‘We could tell you how to save your life, but it’s secret, and we can’t tell you.’

March 12, 2007

Communications students at Brigham Young University (BYU) were assigned to test the public disclosure laws as practiced by Utah’s 29 county governments. They decided to use as their test, county emergency evacuation plans, critically important in the wake of terrorist attacks on the U.S. in the past 15 years, and especially critical after the disasters in evacuation failures during Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.

The Deseret Morning News reports:

Many Utah counties contacted by the BYU students outright refused public access to any information about their plans, while a good number of them said the plan was being revised and not available because it had not been officially adopted.

[Joel] Campbell [assistant professor in the department of communications,] said there were a few counties that at least tried to balance the public’s interest with security concerns by providing some information.

“In today’s world of threats of violence and terrorism, a county official charged with law enforcement responsibilities, as some who were contacted, could and probably should be suspicious about releasing such information,” said Brent Gardner, executive director for the Utah Association of Counties.

One might think that emergency evacuation plans would be spread as far and wide as possible, so that citizens could have at their fingertips the information they need to save their lives.

Not in Utah. Read the rest of this entry »


Textbook wars: APA resolution against intelligent design as science

March 12, 2007

Psychology rests out on the end of the science spectrum, closer to “social sciences” than other branches of hard, research science, and sometimes affiliated with the pseudo-scientific, even while debunking false claims, such as the studies of parapsychology. Were there scientific merit in claims of evidence for supernatural design, psychology would be a natural home for most of the claims and much of the research. If any branch of science were to endorse intelligent design as science, psychology would be a likely first branch.

But not even psychology accepts intelligent design as science.

The American Psychology Association’s (APA) Council of Representatives adopted a resolution earlier this month which says intelligent design is not science, and that teaching it as science undermines the quality of science education and science literacy. The entire press release, and the resolution are below the fold.

This should be a serious blow to advocates of intelligent design who had hoped to make some recovery after the devastating loss in federal court in Pennsylvania in 2005, in the next round of textbook approvals in large states like California, Florida and Texas. There is no comment yet from the Discovery Institute, the leading organization in the assault on teaching evolution in public schools.

Read the rest of this entry »


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