Saturday, December 24, 2005

I know some people like to deliberate, but...

Evolution is the science development of the year.
Shortlist for next year includes Newton, Copernicus and Louis Pasteur.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Flip and, indeed, Flop

I'm glad that Bush won in the States and would have none of that flip-flop crap going on in his party

Money quote:
Santorum said his statements are not contradictory, nor has his position changed.
But this is a nice outline:

Rick Santorum on Intelligent Design

"Therefore, intelligent design is a legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in science classes."

- 2002 Washington Times op-ed article

"I'm not comfortable with intelligent design being taught in the science classroom."

- Interview in August on National Public Radio

"I do not believe it should be required teaching."

- Interview yesterday with The Inquirer

"I thought the Thomas More Law Center made a huge mistake in taking this case and in pushing this case to the extent they did."

- from Inquirer interview

Addendum: someone else has noticed this.

Yet another summary of the decision

This is just another quick summary. It's just nice to see someone user the word "lie" when discussing a liar.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Still No Intelligence to go with that Design

Well, a day later and the shit is still storming.
The National Centre for Science Education's post is short and sweet.
Dembski's response is petulant and evasive with the usual blah, blah, Mt Rushmore, blah, Darwinists don't want to be put to the test, blah, blah... a bit of a joke really. PT has a go at that one. So does Pharyngula.
The Discovery Institute dropped the activist bomb almost immediately. You don't have to win the JREF prize to see that one coming.
So what the fuck does activist judge mean other than "I lost the case?"
Slate got their article by Wm Saletan up pretty fast as well. Saletan has had a checkered past with some of his ID articles, but the majority of them were worth the read. This one is in the upper middle of the pack. The ending note is dead on tho'. The fear of modern culture displaced onto scientific findings is one that will continue to motivate the DI and the other fundie/creationist folks.
Also, Canadian Cynic has a word or two to go with it.
I wish this meant that I could stop smearing my monitor with this crap. But it won't ID will get shitcanned, but in the long run, mediaevalist thinking will regroup and mount another last-ditch (a hail mary, if you will) attempt.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Onion strikes again

The Onion strikes again with this little blurb on the subject of torture.

Intelligent Design ruled to be Creationism in a Cheap Tuxedo

And we didn't see it coming...
Dispatches from the Culture War has a pretty good summary of the decision.
It looks for all to see as if everybody could cut right through the obfuscation and peel it back like the belly of a frog in grade 9 bio. ID is Creationism. Once again, the latest Culture War to End all Wars has been won by the good guys.
Until the next one.
From Pharyngula we get this little tidbit from the decision:

To be sure, Darwin's theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions.

The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.

With that said, 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 controvert 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 science classroom.

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. Rather, this case came to us as the result of 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. The breathtaking inanity of the Board's decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.

Gorgeous. Which will lead me to the inevitable question: What exactly is an activist judge? What does that phrase mean?
You miss out a lot of oddball stuff being Canadian.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Values and the American Public

Frankly I don't know how they do it. They just keep talking about values and they don't seem to care about what people do that reflects them.
The level of public discourse in the US has hit what I can only hope is its nadir. What makes the whole exercise in yank-watching so torturous is seeing the very people who exhibit the worst sort of behaviour and the lowest morality calling for an end to boor culture and a return to high morality and getting to set the terms of the debate by defining all these things. It's like letting W. define torture: since we don't torture, everything we do do is by definition not torture. QED.
There's just no reaching bottom with some people.
Pat Robertson:
Bad behaviour comes little lower than the (ir)religious right. And amongst them, this grinning hommunculus sinks among the lowest. Check him out here, here, and here.
What more can you say?
George W. Bush
Wiretapping. You need more said than that.
Georgey-Porgey, I've got news for you. If the terrorist hate you for your freedoms, they've got a bit less to hate you for every day you're in power. A bit less everyday.

Correction: Meant to say Robertson not Buchannan. My bad

Religion and the ACLU

Yesterday on one of the yankee channels I saw a bit of The American President. There's a bit at the end where the President (played by the every un-likable Michael Douglas) give a maudlin, manipulative, oooh-aren't-I-rousing-and-presidential speech near the end. The intersting thing about that is in the middle the ACLU comes up. The president had been attacked for supporting the ACLU and turned the tables by asking his opponent why he wasn't a member of an organization dedicated to protecting American Freedoms.
I've never understood the American obsession of hating most viscerally the one organization that seems to actually care about the constitution and it's content, the one group vigorously defending freedoms in the US. I mean does that sound hate-worthy? I also don't understand those donkey dong-rinsers who say that our Constitution was the biggest mistake that Trudeau ever made. Seriously, don't you want a line written down that says: "I don't care how many of you there are. This far and no further." Given the police state that the UK is turning into because they can't be bothered to write anything down, I feel safer knowing that my frost-back ass is covered. (on the subject of the UK, Orwell lacked imagination)
Still the ACLU is the favourite whipping boy of the Repulican right and it's hypocritical cheering squad. So today, through Fuck Christmas, I found a page of points where the ACLU has been defending the religious freedoms of all stripes, esp. Xtians.
I just thought it would be my Kwanzaa gift to Fox News to put it up here.


Your Elf Name Is...

Giggles Mc Flurry

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Beauty of Ali G and an Interesting Article That is Almost Related

Yesterday's episode of Da Ali G Show on Showcase was a repeat, but I hadn't seen the beginning.
The roundtable discussion on science featured famed scientist, lecturer and paleontology expert Kent Hovind. His contribution was outstanding as always.
On the other side, what really made it all work for me was Ali G accusing Hovind of leaving a floater in dressing rooms. Finally someone treats his arguments the way they need to be addressed.
Can I say "make a monkey out of him" at this juncture?
Semi-related: ScienceDaily has an article on running and its effect on the evolution of human beings. Worth a quick read.
Personally I'm waiting for Dr Hovind to come back to the Ali G show and update us on this aspect of evolution. If he can get past the Homo part of Homo Sapiens, that is.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Fox News War on Hannukah

In the South Park movie, the kids as what the hell is wrong with German people. Today, once again, the spotlight moves south to our American cousins.
The faux War on Christmas is boiling over in the US and is one of the stupidest things I've heard of in my life.
The idea the Bill O'Reilly is allowed to smudge up the screen of my TV with his bloviating and bullshit is reprehensible, but that he's allowed to market this crap of his own invention is insulting.
The whole War on Christmas meme is based on a real war on respect and decorum and it's always the right wingers who seem to be behind it.
So I want to know from Mr O'Reilly is this: why to you hate Hannukah? Why do you want to destroy it?
You've been on record saying that non-Christians are not offended by Merry Christmas, but xtians are offended by Happy Holidays. How thin skinned are you people down there? (I'd like to say more about that, but the Daily Show as always got the best takedown in first).
So I want to know: Are you offended by Happy Hannukah? Does it bother you? Why do only you get to ram your religion down others' throats but recoil like a beaten puppy when someone points out that you're being rude.
I thought about calling this post "Go play hide and go fuck yourself."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Seth Shostak and the Controversy

Ah, Seth.
I'm a fan of the Are We Alone? and Skeptical Sunday podcasts that Seth Shostak does for the SETI institute.
When I discovered his article telling ID creationists to stop, stop I say, using SETI as a smoke screen for their pseudo-science, I loved it.
Particularly salient are his points on experience and recognizing design by comparing to design.
Do check out the SETI podcasts in iTunes. There's a lot of good stuff in it.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Some Rummy Gets Spanked in Public

I've been waiting a long, long time for someone to tell any number of the blowhard public figures in the United States to sit down and shut the fuck up.
And it finally happened.
General Peter Pace basically told Donald Rumsfeld to sit down, shut the fuck up and listen 'cause he might learn something.
If that wasn't enough that the topic was the obligation that American soldiers have to intervene and stop abuse if they see it.
It's especially nice to see something like that happen when the Iraqis are reporting that abuse is worse now than under Saddam.
WashingtonMonthly has the article.
Extra Update: Crooks and Liars has the video.