Consequences of The War on Evolution

The battle to prevent the teaching of intelligent design in science classes is not just an abstract debate over religion. As evolution is a fundamental part of modern biology, students who are not accurately taught about evolution are at a disadvantage both on standardized science tests in their careers should they desire to pursue a career in science. Paul Hanle of the Biotechnology Institute had an op-ed in yesterday’s Washington Post on these adverse consequences of teaching intelligent design:

Proponents of “intelligent design” in the United States are waging a war against teaching science as scientists understand it. Over the past year alone, efforts to incorporate creationist language or undermine evolution in science classrooms at public schools have emerged in at least 15 states, according to the National Center for Science Education. And an independent education foundation has concluded that science-teaching standards in 10 states fail to address evolution in a scientifically sound way. Through changes in standards and curriculum, these efforts urge students to doubt evolution — the cornerstone principle of biology, one on which there is no serious scientific debate.

This war could decimate the development of U.S. scientific talent and erode whatever competitive advantage the United States enjoys in the technology-based global economy. Already, U.S. high school students lag near the bottom in math skills compared with students in other developed nations, and high school seniors are performing worse in science than they were 10 years ago.

These trends can only worsen if students come to regard evolution as questionable or controversial. Thirty-seven percent of the high school Advanced Placement biology examination tests knowledge of evolution, evolutionary biology and heredity, according to the College Board. Students who do not thoroughly understand evolution cannot hope to succeed on this exam; they will be handicapped in competitive science courses in college and the careers that may follow.

By teaching intelligent design or other variants of creationism in science classes at public schools — or by undercutting the credibility of evolution — we are greatly diminishing our chances for future scientific breakthroughs and technological innovations, and are endangering our health, safety and economic well-being as individuals and as a nation.

There’s further discussion at The Volokh Conspiracy. (Hat tip to Panda’s Thumb).

Tony Snow Calls It “Naughty E-Mails”

The White House is usually so good at misinformation and spin, but this time they sure slipped. During an interview on CNN, Tony Snow brushed off John Foley’s emails to the sixteen year old page as “simply naughty e-mails.” A portion of the transcript follows:

O’BRIEN: I would assume everybody would want to know, including the president. I mean, we’re not talking about any old person. We’re talking about the leadership of the Republicans in Congress.

Why would he not hear something that’s disturbing, or his office — over-friendly — when I see that word as a parent — and I think any parent would say, Whoa, over-friendly? Any communication between a 16-year-old and a congressman, why doesn’t that raise red flags — major, massive red flags?

SNOW: Yes, look, I hate to tell you, but it’s not always pretty up there on Capitol Hill. And there have been other scandals, as you know, that have been more than simply naughty e-mails.

The Moderate Voice demonstrates that this is not simply a case of anti-Bush liberals attacking:

Question: if any 50ish reader of this blog sent similar emails to high school students and if parents and authorities found out would they be called “simply naughty” or would they be characterized in a far more harsh manner…and seek legal action?

Is there a parallel in American history of ANY administration that so quickly discards values that once defined its party?

If this is being dismissed as of little consequences, then just what does the Bush administration stand for in terms of families and protecting children?

with a comment like this how can any Republican run a campaign ad claiming the GOP is the party that protects family values?

If Snow’s comment is allowed to stand it condones the content of these emails and makes a mockery of the family values that not just social conservatives but Republicans of all stripes have said they champion and defend.

Snow should clarify the comment, retract the comment or go back to Fox News.

Perhaps this will get voters to see that, just like talk of freedom, security, and capitalism, talk of family values is all rhetoric designed to get votes and does not represent the actual views of Republicans.

Related Stories:
Newt Knows Sex Scandals

Conservative Reaction to the Foley Scandal

Dick DeVos: Candidate of Big Religion, Not Small Government

Dick Devos debates Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm tonight. In some of his pre-debate statements, DeVoss is talking about presenting his vision of “small government.” You are not the candidate of “small government” when you support using the power of government to impose your religious beliefs on others. You are not the candidate of “small government” when you restrict the ability of a woman to control her own body in denying freedom of choice on abortion.

Dick DeVos is the candidate not of “small government” but of “big religion” which are two mutually exclussive positions. This includes his support for a greater role of religion in government, support for teaching creationism in the schools, and supprt for school vouchers.

Update: Granholm DeVos Debate Fact Checking

Powell Fired by Bush

The Washington Post reports on Colin Powell leaving the Bush Administration. Although he had previousy stated he did not plan on remaining in the second term, it sounds like he was fired:

ON WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2004, eight days after the president he served was elected to a second term, Secretary of State Colin Powell received a telephone call from the White House at his State Department office. The caller was not President Bush but Chief of Staff Andrew Card, and he got right to the point.

“The president would like to make a change,” Card said, using a time-honored formulation that avoided the words “resign” or “fire.” He noted briskly that there had been some discussion of having Powell remain until after Iraqi elections scheduled for the end of January, but that the president had decided to take care of all Cabinet changes sooner rather than later. Bush wanted Powell’s resignation letter dated two days hence, on Friday, November 12, Card said, although the White House expected him to stay at the State Department until his successor was confirmed by the Senate.

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