Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Jesus Family Tomb

They found Jesus’ Ossuary!!

I’ve been watching with amusement as the Jesus Family Tomb documentary is getting mass coverage from various media outlets.

Here is an interview with James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici, and here is an article in support of the find.

I read various articles about the find, and also decided to contact Paul L. Maier, Ph.D., Litt.D, who teaches in the Department of History at Western Michigan University. He's always been very helpful when I have questions about ancient history, and he is an expert in the time period surrounding the life of Christ. He sent me an email with quite a few arguments against the authenticity of the tombs. I’ve listed some of them below along with a few from articles I’ve read:

1. Scholars have known about the ossuaries ever since March of 1980 (yes, 27 years ago), so this is old news recycled.

2. The general public learned when the BBC filmed a documentary on them in 1996, and the “findings” tanked again. James Tabor’s book, The Jesus Dynasty, also made a big fuss over the Talpiot tombs more recently, and now James Cameron (The Titanic) and Simcha Jacobovici have climbed aboard the sensationalist bandwagon as well. Another book comes out today, equally as worthless as the previous.

3. All the names – Yeshua (Joshua, Jesus), Joseph, Maria, Mariamene, Matia, Judah, and Jose -- are extremely common Jewish names for that time and place, and thus nearly all scholars consider that these names are merely coincidental, as they did from the start. Some scholars dispute that “Yeshua” is even one of the names. One out of four Jewish women at that time, for example, were named Maria. There are 21 Yeshuas cited by Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, who were important enough to be recorded by him, with many thousands of others that never made history. The wondrous mathematical odds hyped by Jacobovici that these names must refer to Jesus and his family are simply playing by numbers and lying by statistics.

4. There is no reason whatever to equate “Mary Magdalene” with “Mariamene,” as Jacobovici claims. And so what if her DNA is different from that of “Yeshua” ? That particular “Mariamme” (as it is usually spelled today) could indeed have been the wife of that particular “Yeshua".

5. Why in the world would the “Jesus Family” have a burial site in Jerusalem, of all places, the very city that crucified Jesus? Galilee was their home. In Galilee they could have had such a family plot, not Judea. Besides all of which, church tradition and the earliest Christian historian, Eusebius of Caesarea, are unanimous in reporting that Mary, the mother of Jesus, died in Ephesus, where the apostle John, faithful to his commission from Jesus on the cross, had accompanied her. Eusebius also makes it quite clear that the body of James, brother of Jesus, was buried alone near the temple mount.

6. The “Jesus Family” simply could not have afforded the large crypt uncovered at Talpiot, which housed, or could have housed, 200 ossuaries.

7. If this were Jesus’ family burial site, what is Matthew doing there – if indeed “Matia” is thus to be translated?

8. How come there is no tradition whatever – Christian, Jewish, or secular -- that any part of the Holy Family was buried at Jerusalem?

9. Israeli authorities, who – were they anti-Christian – might have used this “discovery” to discredit Christianity, did not do so. Quite the opposite. Joe Zias, for example, for years the director of the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem, holds Jacobovici’s claims up for scorn and his documentary as “nonsense.” Those involved in the project “have no credibility whatever,” he added.

10. Amos Kloner, the first archaeologist to examine the site, said the conclusions in question fail to hold up by archaeological standards “but make for profitable television.”

11. James, the half-brother of Jesus and author of the book of James, the early leader of the church in Jerusalem, was martyred for his faith. Why does James make no mention in his letter that Jesus was not bodily resurrected? When he was about to die why didn't he just recant his beliefs and say, 'Okay, okay! My brother didn't rise from the dead. Here's where we took him. Here's where his bones are. Here's our family tomb. We made the whole thing up?' People will generally not die for a lie when they know it's a lie. … Why would James die perpetuating a lie when it would have been so easy to disprove?”

Personally, I was thinking that if Jesus and his followers were trying to pull off some massive plot to trick the world into believing that he rose from the dead, wouldn’t they have chosen NOT to have his name inscribed on his ossuary? Good grief, it seems like they might have at least considered that someone might run across the thing and then the entire plan would be foiled.

What’s really weird is if Jesus went to all that work to proclaim himself a God, why did he only concern himself with the spiritual world? It doesn’t seem to me that he, or his family, or his followers ever gained anything here on earth with their devious plot to make Jesus a God. What was the point? They were being killed off for their beliefs, not handed an earthly throne.

It’s also interesting that even the atheists aren’t buying this one...I’ve been checking around.

Gore’s contribution to conservation

Hmmm....check out Gore’s utilities bills. Interesting.

Last night, Al Gore’s global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, collected an Oscar for best documentary feature, but the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has found that Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy.

Gore’s mansion, [20-room, eight-bathroom] located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home.

The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.

Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006.

Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.

“As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk to walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use,” said Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson.

In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006.

Since my Mom Strike ended, hubby has been doing his part to conserve energy by hanging our clothes to dry instead of putting them in the dryer. I can’t believe he’s still doing the laundry, but I’m certainly not complaining.

I asked him to vacuum the other day while I ran out to do some errands. When I came home I walked in on him vacuuming with his big ’ol shop vac. He not only vacuumed the floors with it, but was using it to clean the table and counter tops. I could hardly believe my eyes. It was hilarious. I asked him why he didn’t just use the vacuum, and he said he didn’t know where is was located.


Monday, February 26, 2007

More Confusion about Kansas Science Standards


From the article:

When conservatives held the majority, the religious theory of intelligent design was forced into the science curriculum. When moderates were elected to the majority, intelligent design was removed and the theory of evolution was restored to its position as the accepted explanation for the ascent of humans.
1. ID is clearly NOT a “religious” theory. It has religious implications, just as neo-Darwinism does.

2. ID was not “forced into the science curriculum”, as it was specifically mentioned in our previous standards that ID was not included in the science curriculum standards. Here is the verbage:

"We also emphasize that the Science Curriculum Standards do not include Intelligent Design, the scientific disagreement with the claim of many evolutionary biologists that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion. While the testimony presented at the science hearings included many advocates of Intelligent Design, these standards neither mandate nor prohibit teaching about this scientific disagreement."

3. The moderate board did not “remove” ID because it was never mandated to be taught. They did throw in more macroevolutionary language, but the previous board members never suggested that those issues were to be removed from the curriculum. A few aspects of evolution that had been previously added to the standards were to be left to the districts to decide as to how they would be addressed. Before '95 there was hardly a word mentioned about evolution, but that certainly didn't stop it from being taught!

Even this vote was not without controversy. The standards supporting evolution theory passed by a vote of 6-4. That gives the ultra-conservative intelligent designers some hope that the next election could swing the vote back in their favor.

Let's hope not. Kansas has become the butt of national jokes. The popular "Daily Show" -- the program where comedian John Stewart spoofs the news (and, unfortunately or not, is taken quite seriously by many young people) -- once labeled a four-part series "Evolution Schmevolution" about the Kansas decision to insert intelligent design alongside Darwinism in the schools.
1. True, Kansas has become the butt of national jokes due to the way in which evolutionists have spun the actual events that took place here in Kansas. Kansas evolutionists have done serious damage to their own state due to their dishonesty in how they presented our situation here.

2. AGAIN, Kansas did not decide to “insert ID alongside Darwinism”. (Even if ID had been inserted into the standards (which it wasn’t), ID certainly wouldn’t be set “alongside Darwinism” because it doesn’t negate Darwin’s theory. These journalists obviously have no clue as to what ID entails.

We all know that the majority of the people of Kansas are not averse to scientific knowledge. Kansas, however, has the same problem that most states have: school board elections -- local or statewide -- do not command a big voter turnout. That gives small interest groups the opportunity to get its people to the polls and take over school boards.
Ugh....I’m going to start spewing naughty words all over the place soon, so consider yourself warned.

Most Kansans, like most of the US (as shown in polls), support the idea that Darwinism should be considered with a critical eye. Small interest groups are probably what swung the vote for the Darwinists. KCFS worked day and night on a smear campaign against the board members. They should consider themselves lucky that the voting went the way it did, because two of the three conservatives up for re-election were voted back to the board. KCFS put their president up for election and he lost in the primaries (I think that says something as well). One conservative that had previously been on the board did not seek reelection, which opened it up to two new people for the position. So, it’s hard to tell what voters were thinking.

Intelligent design is based on the Bible. Literalists believe that a Creator did all his work in seven days, including making a man and then a woman to keep him company.

They insist that since the theory of evolution is simply a "theory" then it is not true science. They believe that the world was created about 5,000 years or so ago and they often produce "evidence" to prove their belief.

If all theories are to be dismissed, then let's just throw out the theory of gravity or the theory of relativity or the big bang or . . .
The writer of this article is extremely confused in regard to what Intelligent Design actually entails. ID IS NOT “BASED ON THE BIBLE” . It has absolutely nothing to do with a literal interpretation of the bible, nor does it postulate anything remotely close to a 7 day creation, or a “5,000” year old earth.

Let's just throw out all the fossil evidence, all the geological evidence, all the archaeological evidence, all the biological evidence that is accepted by almost every credible scientist on the face of the Earth.
Instead of “throwing it out”, how about we consider the interpretation of the evidence with a critical eye, and allow students to do the same instead of shoving macroev. down their throats and calling them IDiots if they don’t swallow it.

To be fair, the conservatives (and I apologize to all my conservative friends for categorizing this group as conservatives, but it's the nicest description I can think of) weren't particularly trying to get evolution thrown out of the schools (although I still believe that is their ultimate goal). They said they only wanted it taught alongside intelligent design. They simply wanted, they said, students to have the choice of which to believe and teachers the choice of what to teach.
He must have us confused with some other state because our board members never suggested teaching ID “alongside” evolution. They approved of critical analysis of Darwinian evolution and left some areas of the theory to the districts to decide how they would be approached (but not deleted from the curriculum).

That left many Kansas science teachers in a bind. As long as the conservatives controlled the state school board, they also dictated the makeup of exit exams. If the teachers didn't teach intelligent design it could have put their students at a disadvantage.

The school board did not change any exams questions to mandate that ID be taught and tested upon.

This guy should be contacted and his ignorance corrected so that he has a better understanding of the facts surrounding the Kansas Science Standards...

Religion, whatever religion, belongs in the home and in the church and in Sunday school. If parents want their kids to have religion in the school, there are a host of church-affiliated private schools from which to choose.
...in fact, I’m going to contact him myself. This entire article is inexcusable. “Religion” being taught in Kansas public schools was never, ever suggested by the board members or anyone else in Kansas.

I’ve got to track this guy down via the Internet and ask him to please correct his blatant misunderstanding of what has transpired here in Kansas.

[Edited: I took out a few words indicating that the author of the article was being dishonest. I decided that perhaps he just doesn't have a clue as to what he is writing about, and wrote an article without checking the facts first.]

Pro-Evolution Upcoming Events

This Thursday, March 1st at 7pm, Sean Carroll, author of “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” will be giving a public lecture at Kansas State University‘s Forum Hall at the Student Union. It is sponsored by the KSU Center for Origins. I keep meaning to read Carroll’s book, but I haven‘t had a chance yet.

Also, on April 27-28 there will be a Mini-symposium on RNA and the Origin of Life at KSU. Sounds fascinating.

I enjoyed the recent KU “Difficult Dialogues” lecture series, and my review of those lectures can be found here. The above events sound very thought provoking as well, so I hope that my schedule will allow me to attend. KSU is my husband's alma mata, so maybe I can talk him into tagging along.

Weigh in Week 8 - Feb. 26

We've completed week eight, with our total weight loss at 60 lbs..

Dieters, please use the comment section to post how much you lost (or gained) this week, and your ~total~ weight loss since day 1 of dieting. When everyone has done so, I’ll post the results.


Starving -1 this week, -18 total
Davescot -2, -13
Ftk -1, -11
Sparky 2, -10
Gigi -0, -6
Carb Princess -0, -5
Chunky Monkey -1, -5
Manna 0, 0

Week 7
Week 6
Week 5
Week 4
Week 3
Week 2
Week 1
start up

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Monkey Girl - The Cause of my Evolving Migraine

First off, let me start by saying that *I am biased* in regard to my opinions surrounding the issues in this debate. Furthermore, I don’t think there is anyone involved in this debate who is not biased. Humes may have thought that an unbiased account would be the proper way to go about writing this book, but in the end, his bias is blatantly obvious, and my personal opinion is that he had very specific views about the controversial issues surrounding this debate before he even started writing. I believe it is *perfectly* acceptable to write in regard to your own personal views of the issues, but let’s just be honest about that fact upfront.

I am going to comment on portions of the book as I read them. I realize that this is not the best way to post a review because I may voice concerns about a particular issue that Humes addresses in greater detail later in the book, but, nevertheless, I’m going to post about portions of the book that bother me as I come upon them. If that approach bothers you, don’t read the posts. Thanks.

Right from the start it seems that Humes is going to place ID squarely in the realm of religious thought and zealous fanaticism.

ID = creationism, biblical literalism, fundamentalism, fanaticism. Goodness so many -isms!

The first paragraph sets up his objective quite nicely:

The Reverend Jim Grove is a wiry and intense man, his eyes burning and birdlike as he takes the measure of each person entering the ninth-floor federal courtroom in downtown Harrisburg. He is among the first people whom visitors encounter as they arrive to watch the trial billed in the media as the second coming of the legendary Scope Monkey Trial. “Yes,” Grove says, “it’s a monkey trial all right. And the evolutionist are the monkey.” He does not smile when he says this. [ my emphasis]
Not doubting for a second that Humes portrayal of Rev. Jim is accurate, it is just frustrating that this is the the person that Humes chooses to classify as the norm when considering people who support ID or creation science. Then he rolls right on to describing some creation scientists and a Texan preacher by the name of Dave Reagan in the same fanatical way. I live smack dab in the middle of the Bible belt, and I’ve never met people who display such fanaticism. I’m absolutely sure they exist, but I certainly do not believe they are the norm.

From the start, Humes equates ID with creation science, and that conclusion can only be made due to a person’s speculation about what they think is really at the surface of this debate. If we consider the science alone, ID in no way resembles creation science except that both concepts accept the notion that there is something responsible for the design we see in nature.

Then we move on to the Dover school board members, and as Bill Buckingham was the board chairman during the Dover circus act, Humes paints a very dire picture of poor Bill. He is described as “bullheaded and indefatigable”. Two quotes allotted to him are “I had more luck than brains”, and “I’d rather take a beating than back down”. He was “primed” for a religious experience after being “born again” due to witnessing the deaths of two children during his job as a cop. He had changed churches and accepted the fundamentalist** belief that the Bible is the “literal inspired word of God.” [Oh the horror!] Due to injury he becomes “unemployable” and addicted to OxyContin. Evidently his grammar sucks as well, because Humes quotes him as saying “I wasn’t afraid of nothing”.

Sheesh....dire painting of Bill’s picture. But on to the other characters of the book...

The science department at Dover is praised extensively and Humes mentions that though the teachers referred to evolution primarily as “changes over time” and the principles of common descent were taught, the teachers avoided getting into the evolution of man. Though, it is interesting that the science teacher he lauds in his tale had wanted a mural hung in the hall that was “given as a gift” by a student to the science department. It depicted various stages of evolution from primate to human, and evidently someone hauled it off and burned it (or so the story goes). Not particularly a big deal that the science teacher would have liked to see it hung, but it seems to me that there may have been the remote chance that the science teachers might have added more friction to the debate than Humes lets on. The fault seems to be placed entirely on the school board members. At any rate, it is obvious that there is no one either in the science department or on the BOE who is considering these issues as adults. It appears that from the start there is bickering back and forth and philosophical and religious issues surfacing at every turn. Humes implies that problems surfacing in Dover have been caused by the board members and their alluded to ignorance of science, and that those in the science department are merely trying to defend their position (which is of course correct beyond question).

We also are told that there are those involved in this Dover fiasco who would have liked to “crush evolution and wipe it from the blackboards”. There is also an underlying suggestion that many of these type of fanatical creationists are part of a larger group who want to put laws in place that advocate a “no-hold-barred advocacy of Christianity by government fiat”.

I know how the description of the “facts” can be twisted and spun to favor ones own bias. I watched the media and pro-evo. groups tear our Kansas board members apart and put a spin on anything they did or said to make them look like fanatical loons. I contacted a few of the board members on occasion to see if what was said about them was true, because if it was, I thought they should definitely be committed to a local psychiatric ward. But, after speaking with them, it was blatantly obvious that their words and actions had been stretched & spun beyond belief.

Regardless of what Humes portrays in this book, we have fanatics preaching from both sides of this debate. Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, et. al. scream to the rafters that religion is turning our nation into religious zombie idiots, and on the other side we have the over zealous preachers screaming that everyone who doesn’t believe their particular version of scripture will be going to hell. AND SCIENCE IS CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE. It’s seriously out of control, and people need to take a deep breath and consider whether they are actually working with those on the other side in an effort to understand each other and fix the problems or if we are pushing the problems to a point where communication is no longer an option.

In the first three chapters of Humes book, he describes the problems that we find on one side of this debate. He is silent as to ~why~ these people have reached the point of appearing fanatical and doesn’t bother to mention that there are people from the other side raging war like words against those who hold religious beliefs dear. I have to wonder if those who support evolution ever stop and really listen to the concerns from the other side rather than simply wave them off and start right in with the name calling. I watch PZ’s blog fairly regularly and it is a rare occurrence to see someone, who supports his scientific assumptions, stand up to him and tell him that he is causing his opposition to fight even harder. What is wrong with scientists that they simply ignore this type of behavior? As for the other side, do those who support ID ever voice their concerns when they think that someone from their side of the debate has gone too far in their actions toward their opposition? I have, but I can tell you (without my bias talking) that the Darwinist, anti-ID blogs and websites are much worse in how they treat people. At times they act subhuman. Yes, we can all get caught up in this type of behavior and I have at times said things I shouldn't, but that should not be the norm.

I also think that Christians need to be leary of anyone who is trying to turn the nation into a “Christian Nation” in the political sense. I don’t want to get into that in this particular post, but Christianity was never about ruling government and that type of agenda will lead to serious problems, IMO.

Humes also seems to blame this controversy for dumbing down science. He writes:
As the school board continued to focus on and question all things evolutionary, he [Rehm/physics teacher] found himself cutting back on certain class activities designed to get kids turned on to science. No one had ever criticized or questioned these lessons-quite the contrary, his students seemed to love them - but he started second-guessing himself. Such was the “chilling effect” of the board’s stated concerns about evolution, he’d later say - a legal term for pressure-induced self-censorship that he had never used or thought about before.
Sad. Know what? If the “scientific community” would actually consider addressing these issues with concern for parents, students, and teachers instead of using their “my way or the highway” arrogant attitudes, I truly believe that students would find these issues fascinating and the discussions would actually enhance their excitement about science.

We are horrifically *failing* at how we are handling this controvery, and I don’t see scientists actually trying to work on this problem. Sure, they gather together and try to figure out where they’ve gone wrong in getting the public to accept their interpretation of the issues surrounding the controversy. But, they never sit back and say, what could I do to understand these concerns better and ~make some concessions~ somewhere (the very first place to start would be to portray ID honestly).

I believe the Dover board did a pretty good job of making concessions toward the scientific community. It seems, from what the media and Humes tells us, that these folks were pretty solid, die-hard creationist and biblical literalists. But, in the end, did they vote to have creation science taught in the schools? No. Did they demand to have ID taught in the schools? No. So, what was all the rumpus about?

Let me tell you...

The board wanted a short paragraph read in the science classrooms...curious as to the wording? Here it is...

The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn about Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and eventually to take a standardized test of which evolution is a part.

Because Darwin’s Theory is a theory, it is still being tested as new evidence is discovered,. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. At theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations.

Intelligent design is an explanation of the Origin of life that differs from Darwin’s view. The reference book, Of Pandas and People, is available for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding of what Intelligent Design actually involves.

With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. The school leaves the discussion of Origins of Life to individual students and their families. As a standards-driven district, class instruction focuses up on preparing students to achieve proficiency on Standards-based assessments.
This paragraph (which takes about 1 minutes to read) was to be read to the class before the introduction of evolution. Yup, this little paragraph that the board approved sent a group of parents into such a frenzy that they sued the school district. Unbelievable isn’t it? Especially since the statement is completely accurate, though the board didn’t advocate teaching ANYTHING in regard to creation science or ID in the the public school science classes.

Now, Humes would have us believe that the board would have liked to do much more than present that small paragraph, but that they knew the science teachers wouldn’t support or agree to it. So, guess what? They compromised....but that apparently wasn’t good enough. It is shocking to me that people would sue over something like this. I have heard murmurs from the pro-Darwin crowd that a lawsuit might be attempted by disgruntled parents here in Kansas who are upset about the latest turn of events regarding our science standards. I will go on the record as saying that, in my opinion, a lawsuit in regard to this matter is a mistake. Lawsuits in regard to these issues get seriously ugly and there is no point in stoking the fire further. Education is needed coming from both sides of this debate, and meaningful communication and concession needs to be considered.

Humes approach is like so many of the other books, blogs, and articles regarding the issues of this debate. Those from both ends of the issue point out the fanatics preaching warnings to their groupies about the views from the other side. But, guess what? The majority of US citizens fall in the middle somewhere and would like nothing better than to get to a point where these issues can be discussed in an open, honest, fair way without censorship, name calling, fear tactics, etc. surfacing at every turn. Why can’t someone write a book looking for a way to solve this crappy situation we’ve found ourselves in? I mean, do people actually believe that eventually one side will prevail and the opposing view will be buried until the end of time? Sheesh, this is the way wars are started, and it seems that this culture war is getting worse all the time.

There is a real need to stop making assumptions about religious and philosophical issues surrounding this debate and start *listening* to each other and considering the actual science being presented. At times, I read that those in the “scientific community” are trying to figure out how to approach this growing “problem” with “creationism”, assuming that if they teach the community “how science is done”, and learn how to communicate better with the public that this “problem” will go away. The general idea is that if they can teach the poor ignorant masses, the public will reject those “old fashioned” religious ideas and science will benefit greatly. That approach is probably going to fail.

Tell ya what...the first thing that the “scientific community” needs to do is to ~present ID accurately~. Let that be your starting point, and if you feel you are already presenting it accurately, check with someone from the ID side to be ~sure~ that you are. Communicate! Work together...act like adults.

Okay, I got a few things off my chest, so I’m feeling better for the time being. Now, on to the next chapter! I must forge ahead irregardless of that evolving migraine.

**Readers should be aware that there is a difference between “fundamentalism” and “traditional Christianity”. The first has a particular outlook on end time prophecy that is relatively a new concept in the Christian church. I am a traditional Christian who believes in a “literal interpretation of scripture”, but as I learned early on in life, there are various interpretations of that phrase.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Weapon yielding chimps

From the article:

Chimpanzees have been seen using spears to hunt bush babies, U.S. researchers said on Thursday in a study that demonstrates a whole new level of tool use and planning by our closest living relatives.

Perhaps even more intriguing, it was only the females who fashioned and used the wooden spears, Jill Pruetz and Paco Bertolani of Iowa State University reported.

Bertolani saw an adolescent female chimp use a spear to stab a bush baby as it slept in a tree hollow, pull it out and eat it.
Well, there you have it....proof positive that we share common ancestry with those little cuties. Dang, it must have really been a feat to grab a stick, do a little whittling and stab that bush baby.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Al Gore would be proud

Just returned from my 4th grade son's choir concert. Of course, the grandparents showed up to listen to their darling grandson. About half way through the concert my Mom nudged me and whispered, "Al Gore would love this concert"...LOL

She's right, the collections of songs sung were right up his alley...

"This Pretty Planet"

"The Song of the World's Last Whale"

"Clean Up Our World"

"Save the Earth"


"Step Lightly on the Face of the Earth"

"As you Walk Through This World"

Tree huggers throughout the world can rest assured that my son's class is well versed in the importance of saving planet earth. But, seriously, the songs were beautiful and we enjoyed the concert.

Comparative religion classes

I just wanted to comment quickly on comparative religion classes since our Kansas board of education discussed briefly, at their last meeting, whether it would be a good idea to offer these courses at the elementary level. They apparently realized that they would be opening another can of worms.

From what I have observed since the Mirecki episode, it seems to me that comparative religion classes are taught by primarily atheist and agnostic professors. They lump all religions together as a variety of mythical ideals that can be of some use to society, but don't particularly provide us with any real facts or actual truth.

I've stated several times that I do not support religion in the public schools at all, and I think comparative religions classes at the university level are worthless. But, I do believe that studying the history of various religions is important and that these issues being taught in history classes is appropriate and beneficial.

Well, this year my sixth grader has been studying various ancient cultures, and they have explored the religions of these cultures during each unit. I think this is the perfect way to address religion. When we are teaching religion within the history of various cultures, it seems to me that there would be less chance that the professor's bias due to their own faith beliefs would surface.

Anyway, just a thought...

More on Monkey Girl

Evidently Ed Humes is aware that I’m writing various posts in regard to his book. At his site, I found the following:

Talk Radio Evolution — Over at Pharyngula, readers riff on my OpEd's description of the two versions of evolution (the real theory, and the cartoonish talk-radio version designed not to inform but to inflame and deceive). I was particularly caught by a line from commenter Blake Stacy, whose summation sentence offers sound advice to all sides of the evolution-creation-intelligent design debate: It's hard to see why we should say anything other than the truth, as best as we can figure it out — particularly when the truth is all we have to offer. A brief but revealing back-and-forth between opposing points of view on this Talk Radio Evolution theme can be found at Evolving Thoughts, while the creationist take from someone who calls herself ForTheKid can be found here.
You can following the links from his site.

I am struggling to find the time to comment further in regard to what I’ve read in the book so far, but I have some thoughts that I really want to put into writing.

At the moment, Dave and Jeremy are giving me a lot to think about in the comments section of this post. So, if you’re looking for something to read, you might consider checking out those comments. We’re discussing the necessity of the concept of macroevolution.

And, Ed, if you’re out there, I’m enjoying reading the book. As an author, you write an interesting novel, but there are quite a few things I believe you’re wrong about, and I also feel that you are seriously adding to the problem that we have with the fear factor hovering around the various aspects of this debate.

I also think that the evolutionist crowd (ie. PZ et. al.) can certainly be accused of writing posts and articles which “inflame & deceive” their readers. It is interesting that you consider PZ a credible source in regard to the various aspects of this debate, because I can think of no one who does a better job of causing people to clamor toward ID.

His arrogance, horrendous attitude, disregard for portraying ID honestly, and his contempt for religion is very harmful to the theory of evolution.

On occasion, I give people his blog address and tell them to consider his comments as he is a professor at a major university. Honestly, they are appalled at what they read and it certainly gives them reason to consider these issues more seriously. Hope you’re getting my point. His approach is detrimental to the ToE.

More later...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Teen stumbles across extraordinary fossil find

From this article:

Paleontology and archaeology experts have confirmed the find, and recent digging at the site has turned up teeth and bones from a second mammoth, giant sloths, camels, turtles with shells up to 6-feet-long, saber-toothed cats and giant armadillos the size of Volkswagen Beetles.
Sounds fascinating.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Phillip Johnson Article

Phillip Johnson's take on the current situation and future prospects of Intelligent Design can be found here.

For those of you who are not familiar with Phillip Johnson, he is considered the Father of Intelligent Design. His 1991 book, Darwin on Trial, was the starting point of what would become the ID movement.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Feb. 19 weigh-in (Week 7)

We've completed week seven, with our total weight loss at 55 lbs..

Valentine's week did me in. I got carried away with chocolate, wine, and pizza. I didn't lose a pound, but at least I didn't gain anything either. I really need to get serious again this week. Hopefully, the rest of you did better than I did.

Dieters, please use the comment section to post how much you lost (or gained) this week, and your ~total~ weight loss since day 1 of dieting. When everyone has done so, I’ll post the results.


Starving -2 this week, -17 total
Davescot -0, -11
Ftk -0, -10
Sparky -+1, -8
Gigi -0, -6
Carb Princess -0, -5
Chunky Monkey -3, -4
Manna 0, +1

Week 6
Week 5
Week 4
Week 3
Week 2
Week 1
start up

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Growling over Monkey Girl

Unbiased, Humes is not.

I seem to have to take a breather after every couple chapters. I was reading it in the car this morning with my poor husband sitting right next to me. I usually urge him to take the Darwinist stance to try to help me understand their mentality. Poor guy...can you imagine being *my* sounding board?

I'm seriously busy today, but I'll try to post about some issues in the book that I'm struggling with as soon as I can find some time.

Oh, btw, Casey has posted another article in regard to the book.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Bald Britney

Poor thing is losing it. After 1 day at rehab, she leaves and apparently shaved her head! Ummm...why?

She was such a cutie at one time...

She's been through a lot since those early days. Too much attention must make people looney.

Let's see....how can I blame this on the evils of evolution...


Friday, February 16, 2007

Dembski-Shermer Debate

Salvador Cordova gives an excellent review of the debate held at Bridge Water college last night.

Dissent from Darwin Brain Surgeon takes a Journalist to Task

An interesting exchange occurred between a Doctor and a Journalist regarding the “Dissent from Darwin” list. Evolution News & Views mentions it here, and you can go straight to the article and comments here.

It’s interesting that Darwinists are always complaining that those who don’t cave to neo-Darwinism are ignorant religious zealots, but honestly, when you surf around cyberspace you’ll find brilliant individuals who debate Darwinian evolution into the ground.

Religious zealots are not the stereotype for those who dissent from Darwin anymore, though Ed Humes (Monkey Girl), as expected, starts his book with this outlook. He focuses on a man who he depicts as a raging zealot who believes that everyone who supports evolution will surely end up in “hell”. I can see where this book is going...

Evolutionists = misunderstood, genius scientists who are trying to reach and teach the poor ignorant masses.

ID advocates = ignorant, crazy religious zealots who can't wait to see everyone who doesn't believe in God end up in hell.

(I’ll make it through the book....really I will. Hubby’s bringing home a bottle of wine.)

Anyway, read the comments of the article I posted above. Quite interesting...

Up with porn...down with the cross

Back in October, I wrote a post wondering why porn classes are being taught at the university level, yet ID is outlawed. You just have to wonder what is happening to our society. I have a few ideas, but then you can probably guess where I stand on the issue.

The latest porn craze took place at the the historic College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. It’s interesting to note that this was a former Christian college. My how things have changed!

Last Monday the school hosted a Sex Workers Art Show featuring:

...topless dancers, demonstrations of sex toys, Q&As with male and female prostitutes – all in the name of empowering "sex workers."
What were some of the attractions the audience of 400 were exposed to?

A 200-pound-plus performer named Dirty Martini did a striptease, finishing her routine in only a G-string and pasties.

Another performer in military fatigues stripped, used a fake gun as a sex prop and told the audience that sexual favors would be given if "doing so can end the war. Just don't force me."

"It's just so out there and expressive," Josh Campbell, a member of Lamba Alliance, one of six student groups to sponsor the event, told the local paper. "It's hip, it's in your face, and it's exciting."
It was all done in the name of “free expression”. Hmmm...I wonder if I could hold a class on Intelligent Design and call it a class of “free expression”. I’m thinking ~that wouldn't fly~.

Oh, by the way, this is the same college where the administrator, Melissa Engimann, circulated an e-mail noting that the cross in the college chapel was going to be placed in permanent storage to make the chapel "less of a faith-specific space."

Mercy, it’s almost laughable...

Private schools are lookin' more inviting every day.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Rant Alert

My copy of Monkey Girl came in the mail today. So, I’ve been pilfering through my medicine cabinet searching for something that might act as a mild sedative. I’d hate to put my husband through the grief of listening to me rant every few minutes about what I’m reading.

Anyway, all I could come up with was a couple boxes of Sudafed. I’m kinda thinking that whipping up a batch of meth is just seriously not going to do the trick. I need something that will help me relax and remain calm.

Hmmm....NyQuil? That might put me to sleep.

Sigh.....I better just start reading the sucker and get it over with.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Here’s a big hug and kiss for all my readers. I’ll even save a kiss for all you naughty Darwinian Dodos...(pucker up Joe Meert...LOL)

Or, perhaps some of you would be more comfortable receiving that kiss from a closer relative?


John West comments on the KBOE decision

From the article:

Don't expect the "mainstream" media to notice the biting irony here: The people they like to portray as the champions of free inquiry and scientific literacy are the very ones trying to dumb-down science curricula in order to suppress information they find uncomfortable. Fortunately, Americans still have the freedom to investigate the truth for themselves, which is why the Darwinists' current strategy will be such a loser over the long term. Trying to stamp out the discussion of ideas you don't like is a sign of insecurity, and thoughtful people will eventually see through such tactics.
Yeah, that's the sad part about this whole saga. Due to extreme paranoia of a "religious theocracy", Kansas Darwinists have gone overboard in what they have removed from the standards and their definition of science will have to be amended in the future.

My personal hope is that the next writing standards committee is composed of individuals who have the insight to acknowledge that in order to end this three ring circus, there will have to be some give and take. That goes for those arguing from both sides of this debate.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Board has spoken

6 to 4, science loses. Dogma reigns.

Ah well, we'll regroup and eventually replace whatever they come up with next.

Now, if I were Steve Case, Jack Krebs, et. al., I'd take a good hard look at the revised science standards they are going to thrust upon our students. If they aren't careful with the wording, they are going to be looking at an even greater opposition next time around. I believe it was truly a stroke of luck that you won this last election. I wouldn't count on being that lucky next time.

Be careful with that definition of science and ease up on what you consider to be factual claims regarding evolution. If you do that, we won't have to readdress this issue over and over. Most of us don't mind compromise, we just want these issues addressed fairly.

In fact, take another look at those revised standards, and knock around some ideas as to how you can stop a future fiasco. Then let me take a look at those standards before you approve them, and I'll let ya know whether you're going to have to go through this whole circus again next time.

(seriously, Jack)

Humes gets huffy

Apparently, Ed Humes is whining because he received a review of his book that was less than glowing. Wanna take a guess at what he accused the reviewer of being?

Wait for it...



Yesterday's celebration of Darwin Day

Anika Smith, from the Discovery Institute, wrote an article highlighting some of the activities from "Darwin Day". Fun read...

Hmmm...I wonder how Darwin Day went here in Kansas. I haven't heard anything from my fellow Kansas bloggers yet. I'll have to look around a bit.

Ed Humes article in the LA Times

Humes makes it exceptionally clear in this article that he is anything but unbiased about Darwinism. I’ve ordered his book, Monkey Girl, and I’m almost afraid of what I’ll find in it. Thank goodness Casey Luskin is addressing various misconceptions in the book.

In the LA Times article, Humes mentions the following:
“The talk-radio version had a packed town hall up in arms at the "Why Evolution Is Stupid" lecture. In this version of the theory, scientists supposedly believe that all life is accidental, a random crash of molecules that magically produced flowers, horses and humans — a scenario as unlikely as a tornado in a junkyard assembling a 747. Humans come from monkeys in this theory, just popping into existence one day. The evidence against Darwin is overwhelming, the purveyors of talk-radio evolution rail, yet scientists embrace his ideas because they want to promote atheism.”
This is far, far, from what educated individuals who reject Darwinism believe to be true. We do not believe that evolution purports that “molecules magically produced flower, horses, and human...”, nor do we believe that evolutionists claim humans evolved from monkeys and just “popped“ into existence one day. We are quite aware that Darwinists claim that humans branch off from the same ape-like ancestors as modern ape species, though are not direct descendents of what we call a “monkey” today.

Humes writes that ID supporters claim that “scientists believe that all life is accidental”. He feels this is a misunderstanding of the theory of evolution. Well, that certainly depends on what aspect of evolution you are discussing. If you are starting midstream with the theory, obviously there are factors which allow for one to generalize that the process is guided to some extent. And, while ~some~ scientists support the notion of design in general but oppose discussions regarding the evidence, ~most~ scientists (75% according to an article in Nature) express disbelief in a personal god which obviously supports the fact that they believe that design in nature is non-existent, and that there is merely an “illusion of design”. So, the only other option other than design is chance! Hence, we are correct in stating that most scientists believe that life is the result of a random accidental chance event.

If you consider the evolutionary paradigm in which mainstream scientists base many theories upon, you’ll find that due to the process of methodological naturalism, we are only allowed to consider causes that ~apparently~ exclude this “illusion” of design (here I had thought science was based on observation). If we exclude design, scientific theories in respect to origins must be based on the assumption that life is the product of random events. So, ~if~ we are wrong in that assumption, we may never discover the true cause of our existence.

Darwin, himself, posited the notion that evolution does not require a designer, and therefore when you consider the first cause of the theory, you are looking square in the face of pure chance and random occurrences. Darwinists, of course, tell us that evolution doesn’t speak of a first cause to our existence, yet obviously there had to be something that started these evolutionary events which led to human life. If design is out of the question we’re left with random, unguided, chance occurrences.

Even in this letter from The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity: Nobel Laureates Initiative, the terms “unguided“, “unplanned“, and “random” are used when speaking about evolution:
[E]volution is understood to be the result of an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection.[my emphasis]
Olson goes on to say:
But then there is the real theory of evolution, the one that was on display in that Harrisburg courtroom, for which there is overwhelming evidence in labs, fossils, computer simulations and DNA studies. Most Americans have not heard of it. Teachers give it short shrift in schools because the subject upsets too many parents who only know the talk-radio version. But real evolution isn't random; it doesn't say man came from monkeys. Those claims are made up by critics to get people riled up — paving the way for pleasing alternatives like intelligent design.
Oh, for the love of God...do tell, what is this overwhelming evidence that most Americans have never heard of?

Evolution is NOT rocket science, and anyone who takes a bit of time to study the subject can clearly conclude that the term “evolution” covers a wide range of theoretical claims. Granted, there should not be a person on the face of the earth who rejects evolution in the sense that Olson is referring to. Obviously, we share commonalities with the animal kingdom, and evolutionary mechanisms are certainly aspects of the theory that are empirically sound beyond any doubt.

But, when we broach the subject of macroevolution, we are considering historical science that is based on ~inference~ and speculation from what we observe in microevolutionary changes.

Real evolutionary theory explains how life forms change across generations by passing on helpful traits to their offspring; a process that, after millions of years, gradually transforms one species into another. This does not happen randomly but through nature's tendency to reward the most successful organisms and to kill the rest. This is why germs grow resistant to antibiotics and why some turtles are sea animals and others survive quite nicely in the desert, and why dinosaurs — and more than 99% of all other species that have ever lived on Earth — are extinct.

The environment changes. The recipe for survival changes with it. And life changes to keep up — or it dies. Darwin's signature insight is both brilliant and elegantly, brutally simple.
These are all examples of microevolutionary changes and no one is rejecting these empirically sound facts. NOBODY!

The real theory of evolution does not try to explain how life originated — that remains a mystery. The truth is that many scientists accept evolution and believe in God — and in a natural world so complete that it strives toward perfection all on its own, without need of a supernatural designer to keep it going.
True, evolution does not explain how life originated, but it assumes that all of life evolved from that first common ancestor (whatever that might has been). The evidence does not support this aspect of evolution with empirically sound data, and it should not be taught dogmatically as fact. Though this aspect of the theory should ~most certainly~ be taught in science classes, students should be allowed to consider both the strengths and weaknesses surrounding this facet of evolution.

BTW, In the science journal, Nature, a study showed that 7% of scientists believe in a "personal god," 72.2% expressed "personal disbelief," and 20.8% expressed "doubt or agnosticism." So the "many" scientists Humes refers to above is about 7% of them.

The judge in Pennsylvania eventually found that real evolution was not stupid; that intelligent design was religion, not science, and that the school board in Dover, Pa., whose actions had precipitated this replay of Scopes, was out of line. Judge John E. Jones III was rewarded for his sensible and well-documented ruling with death threats. Such is the power of talk-radio evolution.
Jones’ “sensible and well-documented” ruling included a 6,004 word section regarding whether intelligent design is science, and he copied that section almost verbatim from the ACLU's proposed 'Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law' submitted to him nearly a month before his ruling. Yeah, he’s brilliant! Get a copy of the book, Traipsing into Evolution, for more information about Jones and his biased decision.

BTW, I’d love to hear more about this “death threat”. It appears to me that Jones was put up on a pedestal. He was featured in Time magazine as one of the most influential people of the year. He was voted by Wired magazine as one of the “10 sexiest geeks”, and was also asked to speak at graduation commencements. I don't think life has been all that difficult for him since the trial.

Meanwhile, a creationist history of the Grand Canyon is on sale in national park shops. A major American museum expressed interest in having me speak about my new book but decided the subject of evolution was too "political" right now to risk it. And teachers across the nation tell me they feel compelled to downplay or skip evolution lessons to avoid controversy; one L.A.-area high school instructor said she is the only one of five science teachers on her faculty to even mention evolution in class, notwithstanding a clear state mandate to teach it.
Sadly, this has resulted due to the way in which the “scientific community” is handling this controversy. They blatantly refuse to consider anything other than what supports their philosophical leanings. Thus, many parents across the nation are upset about the way in which the theory is being taught. It’s not ~what~ is being taught that is so upsetting, but ~how~ it is being taught.

Scientists refuse to debate, but rather mandate what will be taught in the science class regardless of the opposition (which includes the majority of US citizens). If science has the proof to back their macroevolutionary claims, then they need to get their best advocates of the theory up on that debate platform and let the public hear their arguments when ~posed against their opposition~.

Judge Jones has since told me that his only regret in the case is that he did not bend the rules to allow live TV coverage so more people could see the powerful evidence supporting his decision. Because the one thing the prophets of talk-radio evolution have, it seems, is the loudest megaphone.
That’s absurd. Darwinists have complete control of mainstream media. I’ve read the most unbelievably inaccurate accounts about this debate from major media outlets. To get to the truth, one has to really do some digging.

Olson seems to draw the conclusion that if the general public were not so dimwitted, they would accept the theory of evolution with open arms. The problem is that his definition of evolution is ambiguous and by no means provides his readers with the aspect of evolution that ID supporters reject.

Granted, there are people who reject evolution who don’t fully understand the theory. On the other hand, there are many individuals who do not understand Intelligent Design because they have been misled by individuals like Humes. This will change with time, and the public will become more aware of the various aspects of this debate and what is occurring at the roots of it as well. Time heals all wounds as they say, and in the end science will eventually recover from being held hostage by neo-Darwinism.

Those of us who are pro-science rather than pro-naturalism will slowly but surely forge ahead and try the best we can to correct the blatant disregard from evolutionists to be forthright in relaying information to the public about the issues in this debate.

Kansas is flip floppin' again

Larry Fafarman pointed out a rather funny cartoon...

Yeah, we Kansans certainly are flip floppers. Sadly, this decision today is not going to end the problem we have here in Kansas. The definition of science in the standards that the new board is going to recommend is blatant neo-Darwinism terminology. There is only one other state in the country that has a definition of science that is so dogmatic.

The vote will eventually swing again....and again...and again...

Kansas Science Standards

Well, this is the day that the new board members on the Kansas Board of Education will, in all likelihood, vote out the standards that were approved last year which had allowed for the strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution to be considered. The definition of science was also under attack by "scientific community".

It's unfortunate that we live under such a dogmatic scientific regime at the moment, but I've no doubt that will change in the near future as more and more people become aware of what is at the root of this debate.

I was visiting a pro-Darwin forum this morning and found an excellent post written by a supporter of the current Kansas science standards. I'm going provide "opaobie's" post below:

I am concerned that the new State Board is about to take a step in the wrong direction. I realize that virtually everyone who posts in this forum is a staunch supporter of neo-Darwinian evolution, and that is fine. I am not. It has nothing to do with other theories, it has everything to do with the evolutionary hypothesis itself.

The definition of "Science" in the current Science Standards is as follows:

"Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory-building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena."

In spite of claims that this definition is "out of step" with the scientific community or that it is something crafted by "Intelligent Design kooks" or Creationists, this is nearly identical to the definition of science adopted by 40 states across the country, and it is consistent with the definition accepted universally at the time I received my undergraduate degree in Physics in 1969 (nine states do not define science at all). The only other state in the U.S. that explicitly limits science to naturalistic explanations is Massachusetts. In the Massachusetts science standards, however, this limitation comes at the end of a detailed description of the scientific enterprise that begins by defining science more generally as "attempts to give good accounts of the patterns in nature" and does not restrict conclusions to only those reached from a "naturalistic" worldview.

Under the proposed changes to the Science standards, the following redefinition of "science" replaces the commonly accepted traditional definition with, not a definition of "science" at all, but a philosophical mandate to reach conclusions that adhere to the naturalistic worldview. It prohibits examining evidence using any other worldview and prohibits the student from reaching any conclusions that conflict with the naturalistic worldview even if they are perfectly consistent with the actual definition of science. It gives the appearance of censorship of ideas, not establishing a standard for science education that conforms to the Mission Statement and the Vision Statement published in the report.

"Science is a human activity of systematically seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us. Throughout history people from many cultures have used the methods of science to contribute to scientific knowledge and technological innovations, making science a worldwide enterprise. Scientists test explanations against the natural world, logically integrating observations and tested hypotheses with accepted explanations to gradually build more reliable and accurate understandings of nature. Scientific explanations must be testable and repeatable, and findings must be confirmed through additional observation and experimentation. As it is practiced in the late 20th and early 21st century, science is restricted to explaining only the natural world, using only natural cause. This is because science currently has no tools to test explanations using non-natural (such as supernatural)causes."

Can you imagine telling Albert Einstein he could not pursue his "Theory of Relativity" because it could not be explained by the accepted "natural science" of the day and therefore might be considered "supernatural"? Can you also imagine telling Madame Curie to stop experimenting with radiation because it gave the appearance of something "supernatural"? Are those scientists involved in the search for estraterrestrial life to be excluded from the field of science because there are no known "Martians" in our current body of knowledge of science and also because they may use ESP or paranormal methods such as "remote viewing" which could be considered "supernatural"? How many other great discoveries would have been lost if this draconian restriction had been imposed on the scientific methods of their day?

The appearance of a "supernatural" aspect of an observed phenomenon leading to the need to amend existing theories or even to invent new ones should not automatically prohibit scientific investigation into its causes, but the proposed definition of science would do exactly that. Would it not be fair to say that if our early ancestors were shown some of the modern technology we enjoy today, they would consider it "magic" and "supernatural"? Does the State Board intend to revise our Science standards downward to be more in keeping with those of the "Dark Ages", or will they allow them to continue to move forward into the 21st Century? Is there such a fear that the flaws in "naturalistic Darwinism" will be exposed that ALL criticism of it is being prohibited? If that is the case, you had better remove all of the writings of a growing number of scientists in every field of endeavor. Most are certainly no advocates of intelligent design, but at least they are willing to allow debate and criticism of Darwinian evolution, and admit its shortcomings, which is more than can be said of the proposed science standards.

A second paradox created by this definition is that "Scientific explanations must be testable and repeatable, and findings must be confirmed through additional observation and experimentation." This is a restatement of the definition of "the scientific method". In order to meet that definition, the hypothesis must be testable, observable, and repeatable. That would rule out any study of the origins of the universe or scores of similar topics since it is not possible to repeat phenomena such as "The Big Bang" that took place during that time, and they are certainly not observable now, this many years later. It would reduce such studies to philosophical debates, not scientific investigation.

For these reasons, I have written to the members of the board to voice my opposition to the proposed changes in the Science Education standards, and I have asked that they present a public statement of need as to why these standards are under review for change out of sequence. Instead of correcting a perceived error in the standards, adoption of the proposed changes would create one, and that is not in the best interest of maintaining the quality of education we have become accustomed to for our children. We should confine our political debates to the realm of politics and leave science and education to the scientists and educators. Changing educational standards for political reasons is neither good politics nor sound educational policy. The standards should be politically neutral, and allowing criticism of ALL theories should be that standard.
Simply outstanding, though I believe this well thought out statement will fall on deaf ears. It seems that everyone has an opinion about these issues and those opinions never change.

Sigh...nothing short of a miracle will keep those standards in place today.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Gospel According to Darwin

John West has a very eye-opening article in regard to Darwin Day.

From the article:
According to the Darwin Day website, the movement’s inspiration was an event sponsored by the Stanford Humanists and the Humanist Community in 1995. Since then the honor roll of groups sponsoring Darwin Day events has been top-heavy with organizations bearing such names as the “Long Island Secular Humanists,” the “Atheists and Agnostics of Wisconsin,” the “Gay and Lesbian Atheists and Humanists,” the “Humanists of Idaho,” the “Southeast Michigan Chapter of Freedom from Religion Foundation,” and the “San Francisco Atheists.” The last group puts on an annual festival called “Evolutionpalooza” featuring a Darwin impersonator and an evolution game show (“Evolutionary!”).

Given such sponsors, it should be no surprise that Darwin Day events often explicitly attack religion. At a high school in New York a few years ago, students wore shirts emblazoned with messages proclaiming that “no religious dogmas [were] keeping them from believing what they want to believe,” while in California a group named “Students for Science and Skepticism” hosted a lecture at the University of California, Irvine, on the topic “Darwin’s Greatest Discovery: Design without a Designer.” This year in Boston there is an event on “Biological Arguments Against the Existence of God.”

A musical group calling itself “Scientific Gospel Productions,” meanwhile, mocks gospel music by holding annual Darwin Day concerts featuring such songs as “Ain’t Gonna Be No Judgment Day,” the “Virgin of Spumoni” (satirizing the Virgin Mary), and my favorite, “Randomness Is Good Enough for Me,” the lyrics of which proclaim: “Randomness is good enough for me./ If there’s no design it means I’m free./ You can pray to go to heaven./ I’m gonna try to roll a seven./ Randomness is good enough for me.” The same group’s website offers for sale a CD titled “Hallelujah! Evolution!”

The original “honorary president” of Darwin Day was biologist Richard Dawkins, author most recently of The God Delusion. Dawkins is best known for such pearls of wisdom as “faith is one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate,” and “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

The Darwin Day group’s current advisory board includes not only Dawkins but Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education (an original signer of the “Humanist Manifesto III”), philosopher Daniel Dennett (who praises Darwinism as the “universal acid” that eats away traditional religion and morality), and Scientific American columnist Michael Shermer (an atheist who writes that “Science Is My Savior” because it helped free him from “the stultifying dogma of a 2,000-year-old religion”).

Perhaps in an effort to revise the image of Darwin Day as merely a holiday for atheists, last year a professor from Wisconsin urged churches to celebrate “Evolution Sunday” on or near Darwin Day. But the fact that some liberal churches have now been enlisted to spread the Darwinist gospel cannot cover up the anti-religious fervor that pervades the Darwinist subculture.

Darwin Day celebrations are fascinating because they expose a side of the controversy over evolution in America that is rarely covered by the mainstream media. Although journalists routinely write about the presumed religious motives of anyone critical of unguided evolution, they almost never discuss the anti-religious mindset that motivates many of evolution’s staunchest defenders.

On the few occasions when the anti-religious agenda of someone like Dawkins is even raised, it is usually downplayed as unrepresentative of most Darwinists.

What Darwin Day shows, however, is just how ordinary the anti-religious views expressed by Dawkins are among grassroots Darwinists. Far from being on the fringe, Dawkins’ views form the ideological core of mainstream Darwinism.

Not that this should come as a shock. According to a 1998 survey of members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), nearly 95 percent of NAS biologists are atheists or agnostics. A look at the major critics of the theory of intelligent design reveals similar views. Barbara Forrest, co-author of the anti-intelligent design harangue Creationism’s Trojan Horse, is a long-time activist and board member with a group calling itself the “New Orleans Secular Humanist Association,” although she fails to disclose that fact in her book, and reporters studiously avoid asking her about her own religious beliefs.

The anti-religious outlook of many of Darwin’s chief boosters exposes the hypocrisy in current discussions over Darwin’s theory. The usual complaint raised against scientists who are skeptical of Darwin’s theory is that many of them (like the vast majority of Americans) happen to believe in God. It is insinuated that this fact somehow undermines the validity of their scientific views. Yet, at the same time, defenders of Darwinism insist that their own rejection of religion is irrelevant to the validity of their scientific views—and most reporters seem to agree.

Of course, in an important sense these defenders of Darwinism are right. Just because leading Darwinists are avowed atheists or agnostics does not mean that their scientific beliefs about evolution are wrong. Scientific propositions should be debated based on their evidence, not on the metaphysical beliefs of those who espouse them.

But if Darwinists have the right to be debated based on evidence, not motives, then scientists who are supportive of alternatives to Darwin’s theory such as intelligent design should have the right to expect the same treatment.

If Darwin Day helps expose the blatant double standard about religious motives operating in the current evolution debate, then its evangelistic boosters will have performed an invaluable public service—however unintentionally.
ahem....slam dunk.

I wonder if I can find the lyrics to some of those Darwin tunes. They sound pretty funny...

Darwin - The Deity

Happy Darwin Day...not.

Feb. 12 weigh-in (Week 6)

We've completed week six, with our total weight loss at 41 lbs..

Last week, Davescot provided tips about the benefits of green tea and dieting, so we'll see if anyone took him up on his advise.

Dieters, please use the comment section to post how much you lost (or gained) this week, and your ~total~ weight loss since day 1 of dieting. When everyone has done so, I’ll post the results.


Starving -2 this week, -15 total
Davescot -11
Ftk -1, -10
Sparky -0, -9
Gigi -0, -6
Carb Princess -0, -5
Chunky Monkey -0, -1
Manna 0, +1

Okay, Dave's along for the ride so that brings our total weight loss up to 55 pounds!! But, it looks like some of us need extra motivation this week.

Chunky Monkey is looking into the dieting benefits of eating cereal for a meal.

You can find our previous dieting posts at the links below:

Week 5
Week 4
Week 3
Week 2
Week 1
start up

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Tiller still being investigated

Looks like the infamous Kansas late-term abortionist is not off the hook yet:

The battle is over the abortion business run in Wichita by George Tiller, who is noted for his late-term procedures. Just before he left office, Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline filed a case including 30 criminal counts against Tiller, alleging he did abortions beyond the state's 22-week age cutoff and did not have the proper medical diagnoses for the late-term procedures he did.
Our previous Kansas Attorney General, Phill Kline, tried to further the investigation on Tiller, but after Paul Morrison was elected it was decided that the issue would be dropped. Wonder why?
WND has reported on the campaign contribution link among the various players in the case, including the abortionist, the district attorney and judge, as well as the state's new attorney general, Paul Morrison, who benefited from mailings sponsored by a group linked to the abortionist, and who campaigned on the statement that the abortion industry in Kansas didn't need to be investigated.
Looks like they are taking the next step:
"We have exhausted all state remedies in this said," said Cass. "Political campaign documents have established that the parties in this case are interrelated through a series of campaign contributions. Because of this, the unwillingness of the district attorney and the new attorney general to act in this matter creates a real appearance of impropriety. For the sake of justice and the protection of women, there appears no other option but to ask for federal intervention."
I’ve heard bloggers complain about Kline, but the truth is he wasn’t after the entire abortion industry but someone who was abusing the right to abort:
Kansas law doesn't allow abortions past 22 weeks except in certain circumstances which must be verified by a second physician. The charges allege the abortions were beyond 22 weeks, and didn't have the proper medical support.
Bill O’Reilly doesn’t seem to hide his disgust with this situation:
O'Reilly had presented a series of programs about the Tiller clinic, and then concluded: "You know, I've been covering the news in America for 30 years and this Kansas situation is the worst thing I've ever seen … Americans cannot turn away from this; cannot ignore it. There should be thousands of people demonstrating outside Tiller's abortion clinic in Wichita."
We’re talking 22 week old babies being riped from their mothers, and the explanation as to why this is being done is questionable to say the least.

Rape is comical???!

An article being labeled as ‘satire’ about the horrific criminal act of rape is under attack at Central Connecticut State University. Apparently, a ‘gifted satirist’ placed the article in the school newspaper, The Recorder. Here’s a taste of what he wrote:

The article, written by opinion editor John Petroski, details several "benefits" that rape has made to civilization over the years. The article describes rape as a "magical experience" that has been a blessing to "ugly women."

"If it weren't for rape, how would they ever know the joy of intercourse with a man who isn't drunk?" the article asks.
Yeah, that’s hilarious...

How on earth does something like this get into a college newspaper? I suppose “freedom of speech” allows for just about anything to be put into print these days.

Of course, some consider rape an evolutionary development. One article clearly describes rape as “natural” and “biological“, though not necessarily “desirable” so “the fact that rape is an ancient part of human nature in no way excuses the rapist.” Interesting.

I remember a recent comment offered by a graduate student posting at Uncommon Descent. He wrote:

... but it is actually becoming commonplace nowadays in cocktail party settings among bien-pensant liberals to hear casual references to the Darwin Awards, to the supposed male propensity to promiscuity, etc., as though Darwinism justified all sorts of evil and moral corruption. It is a growing and very pernicious way of thinking that I find so alarming.
I have no doubt whatsoever that what this student states is fact. I remember my college days and could relay true stories that were horrible, and my husband can remember things much worse than what I ran across. He lived in the dorms for a few years and also hung out with the frat boys. He can tell stories that would make your toes curl. Some of the stuff going on at college campuses is horrific, but who is to say what is right and what is wrong? Our culture no longer plays by the rules of absolutes so what is wrong to one person may be totally cool for the next.

Jonathan Wells slams Olson, Myers & Scott

The day after I posted the flick, Flock of Dodos, I spotted the director, Randy Olson, posting on PZ Myers' blog. He was apparently attempting to wave away the blatant errors he made in the documentary.

Well, evidently Jonathan Wells got wind of Olson's comments because he had bit to say about the incident:

The evening “Flock of Dodos” showed in Seattle, several people in the audience asked Olson about the discrepancy between the claims in his film and the contents of the textbooks. The next morning, Olson wrote on an Internet blog:

“While it’s important that everyone keep straight the absurdity of wrangling over Haeckel's embryos, it is much more important that a single word is kept in mind throughout this – TRIVIA. Everyone needs to stay focused on the larger issue which is the subtitle of Wells’s book, ‘Why much of what we teach about evolution is wrong.’ As I point out in Dodos, he doesn't say ‘some,’ or ‘a little bit,’ or ‘a few things.’ He says MUCH.”
Olson continued:

“The important thing is that the whole process needs to begin with THE BURDEN OF PROOF being on him [Wells] … to make the case for this word ‘much.’ With the Haeckel’s embryos anecdote he is implying that the entire field of evolutionary embryology is faulty just because of this piece of teaching trivia which is a crusty artifact from the world of science history.”
But if Haeckel’s drawings were just a “crusty artifact from the world of science history,” they wouldn’t still be used in textbooks as evidence for Darwinian evolution. Furthermore, there are many other misrepresentations in the teaching of evolution, even in embryology. For example, textbooks tell students that mutations in embryos account for the origin of new organs and body plans, even though experiments have shown that no matter what we do to a fruit fly embryo there are only three possible outcomes: a normal fruit fly, a defective fruit fly, or a dead fruit fly. Biology textbooks also distort and exaggerate the evidence from fossils, molecules, comparative anatomy, and field studies of natural selection.

Trivial? Only if you think that misrepresenting the evidence for a scientific theory is trivial.

Since writing Icons of Evolution I’ve learned that the evidence for Darwinian evolution is even weaker than I once thought. If I were writing the book today, its subtitle might be “Why MOST of what we teach about evolution is wrong.”

Olson insists that the burden of proof is on me, but that’s just goofy. The burden of proof is on those who claim that “evolution is a fact” supported by “overwhelming evidence,” and that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” (a slogan Olson repeats in his film). These are extraordinary claims, and as such they require extraordinary support – which Darwinists keep promising but fail to deliver. I show just how unsupported these inflated claims are in my 2006 book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design.

One more thing. Olson’s comments the day after showing his film in Seattle were posted on a blog maintained by University of Minnesota biologist P.Z. Myers, who declared in 2005 that it’s time “for scientists to break out the steel-toed boots and brass knuckles, and get out there and hammer” on those who criticize Darwinism. Just before Olson posted his comment, Myers wrote on his blog that the point of Haeckel’s embryo drawings “is still valid; there is an interesting phenomenon going on in development, in which there is a period during which the body plan of vertebrates is roughly laid out.”

Is that really what biology textbooks are saying with Haeckel’s fraudulent drawings? Of course not. In fact, if Olson objects to trivia, it’s hard to imagine a more trivial statement than “there is a period during which the body plan of vertebrates is roughly laid out.” Since animals aren’t born as fully formed adults, but develop from single egg cells, this statement is about as meaningful as “the sky is above us” or “the future lies ahead.”

Myers’s statement reminds me of a bait-and-switch advocated by National Center for Science Education Director Eugenie Scott (whom Olson in his blog post praises along with Myers). Scott recommends peddling Darwinian evolution to unsuspecting students by telling them that evolution is “the way we try to understand change through time. The present is different from the past.” After she gets them nodding in agreement to something so trivially obvious that no sane person would deny it, she gradually introduces them to “The Big Idea” – Darwinism.

This is not science, but a con game, and “Flock of Dodos” is part of it.
Yup, "a con game". When (not if) the public becomes aware of all the crap going on at the root of this debate, the tide will change. Science will no longer be held ransom by Dogmatic Darwinian Dodos.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Kansas Science Standards

This coming Tuesday, Feb. 13, the Kansas Board of Education will be voting on whether to adopt new science standards. Last November the board adopted an excellent set of standards which allowed open inquiry about the theory of evolution. These standards do not include the teaching of intelligent design. They merely support the option to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution. You can find more information about the standards at this link.

On that same link there is a petition that is being circulated which states that those signing support the current science standards. *Please sign that petition*.

We already know how the new board members are going to vote. They will be voting to replace the current standards by a 6-4 vote. Due to a very tactical smear campaign by the liberal left along with negative media coverage, we have a liberal majority on the KBOE. Although, it is unclear as to exactly how effective that smear campaign was. At the polls, we had three of the previous conservative board members up for reelection and only one was not voted back to the board. Kansas Citizens for Science (a militant Darwin support group) put the president of their group in the running during the primaries and he lost, so it’s unclear as to how Kansans really feel about the science standards issue.

But, regardless, the majority will no doubt be voting to reject the current standards and implement a set that ~unquestionably~ accepts all aspects of the theory of evolution.

Here's the kicker, though. In the end, I don’t think it matters what they put in those standards. I doubt that there is a teacher in the entire state who is going to change how they teach science regardless of what they put in the standards regarding these issues. I’ve seen media coverage of teachers stating this fact.

Personally, I’d like to applaud the work of our previous board. They brought all kinds of media coverage to this debate, and although much of the coverage was negative due to some of those in the “scientific community”, reasonable folks have looked into these controversial issues further and have learned quite a bit about what is going on at the root of this debate. Now we see the truth about these issues spreading throughout the world! It's not just in Kansas anymore.

But, it can’t hurt to send the board members an email stating that you would like them to vote “No” to adopting new standards.

The following board members voted in an excellent set of standards last November. Please send them an email and let them know how much you appreciate their efforts:

Dr. Steve Abrams, Arkansas City
John Bacon, Olathe
Kenneth Willard, Hutchinson
Kathy Martin, Clay Center

The following board members object to the new standards and would like to see them replaced. Please ask them to reconsider:

Sally Cauble, Liberal (new member)
Jana Shaver, Independence (new member)
Janet Waugh, Kansas City
Sue Gamble, Shawnee
Carol Rupe, Wichita
Dr. Bill Wagnon, Topeka

HPV Vaccine II

Some states are suggesting that the HPV vaccine be made mandatory. I seriously oppose that step, and would suggest that readers view the link that a commenter left on my last post regarding this vaccine.

There is a lot of information to consider before making this vaccine mandatory.
But Merck needs money after its VIOXX disaster, so our daughters are being made into the guinea pigs for this vaccine so Merck can rob our public coffers.
Hmmm...It will cost $360,000 to vaccinate every 1000 girls. Yeah, Merck is going to make a bundle off this vaccine.

The Family Research Council has issued the following:

Oppose Mandatory HPV Vaccination of Schoolgirls

Governor Rick Perry of Texas (R) bypassed the state legislature last week and issued an executive order requiring every schoolgirl in Texas to be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted virus by the fall of this year. The decision to issue this mandate from the governor's mansion and to end debate in the state legislature has caused a firestorm of controversy - and it should have. With this one decision, Gov. Perry, a leader with a strong pro-family record, has short-circuited the kind of legislative debate that is most likely to produce a law that will counter the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and protect the constitutional rights of parents to make medical decisions affecting their children's health.

Your help is needed: Call Gov. Perry at (512) 463-1849 and ask him to rescind his executive order and allow the Texas state legislature to vote on this issue.

The health objectives involved are certainly vital. The vaccine in question - trade-named Gardasil and produced by Merck & Co. pharmaceuticals - is reportedly safe and effective against strains of HPV that cause 70% of the cases of cervical cancer, a malady that kills some 3,700 women a year in the United States. Like other vaccines, however, Gardasil is not without risk of side-effects. Moreover, it is administered in a series of three doses whose cost is at least $360 per patient and possibly much higher. Because HPV infection is caused by sexual activity, it is not transmitted by casual contact and therefore is not in the same class as other diseases like polio for which mandatory, school-based vaccination is a public health imperative.

Informed and empowered, most parents will decide to have their children vaccinated against HPV, but many will decide to do so only after more health data has emerged, when their daughter is older, or in settings that minimize the risk that the vaccination will be administered in a manner that promotes the myth of "safe sex." These parents have rights too, and Gov. Perry's sweeping order, even with its "opt-out" feature, tramples on their wisdom and usurps their responsibility. An information and "opt-in" policy for Gardasil would better serve the rights of all Texas families.

Please call Gov. Perry and let him know you support restoring the legislative process on Gardasil in order to preserve parental rights. His order has galvanized the HPV vaccine debate across the United States and put new focus on the balance between public health and parental rights, a balance that has suffered so much in our sexualized culture.
The liberals would love to make us look like religious fruitcakes by not agreeing to make this vaccine mandatory, but I think parents should have a choice in this matter. There are not just religious issues at stake here.

Thank goodness I have boys so I don't have to decide whether or not to have my children take this vaccine! On the surface it seems like a very good thing, but there are obviously many other issues to consider.