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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Location: Surreality, Have Fun Will Travel, Past Midnight before a Workday

Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Don't Be A Fool!

UPDATED: The Soviet Union had its own form of intelligent design. Because of it, the USSR adopted agricultural practices based upon pseudoscience, and millions starved to death. They didn't teach you that in history class, did they? Because it would also make George W. Bush look like a Soviet.
I stand by my statement on this website regarding statements made by two commentators from Washington and Alaska in favor of teaching "Intelligent [sic] Design" in school because "there's no evidence for evolution":

Washington and Alaska: You know better than that. Evolution is a fact. Evolutionary theory is a theory about facts.

You yourselves know this; all Americans, deep down, no matter what they say in polls, know this. (Or do you also believe that seeds don't germinate? That babies are born like rays of light? Come on.)

With everything that we know about genetics, antibiotics, the mutation of viruses, and the analysis of DNA, there is simply no excuse for perpetuating superstition--unless you refuse to go to a doctor when you're sick, do you? Of course you go.

It is mere obstinacy, which people mistake for "faith" or "moral strength," that is at play here. When the chips are down--when avian flu threatens, or when TB strikes (because of evolution it is mutating a resistance to current treatments), or when a man is accused of a crime for which there are no witnesses ("Where you there" when Scott Peterson killed his wife, Laci, and their child? Shall we let him go, because no one saw him kill?) people run right back to the very scientists that they so glibly and selfishly malign for no reason other than pique.

There is NO scientific evidence that contradicts evolution. To say that we share 96% of our DNA with apes is actually an error in the article; we actually share 98.77% It must also be remembered that we share significant DNA similarities with all other life forms on earth as well. That is why animal testing works; that is why we are able to test cures for diseases at all. Do you want this to stop?

Evolutionary theory is never going to go away. However, if we so choose, out of obstinacy, out of sheer ingratitude to all of the scientists who have worked to develop cures for our diseases, we can banish science from our shores, where it will happily flourish in places like China, India, Singapore, and Israel. Because of hideous policies of the current administration, good scientists are already fleeing to these countries, where they are welcomed and well paid. It is our choice. And when disaster strikes, who will produce the new vaccines, the new antibiotics, or, sadly, analyze the DNA of the dead to identify the corpses? Not the creationists; not the "Intelligent Design" advocates; and not the Discovery Institute. They will be long gone--to Singapore, Israel, India, or China--because, as the revelation of the "Wedge Document" shows, they don't believe their own theories, but they know that someone like you, someone willing to give them money and make them rich, will want to believe.

Call me names all you want, but evolution is the bread on which our modern medicine is buttered. It is no coincidence that creationism arises again when fewer Americans than ever can afford health care! I am no one's fool.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Stop Him. Impeach this Ninny, Neo-Conned President!

Regarding the sale of the privately-owned British company entrusted with the security of our ports to a state-owned company in the United Arab Emirates, George Bush was quoted as saying, "Again, I repeat [sic], if there was any question as to whether or not this country would be less safe as a result of the transaction, it wouldn't go forward." Yet it turns out that George Bush didn't even know about the sale until after it had already been approved! What? He's going to protect us from unsafe transactions, when he's obviously just casting about for rationalizations for the transactions after the fact?

What more does it take, people? We need to impeach this nonentity--and his little god, too. It's more than evident that George Bush is only riding out his years in the Shite House until Jesus comes to tell Laura that it's time to close the Barney book. There is no leadership of this nation at this point, absolutely none. We won't be losing a President (and a VP, a Defense Sec., a State Sec., etc.); we'll be gaining one after a five-year void!

UPDATED: In the name of national security, deny this scientist a visa. Way to go, guys.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Gabriela, This is Reality

Earth to Richard Cohen: Don't tell students that "you'll never need algebra." Confront the real problem, like this teacher:

But, Sauby said, many of his students ignored homework, rarely studied for tests and often skipped class. "I would look at them and say, 'What is your thinking? If you are coming here, why aren't you doing the work or paying attention or making an effort?' " he said. Many would just stare back.

The problem is that our students struggle with abstract thinking. They are impatient with following a line of logic, in math, English, or whatever subject. Especially students of color and working-class students (I was one) are mired in the concrete, thanks to television, short attention spans, obsessions with their bodies and fashions, cell phones and crap, superstition, tons of sports, a rush to earn disposable income (to buy the cell phones and crap), and anti-intellectualist attitudes from our culture (including now, sadly, the Washington Post).

Another teacher saw the same pattern:

Only seven of 39 students brought their textbooks. Several had no paper or pencils. One sat for the entire period with his backpack on his shoulders, tapping his desk with a finger. Another doodled an eagle in red ink in his notebook. Others gossiped as Seidel, a second-year teacher, jotted problems on the front board.

And what about poor Gabriela, the six-time algebra flunker who inspired Cohen's enablist rant? ("Gabriela, this is Richard...") Hang on to your seats, everyone--Gabriela skipped class! She dropped out! She also employs double negatives (apparently having as much trouble with Cohen's beloved English as with that oppressive math). But remember, it's the fault of algebra class that she's working a crap job.

But Gabriela didn't give Seidel much of a chance; she skipped 62 of 93 days that semester. After dropping out, Gabriela found a $7-an-hour job at a Subway sandwich shop in Encino. She needed little math because the cash register calculated change. But she discovered the cost of not earning a diploma."I don't want to be there no more," she said, her eyes watering from raw onions, shortly before she quit to enroll in a training program to become a medical assistant.

Yeah, that's what our students do best--quit. They quit because they know that they can. They quit because we let them, and now they've received explicit permission to do so from none other than a nationally recognized newspaper. You can be sure that China and India don't let their children flunk algebra. This nation is doomed unless we reverse these attitudes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

That Old-Time Ignorance, It's Good Enough for Them

American students are falling behind their peers in the industrialized world in math and science. Everyone is concerned about this except for American students and their parents. Well, what a surprise. Why can't we present alternative theories, like 2 + 2 = 5, and let them make up their own minds? It's un-American to tell consumers that reality limits their choices!

Adding to the problem, Richard Cohen of the Washington Post actually counsels a girl that algebra classes destroy lives. Jesus, man, grow a pair!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Deception Institute's One Real Scientist...

...wants out. He is a devout Christian and says that he was deceived into becoming one of the "400 scientists" whom the Discovery Institute claims doubt the theory of evolution. "It's laughable: There have been millions of experiments over more than a century that support evolution," he says. "There's always questions being asked about parts of the theory, as there are with any theory, but there's no real scientific controversy about it."

Friday, February 03, 2006

No Answers in Genesis

This is a great site, just stunning. I love it. E-mail John so that we can balance the fundie hate mail that he gets.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Four More Beers!

On their video blog, Chuck and Lori watch the State of the Union Address. I'm glad that they, at least, had fun, but man! It's best to have a chaser on hand when you're doing shots.

Bush's Spiritual Side(s)

People liked the last part of my last post the most, so here it is again, in all its sarcastic purity. (Hey, when you like something, instead of e-mailing me you can add comments! So that I will have some comments! )

Taoist Bush: Bullshit happens. (See also Taoist Rumsfeld.)
Confucianist Bush: Confucius deny that bullshit happens.
Buddhist Bush: If bullshit happens, it isn’t really bullshit. (See also Confucianist Bush)

Zen Bush: What is the sense of bullshit not happening?
Muslim Bush: If bullshit happens, September 11th. They hate our bullsh—I mean, our freedom.
Tongue-Speaking Bush: If bullshit happens, fund Israel and aouiosfson sidfopds sdufiodps! Amen!

Catholic Bush: If bullshit happens, it’s to protect you.
Peace Process Bush: If bullshit happens, it’s to protect Israel.
Fundamentalist Bush: If bullshit happens, it’s to protect Jesus.

Fundraiser Bush: If bullshit happens, it’s to protect me.
Protestant Bush: Let my bullshit spread freedom across the world!
Intellectual Bush: Aouiosfson sidfopds sdufiodps. (See also Alan Keyes) Amen.

Born-Again Bush: God put me on this earth to bullshit. As President.
Creationist Bush: The jury is out on Darwin’s bullshit.
“Education President” Bush: Science is bullshit. Teach the idiocy.

Moonie Bush: Ya’ll wouldn’t believe the bullshit I pulled as a cheerleader. And one time when I was a pilot, and drunk as a skunk, I even mooned my Commanding Offic—oh! You mean, Moonie! Like the Moonies! Oh, yeah, it’s a religion. Um—

Hare Krishna Bush: Bullshit happens, like this darn tambourine hittin’ my crotch. Rama, Rama—what the hell’s a Rama?
Environmental Bush: Global Warming is bullshit.
AWOL Bush: Showin’ up is bullshit.

Rastafarian Bush: Let’s smoke this bullshit Constitution.
Impeached Bush: Well, shoot now—that’ll never happen! :)