Richard Dawkins corrects a creationist

June 5, 2011

Rep. Jack Kingston campaigning for dumbing man on Earth

January 29, 2011

There’s so much stupid in this clip, it makes my head hurt.

News From Around The Blogosphere 12.27.10

December 27, 2010

1. Christianity loses majority in England – For the first time, an annual British Social Attitudes survey suggests Christianity does not represent the majority of British citizens, with only 42% self-identifying as Christians while 51% now saying they have no religion. America is making progress in that area as well bu still has ways to go, as 26% of Millennials saying they’re religiously unaffiliated compared with 20% of GenXers and 14% of Baby Boomers.

2. What’s the harm in voodoo? – a Haitian mob has taking to lynching voodoo priests over the belief that voodoo is the cause of the recent cholera outbreak. It should be noted that Germ Theory was being argued as early as at least 1700 by physician Nicolas Andry as an explanation for small pox and other diseases and that John Snow contributed to the formation of the germ theory when he traced the source of the 1854 cholera outbreak in Soho, London. And for those keeping track, the Haitian cholera outbreak being blamed on voodoo is happening in the year 2010, over a hundred and fifty years later. That’s like attributing the dishwasher (1850), sewing machine (1851), and pasteurisation (1856) to demons.

3. I usually don’t like seeing children get spanked but PZ does it so well – Occasionally, PZ Myers posts a particularly egregious creationist email he gets and has his fun dissecting and demolishing its points. This time, it was an email from a creationist claiming to be a 12-year-old boy. Now normally I would say leave the kid alone as it seems overly cruel to publicly ridicule someone so young. But to the kid’s credit (if we take his age at face value), it’s fairly well written for a 12-year-old (minus some glaring typos) and it’s actually precisely the same arguments we hear from adult creationists all the time, so I can’t really fault PZ for using this email as chance to educate.

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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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News From Around The Blogosphere 11.12.10

November 12, 2010

1. Modeling autism in a lab dish

A collaborative effort between researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the University of California, San Diego, successfully used human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells derived from patients with Rett syndrome to replicate autism in the lab and study the molecular pathogenesis of the disease.

Their findings, published in the Nov. 12, 2010, issue of Cell, revealed disease-specific cellular defects, such as fewer functional connections between Rett neurons, and demonstrated that these symptoms are reversible, raising the hope that, one day, autism maybe turn into a treatable condition.

2. Louisiana at war with textbooks over evolution – High school biology textbooks are being accused of putting “too much credibility in the theory of evolution.” And in related news, math text books are being accused of putting too much credibility in subtraction.

3. All life on Earth could originate from alien zombies -An interesting twist on the speculation of panspermia is that life on Earth could have emerged from alien viruses that were already dead but still carried enough information to spawn new life.

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John May Lives

September 20, 2010

For a number of years now, the Catholic Church (as primitive as they are) have actually accepted the scientific fact of evolution. But not all Catholic officials do. Conor Lenihan, an Irish a Minister of State with special responsibility for Science, is not a fan. In fact, he expressed his support for a creationist book unoriginally titled “The Origin of Specious Nonsense” written by John J. May.

I know what you’re thinking? How could an authority on science oppose evolution? Don’t worry. He doesn’t actually have any scientific credentials. Apparently science authorities in the Catholic Church don’t require any scientific expertise.

As for May, he calls Lucy a hoax, “saying that it was made from a pig’s jawbone and that this was a well-known fact.”

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News From Around The Blogosphere 5.20.10

May 21, 2010

1. Antievolution bill denied in Missouri – House Bill 1651 was another transparent creationist attempt to undermine evolution. First they tried “creation science” and that was ruled unconstitutional. Then came “Intelligent Design” and that was exposed as a fraud. Then came the “Teach the controversy” and “academic freedom” laws. And now this is the latest strategy they seem to be using. The bill calls calls for the teaching of the strengths and weaknesses of evolution. The problem is there are no weaknesses to evolution. You might as well demand the teaching the weaknesses of heliocentricism or the weaknesses of Round Earth Theory.

2. Saudi woman kicks virtue cop’s ass – In Saudi Arabia, they have virtue cops who patrol public places looking for unmarried couples illegally socializing (cause it’s a serious crime to socialize there). This religion cop saw a young, 20-something couple and approached them. He asked them to confirm their identities and relationship to one another (and you thought Arizona was fascist). That’s when the young man collapsed and the woman beat the shit out of the cop. Awesome!

“To see resistance from a woman means a lot,” Wajiha Al-Huwaidar, a Saudi women’s rights activist, told The Media Line news agency. “People are fed up with these religious police, and now they have to pay the price for the humiliation they put people through for years and years. This is just the beginning and there will be more resistance.”

“The media and the Internet have given people a lot of power and the freedom to express their anger,” she said. “The Hai’a are like a militia, but now whenever they do something it’s all over the Internet. This gives them a horrible reputation and gives people power to react.”

3. Being an evangelical pastor has its down side – A new survey finds that being an evangelical pastor is a pretty strong indicator that your life sucks. Here’s just a few examples:

  • 1500 pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
  • 50% of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce.
  • 80 percent of pastors feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastor.
  • 50% of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
  • 80% of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
  • 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
  • 40% of pastors polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.

4. Scientists create new cell controlled by man-made genetic instructions

Although the ultimate goal of creating artificial organisms is still far off, the experiment points to a future in which microbes could be manufactured with novel functions, such as the ability to digest pollutants or produce fuels. Some ethicists fear that the strategy could also be used to produce biological weapons and other dangerous life forms.

And to think, they said we were mad…MAD! Muhahahaha!

5. Researchers find first drug that has therapeutic effect in a type of autism

Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have identified a drug that improves communication between nerve cells in a mouse model of Phelan-McDermid Syndrome (PMS). Behavioral symptoms of PMS fall under the autism spectrum disorder category.

And to think, if anti-vaxxers had their way this research would not even exist.

6. Psychic caught stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars

Marks ran a psychic business out of Lafayette. Police said she convinced clients that certain numbers were bad and they needed to give her their credit card and bank account numbers. Investigators say she also convinced customers to give her large amounts of money so she could cleanse it of evil spirits.

. . .

One woman said she lost $240,000. Others claimed to have lost their life savings to Marks.

“She told me, ‘Don’t tell anybody about me. If you tell anybody bad things will happen to you,'” Bermudez-Hafer said.

District Attorney Stan Garnett offered advice to those who visit psychics.

“Don’t start giving psychics large amounts of money based on some understanding of magic that’s going to happen,” Garnett said.

An even better piece of advice is to avoid “psychics” altogether. As for Marks, I foresee an orange jumpsuit in her future.

Why won’t creationists answer this question?

May 3, 2010

This reminds me of another creationist debate:

Why unregulated homeschooling should be outlawed

March 9, 2010

It’s been well known for a long time that the homeschooling world is largely dominated by religious wackos who, in an effort to control their children, pull them out of the public education system in order to teach them all about Jesus and how evolution is the devil!

But a great article that appeared on Yahoo News the other day reported just how widespread the religious loonies are within the homeschooling world:

Christian-based materials dominate a growing home-school education market that encompasses more than 1.5 million students in the U.S. And for most home-school parents, a Bible-based version of the Earth’s creation is exactly what they want. Federal statistics from 2007 show 83 percent of home-schooling parents want to give their children “religious or moral instruction.”

“The majority of home-schoolers self-identify as evangelical Christians,” said Ian Slatter, a spokesman for the Home School Legal Defense Association. “Most home-schoolers will definitely have a sort of creationist component to their home-school program.”

This is not education but a grotesque perversion of it. This is how you create a generation of slaves.

And it’s not just parents but there’s an entire industry there contributing to this slavery of the mind:

Two of the best-selling biology textbooks stack the deck against evolution, said some science educators who reviewed sections of the books at the request of The Associated Press.

“I feel fairly strongly about this. These books are promulgating lies to kids,” said Jerry Coyne, an ecology and evolution professor at the University of Chicago.

The textbook publishers defend their books as well-rounded lessons on evolution and its shortcomings. One of the books doesn’t attempt to mask disdain for Darwin and evolutionary science.

“Those who do not believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God will find many points in this book puzzling,” says the introduction to “Biology: Third Edition” from Bob Jones University Press. “This book was not written for them.”

The textbook delivers a religious ultimatum to young readers and parents, warning in its “History of Life” chapter that a “Christian worldview … is the only correct view of reality; anyone who rejects it will not only fail to reach heaven but also fail to see the world as it truly is.”

When the AP asked about that passage, university spokesman Brian Scoles said the sentence made it into the book because of an editing error and will be removed from future editions.

Yeah, obviously directly lying to kids was just an innocent typo like when you find a history textbook that accidentally prints statements suggesting the Holocaust never happened. Honest mistake.

But the real gem of the article comes from the response to Jerry Coyne from the guy who unintelligently designed this creationist curriculum:

“If this is the way kids are home-schooled then they’re being shortchanged, both rationally and in terms of biology,” Coyne said. He argued that the books may steer students away from careers in biology or the study of the history of the earth.

Wile countered that Coyne “feels compelled to lie in order to prop up a failing hypothesis (evolution). We definitely do not lie to the students. We tell them the facts that people like Dr. Coyne would prefer to cover up.”

This appears a few paragraphs below a quote where Wile innocent suggests he’s merely a businessman catering to the largest demographic. Yes, clearly it’s not because he’s got his own ax to grind.

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.”