As most of you probably know, there's been a bit of discussion over the question of whether or not the pro-Intelligent Design textbook Of Pandas and People qualifies as a "challenged" or "banned" book as a result of the ruling in the Kitzmiller vs. Dover lawsuit. A few things have happened since my first two posts about the "banning." In this post, I'm going to summarize the recent events, and explain what I've learned about the ALA's views on this situation.
Archive for: September, 2006
...but go read what Coturnix has to say about the state of our country. He's feeling like he's seen this before, and I'm becoming more and more afraid that he's right.
While you're at it, go over to Thou Shalt Not Suck and read the Obituary for America.
This is a repost of something I wrote on my old blog back in April. With the general election rapidly approaching, it seems like a good one to put back out there.
The election season is starting to heat up. Scandals rock DC on what seems like a daily basis. The public is split, at least according to the polls, on many major issues. We are heading toward a political (and probably historical) crossroad. Now is the time for people to stand up for what they believe, and to help move the country in the right direction.
But where do I stand? Sometimes I have a hard time figuring that out.
I think of myself as a moderate, but whenever I take one of those online political spectrum tests, it tells me that I am a liberal. One of them even called me a socialist. I just don't get it. Why aren't my views middle of the road?
It's 4:20. Do you know what's happening in your National Parks?
If you listened to Morning Edition yesterday, you know exactly what I'm about to talk about: the environmental damage that pot farms have been causing in our national parks.
Over at Uncommon Descent, DaveScot says something stupid about atheism and science. (In other news, Dog Bites Man, Pope Still Catholic, Bear Arrested for Indecent Exposure in National Forest, and Ocean Wet and Salty.)
At the end of a passage in his new book (The God Delusion) that discusses the relative frequency of "avowed atheists" in the National Academy of Sciences (~93%) and the United States Congress (~0%), Dawkins wrote, "What is going on here? I think we all know." DaveScot responded with this:
Yeah, I think we all DO know, Richard. The National Academy membership is a self-elected body where your chances of becoming a member if you're not an avowed atheist is akin to passing a camel through the eye of a needle. The National Academy is a self-elected body out-of-touch with mainstream America. Congress, on the other hand, is neither self-elected nor (arguably) out-of-touch.
I got a little frustrated while grading quizzes yesterday, and wrote a post about my frustrations. I asked for feedback, and boy did I get some. Some of the comments were more or less supportive of my approach. Others were not.
After reading the comments about my teaching approach and taking some time to think about the situation, I've reached the conclusion that the folks who wrote comments and blog posts that thoroughly trashed my approach are probably right. I've got to go teach the first of my sections in a little while, so it's time to see what I can do to fix the problem. I know what I'm going to try. There's not much time for pre-class feedback on this approach, but I'm still interested in getting feedback - there's still a lot of the semester left, and I'm trying to screw up as little as possible.
Monday, I posted an entry here that discussed, in part, a Discovery Institute blog article claiming that the Dover ruling qualifies the cdesign proponentsists textbook Of Pandas and People as a "banned book." As I explained at the time, the claim is complete and total nonsense, so I suppose I really should have guessed that the anti-evolution movement would get behind it in a hell of a hurry.
That appears to be just what's happening. The latest twists involve the Uncommon Descent blog and the Wikipedia entry for banned books.
I just learned, via Mike the Mad Biologist, that the Newsweek cover for the United States this week is just a little different than the covers for the international editions. (Click the link, and look at the sidebar.) That's right, folks. Right now, with just over a month to go before a mid-term election where terrorism and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan look to be major issues with the voters, Newsweek has a terrorism issue front and center everywhere but in the US. Here, an article about a photographer gets the cover slot. I'll never be able to prove it, but I bet I know why.
This semester, I'm teaching Zoology 101 labs (Intro to Zoology for nonmajors). I'm enjoying my self a lot, and it's a class I've wanted to teach for a while. Right now, though, I'm grading quizzes and not enjoying life too much. Most of the scores absolutely suck, and I'm trying to figure out how much of that is the result of me setting the bar too high, how much is the result of me sucking at teaching, and how much is entirely due to other factors.
If you haven't already, go over to Pharyngula and watch the Assylum Street Spankers performing their new single, Stick a Yellow Magnet on Your SUV.