Wow. Is anybody else a little freaked out by the fact that Republicans want Jack Bauer to water board House Democrats? I just think that’s going a little too far. And it seems everybody can’t stop talking about that controversial article yesterday in the New York Times. You know the one I mean. Poor Ashton Kutcher. Having to call all up all those A-list guests like Madonna and Salma Hayek and tell them they needed to get Hepatitis shots? That must have really bummed out his birthday party.
So, perhaps I can be forgiven if a few stories may have escaped my attention.
So … scientists in Florida are cautiously celebrating over the state Board of Education’s changes earlier this week to its education curriculum. For the first time, the teaching of evolution is spelled out in Florida’s science standards. Anti-evolutionists had hoped to take advantage of the revamping of the curriculum and had been leading a campaign to champion the latest incarnation of intelligent design. Since Dover, pro-ID groups have been pushing for their latest attack on the teaching of evolution – what is often referred to as “critical analysis” or “teach the controversy.” The ploys are designed to raise doubt about the legitimacy of evolution and create opportunities to force creationist talking points into the classroom.
From the Sun-Sentinel:
The standards state that evolution is “the fundamental concept underlying all of biology and is supported by multiple forms of scientific evidence.” That statement rankled opponents, some of whom had urged the board to add an academic freedom provision that would have allowed teachers to “engage students in a critical analysis of that evidence.
After a lengthy battle, the board rejected the ploy. Instead, it voted to include the words “theory of” in front of references to evolution as a concession to one of the board’s vehement opponents to the standards. Yes, yes, we all know evolution is a scientific theory, so there is no harm to the truth. But some educators are a little concerned that the word theory will be used as a wedge by those who know so little about science – this level of ignorance continues to astound me – that they believe a scientific theory is merely a hunch.
Also, MSM take note: Here’s an interesting article in the Guardian on what happens when the courts, ruling in the interests of a corporation, step on the First Amendment rights of the blogosphere.
Last week, Swiss-based Bank Julius Baer obtained a court order to stop the anonymously run website Wikileaks from posting internal company documents that purported to show the bank’s Cayman Islands branch involved in money laundering and tax evasion. But the court order went even further, demanding that the entire website, which be shut down. (Wikileaks publishes leaked documents that often prove incriminating for governments and corporations.)
But the shutdown order backfired as bloggers rushed to Wikileaks’ defense, posting the very documents the bank was working to suppress. The Guardian article says, “mirror copies of the website sprouted like weeds.”
“Clearly, the court and Bank Julius Baer underestimated the ingenuity of the web development community,” the whistleblower protection group Project on Government Oversight wrote on its blog.
What makes this case especially interesting is that much of the Internet remains unexplored territory for issues like libel, privacy and even prior restraint. It will be interesting to watch how the courts handle these kinds of cases over the next several years.
Lauri in York