New Media Challenges Darwinism

first_imgWebsites and resources challenging Darwinian dominance are springing up all over the place.  Uncensored by scientific societies, they may be having more of an effect than evolutionary biologists wish to consider.  Many are aimed at students and young adults.Overwhelming Evidence is an ID website aimed at high school students.  It has blogs, forums and opportunities to get involved.Salvo Magazine is a new magazine devoted to cultural and scientific issues related to origins and the meaning of life.  It’s snazzy interface and cutting-edge, no-holds-barred approach is aimed at the tastes of knowledgeable young adults.Darwinism and ID has a wacky website featuring the new book by Jonathan Wells, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design.Blogs like GlobeLens and this example from Brazil are too numerous to mention in this day of personal publishing.Life’s Story volume II, from Exploration Films, is due for release in mid-October.Lee Strobel’s best seller The Case for a Creator is expected to come out in a film version soon.Randy Olson’s zany attempt at a balanced film, Flock of Dodos, is still making its rounds, according to its October newsletter.  But with the most-touted reviews coming from radical pro-Darwin groups like Pharyngula, it’s not clear whether any Darwin critics are watching the “latest droppings from the ‘Flock of Dodos’ circus” or dodging them.The hardened Old Guard of the Darwin Party has shown itself incorrigible too long.  Welcome to a new generation of critical thinkers who don’t have to be force-fed the Darwin Brand Snake Oil, but know what’s good for them and can read the bottles for themselves.(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Celebrating Freedom Day – The Mark That Made a Difference

first_imgCelebrating Freedom Day – The Mark That Made a Difference Johannesburg, Wednesday 25 April 2018 – South Africa celebrates Freedom Day on the 27th April to mark the emancipation of the country and its people from apartheid. In 1994 on 27th April the first democratic election was held in South Africa, this paved the way towards a new democracy and a new constitution for the country.Remembering the mark that made a difference in 1994, Brand South Africa’s Constitutional Awareness programme, in collaboration with Freedom Park, will host intergenerational dialogues, in order to inspire constitutionalism, tolerance and constructive expression #makeyourmark.Ahead of Freedom Day on 27th April 2018, Brand South Africa will encourage youth participation in the Freedom Day programme and other days of national significance to guide in constructing an intergenerational future for the country through the lessons of the past.Brand South Africa is also driving dialogues on social media platform through its campaign – The Mark That Made a Difference #makeyourmark on the progress South Africa has made in the past 24 years.Under the theme – “Our Freedom Charter, Constitution: The Bill of Rights, the fundamental rights of every South African”The Freedom Day programme will run as follows;Freedom Park’s Intergenerational DialogueThe Intergenerational Dialogue will create an engaging and interactive platform with the Stalwarts of Freedom to share, discuss and educate the youth and students, the road the people and this country has travelled to shape the remarkably unique, detailed and inclusive constitution including our Bill of Rights, that we now enjoy.Date: Thursday, 26 April 2018Time:  10:00am until 14:00pmVenue:  Freedom Park, The Sanctuary venue in the Park Film Screening of Long Walk to Freedom An outdoor film screening of Long Walk to Freedom, which will be free to the public. The remarkable life of South African revolutionary, late former president and world icon Nelson Mandela takes center stage. From humble beginnings as a herd boy in a rural village to became involved in the anti-apartheid movement and co-founded the African National Congress Youth LeagueDate: Friday, 27 April 2018Time:  12h00pm gates openVenue:  Freedom Park, The Sanctuary venue in the Park#Singabantu Fundraising Fashion show#Singabantu – We are human is an Afro phobia awareness short film shot in the remains of a Rosettenville house burnt to the ground during service delivery protests that turned into a nationwide wave of Afro phobic attacks. The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Plural plus award-winning web-film calls for unity, love and tolerance. The web-film was produced by a Play Your Part Ambassador, Sophie Kanza, from the Sophie Kanza Foundation, in collaboration with youth from various African countries, living in South Africa. The web-film is aligned to and has the support of Brand South Africa’s #INSPIREDBYMYCONSTITUTION campaign.Date: Saturday, 28 April 2018Time:  18:30pm for 19:00pmVenue:  Asanka Resturant Cnr and, Rivonia Rd & Mutual Rd, Sandton, 2128Speaking on the objectives of the programme, Brand South Africa’s Stakeholder Relations Manager for Government, Ms Toni Gumede said; “we trust the Freedom Day programme will highlight the fruits of Freedom and popularise the Constitution as well as inspire active citizenship, intergenerational conversations and urge the youth and all citizens to #makeyourmark”.Join and follow the conversations on The Mark That Made a Difference #makeyourmark BrandSouthAfrica and @Brand_SAlast_img read more

The Takeover of the EPA

first_imgThe Environmental Protection Agency made news recently for excluding reporters from a “summit” meeting on chemical contamination in drinking water. Episodes like this are symptoms of a larger problem: an ongoing, broad-scale takeover of the agency by industries it regulates.We are social scientists with interests in environmental health, environmental justice and inequality, and democracy. We recently published a study, conducted under the auspices of the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative and based on interviews with 45 current and retired EPA employees, which concludes that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the Trump administration have steered the agency to the verge of what scholars call “regulatory capture.”By this we mean that they are aggressively reorganizing the EPA to promote interests of regulated industries, at the expense of its official mission to “protect human health and the environment.” How close is too close?The notion of “regulatory capture” has a long record in U.S. social science research. It helps explain the 2008 financial crisis and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In both cases, lax federal oversight and the government’s over-reliance on key industries were widely viewed as contributing to the disasters. Chris Sellers is professor of history and director of the Center for the Study of Inequalities, Social Justice and Policy at Stony Brook University. Lindsey Dillon is assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Phil Brown is University Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences at Northeastern University. By CHRIS SELLERS, LINDSEY DILLON and PHIL BROWN Muting other voicesPruitt and his staff also have sought to sideline potentially countervailing interests and influences, starting with EPA career staff. In one of our interviews, an EPA employee described a meeting between Pruitt, the homebuilding industry and agency career staff. Pruitt showed up late, led the industry representatives into another room for a group photo, then trooped back into the meeting room to scold his own EPA employees for not listening to them.Threatened by proposed budget cuts, buyouts, and retribution against disloyal staff and leakers, career EPA employees have been made “afraid … so nobody pushes back, nobody says anything,” according to one of our sources.Historical trends in EPA’s budget show a spike during the Carter administration, followed by sharp cuts under President Reagan and an infusion of economic stimulus money in 2009. President Trump has proposed sharp cuts. (EDGI, CC BY-ND)As a result, enforcement has fallen dramatically. During Trump’s first 6 months in office, the EPA collected 60% less money in civil penalties from polluters than it had under Presidents Obama or George W. Bush in the same period. The agency has also opened fewer civil and criminal cases.Early in his tenure Pruitt replaced many members of EPA’s Science Advisory Board and Board of Scientific Counselors in a move intended to give representatives from industry and state governments more influence. He also established a new policy that prevents EPA-funded scientists from serving on these boards, but allows industry-funded scientists to serve.And on April 24, 2018, Pruitt issued a new rule that limits what kind of scientific research the agency can rely on in writing environmental regulation. This step was advocated by the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute. How can you tell whether an agency has been captured? According to Harvard’s David Moss and Daniel Carpenter, it occurs when an agency’s actions are “directed away from the public interest and toward the interest of the regulated industry” by “intent and action of industries and their allies.” In other words, the farmer doesn’t just tolerate foxes lurking around the hen house — he recruits them to guard it. RELATED ARTICLES Nuzzling up to industryPruitt’s EPA is staffed with senior officials who have close industry ties. For example, Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler is a former coal industry lobbyist. Nancy Beck, deputy assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, was formerly an executive at the American Chemistry Council. And Senior Deputy General Counsel Erik Baptist was previously senior counsel at the American Petroleum Institute.Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that Pruitt has met with representatives of regulated industries 25 times more often than with environmental advocates. His staff carefully shields him from encounters with groups that they consider “unfriendly.”The former head of EPA’s Office of Policy, Samantha Dravis, who left the agency in April 2018, had 90 scheduled meetings with energy, manufacturin,g and other industrial interests between March 2017 and January 2018. During the same period she met with one public interest organization.Circumstantial evidence suggests that corporate lobbying is directly influencing major policy decisions. For example, just before rejecting the chlorpyrifos ban, Pruitt met with the CEO of Dow Chemical, which manufactures the pesticide.Overturning Obama’s Clean Power Plan and withdrawing from the Paris climate accord were recommended by coal magnate Robert Murray in his “Action Plan for the Administration.” Emails released under the Freedom of Information Act show detailed correspondence between Pruitt and industry lobbyists about EPA talking points. They also document Pruitt’s many visits with corporate officials as he formulated his attack on the Clean Power Plan. What can be done?This is not the first time that a strongly anti-regulatory administration has tried to redirect EPA. In our interviews, longtime EPA staffers recalled similar pressure under President Reagan, led by his first administrator, Anne Gorsuch.Gorsuch also slashed budgets, cut back on enforcement, and “treated a lot of people in the agency as the enemy,” in the words of her successor, William Ruckelshaus. She was forced to resign in 1983 amid congressional investigations into EPA misbehavior, including corruptive favoritism and its cover-up at the Superfund program.EPA veterans of those years emphasized the importance of Democratic majorities in Congress, which initiated the investigations, and sustained media coverage of EPA’s unfolding scandals. They remembered this phase as an oppressive time, but noted that pro-industry actions by political appointees failed to suffuse the entire bureaucracy. Instead, career staffers resisted by developing subtle, “underground” ways of supporting each other and sharing information internally and with Congress and the media.Similarly, the media are spotlighting Pruitt’s policy actions and ethical scandals today. EPA staffers who have left the agency are speaking out against Pruitt’s policies. State attorneys general and the court system have also thwarted some of Pruitt’s efforts. And EPA’s Science Advisory Board — including members appointed by Pruitt — recently voted almost unanimously to do a full review of the scientific justification for many of Pruitt’s most controversial proposals.Still, with the Trump administration tilted hard against regulation and Republicans controlling Congress, the greatest challenge to regulatory capture at the EPA will be the 2018 and 2020 elections. Serving industryFrom the start of his tenure at EPA, Pruitt has championed interests of regulated industries such as petrochemicals and coal mining, while rarely discussing the value of environmental and health protections. “Regulators exist,” he asserts, “to give certainty to those that they regulate,” and should be committed to “enhanc(ing) economic growth.”In our view, Pruitt’s efforts to undo, delay or otherwise block at least 30 existing rules reorient EPA rule-making “away from the public interest and toward the interest of the regulated industry.” Our interviewees overwhelmingly agreed that these rollbacks undermine their own “pretty strong sense of mission … protecting the health of the environment,” as one current EPA staffer told us.Many of these targeted rules have well-documented public benefits, which Pruitt’s proposals — assuming they withstand legal challenges — would erode. For example, rejecting a proposed ban on the insecticide chlorpyrifos would leave farm workers and children at risk of developmental delays and autism spectrum disorders. Revoking the Clean Power Plan for coal-fired power plants, and weakening proposed fuel efficiency standards, would sacrifice health benefits associated with cutting greenhouse gas emissions.A key question is whether regulated industries had an active hand in these initiatives. Here, again, the answer is yes. Market Forces Are Driving a Clean Energy RevolutionEPA Ordered to Speed Up New Lead RuleReport Cites Carbon Impact of Biomass PlantsNew Life for Toxic LandStudy Finds EPA Lax in Protecting California Waterlast_img read more

Navas lauds ‘excellent’ Bale

first_imgReal Madrid Navas lauds ‘excellent’ Bale after goal in Madrid win Sacha Pisani Last updated 2 years ago 10:17 18/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Bale-cropped Getty Images Real Madrid Gareth Bale Primera División Real Sociedad Real Sociedad v Real Madrid The Real Madrid goalkeeper praised the goalscoring Welsh winger after a victory against Real Sociedad Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas praised the quality and resilience of Gareth Bale after his maligned team-mate silenced the boo boys with a goal in La Liga on Sunday.Bale has been the target of whistles and jeers from sections of Madrid’s supporters this season, but the Wales star put that behind him in the club’s 3-1 victory at Real Sociedad.Los Blancos 6/4 to beat Betis -3 handicap Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing The 28-year-old scored Madrid’s third goal just past the hour-mark to end a run of back-to-back draws in La Liga and Navas lauded the Welshman.”He’s an excellent player and he always helps us,” Navas said.”Despite what people may say, he always works hard and puts a shift in, and today [Sunday] he got his reward.”Nobody likes to hear people speaking negatively about anyone, but he’s a professional, and he has confidence in his ability and knows the team is behind him.”He showed his quality [against Sociedad].”Navas, whose Madrid are four points adrift of leaders Barcelona, added: “I’m happy to be playing alongside the best in the world, it’s unbelievable.”We’re a team who always give it our all and sometimes things go well and other less so, but we’re in this together and that’s beautiful, it’s great to be part of it.”Madrid defender Dani Carvajal also lauded youngster Borja Mayoral following his goal in San Sebastian.In the side with Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo absent, the 20-year-old forward opened the scoring in his first La Liga start since April 2016.”We have a very big squad, and it is clear that Mayoral is perfectly able to help us and score goals,” said Carvajal, who signed a five-year contract until 2022.”We knew that if we lost then we would be seven points off the pace and it was not an easy game with a lot of players out away from home, but the team showed character.”last_img read more