Worse than I thought in Iowa

As one commenter at Aetiology pointed out, support for Intelligent design/creationism is included in the Republican Party of Iowa State Platform:

3.4 We support the teaching of alternative theories on the origins of life including Darwinian Evolution, Creation Science or Intelligent Design, and that each should be given equal weight in presentation.

What I don’t know is if this is typical of other Republican platforms in other states, or how frequently each candidate uses these points in their own campaign. I’ve still not heard back either from Nussle or Culver regarding Intelligent Design, either…

Iowa Lieutenant Governor candidate supports intelligent design

Vander Plaats supports teaching intelligent design

“If we are going to teach evolution, there is another viewpoint and one that holds pretty good too (evolution) in regards to creation,” Vander Plaats said. “I think that is something that I would want to visit further along with Jim Nussle in regards to ‘Where are you at on that?’ But my viewpoint is I would like to give both of these (time in the classroom).”

For those of you unfamiliar wth Iowa politics, Jim Nussle is the Republican candidate for governor, opposed by Democrat Chet Culver. Bob Vander Plaats, as noted, is Nussle’s running mate.

More after the jump…
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Friday Kooky Komment

My poor, neglected blog. These last few weeks have been killer workwise; I still have another post in the wings in pandemic influenza that might have to wait until next week (unofficially extending pandemic flu awareness week), and I have another one I’m working on regarding some recent Iowa events, but in the meantime, I can’t let this go un-commented upon. I asked resident germ theory denier jspreen this question:

…if germs don’t cause disease, what’s the function of our immune system? Why is it evolutionarily conserved?

His response:

The immune system is just a theoretical representation but warmongering germs have no biological reality. The sole function of the immune system is to keep the germ theory of diseases from falling apart.

Don’t even need to comment on that one, I don’t think.

Pandemic influenza awareness week: It’s that time again

Flu shots are rolling out, and there should be no shortage this year. A few new articles remind the public of the importance of these vaccinations, especially in high-risk groups (something that I touched on here regarding data showing that vaccination during pregnancy can help protect the newborn).

You can find the guidelines for target vaccination groups here. Essentially, it includes anyone immunocompromised or with conditions that make them increasingly susceptible to serious complications of influenza; those 50 years of age and older; and children from 6 months to five years old. However, few people are aware of these recommendations, and there remains residual misunderstanding of the influenza vaccine itself. More after the jump.
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Second death in E. coli O157 outbreak

Toddler’s death blamed on E. coli, officials say


As federal agents launched a criminal investigation into two produce companies involved in the contaminated spinach outbreak, Idaho health officials confirmed the death of a 2-year-old boy Sept. 20 was caused by tainted spinach.

Kyle Allgood was the second confirmed death in the E. coli outbreak, which also killed a Wisconsin woman.

The boy, who would have turned 3 in December, died in Salt Lake City after developing a type of kidney failure caused by E. coli. Health officials had to wait for the results of genetic testing on the bacteria to determine whether his illness was from fresh spinach.

The puzzling migratory monarch–and using it to teach science

I’ve mentioned frequently how my kids are fascinated with bugs and things creepy-crawly, whether it’s spiders, giant moths, or butterflies. On that topic, via Bitch PhD comes this article from yesterday’s New York Times on monarchs, their endangered habitat, and what just about anyone can do to help out.

(More after the jump…)
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People out there never cease to amaze me

Regular readers out there will already be familiar with the groups of people who deny evolutionary theory, who deny that HIV causes AIDS, even those who deny that germs cause disease, period. Wilhelm Godshalk is even on the record for denying gravity. I don’t know what it is about this site, and science blogs in general, that bring people out of the woodwork in this manner, but we have another live one. Witness Charles Hoy’s assertion that fear, not smoking, causes lung cancer.

What evidence do you want? Lung cancer is as common in smokers as it is in non-smokers. Where it all gets tricky is when you have to draw the frontier between smokers and non-smokers. A person who has been smoking from his 15th until his 30th birthday and who gets lung cancer at an age of 60, is he in the smoker’s or in the non-smoker’s stats? Already there are not so many people who never smoked a cigarette in their lives and, of course, today the last barriers to easy statistics are leveled. Secondary smoke! What an amazing trick of the apologist geniuses. Nobody in the whole wide world is save from secondary smoke and today ALL lung cancer can be traced back to cigarettes.

But we should consider things differently. For example, everybody diagnosed with a severe disease like cancer or AIDS will end up having lung cancer. Look it up: Cancer metastasis in the lungs is the most common of secondary cancers. Which is very logical: People who are severely ill are very afraid and the cause of lung cancer is fear. Or, to be more precise, a biological conflict of “fear of death” is the cause if the lung alveoli are concerned.

Someone better alert the tobacco companies–I assume they’ll want their settlement money back.

[Edited to add that apparently Hoy also denies the germ theory of disease, like our previous pal jspreen. To ease my mind, I’m going to believe he’s just putting me on. Again, don’t shatter my illusions…]