Inhuman Swill : August 2005

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August 31, 2005

I'm okay, you're okay

Our own [info]crabwalk has created a Hurricane Katrina check-in site:

http://www.katrinacheckin.org/
Accessibility has been spotty at times, but overall it seems his web host is handling the traffic better than mine did in '01. Check it out, and, you Louisianans, check in.

Good on you, Josh.

check-in | disasters | katrina | new orleans | survivor registries

Making monkeys of Americans

[info]bobhowe calls my attention to an article in today's New York Times about a survey commissioned by a couple of Pew trusts which finds that "nearly two-thirds of Americans say that creationism should be taught alongside evolution in public schools."

John C. Green, a senior fellow at the Pew Forum, said he was surprised to see that teaching both evolution and creationism was favored not only by conservative Christians, but also by majorities of secular respondents, liberal Democrats and those who accept the theory of natural selection. Mr. Green called it a reflection of "American pragmatism."

"It's like they're saying, 'Some people see it this way, some see it that way, so just teach it all and let the kids figure it out.' It seems like a nice compromise, but it infuriates both the creationists and the scientists," said Mr. Green, who is also a professor at the University of Akron in Ohio.

Eugenie C. Scott, the director of the National Center for Science Education and a prominent defender of evolution, said the findings were not surprising because "Americans react very positively to the fairness or equal time kind of argument."

"In fact, it's the strongest thing that creationists have got going for them because their science is dismal," Ms. Scott said. "But they do have American culture on their side."  [full article]

Let's leave aside for today the issue of the fairness fallacy and how innappropriate it is to apply the doctrine of "equal time for opposing views" to situations like science education, among others. Let's talk for a minute about the mindset that leads creationists to try to crowbar non-science into places where it doesn't belong.

It boils down to fear, the fear that their beliefs will lose in the marketplace of ideas. What excuse do many of these pious folk constantly cite? That they don't want their children exposed to the "lies" of evolution.

Well, and why not? Why must the children be shielded? If the parents believed their "truth" was strong enough when taught at home and in church that it could counteract "Satan's lies" when taught in schools, then they wouldn't feel a need to push their "truth" into places where it's inappropriate. So in essence, they fear their beliefs will lose in the marketplace of ideas, and their children will choose to believe Satan. They fear that Science is more powerful than Home and Church.

We can only hope this is so, since the rising tide of ignorance in this country is likely to ensure that evolution and intelligent design (a malapropism if ever there was one) become classmates in large swaths of the land. We can only hope that the empirical bulwarks of true science do hold strong in the marketplace of ideas, and that our children are smart enough to see for themselves what's provable and what isn't.

Some may call this flogging an extinct Eohippus, but we should be less worried about handicapping American science even further and more worried about our grandchildren having to learn the Chinese term for moon base.


This entry includes sentiments recycled from my comments to an entry posted in our own [info]markbourne's journal.

evolution | politics | religion | science

August 30, 2005

Queen of the Haight

Ella, Queen of the Haight Ella, feelin' groovy....

dogs | ella

Stalking the wild basketball

Ella, stalking the wild basketball Ella, closing in for the kill...

dogs | ella

The world's shortest personality test

Via [info]holyoutlaw...

You are happy, driven, and status conscious. You want everyone to know how successful you are. Very logical, you see life as a game of strategy.

A bit of a loner, you prefer to depend on yourself.
You always keep your cool and your composure.
You are a born leader and business person.


memes | quizzes

But I'm still not sure this says anything about my citizenship

Via [info]fjm (a better citizen, no doubt, than many citizens):

You Passed the US Citizenship Test
Congratulations - you got 10 out of 10 correct!

america | memes | quizzes

August 29, 2005

Report from a conference call

If I hear the phrase core competencies one more time, I may pound the receiver repeatedly against my desk.

Don't even get me started on the fact that our meeting has been labeled a visioning session.

language | work

August 26, 2005

Neither tough, roguish, friendly, nor charming

Jimmy Stewart You scored 26% Tough, 14% Roguish, 42% Friendly, and 19% Charming!
You are the fun and friendly boy next door, the classic nice guy who still manages to get the girl most of the time. You're every nice girl's dreamboat, open and kind, nutty and charming, even a little mischievous at times, but always a real stand up guy. You're dependable and forthright, and women are drawn to your reliability, even as they're dazzled by your sense of adventure and fun. You try to be tough when you need to be, and will gladly stand up for any damsel in distress, but you'd rather catch a girl with a little bit of flair. Your leading ladies include Jean Arthur and Donna Reed, those sweet girl-next-door types.

Find out what kind of classic dame you'd make by taking the Classic Dames Test.

Link: The Classic Leading Man Test written by gidgetgoes on OkCupid Free Online Dating

memes | quizzes

The transparent society

This little [sic] item has excited much comment in the blogosphere, but I will link to it as well as an example of one of the overlooked reasons that the proposed ban on cameras in New York City subways was a bad idea: crime deterrence.

Put the gun away, mister. You're on Candid Cam.


The title of this post comes from the David Brin polemic.

cameras | perverts | privacy | surveillance | transparency

August 25, 2005

Takes me right back to that strip mall on Main Street...

I used to think the BMW memory watch that Laura bought me a couple of Christmases back was the pinnacle of cool. But that was before she sent me a link to this.

Be still my ticking heart.

cool stuff | watches

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