Monday, April 30, 2007

Early history of birds much more diverse than once thought

Interesting...
Roadrunner-like birds skittered around under the feet of dinosaurs 125 million years ago, according to ancient tracks found in fossilized Chinese mud two years ago.


Denver paleontologist Martin Lockley has now officially described the tracks, and experts say the discovery means there were many more types of birds flitting around dinosaurs than once thought. ...

...A decade or so ago, scientists had only a few fossils of marine birds that soared around during the age of the dinosaurs, said paleontologist Luis Chiappe of the Los Angeles County Museum.

"Most of us thought that birds just weren't very diverse in the Mesozoic, the age of the dinosaurs," Chiappe said.

In recent years, paleontologists have found new bird fossils from millions of years ago, some with short beaks, others long, some that ate seed and had insects in their stomachs when they died, Chiappe said.

"This is very interesting," he said of Lockley's new paper. "It adds to a realization that the early history of birds was extremely diverse."

Being a female tick would suck...

Um...thank God I’m not a tick. Evidently, sex fattens one species of female tick to 100 times it’s normal size. That would certainly reek havoc on the diet!! SHEESH!

Weigh-In Week 16, April 30




We've completed week 16, with our total weight loss at 107 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.

UPDATE

Davescot -1 this week, -38 total
Starving -0, -19
Ftk -0, -12
Sparky -0, -10
Gigi -0, -9

Friday, April 27, 2007

“Mom” and “Dad” not politically correct

Now I’ve heard it all. California is launching a plan that could ban the reference to “Mom” and “Dad” in the schools so that it does not “reflect adversely” on homosexuality.

Good freaking grief...

Here are some of the changes that could take place:

"Mom" and "dad" and "husband" and "wife" would have to be edited from all texts.

Cheerleading and sports teams would have to be gender-neutral.

Prom kings and queens would be banned, or if featured, would have to be gender neutral so that the king could be female and the queen male.

Gender-neutral bathrooms could be required for those confused about their gender identity.

A male who believes he really is female would be allowed into the women's restroom, and a woman believing herself a male would be allowed into a men's room.

Even scientific information, such has statistics showing AIDS rates in the homosexual community, could be banned.


Sheer craziness, IMHO.

[via this link]

Predictions of Theism & Materialism

Via "bornagain77", a commenter at Uncommon Descent:

The whole materialistic philosophy is in a state of denial about the truth.

1. Materialism did not predict the big bang, Yet Theism always said the universe was created.

2. Materialism did not predict a sub-atomic (quantum) world that blatantly defies our concepts of time and space, Yet Theism always said the universe is the craftsmanship of God who is not limited by time or space.

3. Materialism did not predict the fact that time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light, as revealed by Einstein’s theory of relativity, Yet Theism always said that God exists in a timeless eternity.

4. Materialism did not predict the stunning precision for the underlying universal constants, for the universe, found in the Anthropic Principle, Yet Theism always said God laid the foundation of the universe, so the stunning clockwork precision found for the various universal constants is not at all unexpected for Theism.

5. Materialism did not predict the fact that the DNA code is, according to Bill Gates, far, far more advanced than any computer code ever written by man, Yet Theism would have naturally expected this level of complexity in the DNA code.

6. Materialism presumed a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA, which is not the case at all. Yet Theism would have naturally presumed such a high if not, what very well may be, complete negative mutation rate to an organism’s DNA.

7. Materialism presumed a very simple first life form. Yet the simplest life ever found on Earth is, according to Geneticist Michael Denton PhD., far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. Theism would have naturally expected this.

More on Fossilized Rainforest

Here’s an update on the fossilized rainforest I posted about earlier this week:

One article mentioned that a member of the research team seemed puzzled at finding “mangrove-like plants”.

Also surprising is the presence of remains from mangrove-like plants. "It was always assumed that mangrove plants had evolved fairly recently," says Falcon-Lang.
This source offers the following:

Is this a “mangrove-like” plant or a true mangrove? If the latter, it sounds like a big out-of-order problem for evolution, because mangroves were not supposed to appear till the late Cretaceous (source) and these forests are Carboniferous, over 200 million years earlier. That would be a bigger problem than finding a living dinosaur. A quick check of the original paper in Geology (May 2007) does not reveal any mention of family Rhizophoraceae or any of the other mangroves, but that doesn’t mean they were not found. We’ll have to see if more of the details come to light. In any case, gymnosperms were not thought to live in “mangrove-like” habitats.

This story also illustrates, as seen so often before, that wherever evolutionists look, they find more complexity farther back in time than they expect.
Hmmm...there might be all kinds of interesting finds in that rainforest.

'Junk' DNA Now Looks Like Powerful Regulator

From here.

Powerful regulators that play a crucial role – this is how non-coding sections of DNA are now being described. A story in Science Daily says that these regions of “junk DNA” once dismissed as “gene deserts” actually orchestrate the expression of genes during development.

For decades, Darwinian preconceptions have held back a promising field of genetic research with their falsified notion that most of the genome is composed of evolutionary leftovers. Now that we see the design that was there all along, can we get on with what science should have been doing? Away with this new plot line that junk DNA is a source of “evolutionary novelty.” Darwinians, you have been exposed as usurpers. Get out of the way. The field is not evolving. Intelligent design is taking back its rights.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Darwinian Priesthood

Anika Smith highlights a satirical short story written by James Hoskins.

Here’s a teaser...

Adam looked away in frustration. “Son, you are a bold and intrepid young man. You are a born leader. Your mother even named you after the father of us all: Adam; that first cell from which we all evolved, the first to have life breathed into it by Chance itself. And I think you are sincere in your search, but this is a very exigent matter. This is bordering on heresy. Your salvation is at stake!”

“But Father, you always told me to question authority and be a free thinker.” “Not when it comes to this Adam. Do you realize that if you continue down this path you could lose your salvation and be banished to the fiery plains of Kansas! That place reserved for obdurate and evil persons! A place where people do not believe in Chance! A realm of absolute misanthropes, where there is screaming and gnashing of teeth!

“Father, how can you say people are evil just because they believe differently than you?”

“Adam, need I remind you of the words of the apostle Dawkins: ‘It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).’¹”

“Isn’t that a bit harsh?”

“Adam, these people want to have Intelligent Design taught alongside Evolution in their schools!”

“Why is that wrong?”

“They want to have both arguments presented in the classroom and leave it up to the students to decide which is true! What could be more wicked! It opens our doctrine up to heretical criticism and, worst of all, it endangers the authority of the Church and the Priesthood to say what is science and what is not.”


Kansas -- the land of Darwinless blasphemers...LOL.

Read Confessions in it’s entirety here.

"Lucy" loses status

The famous "Lucy" fossil "bites the dust".

[Via DaveScot at Uncommon Descent.]

Science owes its existence to God

From here.

Christian believers employed their faith and biblical understanding to spark modern science.

Schaefer and Townes are only two examples of Christians who are seeking the truth about nature and God. Their approach is that modern science is founded on biblical thinking -- that there is an order in creation.

Schaefer says that the logical outcome of biblical thinking is modern science. That is, the seeds planted by the Christain scholars of the Middle Ages blossomed into the robust flowers of the scientific revolution.

Unlike the gods of mythology, random evolution or some "Big Bang," the God of the Bible created a stable, orderly world that can be described with mathematical precision.

Christian believers made up a Who's Who of the scientific revolution.

And in conjunction with the testimony of current scientists about their faith, there appears to be a movement to reclaim that historical connection.

Old Mike, New Christine

An LA Times Sports writer is undergoing a sex change operation.

Though it is extremely difficult to understand transsexualism, I have no doubt that it is devastating for a person to feel that they are in the wrong skin. But, I have to wonder if changing gender is going to make the situation better. It seems that there would be a whole new set of problems one would have to deal with after a gender change.

The writer of the article asserts that there is scientific evidence that points to physiological reasons for his condition:

Recent studies have shown that such physiological factors as genetics and hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy can significantly affect how our brains are "wired" at birth.

Hmmm...I hadn’t realized that scientists had found conclusive evidence that there are physiological factors responsible for transexuality. I wouldn’t doubt that there may be, but I’m not sure if that would be the reason for every case.

My husband was shopping in a lighting store last year and ran across a gal who looked just like a guy he knew in high school. He’s was struck speechless, and wondered if his assumption was correct. He didn’t think it was kosher to ask the gal due to the fact that he hadn’t seen the guy for years, and he might have been hallucinating or something. He certainly didn't want to get slapped!

He asked a few of his old friends about it, and sure enough, it was him (whoops...I mean her).

Carbon Offset Fraud

Why am I not the least bit surprised?

Companies and individuals rushing to go green have been spending millions on “carbon credit” projects that yield few if any environmental benefits.

A Financial Times investigation has uncovered widespread failings in the new markets for greenhouse gases, suggesting some organisations are paying for emissions reductions that do not take place.

Others are meanwhile making big profits from carbon trading for very small expenditure and in some cases for clean-ups that they would have made anyway.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Dawkins Mind Set applied to Cho Seung-Hui

Lawrence Seldon offers an interesting take on Dawkins, evolution, good & evil, free will, and Cho Seung-Hui (VA Tech).

Potentially Habitable Planet Found

From here.

For the first time astronomers have discovered a planet outside our solar system that is potentially habitable, with Earth-like temperatures, a find researchers described Tuesday as a big step in the search for "life in the universe."
Sounds very interesting...hope we hear more soon.

Religious kids are better behaved


Yup, science says so...

From here.

Kids with religious parents are better behaved and adjusted than other children, according to a new study that is the first to look at the effects of religion on young child development.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Spring is in the air

I love this time of year, when we can finally get out and enjoy the nice weather again.

But, every year around this same time, my kids get serious spring fever. They can’t wait for school to end, and they seem to lose all interest in their school work. Spring sports become the focus, and we end up running them all over town all week long.

The utter chaos always brings me back to “the plan”. A long time friend/former roommate and I had an elaborate plan to just throw caution to the wind, quit our jobs, pack up a VW microbus, and tour the US. We’d work odd jobs to pay for gas and food and live the hippy lifestyle for a year.

Of course, being the ultra conservative that I am, "the plan” never transpired. But, whenever things get crazy around here, I think back to the idea of just dumping all responsibility and heading for the hills.

As I dropped off my kids at soccer practice the other day, the urge to get back in the van and keep driving was a tad overwhelming. That’s gotta be a ~sure sign~ of Mommy overload.

I’m thinking my friend of over 25 years would probably still be game to hit the road. But, the problem would be to find the perfect set of wheels...

Weigh-In Week 16, April 23




We've completed week 16, with our total weight loss at 105 lbs..


Wow, we've lost 100 lbs! Good job people. Dave's still on a role, but the rest of us are losing motivation. As long as we don't gain anything, I think we're still doing well. Maintaining is the hardest part, so stick with it.

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.

UPDATE

Davescot -2 this week, -37 total
Starving -0, -19
Ftk +2, -12
Sparky -0, -10
Gigi -0, -9

Fossilized Rainforest Unearthed




Pretty cool...





Dr Howard Falcon-Lang said: ‘It was an amazing experience. We drove down the mine in an armoured vehicle, until we were a hundred metres below the surface. The fossil forest was rooted on top of the coal seam, so where the coal had been mined away the fossilised forest was visible in the ceiling of the mine. We walked for miles and miles along pitch-black passages with the fossil forest just above our heads. We were able to make a map of the forest by the light of our miner’s lamps.’

Sunday, April 22, 2007

More from the Darwin vs. Design Conference

From an article in the Southern Baptist Press in regard to the Darwin vs. Design Conference at SMU.

...Not everyone, however, welcomed the scientists proposing Intelligent Design. At least three SMU professors lodged protests against the conference, which they claimed would promote a "mystical world view" lacking scientific credibility.

Seven students also protested inside the conference, holding up signs with questions related to Darwinian evolution. SMU police escorted two students out of the conference after the students attempted to move closer to the stage where Strobel, Meyer, Richards and Behe were speaking to an audience of more than 1,500.

An editorial in the daily campus newspaper also lambasted the proponents of Intelligent Design for "preaching a religious message masked in a capsule of pseudoscience."

The editorial, written by SMU anthropology student Ben Wells, said the Discovery Institute is a political action group that "fights to create a theistic worldview that corrupts science to fit the doctrines of evangelical and literal Christians who are unable to reconcile their religious beliefs with the material world."

But Meyer, director of the Center for Science & Culture and editor of "Darwinism, Design and Public Education," said neither he nor his colleagues are part of any political group. He also said the theory of Intelligent Design is not faith-based.

"The theory of Intelligent Design is an evidence-based theory. It is not faith-based, as TIME magazine said, but it does have larger implications and I think that's where most people get confused. The key is a distinction between the evidence and the implications," Meyer said.

Behe, known for his groundbreaking work, "Darwin's Black Box," said he and the other scientists are doing what they were trained to do -- that is, ruling nothing out of bounds in the quest for the truth. But much of the scientific establishment, he said, has nonetheless ruled the ideas of Intelligent Design deficient "as a matter of principle" because they work against the status quo. Many in the scientific community remain loyal to the teachings of Charles Darwin.

"I was told that we were supposed to follow the evidence wherever it leads," said Behe, a professor of biological sciences at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. "Intelligent Design seems to point strongly beyond nature and seems to have philosophical, maybe even theological implications. That makes a lot of people nervous, and they think that science should avoid any theory that seems to have such strong extra-scientific implications."

Darwin's Black Box, regarded by WORLD magazine as one of the 100 most important books of the 20th century, dealt a heavy blow to neo-Darwinism when Behe argued for the idea of "irreducible complexity." According to Behe, life is run by thousands of complex "machines" in cells. These machines are designed in such a way that the cell cannot function without any one of its multiple parts.

Design, Behe contends, is not mystical; it is quantitative. The purposeful arrangement of parts in a cell implies design, and even neo-Darwinians -- scientists who still hold to evolutionary theory despite modern advances in science that purport to prove the theory false -- agree that cells at least "appear to be designed." In the end, however, these scientists claim that the structure of the cell was achieved either by chance or by a combination of chance and necessity, Behe said.

Meyer said cells prove design because they do what even supercomputers cannot do -- they produce and transmit trillions of specific bits of information in a "digital" genetic code. Darwin, he said, had no concept of this code -- known today as DNA.

In 1869, T.H. Huxley, then called "Darwin's Bulldog" for his strident defense of evolutionary theory, regarded the cell as "a single homogenous globule of plasm." In other words, Meyer said, Darwin and Huxley believed life was made up in its simplest form of a kind of "chemical Jell-O." Today, however, life is regarded as an information phenomenon, with specific and complex messages being communicated from cells, Meyer said.

"Blind chance is not a significant explanation for the origin of the information in the DNA molecule," Meyer said, claiming that there apparently is no limit to the information DNA can contain. "We don't have anything in nature that can suggest information can arise from undirected processes."

Just as the view of the cell changed in the last century, so did the view of the cosmos, said Richards, a research fellow and director of media with the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, Mich. He is the coauthor of "The Privileged Planet," recently adapted into a documentary that aired on PBS stations around the country.

Richards quoted Carl Sagan, the famed 20th-century scientist and science fiction author, who said the "cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be." Sagan believed in a materialistic explanation for the universe, one in which the universe and matter are infinite, and was offering a "doctrinal statement" in defense of his ideas.

But then there was Hubble, the powerful space telescope that revealed an expanding universe. If the universe was expanding, Richards said, scientists could calculate when it began at a point of "zero volume and infinite density."

That means that all of the matter in the universe would need to fit into a space less than the size of a pinhead -- and that could not have occurred, Richards said. Matter had to spring into existence from someplace, making it and the universe finite.

"There's no more dramatic change than from the materialistic view of the 19th century, which claimed that the material universe had always existed, to the view now in the 20th and 21st centuries that the universe had a beginning," Richards said.

"Matter is a crummy candidate for the ultimate explanation of existing reality," Richards said. "We all know that if something comes into existence, if it begins to exist, it had to have a cause."

Richards also said that the factors that make Earth habitable for human beings are not mere accidents of the cosmos. He said that for life to flourish on Earth, as many as 30 variables had to be met, among them a planet with an iron core that produces a magnetic field, a stabilizing moon that keeps the Earth tilted on its axis, the right atmosphere, the right planetary neighbors, the right single star around which planets orbit and the right galaxy in the "galactic habitable zone."

That these conditions were met "suggests conspiracy rather than coincidence," Richards said.


Nice turnout - more than 1,500. Man, I wish a group from Kansas City would fund one of these conferences. Hmmm...how could I make that happen?

Dawkins/O'Reilly

Atheist extrodinaire, Richard Dawkins, will be interviewed by Bill O'Reilly tomorrow night. Yikes! That should be quite the interview. I wonder if I'd be considered a really horrific mother if I skipped my son's baseball game to watch the fireworks instead.

Why infer ID?

I was catching up on some reading at Uncommon Descent, and I came across a comment from gpuccio. I like it, so I'm going to post it here.

1) We have, everywhere, myriads of living organisms. We know something (probably a small part) of the almost infinite complexity and function in these organisms.

2) We assume, reasonably, according to what science knows, that these organisms came into being at a certain time. They have not always been here, at least on this planet.

3) No known physical law can explain how living beings came into being at first (OOL), or how new, more complex species came into being afterwards. In particular, the generation of the necessary amount of information has, at present, no reasonable explanation according to known physical laws.

4) “Science” has provided a dogmatic explanation of the appearance of new, more complex species, that is darwinian evolution (including all variations of the theory); and many fantasy-driven explanations of OOL, including the RNA world scenario. All these theories are evidently false, unsubstantiated by facts, logically impossible.

5) Whatever explanation one can suggest, there is a theory which can easily explain the information problem in living beings (although, obviously, many implementation problems stay open). That theory is ID. The information is there because a designer is responsible for it. That approach is perfectly satisfying, because we have every day examples of designed structures exhibiting (although at a lower level) the kind of complexity and function we see in living beings.

6) So, at present, design paradigm should naturally be the main interpretative approach to research about living beings, and should stimulate a corresponding and appropriate volume of thinking and analyzing at the scientific level.

7) If that is not happening, the only reason is a dogmatic defense against ID and its implications, based only on irrational faith in a specific, and very unsatisfying, interpretation of reality: reductive, deterministic materialism.

Worth the read

Walt Brown has worked for 20+ years exploring a YE interpretation of scientific data, and over the years, has offered some fascinating theories. What I like most about his work is that it is very comprehensive. He has an eye for being able to see the big picture.

He has added a section to his website on the Grand Canyon. He has made many trips to the Grand Canyon over the years to conduct field work, and recently led a group in exploring his conclusions. Interesting read.

He also provides his take on global warming.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Is this site for real?

I guess living in Topeka, I should probably know whether this site is legit or not, but I try to completely ignore the fact that Phelps exists.

After years of having to explain the bizarre and inappropriate picket signs to my then preschool children, we’ve finally become so used to Phelps’ entourage, that he completely blends in with the surroundings.

He’s become invisible to us.

The stuff found on that site is quite disturbing, but years ago I worked for a company that received daily faxes from the Phelps clan. The faxes were passed around, and we all stared at his rambling in disbelief...his writing definitely had the twang of dementia to it.

I sometimes imagine waking up to news reports that the WBC complex has turned into the next Waco incident.

Their next picketing events are evidently scheduled for the funerals of the VA Tech victims. Why? Not completely clear...I thought they had severe hatred for homosexuality. But, it appears that they also believe God hates America for virtually everything.

If I was a parent of one of those victims and Phelps showed up, there would be hell to pay. I’d unleash on that man like there was no tomorrow.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Why am I not surprised?

Several Lawrence and Perry, KS schools received bomb threats today. Rumor has it that one Perry school found words written in a bathroom threatening that tomorrow would be the "next Columbine".

Schools should be on alert for VA Tech copy cat threats.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Darwin vs. Design

The SMU Daily Campus published a pro-ID opinion. It’s quite excellent.

Response to Professor Wise about Intelligent Design

By: Sarah Levy and Anika Smith, Contributing Writers
Posted: 4/18/07

It is a remarkable thing when your opponents make your points for you, and for that we are grateful for Professor John Wise's response late last week.

Incredibly, Wise paints the faculty at SMU who called for the cancellation of the conference as martyrs for free speech. He wrote that "even scientists have a First Amendment guarantee to the right to express themselves." Who could argue with that? By all means, express yourself - but don't disallow other scientists to do the same and then claim that they are threatening your First Amendment rights.

We wonder whether Professor Wise thinks the First Amendment rights of scientists extend beyond his own cadre of Darwinists to scientists who are proponents of Intelligent Design. If so, he should be concerned when calls for censorship like his own lead to the persecution of professors like Nancy Bryson, who lost her position after teaching criticisms of Darwin's theory that life developed through an undirected process of natural selection and random variations. There are many other documented cases of scientists who lost their jobs because of their views on Darwinism. If First Amendment rights for scientists apply anywhere, they certainly apply here.

Instead of attempting to understand the arguments of his opponents, Wise introduces a red herring, suggesting that we don't have to choose between religion and science. No one was suggesting any such thing. ID starts with the science, not with any religious basis. Ask Dr. Michael Behe, who spoke at this weekend's Darwin vs. Design conference. He was a Catholic when he was a Darwinist and remains a Catholic as a proponent of Intelligent Design. What changed was not his religious belief, but the mounting evidence on the side of ID.

Intelligent Design, like any scientific theory, uses the scientific method (observation, hypothesis, experiment, and conclusion). It begins with observations of the kinds of information produced when intelligent agents act. Design theorists recognize that high levels of specified and complex information is a hallmark indicator that an intelligent agent was at work. Design theorists then hypothesize that if an intelligent agent was at work, we will find high levels of complex and specified information in biology.

Scientists can test for such information, and studies of molecular machines and DNA reveal that they contain high levels of such information and are irreducibly complex. Design theorists thus come to the tentative conclusion that biological structures like the flagellum were designed.


Instead of addressing these scientific arguments, Wise appeals to the authority of consensus views and "the highest courts" of our country. Providing no reasoning to back up his claims, he presents a logical fallacy, an appeal to authority which dodges the real question.

What's more, the authority he cites is nonexistent because the U.S. Supreme Court has never dealt with the teaching of intelligent design. The only time it did strike down a non-evolutionary theory was when it struck down the teaching of "creation science" in 1987. Even intelligent design's harshest critics recognize that "most ID proponents do not embrace the Young Earth Flood Geology, and sudden creation tenets associated with [young earth creationism]." (Eugenie Scott, pg. 128, Evolution vs. Creationism). Moreover, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the teaching of "creation science," it did so because it "embodies the religious belief that a supernatural creator was responsible for the creation of humankind." (Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 592 (1987).) Because intelligent design does not try to address religious questions about the identity of the designer, this test does not apply to ID.

Instead of giving Intelligent Design a fair hearing, Wise tries to instill the fear of Science into his audience. Amazingly, Wise equates doubting Darwinism with doubting the validity of science itself. This is just silly. Intelligent Design scientists use the scientific method. Ironically enough, design principles have given us many of the marvels Wise cites in his case against ID: intelligent engineering and exploration are responsible for our technological society, not rampant acceptance of Darwinism. No one is denying Professor Wise his right to stand up and speak out. That was obvious from the start, when we invited him and other SMU faculty to join us with their questions and criticisms. Instead of coming to the conference with them, he tried to keep ID off campus. We recognized and supported Professor Wise's right to speak - why didn't he do the same for us?


About the writers:

Sarah Levy is a third-year law student at the Dedman School of Law. She can be reached at slevy@smu.edu.

Anika Smith is a recent graduate of Seattle Pacific University. She can be reached at anikas@spu.edu.

$25,000 Speaking Fee

Telic Thoughts posted the following which was found at The Friendly Atheist:

“Cut to today: A friend would love to have Sam Harris come speak on campus for his college atheist group. He contacted an agency representing Harris and inquired how much it would cost. The representative’s response:

Sam’s fee is $25,000 which includes airfare. We would ask the sponsor to provide transportation to and from the airport, onsite meals, and hotel (up to 2 nights).

So after they pull together the $25,000, they would still need to put up for lodging/food/cabfare. Not surprisingly, the group doesn’t have that type of money. So the friend kindly responded that this amount was “unrealistic” for his group to raise, but thanked the rep for her time."

That’s encouraging. Sam doesn’t even lower the price for his fellow atheists. At that price, I guess we won’t have to worry about our students being affected by his anti-religious rhetoric.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Shootings at Virginia Tech

One word...horrific.

I was listening to the news this morning and heard just a bit of a commentary about the tragedy. This particular gentlemen stated that although these type of shootings are beyond shocking, thankfully they are rare. Although, he also said that campus violence is at an all time high, and we need to organize commissions to address this issue.

I need to check the numbers, but if I heard him correctly, he stated that there are 70,000 rapes on campuses across the country each year and 1,400 alcohol related deaths. There are many more incidents of suicide as well.

What the heck is happening to our youth? This particular reporter alluded to the fact that lack of discipline in our schools is a big factor.

I'd have to agree. Together, my parents taught in elementary schools for 70+ years and the number one thing that concerned them was the growing disrespect from the students and the fact that it grew increasingly difficult to discipline over the years.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Weigh-In Week 15, April16



We've completed week 15, with our total weight loss at 96 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.

UPDATE

Davescot -7 this week, -35 total
Starving -0, -19
Ftk -2, -14
Sparky -0, -10
Gigi -0, -9

Sunday, April 15, 2007

E-mail address

Please note that I just recently changed my email address. My profile is now updated to reflect the change.

Check it out...



I'm not exactly sure why, but this picture just seriously cracks me up. It's a picture of Eugenie Scott, who wants to stop creation science at all cost, and Ken Ham the anti-evolutionist. There they are looking like long lost friends standing in front of a dinosaur in Ham's new Creation Museum. .

Thursday, April 12, 2007

"Nappy-headed hos"




Sounds like they're pulling the plug on Imus.




It amazes me that he could be that disrespectful to those women.

Michelle Maulkin points out that Imus has nothing on the rap industry, though. Almost anything goes as long as it's put to music, evidently.

My husband hates it when he drives up next to a car and hears rap lyrics blasting from the car next to him. Hubby's no prude, so ya know it's bad when he complains. He doesn't like our boys exposed to lyrics that are so demeaning to women.

The number one rap track is by "Mims." The "song" is "This Is Why I'm Hot." It has topped the charts for the last 15 weeks. Here are the lyrics:

This is why I'm hot
Catch me on the block
Every other day
Another bitch another drop
16 bars, 24 pop
44 songs, nigga gimme what you got…

… We into big spinners
See my pimping never dragged
Find me wit' different women that you niggas never had
For those who say they know me know I'm focused on ma cream
Player you come between you'd better focus on the beam
I keep it so mean the way you see me lean
And when I say I'm hot my nigga dis is what I mean

Hopefully, the Imus incident might point out that the music industry needs to reconsider the crap that's shaping the attitudes of today's youth.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Weigh-in Week 14, April 9





We've completed week 14, with our total weight loss at 94 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.

UPDATE

Davescot -1 this week, -28 total
Starving -1, -19
Ftk +1, -12
Sparky +1, -10
Gigi -0, -9

Humes lecture review

Warning: Seriously lengthy post ahead...

Humes opens with the query as to why there are those who question Darwin’s theory of evolution:

“Why would a country who so loves it’s state of the art medical technology, it’s laser driven DVD players, its digital lifestyle, all the fruits of science and yet simultaneously reject an idea, a scientific theory that’s overwhelmingly supported by the scientific community? Why this disconnect?”

I’ve heard this type of statement in the past, and it has never made much sense to me. Of course science brings us many innovative and wonderful things that help us immensely, but this type of statement just seems unfair to me. It’s as if he’s putting forth the idea that everything worth living for is due to science.

The problem is that we can we include in that list weapons of mass destruction, the eugenics movement, or how about a scientist who believes in the necessity of killing off 90% of the population to save the environment?

Science is not “evil”, science is not “atheistic”, science is a tool of discovery. Science is always correcting itself as new information is discovered. Sometimes people approach science with bias, and sometimes science is even taught dogmatically. But, “science” isn’t the problem. The conflict stems from individual worldviews that scientists hold that may cause varying interpretations of the evidence that is being considered.

Evolution is a valid and undeniable fact, but the question is how far reaching are the mechanisms of evolution? How much of what is taught is actually “fact” and how much is merely an speculative extrapolation of the evidence?

In regard to the testimony in the Kitzmiller case, Humes admits that the testimony was at time “mind-numbing” or “sleep inducing”, but also claims that “most of it was utterly fascinating“. He talks about the “spectacular” fossils displays of a creature who is known as the walking whale - a whale like creature with legs, and also mentioned fossil images of feathered dinosaurs preserved in shale.

It always amazes me that some people are so awed by these “transitionals”. Here too we have varying interpretations of these creatures, yet mainstream science only allows consideration of one interpretation. Their interpretation may be absolutely correct, but then again, it may not. Our students are never allowed to consider views that conflict with these supposed whale transitionals, feathered dinosaurs, and other “transitionals“.

Humes certainly doesn’t mention the lengths that somes scientists have gone to in order to produce a “transitional”. Hoaxes abound, and recently even the famous paleontologist, Richard Leaky, has tampered with fossils to make them appear more like transitionals.

I also find it interesting that scientists are so enamored with these supposed “transitionals”, yet to this day we have no empirical evidence of macroevolutionary changes occurring in nature. Consider the evolutionary changes that would have had to occur in order to explain different body types and the evolution of vital organs.

Microevolution involves changes is size, shape, color, or minor genetic alterations. These type of changes are clearly supported with empirical evidence.

Yet, as Walt Brown so aptly puts it:

Macroevolution would be shown if the offspring of an animal or plant had a different and improved set of vital organs that could be inherited. Despite many breading experiments trying to cause such changes, this has never been observed. Micro changes are trivial in comparison to the long-sought macro changes.

For example. all species appear fully developed, not partially developed. They show design. There are no examples of half-developed feathers, eyes, skin, tubes (arteries, veins, intestines, etc.), or any of thousands of other vital organs. Tubes that are not 100% complete are a liability; so are partially developed organs and some body parts. For example, if a leg of a reptile were to evolve into a wing of a bird, it would become a bad leg long before it became a good wing. Can you see why macroevolution is ridiculous?


Then Humes goes on to talk about the issue that led to the Dover lawsuit. The entire lawsuit was in response to the Dover school board’s decision to have one *short* statement read to the science class before the lesson on evolution was introduced. Here is Humes description of how that decision was carried out...

“In the end, the presentation on ID had to be presented by the administrators in the school district who went classroom to classroom and made their little talk while the teachers stood out in the halls like the bad kids, along with the kids who risked being stigmatized by opting out of the presentation.”

“During presentations on ID, the administrators instructed the students not to ask questions. You can hear this information, but you may not ask questions about it. Can you imagine a school telling a student not to ask questions? It’s exactly the opposite of where we need to be in our schools.”

He ~again~ misleads his audience toward the end of his lecture by describing the same scenario in which administrators reading the paragraph on ID are supposedly not allowing questions because they have no answers for the students. He says: “Here we are going to have a lesson on intelligent design that we’re going to bring into the classroom, and we’re not going to let you ask questions about it”.

This accusation had me close to jumping out of my chair in protest. First of all, no one was going to teach a “lesson on intelligent design” in the Dover schools. So, there we have our first ~extremely~ misleading statement.

Second, the city of Dover was in the middle of a high profile lawsuit at the time, so the administrators reading the approved statement about ID to the class were probably walking on pins and needles. And, third, the teachers were standing out in the hall in protest waiting, like immature children, for the ID statement to be read to the class. Can you imagine if the administrators had opened up to questions and left the teachers in the halls waiting to teach their science class? Those teachers would have blown a gasket!

Here is the statement, which Humes never read to his audience, that was the cause of a million dollar + lawsuit.

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.

I kid you not. That meager statement is what led to the Kitzmiller case.

The science teachers refused to read this simple paragraph to the class. There was not a “presentation” or “lesson” on ID, and in that statement it mentions that if there are questions in regard to ID, the textbook Of Panda’s and People could be make available to the students. So, Humes statement that the students were not allowed to ask questions is misleading. They were told that further information was available if they were interested.

I don’t know of ~any~ ID proponents who would not allow questions to be asked about the design inference. In fact, ID supporters are very vocal about their want to debate and field questions on the topics surrounding this controversy. It’s the evolutionists who refuse to engage in publicized dialogue and debate.

Then Humes works on the religious fanaticism angle. He states that he went to a “mega-church in San Juan, CA” to learn more about ID. He claimed that this particular church was having a “huge event on Intelligent Design, creationism, and a critique of evolution”, and that “the speaker at this event played an ancillary role in the Dover case“. He then goes on to tell us that the speaker was Kent Hovind (Dr. Dino) and explains that there were “3,000 worshippers in this great meeting place cheering like superbowl fans”. He explains Hovind’s young earth creationist beliefs and the fact that he is now in jail for tax evasion. He stated that Hovind believes and preaches that evolution is a “conspiracy by scientists and Darwinists to silence the truth“. At the end of his Hovind spiel, he stated again that “That was my visit with Dr. Dino, the mega church, and the Intelligent Design presentation.”

I found it particularly deceiving to connect ID with Kent Hovind. Hovind has absolutely no connection with the Design community, but this angle did leave it’s affect on the laughing audience. This comparison between ID and a mega church gathering with Hovind, who has a tendency to emphasize exaggerated conspiracy theories, would be like considering what blogmeisters, PZ Myers (Pharyngula) or Pay Hayes (Red State Rabble) have to say about this controversy. Both Myers and Hayes are big on conspiracy theories as well. They feel that ID supporters are Christians who are “lying for Jesus” and who plan to establish a theocracy in which atheists are at risk of being burned at the stake. But, Humes mentions none of this in his “fair” and “unbiased” account.

It could very well be that the ID supporters on the Dover school board had listened to a Hovind lecture at one time or the other, but so what? That should have no impact on whether that particular paragraph was to be read to the class, nor should it have an affect on the question as to whether ID is science or not.

He also mentions that...“Insults were hurled about on the playground and in the school board meetings...who in your family is the monkey?” No doubt the “monkeys” were throwing insults as well. Due to my involvement in this debate, I’ve had Darwin supporters throughout the country hurl insults at me on a daily basis. Red State Rabble’s last insulting comments were tame compared to most, but he had a jolly time razing me about being the “church lady“ and the “wicked witch of the west”. Shoot, PZ’s even been know to display a “Blogs Against Theocracy” logo. Can anyone say paranoid conspiracy theorist? The man is a virtual preacher for fundamental atheists. Yet, for some reason, Humes doesn’t consider this in his “fair” and “unbiased” account.

Humes then mentions that “ironically this [Dover] was a place where people initially settled to get away from government mandated religion“, as if ID is a religion and ID proponents are trying to push religion on science classes. If you ever actually attend a lecture on ID, you’ll find that religion need not be discussed even in passing. Obviously, there are religious implications, but no more so than the religious implications of the Theory of Evolution. When discussing ID in a teaching environment, there is no need to bring up the topic of religion at all.

When he described ID, he stated that “proponents of this idea say it’s a valid scientific alternative to evolution”, though that statement is deceiving as well. ID proponents have no beef with evolution, though they don’t support the notion that evolutionary mechanisms can account for everything we observe in nature.

He does mention at one point that ID is not the same as teaching the biblical account of creation, yet he had already lumped the two together in his Hovind spiel. He seems to teeter back and forth on this idea and pulls the two together and throws in an evangelist here and there to add to the religious emphasize as much as possible. He states that “it (ID) does recycle some of the basic arguments against the ToE that have been sited by creationists in the past.” Again -- so what.

He states that although the ID proponents don’t mention who the designer is, there is more than a “wink and a nod” to this idea of not identifying the designer because everyone attracted to ID understands who we’re talking about when we say intelligent designer. He states that ID proponents say we can detect the evidence of design without naming the designer and who knows what that might be..“maybe it’s space aliens”. He acts as if he considers that ridiculous and notes that the space alien bit is “actually a line from proponents of ID - it’s not my characterization”. Personally, I don’t know what’s so weird about that statement. Scientists have been speculating and searching for life on other planets for an eternity..ie. Seti. They also seem quite interested in the possibility that there may have been life of some sort on Mars. So, I don't understand what is so outrageous about this possibility.

But, Humes merely waves this option away as being a “very crafty” way in which to get around the wall of separation between church and state. This assumption irritates me to no end, because I support the separation of church and state with every fiber of my being for the very obvious reason that most people don’t want their kids subject to who knows what kind of “religious” thought might be thrust upon them during their school hours. If I wanted my kids to get religion in school, I’d have chosen a private school setting.

I think it’s a crying shame to think that we might have to stop scientific inquiry at a certain point and possibly never get to the truth regarding origins merely because some people are so opposed to anything that might remotely suggest that there is an ultimate designer. This has nothing to do with establishing a state religion - it’s a quest for truth and following the evidence wherever it may lead. But, we have guys like Humes and Judge Jones who are convinced that there is a great conspiracy to push a specific religion on our poor unsuspecting students, and yet they claim it’s guys like Hovind who have the overactive imagination.

Later in the talk, he resorts back to the religious angle yet again. He talks about another “ID event” he attended at a Christian university in Los Angeles. He stated that the proponents of ID were making their presentation and insisting that it was a scientific idea, not a religious one. “Yet“, he continues, “the audience of very enthusiastic supporters were shouting Amen and Alleluia throughout the presentation”. That got him some laughs, but I sat wondering who the lecturers were of this particular “ID event”. I’ve never attended an ID lecture or event where audience members shouted “Amen”. It would seem extremely out of place to attend a Behe lecture for example and have audience members shouting “Amen” or “Alleluia”.

Then he states that if the underlying “genesis” of ID is religious in nature, that doesn’t necessarily make it unacceptable for public school teaching. But, he tells us that Judge Jones found that ID is not a scientific idea, that it proposes at bottom a supernatural explanation for what we see in nature. He said it may be correct to do so, and perhaps ID proponents are correct, but it’s just not science and therefore not appropriate for science students. “It’s a religious idea”.

IMHO, it’s a ridiculous notion to consider ID in a religion class because it just isn’t religion. Attend one lecture on ID and you’ll find that a preacher certainly isn’t going to be qualified to teach the subject to his parishioners and it’s also out of place in a philosophy class other than perhaps a philosophy of science class.

Then he goes into his spiel about Judge Jones becoming the target of death threats and that he had to be placed under 24 hour guard by US Marshals shortly after the decision came out. A “fair and unbiased account” would have also mentioned the many accolades Jones received as well. He was featured in Time magazine as one of the most influential people of the year. He was also voted by Wired magazine as one of the “10 sexiest geeks”, and was asked to speak at graduation commencement speeches. It sounds like his life has been pretty exciting since the Dover trial.

A “fair and unbiased account” would also have provided the fact that Judge Jones borrowed 90.9% (or 5,458 words) of Judge Jones’ 6,004-word section on intelligent design as science from the ACLU’s proposed “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” which had been submitted to Judge Jones nearly a month before his ruling. A “fair and unbiased” account would also have included reference to the Discovery Institutes response to the trial in the book, Traipsing into Evolution”.

He alludes to the religious nature of ID throughout the presentation, but never mentions the anti-religious implications of the ToE. He makes the ID supporters out to be religious fanatics, but doesn’t mention that on any given day you can go on-line and find that the majority of scientists who are fanatical activists for the ToE are atheists or strong agnostics, and that they seem to bad mouth religion almost continuously.

He talks about the “two theories of evolution”, one being the “talk radio” version, which Humes says is “all made up”...“It’s merely critics of evolution defining a theory they don’t like but using misinformation to do so”. I’ve addressed Humes “talk radio” spiel in the past.

Then he touches on the Darwin/Hitler connection. Now, this is a subject that I’ve never been terribly interested in because Hitler was a madman, so there’s no telling what all was involved in shaping his worldview. But, at this point, Humes dismisses the possibility of any impact that the ToE might have had on Hitler whatsoever and provides this instead:

What I found is that in terms of writing that was influential on and provided a justification for Hitler’s final solution, was a pamphlet called “On the Jews and their lies” and this is really a horrendous diatribe which advocated persecution, concentration camps, denial of rights, and no mercy for jews who were described as “poisonous worms”. This pamphlet was not written by Charles Darwin, bit was written in 1542 by a german monk named Martin Luther. The same Martin Luther which launched the reformation and founded protestant Christianity. Now his writings were used as a justification for the Holocaust. Does that mean that we should condemn protestant Christianity as a result? Of course not. By the same token, even if it were true, and I found no evidence that it is, that something that Darwin wrote, was used as a justification for the final solution has not impact al all on the validity of evolution theory or of Darwin’s standing in the scientific community.


So, he blames the Holocaust on Martin Luther and finds “no evidence” that Darwin’s “dangerous idea” was ever considered by Hilter. While it is true that Luther unjustly condemns the jews in the pamphlet Humes mentioned, he is certainly not being honest in saying that he can find “no evidence” in regard to the connect between Hitler and evolution. A “fair and unbiased account” would have included mention of the eugenics movement that Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, instigated. There are also hundreds of books and articles which make the Darwin/Hitler connection, so maybe he should have tried google during his search.

Even today, Richard Dawkins says that the eugenic ideas that supported the Nazi’s thinking, including their notorious ‘racial hygiene’ and ‘breeding superhumans’ programs, “may not be all that bad“. In a letter to the editor of the Sunday Herald (Scotland), Dawkins wrote “I wonder whether, some 60 years after Hitler’s death, we might at least venture to ask what the moral difference is between breeding for musical ability and forcing a child to take music lessons. Or why it is acceptable to train fast runners and high jumpers but not to breed them”.

Then we have the usual diatribe about the fear that America is “falling behind” and may not be able to compete in the global marketplace. “We just don’t make as many engineers and scientists anymore in America. We import them, and now we aren’t even doing that. Why is that? Scientists are lying to us. Why be scientists? They aren’t honest, they’re atheists.”

Gag...I support ID, but I don’t think “scientists” are lying to us, and I don‘t think that atheists are dishonest either. I do think that the majority of the leaders from the “scientific community” who are enveloped in the fight to save Darwinism from the sinking ship are philosophical naturalists, but I don’t think they are lying. I think they truly believe what they say, and for some time now they have had control of what will and will not be considered science. Those who stand up to them often find their job security as risk (ie. Sternberg).

For all the complaining scientists do about ID, it still doesn’t negate the fact that ID is a scientific inference and it is testable, falsifiable, and offers predictions. ID is also responsible for pushing scientists to come up with answers for the “dead-end“ problems associated with the ToE. Michael Behe explains it as follows:

The theory of intelligent design promises to reinvigorate a field of science grown stale from a lack of viable solutions to dead-end problems. The intellectual competition created by the discovery of design will bring sharper analysis to the professional scientific literature and will require that assertions be backed by hard data. The theory will spark experimental approaches and new hypotheses that would otherwise be untried. A rigorous theory of intelligent design will be a useful tool for the advancement of science in an area that has been moribund for decades.

I missed quite a bit of the Q&A portion of the lecture due to my irritation level getting out of control, so I didn’t catch every question that was asked. I took a little break, then listened to the remaining questions from the back of the room. Humes brought up the much highlighted astrology canard in which, at the Dover trial, Behe is accused of stating that astrology is science. This is a complete farse as explained here, and at the Behe lecture I attended, Behe also corrected this fallacy that has been circulated:

Behe stated that at that point in the trial they were discussing the definition of science. He was asked if astrology was science and Behe said he stated astrology was considered science in the 13th and 14th century and that it in part led to astronomy. He was referring to historical times, not current times. But, the media only picked up his reference to astrology being acceptable in his definition of science.

Humes also writes Behe off as seeming almost incompetent on the witness stand, and mentions the “pile of books” placed in front of Behe which supposedly provided evidence for the evolution of the immune system. Again, pure rhetoric and spin. Behe responded to this circulating fallacy at his lecture as well.

From my review of the lecture:
As far as the “stack of books and articles” presented at the trial, Behe took it as bad courtroom theatre. He said that the “stack of books” we always see in pictures was staged because pictures were not allowed to be taken in the courtroom. So, obviously, this was an antic to try to make Behe look foolish.

Behe said that current studies do not provide evidence that the immune system has been explained by evolutionary mechanisms, so he was certain that this older material piled up in front of him did not contain anything that would explain it either. In the trial, he referenced the most current 2005 standard view of the immune system and he discussed this in depth with Ken Miller during the trial, but this information was not referenced in the Jones decision. He said the 2005 article on the immune system used words like “may have”, “appears to be”, “probably”, “might have”, etc. etc. It was speculative information, and if that were true in 2005, then obviously earlier papers wouldn’t have added anything more pertinent to the discussion. The papers in question do not address how random processes explain evolution of the immune system... they simply assume that they do.

Jones also made the statement in his decision that Behe said, “Those papers were not good enough”. In fact, Behe did not say this. Those are the words Eric Rothchild tried to put in his mouth while Behe was on the witness stand. Behe actually said that they were wonderful articles, that they were very interesting, but that they simply don’t address the question as he posed it. They address a different question.

Behe said that he seems to find himself following Ken Miller around correcting these issues that Ken keeps relaying to the public. Apparently, Richard Dawkins uses these same words (“those papers were not good enough”) in his latest book, The God Delusion. So, both Miller and Dawkins are relaying inaccurate information and the scientific community is eating it up and using it against him as well.


Whew....Done.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!



Enjoy the day we celebrate the fulfillment of biblical prophecy and the ultimate reason for the Christian faith.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Political Correctness reaches a whole new level of insanity

I really had no idea that the "Easter Bunny" was a religious symbol. But, evidently a public school in Rhode Island believes that it is, and they've decided to rename the "Easter bunny". So now they bring in "Peter Rabbit" to pass out those Easter eggs to the kids.

???

They probably aren't allowed to call them "Easter" eggs, so I wonder what they renamed the eggs.

Of course, the ACLU supports this latest lunacy.

Friday, April 06, 2007

SMU Wimps Out

As expected, the DI‘s offer to engage in a public dialogue with the science department faculty members at SMU is being turned down. The DI received a letter from the Anthropology department yesterday. Maybe there is still a chance one of the other departments might take them up on it.

[Doubtful]

It seems that Darwin supporters are only comfortable discussing the issues surrounding this debate in public venues where a judge, who has little knowledge of science, is presiding, and where there is no open dialogue allowed between the opponents.

Sigh...

It would be interesting to know whether the majority of science educators in our K-12 public schools are aware of the fact that Darwinists refuse to debate the issues surrounding this controversy. I gotta believe they would look at this as darn good evidence for the fact that Darwinian evolution is not as rock solid as they are led to believe.

In fact, I wonder if our K-12 science teacher know anything about ID at all other than what they hear from the mainstream media outlets. Here’s what some of the professors from SMU stated in an article in the Dallas News.
The organization behind the event, the Discovery Institute, is clear in its agenda: It states that what the SMU science faculty believes to be so useful (science) is a danger to conservative Christianity and should be replaced by its mystical world view.

Holy buckets...that is seriously such complete baloney that I’m shocked someone has the audacity to actually put it in print. The DI has never made a statement even remotely close to stating that “science” is a danger to conservative Christianity. And, the inference of design has nothing to do with a mystical world view whatsoever.

Here’s a thought....why don’t those SMU science professors get off their rumps, get up to the podium, and put those those crazy, religious, nut cakes in their place. Yeah! Bring in the entire student body and make it “a teaching moment”.

That is something that would be worth watching, and it would certainly provide the students with a lot to think about.

[More from Rob Crowther at EN&V.]

I say we boycott!!

Women take note...
MR. JAMES THATCHER,
BRAND MANAGER,
PROCTER & GAMBLE.

February 6, 2007

Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your Always maxi pads for over 20 years, and I appreciate many of their features.

Why, without the LeakGuard CoreT or Dri-WeaveT absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from "the curse"? I'm guessing you haven't. Well, my "time of the month" is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed into what my husband likes to call "an inbred hillbilly with knife skills." Isn't the human body amazing?

As brand manager in the feminine-hygiene division, you've no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers' monthly visits from Aunt Flo. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it's a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend's testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey's Anatomy was written by drunken chimps. Crazy! The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in capri pants. Which brings me to the reason for my letter.

Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: "Have a Happy Period."

Are you f***ing kidding me?

What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness-actual smiling, laughing happiness-is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least %*^*%%* bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you're some kind of sick S&M freak girl, there will never be anything "happy" about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and KahlĂșa and lock yourself in your house just so you don't march down to the local Walgreens armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory. For the love of God, pull your head out, man. If you just have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn't it make more sense to say something that's actually pertinent, like "Put Down the Hammer" or "Vehicular Manslaughter Is Wrong"? Or are you just picking on us?

Sir, please inform your accounting department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flexi-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bullshit. And that's a promise I will
keep. Always.

Best,
Wendi Aarons
Austin , TX


[HT to my dieting buddy, “Starving”, for pointing out this circulating email informing us of this new addition to Always maxi pads. No doubt this brilliant idea came from some woman hating dude with a death wish who is getting his jollies thinking about millions of women opening up those maxi pads every day and feeling the urge to kill.]

The wisdom of Egnor

"There’s a reason for this almost delusional attribution of scientific progress to Darwin’s theory. Darwinism is based on the radical and unsubstantiated assertion that all natural biological complexity arose from random heritable variation and natural selection. It is the creation myth of contemporary philosophical materialism, which is the view that the material world (matter and energy) are the only things that exist. The materialist worldview depends critically on Darwin’s theory. We can do science just fine without Darwin’s theory, using molecular biology, biological statistics, and other well established fields of biology.

It’s time for fields of science on which Darwinism has hitched a ride to open the door and let it off. If Darwinists have real quantitative evidence that biological complexity arose entirely by chance and necessity, they should show us the evidence. Until then, Darwinists insult our intelligence when they claim that Darwinism is indispensable to any area of science or medicine. Darwin's theory is indispensible in only one way: Darwinists can’t do philosophy without Darwin’s theory."


LOL, PZ is not going to like this particular entry. But, Egnor's right, philosophical naturalism is just simply sunk without Darwin.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Francis Collins: An unwilling supporter of ID

Poor Francis, he's in denial. He's an ID supporter through and through, but just can't seem take to take that last small step...

As the director of the Human Genome Project, I have led a consortium of scientists to read out the 3.1 billion letters of the human genome, our own DNA instruction book. As a believer, I see DNA, the information molecule of all living things, as God's language, and the elegance and complexity of our own bodies and the rest of nature as a reflection of God's plan.

We're all rooting for ya Francis...come, free yourself from the shackles of the "scientific community".

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Oh, the irony...

I'm still thinking about DaveScot's post at UD the other day.

It simply blows the mind that the liberals are doing a tree hugging dance around Al Gore, yet the man is absolutely gorging our energy. Then we have George Bush who they abhor, and yet Bush is the conservationist!

Check it out:

HOUSE # 1:

A 20-room mansion (not including 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool (and a pool house) and a separate guest house all heated by gas. In ONE MONTH ALONE this mansion consumes more energy than the average American household in an ENTIRE YEAR. The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over $2,400.00 per month. In natural gas alone (which last time we checked was a fossil fuel), this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not in a northern or Midwestern “snow belt,” either. It’s in the South.

HOUSE # 2:

Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university, this house incorporates every “green” feature current home construction can provide. The house contains only 4,000 square feet (4 bedrooms) and is nestled on arid high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground. The water (usually 67 degrees F.) heats the house in winter and cools it in summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas, and it consumes 25% of the electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Flowers and shrubs native to the area blend the property into the surrounding rural landscape.

HOUSE # 1 (20 room energy guzzling mansion) is outside of Nashville, Tennessee. It is the abode of that renowned environmentalist (and filmmaker) Al Gore.

HOUSE # 2 (model eco-friendly house) is on a ranch near Crawford, Texas. Also known as “the Texas White House,” it is the private residence of the President of the United States, George W. Bush.


Go figure...

Leakey & his transitionals


From here.

The fragmented skull Dr. Bromage reconstructed was originally discovered in Kenya in 1972 by Dr. Leakey, who reassembled it by hand and dated it at nearly three million years of age, an estimate revised to 1.9 million years by scientists who later discovered problems with the dating.

"Dr. Leakey produced an intrinsically biased reconstruction based on erroneous preconceived expectations of early human appearance that violated principles of craniofacial development," said Dr. Bromage, whose reconstruction, by contrast, shows a sharply protruding jaw and, together with colleague Francis Thackeray, Transvaal Museum, South Africa, a brain less than half the size of a modern human's.

These characteristics make the 1.9 million-year-old early human skull more like those of two archaic, apelike hominids, Australopithecus and early Paranthropus, living at least three million and 2.5 million years ago, respectively.

Dr. Bromage developed his reconstruction according to biological principles holding that the eyes, ears, and mouth must be in precise relationship to one another in all mammals.

"Because he did not employ biological principles, Dr. Leakey produced a reconstruction that could not have existed in real life," Dr. Bromage concluded.
Figures..

Searching for transitionals often leads to desperation. Tweak those suckers a bit, and you can make them work for ya.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Weigh-in Week 13, April 2





We've completed week 13, with our total weight loss at 91 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.

UPDATE

Davescot -3 this week, -27 total
Starving 0, -18
Ftk +1, -13
Sparky +1, -12
Gigi -0, -9
Carb Princess -0, -5
Chunky Monkey -0, -5
Manna 0, -1


Find previous diet links below:

Week 12
Week 11
Week 10
Week 9
Week 8
Week 7
Week 6

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Humes Lecture

Okay, I've gone through my notes a few times now, and I just seriously have no idea what got me so upset the other night. Really... Humes seems quite rational, and I can't imagine why I thought he was misleading his audience.

Could it be that the full moon had me off kilter? Or, could it be that today is...


APRIL FOOLS!!!!!!!!!


Gotcha! Humes lecture review is coming, but it's going to be a while. This week is pretty busy with all those Easter eggs to fill and preparation for a big Easter party at my house next weekend.

"A teaching moment"

I mentioned in an earlier post that EN&V reported that some of the faculty at Southern Methodist University wrote letters in protest to the upcoming Darwin vs. Design conference at their university.

To their dismay, the conference will not be cancelled, so the faculty has decided to use the conference as "a teaching moment". I can about imagine what that might entail. Sounds like ID bashing on the horizon.

Bruce Chapman, President of the Discovery Institute, has decided to help the faculty in their endeavor to provide "a teaching moment". He has proposed that the faculty participate in open dialogue with the conference speakers the night before the conference begins.

Goodness, that sounds like an outstanding opportunity for the faculty to really show those IDists a thing or two, and the students will have the opportunity to learn from this dialogue.

Think the faculty will take Chapman up on his suggestion??


March 29, 2007

I am writing to invite you or a representative from your faculty to participate in a dialogue about the theory of intelligent design on Friday night, April 13th, ahead of the formal commencement of our conference that evening on your campus.

We noted with interest the comment of one of your SMU faculty colleagues, Dr. Bretell, who stated in the Dallas Morning News that the science faculty plan to use the conference “as a teaching moment.”

As educators ourselves, we applaud you for this and would like to enhance the teaching opportunity for your students by creating a forum in which your faculty can participate in an open dialogue with proponents of intelligent design—in particular, with our three conference speakers, Dr. Michael Behe, Dr. Stephen Meyer, and Dr. Jay Richards.

If you accept our invitation, I will arrange for the first portion of our Friday night program to be devoted to this discussion. We propose the following format: one of our speakers would make a fifteen-minute presentation explaining the merits, from our point of view, of the theory of intelligent design. Then we would invite one of you to make a presentation explaining your main criticisms of the theory. We would then allow your panel to ask us a series of challenging questions of your own choosing. After that we would open the discussion to a few questions from the audience.

We are all committed to respectful scholarly dialogue and to the use of scientific methods of reasoning in the investigation of nature. In our view, science progresses in part as scientists and scholars discuss and evaluate competing interpretations of scientific evidence. We think that the format we are proposing will allow for such discussion and will, therefore, create a teaching moment for all who participate and observe the discussion.

We hope you will join us. May I ask you to respond at your earliest convenience by contacting Robert Crowther in our Seattle office at 206-292-0401, extension 107, or rob@discovery.org.

Yours sincerely,



Bruce Chapman
President, Discovery Institute


CC:
Robert Van Kemper Chair, Anthropology
Robert T. Gregory Chair, Geological Sciences
Larry Ruben Chair, Biology
Thomas W. Tunks Provost of SMU