A reader suggested that I provide the link to the organization that is providing the laptops that Larry wants the Birmingham schoolchildren to receive. The group, called One Laptop Per Child, can be found here and from here you can donate for one laptop and they will match it with another.
Tuesday night there was a program on NOVA that I wish I had urged readers to watch. The show was about the controversy in Dover PA regarding science teaching, where evolution went on trial once again. You know the story: religious conservatives wanted to teach creationism in schools, so they found a book that touted "intelligent design" and weaseled it into the schools.
Parents objected, the ACLU took the case. The judge was a Bush appointed conservative republican, intelligent design was ruled "not science" and the entire slate of pro intelligent design candidates for school board lost their election. Nova produced a show. The Christian judge was called an athiest and received death threats.
Apparently there was no "intelligent design" to the case that the conservatives tried to make in defense of the non-theory. Advocates for true science were able to find a newspaper article from the 1980's where someone wrote about a book being written that presented creationism along with evolution. Drafts of the book which later became "Of Pandas and People" (the book the school board distributed) were requested, and in an early draft Barbara Forrest found the following definition: "Creation means that various forms of life began abrupty through the agency of an intelligent creator with the distinctive features already intact--fish, with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks and wings, etc."
At that time in 1987, the U. S. Supreme court ruled in a case that creation could not be taught in schools, and in the next draft of the book, the definition was changed to the following: "Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact,--fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks and wings, etc."
For the proponents of science, this was the single best piece of evidence that the Dover school board was thrusting religion into the curriculum.
Forrest also discovered that when they were "cleaning up" the draft of references to creationism, they improperly replaced the word "creationist" with "design proponents" in one instance, forming the phrase "cdesign proponentsists" instead. Certainly a lack of intelligence there, as they formed the "missing link" between "creationism" and "intelligent design" that would later prove their hypocrisy in promoting the idea as a science.
Here is Barbara Forrest talking about evolutionary theory, and why it is science, and intelligent design "theory", and why it is not science (or even "theory"). Barbara Forrest (2 minutes)
There are more audio and video links on the Nova site of scientists and philosophers talking about what is science and what is not . Scientists .
Beginning tomorrow you can watch the entire show , called "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial." It is two hours long, but it is worth watching both for a better understanding of science and evolution, but also to see how tricky the right wing is in trying to deceive the public. Remember, this is during the time of an administration that redfines science and edits scientific testimony and reports before they are released. Watch their every move!
I love science, by the way, in case you couldn't tell.