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Saturday, September 24, 2005 

More evolution news from Iowa

The faculty from University of Northern Iowa are now getting into the game.

A bit of background: Iowa State University is the employer of one Guillermo Gonzalez, a fellow of The Discovery Institute, an intelligent design think tank. He's also the author of "The Privileged Planet," a book essentially claiming that God designed the earth for human life (see a review of it by ISU's Hector Avalos here). Worried that people might get the impression that ISU is an "intelligent design" university, Avalos and others drafted a petition denouncing ID, and circulated it among ISU faculty (see Panda's thumb threads for more information, here and here.)

Now, the University of Northern Iowa branch of Sigma Xi has invited Gonzalez to speak in order to "stimulate debate." This prompted the faculty at UNI to "join our colleagues from Iowa State University in rejecting all attempts to represent Intelligent Design as a scientific endeavor." (The original ISU petition and signatories can be viewed here.) Note that they gathered over 100 signatures from UNI faculty in just 24 hours' time. I plan to attend Gonzalez's UNI talk, so I'll write more after Wednesday. Those involved at UNI also expect some press on the situation this coming week. Additionally, the Iowa Academy of Science has put together a statement on teaching evolution, which I'm told will also be published (I assume, shortly) in the Des Moines Register.

Here at the University of Iowa, the U of Iowa freethinkers are planning a panel discussion on ID (I believe some time next month), and I expect we'll join the other Iowa universities and circulate a similar petition here. Stay tuned...lots going on here!


About me

  • I'm Tara C. Smith
  • From Iowa, United States
  • I'm a mom and a scientist, your basic stressed-out, wanna-have-it-all-and-do-it-all Gen Xer. Recently transplanted from Ohio to Iowa, I've spent most of my life in the midwest (with 4 years of college spent out east in "soda" territory). My main interest, and the subject of my research, is infectious disease: how does the microbe cause illness? What makes one strain nasty, and another "avirulent?" Are the latter really not causing any disease, or could some of those be possible for the development of chronic disease years down the road? Additionally, I've spent a lot of time discussing the value of teaching evolution, and educating others about "intelligent design" and other forms of creationism. My interest in history of science and medicine is also useful as a way to tie all of the above interests together. [Disclaimer: the views here are solely my own, and do not represent my employer, my spouse, that guy who's always sitting by the fountain when I come into work, or anyone else with whom I may be remotely affiliated.]
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