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Monday, April 11, 2011

Unfortunately, they are not kidding. Don't think a CPR bill has a chance.

Antiscience bill passes Tennessee House vote

A bill clearly intended to promote and protect antiscience passed in the Tennessee State House yesterday, by a vote of 70 – 23.

Let that sink in. 70 to 23.

The bill is another in a long series of creationist (and broadened into other antiscience topics) wedge bills designed to weaken the teaching of real science in public schools. The summary makes that clear:

This bill prohibits the state board of education and any public elementary or secondary school governing authority, director of schools, school system administrator, or principal or administrator from prohibiting any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught, such as evolution and global warming.

On the surface this sounds like legit science; after all, science thrives on understanding the weaknesses in ideas so they can be improved. But if you read that last part, conservative antiscience rears its head: the two specific cases mentioned are evolution and global warming.

That doesn’t sound like real science is the motivation behind this bill — and reading quotes by its supporters confirms it. What this really means is that if a teacher wants to declare the Earth is 6000 years old (or make some other clearly wrong ideologically-based claim), that teacher cannot be stopped.

Similar antiscience bills (usually given the Orwellian title of "academic freedom bills") have been created in Oklahoma (though defeated, barely), Mississippi, and in Louisiana, where creationist and part-time exorcist Governor Bobby Jindal signed it into state law.

So this bill passed the House, but it still has to pass the Tennessee Senate. They have their own version up for vote targeted for April 20. If you live in Tennessee, I urge you to go to the NCSE website, read up on this, and then write your local representative.

First-aid student helps keep man alive for paramedics


A HAMILTON Senior High School student administered life-saving first aid to a critically injured man, using techniques he had recently learnt at a school-based senior first aid course.

Year 11 student Dion Sgherza (15) performed CPR on the unconscious man for 15 to 20 minutes before the arrival of paramedics, who continued the treatment with his help and information.

The man was suffering life-threatening breathing constrictions from a throat injury.

Dion, a keen football player, was commended by police for his efforts in saving the man by remaining calm and remembering the skills he was taught at school.

Principal Donna McDonald said the school was proud of Dion, who should be seen as a role model in the community.

“He learnt the skills, he was called upon to use them and he did his absolute best at the time,” she said.

“He’s a real role model.”

Completion of a three-day senior first aid course is compulsory for all students undertaking Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses at the school and Mrs McDonald said that up to 40 per cent of staff and students at the school held current certificates.

“We want to give students good skills that are required out in our society,” she said.

“We not only train our senior students, but we also train our staff.”

More than 40 Year 11 VET students attended the Australian Red Cross course in term one this year, helping them to achieve their Tafe training certificates.

School spokeswoman Leeana Manifis-Gott said a first aid certificate provided the mutual benefit of an ideal qualification for a student’s resume and an important skill to have in the workplace and community.

Dion, who is part of the school’s industrial studies program, said he was pleased he had the skills to help in a real-life situation and recommended a first aid course to everyone.

“I would definitely recommend it because there’s a high chance that you may need to use it one day,” he said.