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First Annual UpChucky Awards Announced!

Which creationist was the most nauseating?

When it comes to dissing evolution (and science in general) there's no lack of volunteers. How to decide which among them is the worst?

Enter the intelligently designed UpChucky Award, which recognizes supreme achievement in the field of persistently rejecting evolution in the most stomach-turning way imaginable. This crown of cluelessness, this diadem of density, this badge of bullpucky isn't awarded to just any Darwin doubter. The UpChucky is bestowed on that one creationist whose efforts in the preceding year would inspire Darwin (or any rational person) to "drive the porcelain bus".

The nominees:

Don McLeroy, former chair, Texas Board of Education

Don is a dentist and when he's not drillin', he's fillin' the Texas Board with an amalgam of misinformation and misunderstanding about evolution. His numbing effect on the board is accompanied by a high-pitched whine—the sound of Don drilling holes in Texas state science standards. (Thankfully, Texas voters just booted McLeroy off the board.)

Notable Don quote: "Somebody's got to stand up to experts!"

Ray Comfort, Living Waters

Los Angeles-based evangelist Ray Comfort was best known for an unintentionally comic video with former child star Kirk Cameron about the divine design of the banana. Then Ray had a revelation: Darwin's Origin was in the public domain! Why not distribute the work—with a "special" introduction blaming Darwin for Hitler—to college students nationwide? Why not indeed? But the tainted tome was roasted by critics and Comfort accused of plagiarism.

Notable Ray quote: "Behold the atheist's nightmare! Now, if you study a well-made banana, you'll find..."

Casey Luskin, Discovery Institute

Casey Luskin, according to his masters at the Discovery Institute, helps "educators and policymakers nationwide to teaching (sic) evolution accurately." (We presume some words are missing—perhaps "establish barriers"?) This is a task to which he brings a logorrheic zeal, penning nearly 700 blog posts and press releases in the last five years.

Notable Casey quote: When asked if intelligent design—as mentioned in a proposed Florida law—constituted "scientific information", Luskin dithered, saying, "In my personal opinion, I think it does. But the intent of this bill is not to settle that question. The intent of this bill is...it protects the 'teaching of scientific information.'"

Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera isn't a source of quality science journalism on its best day, but its coverage of the scientific papers about "Ardi" (Ardipithecus ramidusI) really cranked up the reality distortion field. The headline: "Ardi Refutes Darwin's Theory".

Notable quote: "[American scientists]...announced yesterday that Ardi’s discovery proves that humans did not evolve from ancestors that resemble chimpanzees, which refutes the longstanding assumption that humans evolved from monkeys.”

And the winner is...Don McLeroy! (Chunderous applause.)

Said Steve Mirsky, who announced the coveted UpChucky award during a ceremony held in conjunction with the 2010 AAAS convention in San Diego:

"The amazing thing about Don is that he's a dentist who spends all his time—when he's not destroying academic standards in Texas—working with some of the primary evidence of human evolution. Teeth! Whole fossil lineages can be defined by their teeth! Don doesn't get that. He's clearly a worthy winner of the first annual UpChucky award."

Links:

Don McLeroy:

"McLeroy booted in Texas"

YouTube: "Somebody's got to stand up to experts!"

"Creationist board chair profiled"

Ray Comfort: Don't Diss Darwin

Casey Luskin:

"Getting the Mooney Treatment"

Casey Luskin: The scientists are wrong

Al Jazerra: "Islamic creationism in the news"

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CONTACT: Robert Luhn, Director of Communications, NCSE, 510-601-7203, luhn@ncse.com

Web site: www.ncse.com

The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is a not-for-profit, membership organization that defends and promotes the teaching of evolution in the public schools. The NCSE provides information and resources to schools, parents, and concerned citizens working to keep evolution in public school science education. We educate the press and public about the scientific, educational, and legal aspects of the creation and evolution controversy, and supply needed information and advice to defend good science education at local, state, and national levels. Our 4000 members are scientists, teachers, clergy, and citizens with diverse religious affiliations.