We Are Science Probes

August 14, 2010

Still from

Still from “We Are Science Probes.” Full clip of movie below.

In animation, a parable about the dangers of being intentionally ignorant of science. In the not-distant-enough future, a probe from another planet arrives on Earth after the demise of human civilization. Unfortunately, the probes land in Kansas, the land of creationism and woo. The plot thickens.

[My apologies — the version I found did not come with a “pause” button.  It will play automatically when you open this post.  Fortunately, it’s almost perfectly safe-for-work.  If you don’t like the music, turn it off.  There is no spoken dialogue in the cartoon.  If you wish to pause the playing of the cartoon, right click to get to the Adobe Flash Player controls.  To pause the playing click the checkmark next to “play.”]

[Update August 18 — Okay, I give up — 100% of comments I’ve been getting ran against the video without the “start” or “pause” buttons.  You’ll have to go see it at another site — here, for example.]

[Years later, it’s on Youtube!]

Found it at a site called NewGrounds, which includes several other animation pieces.  The piece was created by a group that goes by the handle Billy Blob.

Sure would love this group to turn their creative faculties to hard history — say, the Progressive Movement and Gilded Age.  (Probably less chance of commercialization there, and perhaps less chance of awe-striking art, too.)

Tip of the old scrub brush to P. Z. Myers at Pharyngula.


Even so, he’s still a better candidate than Jim DeMint

August 14, 2010

Who was it who pointed out that, no matter what a boob this guy Alvin Green is, he’d still make a better senator than Jim DeMint?

Still true. Green would be a better senator from jail, than DeMint is walking around.

Most South Carolinians plan to vote for the bad guy in this match up, the more evil of two lessers.  But for the few thousand thinking voters in South Carolina, Green’s indictment probably pulls him down closer to the level of DeMint.  What to do?

What a train wreck is South Carolina politics and government.


Michael Kinnamon on Cordoba House and mosque at Ground Zero

August 14, 2010

An essay from a thoughtful Christian about the controversy over building a mosque in Manhattan; Kinnamon notes some of the history that should be considered:

For thousands of families, Ground Zero in southern Manhattan is holy ground. Thousands lost someone they love in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, and hundreds of thousands know someone who was directly or indirectly scarred by the collapse of the World Trade Center. The emotional investment in Ground Zero cannot be overestimated.

That is precisely why Ground Zero must be open to the religious expression of all people whose lives were scarred by the tragedy: Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus, and more. And Muslims.

No one knows how many Muslims died on 9/11, but they number in the hundreds. One was Salman Hamdani, a 23-year-old New York City police cadet, emergency medical technician and medical student. When Salman disappeared on September 11, law enforcement officials who knew of his Islamic faith sought him out among his family to question him about the attacks. His family lived with the onus of suspicion for six months until Salman’s body was identified. He was found near the North Tower with his EMT bag beside him, situated where he could help people in need.

The point of this now famous story is simple. Not every Muslim at Ground Zero was a terrorist, and not every Muslim was a hero. The vast majority were like thousands of others on September 11: victims of one of the most heinous events of our times.

But for the family of Salman Hamdani and millions of innocent Muslims, the tragedy has been exacerbated by the fact that so many of the rest of us have formed our opinions about them out of prejudice and ignorance of the Muslim faith.

It is that narrow-minded intolerance that has led to the outcry against the building of Cordoba House and Mosque near Ground Zero. It is the same ignorance that has led many to the outrageous conclusion that all Muslims advocate hatred and violence against non-Muslims. It is the same ignorance that has led to hate crimeand systematic discrimination against Muslims, and to calls to burn the Qur’an.

On the eve of Ramadan on August 11, the National Council of Churches, its Interfaith Relations Commission and Christian participants in the National Muslim-Christian Initiative, issued a strong call for respect for our Muslim neighbors.

“Christ calls us to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matthew 22:39),” the statement said. “It is this commandment, more than the simple bonds of our common humanity, which is the basis for our relationship with Muslims around the world.”

The statement supported building Cordoba House “as a living monument to mark the tragedy of 9/11 through a community center dedicated to learning, compassion, and respect for all people.”

Now the National Council of Churches reaffirms that support and calls upon Christians and people of faith to join us in that affirmation.

The alternative to that support is to engage in a bigotry that will scar our generation in the same way as bigotry scarred our forebears.

Three-hundred years ago, European settlers came to these shores with a determination to conquer and settle at the expense of millions of indigenous peoples who were regarded as sub-human savages. Today, we can’t look back on that history without painful contrition.

One-hundred and fifty years ago, white Americans subjugated black Africans in a cruel slavery that was justified with Bible proof-texts and a belief that blacks were inferior to whites. Today, we look back on that history with agonized disbelief.

Sixty years ago, in a time of war and great fear, tens of thousands of Japanese-Americans were deprived of their property and forced into detention camps because our grandparents feared everyone of Japanese ancestry. Today that decision is universally regarded as an unconscionable mistake and a blot on American history.

Today, millions of Muslims are subjected to thoughtless generalizations, open discrimination and outright hostility because of the actions of a tiny minority whose violent acts defy the teachings of Mohammed.

How will we explain our ignorance and our compliance to our grandchildren?

It’s time to turn away from ignorance and embrace again the words of Christ: Love your neighbor as yourself.

In that spirit, we welcome the building of Cordoba House and Mosque near Ground Zero.

Michael Kinnamon's signature

Michael Kinnamon
General Secretary
National Council of Churches

The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon

The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, a Disciples of Christ minister who is the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA.

The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) clergyman and a long-time educator and ecumenical leader, is the ninth General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA.

The NCC is the ecumenical voice of America’s Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, historic African American, evangelical and traditional peace churches. These 36 communions have 45 million faithful members in 100,000 congregations in all 50 states.

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