Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mixed outcome in TX Edu Board vote

"I am on fire because I have mountains of ice before me to melt."
- Wendell Phillips

I missed Wednesday's State Board of Education hearing due to a hospital stay (details at my personal blog, Bohemian Adventures - I'm ok!) but here are a few links of interest.

The New York Times did a good balanced article on what happened, Split Outcome in Texas Battle on Teaching of Evolution.

There's a fantastic new website called Science Education Matters that has a wealth of great information on the issues, specifically related to Texas science education. It is a joint project of The Clergy Letter Project and The Center for Inquiry. The Clergy Letter Project is described on their website as:

For too long, the misperception that science and religion are inevitably in conflict has created unnecessary division and confusion, especially concerning the teaching of evolution. I wanted to let the public know that numerous clergy from most denominations have tremendous respect for evolutionary theory and have embraced it as a core component of human knowledge, fully harmonious with religious faith.

In the fall of 2004, I worked with clergy throughout Wisconsin to prepare a statement in support of teaching evolution. We were called to action by a series of anti-evolution policies passed by the school board in Grantsburg, WI. The response was overwhelming. In a few weeks, nearly 200 clergy signed the statement, which we sent to the Grantsburg school board on December 16, 2004. Additionally, groups of educators and scientists sent letters to the Grantsburg School Board and to the Superintendent of Schools protesting these policies. In response to all of this attention, as well as the efforts of others, the Grantsburg School Board retracted their policies.

The outpouring of support from clergy around the country encouraged me to make this a nationwide project. If you want to read more about it or join us in sharing this important perspective, click here. Encourage your clergy to consider signing the statement and please feel free to link to these webpages. And, while the current focus is on Christian clergy, please let me know if you are willing to write and/or host a statement from other religions.

It is formally endorsed by the United Methodist Church, and I hope that many more denominations embrace it. I was asked to be a scientific consultant of the Project, and my name is now listed in their directory of scientific consultants on call to help clergy (or others).

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