From the Chairman

I hoped to have some news on the new Illinois educational standards that I mentioned in the last issue, but as we’re going to press, the Board of Education is meeting in Chicago to discuss them (I should certainly have something during our meeting on the 5th).

One way or the other, it seems this battle will be temporarily over; if the new standards don’t specifically mention evolution, we will certainly start pressing for that change the next time they are reviewed, but that won’t be for three years or so; if they do include it, then we’ve at least won this part of the battle but will likely have to help fend off creationist attacks on those standards. Meanwhile, I plan to engage a new battle with an unscientific practice being promoted at St. John’s Hospital here in Springfield. See my "Therapeutic Touch Tidbits" article in this issue and please let me know if you’d like to help out on this project. There is a lot we want to do with REALL, but a few of us can’t do everything by ourselves!

And on a similar note, elections will be held at August’s meeting. I don’t want this to scare anybody off (we’ve never forced anybody into a position), and, indeed, we will have a very interesting talk as the main focus (see below), but we are looking for anybody who is interested in doing more for REALL. If you can’t make the meeting but still want to help out, please give me a call or send me an e-mail!

So just what is this interesting presentation I mentioned above? On Tuesday, August 5th, at 7 p.m. in the Lincoln Library, Rich Walker will be taking A Skeptical Look at the Illinois Lottery, as well as diving into some other interesting points about cause and effect, correlation vs. causation, decision-making dilemmas, and several related topics. As anybody who has ever seen one of Rich’s presentations knows, he’ll definitely keep you thinking!

Our meeting last month, featuring Illinois Times staff writer Jeff Ignatius, was quite a success! We had a good turnout and a great discussion. I plan to ask Jeff some follow-up questions, but didn’t have time to do so yet. All in all, I think our differences boil down to the following: He thinks we underestimate the intelligence of people who read articles and/or watch news shows; we think he underestimates the impact of the media on those people. This may be oversimplifying it a bit, but I hope to go into more detail next issue.

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