Almost there

Georgetown College in Kentucky has ended its affiliation with the Southern Baptists after the Baptists tried to dictate that a new hire be a biblical literalist. The Baptists wanted nonsense like this:

“You ought to have some professor on your faculty who believes Adam and Eve were the first humans, that they actually existed,” Dr. York said.

They also refused to allow the college to hire more than 25% non-Baptist faculty, and what may have really been the deal-breaker is that the university’s enrollment is less than half Baptist…so insisting on strict adherence to the principles of a minority denomination was probably costing them students. I suspect money is more important than doctrine.

I was surprised and impressed by this comment:

David W. Key, director of Baptist Studies at the Candler School of Theology at Emory, put it more starkly. “The real underlying issue is that fundamentalism in the Southern Baptist form is incompatible with higher education,” Professor Key said. “In fundamentalism, you have all the truths. In education, you’re searching for truths.”

He’s almost there. Now we just have to work towards the day the word “religion” is substituted for the too narrow “fundamentalism in the Southern Baptist form”.

(via Socratic Gadfly)

Only in the Pacific Northwest…

Seattle is experiencing a surge of homicides (which are probably not statistically significant in number.) Seattle is also experiencing a surge of squid. Some irresponsible journalists are suggesting these two observations might or might not be linked.

These scurrilous allegations should be addressed by a trustworthy source, like The Typing Octopus. I mean, seriously, the murders are on dry land, with guns. I’d suspect the Sasquatch before I would some disgruntled cephalopod…and even there, the fact that the victims weren’t slammed with hurled tree trunks should let Bigfoot off the hook.

About “About”

Since I was asked to do something about that empty “About” tab at the top of this page that used to take you to a really boring page that said “Lorem ipsum,” I’ve put a little useful information up there. It now tells you what Pharyngula means and how to pronounce it, has a few biographical details, and by popular request, includes links to the complete random quote file, the complete “Taste of Pharyngula” file, and the complete blogroll. The layout needs a little work, but the information is there, at least.

Camp Quest

The Strib has an article on Camp Quest of Minnesota, the secular summer camp that is starting up this week. It’s a fairly good story, although it’s unfortunate to see it overwhelmed by the gigantic rah-rah story on crazy Pentacostalism spread over the next two pages of the paper, by the same reporter.

By the way, I’ll be volunteering at Camp Quest on Friday, to show the kids how to deal with creationists.

This is why I don’t read The Scientist


Richard Gallagher is one of those guys I’m not ever going to like much. He’s the editor of The Scientist, yet he wrote an editorial encouraging us to embrace Intelligent Design in the classroom, in the perverse hope that by giving ID that much attention, students will naturally disregard it. That was crazy stupid enough, but where he lost my respect completely was in a published rebuttal to my criticisms where he maliciously distorted my point from one advocating the teaching of science as a process based on evidence (which is why ID fails in the classroom) to a false claim that I want to shield kids from critical thinking. Lies and misrepresentation to get ID into the classroom? The Discovery Institute loved it and republished his article.

Now he has published another editorial, one in which he finally realizes the danger of letting pseudoscience into the classroom, and finally he gets it right…but I’m going to be much less charitable than Tara. What finally motivates him to speak out for good science teaching based on reason and evidence is a perceived threat from “New Agers” and the “spiritual Left” with their wacky “mother earth sensibility.”

[Read more…]