Archive for May, 2016

Keep an eye on Broward County

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Hemant Mehta posted at his Friendly Atheist blog something that sure is making me raise my eyebrows. The chair of the Broward County School Board, Dr. Rosalind Osgood, said this during a worship service at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale:

God has really blessed me this school year that a lot of my principals were transitioned out, and he filled those spots with new principals that were saved. Principals that loved the Lord.

A quote like that makes me wonder if any particular religious philosophy makes it way through these “saved” principals into the schools’ curriculum.

If anyone is in Broward County, please keep an eye on this.

Here is Dr. Osgood’s bio at the Broward school board website.

Darn, how did I miss this?

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Baptist College of Florida had a Creation Conference:

On April 26-27, The Baptist College of Florida in Graceville hosted the first on-campus Creation Conference in the R.G. Lee Chapel led by world-renowned Creation Scientist Jonathan Sarfati of Creation Ministries International. Sarfati holds a Ph.D. in Spectroscopy (Physical Chemistry) from Victoria University in Wellington, and has authored numerous books, articles, and resources focusing on the topic of creationism.

“The purpose of the conference was to show how, contrary to popular belief, the biblical account of creation is actually well supported by science, including evidences from biology, geology, astronomy, and anthropology,” stated BCF Professor of Old Testament and Event Coordinator Rick Freeman. “Sarfati demonstrated how the genuine facts of science do not fit well with the theory of evolution, whereas they do fit nicely with the view that God created all things from nothing about six thousand years ago.”

I missed this glorious and oh-so-educational event. But fear not; there are videos. If I get a little free time, I may check out the one directed at the youth. Maybe.

A calm response to an anti-evolution rant

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

Back on April 25 I posted about a guest columnist in the Gainesville Sun railing against evolution, He’s itching for a fight. The writer’s main point was that past debates at the University of Florida between creationists and scientists over evolution allegedly came down heavily in favor of the creationists. The supposed victories were so decisive that other scientists refused to participate and were instead “hiding under their desks.” I have yet to find solid evidence of any such debates or their fallout, but a guest columnist in Friday’s Gainesville Sun nicely rebuts the anti-evolutionist writer. Essentially, results of public debates have no bearing whatsoever on the actual science: Paul A. Gulig: Catholics face no conflict between faith and science.

His first point is to tell the story of an obviously inept debate on the subject that occurred on campus in the 1980s. The fact that an evolution supporter grossly failed in his mission does not negate the whole subject. If that were the case, nothing would be settled by debate because there are inept people taking every side of every issue, and all one would have to do is find the worst example of support for a side to show that the point of view is wrong.

He then tells of a second alleged debate that was apparently one-sided for evolution. Again, the fact that a poorly planned event took place does not address the core issue.

I encourage you to read the whole piece. It’s a very nice take down, demonstrating just how vacuous the previous writer’s article was.

Gulig is a professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology at the University of Florida.

It’s truly an honor!

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

I’m very honored and excited to be selected as one of two teacher scholarship winners, receiving an all-expenses-paid eight-day raft trip through the Grand Canyon, hosted by the National Center for Science Education this summer! Is that just pure awesome or what?!

NCSE news release: Congratulations to the 2016 NCSE Grand Canyon Teacher Scholarship winners!

“This trip will be the adventure of a lifetime for Haught and Davis,” explained NCSE’s Steve Newton, a geologist and one of NCSE’s guides on the annual raft trip. “Teachers who work so hard for their students and the science-literate future of America deserve some time to relax on the Colorado River. But we’ll be making them work, too. The Grand Canyon is the greatest geology teaching lab in the world, and they’ll be able to explore geological processes up close, place their hands on rock layers laid down before the first multi-cellular fossils, and see how plate tectonics, erosion, volcanoes, wind, and waves built up and carved down the landscape. I can’t wait to see what lesson plans they develop based on that experience.” As part of the scholarship application, both teachers committed to produce a lesson plan and student assessment based on the trip, which NCSE will make available for other teachers to use.

Oh, man … they’re going to make me work?! I guess I’ll endure somehow.

We lost a friend

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

krotoThere is some very sad news from over the weekend. Sir Harry Kroto, Nobel Prize winning chemist teaching at Florida State University, passed away Saturday. He was a great friend to us here at Florida Citizens for Science. During the big fight over evolution in the state standards back in 2008, Kroto personally helped in many different ways. It was an honor to work with him. He’ll be missed.

From the National Center for Science Education’s post on his death:

Kroto was enthusiastic about evolution, writing, in a post on his website, “Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is supported by an avalanche of synergistic cross-disciplinary evidence from almost every branch of the sciences: Paleontology, geology, biology, genetics, chemistry, physics etc.” And he was correspondingly concerned about creationist assaults on the teaching of evolution, telling a New Zealand newspaper that people who insert creationism into the science curriculum “really p… me off” (bowdlerism in original). His concern was not expressed only to the media. In 2008, for example, he publicly decried legislative efforts to undermine evolution education in his adopted home of Florida, as the Sarasota Herald-Tribune (April 15, 2008) reported.

He had no problem speaking his mind about the evolution issue. He wrote an op-ed column for the St. Augustine Record in 2008 taking Florida legislators to task for trying to meddle in the state science standards debate: Evolution is a ‘Theory’ in Name Only.

It is disgracefully unethical for individuals who rail against the teaching of evolution to young people as a proven “fact” to accept, either for themselves or their families, the humanitarian benefits accruing from medical scientific research underpinned by the theory. Evolution is the backbone of biology. Many medical treatments including most drugs could not have been developed if previous generations of young biology and medical students had not been taught evolutionary concepts.