Thought for the day
Labels: Internet censorship (new #3)
This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.
My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.
Labels: Internet censorship (new #3)
Darwin, of course, was actually quite enlightened on racial issues compared to the civilization and times he lived in. He was an outspoken opponent of slavery, for example, at a time when most people still thought slavery was the natural order of things. Indeed, he was far more enlightened on this question than his creationist counterparts in the United States.
The whole world was racist back then, or at least the large majority of it. Even those who opposed slavery in the staunchest terms could hardly bring themselves to believe that the races were actually equal. What changed that? Science, of course, particularly biology. The data makes clear that there are no extent subspecies of Homo sapiens, that we are all one species, all equally "evolved."
Science has shattered the myth of racial division over the last 150 years.
Davenport, along with an assistant, also attempted to develop a comprehensive quantitative approach to the question of miscegenation, or, as he put it, "race crossing" in humans. The resulting work, published in 1929, Race Crossing in Jamaica, purported to give statistical evidence for biological and cultural degradation following interbreeding between white and black populations. It is today considered a work of scientific racism, and was criticized in its time for drawing conclusions which stretched far beyond (and sometimes counter) to the data it presented.
Labels: Ed Brayton (2 of 2)
Every town and city has "insiders" and "outsiders." Insiders tend to have deep family roots in the community, belong to its dominant religious group and political party, and play active roles in civic affairs. Particularly in small towns, insiders get upset when outsiders challenge the symbols that reflect the majority's beliefs and values. (emphasis added)
The Establishment Clause prohibits government from making adherence to a religion relevant in any way to a person's standing in the political community. Government can run afoul of that prohibition in two principal ways. One is excessive entanglement with religious institutions . . . . The second and more direct infringement is government endorsement or disapproval of religion. Endorsement sends a message to nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community. Disapproval sends the opposite message.
. . .O'Connor retired in 2005, and her replacement by Justice Samuel Alito most likely presages the demise of her "endorsement" test.
Labels: Establishment clause
On June 28, the Supreme Court, led by Bush Administration appointees, restricted the ability of public school districts to use race to determine which schools students can attend. As the court's minority pointed out in sharply worded dissents, that decision will, as the majority no doubt intended, sharply limit racial integration of public schools across the nation.
Where does the Discovery Institute -- you know, the ones who claim Darwin's theory of evolution is racist -- stand on this issue?
Well, John R. Miller, a member of Parents Involved in Community Schools, which sued the Seattle school district over its racial tiebreaker plan, is guess what, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, and he's written an Op-Ed in the Seattle Times to tell us.
Discovery's Miller wants the country's history of racial segregation forgotten. Where once the opponents of integration blocked the school house doors to proclaim "segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever" they now demand an absolutely color blind system for placing children in public schools. And if that just happens to re-segregate public schools across the country, as white supremacists such as George,Wallace, Bull Connor, Lester Maddox, and Strom Thumond fought to do, well that's just too bad.
"As someone who grew up in Mississippi and Alabama during the civil rights movement," evangelical theologian Charles Marsh recently told Robin Reid at Politico, "my reading is that the conservative Christian movement never was able to distinguish itself from the segregationist movement, and that is one of the reasons I find so much of the rhetoric familiar -- and unsettling."
Those on the Christian right, such as Miller and the Discovery Institute, standing on the shoulders of the segregationists who came before them, want to whittle away at the gains made by the Civil Rights movement.
To do that they've learned to appropriate the language of the civil rights fighters they once opposed. These days they talk more about Lincoln and diversity than race mixing and miscegenation. Neighborhood schools have replaced state's rights.
They no longer erect billboards calling for the impeachment of Earl Warren, instead they try to take credit for the Warren Court's Brown vs. Board of Education ruling even as they twist its intent and labor tirelessly to lead us back to the days of Jim Crow.
July 17, 2007 — It may look enticing, but this "female wasp" (left) is all stalk.
That's because this temptress is actually a recently discovered hammer orchid, a flower that has evolved to resemble the body of a female wasp. Hapless male wasps are lured to land on — and thus pollinate — the flower.
The orchid is one of six new species found in the biologically rich region of southwestern Australia.
Other orchid species have evolved to use similar cunning to attract male wasps, such as emitting an airborne chemical that mimics a female's pheromone.
The reward offered is not always food. There is a tropical orchid with flowers that look and smell like females of a certain species of wasp. Males of this species emerge a week before the females. A male who smells a flower of this orchid, think it’s a female wasp, gets closer and the flower looks like a female, lands on it and it feels like a female, tries to copulate, gives up in frustration, and goes on to the next thing that smells like a female, and ends up transferring pollen.
Labels: Non-ID criticisms of evolution
TRAVERSE CITY — States must teach their students more about government or risk losing any future respect for laws and judicial rulings, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor told a dwindling group of the nation’s governors in Traverse City on Monday.
On the last day of the four-day National Governors Association conference at the Grand Traverse Resort, O’Connor said an uneducated public is responsible for recent harsh criticism of the judiciary.
She cited ballot initiatives in South Dakota and Colorado as examples.
In South Dakota, voters defeated a measure to strip governmental immunity from judges, opening them up to civil lawsuits from people who appeared in their courts. In Colorado, voters defeated a measure to put term limits on state Appeals and Supreme Court judges.
She also mentioned efforts to impeach federal judges.
Labels: Judicial independence
Is Wikipedia a new fascism of knowledge perpetrated by disaffected leftists: a Wackopedia?
The following is a manifesto against Wikipedia -- against its pretensions to being encyclopedic; against its false claims of openness; against its representation of a democratic access to, and democratic enunciation of, knowledge; against its institutionalized falsification of facts; against its sordid attempts to monopolize knowledge and rewrite history by blanking out parts of our collective memory and replacing them with imprimaturs . . .
It is all done in the name of a representation of a majority and culture for the masses. The unassailable mediocrity of the entries is the credo of Wikipedians, enshrined in a new ideology, sans-party, the cult of the NPOV (Neutral Point of View). The NPOV is supposed to be the result of the checks and balances of community participation in the Wikipedia project. But that's baloney -- since the community effort is an exercise in power by the new cyber-bureaucrats that go by the name of Wikipedia Administrators, and the power-play in which the "house always wins" specializes in optimizing the degradation of information to fit it into premade slots . . . .
What Wikipedia is not, is an effective repository of the best in knowledge -- or even, much more modestly, of actual, factual and adequate knowledge. Instead, Wikipedia has become a forum for an officiating falsification of knowledge, a system for disinformation and an assurance of misinformation. Backed by cabals of administrators and bureaucrats, Wikipedia features the raw, unfettered and exhibitionistic domination exerted by ignorant and fascist bullies.
Wikitruth is a website dedicated to the subject of flaws and issues with the Wikipedia, another website run by Jimbo Wales and a massive, insane army of Wikipedians that he controls with his mind rays. It's very hard to really explain Wikipedia, but if you visit it, it says it wants to be "the free encylopedia that anyone can edit". Instead, however, it is often filled with crazy people, experiences some issues with manipulative personalities, and falls prey to abuse and censorship. And that's a real shame.
Labels: Ed Brayton (2 of 2)
By John Seigenthaler
"John Seigenthaler Sr. was the assistant to Attorney General Robert Kennedy in the early 1960's. For a brief time, he was thought to have been directly involved in the Kennedy assassinations of both John, and his brother, Bobby. Nothing was ever proven."
This is a highly personal story about Internet character assassination. It could be your story.
I have no idea whose sick mind conceived the false, malicious "biography" that appeared under my name for 132 days on Wikipedia, the popular, online, free encyclopedia whose authors are unknown and virtually untraceable.
Federal law also protects online corporations — BellSouth, AOL, MCI Wikipedia, etc. — from libel lawsuits. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, passed in 1996, specifically states that "no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker." That legalese means that, unlike print and broadcast companies, online service providers cannot be sued for disseminating defamatory attacks on citizens posted by others . . .
. . . .Wikipedia's website acknowledges that it is not responsible for inaccurate information, but Wales, in a recent C-Span interview with Brian Lamb, insisted that his website is accountable and that his community of thousands of volunteer editors (he said he has only one paid employee) corrects mistakes within minutes.
My experience refutes that. My "biography" was posted May 26. On May 29, one of Wales' volunteers "edited" it only by correcting the misspelling of the word "early." For four months, Wikipedia depicted me as a suspected assassin before Wales erased it from his website's history Oct. 5. The falsehoods remained on Answers.com and Reference.com for three more weeks.
A fierce debate continued to rage in Germany's online community on Friday over a court ruling that forced the closure of Wikipedia's German language Web site for nearly two days this week. In a country where the most-publicized free speech cases surround right-wing or Nazi speech, it was an entry about an obscure German hacker that took the world's biggest encyclopedia offline.
The legal challenge, which began in December, peaked on Jan. 17 when a Berlin administrative court ordered the shutdown of Wikipedia.de and any redirects that took users to Wikipedia's mother site in the United States. The court had threatened Wikipedia's German parent organization with a €250,000 fine and executives with up to six months in prison if it didn't abide by the court order.
Germans could still surf the content on the US parent site, but they couldn't get to it through the Wikipedia.de address that Internet history buffs here have hardwired into their memory. With over 343,000 articles, the public domain encyclopedia's German-language community is its second largest after English and has surpassed popular commercial publisher Brockhaus as the source most Germans go to when they need to freshen up on the invention of the wheel, the Neanderthal man or Ghandi.
Following a brief court-ordered hiatus, Wikipedia.de began serving its eager readers again on Friday after attorneys petitioned the court on behalf of the organization to have the injunction lifted and paid a small fine to temporarily circumvent it . . .
The temporary injunction came after the parents of a German hacker sued the site for naming their son in an online encyclopedia entry. The hacker, who goes by the name of "Tron," was famous in the German hacker scene for his hacks, which included decrypting Pay TV and telephone cards and for developing plans for an encrypted telephone. After his death in 1999, articles and books were written about the man, whose real name is Boris F., and conspiracy theories began to brew that the hacker was murdered.
Six years after his mysterious death -- which was officially ruled as suicide -- a major debate has broken out over "Tron's" privacy rights . . .
. . . the Berlin court has conceded that it may not have the legal authority to force the American site to remove the reference to Boris F.'s real name, which can be found on the US site. US privacy laws are far looser than those in Germany and would not allow restrictions to be placed on the publication of a deceased person's full name.
The best way to rewrite history is to delete the views of those who remember it personally. The Scientist's editor Richard Gallgaher's recent article on "junk"-DNA mentions that Dr. Andras J. Pellionisz suggested that The Scientist publish an "obituary" for "junk"-DNA. Gallagher wrote:Andras J. Pellionisz, to whom I am grateful for bringing this notable 35th anniversary to my attention, suggested that The Scientist publish an obituary to "formally abandon this misnomer." Pellionisz's objection is that scientific progress is being inhibited, and declaring junk DNA dead would align us with his own organization, the International PostGenetics Society (postgenetics.org), which disavowed the term on the 12th of October last year. Pellionisz is not alone.
(Richard Gallagher, "Junk Worth Keeping," The Scientist, Vol. 21(7):15 (July, 2007).)
Dr. Pellionisz sent me an e-mail regarding his recent experiences at Panda's Thumb. Pellionisz reports that Panda's Thumb is refusing to print his stories about how he has personally witnessed how the Darwinian consensus rejected suggestions that "junk" DNA had function . . . . With his permission, I reprint Dr. Pellionisz's e-mail below:
From: Dr. Andras J. Pellionisz
To: Casey Luskin
Subject: Integrity of Panda's Thumb
Dear Casey Luskin,
Under the heading of "Unintelligent move" by Panda's Thumb, obviously appearing as an attempt to "back-pedal" by citing claims that "a strict application of the Darwinian paradigm, also known as “panselectionism” or “adaptationism”, led many prominent evolutionary biologists to initially resist the idea that some DNA may be non-functional"
I tried to post my following note, as one of the first in the debate. I cited the case of my friend and fellow-pioneer Dr. Simons (a Darwinist) who bet his life more than one way since 1987 that "Junk DNA" was not junk at all.
My posting never appeared as the reply screen claimed "protection". This was the *third* time that my opinion was suppressed in Panda's Thumb . . . . . .
The packages containing veiled threats that were slipped under the doors of labs at the department of evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado appear to be part of a larger campaign being waged by one man against the department.
Content on the blog www.pandasthumb.org suggests that e-mails that preceded the packages threatened to "take up a pen to kill the enemies of Truth," and stated that the writer would file charges of child molestation against the professors for teaching evolution. The writer believes that these professors are "the source of every imaginable evil in our society: drugs, crime, prostitution, corruption, war, abortion, death..." He appears to have been inspired by the words of Pastor Jerry Gibson, who allegedly spoke at Doug White's New Day Covenant Church in Boulder, saying that "every true Christian should be ready and willing to take up arms to kill the enemies of Christian society."
Padian praises all three of the books as "entertaining and informative," giving the nod to Humes's Monkey Girl on account of its comprehensiveness; he also mentions a fourth book, by local reporter Laurie Lebo, to appear on the trial, which, he says, "promises even more lively details of this perfect storm of religious intolerance, First Amendment violation and the never-ending assault on American science education."
Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial (w.t.)
November 13, 2007 at 8 pm ET check local listings
One of the latest battles in the war over evolution took place in a tiny town in eastern Pennsylvania called Dover. In 2004, the local school board ordered science teachers to read a statement to their high school biology students. The statement suggested that there is an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution called intelligent design, the idea that life is too complex to have evolved naturally and therefore had to have been designed by an intelligent agent. The science teachers refused to comply with the order, and alarmed parents filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the school board of violating the separation of church and state. Suddenly, the small town of Dover was torn apart by controversy, pitting neighbor against neighbor. NOVA captures the emotional conflict in interviews with the townspeople, scientists and lawyers who participated in the historic six-week trial, Kitzmiller, et. al. v. Dover School District, et. al., which was closely watched by the world's media. With recreations based on court transcripts, NOVA presents the arguments by lawyers and expert witnesses in riveting detail and provides an eye-opening crash course on questions such as "What is evolution?" and "Does intelligent design qualify as science?" For years to come, the lessons from Dover will continue to have a profound impact on how science is viewed in our society and how to teach it the classroom.
Produced by NOVA WGBH Science Unit and Vulcan Productions, Inc. Additional production by The Big Table Film Company.
Meanwhile, another program that promises to make the fall interesting for PBS got its first preview. "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial," an episode of "Nova" scheduled to air Nov. 13, will recreate the widely covered 2004 trial over a school-board policy in Dover, Pa., that would have required science teachers to give evolution and God-made-this theories equal time.
Since cameras weren't allowed in the courtroom, "Nova" hired actors to re-enact portions of the transcript. First the O.J. civil trial, then Michael Jackson, now public television.
Unlike Ken Burns, who waited for trouble to come his way, Paula Apsell, the executive producer of "Nova," and the makers of "Judgment Day" seem to have sensed from the get-go they would take a lot of abuse from the intelligent design proponents. The producers said they went to great pains to represent the anti-evolution point of view, even as the Seattle organization that leads those efforts stonewalled "Nova's" requests for interviews.
"If you believe that intelligent design got a fair shake in the trial, then you'll certainly believe that it gets a fair shake in this program because this is a program about the trial," said Apsell.
Judge John E. Jones III (shown here portrayed by Jay Benedict), who was appointed by President Bush, ruled for the teachers who refused to teach intelligent design, and the voters turned out the anti-evolutionists in the next school board election.
Jones, appearing in L.A. to help promote the two-hour program, said he didn't cut people off at the trial, and let everyone have their say. Jones quoted the journalist Margaret Talbot, who wrote after the trial in the New Yorker, "It was a science class that everybody wished they'd been able to take when they were in school."
Posted by Aaron Barnhart on Thursday, July 12, 2007 at 09:48 AM in TV Barn (emphasis added)
A litigant, it seems, will have standing if he is "deemed" to have the requisite interest, and "if you . . . have standing, then you can be confident you are" suitably interested. (citation omitted)
. . . in the 1982 case of Valley Forge Christian College v Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Court concluded--in a case involving a donation of federal property to a religious college--that taxpayers lacked standing to challenge an Establishment Clause violation when Congress was exercising its power under the Property Clause rather than the Spending Clause.
In Warth v. Seldin (1975), the Court threw out a suit brought by persons challenging exclusionary zoning ordinances of a wealthy suburb of Rochester, New York. The Court said the plaintiffs failed to identify a specific project that would have been built but for the allegedly unconstitutional ordinances.
. . . in Allen v Wright (1984), the Court found that plaintiffs challenging tax exempt status for racially discriminatory private schools failed to show that the injuries they alleged were "fairly traceable" to the defendant's (the I.R.S's) illegal action (granting of tax-exempt status).
In City of Los Angeles v Lyons (1983), the Court dismisses a suit for injunctive relief brought by a Los Angeles motorist who had been rendered unconscious by what he alleged was the LAPD's unconstitutional employment of a chokehold as a method of subduing suspects. The Court said that while Lyons undoubtedly had standing to sue for damages, a suit for injunctive relief required him to show there was a real and immediate threat of him being subjected to another chokehold -- something the Court said he could not do.
. . . in U. S. v SCRAP, the Court found that five law students who formed a small environmental group had standing to challenge a decision of the Interstate Commerce Commission allowing a 2.5% increase in rail freight rates. The Court accepted SCRAP's argument that they were likely to be injured if the rate increase went into effect because the increase would disproportionately affect recycled goods -- and if fewer goods were recycled, the group would be more likely to encounter litter on its hikes around the Washington, D. C. area.
Article III, Section 2:
The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;-- between a State and Citizens of another State;--between Citizens of different States;--between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
Labels: Judicial independence
COVER STORY ARTICLE | “When the base cracks” July 21, 2007
Teach the controversy
Two years after Intelligent Design advocates lost a key court battle, some biology classrooms and ID supporters are finding a balanced approach to evolution that—so far—is lawsuit-proof | Mark Bergin
Explore Evolution: The Arguments for and Against Neo-Darwinism (Hill House Publishers, 2007) does not address alternative theories of origins but succinctly lays out the scientific strengths and weaknesses of the most critical elements of Darwinism.
Explore Evolution encapsulates a “teach the controversy” paradigm that the Discovery Institute has advocated for the better part of the past decade. Over that time, the institute has advised school boards against the inclusion of Intelligent Design in their science standards . . . .
. . . the Dover lawsuit also highlighted the effectiveness of the Discovery Institute’s approach. State school boards in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, New Mexico, and Minnesota along with local boards in Wisconsin and Louisiana have adopted science standards that encourage critical analysis of Darwinian Theory. To date, not a single lawsuit has challenged such standards.
“This is an approach that if I were a Darwinist I would be particularly frightened of,” said John West, associate director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. “The policy that we’ve recommended turns out to be the precise common-ground approach we said it would be. It reduces the decibel level; you don’t get sued; you get good education; and the Darwinists don’t have a leg to stand on.” (emphasis added)
Scientists from across the country have generously agreed to serve as technical consultants to clergy members who have questions about the science associated with all aspects of evolution. If you have a question, find a local scientist on the list below, or search by areas of expertise. Many of the scientists listed have also expressed a willingness to entertain requests to speak publicly or lead a discussion about their areas of expertise.
Afer considerable debate, and much agonizing, I've decided not to join
ScienceBorgScienceBlogs at this time.
When I first started Sandwalk, I was anxious to be part of that group but now, seven months later, there doesn't seem to be a good reason to give up this site for one in the SEED consortium. There are very few advantages to joining ScienceBlogs. They do not come close to outweighing the one major disadvantage—you have to give up a great deal of independence in order to become part of the SEED site.
At one time it seemed as though ScienceBlogs was cornering the market on good science blogging so it was desirable to be associated with a group that had a reputation for quality blogging. That time has past. Now there are lots of good science blogs that have resisted assimilation so it's not so bad to remain on the outside.
"I'm curious. Exactly what do you have to give up, anyways?"
Quite a lot actually . . .
You have to sign a contract agreeing that everything on your blog is original work that has never been published. That means I can't publish excerpts from my books and I can't publish some images and photographs that I normally put on my blog here at Blogger.
You have to sign over to ScienceBlogs the rights to the work published on your blog. That's a really serious issue for me since I want to be able to use some of my articles elsewhere and I need to retain copyright or at least prevent it from being assigned to a third party.
You have to give ScienceBlogs permission to use your name, likeness, articles, and biographical information throughout the world in advertising and promotion for ScienceBlogs and the company. While most ScienceBloggers seem to be comfortable with that, I'm not. I'm not that happy with the reputation of ScienceBlogs or SEED magazine and I don't really want to give them permission to use my name to promote their agenda.
These are substantial concessions. The monetary compensation is trivial for a blog like Sandwalk. It's enough to pay for a night at the movies every month.
We believe in providing our bloggers with the freedom to exercise their own editorial and creative instincts. We do not edit their work and we do not tell them what to write about.
The article is looking better. My only concern is that in the recent change to "hired the Internet accuracy-watchdog service ReputationDefender to help clarify the record" implies that the record was indeed inaccurate, something that has subsequently been shown not to be the case. I think "hired the Internet accuracy-watchdog service ReputationDefender to change the record to reflect her views" or simply "hired the Internet accuracy-watchdog service ReputationDefender" are more accurate. Odd nature 21:49, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
. . . Yecke's husband was hired as the deputy secretary of professional regulations by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation amid allegations that his qualifications do not significantly distinguish him from the rest of the qualified candidate pool available in Florida.
While she [Cheri Yecke] was education commissioner in Minnesota, her husband was appointed to an $84,000-a-year position as a deputy commissioner with the state's economic development agency.
Dennis Yecke held a number of executive positions with the U.S. Marine Corps. He has a bachelor's degree in business administration from University of Wisconsin-River Falls, according to his resume.
In addition to his two-year stint in Minnesota, he was also a budget analyst for the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget for 10 years.
Labels: Cheri Yecke #2
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise tax.
Certain activities or expenditures may not be prohibited depending on the facts and circumstances. For example, certain voter education activities (including the presenting public forums and publishing voter education guides) conducted in a non-partisan manner do not constitute prohibited political campaign activity. (emphasis added)
Semi-protection disables editing from anonymous users and registered accounts fewer than four days old.
Labels: Cheri Yecke #1
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.
. . . .voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that: (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention.
Cheri Pierson Yecke, Ph.D. is a conservative politician who has been involved in attempts to teach creationism in science classes
1. Yecke: "every local district should have the freedom to teach creationism if that is what they choose" Minnesota Public Radio, June 9, 2003.
In July of 2003 during her term as education commissioner, Yecke proposed that the Minnesota Science Standards included (sic) the technique favored by intelligent design proponents to Teach The Controversy in science curriculum.
. . . she said she will instruct the science committee to avoid any clashes over the teaching of evolution. She will cite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prohibits the teaching of strict creationism in the classroom and a section of the new federal No Child Left Behind Act that strongly advises school districts to teach evolution in a way that "helps the student to understand the full range of scientific views that exist, why such topics may generate controversy, and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society."
"My purpose is that we don't need to enter that debate," Yecke said. "And that these decisions lay with the local school boards."
She cited the pro-intelligent design Santorum Amendment as supporting her effort.
The versions of the Minnesota Science Standards circulated by Yecke contained language used by the pro-intelligent design Teach The Controversy campaign which casts doubt on evolution while offering intelligent design as a competing theory. The version that was circulated among the public did not include these revisions.
Two drafts of Minnesota’s science standards circulated this week. The only difference? How they described the teaching of evolution.
The version the public didn’t see included words like “might” and “possible” at strategic points that clearly cast doubt on the certainty of biological evolution.
When members of the citizens’ panel that wrote the standards saw what was to be the final document, several saw the “mights” and “possibles” and protested that they didn’t write the document that way and that the department made critical changes without telling the panel.
In the end, the committee got the language it wanted, giving evolution the full stamp of approval of the state as the way to teach science to all students in Minnesota’s public schools.
The department said the confusion was a simple mistake caused by several versions floating around the agency, said spokesman Bill Walsh. He said it wasn’t that Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke — who has acknowledged her belief in creationism — tried quietly to place her own personal misgivings about evolution into the standards.
Wesley R. Elsberry, marine biologist and critic of intelligent design whose blog The Austringer had referenced the article linking Yecke to the Teach The Controversy method of promoting intelligent design was contacted by ReputationDefender in June 2007.
Readers of blog then provided links to archived recordings of Twin Cities Public Television broadcasts from 2003 showing Yecke saying that teaching intelligent design was a decision local school districts could undertake and teaching intelligent design is supported by the Santorum Amendment.
The Court's taxpayer standing cases involving Establishment Clause challenges to government expenditures are notoriously inconsistent because they have inconsistently described the relevant "injury in fact" that Article III requires. Some cases have focused on the financial effect on the taxpayer's wallet, whereas Flast and the cases that follow its teaching have emphasized the mental displeasure the taxpayer suffers when his funds are extracted and spent in aid of religion. There are only two logical routes available with respect to taxpayer standing. If the mental displeasure created by Establishment Clause violations is concrete and particularized enough to constitute an Article III "injury in fact," then Flast should be applied to (at a minimum) all challenges to government expenditures allegedly violating constitutional provisions that specifically limit the taxing and spending power; if not, Flast should be overturned. (pages 4-5 of syllabus)
Labels: Establishment clause
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Editors should corroborate contentious material about living persons with proper sources, and add them if they are not present. An editor who cannot find a source should remove the material promptly — simply tagging it as questionable is insufficient. Where the material is derogatory and unsourced, relies on improper sources (see Wikipedia:Verifiability), or is a conjectural interpretation of a source (see Wikipedia:No original research), it does not belong in Wikipedia.
Contentious material about living persons on user and talk pages also must follow the above rules. Negative biographical material needs to be placed in proper context. If this is done, contentious material from questionable sources may be discussed on talk pages, but problems with the material and the sources must be clearly identified, and it may be removed if the discussion has ended or is not contributing to the development of the article. When in doubt, contentious material that is not properly sourced should be removed.
Removal of material under these principles is not subject to normal restrictions, and the three-revert rule does not apply. Administrators may enforce the removal of such material with page protection and blocks, even if they have been editing the article themselves. Editors who re-insert the material may be warned and blocked (see the blocking policy and Wikipedia:Libel). Administrators encountering biographies that are unsourced and negative in tone, where there is no NPOV version to revert to, should delete the article without discussion (see speedy deletion criterion G10 for more details).
Jimmy Wales has said it is better to have no information at all than to include speculation, and has emphasized the need for sensitivity:I can NOT emphasize this enough. There seems to be a terrible bias among some editors that some sort of random speculative 'I heard it somewhere' pseudo information is to be tagged with a 'needs a cite' tag. Wrong. It should be removed, aggressively, unless it can be sourced. This is true of all information, but it is particularly true of negative information about living persons.
. . . I might add that I am defamed in the Wikipedia discussion page on Cheri Yecke's bio, so my reputation needs defending too. Wikipedia administrators on this page are trying to justify their discrimination against my blog -- other blogs are used as references in the bio -- by calling my blog "crappy" while calling the other blogs "reputable." I know that you don't offer your $29.95 clean-up service to non-members, but let me ask you this -- if I were a dues-paying member, would you refuse my request for help in my fight against Wikipedia? Also, a lot of people do not want or need your monthly search report service but just want help with specific problems. I could understand you charging non-members more than your $29.95 fee but I cannot fathom your policy of not offering your clean-up service to non-members. Remember that famous scene in the movie "Five Easy Pieces" where a waitress tells a customer that giving him a side-order of toast is against the rules, so he tells her, "OK, I want a chicken-salad sandwich on toast, hold the chicken-salad and the mayonnaise and just bring me the toast, then give me a check for the sandwich and you haven't broken any rules"? OK, here is what I propose: sign me up as a member, then help me fight Wikipedia for $29.95, and then I will cancel my membership, and you would not be breaking any rules.