More pesky high school students

JISHOU, HUNAN — And I’m not talking about Archie and Jughead, or even Beavis and Butthead. Amy Myers the Bachmann Slayer (and Scourge of the Right Wing) is not the only high school student making national news. Damon Fowler and Zack Kopplin, both of Louisiana, have made some national waves recently, too. Fowler is a 2011 graduate of Bastrop High School in Bastrop, La. Earlier this term, he learned that there would be a school-sanctioned official prayer at his graduation ceremony. He objected, and asked that the prayer be scotched. (FYI, the Supreme Court has held that public school-sponsored prayers are verboten under the First Amendment, which Fowler knows but the school apparently didn’t.) The ACLU followed up with a letter advising the school of the legal requirements and ramifications. School officials agreed to forgo the prayer. As if. In the meantime, the community got wind of Fowler’s objections and the shit hit the fan. Fowler got threats of violence and death. His fellow students turned on him. One of his teachers publicly berated him. His parents kicked him out of the house, and put his possessions (except his PS3) out on the porch. The graduation went on without him, ...

The Devil in Dover: Righteousness defined 1

On the recommendations of other science bloggers, I ordered the book, The Devil in Dover: An Insider’s Story of Dogma v. Darwin in Small-Town America, by Lauri Lebo. It arrived Tuesday, and wantonly setting aside more pressing tasks, I put some jazz on and starting reading the book. Since I already had some familiarity with the court case it narrates, the 224 pages went by quickly, and I finished it in an afternoon. [Yes, I do read fast. It’s how I survived four years at Princeton.] For a readable account of the Kitzmiller v. Dover case of 2005, I can recommend none better. Only the PBS Nova episode on the same case matches it for clarity and, yes, drama. Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al., was a watershed lawsuit involving the teaching of intelligent design in the ninth grade biology classes of the Dover, Penn., Area School District. A conservative, religiously biased school board sought to weaken the teaching of evolution in the schools by requiring teachers (all of whom refused, as it turned out) to read a four-paragraph cautionary statement about the theory of evolution, specifically mentioning Intelligent Design as another explanation for the ...
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