Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Outcome

"We do not know what outcome we will face in Iraq. We do know that four years after 9/11, our whole foreign policy seems destined to rise or fall on the outcome of a war only marginally related to the source of what befell us on that day. There was nothing inevitable about this. There is everything to be regretted about it."

Francis Fukuyama

The wipeout in New Orleans is reminder we don't really have our act together here either.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Park Shillery

Yet another assault document this time for NPS.

Nothing Gained

Even George Will agrees at the futility of ID.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Cats at Play

I ran into this same sort of predator fear in rural California and in rural Maine. I once investigated a man in a tarpaper shack who showed us a kitten who he said was mated with a mountain lion. Never mind they were extinct in that part of the country.

The moral is Homo sapiens can be morons with and without money.

No Designer Would Do This

Brilliant as the design of the eye is, it betrays its origin with a tell-tale flaw: the retina is inside out. The nerve fibers that carry the signals from the eye's rods and cones (which sense light and color) lie on top of them, and have to plunge through a large hole in the retina to get to the brain, creating the blind spot. No intelligent designer would put such a clumsy arrangement in a camcorder, and this is just one of hundreds of accidents frozen in evolutionary history that confirm the mindlessness of the historical process.

Writes Daniel Dennett in today's New York Times. Much more to follow.

And here it is: "Instead, the proponents of intelligent design use a ploy that works something like this. First you misuse or misdescribe some scientist's work. Then you get an angry rebuttal. Then, instead of dealing forthrightly with the charges leveled, you cite the rebuttal as evidence that there is a "controversy" to teach.

Note that the trick is content-free. You can use it on any topic. "Smith's work in geology supports my argument that the earth is flat," you say, misrepresenting Smith's work. When Smith responds with a denunciation of your misuse of her work, you respond, saying something like: "See what a controversy we have here? Professor Smith and I are locked in a titanic scientific debate."


And the whip finish: "For now, though, the theory they are promoting is exactly what George Gilder, a long-time affiliate of the Discovery Institute, has said it is: "Intelligent design itself does not have any content."

Since there is no content, there is no "controversy" to teach about in biology class. But here is a good topic for a high school course on current events and politics: Is intelligent design a hoax? And if so, how was it perpetrat- ed?"

Friday, August 26, 2005

Mission Creep

Isn't it odd logging "salvage" gets indictable after the fact? Not really.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Creationism Nonsense

Most Americans are so ignorant even with the best education available everywhere that they'll buy into almost any fallacy peddled by agenda-wielding zealots of every religious stripe.

Consider this reviewer Robert Locke, a commenter posted to my blog. Just barely into it I find this breathtaking claim:

"But there has recently emerged a major trend in biology that has been suppressed in the mainstream media: evolution is in trouble. More importantly, this has absolutely nothing to do with religion but is due to the fact that the ongoing growth of biological knowledge keeps producing facts that contradict rather than confirm evolution."

A major trend in biology! Ha! This is categorically false. To Locke maybe, but no one in science that's credilble. He goes on to misrepresent Stephen Jay Gould's take on gradualism, which is Punctuated Equilibrium, that is to say evolution came in fits and starts punctuated apocalyptic geological events over millions of years. This is reality. What these charlatans are peddling is fallacious lies to support creationist belief. So pitiful. And factually incorrect.

The Locke review in support of two creationist "ID" books from 2001 is so fallacious as to be completely invalid factually as to what evolution is. He's hanging his hat on misrepresentation and extrapolating the gaps in the fossil record. This tactic is as old as the hills. Transitional forms are everywhere, but every single one isn't, or needs to be. This take is more evidence that conservatives can't think thir way out of the cave. Or a paper bag for that matter on any issue. In science, it's the preponderance of the evidence that fortifies a theory. In this regard evolution is as solid as the day it was published and more.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Grasp of Time

Not surprisingly, many people refuse to absorb it. Nearly every attack on evolution - whether it is called intelligent design or plain creationism, synonyms for the same faith-based rejection of evolution - ultimately requires a foreshortening of cosmological, geological and biological time.

Writes Verlyn Klinkenborg today. Certainly true. They refuse to and so opt for a simple children's bedtime story instead of wrapping their brains around the evidence of biological history. Don't follow such people anywhere. They're ditch-diving into the sands of time with their eyes, ears and minds slammed shut. Buried alive.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Thompson and Hemingway

Both had beautiful mountain paradises as homes, and yet still blew their brains out in both houses, with wives. How desperate must you be to make that assessment? I mean really. What is it with writers that are successful? I write this because I bushwhacked the Big Wood River until I found myself in Papa's backyard. I just can't imagine becoming that despondent in such a grandiose local.

You have to love this one.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Morons On Our team

Salmon habitat protection cut back. Of course it depends on what amount fish are actually using, but my experience has been, they, the regulators who in this administration are lapdogs for business and dogmatic anti-science interests, ignore the truely critical areas such as spawning grounds. Private lands are off the radar and go un monitored by the federal government. Owners won't cooperate because they don't have to if someone can derail the law. Looks like they've been successful. The salmon won't be.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Force Against Iran

Yeah that's a real good idea. This is akin to fearless leader in the Rocky and Bullwinckle cartoons.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Only One Life

"A man might as well catch a steelhead [trout] in this life if there's only one life." Ernest Hemingway advising son Jack in 1940. Hear hear!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


How nice to insulted about evolution which I'm an expert in by training. John Scopes taught evolution and flat-earthers like William Jennings Bryan and GW Bush now, and a Tennessee school Board wanted the preaching version just like now. I hope that is perfectly clear to literalists. Scopes camp means in that vein: anti-evolution.

Here's more from Weisberg. See how clear he is.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

More Republican Wing-nuttery

They just don't know what a fact is. The war run-up is a case in point and now this: Rep. Weldon of PA.

Evolution of the Blind

Another Utah flat-earther in Congress in the scopes camp. Evidence is not in what is missing, rather what is known about the preponderance of what we do have. The problem is that it goes against the dogma storyline that religion is based on. Truth is tough on the weak of mind.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Perdue v. Random House Inc

Ain't happening says Judge Daniels. Dan Brown borrowed themes and facts from Lew's books to conceive the Da Vinci Code. A lot of them even with the same characters doing the same things in the same context on the same pages, but added just enough to escape infringing the previous work.

The question is what is protected and what isn't? As for "series," only Angels & Demons is related to DVC. There is no question Brown borrowd thematics heavily, as all are present in Lew's books. The problem is he draped them in just enough new material to apparently get by with it. At least legally.

SEJ Awards

The environmental journalism award candidates have been announced. Looks like some good work.

Friday, August 05, 2005

More Self-Publishing Propaganda

Yeah, "agents are hard to come by and expensive" says the vanity press AuthorHouse. Not. They're easy to come by, just hard to sell crap to. Thus, the fuzzy deluded logic of this article. It never ends.

The Scopes President

Is popular in flat-earth Kansas, but not in America. How far can we slide under this deluded rich boy from Connecticut? Different ideas yes, but they have to be vaild and scientifically defensible. ID [intelligent design]is not. It's fantasy, like all religion.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Maclean's River Free

Great news from Montana.
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