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.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The breathtaking inanity of Kitzmiller v. Dover

The Kitzmiller v. Dover case is in the news again. Southern Methodist University recently held a series of events concerning the case. The first lectures and a panel discussion are apparently very one-sided, with only supporters of the decision:

The programs begin Sept. 24 with a 10 a.m. reception and 10:30 a.m. lecture at DeGolyer Library, featuring Paula Apsell (right), senior executive producer, and Melanie Wallace, senior series producer of NOVA's documentary, "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial" . . . . .

A panel discussion on legal, ethical and journalistic issues surrounding the making of the film will follow from 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Panelists will include Judge Jones, documentary producers Apsell and Wallace, plaintiff's council Eric Rothschild and Lauri Lebo, author of The Devil in Dover.

BTW, Judge Jones, who was scheduled to appear in the above panel, only recently was a featured speaker at Bridgewater College (Sept. 17).

Another SMU panel discussion appears to be more even-handed -- it includes an attorney from Liberty Legal Institute, which looks like it would disagree with the decision:

On Sept. 25, from 10-11:30 a.m., First Amendment issues will get closer scrutiny in a panel discussion at SMU's Dedman School of Law. Jones, Rothschild (now in private practice), Liberty Legal Institute attorney Hiram Sasser and Dedman School of Law Professor Lackland Bloom will trade ideas and opinions in Karcher Auditorium, Storey Hall.

Also, the 3quarksdaily blog has an article that is highly critical of the Kitzmiller opinion.
The Kitzmiller decision has received far more attention -- and certainly far more praise -- than it deserves. It is, after all, just a decision of a single judge and is binding only upon a small school district. And much worse, it is a decision of a crackpot judge who is the poster child of activist judges. The Kitzmiller opinion is a piece of junk, not the masterpiece that the Darwinists claim it is. Kitzmiller was decided over three years ago and we really need to get the opinions of other judges, but no such opinions are on the horizon. And I have seen cases stalled in the lower courts for three years or more -- examples are Caldwell v. Caldwell and Association of Christian Schools Intl. v. Stearns. The best chance to get other opinions was lost when the Cobb County school district took a dive by settling out of court in Selman v. Cobb County -- the school district was actually in a very strong position because the appeals court panel indicated that it was leaning towards reversal before the panel remanded the case because of missing evidence. New court cases would also give us an opportunity to apply what we have learned from the mistakes that the plaintiffs made in the Kitzmiller case.

Judge Jones showed extreme prejudice against intelligent design and the Dover defendants -- regardless of whether or not ID is a religious concept -- by saying in a Dickinson College commencement speech that his Kitzmiller decision was based on his cockamamie 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.

He ruled that evolution is compatible with religion, a question that is completely inappropriate for judges to answer -- the opinion said,

Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock assumption which is utterly false. Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general. Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs' scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator.

The question of the compatibility of evolution and religion is non-justiciable. Questions are non-justiciable when there is “a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving the question.” Vieth v. Jubelirer, 541 U.S. 267 (2004).

He arrogantly assumed that he knows the answers to questions that have perplexed generations of scientists and philosophers. He dodged the crucial question of whether ID serves the genuine secular purpose of encouraging critical thinking:

Accepting for the sake of argument its proponents', as well as Defendants' argument that to introduce ID to students will encourage critical thinking, it still has utterly no place in a science curriculum. . . . .The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID.

Judge Jones contradicts himself here -- why would the IDM (intelligent design movement) not have a goal to encourage critical thought if, as Jones accepted for the sake of argument, introducing ID to students will encourage critical thinking? And Jones nowhere states an opinion on whether ID encourages critical thiniking.

Without stating exceptions, he said that critics of the Kitzmiller decision had no respect for "judicial independence" and "the rule of law" (some of the opinion's biggest critics are hardcore Darwinists Jay Wexler and Larry Moran). And the whole Kitzmiller decision is badly tainted because Judge Jones likely showed a lack of restraint because an appeal of the decision was not expected because of the changeover in the school board membership. For example, the opinion's ID-as-science section was copied virtually verbatim from the plaintiffs' opening post-trial brief while ignoring the defendants' opening post-trial brief and both sides' answering post-trial briefs -- it is doubtful that Jones would have done this had he anticipated an appeal, for then the opinion would have gone to the appeals court with no answers to the defendants' points about ID-as-science. The opinion is best described by the words it used to describe the defendants -- "breathtaking inanity."

Labels: ,


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I can't believe that someone said that

A crackpot Darwinist commenter said,

I have a suspicion that much of the neocon skepticism about evolution is nothing more then a policy of sucking up to religious conservatives because of their support for Israel.

The Darwinists will think up every possible motive people might have for questioning evolution -- all except weakness of the scientific evidence.

Darwinists are sick, sick, sick!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Bigoted "Little Green Footballs" blog

A news article says,

The state’s top school board Wednesday approved procedures for residents who object to materials that challenge the teaching of evolution in public school science classes.

The rules, which were praised by evolution critics, stem from a law approved last year by the Legislature . . . .

. . . The statute allows science teachers to use supplemental materials, in addition to state-issued textbooks, to teach evolution and other topics.

“What’s left hanging are the procedures when a complaint is raised,” said Scott Norton, assistant state superintendent for student and school performance.

The department recommended that any complaints undergo an initial review by a three-member panel named by the agency, then go to the state board for a final decision.

But Dale Bayard, of Sulphur, chairman of the committee that tackled the issue, changed that and the committee went along.

Under Bayard’s change, two reviewers will be named by the department to review the science materials in question as well as one reviewer each named by the challenger, the school and the publisher.

The five-member panel will determine whether the materials:

Promote any religious doctrine, which is banned by the state law.

Are scientifically sound.

Are appropriate for the grade.

Bayard’s committee approved the complaint process without arguments.

Since other board members were there too, committee approval on Wednesday is tantamount to endorsement by the full state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, which is expected today.

Under the rules approved Wednesday, people bothered by materials in a science classroom could file a complaint with the state Department of Education.

A hearing would then be set where each side could tell its story. Reviewers, who are supposed to be experts, can ask questions.

The five reviewers would file reports on whether the materials violate the rules. The department can also make a recommendation.

The state board would then make a final decision.

Sounds fair enough. All viewpoints would have a fair opportunity to be heard, and the state board would make the final decision. The criteria applied, e.g., the materials are scientifically sound and do not promote any religion, pass constitutional muster. However, the politically correct ultra-liberal "Little Green Footballs" blog completely mischaracterized these complaint rules [link]:

Louisiana Governor (and part time exorcist) Bobby Jindal’s stealth creationist bill is starting to bear rancid fruit, as the state’s top school board approves new rules intended to make it difficult for residents to challenge the teaching of creationism in science classes.

Pseudo-science promoted by ignorant religious fanatics takes another big step forward in Louisiana.

The complaint procedure makes it easier, not harder, to bring complaints. The hardline Darwinist roaders are opposed to any balance in evolution education.



Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ben Stein of "Expelled" movie fame calls Democrats "elitists and fat cats"

The epithets certainly apply to Democrats who are hard-line Darwinists. link


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Judge "Jackass" Jones is still on the lecture circuit

Bridgewater (a better name would be "Bilgewater") College announced that Judge John E. "Jackass" Jones III, the infamous judge who wrote the infamous Kitzmiller v. Dover decision, has been selected to give -- ironically -- the "Constitution Day Address" at the college on Sept. 17. Judge Jones said in a 2006 Dickinson College commencement speech that his Kitzmiller decision was based on his cockamamie notion that the Founders based the establishment clause upon a belief that organized religions are not "true" religions -- a worse choice for a public speaker for Constitution Day could scarcely be imagined. Judge Jones has also said that those who disagree with his Kitzmiller decision have no respect for "judicial independence" and "the rule of law." Furthermore, in the Kitzmiller decision, Jones arrogantly assumed that he knew the answers to questions about evolution that have perplexed generations of scientists and philosophers.

The press release announcing the address said,

As chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, he gained national recognition in the area of alcohol education, with particular emphasis on underage drinking at college campuses, as well as drunk driving.

Actually, as a past chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, he is better known for banning Bad Frog Beer because of what some might consider to be an obscene gesture on the label.



Saturday, September 12, 2009

Richard Dawkins goes off the deep end

The pretentious title of demagogic "New Atheist" Richard Dawkins' soon-to-be-released new book, "The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution", sounds like something out of a P.T. Barnum circus. And the book is going to give the "accommodationists" (those who believe in "accommodating" the anti-Semitic Darwinist Cafeteria-Christian goyim who interpret the Christian gospel as literal while at the same time rejecting the bible's much more credible Jewish creation story) -- who are already very unhappy with him -- conniption fits.

A Publishers' Weekly editorial review of the book says,

. . . Dawkins also came to realize that a disturbingly large percentage of the American and British public didn't share his enthusiasm for evolution. In fact, they actively abhorred the idea, since it seemed to contradict the Bible and diminish the role of God.

As I have pointed out many times, religion is not the only reason why people question evolution -- a belief that the scientific evidence is poor is another important reason.

So Dawkins decided to write a book for these history-deniers, in which he would dispassionately demonstrate the truth of evolution beyond sane, informed, intelligent doubt.

Darwinists "prove" evolution by cherry-picking evidence.

After only a few pages of The Greatest Show on Earth, however, it becomes clear that Dawkins doesn't do dispassionate, and that he's not particularly interested in convincing believers to believe in evolution. He repeatedly compares creationists and Holocaust deniers, which is a peculiar way of reaching out to the other side.

Comparing creationists and Holocaust deniers? Dawkins sinks to a very low level of demagoguery here.

Elsewhere, Dawkins calls those who don't subscribe to evolution ignorant, fatuously ignorant and ridiculous.

But Dawkins refuses to accommodate Darwinist cafeteria Christians.

All of which raises the point: who, exactly, is supposed to read this book? Is Dawkins preaching to the choir or trying to convert the uninformed? While The Greatest Show on Earth might fail as a work of persuasive rhetoric — Dawkins is too angry and acerbic to convince his opponents — it succeeds as an encyclopedic summary of evolutionary biology.

The National Center for Science Education posted a review of the book. The review, written by Douglas Theobald, an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at Brandeis University, says,

In a book on evolutionary evidence, it is hard to avoid a few nods towards debunking the common creationist fallacies. Nevertheless, unlike many other popular books that cover the evidence for evolution, this is not primarily a refutation of creationism or 'intelligent design' arguments.

How can evolution theory be "proved" without refuting creationist and intelligent design arguments?

Theobald continues,

Rather, Dawkins's latest book is a positive commemoration of the triumph of a grand arching theory that has withstood the continuous onslaught of 150 years of new data, including the tsunami of molecular, genetic, and sequence data from the past fifteen years.

The past fifteen years has also seen a "tsunami" of new data against evolution.

Theobald continues,

In the final analysis, The Greatest Show on Earth will take a deserved place alongside other "must-read" evolution books. No other book currently available approaches Dawkins's comprehensive yet accessible treatment of the extraordinarily diverse and massive body of data that drives ineluctably to the same conclusion, the only conclusion that makes sense of everything in biology: that all the "endless forms" of known life share a common genetic kinship, as they have been, and are being, evolved.

And there we go again with that nonsense that evolution is "the only conclusion that makes sense of everything in biology."

The accommodationist NCSE endorses the book despite Dawkins' opposition to accommodationism.



Wednesday, September 09, 2009

More about holocaust cartoon

A Dutch news article about the cartoon I described in this post says,

. . . the AEL [Arab European League] was told it did face prosecution unless it removes a cartoon featuring two men in suits discussing how to boost the number of people killed during the holocaust.

Obviously, the two men in the cartoon -- which is shown above -- were not exactly discussing "how to boost the number of people killed during the holocaust," but were specifically discussing boosting the number of holocaust victims who are classified as Jews. Also, another news article said,
The cartoon shows two apparently Jewish men standing near a pile of skeletons with a sign that says "Auswitch," presumably representing the largest Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz.

One pokes a bone with a stick and says "I don't think they're Jews" and the other answers, "We have to get to the six million somehow."

Contrary to the above description of the cartoon, the men are not "apparently Jewish." News articles should be more careful about how they describe a cartoon, particularly a cartoon that is not pictured along with the news article.

The cartoon may be considered a caricature of my long-held contention that a "systematic" Jewish holocaust was impossible because the Nazis had no objective and reliable ways of identifying Jews and non-Jews. Yes, I think that the cartoon exaggerates (I have never contended that none of the Auschwitz victims were Jews) and is offensive to some people -- but cartoons exaggerate and offend for the purposes of attracting attention and/or making a point.

A BBC news article says,

It [the Arab European League] said the decision to prosecute illustrated bias against Muslims.
It said the same standards were not applied to the Dutch MP Geert Wilders, who made a film including cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Last month prosecutors said they would not put the far-right MP on trial for distributing the controversial Danish cartoons, which caused a storm of protest after their publication in 2005.

However, he is still being investigated separately for inciting hatred against Muslims by making statements comparing Islam to Nazism.

Though there is selective prosecution and a double standard in regard to the Dutch prosecutors' treatment of the holocaust cartoon in comparison to the Mohammed cartoons, there is still some equal-opportunity infringement of freedom of expression here because Wilders is still being investigated separately for comparing Islam to Nazism.

The BBC article says,

But Dutch prosecutors said the AEL cartoon was "discriminatory" and "offensive to Jews as a group... because it offends Jews on the basis of their race and/or religion". . . .

"Their race and/or religion"? Judaism is a religion and never a race -- there are black Jews and blond-and-blue-eyed Jews. The notion that Jews are a race is regarded as offensive, as when the UN General Assembly passed a since-rescinded resolution classifying Zionism as "racism."

The prosecutors' distinction between the holocaust cartoon and the Mohammed cartoon is arbitrary and nitpicking. When you insult people's religion, you are insulting them.

The BBC article says,

. . . . The AEL says it does not deny the facts of the Holocaust but posted the cartoon as an "act of civil disobedience".

It said it had agreed to remove it from its site, but reversed that decision to protest over the failure to prosecute Geert Wilders.

"Double standards are being applied," it said in a statement.

To his credit, Ed Brayton has condemned the Dutch government's action against AEL.

I plan to send protests to the Dutch embassy and/or consulates. I will include a protest of the continued investigation of Geert Wilders' comparison of Islam to Nazism. General contact information is here -- there is a Dutch embassy in Washington DC and there are consulates in a few US cities. Some email addresses are here. To be fair, I plan to compliment the Dutch on an area where they are light years ahead of the USA: legal red-light districts.

Labels: ,


Sunday, September 06, 2009

Cartoon questions Jewish identity of holocaust victims

A news article says,

AMSTERDAM — Dutch prosecutors said Wednesday they will charge an Arab cultural group under hate speech laws for publishing a cartoon that suggests the death of 6 million Jews during World War II is a fabrication . . .

. . . . The Dutch arm of the Arab European League said it doesn't deny the reality of the Holocaust, but published the cartoon on its Web site as an "act of civil disobedience" to highlight a double standard.

AEL chairman Abdoulmouthalib Bouzerda argued that prosecutors had not pressed charges against Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders for his film that included cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Charges against Wilders, who campaigns on an anti-Islam and anti-immigration platform, were dismissed after prosecutors said his insults were aimed at Muhammad, not all Muslims, and were not systematic.

IMO those are nitpicking distinctions.

The cartoon shows two apparently Jewish men standing near a pile of skeletons with a sign that says "Auswitch," presumably representing the largest Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz.

One pokes a bone with a stick and says "I don't think they're Jews" and the other answers, "We have to get to the six million somehow."



Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Jim Sherwood's new blog, "Intelligent Force"

Jim Sherwood, this blog's biggest supporter, who has contributed many insightful comments and beautiful poetry to this blog, has started his own new blog, "Intelligent Force", which I have added to the list of external links in the sidebar of the homepage.