ongoing investigation of how Coulter could come to believe the things she does, James Downard looks into the background for one of her baldest assertions: the supposed bankruptcy of Archaeopteryx as a bird-reptile intermediate.

Continue reading Secondary Addiction, part 3, on Talk Reason

Lakes on Titan!

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Dr. Lori Marino, a colleague of mine at Emory University, sent out a call for action to end the Japanese drive hunts that annually kill dolphins and small whales. I got it relayed from Dr. Brenda McCowan at UC Davis. The short version is that scientists and zoological park professionals have gotten together to condemn Japan’s small cetacean drive hunts and are looking to collect a million signatures on a petition to try to get it shut down before the next scheduled drive hunts this coming October.

The petition site is ActForDolphins.org. Please visit it soon.

I’ve converted the three MS Word documents that I received as attachments to the safer and more portable Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

Call For Action Press Release Statements from Scientists

I’m proud to say to two of my committee members, Bill Evans and Sam Ridgway, are on the “Statements” page above.

I’ll append the text of the email I got. Please pass on word of this to your friends and acquaintances. Please also note here or on O.Z. in the comments if you sign the petition.

(Continue reading at Online Zoologists)

Evolutionary biologists sometimes think we microbiology people have it easy. “No one doubts the germ theory!,” they claim.

Au contraire, mes amis:

Do some research Tara. Then you will be ready to start from scratch again, forget the germ theory nonsense and become a real scientist.

And I bet this insult will sound familiar to many used to dealing with the anti-science brigades:

(Continued at Aetiology)

The Dembski Alert

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Once again, this is a guest appearance of Jim Downard, and, once again, I have not contributed to it but only post it here as a courtesy to Jim.

While William Dembski has proudly proclaimed his role as a contributor to the evolution chapters of Ann Coulter’s new book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, when push comes to shove it turns out he is singularly unwilling to take responsibility for any of the many mistakes she has made. Follow James Downard as he ventures into the curious world of Dembski/Coulter “scholarship” and learn just how much “descent” one encounters at Dembski’s website “Uncommon Descent.”

Continue reading The Dembski Alert on Talk Reason

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