Sunday, July 31, 2005

Grassroots activity

Been doing lots of reading online, but I haven’t been writing. I don’t feel any need to post my own unoriginal thoughts to the discussion. Then, even when ideas start percolating up and connecting, I can’t seem to find the time to capture them. Besides, the weather has been uncomfortably hot. Excuses. Excuses.

Anyway, about a little over a week ago I saw an article on the web about a group of people on the East Coast who are starting up an organization to preemptively ward off attacks on science classes in their local schools. What was especially interesting to me about the article “Classroom Evolution's Grass-Roots Defender” (Washington Post, 7/20/2005) was how they were motivated to join the battle based on their involvement in the 2004 presidential election:

“’I fear for my country. That sounds like a radical notion, something from the '60s, but there is a pervasive fear, a scariness,’ said Richard Lawrence, 63, a retired Environmental Protection Agency employee who voted for Nixon. ‘We're just a small group, maybe with a powerful idea. We don't have a clue, but we're not letting go.’”
“A few people approached, including Irving Wainer, 61, a research scientist at the National Institutes of Health. At a meeting Dec. 12, they were joined by Mary Detweiler, 54, a fellow Kerry sign-carrier. She had grown ‘very depressed’ about the election, she said, but after feeling energized by the campaign - her first political role since opposing the Vietnam War - she did not want to let the spirit go.”

I tracked down someone who was named in the article and –even though I am clear on the other side of the country – got myself added to the mail list of the organization, which is calling itself the Message Group. If you are in Virginia and want to find out what their plans are, you can write to them at

A few days later I saw reference to a similar group in Michigan, where I grew up. I found their site, Michigan Citizens for Science, and there I found a list of links to other state groups that aim to protect the integrity of science education.

Postscript: Read the transcript of an online chat with Peter Slevin, author of the Washington Post article.


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