Friday, December 9, 2005
On Wednesday, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute released a report
on science standards for K-12 set by 49 states, "The State of
State Science Standards." Iowa, which doesn't set standards for
any subject, was left out. The report was authored by Paul Gross
with help from a panel of distinguished science educators.
Predictably, evolution got particular attention. A year ago,
with Barbara Forrest, Gross examined the "intelligent design"
movement in Creationism's Trojan Horse (Oxford, 2004). Only
seven states got an A, and almost half flunked. Kansas achieved
special distinction with the only F-. Ironically, the report
suggests the No Child Left Behind law contributed to the low
science scores by requiring testing only in reading and math.
There are, however, Eskimos in Washington, DC this week, where on
Wednesday, they filed a petition against the United States with
the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The Eskimo
culture is dependent on sea ice, which is shrinking. Perhaps
they will subpoena 4 senators (3 Republican) who visited Barrow,
AK last year (WN 19 Aug 05) .
According to a NY Times story from the Montreal Climate Change
Conference, the Bush Administration remains steadfastly opposed,
not only to new goals for reduction of greenhouse emissions, but
also to any informal discussions that might even touch on the
subject. The Canadian Prime Minister, Paul Martin, singled out
the U.S. for failing to join in the world effort to limit CO2
emissions. Meanwhile, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) has a
bill to spend $10M to study weather modification. Someone should
explain that we're modifying the weather right now.
At a meeting of the American Geophysical Union on Tuesday,
Michael Griffin said, "We must acknowledge the plain fact that we
cannot do everything that was on our plate when I assumed
office." We noticed that. So far, the solution has been to cut
out the science. Meanwhile, the European Space Agency, unsure
that the U.S. Shuttle will ever fly again, and unwilling to wait
for a Crew Exploration Vehicle that won't fly before 2012, is
thinking of investing in the Russian "Clipper." What they would
do if they got to the ISS isn't clear.
Last Friday, WN noted that a course at the University of Kansas,
"Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and
other Religious Mythologies," had been cancelled. Early Monday,
Paul Mirecki, a religious-studies professor who was to teach the
course, was stopped by two men on a rural road and beaten.