Natura non facit saltus
Debunking the Paradigm Shifters
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Friday, Dec 30, 2005
People argue that US govt spying is limited by wiretap laws, even in time of war, because the wiretap statutes already have provisions for what to do in wartime.
§ 1811. Authorization during time of warI don't know how Congress passed such a silly law. The USA formally declares war, and that only justifies a measly 15 days of spying?! Did they realize that a war might last more than 15 days, or that there might be some larger issues at stake than the privacy of some terrorists?
Thursday, Dec 29, 2005
HAMMOND -- When a federal judge in Pennsylvania banned public schoolteachers from offering intelligent design as an alternative theory to evolution last week, he relied heavily on the work of a Southeastern Louisiana University professor and Hammond native.No one offered intelligent design (ID) as an alternative theory to evolution. None of the ID folks subscribe to the Genesis account, as far as I know.
Moment of silence
I have a new idea. Now that the courts have ruled that it is unconstitutional to disparage evolution or to mention ID, we should start a movement to declare a moment of silence in biology class. During that minute, students would be free to think thoughts that might be unconstitutional to express aloud.
Monday, Dec 26, 2005
Evolutionist J.Q. Wilson
James Q. Wilson writes in the WSJ:
When a federal judge in Pennsylvania struck down the efforts of a local school board to teach "intelligent design," he rightly criticized the wholly unscientific nature of that enterprise. Some people will disagree with his view, arguing that evolution is a "theory" and intelligent design is a "theory," so students should look at both theories.Wilson is the one who is confused. The Dover PA school board pointedly avoided saying that intelligent design (ID) is a theory. It said that Darwin's theory of evolution is a well-tested theory, but it only called ID "an explanation of the origin of life".
I don't know why it even matters whether ID is scientific or not. The Dover PA statement had 2 sentences on ID that were read by administrators to students, and ID was not taught by science teachers in science class. No students had any ID assignments or exams.
What schools should do is teach evolution emphasizing both its successes and its still unexplained limitations. Evolution, like almost every scientific theory, has some problems. But they are not the kinds of problems that can be solved by assuming that an intelligent designer (whom ID advocates will tell you privately is God) created life. There is not a shred of evidence to support this theory, one that has been around since the critics of Darwin began writing in the 19th century.The idea that God created life has been around for a lot longer than that. And evolution doesn't really teach anything about the origin of life. ID may lack evidence, but it does try to explain something (the origin of life) that evolution does not explain.
By referring to evolution's "still unexplained limitations", Wilson had made himself constitutionally unfit to teach in the Dover PA schools. Judge Judge has issued an injunction against "requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution". Wilson's statement is quite similar to the Board's unconstitutional statement that evolution has gaps.
Some people worry that if evolution is a useful (and, so far, correct) theory, we should still see it at work all around us. We don't. ... Besides, the modern world has created an environment by means of public health measures, the reduction in crime rates, and improved levels of diet that have sharply reduced the environmental variation that is necessary to reward some genetic mutations and penalize others.Here Wilson sounds like one of those evolutionists who doesn't really believe in evolution. They say that all animals evolve, and that man is an animal, but man does not evolve. It makes no sense to me, unless you assume that Wilson has some ideological purpose for saying this nonsense.
Mr. Wilson implicitly denies parents their right to ensure that their children hear, in the public schools they pay for, a brief reference to intelligent design. Mr. Wilson's position is an astounding act of censorship. Shouldn't the persons paying the bills (the parents) and raising the children (the parents) have the power over this issue, rather than an unelected federal judge?
Sunday, Dec 25, 2005
Saturday, Dec 24, 2005
ID in science class or not
A lot of evolutionists are making a big deal about of intelligent design (ID) being mentioned in a Dover PA science class. The trouble is that I am not sure that it was ever intended to be in a science class.
The court opinion said, "teachers would be required to read the following statement to students in the ninth grade biology class". It can be parsed in either of these 2 ways:
A. teachers would be required to (read the following statement) to (students in the ninth grade biology class)Under A, the statement could be read to the students outside class.
The significance is that even the Bible can be taught in a comparative religion class, so I don't know why ID could not be taught outside science class.
This may be a debatable point. It was not read by teachers as if it were part of the biology curriculum. Judge Jones said:
Administrators were thus compelled to read the statement to ninth graders at Dover High School in January 2005 because of the refusal by the teachers to do so. (25:56-57 (Nilsen); 35:38 (Baksa)). The administrators read the statement again in June 2005.So it was something that took place outside normal biology instruction.
Friday, Dec 23, 2005
Is physics a science?
Evolutionists like to spend a lot of time on the definition of science, as a way to dismiss their critics. Evolution itself is not very scientific, so they look to physics as the most scientific of the sciences.
But physics doesn't necessarily meet their definitions either. Currently, there are some top theoretical physicists who are mired in a debate over String Theory Versus Intelligent Design. See this Leonard Susskind interview in New Scientist and in Edge, also the Not Even Wrong blog.
The evolutionists say that a theory must be well-tested, but the string theorists have no way to test their theory. The Anthropic Principle is even more removed from scientific reality.
Thursday, Dec 22, 2005
What was really decided in Dover PA
The Dover PA case was not about whether the theory of evolution or ID is correct, or whether ID should be taught, or whether ID is science.
The Dover school board had not proposed to teach ID, to say ID was scientific or valid, or even to mention ID in the midst of any science classes.
This case was about 2 things. Whether the US Constitution allows students to be told that evolution is a well-tested theory that has some gaps, and that "Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view."
Judge Jones ruled that both teachings were possibly true, but unconstitutional anyway. He permanently enjoined the school board "from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution". They cannot say that the theory has gaps. They also cannot refer to an "alternative theory known as ID" in science class or any other class.
If a Dover PA student asks about the origin of life on Earth, then I don't know what the teacher can say under these rules. The theory of evolution has very little to say about the origin of life, but he can't say that there are any gaps and he cannot acknowledge other beliefs.
Perhaps the teacher can say, "I work for the school board, and it has been enjoined from telling me how I can answer that question."
I think that this decision will ultimately hurt the evolutionist cause. It shows the leftist-atheist-evolutionists as people who cannot defend their beliefs on the merits. They can only survive by censoring alternate views.
Tax deduction for scientologists only
NY Sun news:
A federal tax court yesterday refused an Orthodox Jewish couple's request to deduct religious education fees for their children on the grounds that the Internal Revenue Service allows a similar deduction for members of the Church of Scientology.I didn't know that scientologists get tax deductions for using lie detectors to find the ghosts of 75-million-year-old space aliens.
Wednesday, Dec 21, 2005
Lying in Dover Pa.
Evolutionists are gloating about their win in the Dover Pa. trial, and they are especially happy that the judge accused the ID proponents of lying to cover up their religious motives. The judge also says this:
Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs’ scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator.These evolutionists were lying. The leading evolutionist, Richard Dawkins, once said, "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist." America's most famous scientist and evolutionist (until he died a couple of years ago), Stephen Jay Gould, wrote a whole book saying similar things. Similar ideas are also expressed in a brand new book by the eminent physicist and string theorist Leonard Susskind, Cosmic Landscape: String theory and the illusion of intelligent design.
The leftist-atheist-evolutionists would not have made such a big case out of 4 innocuous paragraphs unless they had an ideological cause. Their cause is atheism and attacking religion. They spent most of the trial attacking religion, not discussing science. Evolution is their tool for denying the existence of God. Here is a National Review article on evolutionist hostility to religion.
Tuesday, Dec 20, 2005
Intelligent Design is unconstitutional
Dover PA censors intelligence:
HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (AP) -- "Intelligent design" cannot be mentioned in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district, a federal judge said Tuesday, ruling in one of the biggest courtroom clashes on evolution since the 1925 Scopes trial. ...No, it is not ironic. They are being persecuted for their religious beliefs, and truth is not a defense.
The longtime head of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, now Judge Judge John E. Jones III, held today that "teaching about supposed gaps and problems in evolutionary theory are creationist religious strategies that evolved from earlier forms of creationism."
John Dean on libel
John W. Dean, the famous Watergate felon, writes:
Defamation Law Is In Need of a Major Revision, as Justice Scalia SuggestedSo why does he care? Dean doesn't explain it in his article, but he filed and lost some libel lawsuits himself. He was one of the chief villains of the Watergate scandal, and he just hates it when people describe what he did. He deserved a long prison sentence more than any of the others.
So instead of describing his own problems, he picks on Elaine Donnelly instead. Donnelly exposed some bad affirmative action policies in the Navy, and was subjected to a SLAPP lawsuit. She was vindicated in the U.S. DC Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Navy reassigned the female pilot who got the dubious promotion.
To read Donnelly's website, however, it is difficult to envision any woman who, in Donnelly's view, could be a competent combat pilot. In a press release, Donnelly charged the Navy with recklessly racing the Air Force to hire women pilots, in a contest "instigated by aggressive female officers, feminist advocates, and Navy public affairs officers."Donnelly doesn't say that, but so what if she did? If she doesn't think that women make good combat pilots, then she is entitled to her opinions. The First Amendment guarantees her the right to criticize US Govt policy.
After Dean's Watergate crimes and subsequent selfish backstabbing, it is difficult to envision anyone listening to his legal opinions. He has already been disbarred once.
Monday, Dec 19, 2005
Legality of the Bush wiretaps
Some Democrats and lawyers are arguing that the recently-revealed Bush wiretaps are illegal. This one argues:
Who says Bush's end run around surveillance laws are illegal?I don't know if the wiretaps are legal or not, but I do know that Supreme Court decisions are not the highest law in this country, and they never have been. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and the three branches of the federal govt are independently obligated to follow it. One 1972 court opinion on domestic security practices does not determine whether the President can expand Echelon to use new technology to catch Al Qaeda terrorists.
Catholic Church supported medieval progress
David Brooks writes:
Now another academic heavyweight has entered the arena. In his new book, ''The Victory of Reason,'' the Baylor sociologist Rodney Stark argues that the West grew rich because it invented capitalism. That's not new. What's unusual is his description of how capitalism developed.There is another copy here.
Friday, Dec 16, 2005
Evolution sticker tells truth
ATLANTA - Federal appeals judges roasted the attorney fighting evolution disclaimers placed in Cobb science textbooks during oral arguments before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, suggesting that he misled the court in his legal brief. ...It appears that the lower court made several errors.
Thursday, Dec 15, 2005
New York to monitor people with diabetes
NEW YORK -- Hoping to save hundreds of lives, New York adopted a health-code regulation Wednesday that will make it the first American city to keep track of people with diabetes in much the same way it does with patients infected with HIV or tuberculosis.What's next? Monitoring fat people?
Tuesday, Dec 13, 2005
Parents rights in federal law
Phyllis's new column deals with the "triple whammy" of recent court rulings against parents' rights versus the public schools.Part of Posner's argument is that it is too burdensome for schools to maintain separate addresses for divorced parents, and to give both copies of school records. My local school does this already. It is trivial.
Long arm of the law
ATLANTA (AP) - Transit police handcuffed and cited a man who sold a $1.75 US subway token to another rider who was having trouble with a token vending machine. He vows to fight the citation in court.I didn't know that it was illegal to sell a subway token.
Monday, Dec 12, 2005
Historian attacks Sen. Joe McCarthy
I just watched historian Haynes Johnson say this on UCTV:
McCarthy gives a speech in Wheeling. He waives a sheaf of papers in his hand. He says, I have here in my hand a list of 205 Communists who are active members of a Co spy ring who are at this moment developing and shaping policies of the United States thru the State Department. Bang. That's where it started. He made up this charge. There was no list. It was made up out of whole cloth. Totally untrue.When a historian writes a book about McCarthy, then I expect him to be a little more accurate about the facts. You can find most of the speech here. McCarthy did not say that they were spies. The list did exist, as explained here.
Sunday, Dec 11, 2005
Some congressmen are interested in cutting off the free American citizenship for illegal alien babies. Most other countries do not offer citizenship to such babies. The Si Valley paper editorializes:
Those who argue for this change call the children born to illegal immigrants ``anchor babies.'' That's because once the child reaches 21, he or she can then petition for parents and siblings to become permanent residents. Proponents believe that many illegal immigrants come here to give birth in hopes that their child will be a ticket to legal status.No proof?! The scheme is effective immediately because the illegal alien parents are not deported. The baby is their green card until the baby is 21.
Regulating California preschools
Movie director turned child advocate Rob Reiner--best known for playing the role of "Meathead" on "All in the Family"--recently acquired a million signatures to put his Preschool for All initiative on the California ballot next June, his second attempt to launch a "universal" preschool program. The initiative would impose a 1.7% income tax on couples making over $800,000 a year ($400,000 for individuals) to offer three hours of free preschool for all the state's 4-year-olds. ...The article also says that the initiative has some peculiar unionization requirements.
This is really a bad idea. Those training courses in early childhood development teach some really wrong ideas, and the preschool teachers may even be worse after taking the classes. This is another nanny state law. They want to regulate baby-sitters.
A lot of people will vote for this because it is funded by a tax on the super-rich. But that is foolish also. If the super-rich are under-taxed, then we could jack up the tax until they cannot pay anymore, and put the money in the general fund. There are many uses for the money that are better than state-regulated babysitters.
I am all in favor of taxes that relate to usage of govt services. For example, I think that it is great that road work is funded by gasoline taxes. But the super-rich have no use for state-subsidized babysitters.
NY Times is anti-science
Jim Holt suggests that the Bush administration (and most of America) is anti-science:
In rationalizing his opposition to the creation of new embryonic stem-cell lines, for example, the president informed the public that existing lines would be sufficient for medical purposes - a claim that left researchers flabbergasted and proved to be wildly off the mark. On the issue of climate change, American inaction on curbing greenhouse gas emissions is defended on the grounds that there is still some uncertainty about the magnitude and causes of global warming. Administration allies have even maligned the motives of climate researchers, ...No, the existing stem-cell have been sufficient for medical research so far. American reluctance to mandate greenhouse gas emission reductions is usually defended on the grounds that such reductions will be very expensive and that it is doubtful whether they will result in any measurable benefit.
Holt's real complaints are on policy issues, not science issues. It is the folks who confuse science with policy who are anti-science.
Holt goes on:
One of the most durable sources of evil in the world has been the idea that humans are divided into races and that some races are naturally superior to others. So it was morally exhilarating to discover, with the rise of modern genetics, that racial differences are biologically trifling - merely "skin deep," in the popular phrase. For the last three decades, the scientific consensus has been that "race" is merely a social construct, since genetic variation among individuals of the same race is far greater than the variation between races. Recently, however, a fallacy in that reasoning - a rather subtle one - has been identified by the Cambridge University statistician A.W.F. Edwards. The concept of race may not be biologically meaningless after all; it might even have some practical use in deciding on medical treatments, at least until more complete individual genomic information becomes available. Yet in the interests of humane values, many scientists are reluctant to make even minor adjustments to the old orthodoxy. "One of the more painful spectacles of modern science," the developmental biologist Armand Marie Leroi has observed, "is that of human geneticists piously disavowing the existence of races even as they investigate the genetic relationships between 'ethnic groups."'What this really shows is how a leftist scientist consensus can ignore the facts, and proclaim some supposedly scientific conclusion for ideological reasons.
The leftist-atheist-evolutionists think that Darwinism is morally exhilarating. The leftist-abortionist-euthanasiaists think that embryonic stem-cell research is morally exhilarating. The leftist environmentalist no-growth anti-population advocates think that carbon emission limitation proposals are morally exhilarating. I think that we need to distinguish science from the politics and policy choices.
Are you denying that there were legitimate scientific reasons for thinking that race is a social construct?Yes. Scientists don't even talk that way, unless they have a political ax to grind. There used to be a whole field of study called physical anthropology until it became politically incorrect.
Saturday, Dec 10, 2005
Evolution school books
Florida school textbooks are influenced by intelligent design:
Since at least 1995, Biology: The Dynamics of Life, has told students about the origin of life.These changes sound sensible to me.
Friday, Dec 09, 2005
Death row inmate Tookie is widely credited for his 1997 apology for the harm caused by the Crips (and criticized for not admitting his 4 murders). But it is just another non-apology apology. He says:
I created the Crips youth gang ... I never imagined Crips membership ... I also didn't expect the Crips to end up ruining the lives ... So today I apologize to you all -- the children of America and South Africa -- who must cope every day with dangerous street gangs. I no longer participate in the so-called gangster lifestyle, and I deeply regret that I ever did. ... I am no longer "dys-educated" (disease educated).An apology is supposed to express regret for having done something wrong. If he could not have foreseen the harm from what he was doing, then what did he do wrong?
This is not an apology. This is a proclamation of his innocence.
Thursday, Dec 08, 2005
Kansas science maligned
A national education group says Kansas has the nation's worst science standards for public schools. And the Thomas B. Fordham Institute condemns the state for rewriting its definition of science and treating evolution as a flawed theory. ... The institute described such changes as the result of a "relentless'' promotion of intelligent design.No, the Kansas standards do not even mention intelligent design.
Wednesday, Dec 07, 2005
Afghanistan invasion a success
ABC News poll:
Four years after the fall of the Taliban, Afghans express both vast support for the changes that have shaken their country and remarkable optimism for the future, despite the deep challenges they face in economic opportunity, security and basic services alike.Iraq may yet be similarly successful.
Law prof fails bar exam
Kathleen Sullivan, endowed professor (and former dean) at Stanford Law School, former law professor at Harvard, and all-around liberal "rock star" whose curriculum vitae runs 24 single-space typewritten pages, recently took and failed the California Bar Exam.She has been living in California 15 years, and her resume shows that she has argued cases in the California courts. It looks to me as if she has been practicing law without a license.
This is explained by her being a professor of constitutional law. The experts on constitutional law are the first to ignore basic principles of law.
Tuesday, Dec 06, 2005
Anti-fundy prof beaten
LAWRENCE - A professor whose planned course on creationism and intelligent design was canceled after he sent e-mails deriding Christian conservatives was hospitalized Monday after what appeared to be a roadside beating.This is unfortunate. This leftist-atheist-evolutionist should have been allowed to teach his course in peace, as an example of anti-Christian propaganda.
Some people doubt Mirecki's story. It does sound fishy that he would go on a pre-dawn drive on a country road, and run into some intelligent design advocates in the middle of nowhere who beat him up.
Monday, Dec 05, 2005
Paper questions ethics of delousing
The lead Page 1A story in the Si Valley paper attempts to expose an ethical breach in a medical experiment.
Stanford medical school instructor Dale Pearlman: head lice hero or flimflam man?A physician invents a new method for delousing hair. He does a controlled study, and shows that it works. He patented it and tried to sell it, without success. Finally, he put it in the public domain, allowing anyone to use it.
So what is the ethical complaint? That he didn't just put his idea in the public domain first, without testing it!
Sunday, Dec 04, 2005
Ousting Saddam Hussein
Au Nguyen is a typical Santa Clara idiot:
What `mission' was accomplished?In 2003, we won the Battle of Baghdad, and disabled the Iraq govt. It was a great military victory. How difficult is that to understand?
Thursday, Dec 01, 2005
Museum on the Age of the Earth
I previously questioned these museum claims. I asked, "Do you have a source for this?" I just got this reply:
Thanks for your inquiry to the American Museum of Natural History Library.This is unsatisfactory. In the mid 1800s, the age of the Earth was unknown. There were scientists who estimated millions of years, and there was an obscure theologian who said 6 kyrs. I am skeptical that "most people" believed in Ussher's figure.
By the end of the 18th century, Ussher's chronology came under increasing attack from supporters of uniformitarianism, who argued that Ussher's "young Earth" was incompatible with the increasingly accepted view of an Earth much more ancient that Ussher's. By the time Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution through natural selection, which assumed an ancient Earth in order to allow for the immense amount of time required for evolutionary processes to work, the majority of scientists had abandoned the Ussher chronology.I suggest that the evolutionist museum is engaged in what I call Flat Earth thinking. That is the idea that because people of some other era lacked today's scientific knowledge, then they must have a stupidity that can be blamed on religion. (The Flat Earth theory was invented by evolutionists for the purpose of making fun of Christians.)