Another Discovery Institute Bill Fails…

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nmtoon.jpg New Mexico was one of the states considering anti-evolution legislation based on the Discovery Institute’s “Model” bill (at the Institute’s “Academic Freedom” site) Like bills in Iowa and elsewhere around the country, this legislation has foundered, and literally died without being heard in committee during this year’s 60-day session which just ended ( noon on Saturday, March 21st).

Similar legislation was put forth in New Mexico in 2007, but did not get out of committee. (See this Panda’s Thumb report for the details). That year, similar bills were carried by “Dub” Williams in the NM House, and Steve Komadina in the NM Senate. After hearing from several scientists and teachers opposed to the bill at the 2007 hearings, Rep. Williams graciously tabled his version of the bill. Sen. Komadina might have sponsored the bill again this year, but lost his 2008 re-election bid. The local Intelligent Design/Creationist community found a new supporter in Sen. Kent Cravens, who introduced the bill, “USE OF SCIENCE IN TEACHING BIOLOGICAL ORIGINS,” on Feb. 2nd, 2009. With the session ending soon, Sen. Cravens apparently asked that it be heard by the Senate Education committee on Monday, March 16th. But, by the time the hearing was supposed to start, word came that it had been cancelled. sb433b.jpg

To promote the bill, local anti-evolutionists abandoned the slick-looking “New Mexico Science Foundation” site used in 2007 (see “Cheshire Cat” Creationism in New Mexico…”, and started a new site called “Origins Education” . Were the New Mexico and Iowa bills based on the Discovery Institute’s model? Of course. Consider this similar phrasing in the DI, Iowa, and New Mexico versions of the legislation:

Model Bill: Students may be evaluated based upon their understanding of course materials, but no student in any public school or institution of higher education shall be penalized in any way because he or she may subscribe to a particular position on any views regarding biological or chemical evolution.

Iowa Bill: “Students shall be evaluated based upon their understanding of course materials through standard testing procedures,” they “shall not be penalized for subscribing to a particular position or view regarding biological or chemical evolution.”

New Mexico Bill: Public school teachers may hold students accountable for knowing and understanding material taught in accordance with adopted standards and curricula about biological evolution or chemical evolution, but they may not penalize a student in any way because that student subscribes to a particular position on biological evolution or chemical evolution.

(For a complete analysis of the entire bill by Kim Johnson, click here or here.) Is the Model Legislation the work of the Discovery Institute? Of course - as a simple WHOIS inquiry will verify.

Although an amended version of the bill was never published, it appears that the sponsor planned to modify the bill to include language from a similar Louisiana bill, SB733, which was adopted by that state’s legislature and signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal in June of 2008.

The Louisiana bill declares that

The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, upon request of a city, parish, or other local public school board, shall allow and assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported on March 3rd that Sen. Cravens said the NM bill

just asks that if there’s a controversial scientific theory being presented, that a teacher can’t be reprimanded or fired or downgraded or any way harmed if the teacher happens to mention that there are other theories of controversial scientific nature, to include biological evolution, human cloning, global warming, you name a dozen different things.

Why is human cloning included? Unlike evolution or global warming, whose basic validity is claimed to be “controversial” by the religious right, the controversy of human cloning revolves on whether or not it should be attempted, not whether or not it is even possible. As Prof. Barbara Forrest explained on the March 14th edition of NMSR’s Science Watch radio show, cloning and global warming are added because they, like evolution, are things despised by the religious right. The reference to “human cloning” is just a surrogate for “stem cells,” according to Prof. Forrest. Also, by adding more than just evolution and origin of life topics, the bill’s sponsor could claimed that he was not singling them out, should this show up in a court of law.

The New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) published an analysis of SB433, which the legislature cited on the bill’s status page:

The PED analysis raises these points, among others: Although the bill’s definition of “scientific information” excludes information derived from religious or philosophical writings, beliefs or doctrines, SB 433 goes on to say that scientific information may have religious or philosophical implications and remain scientific in nature. The PED analysis states that this point would allow the teaching of theories of biological origins such as intelligent design or creationism. PED quotes the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, ‘There is no scientific controversy about the basic facts of evolution…arguments that attempt to confuse students by suggesting that there are fundamental weaknesses in the science of evolution are unwarranted based on the overwhelming evidence that supports the theory. Creationist ideas lie outside the realm of science, and introducing them in science courses has been ruled unconstitutional by the U. S. Supreme Court and other federal courts.” Pursuing this legal point, the PED analysis cites several court cases in which efforts “to impose a religious view of biological origins into the curriculum,” as SB 433 seems to do, have been found to violate the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution. This analysis also says that SB 433 implicates Article 2, Section 11 of the state constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion, and Section 22-13-15 NMSA 1978, which prohibits the teaching of sectarian doctrine in public schools. Finally, the PED analysis suggests that enacting SB 433 would invite litigation.

And so, yet another Discovery Institute initiative has cratered. This will only be a temporary setback for New Mexico’s creationists, who will no doubt turn up with more “academic freedom” initiatives at the New Mexico Roundhouse, school boards, city councils and the like. Also, expect continued evolution of the language as is occurring in other legislatures. There’s a new bill in Texas in which anything scientific is fair game for substitution of superstition and the supernatural. H.B. No. 4224 reads in part

Students may be evaluated based upon their understanding of course materials, but no student in any public school or institution shall be penalized in any way because he or she subscribes to a particular position on scientific theories or hypotheses…

Sound familiar? It all may sound so reasonable, but the Discovery Institute’s “academic freedom” poison pills are deadly, as far as real science is concerned.

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The DI-inspired "Academic Freedom/Strengths & Weaknesses" bill that was in committee in New Mexico has failed to get a hearing before close of session and has thus expired. Dave Thomas has more over at PT. The state of play for... Read More

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If you’re in the Albuquerque area, tune in to 1350 AM right now (2:00 PM MDT).

We’re discussing the Bill on Science Watch.

Dave

Congratulations! Another one bites the dust! Florida Citizens for Science, the Texas Freedom Network, and Texas Citizens for Science have been giving lots of information on their states’ bills, but does anyone have an update on the Missouri and Alabama bills?

Texas H.B. No. 4224 reads in part:

“Students may be evaluated based upon their understanding of course materials, but no student in any public school or institution shall be penalized in any way because he or she subscribes to a particular position on scientific theories or hypotheses…”

So, if students answer contrary to the “accepted scientific theory,” e.g. evolution, chemistry, etc., they cannot be penalized, i.e., everyone gets a 100 (A) for their answers. Wouldn’t that just make the whole educational process one big farce, like Texas itself?

On the other hand, it matters little if they believe in god, the FSM, ufos, etc. as long as on the test they provide the answer per the curriculum presented to them (assuming it’s legitimate science of course and not creationism), there would be no “penalty.” You don’t have to believe in your answer, just provide that which you were taught.

But now comes the rub! It comes to a head if Texas allows creationism (aka ID) to be taught, then the students can answer anything they choose and won’t be wrong, the very shifty thing the DI is proposing.

Oklahoma Senate Bill 320 (‘Academic Freedom Act’) also died in committee by one vote and can not be brought up again for two years.

“Students shall be evaluated based upon their understanding of course materials through standard testing procedures,” they “shall not be penalized for subscribing to a particular position or view regarding biological or chemical evolution.”

If something like this becomes law, would this mean that, if a teacher was a little careless in wording a question, the education board could find itself in the position of defending a student’s right to say that each species comes from a shooting star, except for humans who are the devil’s spawn?

Do they ever think of the consequences of their decisions?

DavidK said:

Texas H.B. No. 4224 reads in part:

“Students may be evaluated based upon their understanding of course materials, but no student in any public school or institution shall be penalized in any way because he or she subscribes to a particular position on scientific theories or hypotheses…”

So, if students answer contrary to the “accepted scientific theory,” e.g. evolution, chemistry, etc., they cannot be penalized, i.e., everyone gets a 100 (A) for their answers. Wouldn’t that just make the whole educational process one big farce, like Texas itself?

On the other hand, it matters little if they believe in god, the FSM, ufos, etc. as long as on the test they provide the answer per the curriculum presented to them (assuming it’s legitimate science of course and not creationism), there would be no “penalty.” You don’t have to believe in your answer, just provide that which you were taught.

But now comes the rub! It comes to a head if Texas allows creationism (aka ID) to be taught, then the students can answer anything they choose and won’t be wrong, the very shifty thing the DI is proposing.

Of course, this leads us to the question of “how will students learn science this way?”

And the Discovery Institute, their like-minded political cronies, and their maliciously mindless creationist cheerleaders have absolutely no intention of answering that question.

The Missouri is currently in committee. It has not been scheduled for a hearing, nor is it on the House Bill calender.

vhutchison said:

Oklahoma Senate Bill 320 (‘Academic Freedom Act’) also died in committee by one vote and can not be brought up again for two years.

Two years? Nicely done, Oklahomans!

Everybody’s waiting for the Texas Science Standards final vote.

March 26-27, from what I’ve heard.

A favorable vote, would be Da Bomb.

FL

Before we celebrate too much, I have to say that I’m appalled that they can actually get away with using the phrase “academic freedom” (ditto for “critical analysis”). To be clear, I’m not advocating a law to prevent them from using it, but they must be put more on the defensive - for even using the phrase, let alone promoting the bills.

Students and teachers already have academic freedom in the sense that no student is, or can be, penalized for believing, for example, that all life on Earth first arose independently and suddenly as separate “kinds” just a few 1000 years ago. But if they want to get credit for that on an exam, they had better be prepared to provide positive evidence for it - not rattle off the same old long-refuted “weaknesses” of evolution and pretend their fairy tale wins by default. But they can’t. In fact they can’t even convince some anti-evolution activists like Michael Behe of it.

If these bills give students and teachers more freedom - the phrase “academic anarchy” is far more appropriate - it is unearned freedom, and comes at the expense of denying freedom to the scientists who have actually earned it.

“Da Bomb”, eh Floyd?

I’ll bet all the teenagers think you’re the mammajamma coolest…

FL said:

Everybody’s waiting for the Texas Science Standards final vote.

March 26-27, from what I’ve heard.

A favorable vote, would be Da Bomb.

FL

Tell us again how not penalizing students for giving incorrect answers in science for fear of offending their belief system will help them learn science?

Oh, wait, you can’t answer that.

Stanton said:

FL said:

Everybody’s waiting for the Texas Science Standards final vote.

March 26-27, from what I’ve heard.

A favorable vote, would be Da Bomb.

FL

Tell us again how not penalizing students for giving incorrect answers in science for fear of offending their belief system will help them learn science?

Oh, wait, you can’t answer that.

I read that ‘favorable’ as meaning ‘put the bill out of it’s misery with a rusty screw driver driven slowly through an eye socket, then liberally wiggled around’ considering anything less would be an atrocity.

Frank J wrote:

“Students and teachers already have academic freedom in the sense that no student is, or can be, penalized for believing, …”

Exactly. No one can know what any student really thinks, unless of course they choose to make it painfully obvious to the teacher. Nor is there any reason for a teacher to count an answer incorrect because of the student’s beliefs, unless the answer was actually incorrect. The only reason why such a bill would be needed would be to prevent teachers from taking retribution on students disrupting the class by trying to force their beliefs on others. That really isn’t giving either the student or the teacher very much credit now is it.

No legislation can ever prevent students from being counted incorrect if they refuse to answer questions correctly. In that case they should just drop out of school if they don’t want an education.

Why not pass a bill stating that no answer in science can be considered incorrect if the student really appreciates the Mona Lisa? Well, it makes just as much sense as this.

DS sez:

The only reason why such a bill would be needed would be to prevent teachers from taking retribution on students disrupting the class by trying to force their beliefs on others. That really isn’t giving either the student or the teacher very much credit now is it.

Which isn’t ‘freedom’, either, it’s just license, definition 3a (or possibly 4):

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/license

An excellent assessment, Frank J, but at least we are winning (for now):

Frank J said:

Before we celebrate too much, I have to say that I’m appalled that they can actually get away with using the phrase “academic freedom” (ditto for “critical analysis”). To be clear, I’m not advocating a law to prevent them from using it, but they must be put more on the defensive - for even using the phrase, let alone promoting the bills.

Students and teachers already have academic freedom in the sense that no student is, or can be, penalized for believing, for example, that all life on Earth first arose independently and suddenly as separate “kinds” just a few 1000 years ago. But if they want to get credit for that on an exam, they had better be prepared to provide positive evidence for it - not rattle off the same old long-refuted “weaknesses” of evolution and pretend their fairy tale wins by default. But they can’t. In fact they can’t even convince some anti-evolution activists like Michael Behe of it.

If these bills give students and teachers more freedom - the phrase “academic anarchy” is far more appropriate - it is unearned freedom, and comes at the expense of denying freedom to the scientists who have actually earned it.

John Kwok Wrote:

…but at least we are winning (for now):

What about Louisiana? Granted, the fact that it could result in another Dover-like massacre has some fellow “Darwinists” celebrating already.

Frank J said:

John Kwok Wrote:

…but at least we are winning (for now):

What about Louisiana? Granted, the fact that it could result in another Dover-like massacre has some fellow “Darwinists” celebrating already.

Either way, the students and children suffer, in that either a) Creationist-allied politicians legally mandate the teaching of religious dogma in place of science, or b) the school districts can no longer afford even barely competent teachers and curricula because the school districts get the bills for the legal battles over the unconstitutionality of teaching religious dogma in place of science.

Frank J said:

If these bills give students and teachers more freedom - the phrase “academic anarchy” is far more appropriate - it is unearned freedom, and comes at the expense of denying freedom to the scientists who have actually earned it.

None of us have earned the freedoms we enjoy. They were paid for in blood and in treasure, but not by us, not even by those of us who served. Our freedoms of thought and speech were old when we were young. Our own efforts, no matter how great, no matter how honourable, did not secure them. And they belong to us all.

But there is no freedom to spread lies, and there is no freedom to demand that one’s own religious beliefs be taught in the science classroom. There is no freedom to demand that evidence be ignored. There is no freedom to licence, and still less, mandate, superstition. There is no right whatsoever to insist that all beliefs be taught, no matter how false to fact. There is no implication even in the strongest reading of “liberty for all” that implies that all beliefs are equal, or equally entitled to airing.

It is, in my view, a capital mistake to associate the idea of freedom with the creationist agenda, and a bigger one still to imply that freedom is limited by person. It is not. It is universal to all persons, or else it is not freedom, but privilege. But freedom is limited by scope.

All freedoms are limited. Your freedom to swing your arms stops at my nose - or, in fact, somewhat before. Your freedom to teach your children your beliefs stops at my children, which means it stops at the door to the public classroom.

Dave Luckett Wrote:

But there is no freedom to spread lies, and there is no freedom to demand that one’s own religious beliefs be taught in the science classroom. There is no freedom to demand that evidence be ignored. There is no freedom to licence, and still less, mandate, superstition. There is no right whatsoever to insist that all beliefs be taught, no matter how false to fact. There is no implication even in the strongest reading of “liberty for all” that implies that all beliefs are equal, or equally entitled to airing.

Darn, I wish I could write like that. I also wish that, at the least, critics would start calling them “so-called academic freedom bills that guarantee nothing of the sort.”

Another irony is that teaching “evolution only” does favor most major Judeo-Christian religions, both in terms of what their leaders accept (see “Voices for Evolution” and “The Clergy Letter Project”), and in terms of “thou shalt not bear false witness.” But it’s not a deliberate favoring, as teaching creationism/ID/”critical analysis” would be for the fundamentalist subsets.

FL said:

Everybody’s waiting for the Texas Science Standards final vote.

March 26-27, from what I’ve heard.

A favorable vote, would be Da Bomb.

FL

Waterloo!!

What is it with some people that what they NAME something is the opposite of what it represents? “critical thinking” that teaches dogma?

Dave Luckett said: “All freedoms are limited. Your freedom to swing your arms stops at my nose - or, in fact, somewhat before. Your freedom to teach your children your beliefs stops at my children, which means it stops at the door to the public classroom”

HEAR HEAR!

to expand on that - as a teacher your freedonm to teach is limited - you may not use ‘the public’s time or the public’s dime’ to evengelize your personal religious view. Your academic freedom, as a teacher is limited by the Constitution. When teaching in a public school, teachers are acting as agents of the govenment. They MAY NOT promote or endorse religion in their capacity as a public school teacher AT ALL, their freedom to do so is zero.

What is it with some people that what they NAME something is the opposite of what it represents? “critical thinking” that teaches dogma?

Ooo Oooo Pick me! Pick me!

Um, is it maybe because nobody in their right mind would go on the record voting for the “Eviscerate good science education to placate religious nutjobs who deny reality act”?

Besides, it’s a good ‘ol American tradition, like the “Patriot Act” which removed a boatload of constitutional protections, the “Employee Free Choice Act”, which kills the freest of choices, the secret ballot, or the “Troubled Asset Relief Program”, which didn’t actually relieve any troubled assets.

I remember that, in one of the states I once lived in (I think maybe it was California) there was an actual state board whose job it was to come up with an accurate, neutral, name for the numerous amendments and initiatives that would show up on the ballot every year.

IIRC, they took their mandate quite seriously, and consequently, were one of the most beleaguered, harrased, and sued state agencies of all time.

jasonmitchell Wrote:

What is it with some people that what they NAME something is the opposite of what it represents? “critical thinking” that teaches dogma?

These replacement scams are actually worse than “teaching dogma” as the old-style creationists demanded in the 1920s to the 1980s. At least those old discredited, mutually contradictory accounts could be critically analyzed and found to be much more poorly supported than evolution. But the newer scams single out evolution for the promotion of unreasonable doubt, leaving most students to infer that their particular origins myth is validated by default.

I wouldn’t lose hope for Louisiana yet, thanks to the hard work being done now by philosopher Barbara Forrest and others there:

Frank J said:

John Kwok Wrote:

…but at least we are winning (for now):

What about Louisiana? Granted, the fact that it could result in another Dover-like massacre has some fellow “Darwinists” celebrating already.

If there’s another “Dover-like massacre”, then I fully expect Jindal (IMHO a disgrace as a fellow alumnus of our Ivy League alma mater) and the state legislature to submit, finally.

To promote the bill, local anti-evolutionists […] started a new site called “Origins Education” .

Um? If Darwin’s apparent uncertainty is taken as an argument against evolution theory, then Planck’s rejection of quantum theory for wave mechanics means that QM is wrong as well.

But of course instead it is a quote mine. What else do creationists have?

My work is now (1859) nearly finished; but as it will take me many more years to complete it, and as my health is far from strong, I have been urged to publish this abstract. I have more especially been induced to do this, as Mr. Wallace, who is now studying the natural history of the Malay Archipelago, has arrived at almost exactly the same general conclusions that I have on the origin of species. In 1858 he sent me a memoir on this subject, with a request that I would forward it to Sir Charles Lyell, who sent it to the Linnean Society, and it is published in the third volume of the Journal of that Society. Sir C. Lyell and Dr. Hooker, who both knew of my work–the latter having read my sketch of 1844–honoured me by thinking it advisable to publish, with Mr. Wallace’s excellent memoir, some brief extracts from my manuscripts.

This abstract, which I now publish, must necessarily be imperfect. I cannot here give references and authorities for my several statements; and I must trust to the reader reposing some confidence in my accuracy. No doubt errors may have crept in, though I hope I have always been cautious in trusting to good authorities alone. I can here give only the general conclusions at which I have arrived, with a few facts in illustration, but which, I hope, in most cases will suffice. No one can feel more sensible than I do of the necessity of hereafter publishing in detail all the facts, with references, on which my conclusions have been grounded; and I hope in a future work to do this. For I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question; and this is here impossible. [ Charles Darwin > The Origin of Species > Introduction. My bold.]

So Darwin is excusing himself for a rushed publication of an incomplete book, an “abstract”, in the introduction of the readers, and promises in the very sentence before the mining to publish the work in full. (A promise he kept, AFAIU.)

He also offers excuses for not mentioning all “generous assistance […] received.”

Is the Model Legislation the work of the Discovery Institute? Of course - as a simple WHOIS inquiry will verify.

Interesting that DI have registered “about 175 other domains”. [Sorry, the first WHOIS service links to a ~ 200 USD analysis to check the “about” and which they are. Has PT any fundings for such? :-\]

Especially since DI claim to have one interactive website only:

Discovery Institute fellows submit their analyses and proposals for dialogue through seminars, conferences, and debates; they produce reports, articles, books, Congressional testimony, films and an interactive Internet website that helps spread the knowledge of the Institute’s ideas.

Already the “Academic Freedom” site has an interactive home page.

[snark] Does DI have anything to hide? Something controversial regarding public treatment of science and education perhaps? [/snark]

Frank J said:

Before we celebrate too much, I have to say that I’m appalled that they can actually get away with using the phrase “academic freedom” (ditto for “critical analysis”).

I’m not. Politicians use doublespeak - that includes creationist politicians.

I don’t think they are getting away with much. Passing an ambiguously-worded bill doesn’t make an unconstitutional act constitutional. Which is why, IMO, its a legal dead end.

Right now the only thing it really does is shift the target of any lawsuits from those who passed the bill (e.g. State government) to those who implement it unconstitutionally (e.g. Local government). But, the lawsuits will still occur, and unless/until the Supreme Court changes its mind, creationists will still fail to get what they do endorsed by the courts as science.

stevaroni said:

the “Employee Free Choice Act”, which kills the freest of choices, the secret ballot

Just a correction, the Employee Free Choice Act does no such thing. Both options, secret ballot and “signing cards authorizing union representation” would be available.

Just a correction, the Employee Free Choice Act does no such thing. Both options, secret ballot and “signing cards authorizing union representation” would be available.

Yes, secret ballots would be available but would not be required.

The general consensus is that, in practice, they would seldom be used.

I have no particular complaint with most of the Act. If people want to be in a union, fine, I’m OK with that, I’m also OK with evening the playing field which is currently stacked toward management.

But let’s not be disingenuous. One of the motivations of the act as written is to make it relatively more difficult for a worker to vote candidly.

That’s important to the sponsors. If that weren’t the case, it would be trivial to amend the bill to clarify this one contentious issue and make it go away.

stevaroni said:

Just a correction, the Employee Free Choice Act does no such thing. Both options, secret ballot and “signing cards authorizing union representation” would be available.

Yes, secret ballots would be available but would not be required.

The general consensus is that, in practice, they would seldom be used.

I have no particular complaint with most of the Act. If people want to be in a union, fine, I’m OK with that, I’m also OK with evening the playing field which is currently stacked toward management.

But let’s not be disingenuous. One of the motivations of the act as written is to make it relatively more difficult for a worker to vote candidly.

That’s important to the sponsors. If that weren’t the case, it would be trivial to amend the bill to clarify this one contentious issue and make it go away.

We’re waaaay OT so this is the last I’ll say of it, at least on this thread: to require secret ballots means they are no longer an option thus removing workers’ choice from the equation. Personally as a member of three unions I’m of the opinion that these choices should be given to the workers and not to management (which is, de facto, what opposition to EFCA amounts to), since it is the welfare of the workers and not of management that is at stake here. Evidently a sizeable majority of workers and the public feels that way as well. Although I’ll grant in today’s America that may not stand for much.

Peace, Gary

to require secret ballots means they are no longer an option thus removing workers’ choice from the equation.

Um, the choice in question is whether to form a union or not.

This is, in fact, separate from the mechanism by which we count the votes.

There’s no reason some system can’t be invented to answer this simple yes-or-no question in a way that preserves anonymity, and therefore, candor.

You could, for example, mandate that the cards in question have to be filled out off-site and returned by mail to some third party, maybe an NLRB state office.

The fact that this one controversial provision steadfastly remains in legislation that’s been kicking around for 16 months means that somebody thinks it plays to their advantage.

Personally as a member of three unions I’m of the opinion that these choices should be given to the workers and not to management

Fine. I’m with you. A company’s workers want to unionize - great. The employees should be allowed to do it, and management shouldn’t be able to stop them - which is the problem now, management has a lot of tools to thwart organization.

In this regard, most of the provisions of the EFCA are good legislation which levels the playing field.

But it is not unrealistic to be in a situation where you want to say “no” to a union either. And in many situations, that’s going to be every bit as awkward as voting for an unpopular ballot measure or political candidate.

I, for example, work in a professional field on the periphery of a highly unionized industry. We are typically not unionized, but provide technical services to companies with lots of union affiliation.

We have been approached many, many times over the years by the various affiliated locals with requests to unionize our operation.

Invariably, they are not interested in our well being, we simply represented a good point for applying external bargaining leverage.

Invariably, it turned out to be a bad deal for us.

Also, invariably, it always turned into a delicate political dance. One which I would have just as soon avoided anyway since we were well-paid contract labor, and the projects are never going to be long enough for it to make a difference anyway.

(which is, de facto, what opposition to EFCA amounts to)

No, Gary, reasonable people can hold nuanced positions on EFCA.

Yes, unions are good for those who want them, and those who want them should be able to organize them.

But if you don’t want to join you should be able to say “no” without having to face retaliation.

Or for that matter, having to go find all your equipment, which the teamster captain has trucked to a landfill somewhere, because you’re thwarting his plans to apply enough external leverage that the production gives in to his demands, all of which have nothing at all to do with you.

eric Wrote:

I don’t think they are getting away with much. Passing an ambiguously-worded bill doesn’t make an unconstitutional act constitutional. Which is why, IMO, its a legal dead end.

Oh, I don’t think that the wording - or replacing “Pandas” with a more sanitized, but clearly pseudoscience, text - will help them much legally. Any judge who would allow that nonsense would probably allow Biblical creationism too.

What I’m referring to is how the scam plays with the general public. Although I’m hearing some informal reporting that public support of anti-evolution activism is waning, the majority still seems to buy the double lie that the pro-science crowd advocate “censorship,” and the “poor oppressed underdogs” only seek “fairness.”

FYI

The Texas BOE is scheduled to discuss their “creationism” biased package on March 26 and have the final vote on March 27.

Frank J said: What I’m referring to is how the scam plays with the general public. Although I’m hearing some informal reporting that public support of anti-evolution activism is waning, the majority still seems to buy the double lie that the pro-science crowd advocate “censorship,” and the “poor oppressed underdogs” only seek “fairness.”

The only folks I’ve heard/read mentioning the censorship claim consist of (i) dyed-in-the-wool believers and (ii) journalists reporting the opinions of dyed-in-the-wool believers. So its not clear - at least to me - that the creationist “they’re censoring/we’re supporting fairness” argument has had any traction with the uninvolved public at all. I haven’t seen any evidence or even anecdotes supporting the claim that some person’s opinion on H.S. education was changed by this campaign.

In fairness, this toothlessness could be the result of the praiseworthy efforts by pro-science groups to educate the public rather than the campaign’s transparency or inherent unreasonableness. I guess that with no evidence of anyone ever changing their opinion I just favor the latter explanation.

Frank J said:

eric Wrote:

I don’t think they are getting away with much. Passing an ambiguously-worded bill doesn’t make an unconstitutional act constitutional. Which is why, IMO, its a legal dead end.

Oh, I don’t think that the wording - or replacing “Pandas” with a more sanitized, but clearly pseudoscience, text - will help them much legally. Any judge who would allow that nonsense would probably allow Biblical creationism too.

What I’m referring to is how the scam plays with the general public. Although I’m hearing some informal reporting that public support of anti-evolution activism is waning, the majority still seems to buy the double lie that the pro-science crowd advocate “censorship,” and the “poor oppressed underdogs” only seek “fairness.”

The only thing that can save and legalize the Creationist/Intelligent Design/cintelligent designists movement is if they were to produce actual science that supports their claims and assertions.

And we all know that they would all rather spit themselves alive on a blazing fire than do that.

if they were to produce actual science that supports their claims and assertions.

The problem with that approach is that all actual science can do is work with what actually is, and if what they want isn’t what actually is, then there’s no way to get there. There’s just no there, there.

Henry

Hey all you creationist lurkers: I think there should be legislation requiring churches to incorporate “critical analysis” of the historical and scientific claims made by the bible into their Sunday school programs. In order to maintain their tax-exempt status I think they should allow for academic freedom and to teach all sides of the bible’s claims.

Model lesson plan:

1. Compare and contrast the creation account provided in Genesis 1 with that provided in Genesis 2.

2. Explain the events of Genesis 4 and where Cain’s wife came from if Adam and Eve were the only other 2 people around. Was Cain’s wife also his sister?

3. Give a biogeographic analysis of the dispersal of terrestrial animals as related to their modern distributions following Noah’s flood (I forget the chapter number). Include the vagility and likely dispersal route for species such as lemurs, sloths, and flightless birds.

That’s just the first third of the first chapter, folks. I could go on, but the coffee shop is about to close and my wi-fi privileges expire at that time.

dispersal of terrestrial animals as related to their modern distributions following Noah’s flood

Not to mention the correlation of post-flood species distribution with distribution of fossils from pre-flood inhabitants of the same areas.

Henry

And now…

Back to Texas where our regularly scheduled program of bad education bills trying to wind their way through school boards continues.

Tending to a little pump priming in anticipation of tomorrow’s hearings on the subject, everybody’s favorite creationist-dentist-turned_state-board-member, Don McLeroy is today’s guest columnist in the Austin Statesman with “Enlisting in the culture war”

http://www.statesman.com/opinion/co[…]oy_edit.html

eric Wrote:

So its not clear - at least to me - that the creationist “they’re censoring/we’re supporting fairness” argument has had any traction with the uninvolved public at all. I haven’t seen any evidence or even anecdotes supporting the claim that some person’s opinion on H.S. education was changed by this campaign.

The only possibly major change in opinion I have seen that may be due to the ID scam is the increase in those who answer “unsure” to those poll questions that have it as an option (the Gallup one, with results essentially unchanged since 1982, doesn’t). What disappoints me, though, is that public opinion is not changing in favor of science, despite all those efforts. ID/creationism just one of many pseudosciences that has seduced large %s of the public, and with all of them there’s this disturbing desire to give them an unfair advantage. AIUI, for ID/creationism there’s still 60-70% who think it’s fair to “teach both sides”. If that % has dropped even 10% since Dover, that would be good news. Ideally, it would drop to ~25%, which would mean that only hopeless fundamentalists fall for it.

I sometimes teach a large general biology class for nonscientists. I actually announce to students that my goal is to teach science and that they can believe what they want to believe, but should, of course, give answers that are consistent with science. Interestingly, the only student who ever got a perfect score on the test on evolution and phylogeny was a home-schooled and very bright creationist. I think that by third grade, most students will figure out that answers on tests should not directly contradict what is found in the text and taught by the teacher. In upper level classes, where essay tests are the norm, I encourage creative ideas but these would need to be consistent with basic principles, however.

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This page contains a single entry by Dave Thomas published on March 21, 2009 11:42 AM.

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