Thursday, August 30, 2007

Stand up and be counted (after you pay your dues..)

The AGU is revising its position statements on Teaching Evolution, Human Impacts on Climate and Natural Hazards. The statement on Teaching Evolution, originally agreed in 1981 and last revised in 2003 states

The American Geophysical Union affirms the central importance of scientific theories of Earth history and organic evolution in science education. An educated citizenry must understand these theories in order to comprehend the dynamic world in which we live and nature's complex balance that sustains us. . .
"Creation science" is based on faith and is not supported by scientific observations of the natural world. Creationism is not science and does not have a legitimate place in any science curriculum.
AGU opposes all efforts to require or promote teaching creationism or any other religious tenets as science. AGU supports the National Science Education Standards, which incorporate well-established scientific theories including the origin of the universe, the age of Earth, and the evolution of life.
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The statement on Human Impacts on Climate issued in late 2003 starts
Human activities are increasingly altering the Earth's climate. These effects add to natural influences that have been present over Earth's history. Scientific evidence strongly indicates that natural influences cannot explain the rapid increase in global near-surface temperatures observed during the second half of the 20th century.
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The policy on Natural Hazards was first issued in 1995 and reaffirmed in 2005
Natural hazards (earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, landslides, meteors, space weather, tornadoes, volcanoes, and other geophysical phenomena) are an integral component of our dynamic planet. These can have disastrous effects on vulnerable communities and ecosystems. By understanding how and where hazards occur, what causes them, and what circumstances increase their severity, we can develop effective strategies to reduce their impact. In practice, mitigating hazards requires addressing issues such as real-time monitoring and prediction, emergency preparedness, public education and awareness, post-disaster recovery, engineering, construction practices, land use, and building codes. Coordinated approaches involving scientists, engineers, policy makers, builders, lenders, insurers, news media, educators, relief organizations, and the public are therefore essential to reducing the adverse effects of natural hazards.
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