How to Waste 50 Million Dollars

Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Anti-teenage pregnancy IIIImage by Polina Sergeeva via Flickr
The things that could be done with $50 Million. Oh well, looks like teen pregnancies will be increasing.
WASHINGTON — A Senate committee voted Tuesday night to restore $50 million a year in federal funding for abstinence-only education that President Barack Obama has pushed to eliminate.
The 12-11 vote by the Senate Finance Committee came over objections from its chairman, Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana.
Two Democrats — Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas — joined all 10 committee Republicans in voting "yes" on the measure by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah.
The measure would still have to pass the full House and Senate. Hatch said abstinence education had been shown to work, though Baucus disagreed. Obama had proposed in his 2010 budget to direct money spent on abstinence-only education to broader teen pregnancy-reduction programs.
An alternate measure offered by Baucus also passed. Baucus' measure, which passed 14-9, would make money available for education on contraception and sexually transmitted diseases, among other things, in addition to abstinence. Lawmakers will have to reconcile the two measures, both approved during debate on a sweeping health overhaul bill, as the legislation moves forward.
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Creationists Continue to Dictate Luisiana Science Education Policy

Press release from the Louisiana Coalition for Science

Baton Rouge, LA, September 28, 2009 — On September 16, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) ignored the recommendations of science education professionals in the Louisiana Department of Education (DOE) and allowed the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), a Religious Right lobbying group, to dictate the procedure concerning complaints about creationist supplementary materials used in public school science classes under the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA). At BESE’s September 16 Student/School Performance and Support (SSPS) Committee  meeting, DOE presented recommendations for reviewing such materials (see attached DOE proposal). However, DOE’s recommendations were amended to include changes proposed by SSPS Committee chair Dale Bayard, the LFF’s point man at BESE (see attached draft). BESE committee members approved the changes without opposition after hearing testimony by creationists who attended the meeting. As a result, the prerogatives of the DOE professional science education staff have been severely undermined, as explained below. The audiotape of the meeting shows that Bayard and the LFF pulled off a royal snow job.

Read the complete text here.
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Pastor Gets Partial Credit on Teaching ID in Schools But Fails on Evolution

Sunday, September 27, 2009
Intelligent Design anagramImage by Colin Purrington via Flickr
I am giving Western Oklahoma Presbyterian Examiner Thomas Spence partial credit for his reason why creationism should not be taught in public schools but a fail on how evolution should be taught. Spence says that intelligent design or any version of creation should not be taught in public schools, which is the way it should be. However, his reasoning is that, "Any version of creation that could be agreed upon by a state department or local board of education will certainly be a sanitized, politically correct version..." Spence then says, "The real issue must be that evolution should be taught only as a theory".

I agree with Spence that we should be teaching our students logic and reasoning but I disagree with his statement that the theory of evolution is based on a broad application of a proportionately small number of facts. Although, I am not an evolutionary scientist even I know that there is a preponderance of facts to support evolution. In Spence's last paragraph though, he tries to sound reasonable with his thoughts on teaching thinking and reasoning skills but that is after he says evolution is based on assumption or premise. Funny, I thought belief was based on assumption and premise, the assumption there is a god and the premise that god is good and loving.
Should intelligent design be taught in public schools? As a Christian and as an American I say without hesitation, absolutely not! Any version of creation that could be agreed upon by a state department or local board of education will certainly be a sanitized, politically correct version of what should be taught by individuals, families, and churches in accordance with the faith and insight of each.

The real issue must be that evolution should be taught only as a theory. It is not a fact. It is an intelligent guess based upon the broadest application of inductive reasoning applied to a proportionately small number of facts. We need to teach our students logic and reasoning before introducing them to theories. The most elemental component of logic is that if the premise is false, then everything that follows can be proven to be true.

Evolution is based upon an assumption or premise. Belief in a divine creation is based on faith. We should address this issue at the core by the direct teaching of thinking and reasoning skills in our schools. When our students can effectively discern what is based in faith, assumption, fact, emotion, theory, or guesswork; then we have better prepared them to use their education regardless of the curriculum.
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No 2 Religion Joins the Atheist Blogroll

Saturday, September 26, 2009
Thanks to Mojoey for the wonderful introduction to the Atheist Blogroll. When I started No 2 Religion I had no idea what I was going to blog about other than saying no to religion. Recently though I found something that I am passionate about, education and keeping religion, creationism and irrationality out. Though, I am sure I will blog about other topics as they interest me.

Hopefully you found your way here via Mojoey's Atheist Blogroll. The Atheist Blogroll is a service provided to the Atheist and Agnostic blogging community. The blogroll currently maintains over 990 blogs. Membership is limited to Atheist and Agnostic bloggers.  If you have not seen visited Mojoey's blog Deep Thoughts or the Atheist Blogroll then get on over there. You can also see the Atheist Blogroll in my sidebar.

In honor of Mojoey I would like to play a game he calls, "Guess Where I was Standing"? Since I took these pictures from two different locations at the same park just name the park I was at this evening..

Well Duh! As If We Didn't Already Know

Friday, September 18, 2009
Anti-teenage pregnancy IIImage by Polina Sergeeva via Flickr
NYT parenting blogger Lisa Belkin writes about the correlation between teen pregnancy and religion. In her post she cites a recent Reproductive Health Journal study by Drexel University and the University of Pittsburgh and the results are nothing less than surprising, that is, if you are religious. 

As most atheists and other people of reason have known for a long time religion has a significant impact on teen pregnancy and generally in a negative way. As the father of a 14 year-old daughter (15 in two weeks) I have striven to make sex an open topic in our house. While we do not have explicit conversations, my wife usually has those with our daughter, I nevertheless know my daughters thoughts on the subject and I know that she will make an appropriate choice when the time right.

Religion’s Link to Teen Pregnancy

A report this week in the journal Reproductive Health describes what researchers call “a strong association” between the teenage birth rate of a particular state and its “level of religiosity.”
The correlation is not what you might expect. The more religious the state, the higher the rates of teen pregnancy.
Joseph Strayhorn, an adjunct faculty member with Drexel University and the University of Pittsburgh, and Jillian Strayhorn reached their conclusions by analyzing data from the Pew Forum’s US Religious Landscapes Survey and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The first asks respondents to agree or disagree with such statements as ‘There is only one way to interpret the teachings of my religion’ or ‘Scripture should be taken literally, word for word’. The second tracks the rate of teen pregnancy in every state from year to year.
How to explain the disconnect? It could be that more religious teens are having sex than less religious teens, hence more of them become pregnant. It could also be that the percentage of teens who become pregnant in each state is similar, but the percentage who terminate in the less religious states is higher, leading to more reported pregnancies and births (although the authors did take some steps to adjust for that.) Or it could be, Strayhorn suggests, “that religious communities in the US are more successful in discouraging the use of contraception among their teenagers than they are in discouraging sexual intercourse itself”.
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If You Can't Make It Then Fake It

Wednesday, September 16, 2009
invisible research!Image by the mad LOLscientist via Flickr
Science Blogs blogger Brian Switek (Laelaps) writes that the Discovery Institute has once again tricked or improperly used interviews from scientists for another pro-creation movie. The DVD titled, Darwin's Dilemma, "features interviews with leading evolutionary paleontologists such as Simon Conway Morris of Cambridge University and James Valentine of the University of California at Berkeley..." However,  Valentine says he was tricked and Conway Morris says he never gave them an interview nor gave them rights to any interview. It wasn't enough that the tricked Valentine but apparently since they couldn't interview Conway Morris they decided to fake the interview with Conway Morris. Further in Switek's article he quotes from an "ID the Future" podcast that was conducted with the producer who comes off like the typical creationist moron.

Read the full article and see the astounding DVD trailer at Laelaps Science Blog.

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I Was Embarassed and Ashamed but Now I'm Proud

Tuesday, September 8, 2009
As you may have noticed by now, education and keeping religion out of education is very important to me.

In my post on September 6th, Does Obama's Speech to Student Violate Constitutional Rights? I said,
"...every school and school district in my county are showing the speech with the encouragement of the superintendent and school boards."
Unfortunately, that turned out to be a bit premature. While watching the late news last night, something I rarely do but my wife fell asleep holding the remote, I learned that my daughters school district had called an emergency meeting for 7:45 AM this morning. Apparently, a few parents had called to voice their concern and one board trustee, Dr. David LaRue (also a parent), wrote a letter to the superintendent calling Obama's speech propaganda and compared it to George Orwell's Animal Farm. Dr. LaRue went on to personally threaten any teacher that showed the speech with a formal letter of complaint from himself and any parent he could find. He also accused the superintendent of overstepping her authority by allowing the speech in violation of California Ed Code and Board Policy. However, after review it was determined that California Ed Code was not violated and the Board Policy referenced only applied to pre-recorded video not live events.

There was about a hundred people in attendance and the majority of those who spoke, including my self, and applauded overwhelmingly wanted the speech shown. After a motion and comments by the board they voted 3-2 to allow the speech.

When I first heard about the meeting I was ashamed that my daughter's district had gone this way but I was proud of the civic action the district's parents took.

You can see the news story on the school board meeting here. BTW I'm sitting behind the guy with the flag but you don't get to see me.

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Obama's Speech to Students - What's the Big Deal

Monday, September 7, 2009
Signs of Madison's Tea Party: "Obama's Pl...Image by cometstarmoon via Flickr
The fundies, teabaggers, birthers, and dittoheads have been whining and crying about Obama's speech to students since it was announced. They have claimed that Obama will brainwash or indoctrinate their children with his politics. I can see why the are upset about this because they fee this is their job.

However, after reading the text of Obama's speech I don't see the what big deal is and it appears that these individuals have yet again cried wolf. It's beginning to seem that no matter what Obama, liberals or progressives say they will react with vehement opposition without any facts to back their claims. When did ignorance become a virtue?
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Mom Cries Over Obama's Speech to Children

Sunday, September 6, 2009
Some parents are making absolute fools of themselves over a speech they haven't even heard. Let's get real folks and cry over something truly important. It's just fucking speech!

via Anderson Cooper 360 -

Does Obama's Speech to Student Violate Constitutional Rights?

the 44th President of the United States...Bara...Image by jmtimages [on call] via Flickr
Or, My Post on an Article about an Article about a Radio Report

In a September 4, 2009 article at RenewAmerica By Arlen Williams titled, 

Execution of Obama's speech to students, violating constitutional rights, by usurping powers
An article about an article, about a radio report -- about the beginnings of treason

Arlen writes,
There are at least three problems in Obama's predictably ministerial ploy upon America's educational complex and upon our children:

  1. the usurpation of state and local jurisdictions, by federal government, inherent in the orchestrating of this entire set of events

  2. the (changing) suggestions or dictates of teacher-student behavior, to be carried out before and after the speech

  3. the content of Obama's speech

I work in K-12 education, though not as a teacher, and I find these problems to be patently false and manufactured by likely "teabaggers" and "birthers. Arlen uses the article, Major Breach of Protocol by Nancy Matthis of American Daughter to bolster his assertion that President Obama and the U.S. Department of Education have somehow usurped the power of the states with his upcoming speech. Arlen also references the U.S. Constitutions Preamble and Ninth and Tenth amendments which speak to states rights but do not actually appear to have any relevance.

Nancy writes,
"Most of the controversy surrounding his scheduled speech and the lesson plan outlines prepared for teachers to use with it has been concern about the content of his remarks."
Obviously, Nancy has no idea of how classroom curriculum is created. With the exception of Texas, curriculum is developed by a committee of teachers, administrators and sometimes parents and then forwarded to the Board of Education for approval. The Board of Education does not directly develop curriculum. Furthermore, the curriculum outside of standardized textbooks and academic standards are created by the individual teacher or by the department head. In any case, the teacher can always choose to use or not, any outside provided curriculum. What does this all mean? It means they don't have to use the provided curriculum unless they want.

Nancy also says,
"But the damage has already been accomplished in the process .(emphasis hers) Barack Hussein Obama communicated directly with all of the country’s school principals, and got them to march in lock step, without anyone screaming about the school boards being bypassed. The first step of the Marxist game plan is complete."
Oh the horror! President Obama chose to bypass the bureaucracy of school boards, which wouldn't really have much of say in this anyways and spoke directly the people that matter, school principals. Oh and by-the-way, every school and school district in my county are showing the speech with the encouragement of the superintendent and school boards.

Too bad I screwed since I am a IT guy I get to figure out how to get this out with out killing our network but that is another story.
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Intelligent design to take over all studies

Saturday, September 5, 2009
Acceptance of gravity in the United StatesImage by Colin Purrington via Flickr
In an opinion piece by Brian Reinhart on Sept. 4th of the online version of The Rice Thresher, Brian says that,
"...the consensus among reasonable people is that modern science indicates the theory of evolution was, at best, a misguided effort. Most contemporary theorists agree that evolution does not explain the fact that the universe is so perfectly adapted to our needs. And if even a single step in the alleged "evolutionary" process had gone wrong, we would be completely different creatures. We probably would not even be able to think.
Brian then goes on to say,
"...there is increasing acceptance among the scientific community of intelligent design theory, or the theory that life is best explained as the product of some kind of prior plan, sketched out by an all-encompassing being far cleverer than we are."
Brian also notes that,

"Several hundred scientists around the United States recently signed an open letter expressing their doubt about evolution. The list included Rice professors Patricia Reiff, James Tour and Pablo Yepes, plus professor emeritus Dale Spence." 
Brian also goes on to debunk the theory of gravity, plate tectonics, astronomy and enlightenment. Read his entire opinion piece to fully understand his thinking.
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ID is Religious Creationism in Disguise

Tuesday, September 1, 2009
William Dembski proposed the concept of specif...Image via Wikipedia
In an August 26, article by Methodist Examiner James-Michael Smith titled, "Intelligent Design 101 - Is ID religious Creationism in disguise?" he agrees with the judge in the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District that ID should not be taught in schools, yet. However, Smith says the Judge was flawed in his reasoning. This is just his opening to his review of William Dembski's new book "The Design Revolution" which Smith says, "...seeks to expose this fallacy in the opening chapters of what is perhaps the best philosophical defense of the validity of the ID approach in print."
I will not be reviewing Dembski's book or refuting it's claims here as I have no desire to read it and there are much better bloggers out there that can rip Dembski a new one, and usually do.

Smith goes on to say that,
"Any fair reading of actual ID theory should recognize the difference between ID and Creationism.  Those who refuse to recognize this clear distinction are either ignorant of what ID actually claims or intellectually dishonest in attempting to lump it together with Creationism.  Hopefully it is the former. "
While I may not know everything about ID and creationism there is to know, I have read enough to know that I have not seen any clear differences.

"Of course, intellectual dishonesty has been found on both sides of the debate and any proponent of ID must recognize that many seeking to promote ID have themselves (including Dembski on occasion!) joined it with their religious or political agendas.  This is unfortunate of course, but it should not obscure the fact that at the level of actual claims, ID and Creationism are quite different animals."
 Well actually it does obscure things because it religion is what ID is about.
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