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, April 30, 2008

John Derbyshire's tirade against "Expelled"

(I'm expanding the opening section of this post a little so it will be harder to miss)

In an article titled "A Blood Libel on Our Civilization" on National Review Online, NRO Columnist John Derbyshire ranted,
What on earth has happened to Ben Stein? . . . . . Back in the 1970s, . . when The American Spectator was in its broadsheet format, I would always turn first to Ben Stein’s diary, which appeared in every issue. He was funny and clever and worldly in a way I liked a lot. The very few times I’ve caught him on-screen, he seems to have had a nice line in deadpan self-deprecation, also something I like. Though I’ve never met him, I know people who know him, and they all speak well of him.

So what’s going on here with this stupid Expelled movie? No, I haven’t seen the dang thing. I’ve been reading about it steadily for weeks now though, both pro . . and con . . . . . It’s pretty plain that the thing is creationist porn, propaganda for ignorance and obscurantism. How could a guy like this do a thing like that?

I turned over some possibilities, but decisively rejected them all. The first thing that came to mind was Saudi money. Half of the evils and absurdities in our society seem to have a Saudi prince behind them somewhere, and the Wahhabists are, like all fundamentalist Muslims, committed creationists. This doesn’t hold water, though. For one thing, Stein is Jewish. For another, he is rich, and doesn’t need the money. And for another, the stills and clips I have seen are from a low-budget production. Saudi financing would surely at least have come up with some decent computer graphics. No, Ben Stein is no crook. He must then be foolish; and that’s sad, because I now think less of a guy I once admired, and whom my friends admire . . .

. . . .The “intelligent design” hoax is not merely non-science, nor even merely anti-science; it is anti-civilization. It is an appeal to barbarism, . . . made by people who lack the imaginative power to know the horrors of true barbarism.

And yes: When our greatest achievements are blamed for our greatest moral failures, that is a blood libel against Western civilization itself. What next, Ben? Johann Sebastian Bach ran a slave-trading enterprise on the side? Kepler started the Thirty Years War? Tolstoy instigated the Kishinev Pogrom? Dante was a bag-man for the Golden Horde? Why not go smash a few windows in Chartres Cathedral, Ben?




ADL finally comes out against "Expelled"

"O, Reason not the need!"
-- King Lear in Shakespeare's play "King Lear"

"Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people and Darwin and evolutionary theory cannot explain Hitler's genocidal madness."
-- Anti-Defamation League's denunciation of "Expelled"


The Darwin-to-Hitler message of the "Expelled" movie was a real dilemma for the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL had previously denounced the Darwin-to-Hitler "Darwin's Deadly Legacy" TV show of the Christian fundy Coral Ridge Ministries, and the ADL has a long history of opposing criticism of Darwinism in general. But the star of "Expelled," Ben Stein, is Jewish and one of his supporters in the movie wears a yarmulke. For a brief time, ADL tried to solve the problem by erasing the article condemning "Darwin's Deadly Legacy." The ADL finally decided to bite the bullet and denounce "Expelled." IMO the reason why ADL finally came out against "Expelled" was to avoid the appearance of a double-standard in regard of the denunciation of "Darwin's Deadly Legacy." The ADL's denunciation of "Expelled" says:
Anti-Evolution Film Misappropriates the Holocaust

New York, NY, April 29, 2008 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today issued the following statement regarding the controversial film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

The film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed misappropriates the Holocaust and its imagery as a part of its political effort to discredit the scientific community which rejects so-called intelligent design theory.

Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people and Darwin and evolutionary theory cannot explain Hitler's genocidal madness.

Using the Holocaust in order to tarnish those who promote the theory of evolution is outrageous and trivializes the complex factors that led to the mass extermination of European Jewry.
(emphasis added)

The statement "Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people" also appears in the ADL's denunciation of "Darwin's Deadly Legacy" as a statement by the ADL's national director Abraham Foxman. Foxman and the ADL can't show that Darwin did not influence Nazism anti-semitism at all, so they say that Hitler did not "need" Darwin to devise his plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe.

Also, the "complex factors" in the ADL's clause "trivializes the complex factors that led to the mass extermination of European Jewry" is probably a reference to the ADL's probable belief that "Christian antisemitic ideology" is to blame for the holocaust:

The motivation was ideological. The racist-antisemitic ideology was the rational outcome of an irrational approach, an approach that was a cancer like mutation of the Christian antisemitic ideology that had sullied Christian-Jewish relations all through their two millennia of coexistence. (from a speech by Yehuda Bauer, posted on the ADL website)

Also, as I have pointed out numerous times before, a "systematic" Jewish holocaust was impossible because the Nazis had no objective and reliable ways of identifying Jews and non-Jews. It's like trying to, say, "systematically" exterminate all of the Methodists or Presbyterians in the USA -- it can't be done. It is very doubtful that the Nazis ever had a real "plan" to exterminate the Jews of Europe. The Nazis may have been insane but they weren't stupid.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Proof that "Imagine" is not copyrightable

17 USC §107 says,

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include —

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Note that this is not a series of tests that must be passed -- this is just a list of factors that must be considered in determining whether a given use is fair use. Consider the second factor, "the nature of the copyrighted work." A stanza of the song says,
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can . . .

. . . .Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

So the song asks us to "imagine no possessions." Furthermore, the words "I wonder if you can" challenges us to try very hard to imagine that there are no possessions -- in fact, those words almost say, "I bet you can't do it." Also, while the song says that it is hard to imagine no possessions, the song also says that it is easy to imagine no Heaven and no countries:

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try

-- and --

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do

The song also says, "Imagine all the people, Sharing all the world." So asking us to "imagine no possessions" is part of the very nature of the song. Hence, enforcing the song's copyright, which is a form of possession, would violate the very nature of the song. Hence, the song is not copyrightable.

Hat tip to William Dembski for suggesting that the song is not copyrightable.



Monday, April 28, 2008

Evolution academic freedom bill passes Florida House by wide margin

Details are in various posts on the blog of the Florida Citizens for Science.

The Florida academic freedom bills still have some hurdles to clear:

(1) The House and Senate versions must be reconciled.

(2) The bill must be signed by the governor.

Time is running out -- I think that the current legislative session ends on May 2.

I don't much care whether these bills are good or bad -- I just feel that something is needed to counteract those infamous Kitzmiller v. Dover and Selman v. Cobb County decisions (the Selman decision is now moot because it was settled out of court).



Will birds be reclassified as reptiles?

Scientists say that Barney T. Rex and the San Diego Chicken are close relatives.

(I couldn't find a picture of the San Diego Chicken beating up that stupid dinosaur Mr. Rex)


An AOL news article said,

WASHINGTON (April 24) - Scientists are fleshing out the proof that today's chicken is descended from the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur.

Fossil studies have long suggested modern birds were descended from T. rex, based in similarities in their skeletons.

Sheeesh, how could the similarity of the skeletons be maintained over such a drastic shrinkage in size?

The article said,
Now, bits of protein obtained from connective tissues in a T. rex fossil shows a relationship to birds including chickens and ostriches, according to a report in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

"These results match predictions made from skeletal anatomy, providing the first molecular evidence for the evolutionary relationships of a non-avian dinosaur," Chris Organ, a postdoctoral researcher in biology at Harvard University said in a statement.

Co-author John M. Asara of Harvard University reported last year that his team had been able to extract collagen from a T. rex and that it most closely resembled the collagen of chickens . . .

. . . While the researchers were able to obtain just a few proteins from T. rex, they have now been able to show the relationships with birds.

With more data, Organ said, they would probably be able to place T. rex on the evolutionary tree between alligators and chickens and ostriches.

"We also show that it groups better with birds than modern reptiles, such as alligators and green anole lizards," Asara added. (emphasis added)

Well, that's just great. In cladistic taxonomy, which is based on evolutionary relationships, birds may now need to be reclassified as reptiles. Those stupid biologists have really painted themselves into a corner with that "evolution is the fundamental concept underlying all of biology" crap.



Sunday, April 27, 2008

Is "buzz" pollination co-evolvable?

I have previously presented "buzz" pollination as an argument against co-evolution because of the high degrees of exclusive mutual specializations required in both the insects and the flowers and the improbability that both of those exclusive mutual specializations would appear at the same times in the same places. Now it appears that the degrees of those specializations are much higher than I realized. Previously I thought that buzz pollination only involved normal use of the insect's wings, but in buzz pollination the insect uses its wings in a special way that may even involve specialized muscles. An article says,
I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History . . . .

. . . . In most plants, the pollen in the anther is accessible, but in certain plants (such as the eggplant) it's relatively inaccessible, because the anthers are tubular with an opening on only one end . . . .

. . . ."There's the flight of the bee that's sort of a (SOUND OF BUZZING) but then when it lands on the flower and vibrates it, it goes (SOUND OF BUZZING, DIFFERENT PATTERN) that's the more intense sound is the buzzing of the bee. It's not flying. It's not moving its wings. The wings are pointed over its back, but it's moving those indirect flight muscles to vibrate, and thereby dislodge the pollen that's stuck in the anther area of the plant."

Buzz pollination is also discussed here.

For other articles about co-evolution, click on the post label "Non-ID criticisms of evolution."



Saturday, April 26, 2008

Bulldoze Strawberry Fields -- who in hell needs it

The Strawberry Fields Memorial in Central Park has the song's name "Imagine" at the center, as pictured above. The Strawberry Fields is a 2½ acre Central Park section that was donated by the city. There is a bronze plaque that lists the 121 countries endorsing Strawberry Fields as a Garden of Peace.

Unless Yoko places the song "Imagine" in the public domain, then NYC should (1) bulldoze and rename the Strawberry Fields section and (2) give back to Yoko the money -- adjusted for inflation -- that she donated for Strawberry Fields.

The thing has become a travesty. Enough is enough.

Protests may be sent to contact@centralparknyc.org



Friday, April 25, 2008

Boycott John Lennon & Beatles products until Yoko Ono drops suit against "Expelled" producers

The name of the song is at the center of the Strawberry Fields Memorial in Central Park

The boycott would just be symbolic -- Yoko Ono is so rich from John Lennon's royalties that she wouldn't care about losing money.

The pettiness of Yoko Ono's nuisance suit against the "Expelled" producers over the film's use of just a few seconds of John Lennon's song "Imagine" is spoiling his legacy.

To those who agree with this boycott idea: please spread the word.



Thursday, April 24, 2008

Yoko Ono sues "Expelled" producers over "Imagine" song

A news article reported,

NEW YORK (Reuters) - John Lennon's sons and widow, Yoko Ono, are suing the filmmakers of "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" for using the song "Imagine" in the documentary without permission.

Lennon recorded the song in 1971 and in 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it No. 3 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, according to the lawsuit.

Ono, her son Sean Ono Lennon, and Julian Lennon, John Lennon's son from his first marriage, along with privately held publisher EMI Blackwood Music Inc filed suit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan seeking to bar the filmmakers and their distributors from continuing to use "Imagine" in the movie.

They are also seeking unspecified damages.

Another news article reported that Ono complained that bloggers accused her of "selling out" to the "Expelled" producers. An earlier article about the dispute -- published before the announcement of the lawsuit -- is here.

The "Expelled" producers have a good fair-use case against Ono. The film uses under 25 seconds of the song. The Stanford Law School's Fair Use Project says,
STANFORD, Calif., February 27, 2007—The Fair Use Project of the Center for Internet & Society at Stanford Law School announced that it has teamed with Media/Professional Insurance and leading intellectual property attorney Michael Donaldson to provide critical support for documentary filmmakers who rely on the “fair use” of copyrighted material in their films. . . .

“Documentary filmmakers who use copyrighted materials in their work under the ‘fair use’ doctrine of copyright law have come under tremendous pressure in the face of demands for huge licensing fees from copyright holders and overly-aggressive enforcement of copyrights,” explained Lawrence Lessig, founder and director of the Center for Internet and Society and the C. Wendell and Edith M. Carlsmith Professor of Law at Stanford Law School.

“The mere threat of a lawsuit can keep an important film on the shelf for years,” Lessig said. “This has been a tremendous problem for documentarians because their films depend on the inclusion of copyrighted material they seek to comment on, discuss, and contextualize.”

In order to help solve this problem, the Fair Use Project has announced that it will agree to provide pro bono legal representation to certain filmmakers who comply with the Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use [see below] published by the Center for Social Media at American University (www.centerforsocialmedia.org/fairuse). Accordingly, the filmmaker will have counsel in place prior to the release of the film should the filmmaker face claims of copyright infringement. Media/Professional, in turn, will provide insurance coverage against copyright infringement liability in the event the filmmaker proves unsuccessful in defending the claim. In situations where the Fair Use Project is not in a position to promise pro bono representation, Donaldson and other leading intellectual property attorneys will be available to defend claims at favorable rates.

Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use says (page 6 of pdf file),


Here the concern is with material (again of whatever kind) that is quoted not because it is, in itself, the object of critique but because it aptly illustrates some argument or point that a filmmaker is developing — as clips from fiction films might be used (for example) to demonstrate changing American attitudes toward race.

PRINCIPLE: Once again, this sort of quotation should generally be considered to be fair use. The possibility that the quotes might entertain and engage an audience as well as illustrate a filmmaker’s argument takes nothing away from the fair use claim. Works of popular culture typically have illustrative power, and in analogous situations, writers in print media do not hesitate to use illustrative quotations (both words and images). In documentary filmmaking, such a privileged use will be both subordinate to the larger intellectual and artistic purpose of the documentary and important to its realization. The filmmaker is not presenting the quoted material for its original purpose but harnessing it for a new one. This is an attempt to add significant new value, not a form of “free riding” — the mere exploitation of existing value.

Yoko Ono, despite getting $20 million a year from John Lennon's royalties, is extremely tightfisted about his copyrights. She is also in a dispute over the copyright of a film about John Lennon.



Evolution Academic Freedom Bill passed by Florida Senate

The Evolution Academic Freedom Bill passed the Florida Senate by a vote of 21-17. The blog of the Florida Citizens for Science has the details. The bill passed despite the dire warnings of costly lawsuits, high-tech businesses avoiding Florida, Florida becoming the laughingstock of the world, etc.. A big problem now is that the House version of the bill is quite a bit different from the Senate version.

Also, the NCSE reported that an academic freedom bill passed in the Louisiana Senate's Education Committee and that a companion bill was introduced in the Louisiana House.



Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Why I lost my smog fee lawsuits: judges are crooked

Several years ago I lost several federal lawsuits that I filed against California's unconstitutional and abominable $300 "smog impact fee" on incoming out-of-state vehicles that have federal emissions certification instead of California emissions certification (the fee was eventually thrown out by the state courts). Ignorant and stupid Darwinists and Holocausters argued that I lost the suits because of my alleged ignorance and stupidity, but now I have proof of why I lost my cases and why the fee was enacted in the first place: judges (at least enough of them) and California are crooked.

Because of my knowledge gained in my lawsuits, I have been following the litigation over the US Environmental Protection Agency's denial of California's request for a waiver of federal pre-emption of greenhouse-gas auto-emissions regulations. Federal law provides for general federal pre-emption of new-vehicle emissions standards but allows the EPA to waive that pre-emption for California. Also, other states are allowed to adopt the California auto-emissions standards package. Federal law for particular EPA final rulings -- including California waiver decisions -- requires that when the EPA determines that the final ruling is of national scope and effect, challenges to that ruling must be filed as original actions (i.e., they don't go through district courts first) in the District of Columbia federal court of appeals within 60 days after the ruling is published in the Federal Register. Challenges to California waiver decisions have traditionally been filed in the DC circuit because of an EPA determination of national scope and effect (because (1) some states outside the 9th circuit have adopted the California standards package and (2) manufacturers outside the 9th circuit are affected).

The EPA administrator sent California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a very short informal letter -- dated December 19 -- announcing denial of the greenhouse-gas waiver request. The letter said, "I have decided that EPA will be denying the waiver and have instructed my staff to draft appropriate documents setting forth the rationale for this denial in further detail and to have them ready for my signature as soon as possible." Because the letter did not say that the decision was of national scope and effect, California immediately filed in the 9th circuit court of appeals a challenge to the decision, despite the fact that federal law says that the challenge to the decision may be filed only within 60 days after the publication of the decision in the Federal Register! The EPA published the final ruling -- which went into far more detail than the informal Dec. 19 letter -- in the Federal Register in February. The 9th circuit court of appeals, instead of dismissing California's petition because of a lack of jurisdiction, set up a briefing schedule for the litigants! Because California was really supposed to file the petition in the DC circuit, as a precaution California filed another petition in the DC circuit. But California's petition in the DC circuit challenged the Dec. 19 informal letter instead of the final ruling published in the Federal Register! [1] I suspect that California hocus-pocused that federal law did not specify that the only judicially reviewable ruling was the final ruling published in the Federal Register. Probably the reason why California preferred to challenge the informal letter was that the letter had much less detail than the Federal Register ruling and hence was easier to attack -- it will really be the living end if California claims that the letter's reasons for denying the waiver are insufficient. It gets worse -- the Warming Law blog says,

On April 4, the auto industry filed a rather creative motion with the D.C. Circuit under the All Writs Act requesting an order prohibiting California "from its attempt to oust this Court of proper jurisdiction" to review EPA's waiver denial. It requests this relief "as soon as possible." Specifically, the motion asks for an injunction barring California "from filing any additional petitioners [sic] for review of EPA's waiver denial in any Court other than this Court," a request that borders on the frivolous, and requiring California to move to dismiss its petition for review filed in the Ninth Circuit.

I gotta hand it to those California government attorneys -- they are very clever pettifoggers. And it is easy for them to get away with their shenanigans when they have the help of crooked judges.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Justiciability of Scientific Questions III: inherent and prudential nonjusticiability

A comment I wrote in a comment thread on this blog gave me the idea for this post. This post is a follow-up to this post and this post.

I have not yet provided definitions of the terms "justiciable" and "justiciability." IMO a fairly good definition of justiciable is --

Of a claim or controversy, the condition of being suitable for adjudication by a particular court.

Some definitions use the term "capable" instead of "suitable," e.g. "capable of being decided by a court ."[1] and "referring to a matter which is capable of being decided by a court"[2]. However, I prefer the term "suitable" because anything is "capable" of being decided -- the questions of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin and whether bears shit in the woods are "capable" of being decided by a court. IMO the best definition would be, "constitutionally, legally, and practically suitable for adjudication by a particular court" (the word "particular" is important because different courts and court systems have different rules).

By way of review, I gave the following reasons why a scientific claim may be considered to be nonjusticiable:
. . . the claim may be unanswerable, imponderable, unfathomable, unprovable, unfalsifiable, contentious, a matter of opinion, or beyond the expertise of judges, or the science may be subject to change. Judicial decisions on the merits of scientific claims can have profound and far-ranging consequences, e.g., such decisions can affect the reputations and careers of scientists, affect funding for research, and affect the direction of scientific research.

Unfortunately, articles on justiciability generally do not give any reasons why some scientific questions should be considered to be non-justiciable and generally do not provide categories into which scientific questions might fall. For example, one article on justiciability has the following topics:

Article III case or controversy; advisory opinions; mootness and ripeness; standing; and judicial restraint (though this topic might be applicable, its discussion in this article is not).

And another article says,

To be heard by the federal courts cases must meet certain standards (they must be"justiciable)" (sic):
They must: Not seek an advisory opinion; Be brought by people who have standing; Not be moot; Be ripe for decision; Not be barred by the 11th Amendment; Not involve a political question.

This article about justiciability discusses the topics of standing, ripeness, mootness, advisory opinions, political questions, and Article III (which would include the "cases and controversies" issue).

Practically all of the reasons for nonjusticiability that are given by the above references are arbitrary and artificial reasons -- i.e., reasons that are based on the Constitution, laws, court rules, case law, custom, or whatever -- as opposed to reasons that are inherent in particular questions that are before the courts. In contrast, the preceding reasons for nonjusticiability of scientific questions are likely to be inherent in the questions themselves. So maybe there should be a new category of nonjusticiability -- to be called "inherent," "intrinsic," or "absolute" nonjusticiability -- meaning that the courts would have no basis for making a decision -- or that a decision would be improper -- even in the absence of artificial restraints on making a decision. It some ways this new category of nonjusticiability would be like the idea of insufficient evidence.

Also, I would like to introduce another nonjusticiability concept -- "prudential" nonjusticiability. In some court cases, it may be possible to make a rational decision about some question but it may be unwise to issue that decision because of potential bad consequences -- i.e., potential harm or the potential that the harm would outweigh the benefits. Of course, it is normal for court decisions to "harm" the losing litigants and others, so can "harm" be an argument against issuing decisions? Quite often the prospect of harm is used as an argument in court -- for example, it is commonly argued that a strict literal interpretation of the 2nd Amendment's right to keep and bear arms would result in harm to society. And a lot depends on the nature of the decision's harmful effects and the nature of whatever wrongs are redressed by the decision -- whether those things are intangible, financial, physical, reversible, irreversible, etc.. Jay Wexler's following comments about the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision involve prudential considerations:

The opinion's main problem lies in the conclusion that most evolution supporters were particularly pleased with -- namely, the judge's finding that ID is not science. The problem is not that ID is science. Maybe it is science, and maybe it isn't. The question is whether judges should be deciding in their written opinions that ID is or is not science -- a question that sounds in philosophy of science -- as a matter of law. On this question, the answer is "no," particularly when the overall question posed to the Court is whether teaching ID endorses religion, not whether it is or is not science. The part of Kitzmiller that finds ID not to be science is unnecessary, unconvincing, not particularly suited to the judicial role, and even perhaps dangerous to both science and freedom of religion. The judge's determination that ID endorses religion should have been sufficient to rule the policy unconstitutional.

. . . if one judge can practice philosophy of science, what is to stop others from doing the same? Perhaps the next judge to hear an ID case will decide that science simply means "the process of searching for the best logical explanations for observed data." In that case, schools might be allowed to teach … ID… Is this really a can of worms that ID opponents want to open?

However, even just a ruling that "teaching ID endorses religion" can harm the careers and reputations of scientists and adversely affect scientific research.

In summary, I have proposed the following two new kinds of nonjusticiability:

(1) Inherent (or intrinsic or absolute) nonjusticiability. Some reasons in the area of scientific questions are: the claim may be unanswerable, imponderable, unfathomable, unprovable, unfalsifiable, contentious, a matter of opinion, or beyond the expertise of judges, or the science may be subject to change.

(2) Prudential nonjusticiability. Because a rational decision is possible, this is not true nonjusticiability, but it is like nonjusticiability in the sense that it is a reason to show judicial restraint by refraining from issuing a decision. Some reasons in the area of scientific questions are: decisions can affect the reputations and careers of scientists, affect funding for scientific research, and affect the direction of scientific research.

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Aftermath of Expelled's opening weekend

The Darwinists are crowing that "Expelled" is a flop, but they are mainly comparing "Expelled" to the documentaries of Michael Moore -- whose name alone can attract big audiences -- and not to the many documentaries that did not do as well as "Expelled." And what is more important than how many people actually see "Expelled" is the effect of the movie on the thinking of people who will never see it. "Expelled" has made a lot more people aware of censorship of criticism of Darwinism, persecution of critics of Darwinism, and the Darwin-to-Hitler idea. I have personally experienced such persecution and censorship -- my ideas about co-evolution have been banned on the Panda's Thumb blog and the Florida Citizens for Science blog.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Anti-Defamation League tries to cover up its hypocrisy and bigotry

UPDATE: The links are working again!

Either they changed their minds over at the ADL or there was a strange coincidence that the links went kaput at around the time that "Expelled" opened.

Hitler is now quoting Shakespeare!

"O', reason not the need!"
-- King Lear

"Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people. "
-- Abraham Foxman


I have previously noted that Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, posted an article denouncing the Darwin-to-Hitler "Darwin's Deadly Legacy" TV documentary of the Christian fundy Coral Ridge Ministries [1] [2]. Well, the links to that article no longer work, so I presume that the ADL deleted it.

The ADL knew that it must either also attack the Darwin-to-Hitler message of the movie "Expelled" or be accused of hypocrisy, double-standardry, and anti-Christian bigotry. Instead of attacking "Expelled" (Ben Stein is Jewish and one of his supporters in the movie wears a yarmulke), the ADL decided to try to hide its hypocrisy, double-standardry, and bigotry by deleting the article attacking "Darwin's Deadly Legacy." But the ADL is not fooling anyone.

Abraham Foxman was unable to show that Darwin did not influence Hitler, so he tried to argue that Hitler did not "need" Darwin.

BTW, Foxman's post attacking "Darwin's Daily Legacy" has been widely quoted in attacks on the Darwin-to-Hitler message of "Expelled."



Saturday, April 19, 2008

Important notice: Problem in posting comments on Blogger.com blogs

I have been having trouble posting comments on Blogger.com blogs, including this blog. I don't know if others are having the same problem, but I found a solution.

The problem is that nothing happens when I hit the "publish this comment" button just below the comment preview with the yellow background. However, when I hit the "publish this comment" button just below the comment composing screen at the top, the comment is published.


Holocaust denial/revisionism helps Darwinism

The evidence of a connection between Darwinism and Nazi eugenics is overwhelming. The easiest way to minimize the connection between Darwinism and the holocaust is to minimize the holocaust itself! So, Darwinists, you should be grateful for the help you are getting from holocaust deniers and revisionists, and it would be in your best interests to become holocaust deniers and revisionists yourselves.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Negative reviews of "Expelled" may backfire

Panda's Thumb has posted a long string of negative reviews of "Expelled" that have been published in the general media. If the reviewers really wanted the movie to be ignored to the maximum extent possible, they would give the movie two thumbs up. So many movies get positive reviews that a lot of people are just going to ignore those movies because there doesn't seem to be anything special about them. However, a movie with a lot of negative reviews is likely to attract a lot of viewers who want to see what is so terrible about it.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Judge-shopping idea for monkey trials

It looks fairly likely that Florida will pass those "evolution academic freedom" bills for the K-12 schools, which gives me an idea. Large numbers of local school boards can add Intelligent Design to the curriculum and then when they are sued, they can ask the judge to declare the evolution controversy to be non-justiciable [1][2]. If the judge refuses and insists on having a "Monday-morning battle of the experts" like what happened in the Dover case, then the school boards can bail out immediately without much loss of money. This would just drive the ACLU nuts. LOL


Judge Jones to be keynote speaker at "Darwin's Reach" conference

The National Center for Science Education announced that Judge John E. Jones III -- the judge who decided the Kitzmiller v. Dover Intelligent Design case -- is slated to be a keynote speaker at a conference titled "Darwin's Reach -- Celebrating Darwin's Legacy Across the Disciplines" to be held at Hofstra University's Cultural Center. As I have noted many times on this blog, Judge Jones showed extreme prejudice against ID and the Dover defendants -- regardless of whether or not ID is a religious concept -- by saying in a Dickinson College commencement speech that his Dover decision was based on his notion that the Founders based the Constitution's establishment clause upon a belief that organized religions are not "true" religions. He said,
. . . .this much is very clear. The Founders believed that true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in a Bible, but was to be found through free, rational inquiry. At bottom then, this core set of beliefs led the Founders, who constantly engaged and questioned things, to secure their idea of religious freedom by barring any alliance between church and state.

Also, the subtitle of the conference -- "Celebrating Darwin's Legacy Across the Disciplines" -- is very biased. There are some things about Darwin's legacy -- e.g., Darwinism's influence on Nazism, the suppression of academic and intellectual freedom -- that are nothing to celebrate. Maybe a better main title would be "Darwin's Overreach" (but that would be biased, too).

Protests of (1) Judge Jones' upcoming speech at the conference and (2) the biased subtitle of the conference may be sent to:

hofculctr@hofstra.edu, Hofstra Univ. Cultural Center
president@hofstra.edu, Office of the President
Herman.A.Berliner@Hofstra.edu, Provost
Liora.P.Schmelkin@hofstra.edu, Senior Vice Provost
Steven.R.Costenoble@hofstra.edu, Associate Provost
proszk@Hofstra.edu, Associate Provost
Daniel.R.Rubey@hofstra.edu, Dean of Library and Information Services



Wednesday, April 16, 2008

ADL's Abraham Foxman is anti-Christian bigot

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, denounced the Coral Ridge Ministries' Darwin-to-Hitler "Darwin's Deadly Legacy" TV show but has said nothing about the Darwin-to-Hitler message of the "Expelled" movie because Ben Stein is Jewish instead of Christian like the Coral Ridge Ministries. Foxman said of "Darwin's Deadly Legacy,"
ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement:"This is an outrageous and shoddy attempt by D. James Kennedy to trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust. Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people. Trivializing the Holocaust comes from either ignorance at best or, at worst, a mendacious attempt to score political points in the culture war on the backs of six million Jewish victims and others who died at the hands of the Nazis."

"It must be remembered that D. James Kennedy is a leader among the distinct group of 'Christian Supremacists' who seek to "reclaim America for Christ" and turn the U.S. into a Christian nation guided by their strange notions of biblical law."



Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Second anniversary of "I'm from Missouri"

This blog's first real article was posted on April 15, 2006. A "test post" was posted on April 14, 2006. Since then, over 700 articles have been posted on this blog.

As the headline says, one of the main original purposes of this blog was to help me avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced on blogs and other websites. However, avoiding that censorship has often been of limited value because of the very small readership of this blog in comparison to much bigger blogs that practice arbitrary censorship.

I have also found that a blog is very useful for purposes other than just avoiding arbitrary censorship. For example, instead of spending a lot of time writing long articles that clutter up comment threads on other websites, you can just post links to articles on your blog! And by posting links to your blog, you can exceed word limits for comments on other websites. A blog is also a great aid in retrieving your past writings and in doing research -- the post labels have been particularly helpful in this regard. A blog is worth having even if you write articles only infrequently.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Co-evolution theory censored by Florida Citizens for Science!

Yes, folks, it's hard to believe but it's true. I'm not making this up -- the theory of co-evolution [1] [2] [3] is being censored on the blog of the so-called Florida Citizens for Science. A comment by FCS blogger Brandon Haught(y) says,
Larry Fafarman,

I’m tired of your unsupported claims that co-evolution somehow isn’t legitimate or somehow refutes evolution.

As such, I have a homework assignment for you. First, contact the following:
University of California Museum of Paleontology
The National Science Foundation
Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Have them take down the page they did/funded on co-evolution:

Also, contact Dr. John Thompson and tell him to pack his bags and find a “real” job. Because, co-evolution is a crock and his life’s work is a sham.

Once you have done the above, come on back with proof that you have done so and I will let you post about co-evolution again. In the meantime, every time you spout off about it, I am deleting your post.

I consider myself fairly tolerant and I have allowed “free speech” here on the blog to an extent many other blogs don’t. But there is a limit to my patience. This is not a government site, so I have no mandate to allow free speech. So, I will exercise my right to delete your unsupported assertions. You have your own site; post your nonsense there. If you decide to throw a hissy fit over my exercising my right, then I will ban you.

You have some work to do, Larry. You better get to it.

Brandon Haughty is censoring my arguments about co-evolution precisely because he finds them to be too persuasive. He would not be bothered by my arguments if they were absurd, e.g., Second Law of Thermodynamics arguments.

Thought for the day: If design can be an illusion, then maybe evolution can also be an illusion.



Saturday, April 12, 2008

Scientific American duped by Wickedpedia

A report of a roundtable discussion between Scientific American magazine editors and Mark Mathis, associate producer of the movie "Expelled," said,

One point requires response here. Mathis charged that some 92 percent of the judge’s decision in the Dover intelligent design trial was copied directly from papers filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). We said we would follow up and find out the truth. We did. In fact, Mathis was wrong in three ways. One, even the Discovery Institute’s own charge is that the judge copied 90.9 percent of ACLU material for one specific section in the judge’s decision. Second, a correct statistical workup finds that the number is as low as 35 percent, depending on whether you include material filed that is not included in the decision and the length of word strings. But the most important point is one that I guessed at in the conversation. We spoke to actual legal experts who told us that when the sides in a trial file their facts, it is with the hope that they make the case strongly enough for the judge to incorporate their texts into the finding of fact section of the decision. Therefore the charges that Mathis makes against Judge Jones are both incorrect in detail and spurious in spirit. For more information, you can go to footnote 88 in the Wikipedia entry on the Discovery Institute. There’s more info on the permissibility of using filed facts in a decision at The Panda’s Thumb Web site, pandasthumb.org. It’s an entry called "Weekend at Behe’s" dated December 12, 2006.

Regarding the Discovery Institute's charge that 90.9 percent of the Dover opinion's ID-as-science section was copied from an ACLU brief (the DI report that originally made the charge is here) --
(1) The Wickedpedian control-freak administrators refused to post a link to the DI's defense of the charge.

(2) The Wickedpedian adiminstrators refused to post criticism or a link to criticism of the computer method used to obtain much lower estimates of the extent of copying.

Wickedpedia has no credibility. The smoking gun is in the following Wickedpedia discussion pages for the article titled "Discovery Institute" -- "Casey Luskin", "Text Comparison", and "Appeals Court opinion". These are archived discussion pages -- some of the comments in them have since been censored by the Wickedpedian control-freak administrators.

Here is an excerpt from these discussion pages:
The text comparison cited in the court opinion required only a simple word-finding function, which even the simplest word-processing programs possess (i.e., the program counted the number of times "creation" or "creationism" appeared and the number of times that "intelligent design" was substituted). A simple word-finding function is trivial in comparison to your program's attempt to compare ideas of the opinion's ID-as-science section and the ACLU's "proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law " brief (a discussion of Elsberry's computerized comparison of the opinion and the ACLU brief is here). Using a computer program to compare ideas in two different texts is unreliable -- particularly when the program shows a low correlation -- because ideas can remain unchanged while substituting synonyms, inserting or deleting superfluous or non-essential words, paraphrasing text, and scrambling sentences and paragraphs. The only reliable way to compare the ideas in two different texts is by a side-by-side visual comparison of the two texts, and the Discovery Institute's report showed the two texts side by side for a visual comparison. The similarity of ideas in the opinion and the ACLU brief is readily apparent in this side-by-side comparison. BTW, I don't accept the DI's 90.9% text correlation figure either.

Your statement here that your program is "approved for use and considered authoritative in Federal court" is a gross misrepresentation. You failed to show that even a single judge ever accepted the results of your program for the purpose that you claimed here: a comparison of the ideas in two different texts as opposed to mere word-finding, which virtually any word-processing program can do. Furthermore, your statement "approved for use and considered authoritative in Federal court" implies approval by the entire federal court system whereas you have not shown approval by even a single federal judge.

And here is another quote --

You folks are really making a mountain out of a molehill by making such a big stink about adding a rebuttal from the Discovery Institute. You are contributing to Wikipedia's already bad reputation as an unreliable source.


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Illustration of "The Descent of Man"

Or maybe the picture could be titled, "Monkey See, Monkey Do."

It has been said that the Darwinian mechanisms of random mutation and natural selection actually destroy information rather than create it and that natural selection throws out the good with the bad.

Fruit flies and cockroaches are considered to be likely survivors of a nuclear war because of their high resistance to radiation. So if those insects are the sole survivors of a nuclear war, they will then be -- by definition -- the "fittest."

Picture is courtesy of The Gradebook: Tampabay.com



Thursday, April 10, 2008

Expelled producers accused of copyright infringement

An NCSE article says,

On April 9, 2008, XVIVO, the animation company which produced an award-winning animation of "The Inner Life of the Cell," charged producers of a forthcoming "intelligent design" film with copyright infringement. In a letter to Logan Craft, chairman of Premise Media Corp., the producer of "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" (featuring Ben Stein), XVIVO claimed that a segment of "Expelled" portraying the complexity of the cell is patterned upon segments of their well-known animation, produced on behalf of Harvard University.

For the following reasons, it is hard to take the XVIVO letter seriously --
(1) XVIVO has no right to demand the return of copies of the video. BTW, the video is available right here.

(2) There was no demand for payment of purchase, licensing fees, or royalties in lieu of deletion of the segment. Discrimination against the producers of "Expelled" in regard to sale or licensing of the video could involve restraint of trade issues. For example, US law prohibits price discrimination. If XVIVO has sold or rented the video to others and refuses to sell or rent the video to the "Expelled" producers on the same terms, IMO that is restraint of trade.

Also, the video was created in collaboration with Harvard University, which may have received government support for the project, so the video could be in the public domain. What does XVIVO's contract with Harvard say? Did Harvard and or XVIVO have a contract with the government to produce the video? Arguably, anything co-produced by Harvard should be considered to be in the public domain because of all the general government support that Harvard receives.

Creating a knockoff of the original video cost a fair amount of money and supposedly carried the risk of a charge of copyright infringement, so why did the "Expelled" producers choose this option? Did the "Expelled" producers ever try to buy or rent the original video?

Also, there is evidence that XVIVO knew about this alleged copyright infringement for a long time, yet did not send the letter until just a few days before the scheduled release date for the movie. Failure to assert a right in a timely manner often results in forfeiture of that right.

It appears that a lot of important legal questions are being ignored here.

Here is a list of blog posts on the issue.


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Florida legislators tell Judge Jones to go to hell

Fortunately, several Florida senators on the judicial committee had the balls to defy Judge "Jackass" Jones' vaunted "Dover Trap" by passing an "Evolution Academic Freedom" bill.[1]2]3]. The vote was a fairly lopsided 6-3 (maybe even 7-3 according to a disputed vote count).

Other "academic freedom" bills have been introduced in Louisiana and Missouri (the "Show Me State" and namesake of this blog). These academic freedom bills are needed to counter intimidation by Kitzmiller v. Dover, Selman v. Cobb County, etc.. The threat of exorbitant attorney fee award rip-offs in establishment clause cases ($1 million in Dover, negotiated down from an original bill of over $2 million approved by Judge Jones) discourages government officials from doing things that the courts might find to be constitutional. Because of tightwad taxpayers, public officials are fearful of risking a single dime of tax money for payment of legal expenses.

The "Dover Trap" is looking more and more like the paper tiger that it is.

However, some of the Missouri bills go too far, IMO. The NCSE says,

In 2004, the sponsor of HB 2554, Representative Robert Wayne Cooper (R-District 155), introduced two bills, HB 911 and HB 1722, that called for equal time for "intelligent design" in Missouri's schools. HB 911 moreover would have provided that "Willful neglect of any elementary or secondary school superintendent, principal, or teacher to observe and carry out the requirements of this section shall be cause for termination of his or her contract," a draconian provision that was absent from HB 1722. Both bills failed. In 2006, Cooper introduced a third bill, HB 1266, which would have provided that "If a theory or hypothesis of biological origins is taught, a critical analysis of such theory or hypothesis shall be taught in a substantive amount." Like HB 911 and HB 1722, HB 1266 ultimately failed, although it passed by a 7-6 vote by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee.

I am surprised that a bill as unreasonable as HB 1266 passed a legislative committee, even by a small margin.



Alternative statement: evolution is the fundamental concept underlying all of Nazism (taken from wording in the new Florida state science standards).

I never made a big deal before about the Darwin-to-Hitler connection because that connection of course has nothing to do with the scientific merits of Darwinism. My new emphasis on that connection is a retaliation for Darwinists' harping on their false claim that all criticisms of Darwinism are based on religion.



Monday, April 07, 2008

Hitler and Judge Jones are now official mascots of this blog

* ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and therefore religious, antecedents.
-- Judge Jones, Kitzmiller v. Dover opinion



Movie tells ADL to go to hell

As I previously noted, the fanatically pro-Darwinist Anti-Defamation League called the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision "a victory for students" and said that the students were the "real winners" in the Selman v. Cobb County case.

An ADL website article about the Coral Ridge Ministries' Darwin-to-Hitler "Darwin's Deadly Legacy" TV documentary said,
ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement:"This is an outrageous and shoddy attempt by D. James Kennedy to trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust. Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people. Trivializing the Holocaust comes from either ignorance at best or, at worst, a mendacious attempt to score political points in the culture war on the backs of six million Jewish victims and others who died at the hands of the Nazis.

Well, I think Abe Foxman is really going to shit a brick about the Darwin-to-Hitler theme of the Movie "Expelled." One of the Intelligent Design supporters in the movie even wears a yarmulke! A review of the movie says,

"Expelled" rightly equates Darwinian stifling of free speech with the Communist attempt to enslave millions behind the Berlin Wall. One "Expelled" scene shows Stein, mathematician David Berlinski (a sophisticated Paris resident), and nuclear physicist Gerald Schroeder (wearing a yarmulke), all now ID advocates, discussing the importance of freedom as they visit a remnant of the Wall. All three are Jewish, and they don't look or talk like the hicks portrayed in "Inherit the Wind."




Saturday, April 05, 2008

Another undeserved award for Eugenie Scott

An article on the NCSE website says,

NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott is to receive the UCSF Medal, the highest award of the University of California, San Francisco, on April 23, 2008. In a letter to Scott, the university's chancellor J. Michael Bishop wrote, "The award is offered in recognition of your distinguished advocacy on behalf of science in the public arena. The UCSF Medal is given in lieu of an honorary degree and is the highest honor that the campus confers."

As I have noted here and here, Eugenie Scott has brazenly, hypocritically and cynically urged teachers to use religion in a one-sided way to promote Darwinism in the public schools. Such one-sided use of religion in the public schools is a clear violation of the establishment clause.

Protests may be sent to the following UCSF email addresses:
courtney.anderson@ucsf.edu -- General comments to Administration

tdong@research.ucsf.edu -- Assistant to Executive Vice-Chancellor

adrian.sooy@ucsf.edu -- Assistant to Senior Vice Chancellor for Admin. and Finance

lderugin@uap.ucsf.edu,emorales@realestate.ucsf.edu, preynolds@uap.ucsf.edu -- Office of Senor Vice-Chancellor for University Advancement and Planning

taylorde@medsch.ucsf.edu -- Assistant to Dean, School of Medicine

abbys@pharmacy.ucsf.edu -- Assistant to Dean, School of Pharmacy

williamsj@dentistry.ucsf.edu -- Assistant to Dean, School of Dentistry

gino.vangundy@nursing.ucsf.edu -- Assistant to Dean, School of Nursing



Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Judge quote-mined Michael Behe

The original story -- along with my comments -- is here.

This story has spread to here and here.


ACSI v. Stearns (Fundy schools v. UC) decision

April Fools Day is over -- here is the real decision on the motions for summary judgment in ACSI v. Stearns.

The decision is discussed here, here, here, here, and here. IMO the NCSE exaggerates by calling the decision an interim victory -- IMO the parts of the case that have already been decided are relatively unimportant.

My latest thoughts about the case are posted in this comment. I previously commented extensively on the case here and here.

Also, this blog has several articles about the case.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Summary judgment granted to fundies in ACSI v. Stearns!

Great news! Summary judgment has been granted to the fundy plaintiffs in ACSI v. Stearns, the case concerning the University of California's denial of accreditation to some fundy high-school courses that used fundy textbooks!

The story is below the fold.
Happy April Fools Day.

Fatheaded Ed Brayton gave me the idea for this April Fools Day prank.

The problem with Fatheaded Ed is that every day is April Fools Day with him.



Evolution Academic Freedom bill now in Florida Senate Judiciary Committee

The Evolution Academic Freedom bill is now in the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee. Teachers, students, school boards, and legislatures are now intimidated by that stupid Kitzmiller v. Dover decision (even though that decision is not binding anywhere outside of the Dover Area school district) and this bill is needed to help counteract that intimidation.

Here are the email addresses of the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee members:

The sponsor of the Senate bill is Senator Ronda Storms:


More info is here.