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busy, busy, busy

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Intelligent design belongs — but not in our schools
People can dress religion up and call it Intelligent Design, but America must see through the sheep’s clothing and recognize it for the wolf that it is...

A new campaign against teaching science in schools that does not conform to Judeo-Christian interpretations of the book of Revelations has been growing. Nine states have recently proposed legislation that would require that Intelligent Design, a Trojan horse of Christian teachings, be taught in public schools with equal weight as evolution...

But Christian activists have a political sleight-of-hand to use against this barrier, called Intelligent Design. This belief is that the biology on our planet is too complex to have been formed by chance or circumstance and therefore must have a divine origin.

Proponents will argue that Intelligent Design is non-denominational, as it does not specify a Christian God. Such statements are hard to swallow when you consider that the creator of ID, Phillip Johnson, has publicly admitted:

“The objective is to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism vs. evolution to the existence of God vs. the non-existence of God. From there people are introduced to the truth of the Bible and then the question of sin and finally introduced to Jesus.”

Thanks, Phil, I couldn't have said it better myself.

This is not about objectivity or "equal time". This is not about science. Although it was a depressing victory for the Reactionary Right, November's election also forced them (not unwillingly) to expose themselves. Now their true motives are crystal clear, as are those of their "secular" proxies. It might be an uphill battle, but it's now an easier one. Creationists can't hide behind science while they're gloating over every small victory along the path to a fundamentalist Christian theocracy.

Does Seattle group "teach controversy" or contribute to it?

Which came first, the controversy or the teaching of the controversy? The controversy, of course, but only after those wanting to teach it created it out of thin air.

Is Morrissey the Fat Elvis of our generation? Could be...

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I've been having troubles with Blogger over the past few days, and just when I was starting to get all fired-up again. Dammit.

I'm sorry I missed this event. I think.

Francis the Talking Mule makes an appearance in Lawrence
Conservative columnist and author Ann Coulter was greeted with a mixture of standing ovations and heckling after she took center stage Tuesday night at Kansas University's Lied Center...

Coulter received several standing ovations during her speech, but she also found herself interrupted several times by a small, scattered group of hecklers.

"I think there are some people in the audience who meant to be at the sexual reorientation class down the hall," Coulter said, in response to the heckling.

Moments later Coulter stopped and called for assistance from students when hecklers started in again and no one of authority was seen trying to stop them.

"Could 10 of the largest College Republicans start walking up and down the aisles and start removing anyone shouting?" Coulter asked. "Otherwise, this lecture is over."

When I saw Michael Moore in October, there was a group of College Republicans waving signs and shouting/chanting outside the football stadium where he was speaking. Every time they started shouting "four more years!" or "Moore eats babies!", or whatever it was they were shouting, Moore invited them to come in and discuss their grievances face-to-face. Naturally, after halting the chants and looking at each other in confusion, they refused and resumed their taunting. Eventually they moved their protest to the front of the stadium where Moore couldn't see them.

Say what you want about Michael Moore--and there are plenty of things I could say--but he's not a giant pussy who's afraid to be challenged in a public setting. Rather than throw a hissy-fit and threaten to leave, or threaten the opposition with physical violence at the hands of a local partisan goon squad, he was going to hand over his show to them. That's seems the more constructive way to deal with hecklers at a political event. Who knows, had they accepted his offer, everybody might have learned something and come to a greater understanding of each other, and we could have left the stadium and re-entered this hate-filled world holding hands and singing beautifully with one voice.

Or maybe he should have pulled a Bill Hicks heckling countermeasure on them: Leap off the stage, run over them, and, while pointing long, sharp, cigarette-holding fingers in their faces, shout at them with superhuman volume and intensity "I want you to find a fucking SOUL!!!"

On a more positive note, the event did yield what I think could be the Quote of the Year, or Decade; an actual audience member actually uttered these irony-soaked sentences, apparently without any sense of irony:
John Altevogt, a conservative GOP activist from Wyandotte County, also welcomed Coulter.

"Ann Coulter is logical, rational and an independent thinker," he said. "In essence, everything the left hates in their womenfolk."

Indeed.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Gay marriage ban poses unintended consequences
In Ohio, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was used as a defense to reduce a charge in a domestic violence case involving an unmarried heterosexual couple. Dozens more men are using the amendment to try to have their abuse charges reduced or dismissed.

In Michigan, the attorney general has ruled that a gay-marriage ban approved by that state's voters also prohibits public employers from offering health benefits to partners in homosexual and heterosexual relationships.

In Kansas, voters will decide April 5 whether to adopt a state constitutional amendment similar to those adopted in Ohio, Michigan and numerous other states.

Specifically, the Kansas amendment would define marriage as a civil contract between a man and a woman and that no relationship other than marriage "can have the rights or incidences of marriage."

It's that legal jargon in the second part of the amendment that has lawyers battling in several states...

But supporters of the amendment say those kinds of arguments are being used as scare tactics, and problems with same-sex marriage bans written into state constitutions wouldn't happen here.

"The bill is pretty well-written," said Peter Brandt, senior director of government and public policy for the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family.

"The language has been reviewed by legal folks that we consult with," he said. Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Focus on the Family has spent $23,063 campaigning for the amendment in Kansas.

Rep. Jan Pauls, D-Hutchinson, one of the main sponsors of the proposed amendment said she was satisfied the measure wouldn't affect domestic abuse cases.

The state's Protection Against Abuse Act covers anyone within a household, Pauls said.

"We did a new definition of household to be sure it was broad enough," she said.

Prior to the November elections I read several articles where amendment opponents predicted this exact side-effect, and they were largely ignored and accused of using scare tactics. Well, here we are now, and I'm sure many of those "legal folks" in Ohio are scratching their heads, trying figure out what they missed. Someone can use scare-tactics in a debate, but that doesn't make them wrong.

It's great that the domestic violence laws were broadened, but they may not mean much when we have a constitutional amendment that contradicts those laws. The funny thing is, assuming the "scare-tactics" turn out to be true, heterosexuals will be hurt more by this amendment than homosexuals. Kansas already has a legal prohibition of gay marriage, so the only thing homosexuals really have to lose is hope (not that that's insignificant).

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Goodbye evolution, your kryptonite has been discovered... and it is astrology!

The Magi Society: Benevolent Design
The Gospels tell us that before Christ was born, three wise men from the East (called Magi) knew that the world’s Savior was about to be born. The three Magi were very knowledgeable and understood that a new star would appear in the sky and the star would mark the Savior’s birthplace. The three Magi saw the new star, made a lengthy journey and followed the star, found the baby Jesus, paid homage and gave Him gifts.

The reason we remind you of all this is that we believe the Gospels are telling us the Magi were good men, and they were knowledgeable in astrology.

That’s right, the Magi were astrologers.

We know there are many Christians who believe that astrology is forbidden but we assure you that is not the case. If astrology were forbidden by Christ’s true teachings, why would the Gospels tell us this story about the Star of Bethlehem?

In fact, there are over 600 references to astrology in the Bible and none of the references condemn astrology. (See footnote 1.)

At the Christian Guardians, we believe that astrology is much like most other things. Just as there is good and bad in almost everything else, there is bad astrology and there is good astrology.

You must be wondering what has any of this to do with Intelligent Design?

We talk about all this because we have discovered a way to disprove Darwinism by using good astrology, and we have improved Intelligent Design by using good astrology. The astrology we are using is the astrology of the Three Wise Men who foretold of the Bethlehem Star and successfully followed it to Christ’s birthplace. The Three Wise Men were MAGI and their special form of astrology is called Magi Astrology.

Magi Astrology is so different from any other form of astrology that 95% of Magi Astrology contradicts other forms of astrology. The beauty of Magi Astrology is that it disproves Darwinism and proves Intelligent Design. Magi Astrology helps to move Intelligent Design to the very high level needed so that Intelligent Design can make accurate predictions about genetics, the weather, and other areas that presently baffle scientists.

If you proceed on and read the material on this website and our other websites, we promise you what you read will improve your life, help you to believe in our Savior, and you will see the world in a much brighter light than ever before.

This highly-scientific site offers such gems as:
If genes were as important as scientists assert, it would mean that all average parents are screwed because average parents would have no chance of having super talented children. And children of average parents would also be screwed. You see, what the scientists are really saying is: IF YOU DO NOT HAVE GREAT GENES, THEN YOUR CHILDREN WILL NOT HAVE GREAT GENES - AND YOUR CHILDREN ARE SCREWED. Scientists never put it that way but that is what they are really saying when they say that we are the product of our genes...

The fact is that less than 1 in 500 professional athletes have either a father or mother or a child who has also been professional athletes. And less than 1 in 500 professional athletes has at least one brother or sister who has also been professional athletes. This is a knockout blow to Darwinism because unless great genes are passed on most of the time, Darwinism could not possibly work...

[included for easy reference is a list of super-atheletes with crappy parents-J]

The reason any parents can have fabulously talented children is that God designed it that way. God designed the world such that the alignment of the planets on a day someone is born helps the person to have certain talents and abilities. Some alignments of the planets are more helpful than others. And different planetary alignments help the babies in different ways. For example, when Mars and Venus are aligned exactly together in sky, the baby will have great athletic ability; when Venus and Mercury are aligned exactly together in the sky, the baby will have a great mind. (See footnote two.) These are some of the many principles of Magi Astrology. And it is why some parents who have no athletic ability themselves can have children who become great athletes.

If Magi Astrology really works, then Darwinism does not work.

Shorter Benevolent Design: Does Magi Astrology work? Buy our books to find out!



U.S. treatment of prisoners: The latest developments

I find it disturbing that prisoner abuse is now so seemingly commonplace and non-offensive that we are treated to aggregated "news round-up"-style reports detailing this month's developments in human rights atrocities.
MARCH 1: DEFENSE SECRETARY SUED OVER PRISONER ABUSE...
MARCH 2: CIA OFFICIAL DEFENDS EFFORTS TO INVESTIGATE...
MARCH 4: ATTORNEY GENERAL NOT SURPRISED...
MARCH 7: ABU GHRAIB GUARD GOING TO COURT-MARTIAL...
MARCH 10: THE CHURCH REPORT...
MARCH 11: ARMY REPORT ON FATAL BEATINGS GOES PUBLIC...
MARCH 15: NEW NUMBERS RELEASED BY THE PENTAGON...
MARCH 15: WEST POINTER GOES TO JAIL FOR BRIDGE INCIDENT...
MARCH 16: THE PRESIDENT DEFENDS CIA POLICY...
MARCH 17: CIA DIRECTOR PORTER GOSS TESTIFIES...
MARCH 21: FULL FBI MEMO RELEASED...
MARCH 21: EX-NAVY SEAL GOES TO COURT-MARTIAL...
MARCH 24: ARMY RETURNS TO DEATH OF IRAQI SCIENTIST...
MARCH 25: ABUSE OF IRAQI PRISONERS NEAR MOSUL ALLEGED...

I suppose it's encouraging to see some positive developments mixed in with the bad, but it's inexcusable that we have come to this point at all. And after all that, which is most likely only the tip of the iceberg, the compiler tosses in this last little bit of information that seems too much like a punchline to be anything other than a dig at the administration:
TODAY: U.S. CONSIDERS STRENGTHENING DETAINEES' RIGHTS

The New York Times is reporting that the Defense Department is considering substantial changes to the special military tribunals the Bush administration established to try foreign terrorism suspects at Guantanamo.

The proposed changes include strengthening the rights of defendants, establishing more independent judges to lead the panels, and barring confessions obtained by torture, military and administration officials told the newspaper.

I imagine they're going take their time in their considerations, and with any luck the problem will take care of itself.

Friday, March 25, 2005

I'm going out of town in a few hours and I don't expect to be back until Sunday evening. I'll have access to a computer, but probably not the opportunity to post much, if at all. I will be in close proximity to a (really nice) digital camera, so I may treat you to some doggie pictures.

And now on to the dumbest fucking thing I have ever read (subscription-only, so I reposted it in its entirety)...

'Intelligent Design' Smart Curricular Choice
Ever since Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution and made it public, there have been those who have doubted its validity and questioned its truth.

Western society today is just as torn over whether a higher power had any involvement in the creation of our world, or if humans evolved over time from single-celled creatures to the into complex, intelligent creatures we are today in response to the environment. For a group of biology students in Dover, Pennsylvania, the debate has entered their classroom in full force.

New curriculum has been introduced in Dover biology classrooms known as "intelligent design," which places an unnamed supervisor at the helm of the creation of the universe. Inherent in this theory is the belief that the universe is too complicated and intricate to exist and have developed on its own. Because Dover teachers are not naming God as the guiding hand behind our universe's creation, "intelligent design" poses no religious threat to those students listening and learning this new curriculum.

For those who wholeheartedly ascribe to the theory of evolution, this new curriculum may be tough to swallow. However, for those with strong religious leanings toward the God-created-the-world-in-seven-days theory, biology class has been at the least incomplete, and in the most extreme cases, offensive for many years.

Although well-grounded, the theory of evolution is still nonetheless a scientific theory. For hundreds of years it was believed that the world was flat, which we now know is unequivocally false. Not that the work of Charles Darwin should be discredited, but who is to say that new overwhelming evidence will not reverse the popular consensus that evolution is a real and workable theory to describe our existence in the years to come?

While those in the scientific field would refute the notion that an intelligent hand played any role in our existence, a large percentage of the population of this country ascribes to that very belief. The introduction of "intelligent design" into the classrooms in Dover is a step toward combining the two most popular beliefs regarding the creation of the universe. Students can only benefit from learning all of the theories and beliefs surrounding this most complex mystery of our lives.

Many other disciplines in high schools include references to religion and God, without forcing students to ascribe to those beliefs. High school English classes include the study of poems that may contain references to the creation story, or to God or religion. History includes the study of some of the most popular religions in the world, and how those religious groups of people impacted the world and history. Why should biology be any different? Evolution is a strongly supported theory that many people believe, just as thousands across the country honor the idea of God creating us all. Presenting both of these ideas, without forcing students to believe in either of them, is completely harmless.

Perhaps the most overwhelming reason that leads me to find nothing wrong with teaching "intelligent design" in addition to evolutionary theory is that those who found it too offensive or were uncomfortable hearing it were permitted to leave the classroom. However, when evolution is taught in class, students are not given the option of refusing to accept the material. No matter how offensive it is to their personal beliefs, they must memorize the information and be able to discuss it intelligently on a test.

In a society where the continued debate over evolution versus creationism will rage for many years, students should be informed on both sides of the issue. The teaching of "intelligent design" can do nothing but broaden the perspectives of the biology students in Dover and throughout the country.

1) If evolution needs to be replaced because some have "questioned its truth" over time, then why would replacing it with Christian theology be a better idea?

2) There's no religious threat because the word "God" does not appear in the curriculum? Anyone with a half a brain (which, coincidentally, is what most creationists seem to possess) can see that "God" is clearly and overwhelmingly implied (unless by the term "unnamed supervisor" of all of creation they mean Kurt Vonnegut, but then only Mr. Trout would be able to pick up on that concept). If the new material was truly not religious in nature, then why are creationists elated to have it included?

3) I pity/heap-ridicule-upon anyone who gets upset or offended that Bible stories aren't taught in science class. They should show up to Sunday school once in a while.

4) So what if a "large percentage of the population" believes the creation story to be true (a suspect claim, at any rate)? Science is not a democratic process--scientists don't hold elections on what evidence to accept or reject. The world did indeed believe the Earth was flat (well, the unenlightened Christian world, at any rate). Did that make the Earth flat? It doesn't matter what anyone believes, all that matters is what the evidence shows. In this case, all of the evidence currently available favors evolution. There is no evidence for ID outside of the Bible. There can't be--it's not science. Something better may come along in the future, and until then we'll stick with what actually works (and it does work).

And scientists don't "refute the notion of an intelligent hand" in the origins of life, they just don't worry about in their work. It is not a matter of science, and as such it is outside of their scope of study.

5) Other disciplines include instruction on religious beliefs because that is where it belongs. It's not a matter of simply presenting the information and not forcing anyone to believe; in a science class, what matters is science. It's imperative to study religions in history, english, geography, and other fields because it provides an essential context; if not taken into account, then all findings in those fields are inaccurate and suspect. Not so in fields of science, where inclusion of religious ideas would have the opposite effect.

6) The fact that students are allowed to opt-out of ID instruction and not evolution should say something about the validity of ID. If students miss it, they can still understand how the world works. It's useless as a tool of investigation, it has no methodology (other than "that's complex--God dunnit!").

And as far as evolution being offensive, so be it. If a person's religious faith is so weak that it can't withstand contrary ideas, then they need to look beyong the science classroom and discover what their real problem is. Also, part of receiving an education is learning how deal with information and facts you may not personally agree with. Do you run screaming with your hands over ears, or do you go ahead and learn it, understand it, and use it to make your position that much stronger? It's called critical thinking, and it's almost a thing of the past.

And yes, in case you were wondering, I do think the ID issue would make a particularly good critical-thinking exercise. It's more suited for a "special project", however, than actual science curriculum. It teaches nothing, it explains nothing, and it has no practical use.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Mac, this one's for you!

'Call to arms' on evolution
Nearly one-third of science teachers who participated in a national survey say they feel pressured to include creationism-related ideas in the classroom.

And an alarmed science establishment is striking back in defense of teaching evolution...

Says Stephen Meyer of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, which promotes intelligent design: "My first reaction is we're seeing evidence of some panic among the official spokesmen for science." He says Alberts is wrong — that intelligent design is not creationism but a scientific approach more open-minded than Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

If by "panic" he means they are scared the theory of evolution is about to crumble, I don't see evidence of any panic. I see evidence of people who are sick, tired, and pissed off at being constantly bullied, misrepresented, and maligned by an obnoxiously loud minority that wants its fairy tale taught to children in science classes.

But there is a general panic. Everybody who cares about science education in this country should panic. One-third of teachers surveyed indicated they have been pressured to either omit evolution-related material in the classroom or present non-scientific religious teachings as alternatives to evolution. This pressure is not coming from the elected officials who make the rules, they are coming primarily from a minority of students and parents (as expressed in the survey), and, presumably, religious groups and school boards acting unofficially. The law is being sidestepped to force religious views in science classes.

And how can a "scientific approach" that seeks only to discover "facts" to support a predetermined conclusion be remotely considered more open-minded than what's currently taught?
Biologists retort that any reproducible data validating intelligent design would be welcome in science journals. "If there were indeed deep flaws in parts of evolutionary biology, then scientists would be the first to charge in there," says Jeffrey Palmer of Indiana University in Bloomington.

Meyer counters that scientific leaders such as Alberts block a fair hearing of evolution alternatives. "There are powerful institutional and systematic conventions in science that keep (intelligent) design from being considered a scientific process," he says.

Those "powerful institutional and systematic conventions" are called science. More specifically, the scientific method. Perhaps if these fools had paid more attention in their science classes instead of hollering about missing links and Piltdown Man, they might have learned about it.
"Oh, baloney; they aren't published because they don't have any scientific data," says Barbara Forrest of Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, co-author of Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design.

In his letter, Alberts criticizes Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe, a leading proponent of intelligent design, as being representative of the "common tactic" of misrepresenting scientists' comments to cast doubts on evolution.

I really hope what we're seeing here is the start of a shift in the direction of this fight, from point-by-point refutations of the "scientific evidence" of the IDers/creationists to direct attacks on the foundation and real motivations of the entire movement.

The message needs to be basic and blunt: This is not about science. This is about ideology and control. Simple.
Behe calls this "outrageous," saying he simply points out that even establishment scientists note the complexity of biological structures.

He counters the charge that he manipulates scientists' ideas to make it appear even they have doubts regarding evolution by manipulating scientists' ideas to make it appear they have doubts regarding evolution. Beautiful.

The Dictator Fashion Show (via Posthuman Blues)
So what's happening? What's up with Bush and Schwarzenegger's uniforms and billboards?

It would appear that Bush and Schwarzenegger's handlers are not only test marketing these visual cues of dictatorship, they are also conditioning the public to accept them. Gradually, leaders-in-uniform and leaders-on-billboard will be seen with greater frequency, until finally no one questions it-or, at least, none dare question it. Perhaps, too, the president, like Hitler, will at some point announce that he will dress only in uniform as long as the war lasts. Which, of course, will be forever.

And, should that day arrive, the president will not be the only one in uniform.

Who needs uniforms and billboards anymore? I would say W's cult of personality has developed quite well without such antiquated methods. Of course, doing it old-school never hurts, either. It's particularly effective among illiterate peasants, and lord knows the "red states" are swarming with them.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

How far could I go before they would check my credit card signature?

People for the American Way have a pretty decent report on their site regarding the current unpleasantness underway in fair Kansas.
A Network of Right-Wing Support

A number of right-wing clergy in Kansas, energized by their success in getting an anti-gay marriage amendment on the spring 2005 ballot, have indicated that attacking science education was their next agenda item. "It's a new day for evangelicals," said Rev. Jerry Johnston, senior pastor at Overland Park's First Family Church. Pat Bullock of the Heart of Kansas Southern Baptist Association described the connection between the issues: "Same-sex marriage, abortion, are symptoms of the cause of rejecting a Supreme Being, taught through evolution."

Evolution opponents in the legislature were quick to get into the act, sponsoring a resolution arguing that science classes should give students "the full range of scientific views" on the topic. With unintended irony, the resolution declares, "Objectivity is needed in science education" and tells the board that the state's science classes should teach the “full range of scientific views” on controversial subjects, mentioning biological evolution as an example. It is being backed by the state chapter of Concerned Women for America.

And speaking of the marriage amendment:
Out-of-state funds are flooding into Kansas to persuade voters to support the proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, according to finance reports filed Monday.

The Knights of Columbus -- the world's largest lay Catholic organization, based in New Haven, Conn. -- donated $100,000 to support the amendment that Kansans will decide April 5 at the polls.

In addition, the nationally known conservative Christian organization Focus on the Family, led by James Dobson out of Colorado Springs, Colo., has spent $23,063 to urge people to support the ban.

In total, groups supporting the amendment have raised $152,429, while groups opposing the amendment have raised $36,032, with much of that support coming from Lawrence residents.

Bruce Ney of Lawrence, chairman of Kansans for Fairness, which opposes the amendment, said the funding sources that supported the amendment were telling.

"The charade is over. This is about relegating gays and lesbians to second-class citizens," Ney said.

Things are looking great here. How are you?

P.S. Of the above sites, the only one worth your time is, obviously, Kansans for Fairness. As for the others, I only liked to those annoying-evil-idiot-fucks just so you could see what big annoying-evil-idiot-fucks they are.

P.P.S. I haven't paid much attention here to the upcoming election and proposed amendment, but not for the lack of caring. The election is now less than two weeks off, and I have the feeling that things around here are going to get pretty messy. Stay tuned for the fun and games.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Two skeptics lead charge against evolution

Shorter "skeptics": Even though the unifying priniciple in the life sciences field has a century and a half of research and mountains of evidence to support its validity, scientists refuse to to admit they are wrong. Schools should be objective when teaching science and teach a subjective and unscientific religious notion to prove that science does not know everything there is to know. Intelligent Design can be scientifically proven, and that proof is--hey, you can't name one single instance where we didn't offer you proof, can you? Go ahead, try it! We're not pushing a religious ideology, we just happen to think the Christian Bible is the only correct and logical source of knowledge ever! And humans don't look anything like apes!

The benficial powers of darkness (via)
For many of us, night has become day. We work, travel, shop, exercise and socialize in hours that used to be reserved for relaxation and sleep. Time is a limited resource and, to make full use of it, the night has been illuminated and occupied. Even when we do sleep, street lamps and security lights pierce the darkness.

But our freedom from the natural constraints of day and night may have come at a price. According to a growing band of scientists and doctors, many of us are no longer getting enough darkness in our lives. The theory is based on a simple premise. Our biological rhythms evolved in a time before artificial light, to take advantage of both bright days and dark nights. By succumbing to the temptations of 24-hour living, and ignoring or reducing our natural dark time, we could be putting our health at risk...

"Our biological clock has been likened to the conductor of an orchestra, with the multiple rhythms of the body representing the various sections of that orchestra," says Russell Foster, professor of molecular neuroscience at Imperial College, London, which later this month hosts the first international sleep conference. "The body clock adapts us for the varying demands of activity and rest. It ensures our internal synchronicity: that our various internal systems -- temperature, alertness, blood pressure and so on -- are working together. And the body clock sets itself using the light/dark cycle. By moving to 24-hour living, and reducing or ignoring the dark bit, we are effectively throwing away the advantages of millions of years of evolution."...

Humans have known for a long time that banishing the dark from our lives has a powerful effect. "Don't forget," reminds Dijk, "continuous light has long been used as a method of torture."

I once had a summer job where I worked overnight in a grocery store. I spent three and a half months sleeping during the day and working all night underneath blazing flourescent lighting. The only time I experienced anything resembling darkness was during my drive to work. It's the only period in my life from which I cannot recall any specific memories--that entire summer is represented in my mind by a haze of generalized impressions and a vague, disoriented sense of the passage of time.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Imax 'shuns films on evolution'
Several Imax cinemas in the US have refused to show films referring to the theory of evolution for fear of a religious backlash, it is reported.

Viewers at a US test screening judged films which contradicted religious descriptions of man's origins as "blasphemous", the New York Times said.

As a result science films were denied screenings in approximately 12 large-screen Imax cinemas.

I'm looking forward to IMAX films based on "intelligent design" rather than actual science. That should be a fucking hoot.

Bush signs bill that may let Schiavo live
Terri Schiavo's parents won the chance to plea for their daughter's life in federal court with an extraordinary law passed in an emergency session of Congress that saw lawmakers choosing sides in an emotional family battle.

President Bush signed the bill almost immediately after its passage early Monday, vowing in a statement to "stand on the side of those defending life for all Americans, including those with disabilities."

"In cases like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life," he said.

Kinda funny, kinda sad, kinda outrageous that this is the same guy who enacted the law (as governor) that required this and this to happen.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

When you get tired of Googling your name, Gizoogle your weblog.

I really think Ken MacLeod should change the name of his blog to "The Early Days of a Crazy Ass Nigga Nation". It has a nice ring.

Senate Votes to Allow Underwater Drilling in the Arctic
President Bush scored a major policy victory this week when a closely divided Senate voted to approve underwater drilling in the arctic by a margin of 51-49. When the president initially proposed opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, to oil exploration, the Alaskan nature preserve was still a frozen wilderness inhabited by polar bears, musk oxen and caribou. As a result of global warming, however, 70% of the refuge is now covered by water.

Arrival of rigs could spare polar bears, other rare species, from watery death

If you've never visited The Swift Report, do it now. I finally got around to adding their link over yonder (along with many others).

On another note, the transition to a new template wasn't entirely smooth, so my apologies for any oversized graphics crowding the sidebar and the old blockquotes that look like crap. No pain, no gain.

Battle on Teaching Evolution Sharpens

I encourage you to read this entire Washington Post article; it gets down to the nitty-gritty and doesn't even mess around with the of a "scientific debate". I think the last bit is worth quoting:
Fox -- pastor of the largest Southern Baptist church in the Midwest, drawing 6,000 worshipers a week to his Wichita church -- said the compromise is an important tactic. "The strategy this time is not to go for the whole enchilada. We're trying to be a little more subtle," he said.

To fundamentalist Christians, Fox said, the fight to teach God's role in creation is becoming the essential front in America's culture war. The issue is on the agenda at every meeting of pastors he attends. If evolution's boosters can be forced to back down, he said, the Christian right's agenda will advance.

"If you believe God created that baby, it makes it a whole lot harder to get rid of that baby," Fox said. "If you can cause enough doubt on evolution, liberalism will die."

Like Meyer, Fox is glad to make common cause with people who do not entirely agree.

"Creationism's going to be our big battle. We're hoping that Kansas will be the model, and we're in it for the long haul," Fox said. He added that it does not matter "who gets the credit, as long as we win." [italics mine]

Get it? This is NOT about science.

I think I'm back...

...and with a new season, comes a fresh new look and even more bitter cynicism. I still have no idea what I'm doing.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Sometimes, I get the feeling that just the simple act of waking up in the morning and starting a new day is really the Universe's way of sending me a message. That message almost always feels like this:

FUCK YOU.