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Friday, August 05, 2005

If This Had Been Bill Clinton, Entry No. 471

Whenever Bush supporters complain that liberals "hate" Bush and are just looking for reasons to criticize him because of our "hate," I like to reply: Would you say the same thing if the same criticism was made against President Clinton?

The main answer is silence, of course, which is fine because I know the answer. We witnessed eight years of lies and distortions about Clinton from the right-wing media and Republican party. Heck, they made a humongous deal about Clinton getting a hair cut on Air Force One. He and his administration could make no comment or take no action without the right-wing nutbags acting as if the world had just ended.

Doubt me? Then read this and ask yourself how Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Tom DeLay or any of those knuckleheads would be acting if Clinton had spent most of his first nine months in office on vacation, and while on vacation had ignored the importance of a memo that said Osama bin Laden wanted to attack the US using planes as weapons, just weeks before OBL carried out said attack.

So, how does Dubya respond to a video of terrorists threatening worse attacks against the US?

Come on, you know the answer.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Here's a Different Idea

If "people ought to be exposed to different ideas," as President Bush states (see post below), then I think we need to require Christian private schools to offer some equally valid alternative viewpoints to Christianity. This is especially true if we continue to give public funds to private schools in the form of vouchers.

For example, I'd like to see the Gaia Theory taught. Gaia encompasses a wide range of thought, from looking at the earth as "a self-organizing system which works in such a way as to keep its systems in some kind of equilibrium that is conducive to life," to viewing the earth as "a single unified organism; in this view the Earth's biosphere is consciously manipulating the climate in order to make conditions more conducive to life."

According to the Internet, which is never wrong: "Much more speculative versions of Gaia theory, including all versions in which it is held that the Earth is actually conscious or part of some universe-wide evolution, are currently held to be outside the bounds of science."

The last bit sounds like Intelligent Design.

Suggested Campaign Bumper Sticker: Me So Horny

Former Alachua County GOP Chair Travis Horn has officially joined the race to fill outgoing state Sen. Rod Smith's seat. I doubt he has much of a chance, considering that many in the local GOP don't like him, and recently replaced him as chair.

I know where they are coming from. I've written about this knucklehead here, here, here and here.

Of course, his website's front page displays his picture of an American flag and has what appears to be an American soldier drinking from a canteen. I say "of course" because it would be more surprising for a Republican political candidate to NOT drape himself in the flag. It makes such a good cover for all of the evil deeds that the party really stands for – endless war to support corporate profits, torture, killing babies, running massive deficits so we can make the really rich even richer, preventing Americans from getting health care, opposing free speech, helping polluters foul our air and drinking water, forcing Christianity down out throats, and on and on and on.

But at least gay people won't be able to have real weddings. That's what really matters.

I Thought Sleeping Bags Were for Sleeping

Apparently that is but one use, if you are an American "interrogator" in Iraq.

Zeynep Toufe, of the esteemable Under the Same Sun blog, is getting tired of pointing out the grim truth:
It seems that we have almost made peace with being a nation that systematically tortures, and doesn't even bother with serious slap on the wrist for those that kill prisoners while torturing them.

It's hard to find an original comment to make, something new to say. Yes, we are torturing them to death. Yes, nobody is getting punished. Yes, it is happening again and again. Yawn.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I Just Pray There Was No Pictorial

And people say they don't read porn magazines for the articles.

No worries -- the above link is NOT to a porn mag.

Intelligent Design: The Ultimate Oxymoron

"I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," Bush said at a press conference Monday. " You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes."

The different ideas to which he is referring are evolution, which is already taught in public schools, and "intelligent design," which is an alternative viewpoint developed by people who just can't understand the science behind evolution and therefore reject it in favor of divine intervention. In other words, there's no way evolution could explain the many changes in life from its origin to now, so it must be the work of God.

What kills me about intelligent design are its many logical flaws, the main one being the ability to reject evolution because of its complexity but the ability to believe that there is a supernatural force able to control all of the forces of nature, from the origin of life to the movement of solar systems, a far more complex task. It is just impossible for proponents of intelligent design to believe evolution can explain how one-cell organisms became the complex creatures we are today, yet their substitute explanation proposes something much more complex, and something lacking any scientific basis. No wonder Dubya got re-elected.

One of the staple arguments of intelligent designers is that evolution is a "theory," which to them means it is just conjecture of liberals who hate God, or whatever. I've posted on this ignorant argument before. Allow the esteemed and now late evolutionary biologist Steven Jay Gould to explain it:
Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other, yet to be discovered.

Moreover, "fact" does not mean "absolute certainty." The final proofs of logic and mathematics flow deductively from stated premises and achieve certainty only because they are not about the empirical world. Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth, though creationists often do (and then attack us for a style of argument that they themselves favor). In science, "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.

Gould points out that debate on the mechanisms of evolution do not disprove the fact that our species has evolved. Even Darwin agreed. Gould writes:
Darwin continually emphasized the difference between his two great and separate accomplishments: establishing the fact of evolution, and proposing a theory—natural selection—to explain the mechanism of evolution. He wrote in The Descent of Man: "I had two distinct objects in view; firstly, to show that species had not been separately created, and secondly, that natural selection had been the chief agent of change. . . . Hence if I have erred in . . . having exaggerated its [natural selection's] power . . . I have at least, as I hope, done good service in aiding to overthrow the dogma of separate creations."

But such concepts rarely enter the public debate, because they require too much thinking and reasoning for many people, especially those who rely on their faith as the guiding principle of life. Or, as Gould put it:
"Scientific creationism" is a self-contradictory, nonsense phrase precisely because it cannot be falsified. I can envision observations and experiments that would disprove any evolutionary theory I know, but I cannot imagine what potential data could lead creationists to abandon their beliefs. Unbeatable systems are dogma, not science.

President Bush should be aware of some other alternative explanations to the origin of life: panspermia, in which the seeds of life came here on comets or in space dust; aliens planting DNA here; and that life travels the universe on beams of light. Those theories have as much scientific merit as intelligent design, if not more.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Lord Knows He's Never Wrong

Dubya on Bolton: "He is the right man for the job."