and a suitcase full of viagra
Monday, March 30, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
John West has got as confusing and frustrating a job as a Lubbock high school biology teacher. It's got to be tough to try to keep the Young Earth Creationists inside the Intelligent Design Big Top while simultaneously trying to bamboozle the secular community with a puff of smoke and a broken pocket mirror. After all, the Discovery Institute isn't going to fund itself and I don't see a lot of patents pending in the near future.
John picks a nit:
Part of the problem is that Foster (pro-science advocate) doesn’t seem to know anything about what the State Board of Education is actually doing.
Neither does the State Board of Education, or John, or me, for that matter (although I've been trying to follow along). He goes on to say that Foster is mistaken in thinking that the state board is trying to change the wording in the textbooks while what they are really trying to do is change the wording in the state science standards. Fucking up the textbooks comes later.
John moves in for the kill:
To reiterate: the Board is not amending textbooks, so it can’t possibly be considering “multiple proposed amendments” to textbooks. I suppose what Dr. Foster meant to say was that there are multiple amendments to add things like the “young earth” to the science standards. Except he’s wrong about that too. There are no proposals to add young earth creationism to the science standards. None.
Great. Except that board member Barbara Cargill, - biology teacher (now I'm praying) and born again cosmologist, sneaks in an amendment at the end of the day to strike language about the universe being 14 billion years old. I'm sure Ms. Cargill was concerned that the students be aware of the 1% controversy in the commonly accepted age of the universe. Move along. No young earth creationism to see here.
John gets to the meat of the matter:
Finally, Jarstfer and Coghlan concisely summarize the scientific challenges to modern Darwinian theory, including the Cambrian explosion, irreducibly
complex biological structures, and the harmfulness of random mutations.
At last, something I can sink my Wiki-teeth into. Better yet, I think I'll check pub Med to get a feel for where the real work is going on. Now granted, consensus isn't everything but given that I am woefully undereducated in the specialities of invertebrate paleontology, statistics and comparative genetics, the only way I can get a feel of who's investigating what is to see who's publishing what. I am making the assumption that these scientists are honestly trying to advance the sum total of human knowledge (or angle for a Nobel prize) and are not part of a global satanically induced conspiracy to advance atheistic Darwinism.
Uh oh. To paraphrase Doc, "it appears we're off to a poor start." 18 hits. One on sado-masochism in Bronte's Jane Eyre (WTF?), one paper by Pennock (agin), nine that have to do with medical care and don't relate to the ID concept, one to do with non-biological chemical process, two dealing with the philosophy of science and the need for better descriptions of emerging biological processes discovered through evolutionary theory. That leaves five, none of which supports the idea of Irreducibly Complex Systems as proposed by Behe. None written by Behe or West or Wells or any of the Discovery Institute luminaries. Pretty anemic for 20 years. Strike one.
102 hits. That's better. However, I can't find any that claim that the emergent body types were created all at once out of thin air. I've never understood the creationist fascination with the Cambrian period. Is the assumption that God created the major body types at the beginning of the Cambrian and that they evolved from there? At any rate the controversies concerning this particular period are not as advertised by the Discovery Institute and seem somewhat advanced for a high school biology class. Strike two.
Harmful mutations and Beneficial mutations:
497 and 1854 hits respectively. Lots of work being done here. All under the umbrella of current evolutionary theory. Not a lot coming from the Biologic Institute. Strike three. West, you're outta here!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Okay. Pretend for a second that I don't know anything about economics. Kind of like Jim Cramer. Forget for a moment that the only time my investments have made money have been totally by accident or by just dumping some dough in a 5 year CD because I was too lazy and/or stupid to figure out how to transfer the IRA to an investment fund. Lucky me.
Here's what I think happened. The Bush Administration decided to maintain their faith in free market principles and let Lehman Bros. fail as a trial balloon to see what would happen. This was the first domino in a cascading series of potential bank failures accompanied by panic selling, abandonment of commercial credit and the inability of AIG to cover the losses. Members of both parties looked at each other, said "Oh shit!", and stuck a big pile of money between the last domino falling and the rest of them. (Something spooked everyone bad because I've never seen Congress act that fast - even after 9/11). Did it work? I think so but I really have no idea. Maybe some of those MIT'ers who developed these mortgage derivatives could put their brains on a better model of economic probabilities. It's done with the weather. Are the markets more chaotic than the weather? Probably, but the idea that nobody really knows what's going on makes me really uneasy.
So Joe (God, I miss Imus) Scarborough, concern troll that he is, with a pathological need to reaffirm his 90's era Newt Gingrich Contract with America conservative cred, jabbers on this morning about the small cabal of Republicans who were "right" to stand in the way of the bailout plan. All because of the pittance in bailout money going to bonuses. Right about what, Joe? The bailout, the stimulus, what? It pisses me off, too, but so what? If it keeps me from digging turnips in the frozen fields of Pennsylvania for sustenance, I'm all for it. What's the alternative - 1929 GOP solutions for a 21st century economy? And don't give me that revisionist crap about the New Deal prolonging the Depression. It may not have ended until the war started but it sure put a lot of people to work. And who funded the war, anyway? Hint, it wasn't small businesses. This post-hoc ethereal pristine theory of economic development ignores the real social forces of vast numbers of unemployed tugging this country back and forth between socialism and fascism. FDR saved the American Way of Life. Greatest President, evah!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Jim Cramer is not the kind of guy you want to follow to the exit during a nightclub fire. He's way too excitable. I get a feeling you'll just get trapped in the pileup by the exit with the rest of the