When in Rome do as the Romans do. PZ Myers is in Australia eating the food paste called Vegemite, which I believe is the by-product of the brewing industry –the bottom of the barrel, so to speak. What’s interesting –and apropos– is that he’s using a Eucharist wafer as a vehicle for the smear. Why not just spread liquid gold on a wedge of cardboard and be done with it?
Tag Archives: Pharyngula
15. The World’s Biggest Bible –Enough Said?
14. Short Line For The Baptismal Water Slide World-Wide-Flood Simulator
13. The On-The -7th-Day-God-Smoked-A-Cigarette Demonstration – Sponsored By The Kentucky Tobacco Council
12. It’s Fun Getting To Interpret The Fossils The Way You Want
11. The Atheist Random-Chance Electric-Chair Challenge With Stuntman PZ Myers
10. Noah’s Ark Diorama Smells So Darn Farm Fresh
9. Ken Ham’s Policy Of Hiring Only Virgin, Tour Guides
8. The Gift Shop’s The Exclusive Seller Of Bobby Jindal Man-O-Action Figures
7. A Dinosaur Rodeo Starring Chuck Norris & His Trophy Wife
6. Every Spin On The Scientific-Quote Roulette Wheel Is A Winner Supporting Creation
5. A Giant Display On The Complexity Of Ben Stein’s Lazy Dry Eyes
4. The Beer Garden Of Eden Serves Flavored Holy Water On Tap
3. Copies Of Adam & Eve’s Birth Certificates Signed By Jesus
2. The Scopes Monkey Trial Reenacted With Real Monkeys In Suits, Narrated By Sarah Palin
1. You’ll Laugh, You’ll Cry, You’ll Kiss Your $21.95 Goodbye
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed into law a bill that would essentially allow the injection of religion into public schools, particularly the science classroom. If a teacher finds evolution objectionable he or she is free to water it down with a shot of creationism, whether it be the fire and brim stone variety of Young Earth Creationism (YEC) or the more modern argument of Intelligent Design (ID). Come to think of it, teachers could offer any number of alternative arguments. Who’s to stop them now? How about a little Scientology for the students? Space aliens populated the Earth…L. Ron Hubbard said so.
This bill is unfortunate for Louisiana since its students have a history of being ranked near the bottom in math and science skills. The New York Times reported on a 1991 Federal Math Survey:
States in the South and notably poor states did worst, with Louisiana earning the lowest average and Washington, D.C., scoring even lower.
Governor Jindal reported in a speech from March 31, 2008:
Unfortunately, we still rank among the worst in the country when it comes to students’ reading and math scores… flexible funding of $20 million can be used by school districts to recruit teachers in subjects where we consistently lag behind, such as math and science.
So Governor Jindal isn’t doing Louisiana’s students any favors with this bill. Violating the separating of church and state is bad enough, but wasting valuable classroom time with pseudo-scientific garbage is shameful. Clearly, the politicians of Louisiana would rather use public education as a political chew toy than take it seriously. The only ones benefiting from this bill are ultra-religious rabid dogs.
For a more in depth report of Bobby Jindal’s pathetic views go here. He actually said:
I don’t think students learn by us withholding information from them. Some want only to teach intelligent design, some only want to teach evolution. I think both views are wrong, as a parent.
Is creationism withheld from students? Isn’t it everywhere in society? Children are exposed to religious views at home, at church, and though the media. The only exposure most ever will get to real science is in the science classroom. And now that’s being eroded.
I think the general public has a somewhat comical view of animals and their mental abilities. From chickens playing tic-tac-toe at county fairs to “stupid pet tricks” on TV to humorous news clips of zoo animals entertaining the masses. It isn’t much of a résumé. Perhaps one of the mental barriers to seeing evolution in a clear light is regarding animals as buffoons; and being related to a buffoon is unacceptable to many people.
But if we actually give animal behavior more than a cursory glance, we find that many groups exhibit extraordinary abilities on par with humans, if not quanititatively then qualitatively. My favorite is the birds, specifically the corvid family. (Monkeys get all the attention, the diaper wearing media whores.) New Caledonian Crows have demonstrated their ability to use tools. Watch the video of a crow forming a wire tool, but look closely or you’ll miss the key moment.
I offically declare Ben Stein as May’s creationist of the month. He earns his position for his ignorance and sleazy behavior.
In Expelled: The Movie, Ben Stein attempts to draw a link between Charles Darwin and the Holocaust by misreading a quote from Darwin’s famous book The Descent Of Man. Scientific America Magazine explains with an article:
One of the many egregious moments in the new Ben Stein anti-evolution film “Expelled” is the truncation of a quote from Charles Darwin so that it makes him appear to give philosophical ammunition to the Nazis.
Here is Ben Stein quote-mining Darwin in the movie Expelled:
“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. Hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.”
Now here’s is the rest of Charles Darwin’s words, the part Stein conveniently left out:
“The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil.”
The Descent Of Man is a thick book, perhaps too thick for Ben Stein’s thick head. He might not have had the discipline to read it in full. Or maybe he didn’t edit the quote himself, he could have just read it that way from a script. Either way it looks bad, really bad. Ben Stein is either too lazy to pick up a book, or he’s a prositute-puppet, who says anything for money. Congratulations to Ben Stein for being creationist of the month, he’s earned it.
P.S. I recommend The Descent Of Man to anyone interested in evolution or the history of science. I read it last summer. It’s truly fascinating. The Penguin Classics Edition has a great introduction. Also, check out the complete works of Charles Darwin online.