Category Archives: Science

ICR tries again in suit over grad “science ed” degree in Texas

Unwilling to deal with the hilariously hideous complaint that was filed initially by the Institute for Creation Research in their attempt to get accreditation for their graduate degree program in “science education,” the judge ordered ICR to file an amended complaint, and then a second amended complaint, with a maximum page limit of 20 pages. […]

“Neuatheismusstreit”: Was ist das?

My recent post on “Mooney & the ‘new atheists’: another round” begins with a reference to the latest round “in the ongoing Neuatheismusstreit.” I’ve been asked what that is–this “Neuatheismusstreit” that I’m referring to. Let me begin with the “sense” (or Sinn) of the word, and then explain its “reference” (or Bedeutung) in the context […]

Mooney & the “new atheists”: another round

Another round in the ongoing Neuatheismusstreit was touched off by an opinion piece in the L.A. Times by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, authors of the new book Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future. They write: It often appears as though Dawkins and his followers–often dubbed the New Atheists, though some object to […]

Comer decision appealed

added 8/31/2009: The case of the banned band T-shirts in Missouri may be eerily related to this case. ========= Chris Comer, who was forced out of her job as Science head in the Texas Education Agency for forwarding an email announcement of a talk by Barbara Forrest in Austin, has filed her brief appealing the […]

NCSE: Science coverage better, but creationism creeping in

A new study by NCSE staff (available in html and pdf) finds improvement in state science standards, marred by the creeping influence of creationist language. Here is the abstract: In 2000, Lawrence Lerner and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation reviewed state science standards in 49 states and the District of Columbia, specifically with respect to […]

Dembski’s students: Trolling for Grades

At Free Range Talk, we find this , on a course being taught by ID proponent William Dembski: 

NY Times: “Flexbooks” displacing textbooks

Lewin reports that “Textbooks have not gone the way of the scroll yet, but many educators say that it will not be long before they are replaced by digital versions — or supplanted altogether by lessons assembled from the wealth of free courseware, educational games, videos and projects on the Web.”

This is interesting in many ways. For one thing, it underscores the necessity of having teachers who understand their subjects well. “Flexbooks” could greatly increase the importance of the teachers relative to state boards and legislatures.

TX Gov Perry names Gail Lowe to chair State Board of Education

The Associated Press reports that Texas Governor Rick Perry has appointed Gail Lowe, one of the right-wing ideologues on SBOE, to serve as the Board’s chair, now that his first appointment of Don McLeroy failed confirmation in the state senate. … it strikes me that Lowe’s consistently petty partisanship makes McLeroy look like a diplomat and statesman by comparison.

Earth: 6,000 years old, so not at risk from nuclear power (AZ Senator), w/ video

But can there really be a legislative district anywhere in this country that would wan’t somebody like her making the decisions? What does that tell us about the state of education in this country?

Unscientific America, and Unscientific America

A more complete account of forces contributing to this Curriculum Animi Publici would have to take into account the deliberate role of commercial interests over the last century in actively promoting public confusion and misunderstanding of science, in the course of muddying (or poisoning?) the public wells of discourse on specific policy matters such as smoking, environmental pollution, food safety, climate change, etc. [Click on title above for the full post.]

Faith and Science: Are They Compatible?

from Steven Schafersman, Ph.D., President, Texas Citizens for Science: In the last few weeks a tremendous literature has appeared about the compatibility of faith and science. Go to for links to posts about one of the debates between Jerry Coyne, Chris Mooney, and others. [As of now, it looks like all the posts are […]

“Science” education in Japan — 理科, 科学: 違いは何ですか?

There are two words in Japanese that are both translated into English as “science.” My purpose in this post is to ask about the differences–and the relationships–between these words: their senses or meanings, their usage, the ideas that they signify … I know that both “kagaku” (科学) and “rika” (理科) are translated as “science.” Are these just two different words for the same thing? I don’t think so; but I don’t fully understand the relationships and differences between them.

McLeroy renomination fails in Texas

As reported by the Austin American-Statesman, Texas Governor Rick Perry’s renomination of Don McLeroy for a second term as Chairman of the State Board of Education was NOT CONFIRMED by the state Senate: “The 19 to 11 party-line vote [Thursday, May 28, 2009] was not enough to get McLeroy across the required two-thirds threshold.” On […]

Luskin on FoxTV: 100% of textbooks wrong on evolution

From Newshounds (“We watch Fox so you don’t have to”):

the Comer decision: What “disputed issues”?

While awaiting news on whether the decision against Chris Comer’s suit against the TEA will be appealed, I have finally gotten around to reading the opinion by District Court Judge Lee Yeakel (not to be confused with the Simpson’s character). There’s a serious problem in the judge’s analysis (and the TEA’s argument), but to take […]

Haynes: “religion by any other name is still religion”

Charles Haynes, senior scholar with the First Amendment Center, has posted and syndicated an excellent new column on the First Amendment’s prohibition of religious teaching in public schools — even when such teaching is not explicitly “religious.” The column responds to a controversy reported in the Los Angeles Times over the “Spirituality for Kids,” program […]

Update: appeal v. U Cal win on admissions policy

The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) has posted an update on developments in the case of Association of Christian Schools International [ACSI] et al. v. Roman Stearns et al. [The University of California]. The suit was brought against U.Cal. by Christian schools complaining that UC’s refusal to count certain courses in their schools for […]