Richard Dawkins corrects a creationist

June 5, 2011

Creationism loses in Louisiana

December 9, 2010

 

Suck it, bitches!

Not long ago, the Louisiana school board bought into the “teach the controversy” campaign being sold by the cdesign proponentsists. Fortunately, cooler heads have now finally prevailed.

In a preliminary vote a few days ago, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted 6-1 to  accept a proper treatment of Evolution free from insane disclaimers like that it’s “only a theory” or that Intelligent Design is to be taken seriously.

Today, the final vote that included the entire board found 8-2 in favor of Evolution and a quality science education. Yet again, creationism has been defeated. Of course, sadly, as I must say whenever we score such victories, the battle continues. Ideologues never give in no matter how many times they’re shown to be dead wrong and no matter how many times their attempts to change public policy are defeated.

They just continue to move the goalpost and change strategies. First, it was “Creation Science.” Then when the Supreme Court ruled against it, they created Intelligent Design (w/ a brief unfortunate stop over in “cdesign proponentsists”). Then when that was defeated in the Kitzmiller vs. Dover trial, they branched off into “teach the controversy”, “academic freedom”, and “teach the strengths and weaknesses of Evolution.” Now that all those tactics are starting to fail, they’ll just come up with something else, whatever it takes to chip away at the legitimacy of Evolution.

Fortunately, we have the National Center for Science Education and guys like Ken Miller keeping up with the latest tactics and tirelessly fighting the good fight for truth, justice, and the American way.

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Both Sides!

January 31, 2010

California slays creationism

January 16, 2010

After the humiliating defeat in Dover, one would think those cdesign proponentsists had hit bottom. But no, there’s 49 other states they can still lose in. Correct, 48 other states. California just said no to creationism too. This particular case centered around the University of California, which had the audacity to to have actual standards of admission (emphasis mine):

The plaintiffs — the Association of Christian Schools International, the Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta, California, and a handful of students at the school — charged that the university system violated the constitutional rights of applicants from Christian schools whose high school coursework is deemed inadequate preparation for college.

Creationism was not the only issue in the case, to be sure, but it was conspicuous. The plaintiffs objected to the university system’s policy of rejecting high school biology courses that use textbooks published by Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Books — Biology: God’s Living Creation and Biology for Christian Schools — as “inconsistent with the viewpoints and knowledge generally accepted in the scientific community.”

Michael Behe defended the textbooks. Of course it’s now a matter of public record that Behe is a liar, thanks to Judge John Jones from the Dover case:

“Professor Behe, his testimony at trial indicated that ID is only a scientific, as opposed to a religious, project for him; however, considerable evidence was introduced to refute this claim. Consider, to illustrate, that Professor Behe remarkably and unmistakably claims that the plausibility of the argument for ID
depends upon the extent to which one believes in the existence of God. (P-718 at 705) (emphasis added). As no evidence in the record indicates that any other scientific proposition’s validity rests on belief in God, nor is the Court aware of any such scientific propositions, Professor Behe’s assertion constitutes substantial evidence that in his view, as is commensurate with other prominent ID leaders, ID is a religious and not a scientific proposition.”

Oops!


Charles Darwin Tagged You in a Note on Facebook

February 18, 2009

Slate Magazine has looked at Facebook’s “25 Random Things About Me” craze but failed to find the Patient Zero that started the whole thing. This led to an interesting conclusion:

But the absence of a singular “25 Things” creator reveals something much more interesting: Facebook organisms are not created by intelligent design. They evolve.

The idea that culture spreads in biological ways has been around for a while. Richard Dawkins coined the term meme in 1976′s The Selfish Gene to describe how ideas propagate according to evolutionary principles of mutation and selection. A quantitative study of the “25 Things” letter seems to ratify that.

Slate Magazine isn’t the first to draw the evolution connection. When I was originally tagged about 3 weeks ago, it was called the “25 Random Things About Me ‘Meme’.”

Slate also tracked some of the various mutations of the meme as it evolved from 16 random facts to 15, 17, 22, 35, and even 100. Those other mutations didn’t survive but 25 proved to be the magic number.

There it is, evolution in action.


Debunking long dead creationists

February 17, 2009

John Holbo came across an old 19th century book of poetry that makes one of the worst arguments for design I’ve ever heard. Not surprisingly, it bares slight resemblence to Ray Comfort’s “Atheist Nightmare” argument: “The Atheist and the Acorn”, by Anne, the Duchess of Winchelsea.

Methinks this world is oddly made,
And every thing’s amiss,
A dull presuming atheist said,
As stretch’d he lay beneath a shade,
And instanced it in this:

Behold, quoth he, that mighty thing,
A pumpkin, large and round,
Is held but by a little string,
Which upwards cannot make it spring,
Or bear it from the ground.

While on this oak, an acorn small,
So disproportion’d, grows;
That, who with sense surveys this all,
This universal casual ball,
Its ill contrivance knows.

My better judgment would have hung
The pumpkin on the tree,
And left the acorn, lightly strung,
‘Mongst things which on the surface sprung,
And small and feeble be.

No more the caviller could say,
Nor further faults descry;
For as he upwards gazing lay,
An acorn, loosen’d from its stay,
Fell down upon his eye.

The wounded part with tears ran o’er,
As punish’d for the sin:
Fool! had that bough a pumpkin bore,
Thy whimseys would have work’d no more,
Nor skull have kept them in.

Discuss.

I found the illustration here, and was saved from having to scan it. The poem can be found elsewhere on the web, in slightly different versions. Here, for example.

My refutation:  falling coconuts kill more people each year than sharks.


Florida senator trying to push evolution-denial agenda

February 9, 2009

Florida Sen. Stephen Wise (don’t let the name fool you) has announced through an article in the Florida Times Union that he intends to propose a bill that would mandate the teaching of the cdesign proponentsists’ view–err, I mean “Intelligent” Design. And if the article I read is accurately describing his terminology then he is actually proposing the teaching of Intelligent Design and the more recent spin promoting  “teaching both sides.” Here’s a direct quote from Senator Wise:

“If you’re going to teach evolution, then you have to teach the other side so you can have critical thinking.”

So I guess the Senator thinks we should teach Holocaust denial too, you know, because we have to teach the other side so we can have critical thinking. And if we really want to apply Sen. Wise’s model of critical thinking then we gotta teach Flat Earth Theory too. And don’t forget David Icke’s view of history that involves the world being ruled by shape-shifting reptiles from outer space.

Senator Wise, pretending that all opinions are equally valid points of view is not teaching critical thinking but rather it’s a mockery of everything our education system stands for. But you know what? I agree that we should teach Intelligent Design in Science classrooms. Every high school student should be required to read through the transcripts of the Dover Trial and Judge Jones’ famous 139-page decision where he ruled that not only was “Intelligent” Design not science but that it could not be separated from its inherently religious roots and that its proponents are in fact LIARS.


News From Around The Blogosphere 7.22.08

July 23, 2008

South Dakota abortion providers must tell women abortion terminates “life”-That political ideology is now being legally imposed in South Dakota is disgraceful. Until this matter is rectified, South Dakota is going on my “Is Dead To Me” list next to Louisiana for its absurd “academic freedom” law. I encourage everyone to hurl perpetual ridicule upon these states, make them the butt of your jokes. Indeed, no method has proven more effective in changing such policies in modern times as ridicule. Of course, many intelligent people who oppose this nonsense reside in these states; I encourage you all to fight these idiotic policies.

What is a skeptic and why we need them? -Out of the typing fingers of babes. One of the next generation of young skeptics comments on what it means to be a skeptic:

Why secular activism is necessary -The Religious Right affects public policy and every day they are fighting for control of the world. They’re fighting to control what we can and how we can think. This is the very antithesis of the free secular republic designed by our Founding Father. And that vision is worth protecting.

Pastafarian Swap

-TV’s reality series WifeSwap has a history of bringing atheists into America’s living rooms:

But Jinxi and Steve’s family won’t be the last atheistic family as the program is currently casting Pastafarians.

Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis’s is displeased w/ review of Creationist Museum -Apparently, Ken Ham took umbrage with a few bits in the descriptions of his Creationist Museum in the book, Weird Kentucky. What’s funny is the details he chooses to complain about how he tries to correct the book’s “errors” with information that is equally absurd than the claims suggested in the book.

Adam & Eve depiction at Creationist Museum

Adam & Eve depiction at Creationist Museum

Center For Advanced Medicine And Clinical Research–fancy name for an anti-vaccine propaganda front -These guys are just pure evil. There’s no way I can be gentle about this. Nothing Michael Savage has said comes anywhere near as repulsive and dangerous as what this quacks says in his blogs. People see the title “Doctor” and use him as an example of doctors “exposing the evil Big Pharma conspiracy because his claims confirm what they already believe.

And some science news:

Stem Cells: New Way To Treat Spinal-cord Injury

-A researcher at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory has pinpointed stem cells within the spinal cord that may lead to a new, non-surgical treatment for debilitating spinal-cord injuries.


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