Michigan Science Teachers on Teaching Evolution

The Michigan Science Teachers Association has released a position statement on Evolution Education and the Nature of Science:

It is the mission of the Michigan Science Teachers Association (MSTA) to support and provide leadership for the improvement of science education throughout Michigan. In fulfillment of this mission, the MSTA recognizes that it is essential that students be introduced to the most contemporary scientific scholarship available. The MSTA recognizes that evolutionary theory is representative of this contemporary scientific scholarship as is evident by the scientific community’s resounding consensus on the validity and robustness of evolutionary theory.

However, in spite of the scientific community’s repeated validation of evolutionary theory, there continues to be socio-political pressure to eliminate, mitigate or weaken the instruction of evolution theory and/or to introduce non-scientific ideologies into the science classroom. Opponents of evolution education have suggested that evolutionary theory does not represent an empirically (tested) derived body of knowledge. This assertion demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of the nature and process of science.

Scientists view and seek to explain the natural world through the empirical lens of science. The nature of scientific investigation is to ask a question and then to work to find the answer. While philosophy and theology are valuable forms of human inquiry that also seek to explain our world, science is unique in its approach by relying exclusively upon empirical natural law (e.g., the laws of physics, chemistry, geology, etc.) in its explanation and not upon supernatural intervention or untestable conjecture. It is this testability that is a hallmark of the nature and process of science. Scientific hypotheses and theory must be testable against the natural world and therefore at least potentially falsifiable. Furthermore, any conclusions formulated from these tests are tentative pending new data to the contrary. As our scientific knowledge expands and provides us with better insights into the natural world, science is able to modify previous conclusions and theory to incorporate this new knowledge. Like all scientific theories, evolutionary theory is dynamic and will be modified as new information becomes available. (more…)

Former Canadian Defense Minister Calls For Use of UFO Science to Halt Climate Change

Here’s the offbeat story of the day:

A former Canadian defense minister is demanding governments worldwide disclose and use secret alien technologies obtained in alleged UFO crashes to stem climate change, a local paper said Wednesday.

“I would like to see what (alien) technology there might be that could eliminate the burning of fossil fuels within a generation … that could be a way to save our planet,” Paul Hellyer, 83, told the Ottawa Citizen.

Alien spacecrafts would have traveled vast distances to reach Earth, and so must be equipped with advanced propulsion systems or used exceptional fuels, he told the newspaper.

Such alien technologies could offer humanity alternatives to fossil fuels, he said, pointing to the enigmatic 1947 incident in Roswell, New Mexico — which has become a shrine for UFO believers — as an example of alien contact.

“We need to persuade governments to come clean on what they know. Some of us suspect they know quite a lot, and it might be enough to save our planet if applied quickly enough,” he said.

Hellyer became defense minister in former prime minister Lester Pearson’s cabinet in 1963, and oversaw the controversial integration and unification of Canada’s army, air force and navy into the Canadian Forces.

He shocked Canadians in September 2005 by announcing he once saw a UFO.

If there are alien spaceships we most likely could learn a lot, but that’s a huge if. I guess the truth is out there.

Kerry Gets Opportunity To Grill Swiftie Backer

AP reports on John Kerry’s questioning of Sam Fox who was nominated to be ambassador to Belgium:

“Might I ask you what your opinion is with respect to the state of American politics as regards the politics of personal destruction?” Kerry asked near the end of the hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Fox, one of the nation’s most generous contributors to Republican candidates and causes, said he shared Kerry’s concerns that politics “has become mean and destructive.”

Fox said he didn’t recall who asked him to give to the group and blamed partisans on both sides for contributing to so-called 527 groups that are not subject to conventional campaign finance rules.

“So is that your judgment that you would bring to the ambassadorship, that two wrongs make a right?” Kerry asked.

Obama was also displeased with Fox’s contributions to the Swift Boat Liars:

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., a presidential hopeful and chairman of Tuesday’s hearing, said he found Fox’s responses “unsatisfying.” He said he would have preferred if Fox admitted it was a mistake to contribute to the Swift Boat group.

Update: Kerry Called Hero By Swiftie Backer

Conservative Blogs Exploit Attack on Cheney To Make Absurd Attacks on Liberal Bloggers

A day after they launched a dishonest smear campaign against Al Gore we see yet another example of how the right wingers smear without any regard for honesty in their claims about the liberal blogosphere’s response to the attempted assassination of Vice President Cheney in Afghanistan. It is dangerous to say that no blogger holds a viewpoint as you can always find a lone wacko who believes anything, but liberal bloggers are not going to applaud any such action from terrorists or wish harm to the Vice President regardless of how we feel about the individual currently holding the office. In the fantasy world of the right wing bloggers, however, liberal bloggers would be rooting for the terrorists. In order to make their case they resort to a common tactic of quoting not actual bloggers but those who post comments to blogs.

Liberal bloggers as well as conservatives recognize that there are a lot of kooks who post comments to blogs, both left and right. On top of this there are many conservatives who get their kicks posting like left wing fanatics to make the blog look absurd, and then go back to their silly forums to brag about what they’ve done (apparently unaware that such antics are easily seen by following links in stat counters back to the source.)

As Glenn Greenwald points out conservative blogs are typically more restrictive than liberal blogs in allowing comments. When they do allow comments, their comments are typically more hateful. While conservative bloggers need to resort to quoting comments, we can see expressions of hatred and advocacy of violence coming directly from conservative leaders. Greenwald notes, “Ann Coulter previously expressed sorrow that Timothy McVeigh did not bomb The New York Times building, and she also called for the murder of Supreme Court Justices.”

Perhaps the most absurd attack of all comes from Pajamas Media. They criticize Huffington Post for showing the good taste to remove the comments expressing a desire that Cheney had suffered harm. Apparently they fail to realize that the fact that liberal bloggers will not tolerate such expressions of violence on their blogs undermines their entire argument against the liberal blogs. Of course if they were able to process information in a rational matter they wouldn’t be conservatives.