Friday, December 30, 2005
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Here's the entire text of the decision on the Kitzmiller-Dover School District case. It makes good reading. The judge is clearly a good reasoner (always appropriate in a judge) and is pleased to point out the mendacity of the intelligent design folks (using that actual word, although "lied" and "lied under oath" appear, too). He's a Bush appointee and also makes a very clear statement about not being an "activist" judge. It's all wonderful bedtime reading and will make you feel warm that there are still people on the bench who are able to think clearly, to reason, and to apply the law appropriately.
I think it's delightully apt to identify intelligent design proponents as "IDiots." It fits on just so many levels. Yes, there are certainly questions of "How did the universe get here?" and "Where is 'here', anyway?" and other measures of the vastness of it all, but intelligent design is just fundamentalist Christian drivel wrapped up in a wrapper of pseudo-science. I'm reminded of the last verse of "Have a Nice Day" by Mark Graham, one of the two kings of Mongrolia (the Land of Mongrel Folk).
We believe in the creation, evolution is a sham,
And for you awful humanists we do not give a damn,
‘Cause we believe in science when the word of God agrees,
And we believe in science that destroys our enemies.
There's a great article in Scientific American that addresses 15 of the popular arguments of creationists and other IDiots. I've always loved the basic concept that IDiots usually don't understand what a "theory" is in scientific terms. You can tell that they're going off-tangent at that point and headed for the horizon. The article also had the results of a survey that correlated the belief in intelligent design with lack of education: in other words, the more ignorant you are in general, the more likely you are to believe this twaddle.
Mind you, all this does give us some guidelines for society in general. Someone suggested (purportedly in a letter to a San Luis Obispo newspaper, although I've not been able to find the provenance for this) that we don't need to vaccinate absolutely everyone against the next possible flu pandemic.
SOME DON'T NEED VACCINE
Recent news about the avian flu virus has raised concerns from main street to the White House. There is the possibility, even likelihood, that the virus will mutate into a form that can more easily infect humans. As the president pointed out, a vaccine cannot be made until this evolution occurs. This raises the concern that it may be impossible to create enough vaccine fast enough to protect all our citizens.
But there is hope. Gallup polls tell us that up to 45 percent of Americans don't believe in evolution. Since random mutation is the engine of evolution, these same people must believe that the virus cannot mutate.
Therefore, there is no need to waste vaccine on folks who believe there is no possible threat to themselves--thus leaving a sufficient supply for the rest of us.
Perhaps the president, given his doubts about evolution, may wish to demonstrate his leadership by foregoing vaccination. This approach has added benefits. Polls also tell us that disbelief in evolution is more pronounced among the less educated, the poor and conservatives. If the anti-evolutionists among these groups were to opt out of vaccination then, through immediate deaths and natural selection, we would reduce poverty, raise educational attainment, and become a more progressive society.
(One secondhand online source lists a name and address for the writer, but I am omitting it intentionally.)
IDiots: can't live with 'em, can't live... uh... with 'em.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Sunday, December 25, 2005
We started the morning with an amazing blueberry French toast dish that the Babe found the recipe for online. We opened presents under the tree: I had gotten The Babe EQ 5, a program for designing quilts and quilt blocks that also shows you wonderful things like how much fabric of each kind you'll need to achieve the design with your chosen dimensions. It's got lots of other nice things for quilters, too. (If you quilt, check it out.)
The Babe and I went off to church services at 11:00. Not surprisingly, it was rather sparsely attended. We came back, did a thing or two around the house, then went over to visit friends for a large dinner and an evening of games and conversation.
Nice day. :)