ERV is down!

Lots of you have noticed that the ERV blog is currently inaccessible. Abbie can’t get to it either, and something is very, very wrong — either a random glitch or some peckerwood reported her site to the powers-that-be at google and a kneejerk pulled the plug. She is going to be trying to get it reinstated, so be patient for a little while. I’ll let you all know if any news develops.


A reader reminded me of a good corrective to the awful little man who claims that science leads to killing people: a dose of Jacob Bronowski.

“When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality, this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods.”

My students in introductory biology will be watching this whole episode next week — I wish there were a way we could spare the time to have them watch the whole series … which, come to think of it, would make for an excellent framework to discuss the history of science.

Science leads to killing people

What a vile little man. I sincerely hope that his career is dead now … and that the rest of his life will be spent eking out speaking fees at Christian fundamentalist conventions, before audiences who will cheer him while dreaming of the day the Jews are exterminated or converted, bringing on Armageddon.

(If this isn’t enough punishment for you, the complete, unedited interview on TBN is here.)

KBSU responds…unsatisfactorily

The other day, I mentioned that the Bemidji State University television station was broadcasting anti-scientific nonsense, a series of programs by a creationist loon that were just plain stupid. It may not be a fully official response, but one of their student broadcasters has issued a painfully bad defense: he says they were airing them to counter the claim that their station had a liberal bias. He actually says this:

There are some people who do believe god exists, and they should be able to have a show that they can watch to confirm that belief.

The video is at that link; somebody needs to take that snotty kid by the ear and tell him that snide, smug, and self-serving is no way to go through life, son. The argument is ridiculous. Their job should be to inform and enlighten and entertain, not to pander to every stupid point of view someone might have. There are people who believe blacks are inferior, but that doesn’t mean the station is therefore obligated to track down racist programs to affirm their bigotry.

It’s also horribly condescending that they believe religious people must simply eat up any nonsensical crap from the trough of any moron who declares himself a fellow traveler in faith. If they want to support a conservative, religious audience, how about trying to get some intelligent programming from that side?*

*Assuming, of course, that such a thing exists.

Not for the weak of stomach

Warning: this is an extremely disturbing video. It’s of an unpleasant and rather personal surgery, in which a man had a can of perfumed body spray stuck in a certain orifice, requiring a medical extraction. The circumstances and the graphic operation are distressing enough, but what’s most horrifying are the medical staff — the room is packed with non-essential personnel who are laughing uproariously and mocking the patient, and of course, there’s the other inappropriate circumstance, that someone taped this and then uploaded it to youtube. Keep that in mind if you’re ever hospitalized in the Philippines, and find yourself in Vicente Sotto Memorial Hospital; you may leave to discover your privates are now public.

The hospital seems to be responding in the appropriate way, with censure and warnings, and there is a possibility some of those involved may lose their licenses. I can’t say as much for the Catholic church in the Philippines — the archbishop is blaming the victim, instead.

The whole thing is a ghastly breach of medical ethics, and the church is compounding the problem…but isn’t that supposed to be one of those mythical virtues of religion, that they have a hotline to morality?

A beautiful sacrament

The colossal squid that was caught last year is in the process of being thawed prior to a public dissection. The Te Papa Museum of New Zealand is pulling out all the stops and are going to have webcams recording every step of the process — the schedule of events is online. I’ll be watching.

This is an extremely cool thing to do, and a mark of respect for this magnificent animal — I wish I could have this sort of dismantlement done to me after I’m dead. Both my fans and my critics would enjoy it, but on the downside, my family would probably be a bit distressed, and to be honest, human cadavers are cheap and common and nowhere near as interesting as a dead colossal squid.