Thursday, May 08, 2008
Before "Expelled" was released I was concerned that it would inspire a push from the scientifically illiterate, but politically active, religious people. Fortunately, it appears, the film has been largely ignored. The only exception has been an (apparantly) coordinated effort to introduce "academic freedom" bills in states across America including my own. Here in Michigan house representative John Moolenaar has introduced House Bill 6027, a bill designed to undermine academic standards and allow legal protection for science teachers to teach scientifically unsupported positions like intelligent design and global climate change denialism. This bill is the third in a series of attempts Moolenaar has made to get Darwin out of the science classroom. ANYONE LIVING IN MICHIGAN: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE write to the Michigan House Education Committee and ask them to dismiss this bill. And be prepared to write to your representative should this bill return to the floor.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
The Expelled myspace page ran a poll asking whether or not intelligent design should be taught in public schools. I took a screen capture of the results because I had a feeling that once someone from the film noticed what they were the poll would be taken down. Sure enough, the poll is no longer available on the page. Nonetheless, here are the results:Although I'm not surprised, it is a little funny that a film claiming to be taking the moral high road by defending "free speech" would expel a poll simply because it shows results contrary to what it wanted.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
A few days ago one of my students asked me what I was reading. “Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium,” I told him, “it was written by my hero, Carl Sagan.”
“Your hero?” he asked, “none of my heroes are authors.” Well, it turns out both of my heroes are authors, Carl Sagan and Thomas Jefferson. I write here about Carl.
On December 20th we will have traveled around the sun eleven times without him. Even though I share this planet with over six and a half billion other human beings, I still feel lonely knowing that he is not one of them. He left us with some enormous shoes to fill and, thus far, they remain empty. With him gone, nuclear disarmament is almost never discussed; today's politicians have gone as far as to say that “no option is off the table,” (read: “I am willing to use a nuclear first strike against our enemies”). Words can not express my horror at these unimaginable practices! Here in the dark, without Carl, there has been no clear voice speaking out against these policies.
As science advisor to Congress, Carl steered the country in the right direction. Encouraging funding for research and science education. Without him, science programs are losing funding, including NASA, with their now 35 year old shuttle program. As the world moves deeper into a scientific and technological era, our country is sliding back into a dark ages. Carl, we need your light.
Nearly every morning I listen to Carl reading his Reflections on a Mote of Dust. I can not think of a better way to begin ones day. If everyone understood his message, and listened to it every day, can you imagine the world we would build? Can you imagine a world with no need for fear, no need for war--a world where we strive to understand everyone instead of kill each other? I get goosebumps every time I hear him read, “Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.”
Our fragile, pale blue dot rests in a great, enveloping, cosmic dark; made darker than ever with the loss of my hero, Carl Sagan.