Hal's next trip to the lectern did not bring any news of tragedy as it did the previous year following Shermer's talk, so we instead moved on to more pleasant things, like the talk given by Dr. Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education.
Dr. Scott is a hero of mine for her work in battling to keep quality science in the public schools, and prevent the Creationist pressure groups from either watering down support for modern biology, or gaining "equal time" for their religious views. I am a lifetime member of the NCSE, and I urge others to join and support their work.
|Dr. Eugenie Scott Of The NCSE|
Dr. Scott spoke of two kinds of creationism. The first is the young-earth style of biblical literalism, which has existed for decades and is exemplified by the work of Henry Morris, Duane Gish, Ken Ham, and Kent Hovind, and organizations such as the Institute for Creation Research in San Diego.
A different sort of creationism has evolved in the last decade. This is the "Intelligent Design" creationism, born out of a string of losses by traditional creationism in public forums and in courtrooms. They portray their stance as entirely scientific, and have systematically removed all references to the Bible and to identifying God as the designer. Their arguments rest on biochemist Dr. Michael Behe's "irreducible complexity", mathematician Dr. William Dembski's "design inference", and a whole lot of hot air from law professor Phillip Johnson and Rev. Sun Myung Moon devotee Dr. Jonathan Wells.
|Picture With A Hero Of Mine|
To counter their efforts at convincing legislatures and school boards that scientists are questioning evolution by listing about a hundred people with PhD's who would sign a document criticising Darwinism, the NCSE launched "Project Steve", which has now collected many hundreds of qualified signatories supporting evolution, all named Steve (or Stephanie, etc.).
Other successful campaigns have included fights in Kansas, Ohio, and most recently in Texas under the slogan, "Don't Mess With Textbooks".