Evolution vs. Intelligent Design as Science in the classroom.
Is intelligent design religion or science?
Teaching The Science of Evolution or Religion: The Creation Debate
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Most people in the world share 2-4% of DNA with Neanderthals while a few inherited genes from Denisovans, a study confirms. Denisovan DNA lives on only in Pacific island dwellers, while Neanderthal genes are more widespread, researchers report in the journal Science. Meanwhile, some parts of our genetic code show little trace of our extinct cousins. They include hundreds of genes involved in brain development and language.
In the classic 1960 film Inherit the Wind, science meets tradition in a dramatic rendition of the 1925 Scopes “Monkey Trial” that occurred in Dayton, Tennessee. In reality, schoolteacher John T. Scopes was tried for teaching evolution as fact in Tennessee schools, which at the time violated state law. In the film, actors’ personal belief systems reversed: conservative Catholic Spencer Tracy portrayed liberal attorney Henry Drummond (modeled after Clarence Darrow), while liberal Unitarian Fredric March played arch conservative lawyer and presidential candidate Matthew Harrison Brady, modeled after William Jennings Bryan.
LET'S TALK ABOUT EVOUTION
2015 HUMAN teeth discovered in central China provide evidence that our species left the African continent up to 70,000 years earlier than prevailing theories suggest, according to the latest study. Homo sapiens reached present-day China 80,000-120,000 years ago, according to the study, which could redraw the migration map for modern humans. The model that is generally accepted is that modern humans left Africa only 50,000 years ago." In this case, we are saying the H. sapiens is out of Africa much earlier" said Maria Martinon-Torres, a researcher at University College London and a co-author of the study.journal Nature. While the route they traveled remains unknown, previous research suggests the most likely path out of East Africa to east Asia was across the Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East.
The findings also mean that the first truly modern humans — thought to have emerged in east Africa some 200,000 years ago — landed in China well before they went to Europe. There is no evidence to suggest that H. sapiens entered the European continent earlier than 45,000 years ago, at least 40,000 years after they showed up in present-day China. The 47 teeth exhumed from a knee-deep layer of grey, sandy clay inside Fuyan Cave in Daoxian County, Hunan Province, closely resemble those of “contemporary humans,” according to the study.
Neanderthals – for whom we have hundreds of fossils including near complete skeletons – interbred with the founders of living European and East Asian populations. Estimates published in 2014 indicate that 1.5-2% of the genome of living non-Africans was inherited from Neanderthals. Yet, East Asians have significantly more Neanderthal genes than Europeans do indicating that their ancestors interbred with this archaic species perhaps more than once, or in an event separate to that involving the ancestors of western Eurasians.
‘Denisovans,’ is known from the fossil record only by a single tooth, finger bone and toe bone. Yet their fully sequenced genome shows that they shared their genes with the ancestors of some Southeast Asians, New Guineans and Aboriginal Australians. These living people also show the genetic signs of interbreeding with Neanderthals, so have inherited DNA from both of these species. Populations living today in Tibet to thrive at high altitude is the result of a gene inherited from the mysterious ‘Denisovans.’ The gene in question – EPAS1 – is associated with differences in haemoglobin levels at high altitude underpinning the capacity of the individuals carrying it to pump more oxygen around in their blood. The presence of Denisovan DNA outside of New Guinea – its place of highest occurrence – is probably the result of recent population migrations from New Guinea into Australia, Southeast Asia and mainland East Asia.
4 million years Shared Genetic history With Fish
9/13/15 New human-like species discovered The species, which has been named naledi, has been classified in the grouping, or genus, Homo, to which modern humans belong. The researchers who made the find have not been able to find out how long ago these creatures lived - but the scientist who led the team, Prof Lee Berger, told BBC News that he believed they could be among the first of our kind (genus Homo) and could have lived in Africa up to three million years ago.
5/19/14 The organization creating the curriculum, headed up by Hobby Lobby heir Steve Green, has everyone from the ACLU to religious scholars gearing up for what could be an impending cultural, and legal, battle. The Mustang School District in the suburbs of Oklahoma City voted to implement an elective Bible curriculum in its high schools.
Bible as Literal Truth?
That’s the kind of talk that worries lawyers and atheists alike, who worry that Green’s outspoken belief in the Bible as literal truth could impact his ability to present a curriculum that is an objectively academic study of the Bible’s role in history — which is exactly what it needs to do in order to be legal. The curriculum might not teach the Bible as truth, but the teacher might.
WHYY.org Inside Your Inner Fish
Your DNA comes out of the sea onto the land Tiktaalik (Your Inner Fish)
The ancestor of recent vertebrate teeth was a tooth-like structure on the outer body surface of jawless fishes. Over the course of 500,000,000 years of evolution, many of those structures migrated into the mouth cavity. In addition, the total number of teeth per dentition generally decreased and teeth morphological complexity increased. Teeth form mainly on the jaws within the mouth cavity through mutual, delicate interactions between dental epithelium and oral ectomesenchyme. It is the concentration of a few signaling molecules that determines the fate of individual cells during the early development of organisms. Molecular biologists report that a variety of molecular mechanisms accounts for the interpretation of the concentration of the signaling molecule Hedgehog. “The concentration of Hedgehog makes the thumb of the right hand grow on the left hand side and the thumb of the left hand grow on the right hand side.” Thus, scientists define Hedgehog as a morphogen – a signal that is concentration-dependent and controls the pattern formation of an organism.
With Your Inner Fish Tiktaalik Gets Up Close
Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia
From Fin To Limb - The Hand Traces Us Back to every animal on earth then back to the Fish.
Sonic hedgehog molecule gene:We can see the Embryo bud shape pattern of our digits. It Forms the shape of our hands and Links humans every animal on earth,
A rebroadcast of our conversation with paleontologist Neil Shubin February 18, 2008
Paleontologist and professor of anatomy NEIL SHUBIN tells us about his book “Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body.”
The cells that make our bones, nerves, guts, and so on look and behave entirely differently. Despite these differences, there is a deep similarity among every cell inside our bodies: all of them contain exactly the same DNA. If DNA contains the information to build our bodies, tissues, and organs, how is it that cells as different as those found in muscle, nerve, and bone contain the same DNA? The answer lies in understanding what pieces of DNA (the genes) are actually turned on in every cell. A skin cell is different from a neuron because different genes are active in each cell. When a gene is turned on, it makes a protein that can affect what the cell looks like and how it behaves. Therefore, to understand what makes a cell in the eye different from a cell in the bones of the hand, we need to know about the genetic switches that control the activity of genes in each cell and tissue. Here’s an important fact: these genetic switches help to assemble us. At conception, we start as a single cell that contains all the DNA needed to build our body. The plan for that entire body unfolds via instructions contained in this single microscopic cell. To go from this generalized egg cell to a complete human, with trillions of specialized cells organized in just the right way, whole batteries of genes need to be turned on and off at just the right stages of development. Like a concerto composed of individual notes played by many instruments, our bodies are a composition of individual genes turning on and off inside each cell during our development…
Kanzi Built A Fire 9/22/14
Kanzi, a bonobo ape, amazing builds a fire and roasts marshmallows in a video released by Animal Planet. A bonobo ape named Kanzi is seen building a fire to roast marshmallows. Kanzi breaks down kindling, and stacks wood before striking a match and creating a campfire. it's a spectacular moment to witness as fire is considered to be one of the main steps in the development of human civilization.
We seem to have caught evolution red handed 9/24/14 "The amazing thing is that we have a good genome of a 45,000 year old person who was close to the ancestor of all present-day humans outside Africa," Prof Paabo DNA analysis of a 45,000-year-old human has helped scientists pinpoint when our ancestors interbred with Neanderthals. The genome sequence from a thigh bone found in Siberia shows the first episode of mixing occurred between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago. The male hunter is one of the earliest modern humans discovered in Eurasia. The study in Nature journal also supports the finding that our species emerged from Africa some 60,000 years ago, before spreading around the world. The analysis raises the possibility that the human line first emerged millions of years earlier than current estimates.
"Joseph M. Farber Memorial Prize - The prize is named for Joseph Farber, the late son of Dr. David Farber (B.E., 1956; M.A. 1961; Honorary Doctor of Engineering), who at the time of his untimely death at the age of 34 was an associate with the law firm Pepper Hamilton in Philadelphia. Joseph Farber was instrumental in the landmark Kitzmiller d. Dover case, which defended the First Amendement’s Establishment Clause, by holding that schools could not requite the teaching of “intelligent design.” Before earning his law degree, he had earned a Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral degrees in philosophy, all from the University of Pennsylvania.
The Joseph M. Farber Memorial Prize recognizes a graduating senior majoring in one of the disciplines of the College of Arts and Letters who displays a keen interest in and concern for civil liberties and their importance in preserving and protecting human rights. "
EVOLUTION IS NOT A THEORY
Jesus Camp Trailer
Brain Washing ( Jesus Camp ''Highlights'' )
3/24/14 Special report: Taxpayers fund creationism in the classroom
Taxpayers in 14 states will bankroll nearly $1 billion this year in tuition for private schools, including hundreds of religious schools that teach Earth is less than 10,000 years old, Adam and Eve strolled the garden with dinosaurs, and much of modern biology, geology and cosmology is a web of lies. Their course materials nurture disdain of the secular world, distrust of momentous discoveries and hostility toward mainstream scientists. They often distort basic facts about the scientific method — teaching, for instance, that theories such as evolution are by definition highly speculative because they haven’t been elevated to the status of “scientific law.
Taxpayers fund creationism in the classroom
2014 Taxpayers in 14 states will bankroll nearly $1 billion this year in tuition for private schools, including hundreds of religious schools that teach Earth is less than 10,000 years old, Adam and Eve strolled the garden with dinosaurs, and much of modern biology, geology and cosmology is a web of lies. Now a major push to expand these voucher programs is under way from Alaska to New York, a development that seems certain to sharply increase the investment.
A BIG-MONEY PUSH
Voucher supporters have skillfully built strong networks of allies in many states. They’ve spent heavily to campaign for sympathetic lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans — often targeting primary races to knock out anti-voucher candidates early. They’ve staged rallies packed with cheering families.
Sep 9 2013 Texas still seeing attempts to limit evolution in school textbooks Texas' school board, which has waged an ongoing battle over science education (among other topics), is back at it. In 2009, a bruising battle created science standards that questioned common descent and the age of the universe. Since then, textbook publishers have attempted to craft science texts that implement Texas' standards. That process has reached the point where the board invited outside experts to critique the textbooks. In keeping with the school board's history, that process has also gone badly astray. Rather than choosing scientific experts and educators, the school board chose two people (Walter Bradley and Raymond Bohlin) who have been involved in the Discovery Institute, the organization that has backed the intelligent design movement. Bradley in particular was involved in crafting the wedge document, which calls for a cultural effort to get rid of science's focus on natural causes in the hope that it would advance theistic views. Another person asked to review the texts is Ide Trotter, a retired engineer. He's a key figure in a group called Texans for Better Science Education. That group's URL, strengthsandweaknesses.org, echoes language that was specifically removed from the standards because it is used to enable religiously motivated attacks on evolution education. With the exception of two works by Darwin, the group's recommended books are all products of the $$$ Discovery Institute. (We reviewed one and found it to be largely unscientific.) The Texas Freedom Network, which advocates for separation of church and state (among other causes), has now used the state's Public Information Act to request the results of this group's textbook reviews. And they're about what you'd expect and, most likely, what some members of the school board were hoping for. In the evaluation of one textbook, a reviewer openly advocated for introducing religion into the science classroom. "I understand the National Academy of Science's strong support of the theory of evolution. At the same time, this is a theory. As an educator, parent, and grandparent, I feel very firmly that 'creation science' based on biblical principles should be incorporated into every biology book that is considered for adoption. Students should have the opportunity to use their critical thinking skills to weigh the evidence between evolution and 'creation science.'" A push for creationism was also made in subtler terms. For instance, one reviewer suggests, "The fossil record can be interpreted in other ways than evolutionary with equal justification. Text should ask students to analyze and compare alternative theories." The "alternative theories" were left unstated. [snip]
2012 The American Journal of Human Biology looks at the genomes of three female Neandertals from Croatia. Their DNA was the basis of the first effort to compile a complete Neandertal genetic sequence, which was published in 2010. The researchers focused their attention on 40 well-studied stretches of genetic material that help determine pigmentation in living people. A particular form of the gene known as TPCN2, for example, bestows brown hair in modern humans; any other form means hair that's another color. The female Neandertal known as Vi33.26, for example, had seven genes for brown eyes, one for "not-brown" eyes, three for blue eyes, and four for "not-blue eyes." By the researchers' reckoning, that means a six-gene balance in favor of brown and a negative balance for blue, so Vi33.26's eyes were probably brown. According to this method, all three Neandertals had a dark complexion and brown eyes, and although one was red-haired, two sported brown locks.30 Indonesian Women (Accidentally) Founded Madagascar
Texas Ed Board compromises on evolution materials 8/2011
The Texas State Board of Education delivered a blow to social conservatives Friday, giving final approval to supplemental high school science materials after a brief flare-up over some lessons teaching the principles of evolution.
The lessons in question included a lab comparison on chimpanzee and human skulls, the fossil record and cell complexity.
A board-appointed reviewer had called the lessons errors and recommended changes, but a group of scientists objected on Friday, threatening to re-ignite a fierce debate over teaching evolution in Texas public schools.
On May, 5, the City of New Orleans overwhelmingly endorsed Senator Peterson's SB 70 to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act. The New Orleans City Council voted 6-0 in favor of the repeal.
http://www.salon.com/ November 04,2005
VATICAN CITY -- A Vatican cardinal said Thursday the faithful should listen to what secular modern science has to offer, warning that religion risks turning into "fundamentalism" if it ignores scientific reason. Cardinal Paul Poupard, who heads the Pontifical Council for Culture, made the comments at a news conference on a Vatican project to help end the "mutual prejudice" between religion and science that has long bedeviled the Roman Catholic Church and is part of the evolution debate in the United States. The Vatican project was inspired by Pope John Paul II's 1992 declaration that the church's 17th-century denunciation of Galileo was an error resulting from "tragic mutual incomprehension." Galileo was condemned for supporting Nicolaus Copernicus' discovery that the Earth revolved around the sun; church teaching at the time placed Earth at the center of the universe. <snip>
Dangerous Memes - Dan Dennett examines religious belief through the lens of biology. All religion should to be taught in schools, so we can understand its nature as a natural phenomenon. The Intellegent Design movement is basically a hoax. The key to domination of the planet is culture and the key to culture is religion.
True Story: A parasite that gets into a mouse and needs to get into the belly of a cat and it turns the mouse into mighty mouse makes it fearless so it runs out into the open where it will get eaten by a cat.
Does that ever happen to us? Yes it does. We also have these hijackers, parasites that infects the brain that induces suicidal behavior on behalf of a cause other than of one's own genetic fitness. Islam and Christianity both teach people to surrender their lives. Surrendered people obey gods word even if it doesn't make sense!
Everytime you read it or say it you make another copy in your brain.
" Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away " ~ Philip K. Dick
Ancient Aliens - We are not alone in the cosmos. See [ Moses ]
Hominids diverged from the chimp branch of the family tree roughly six million years ago, producing a series of evolutionary dead-ends before the ultimately successful genus Homo emerged. H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens grew out of the same line at different times.
The Neanderthals' ancestors diverged first, and they left Africa a couple of hundred thousand years ahead of ours. Homo sapiens arrived in Europe about 50,000 years ago. The two species overlapped for perhaps 20,000 years before the Neanderthals went extinct. Scientists still aren't sure why. A detailed analysis of human and chimp DNA suggests the lines finally diverged less than 5.4 million years ago. 
Most K12 State Science Standards Don't Make the Grade.
Who is Teaching Science in K12 Schools?New Jersey is the fourth state so far to reject the $800,000 abstinence education money, after California, Pennsylvania and Maine.
Stand Up For Real Science A campaign is underway across the US to promote the "critical analysis" of evolution in public school science classrooms. This campaign can also be found under the guises of "teaching the strengths and weaknesses of evolution" or "teaching the controversy about evolution." Promoters of these campaigns claim to be simply "supporting academic freedom." Unfortunately, these phrases are being used as euphemisms for the notion that the scientific evidence supporting evolution and long-refuted "criticisms" of evolution should be treated equally.
SCIENCE TEST SCORES FALL FOR HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS 2006
The first nationwide science test administered in five years shows that achievement among high school seniors has declined across the past decade, even as scores in science rose among fourth graders and held steady among eighth graders, reported the Education Department. The drop in science proficiency appeared to reflect a broader trend, in which some academic gains made in elementary grades and middle school have been seen to fade during the high school years. The science results came from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a comprehensive examination administered in 2005 by a branch of the Department of Education to hundreds of thousands of students in all 50 states. The science test, which was administered during the first months of 2005, covered the earth, physical and life sciences, writes Sam Dillon. Some teachers blamed the decreasing amount of time devoted to science in schools, in part because of the No Child Left Behind Law, whose requirements for annual testing in reading and math during the elementary grades have led many schools to decrease the time spent on science or to abandon its teaching altogether.
"The State of State Science Standards 2005" the first comprehensive study of science academic standards conducted since 2000 -- appraised the quality of each states K-12 science standards as they are rushing to meet the No Child Left Behind Acts mandate for testing in this critical subject. The results are mixed. Nearly half of the fifty states surveyed received grades of "D" or "F" in a new review of statewide academic standards for primary-secondary school science. Every state received a letter grade based on how well its standards met a set of rigorous criteria, including:
- Do the standards contain clear and fair expectations by grade level for students?
- Are the standards organized in a sensible way, both showing logical progression from grade to grade and easily navigated so teachers, parents, and the public can understand?
- Is there an appropriate amount of science content, and if so, do the standards outline the best approach to share that content?
- Are the expectations outlined specific enough, yet set high aims that will equip students with the science skills they need for college?
- Are the standards appropriately serious, or do they incorporate pseudo-scientific fads or politics?
Scientists Create First Synthetic Cell, Opening New Era in Biology By ROBERT LEE HOTZ
5/2010 Heralding a potential new era in biology, scientists for the first time have created a synthetic cell, completely controlled by man-made genetic instructions, which can survive and reproduce itself, researchers at the private J. Craig Venter Institute. Scientists have been altering DNA piecemeal for a generation, producing a menagerie of genetically engineered plants and animals, but the ability to craft an entire organism offers a new power over life, they said. "This is literally a turning point in the relationship between man and nature," said molecular biologist Richard Ebright at Rutgers University, who wasn't involved in the project. "For the first time, someone has generated an entire artificial cell with pre-determined properties." David Magnus, director of the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics, said, "It has the potential to transform genetic engineering. The research is going to explode once you can create designer genomes." Vatican calls synthetic cell creation 'interesting'
The scientists didn't give the new organism its own species name, but they did give its synthetic genome an official version number, like the prototype of a computer software operating system. The genome is called Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0. "We call it the first synthetic cell," said genomics pioneer Craig Venter, who oversaw the project. "These are very much real cells." Created at a cost of $30 million, this experimental one-cell organism opens the way to the manipulation of life on a previously unattainable scale, several researchers and ethics experts said.
To set this novel bacterium and all its descendants apart from any natural creation, Dr. Venter and his colleagues wrote their names into the creature's chemical DNA code, along with three apt quotations. "They put some poetry into the genome," said Dr. Voigt. The scientists also encoded an email address and the name of a website, so that anyone who successfully deciphered the quotations hidden in the genome could notify the scientists. More importantly, these genetic watermarks allow the researchers to pick out their cells from among more natural varieties and, eventually, to assert ownership. "You have to have a way of tracking it," said Stanford ethicist Mildred Cho, who has studied the issues posed by the creation of such organisms.
Although the new cell, a form of bacteria, was conceived solely as a demonstration project, several biologists were certain that the laboratory technique used to birth it would soon be applied to other strains of bacteria with commercial potential. "I think this quickly will be applied to all the most important industrial bacteria," said biologist Christopher Voigt at the University of California, San Francisco, who is developing microbes that help make gasoline.
Although patents on single genes now face legal challenges, Dr. Venter said he intended to patent his experimental cells. "They are pretty clearly human inventions," he said.
New field, called synthetic biology, which combines chemistry, computer science, molecular biology, genetics and cell biology to breed industrial life forms that can secrete fuels, vaccines or other saleable products.To make the synthetic cell, a team of 25 researchers at labs in Rockville, Md., and San Diego, Calif., led by bioengineer Daniel Gibson and Dr. Venter essentially turned computer code into a new life form. They started with a species of bacteria called Mycoplasma capricolum and, by replacing its genome with one they wrote themselves, turned it into a customized variant of a second species called Mycoplasma mycoides, they reported. To begin, they wrote out the creature's entire genetic code as a digital computer file documenting more than one million base pairs of DNA in a biochemical alphabet of adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine. They edited that file, adding new code, and then sent that electronic data to a DNA sequencing company called Blue Heron Bio in Bothell, Wash., where it was transformed into hundreds of small pieces of chemical DNA, they reported. To assemble the strips of DNA, the researchers said they took advantage of the natural capacities of several types of existing cells to meld genes and chromosomes: They used yeast and e. coli bacteria to stitch those short sequences into ever-longer fragments until they had assembled the complete genome, as the entire set of an organism's genetic instructions is called. They transplanted that master set of genes into an emptied cell, where it converted the cell into a different species.
CHRISTIAN RIGHT "STRIKINGLY UNSUCCESSFUL" IN SCHOOL BOARD EFFORTS
During a period in which the Christian Right wielded a great deal of influence in the federal and state political spheres, it appears to have been strikingly unsuccessful in its long-term efforts to push state and local school boards to adopt science curricula that include questioning the theory of evolution and teaching intelligent design as a legitimate alternative theory of creation, according to a Connecticut College researcher. Kimberly Trebbi Richards found that the Christian Right's initial short-term successes occurred through exceptionally effective development of interest group organization and lobbying techniques focused on electing or re-electing supportive officials. However, the more permanent reversals of those short-term successes came through growing counter-organization by opposing groups and through court decisions. Richards examined case studies from three major state or local areas where the Christian Right was initially successful in influencing science education at the elementary or high school levels: Kansas, Georgia and Pennsylvania.
University of Calif. Sued Over Creationism
A group representing California religious schools has filed a lawsuit accusing the University of California system of discriminating against high schools that teach creationism and other conservative Christian viewpoints.
The Association of Christian Schools International, which represents more than 800 schools, filed a federal lawsuit Thursday claiming UC admissions officials have refused to certify high school science courses that use textbooks challenging Darwin's theory of evolution. Other rejected courses include "Christianity's Influence in American History."
According to the lawsuit, the Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta was told its courses were rejected because they use textbooks printed by two Christian publishers, Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Books.
Wendell E. Bird, a lawyer for the association, said the policy violates the rights of students and religious schools.
"A threat to one religion is a threat to all," he said.
UC spokeswoman Ravi Poorsina said she could not comment, because the university had not been served with the lawsuit. Still, she said the university has a right to set course requirements.
"These requirements were established after careful study by faculty and staff to ensure that students who come here are fully prepared with broad knowledge and the critical thinking skills necessary to succeed," Poorsina.
Teachers have the lowest IQs of any college graduate group. Local school boards are elected. What are their qualifications? ANSWERThey have almost complete latitude to set the content of the curriculum! It is their decision that would have an unconstitutionally religious purpose and effect.
K - 12 PUBLIC EDUCATION
NCSE's "Project Steve" is a tongue-in-cheek parody of a long-standing creationist tradition of amassing lists of "scientists who doubt evolution" or "scientists who dissent from Darwinism." (For examples of such lists, see the FAQs on the web site at http://www.ncseweb.org/article.asp?category=18
Creationists draw up these lists to convince the public that evolution is somehow being rejected by scientists, that it is a "theory in crisis." Most members of the public lack sufficient contact with the scientific community to know that this claim is totally unfounded. NCSE has been exhorted by its members to compile a list of thousands of scientists affirming the validity of the theory of evolution, but although we easily could have done so, we have resisted such pressure. We did not wish to mislead the public into thinking that scientific issues are decided by who has the longer list of scientists!
Project Steve mocks this practice with a bit of humor, and because "Steves" (and Stephanies) are only about 1% of scientists, it incidentally makes the point that tens of thousands of scientists support evolution. And it honors the late Stephen Jay Gould, NCSE supporter and friend. As of 2/19, the Steveometer was 244 and rising. To join the list, write Skip Evans at email@example.com.
Lawrence Krauss Talk of the Nation audio
*Ambrose Swasey professor of physics and chairman of the physics department at Case Western Reserve University Director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics at Case Western Reserve University
John Oliver set up his own church to expose televangelists for fleecing vulnerable people
John Oliver on Sunday set his sights on the people who use religion to make millions and millions of dollars. "Churches are a cornerstone of American life. There are roughly 350,000 congregations in the United States, and many of them do great work — feeding the hungry, clothing the poor," Oliver said. "But this is not a story about them. This is about the churches that exploit people's faith for monetary gain." Oliver walked through how televangelists take money from vulnerable and often sick people, and benefit from vague tax policy, which grants them tax-exempt status even for million-dollar mansions. He then made a big reveal: He set up his own church to test the limits of the law.