Beware the frogs

A good way to recover from the fra…fra…frammmm… that topic is to go watch the freaky frogs. If it’s late at night and dark where you are, though, don’t watch them. The first one will creep you out, and the second one will deliver the coup de grace; you won’t be able to get to sleep for fear of the amphibians outside your window.

Never mind me, it’s just the chronic framitis

When ever I try to read about “framing” anymore, I start to twitch and suffer from hysterical blindness, which makes it really hard to blog. Fortunately, Greg Laden has a stronger constitution than I do (either that, or anthropologists have access to exotic drugs that help them overcome), so I’ll just send everyone over there to read that. Don’t tell me what it says, though: ir’ll jost teigger the husertical twrches agian ind I’ll hve to fo lie diwn for aquile. Eck. soasr neb vwiffffleop. Gorsnck.

Rah, rah, RASC

Let’s encourage this trend of scientific societies coming out with unambiguous statements of support for good science. The latest addition is the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada-Ottawa Centre statement on evolution: it’s short and to the point.

The RASC Ottawa Centre supports high standards of scientific integrity, academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas. It also respects the scientific method and recognizes that the validity of any scientific model comes only as a result of rational hypotheses, sound experimentation, and findings that can be replicated by others.

The RASC Ottawa Centre, then, is unequivocal in its support of contemporary evolutionary theory that has its roots in the seminal work of Charles Darwin and has been refined by findings accumulated over 140 years.

Some dissenters from this position are proponents of non-scientific explanations of the nature of the universe.  These may include “creation science”, “creationism”, “intelligent design” or other non-scientific “alternatives to evolution”. While we respect the dissenters’ right to express their views, these views are theirs alone and are in no way endorsed by the RASC Ottawa Centre.  It is our collective position that these explanations do not meet the characteristics and rigour of scientific empiricism.

Therefore the science agenda of the RASC Ottawa Centre and its publications will not promote any non-scientific explanations of the nature of the universe.

Please. Tell me more about your faith. It intrigues me.

Stephen Jossler has made a dazzling breakthrough in reconciling science and religion. He believes evolution occurred by natural mechanisms during the whole of the history of the earth (science!), except during the Triassic period, when a creator god intervened to create the diversity of life during that 40-50 million year interval. Before: genetics. During: God. After: genetics again.

It sounds crazy, but then…

Everything about the Triassic period points to divine involvement. Let me ask you this: Could some kind of random genetic chance make the population of shelled cephalopods grow significantly? No, of course not. So the only logical explanation is that there was an infinite and all-knowing cephalopod creator who modified their mollusk foot into a muscular hydrostat that eventually, on the sixth day, became tentacles.

And a great white light shone upon me from the heavens, and I fell to my knees shouting, “Hallelujah, O Great Triassic Cephalopod God!” And I was as one stricken, writhing in the Glory of the Lord, and when I arose I was not lost, but was consecrated to the Truth and the Way and the Divided Foot, Amen.

Wow, that was some promotion Avalos got — to tyrant lord king of ISU!

If you’ve recently had lunch, don’t go to this opinion piece from a fanatical sports fan at Iowa State University. It will turn your stomach. It’s a tirade against Hector Avalos, of course, who is apparently the man who runs ISU (it’s amazing how holding an opinion contrary to the majority suddenly elevates you to a controlling power). It’s an appalling demonstration of ignorance and idiocy by some born again fool named Steve Deace.

[Read more…]

$$$ Promote Science! Win Big Money! $$$

Seed and Honeywell are sponsoring a great opportunity for aspiring science writers: the Seed 2007 Science Writing Contest. All you have to do is write a 1200 word essay that answers these questions:

What does it mean to be scientifically literate in the 21st century?

How do we measure the scientific literacy of a society? How do we boost it? What is the value of this literacy? Who is responsible for fostering it?

A mere 1200 words? ‘Tis nothing. That’s the length of my usual column in Seed magazine. You can crank that out in an evening’s work, send it in, and get a shot at winning $2500 (first prize!) or $1000 (second prize!) or the eternal love and affection of scientists everywhere (third, fourth, fifth, etc., prize, and by far the most valuable!).

Best news of all: I’m not eligible! I’m sure otherwise I’d just clean up in the contest, and none of you would stand a chance…but since I’m out, I’ll double-dog-dare you all to show all of us sciencebloggers what real science writing is like. You’ve got until 1 July to teach us all the meaning of real scientific literacy, so get cracking.

The latest word from the Home Office on why this contest is restricted to only Americans: it has to do with the legal regulation and taxation of winnings. It’s not because they dislike you weird non-Americans — a surprising number of the people behind Seed are actually Canadian. Really. Hard to believe, I know, without a Tim Horton’s in sight anywhere in New York.

Anyway, blame the IRS, not Seed.

The restless spirit of Jerry Falwell roams the world, possessing people

Falwell may be dead, but his legacy continues. In fact, if I believed in demonic possession, I’d say his fiendish soul has popped into the body of a Polish woman (Kinky! Perhaps he had sublimated desires which he now indulges), Ewa Sowinska. Sowinska is a “chilren’s rights watchdog”, and she is concerned about a certain popular children’s program.

In comments reminiscent of criticism by the late U.S. evangelist Jerry Falwell, she was quoted as saying: “I noticed (Tinky Winky) has a lady’s purse, but I didn’t realize he’s a boy.”

“At first I thought the purse would be a burden for this Teletubby … Later I learned that this may have a homosexual undertone.”

And the government responds!

Polish Education Minister Roman Giertych has proposed laws sacking teachers who promote “homosexual lifestyle” and banning “homo-agitation” in schools.

Hmmm. Giertych, Giertych, Giertych…that name rings a bell. Oh, yeah…he’s that Polish creationist!

Isn’t it kind of amazing how multiple kinds of ignorance tend to cluster in certain individuals? It’s like they’re just stupid or something.

Bomb the stone age back into the stone age!

Wilkins reveals that our good ol’ US military is planning to use a major fossil site as a bombing range. This is a brilliant move by the evangelicals who are exercising greater and greater dominance of the armed forces. The obvious result is that rare, one-of-a-kind fossils will be pulverized and lost forever—a direct and positive result.

Realistically, though, the bombs won’t destroy that many fossils. The real gain will come when persistent, pesky evolutionists insist on some future date on trying to find the heretical material testimonies against our Lord and Savior, and discover instead the surprising joys of unexploded munitions. Not only will they be unable to corrupt our children’s minds with their “facts” and “evidence” and “logic”, but they themselves will briefly learn the truth of our loving God and Creator in the instant before He flings them down into a fiery pit for an eternity of torment.

And, best of all, the atheistical Darwinists, knowing that their immortal souls face damnation and therefore cling in their cowardly fashion to life on this tainted, sin-filled, evil world, will be reluctant to even explore land that has been sown with the sacred deadly armaments of God’s Own Army. Win win win!

I think we need to take an extra step and sprinkle anthrax over every fossil bed we can find. Hey, you know what, this solves the problem of evil, too! God made those horrible, dangerous, death-dealing organisms so good Christians can use them to slaughter the heathen!

(Sorry, I’ve been reading too much Answers in Genesis in the last few days.)