Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Queen of the Damned

Dr. D. James Kennedy (the D stands for dead), a Presbyterian minister whose avuncular pronouncements on culture and science left him one purple robe and one rich congregation short of handing out the rattlesnakes at some backwoods hillbilly church, has risen from the grave with a new effort from Coral Ridge Ministries, Taking a Second Look at Dover. The clip is short but packed with enough misinformation to have Dead James' clumsy thumbprints all over it. If the Lord loves a liar, D. James made it to the big time. If not, I can imagine the Lord slapping him upside the head when he reached the Pearly Gates; "Jesus Christ, Jimmy, I left you all the fossils. What the fuck were you thinking? By the way, I also made the homos." Whereupon he was sentenced to an eternity of slow dancing with Jerry Falwell in a gay bar in hell, never to consummate the love that dare not speak its name.

We start with the obligatory Scopes trial and a preacher yellin' and an explanation that preachers don't really yell like that, an interview with some clown who said the Dover decision was wrong but didn't matter anyway, an interview with some other clown who has a Masters in Science(?) from (wait for it)........YALE. I looked it up. It's a degree in forestry science, which is fine, but they ask him a legal question, which he, of course, blows. Interspersed with this is about 87 snaps of the letters ACLU carved in stone like some sort of Nazi emblem and a shot of Eugenie Scott on her way to drown some puppies. All leading up to the guest of honor; yes, ladies and gentlemen, that blond bombshell of bullshit, the girl that grabs any limp dick idea that comes down the pike as long as it hangs to the right, the girl who was personally tutored in the intracacies of evolutionary theory by Bill "Patches" Dembski himself, yessir, I'm talkin about none other than Ann "The Man" Coulter.

The iron must have gotten a little too hot and a little too close to her head when she was straigtening her hair. Although the interview is mercifully short it is totally incoherent. She starts out by saying that Einstein would've been prevented from teaching 8th grade earth science because he was looking for God in the universe, that all great scientists were looking for God in the universe, calls Eugenie Scott a "hack" (which is like Hitler calling Mr.Rogers a murderer) and flinging her head around like the crank just kicked in, says, "keeping God out of the science classroom is":

Thuffering thuccotath, Annie, Grab a perm and a cheeseburger and shut the fuck up.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

There Will Be Boredom

There is a reason I usually limit my online rentals to the hillybilly-cannibal/zombie genre and There Will Be Blood starring the uber-actor Daniel Day Lewis is one of those reasons. Zombies are ususally good for an hour and a half, I know what I'm getting, and unless I get suckered in by the pretty box to re-watching one of those SciFi channel retreads, I come away reasonably satisfied. Once in awhile, to get my wife to sit down and watch a movie with me, and considering the fact that her tastes are several magnitudes more refined than mine, I rent a heavily Oscar nominated effort, or worse yet, a Lite Romantic Comedy. What I was hoping for was a film that had enough pointless violence to amuse me (hey, there was blood in the title) and an emotionally engaging character study sophisticated enough to make her think I care.

What I got was an eternity of Daniel Day-Lewis as a wacked out construction worker, endlessly chewing the bleakest scenery in western North America. OK, I get it. He has inner demons. An all consuming ambition. He's not a people person. I just wish he wouldn't take all day letting the demons out. What did he do to prepare for this one? Wear wool trousers 24/7 and shave with a shovel? Somewhere around 3 or 4 hours into this expedition, where the high point was a guy getting conked on the head (to be fair, it was a fatal conk) with various pieces of industrial equipment, she turned to me and said (direct quote time):

"Well, I'm certainly learning a lot about oil drilling."

Uh oh. About 5 hours in I looked over and she was asleep. By this time I had too much invested to back out, although the fingernails on the chalkboard score had me wishing I was deaf like the poor kid who was caught in the gusher blast. She woke up about 6 1/2 hours in, fell back asleep about 8 hours in and woke up about 10 hours in for the exciting 4 hour conclusion. (Direct quote time):

"The great thing about this film is that everytime I woke up I didn't
feel like I missed anything."

So my advice is if you are really interested in oil drilling you can catch up in a half an hour on the Discovery Channel and, if brutal naked ambition is your thing, watch Survivor.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

How Can You Tell If Casey Luskin's Lying?

His fingers are moving.

Or his lips or whatever appendage or orifice he's using in his official capacity as PR flack and pointman for the self congratulatory circle jerk that calls itself the Discovery Institute. A sampling of his latest droppings involving Michael Shermer's takedown of Expelled:

"Shermer Blames-the-Victim Case #1: Richard Sternberg"

Dumb dee dumb dumb. Victimhood is bad. Wonder what happened?

"The conversation with Michael Shermer in the Expelled film revolves around the publication of Stephen C. Meyer’s pro-ID peer-reviewed scientific paper in the journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington."

Great. 15 years, one paper. Too bad Meyer's first attempt "Evolution Sucks: A Incomplete Survey of Outdated Information" was rejected. Quite a feather in the cap for the new paradigm.

"Contrary to typical editorial practices, the paper was published without review by any associate editor; Sternberg handled the entire review process. The council, which includes officers, elected councilors and past presidents, and the associate editors would have deemed the paper inappropriate for the pages of the Proceedings."

Damn. Withdrawn. Oh well, 15 years is not such a long time. Maybe a paper in a prestigious foreign journal like Arrivederci de Biologica will fly.

"Dr. Richard Sternberg...was subsequently was harassed, intimidated, and demoted because he broke ranks with the unwritten (or sometimes written) rule among Darwinists that you must keep ID out of science journals. "

Well, that blows. I think he had his feelings hurt, too. Out of deference to the victim Casey left out the anal gangbang by PZ Myers and his band of no god/anything goes Darwinists. Don't ever break ranks with committed Darwinists. They will fuck you up in a heartbeat.

Demoted from an unpaid associate research position? It is to Sternberg's credit that he has managed to stay the course and re-up for another 3 years of occupying an office that he never visits at the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian maintains he will not be let go until they get their library books back.

"Dr. Sternberg (who holds two Ph.D.s in evolution)..."

And doesn't use either one of them. Except to advise a Bariminology study group (nothing to do with either the weather or even bartending, by the way). Check here for the real story.

Casey goes on to try to salvage the Meyer paper by savaging Prothero's claim that the majority of invertebrate phyla do not appear suddenly in the Cambrian. Well, not really Prothero's claim but Prothero himself. And not really savaging him, Casey being a relatively toothless attack dog. But he gums him up pretty good:

" Prothero’s book is hard to take seriously because, as we shall see, it reads more like a polemic than a serious academic treatment"

-the definition of a serious academic treatment is something Casey agrees with

..."Prothero’s book is one with an agenda that clearly falls short of a calm, collected, objective scientific analysis"...

- a calm objective analysis is something Casey agrees with

..."Regardless, if we want to understand the Cambrian explosion, we have to turn to serious scientific treatments"...

-a serious scientific treatment is, well, you know.....

"So what do textbooks say? A 2001 invertebrate zoology textbook (that is a serious science textbook) states:".......

-I hope it's not one of those textbooks with those damn Haeckel's embryos in it and don't you hate all those joke science text books. Notice all the "seriouses" . Casey is a serious guy and this is serious business, so please, please take Casey seriously.

I just finished Prothero's After the Dinosaurs: The Rise of the Mammals. Typical Darwinbot claptrap full of interlocking lines of evidence from diverse and multiple disciplines showing patterns of speciation through geographic and climatic changes. Like millions of man hours of work comparing thousands of piles of bones showing worldwide patterns of adaptation in a chronological geologic framework is supposed to impress me. Evidence. Blah, blah blah, blah blah.

You may think that I have misrepresented Casey. That I have taken his words out of context, rearranged them to suit my own ends, quoted partial sentences when it suited and of course, you would be right. But that's the way Casey and I roll and I learned from the master. A little cut and paste and even a simple truck driver such as myself can luskinate anything and pontificate endlessly on subjects about which I know very little.