Nurture a sense of outrage

August 11, 2006

I suffered through a couple of uninspiring commencement addresses in my day, and a few good ones (Sen. Daniel K. Inouye’s speech at my law commencement even impressed my father, who generally regarded speeches by politicians as pure fluff).

David Lawrence, former publisher of the Miami Herald, delivered an outrageous commencement address at Florida State University.

David Lawrence, former publisher of the Miami Herald, delivered an outrageous commencement address at Florida State University.

Even the good ones generally fall back into platitudinous depths, reminding graduates of the great potential they have to do good . . .

“Be outraged that our great country can figure out how to invest $5 billion dollars every month to try to bring democracy to Iraq, and yet we live in a nation where more than 12 million children live in the full definition of poverty.”

This commencement address popped up in some search or other. If Howard Beale is platitudinous, this is full of platitudes. Sadly, most Americans haven’t a clue who Howard Beale was, or why they should care. Read the rest of this entry »

Twisting recent history (creationism), 2

August 11, 2006

RECAP: It’s only nine months since Judge John Jones’ extremely well-reasoned and carefully-written decision in Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District, which declared unconstitutional the efforts by the school board in Dover, Pennsylvania, to sneak creationism into their schools’ biology curriculum. But the revisionists are out in force. On August 8, Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost posted “10 ways Darwinists help intelligent design,” in extreme length.

Other people were bothered by the post, too. I see that Matt over at Pooflingers fisked the thing, too. I haven’t read his post yet — his is no doubt more incisive than what I’ve written below. But can there be too much taking to task those who would sacrifice our children’s education on a cross of hooey?

You can go read the entire thing at Evangelical Outpost if you want. I’ll post the list of ten, with corrections. History revisionism is an ugly thing, especially when the court decision is still fresh, available and an easy and educational read, and especially on things scientific, where one’s errors may be easier to spot. In keeping with the ethical standards ofthisblog, to expose hoaxes about bathtubs wherever they may appear, here goes;

Part 2: Joe Carter posted his list of ten things scientists do wrong; Part 1 covered the first five, here are numbers 6 through 10:

#6 By invoking design in non-design explanations. Anyone who wonders why so many people find intelligent design explanations plausible need only to listen to scientific community discuss the evolutionary process. Scientists have a complete inability to talk about and explain processes like natural selection without using the terms, analogies, and metaphors of design and teleology.

Take, for instance, the recent finding that leads researchers to believe they have found a second code in DNA in addition to the genetic code. On The New York Times science page we find an explanation by Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute in Israel:

“A curious feature of the code is that it is redundant, meaning that a given amino acid can be defined by any of several different triplets. Biologists have long speculated that the redundancy may have been designed so as to coexist with some other kind of code, and this, Dr. Segal said, could be the nucleosome code.” [emphasis added]

No! No! No! Scientists note the appearance of design, but scientists go the extra mile; they go on to look for natural explanations for such appearances. Most often they have found a perfectly natural explanation that involves fitness for survival, sexual selection, or chemical and physical necessity, and they have found no intervention outside the critters’ struggle for survival. Read the rest of this entry »

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