E = Mr. Deity

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Common sense wins

The atheist bus campaign has been whirling around the globe over the past several months. It was briefly stopped in Ottawa because of a stupid policy that states this:

…religious advertising which promotes a specific ideology, ethic, point of view, policy or action, which in the opinion of the city might be deemed prejudicial to other religious groups or offensive to users of the transit system is not permitted.

The only religious ad which could fit into that description would be one that says “No one is wrong and everyone is the best at everything” (thank you, Principal Skinner for that one).

Fortunately, the city council has some common sense.

Council voted to allow the ads — which read “There’s Probably No God. Now Stop Worrying and Enjoy Your Life” — to be displayed on OC Transpo buses after city solicitor Rick O’Connor told councillors the ban wouldn’t hold up in court.

They saw the obvious legal troubles and put their foot down. It’s the anti-Dover of behaviors. Of course, not everyone can be so smart.

Orleans Coun. Bob Monette said the ads are offensive and shouldn’t be allowed on public property.

“I believe they are in very poor taste and derogatory to anybody who believes in God,” he said. “I am concerned they are judging other people’s beliefs. It’s public property and it’s inappropriate.”

That’s exactly what it’s doing. What doesn’t judge other people’s beliefs? Why is that a bad thing in the least? Besides that, when, exactly, did religion earn this hyper-respect? Its ideas are flimsy at best. It has done nothing to show it has any worth in an intellectually-concerned society. Creationism/intelligent design-creation go to support this point.

Discovery Institute is shut out; whines

The Vatican held another meeting trying to squeeze its tiny God into the ever shrinking gaps of reality as brought to us by science. (Apologies for the FOX Noise link, but it is an AP article.) Even though they have most things fully 1/2 wrong, them there Catholics do have some things entirely correct.

The Discovery Institute, the main organization supporting intelligent design research, says it was shut out from presenting its views because the meeting was funded in part by the John Templeton Foundation, a major U.S. nonprofit that has criticized the intelligent design movement.

Good. The Discovery Institute is filled with hacks who are purely motivated by religion, not science. They are, by definition, liars.

Organizers of the five-day conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University said Thursday that they barred intelligent design proponents because they wanted an intellectually rigorous conference on science, theology and philosophy to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species.”

The implication being – though not as eloquently as I am about to put it – is that people who actually think intelligent design is science are fucking mooks who have no idea what science actually is. Honestly. Can any IDist actually give one prediction made by intelligent design ‘theory‘? Does any IDist understand why his failure to do this is one of the major reasons intelligent design is not science?

Muslim creationists also complained about the conference.

Oktar Babuna, a representative of a prominent Turkish creationist, Harun Yahya, was denied the right to speak at the opening session Tuesday.

Notice this says “right to speak”. I assume this is in the same sense that I have a right to swing my fists. That right ends once it impedes someone else’s liberty. At that point, we no longer refer to my fist-swinging as a right: harassing, dangerous, disturbing, etc, perhaps we call it one of these, but certainly not a right. So surely Babuna couldn’t have been figuratively swinging his fists with his gaping mouth of creationist inanity, correct? After all, he was denied a right, not the ability to harass people or spew dumb, disturbing ideas of stupidity.

Participants took the microphone away from Babuna when, during a question-and-answer session, he challenged them to give proof of transitional forms of animals in Darwinian evolution.

Organizers said he hadn’t formulated a question and was just stating his point of view.

Babuna said afterward that the conference was clearly undemocratic. A statement from Yahya said, “Although there are discussion parts, they want this discussion to be one-sided.”

Surprise. It looks like Babuna took his verbal fists and started throwing them around the conference. It’s fortunate there’s no muscle to back them up.

Scientists can keep pointing to these fossils, but creationists just keep asking the same question over and over. They’re like little kids who keep asking their parents “why?” no matter what the answer. They aren’t actually seeking any information, truth, or answers; they just want attention because no one takes their childish ideas seriously.

Texas gets it right

Texas actually managed to get something right.

The final proposal for the state’s science curriculum pleases scientists and watch groups, who say it will help protect Texas public school classrooms over the next decade from what they call “watered-down science” — specifically during the instruction of evolution.

Much of the concern over earlier versions of the proposed curriculum centered on a requirement that students be able to analyze the “strengths and weaknesses” of scientific theories, a phrase which some say is being used by creationists — including some members of the State Board of Education — to subvert the teaching of evolution.

It’s high time this was settled. Creationists compose the most dishonest bunch of crazies we have running around in the world. They’ve never added anything of worth to the world that comes directly from creationism. Everything they believe is worthless garbage that deserves nothing but ridicule and derision. They explain nothing while taking the beauty out of the world. They want us to be satisfied with not understanding the Universe because doing so allows them to continue in their delusion. The fact that this group had a voice at all in a worthy process such as the creation of science standards for children shows a pathetic lack of education among those involved in the process.

The third and final draft says students should be able to analyze and evaluate scientific explanations. There is also a new requirement that students should be able “to evaluate models according to their limitations in representing biological objects or events,” but it would take a mind-boggling leap for anyone to interpret that as applying to evolution, Quinn said, particularly when viewed through the plan’s new definition of science.

The old definition — which included phrases like “a way of learning about nature” and “may not answer all questions” — has been replaced with a definition from the National Academy of Sciences. It states that science involves using evidence to form explanations and make predictions that can be measured and tested. It also warns that questions on subjects that cannot be scientifically tested do not belong in science.

Bam. Peace out, creationism. Magic cannot be used to make predictions, cannot be tested, and is unfalsifiable. Fail, fail, fail. There is no point where supernatural beliefs have any relation with science. Well, to be fair, that isn’t entirely true. I can imagine an SAT question that says “False is to true as creationism is to ____” with the correct answer being “science”. That relation works quite well, actually.

Don McLeroy, the state board’s chairman, has said that science should admit the possibly of the supernatural when natural explanations fail. But he has also said that he is not trying to put creationism in public schools.

There’s a pretty good explanation of some more creationist dishonesty. McLeroy (who is a dentist) wants nothing more than to sneak magic into public schools. It is his raison d’être. All he wants to do is find a point where science has yet to explain something and then institute something which can absolutely never explain anything. That is creationism. He may as well have said “I want creationism in our public schools, but I don’t want creationism in our public schools.” Jackass.

Nothing makes sense except in the ‘light’ of creationism

At least not in Louisiana.

Not far back, I warned that we need to watch out for Bobby Jindal. He’s the anti-science mook of a governor from Louisiana that recently signed into a law a bill which targets the facts of evolution and global warming.

Remembering Jindal as a good student in his genetics class, Landy hoped that the governor would recall the scientific importance of evolution to biology and medicine. Joining Landy in his opposition to the bill were the American Institute of Biological Sciences, which warned that “Louisiana will undoubtedly be thrust into the national spotlight as a state that pursues politics over science and education,” and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which told Jindal that the law would “unleash an assault against scientific integrity.” Earlier, the National Association of Biology Teachers had urged the legislature to defeat the bill, pleading “that the state of Louisiana not allow its science curriculum to be weakened by encouraging the utilization of supplemental materials produced for the sole purpose of confusing students about the nature of science.”

But all these protests were of no avail. On June 26, 2008, the governor’s office announced that Jindal had signed the Louisiana Science Education Act into law. Why all the fuss? On its face, the law looks innocuous: it directs the state board of education to “allow and assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied,” which includes providing “support and guidance for teachers regarding effective ways to help students understand, analyze, critique, and objectively review scientific theories being studied.” What’s not to like? Aren’t critical thinking, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion exactly what science education aims to promote.

s always in the contentious history of evolution education in the U.S., the devil is in the details. The law explicitly targets evolution, which is unsurprising—for lurking in the background of the law is creationism, the rejection of a scientific explanation of the history of life in favor of a supernatural account involving a personal creator. Indeed, to mutate Dobzhansky’s dictum, nothing about the Louisiana law makes sense except in the light of creationism.

It’s fascinating that the group of people who claim to be the most moral of all mankind are the ones who are constantly seen lying about their intentions. Rather than to continue saying “We are creationists. We believe absurd things which have no basis in science. We want these things taught in the secular school system. Oh, and by the way, we need to talk about the whole “secular” thing”, they instead say “Academic freedom is being quashed because our ideas are not being accepted.” Of course, academic freedom has nothing to do with accepting every bad idea that comes around. If it did, not only would the Bible be an acceptable alternative discussion to the fact of evolution, but so would the Koran, Greek myths, and whatever the hell it is Tom Cruise believes. We would see Christian Science being regarded as an acceptable alternative to actual medicine and medical practices. We would see astronomy professors attempting to inform students of stellar evolution while in the next class an astrologer would tell the students why it’s a lucky week for capricorns.

Creationism and its twin in a cheap tuxedo, Paley’s Watchma…I mean, intelligent design…are not rejected on the basis that evolution cannot stand up to criticism. They are rejected because evolution already has stood up to criticism. That is why it’s a scientific theory. It stands with equal validity to cell theory, atomic theory, and the theory of gravity. It is established beyond all doubt. Proposing a necessarily complex (not to mention invisible) creator only raises more questions – namely, if the question is “How do we explain complexity?” then we are raising that very question with such a proposition. That is, saying life is so complex it needs a creator raises the question of the existence of the complexity of that creator.

Nothing makes sense except in the 'light' of creationism

At least not in Louisiana.

Not far back, I warned that we need to watch out for Bobby Jindal. He’s the anti-science mook of a governor from Louisiana that recently signed into a law a bill which targets the facts of evolution and global warming.

Remembering Jindal as a good student in his genetics class, Landy hoped that the governor would recall the scientific importance of evolution to biology and medicine. Joining Landy in his opposition to the bill were the American Institute of Biological Sciences, which warned that “Louisiana will undoubtedly be thrust into the national spotlight as a state that pursues politics over science and education,” and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which told Jindal that the law would “unleash an assault against scientific integrity.” Earlier, the National Association of Biology Teachers had urged the legislature to defeat the bill, pleading “that the state of Louisiana not allow its science curriculum to be weakened by encouraging the utilization of supplemental materials produced for the sole purpose of confusing students about the nature of science.”

But all these protests were of no avail. On June 26, 2008, the governor’s office announced that Jindal had signed the Louisiana Science Education Act into law. Why all the fuss? On its face, the law looks innocuous: it directs the state board of education to “allow and assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied,” which includes providing “support and guidance for teachers regarding effective ways to help students understand, analyze, critique, and objectively review scientific theories being studied.” What’s not to like? Aren’t critical thinking, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion exactly what science education aims to promote.

s always in the contentious history of evolution education in the U.S., the devil is in the details. The law explicitly targets evolution, which is unsurprising—for lurking in the background of the law is creationism, the rejection of a scientific explanation of the history of life in favor of a supernatural account involving a personal creator. Indeed, to mutate Dobzhansky’s dictum, nothing about the Louisiana law makes sense except in the light of creationism.

It’s fascinating that the group of people who claim to be the most moral of all mankind are the ones who are constantly seen lying about their intentions. Rather than to continue saying “We are creationists. We believe absurd things which have no basis in science. We want these things taught in the secular school system. Oh, and by the way, we need to talk about the whole “secular” thing”, they instead say “Academic freedom is being quashed because our ideas are not being accepted.” Of course, academic freedom has nothing to do with accepting every bad idea that comes around. If it did, not only would the Bible be an acceptable alternative discussion to the fact of evolution, but so would the Koran, Greek myths, and whatever the hell it is Tom Cruise believes. We would see Christian Science being regarded as an acceptable alternative to actual medicine and medical practices. We would see astronomy professors attempting to inform students of stellar evolution while in the next class an astrologer would tell the students why it’s a lucky week for capricorns.

Creationism and its twin in a cheap tuxedo, Paley’s Watchma…I mean, intelligent design…are not rejected on the basis that evolution cannot stand up to criticism. They are rejected because evolution already has stood up to criticism. That is why it’s a scientific theory. It stands with equal validity to cell theory, atomic theory, and the theory of gravity. It is established beyond all doubt. Proposing a necessarily complex (not to mention invisible) creator only raises more questions – namely, if the question is “How do we explain complexity?” then we are raising that very question with such a proposition. That is, saying life is so complex it needs a creator raises the question of the existence of the complexity of that creator.

Uncommon Descent

There’s been this big hub-bub among creationist conspiracists that “academic freedom” is being quashed by all those EVILutionists. That was the main theme of the movie Expelled and it even resulted in an anti-science bill being signed into law by Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal (most states rejected such nonsense, fortunately). For those who are unfamiliar, “academic freedom”, in its creationist sense, is just code/whine word for “no one will listen to our bad ideas”.

So it comes as an entertaining irony that the people whining and moaning about not having a voice in acadamia, have been called out for quieting dissent against their poorly thought out positions when the academics come onto their turf. This is actually something commonly practiced by the likes of Michael Heath, local Christian zealot and bigot. He actually just doesn’t approve dissenting comments, no matter how cleanly written, but it’s roughly the same principle: creationists want us to hear their voices, but cover their ears when truth is spoken to them.

Is anyone surprised?