Spiders can dance the Mashed Potato. Did you know?
On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Common Education committee is expected to consider a House bill that would forbid teachers from penalizing students who turn in papers attempting to debunk almost universally accepted scientific theories such as biological evolution and anthropogenic (human-driven) climate change.
Dear ‘F’: These are not the Jeebus clods you are looking for.
What do you say of the ‘debate’(?) about evolution when WaPo’s education columnist Jay Mathews supports teaching intelligent design in Science classes? It makes you want to punch him right in his Hiatt (in case Fred’s hanging around) . .
Santorum’s good but hated education idea
Jay Mathews | Fred’s Employer
I won’t say who is getting my vote for president. But I confess a nonpartisan desire that former senator Rick Santorum (R) remain in the race long enough to focus attention on an intriguing, if deeply controversial, educational issue.
Let’s see, maybe I have a WaPo reader hat. Or posture. *ahrrem* ‘This is intriguing. What is this controversial issue? I am a smart and reasonable man. Therefore I am interested columnist Mathews. Please good sir, tell me.’
So hang on, Senator. Show a little courage and you could spark new interest in one of the few causes we share: encouraging high school discussion of alternatives to evolutionary theory.
Teaching all sides of the evolution issue is supported in opinion polls.
‘Evolution you say? Sounds fascinating and complicated. Let’s us teach all sides of this controversy. What could be the harm? Thanks Jay, you’ve performed an invaluable service and I’ll go back to playing Angry Haystacks. Until the next fuss, taa.’
But now hear shrill Science man. He will un-intrigue and de-fascinate everything in a depressing WaPo-free manner —->
There exists a super-secret place where we scientists squirrel away the many sides of the evolution ‘debate.’ Shocking, isn’t it? We are aware of all argument traditions.
You may find the many many arguments in a school of thought called . . ‘Evolution.’ What? No kidding! It came out of arguments. Think of it as a 152 year-long Science thread. Everyone who isn’t trolling agrees that the argument currently stands: Life on Earth evolved from earlier, less complicated forms by way of natural selection operating in and upon environmental flux and genetic variation blah blah. There’s more to it, but it’s getting late.
How do you think scientists operate, incidentally? By way of conspiracy? Do you think a whole bunch of the older ones got together and planned the Theory of Evolution? Is it a product, like GM’s Chevy Volt? That’s a fine looking car, but what if I want a four door? Reasonable people want alternatives.
When something is the product of every alternative being argued and tested across a century and a half, there are no immediate alternatives. All the currently possible ‘sides’ have been exhausted. That’s how you build a great theory. Evolution is one of the greatest theories in history.
If you want to know how science guys like me feel when a WaPo columnist starts considering Martian Deconstruction for the curriculum, read this:
It is important to note that Santorum and I have different reasons for wanting high schools to allow discussion of intelligent design — the notion that some supernatural force (not necessarily God) brought life to earth.
Danger! Science is perfectly equipped to deal with us and our world. Because we exist. Science can never address the non-natural, non-existent world. We can’t tell you how often my guitar farts in the 23rd dimension. No one knows who won the lemonade parabola rodeo. Who knows what sort of hand ‘Super’ played in evolution? If there’s no evidence for it, why should science bother with it? Let’s argue about anti-weather. Let’s build skyscrapers from gestures.
The minute you drag fake things into the reality-obsessed argument, chaos ensues. The attempt to bring creationism into the world of science is an attempt to destroy science. I hope I made that clear. Also:
It was hard for me to become interested in classroom explanations of natural selection when I was a student. Introducing a contrary theory like intelligent design and having students discuss its differences from Darwinism would enliven the class.
It is amazing all the things you find out by listening to right-wing scholars.
Couple days ago, I was surprised to learn that founding father Thomas Paine advocated for Creation Science to be taught in school. Didn’t I feel foolish, laboring under the misapprehension that Scientific Creationism didn’t exist until the 1960s.
Couple days before that, I was shocked to learn that Paul Revere rode across New England, ringing his musket and firing a bell, to warn the British. Now there’s an eye-opener (if you’re a limey).
Now, just today, I finally learn the truth about the Holocaust. And I can tell you, I’m a little shocked. Wasn’t it the Nazis who did it? Yeah, sure, it was them. But it wasn’t all the Nazis. It was the most vicious, most homicidal sub-group of the National Socialists that did it. Turns out there’s a name for this cadre of psychotic mass-murderers, and — shock – they live amongst us, today, in America. These people, they call themselves . . “Animal Lovers.”
. . look, it’s not an accident that some of the most brutal and cruel, demonic tyrants of history loved animals. It’s not an accident. It’s not an accident that Adolf Hitler was almost never seen without his dogs, whom he was petting constantly. Loved his dogs! Well, what we understand is that there is a potential, it’s not going to happen to everybody, but there is a potential within a large society that, if we obliterate the distinction between people and animals, it’s not that people will start treating animals better, they’ll start treating people worse . .
This makes sense to me. The cosmos is a big see-saw suspended above a pit of gnashing razors, with us on one end and the animals on the other. It’s your job to lob heavy scorn and violence onto their side. That way, you keep your friends from taking a saber in the ass.
If you’re kind to their side, if you don’t skin them alive, boil them and eat them for dinner, if you won’t run them over with your Sherman tank, what will become of us? Remember, while you’re powdering their butts with talcum and bedazzling their fetlocks with jewelry, they’re shitting on your carpet, or occasionally eating one of your camping or mountaineering friends. You feed them high protein bonemeal in the morning, they hump your priceless ’59 Stratocaster once you leave. While you’re playing kissy-face with wolverines, humanity is getting a cosmological rump-carving. Makes perfect sense.
It was after Hitler and his animal compassion fetishists took over the German government that homo sapiens took a beating. Next thing you know, millions of us are dead. Yikes. I thank you sincerely, Rabbi, for opening my eyes. Anything else?
The reality is that the lives of most women are not as good today as they were years ago, they’re just not good. Now, there are people, “Oh they’ve got opportunities,” yeah they do, like they can get shot up and tortured in Iraq . . but no — we really are making life tougher on people, and all of this is, of course, consistent with the idea of promoting rights for animals.
Every Conservative’s favorite professor, David Barton, visited Christian TV’s Celebration. That’s when American History fairly reached through the viewer’s flat screen, past the den, into the library, where it punched Encyclopedia Britannica’s nutsack:
I had no idea Thomas Paine was a Creationist. The revelation is noteworthy in light of Darwin’s publishing The Origin of Species in 1859, a year after Robert E. Lee shot the Bismarck in a duel.
It’s been days since I poked fun at Christine O’Donnell and her diddle-free candidacy. Let’s check in with her, shall we? Yes, let’s.
Hmm . . what’s this? One of the most unintentionally hilarious political ads in American history? Why, yes it is.
Why do I say that? Let’s start with the opening line:
–“Kids, don’t touch yourself down there. Yuck!” Kidding!
–“When you ooze, you lose.” Joking!
–“You can pretend you’re only sneezing, but Jesus knows better.” Just joshing!
Okay, here: “I’m not a witch.” Seriously? Seriously. Get a load of the one and only time any American political candidate will open a campaign ad with that line, now and for millennia to come:
Incidentally, good idea dressing black-eyed Christine in black and putting her on a black background. The moment you click on the clip, as her luminous alabaster face bobs gravity-free in an ether of midnight, I don’t imagine too few people think “Who’s the spirit goblin?” Or “Where is my pumpkin gun?”
And . . “I’m you”? What genius came up with that? There’s not a soul alive that’s remotely like the supernaturally bizarre, deadbeat, dumb, unemployed, witchery dabbling, Krishna sampling, overly chaste and litigious Tea Party Mother Mary mannequin. See here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here. Whew.
And ‘you’ is who? For the record?
–The occult: “I’m not a witch.” Check.
–Masturbation: “You’re just gonna create somebody who is, I was gonna say, toying with his sexuality.” Call me Hasbro.
It is fascinating. Christine O’Donnell continues to come apart faster than I can type. Certainly faster than I can photoshop. And (cough, obviously) much faster than I can browse the internet for something better.
It’s like watching two opposing high-speed rail engines, posed defiance and embarrassment, plow into each other in IMAX Slo-Mo.
No — it’s like watching the detonation of a nuclear bomb of wingnuttery at the atomic level: the discharge of a ricocheting particle of O’Donnell’s stupidity releasing several more. Pretty soon the internet will be nothing but a hurricane of imbecility from the Tea Party anti-masturbation candidate, eventually leaving a smoking crater where your laptop once sat.
The latest? Christine O’Donnell’s candidacy is over, done. She’s dead meat. Why? Bill Maher’s revelation yesterday that frequent guest O’Donnell claimed, on his show, to have dabbled in witchcraft.
I dabbled into witchcraft — I never joined a coven. But I did, I did. … I dabbled into witchcraft. I hung around people who were doing these things. I’m not making this stuff up. I know what they told me they do. [...]
One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn’t know it. I mean, there’s little blood there and stuff like that. … We went to a movie and then had a midnight picnic on a satanic altar.
Me: who cares? She said she used to do stuff that was wrong, but now she’s straight with Jesus. Fits into the narrative just fine. Them: Goodbye.
–Powerline: CHRISTINE O’DONNELL’S CAREER, RIP
–Political Byline: Editorial: Withdrawing support of Christine O’Donnell
–Protein Wisdom: “Wow. No, really, wow. Christine O’Donnell’s candidacy is evidently dead because of something she said on ‘Politically Incorrect’ . . “
So, for Conservatives and the Tea Party faithful, you can oppose normal human sexuality and be a good Senate candidate. You can skip paying your bills, unjustifiably sue former employers for millions, and lie about everything in sight and be a good Senate candidate. You can reject the modern world, ranting and raving about the evils of our common reality, and be a good Senate candidate.
But if you’ve ever stepped outside of the holy Jesus circle, you’re unfit for offfice. I see. Meanwhile, on the exact same show, almost in the same breath, Maher reminded everybody of this Christine Classic:
O’DONNELL: A lie, whether it be a lie or an exaggeration, is disrespect to whoever you’re exaggerating or lying to, because it’s not respecting reality.
MAHER: Quite the opposite, it can be respect.
IZZARD: What if someone comes to you in the middle of the Second World War and says, ‘do you have any Jewish people in your house?’ and you do have them. That would be a lie. That would be disrespectful to Hitler.
O’DONNELL: I believe if I were in that situation, God would provide a way to do the right thing righteously. I believe that!
MAHER: God is not there. Hitler’s there and you’re there.
O’DONNELL: You never have to practice deception. God always provides a way out.
Haven’t yet seen anybody on the right call her a political corpse for that crap. It’s apparently worse to look like a bad person than to be one.
MEANWHILE . . authorities in the Palmdale, California, area are searching for a group of devout Christians, 6 adults and 8 children, who may have committed mass suicide. The husbands of two of the women came forward with notes indicating they were “going to heaven shortly to meet Jesus and their deceased relatives.” Hopefully, they’ll all be found shortly, safe and sound. Those Godly parents are good people.
. . salted food, thatched huts, free-standing enclosures. All the stupid things you stupid people keep shoving through the bars of modern time, poking the likes of a pure-hearted knuckle-dragger like Christine O’Donnell.
Life on Earth created over millions of years? UNGA BUNGA!
“Evolution is a theory and it’s exactly that,” O’Donnell said. “There is not enough evidence, consistent evidence to make it as fact . .”
“Well, creationism, in essence, is believing that the world began as the Bible in Genesis says, that God created the Earth in six days, six 24-hour periods. And there is just as much, if not more, evidence supporting that,” O’Donnell said.
Yes, the evidence being the Book of Genesis’ well-observed celestial rotation. Sure, the Earth and its 24 hour re-orientation to our sun were created a few millenia ago in the midst of the Bible re-orientating to its sun.
. . they use carbon dating, as an example, to prove that something was millions of years old. Well, we have the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens and the carbon dating test that they used then would have to then prove that these were hundreds of millions of years younger, when what happened was they had the exact same results on the fossils and . .
BONGA MONGA! Gays act bad. That’s why AIDS patients are not “victims”:
After a caller suggested that contracting AIDS is “like a bank robber getting shot in the head while in the act of committing the robbery,” O’Donnell agreed that “he makes an excellent point.”
“The caller before him referred to people who get AIDS as victims,” O’Donnell continued. “It’s that kind of spinning with words and manipulating with words that empowers the bias when it comes to AIDS.” . . cancer is “just an act of God” but that “your behavior is directly connected to whether you get AIDS.”
BINGA MINGA! Condoms? They don’t work. They’re “anti-human”:
“And what … if the population is increasing, so what?” O’Donnell said. “People aren’t bad. When did humans become a bad thing? Why is it that we have to, you know, stop people from getting pregnant?”
Club her and drag her off to your tree!
. . O’Donnell declared that “condoms will not protect you from AIDS.”
“So to just throw a bunch of condoms over to Africa and say, ‘Here, we’re helping you with AIDS,’ is just going to further the spread of AIDS over there,” she said.
PONGO BONGO! Do I have to keep going? I’m running out of Cro-Magnon gibberish . .
. . . the liberal welfare program implemented in the last decade . . . they have cultivated an attitude of dependency,” O’Donnell said . . .
We see the same kind of abuse with food stamps… people are abusing our compassion.”
California Science Center is sued for canceling a film promoting intelligent design
The American Freedom Alliance says the center bowed to pressure from the Smithsonian. The science center says a news release hadn’t been submitted to the museum, violating the contract.
L.A.’s California Science Center will start the new year defending itself in court for canceling a documentary film attacking Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
A lawsuit alleges that the state-owned center improperly bowed to pressure from the Smithsonian Institution, as well as e-mailed complaints from USC professors and others. It contends that the center violated both the 1st Amendment and a contract to rent the museum’s Imax Theater when it canceled the screening of “Darwin’s Dilemma: The Mystery of the Cambrian Fossil Record.”
The suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by the American Freedom Alliance, an L.A.-based group described by senior fellow Avi Davis as a nonprofit, nonpartisan “think tank and activist network promoting Western values and ideals.”
This is a familiar wingnut gambit: get a respectable institution with ‘Science’ in its name to somehow screen a Creationist crap movie, and then trumpet the fact that it’s being screened, as if scientists take it seriously. It happened to The Smithsonian. It happened to the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History in Oklahoma. And now the anti-science folks tried it with our California Science Center, but failed.
When the best they can do to pretend Creationism could ever be taken seriously is this sort of p.r. sleight-of-hand, I’d say they’ve proven they’re intellectually bankrupt. And when the uber-hacks at Creationism Central, the Discovery Institute, release chintz like this, making the California Science Center look like a Non-Science Center, you can bet someone should and will be pissed:
AMERICAN FREEDOM ALLIANCE EVENT SERIES HIGHLIGHTS
THE DEBATE AT FILM DEBUT SCREENING OCTOBER 25
LOS ANGELES, CA — Highlighting the continuing controversy over the origins of life on earth, the American Freedom Alliance will premiere “Darwin’s Dilemma: The Mystery of the Cambrian Explosion” at the California Science Center in Los Angeles on Sunday October 25 at 7:00 pm. The event will feature a panel discussion with filmmakers and leading proponents of the movement to examine the scientific inconsistencies of the famous British naturalist’s theories proposed in his work, On the Origin of Species, first published exactly 150 years ago . . .
There are plenty of mysteries surrounding the details of Evolution, but there’s no ‘continuing controversy’ about the essential theory itself. This makes the Science Center look like fools, and it’s exactly why they demand that hype about their scheduled events go through them.
The AFA and the Discovery Institute are certainly entitled to their opinions, but duping science institutions into their circus acts and then suing when they predictably back out, demanding they declare their own actions ‘Unconstitutional!’, is nothing less than pathetic. It’s a childish game.
Grow up. And show your movies at your churches if you like, those are the people who created Creationism. None of us are demanding you screen our atheist pics there.
I’ve been asking myself the nearly unaskable: if Sarah Palin became President, as she clearly wants to be, what will America then become? What will it look like?
I found a year-old article in Salon that addresses the question. It details the tribulations of a Baptist minister, Howard Bess, in a town near to Palin’s Wasilla who had a number of run-ins with the aggressive Mayor and her evangelist cohort. She is a religious extremist, rigid and intolerant, and she does not keep her beliefs to herself. Ever.
If you like the local crank who seeks to ban gay-tolerant books from the library, take over the local hospital board and ban abortions, and take over the local school board and install the ‘teaching’ of Creationism, you’ll just love her as President of the United States. Otherwise, her heaven makes for your hell.
The pastor who clashed with Palin Baptist minister Howard Bess, who wrote a book Palin wanted banned and who fought her on abortion and gay rights, says the country should fear her election.
Monday, Sep 15, 2008
WASILLA, Alaska — The Wasilla Assembly of God, the evangelical church where Sarah Palin came of age, was still charged with excitement on Sunday over Palin’s sudden ascendance…
It confirmed, they said, that God was making use of Wasilla. “She will take our message to the world!” rejoiced an Assembly of God youth ministry leader, as the church band rocked the high-vaulted wooden building with its electric gospel.
That is what scares the Rev. Howard Bess. A retired American Baptist minister who pastors a small congregation in nearby Palmer, Wasilla’s twin town in Alaska’s Matanuska Valley, Bess has been tangling with Palin and her fellow evangelical activists ever since she was a Wasilla City Council member in the 1990s…
“She scares me,” said Bess. “She’s Jerry Falwell with a pretty face.
“At this point, people in this country don’t grasp what this person is all about. The key to understanding Sarah Palin is understanding her radical theology.”…
The retired minister moved to the Mat-Su Valley with his wife, Darlene, in 1987, after his outspoken defense of gay rights at Baptist churches in the Santa Barbara, Calif., area and Anchorage landed him in trouble with church officials. In the Mat-Su Valley, Bess plunged into community activism, helping launch an assortment of projects, from an arts council to a shelter for the mentally disabled.
Inevitably, his work brought him into conflict with Palin and other highly politicized Christian fundamentalists in the valley. “Things got very intense around here in the ’90s — the culture war was very hot here,” Bess said. “The evangelicals were trying to take over the valley. They took over the school board, the community hospital board, even the local electric utility. And Sarah Palin was in the direct center of all these culture battles, along with the churches she belonged to.”
Bess’ first run-in with Palin’s religious forces came when he decided to write his book, “Pastor, I Am Gay.” The book was the result of a theological journey that began in the 1970s when Bess was asked for guidance by a closeted homosexual in his Santa Barbara congregation…
In his book, Bess suggests that gays have a divine mission. “Look back at the life of our Lord Jesus. He was misunderstood, deserted, unjustly accused, and cruelly killed. Yet we all confess that it was the will of God, for by his wounds we are healed … Could it be that the homosexual, obedient to the will of God, might be the church’s modern day healer-messiah?”
When it was published in 1995, Bess’ book caused an immediate storm in the Mat-Su Valley, an evangelical stronghold dotted with storefront churches. Conservative ministers targeted the book, and the only bookstore in the valley that dared to stock it — Shalom Christian Books and Gifts – soon dropped it after the owner was barraged with angry phone calls. The Frontiersman, the local newspaper that ran a column by Bess for seven years, fired him and ran a vicious cartoon that suggested even drooling child molesters would be welcomed by Bess’ church.
And after she became mayor of Wasilla, according to Bess, Sarah Palin tried to get rid of his book from the local library. Palin now denies that she wanted to censor library books, but Bess insists that his book was on a “hit list” targeted by Palin. “I’m as certain of that as I am that I’m sitting here. This is a small town, we all know each other. People in city government have confirmed to me what Sarah was trying to do.”
This head-scratching started with digby’s post about a Santa Ana, CA, judge’s ruling. A Christian student in a Mission Viejo public school history class felt insulted by the teacher’s comments, felt they disparaged his beliefs. The student recorded the comments and filed a suit alleging that they violated the first amendment.
How is that possible? Because of the amendment’s establishment clause: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion“:
The establishment clause has generally been interpreted to prohibit 1) the establishment of a national religion by Congress, or 2) the preference of one religion over another or the support of a religious idea with no identifiable secular purpose. The first approach is called the “separationist” or “no aid” interpretation, while the second approach is called the “non-preferentialist” or “accommodationist” interpretation. The accommodationist interpretation prohibits Congress from preferring one religion over another, but does not prohibit the government’s entry into religious domain to make accommodations in order to achieve the purposes of the Free Exercise Clause.
So this means neither in support nor against the establishment of any religion, as far as I can tell (legal experts, feel free to jump in and tweak this assessment if it’s required). This would also include someone, a government official, from even saying ‘Your religion makes no sense.’ Or, ‘You Voodoo guys are out of your minds.’ As a government employee, it toys with what the government could presume to establish (to favor: ‘I dunno–but not yours, that’s for sure.’)
A federal judge has ruled that a history teacher at a Southern California public high school violated the First Amendment when he called creationism “superstitious nonsense” in a classroom lecture. The judge, James Selna, issued the ruling after a 16-month legal battle between a student, Chad Farnan, and his former teacher, James Corbett. Mr. Farnan’s lawsuit said Mr. Corbett had made more than 20 statements that were disparaging to Christians and their beliefs. The judge found that Mr. Corbett’s reference to creationism as “religious, superstitious nonsense” violated the First Amendment’s establishment clause. Courts have interpreted the clause as prohibiting government employees from displaying religious hostility. Mr. Corbett teaches at Capistrano Valley High School.
Okay–it’s not the craziest interpretation of the first amendment, at least on its face. This is the crazy part: Creationists passionately swear that Creationism is pure Science. Otherwise they could never ask it be considered for public school, right? We’d be right back to breaking the same establishment clause. The Christian kids are taught it as a ‘science’, but then they walk into public school and–presto–it’s a ‘belief’. How’s that for nuts? Mind you–of all the comments the teacher made, only the one about Creationism was found to violate the first amendment, and it was the only reason the suit was won by the plaintiff.
So public school teachers, when a student wants to discuss Creationism–can you, constitutionally? If you attack it as Bad Science, are you violating the establishment clause? Do you have to ask if a student believes in it as Religion or considers it to be Science? What if they say they ‘believe it’ either way? What if two students want to talk about it, but each has a different ‘belief’? You could end up engaging only one of them ‘legally’ for the identical discussion.