Public health group calls for standardized data collection to more clearly track Covid-19

first_img Senior Writer, Infectious Disease Helen covers issues broadly related to infectious diseases, including outbreaks, preparedness, research, and vaccine development. “People are just drowning in case counts and testing numbers, and they’re not seeing what’s really important,” Frieden told STAT in an interview in which he explained the thinking behind the plan. Tom Frieden, president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, which issued the report. Alex Wong/Getty Images Leave this field empty if you’re human: But Frieden said the public has the right to know these key facts, many of which need to be broken down by age, sex, race, and ethnicity.“If — and I admit it’s an if — if we can get states to report this, then we’re going to be in much better shape. And in the absence of strong national leadership, at least being on the same page is … something that can help us get our response to a much better shape,” he said.“What gets measured can get managed. And what gets measured and reported publicly, can absolutely get better,” he said. “Right now, we’re not managing this response well at all.’’Asked why an NGO, not the CDC — which he led through the 2009 flu pandemic —  is trying to rally states to collect standardized, useful data, Frieden sighed.“We are where we are.” By Helen Branswell July 21, 2020 Reprints Related: Actual Covid-19 case count could be 6 to 24 times higher than official estimates, CDC study shows In a new review of the Covid-19 response across the country, a group of public health experts conclude that critical data the public needs to assess their risks and tailor their behaviors is often unavailable.The assessment, released Tuesday by the nongovernmental organization Resolve to Save Lives, calls on states and communities to start recording and sharing standardized data on 15 key metrics, so that people — and health departments — can get a clearer picture of how the response to the pandemic is working in their area.Tom Frieden, president and CEO of Resolve, which is an initiative of the global health organization Vital Strategies, said there is currently both a glut of data and a scarcity of information — a situation that needs to change if the country has any hope of gaining ground against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.advertisement Please enter a valid email address. Privacy Policycenter_img About the Author Reprints Helen Branswell @HelenBranswell More important than the sheer number of Covid-19 tests administered is the number of tests processed within 48 hours, said Frieden, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many test results — he estimated maybe as many as three-quarters of tests conducted — are processed days after the swabs were taken. That tells the tested person whether they were infected at the time of testing, but can’t be used as an indicator of their current Covid infection status.advertisement HealthPublic health group calls for standardized data collection to more clearly track Covid-19 Newsletters Sign up for Daily Recap A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day. Other metrics that should be commonly collected and reported, the group said, include daily Covid-19 hospitalization rates per capita in each community and state; the percentage of licensed hospital beds occupied by confirmed or suspected Covid patients; the percentage of new cases among quarantined people; and the percentage of new cases with a known epidemiological link to previously confirmed cases.Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy, said the type of standardized data collection and reporting that Resolve is proposing is a key tool for combatting the spread of the virus.“I don’t know how you can judge where you’re at if you don’t have this kind of information,” he said. “I think the information’s not just timely for what’s happening today but it allows you then to plan for what you must do to bring those numbers down tomorrow.’’Frieden acknowledged some state officials may have at least some of the information, but it isn’t being posted because they are afraid to share it for fear of being blamed for the sorry state of the pandemic response. “A lot of these indicators, if we reported them, would be bad,” he said. Tags Coronaviruspublic healthlast_img read more

GAA instructs Laois clubs to stop using WhatsApp as a method of communication

first_imgHome News GAA instructs Laois clubs to stop using WhatsApp as a method of… News GAA instructs Laois clubs to stop using WhatsApp as a method of communication Twitter News GAA Electric Picnic WhatsApp Pinterest The use of WhatsApp to communicate within clubs is prohibited by the GAA, it has been revealed.In a document distributed to clubs in Laois recently, the problem with using the app to communicate messages to teams appears to relate to apparent breaches of GDPR.This is outlined in the GAA Social Media Guidelines.Page 20 of the document outlines why WhatsApp is not approved by GAA for any official correspondence for GAA purposes.It states: “From a GDPR perspective WhatsApp is not compliant when used for official communications“This is due to a number of reasons. Firstly, if a Whatsapp group is set up (U-12 hurling for example) every parent in that group has their phone number and possibly profile photograph if they have one, shared with every other parent in the group without giving their consent for their personal data to be shared in this manner.“Also, the lack of auditing ability the Club/County has over a Whatsapp group is an issue.“This is an issue for a number of reasons outside of GDPR and data protection also. For instance, if a parent in a Whatsapp group were to post unsuitable material to the Whatsapp group, and then leave the group, the administrators of the group cannot remove such material.“The lack of auditing ability also makes it difficult to comply with a Subject Access Request or request for deletion if one were received.“Along with the above, there is an issue presently with Whatsapp as to the location of the storage of information within it.“If personal data is transferred outside the EEA, the entity transferring it (the Club/County) will have to ensure additional safeguards are in place which is not possible when using Whatsapp.“Therefore due to these reasons, the use of Whatsapp in an official capacity is not advisable.”A GAA spokesperson said: “Any contact, be it with parents of under 18’s or adults within the GAA community is to be completed by a club/county/committee in an official manner and the use of WhatsApp should therefore be terminated.“All clubs and officials within Laois GAA should be made aware of this issue.”Speaking at last night’s County Board meeting, Children’s Officer Seamus Lahart had a simple message for clubs.He said: “I can’t stress it enough – you have to scrap WhatsApp.”Mr Lahart also revealed that the GAA were in the process of bringing out an App that could be used for communications which should be operational in late February.But for now, clubs are being instructed to revert back to text messaged.SEE ALSO – Blow for Laois hurlers as experienced defender opts out of panel Laois Councillor ‘amazed’ at Electric Picnic decision to apply for later date for 2021 festival Pinterest Facebook Bizarre situation as Ben Brennan breaks up Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael arrangement to take Graiguecullen-Portarlington vice-chair role By Megan Shiel – 28th January 2020 RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Twitter Facebook TAGSGAALaois GAAWhatsApp 2020 U-15 ‘B’ glory for Ballyroan-Abbey following six point win over Killeshin WhatsApp Previous articleLaois manager Quirke gives verdict on new football rulesNext articleElection Diary: Rural Ireland, Portlaoise Hospital and INTO forum Megan ShielMegan is currently studying English and New Media at the University of Limerick. A Raheen native, she’s happiest when talking sport, especially soccer but just don’t mention the 2019 champions league final last_img read more

Police seek pair after $7M investment scam

first_img California fraudsman gets 10 years for $147M global investment scam Hedge fund founders face OSC charges James Langton Police are seeking public assistance in tracking down a couple of fugitives facing fraud charges in connection with an alleged multi-million dollar investment scam. The RCMP’s GTA Financial Crime Unit announced that it is looking for two former Toronto residents, Jeffrey Pogachar, 44, and Paola Lombardi, 39, who are believed to have fled to Central America and the Bahamas, respectively. Warrants have been issued for their arrest, and they are actively being sought by the RCMP and Interpol. Keywords Fraud Share this article and your comments with peers on social mediacenter_img Related news The pair are facing fraud, theft and money laundering charges amid allegations that over $7 million was fraudulently misappropriated in an alleged life settlement scam involving the New Life Capital Corp. The allegations have not been proven. Police say that New Life, which operated in the U.S. life settlement industry, raised approximately $22 million from over 600 investors, largely in Canada. But that more than $7 million of investors’ funds were diverted to accounts they controlled in the Bahamas, rather than being invested in life policies as promised. “It is alleged that Pogachar and Lombardi created various Canadian and Bahamian shell companies, all unrelated to New Life, in order to misappropriate and launder the $7 million through an international network of businesses and financial institutions,” it says. Back in 2012, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) ordered $22.5 million in disgorgement, penalties, and costs against Pogachar, Lombardi, New Life, and various other companies after a hearing found that they violated securities laws, traded without registration, and perpetrated a fraud. They were also permanently banned by the commission. According to the OSC’s delinquency list, those sanctions remain unpaid. Fraud in Canada continues to climb: StatsCan Facebook LinkedIn Twitterlast_img read more

Whole life vs universal life: Weighing the options

first_img Share this article and your comments with peers on social media The world of permanent life insurance can be intimidating territory for clients, and so advisors have a key role to play in helping them determine the type of coverage that’s best for them. Universal life (UL) and whole life (WL) each have their advantages and drawbacks, according to Trevor Parry, president of TRP Strategic Consulting and a partner at Parry McCone, a Toronto-based planning and strategy firm. Identifying the product best suited to a particular client, he says, requires an assessment of the client’s individual needs and goals. Megan Harman “Consider why the client is doing this,” Parry says. In the past few years, sales of WL have outpaced UL considerably. Between 2011 and 2014, new premiums on WL policies in Canada grew to $611 million from $361 million, whereas new premiums on UL policies fell to $406 million from $669 million during the same period, according to figures from Investor Economics’ Insurance Advisory Service. The trend has been driven largely by sustained low interest rates, which have driven up premiums on UL policies to a greater extent than WL. “UL is certainly more interest-rate sensitive,” says Parry. “We’ve seen the effect on premiums there.” Elevated market volatility has also played a role in driving investors towards the relative safety of WL. Whereas clients with UL must choose the investments they’d like to hold in the cash component of their policy, and assume any risk associated with those investments, clients with WL have the cash component of the policy invested in portfolio that is conservatively managed by the insurance company. “If clients take a strong equity position in the investment component of [a UL] policy, there is risk,” Parry says. Although UL has been hit harder by the low interest rates and market volatility, however, WL hasn’t been entirely sheltered either. The dividends that policyholders earn on participating (par) WL, in particular, have declined considerably. “[WL] is not immune,” Parry says. “Returns are down because the dividend scale is down.” Relative to other types of investments, however, the returns on WL policies tend to be much more stable over time. “If you look at most WL policies in comparison with the volatility in the market, I think a lot of clients are very happy,” Parry says. For risk-averse clients who like the idea of this kind of stability within their investments, WL is likely the best option. Clients who are comfortable taking on more risk, on the other hand, might prefer UL. In addition to risk tolerance, it’s important to consider the extent to which clients want to be involved in the investment process, says Helena Smeenk Pritchard, who provides life insurance sales coaching and training with Helena Smeenk Pritchard & Associates in London, Ont. UL tends to have appeal among clients who want a hands-on approach to their investments, and can choose their own investments. In contrast, clients with WL can take a hands-off approach. Ask clients how much time they’re prepared to spend monitoring the investments inside the policy to determine whether or not UL would be an appropriate option for them, Smeenk Pritchard suggests. “If you’re comfortable letting the professional money managers at the insurance company handle it for you,” she says, “whole life gives you peace of mind to be able to put it in a drawer and forget about it.” Cost is another factor to consider. Although low interest rates have forced carriers to raise the premiums on UL to a greater extent than WL, WL still remains the costlier option for clients. Consider what clients can realistically afford to spend on premiums long-term when helping them choose an appropriate type of coverage, says Smeenk Pritchard. “I don’t believe an advisor does any client any favours by selling a policy with a premium that the client is not going to be able to afford in the long run,” she says. This is the third article in a three-part series on permanent life insurance. The changing face of permanent life insurance Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Related news Keywords Permanent life insurance Making the case for permanent life insurancelast_img read more

Fraudster sentenced to 27 months in prison

first_img Retail trading surge on regulators’ radar, Vingoe says Related news Roberto Castano of Surrey, B.C., was also ordered to pay approximately $1.5 million in restitution to seven investors by the B.C. Supreme Court, the BCSC says in a statement. On Feb. 18, Catastano pled guilty to one count of fraud over $5,000 The BCSC launched an investigation into Castano in September 2009, following a tip from a financial institution. That investigation found that Castano was operating a Ponzi scheme. “He issued promissory notes, told investors their money would be used to trade in the stock market, and promised returns of 5% per month,” the BCSC says in a statment. However, its investigation found that, “Castano did not use all of the investors’ money for its intended purpose; instead, he used some funds to pay interest and principal repayments to investors and used other funds for personal expenses.” In the wake of the BCSC’s investigation, the Crown brought charges against Castano in 2012. Photo copyright: belchonock/123RF Facebook LinkedIn Twitter James Langton Share this article and your comments with peers on social media DoJ launches task force to tackle Covid-19 fraud Keywords FraudCompanies British Columbia Securities Commission Court rules in favour of labour-sponsored venture fund against fund manager Imposters among us, CSA warns The operator of an alleged Ponzi scheme in British Columbia has been sentenced to 27 months in jail, the B.C. Securities Commission (BCSC) announced on Thursday. last_img read more

Banks team with SecureKey to fund digital identity network

first_img Related news Keywords Privacy James Langton Canada’s big five banks and the Desjardins Group are teaming up to fund the development of a beefed up digital identity network that aims to launch in 2017. Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Remove personal identifiers from banking data given to StatsCan: Senate committeecenter_img Senate committee to probe StatsCan’s request for banking data StatsCan’s plan to harvest private banking info on hold, pending investigation The major financial institutions are all participating in an effort to rollout a “privacy-enhancing digital identity network” next year by SecureKey Technologies Inc. The Toronto-based firm announced on Tuesday that it has raised $27 million in capital to finance the initiative, with the big banks participating in the financing. SecureKey’s existing service is used by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to enable taxpayers to log into their CRA account through their existing online banking identity. The new service “will make it easier for consumers to manage their digital assets and to take control of their digital identity in a privacy enhanced and secure way,” SecureKey says in a news release. Greg Wolfond, SecureKey’s founder and chairman, is returning as its CEO. “We want to help put the consumer back in the middle and let them take control of their digital assets, to share what they want, with whom they want, and always with informed consent,” Wolfond says. “Innovation is all about adding value and creating opportunity for clients, and we are pleased to be working with SecureKey to make it easier for clients to do business online with the confidence that their security and privacy are protected,” adds Todd Roberts, SVP, innovation, at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. “As our clients increasingly embrace digital channels, we are committed to partnerships that enhance the digital ecosystem.” Photo copyright: Bloomberg Facebook LinkedIn Twitterlast_img read more

Newsom proposes $600 payment for low-income Californians

first_imgHomeNewsNewsom proposes $600 payment for low-income Californians Jan. 07, 2021 at 5:00 amNewsNewsom proposes $600 payment for low-income CaliforniansGuest Author5 months agoNewsomNewsom. Photo courtesy Wikipedia. Millions of low-income Californians would get a $600 payment from the state under a budget proposal by Gov. Gavin Newsom.The proposed payment, announced Wednesday, would go to people with annual incomes of less than $30,000, including immigrants living in the country illegally who file taxes with the state. Roughly 4 million people would be eligible for the payment, for a total state cost of $2.4 billion. Newsom is also asking the Legislature to extend a moratorium on evictions.Newsom called on lawmakers to join him with a sense of urgency to help Californians who are dealing with stress and anxiety over the prospect of putting food on the table, paying for child care or facing eviction.“We recognize our responsibility to do more,” he said.State lawmakers normally pass the budget in June, but Newsom is asking them to act early on several proposals to provide faster relief to people suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic. California’s unemployment rate was 8.2% in November, the most recent month with available state data. But that doesn’t reflect the true number of out-of-work Californians, as many people have stopped seeking work.A handful of Democratic lawmakers joined Newsom for a virtual announcement, indicating he’ll find support in the Legislature.“Millions of working families all across California, they’re on the ropes. They’re barely hanging on during this pandemic-induced recession,” said State Sen. Mike McGuire, a Democrat who represents the state’s north coast.The $600 payment matches a federal stimulus payment approved by Congress, meaning some Californians could receive $1,200 in relief.Newsom hopes payments of the state stimulus go out to Californians in February and March. If his plan is approved and signed into law, it will take three to four weeks to get payments out to people who filed their taxes electronically, said H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the California Department of Finance.Taxpayers who received the California Earned Income Tax Credit, available to people making less than $30,000 annually, last year would receive the $600 payment. That covered about 3.9 million filers in 2020, Palmer said.The $600 payment would also go to people with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers who would be eligible to receive the tax credit this year. Those taxpayers are mostly immigrants living in the country illegally. The state estimates about 250,000 of those filers would be eligible for the payment, Palmer said.Beyond the cash payments, Newsom’s proposal aims to help Californians struggling to pay rent or losing out on money that would normally come in from tenants. The Legislature passed an eviction moratorium last year, and it bars landlords from evicting people who suffered economic loss due to the pandemic. They must be able to pay at least 25% of their monthly rent.Newsom wants to extend the moratorium, though his office did not give a proposed extension date.The state received $2.6 billion to help small property owners and low-income renters through the federal coronavirus bill passed in December. Newsom wants to quickly deploy that money.The governor will announce his full budget proposal on Friday, but he’s already revealed other pieces aimed at aiding people financially harmed by coronavirus. On Tuesday he proposed $4 billion in spending aimed at aiding businesses and creating jobs. He also proposed $2 billion to help schools reopen for in-person learning.Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of state lawmakers introduced a proposal for $2.6 billion in small business support on Wednesday. It would include more money for small business grants than what Newsom has proposed.Tags :Newsomshare on Facebookshare on Twitteradd a commentTrump supporters storm US Capitol, lawmakers evacuatedEssential Interviews: Farmers Market Coordinator Kym OtterstedtYou Might Also LikeFeaturedNewsBobadilla rejects Santa Monica City Manager positionMatthew Hall5 hours agoNewsCouncil picks new City ManagerBrennon Dixson16 hours agoFeaturedNewsProtesting parents and Snapchat remain in disagreement over child protection policiesClara Harter16 hours agoFeaturedNewsDowntown grocery to become mixed use developmenteditor16 hours agoNewsBruised but unbowed, meme stock investors are back for moreAssociated Press16 hours agoNewsWedding boom is on in the US as vendors scramble to keep upAssociated Press16 hours agolast_img read more

Starry Internet taps FCC for 3.5GHz clearance

first_img AT&T targets enterprise with 5G FWA AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to MoreAddThisMore 24 MAY 2018 US-based broadband provider Starry Internet sought to boost its fixed wireless access (FWA) network with new spectrum, eyeing 3.5GHz airwaves coveted by tier-1 operators for their own deployments.In an application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the company said it wants to test the band’s suitability for use alongside mmWave, which it currently uses to provide FWA access in a handful of markets. The company said the addition of 3.5GHz could help it expand broadband connectivity further across the country.But Starry Internet’s ambitions could be in jeopardy: tier-1 operators recently convinced the FCC to reconsider its rules for the 3.5GHz band, designated in the US as the shared Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), pushing for wider licence areas and terms. Leading operators argue such changes would make it more practical to deploy service in the band.Starry Internet and others have urged the FCC to keep the existing rules, warning changes would negatively impact smaller providers’ use of the band.Testing anywayDespite the uncertainty, Starry Internet said it wants to evaluate the band’s “effectiveness for residential fixed broadband, and its utility for backhaul and redundancy”. It will also “explore the technical and economic implications of adding a CBRS layer” to its network and the “potential for creating an enhanced heterogeneous multi-band network in a shared spectrum environment”.The company noted the Boston-based test would use no more than five CBRS baseband and radio node devices from equipment vendor Bai Cells, and up to ten indoor and outdoor user terminals from the same.Starry Internet aims to conduct the trial over a period of 24 months. Previous ArticleVerizon Ventures heads Lumina Networks fundingNext ArticleDoT approves Idea-American Tower deal Tags Author US mobile broadband user numbers rise Related Diana is Mobile World Live’s US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only… Read more Home Starry Internet taps FCC for 3.5GHz clearance Sweden ends 5G sale after one day Diana Goovaerts 3.5GHzfixed wirelessStarry Internetlast_img read more

The Best Medicine

first_imgPARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Jessica Korda delivered good medicine to her ailing swing coach. Every well struck shot was a soothing tonic Friday with Korda fighting her way to the top of the leaderboard through stiff winds at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic. A 7-under-par 66 put her a shot ahead of Paula Creamer (65) in the second round of the season-opening event. Back in Bradenton, Fla., where the IMG Academy’s Grant Price is waging a more serious fight of his own, there was delight watching Korda’s performance in the Golf Channel telecast. [[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”525141″,”attributes”:{“alt”:””,”class”:”media-image media-image-right”,”height”:”220″,”style”:”float: right;”,”typeof”:”foaf:Image”,”width”:”300″}}]] Korda and Price have been working together the last two weeks overhauling Korda’s swing under challenging circumstances. Price (right), who is a nephew of Hall of Famer Nick Price, was diagnosed with stage 3 testicular cancer nine months ago. He endured 4 1/2 months of chemotherapy last summer, then major surgery last month, a retroperitoneal lymph dissection that left him with a scar from his sternum to his groin. When Korda contacted Price a few weeks ago, he didn’t hesitate to offer his help. Korda, 20, struggled with her swing last year, and she believed odd habits led to a nagging left wrist injury and shoulder problem. She thought it was time to find a new swing coach, to rebuild a swing, and she turned to Price. They knew each other from Korda’s days as a student at the IMG Academy. “Grant saved me back then,” Korda said. “He saved me from quitting the game.” Back when Korda was 15, she said she struggled wondering if the golf life and all it entailed was really for her. “At that age, you’re trying to figure things out,” Korda said. Price, 36, helped her figure it out. His love of the game was infectious. “He’s just so super positive, such a happy guy,” Korda said. “I think it’s what I’m really feeding off in our work together.” Price is on leave from the IMG Academy, and he says he terribly misses his work there. So, the time with Korda has been good for Price, too, even though their first session at the Ritz-Carlton range in Bradenton was trying earlier this month. Price was mostly limited to sitting in a golf cart. He’s still healing, still recovering, still fighting. “I went into this openly,” Price told GolfChannel.com in a telephone interview. “My health’s going the right way, but day to day, I don’t know my limits. There’s only a certain amount I can manage.” Price says he’s getting stronger, and the work is good therapy. “The thing I loved watching her play today was how much she was smiling, how much she was enjoying playing,” Price said. “That is so underrated. The fact that she was enjoying herself told me she’s comfortable with what we’re doing.” Korda says she has changed her grip, setup and swing plane under Price. “I’m so proud of Jessica,” Price said. “It was very brave of her to step out with this new concept and go with it.” When Price first met with Korda this month, he saw she had lost clubhead speed with the evolution of her swing. He also saw problems with her feet and balance. Those issues were leading to a “hand track” that was too vertical, and then too steep, causing her to take some jarring divots that may have contributed to her wrist and shoulder issues. “We’re just working on keeping everything on plane, keeping it really simple, to where if something goes wrong on the golf course, I can fix it myself,” Korda said. “Just keeping everything on plane, so I don’t have to use my hands as much as I did, which is taking a lot of pressure off my shoulder and wrist.” Korda, who broke through to win the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open at the start of the 2012 season, is in position to make a weekend run at her second title. She has made 15 birdies over two days on the Ocean Club Golf Course. “The fact that she’s been able to comprehend and implement the adjustments so quickly is a testament to how savvy she is with the golf swing,” Price said. There’s more than knowledge exchanged when Price and Korda work. There’s perspective. Price is married with two children, a 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son. “I just love his kids,” Korda said. “They’re the sweetest kids ever.” Korda’s swing changes may be a work in progress, but it’s proving therapeutic for both Price and Korda.last_img read more

From Vice, the Usual Baloney on Academic Freedom Laws

first_img Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share News Media From Vice, the Usual Baloney on Academic Freedom LawsDavid [email protected]_klinghofferMay 28, 2017, 3:31 PM Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All Tagsacademic freedomcreationismDiscovery InstituteEmmalina GlinskisevolutionGlenn BranchKitzmiller v. Dover Area School DistrictNational Center for Science EducationVice,Trending An article in the online rag Vice is full of the usual baloney about how academic freedom legislation pushes “religion” or “creationism” or “intelligent design” into public schools. It’s a holiday weekend so out of mercy I will spare you a point-by-point response.There are a few novelties. The author, Emmalina Glinskis, takes the commendable step of quoting a bit of the language in these bills. Many articles like hers don’t bother. She writes:Along with a favorable conservative political climate, the Discovery Institute’s carefully worded tactics are a key factor in the recent adoption of its mock bill. For example, the bill makes no mention of the words “creationism” and “intelligent design” and only permits, rather than requires, disparagement of evolution and global warming. Section D also makes it clear that the law “shall not be construed to promote any religious or nonreligious doctrine.” [Emphasis added.]Teaching about evidence for and against an idea is not to “disparage” the idea. Doing so takes it seriously, as being worthy of and perhaps even able to stand up to critical examination. Protecting it from objective consideration amounts, by contrast, to a vote of no confidence.More importantly, teaching about creationism, a religious doctrine, is ruled out by the language she quotes. For a different reason, teaching about ID is also not protected as it is not “already part of the required science curriculum” in any state and the model legislation she cites unambiguously excludes protecting discussion of “new topics.” Here is that language:This Act only protects discussion of the scientific strengths and weaknesses of topics that are already part of the required science curriculum and is not intended to authorize a teacher to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of new topics that are not already part of the required science curriculum.Why legislation intended to push religion would explicitly exclude religion from its protection is a question that critics of these laws can never answer. And why would a law intended to sanction teaching about a “new topic” like ID expressly exclude “new topics” from its sanction? It doesn’t make any sense.She credits us with “carefully worded tactics,” a strange formulation. It’s even stranger that our purported secret goals should be excluded by the “carefully worded” language we advocate.These are all standard misrepresentations. You won’t be surprised to learn that Miss Glinskis consulted Glenn Branch of the Darwin-lobbying National Center for Science Education. Did Branch help her with her understanding of the U.S. Constitution? She writes:In most states, teaching religion in public schools violates the separation of church and state.“Most states”? In what states, exactly, is it constitutional to indoctrinate students with religion in public school?The reporter’s credibility further dissolves when she turns, inevitably, to the Dover case. We read:Since their adoption, none of the academic freedom laws have faced a direct legal challenge. In fact, the Discovery Institute was caught pushing a religious agenda only once — in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, one of the most high-profile legal cases ever about teaching evolution in 2005. According to the case, the Discovery Institute had advised a Pennsylvania school board that required teaching intelligent design as an alternative to evolution.Discovery Institute “advised a Pennsylvania school board”? She leaves out that we advised strongly and publicly against the Dover policy.See “Discovery Calls Dover Evolution Policy Misguided, Calls For its Withdrawal,” a statement dated December 14, 2004. More helpful public resources on Dover are here. Miss Glinskis would have been well advised to spend more time reading up on her subject there, and less time corresponding with Glenn Branch.Photo: A baloney sandwich © Mybona — stock.adobe.com. Recommended Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesiscenter_img Share Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Free Speechlast_img read more