It’s been a long day for me—I made yet another of those long drives into Minneapolis and back. It was worth it, though. We had the first meeting of a new group, Minnesota Citizens for Science Education; I think it’s going to be a useful resource for the state. It consists of several of us college professor types, plenty of K-12 educators, and a few business people, and we’re all going to be working together over the next few months to put together information to further the cause of good science teaching in Minnesota.
Details will have to wait, though. We’ll be aiming for a formal announcement in the Fall, with a public meeting on the topic at about the same time. Give us some time to get organized.
Isn’t it nice how crazy organizations like the Discovery Institute and Answers in Genesis are inspiring scientists and educators to get together and work to help our kids learn science better?
Bro. Bartleby says
Great news! I hope you science folks do a good and decent job in helping our keds learn science better. A month or two ago I was referred to your blog, Bro. PZ, and at the same time I began my own education on all those that seem to raise your hackles, the fundamental Christians. As a Christian, I can say now that these folks are a breed that I seldom encounter, but when I do I usually attempt a civil conversation and leave it at that. And so I have never much worried about these folks, that is until I have followed your many references and to my dismay now understand the harm these folks can do to our youth. Brainwashing is brainwashing, be it North Koreans dictators brainwashing an entire population, or some fuzzy-minded fundamentalist that happens to also be a teacher or some other youth group leader. You and I may disagree on questions of theology, but now I fully understand your wish to keep separate science and religion in the school classroom. So, continue to shine the light of truth upon quack science, and hopefully doing so without painting all Christians with the same broad strokes.
Bro. Bartleby says
Keds? Make that “kids” … but keds are cool too.
One thing that always makes me scratch my head is this:
The U in US is supposed to stand for United. Why then does each and every state have such completely disparate educational systems? Why does one state have a firm basis in natural selection, darwinism etc, whereas another has a completely different view? How can there be consensus that a sound educational basis has been established?
One of the very many things which seems odd from down here is Aus…
Anything that improves general science knowledge is much appreciated. The degree to which the American populace is ignorant of basic science truly is depressing. I could not get over that recent poll, which revealed some 20% of adult Americans believe in the geocentric universe model. Yes, 20% of adult Americans accept a model that was abandoned centuries ago. And, of course, probably 50% of Americans believe in creationism, which truly makes me embarrassed to be associated with this country. I don’t know the stats for Europe, but I’m sure creationism is recognized as bunk over there to a much greater degree.
hey, did you see this?
Study, in a First, Explains Evolution’s Molecular Advance
By reconstructing ancient genes from long-extinct animals, scientists have for the first time demonstrated the step-by-step progression of how evolution created a new piece of molecular machinery by reusing and modifying existing parts.
Hank Fox says
PZ, I keep saying (hopefully) that the biggest problem the anti-science godder types face is that their main enemy is not scientists, or secularists, or atheists, but Reality itself. They have to lie and lie and lie, and the science/reality crowd only has to continue to tell the truth.
Reality trumps superstition, no matter how good the salesmen of superstition. For instance: Unlike prayer, medicine has the advantage that it works, whether you “believe” in it or not.
I note that the anti-evolution types are able to grow strong only in darkness and ignorance. They slither quietly around the dimly-lit edges and they do manage to gain seats on school boards, etc., but when they poke their heads up into the light, they lose — every time. The bigger the poke (Dover), the worse they lose. Here lately they don’t lose just back to where they started; they lose back beyond it, in what looks like an absolute rout.
(Heh. You can’t help but chuckle at Hovind getting his creationist museum shut down for ignoring those most elemental aspects of the Real World: taxes and building codes.)
In a perversely inverted sense, some of the best friends science has are people like the oily Ken Ham and the dimwitted Kent Hovind. Think of them as human cautionary tales – the syphilis-infected madmen pictured in those books intended to warns us 1960-era high schoolers against unprotected sex.
Still, I’m glad you exist, PZ, and I thank you for doing what you do.
Kristjan Wager says
I think it is important that the group includes business people as well. Politicians somehow seems to take business people more seriously than researchers and teachers.
Off Topic, but this is something you may get a chuckle out of, and it IS science related
just click PLAY MOVIE
and be amazed by MC Hawkins – “We need more Science”
Yes, that Hawkins, tricked out wheelchair, voice modulator and a supervillian to fight, all during his rap concert. I know it sounds corny, but its actually rather good, although you may need to listen through a few times to get all of the lyrics.
PS, the supervillian is using a ‘dogma ray’ to turn scientists into mindless sheep, literally.
Bretty – as annoying as it might be when states do stupid and embarassing things, like supporting the teaching of intelligent design (and I suppose it’s worth pointing out that few states actually do this – go USA!), there are some virtues to federalism. It acts as an experimental playground, where states can try different ways of doing things. It allows people to vote with their feet. And it gives people greater freedom by letting them decide more of their laws locally.
Didn’t conservatives used to argue this kind of thing?
More science. Less ID crap. Good work.
I am happy to hear about this new organization and am willing to volunteer to do thankless jobs whenever the group is more organized and needs the general citizen to step up. (I can type; man, can I type.)
Forming these citizens for science groups takes some time and effort, especially since the initial membership is spread out across the state. Getting together for meetings is a bear.
We (Florida Citizens for Science) sent out our first press release last month announcing our birth. We got some media response and an article or two. The real purpose of the press release, though, was so that reporters could file the contact information away and have it available for when the next big issue hits the fan.
Let us know if we can help you guys out any. We’re still learning, but we’ll do what we can if need be.
This deserves an expert evo-devo blog treatment: