Article #1 (26 is last): Subject: About the National Center for Science Education Date: Tu

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Article #1 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: About the National Center for Science Education Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 06:30:33 1992 Welcome to the offical computer bulletin-board of The National Center for Science Education (NCSE). About the N.C.S.E. ------------------- The National Center for Science Education, Inc., publisher of the CREATION/EVOLUTION journal and the newsletter, NCSE REPORTS, is a membership organization of scientists, teachers, clergy, and interested citizens who are concerned about sectarian attacks on science education. The NCSE is the national clearinghouse for information on the creation-evolution controversy, providing information to citizens, the media, and scholars. Membership in the National Center for Science Edcuation brings you: * One year's subscription to NCSE Reports: 4 issues * One year's subscription to CREATION/EVOLUTION: 2 issues * 15-20% discount on selected books * Participation in NCSE's diverse efforts to prmote and defend the integrity of science education A one year US membership costs $20.00 US. A foreign membership costs $25.00 US. And a Foreign Air Mail membership costs $28.00 US. Checks should be sent to NCSE PO Box 9477, Berkeley CA 94709. NCSE is a nonprofit tax-exempt corporation affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Science Teachers Association. About the N.C.S.E. Bulletin-Board --------------------------------- This bulletin board is operated for N.C.S.E. by: Jim Kutz and Page Stephens (aa387@cleveland.freenet.edu) (aa325@cleveland.freenet.edu) In addition, the following people will be working on the board: Cynthia Bell-Moores (aa470@cleveland.freenet.edu) Ron Hopkins-Lutz (aa747@cleveland.freenet.edu) Dr.D.A. Rickards (aa354@cleveland.freenet.edu) Since the board is for official N.C.S.E. use only, feedback should be sent via email to our mail room address, which is (xx029@cleveland.freenet.edu). We will then forward your letters to NCSE. This board will contain current information on science education topics, and also occasional articles from NCSE publications. We hope you will enjoy reading the uploads to this board, and find them both useful and educational. -- Article #2 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: N.C.S.E. Needs Your Help. Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 06:34:35 1992 Is evolution under attack in a school near you? Is creationism being taught, formally or informally? Is a local teacher or editor or politician under attack for supporting evolution? Are any of these people promoting anti-evolutionism or "equal time for "scientific" creationism? NCSE needs your help--let us know about local developments which we simply cannot monitor from OUR office. We try to help whenever we can, but we need information. What's happening, and where? NCSE has grown from a loose network of "Committees of Correspondence" exchanging information about threats to science education in the 1970s and 80s into a national resource center. NCSE hopes this BB will be a healthy update of that grassroots network. HELP! send info to this BB or to: NCSE, P.O. Box 9477, Berkeley, CA 94709-0477. (510) 843-3393. -- Article #3 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: Scientific Creationism" & Anti-Evolutionism Not Dead Issues. Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 06:41:32 1992 Is "scientific" creationism an oxymoron? (YES--but "equal time for the other side" still sounds good to most people, and creationists still hold themselves up as "the other side.") EVOLUTION IS STILL A CONTROVERSIAL ISSUE BECAUSE OF A QUIET BUT CHILLING COUNTER-ATTACK FROM ANTI-EVOLUTIONISTS--IN THE US, CANADA, AUSTRALIA, MANY AFRICAN AND EASTERN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES.... Too many people laugh it off and take modern science for granted, but some of us have banded together to promote evolution and oppose "scientific" creationism---and you're invited to join in. The National Center for Science Education is the not-for-profit (501(c)3) organization which promotes sound science education in schools and the media, specializing in problems caused by anti-evolutionism and "scientific" creationism. For information, contact NCSE, P.O. Box 9477, Berkeley, CA 94709---and tune in here. With members in 50 states, most Canadian provinces, and 15 countries outside North America, NCSE is the recognized "resource center" for people interested in what to make of anti-evolutionist claims--journalists, students, teachers, researchers, lawyers, school boards, textbook publishers, state and local education agencies of all kinds can turn to NCSE for information. NCSE consists of a network linking leading scientists with the public via a national resource center and "Committees of Correspondence" in every state and throughout Canada. NCSE President is Robert Schadewald; Executive Director is Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D., and current Board members are John R. Cole, Frederick Edwords, Jack Friedman, Laurie R. Godfrey, Ronnie Hastings, Alvin G. Lazen, Kevin Padian, and Robert M. West (all Ph.D.s except for Friedman who should be!). NCSE urgently needs your input--information about--- creationist challenges to local teachers or schools, textbook or library controversies, examples of antievolutionism in local schools (or pressures in this vein), TV or radio campaigns by creationists, newspaper policies tilting in favor of "equal time for antievolutionism," etc. NCSE can usually provide expert info to help in these situations--usually from experts with local as well as national credibilty. The National Center for Science Education is the not-for-profit (501(c)3) organization which works to promote sound science education, in the schools and in the media, specializing in the problems caused by anti-evolutionism and "scientific" creationism. With members in 50 states, most Canadian provinces, and 15 foreign countries outside North America, NCSE is the recognized "resource center" for people interested in what to make of anti-evolutionist claims--journalists, students, teachers, researchers, lawyers, school boards, textbook publishers, state and local education agencies of all kinds can turn to NCSE for information. NCSE consists of a network linking leading scientists with the public via a national resource center and "Committees of Correspondence" in every state and throughout Canada. If a school board needs to know what punctuated equilibrium or moon dust or dinosaur tracks really means (and why it does NOT mean Darwin is passe), NCSE is the place to call. NCSE has provided expert advice to teachers, students, school boards, editors, legislators, administrators, lawyers. It contributed to legal briefs before the Supreme Court in 1987 and to other court and administrative proceedings. What follows is the text of NCSE Reports 12(1), Spring 1992--minus a few business items, graphics, etc. NCSE publishes Reports, a 24-page newsletter, quarterly; Creation/Evolution, a journal of 48-56 pp, approx., is published twice yearly; member/subscribers receive both publications. -- Article #4 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: Asimov Dies at 72. Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:03:41 1992 by John Cole Isaac Asimov has died, not unexpectedly but too young, after a brief but severe illness. He was one of our leading Supporters, not only because he was alphabetized first. His career as an ardent populizer of science will never be duplicated--unless by the robots his science fiction work described (he invented the term "robotics," although the term "robot" was coined by Czech writer Karl Capek). Unlike most writers he kept producing more and getting better as he aged. You've probably seen the stats: He wrote nearly 500 books. Maybe you thought this was some corporation or something--that the books and articles and stories were produced by a stable of hacks like Gothic romances. But no, he really did write endlessly. He really did have the dedication to face a typewriter at 6:00 A.M. and leave it at night with many pages written. Actually, he wrote at several typewriters, I think, moving from one to another if he ran out of what to write on a particular book or article. He was a late and hesitant convert to computers who continued to produce first drafts on a typewriter. He joked about the sheer quantity of output and took pride in it. The numbers obscure the quality, however. He said his favorite book was Murder at the ABA, a detective novel featuring one Isaac Asimov as a best-selling author caught up in a novel. His "Robot" novels in the 1950s redefined both science fiction and automation science, but his most prominent work was the "Foundation Trilogy" (followed by a follow-up trilogy). He also wrote the first Star Trek movie. Asimov was jealous of his writing time (which seemed like ALL the time), but he was also generous with his time on behalf of things he valued. He eschewed secretaries and answered his own phone and mail. He was happy to meet with people--as long as it was in Manhattan--to advance his pet causes such as science education, evolution, skepticism and humanism. Romancer of intergalactic travel, he hated flying--indeed, any traveling at all. He cheered on the conquest of space but felt that someone should stay home and write about it. Several years ago I hosted a roundtable meeting sponsored by the American Humanist Association of which he was president. After a day-long session in which Isaac talked about his hopes for the future, his views on physics, chemistry, poetry, biology, religion, cooking, politics, ecology, sex, and the experience of being an immigrant Russian Jew, he left for home to get back to his writing. One participant ventured the opinion that he was a "genius." Another participant hastened to note that he was not a "genius," although he was pretty sharp, because he had not made breakthroughs in his doctoral field of molecular biology. This was a prejudice he faced continually and seemed to shrug off. He was appointed to a job at Boston University soon after World War II knowing nothing about biochemistry, he claimed, and then wrote a definitive textbook on the subject because he wanted to know what he was supposed to teach. This experience suggested to him that he had a knack for explaining things, and he capitalized on it in later years. An immigrant from Russia at age 3, he earned a B.S. degree at Columbia University and then a Ph.D. A Columbia B.A. in those days was reserved mostly for non-Jews and others eligible for the Ivy League imprint (I got a WASPy B.A. there and know the history). He exhibited the serene view of a person who had won the argument, not a resentment of the academics who sometimes disdained his work. Perhaps he was affected--this isn't a psychohistory (a term he originated!), but I remember him as a chuckling, literally gleeful man who saw everything as fascinating--and wanted to show other people why it was and to change the world as best he could. -- Article #5 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: Burglary Report Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:05:32 1992 by John Cole David Duke, currently running rather invisibly for the Republican Presidential nomination, formerly, he says, was a Ku Klux Klan leader. Formerly, he was associated with a white supremacist outfit calling itself the National Association for the Advancement of White People (NAAWP), which he says is a nonracist organization (although their newsletter says it is racist and proud of it; they write that they are racists, not bigots--a point of pride unclear to me). The NAAWP has in the past spoken up for creationism, so I wrote David to ask his stand on this issue. I have received no reply. However, I have just received a letter from "Empire Publishing," the nonprofit, tax-exempt organization which publishes The Klansman. They want my financial support, since they think I'm a member of a "threatened race" in this country. (Hawaiian? They aren't specific.) The only logical explanation of my hearing from an organization he has disavowed and has no connection with whatsoever is, of course, that his office has been burglarized and his address database stolen. This would also explain why I haven't heard from him in answer to my question. -- Article #6 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: Calif. Educ. Chief Indicted, Says Antievolutionists To Blame Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:11:15 1992 California Education Chief Indicted Says Antievolutionists to Conservative Critics See Opportunity to Reverse Policies by John Cole (From AP, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, and other news reports) In March, 1992, Bill Honig, California Superintendent of Public Instruction, was charged by California Attorney General Dan Lungren with four counts of "conflict of interest" violation. The case was initiated by several right-wing Honig critics, including opponents on the State Board of Education who have opposed his education reforms. "Politics at its worst," said Honig at a news conference March 26th reported in the San Francisco Chronicle. "I will be vindicated because I have done nothing wrong." He accused state attorney general Dan Lungren of witch-hunting. "It's a shoddy case, a phony case." In February, Lungren convened a grand jury to bring these charges soon after a January agreement with the Institute for Creation Research against Honig. Lungren had declined to defend Honig on the grounds that he lacked time to do so. Charges against Honig focus on his role, if any, in assignment of four state employees to work with Quality Education Programs, a private consulting operation directed by his wife, Nancy Honig. QEP rented space in the Honigs' San Francisco home and received non-state grants to develop curriculum projects. Four state employees on leave were consultants to QEP. Honig maintains that the employees were not on state payroll, that funding came from Washington, not California, and that his wife's work was independent of his office. QEP has been widely hailed for its successful efforts to improve schools and reduce dropout rates among disadvantaged students. Honig said conservatives on the Board of Education wanted to reverse his policies promoting evolution education and higher standards for graduation. "There is obviously a political aspect to this," he said. "The right wing does not like what I have done as far as (the teaching of) evolution, as far as textbooks, as far as fighting for public dollars. ... It's frightening how much power they do have in this state." State School Board president Joe Stein supported the grand jury's work which he had helped bring about. According to the Chronicle, he said he shares the concerns of antievolutionist Christian groups while denying any vendetta. "My position is that evolution is theory, not fact," Stein said. Board vice-president Gerti Thomas complained that Honig has set standards too high, forcing students to drop out of school. However, the dropout rate has declined during Honig's term in office. "[These high standards] are frightening many of the young people for fear of failure." Lou Sheldon, a long-time Honig opponent and head of "the Traditional Values Coalition," hailed the Honig indictment but denied responsibility for it. "The important thing in our view is that Earth was not created by evolution but by God," he said. Kathi Hudson, vice president of Citizens for Excellence in Education, said, "He wants to teach that evolution is a fact. You won't find any major scientist that will say it is a fact." She also argues that "sex education curriculums (sic) are encouraging children to have sex...." "He's done more for California education than any other state superintendent," said San Francisco superintendent Ramon Cortines. "Its relatively rare to see a prosecution under this (law)," said San Francisco attorney Jerrold Ladar. "This is among the type of statutes that lend themselves to potential political misuse...." According to Ladar, the issue is criminal intent. "Usually, when an individual is accused of committing a crime...you have to ask, what is the motive?" noted another attorney. In this case, there seems to be no such motive. Among those coming to Honig's defense were the president of the state school employees association and the executive director of the California Teachers Association. NCSE Executive Director Eugenie Scott, interviewed by Science Magazine (April 10), noted that, whatever the resolution of the case, it was bound to have a negative impact. Coming just before the summer when a new round of textbook selections will take place, Honig and his office will have to divert a significant amount of time and energy to the legal case rather than to education issues. Honig has been a long-time advocate of textbook improvement an opponent of California's creationist lobby and the Institute for Creation Research, in particular. As reported on p. XX and in our last issue, the ICR recently reached an out of court settlement against Honig's attempt to deny a state license to their graduate school and barred him from voting on future licensing procedures. If convicted, Honig would be dismissed from office and legally barred from ever holding public office again. -- Article #7 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: Still More About Eve (Mitochondrial D.N.A.) Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:13:33 1992 Still More about Eve by Frank Sonleitner Department of Zoology University of Oklahoma Norman, OK The "African Mitochondrial Eve" hypothesis based on the analysis of mitochondrial DNA has raised a lot of controversy. Some paleontologists claim that it is contradicted by fossil evidence (see Thorne and Wolpoff, Resources). Now, technical comments published in the February 7th Science criticize the statistical procedures used by the original researchers, and Mark Stoneking, one of the authors of the critique, was coauthor of the original "Eve" articles. "Maximum parsimony" phylogenetic trees were generated from data--family trees traced back to a common female ancestor assuming a minimum number of mutations. Such a path is argued to be the most likely one followed by human evolution. Alan Templeton of Washington University, with others, has now reanalyzed the original data using the original computer program. Depending on the nature of the data, the program can generate more than one, sometimes a great many, different yet equally parsimonious trees. Which subset of trees is actually generated also depends on the sequence in which the data are entered into the computer program. When more exhaustive computer runs were used, critics found many trees slightly more parsimonious than that presented originally, and they found that the data do not necessarily require an African origin. This does not mean that an African origin of modern humanity is ruled out, just that the mtDNA data have other possible interpretations. Some outspoken critics of the African Eve hypothesis applaud the new findings, while supporters point out that there is independent evidence to support it still, including fossils. They also note that the African gene pool is the most diverse on earth--genetic evidence which has long pointed to African origins. Creationists may gleefully claim this debate shows evolutionists don't know what they are doing. However, it illustrates the opposite--that science is (or tries to be) self-correcting. If there are weak points in an approach, scientists will find them--and sometimes the original proponents such as Stoneking find the flaws. Some references for further information: Barinaga M. 1992. "African Eve" Backers Beat a Retreat. Science 255: 686-687, 7 Feb. Brown, P. 1992. African Eve Theory Takes a Step Back. New Scientist 133: 26, 15 Feb. Gee, H. 1992. Statistical Cloud over African Eden. Nature 355: 583, 13 Feb. Science News. 1992. African Eve Gets Lost in the 'Trees.' 141(8): 123, 22 Feb. Templeton, A.R., et al. 1992. Human Origins and Analysis of Mitochondrial DNA Sequences. Science 255: 737-739 (See Resources). Thorne, A. and M. Wolpoff. 1992. The Multiple Origins of the Genus Homo. Scientific American 266(4): 76-83. (see Resources). Vigilant, L., et al. 1991. African Populations and the Evolution of Human Mitochondrial DNA. Science 253: 1503-1507. Wilson, A., and R. Cann. 1992. The Recent African Genesis of Humans. Scientific American 266(4): 66-73. (See Resources) -- Article #8 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: Letters to the Editor Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:14:54 1992 Letters I see [11(4):8] that the only planets that are not named for a god or goddess are the Earth and the Moon. I would expect this from the editor of The Old Farmer's Almanac but I like not to find it from a university professor or the International Astronomical Union. The Greek name for our planet is Gaea, sometimes transliterated Gaia. Her name in Roman mythology is Terra. She is the Earth goddess whose children were Titans. The French name for Earth is la terre (feminine), and the Spanish is la tierra (feminine). Both the French and Spanish names...come from the Latin and retain the gender. The German name is die Erde (feminine) [a goddess]. ...I suspect that the English word Earth is etymologically related to the German word Erde. May I recall a couplet from Joyce Kilmer's poem Trees? A tree whose hungry mouth is prest Against the Earth's sweet flowing breast! Clearly the planet on which we live is named after a goddess, even in English. The same is true of the Moon. The Greeks identified the Moon with the goddess Artemis. In Roman mythology the moon is associated with the goddess Diana, sometimes called Cynthia, the goddess of the moon and the hunt. In Latin, Luna is the Roman goddess of the Moon. The French name for Moon is la lune. The Spanish is la luna. Both names obviously come from the Latin. The ignorance of language, including English but especially languages other than English, is typical of the Politically Correct intelligentsia who pullulate on American campuses today. Multiculturalism is their buzz-word but they have little or no learning. They flock like starlings from one in-thing to another. The most important place to be is in the center of the flock. In that position one cannot be accused of having original thoughts. I am reminded of Alexander Pope's "A Little Learning." A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again. ... Of course I realize that Alexander Pope, 1688-1744, is a dead white European male and therefore...to be ignored. Someone has said: "The world needs a more intelligent intelligentsia." Now for the last paragraph on that [article]. Why must the womenwhose names are to be used on Venus be "worthy"? Those who know their mythology are aware that Venus was a bit of a whore. Venereal diseases are named after her. Therefore, why not include Rahab (Joshua 6:17), Wallis Warfield Simpson, Madame Pompadour and others? Your exposure of creationism is most praiseworthy. Keep the light on. Cockroaches don't like it. Hubert P. Yockey Bel Air, MD Ed: Sorry! I should have credited my source (and thought about the details!): it was a news item in Science. I'll put on a record of Das Lied von die Erde and keep the light on. As always, I enjoyed the latest issue of NCSE Reports. ... The article about The Old Farmer's Almanac surprised me [for most of the reasons noted above]. Another computer network with evolution/creation discussions is the Commodore-specific QuantumLink. The menu path News and Information ->Express Yourself! -> Theological Debate Board lands you in a message board where evolution comes up often. Another path is Just for Fun -> The Interchange -> Religious Realms/Philosophical Viewpoint. I owe a huge debt to Creation/Evolution and NCSE Reports for counterarguments and timely information to quickly and thoroughly refute creationist claims, and several times I've noted NCSE's address (printouts of most of these exchanges has made a 3.5 cm thick notebook!). Keep up the good work. Bert Watkins Shreveport, LA I hope that the proofreading of NCSE Reports will be improved. On p. 17 [9(4)], I fail to see what is scientific about the concept of "the age of the universe." To me, it implies that the universe began at some time, and that therefore there was a time when it did not exist. What term is used for the space and matter/energy that existed before "the beginning of the universe," as the use of those quoted words implies? The concept of "an even older universe" also seems unscientific, to me, for the same reason. The concept of an expanding universe implies that there is an unnamed "space" beyond it, into which it could"expand." What is that space, if it is not part of the universe? Isn't all space included in the universe, by definition? What books answer these questions? Nearly 70 years ago I was taught that matter/energy cannot be created or destroyed, that nature abhors a vacuum, that in time there is always minus one and plus one, and that in space there is always plus one. Apparently those concepts are no longer held to be valid by science writers, but they don't explain what is wrong with them, and how those concepts were proved to be wrong, by whom, and how. M.K.Stone Philadelphia, PA Ed: In the words of J.B.S. Haldane, "the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose." I hope I can recruit a lucid article for C/E on cosmogenesis (origin of the cosmos). As a non-physicist, I'll just attempt a couple of notes here. First, Dalrymple's article reflects the consensus of scientists today in accepting the idea of a "Big Bang" origin of the universe which has expanded like a balloon from an initial "singularity" or infinitely small point of near-infinite mass; second, there's nothing outside the balloon, and since time is slowed by great mass, the concept of "before the bang" is very unclear speculation. These ideas come out of relativity theory and observations which have supported it, plus later physics and math. Some astrophysicists now propose that there is probably something outside the universe--such as other universes! A couple of good references, both supposedly "popular" but fairly heavy going: Steven Weinberg's The First Three Minutes, and Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time. Both writers are scientists instrumental in developing modern cosmogenesis theory. Of course, the final verdict is not in. In NCSE Reports 11(4): p.1..."The ICR is currently licensed to grant degrees by the state of California...." Then, p. 5: "...ICR must still seek approval from the state of California to grant degrees." [Which do you mean?] Howard F. Young La Crosse, WI Ed: Good (terse!) question. The latter meant to explain that ICR is still subject to regulation and must have and continues to need approval, although the rules have been changed. Permission must be renewed in 1997. Scientists should demand of creationists answers to these questions: 1) What are the creation theories (models)? Name them. 2) What are the basic premises, the postulates, of each theory? 3) What are some examples of lines of reasoning in each theory--reasoning used a) for support of postulates, b) for explanations of known facts, and c) for prediction of possible new facts? 4) What are the ranges applicability and the limitations, the boundaries, of each theory? If answers to these questions were given, honest citizens, in the light of real science, might readily agree with Darwin: "On the ordinary view of each species having been independently created, we gain no scientific explanation of any one of these facts [geologic succession, geographic distribution and mutual affinities and homologies]. We can only say that it has so pleased the Creator to command that the past and present inhabitants of the world should appear in a certain order and in certain areas; that He has impressed on them the most extraordinary resemblances, and has classed them in groups subordinate to groups. But by such statements we gain no new knowledge; we do not connect together facts and laws; we explain nothing." (Darwin, Variation of Plants and Animals Under Domestication, Orange Judd, London, 1868, p. 20) Ralph W. Lewis Michigan State University East Lansing, MI Ed: Too few read Darwin--evolutionists or opponents. I don't view his arguments as any "last word," but many of them are surprisingly fresh today. Your uncritical publication of Jonathan Marks' self-serving account of Phillip Johnson's visit to Yale lowered your publication's credibility in my eyes. I have heard Johnson lecture and debate, and I respect his ability to field sincere questions on both the scientific and philosophical aspects of evolution. If he, perhaps wrongly, judged Mr. Marks as a heckler and hence recognized another questioner, that is certainly within his privilege as the speaker on the floor. Marks' ad hominem caricature of Johnson as hawking his book for monetary reasons is ludicrous. Johnson has an endowed chair in the Berkeley Law School and clearly is involved in this debate for intellectual and religious reasons. I urge you to print an apology to Dr. Johnson. I urge your readers to read Johnson's book and see if he's the "mountebank" described by Marks. J. R. Cogdell Austin, TX Ed: A book review is planned. [cc of letter sent to Mr. Cogdell] I wouldn't take this sort of thing [ie, Marks' critique] too seriously. The folks at NCSE seem to consider themselves to have a mission to protect Darwinism from criticism of any kind. Their style in dealing with dissenters is reminiscent of that employed by the Soviet press in the pre-Glasnost days: Cover them with ridicule and abuse and refuse to acknowledge that the ruling ideology is having any problems whatever. I am used to this treatment and have learned to turn it to advantage. Intelligent and fair-minded people recognize that a science education establishment that meets criticism with tactics of this sort must not be confident of its case on the merits of the argument. Phillip E. Johnson School of Law, UCB Berkeley, CA Ed: And we suppress all criticism, I hear. ...[T]hat the state which so greedily taxes me, a retired person on a fixed and limited income, dares to use so much as one penny of any tax dollar of mine to aid or foster the existence of any pseudoscience--creationism, flat-earthism...or otherwise, [enrages me]! Who--what specific person in Sacramento, authorized that any check comprised of California taxpayers' money in the amount of $225,000 be sent to cover expenses of the ICR (legal or otherwise), and when was any such check sent??? George James Crescent City, CA ed: Articles in this issue by Jukes and Cole should partially answer your questions about who did what when. -- Article #9 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: More on the ICR-California Settlement Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:16:45 1992 by Thomas H. Jukes University of California Berkeley The Institute for Creation Research (ICR), in Santee, CA, has a graduate school program "designed to prepare graduates for productive careers...and also for significant service in the cause of creation." It offers M.S. degrees in Astro/Geophysics, Biology, Geology, and Science Education. In 1981, the State of California Office of Private Postsecondary Education (OPPE) "gave the approval rating" for these four M.S. programs. The ICR catalogue described at length the commitment of the faculty to "both scientific creationism and Biblical creationism." The latter states that the creation story of Genesis 1:1-2:3 "is factual, historical and perspicuous: thus all theories...which involve evolution in any form are false." The program of ICR is therefore inescapably religious. (Quotations above are from the ICR Graduate School Catalogue, 1982-1983.) In 1987, ICR applied for reapproval by OPPE of its graduate M.S. programs. The application was made to the California State Department of Education (CDE). A site visit to ICR for consideration of this approval was made August 3-5, 1988, by a committee of five, two of whom were creationists. The committee made a lukewarm report, with criticisms of the teaching and the labs and questions about the academic program, but it voted 3-2 to recommend reapproval. On December 3, 1988, a member of the majority, Dr. R. Kovach, changed his vote to disapproval. On December 7, 1988, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Bill Honig said that reapproval would be denied, and that "no one is stopping the ICR from granting degrees in religion or creation, but they are holding their people to have science degrees, which they don't. The vast bulk of what they learn is not science" (Blakeslee, 1988). Following this, corrective measures were discussed as an alternative to outright disapproval, and Honig decided that it would be necessary to appoint another on-site review committee. ICR agreed this should take place in summer 1989. This second group was chaired by Richard Dickerson and also included Everett Olson, Christopher Wills, Lawrence Lerner, and a member selected by the ICR, Leroy Eimers. The group submitted its 48-page report in January 1990. It was critical of the quality of education at ICR, not of creationism, and the committee recommended denial of reapproval. Eimers signed the report but was not in agreement with its recommendation. The report was widely publicized; a report in Nature (Buderi, 1990) also noted that the denial of approval would be appealed. ICR brought a lawsuit against Honig and two of his assistants. On January 31, 1992, a judgement was made by a U.S. DistrictCourt, declaring agreement by the ICR and the State to eight points. Briefly summarized, these were "that defendants acknowledge" the following: a) that the 1989 Visiting Committee report [the Dickerson report] should be rescinded and withdrawn by "physical removal or notation;" b) the 1988 favorable Visiting Committee report (prior to the change in recommendation by Kovach) should be the last official document in the file; c) a private postsecondary educational institution (PPEI) may teach anything it wants "except as provided by statute..."; d) Honig must abstain from voting on ICR's application until his term of office expires in 1995; e) ICR may specify statements of belief and purpose that comply with a national association [the creationist Transnational Association of Christian Schools (TRACS), led by ICR's Henry Morris]; f) ICR has First Amendment rights of free speech, religious freedom, and "academic freedom" [the last is not mentioned in the Constitution, however]; g) PPEIs may teach the creation model as being correct provided that instruction also includes evolution [see below]; h) A private K-12 school is not within the jurisdiction of the California Department of Education "...except as provided by law." Finally, the State of California agreed to pay ICR $225,000. Ruling a) is an audacious rewriting of history, since ICR agreed to the Dickerson Committee review. Ruling d) against Honig seems to conflict with his statutory responsibilities. Ruling g) revives the old campaign to teach creationism in schools by reviving the "equal time" argument. It states that evolution will also be taught, but this is unlikely given the ICR's statement (above) that evolution is false. The success of the creationist lawsuit was made possible by the unwillingness of California's Attorney General to contest it on behalf of the Department of Education. References Blakeslee, S. 1988. The New York Times p. A17, December 8. Buderi, R. 1990. Nature 343: 501. -- Article #10 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: Attending a Creationist Seminar in Washington State Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:18:21 1992 by Carl Wigren Maple Valley, WA Thomas Hoyle flashed slide after slide before a wall-to-wall audience packed in the Maple Valley Presbyterian parish hall. The public had been invited to witness this dramatic rebuttal of evolution, and Hoyle was touted as a man who could do it. The newspaper ad said that this Ph.D. candidate had given his "clear and understandable presentation one thousand times before," and now, this Sunday evening in the Seattle suburb of Maple Valley, the audience could choose between the "Word of God, or the world of God." Prior to this glib invalidation of scientific enterprise, I had called assistant pastor Kathy Schwann to voice my consternation. Was she aware that there was nothing scientific about creationism? Was this church a fundamentalist sect? Affiliated with Presbyterian USA, she explained that members "believe in the absolute authority of the word of God." Sounded literalist to me, but maybe the f-word is out of style. She asked that I come with an open mind. Her invitation had the ring of an Amway spiel. Despite my preparation, I had butterflies in my stomach as I walked into church. This was my first creation seminar. I nervously flipped through some books by Henry Morris in the vestibule and then, clutching Voices for Evolution, the National Academy of Sciences publication, and my questions, I took a folding chair. Hoyle set the agenda. No questions until the end. Wouldn't want an evolutionist to break the continuity of half-truths and out of context quotations. Convenient. When he finished denigrating evolution, I asked him if he equated the stand on evolution of the Presbyterian Church USA with Godlessness. I was quickly censored by Kathy Schwann from the back of the hall. "Are you Carl? ...We already talked about this." She insisted that the issue was not appropriate in this setting. I tried in vain to read a short excerpt from Voices regarding the Presbyterian USA position. At this point, a woman stood up on the opposite side of the hall. Most knew this fellow parishioner as the organist, but fewer probably knew she held a doctorate in social psychology and taught at a local university. She voiced her disapproval of the presentation. The room was hushed. Amazingly, Hoyle belittled her comments, saying he believed "only half" of what she said. Hoyle's unease was obvious, and audience discomfort was palpable. He fielded a few more innocuous questions and quickly closed. My new-found ally, the organist, said that this parish had gradually become more literalist, and that this presentation was the laststraw. Many had decided to leave the meeting, herself included, and our conversation was cut short as swarms of parishioners converged on us both. One of the more revealing conversations that followed was with an influential member of the congregation organizing a fledgling parish in a nearby town. He was keenly aware of the "secular humanist" conspiracy. Sensing my skepticism, he divulged that a local school district had knowingly hired two witches for teaching positions. Convincing! The folie a deux was complete when Hoyle, who was busy packing his Henry Morris library, added that public schools are indoctrinating children in secular humanism. Apparently his antidote is to masquerade fundamentalist beliefs as science. Remarkably, I learned, he is occasionally requested to speak at public schools. "The Word of God, or the World of God?" Or, Hoyle or Hell? -- Article #11 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: Secondary School Evolution Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:19:40 1992 by R. Steven Gumbay Kent Denver School 4000 East Quincy Avenue Englewood, CO 80110-4998 I would appreciate readers' assistance. I am teaching what I believe is a unique course in Biological Anthropology at the secondary level (juniors and seniors) at an independent school here in Denver. Recently the ingredients fell into place for a new elective science course, and the result is a college level course and cooperative venture with the University of Denver Biological Sciences faculty. 1991 was the first year of this course. It has been an outstanding success, so far--one of the most popular courses in the school. To me this is a unique opportunity to introduce students to the science involved in the pursuit of the understanding of our origins. I would like to explore sources of possible grant funding to obtain teaching materials for this course. I believe there is a tremendous need to help the large mass of biological science teachers who feel caught in the middle of challenges to today's science education. We cannot improve biological science teaching unless there is a strong effort on the part of the science and teaching communities to help each other combat the forces that misinterpret and misrepresent science to our children. I am looking for support from NCSE members in pursuit of these goals. I look forward to a dialogue on these issues and am willing to do whatever I can to cooperate with others to achieve these goals. -- Article #12 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: RESOURCES (books) Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:21:20 1992 RESOURCES Aiello, Leslie, and Christopher Dean. 1990. An Introduction to Human Evolutionary Anatomy. San Diego: Academic Press. 596 pp. $49.95 pb. Technical. Good reviews. Bengtson, S. 1991. Oddballs from the Cambrian Start to Get Even. Nature 351: 184-185. New views of Hallucigenia, early animals which are as weird as the name implies. Bjorklun, Eugene C. 1991. Evolution and Creationism in the Public School Curriculum: The Academic Freedom Issue. Education Law Reporter XXX. Discusses Webster case and legal issues. Available for SASE + $.50 from NCSE Bowlby, J. 1991. Charles Darwin: A New Life. NY: W.W. Norton. xiv+511 pp. $24.95 Bowler, P.J. 1990. Charles Darwin: The Man and His Influence. Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell. xii+250 pp. $21.95 Brewster, Rudi. 1992. Judgement Granting Declaratory Judgement by Stipulation. The ICR v Bill Honig decision. SASE + $.50 from NCSE Day, Lucille. 1992. Redefining the Tree of Life. Mosaic 22(4): 46-56. Latest competing ideas about the origin of life and the evolution of life's major categories--treats the 5-kingdom theory as an artifact of the 1960's--a good beginning. Written for the public but fairly technical. Desmond, A. 1989. The Politics of Evolution: Morphology, Medicine, and Reform in Radical London. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. x+503 pp. $34.95. "Please read this book," writes reviewer Gareth Nelson. "What you learn will illuminate the present." 19th century London politics had a lot of parallels with today's politics in the creation-evolution debate. Desmond, A. and J. Moore. 1991. Darwin. NY: Warner. 832 pp. $35.00. "Remarkable," says reviewer Gareth Nelson, who recommends it as a landmark book which "leaves the myths behind." Foner, Eric. 1992. The Education of Richard Hofstadter. The Nation 254: 597-603 (4 May). Excellent essay about the author of Social Darwinism in American Thought, Anti-intellectualism in American Life, etc. and their place in social history. Gibbons, Ann. 1992. Sorting the Hominid Bonepile. Science 256: 176-177. News report on a meeting at the American Museum of Natural History, "Apes or Ancestors?" which tried to sort out hominid-hominoid evolution. Gribbin, J. 1992. Quasar Red Shifts under the Lens. NewScientist 133: 23, 8 Feb. Discussion of new info concluding that quasars are indeed as far away as thought--and thus billions of years old. Hambrey, M. 1992. Secrets of a Tropical Ice Age. New Scientist 133: 42-49, 1 Feb. Summaries of evidence for Precambrian ice ages. Hillis, David M., J.J. Bull, M.E. White, M.R. Badgett, and I. K. Molinoux. 1992. Experimental Phylogenetics: Generation of a Known Phylogeny. Science 255: 589-592. Dramatic experiment introduced a mutagen which proceeded unguided to produce 5 different phylogenies or "histories" which were duplicates of known phylogenies. Available from NCSE for SASE + $.50 Johnson, Phillip. 1992. Response to Jukes. Journal of Molecular Evolution 34: 93-94. Nested hierarchies exist but evolution doesn't? SASE + $1.50 for this & 2 Jukes & 1 Mims Articles below Jukes, Thomas H. 1991. Creationism vs. Scientific American. Journal of Molecular Evolution 33:1-2. Critique of F. Mims' complaint that a magazine refused to hire him because of his religion. (See Johnson above) Jukes, Thomas H. 1991. The Persistent Conflict. Journal of Molecular Evolution 33: 205-206. Critique of Phillip Johnson's legalistic attack on evolution. (See Johnson above) Lewin, R. 1992. Earth's Field Flips Flippin' Fast. New Scientist 133: 26, 25 Jan. Oregon lava flows reveal rapid magnetic field reversals--bad news for creationists such as Thomas Barnes who deny reversals occur, but good news, of sorts, for some others willing to accept them and who want them rapid. Mayr, Ernst. 1991. One Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. xv + 195 pp. $19.95 (Avail. from NCSE at 20% discount--See centerfold) McCord, Robert S. 1992. 101-Year-Old-Woman not Pregnant. Daily Hampshire Gazette, Northampton, MA 12 February. How supermarket tabloids (try to) get away with it, by a real newspaper editor who was an expert witness in a lawsuit against the Sun. SASE + $0.50 from NCSE. McGowan, Christopher. 1991. Dinosaurs, Spitfires and Sea Dragons. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Good popular introduction to dinosaurs, ichthyosaurs and pteranadons. Reviewed in next C/E. Margulis, Lynn, and D. Sagan. 1991. Mystery Dance: On the Evolution of Human Sexuality. 224 pp. QP Book Club $9.95; Publ. ed. $20, pb. Controversial sociobiology. Menendez, A.J, and Edd Doerr. 1991. Religion and Public Education; Common Sense and the Law. Long Beach, CA: Centerline Press. 112 pp, $12.95. Pb. One 10 pp chapter is "Creationism vs. Evolution;" topics include teaching about religion and values. A publication of Americans for Religious Liberty. Mims, Forrest. 1992. A Response to Thomas H. Jukes. Journal of Molecular Evolution 34: 1-2. Followed by a brief note from Jukes. (See Johnson above) Nielson, R.H. 1992. The Oldest Ice in the World. New Scientist 133: 34-38, 29 Feb. Greenland Ice Core Project will soon hit bedrock, completing a continuous core climate record extending back 300,000-600,000 years--by far the oldest ice core ever. Norell, M.A., and M.I. Novacek. 1992. The Fossil Record and Evolution: Comparing Cladistic and Paleontologic Evidence for Vertebrate History. Science 255: 1690-1691. Predictions about evolution are tested, and it works. Parks, William S. 1992. An Open Letter to the Journal Creation/Evolution. Creation Research Society Quarterly 28: 177-178, March. Yet more on the old Walter Brown-Jim Lippard debate. Sereno, P.C. and R. Chenggang. 1992. Early Evolution of Avian Flight and Perching. Science 255: 845-848, 14 Feb. Sparrow-sized Chinese bird fossil intermediate in character between Archaeopteryx and modern birds. SASE + $.50 Templeton, Alan R., S.B. Hedges, A. Kumar, K. Tamura and M. Stoneking. 1992. Human Origins and Analysis of Mitochondrial DNA Sequences. Science 255:737-739, 7 February. "Mitochondrial Eve" argument was statistically flawed. SASE + $1.00 from NCSE. Thorne, Alan G., and Milford H. Wolpoff. 1992. The Multiregional Evolution of Humans. Scientific American 299(4): 76-83. The extreme "anti-molecular clock" argument from two of the leading proponents of the paper's title and of relying on features in "the bone alone." SASE + $1.00 from NCSE Wakefield, J. Richard. 1991. Biological Evolution: An Overview of Mechanisms and Evidence. OASIS Supplementary Monograph #1, 39pp. Second Edition. Illustrated, bound, with special reference to creationist arguments. Order from OASIS, 385 Main St., Beaverton, ON LOK 1A0 Canada. $15 Williams, George C., and R.N. Nesse. 1991. The Dawn of Darwinian Medicine. Quarterly Review of Biology 66(1): 1-22. Evolution by natural selection explains many aspects of diseases. More good arguments for why we need to understand evolution. SASE + $2.20 from NCSE Wilson, Allan, and R. Cann. 1992. The Recent African Genesis of Humans. Scientific American 299(4): 66-73. An example of howpublishing deadlines can be treacherous! Excellent illustrated explanation of the "Mitochondrial Eve" hypothesis, the conclusions of which have been called into serious question since this went to press. (See Sonleitner, p. __) SASE + $1.00 from NCSE Wood, B. 1992. Origin and Evolution of the Genus Homo. Nature 355: 783-790, 27 Feb. The article's title is a clue to content. Zimmer, C. 1992. Ruffled Feathers Discover 13(5): 44-54 (May). A fairly sober account of the controversy over "Protoavis" as early bird; quotes NCSE's Kevin Padian and others. Protoavis remains are fragmentary and mixed up and do not support the claim that it is a clearer ancestor than Archaeopteryx. SASE + $1.00 [box] FREE! From "Science As A Way Of Knowing" project, American Society of Zoologists Evolutionary Biology Human Ecology Genetics Form and Function Cell and Molecular Biology Request single issues from: Dr. John A. Moore, Department of Biology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521; single copies are free, although postage contributions are invited. Two reprints of monographs in this series are available for $2.50 each from the same address; make checks to Amer. Soc. of Zoologists. -- Article #13 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: Clinton Not Governor When Arkansas Law Passed Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:22:27 1992 Clinton Not Governor When Arkansas Law Passed by Eugenie C. Scott We have received more than one request concerning whether Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton (a Democratic Presidential contender) was the Arkansas governor who signed the notorious "equal time" creationist bill in 1981. This bill later became the basis for the Federal District Court lawsuit, McLean v Arkansas. He was not. Clinton was governor from 1979-1981, and was defeated by Frank White, who signed Arkansas law 590. White was subsequently defeated by Bill Clinton in 1983, and Clinton has held the governor's seat ever since. -- Article #14 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: NCSE's International Membership Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:24:01 1992 NCSE now has members in 15 foreign countries as well as the USA: Australia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Guatemala, India, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, and Switzerland. "Scientific" creationism is a world-wide movement, unfortunately, but it is good to know that NCSE's message is getting out where it is needed. -- Article #15 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: Creationists No Longer Invited To Peoria Public Schools but... Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:26:53 1992 -- but the bad news is.... by Eugenie C. Scott From mid-1989 through 1991, NCSE reported on extensive creationist activity in central Illinois [Reports 9(3):p.21; 10(3):p.1; 10(4):p. 6;10(6):p. 1; 11(1):p. 1; 11(2):p. 4]. The Institute for Creation Research had been invited to speak in Peoria, Morton and other Illinois public school science classes for up to twelve years, with little dissent. NCSE southern Illinois and Missouri Liaison Ranse Traxler and other NCSE members brought considerable publicity to this practice, resulting in widespread condemnation from both the press and members of the state education hierarchy. The question is, what is going on now in central Illinois? According to a recent series of articles by Peoria Journal Star reporter Elaine Hopkins (4/12/92, p. A12), "Speakers on creation science have addressed science classes in the past. But teachers are not encouraged to invite them now, Associate Superintendent Melvin Hines wrote in a letter, after a 1990 inquiry from the National Center for Science Education. A book, 'Scientific Creationism,' once listed for teacher reference on the approved list of high school science textbooks, no longer appears on the current list." That ICR faculty members are no longer lecturing to students in science classes is the good news. Unfortunately, the four articles by Hopkins go on to discuss how students in several districts in central Illinois are systematically being denied the opportunity to learn evolution. Officials at several districts, including Metamora, East Peoria, and Germantown Hills, claimed students have "enough to learn" without having to learn evolution. In Germantown Hills, Doug Leman, Vice President of the school board, wrote a heavily-referenced, 38 page document on creationism "for the enlightenment of the teachers." Leman wrote that neither evolution nor creationism was scientific, and both were belief systems. "Implications of the theory of evolution trouble Leman. The world cannot have developed by chance, he said. 'There has to be a master designer. Without that designer, there's no absolute moral code, only situation ethics.'" Children can be taught both models when they are old enough to understand them, but not at the elementary level. "Meanwhile, the children should not be taught 'as fact' that 'dinosaurs were here millions of years ago,' Leman said." As Hopkins reported, "Teachers at Germantown Hills got the message." Although the textbook used in the district discusses evolution, the chapters are skipped, according to an unidentified teacher. "As a result, some children say the world is only 6,000 years old, and that the dinosaurs lived with Adam and Eve, the teacher said. Instead of supplying accurate dates, teachers tellthe children dinosaurs lived 'a long time ago,' the teacher said." Teachers who do bother to teach evolution apparently "believe they need to 'balance' the scientific concepts of evolution with other 'theories,' namely the Bible's story of seven days of creation." An example is the Morton district. During the spring of 1991, Morton was the center of controversy when the school district, dismayed over "too much evolution" in the textbooks, directed the staff to develop a curriculum in creationism to be taught alongside evolution (see Reports 11(1):p. 1.) NCSE and others publicized this dictum, which directly defied the 1987 Supreme Court decision, Edwards v Aguillard. National newspapers such as Education Week carried the story. What was taught in the fall? According to the Journal Star reporter, "Biology teachers spend one class period discussing all the theories. They include life sent to earth from outer space and religious stories, including the account in Genesis." It appears as if the "creationism curriculum" was reduced from earlier promises. Morton, apparently, does not like being the center of controversy. There are some bright spots, however. Pekin High School science department head (and NCSE member) Jill Schimmelpfennig told the reporter that evolution and only evolution is taught in the high school biology classes. Similarly, teachers at Sterling Middle school teach evolution "because it's part of a chapter in the science book." -- Article #16 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: Mormon Church Stance on Evolution Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:28:13 1992 by Eugenie Scott The four-volume Encyclopedia of Mormonism (Macmillan 1991) summarizes the faith's history and doctrine. Written by lay members under Church hierarchical direction, is described as "authentic but not official." Historically, Mormonism has encompassed believers ranging from a unique form of creationism to theistic evolution. Officially, the Church's ruling quorums have always left the matter open, except for belief in an overarching divine plan and an historical Adam. Refinements of the "Adam" concept have been variously developed, repudiated, and ignored. Dates for the age of the Earth and the development of life have ranged from short-term ones to those of modern science. Officially, the issue has been left unresolved. The encyclopedia continues the tradition of general openness. A notably terse article on "Evolution," nominally written by Brigham Young University physicist William E. Evenson, clearly had input from the Church's highest authorities. While asserting their was an "Adam," the article makes clear that the method of creation is unknown. It cites official minutes of a 1931 meeting of the Church hierarchy wherein officers are charged to "leave geology, biology, archaeology, and anthropology...to scientific research, while we (the officers) magnify our calling in the realm of the Church." Republishing this statement today effectively updates the endorsement of this hands-off approach. Interesting stance. Mormons clearly seem to vary on the topic. -- Article #17 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: Back To Genesis in West Virginia Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:29:37 1992 by Karl D. Fezer Concord College Athens, WV The ministry of the Institute for Creation Research reaches more people now that it runs "Back to Genesis Seminars." These typically two-day sessions sometimes attract thousands of people to weekend meetings--the high-tech descendant of revival meetings. They are held all over the country. I attended one held October 25-26, 1991. I first saw the event promoted the previous May at a weekend seminar featuring Genesis Flood co-author John C. Whitcomb in a church 90 miles from Charleston. Later, glossy fliers reached me from various sources. Several weeks before the event, a Concord College student invited me to another local church to see a creation/evolution film. This film, with the service built around it, served the dual purpose of generating interest in the forthcoming Charleston event and edifying those who couldn't make it to Charleston. Perhaps 200 people attended this local service. The film shown, The Genesis Solution, was mostly a Ken Ham sermon, augmented by diagrams and cartoons. Ham has become the ICR's most ardent evangelist. His message: Evolution is the foundation of all challenges to God's word, and those who know God's word should not tolerate alternatives. Later, at the end of the Charleston program, we were told that this film had 106 similar showings in West Virginia. The Charleston seminar was preceded by a "school assembly" Friday morning for grades K-6. According to a page-one story in The Charleston Gazette, 2500 children in the Municipal Auditorium heard Ken Ham ask, "Did dinosaurs get on Noah's Ark?" and "Was the earth formed millions of years ago?"--with the children shouting back "Yes!" and "No!" respectively. ICR staffers said about 80% of the children were home-schooled or from Christian private schools in West Virginia. According to the Gazette, "some parents took their children from public schools to attend the 90 minute seminar. A few public school teachers may have taken their entire classes, but neither county nor ICR spokesmen were sure." The Seminar itself, also held in the Charleston Municipal Auditorium, began Friday evening and continued through Saturday evening. It consisted of nine 45-60 minute lectures--three each by Ken Ham, John Morris, and Duane Gish--plus three films. Ham lectured on "Genesis 1-11: An Overview," "Genesis and the Decay of the Nations," and "Genesis Evangelism." The three speakersscheduled 8 additional sermons or talks Sunday. Ten days before the event, the Gazette published a critique by me in which I gave specifics about a number of instances of dishonesty and nonsense perpetrated by ICR. Apparently it made an impression, because each of the three speakers referred to it at least twice. John Morris told the crowd that Fezer attends creationist meetings and disrupts them. Since the latter claim is false, I spoke to him privately and asked him to retract his statement, which he did in his next lecture. All speakers kept promoting various books for sale on more than a dozen tables in the lobby and on more tables behind curtains on the auditorium stage. Ample time was allowed between lectures for the perusal and purchase of books. The front page story in The Charleston Gazette was accompanied by a full-color portrait of the greenbacks in a book-table cashier's money-box. A subsequent letter from ICR's Mark Looy complained about the erroneous impression created by this picture and told of how little money they make from book sales. At the last lecture ICR's Ken Ham announced that costs had been covered by prior church contributions and by a collection taken Friday evening, and that no further collection was needed. He claimed the event had reached 6000 people, including 3500 children, and that the total for the weekend would rise to 7000. I estimated peak Saturday attendance to have been about 1200. -- Article #18 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: Who Loves Insects? Orkin !! Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:30:30 1992 If you're the Smithsonian, and your budget is being cut, and you need help with a new insect exhibit, who do you call? Orkin Pesticide Co. ("We destroy them all"), that's who. Science reports that the Smithsonian has received $500,000 from the company and that the newly named O. Orkin Insect Zoo will re-open in September 1993. An Orkin spokesperson said, with probably unintended double meaning, "We share the philosophy that insects are a vital part of nature." No one at the company said, "Insects are my life." -- Article #19 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: Tracking: Can Earth Be Dated From Decay of Its Magnetic Field? Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:32:52 1992 by G. Brent Dalrymple U.S. Geological Survey Menlo Park, CA Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, "scientific" creationists insist that the Earth is young. One of the most frequently cited "proofs" of a young Earth is the decay of the Earth's magnetic field--an argument developed by Thomas G. Barnes (e.g., Barnes 1971, 1981, 1983), before his death Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Texas, El Paso, and, for several years, Dean of the Graduate School at the Institute for Creation Research. Barnes' argument is based on the observation that the strength of the Earth's dipole field (meaning 2 magnetic poles), called the dipole moment, has decreased about 6% since scientists began measuring the magnetic field and analyzing the data in the early 1800s. Barnes claims that the decrease in the dipole moment is due to freely decaying electrical currents circulating in the fluid iron-nickel core of the Earth. According to Barnes, these currents originated by unknown processes when the Earth was formed and have been decaying irreversibly and exponentially ever since with a half-life of 1400 years. He uses this half-life to calculate the value of Earth's dipole moment at various times in the past and finds that the strength of the field would have been impossibly large in 8000 B.C. Barnes concludes that the Earth must be less than 10,000 years old. To people unfamiliar with the current state of research on the magnetic field, Barnes' argument may seem logical and straightforward. In arguing his case, however, he has apparently ignored or attempted to refute much of what scientists have learned in this century about the genesis and behavior of the Earth's field. The primary objections to Barnes' thesis are three (Dalrymple 1983). First, there is no question that the dipole moment has been decreasing in recent years, but over long periods of time the change has not been exponential or even regular as Barnes assumes (Merrill and McElhinny, 1983; Bloxham and Gibbins, 1989). Studies of the magnetic field as recorded in dated rocks and pottery have shown that the dipole moment actually fluctuates over periods of a few thousand years and that decreases in field intensity are eventually followed by increases. For example, the archaeomagnetic data show that the dipole field was about 20% weaker than the present field 6,500 years ago and about 45% stronger than the present field about 3000 years ago (McElhinny and Senanayake, 1982). Occasionally, the dipole field virtually disappears only to reappear with the north and south poleschanging places. These polarity reversals, accompanied by a temporary decrease in the dipole moment, have been occurring every half-million years or so for millions of years. Thus, Barnes' exponential extrapolation back in time of the Earth's dipole moment based on only 150 years of data is obviously invalid; his conclusion that the Earth's magnetic field is only a few thousand years old is directly contradicted by voluminous data showing that the existence of the field is recorded in rocks dated as more than three billion years in age. A second problem with Barnes' argument is that he has made the mistake of equating the dipole moment with the total field intensity and that, in turn, with the total field energy. To a first approximation, Earth's magnetic field has the same overall configuration as it would if the field were caused by a gigantic bar magnet, with north and south poles, in the core and aligned approximately along the Earth's rotational axes, i.e., the dipole field. The Earth's field, however, is much more complex than a simple dipole, and the concept of the Earth's dipole field is, in reality, only a mathematical device used by scientists to help them analyze the Earth's true magnetic field--it is the ideal and symmetrical dipole field that comes closest to fitting observed data. When the idealized dipole field is subtracted from the real field, the remainder is called the nondipole field. Barnes completely neglects the nondipole field. The same observatory measurements that show that the dipole moment has decreased since the early 1800s also show that this decrease has been almost completely balanced by an increase in the strength of the total observed field which has remained almost constant. In addition, Barnes neglects the probability that a significant proportion of the field energy may be contained in magnetic field components internal to the Earth's core and unobservable from its surface. So it is probably impossible to know exactly what the total field is doing from measurements made on or above the surface of the Earth. Finally, scientists have concluded that the Earth's magnetic field is generated by the continuous fluid motion of material in its liquid iron-nickel core (Bloxham and Gibbins, 1989). This flow acts as a dynamo that generates electric currents that, in turn, induce the magnetic field. The dynamo theory has gained near-universal acceptance because it is the only proposed mechanism that can explain all the observed features of the Earth's magnetic field. In contrast, Barnes' hypothesis of a freely decaying field cannot explain the existence, configuration, movement, or changes in the nondipole field, the fluctuations in the dipole moment, the reversals in field polarity, or the documentation in the geologic record of the continued existence of the field for more than three billion years. References: Barnes, T.G. 1971. Decay of the Earth's Magnetic Moment and theGeochronological Implications. Creation Research Society Quarterly 8(1): 24-29. Barnes, T.G. 1981. Depletion of the Earth's Magnetic Field. ICR Impact Series 100. Barnes, T.G. 1983. Origin and Destiny of the Earth's Magnetic Field. ICR Technical Monograph No. 4, 2nd Edition. Bloxham, J., and D. Gibbins. 1989. The Evolution of the Earth's Magnetic Field. Scientific American 261, pp. 68-75 (December). Dalrymple, G.B. 1983. Can the Earth be Dated From the Decay of Its Magnetic Field? Journal of Geological Education 31: 124-133. McElhinny, M.W., and W.E. Senanayake. 1982. Variations in the Geomagnetic Dipole I: The Past 50,000 Years. Journal of Geomagnetism and Geoelectricity 34: 39-51. Merrill, R.T., and M.W. McElhinny. 1983. The Earth's Magnetic Field. London: Academic Press. -- Article #20 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: Twin-Cities Creation Conference Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:35:24 1992 by Robert J. Schadewald The 1992 Twin-Cities Creation Conference will be held at Northwestern College in Roseville, Minnesota, on Wednesday through Saturday, July 29 through August 1. Conference registration is $75 before May 1, $85 before July 18, and $90 at the door. For information, write to Twin-Cities Creation Conference, 6120 1st Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55419 or phone (612) 869-0949. Conference sponsors include the Twin Cities Creation-Science Association (TCCSA), Northwestern College, and the Genesis Institute. TCCSA is among the country's oldest, largest, and most active local creationist groups. Northwestern College is a Bible college founded in 1902 by Reverend William Bell Riley, who later founded the World's Christian Fundamentals Association (1919). From its origin in the halls of the First Baptist Church, it grew into a 4-year, fully accredited school that now teaches a literal six-day creation and worldwide flood. The Genesis Institute was founded by Pastor Walter Lang after he was eased out of the Bible-Science Association (which he also helped found). The tone and content of the 1992 Twin Cities Creation Science Conference will apparently be somewhere between the quadrennial International Creation Conferences organized by the Pittsburgh Creation Science Fellowship and the National Creation Conferences the Bible-Science Association (BSA) formerly sponsored. That is, the organizers intend it to be less technical and more religious than the Pittsburgh conferences but more scientific than the old BSA events. The preliminary program lists about 50 speakers, at least half of whom have presented at National Creation Conferences. Many of the names are familiar to readers of NCSE Reports. Kurt Wise, a Harvard-educated paleontologist now at Bryan College, will give presentations in geology, paleontology, and evolution that should be interesting. At the other end of the scientific spectrum, "Dr. Carl Baugh, Ph.D." will show 3-D pictures of Noah's Ark taken from a Russian helicopter in 1990. (For a discussion of Baugh's scientific credentials, see NCSE Reports 9(6):15-18). Other names familiar to creationist-watchers include Bill Overn, Pastor Walter Lang, Gerardus Bouw, Jerry Bergman, Gary Parker, and David Kaufmann. Conspicuously absent from the conference program are current staff members of the Institute for Creation Research and the Bible-Science Association. The latter might seem surprising because BSA headquarters is only about 10 miles from the conference site. Perhaps it is because TCCSA and BSA are barely on speaking terms (several of the conference organizers have been purged from positions of authority in BSA during recent years). Or perhaps the BSA people just elected not to submit abstracts. The creation conference will be preceded by a two-day conference on Biblical Astronomy (geocentricity) on Monday and Tuesday, July 27 and 28, at the same site. The geocentricity conference is being sponsored by the Association for Biblical Astronomy (formerly the Tychonian Society). Organizer Gerardus Bouw hopes to bring together the speakers who were scheduled to present papers at the canceled 1991 Conference on Absolutes in Cleveland. As of late March, no program had been published. Registration is $25. For further information, write to either the Association for Biblical Astronomy (4527 Wetzel Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44019) or The Genesis Institute (7232 Morgan Avenue South, Richfield, MN 55423-2940). -- Article #21 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: More Biology on Disk. (CD-ROM biology classroom materials) Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:36:53 1992 Tired of simulated golf or Leisure Suit Larry on your computer? A new biology series from the University of Maryland's Academic Software Development Group will attempt to present a comprehensive series of CD-ROM biology programs for classroom use. The first, "Introduction to BioQUEST," is an introduction to the series--a sort of demo disk. Cost: $100. Other titles include: Biota, Biometrics, Cardiovascular Construction Kit, Data Collection and Organization, Environmental Decision Making, Genetics Construction Kit, and Sequence It! For information, contact ASDC, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. (301) 405-7600. ASDG@UMDD.BITNET. Site licensing will be available. Note: If you try it, NCSE Reports would appreciate a short review. -- Article #22 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: A Little Learning... Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:38:11 1992 Alexander Pope A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring; There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again. Fir'ed at first sight with what the Muse imparts, In fearless youth we tempt the heights of Arts, While from the bounded level of our mind, Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind; But more advanc'd, behold with strange surprise New distant scenes of endless science arise! (Thanks to Hubert P. Yockey) -- Article #23 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: Chimp Pharmacology Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:39:17 1992 Chimps not only use tools, they dose themselves with effective herbal remedies, according to recent field researchers. A AAAS symposium on zoopharmacognosy (!) in February featured reports from Africa which maintained that chimps intentionally used specific plants for specific remedies (e.g., particular plant leaves effective against worm infestations). This adds to growing awareness of chimpanzee culture and cultural differences from one area to another. Chimps in the wild are highly endangered, however. Some researchers hope that demonstrating that chimps are useful informants about medical uses of plants will inspire greater efforts to save the lives of our closest nonhuman relatives. Not driving chimps extinct should not be such a dollar-related issue, and the more we learn about them, the more amazing they become. -- Article #24 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: Improvement in Science/Math Ed. Since A Nation at Risk? Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:40:58 1992 "Yes, but" say state school chiefs In March the Council of Chief State School Officers released a study analyzing trends in student course enrollments, supply of qualified teachers, and student achievement since the 1983 report by the National Commission on Excellence in Education. The study finds some good news compared with 10 years ago, although the details reveal a lot of room for improvement. The Council paper draws on data from four recent surveys and outlines national and state indicators on three key questions: 1) Are students receiving more instruction in science and math now than 10 years ago? 2) Has the supply of qualified teachers in science and math improved? 3) Are students learning more science and math? There is some improvement in each area. High school course enrollments have risen significantly, although rates of increase are smaller for advanced courses. Scores on the NAEP science and mathematics assessments have increased, particularly for students at ages 9 and 17. However, the level of student proficiency is still too low. In math, US students score below the level expected for their age and grade level. And there is wide variation by state in course enrollments and student achievement. No absolute shortage of teachers was found, although in many states as little as a third or less of math teachers had college math majors; science teachers fared a bit better, but in most states much improvement in qualifications seems possible. Shortages are greater in schools with more poor or minority students. The Council is a nationwide non-profit organization of the 57 public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in every state, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Dependents Schools, and the five extra-state jurisdictions. -- Article #25 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: Current Liasons Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:42:29 1992 Current Liaisons The following is a list of current NCSE liaisons. Liaisons head or represent Committees of Correspondence (CCs), or in other ways support evolution education, the public understanding of science, and the opposition to sectarian influences in science classes. We depend on them for information on challenges to science education at the local level, and we help them to oppose these challenges. Some CCs are very active, producing newsletters and corresponding among active members, much as did the original Revolutionary War Committees of Correspondence. Other liaisons need your help to make their CC become more active and vigorous. Not all NCSE members belong to their local CC. Your liaison needs your support at the state and grass-roots level. Write him or her today! There can be more than one liaison in a state, so contact NCSE if you are willing to serve. Harriet Shaftel 133 East Cook Avenue Anchorage, AK 99501 John Schweinsberg 1105 Rivlin Road S.E. Huntsville, AL 35801 Frances C. Roelfs P.O. Box 4320 Fayetteville, AR 72702 David Rasmussen Department of Zoology Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85287 Eugenie C. Scott 1218 Milvia St Berkeley, CA 94709-0477 Martin Tobias 1031 S. Terry St. Longmont, CO 80501 Kenneth L. Feder Department of Anthropology Central Connecticut State U New Britain, CT 06050 Rivers Singleton School of Life & Health Science University of Delaware Newark, DE 19711 Kenneth S. Saladin Dept. of Biology Georgia College Milledgeville, GA 31061 Garvin Chastain Boise State University Department of Psychology Boise, ID 83725 Al Martin 201 Cedarbrook Rd Naperville, IL 60565 Ransom R. Traxler 301 Weber Drive O'Fallon, IL 62269 (Liaison for MO and IL) Craig Nelson Biology Department Indiana University Bloomington, IN 47405 George R. Clark Geology Department Kansas State University Manhattan, KS 66506 Frank L. Lovell Jr. 1907 Deer Park Avenue Louisville, KY 402054 Milton Fingerman Department of Biology Tulane University New Orleans, LA 70118 John R. Cole 248 Amherst Rd. Apt L-2 Sunderland, MA 01375 Erik P. Scully Biology Department Towson State University Towson, MD 21204 Richard Terry 8 Congress Street Belfast, ME 04915 Carl J. Bajema 940 Shawmut Court, NW Grand Rapids, MI 49504 Robert J. Schadewald 13204 Parkwood Drive Burnsville, MN 55337 Barry Ferst Philosophy Dept. Carroll College Helena, MT 59601 William S. Pollitzer Department of Anatomy U of NC Medical School Chapel Hill, NC 27514 Kevin R. Henke 2023 11th Ave. N Grand Forks, ND 58203 William A. Forsee 4942 Greene Avenue Omaha, NE 68157 (Liaison for NE and IA) Larry T. Spencer Prof Biol., Natural Science Plymouth State College Plymouth, NH 03264 Joan Rogow P.O. Box 496 Flemington, NJ 08822 William J. Meikle 5301 Arvilla N.E. Albuquerque, NM 87110 John R. Wilbanks Department of Geoscience University of Nevada Las Vegas, NV 89154 Jack Friedman 23 Chelsea Drive Syosset, NY 11791 Catherine Callaghan Ohio State University 204 Dieter Cunz Hall,1841 Millikin Columbus, OH 43210 Frank J. Sonleitner Department of Zoology University of Oklahoma Norman, OK 73019 Bruce Benton P.O. Box 3415 Ashland, OR 97520 Emmanuel I Sillman 623 Burton Drive Pittsburgh, PA 15235-4423 Kenneth Miller Div. Biology & Medicine Brown University Providence, RI 02912 Harrison Rigby 503 Kensington Road Taylors, SC 29687 Michael H. Farmer Route 1, Box 315 Travelers Rest, SC 29690 Keith Morrill Biology Department Box 2207B University Station Brookings, SD 57007 David Benner ETSU/Dept. of Biology Johnson City, TN 37614 Ronnie J. Hastings 114 San Jacinto Waxahachie, TX 75165 Steven D. Schafersman P.O. Box 541314 Houston, TX 77254-1314 Duane E. Jeffrey 589 WIDB Brigham Young University Provo, UT 84602 Wayne Moyer 1547 Scandia Drive Reston, VA 22090 Alice Kehoe 3014 N. Shepard Avenue Milwaukee, WI 53211 Karl Fezer Department of Biology, Box 32 Concord College Athens, WV 24712 Robert Day Dept. of Computer Science U.of Manitoba, Winnipeg R3T 2N2, MB CANADA Paul A. Erickson Department of Anthropology Saint Mary's University Halifax B3H 3C3, NS CANADA J. Richard Wakefield 385 Main Street Beaverton L0K 1A0, ON CANADA Richard C. Fox Department of Zoology Univ.of Alberta, T6G 2E9 Edmonton, AB CANADA -- Article #26 (26 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.rec.skeptic.ncse From: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Subject: Berkeley Law Prof Opposes Non-Religious Nature of Science Reply-To: xx029@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Skeptics SIG) Date: Tue Sep 1 07:57:43 1992 by Mary Lou Mendum UC Davis Davis, CA I read with interest the account of Phillip Johnson's Yale lecture [Reports 11(4)]. I had the opportunity to see Johnson in action a month ago when he came to UC Davis to debate with Berkeley Professor Vincent Sarich. The debate was sponsored by the Truth Seekers, a student Christian apologetics club which had previously sponsored talks by Duane Gish of the Institute for Creation Research. The audience was largely attentive, with a majority of fundamentalists, but also a good smattering of scientifically literate students. Unlike other creationists I have heard, Johnson was honest enough to admit that he was advocating the addition of a supernatural, untestable hypothesis to account for the origin of species. This allowed Sarich to steer the debate away from creationist pseudoscience towards a more productive discussion on the nature and limitations of science as a method of knowing. This tactic was so effective that the creationists in the audience were very much on the defensive during the question session, and no pro-creationist letters appeared in the student newspaper in the following weeks. For the benefit of NCSE members wishing to debate Johnson or attend his debates, here are some of the highlights: 1.) In his introductory speech, Sarich carefully explained why supernatural, untestable hypotheses are excluded from science. Then, during the cross examination, he asked Johnson whether evolution was the best explanation for the current abundance and distribution of species if, for the sake of argument, one limited oneself to natural forces. There was an audible wince from creationists in the audience when Johnson readily admitted that it was. 2.) Sarich handled questions from two creationists very effectively by refusing to accept their fundamentalist world view. One wanted to know how an evolved human race could come up with absolute moral principles instead of relative ones like animals have. When challenged to name one such absolute moral principle, he offered, "Thou shalt not kill." Sarich added, "Except...", and the matter was quickly dropped. The other creationist wanted to know how Sarich's evolutionary perspective could account for the increasing moral decay of modern society, probably as a lead-in to linking the Second Law of Thermodynamics with the Fall of Adam and Eve. Sarich replied that given therecent downfall of many repressive communist governments, he felt that moral standards of the world were improving. In both cases, the creationists were unable to pursue their line of questioning, once their philosophical framework had been successfully challenged, and Sarich didn't have to try condensing a semester of introductory theology or thermodynamics into one minute or less. 3.) One issue which Sarich did not adequately address was Johnson's statement, made three times during the evening, that one of the major reasons why he rejects evolution is that artificial breeding programs have not produced new species. This, according to Johnson, invalidates the frequently made comparisons between artificial breed development and speciation. If Sarich had been ready with a few examples of human-developed species (maize, tobacco, peppermint, grape, triticale, etc.), Johnson would have been forced to either retract his main stated objection to evolution, admit that he is not basing his beliefs on scientific evidence, or both. Unlike other creationists I have seen, Johnson actually listened and responded to the points raised by his opponent, instead of just giving a set speech. He also avoided much of the usual creationist misquotation and rewriting of scientific laws (at least in his speech; I haven't read his book). Instead, he vigorously argued against the non-religious nature of the scientific method itself. This did not endear him to creationists in the audience, many of whom were all too aware that teaching religion in schools is unconstitutional. However, it does raise the hope that scientists who agree to debate Johnson might be able to use the opportunity to educate noncreationists in their audiences o the nature of science instead of having to concentrate on refuting a smokescreen of misinformation. --

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