Leonard Nimoy isn't the only Star Trek star with a musical career. Here's William Shatner's Pulp-cover of "Common People".
Leonard Nimoy isn't the only Star Trek star with a musical career. Here's William Shatner's Pulp-cover of "Common People".
Another animal rights extremist unveils his peaceful and tolerant guide to activism. This time, it's Gary Yourofsky in the University of Southern Indiana newspaper, dreaming about inflicting violence on animal researchers, hunters and fur-clad women.
So, while my lifestyle and lectures are based on compassion, those who refuse to stop harming animals force me to support 'eye for an eye' and 'by any means necessary' philosophies. …
Institutionalized violence doesn't simply vanish with a peaceful protest, a dose of logic and whole lotta love. If people continually deny animals their inherent right to be free, radical tactics are necessary and justified. …
Deep down, I truly hope that oppression, torture and murder return to each uncaring human tenfold! I hope that fathers accidentally shoot their sons on hunting excursions, while carnivores suffer heart attacks that kill them slowly.
Every woman ensconced in fur should endure a rape so vicious that it scars them forever. While every man entrenched in fur should suffer an anal raping so horrific that they become disemboweled. Every rodeo cowboy and matador should be gored to death, while circus abusers are trampled by elephants and mauled by tigers. And, lastly, may irony shine its esoteric head in the form of animal researchers catching debilitating diseases and painfully withering away because research dollars that could have been used to treat them was wasted on the barbaric, unscientific practice vivisection.
HT: Secondhand Smoke
Last year, Robertson predicted that a terrorist act, possibly involving a nuclear weapon, would result in mass killing in the United States. Noting that it hadn't come to pass, Robertson said, "All I can think is that somehow the people of God prayed and God in his mercy spared us."
Comments ScienceBlogs' Ed Brayton:
And this is exactly why supernatural actions cannot be a part of science: they can't be tested because no matter what happens, you can always find a rationalization for why it didn't happen.
But this is the wrong conclusion to draw from poor Pat's sorry prophecy-record. You can always find rationalizations, whether or not the supernatural is involved. For example, Pat Robertson could have made the exact same "prediction", claiming that space aliens with the ability to read and influence minds had prevented the terrorist attack. This explanation is fully naturalistic, yet no less ridiculous than the supernatural explanation involving a terrorism-foiling god.
The God-did-it and the space-aliens-did-it explanation are ridiculous for the same reason: They both involve an inscrutable, capricious designer. But there's no reason why natural or supernatural designers must be capricious. In The Design Matrix, for example, my fellow telician Mike Gene uses the concept of a rational designer to flesh out insights about the machinery of life.
Writing in Nature, professor of biology Chris D. Thomas bemoans the environmental damages caused by human activity. But not to worry, he says. In a few million years, humans will be extinct.
The geological perspective of Terra is bizarrely reassuring. Humans will presumably be gone within a few million years, perhaps sooner. If the past that Novacek describes is a guide to the future, global ecosystem processes will be restored some tens of thousands to a million years after our demise, and new forms of life over the ensuing millions of years will exploit the denuded planet we leave behind. Thirty million years on, things will be back to normal, albeit a very different 'normal' from before. It is good to be optimistic. The problem is living here in the meantime.
Robin Hanson wonders: "Yet if a plague, for example, were to produce this outcome within the next ten years, I'm pretty sure most everyone would see this as a catastrophe of the highest possible order. So how does this become a good thing if it happens in the next million years?"
More on scientists cheering for the death of humans here.
"We are the critics. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. Resistance is futile."
Thanks for the picture to John Hawks, who also found this not-quite-as-creepy description of the toy: "Like a small child, it issues a steady stream of requests, comments, and silly stories and ideas."
Wow. More alike than I first thought.
Richard Dawkins' ability to lecture others about only believing in things supported by sufficient evidence just took a big dive. From an interview with the Guardian:
When you think about how fantastically successful the Jewish lobby has been, though, in fact, they are less numerous I am told – religious Jews anyway – than atheists and [yet they] more or less monopolise American foreign policy as far as many people can see. So if atheists could achieve a small fraction of that influence, the world would be a better place.
The critics complaining about appearing in the "Expelled" film on false pretenses shouldn't feel so glum. Turns out other documentaries have also sugar-coated the truth to its interviewees. Like the CNN documentary, "God's Warriors":
CNN's three part series God's Warriors was not journalism's or even that ubiquitous cable network's finest six hours. Cobbling together two hours of disjointed footage and commentary, CNN ostensibly exposed many of us – in Israel and the US – as radical Jewish warriors: No different or any less dangerous than those among the world's 1 billion Muslims who are radical in their way too. …
[The CNN producer] learned of our JCRC [Jewish Community Relations Council] through her mother, a non-Jewish resident of a Chicago suburb who admired our leading role in advocating an end to the Darfur genocide. It was precisely this type of activity, the noble pursuit of justice by grassroots people motivated by religious impulses and acting through religious institutions that the young producer claimed the network and its star correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, wanted to explore. After all, she told us, it is such a decent, important activity and so much more real, common and under-reported than the conventional stereotypes promoted by the mass media. She insisted that CNN's aim was not to focus – as others do ad nauseam – on the radical fringes among the Jews, Christians and Muslims.
HT: Verum Serum
Intelligent design is the reason why American kids are doing bad on science tests, many ID critics claim. They just have to find some way to connect the two, and they seem to have gotten one step closer: It's the librarians fault for filing books on intelligent design next to books on science!
Seriously, that's the logic as laid out in this Darwin Day Petition, demanding the U.S. Library of Congress to re-classify ID books:
Our chief complaint comes in two forms. (1) Placement of ID books within a science section presupposes that ID is itself a science, and thus lends scientific credibility to a supernatural explanation of the world. (2) Placement of ID books within a science section also diminishes the amount of truly scientific books that can be displayed in any one science section, and thus limits the public's access to scientific knowledge. Given that a recent study by the National Science Foundation (NSF) found that "70 percent of Americans do not understand the scientific process," further confusion surrounding what is and is not science is particularly problematic.
Imagine little Johnny, happily skipping along, his understanding of science perfected through twelve years in the public school system. One fateful day, he visits the local library, and discovers that Behe's Darwin's Black Box is located in near proximity to Darwin's Origin of the Species. What's now to prevent little Johnny from concluding that gravity is caused by angels and that it rains when God cries?
Next step: Warning stickers on pro-ID books, warning people of their anti-scientific contents.
Update: Reed A. Cartwright at The Panda's Thumb thinks the petitioners have their "hearts in the right place" and offers them some advice on how to "drown" information about intelligent design.
On the back of Barbara Forrest's & Paul Gross' anti-ID polemic is a blurb by prominent evolutionary biologist Edward O. Wilson, praising the book for exploring the struggle between "religion-based tribal values and science-based universal values."
Physician Alexis Carrel and aviator Charles Lindbergh did superb scientific work, designing pumps to keep organs alive outside the body. Let's see what these great intellectual minds can teach us about "science-based universal values". From the New York Time's review of The Immortalists by journalist David Friedman:
The scientific success only fueled Lindbergh and Carrel's philosophic zeal: if immortality was indeed on the horizon, it certainly should not be for everyone. In his 1935 best seller "Man, the Unknown," Carrel urgently argued for the creation of biologic classes, with the weak and sick at one end, and the strong and fit (long might they live, propagate and receive new organs as needed) at the other. The sorting was to be accomplished by a council of scientific experts much like himself.
Lindbergh, meanwhile, suffering through the kidnapping and murder of his oldest son, and the miserable press orgy that followed, became less and less inclined to tolerate any part of the common man. Living in Europe to avoid the paparazzi in the United States, he was soon vocally admiring the order and precision of Nazi Germany.
(HT: John Hawks)
If all the "dominionist Christians" in the United States got together and organized a coup d'etat, there wouldn't be enough of them to take over Horseshoe Bend. I'm pretty sure that I've never met one. The only place that I have ever seen a "dominionist Christian" is being interviewed on some Bill Moyers documentary.
Today's lesson in history comes courtesy of Christopher Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything:
"One of Lenin's great achievements, in my opinion, is to create a secular Russia. The power of the Russian Orthodox Church, which was an absolute warren of backwardness and evil and superstition, is probably never going to recover from what he did to it."
Indeed. Some of Lenin's "great achievements" were the executions of 8.000 people who resisted his theft of church relics. To quote the great man himself: "[W]e can (and therefore must) pursue the acquisition of [church] valuables with the most ferocious and merciless energy, stopping at nothing in suppressing all resistance."
You know, before the New Atheists start comparing themselves to civil rights movements, they ought to confront the authoritarian tendencies displayed by some of its prominent spokesmen.
A group of radical creationists placed an explosive device under evolutionary biologist Arthur Rosenbaums car; a faulty fuse was the only reason it didn't go off. Pro-science blogs are roundly condemning this attack, which they claim is impeding scientific progress.
Nah, just kidding. In reality, Dr. Arthur Rosenbaum is a pediatric ophthalmologist using animals in his research at UCLA, and it was radical animal rights activists that placed a deadly explosive under his car. Oh yeah, and the reaction from the self-described "pro-science" blogs has been deafening silence.
It gets worse. A prominent spoksesperson of the violent animal rights-movement is Jerry Vlasak, a 49-year-old trauma surgeon working at several community hospitals. From the article:
… if by "terrorism" you mean vague threats against no one in particular:
"There were no overt threats to anybody specifically by name," [police commander Brad] Wiesley said. "It basically said anybody who doesn't believe in our religious belief is wrong and should be taken care of."
In case you read this post, expecting to see something about real terrorism, here's a little story, from less than two weeks ago:
Animal-Rights Militants Say They Put Bomb Under UCLA Scientist's Car
In another attempted attack on a UCLA professor by animal-rights extremists, federal and local authorities are investigating the placement of a bomb on Sunday under a car belonging to an eye researcher at the university. The explosive failed to detonate, according to today's Los Angeles Times. The incident resembles one last summer, in which activists claimed to have tried to bomb the residence of another researcher at the University of California at Los Angeles. That explosive also failed to blow up, and it was left at the wrong house in any event.
Several readers have written and alerted me to a statement released by something called the Council of Europe, titled "The dangers of creationism in education". The statement is shock-full of absurd threatiness, which would be amusing, were it not for its condescending attitude towards the same civil rights that the Council think are under attack by creationism. But we'll get to that later. Let's first have a look at how these bureaucrats have managed to get their panties in a bunch.
Ed Brayton has a post up about front-loading, and I'll mention the good news first. He made me aware of an interesting finding, of obvious relevance to front-loading, that I hadn't noticed myself. Turns out sea sponges contain genes for synapses, which is rather surprising, considering sea sponges don't even have nerve systems.
Considered among the most primitive and ancient of all animals, sea sponges have no nervous system (or internal organs of any kind, for that matter), notes Todd Oakley, assistant professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. But, he adds, they "have most of the genetic components of synapses."…
He, Oakley and the rest of the team listed all the genes known to be operative in synapses in the human nervous system. They then examined the sponge genome. "That was when the surprise hit," said Kosik. "We found a lot of genes to make a nervous system present in the sponge."
So, tell us the bad news, Krauze! The bad news is that Brayton then goes on to criticize front-loading, getting the whole concept wrong and making all the same old mistakes that he should be too intelligent to fall for. The trouble starts with the very title of his post, "Exaptation vs Front Loading: Why Evolution Wins".