Saturday, January 21, 2006

01/21/06 New Developments

To date neither Senator Brophy (R-Wray) or Representative Stafford (R-Aurora) have acted on their declared intentions to propose legislation opening Colorado's public schools to "intelligent design" (ID). In fact, both legislators have become very quiet on the issue and direct inquiries to both by MESIC have received no response. The general opinion expressed on Colorado's political blogs appears to be that it would be a mistake to raise the ID issue in view of the Republican's hope to retake the Colorado General Assembly in November. We can only hope that this is the case and matter will remain inactive in the General Assembly.

In other events, Colorado State University and Summitview Community Church hosted Dr. John Morris, the Director of the Institute for Creation Research who is most noted for his many expeditions to Mount Ararat in the search for Noah's Ark.

The Colorado-based Focus on the Family newsletter, "CitizenLink," included an article discussing the recent decision by the El Tejon School District in California to drop its proposed ID course. The article cites Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute as emphasizing: "It [the decision] should in no way be seen as a prevention for other school districts to teach intelligent design and the full course of scientific evidence both opposing and supporting evolution. ...". The article concludes with an advertisement by Focus on the Family selling the ID/Creationism movie, Unlocking the Mystery of Life.

The official Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, published an article by Fiorenzo Facchini, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Bologna in Italy, reaffirming the Church's stance on ID. Specifically, the Church denies that ID constitutes science and says it should not be taught as such. In view of this reaffirmation, we decided to contact the Archdiocese of Denver to see their reaction. It should be remembered that the Archdiocese, through its official organ, the Denver Catholic Register, launched a rabid attack on science last October, deliberately attempting to equate secular science with the Nazi Holocaust, portraying "intelligent design" as some form of "science" and portraying scientific theory as a form of religious dogmatism. See, for example, "Author examines dangers of Darwin's evolution theory" by Wayne Laugesen, 19 October 2005, Denver Catholic Register. The Archdiocese did confirm that it is following Church doctrine and not teaching ID as science.

We are also happy to report that the Telluride Watch has the distinction of being the first Colorado print medium to mention the MESIC project, on January 6.

Upcoming Events:

Noted theoretical physicist, science advocate, and lecturer on the topic of ID, Prof. Lawrence M. Krauss will be visiting Colorado later in January and early February talking about the ID assault on sound education.

To quote the announcement from Colorado College,
"Science Under Attack, from the White House to the Classroom" on February 2, 2006:
-

"Lawrence M. Krauss, theoretical physicist and author, presents a lecture, "Science Under Attack, from the White House to the Classroom: Public Policy, Science Education, and the Emperor's New Clothes." Krauss is a professor of physics, professor of astronomy, and director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics at Case Western Reserve University. He authored seven popular books including international bestseller "The Physics of Star Trek" and the award-winning "Atom." Krauss is also a regular essayist for newspapers such as the New York Times, and appears regularly on television. He is the only physicist to have been awarded the highest awards of the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Institute of Physics. He has led the effort by scientists to defend the teaching of science in public schools. His essay in the New York Times on "Evolution and Intelligent Design" in May 2005 helped spur recent controversy. Krauss argues that scientists and those interested in science need to become vocal evangelists for science on many fronts. Sponsored by the Harold D. and Rhoda N. Roberts Lecture Fund in Natural Sciences.
[7:30 p.m., Packard Hall, SW corner of Cascade Ave. and Cache La Poudre St. FREE]

Professor Krauss will also be speaking twice in Aspen:

Jan 24, 2006 - Wheeler Opera House, Aspen CO
Jan 24, 2005 - Explore Bookstore, Aspen CO

The Boulder International Humanist Institute will also be starting its 2006 speaker series with "An Evening of Ideas and Community" on Charles Darwin's birthday. This event will feature Chris Mooney, the Washington correspondent for Seed magazine and a senior correspondent for the American Prospect. He focuses on issues at the intersection of science and politics, and is author of the bestselling book The Republican War on Science.

This event will be held on February 12, 2006 at 6:00 pm at the Flemming Law School (Near Baseline and Broadway). Admission is Free, Please call 303-543-9166 to reserve your seats.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

01/12/06 New Developments

The Second Regular Session of the Sixty-Fifth General Assembly convened yesterday with neither Sen. Brophy nor Rep. Stafford making any moves regarding their declared intention to impose "intelligent design" (ID) on Colorado public schools. We are carefully monitoring events, but so far so good.

While the legislators have remained quiet on the issue, the Manitou Springs-based Summit Ministries, a "reconstructionist" ministry, has decided to take a stance on the issue in its "Truth & Consequences" newsletter. Noting that "ID scientists are willing to make observations about the natural world and are not afraid to explore both natural as well as supernatural explanations for interpreting the data, whichever best fits the facts," they conclude: "Only when students are allowed to hear both sides of the current controversy will they be given a true education. Anything less is blatant indoctrination. For that reason, ID deserves a place in the science classroom." To read the full article: What Was Eric Cornell Thinking? Science Can't Tell, Misrepresenting Intelligent Design by Chuck Edwards, January 2006, Truth & Consequences.

Upcoming Event: Noted theoretical physicist, science advocate, and lecturer against ID, Prof. Lawrence M. Krauss will be visiting Colorado later in January and early February talking about the ID assault on sound education.

To quote the announcement from Colorado College, Lecture: "Science Under Attack, from the White House to the Classroom" on February 2, 2006 -

"Lawrence M. Krauss, theoretical physicist and author, presents a lecture, "Science Under Attack, from the White House to the Classroom: Public Policy, Science Education, and the Emperor's New Clothes." Krauss is a professor of physics, professor of astronomy, and director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics at Case Western Reserve University. He authored seven popular books including international bestseller "The Physics of Star Trek" and the award-winning "Atom." Krauss is also a regular essayist for newspapers such as the New York Times, and appears regularly on television. He is the only physicist to have been awarded the highest awards of the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Institute of Physics. He has led the effort by scientists to defend the teaching of science in public schools. His essay in the New York Times on "Evolution and Intelligent Design" in May 2005 helped spur recent controversy. Krauss argues that scientists and those interested in science need to become vocal evangelists for science on many fronts. Sponsored by the Harold D. and Rhoda N. Roberts Lecture Fund in Natural Sciences.


[7:30 p.m., Packard Hall, SW corner of Cascade Ave. and Cache La Poudre St. FREE]


Professor Krauss will also be speaking twice in Aspen:

  • Jan 24, 2006 - Wheeler Opera House, Aspen CO


  • Jan 24, 2005 - Explore Bookstore, Aspen CO


  • Anyway, we are continuing to monitor developments closely and will be sure to keep our readers apprised of new developments regarding ID in Colorado as they happen.

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    01/03/06 New Developments

    Although Sen. Brophy (R-Wray) has not formally presented his "intelligent design" (ID) bill, he continues discussing it as a possibility. "Brophy said he is holding open a bill title in case he decides to sponsor a controversial bill that would allow the teaching of intelligent design alongside evolution in Colorado classrooms. 'I'm considering it but I haven't decided yet.'" ["Reps eye battle over Ref. C $$$", by K.C. Mason, 3 January 2006, Fort Morgan Times]. However, Brophy does seem to be on a mission against educational standards in Colorado. Other than the possible ID bill, he has already drafted a bill that would "Remove the authority of the Colorado commissioner on higher education to set uniform admissions standards for all colleges and universities in the state."[ibid.]

    In other developments, Paul Campos, an attorney, CU Boulder academic and Rocky Mountain News weekly columnist, decided to hop into the debate. With but few exceptions, the majority of leading ID advocates tend to be either philosophers or attorneys, people who essentially argue for a living as opposed to physical scientists, therefore this can come as no surprise. Following the lead of the Discovery Institute, Campos uses the "dissenting point of view" defense for imposing ID on our students. Freely granting that ID has a place in a philosophy or theology class, it has no bearing on, relationship to, or connection with, the physical sciences and thus no place in the science classroom. After referring to a "species of mental retardation" among those who support maintaining sound educational standards in our schools, he goes on to make a number of rather silly misrepresentations of basic science and its advocacy and concludes by comparing science advocates to the Spanish Inquisition. To read his article: "Campos: Orthodoxy of a liberal sort", by Paul Campos, 27 December 2005, Rocky Mountain News. An immediate rebuttal was written the same day: "Science and Intelligent Design", by Dale Franks, 27 December 2005, The QandO Blog.

    The issue probably won't become heated until either Sen. Brophy or Rep. Stafford makes their move, however the legislative session opens later this month.

    Selected News Articles, 12/23/05-01/03/06

    "Reps eye battle over Ref. C $$$", by K.C. Mason, 3 January 2006, Fort Morgan Times.

    "Intelligent design not proper for our public schools", Editorial, 28 December 2005, Daily Reporter-Herald (Loveland)

    "Campos: Orthodoxy of a liberal sort", by Paul Campos, 27 December 2005, Rocky Mountain News.

    "Science and Intelligent Design", by Dale Franks, 27 December 2005, The QandO Blog.