Now they’ve done it—they’ve got the Royal Society angry

There will be a webcast by Steven Jones tomorrow at 1730 GMT, titled “Why Creationism is Wrong and Evolution is Right” (ooo, nice sharp title), for anyone interested. I think that means it’s going to be on at 11:30AM CST, unfortunately…I’ll be in class. Even though I’m going to have to miss it, it sounds like the Royal Society is gearing up to pound on creationism, which is always a good thing.

Where have I been?

It’s been a long day for me—I made yet another of those long drives into Minneapolis and back. It was worth it, though. We had the first meeting of a new group, Minnesota Citizens for Science Education; I think it’s going to be a useful resource for the state. It consists of several of us college professor types, plenty of K-12 educators, and a few business people, and we’re all going to be working together over the next few months to put together information to further the cause of good science teaching in Minnesota.

Details will have to wait, though. We’ll be aiming for a formal announcement in the Fall, with a public meeting on the topic at about the same time. Give us some time to get organized.

Isn’t it nice how crazy organizations like the Discovery Institute and Answers in Genesis are inspiring scientists and educators to get together and work to help our kids learn science better?

Hey, can’t a fellow even spend one day away from the computer?

Man, I step away from the ol’ blog for a day, and what do I get? A rash of the right-wing dingleberries. Come on, everyone, ignore them, they’re nuts.

I do notice a few things, though. My post was about the concern that we would use nuclear weapons against Iran in an unprovoked attack. Read the wingnut comments, and what do we see?

  • A great deal of pussyfooting around the issue. None are coming right out and saying that nuking Iran is justifiable. How about stating clearly that you agree that while Iran is a deplorable mess, you find the idea of using our nuclear arsenal against it indefensible? Maybe we all agree more than you think.
  • Attacks on Seymour Hersh’s credibility. OK, let’s assume he’s all wrong. Does that mean you think the idea of nuking Iran is insane and not something our government would do? Then please write to your congressman and tell them that you, a good Republican, want them to make sure that Crazy Liar Hersh’s predictions don’t come true.
  • Bizarre, idiotic arguments that we’re in favor of kissing Iranian butt. Enough said; that kind of stupidity doesn’t even need to be answered, as it is simply ridiculous and requires a gross misreading of everything every reasonable liberal, left-wing person has said.

As for those demands that the Left needs to provide constructive solutions…did you people even read the Hersh article? He talks about the diplomatic solutions right there, all the stuff that the sensible people are proposing. As turnabout is fair play, what I’d really like to see is the right-wing solution that does not involve large bombs and tens of thousands of dead civilians. If anyone has a dearth of solutions in this situation, it’s the knee-jerk warmongers.

Flibbertigibbet Dembski

Now he’s moving again, from the prestigious Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville to the eminent Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

If you ask me, they’ve both got “theological” and “seminary” in their name, so who cares? He’s moved from one dunghill to another.

We know the movie sucks

A few months ago, I saw the movie, What the bleep do we know? at the library. I checked it out. I thought it might be worth dissecting for a blog post. I watched it. I wanted to lie down afterwards and pour lye in my ear until it dribbled out my eye sockets, just to scour the stupidity out of my brain. It’s this horrible pseudo-profundity delivered by quacks, gladhanding physicists who think being in a movie makes them rockstars, and a dead Atlantean warrior, all stitched together with a boring plot about a deaf photographer searching for meaning in her life. The whole thing was so dreary and superficial that I couldn’t work up the energy to even complain about it, and did my best to forget it.

Unfortunately, The Disgruntled Chemist had to remind me. At least we share the same low opinion of that piece of mushy dreck.

Beckwith’s tenure decision

More details are dribbling out about the decision to deny Francis Beckwith tenure. It’s a little bit odd, because these things are supposed to be confidential, and I will note that Beckwith, to his credit, is not commenting on the decision while trying to appeal it. I hope his appeal does not succeed, however. I agree completely with this fellow, Dr Jim Patton, who clearly states a legitimate reason for kicking Beckwith out (warning: Free Republic link):

When tenure time approached, the anti-Sloan [Sloan was the former Baylor president who had hired Dembski and Beckwith] interim president, William Underwood, appointed psychology professor Jim Patton, the chair of the anti-Sloan faculty senate, to Mr. Beckwith’s tenure committee. In an e-mail message about another faculty member shown to WORLD, Mr. Patton wrote, “I clearly do not think highly of anyone who claims ID theory is science.”

I get to vote on tenure decisions at my university, and I can assure you that if someone comes up who claims that ID ‘theory’ is science, I will vote against them. If someone thinks the sun orbits around the earth, I will vote against them. If someone thinks fairies live in their garden and pull up the flowers out of the ground every spring, I will vote against them. Tenure decisions are not pro forma games, but a process of evaluation, and I’d rather not have crackpots promoted. Beckwith may be a nice fellow with a commendable publication record, but when it gets right down to it, his untenable position on intelligent design puts him smack in the middle of the tinfoil hat brigade. And that position on ID is a focus of many of his publications, so it is certainly a legitimate criterion for judging him.

(Before the inevitable trollish twit starts claiming this is a sign of intolerance, I’ll short circuit that by stating that whether a person is Christian or Muslim or atheist, Republican or Democrat or Green, is not an issue in tenure decisions and would not be and has not been a factor in any tenure votes I’ve cast. I do not object to differences in opinion among my colleagues. I do object to keeping fools around.)

Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy

Poor Dr Dino, AKA Kent Hovind, AKA batshit crazy fundy guy, is a notorious tax cheat, and now the law has finally caught up with him. “Dinosaur Adventure Land” has been shut down, and he risks fines and the possibility of buildings being razed.

You know, Al Capone was taken down for tax evasion, too. As long as malicious stupidity isn’t criminal in this country, I’ll accept this strategy as one way to get Mr Hovind put away where he can stop doing harm.

(via The Panda’s Thumb)