Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday meandering about the net...

bed bugs.

Answering the silly question anti-evolutionists ask.

This is too cute.

Paul Krugman warns us about the current 'Republican brain':
What was Mr. Rubio’s complaint about science teaching? That it might undermine children’s faith in what their parents told them to believe. And right there you have the modern G.O.P.’s attitude, not just toward biology, but toward everything: If evidence seems to contradict faith, suppress the evidence. 
The most obvious example other than evolution is man-made climate change. As the evidence for a warming planet becomes ever stronger — and ever scarier — the G.O.P. has buried deeper into denial, into assertions that the whole thing is a hoax concocted by a vast conspiracy of scientists. And this denial has been accompanied by frantic efforts to silence and punish anyone reporting the inconvenient facts. But the same phenomenon is visible in many other fields. The most recent demonstration came in the matter of election polls. Coming into the recent election, state-level polling clearly pointed to an Obama victory — yet more or less the whole Republican Party refused to acknowledge this reality. Instead, pundits and politicians alike fiercely denied the numbers and personally attacked anyone pointing out the obvious; the demonizing of The Times’s Nate Silver, in particular, was remarkable to behold.
Not conservative enough, obviously.


Steve Bates said...

Where to begin...

About 15 years ago I attended a lecture by the late great Stephen Jay Gould, titled something like "The Fact of Evolution and the Theory of Darwin." His point of course is that evolution is a fact the proof of which is embedded in the Earth's very geology: explain it how you wish (Darwin's theory or biblical claptrap), the facts are not in dispute; one might say they're rock-solid.

And yet we've reached a point in America at which it is acceptable to one political faction to dismiss fact as "just a theory" and substitute religious faith for fact. Forgive my phrasing it this way, but that is a step on the path to intellectual perdition: the US will not survive a century if people with such attitudes control any substantial fraction of the government and the educational system.

A lot of blatant (and a few subtle) attempts to steal this recent election have been laid bare. It is exTREMEly important that we move to plug the holes in the system that allow such theft. It's too bad if we've spent a lot of money on fancy computer systems that make it easier for Republicans to cheat: if we want to call ourselves a representative democracy in this century, we must undertake major reforms at all levels of the voting process. If we don't, voting becomes a ritual exercise for display, not a flexing of political muscle by the body politic. This is not optional. We can fix this first... or forget about everything else.

(More later, I'm sure...)

ellroon said...

I'm sure and thank goodness! Rants are vital.

Reducing down to stereotypes: the 'conservative' brain fits the facts to the ideology and the 'liberal' brain fits the ideology to the facts.

It's the word 'theory' that throws so many who question evolution. Not knowing that science (in the most general sense of the word) is based on facts and HAS to be willing to change and shift depending on new discoveries. The religious extremist cannot conceive of a shifting mutable base on which to build a foundation. Their's must be set in concrete. Any variation is a threat to the delicate structure of faith.

Steve Bates said...

I've known some god-botherers I admit to wishing were set in concrete. ;-D

But seriously, nothing other than evolution or its functional equivalent could possibly have propelled life through a span of 3.9 to 3.5 billion years (barely less than the age of the Earth itself) without a built-in mechanism for adaptation to constantly changing conditions. Use any name you want for that mechanism; it's still evolution.

ellroon said...

We're surrounded by it and are living proof of evolution itself. It's like trying to deny air....