I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Florida to teach Darwinism dogmatically

With bible-pounding, holy-rolling creationist fundy crackpot Cheri Yecke (1, 2) safely out of the way (she was not appointed Florida commissioner of education and remains in her job as Florida K-12 chancellor), the state of Florida is now poised to teach Darwinism dogmatically. The Orlando Sentinel reported,

Florida has written new standards for teaching science that for the first time say public-school students need to learn about evolution.

The proposed science standards, released Friday, call evolution one of the "big ideas" that must be taught as part of in-depth, hands-on learning.

What's the "big idea"? Darwinism is a mickey mouse idea -- all it tells us is that (1) random mutations occur (duh) and that (2) fitter organisms are more likely to survive than less fit organisms (duh again).

Current standards do not use the word evolution -- long a controversial word in education -- but do require teaching evolutionary concepts in public schools.

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute in a 2005 report gave Florida an F for its current science standards, calling them "sorely lacking in content," "thin" and "nebulous." In particular, it criticized the "superficiality of the treatment of evolutionary biology."

The Fordham Institute's report on state science standards is worthless. The rating criteria are vague and there is far too much emphasis on evolution education, even though evolution education officially accounts for only 3 points out of a total of 69 in the Fordham rating system. The Fordham ratings do not correlate with student achievement. Fear of low Fordham Institute ratings frightens states into adopting excessively pro-Darwinist science teaching standards.

We've got to start developing more scientists," said Mary Jane Tappen, executive director of Florida's Office of Math and Science at the Florida Department of Education. "We've got to improve science education."

Wrong. We don't need more scientists -- we have too many already.

In recent years, some have pushed for teaching "intelligent design," which holds that aspects of living things are best explained by "an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection." Others have pushed for teaching that the theory of evolution does not fully explain the origins of life.

Fred Cutting, a retired engineer in Clearwater who served on the standards committee, wanted the new document to reflect that latter view and to let students know that scientists do not yet have all the answers.

"If you want students to understand the theory, they have to understand the pros and cons," he said, adding that the draft presented too "cut-and-dried" a view of evolution.

There we go again with that "contrived dualism" where ID is regarded as the only alternative to evolution theory. As I pointed out many times, there are also non-ID scientific (pseudoscientific to some) challenges to evolution theory. Anyway, it is good to see that an engineer on the standards committee said that the draft presented a too "cut-and-dried" view of evolution (IMO engineers are sharp people, but of course I am biased about that because I am an engineer myself).

Joe Wolf, president of Florida Citizens for Science, called the draft standards a "wonderful" blueprint for science education. Wolf, of Winter Haven, said the evolution debate holds little interest to most scientists, who accept it as fact. That's why the issue did not become controversial during the standards-writing meetings, he said.

In the words of Wickedpedia, the blog of the Florida Citizens for Science is -- as shown by SiteMeter statistics -- a "notable" blog that generally gets a lot less traffic than this "crappy" blog.



Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Gossip is top office peeve in survey

Gossiping, a favorite pastime of commenters on this blog, was the top workplace peeve in a survey reported in a news article:
A poll on the biggest pet peeves in the workplace by market researcher Harris Interactive found 60 percent of 2,429 U.S. respondents listed gossip as the biggest annoyance.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

"Schwarzenegger, the Fire-bug of California"

This one is just so hilarious that I have to share it.

Normally, I don't have much interest in the controversies over the rights of homosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals, and transvestites. My main concern is that Darwin doubters are stereotyped as fundies who are extremely intolerant of those people.

Schwarzenegger, the Fire-bug of California
By Elinor Montgomery
October 23, 2007

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has become, perhaps, one of the most hypocritical politicians in all of America . He presently is upfront and center, portraying himself as the inspector of law and order, seeing that the needs of the evacuees are met, as they escape the fires, which are raging throughout California . But the question we have to ask ourselves is whether or not he is the fire-bug, which sparked these fires in the first place.

Let us look at the government measures he has endorsed, which are at the root of this disaster. He has been signing laws supportive of the promotion of homosexual activity in the state. The latest law, which he signed, bars parents from the schoolrooms, while ordering the system to allow boys in girls’ restrooms and locker rooms, and vice versa. This is nothing short of a blatant attack on the traditional values of America . He is declaring American values to be irrelevant in the new sexualized indoctrination centers of the schoolroom.

Children as young as five years of age will be mentally molested in these centers. One of the bills signed by him, SB 777, prohibits any instruction or school activity, promoting what is referred to as discriminatory bias against ‘gender’ – cross-dressing, sex changes and sexual orientation.
At the same time, a parent who speaks truth with respect to marriage being only for one man and one woman, in front of the sensitive ears of a lesbian teacher, would be convicted of harassment. Students, declaring before a male teacher, wearing women’s clothing, that people are born male or female, could be reported as being an harasser.

He also signed Bill AB14, which is another insensitive law that absolutely violates people’s moral boundaries.

Unfortunately, God and Schwarzenegger are on opposite sides of the fence and, for all his body-building prowess, Schwarzenegger has nowhere near the power of the Almighty Creator, Who endowed this fool with the muscles he flexes. We are speaking here of the heavy-weight champion of the light-weight Hollywood stars-cum-politicians, who has become the fire-bug of California .

Do not think that God does not mean what He says about nations, which are blessed by being in covenant with Him. But then, Schwarzenegger was not a native of this great nation and, perhaps, he gives us reason to reconsider foreigners, who have not been raised in this country under God, being allowed to assume high offices in the land. Is it possible to marry ‘the left’ with ‘the right’ without having the whole loaf fill up with the leaven of liberalism?

I would refer you to my commentary of July 23, 2007, Storm Clouds are Gathering; “You shall surely face the coming storm, ignited by the wrath of God. You will see many, many more signs of famine, floods, fires, hurricanes and earthquakes, so brace yourselves for the storm clouds are gathering.” And again, I refer to another commentary of June 28, 2007, Survival of America; “The judgment, which fell upon the twin towers of New York and upon New Orleans, the Sodom of America, was a mere warning of things to come. The fires, floods and earthquakes in diverse places are signs of the great judgment, which is right at hand.”

Wake up California , for you have a fire-bug at the helm of government. Blame your financial losses and the loss of your homes on him and those of the homosexual voting community who have him in their pockets. He is your fire-starter who has ignited God’s wrath. The laws of man, which come against His Law, will arouse Him to take His justice against evil, repaying evil with its just reward.

California has a long history of moral wickedness; it would seem that the natives are slow learners. How much destruction will it take before they wake up to discover, too late, that everything they covet, their homes, their cars, their affluent lifestyle and their liberty, will all be lost? Hollywood and the Californian lifestyle, so full of government-endorsed sexual perversion, will all become but a shadow of the past, when that state faces the coming judgment of a second, great earthquake and its ensuing fires.

God is not sleeping, but rather has given these nations of America time to repent of their wickedness against Him. He has mercifully granted 100 years of grace for Californians to change their ways after His last judgment of the great earthquake and fires of San Francisco in 1906, which preceded the great spiritual revival of Azusa Street .

California is the symbol in America of Satan’s attack on the westward move of God’s covenant with His covenanting people. He brought them to America , for the sole purpose of worshiping only Him and being a light of liberty in His Law to the world. Instead, Americans pushed westward under satanic spiritual guidance chasing after the Californian gold of this world in place of the gold of worship God wants to see, covering His chosen vessels.

Those who pushed westward, panning for gold, staked land claims for themselves, unlike the earlier explorers who, in their westward push, planted crosses and staked their land claims for God and His Son Jesus Christ. He blessed this nation long enough to demonstrate the power He wanted to bestow upon His people.

Californians cannot purge themselves quickly enough of both their governor and the perverted sexual strongholds he supports, at the expense of the well-being of the parents and their children. They have an inevitable choice to make between being washed clean and receiving the sure fire judgment, which will ultimately result in God wiping them from the face of the earth, if they do not repent and change their ways.

This state is like a lightning rod, planted and ready to conduct His wrath upon itself.

Wake up, Hollywood, and the rest of that Californian state of ‘star’ gazers. You have a fire-bug and a terminator in your midst, who is the leader of the pack. When all you have is gone, remember that you were warned, but you chose to endorse a terminator instead of God. He will see to it that your wickedness is finally carried away in a lake of fire.



Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Israel urges UNESCO to promote holocaust education

An article in the Jerusalem Post says,

More than 60 years after the Holocaust, the Foreign Ministry is working to keep the Nazi genocide at the forefront of international consciousness.

The ministry submitted a resolution to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization this week calling for the creation of a UNESCO-sponsored curriculum to teach students around the world about the Holocaust and its role in history.

The ministry submitted a resolution to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization this week calling for the creation of a UNESCO-sponsored curriculum to teach students around the world about the Holocaust and its role in history. . . . .

. . . . .In 2005, the UN established International Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27, the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. In 2006, the international body passed a resolution condemning Holocaust denial.

We need more tolerance of holocaust revisionists, not more teaching of official holocaust history. Holocaust revisionists have been imprisoned and fined.

A "systematic" Jewish holocaust was impossible because the Nazis had no reliable way(s) of identifying Jews and non-Jews. We don't even know exactly what a Jew is. Also, despite claims that the Nazis kept "meticulous" records of the holocaust, there have been wild variations in the official death count for Auschwitz, from one million to four million.



Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A presidential candidate too good to be real?

In an article titled "My Choice for President" in WorldNetDaily, superfundy Chuck Norris said,

I believe the only one who has all of the characteristics to lead America forward into the future is ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. . .

He was the first person in his family to graduate from high school. And he worked two jobs in college and graduated in two-and-a-half years.

WOW. Completing college in 2-1/2 years while holding two jobs! The guy's not just a genius -- he's a magician!

He is an outdoorsman too -– an avid fisherman, hunter and a long-term member of the NRA.

WOW -- an outdoorsman! That's icing on the cake!

Mike is also a respected and fearless leader, and he does not cower to the cries of any majority or minority. He doesn't abandon his values for what's expedient. Like our Founding Fathers, he's not afraid to stand up for a Creator and against secularist beliefs. At the same time, he doesn't fear offending Christian leaders who give up their values in pursuit of electing their "team leader" just like everyone else.

How shocking -- making some compromises to support a candidate who is actually electable.

He balanced the budget each year, enhanced technology in commerce, was tough on crime, used tobacco lawsuit monies to better health care, initiated a toll-free hotline to report tips on government corruption and 16 times had to endure the long nights of the soul before he gave permission for executions to proceed.

Isn't that unfair to candidates who didn't get opportunities to approve executions?

Mike Huckabee will fight for the issues that lead us safely, and with prosperity, into the future. Here are several of his positions in his own words . . .

. . . . Saving marriage – "I support, and have consistently supported, passage of a federal constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. … As governor of Arkansas, I led the successful effort to pass a similar state constitutional amendment in 2002."

Why bother with a federal constitutional amendment? It doesn't look like gay marriage is going anywhere.

. . . .Achieving energy independence –"The first thing I will do as president is send Congress my comprehensive plan for energy independence. We will achieve energy independence by the end of my second term."

Wishful thinking. Drastic action is needed just to prevent dependence on imported oil from rising.

An ordained minister as president?
Does the fact that Mike Huckabee served as an ordained minister create a disadvantage to his election or presidency? Not if one knows Huckabee and history.

First, many may not realize there was an active clergy (Presbyterian minister John Witherspoon) among the signers of the Declaration of Independence – and that two others had been previously ministers. Others were sons of clergy. Virtually all were Protestant Christians.

Signers of the Constitution even included Abraham Baldwin, a minister. "Williamson, Madison, and possibly others, had studied in this field but had never been ordained." And again, most signers of the Constitution were also Protestant Christians, except two, Carroll and Fitzsimons, who were Roman Catholics.

Being honored to share this bi-vocational duty as minister and politician with some of those early patriots, Huckabee has advanced and fine tuned his people and oratory skills. And most of all, it has taught him to put others first. Isn't that what we want in a leader?

Mike is a compassionate Christian conservative. Though solid in his faith and standing for traditional family values, he's not an uncaring extremist. He lives what he believes, and respects others' beliefs even when they disagree with him, committed to a republic that was founded upon the free exercise of religion.

In all respects, Huckabee meets our Founders' recommendations for president.

Founderism sucks, whether it comes from Chuck Norris or from Fatheaded Ed Brayton and Judge "true religion" Jones.

So can a man who was raised in a poor background from Hope, Ark., become governor then president? As Mike says, "Our country has already proven that!" What I would ask is: Give Hope another chance! This time, they want to send in the real cavalry.

One president from a hicktown in Arkansas named "Hope" is enough.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sweden strains at a gnat and swallows a camel

On the issue of the separation of church and state, Sweden is straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. A news article said,

The Swedish government is to crack down on the role religion plays in independent faith schools. The new rules will include a ban on biology teachers teaching creationism or 'intelligent design' alongside evolution.

"Pupils must be protected from all forms of fundamentalism," said Education Minister Jan Björklund to Dagens Nyheter.

"Protected from all forms of fundamentalism"? The article also said,

Religious Education will remain on the curriculum and it will still be allowed to start the school day with prayers. But in classes teachers will be expected to stick to the curriculum.

"End-of-term services in school are great," he said, and added that religious education would remain a school subject. But all elements of religious worship would have to be completely separate from class teaching.

Most independent schools in Sweden are privately owned but funded by government grants.



Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hypocritical Ed Brayton tells anti-gay jokes

BVD-clad blogger Ed Brayton, who claims to be a champion of gay rights, especially the "right" to marry, told some anti-gay jokes about a gay marriage of inmates in a Canadian prison (gay marriage is legally recognized in Canada). Ed wrote,

Love....exciting and new....come aboard.....we're expecting you.

So many jokes, so little time. The groom wore an orange jumpsuit. So did the other groom. They'll be honeymooning in lovely Cell Block D. Willie "Killer" Walters was the maid of honor.

"Do you, David, take Sony to be your prison bitch, to have and to hold, from this day forward, f oresaking all others till parole do you part?"

Do they get to share a cell now? If so, do they put out a welcome mat that says "Bless This Home"? Are the other inmates complaining that this will ruin the sanctity of their conjugal visits? Was there a cake and did it have a hacksaw in it? I have no doubt this one will last longer than Pamela Anderson's latest.

"Prison bitch"? Wow, that's real tolerant of you, Ed.

Just wondering what you would have said about someone else who made those jokes.



Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bill shielding BVD-clad bloggers passes House

HR 2102, a House bill that gives the "reporter's privilege" (the right to keep confidential sources secret) to many BVD-clad bloggers, passed the House by a lopsided 398-21 majority.

The bill, in the form engrossed as agreed to or passed by the House, defines a "covered person" as follows (Section 4 (2) of the bill):

(2) COVERED PERSON -- The term `covered person' means a person who regularly gathers, prepares, collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports, or publishes news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public for a substantial portion of the person's livelihood or for substantial financial gain and includes a supervisor, employer, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such covered person. (emphasis added)

So BVD-clad bloggers who post paid advertising on their blogs qualify under the "substantial financial gain" provision. And ScienceBlogs bloggers -- including Fatheaded Ed Brayton, Sleazy PZ Myers, and several other co-bloggers from the infamous Panda's Thumb blog -- also qualify because they receive regular payments from ScienceBlogs (though the payments reportedly are not large -- Larry Moran says, "It's enough to pay for a night at the movies every month" ). BVD-clad bloggers are neither required nor expected to adhere to a code of ethics. BVD-clad bloggers want and are getting privileges & benefits without responsibilities. Not only does this bill give them the "reporter's privilege," but BVD-clad bloggers are being authoritatively cited by court opinions, scholarly journals, the major news media, etc. without being required or expected to follow a code of ethics.

The bill has other flaws. For example, the exceptions to the reporter's privilege include the following provisions (from Section 2(a) of the bill):
(a) Conditions for Compelled Disclosure- In any matter arising under Federal law, a Federal entity may not compel a covered person to provide testimony or produce any document related to information obtained or created by such covered person as part of engaging in journalism, unless a court determines by a preponderance of the evidence, after providing notice and an opportunity to be heard to such covered person--

(1) that the party seeking to compel production of such testimony or document has exhausted all reasonable alternative sources (other than the covered person) of the testimony or document;

(2) that--

(A) in a criminal investigation or prosecution, based on information obtained from a person other than the covered person --

(i) there are reasonable grounds to believe that a crime has occurred; and

(ii) the testimony or document sought is critical to the investigation or prosecution or to the defense against the prosecution; or

(B) in a matter other than a criminal investigation or prosecution, based on information obtained from a person other than the covered person, the testimony or document sought is critical to the successful completion of the matter;
(emphasis added)

If there is evidence that a crime was committed, why should it matter whether or not that evidence or part of that evidence was "obtained from a person other than the covered person"? What this means is that disclosure cannot be required if the covered person is the sole source of evidence of a crime but can be required if the covered person is not the sole source of evidence of a crime. That distinction is stupid.

As for the exception where "the testimony or document sought is critical to the successful completion of the matter," what does this mean? It can mean anything.

Also, the bill has the following other exceptions:

(3) in the case that the testimony or document sought could reveal the identity of a source of information or include any information that could reasonably be expected to lead to the discovery of the identity of such a source, that--

(A) disclosure of the identity of such a source is necessary to prevent, or to identify any perpetrator of, an act of terrorism against the United States or its allies or other significant and specified harm to national security with the objective to prevent such harm;

(B) disclosure of the identity of such a source is necessary to prevent imminent death or significant bodily harm with the objective to prevent such death or harm, respectively;

(C) disclosure of the identity of such a source is necessary to identify a person who has disclosed--

(i) a trade secret, actionable under section 1831 or 1832 of title 18, United States Code;

(ii) individually identifiable health information, as such term is defined in section 1171(6) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320d(6)), actionable under Federal law; or

(iii) nonpublic personal information, as such term is defined in section 509(4) of the Gramm-Leach-Biley Act (15 U.S.C. 6809(4)), of any consumer actionable under Federal law; or

(D)(i) disclosure of the identity of such a source is essential to identify in a criminal investigation or prosecution a person who without authorization disclosed properly classified information and who at the time of such disclosure had authorized access to such information; and

(ii) such unauthorized disclosure has caused or will cause significant and articulable harm to the national security; and

(4) that the public interest in compelling disclosure of the information or document involved outweighs the public interest in gathering or disseminating news or information.

The statement "that the public interest in compelling disclosure of the information or document involved outweighs the public interest in gathering or disseminating news or information" is too vague. Also, there are potential conflicts between the above subsections (2), (3), and (4) of Section 2 -- for example, the criminal-evidence condition of subsection (2) above might be satisfied while subsection (3)'s condition, which concerns the protection of the identities of sources, is not satisfied. The bill does not say whether an exception to protection requires satisfaction of the conditions in all of the subsections of Section 2.

Section 3 of the bill says,

(a) Conditions for Compelled Disclosure- With respect to testimony or any document consisting of any record, information, or other communication that relates to a business transaction between a communications service provider and a covered person, section 2 shall apply to such testimony or document if sought from the communications service provider in the same manner that such section applies to any testimony or document sought from a covered person.

The purpose of Section 3 above is not clear, as the business transactions between Internet users and their internet service providers and/or blog services are likely to concern only fee payments and the terms of service.

A USA Today news report that appeared shortly before the full House passed HR 2102 says that Pres. Bush is opposed to the bill. The report says,

The Justice Department argues that the news media have plenty of protection. Federal prosecutors subpoena reporters "very rarely," Carr said. He said the department has sought reporters' confidential sources 19 times since 1991.

That figure does not, however, include subpoenas from special prosecutors and attorneys for private clients. By Dalglish's count, at least 40 reporters have been subpoenaed to turn over confidential information in the past three years, and courts tend to rule against the journalists.

There are two similar bills in the Senate, S 1267 and S 2035. There has been no action on S 1267, which has 11 cosponsors (cosponsors are in addition to the sponsor). S 2035, which has only 4 co-sponsors, was approved by the Judiciary Committee by a vote of 15-2. S 1267, which is listed as the companion bill to HR 2102, is quite similar to HR 2102, whereas S 2035 is quite a bit different, so if the full Senate approves S 2035, there will be quite a few changes that the House-Senate conciliation committee will have to make to come up with a joint bill. Not that it matters, but neither S 1267 nor S 2035 has an income requirement for "journalists." I discussed S 2035 in a previous article.

This issue of the reporter's privilege involves difficult compromises and tradeoffs. For starters, I would grant the reporter's privilege only to professional journalists. In no case would there be any reporter's privilege for Brayton-type BVD-clad bloggers who refuse to follow a journalists' code of ethics. IMO the reporter's privilege should be upheld in the case of a crime that has already been committed but should be denied if necessary to try to prevent a future crime, particularly a future crime involving kidnapping or bodily harm. IMO the reporter's privilege should also be denied where the information might help exonerate a defendant in a criminal trial.


Blogs of BVD-clad amateur journalists

Ron Steinman wrote,

There is a growing and disturbing movement in the media for a new freedom that promotes the idea that whoever covers news, and believes they are journalists without credentials, can and should be their own editor, writing and saying what he pleases in his self-created Web log [and also arbitrarily censoring comments from those who disagree with him]. Everywhere I turn, those who call themselves serious journalists, some even using that grand and old fashioned phrase, the press, are assaulting us with the virtues of this new-found freedom. Thus, blog, the shortened version, is now the latest gobbledygook noun in the English language. Lewis Carroll would be proud.

. . . .A major problem is bloggers who run items with no sources. When they cite sources, they are so tenuous as to make you pass Go and return the $200. When caught, the blog will sometimes print retractions quickly [a BVD-clad blogger is likely to just delete the comment that pointed out the error]. The problem is that the readers have become so undiscerning it makes no difference [Fatheaded Ed Brayton's fans are a good example]. As quickly as an item is found wrong and as quickly as the blog runs a correction, another rises to take its place. Accuracy has no place on many blogs.
(bracketed comments are mine)

The notion that blogs have obsoleted the traditional news media is typified by a stupid book titled, "We're All Journalists Now: The Transformation of the Press and Reshaping of the Law in the Internet Age," by Scott Gant.

Carolynne Burkholder wrote,
. . . . bloggers’ claims that they are the true citizen-journalists and that they can self-correct their errors is questioned by journalists and ethicists as self-serving rhetoric. Critics note cases where rumours were circulated by blogs and they were not proven to be false until much damage had been done to the reputation of career of a person or group. Self-correction by blogs is an imperfect process [and is made even more imperfect by the arbitrary censorship of comments]. Other critics accuse blogs of hypocrisy by claiming they believe in accuracy but they do not believe in editorial controls on postings prior to publication [BVD-clad bloggers also do not believe in any controls after publication]. Bloggers are also accused of wanting freedom without responsibility -- of reaching thousands of readers but rejecting calls for ethical codes and standards.(emphasis added; bracketed comments are mine)

And one of those "ethical codes and standards" that BVD-clad bloggers are rejecting is, of course, a rule against arbitrary censorship of blog visitors' comments. And, of course, this arbitrary censorship not only impacts factual accuracy but also impacts fairness in the presentation of opinions.



Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hypocritical Ed Brayton supports gay "rights" while opposing free speech

Self-righteous hypocrite BVD-clad blogger Fatheaded Ed Brayton is a big supporter of the "right" of gay marriage while he violates freedom of speech by arbitrarily censoring blog visitors' comments. Ed is straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.

On Michigan Messenger, Fatheaded Ed discussed his attendance at an event called "Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights." Ed's quote from someone else's essay says, "I support gay marriage because I love to go to weddings, and this means more of them." Sounds like a wedding-party crasher who likes the free food.

Ed must be gay himself. There is no other reasonable explanation for his dedication in pushing gay marriage.

Bans on gay marriage are treated like some kind of crime against humanity. With a few exceptions, gays have it pretty good in the USA. Gays moan about all the things that they supposedly cannot do because they can't get married. Well, you can even bequeath your assets to your dog. You can probably even arrange to have your dog visit you at a hospital (a lot of hospitals use pet therapy). Just about the only thing that you can't do with a dog is give it power of attorney -- so maybe dog-lovers should be complaining that they can't marry their dogs.

Also, IMO supporting gay marriage without also supporting plural marriage is inconsistent.

Ed, really, your support for gay marriage is OK with me. But you can't claim to be in favor of human rights while you violate freedom of speech by arbitrarily censoring blog visitors' comments.

BTW, blog visitors' comments are arbitrarily censored precisely because they are good comments. The bloggers delete the comments because they are unable to counter them. There is no reason to arbitrarily censor comments that are bad or that can be refuted or countered.



Saturday, October 13, 2007

Senate committee votes to give "reporter's privilege" to BVD-clad bloggers

A news article said,

Anyone regularly engaged in "journalism," which would seem to include some bloggers, wouldn't generally be forced to divulge confidential sources in federal cases under a bill approved Thursday by a U.S. Senate committee.

By a 15-2 vote, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee backed an amended version of the so-called Free Flow of Information Act. Sens. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) cast the "no" votes.

Some form of "reporter's privilege," either through laws or court decisions, already exists in 49 states and the District of Columbia. This bill would extend that protection to federal cases, shielding anyone engaged in the practice of "journalism"--with a number of exceptions, naturally--from being forced to give up confidential information or provide testimony.

The term "journalism" clearly would sweep up at least some bloggers because the bill defines it thusly: "the regular gathering, preparing, collecting, photographing, recording, writing, editing, reporting, or publishing of news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public."

That broad definition still gives some politicians heartburn. At Thursday's meeting, three members of the Senate committee -- Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) -- said they worried about giving protection to bloggers who aren't generally expected to adhere to the same code of conduct and ethics as professional journalists, according to a Senate aide familiar with the debate. But they didn't propose any different language at the time, opting instead to work with the bill's primary sponsors to craft tweaks before the bill hits the Senate floor.

Yes -- there is very good reason to be worried about the conduct and ethics (or more correctly, lack of ethics) of such evil BVD-clad bloggers as Fatheaded Ed Brayton, Sleazy PZ Myers, and Wes "Ding" Elsberry. All three arbitrarily censor visitors' comments on their blogs and Fatheaded Ed in particular just makes up stories out of thin air. These bloggers have no credibility.

Although it's unclear how the final language will shake out, it could end up resembling the approach taken by a House of Representatives panel when it backed a similar bill in August. That bill's authors said they planned to add a condition restricting the reporter's privilege only to those who derive "financial gain or livelihood" from the practice of journalism. (Granted, it's relatively easy and inexpensive to slap advertisements on blogs and qualify for the privilege, so some politicians weren't impressed by that amendment.)

. . . . . .And, of course, neither bill is without a lengthy list of exceptions to the privileges, which many major news organizations have deemed an appropriate balance. The Senate version would permit forced disclosure of information in cases where there's reason to believe a crime has occurred; where the information sought is "essential" to the investigation, defense or prosecution; or where unauthorized revelations of information have caused -- or will cause--"significant and articulable harm to the national security." If the information is necessary in cases involving kidnapping, death, "substantial bodily harm" or terrorism against the United States, among other things, it would also be fair game.

Actually, the bill does not appear to give much protection to reporters because the exceptions -- e.g., where there is reason to believe a crime has occurred -- would cover most situations where disclosure of confidential information is sought. This bill would not protect, say, the reporters who were jailed or threatened with jail for refusing to identify their sources in the Plamegate scandal.

I think that the reporter's privilege should apply in investigations of crimes that have already been committed but should not apply when disclosure of the confidential information might help prevent a future crime, particularly a major crime involving bodily harm or kidnapping.

This Senate bill, S 2035, has only four co-sponsors (plus the sponsor), and yet was voted out of a Senate committee by a vote of 15-2. In contrast, the Senate bill to bar attorney fee award rip-offs in establishment clause lawsuits, S 415 , now has 20 co-sponsors (plus the sponsor) but has been stalled in committee for months, with no hearing so far (a Senate committee hearing was held for a similar bill -- S 3696 -- last year, and the House version of the bill passed the full House). That's a shame.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Cheri Yecke update

Just for the record, I am reporting that Cheri Yecke was not selected to be the next Florida Commissioner of Education; she was not the favorite among the three finalists for the position and hence her non-selection was not unexpected. The Darwinists' campaign to falsely portray her as a bible-pounding holy-rolling fundy crackpot creationist activist had already fallen flat on its face, because she was one of three finalists chosen from seven semi-finalists out of 24 candidates who were originally considered for the position.

BTW, SiteMeter statistics show that the anti-Yecke Florida Citizens for Science blog, which was cited in Cheri Yecke's Wikipedia biography, has been averaging far fewer hits than this blog, which was excluded from the biography on the grounds of being "non-notable" and "crappy."



Tuesday, October 09, 2007

More nonsense from Fatheaded Ed about Founders' religious beliefs

BVD-clad blogger Fatheaded Ed Brayton wrote,

Jefferson never called himself a deist. He did call himself a Unitarian toward the end of his life. He also called himself a Christian (only in the sense of believing that Jesus' ethical system was the best ever invented, not in the sense of believing Jesus was divine) and an Epicurean at other times. But never a deist. Why, then, do so many insist on calling him a deist today?

Nothing about the religious beliefs of the Founders is more widely accepted than the idea that Jefferson was a deist. Saying that Jefferson was not a deist is tantamount to saying that we know nothing about the religious beliefs of the Founders. One thing is certain and that is that we have attached far too much importance to the religious beliefs of the Founders -- one glaring example, of course, is Judge Jones' statement in his Dickinson College commencement speech that his decision in the Kitzmiller case was based on his idea that the Founders believed that organized religions are not "true" religions.



Casey Luskin hypocritically criticizes Darwinists' complaints of being misled by interviewers

In an article in Evolution News & Views, the Discovery Institute's Casey Luskin criticizes Darwinists for complaining that they were "misled" by interviewers for the movie "Expelled." However, Luskin himself denied Monkey Girl author Edward Humes a full interview because he was suspicious of Humes' intentions, and I think that was just as bad. Also, it was reported that Discovery Institute staffers refused to be interviewed for a PBS NOVA TV reenactment of the Dover trial.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Learning about ID without learning about ID

The National Council for the Social Studies' position statement on Intelligent Design says,
Teaching Recommendations

Prior to teaching about intelligent design, social studies teachers should check their district's policies related to teaching controversial issues and teaching about religion. There are a number of ways in which social studies teachers might introduce the issues surrounding intelligent design in their curriculum. The following recommendations examine the issues from a social studies, rather than a religious, perspective.

Constitutional perspective: A teacher using this approach would focus on court cases that consider policies requiring the teaching of intelligent design in public schools and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Historical perspective: A teacher adopting this perspective would focus on the historical conflict between science and religion since the Middle Ages, with particular attention to public debates over the teaching of evolution in the United States in the past century.

Sociological perspective: A teacher using this lens would focus on competing organizations and social forces involved in the attempts to teach about intelligent design in the schools.

Anthropological perspective: A teacher choosing this perspective would have students analyze creation stories and beliefs of many cultures as well as scientific theories dealing with the origin and development of human life.

Public issues perspectives: A teacher using this approach would encourage students to research intelligent design and debate whether intelligent design should be taught in the public schools.

The big question is: how are students going to understand any of the above "perspectives" without understanding what ID is? Also, ID is not a religious concept -- ID makes no references to religious sources and there is nothing in the bible about bacterial flagella, blood-clotting cascades, DNA, etc..

As for the statement, "The following recommendations examine the issues from a social studies, rather than a religious, perspective," ID and some other criticisms of Darwinism can examine the issues from a scientific perspective.

Also, the NCSS position paper makes the common mistake of ignoring non-ID scientific (or pseudoscientific, to some) criticisms of evolution, e.g., criticisms concerning the co-evolution of co-dependent organisms such as bees and flowering plants. Co-evolution is completely different from adaptation to widespread physical features of the environment, e.g., water, land, air, and climate, because in co-evolution there may be nothing to adapt to because the corresponding co-dependent feature in the other organism may be initially absent.



Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The non-notability of Wikipedia news item

The "notability" rule is one of the fetishes of the cultish Wickedpedia administrators, but they apply the rule in a hightly discriminatory fashion. For example, there is a general rule against using personal blogs as sources, but on Cheri Yecke's bio my blog was not allowed because it is supposedly "crappy" while other personal blogs were allowed because they are supposedly "notable."

The Wikipedia article for the movie "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" was started in late August. As of August 30, the entire article was the statement, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is a Ben Stein documentary about intelligent design." On that date, a comment was added which said, "This page may meet Wikipedia’s criteria for speedy deletion. The reason given is: It is an article with no content whatsoever, or whose contents consist only of external links . . ." Nonetheless, the article continued unchanged until Sept. 28, when the news story about the Darwinist interviewees' claim of being misled was added. I assert that this news story does not satisfy the Wikipedia rules for notability, which say,

The common theme in the notability guidelines is the requirement for verifiable objective evidence to support a claim of notability. Substantial coverage in reliable sources constitutes such objective evidence, as do published peer recognition and the other factors listed in the subject specific guidelines.

The story has not received "substantial coverage in reliable sources" -- apparently the only major news media outlets that have covered the story are the New York Times and Guardian Unlimited.

The Wikipedia rules on notability also say,

Wikinews, not Wikipedia, is better suited to present topics receiving a short burst of present news coverage. Thus, this guideline properly considers the long-term written coverage of persons and events. In particular, a short burst of present news coverage about a topic does not necessarily constitute objective evidence of long-term notability.

This news item has hardly even received a "short burst" of news coverage, considering it was not widely reported by the official news media, and there is nothing to indicate that this news item is of long term interest.

The author of the NY Times article is Cornelia Dean, who reported another piece of trivia about the evolution controversy: the National Association of State Boards of Education's review of its election procedures after Kenneth Willard became the only candidate for president when his sole opponent withdrew.

Hat tip to Moulton for pointing out this Wikipedia article.