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William F. Buckley Jr., widely considered to be the father of the modern conservative movement, died on February 27, 2008, at the age of 82 in Stamford, Connecticut, according to The New York Times's obituary (February 27, 2008). Born in New York City in 1925, Buckley served in the Army from 1944 to 1946 before entering Yale University, from which he graduated in 1950.
The Florida state board of education's vote to adopt a new set of science standards on February 19, 2008, is continuing to attract comment, due largely to the board's decision to adopt, not the final draft of the standards as submitted by the writing committee, but a revised version in which the phrase "the scientific theory of" was inserted before mentions of plate tectonics, cell theory, atomic theory, electromagnetism, the Big Bang – and evolution.
The International Society for Science and Religion recently adopted a statement on the concept of "intelligent design," describing it as "neither sound science nor good theology." The statement continues, "Although the boundaries of science are open to change, allowing supernatural explanations to count as science undercuts the very purpose of science, which is to explain the workings of nature without recourse to religious language.
The Florida state board of education voted 4-3 at its February 19, 2008, meeting to adopt a new set of state science standards in which evolution is presented as a "fundamental concept underlying all of biology." The adopted standards differ from those developed by the writing committee in adding the phrase "the scientific theory of" before mentions of plate tectonics, cell theory, atomic theory, electromagnetism, and evolution. According to the standards, "a scientific theory represents the most powerful explanation scientists have to offer."
In a letter (PDF) to the Texas Commissioner of Education and the members of the Texas state board of education dated February 13, 2008, the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study expressed its opposition to actions in the state of Texas that "compromise the integrity of science and the quality of science education," citing in particular the forced resignation of Chris Comer from the Texas Education Agency and the Institute for
Anticipating the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth and the sesquicentennial of the publication of the Origin of Species, the Outreach and Education Committee of the British Society for the History of Science is conducting a prize competition for original designs illustrating the significance of these anniversaries. Entries may take the form of posters, illustrated essays, or screensavers.
As the Florida state board of education prepared to consider a final draft of a new set of state science standards, Floridians offered their opinions at a last-minute meeting held in Orlando on February 11, 2008. Over eighty speakers addressed the state commissioner of education, Eric Smith, and, via webcast, the board. A video of the entire meeting is available on the department's website.
In a recent statement, the Texas Academy of Sciences expressed its support for teaching evolution -- which it described as "the primary unifying cognitive framework in the biological sciences" -- and its opposition to including creationism (including "intelligent design") in the state's scientific curricula. The Academy's statement emphasized in particular the economic importance of science education, noting, "Modern industry requires a scientifically educated workforce.