Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Akron-Based Video on Evolution on Current TV Website

Some friends cut a video regarding Intelligent Design for current TV:

Lisa and Steve pulled serious volunteer weight in Tom Sawyer's campaign for State Board of Ed., a campaign I worked on for a time. This after they recruited Tom to run. Lisa and I have kept in touch and Steve and I were friends from church long before the campaign adventure. Both are smart folks who explain the science side of the ID tilt well.

The way Current works, apparently, is that people view and vote and the videos that do best in some combination of the above make it to air. Otherwise the vid will live on the website. You can click above to view (it counts) and surf here to vote (registration required.)


Eric said...

Pho: "explain the science side of the ID tilt well"

At least they have civility going for them. Did Sawyer actually fix anything as he blew through the SBE?

The problem I see is the SBE failed to comply with the GA's direction to create model curricula appropriate for every district. Common ground was lost in the Discovery Institute vs "angry mob for science" (or whoever). The biggest surprise for me was the inability of the National Academy of Science, etc. to demonstrate cultural competence (something anthropologists normally demand, but I guess they make exceptions in the case of conservative Christians.)

The worst lapse was probably the failure to create a "how do I cast an intelligent vote for school board" model lesson. (Then other problems would have a chance of taking care of themselves.)

Lisa and Steve did a nice job on the video. Too bad they can't see their way to some resolution of issues surrounding teaching evolution. Odd cut to a crucifix during the UU Steve's monologue...

Pho said...

The "resolution of issue" and competence w/r/t conservative Christians is a damn difficult problem because, as Lisa says at the outset, it's impossible to be true to the nature of science and teach something inherently non-scientific. Add to that the pretty obvious strategy of the Creationist camp to slip camels noses under tent and you pretty much have an intractable conflict.

Agree that the crucifix edit was odd. I'm sure Steve thought so too once he saw the final cut. (He and Lisa just did the talking -- a friend did the production)

Steve and Lisa are leaders in a sort of second wave in this contest -- scientists who understand they have to be more than just right on the facts to win. This video is part of that effort. I'm very pleased that you aprove the video, given your criticisms of the scientists' political shortcomings. I'll pass your comments along.

Eric said...

"I'll pass your comments along." Thanks. But the "aw shucks, we're just safeguarding the integrity of science education" line just doesn't hold up. Here's a Document Based Question for high school U.S. government:

NARRATOR: On December 14, 2004, 11 parents of Dover school students, including Tammy Kitzmiller and Bryan and Christy Rehm, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Pennsylvania, alleging the Dover school board was violating their constitutional rights by introducing religion into science class. They would be represented by the A.C.L.U., which had joined forces with the organization Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton.

STEPHEN HARVEY (Pepper Hamilton, LLP): Eric [Rothschild] said at the time, "This is the case I been waiting for my entire career."

Based on the reading selection above, pick all plausible choices:

1) Eric Rothschild sought a Clarence Darrow moment since becoming a lawyer
2) Eric Rothschild looked foward to ambushing religious minorities since becoming a lawyer
3) Eric Rothschild foresaw threats to the integrity of science education since becoming a lawyer

The example from Dover sets a "lesser of breathtaking inanities" standard. It does not meet Ohio's threshold of "thorough and efficient." Instead of preparing teachers to provide a 21st century science education, the plaintiff's experts continue to prepare teachers to serve as cannon fodder in the culture wars. They prefer this course of action to their civic responsibilities of leverging high school civics skills to advance the common good. If Lisa and Steve are as bright as you suggest, perhaps they'll catch on.

Eric said...

BTW, the Dan Buller (dstbro) cartoon was entirely over the top and raises the question of whether this is a good faith effort.

I'll defer judgment, but I see no evidence of the U Akron people who presumably have the knowledge and skills to ensure cultural competence in public education. This "damn difficult problem" ought to attract competent scholorship--unless its difficulty or implications have been misrepresented.

From a Catholic perspective, this looks to be the sort of thing that could be addressed in a weekend over summer break. Makes you wonder if Cornell and the rest of the Ivy League are making any progress, with what effort, and at how much cost.

Perhaps the National Academy of Science can save the nation some grief and money by outsourcing such "damn difficult" problems to the Vatican rather than US universities and special interest groups.