neadods: (academia)
The ever-quotable Slactivist has a few things to say about Ken Ham's origins. Ken Ham has a museum that supports creationism (Pharyngula aka (biology) Professor Myers was there a few weeks ago pointing and laughing at how all the various pre-historic periods were all marked with the same date.)

Ken Ham is from Australia.

As Slactivist says, You can't be a young-earth creationist and be from Australia. I think if you're a young-earth creationist, you're not even allowed to believe in Australia. That continent is evolution's playground, it's showroom. Ken Ham couldn't have built his Creation Museum in Australia because they already have a thriving Evolution Museum there -- it takes up the entire island. The displays are fantastic.

...

I just can't fathom how someone could have lived in Australia believing the world is only 6,000 years old. There are all sorts of things you can't do while believing that (like, for instance, going outside on a clear night), but living in Australia would seem near the top of that list. The indigenous Australians have stories, dances and paintings that are far older than 6,000 years. They've got jokes that are older than that.
neadods: (Default)
Been offline for almost 24 hours, and so much to pass on:

The bank which has an account incorrectly in my SSN has become outright obstructionist. They told my mother that they wouldn't consider fixing it unless I filed an affadavit (sp?) and police report, because apparently it is not their job to actually check the identity of their clients. Now I discover that the affadavit that they sent to her to file is an incomplete photocopy. Excuse me? First you make me do YOUR job by proving identity, and then you make that impossible by sending improper paperwork? My cubemate thinks I should bring a lawyer into this, and I'm starting to agree.

As taught by [livejournal.com profile] stratfordbabe The Rules to Canadian Dice )


Links

Shakespeare's Sister links an 1860 (NOT A TYPO!) recording of "Au Clair de la Lune". They call it "ethereal;" I call it "bad quality" - and also "totally amazing!"

More on PZ Myers and Expelled from Expelled, his report on calling into their media conference One of them asked me to do the honorable thing and hang up…so I said yes, I would do the honorable thing and hang up while they continued the dishonorable thing and continued to lie.. Life Without Faith has rough notes; Skepchick has the audio.
For the 1000th time, class, Darwin !=Hitler.

How come "airport security" means male TSA agents can humiliate and sexually harass women? Is this supposed to make me feel safer?

Ezra Klein sums up neocon vs liberal neatly:
Neocons envision a near-static population of terrorists, and prescribe an aggressive policy of killing them in order to rid the world of terrorism. Liberals see a dynamic population of terrorists and prescribe broad policies meant to blunt their popular appeal and deprive them of public support. Neocons looks at the liberal prescription and say, essentially, "you're not killing enough of them." And liberals look at the Neocons and, aghast, say, "stop making so many more."

[livejournal.com profile] misscam has done that "rescue 5 posts from obscurity meme" and come up with a fic I'd missed: Rose Tyler's History of Sex. Excellent, and not as fluffy and sweet as the title implies. Ditto her The Art of Not Having Sex

More much later or tomorrow morning; today I am going to usher the Reduced Shakespeare Company's two shows downtown: "The Complete Bible (Abridged) & The Complete History of America (Abridged)"

ETA: I apologize to all for leaving this with bad code for a day - obviously, I posted as I was running out the door!
neadods: (Default)
There is just something horribly ironic about spending 9 hours online so you'll spend less time online. However, I think I've got the cuts & filters all set. (Read: I've got a sustainable daily list and a scary weekly list. And an entirely separate private post with links to 30 Doctor Who communities.)

I'm going to do a full Torchwood review when I can talk about the last two episodes in conjunction with each other & I still haven't seen Fragments. I will say without discussing plot that it was very nice to see a large chunk of the episode be handled by the women for once, especially as Jack & Owen have been used as the "get out of plot problem free" cards so often. And, of course, I squeed fit to knock bats out of the sky at That Bit.

Enterprising Women strikes again: the latest dimbette with an agenda and a I-am-more-feminist-than-thou attitude explaining the social and psychological meaning of slash fanfiction to the poor ignorant fangirls. Go wank to your delusions of academe, child. You might be shocked to discover someday that fannish women can talk about their relative position in fringe groups and larger societies All By Themselves, and are shockingly capable of grasping both text and subtext in their own hobbies - and a hell of a lot more accurately than anyone who feels the need to assume that fangirl = drooling uneducated idiot.

Someone's certainly uneducated, to come out with lines like this: Fanfic writers pride themselves on their respect for and fidelity to their original source material, and in their writing they rarely, if ever, do anything that questions or contradicts the ideologies underwriting the original texts. BWAhahahahahahaaa! Your detailed research consisted of reading 3 stories on fanfiction.net, didn't it?

For [livejournal.com profile] boogiebabe_smap, these two links from [livejournal.com profile] naamah_darling of an amazing dancing dog in canine freestyle competition: The Gladiator (like Naamah, I am amused by the viciously wagging tail) and Hooray for Hollywood.

You'll probably appreciate this from the same source: the Trilobite song.

Which leads into my second set of links: the story of Dr. PZ Myers and "Expelled from Expelled."

PZ (all due respect to Dr. Myers, but "PZ" is faster to type) writes a blog called Pharyngula. Pharyngula is about a lot of things, but PZ is often adamantly posting on two subjects: 1) he is an atheist and proud of it and 2) he despises creationism and all its kin.

A while ago, he was interviewed for a movie he was told would be on religion and science called "Crossroads." It turned out to be a pro-Intelligent Design movie called "Expelled." There was an advance filming. He went. Well... he tried to go.

They didn't let him in. PZ was considered to be a disruptive element, so a rent-a-cop not only threatened to arrest him if he didn't leave before entering the theater, he followed Dr. Myers out to the parking lot and threatened to arrest him THERE as well if he didn't clear off. Someone needs to have a little lesson on "public property." But the funniest part is who they let in - PZ's guest, infamous atheist and loather of creationism/ID, Richard Dawkins. Who apparently gave them an earful during the Q&A after.

PZ has follow-up posts on it here and here, and his daughter (who was allowed in) has a movie review.

It started hitting other blogs.

THEN it hit the NY Times. (PZ's response to that.)

Christianity Today's headline is Dawkins Crashes 'Expelled' Party

The best set of links is here.
neadods: (Default)
I'd credit, but I've forgotten where I got these.

Creation Museum Report Readers must be fond of science and tolerant of the word "horseshit."
Did you know, for example, that Adam is responsible not only for the fall of man, but also for the creation of venom? It didn’t exist in the Garden of Eden, because, well. Why would it? Weeds? Adam’s fault. Carnivorous animals (and, one assumes, the occasional carnivorous plant)? Adam again. Entropy? You guessed it: Adam. Think about that, won’t you; eat one piece of fruit and suddenly you’re responsible for the inevitable heat death of the universe. God’s kind of mean.

... But seriously, the ability to just come out and put on a placard that the Jurassic era is temporally contiguous with the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Egypt — well, there’s a word for that, and that word is chutzpah


For those who didn't know about "Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog" - (LJ feed at [livejournal.com profile] chaucerhathblog), ol' Jeffy's talking about the Televisioun Lyne Up of Galfridus Chaucer, Clerke of the Kinges Werkes, which includes "Sectes in the Borough," "Flight of the Lombardes," "The Privy Seel Offyce," and "Doctor Hwaet." “That ys fanTASTick,” he saith yn the rare tymes whan he ys of good chiere. He fighteth many enemyes, includinge the Cybermonks, the Daneleks, and folk who thinke that “Geats” is pronouncid “geetz.”

Dear "Patriots:" If you really loved America as much as you say you do, maybe you should actually LEARN ITS HISTORY. Kentucky Governer Ernie Fletcher tried to dodge posting a church-donated 10 Commandments in a school by making them part of a display "meant as a tool for teaching children civic literacy." Now, it's bad enough that someone in Government was pushing the "our laws were founded on the 10 Commandments" canard, but to teach "civic literacy" by stating that the Stars and Strips flag and the song "The Star-Spangled Banner" were used in the American Revolution is a bit much. Yeah, the War of 1812 was pretty much "American Revolution II: The British Empire Strikes Back" but in 1781, that tune was still a drinking song. Betcha won't teach that to the kiddies!

The latest salvo in the "War on Christmas" is Bill O'Reilly getting his knickers in a knot over christmas trees with white lights instead of colored ones. It's unChristian, y'see. I wonder what he would make of that bastion of blasphemy, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Atonement, which flanked the alter with two huge trees decorated entirely in white lights and white doves every Christmas when I was growing up.

Dead of adorable.

I find this also adorable, mostly at how matter-of-fact/bored they are when the cameras aren't rolling. Simms looks a little resigned to me; I wonder if this is before or after David dropped him after a take!
neadods: (laughter)
Roy Zimmerman's "Creation Science 101"

Survival of the fittest
Does not survive the bullshit-test
Cos look at me, I'm still here!
neadods: (reading)
While I followed Kitzmiller v Dover as much as possible in real time, I've been coming in a day late and a dollar short to Ed Hume's take on it: I only found out about his book on the trial, Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America's Soul, a few weeks ago, when there was a post about it on Pharyngula. And I only found out about the reading downtown when M sent me an email Thursday morning.

So I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I went. Particularly since I could hear a couple behind me discussing the case in terms that suggested that they were pretty vague on the situation, the people, and intelligent design itself. (It would turn out that they were people he'd discussed in a previous book, Over Here.

Humes was a little late - not enough to notice particularly (okay, I didn't look at my watch) but enough that he felt we merited an apology and an explanation... basically, he'd gotten off at the right Metro stop but, not knowing the streets, ended up at HUD. "Who weren't that interested in my writing."

Could have been worse; the Justice Department's down there too!

We started with a speech )

You're the creature! )

For all of y'all who didn't click the cut tags, I shall sum up thusly: Go buy Monkey Girl.


*There is one intriguing case of someone who obviously knows me well, but I can't tell from comments or her profile who the heck she is.
neadods: (reading)
First, the weekly announcement: My review of The Ghost Map is up on Reviewing the Evidence.

Second: I'm reading Monkey Girl, possibly the first book I've ever bought because it was recommended by a blog. (Pharyngula, here) The first few pages are as good a read as promised, and I plan on writing a review here when I'm done.

I stopped to post, though, when I hit this bit on pages 6-7:
[T]he country... in a sudden panic over the Soviet Union's successful launching of the satellite Sputnik in 1957, embarked on an effort to ramp up science and math education as a matter of national security.

The next paragraphs go on about how Cold War pressure shunted aside a lot of the religious pressure to avoid teaching certain subjects, such as evolution, in favor of raising the next generation as scientists who could defeat the enemy.

The book then goes on to discuss how this made the religious factions start plotting immediately to roll back the respect that evolution was getting. Since Monkey Girl is about the Dover Intelligent Design trial, that is the main thematic drive here.

But I'm thinking... when our enemy was using science, we responded by raising scientific standards in this country. Could the new emphasis on religion in government, and the willingness of a (bare) majority to push religion in schools be due to the fact that our current enemy is using fervent faith against us? So much of the current Middle Eastern war has been framed as "our God can beat up your false God" that I'm starting to wonder.
neadods: (Default)
Ikea
Have not yet heard when I get my replacement box; am not going to call off AmEx until it's in my hands. Will call on Friday if not contacted earlier.

Gotta go. My doggie found the chainsaw.
The guys next door aren't even picking up the little wood pieces now; I built a woodpile next to my kitchen. That'll be fine burning wood by next fall, and I'll bloody use it myself. As for the big pieces in the front yard, I've decided to get a chainsaw. Although I've had offers and can rent, after I deal with those big logs I also have the branches that I hauled into the back, some bushes that need to come out, and smaller brush trees all over the property far away from power lines and walls that I could drop myself - basically, if I get one, I'm going to find plenty of long-term uses for it. So today I get one. I'm hoping [livejournal.com profile] maureen_the_mad gets home early enough to spot me in case I chop something of mine off.

Intelligent Design
Two news flashes of note:

1) The guy who insisted that NASA call the Big Bang a theory and not contradict Intelligent Design is outta there. Mr. Deutsch's resignation came on the same day that officials at Texas A&M University confirmed that he did not graduate from there, as his résumé on file at the agency asserted.

2) A bill has been introduced to ban the teaching of Intelligent Design as science in Wisconsin.

God, I love geeks!
A working difference engine (calculating machine) - made entirely of legos.

Fandom taken to the extreme
The Limited Edition Hogwarts iPod No, I don't want it. but only because it's the 30 GB and not the 60
neadods: (Default)
(I wonder how many people are going to recognize where I got that title.)

For those who haven't seen it hit the NYTimes or their f-list yet, the latest salvo in the Intelligent Design Wedge - the Deutsch memo, in which a young political appointee (his resume is listed as only showing an internship in the Bush election) has started dictating terminology to the NASA wonks. The Big Bang, he insisted, is only a theory and should be listed as such on the websites for students.

The Big Bang is "not proven fact; it is opinion," Mr. Deutsch wrote, adding, "It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator."

Because the last thing NASA should be doing is discussing actual science, don'tchaknow!

I guess that part of the Dover trial where Professor Behe admitted that his standards of "science" would admit astrology back into the classrooms wasn't a misstatement as much as a prediction.
neadods: (oy)
Phyllis Schlafly has had her say about the Dover Decision now. Just like the last time I did this the madly-spinning propaganda will be bolded, while the rebuttal from the actual text of the decision is italic. My commentary will be plain text.

Judge John E. Jones III could still be chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board if millions of evangelical Christians had not pulled the lever for George W. Bush in 2000. Yet this federal judge, who owes his position entirely to those voters and the president who appointed him, stuck the knife in the backs of those who brought him to the dance in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.

Because justice is a fluid thing that should be bought by majority vote, and have dickall to do with the law, don'tchaknow. )

In an era of judicial supremacy, Judge Jones' biased and religiously bigoted decision is way over the top. His decision will ultimately hurt the evolutionist cause because it shows that the evolutionists cannot defend their beliefs on the merits; they can only survive by censoring alternate views.

The irony here is that Jones himself said that ID should be continue to be studied, debated, and discussed [137], which hardly serves as proof of censorship. He just pointed out, through 139 clearly written pages about the merits that forcing it upon students of a public school is both bad science and a violation of the clearly defined limits of the Establishment Clause.

But I guess that it's a "silly boast" to read 139 pages of judicial material...
neadods: (Default)
I've noticed that my friends list goes up every time I either do a long rant or post tons of stuff about feminism or misused religion. With that in mind, I'm going to...

...pimp a band right now.

There's a country station here that does what they call "The 4:30 Future File" where they play a new cut by an established artist or something by a new band, and then get the listeners to call in with ratings. I've learned about a fair number of now-famous bands before they hit because of that, or caught songs I would have otherwise missed.

A couple of times the DJ played a song called "Boondocks" by Little Big Town. I loved and jumped on Amazon to get the CD. Seeing only one LBT CD, I figured it had to be the right one and got it.

Uh, nope. Little Big Town by Little Big Town doesn't have "Boondocks" on it - but I loved the album so much I stopped caring by about the second chorus of "Pontiac," the first cut. (Tired of living a life like that/giving a love she don't get back/lies as big as a pontiac/rolling all over her.) Later cuts on the album are more soft rock ballad than country, particularly the soft, nice, and hypnotic "Never Felt Love" (Now I'm alright/I've got you in my life/and I've never felt love ever feel so right) and the even more lyrical "From This Dream," which almost has a classic Moody Blues sound.

I finally got The Road to Here. This one is much more rockabilly; "Stay" is the only soft ballad on it, and "Boondocks" (I feel no shame/I'm proud of where I come from/I was born and raised in the boondocks) is totally out-rednecked by "Welcome to the Family." (Here's some brotherly advice/If you know what's good for you you'll treat her right/'Cause Grandpa's the local sheriff/He's the judge and jury too) "Lookin' for a Reason" (Not to be Gone) is a personal favorite.

A lot of juicy love/breakup stuff to work with for the vidders, and one song that I'm already laying bets will show up shortly as the signature tune for some horror/crime show: "Bones." (You've got bones in your closet/You've got ghosts in your town/Ain't no doubt, yeah, they're gonna come out/They're waiting for the sun to go down)

Listen to the cuts on Amazon to see if LBT fits your taste; I'm putting their stuff on the auto-buy list as it comes out.


Oh, and to not disappoint the crowd, an Intelligent Design link - a Chicago Tribune article titled "It's No Fun to be a Biology Teacher in Kansas. Go to the second page to find the student who considered this an appropriate test answer:

"Although there is more than one viewpoint on the issue of how we all got here, Mr. Bingman is forcing [us into] believing his views by teaching us one-sided education. This is much as how the liberal media is forcing the public into disowning the war and Pres. Bush's policies. Despite my viewpoints I am forced to write about the theory of evolution."

And on the political side, Googlenews is now citing quite a few headlines that the Justice Dept. is pursuing the leak which publicized Bush's wiretapping of citizens without warrants. Not an investigation into the legality of that wiretapping, no, this is searching for the person who let the classified news out into the public.

May it be as fast and fruitful as the Plame investigation, which is also about leaking classified information to the press...
neadods: (Default)
Thank you talk.origin: they've put up a page with links not only to the Dover Decision, but to the entire set of trial transcripts

At some point in my copious free time (*cough*) I'll read and comment. Until then, have at it if you're interested.
neadods: (Default)
The Discovery Institute, which is dedicated to the scientific study of creationism Intelligent Design, has posted their response to the Dover ruling today.

I present a dialog, with some side comments. Bold is Discovery Institute, with all quotes coming from their response page. Italic are quotes from the legal ruling [page numbers will be in brackets]

The Dover decision is an attempt by an activist federal judge to stop the spread of a scientific idea... This is an activist judge who has delusions of grandeur.

Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. [137] (According to what I've seen online, this judge was appointed by George W Bush in 2002.)

He has conflated Discovery Institute’s position with that of the Dover school board

The Court has taken under consideration the following... (2) Revised Brief of Amicus Curiae, the Discovery Institute [7] Dramatic evidence of ID's religious natiure and aspirations is found in what is referred to as the "Wedge Document." The Wedge Document, developed by the Discovery Institute's Center for Renewal of Science and Culture represents from an institutional standpoint the [Intelligent Design Movement]'s goals and objectives. [28] The Discovery Institute... acknowledges as "Governing Goals" to "defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies" [68, with cited reference noted] Page 100 begins an entire section entitled Early 2004 - Buckingham's Contacts with the Discovery Institute. And so on; in this section, searching for the term "Discovery Institute" becomes tedious as it is cited every other sentence.

He totally misrepresents intelligent design and the motivations of the scientists who research it

He totally quotes Behe and Discovery Institute material, with citations.

Judge Jones found that the Dover board violated the Establishment Clause because it acted from religious motives. That should have been the end to the case," said West. "Instead, Judge Jones got on his soapbox to offer his own views of science, religion, and evolution.

Behe testified, as did the Discovery Institute in filing Amicus Curie documents. The judge has every right to rule on the evidence presented to him.

Americans don't like to be told there is some idea that they aren't permitted to learn about... Banning intelligent design in Dover will likely only fan interest in the theory

We do not question that many of the leading advocates of ID have bona fide* and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors. Nor do we controvery that ID should continue to be studied, debated and discussed. As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school classroom [137]
*emphasis original


this decision will be of minor significance

I doubt it, but time will tell. The precedent has been set, especially as Discovery Institute also admits: The plans of the lawyers on both sides of this case to turn this into a landmark ruling.

Discovery Institute continues to oppose efforts to mandate teaching about the theory of intelligent design in public schools

Smart, considering what a wipeout this landmark case was.

We also think students should learn about both the scientific strengths and weaknesses of Darwin's theory of evolution... The scientific theory of intelligent design proposes that some features of the natural world are best explained as the product of an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection

We find that while ID arguments may be true, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is not science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980s; and (3) ID's negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. As we will discuss in more detail below, it is additionally important to note that ID has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific communition, it has not generated peer-reviewed publications, nor has it been the subject of testing and research. [64, starting long section]

Say goodnight, Gracie. The party's over.
neadods: (Default)
I was just gone for an hour, but that was time enough for half of my friendslist to go nuts with jubilation. The Dover Intelligent Design case is over... and the judge has boiled ID with its own pudding and buried it with a stake of holly through its heart in no uncertain terms, calling the case the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. (That link leads to the second page, where the quote is. There's good stuff on page 1 too.)

The entire 139 (!) page decision is online. Skimming it brings up some great stuff - the judge wasn't just discussing the unConstitutionality of the Dover anti-evolution announcement, he takes on the intellectual bankruptcy of ID's star "scientists." For instantance, on page 74... quotes not in the news articles below cut. )

My favorite quote is on page 121, and is suitable for calligraphy and framing, or putting on T-shirts: One unfortunate theme in this case is the striking ignorance concerning the concept of ID amongst Board members. Conspicuously, Board members who voted for the curriculum change testified at trial that they had utterly no grasp of ID.

And under fast-breaking news, I'm seeing reports spread across Google news that Representative John Conyers (D-MI) is calling for the censure of Bush over the wiretapping issue and calling for an investigative committee to see if Bush has committed impeachable offenses.

And here it is on the Library of Congress page: H.RES.635
Title: Creating a select committee to investigate the Administration's intent to go to war before congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing torture, retaliating against critics, and to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment.

ETA: The link keeps blinking in and out: I'm using http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/D?d109:13:./temp/~bdCwgo::|/bss/d109query.html| If that doesn't work, go to the Thomas Main Page at http://thomas.loc.gov/ pick Conyers out of the list of Representatives, click "Go" and scroll down to item 13. While you're there, check out #s 636 and 637 too.
neadods: (Default)
America's views on science are bizarre at best. On one hand, we are fighting outbreaks of virulient anti-science as fundamentalist creationists Intelligent Designers try to take over schools. Kansas has redefined science to permit for supernatural explanations of physical evidence. (Charles Pierce has written a brilliantly stinging Esquire article called "Greetings from Idiot America" about this.)

But on the other hand, this is the country that adores real science, and rewards it with vast amounts of attention on the most pervasive media we have. Science shows rule. Not just on the science and Discovery networks, but in every area. Alton Brown, darling of the Food Channel, is a scientist. For the children there was Bill Nye The Science Guy, plus Beakman and Jax used to have a Sunday strip as well as their show.

Even fictionalized science is hot stuff - we keep CSI at the top of the ratings and its offspring in the top 10. CSI may deal with sensationalist crimes, but the underlying science is always there and it's always real and it's almost always explained so that everyone in the viewing audience can "get" what's going on and how they determined what happened. No other show, not even the forensics fiction, has had the ratings or the social impact that CSI has.

Because let's face it - science is cool!

Which is a very long and somewhat tangential leadup to this link - The 11-Year Quest to Create Disappearing Colored Bubbles. Chemical burns, ruined clothes, 11 years, half a million dollars—it's not easy to improve the world's most popular toy. Yet the success of one inventor's quest to dye a simple soap bubble may change the way the world uses color

I love their descriptions of the testing and the failures... and the picture is really worth 1000 words!

Had to pass that one on.

As for the food... )
neadods: (disgusted)
On Thursday's broadcast of "The 700 Club," Robertson told Dover residents, "If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God." The founder of the Virginia Beach-based Christian Broadcasting Network explained, "You just voted God out of your city."

Because we all know that you can't have true faith unless you legislate it into being! Or something.

The real irony here is that the new group hasn't said that they're eliminating Intelligent Design from the curriculum. They fully intend to cover it... in the new elective comparative religion class.
neadods: (oy)
ABC has an article on the ID decision in Kansas, spinning it as a win for the Discovery Institute. Which it is - but they're not going to wave the victory flag long if they keep acting like this:

The Discovery Institute denies allegations that its true agenda is religious.

Their public relations representative stopped ABC News' interview when asked about the organization's many evangelical Christian donors.

"I don't think we want to go down that path," he said.

Meyer says no matter who provides financial support, his goals are scientific and that science may one day prove his belief that the intelligent designer is God.


Oh, golly, I could go on for hours just about these few sentences. I'll stick with three:

1) Stopping an interview is the same as standing up and shrieking "I'M HIDING SOMETHING I DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW!" and is the world's stupidest way of deflecting a conversation. If you don't want to go down that path, why not say "Most of our doners are not evangelicals." Or - if that's, say, a lie, why not deflect with "many evangelicals also donate to [insert other cause(s) here]" and make it seem like no big deal?

2) The attitude seems to be that refusing to talk about funding is the same as making sure that questions won't ever be asked. I'm sure that Frist and DeLay and the people who ran Enron sincerely wish it worked that way. It doesn't.

3) The Discovery Institute can deny allegations of religion all it wants; its page still refers to God. Also free-market capitalism and American supremacy. It also lists a program on religion and public life. With bonus page praising the Pope's pro-Intelligent Design statement.

(It also claims that No one is proposing that supernatural explanations should be included in science. They just don't want such things entirely ruled out; you see, solely natural explanations of phenomina "subtly shift the emphasis in science education from the investigative process to the end result... and encourages premature answers to scientific questions" for reasons that are never explained.)

Now, taking just those web pages, I suppose it would be possible to argue that acknowledging religion is not the same as endorsing it... until Meyer opens up his mouth and says that he hopes to scientifically prove that there is a God.

Glad to know that there really isn't a religious goal, Meyer.
neadods: (weepingangel)
In Dover Pennsylvania, the overwhelming vote was to remove every single school board member who had tried to substitute "Intelligent Design" for biological science. This is probably going to put a spoke in the plans to take the ID case all the way up to the Supreme Court.

But in Kansas, not just biology, but all sciences went down for the count: Most disturbing to many scientists is the redefinition of science in the new standards to allow what many consider supernatural causes. Previously, science was defined as "The human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us. These explanations are based on observations, experiments, and logical arguments that adhere to strict empirical standards and a healthy skeptical perspective."

Under the new standards: "Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation, that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena."


Not only are natural explanations ruled out (opening the door wide for the supernatural, of course), notice also that skepticism and empirical standards are also gone. Not to mention, most dangerously of all, the ability to find answers. Read it again - "continuing investigation." "More adequate explanations."

My father once picked up a copy of Behe's Darwin's Black Box, a creationist biology text. (Why he was reading it in the first place, I don't know.) "The problem isn't that it challenges current thinking," said my father, the lifelong engineer and general tinkerer, "it's that it tells you that there is no answer, so stop looking. It shuts down all debate. It shuts down all hope of change."

And that's what the new Kansas standard does - tells you to hit "adequate" and stop. Oh, you can "continue investigation" but you're not going to get anywhere, because God Did It and it's so irreducibly complex that it's not worth our trouble to go past the "adequate explanation" already printed in the Bible.

This isn't just unscientific, it's irreligious. When creatinists point to deeply religious, great scientists in the past, they neglect to mention that Bacon, Kepler, Boyle, Newton, and the whole kickline were studying science because they believed that through rigorous, methodical, and yes, even skeptical empiricism they could understand the world around them. That the world itself was methodical and logical, because God had made it that way, and only through thoroughly understanding the world *exactly as it was* could they understand God. (We're not even going to go into the false witness in most of the statements about those scientists on that website. Why the world would be better if the people who want to wallpaper it with the 10 Commandments actually FOLLOWED the 10 Commandments is a different rant.)

As the song lyric goes, "Man wrote the Bible; God wrote the rocks." You cannot believe that God made the world and then turn away from it as not worthy of study.

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