Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Perhaps they're starting to get it

I just have to bring to the attention of those who may not yet have seen it, this example of a newsman calling some of his fellow newsmen to task for blatant misrepresentation of fact, disingenuousness, and unprofessional conduct. We need more of this.

I've been paying more attention to the anti-evolutionism, anti-rationality movements than I have been to political discourse, but I see much the same sort of thing (in part because some of the actors play in both spheres). The anti-evolutionists, particularly the Intelligent Design priesthood in the temple of the Discovery Institute, Center for Science and Culture, are notorious for frequent repitition (indeed, matra-like) of the same, long-refuted arguments. These arguments blithely misrepresent facts, distort what people have said, and grossly misinform naive listeners. For years, news reports covering Creationist activities took pains to be "fair" and to cover both sides, as if the reporters were covering two equally-well-founded philosophies.

More recently, however, newspaper editorials and articles have begun dropping "equal coverage" as, I believe, reporters covering this issue have become a bit more knowledgeable about the tactics employed by the anti-evolutionists, and are more and more realizing that these are not two different but equally valid scientific points of view. There are still groups trying to mandate their religious world views as science, to be taught in public schools in a number of states. Now, however, we are seeing newspaper editorials critical of those efforts, seeing them for what they are. For example, in Michigan, there is this opinion piece critical of gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos:
In an age when education is more critical for advancement than ever, Republican Dick DeVos doesn't get it. He favors sabotaging state science education standards with "the ideas of intellligent design" that lack empirical evidence and do not belong in a science classroom.
In neighboring Ohio, undergoing a state school board election, The (Cincinnati) Enquirer (24 September) says:
There is no reason creationism can't be discussed with students in classes on philosophy or religion, but it is not appropriate to label it as an alternative to hard science.
In a book review by Robert Lee Hotz, science writer for the Los Angeles Times:
As many now understand - and as a federal court ruled in December - intelligent design is the bait on the barbed hook of creationist belief, intended to sidestep legal restrictions on the teaching of religion in public-school science classes. The problem is not its underlying theology - a matter properly left to individual religious belief - but its disingenuous masquerade as a form of legitimate scientific inquiry.
It appears that the publicity generated by Kitzmiller v. Dover Board of Education is having an effect nationwide. That trial brought to light the utter disregard some anti-evolutionists hold for truth, their scientific incompetence, and their religious agenda. America will be well served by news reporting of such nature.

Friday, September 22, 2006

It must be love

As I stepped outside the other morning, I nearly walked right into a slug-fest:

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Dover schools to teach human cloning!

The bucolic little town of Dover, Pennsylvania, that gained international notoriety as the first school district to foist Intelligent Design Creationism on its science students, and suffered an overwhelming and embarassing loss in the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover, was back in the news with an unbelievable new effort to teach human cloning in biology class.

"What did you do in school today, Timmy?"
"I made a clone of that red-haired girl that I like so much, Mommy."

It would appear that some of the local whackos have gotten so wound up for rabid wanking from the excitement of the Intelligent Design anti-science crusade that they are ready to leap to new heights of stupidity. No, you befuddled halfwits and rubes, high school biology labs are not to become Castles Frankenstein in which your children will practice the Chthonic arts; once again, you were confused by your ignorance:
School board president Bernadette Reinking said school officials met with parents and heard their concerns; some parents were confused by the language in the curriculum and thought human cloning was being taught in classes.
Now, could it be possible that the parents did not really believe their kids would practice how to clone little red-haired girls in their labs, but were concerned that their little darlings might be taught that such things as clones exist, and that scientists have been engaged in cloning? And (
shudder) humans might be cloned just as sheep and pigs are? Ah, the old war goes on--cover your ears, squeeze shut your eyes, and scream "la-la-la-la...!"--struggle to avoid reality, hold fast to your fantasies, and make a big, tall wish that your children do not leave your nest of ignorance.