Archives for July 2005
Charles Krauthammer layeth down the smack on the creationist attempts to re-write science curricula:
The half-century campaign to eradicate any vestige of religion from public life has run its course. The backlash from a nation fed up with the A.C.L.U. kicking crèches out of municipal Christmas displays has created a new balance. State-supported universities may subsidize the activities of student religious groups. Monuments inscribed with the Ten Commandments are permitted on government grounds. The Federal Government is engaged in a major antipoverty initiative that gives money to churches. Religion is back out of the closet.
But nothing could do more to undermine this most salutary restoration than the new and gratuitous attempts to invade science, and most particularly evolution, with religion…
This conflict between faith and science had mercifully abated over the past four centuries as each grew to permit the other its own independent sphere. What we are witnessing now is a frontier violation by the forces of religion. This new attack claims that because there are gaps in evolution, they therefore must be filled by a divine intelligent designer.
How many times do we have to rerun the Scopes “monkey trial”? There are gaps in science everywhere. Are we to fill them all with divinity? There were gaps in Newton’s universe. They were ultimately filled by Einstein’s revisions. There are gaps in Einstein’s universe, great chasms between it and quantum theory. Perhaps they are filled by God. Perhaps not. But it is certainly not science to merely declare it so.
To teach faith as science is to undermine the very idea of science, which is the acquisition of new knowledge through hypothesis, experimentation and evidence. To teach it as science is to encourage the supercilious caricature of America as a nation in the thrall of religious authority. To teach it as science is to discredit the welcome recent advances in permitting the public expression of religion. Faith can and should be proclaimed from every mountaintop and city square. But it has no place in science class. To impose it on the teaching of evolution is not just to invite ridicule but to earn it.
Meanwhile, the idiots are marching in Missouri:
“I knew you’d be excited to hear my bill,” Davis begins. “Good things are going on in Missouri education today.”
It’s a cheerful introduction to a case that later will link the lessons Missouri students yawn through in high school biology to the Holocaust.
Eager to present her witnesses, Davis gets to it.
“My bill is only three sentences,’’ she says. “It says that all biology textbooks sold to the public schools of the state of Missouri shall have one or more chapters containing a critical analysis of origins. The chapters shall convey the distinction between data and testable theories of science and philosophical claims that are made in the name of science. Where topics are taught that may generate controversy, such as biological evolution, the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist, why such topics may generate controversy and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society.”
Yes, we must examine this controversy.
To Davis, evolution means “we all come from pond scum.”
“It’s saying that human life came from nothing, and that makes no sense to reasonable people,” Davis says.
Science refers to evolution, sometimes called microevolution, as inheritable changes within a population over generations. Evolutionary theory, or macroevolution, says that all life on Earth evolved from a common ancestor and that the processes propelling the diversification of living organisms are gene mutation, which creates variety, and natural selection, which filters it.
The theory of evolution makes no claims about the origin of life, although much of evolutionary criticism, including Davis’ bill, tackles the two in the same breath.
Sitting before the committee, Davis abstains from making scientific claims. Instead she turns the floor over to Ann Ihms, a chemistry teacher from Indiana, who gasps through her testimony without pause.
“Columbine. Despair. There’s trauma, there’s panic, there’s depression among our young people at levels that have never been before,” Ihms says. “And part of that is the evolutionary teaching.”
A few committee members fidget in the chairs. The evolutionists who have come to testify put palms to foreheads as Ihms continues.
“There are some reasons that evolution does lead to the conclusion that some human beings cleanse the gene pool — Hitler’s ideas — which is an evolutionary idea.”
I need a new set of knives, as I almost lopped my finger off with a semi-dull knife. What do you all think of these?
What knive sets would you recommend?
*** Update ***
OK. Unless George Soros and Donald Trump read this website, and decide to hit the tip jar to the tune of $1800.00, I think we can rule out the speculation about me purchasing a set of CutCo knives.
AIN’T… GONNA… HAPPEN…
While I am grateful to the NY Times and WaPo for a day off from the Plame affair, I really didn’t want to read this:
Public health officials preparing to battle what they view as an inevitable influenza pandemic say the world lacks the medical weapons to fight the disease effectively, and will not have them anytime soon.
Public health specialists and manufacturers are working frantically to develop vaccines, drugs, strategies for quarantining and treating the ill, and plans for international cooperation, but these efforts will take years. Meanwhile, the most dangerous strain of influenza to appear in decades — the H5N1 “bird flu” in Asia — is showing up in new populations of birds, and occasionally people, almost by the month, global health officials say.
If the virus were to start spreading in the next year, the world would have only a relative handful of doses of an experimental vaccine to defend against a disease that, history shows, could potentially kill millions. If the vaccine proved effective and every flu vaccine factory in the world started making it, the first doses would not be ready for four months. By then, the pathogen would probably be on every continent.
Theoretically, antiviral drugs could slow an outbreak and buy time. The problem is only one licensed drug, oseltamivir, appears to work against bird flu. At the moment, there is not enough stockpiled for widespread use. Nor is there a plan to deploy the small amount that exists in ways that would have the best chance of slowing the disease.
This isn’t going away, it can’t be negotiated, so we better start preparing. Just as a curious side note, the the late night crazies at Art Bell’s Coast to Coast have been fretting about this for years.
I have written at length about my disgust for the irresponsible spending undertaken by the current administration and the ‘faux’ fiscal conservatives in the House and Senate, so I am glad that Adam at Red State is equally disgusted:
On Friday, the Senate passed a slew of major bills. Looking specificially at the Transportation Bill and Energy Bill it is clear that despite the well-earned reputation of fiscal conservatism, Republicans seem determined to match or surpass the 1960-1980s Democrats on pork barrel politics. In the Senate, the Transportation Bill and the Energy Bill passed by lopsided votes of 91-4 and 76-24. The only silver lining, if it can be called that, is that Democrats generally joined in on the pork barreling thus giving up the chance of winning over good government, anti-pork moderates that put Republicans in power in the 1994 revolution.
Insert Pogo quip.
Iran’s president-elect Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad’s spiritual guide, Ayatollah Muhammad Taqi Messbaah-Yazdi, is also the brains behind recruiting suicide bombers. He does so via ads placed in some of the Iranian daily papers…
Nourizadeh also reports that the volunteers are put through rigorous training in four camps funded and run by Al-Quds Brigade (a.k.a. The Jerusalem Brigade) and the Revolutionary Guard. The boot camp includes physical training, ideological indoctrination, building explosives, code-cracking classes, and finally foreign languages classes, specifically Arabic and English as well as many other ‘useful’ languages.
The terrorist-breeding regime of the Mullacracy has also now taken to pitching tents in the streets of Tehran in order to facilitate the registration process for those interested in joining up. An approximate 95% majority of those registering are in fact Iraqi, Syrian, Afghani and Palestinian. Iranians registering are recruited from among the poor.
Read the whole depressing thing, including the reports that suicide bombers are being deployed nationwide to quell domestic political uprisings.