The Discovery Institute’s a-comin’ to Iowa

Like the gift that never stops giving, the Discovery Institute is taking its dog and pony show on the road, and heading right here to Iowa in order to plead (via press conference) Discovery Institute fellow Guillermo Gonzalez‘s case for tenure. You may recall the Iowa State assistant professor of astronomy was denied tenure there this past May, and he and the DI have contended that this was due to his support for intelligent design, rather than any other issues with his performance or scholarship.

Not content to simply leave it at that, Gonzalez has appealed his tenure denial, and is continuing to do so all the way to the Board of Regents, which will visit the issue in February. However, as PZ and Wes highlight, the DI is kick-starting their “Gonzalez as martyr” case a bit early. More after the jump…
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Where’s the Discovery Institute when you need a defender of academic freedom?

So, after all the kvetching the Discovery Institute did over the Guillermo Gonzalez tenure denial case, why aren’t they rushing to the defense of one Steve Bitterman, a community college professor at Southwest Community College here in Iowa. The case is still developing, but what is known is that Bitterman was fired last week–apparently for teaching that Genesis isn’t literal:
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Religion and Science symposium: Iowa, 2007

A looong time ago, I mentioned that I spent St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, at a symposium I helped to plan (but neglected to blog! Oops). Along with other scientists, theologians, philosophers, and generally interested persons, we worked for a bit over a year to put this symposium together. Why?

The principal aim of the conference is to clarify the causes of the conflict between science educators and those who wish to have Intelligent Design taught in public schools. We do not claim to be neutral on this issue. We are convinced that ID is not good science and should not be presented as such. Our position is consonant with that of the National Center for Science Education and the Iowa Academy of Science. We believe that the polarization of opinion on this issue has created misunderstanding and confusion and that a clarification of terminology and concepts is essential for productive dialogue and decision making.

How did it turn out? Find out more below…

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Be a scientific consultant for the Clergy Letter Project!

By now, regular readers will probably be familiar with The Clergy Letter Project spearheaded by Michael Zimmerman. Formulated in part to respond to the framing of the evolution controversy as a battle between science and religion, the letter now boasts more than 10,700 signatures from clergy, and have sponsored Evolution Sunday events for the past 2 years.

Well, Zimmerman has a new project now:

Our latest initiative is to create a list of scientists around the world who are willing to answer scientific questions posed by clergy who are supportive of modern science in general and evolution in particular ( In just a bit over three weeks, we already have over 200 scientists signed up to help out. I hasten to add that the information these scientists will be providing will be solely of a scientific nature and thus their personal religious inclinations are absolutely irrelevant.

In addition to creating a useful resource for clergy, I am hoping for the list to make a major political statement: religious leaders and scientists can work together – despite what religious fundamentalists claim. I also would very much like to have more names on this list than the number of scientists the Discovery Institute has on a list it trumpets of scientists claiming to “question” evolution.

If you’re interested, drop an email to Michael ( and include your name, title, address, area(s) of expertise, and email address–and spread the word!

While I’m out…

Traveling yet again today (things finally calm down in September, I think). In the meantime, here are a few posts from elsewhere I’ve been meaning to highlight:

Some more background for those of you who may not be up to speed on HIV/AIDS: AJ Cann explains what we know (and don’t know) about how HIV causes AIDS.

Speaking of HIV, ERV has 4 years to come up with an HIV vaccine, and another bad story about science in the media.

David asks if biologists have physics envy. I think I just have other-fields-of-biology envy, and want to do it all.

PZ has a very nice posts explaining the folly of debating creationists, along with alternatives to debate that will still allow scientists to get their message out.

And finally, Revere has the latest news on the Tripoli Six.

Why deny only one part of science? IDists branch out into AIDS denial

Over at Uncommon Descent, the blog of William Dembski and friends, a contributor has a post up discussing Peter Duesberg’s aneuploidy hypothesis for cancer (which Orac discussed here for more background). The post itself is a bit confusing–it’s titled “When Darwinism Hurts,” and according to the author’s clarification, it’s about “Darwinism” leading us down the wrong path as far as cancer research goes. (Though whether cancer would be due to mutations in specific genes or in chromosomes, it’s still an evolutionary process, but I digress…) To me, anyway, the more interesting portion was in the comments section, where both DaveScot and Sal Cordova imply also that HIV might not cause AIDS; more after the jump.
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Answers in Genesis doth protest too much

AiG volunteers confront gay man, love sodomites:

We asked the lone gentleman behind the booth about the origins of the rainbow colors as a symbol for the homosexual movement. He gave us some history, apparently in San Francisco is where it originated. It was meant to reflect the diversity of lifestyles. This was an easy springboard to a discussion of the origins of the actual rainbow. We talked about Noah’s flood and God’s promise to Noah (and by implication all people down through the times, including sodomites, whom we love) that He would never destroy the world again through a global flood.

Read all about their adventures at the National Education Association meeting on their “Evolution Exposed” blog.

Creation museum—more posts from the gang

I mentioned that a whole group of us went to the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Professor Steve Steve has his account now up at the Thumb, while Jason Rosenhouse has a two-parter at EvolutionBlog, and Wes Elsberry’s account is here. Oh, and a group picture:

Rear, L to R: Evil Monkey, Richard Hoppe (“RBH”), Wes Elsberry, Andrea “I’m Italian, not female!” Bottaro, Jason Rosenhouse, and Art Hunt. Front row: RBH’s wife (whose name I didn’t catch, sorry!); journalist Lauri Lebo; me; Professor Steve Steve, and Art’s daughter (and Steve Steve’s kind tour guide), Amy Hunt.

Field trip to the Creation Museum

I mentioned I was back in Ohio last week. The occasion was the celebration of my grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary, but while I was in the area, a number of us from Panda’s Thumb also met up south of Cincinnati to take our own tour of Answers in Genesis’ Creation Museum. (Wesley has a picture of the group here; I’ll also try to scan in another “official” picture tomorrow).

My brain still hurts. My thoughts on everything below (with photos, of course):
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