Re: ACLU may sue NM Board of Education (was Re: Creationists win...)
Richard Talley (email@example.com)
1 Sep 1996 08:46:03 GMT
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com says...
>I today's _Albuquerque Journal_, the front-page news is that the ACLU
>will sue the board of education in New Mexico for allowing the teaching
>of creationism as science. (The op/ed page is an exchange between
>scientists and creationists.)
>The new guidelines were adopted immediately following (and in spite of) an
>hour-long parade of scientists opposed to the new guidelines.
>Opposition from the scientific community wasn't based solely on the
>elimination of a requirement to teach freshmen about evolution.
>The education guidelines no longer require teaching such topics as the
>age of the earth, or nuclear science that allows students to understand how
>that age is determined scientifically.
>The recent National Science Education Standards are not met in the new
>guidelines, needless to say.
>In defense of the new guidelines, state school board president Eleanor Ortiz
>told the _Journal_ that "local autonomy in what is taught in science is very
>Many, I think, instinctively sympathize with such pluralistic language.
>But science is not democratic in its outcomes: there are reality
>checks, and while everybody in the world is free to come up with ideas,
>those that don't stand up to the rigors of verification are rightfully
>discarded. Creationists and education board members don't seem to
>understand the very basics of the scientific effort.
I've been lurking for awhile and sharpening my copy of Occam's razor.
Additional info on the New Mexico situation:
The NM state Board of Education has come under the influence of a
rabidly anti-evolutionist physicist from Sandia National Laboratories by
the name of Roger X. Lenard. He's pulled out all the pseudoscientific
stops in claiming no transitional fossils exist, evolution hasn't been
observed, evolution has no testable predictive capability, etc., etc.
He seems to have convinced the majority of the Board of Education which
is why they voted to water down the state science standards and allow a
number of theories with scientific credibility to be taught. Of course,
the problem with this is that I know of no theory of origins which
has scientific credibility other than evolution. This is obviously a move
to bring creationism into the science classroom by labeling it "another
The good news is that both the ACLU and the local skeptics (New Mexicans
for Science and Reason) are on the job.
Here follows a letter I composed today to Alan Morgan, New Mexico state
superintendent of schools. Please note that I have included a long-standing
request on t.o for a reference to the "Theory of Creationism." I will post
Mr. Morgan's reply, if any.
"August 31, 1996
State Superintendent Alan Morgan
New Mexico Education Department:
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Dear Superintendent Morgan:
I read with great interest your statements about the recently approved
education standards as quoted in this morning's Albuquerque Journal.
If you have been quoted correctly, you made an assertion about which I would
like more information.
The Journal front page article states: "Asked if there is scientific evidence
to support creationism, Morgan said that many people believe there is a
'modicum, if not more, of scientific evidence to support creationism.'"
Would you please send me your references to this "scientific evidence." By
that I mean references to peer-reviewed scientific publications. I have yet
to see any purported scientific evidence for creationism which did not
ultimately derive from organizations dedicated to a certain theological
agenda, namely the defense of the fundamentalist Doctrine of Biblical
I would also like any reference you may have to what the scientific "Theory
of Creationism" may be. If such a theory-with its scientific evidence-is to
be taught in the public schools, I would like to know what this theory is.
(Other than "God created the world and the life in it." That is a theological
or doctrinal statement, not a scientific theory.)
As a father with two children in the New Mexico public school system, I
appreciate any help you can give me in this matter.
Richard B. Talley
1978 Maestas Dr. SW
Los Lunas, NM 87031"
My prediction is this: my letter will either be ignored or I'll get a
generic "thank you for your interest" reply which ignores the substance
of my letter.
Richard B. Talley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto. (Terence)
(I am a Man: therefore nothing human is alien to me.)