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December 03, 2005

Beery Philosophy

120105_1024 Let's face it, several million times a day I think something pointless, but generally I have a cognitive filter that restrains me from blogging about it. This is where four cups of coffee, four glasses of wine, and four beers enters the picture. On a Friday night, it's a potent combination and worth a blog-entry-I-shall-regret-in-the-morning.

The other morning, at some ungodly hour known only to the careerists among us, I sauntered outside to find myself greeted by the sight pictured on the right - the first Chicago snowfall of the year. So naturally, I had to nick a camera phone, document it, and e-mail it to as many people as humanly possible, all while commiserating about the weather in that roundabout, "I'm a cantankerous, 65 year old man who discusses the weather for hours on end," kind of way. In other words, my father.

However, while studying the pic, I touched upon a tetchy issue that will never go away, but remains fascinating in its own little ways - Intelligent Design.

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November 18, 2005

Evolving Conservative Views of "Intelligent Design"


I have posted before on my feelings about "intelligent design" (shorthand version: I'm agin' it!) and how the President's view was yet another example of creeping theocracy within the White House.

And now, no less a reliably conservative personage than Charles Krauthammer rushes in to point out the absurdity underlying ID as a scientific "theory," prompted by the ouster of a Pennsylvania school board that favored ID in the curriculum, and the anti-science Kansas Board of Education that was more successful in its pursuit thereof:

How ridiculous to make evolution the enemy of God. What could be more elegant, more simple, more brilliant, more economical, more creative, indeed more divine than a planet with millions of life forms, distinct and yet interactive, all ultimately derived from accumulated variations in a single double-stranded molecule, pliable and fecund enough to give us mollusks and mice, Newton and Einstein?

Krauthammer is clearly a man the White House has been listening to.  Let's hope they're still listening now.  [HT: Queer Visions]

August 15, 2005

Plagiarism Update!


Plagiarist2 AF-H2O has apparently pulled down his entire site because I outed him as a plagiarist.  Even though the Hubbie thinks he probably shut down his site and jumped off a tall building somewhere, that wasn't my intended outcome.  I merely wanted respect for basic guidelines of attribution.

AF-H2O is very confused if he thinks "none of my content was copyrighted."  Just because someone doesn't put that little "C" inside the circle on their work doesn't mean it's not protected by copyright law.  The fact that I am the creator and writer of this site implies a copyright.

AF-H2O further says he was "trying to make a political point."  That rationale is so idiotic that I won't even dignify it.

August 02, 2005

Creeping Theocracy Watch, Part I


This past weekend, we attended a performance of Altar Boyz, a humorous and not necessarily mean-spirited look at a Christian boy band.  At one point, band member "Mark" begins to discuss the "evolution" of the band, but he is quickly cut off by "Matthew," who snaps: "Don't say 'evolution'!"  We laughed, content in our Manhattanite knowledge that surely nobody in his right mind would seriously dismiss the validity of evolution.

Nobody, that is, unless your name is George Bush.  Although I will be interested to see the fuller context of the President's remarks, what the AP is quoting is not promising:

President Bush said Monday he believes schools should discuss "intelligent design" alongside evolution when teaching students about the creation of life.

During a round-table interview with reporters from five Texas newspapers, Bush declined to go into detail on his personal views of the origin of life. But he said students should learn about both theories, Knight Ridder Newspapers reported.

"I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," Bush said. "You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes."

"Intelligent design," of course, is the religious right's code word for "creationism."

Now, what troubles The Malcontent most, and the point about which we're hoping for elaboration, is the word "alongside."  It is one thing to present theological concepts in religious schools or as part of religious-studies courses.  It is another thing entirely to teach them "alongside" time-tested scientific theory.

The problem is that creationism is antithetical to science itself.  It is generally accepted that for something to be "scientific," it must adhere to the scientific method, which includes: observation, hypothesis, prediction, experimentation, and analysis (including debate or peer review).

And here is where the debate, as the British might say, goes wonky:

Proponents of "intelligent design," of course, will argue that they are not garden-variety creationists.  They will tell you that their "theory," in essence, is an add-on to evolution, to help explain how evolution itself came about.  The have even set up fancy websites and "institutes" to peddle their bullshit.

Yertle The problem with their ideas, of course, is that the complete lack of scientific evidence for divine forces guiding the evolution of species disquaifies them to be taught "alongside" anything remotely scientific.  Again, the antithesis of science.

Creationism/intelligent design relies totally upon faith and/or belief in the supernatural.  Suggesting that it be taught in school "alongside" evolution would be no different, for instance, than if I were to argue that we should teach that the Earth came about on the back of a giant turtle.

At one point, centrists like us believed that the Christian right did not hold President Bush in its Rasputin-like thrall.  We believed that he truly meant it when he said he supported "sound science," the mantra of his administration, contrary to the critics who have contended otherwise.  But more and more, we are beginning to believe that we were wrong.

Stop the turtle: We want to get off!