Painted plywood, dirt trails, and a cornpone old guy

Kent Hovind has been working on “Dinosaur Adventure Land”, Part Deux, on a pretty piece of property in Lenox, Alabama, and it’s gotten him a credulous, friendly online interview. If you want to see what it looks like, Hovind himself gives a video tour — there doesn’t seem to be much at all there. This one photo says it all.

Man, it must be rough when he and Ken Ham get together, if they ever do. It’s a toss-up whether Hovind would be mortified in the competition over who has the fancier big boat, or Ham who would be shamed by the fact that Kent is offering the same amount of scientific information that he is.

Be not surprised, for I bring you tidings that were goddamned predictable

It takes great courage to step out and expose powerful, awful people, and as she knew ahead of time, Christine Blasey Ford is also facing the consequences of her bravery.

Christine Blasey Ford was hesitant to come forward with allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh because she feared facing public attacks. “Why suffer through the annihilation if it’s not going to matter?” she said in an interview with the Washington Post.

Her fears were not unfounded. Within hours of revealing her identity, personal attacks were launched against Ford. Some senators expressed their doubts about the truthfulness of Ford’s statements. Senator Orrin Hatch asserted that Ford was “mixed up.”

Now, the New York Times is reporting that Ford is being sent death threats. An unnamed source told the Times that following the threats, Ford and her two teenaged children moved out of their home. Ford also hired private security. One of the messages reportedly said that Ford had “6 months to live, you disgusting slime.”

I hope those two kids are fully aware of the sacrifice their mother made for the truth, and they’re proud of her for it.

When humanists go bad

This guy, Angelos Sofocleous, was elected to head the humanist group at Durham University. He has resigned. He has to blame someone.

In light of recent events, I have taken the difficult decision to resign from the position of President-Elect of Humanist Students.

These events involved a retweet of mine saying ‘RT if women don’t have penises’, and certain other criticisms of the transgender movement, as well as suggestions to improve the movement’s actions. Sadly, these views were taken to be ‘transphobic’ by individuals who cannot tolerate any criticism, either of their movement or their ideas, and are unable to engage in a civilized conversation on issues they disagree on.

Would you believe he’s a philosophy and psychology student? I’m kind of curious about those “certain other criticisms” and about how he defines “woman”, because he seems to treat it as a simple distinction based on the presence or absence of a penis. It seems rather superficial and narrowly phenomenological for someone in either of those disciplines, but on the other hand, I also don’t want to play into his hands and debate the subject with him, because he also says this, along with hiding behind “freedom of speech!”:

Even if one makes statements which are wrong beyond doubt (e.g. ‘Homosexuals shouldn’t have the right to marry’, ‘Nazis did nothing bad’, ‘Slavery is moral’, ‘Women are inferior to men’), one needs to have a conversation with that individual and explain why they are (obviously) wrong. Engaging in a debate does not mean that you give equal status to your opponent.

This is where the fetishizing of free speech and debate goes bad. I get to deny your basic humanity and your right to exist, and you now need to convince me otherwise. I get to freely make assertions that don’t challenge my privileged status but do potentially do great harm to you, and I have no responsibility or obligation to others — others who may even consider those statements “wrong beyond doubt” — to make defensible statements, and the onus is entirely on you to address them, and if you don’t, you are an intolerant tribalist. Why do you get so angry when I merely want to deny your civil rights, or enslave you, or kill you? That’s not very logical.

Don’t you realize that Sofocleous is the victim here?

I hope we belonged in an environment in which we were able to speak up without the fear of being fiercely attacked and silenced.

I think there are a lot of people who would like to be able to simply exist without the fear of being fiercely attacked and silenced. Can we give them priority before your right to define them away?

Nintendo ought to sue for defamation

Stormy Daniels’ tell-all book tells me a heck of a lot more than I want to know.

Trump’s bodyguard invites Daniels to dinner, which turns out to be an invitation to Trump’s penthouse, she writes, in a description of alleged events that Daniels has disclosed previously but which in the book are rendered with new and lurid detail. She describes Trump’s penis as “smaller than average” but “not freakishly small.”

“He knows he has an unusual penis,” Daniels writes. “It has a huge mushroom head. Like a toadstool…

“I lay there, annoyed that I was getting fucked by a guy with Yeti pubes and a dick like the mushroom character in Mario Kart…

“It may have been the least impressive sex I’d ever had, but clearly, he didn’t share that opinion.”

Thoughts, in no particular order:

  • Ick. TMI.

  • Who cares? Penis shape is not a criterion for a good or bad president.

  • I hate to break the news to you guys, but every man’s penis is a weird-looking thing.

  • I’ll never be able to unsee this.

  • Toad is cute & cheerful, and not how I’d metaphorically describe any part of the president’s anatomy.

  • I’d rather have President Toad.

Persistence is a key ingredient to getting a degree

Have you ever wondered how kooks like Ken Ham get teaching certification? He does have a degree in education from a real university, you know, unlike that other fraud, Kent Hovind. From his bio:

Ken’s bachelor’s degree in applied science (with an emphasis on environmental biology) was awarded by the Queensland Institute of Technology in Australia. He also holds a diploma of education from the University of Queensland (a graduate qualification necessary for Ken to begin his initial career as a science teacher in the public schools in Australia).

Here’s a dirty little secret. Getting into or attending a university does not automatically make you smart or knowledgeable. It is possible to go through the motions, meet the minimal requirements, and not learn anything. And in some cases, even the minimal requirements may be waived, as some Australian universities are intent on demonstrating.

Students who leave high school with the lowest scores — some close to zero — are being offered places in teaching degrees at universities, a secret report has found.

It shows some prospective teaching students had an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) that was often as low as zero to 19 — far below the Federal Government’s official data.

These figures, which have never been publicly reported by universities, show that in NSW and the ACT in 2015, students who scored in the bottom 50 per cent of school leavers made up half of all those offered places in teaching degrees.

I’m happy to undermine my own authority by telling you that having letters after your name doesn’t make you brilliant. And conversely, lacking those letters doesn’t make you stupid.