Archive for January, 2010

Published by admin on 30 Jan 2010

Intelligent Defense

au-logoAmericans United for Separation of Church and State is one of the nation’s foremost defenders of religious liberty as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. AU played a vital role in the first intelligent design legal case, Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District (2005). In its monthly publication, Church & State, AU will be profiling activists who have worked on behalf of church-state separation. Below is the first of these profiles.

January 2010 Featured

By Sandhya Bathija

Louisiana Activist Barbara Forrest Counters Religious Right Attacks On Public School Science Classes

For Barbara Forrest, fighting for church-state separation and quality science education in Louisiana – and the rest of the nation – has become her civic duty.

“Someone once said, ‘knowledge brings responsibility.’ I had the skills to do it, I knew what was going on, I understood it,” Forrest said, describing why she wrote her first book with co-author Paul R. Gross, Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design, a 2004 work (updated in paperback in 2007) that exposed the theocratic agenda of the Discovery Institute and other creationist organizations. “I don’t want these people running my country and running my kids’ schools.”

Read the rest of this article on AU’s website.

Published by admin on 23 Jan 2010

New Mexicans for Science and Reason: “What Hath Jindal Done?”

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New Mexicans for Science and Reason (NMSR) is one of the most dedicated, effective pro-science groups in the United States. Since 1996, they have successfully defended the teaching of evolution in New Mexico public schools against the Religious Right’s repeated attacks. Two NMSR members, physicists David Thomas and Kim Johnson, also do a weekly radio program, Science Watch, which airs each Saturday afternoon on KABQ AM 1350 Progressive Talk in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 15 Jan 2010

Let’s Help Haiti.

After Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana received an extraordinary outpouring of generosity and help from our fellow Americans and from people around the world. To this day, people are still coming to New Orleans to help rebuild the city. We now must help the Haitians, who are experiencing untold misery after the earthquake. Doctors Without Borders, a Nobel-Prize-winning organization that provides medical care in some of the most desperate places on earth, has lost all three of its hospitals in Haiti. We have to help them. Please donate directly to DWB here.

Published by admin on 10 Jan 2010

BESE can’t say we didn’t tell ’em.

By Barbara Forrest

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In June 2009, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) received dozens of letters from concerned teachers, scientists, and citizens all over Louisiana asking them to reject a creationist-influenced policy governing the implementation of the creationist Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA) of 2008. This law, written by the Louisiana Family Forum with assistance and legal advice from the Discovery Institute, permits the use of creationist supplementary materials in public school science classes. Several months later, in January 2009, BESE adopted the policy by which local school districts must implement the LSEA, gutting the prohibitions against teaching creationism that had wisely been written into the policy by the Dept. of Education on the advice of expert science teachers and scientists on the specially constituted Louisiana Science Education Act Advisory Committee. The policy was inserted as §2304, “Science Education,” into Bulletin 741 [doc], the Louisiana Handbook for School Administrators, to instruct parish and local school officials concerning the implementation of the LSEA. First, however, the policy had to be posted in the Louisiana Register for public comment (April 2009 [pdf], pp. 740-741). BESE received public comments in the form of letters from citizens, teachers, and scientists who support teaching science honestly and accurately. BESE ignored their letters, and the policy is now in effect. In January 2010, Louisiana begins the new year burdened with not only a creationist law implemented by a creationist policy, but now also a creationist complaint procedure that will turn every complaint about supplementary materials into a dog and pony show rather than a serious consideration of materials being used in a science class. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 01 Jan 2010

A Dubious Honor for Louisiana at Year’s End

By Barbara Forrest

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As the new decade begins in 2010, “Top Ten” lists  are a popular way to commemorate the events of 2009, and science is well-represented in the list-making. Wired Science lists the “Top Scientific Breakthroughs of 2009.” The Examiner lists the “Top 10 Science Stories of 2009.” Scientific American has posted a slideshow of “The Top 10 Science Stories of 2009.” ScienceNOW, a website by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for publishing breaking science news , has listed “The Top 10 ScienceNOWs of 2009.” National Geographic News lists the “Top Ten Videos of 2009: Nat Geo News’s Most Watched.” And Religion Dispatches lists its “Top Ten Religion & Science Stories.” Louisiana closes out 2009 by being on two “Top Ten” lists, but these are lists on which the citizens of Louisiana should be embarrassed to be included. Continue Reading »