SSBG

A worldview is a set of claims that purport to be based on ultimate reality.

Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

School Recognized Nationally for AIDS Ministry in Africa

Posted by ssbg on March 31, 2007

 By Rupa Shenoy,  Daily Herald Staff Writer,  Monday, March 26, 2007

http://www.dailyherald.com/news/dupagestory.asp?id=294723&cc=d&tc=&t

Wheaton Academy’s students are being nationally recognized not only for their successful fundraising efforts but also the creative means they used to raise money. Twelve students led the Zambia project each year; below are five current members of that group. Each thought up projects, organized them and, in most cases, did outreach to the whole student body to get everyone involved.  

Five years ago, a group of student leaders at Wheaton Academy in West Chicago got together and decided that they were meant to do something big — but they didn’t know what, or even how. “We had no idea what we were doing,” said the group’s adviser, teacher Chip Huber. The desire to help eventually led them to work as an entire school to help one small community in Zambia that has been devastated by AIDS.

Through sacrifice and creative fundraising, Academy students raised thousands of dollars to fund a new school and provide basic necessities that were sorely needed. Recognition was never the goal. But this year the school beat out dozens of contenders nationwide to be named winner of the national Association For Fundraising Professionals’ William R. Simms Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy in the age 5-to-17 category. The Academy students were nominated for the prestigious award by the Chicago AFP chapter and will pick up their prize Tuesday at the national association’s convention in Dallas. The gathering will feature noted speakers including actress Brooke Shields and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

 “Hopefully, by getting this award, we can be a model to other schools of what to do,” said senior Matt Taylor, 18, a member of the 12-student group that currently leads the Zambia effort.

During summer 2002, two things happened that led the student leaders, and eventually the whole school, on this path. The group read a statistic showing evangelical Christians were the least likely group in the world to respond to the growing needs of people with AIDS. Also, Bono, lead singer of the band U2, came to town, spreading the message that people with AIDS needed help.

Through a friend of Huber’s, the group learned about World Vision, an international humanitarian organization. Students went through Vision’s catalog of needed items and settled on the most expensive: $53,000 for the first school in Kakolo village in Zambia. The student leaders swung into action, educating the whole school about the effort. The groups raised money by holding car washes and dress-down days. Students held a “30-hour famine” during which people sponsored teens who chose not to eat for two days. Girls throughout the student body bought, borrowed or reused old dresses for two annual banquets and donated what they would have spent on new clothes to the effort. Within a year, the school had raised more than $78,000.

Their success made them more determined to help, and each year a group of student leaders has continued the effort to help the 1,500 residents of Kakolo village. In the 2003 school year, the students raised almost $60,000, providing 525 families in the village with food, seeds, tools and animals. The next year, they held more than 40 fundraisers and collected more than $117,000, which bought Kakolo a new medical facility with a maternity wing. The student body exceeded all its prior efforts last year by raising $150,000, which funded medical equipment, the construction of homes and a youth outreach center. This year, among much else, students are sending “caregiver kits” to families in the village, filled with necessities and a personal note. Many Academy students each sponsor a child in the town.

“This gives our lives a purpose. This is something you can pour yourself into,” said Katy Kantner, a student leader. The bond between the academy and the village grew with two trips by Huber and students to Africa. The school has made a long-term commitment to Kakolo to effect lasting change, Huber said. The current student leaders admit that their message doesn’t always get through to everyone. But the point, they said, was to try as hard as they can. “We’ve been called by God,” said senior Johnnie Lotesta, 18.

rshenoy@dailyherald.com

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Posted in Christian, Education | 1 Comment »

Top Scientists Disagree with Global warming

Posted by ssbg on February 22, 2007

Check out this erudite article in the National Post.

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Posted in Education, Political | 13 Comments »

MT in Glendalough

Posted by ssbg on February 5, 2007

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“For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.”- Psalm 33:4-5

Posted in Education, Photography | Leave a Comment »

Pluto is not a planet anymore

Posted by ssbg on September 1, 2006

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After a tumultuous week of clashing over the essence of the cosmos, the International Astronomical Union stripped Pluto of the planetary status it has held since its discovery in 1930. The new definition of what is — and isn’t — a planet fills a centuries-old black hole for scientists who have labored since Copernicus without one.Although astronomers applauded after the vote, Jocelyn Bell Burnell — a specialist in neutron stars from Northern Ireland who oversaw the proceedings — urged those who might be “quite disappointed” to look on the bright side.

“It could be argued that we are creating an umbrella called ‘planet’ under which the dwarf planets exist,” she said, drawing laughter by waving a stuffed Pluto of Walt Disney fame beneath a real umbrella.

“Many more Plutos wait to be discovered,” added Richard Binzel, a professor of planetary science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The decision by the prestigious international group spells out the basic tests that celestial objects will have to meet before they can be considered for admission to the elite cosmic club.

For now, membership will be restricted to the eight “classical” planets in the solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Much-maligned Pluto doesn’t make the grade under the new rules for a planet: “a celestial body that is in orbit around the sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a … nearly round shape, and has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.”

Pluto is automatically disqualified because its oblong orbit overlaps with Neptune’s.

Instead, it will be reclassified in a new category of “dwarf planets,” similar to what long have been termed “minor planets.” The definition also lays out a third class of lesser objects that orbit the sun — “small solar system bodies,” a term that will apply to numerous asteroids, comets and other natural satellites.

Experts said there could be dozens of dwarf planets catalogued across the solar system in the next few years.

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The Scientific Controversy Over Whether Microevolution Can Account For Macroevolution

Posted by ssbg on August 28, 2006

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From: http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/

© Center for Science and Culture/Discovery Institute, 1511 Third Avenue, Suite 808, Seattle, WA 98101

When Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859, it was already

known that existing species can change over time. This is the basis of artificial breeding,

which had been practiced for thousands of years. Darwin and his contemporaries were

also familiar enough with the fossil record to know that major changes in living things

had occurred over geological time. Darwin’s theory was that a process analogous to

artificial breeding also occurs in nature; he called that process natural selection. Darwin’s

theory was also that changes in existing species due primarily to natural selection could,

if given enough time, produce the major changes we see in the fossil record.

After Darwin, the first phenomenon (changes within an existing species or gene

pool) was named “microevolution.” There is abundant evidence that changes can occur

within existing species, both domestic and wild, so microevolution is uncontroversial.

The second phenomenon (large-scale changes over geological time) was named

“macroevolution,” and Darwin’s theory that the processes of the former can account for

the latter was controversial right from the start. Many biologists during and after

Darwin’s lifetime have questioned whether the natural counterpart of domestic breeding

could do what domestic breeding has never done — namely, produce new species, organs,

and body plans. In the first few decades of the twentieth century, skepticism over this

aspect of evolution was so strong that Darwin’s theory went into eclipse. (See Chapter 9

of Peter Bowler’s Evolution: The History of an Idea, University of California Press,

revised edition, 1989).

In the 1930s, “neo-Darwinists” proposed that genetic mutations (of which Darwin

was unaware) could solve the problem. Although the vast majority of mutations are

harmful (and thus cannot be favored by natural selection), in rare instances one may

benefit an organism. For example, genetic mutations account for some cases of antibiotic

resistance in bacteria; if an organism is in the presence of the antibiotic, such a mutation

is beneficial. All known beneficial mutations, however, affect only an organism’s

biochemistry; Darwinian evolution requires large-scale changes in morphology, or

anatomy. Midway through the twentieth century, some Darwinian geneticists suggested

that occasional “macromutations” might produce the large-scale morphological changes

needed by Darwin’s theory. Unfortunately, all known morphological mutations are

harmful, and the larger their effects the more harmful they are. Scientific critics of

macromutations took to calling this the “hopeful monster” hypothesis. (See Chapter 12

of Bowler’s book.)

The scientific controversy over whether processes observable within existing

species and gene pools (microevolution) can account for large-scale changes over

geological time (macroevolution) continues to this day. Here are a few examples of peerreviewed

scientific articles that have referred to it just in the last few years:

David L. Stern, “Perspective: Evolutionary Developmental Biology and the

Problem of Variation,” Evolution 54 (2000): 1079-1091.

“One of the oldest problems in evolutionary biology remains largely unsolved…

Historically, the neo-Darwinian synthesizers stressed the predominance of

micromutations in evolution, whereas others noted the similarities between some

dramatic mutations and evolutionary transitions to argue for macromutationism.”

Robert L. Carroll, “Towards a new evolutionary synthesis,” Trends in Ecology

and Evolution, 15 (January, 2000): 27.

“Large-scale evolutionary phenomena cannot be understood solely on the basis of

extrapolation from processes observed at the level of modern populations and

species.”

Andrew M. Simons, “The continuity of microevolution and macroevolution,”

Journal of Evolutionary Biology 15 (2002): 688-701.

“A persistent debate in evolutionary biology is one over the continuity of

microevolution and macroevolution — whether macroevolutionary trends are

governed by the principles of microevolution.”

It should be noted that all of the scientists quoted above are believers in Darwinian

evolution, and that all of them think the controversy will eventually be resolved within

the framework of that theory. Stern, for example, believes that new developmental

studies of gene function will provide “the current missing link.” (p. 1079) The important

point here is that the controversy has not yet been resolved, precisely because the

evidence needed to resolve it is still lacking. It is important for students to know what the

evidence does or does not show — not just what some scientists hope the evidence will

eventually show.

Since the controversy over microevolution and macroevolution is at the heart of Darwin’s

theory, and since evolutionary theory is so influential in modern biology, it is a disservice

to students for biology curricula to ignore the controversy entirely. Furthermore, since

the scientific evidence needed to settle the controversy is still lacking, it is inaccurate to

give students the impression that the controversy has been resolved and that all scientists

have reached a consensus on the issue.

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