Aug 25, 2009 | 45
In a bid to avoid regulations on the greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants to put the science of global warming on trial. "It would be evolution versus creationism," the chamber's William Kovacs, senior vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs, told the Los Angeles Times.
In other words, the chamber hopes for a "Scopes monkey trial for the 21st century," referring to the famous 1925 court case that determined whether evolution could be taught in Tennessee (a battle that has broken out again in states like Texas). The chamber, which represents millions of U.S. businesses, is urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set up a hearing to discuss the science behind that agency's move to declare carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases a threat to human health and therefore subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act.
Mar 27, 2009 | 45
The Texas Board of Education voted today by a 13-to-2 margin to change controversial language in the state's curriculum, making it harder for creationism to creep into public classrooms. For the past 20 years, the state's curriculum has instructed teachers to present the "strengths and weaknesses" of scientific theories, opening the door to nonscientific, faith-based alternatives.
Today's vote strikes the old language and replaces it with instruction to "analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning and experimental and observational testing," according to Joshua Rosenau of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), a pro-evolution non–profit based on Oakland, Calif. Other curriculum amendments proposed by social conservatives failed today, according to the Dallas Morning News, including two that called for biology classes to dissect the "sufficiency or insufficiency" of evidence for aspects of evolutionary theory.
Jan 23, 2009 | 123
The Texas Board of Education has tentatively adopted new teaching standards that would make it more difficult to teach creationism in Lone Star state schools.
Board members voted eight-to-seven last night to drop controversial language in the state's curriculum that requires science teachers to discuss the “strengths and weaknesses” of scientific theories.
The move was hailed by Eugenie Scott, executive director of the Oakland, Calif.-based National Center for Science Education. "There are no weaknesses of evolution," she told us, echoing a comment she made to the Dallas Morning News, which reported yesterday that that panel was mulling the move.
Nov 5, 2008
Quick: How many top science writers were spotted standing behind a Republican Senate candidate during a concession speech last night?
Only one, as far as we know: Carl Zimmer.
If you were watching News 12 in New Jersey last night, you would have seen Carl holding his daughter as his father, former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer, conceded to incumbent Sen. Frank Lautenberg after a 55 percent to 43 percent vote.
Dick Zimmer, 64, campaigned against 84-year-old Lautenberg on a platform of energy conservation and greater efficiency standards for cars and SUVs. He also supported increased nuclear power and energy exploration on public lands.
Oct 1, 2008 | 29
Public fascination with Republican vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, extends to her views on the environment, evolution and abortion, and that curiosity has only grown since media access to her has tightened in the month since Sen. John McCain picked the Alaska governor as his running mate.
We have a bit more clarity now, after CBS Evening News anchor, Katie Couric, grilled Palin on last night's broadcast. Although Couric wasn't able to nail down Palin's positions as concretely as she (and voters) may have liked, she brought out some of the candidate's reasoning on controversial science topics.
Sep 18, 2008 | 14
Two Nobel Prize winners are among the scientists advising Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama in his bid to capture the White House, a blog is reporting.
Harold Varmus and Peter Agre helped the Illinois senator craft his answers to science-policy questions put to the presidential contenders by Science Debate 2008, a group of academic and business leaders, according to Wired.
Varmus won the Nobel in 1989 for his discovery of retroviral oncogenes in cells, the idea that all cells have the potential to turn into cancer. Now president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Varmus formerly directed the National Institutes of Health.
Sep 16, 2008 | 44
A spokesman for the Anglican Church says it should admit it wronged Charles Darwin, whose theory of evolution is still considered anti-Christian in some circles, even as it's become a cornerstone of science.
"The Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still," Rev. Malcolm Brown writes on a church Web site marking next year's 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species.
"There is nothing here that contradicts Christian teaching," he says, adding that the church's "reaction now seems misjudged."
While the church didn't take an official stance against Darwin, its officials — in a widely publicized 1860 debate — made nasty arguments against his theory that species evolve through natural selection, the church says on its Web site. Today, some fundamentalist Christians argue that evolution can't co-exist with the biblical story of creation — a concept gaining new traction thanks to Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who believes creationism should be taught along with evolution in schools.
Sep 11, 2008 | 79
The addition of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to the GOP presidential ticket has brought the creationism-evolution fight back into the news cycle, as voters learn more about her agnostic take on the subject: "Teach both," Palin has said. "You know, don’t be afraid of information."
Observers say creationists are content to dilute the teaching of evolution in schools by offering up "intelligent design" as a theory just as air-tight as Darwin's — or to abolish evolution curricula altogether. Now, a patchwork quilt of teaching requirements is emerging across the country, we show in a new in-depth report.
Sep 8, 2008 | 8
The hype machine behind Spore, the highly anticipated Electronic Arts Inc. game developed by Sims City creator Will Wright, was enough to make The Dark Knight seem like a small, art house film. Well, Spore hit the US today (it arrived in Europe late last week).
So was it worth the wait? Early critics note that the game raises interesting questions about intelligent design (or creationism) vs. evolution. "With both evolution and 'creator control,' the game has something for everyone, though looking at some of the designs people have built using the already-available Creature Creator raises the question of whether Intelligent Design exists here on Earth," writes the Indystar.com blog.
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