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Science writer Carl Zimmer has been having a back-and-forth with the Discovery Institute — the main group advocating inserting “intelligent design”/creationism into public school science classes.

As Zimmer illustrates by proving each of the Discovery Institute’s employees’ arguments incorrect, one could easily conclude that DI’s support of teaching students pseudo-science is based on the simple fact that they don’t understand basic science.

Watch for Discovery Institute folks pushing “intelligent design”/creationism (likely under the guise of teaching “strengths and weaknesses”) during this year’s State Board of Education review of science textbooks.… Read More

Is our Stand Up for Science campaign going viral on the Web?

Recently, our campaign to prevent the State Board of Education from torpedoing Texas schools’ science curriculum appeared on Current TV’s site in a story about the attempts by the board’s far-right faction to insert religion into the classroom.

Then, renowned biologist and outspoken “intelligent design” critic, PZ Meyers, reminded his readers to Stand Up for Science by signing our petition to the SBOE.

Help us spread the word! Use the graphic above and link to our petition on your blog! Stand Up for Science!… Read More

It looks like Rick Scarborough, head of the Texas-based far-right group Vision America, is back on the stump preaching the merits of a politicized pulpit. But, judging by attendance at the most recent event held by Scarborough in Overland Park, near Kansas City, Mo., pastors may be tiring of this cynical game.

The Scarborough-designed event, billed as the “Crusade to Save America,” was held to give the Kansas county’s district attorney, former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, a podium from which to speak about his faith.

Kline is no stranger to far-right electioneering. As Kansas attorney general, he attempted to subpoena 90 women’s medical records and charged an abortion provider with more than 30 misdemeanors. The charges were thrown out hours later by a court.

Most troubling, though, is this:

In late September 2006, an internal election campaign memo from Kline to his campaign staff was leaked to the The Interfaith Alliance and quickly was picked up by bloggers, resulting in much discussion and controversy. In the memo, Kline tells his staff how to form a campaign committee for him at each church that will educate and register voters, “encourage… Read More

by TFN

Melissa Rogers, professor of religion and public policy at Wake Forest University Divinity School, is keeping a close eye on the Saddleback Civil Forum on Leadership and Compassion. The forum, to be hosted by Dr. Rick Warren (founding pastor of the 22,000-member Orange County, Calif. megachurch), will feature Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain making their first joint appearance since the primaries on Saturday, August 16, 2008.

Beyond keeping tabs on the approaching events, Rogers, who is also the founder and director of Wake Forest’s Center for Religion and Public Affairs, notes that Dr. Warren has taken a different tact than some other religious-right leaders:

One of the things that did not draw much notice in the announcement of the Warren-McCain-Obama confab is the fact that the presidential interviews will be conducted under the auspices of the Saddleback Civil Forum (in partnership with the multi-faith group, Faith in Public Life), not under the auspices of Warren’s church.

Warren distinguishes between his job as a Christian minister and his administration of the Saddleback Civil Forum. Warren says his “primary calling” is as a Christian minister who “proclaim[s] the Gospel Truth of salvation in… Read More

Constitutional scholar and Baptist minister John Ferguson yesterday weighed in on the vague, very general Bible curriculum standards adopted by the State Board of Education in the Abilene Reporter News:

As a father and a man of faith, I am concerned whenever government gets involved in my religion or my kids’ lives. Then when the state starts pushing local school districts to venture into a controversial and lawsuit-inspiring area that interferes with both, my consternation may very well turn into action (especially in an election year).

Ferguson was dumbfounded to find that the board created “aerobics standards [that] are specific to the point of making sure students can identify appropriate footwear” but found Bible classes to require only a “half-page of vague standards.”

Further, Ferguson, who has advised school districts across the country on teaching academically sound and constitutional Bible classes, eviscerates the board’s decision to refuse the advice offered by experts in the fields of law and biblical studies in designing effective standards. The board’s decision, in effect, forces local districts to spend taxpayer money to research and design their own Bible curricula. (A Texas Freedom Network Education FundRead More