I’m getting some email from local people wanting to get together while I’m here in LA. The best opportunity is tonight (Friday, 26 September), when I’ll be speaking downtown at Libros Revolución, at 312 W. 8th St (between Broadway & Hill streets). We’re scheduled to start at 7:00pm, but due to the curiously static nature of evening traffic in LA, we’ll probably offer a little leeway and may start a little later than that…and of course, if you can’t make even our delayed starting time, I’ll be hanging about afterwards, probably seeking out some nearby watering hole. So come whenever!

Minnesota science standards

Here it is the time of year when Minnesotans are reviewing the state science standards, and I’m off in California, shirking. At least Greg Laden is on top of things, and while there are some things that need to be fixed, it’s mostly good news: no creationists are making a fuss this time around. Last time, I attended a couple of Cheri Yecke’s dog-and-pony-shows, and there were creationists on stage, on the committees, in the administration, and in the audience. This time, only pro-science people are there, arguing over significant issues and not whether giants were in the earth in those days and how many ID buzzwords they could sneak in.

That’s an old rock

Geologists have just discovered the oldest terrestrial rock yet: some badly battered bit of something called a faux-amphibolite from Northern Quebec, Canada that has been dated to 4.28 billion years ago. I’m afraid most of the paper is way above my head — lots of radioisotope measurements, discussions of the details of the local geology, etc. — but I can at least note that this means Ken Ham is wrong by a factor of over 713,000. I am impressed by both the age of the rocks and the magnitude of the error a creationist can sustain without exploding into a cloud of pink pixie dust that fades to the sound of waning calliope music.

O’Neil J, Carlson RW, Francis D, Stevenson RK (2008) Neodymium-142 Evidence for Hadean Mafic Crust. Science 321(5897):1828-1831.

Palin changes mind on evolution

It’s a stunning about-face. Not only does she admit that evolution is valid, but she confesses that she herself is an example of a transitional form.

“I am gutted that I have let the American Right down like this,” she said at a tearful press conference this morning, surrounded by her collection of stuffed polar bears in the den of her Anchorage home.

“Our primary argument for Creation and against the communist satanic onslaught of evolution has always been: ‘Well I’ve never seen a chimp turn into a man’ or ‘Show me a gorilla giving birth to a human baby and I’ll believe in evolution’.

“It has been an argument as sophisticated as our Grand Old Party, and I am devastated that I have undermined it, firstly by transforming from a pitbull to a woman, and now into an elderly male slave-owner.”

It remains to be seen how the American electorate will deal with this revelation, since while she is now an admitted evilutionist, she is also still a peppy, chipper, attractive former beauty queen, and it remains to be seen whether any statement of substance can distract them from superficialities.

AFA has been alerted!

Well, this is amusing. Someone sent in a complaint to Donald Wildmon’s American Family Association about this post using my email address, which meant that the helpful people at AFA sent their response to me. Here it is:

Thank you so much for sharing this information with us. We are aware
that there are hate-filled groups out there that are trying to disrupt
our work for Jesus and we are taking steps to fix the problems they have
created with the pastor’s pledge.

We would encourage you to add these groups to your prayer list, what a
blessing it will be when God takes what Satan meant for evil and turns
it into good!

Again, thank you for your willingness to get involved.

AFA Staff <><

—–Original Message—–
From: anon []
Sent: Thursday, September 25, 2008 8:59 AM
To: faq
Subject: faq: fyi

This is an enquiry e-mail via from:

The SPAM at you are experiencing is
partly due to this –

I guess I’m on another prayer list now.

Off again…

I should be flying through the air right now, on my way to Los Angeles for another long travel weekend. I was also out of town last week, and to my shame was too busy to post a Friday Cephalopod. I will not make that mistake this time: in recompense, tomorrow I will post THREE (3) Friday Cephalopods and recite 10 Hail Cthulhus while lashing myself with a wet tentacle. The latter will, of course, be done in private, but look for my public penance on Friday.