Lawsuit Halts ID in Philosophy Class: Will it Backfire?

first_imgDoes this sound like a rabid Christian fundamentalist with an agenda, out to force her narrow religious beliefs down the throats of unsuspecting high school students?  Good grief.  The Darwin Party hypocrites have been telling us for years that ID was OK in philosophy, social studies, history or religion – just not in biology class, but look at what they do when someone takes them up on it.  This innocent little class in a minor rural town with 13 students and a mild-mannered teacher wanted to talk about “Philosophy of Design” and develop critical thinking skills, and the Darwin dogmatists went paranoid.  When will they realize this smells like the Inquisition?  The very people who preach against dogmatism are the most intolerant of all, worrying about the “hidden agenda” and the “camel’s nose under the tent,” as if high school students are so stupid, so incapable of reasoning, that they cannot handle the thought that Darwinism is not the infallible idol its priests say it is.  Teaching ID as philosophy should be completely non-threatening to evolutionists.  The action of this school made perfect sense to William Dembski, who called this a step in the right direction.    One other thing.  The class was not ordered to end immediately.  It was allowed to complete its five-week run.  As part of the out-of-court settlement, the school agreed never again to offer a course that promotes creationism, creation science or intelligent design.  Sounds like an utter defeat for ID and a complete victory for the Darwinists, but Lemburg explains that she never intended to “promote” ID or creationism in the first place.  For all their gloating, the Darwin-Only-Darwin-Only DODOs won a hollow victory here, and earned a reputation as Inquisitors out to hunt down heretics, as hypocrites saying one thing then doing another, as dogmatists fearful of exposing their pet theory to scrutiny.    School boards interested in getting this important debate a hearing on their campuses should not be alarmed by what happened in Frazier Park or Dover, because “teaching the controversy” is backed by the full force of the United States Congress and the President.  It is the law of the land.  For vital information on why teaching the controversy is legal and constitutional, get this must-see video by Phillip Johnson that explains it all: “One Nation Under Darwin,” available from Access Research Network.(Visited 22 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Exclusive  Picture this: a small community high school nestled in the mountains far north of the big city of Los Angeles.  A gentle, silver-haired schoolteacher who wouldn’t hurt a fly, who coaches soccer, loves teenagers and takes her time-consuming and non-lucrative job, which she has done for many years, seriously, and is well liked by students.  A trailer outfitted as a classroom next to the agricultural center, with a bed sheet as a projection screen, a small projector, a whiteboard and some desks.  A rooster crowing outside.  13 students from ordinary American families who live in a small mountain town (population 2348) with no mall, one main street, and two hardware stores.  This little classroom ignited a national legal firestorm that reverberated briefly around the country, and caught the attention of reporters as far away as Romania and India.  What happened?  Why did it become the subject of a documentary in progress?  Simply put: one teacher decided to offer an elective class called “Philosophy of Design” that included discussions of intelligent design and critical thinking about evolution.    Though this story began in December, it was in the news all month.  You can read about it on CBS News, the LA Times, the Tri-Valley Herald, ABC News, the Tacoma News Tribune, LiveScience, MSNBC #1 and #2, and Fox News.  They will tell you that the school was sued by Americans United for Separation of Church and State on the grounds that the class violated constitutional prohibitions against teaching creationism in public schools, and that a group of parents joined in the suit, and that the school acquiesced and agreed to stop the class.  Another victory, in other words, for science over religion.  Even the pro-ID Discovery Institute pressured the school to drop the class, according to Evolution News, and praised the school when it did so (see Discovery Institute press release).    As usual, there is more to the story, so we visited the school to find out.  Sharon Lemburg, the teacher under fire, is wife of the pastor of the local Assembly of God church in town.  She has taught at Frazier Mountain High School for years in subjects like special ed, history, and social studies.  The school offers an annual intersession elective program between semesters.  Noting that previous intersession electives included subjects like Mythology and Comparative Religions, she volunteered to teach a new class on “Philosophy of Design” in which she hoped to expose interested students to this high-profile subject that is being debated in school boards around the country.  A reporter had visited her church after the class had been announced.  The sermon was on Proverbs 3:5-6, an oft-quoted and well-loved passage among all Jews and Christians: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.  After developing a comfortable conversational relationship with the teacher, the reporter got Lemburg to say that “this was the class I felt the Lord wanted me to teach.”  That was the sound bite the reporter needed: Teacher claims God told her to teach class on intelligent design echoed around the world.    Another incident contributed to how the media reported the story.  Lemburg had delivered to the principal a rough outline of the class, for his comments and suggestions.  This version of the outline was never adopted, never voted on, never agreed on, and never formed the basis of the curriculum, yet found its way on news reports and blogs all over the internet.  It included a predominance of pro-ID resources, books and tapes, including some from a young-earth creationist perspective.  A scientist in town named Ken Hurst, who works at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and acts as lead mentor for the school’s robotics team, got hold of this initial outline and was incensed.  He wrote a strong letter to the principal, that was subsequently printed in the local paper, explaining his reasons why the class should be canceled because, in his opinion, intelligent design is masqueraded creationism, a religiously-motivated belief that is not science.  Energized by the Dover case and other rulings about creationism, he proceeded to organize 11 parents and, with the willing cooperation of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, obtained a temporary restraining order and filed a lawsuit to stop the class on the grounds that this was “the camel’s nose under the tent” to undermine science teaching at the high school.  The teacher, the principal, the superintendent and the board of trustees of the school were named as defendants.  Needless to say, these actions created a firestorm of debate in the small community (with no small number supportive of the class).  Letters to the editor varied from polarized views to others calling for peace and understanding.    What some reporters omitted was that the revised outline was much different: much more balanced, with recommended resources from both sides, including all eight hours of the PBS series Evolution.  Nevertheless, the pro-ID Discovery Institute sent a lawyer to the community who strongly urged them to withdraw the class, because by having introduced young-earth creationist materials it was misrepresenting what intelligent design means.  When he saw the revised outline, however, he praised it highly.  Still, he saw legal vulnerabilities in the case due to the apparent advocacy of creationism in the initial planning, though the curriculum in its final form was perfectly defensible.  The school acquiesced and agreed to withdraw the class.  “School District Waves the White Flag,” reported Fox News.  The Contra Costa Times was disappointed, feeling the school board gave in too much.  Believing that a philosophy class (though not a science class) was an appropriate venue for discussing such issues, they hoped other schools would “not follow in the footsteps of El Tejon’s educational leaders,” because “Our society will only become more polarized if the next generations don’t realize that issues have more than one side.”  Even the Hammer of Truth blog, no friend of ID, thought philosophy was an appropriate venue and that the lawsuit was overboard.    Evolution News, a blog of the Discovery Institute focused on media bias on the ID issue, took the media and the anti-ID PACs to task for hypocrisy.  Robert Crowther quoted Barry Lynn, president of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, having stating earlier that “when it comes to matters of religion and philosophy, they [ID issues] can be discussed objectively in public schools, but not in biology class.”  Here was a case of ID in a philosophy class, and not even that was tolerated.  The AU’s Legal Director Ayesha Khan gloated that the decision “sends a strong signal to school districts across the country that they cannot promote creationism or intelligent design as an alternative to evolution whether they do so in a science class or a humanities class.”  To Crowther, this represents the ultimate in censorship.  “Now, we have Lynn and other Darwinists on a crusade to make sure that students will never even know that a theory called intelligent design was ever discussed anywhere,” he said.There are some things you should know in interpreting this story.None of the plaintiffs had students in the class.The class was an elective between semesters.  No one was required to take it.  The students all chose to be there, when they could have been out snowboarding, playing sports or hanging out with their friends.The parents all signed permission slips for their teens to take the class.The class had the full support of the principal, the superintendent, and a majority of the board of directors.While the final syllabus did contain a number of intelligent design videos and books on the list of suggested resources, it also included all eight hours of the PBS Evolution series, a video interview with paleontologist James W. Valentine, a presentation from the University of California Museum of Paleontology, and the textbook Evolution vs. Creation by Eugenie Scott (as recommended by Ken Hurst).The syllabus listed no resources promoting young-earth creationism, but only asked one question: “How does Intelligent Design differ from Creationism? and how is it similar?”  (Lest this item beg the question that young-earth creationism is somehow evil or unconstitutional, see what ID leader Phillip Johnson said about it on Touchstone, May 2004).Almost all the students are Christians, and none are staunch evolutionists, so they were not being subjected to unwelcome or forced instruction about creationism or ID.  If anything, their beliefs were subject to challenge by the pro-evolutionary material.The final syllabus used in the class states, “This class is not meant to guide you into a certain belief, but to allow you to search, become aware of the differences, and gain a better understanding of world views on origins.”  It also specified that “Equal and balanced instruction will be given on all philosophies.”The students appear unanimously upset at the reaction by those opposed to the class.  One is taking it upon herself to write newspapers around the country expressing her displeasure with the censorship imposed by evolutionists on this class. She wants to set the record straight on what was taught.The teacher invited a pro-evolution biology PhD from UCLA to teach for a day.  He spent a lot of time talking about the Miller experiment (see 05/02/2003 story).  Several of the students said that he dodged their questions.Lemburg explained her intentions in a letter published in the local paper.  After explaining what she meant by her statement “this is the class that the Lord wanted me to teach,” she wrote on January 8,My motives were honest and sincere, in that all I desired was to present an educational experience to give the students an opportunity to hear and study about the philosophers of design, to be able to critically analyze them and to learn to examine the opinions or philosophies and to weigh them…to ask who made the statement, what is their bias, what is their philosophy, what evidence do they bring?    Each student in my class will have the opportunity to hear and study philosophies concerning the origin of life.  These ideas represent atheistic, agnostic, liberal and Christian views. We are looking at the ways these views have shaped and changed our world views, and I am challenging these students to know what they think and what those thoughts are based on.  To know it because they believe it, not because someone else says ‘it is so,’ but to become critical thinkers who can express their own beliefs.last_img read more

Climate ‘threat to African food security’

first_imgThe food security threat posed by climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the African continent, says Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.Agriculture in South Africa has led the way in finding innovative ways to save water. (Image: IFPRI -IMAGES)Brand South Africa reporter“Africa has the responsibility to feed the world as well as its own African people, but we are faced with enormous climate change constraints such as severe drought, floods dreadful diseases,” Joemat-Pettersson told BuaNews on Friday.She was speaking in Pretoria at a breakfast briefing today with African ambassadors to solicit support for the upcoming African Ministerial Conference on Climate-smart Agriculture, taking place in Gauteng province on 13 and 14 September.The conference is part of South Africa’s build-up to the upcoming 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), taking place at Durban’s International Convention Centre from 28 November to 9 December.Africa to ‘speak with one voice’ at COP 17“As African ministers responsible for agriculture, we want to go to the COP 17 conference with one idea of pushing for climate-smart agriculture,” Joemat-Pettersson said.“Speaking with one voice on agriculture as African ministers, food security, adaptation and mitigation will be our key focus of the new concept ‘climate-smart agriculture’ at the COP 17 conference.”Global warming and the rise of sea levels could threaten fisheries and shrink agricultural production in African.DRC ambassador to South Africa Bene M’Poko said developed countries, who were the main cause of climate change, should commit to an absolute approach to curb the release of greenhouse gases at the COP 17 conference.“These developed countries are also responsible for deforestation on the African continent … and I am of the view that as Africans, we deserve to be compensated by those countries.“Cancun gave us hope, but it was the developed countries who once again failed to show a stronger commitment to actually reduce greenhouse gases to avoid dangerous climate change,” M’Poko said.“So this time, we are of the view that [we should] become more active and … become the leaders of this discussion, but to follow protocol as well.”M’Poko praised Joemat-Pettersson for coming up with the idea of getting African ministers together ahead of COP 17.“This is a very good initiative and it is my view that the ‘one voice’ of African ministers at COP 17 will make international bodies and donors use research outputs to plan for and support adaptation by African people.”“Africa has the responsibility to feed the world as well as its own African people, but we are faced with enormous climate change constraints.” (image: YouTube)Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Freeze drying technology gets a boost via rocket science

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Purdue University has created a new lyophilization consortium, LyoHUB, to improve freeze-drying technology to make food, pharmaceuticals and biotech products safer and more affordable.The center is funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology through a $453,623 planning grant from its Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia, or AMTech, program.Lyophilization, the process by which water is gently removed from materials to make them more stable and lengthen their shelf life, is a high-priority technology challenge, said Elizabeth Topp, head of Purdue’s Department of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy who co-leads the center with Alina Alexeenko, an associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics.“You don’t think of it when enjoying the dried strawberries in your morning cereal, but lyophilization is a $30 billion piece of the U.S. food and pharmaceutical manufacturing industry,” said Topp, who also is the Dane O. Kildsig Chair in Industrial and Physical Pharmacy. “Without this freeze-drying process, important drugs would not be available to those who need them. Many protein-based drugs, certain vaccines, probiotics and the dried fruit used in many products would not be available without it. However, the current lyophilization process hasn’t changed in 50 years, and it is very expensive.About 25% of new injectable drugs, vaccines and biological products are formulated in a lyophilized form, and for many proteins, peptides and vaccines, it is the only way to produce stable, biologically active products with a long shelf-life, Topp said.Stagnation in lyophilization technology could have a negative economic impact, as companies look to offshore manufacturing to reduce costs, Topp said.“If we can reduce the manufacturing costs through technological innovation, we could bring the manufacturing back, which would mean more jobs and benefit to the U.S. economy,” she said. “It is similar to the semiconductor industry a few years ago. Consortia formed to improve the technology that kept U.S. manufacturing competitive and revolutionary advances occurred that led to the ubiquitous smart devices of today. We want to revolutionize the lyophilization process in the same way.”The lyophilization process requires big pieces of equipment that create a low temperature and pressure environment to push water into the vapor phase, so that it leaves the material and collects on condenser coils. Since the equipment is sealed, and it is impossible to check on a process while it is occurring, except through information from one or two sensors. Processing one batch of material can take a few days, which means time is lost if something goes wrong, she said.The conditions required for lyophilization are similar to those in outer space, and the Purdue team plans to apply aerospace engineering principles to the project, Alexeenko said.“Inside the lyophilizer the conditions are a rough vacuum, similar to that at 50 to 100 kilometers altitude in the Earth’s atmosphere, and the fluid dynamics, heat transfer and certain molecular effects are different from what we see under normal conditions,” she said. “Lyophilization is rocket science. We need to approach the equipment design the same way we approach a new spacecraft design, by first understanding in detail all of the forces and mechanics involved and using some of the special physical effects of the rarefied environment to our advantage.”The development of new sensors that are less bulky and better distributed within the system is one approach to help control the processing. Advancing process analytical technologies and sensors for process development, monitoring and control are one of the initial focuses of the consortium, as well as developing standards for lyophilization equipment performance, testing and validation, she said.The consortium brings together industry and academia, representatives from the Food and Drug Administration and other government agencies, equipment manufacturers, and end product users to address the most important problems facing the industry, Topp said.“Consortium members from industry will frame the problems they face, and members from the academic and research side will help work on solutions, while regulators are kept in the loop to ensure  the safety and standards so that changes can be quickly approved,” she said. “We want to entirely rethink and redesign how the processing is done, which will have the ripple effect of improving pharmaceutical manufacturing in general. We can apply what we learn to make other manufacturing processes better, faster and more efficient. This will mean safer and more affordable products.”The leadership team, which in addition to Topp and Alexeenko includes Michael Pikal of the University of Connecticut and Steve Nail of Baxter International Inc., has already created LyoHUB, a website where consortium members can share best practices, new information and projects. LyoHUB also includes computational and process modeling tools to support research.The consortium is currently working to develop a technology roadmap for lyophilization to prioritize research and development projects and goals, and is recruiting members.last_img read more

Google Is Rebooting Its Troubled Digital Wallet On The Web

first_imgWhat’s in Google’s Wallet?Under the Wallet name, Google has been mostly selling failure. It’s offered a confusing array of payment services—most notably, a way of paying for items in stores by tapping your smartphone to a device on the counter.That in-store payment service has been, let’s say it, an outright disaster. But Google is sticking with Wallet—at least in name—with two new services unveiled Wednesday at Google I/O, its annual developer conference held this week in San Francisco.The first, Google Wallet Instant Buy, allows developers—the focus of Google’s efforts of late—to build Wallet as a checkout option on mobile apps, sparing the agonizing dozens of steps required to input a credit-card number, billing address, and other information needed to buy.The other, like eBay’s PayPal service, lets Google Wallet users send money via email.Eyes On The Payment PrizeGoogle has long aimed to become a payments player. It knows that many of its searches drive people to e-commerce sites where they conduct transactions. Handling the actual purchase would give it the ultimate informational signal that an ad is effective.And Google accepts billions of dollars of payments a year—though mostly from small businesses buying search ads, rather than from transactions in goods and services.More recently, though, the growing number of Android smartphones has created a base of consumers who have signed up for Google Wallet—whether they realize it or not—in order to buy apps and digital content on the Google Play store.Google hoped to extend that consumer base into purchases in retail stores, but it made a series of bad choices, from the NFC wireless hardware it insisted on to the executives it chose to oversee the project. (Two have left, and one has taken a new, unspecified assignment within the company.) Very few merchants ended up accepting Google Wallet in stores, and very few consumers ever had access to it.There were rumors that Google was going to unveil one more run at retail payments at I/O by rolling out a plastic Google Wallet card—essentially a regular credit card, linked to a user’s Google Wallet account, for buying things anywhere MasterCard was accepted. But that product reportedly ran into glitches, and the most recent head of Google’s payments push, Osama Bedier, left the company.Back To The WebBy bringing payments back to its Web roots, Google is essentially mimicking the architecture of PayPal. The main reason for offering email payments seems to be feature parity with PayPal. But Google has one big advantage over PayPal—namely, its ability to build Wallet into every Android phone and its hugely popular Gmail service.Right now, the in-app Wallet checkout feature seems geared for e-commerce on the go, rather than purchases in stores. But it’s easy to imagine this new instantiation of Google Wallet getting used in stores, too.How would this work? Think of how Apple lets you pay for Apple Store purchases with an app, charging a stored credit card. Or how Square lets you buy a coffee by saying your name—no card swipe required. Or how you can get a ride in an Uber town car without having to sign a paper slip.Could Google help merchants build apps that allow customers to pay for purchases without digging into their pockets—no credit-card swipe or smartphone tap required? This makes the most sense for ordering items ahead of time for pickup. But it would be simple to speed that up. Maybe Google Wallet would generate a virtual gift card that old-fashioned cash registers could scan.The threat to Google’s never-fading payments dreams is that others may get there first. Braintree and Stripe are already popular with app developers, and work on more than just Android. Meanwhile, Square, PayPal, Groupon and others are colonizing retail checkout counters with iPads.Those rivals should not rest easy, however. Google has shown a stubborn determination to enter the payments business that it hasn’t demonstrated with other more experimental projects. And with these latest products, sensibly designed around how developers and consumers actually want payments to happen, it may have finally gotten its cards laid out straight. Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement owen thomas Tags:#Google IO13#Google Wallet#io13#Mobile Payments#online payments#Payments Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img Related Posts What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

The Whipsaw

first_imgIf you ever feel you are being pulled in two directions:Get more meetings. But don’t spend time with prospects that aren’t qualified.Follow the sales process. But also help the buyer where they are in their process.Don’t miss a meeting. But make sure you are in the field.Spend time with your clients. But answer my emails in real time.Share an insight. But make sure to tell them about our new product initiatives.Develop your business acumen and situational knowledge. But stick to the approved messaging.Be more entrepreneurial. But don’t do anything that we haven’t provided you.Don’t talk too much. But make sure you share all of the things that differentiate us.Control the process. But don’t risk challenging the client.Develop a relationship. But don’t invest in a relationship.Don’t pitch. But use the slide deck marketing approved.Be consultative. But make sure you pin the prospect down an agreed upon closing date, so I can forecast the deal.Focus on what’s most important. Update your CRM and get me that report. Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

Cricket Advisory Committee backs Anil Kumble to continue as coach, further discussions with Virat Kohli and BCCI

first_imgThe Cricket Advisory Committee  (CAC) has backed the continuation of Anil Kumble as coach of the Indian team.The CAC – Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman – met BCCI CEO Rahul Johri in London Thursday evening shortly after India’s match vs Sri Lanka.WATCH VIDEOIndia Today can confirm that the advisory committee which appointed Kumble as coach for  12-month period in 2016 firmly backs him to continue. Kumble’s current contract expires on June 20, two days after the Champions Trophy ends .Five other candidates – Virender Sehwag, Tom Moody, Richard Pybus, Lalchand Rajput and Dodda Ganesh – were also shortlisted for an interview for the position of India coach.Kumble re – applied despite the BCCI’S directive stating he would get a direct entry into the pool.The advisory committee will hold further discussions with skipper Virat Kohli and the Indian board .Kohli was reportedly not happy with Kumble’s intimidating approach in the dressing-room but the India skipper dismissed any reports of rifts and said it was mere speculation.It also emerges that Sehwag is the second best choice to take over as the new coach.India are currently in the middle of their Champions Trophy campaign. The defending champions won their opening match against Pakistan by 124 runs on Sunday before going down to a a spirited Sri Lanka by 7 wickets in the second game at The Oval on Thursday.last_img read more

Alcohol-free Games Village leave officials high and dry

first_imgBy Bharat Sharma Palembang, Aug 20 (PTI) The ‘no alcohol’ policy at the Asian Games Village has not gone down well with the coaches and officials travelling with the athletes. Some have even tried to smuggle alcohol into the Village but with little success. An alcohol-free zone is not a surprise considering Indonesia banned liquor sale from departmental stores in 2015, barring the tourist-heavy Bali province. Indonesia also has the largest Muslim population in the world. “Only yesterday I saw whiskey bottles lying with the security guards at the Games Village. They are very strict about it. Though athletes don’t care much about the lack of alcohol, it is very normal to find a beer in the international zone of any major multi-sporting event including the Commonwealth Games this year,” a coach of the Indian contingent told PTI. While alcohol is readily available in pubs and restaurants in co-host Jakarta, it is tough to find even a mild beer in the port city of Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra province. For those wanting to down a quick pint, the only way left is to step out of the sprawling Jakabaring Sport City, housing the Games’ venues as well the accommodation. The hotels, where many technical officials are put up, are serving alcohol but at a higher price. “We go out sometimes for a drink but it is quite a task since the Village is cut off from the city,” said another official staying at the Village. Complaints are also piling up over the size of the accommodation provided at the Village, which can house 3,000 athletes and officials.advertisement Athletes and officials say the rooms are small and claustrophobic. “The rooms everywhere are basic but talking about this place, I don’t think I have stayed in a Games Village which has smaller rooms than here. There is no place to even keep a suitcase. There is hardly space to take a shower in the bathroom,” said a member of the Indian shooting team. Another athlete said the food quality was good at the start of the Games but has deteriorated since then. “Nobody is asking for a five-star facility but there should be some space to keep your belongings,” said the athlete. Each room has three beds and a small bathroom. Shooting, tennis, rowing, canoeing, beach volleyball, sports climbing and sepaktakraw are among the sports staged in Palembang. PTI BSAHlast_img read more