Fictional mad scientists are most often portrayed as highly driven and glory hungry; they are the unwitting villains, the victims of their own inquisitive natures. Author, Reto Schneider, has written The Mad Science Book, which chronicles the history and present of questionable experiments carried out by real-life “mad” scientists. A list of nine of these experiments is on The New Scientist website. My favorite is Dogbot, the robot dog that was a social reject. Real dogs wanted nothing to do with him. Maybe his nose glowed red or he aspired to be a dentist. Whatever the reason, Dogbot was not allowed to participate in dog games.
What I like about mad experimentation is it’s raw unbridled curiosity. What does it matter if some experiments go wrong or if others are completely useless and outright wacky? What counts is that humans have a desire to understand the world. Thomas Edison was a mad inventor; he wasted ten years of his life on devising a new mining technique, which failed miserably. He also designed furniture and homes made out of that comfortable substance know as concrete. Not big sellers.
The lesson here is that in a complex world, curiosity saves the cat, it doesn’t kill it. But still there is an intellectual divide in society. There are those who care to know the world, and those who don’t care to have their world views tarnished by reality. I’m talking about creationists here. To them a mad scientist is someone to be feared.
Searching the web for creationism is sometimes like sifting through trash and finding the occasional humorous but, completely worthless, object. You feel darn conflicted. You’re dirty from the trash but the “prize” makes the whole ordeal somehow worthwhile. Behold, the rotten fruit of my labors.
It actually says “Science From Dumbies”
. This ironic work of art is from a website called Evolving Minds
, but they’re selling them on eBay, too. Their “mission” statement is:
We are a new ministry dedicated to the fight against the theory of Evolution. We think it is important to defend ourselves against the falsehood of Evolution and the lies that are associated with it… Our mission is to reach out to the lost, mainly those who believe in Evolution. We hope to change their thinking and challenge their faith in the theory of Evolution. Our goal is to fully equip anyone who has the drive to debate this topic. We are in this fight together and want to offer our resources to help destroy the work of the devil.
The back of this devil fighting t-shirt has a popular misquote from Charles Darwin’s Origin Of Species.
It’s on the origin of the eye, and Talk Origins
explains the details of their mistake. Also, the EvolvingMind’s links page
contains both Kent Hovind (DrDino) and Ben Stein (Expelled: The Movie). I guess the Young Earth Creationists operating this ministry didn’t read the memo about Intelligent Design ostensibly being a secular theory, or see the news about Kent Hovind’s imprisonment on tax fraud. Wait… I’m still laughing hard at the shirt.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board rejected the Institute for Creation Research’s bid ” to offer an online master’s degree in science education”. Basically, the ICR’s credit is no good, and teachers who only have an ICR degree are not qualified to teach in public schools.
The Dallas Morning News
Citing the group’s teaching of creationism rather than evolution in its science curriculum, Dr. Paredes said it was clear the school [ICR] would not adequately prepare its graduates to teach the scientific principles now required in Texas public schools.
“Evolution is such a fundamental principle of contemporary science it is hard to imagine how you could cover the various fields of science without giving it [evolution] the proper attention it deserves as a foundation of science,” he said.
“Religious belief is not science. Science and religious belief are surely reconcilable, but they are not the same thing.”
How beautifully honest is that language? Raymund A. Paredes is the commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Most often government officials tap dance around evolution and creationism with soft appeasing words, so as not to offend anyone. An example is John McCain and his stupid fence sitting answer at last year’s Republican Debate. So I have to applaud Raymund for getting to the crux of the matter.
Credit also has to go to the Texas Citizens for Science.
Before the vote, the board heard comment from several persons, most of whom urged rejection of the proposal. Among them was Steven Schafersman, president of Texas Citizens for Science, who said the ICR was a Christian ministry rather than a science organization that was primarily interested in promoting pseudoscience.
Pseudoscience doesn’t spread when good people do something.