Brief Blog Break I will be out of town until Tuesday, February 17. Regular blogging will resume at that time.
Commentary on developments in the endless dispute between evolution and creationism.
Thursday, February 12, 2004
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
And Ohio Last year Ohio had a creationism flare-up. Happily, it backfired on them; Ohio's science standards now contain far mor einformation about evolution than they did before the creationists showed up, and there is still no mention of ID in the standards. But as Stephen Jay Gould once noted, "The yahoos never rest." Apparently certain Ohio legislators are having another go at it. Here's a fine editorial condemning the effort.
Exit Georgia; Enter Missouri Undeterred by the ridicule Georgia received for trying to remove the word "evolution" from state science standards, a Missouri state legislator has introduced a bill to have "Intelligent-Design Theory" taught in science classes. Here's his editorial on the subject, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Monday, February 09, 2004
Georgia Wrap-Up Sunday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution featured this editorial, in which it is suggested that while everyone seems to have an opinion on evolution, it is likely that most people know little about it. Too true, I suspect. The article includes a quiz, so you can test your knowledge. No answers until next Sunday, though.
Also, here are more letters to the editor, some good, some bad. Here's my favorite:
True science, hard science, starts with a set of observable facts, then piles one upon the other, seeing where they lead, to reach a conclusion. Creationism, or intelligent design, starts with the conclusion then works backward, accepting anything that supports a foregone conclusion and eliminating facts that do not.
Which of these methods would you prefer your doctor to use?
MTP Fallout It's not often that I can quote Peggy Noonan favorably, but some of her thoughts on Bush's Meet the Press appearance are spot on:
The president seemed tired, unsure and often bumbling. His answers were repetitive, and when he tried to clarify them he tended to make them worse. He did not seem prepared. He seemed in some way disconnected from the event. When he was thrown the semisoftball question on his National Guard experience--he's been thrown this question for 10 years now--he spoke in a way that seemed detached. "It's politics." Well yes, we know that. Tell us more.
I never expect Mr. Bush, in interviews, to be Tony Blair: eloquent, in the moment, marshaling facts and arguments with seeming ease and reeling them out with conviction and passion. Mr. Bush is less facile with language, as we all know, less able to march out his facts to fight for him.
Preach it sister.
I think I would feel cheated if Noonan managed to sustain a rational thought through more than two paragraphs. She certainly doesn't disappoint here, quickly returning to her right-wing Bizarro world where up is down and night is day:
Democrats have minds that do it through talking points, and Republicans have minds that do speeches. (Mr. Bush has given a dozen memorable speeches already; only one of his Democratic challengers has, and that was "I Have a Scream.") And the reason--perhaps--is that Democratic candidates tend to love the game of politics, and Republican candidates often don't. Democrats, because they admire government and seek to be part of it, are inclined to think the truth of life is in policy. How could they not then be engaged by policy talk, and its talking points?
Democrats love the game of politics? Ahem. Seeing as how opinion polls routinely show that the public is far more in line with Democratic positions than Republican ones, it's safe to say the only reason Republicans ever win is because they are more skillful at the game of politics. The Democrats are the ones who nominate lovable losers like Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis and Al Gore. These are not the nominees of a party that loves the game of politics.
And Republicans don't do talking points? All they have are talking points! More precisely, all they have are slogans. We have to grow our way out of the deficit. People should get to keep more of their money. We have to be tough on terrorism and support our troops. Anytime a Democrat tries to point out that life is more complicated than this, he is accused of being a pointy-headed intellectual, or unpatriotic or worse.
In the 2000 election, Gore showed in excruciating and accurate detail that Bush's economic proposals wele pure bullshit. Bush answered by accusing Gore of using "fuzzy math". Look who won.
Enough about Noonan. Here's another fine point from Tapped:
One question I still have with regards to President Bush's appearance on "Meet the Press." Bush remarked (in answer to a question which hadn't been asked, natch):
"It's fine to go after me, which I expect the other side will do. I wouldn't denigrate service to the Guard, though, and the reason I wouldn't, is because there are a lot of really fine people who served in the National Guard and who are serving in the National Guard today in Iraq."
Who, exactly, is denigrating service to the National Guard here? The man who decided that learning to fly in Texas beat getting shot at in Vietnam, then used his family connections to cut to the head of the line despite scoring poorly on his pilot aptitute test, ditched his service obligation for six months to work on a congressional campaign in Alabama, returned to Texas but ignored two orders to return back to duty and skipped his required physical, then pulled more strings to get discharged eight months early so he could go to business school? Or someone else?
Can someone help me out here? I'm a little confused.