“Teach ’em all?” Michigan Poll Supports Critical Analysis But Misinterprets the Data

A recent poll reported in “Inside Michigan Politics” found that 76% of Michiganites agree with the following statement: “Biology teachers should teach Darwin’s theory of evolution, but also the scientific evidence against it.“ Only 17% of Michigagonians felt that “Biology teachers should teach only Darwin’s theory of evolution and the scientific evidence that supports it.” If that poll question sounds familiar to frequent readers of ENV, that’s because it’s identical to one of the poll questions commissioned by The Discovery Institute earlier in 2006 and reported here. But there’s one major difference between this Michigan poll and the prior poll commissioned by Discovery: The Michigan poll is improperly touting a poll question about teaching both scientific strengths and weaknesses of Read More ›

Evolution: It’s all in the definition!

Bob Brustman had an intriguing and thoughtful piece recently in the Harvard University Gazette entitled “Evolving Ideas” which investigates why many people are skeptical of evolution. He starts off describing a simple but ultimately inadequate argument from Richard Lewontin: “If you believe in atomic energy, he said, then you believe in rates of decay. If you believe in rates of decay, then you believe in radiation dating. If you believe in radiation dating, then you believe that we can identify strata of rock from different times. Those strata of rock contain fossil evidence of plants and animals. Different strata of rock contain different types of fossils, yet each fossilized plant or animal had parents. Therefore, at some point, a parent Read More ›

Chronicle of Higher Miseducation Gets Grantsburg Totally Wrong

A recent story by Richard Monastersky in the Chronicle of Higher Education presents a decidedly biased take on the growing scientific controversy surrounding neo-Darwinian theory and the chemical origin of life. But the article goes beyond editorializing to clear misrepresentation in describing the evolution policy adopted by the Grantsburg (WI) School Board in late 2004. According to the Chronicle’s alternate reality, one Michael Zimmerman (a Dean at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh) was drawn into the “fight” surrounding the teaching evolution “when he learned that the town of Grantsburg, Wis., passed a law in 2004 restricting the teaching of evolution.” In reality, the town of Grantsburg NEVER passed any kind of city ordinance, regulation or law on the subject Read More ›

Black and White: There’s no ID under the Kansas Science Standards

Jack Krebs has kindly posted on Pandas Thumb a response to my challenge that someone provide some kind of evidence supporting the notion that the Kansas Science Standards open the door to teaching ID. I greatly appreciate that Mr. Krebs contacted me personally to inform me of his post and kindly invited me to respond. My initial challenge posed an exceedingly low standard to be met, as I wanted to see what people would say in response. I give Mr. Krebs credit: he has made probably the strongest argument possible in favor of the notion that the Kansas Science Standards (KSS) open the door to teaching ID. If this is the strongest argument possible, then I’m fairly confident that the Read More ›

New York Times is Too Busy to Interview its Quotees

Today New York Times reporter Kirk Johnson totally misrepresented what I said in his article “Anti-Darwin Bill Fails in Utah.” I said that to the extent that the bill supported critical analysis it was a loss, but we really didn’t care about this bill because it amounted to a meaningless disclaimer, and we’ve never thought disclaimers were a good idea. I totally made it clear that Discovery was NOT keen on this bill. Honestly, I don’t think this reporter was even listening to a word I said. I never called it purely a “local Utah matter”. What the heck does that mean? A “local Utah matter?” I never said anything like that. He asked if I thought this vote would Read More ›