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A recent survey among Eastern Orthodox laity in the United States provides interesting data on their attitudes toward creationism and evolution. According to the report (PDF), published as Alexei D. Krindatch, The Orthodox Church Today (Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute, 2008), the survey was conducted from September 2007 to May 2008. Information was gathered by a mail survey of a nationally representative sample of lay members of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America (GOA) and the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), the two largest Orthodox denominations in the United States. There were nearly 1000 respondents from 103 parishes.
Writing in the Houston Chronicle (October 22, 2008), the chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Alan I. Leshner, deplores the recent appointment of three antievolutionists to a committee charged with reviewing a draft of Texas's state science standards. "The new standards will shape how science education is taught in Texas for the next decade, and it would be a terrible mistake to water down the teaching of evolution in any way," he writes, adding, "At a time when most educators are working to prepare students for 21st century jobs, the board members' action threatens to confuse students, divide communities and tarnish Texas' reputation as an international science and technology center."
"The State Board of Education's decisions in the coming months will affect both the college preparation and future job qualifications of our children. Our students deserve a sound education that includes the latest findings of scientific research and excludes ideas that have failed to stand up to scientific scrutiny." That was the message of the 21st Century Science Coalition's advisory committee -- Daniel I. Bolnick, R. E. Duhrkopf, David M. Hillis, Ben Pierce, and Sahotra Sarkar -- delivered in twin op-eds recently published in two Texas newspapers, the Waco Tribune (October 19, 2008), and the Austin American-Statesman (October 21, 2008).
Randy Moore is the winner of the 2008 Evolution Education Award from the National Association of Biology Teachers, according to a press release issued on October 14, 2008, by the American Institute of Biological Sciences. The award, sponsored by AIBS and the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, recognizes innovative classroom teaching and community education efforts to promote the accurate understanding of biological evolution.
A new coalition of Texas scientists voiced its opposition to attempts to dilute the treatment of evolution in Texas's state science standards, which are presently undergoing revision. At a news conference in Austin on September 30, 2008, representatives of the 21st Century Science Coalition challenged the idea that students should be told that there are "weaknesses" in evolution.
The Clergy Letter Project's "Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science From American Rabbis" was the topic of a story in the Chicago Tribune (September 19, 2008), beginning, "For Rabbi Gary Gerson of the Oak Park Temple B'nai Abraham Zion, evolution does not oppose religious belief but strengthens it
Anticipating the bicentennial of Darwin's birth and the sesquicentennial of the publication of On the Origin of Species, the Church of England unveiled a new section of its website entitled "On the origin of Darwin," discussing Darwin's relationship to the church, the development of his own views on faith, and a brief historical sketch, bibliography, and listing of celebrations of the Darwin anniversaries.
The director of education for the Royal Society of London, Michael Reiss, resigned from his position on September 16, 2008, in the wake of a controversy occasioned by his recent remarks on creationism.
The Alliance for Science -- a non-profit organization which seeks "to heighten public understanding and support for science and to preserve the distinctions between science and religion in the public sphere" -- is holding its third annual essay contest. The theme is "In Darwin's Footsteps," and students are encouraged "to identify and write about a single scientist, a group of scientists, or a scientific organization that best exemplifies the character and quality of work that sustained Darwin throughout his career."