After Court Ruling, Students Can STILL Think Critically

The rather confusing “[e]volution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things” language proved a primary component in the undoing of the textbook sticker at issue in Selman v. Cobb County School District–decided yesterday in an opinion handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Clarence Cooper. Pessimism about the outcome peppered my previous post about this case (see here, where you can also find the sticker’s text). Yet, a genuine understanding of the case requires attention to the details of the Judge’s opinion, and it is important to keep in mind some of the most positive aspects of the ruling. (Important critiques of portions of the Judge’s opinion will follow in a subsequent posting, and strong Read More ›

Evolution Stickers Struck Down, but Critical Analysis Stands Up

A federal judge today ruled that the evolution stickers used in the Cobb Co., GA school district’s biology textbooks are unconstitutional. (See our press releases here and here.) In a somewhat bizarre ruling, the judge found that the stickers “fostering critical thinking” about evolution “is a clearly secular purpose.” And, the judge also found that the Cobb County school district had secular, not religious reasons for adopting a textbook sticker dealing with evolution. Yet, he somehow concludes that the “effect” of the sticker would be to advance religion. CSC associate director John West summed it up this way: “The judge rules, and repeatedly states, that there is a clear secular purpose to the sticker, and it has a legitimate secular Read More ›

Nightline’s Frightline

Beware Evolution Treatment Tonight from ABC News This is being written before Nightline airs its program tonight (“The Origin of Life: A Battle Between Faith and Science”). I talked last month with the senior producer Jay LaMonica, producer Eliza Rubin and finally, in person, with the reporter, John Donvan, in Washington. They expressed frustration that none of the scientists affiliated with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture would go on camera for Nightline unless they were presented live. Queried hard, I gave my own explanation: We don’t trust you. Put people on live and they will have a chance to correct reporting errors, but they will be defenseless if taped and merely left to the tender mercies of editors Read More ›

Lingering evidence of Unlocking on Shop PBS

Go to Google, www.google.com, type in “Unlocking the Mystery of Life,” and see what pops up on the right hand side of the listing that comes up. It has a “Shop PBS Online” link. So apparently PBS pays Google to have this sponsored link. But when you click on the sponsored link, it goes to a page at PBS that says: “This product is temporarily out of stock.” Funny.

Pitt Post Gazette reporter resorts to stereotypes and clich�s (sigh)

Last week Post Gazette reporter Bill Toland contacted me and said he was working on a story about the intelligent design issue in the Dover school district. He wrote in an e-mail to me: “I’m trying to avoid the usual pratfalls of science v. religion, ACLU v. Christians.” Later on the phone he reiterated this to me and we discussed the need for reporters to get beyond stereotypes and clich�s and look at some of the real scientific differences between intelligent design theory and Darwinian evolution. Toland said that he would be doing just that in his story and that he saw no need to rehash the same old religion vs. science angle that so often ends up as the Read More ›