The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Posts Tagged ‘Darwin’s Bulldogs’

Help Get Charles Darwin on an E-Book

Posted by mattusmaximus on March 27, 2014

One of the most memorable science and skeptical experiences I had was to organize a Darwin Day event a few years back wherein my local group – Darwin’s Bulldogs – hosted Charles Darwin impersonator and historian Brian “Fox” Ellis.  Brian is an amazing performer, and we packed the room with people who were mesmerized by his work.

Now I’d like to help Brian out with his campaign to create an e-book (that incorporates both audio and video) through a campaign called “History… In Person!” that features Charles Darwin and many other figures of historical and scientific note.  Read on for more information, and please consider donating to his cause…

Darwin impersonator and excellence in science educational policy advocate, Brian “Fox” Ellis is working with a great team of educators, artists and techies to help produce a series of living books, HISTORY… In Person! They are using crowd sourced funding, which means that if you want to support this project you purchase books before-hand to help them move forward. You can be part of this team and produce a living book that you can Print on Demand, read on your tablet, listen to as a podcast and download as video, giving you an intimate encounter with historical characters as portrayed by Brian “Fox” EllisYou get to help decide which characters get produced. Join this crowd sourced funding campaign and win cool perks including a chance to be a costumed character in the film! http://www.Indiegogo.com/projects/history-in-person Share this link on social media and invite your friends to vote! If we get enough folks to support Darwin, he has agreed to offer a free program in the Chicago area for Darwin’s Bulldogs and donate Biography Cards to the Clergy Project! Follow the link and choose your perk for supporting HISTORY… In Person!

 

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Creationism Coming to Your Backyard?

Posted by mattusmaximus on February 19, 2011

Think that your school district is immune from the pressures of pseudoscientific nonsense such as creationism?  Think again…

This image is edited from the hilarious original 🙂

It can happen anywhere, and I say that with all sincerity because it looks like creationism could very well be creeping very near to my own backyard.  Specifically, there is a school board election coming up soon in a nearby district, and I was tipped off to this fact by an online pro-science group I’m part of called Darwin’s Bulldogs.

In this article in a local paper, it is outlined quite clearly that the intentions of two candidates for the school board (one of whom is the current president!) are to have their religious beliefs taught as science…

Candidates: Teach creationism in science classes

Two candidates for the Fremont School District 79 board — including the panel’s current president — believe creationism should be taught alongside evolution in science classes.

The revelations were made Monday morning during candidate interviews at the Daily Herald’s Lake County office.

“I think from a scientific standpoint it can be given as a viewpoint,” board President Sandra Bickley said in the interview. “(It’s) another theory to consider.” …

Well, I’ll be damned if I’m going to allow that to happen.  I’ve already written a letter to the paper which published this article.  Here it is…

Creationism should not be taught as science

As a physics teacher/professor and taxpayer, I was appalled to read your Feb. 14 article “Candidates: Teach creationism in science classes” about the Fremont school board election.

According to your article, candidates Sandra Bickley and Kim Hansen said that creationism is “another theory to consider” and that it “should be presented in a very broad type of curriculum or structure”.  They also said that “there is no right or wrong” regarding people’s beliefs.

Well, I don’t know about the right or wrong of one’s beliefs, but I can tell you that there most certainly are right and wrong answers in science.  And the evidence overwhelmingly shows that creationism, as science, is dead wrong.  If there were anything substantial, in a scientific sense, to creationism, why is it that we don’t use creationism to make modern vaccines & antibiotics, as we do with evolutionary biology?  We don’t because creationism doesn’t work as science, period.

As for the “teach all views” argument, which version of creationism should we teach?  Should it be young-Earth (the Earth is 6000 years old) or old-Earth (the Earth is billions of years old) creationism?  What about teaching non-Christian versions, such as Raelianism (they believe we were created by aliens, not God)?  Perhaps after we get done “teaching all views”, the students might have a couple of weeks left in the school year to learn real science.

They don’t waste time with this nonsense in science classes in China & India, whose populations are becoming better educated & more competitive with the United States every year.  I suggest the taxpayers consider that fact when casting their votes in the upcoming school board election.

I’m not sure if my letter will get published, but I’ll fight this thing tooth & toenail if I have to, and I have allies in that fight.  That includes regular readers of this blog, whom I encourage to contact me, most especially if you live in the area, for advice on dealing with issues such as these.  This is important because one things creationists do is track each others’ success with things like this; if they have even mild success in an area, they will make a concerted push in that area (and others).  If you don’t beat them back quickly, they’ll multiply and try to take over the school board; then, the next thing you know, you’ve got another Dover trial on your hands.

This should serve as a cautionary tale, folks: it CAN happen anywhere, and it WILL happen if those of us on the side of science & skepticism let our guard down.  So be on the lookout & watch your local school board.

Posted in creationism, education, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Evolution/Creation Thoughts from a Thoughtful Christian

Posted by mattusmaximus on April 26, 2010

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a very vocal advocate for good science education (including evolution).  They also know that I am an unapologetic skeptic in all things, including religion – I am, in fact, an ardent atheist and non-believer in all things supernatural (god being one of those things).  However, despite my philosophical position, I count among my friends & acquaintances many religious people: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and Mormons.  I do not like the idea of defining skepticism to equate with atheism, because I’ve known too many religious people who are good skeptics in most areas, and I’ve known too many atheists who have absolutely gone into the deep end of the woo pool.  It just smacks too much of a false dichotomy to make such an argument.

That said, what I’d like to do is introduce you to a colleague of mine… let’s call him Fred (not his real name).  Fred and I know each other because we’re both science educators and we’ve worked together in various capacities before.  Fred is also a very devout evangelical Christian, and he is on a journey of investigation regarding skepticism, creationism & evolutionary science.  When I recently posted to an email list we both frequent, Darwin’s Bulldogs, about an anti-evolution letter in the local paper, he spoke up about the letter & writer.  His story is very poignant and quite reminiscent of what I like to call a “thoughtful believer” who is attempting to balance what he was once told (“brainwashing” he calls it) in church versus the truth he now knows.  I think his story is best told in his own words, so with Fred’s permission, I now share those words with you here…

Having grown up in very conservative  churches with a “strong faith,” yet having a scientifically inquisitive mind, I was immersed in YEC [Young Earth Creationism] for many years, even trying to convince others using some of the so-called arguments based on the Bible and Christianized science that I had at my disposal.  As I have gone through my own evolution toward embracing evolution as revealed by the evidence, these Christianized arguments make me a bit ill in their display of uneducated bias, blind “faith,” and inability to see past assumptions that “we” are convinced simply MUST be true in order to have a valid belief in God. This comes out strongly in the last part where the evolutionary “archeaologist” will have to either embrace the bones as evidence for his “hoped for” link in the descent of man, or as a creationist who will see them as the APE THAT THEY ARE.  No evidence given… no attempt to consider that maybe there is room to really CONSIDER the evidence one way or the other… just the confident (arrogant?) proclamation that they are from an ape.  This is followed by the Christianized theology that only mankind is made in the image of God, not apes.  What does THAT mean?  We Christians tend to throw that “image of God” thing around as though it’s a trump card, and I’m more and more convinced that not a one of us has a CLUE what it really means (notwithstanding the legitimacy of the Biblical statement itself of course!).  Yet there is a tendency of smug assurance that the “image of God” is really understood, and that WE KNOW WHAT IT MEANS AND WHAT IT DOES NOT MEAN, so case closed.  No evidence needed.  The Bible is clear, and we know exactly what the Bible means, so why work hard to figure out what in fact is real as revealed by nature and open for ALL to see?

Posted in creationism, religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Skeptic Zone Podcast: “Darwin’s Bulldogs” Panel from Dragon*Con

Posted by mattusmaximus on November 2, 2009

I wanted to pass along the audio of a panel discussion I moderated at Dragon*Con this past Labor Day weekend – the title of the panel was “Darwin’s Bulldogs: Teachers on the Front Lines” and it was about creationism & how to deal with it in public schools.  I proposed the panel, and I was joined by Kylie Sturgess of the Podblack Cat blog, C. Kevin Barrett (a writer and biological anthropologist), Martin Bridgstock of Griffith University and author of the forthcoming book ‘Beyond Belief: Skepticism, Science and the Paranormal‘, Barbara Drescher, a cognitive psychologist and lecturer at California State University, Northridge, and our guest of honor, Dr. Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education.

The audio file is available at the Skeptic Zone podcast website; it’s their October 30th recording.  Hat tip to Kylie Sturgess at Podblack Cat for passing this along to me 🙂

Click here or on the image below to download the podcast…

Posted in creationism, education, skeptical community | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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