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May 23, 2005
Diktat summons Simplicio
Filed in: Bioethics, Current Affairs, Politics, Science

Perhaps in an effort to attract the most diverse set of Google ads for a single post - but more likely to express utter disdain at the prospect of confabulated presentments in public education, Commissar Stephen at Politburo Diktat decries such - a "thinking" waste.

In a plaintive call for the status quo, Stephen does summon Simplicio's cast for a retort.

Astronomy -

Pedant Simplicio: 'To support our astronomical observations, we must learn cosmological law. Now repeat after me, Big Bang, inflation, red shift - these are the things that are evidenced in the heavens.'

Student Salviati: 'But, professor, I observe a consistent relationship between quasar fields and nearby galaxies, in particular the decreasing red shift of the quasars with increasing distance from the galaxy of interest.'

Pedant Simplicio: 'PUT DOWN THAT TELESCOPE! - I said repeat after me, Big bang, inflation, r...'

Student Sagredo: 'But, professor, it is apparent that quasars don't obey the law of Hubble. Here's a DVD with a number of Nobel Laureates and leading figures in the field that think an open dialog on the subject may allow progress on difficulties with existing theories...'

Pedant Simplicio: <spitting, grabs the DVD and smashes it with his feet> 'We will not explore any out of the mainstream pseudo-science in this class - Nobel Laureates or not!'

Student Salviati: 'But, professor, empirical observation...'

Pedant Simplicio: 'Shut your trap! If you do not repeat after me, I will make you write it on the board 1,000 times - and if you do not internalize it, you will never get funding and you will never get published. Do you hear me?'

Chemistry -

Pedant Simplicio: 'And then, out of these pre-biotic, pro-biotic conditions, the simplest cell emerged.'

Student Salviati: 'But professor, I can see in this electron microscope that even the simplest cell is a combination of extremely complex systems and has hundreds of millions of components.'

Pedant Simplicio: 'STEP BACK FROM THAT INSTRUMENT! - They should have never invented those things!'

Student Salviati: 'Sir, it is so highly improbable...'

Pedant Simplicio: 'Improbable? Are you some religious fruitcake? We're not talking about probability here, we're saying that LIFE WILL EMERGE!'

Student Salviati: 'Professor, I have here only a pad of paper, my calculator, and my statistics text. I have learned that combinatorial...'

Pedant Simplicio: 'This is Chemistry class - NOT Math class. The issue is we are here aren't we? LIFE WILL EMERGE!'

Student Sagredo: 'But, professor, Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickersham, who certainly had no religious affinity, calculated1 that the probability of a single bacterium of E. coli arising from a chance combination of chemicals is 1 in 1040,000. That number is so large as to defy...'

Pedant Simplicio: 'Probability really has no place in this discussion. After all, LIFE was trying to EMERGE in all places at all times in the universe - you must understand that the number of trials...'

Student Sagredo: 'Professor, with a number like that you could have all particles in the universe interacting billions of times per second for trillions and trillions of years, in fact could have trillions and trillions of universes conducting such trials and we still really haven't scratched the implication of such a number...'

Pedant Simplicio: 'Look, we don't base our understanding of this science on probability...'

Student Salviati: 'But sir, we've been learning in Physics class that the entire basis of particle reality is the probabilistic wave function in quantum mechanics and ...'

Pedant Simplicio: 'This is not Physics class, this is not Math class, this is Chemistry class - this is not about probability, this is about LIFE WILL EMERGE!'

Student Salviati: 'Uh, professor, I've been reading this book that has this story about the great scientist Louis Pasteur ...'

Pedant Simplicio: 'What, are you reading from some script from the creationists? I am so tired of talking about the biogenesis/abiogenesis question!'

Student Salviati: 'No, no, sir, I'm talking about his discovery of chiralty in salts and the resulting optical experiments he did.'

Pedant Simplicio: 'Chiralty, so? Many compounds have either right or left 'handedness'. What of it?'

Student Salviati: Well, any chemical reaction that has ever been observed that produces isomers produces 50% L and 50% R chiralty right? The same is true of amino acids right?

Pedant Simplicio: 'Get to it plebe. I don't have all day.'

Student Salviati: 'So in the formation of a strand of DNA, for example, all proteins are made up of L isomer amino acids right? So, to get 100% L chiralty from a mixture of 50% L and 50% R requires something to sort them right? I mean Pasteur used magnification and tweezers to separate salt crystals. What would play the role of Pasteur in selecting the thousands of L amino acids that make up a protein from a 50% L and 50% R batch given that they are chemically identical but optically different? And what would play such a role in selecting the billions of nucleotides that all have R (opposite of amino acid) chiralty? And why is it that when anything that is alive dies that its amino acids immediately begin changing chiralty back to 50% L and 50% R2? Information processing that is independent of chemical composition is a requirement...'

Pedant Simplicio: '<sputtering>Do not shove that ID nonsense down my throat! Call it 'chiralty magic' I don't care - the issue is that LIFE EMERGED! - now you will write on the board 1,000 times: LIFE EMERGED!' Do you understand me?'

Math -

Pedant Simplicio: 'Mathematics is beautiful and may even be the actual reality that underlies the universe...'

Student Salviati: 'Professor, why do pure mathematicians and physicists often use entirely different formalism to contemplate the same problem space?'

Pedant Simplicio: 'Well, plebe, in each area of the sciences obscure mathematical formalism is required to maintain the status quo. A person must invest a lifetime in a particular formalism to achieve academic status so that they are qualified to contribute to their chosen discipline.'

Student Sagredo: 'Professor, what if a scientist took his own time and became facile in another formalism?'

Pedant Simplicio: 'That's the beauty of it - he wouldn't have the qualifications so he couldn't get published across disciplines. And, of course, any member of the public at large, no matter what their skill level, could never contribute to a scientific discipline.'

Student Sagredo: 'Sounds elitist to me. But couldn't notation for things like constants, coordinate free representation, coordinate based representation, and subscript based summation be completely standardized? You know, just the basics, so things like manifolds and phase space ...'

Pedant Simplicio: 'Well, things like M-theory are certainly applying pressure for that to happen - but new formalism is being created in each subsequent subdiscipline as fast as can be devised. Choose you this day which formalism you will learn - because it is what will define your career for the rest of your life.'

English -

Pedant Simplicio: 'Ok, it is important that you never say 'he' or 'she' any more. Just say 'person' or 'them' or 'they'? Got it? See, there really is no difference between the sexes, er, I mean genders - we all have sufficient appendages and orifices to accommodate...'

Student Salviati: <Holding up a copy of South Park Republican T-Shirt Magazine> 'But, professor, women and men are really different - I mean look at this...'

Pedant Simplicio: 'HA! That's nothing that a little slimming of the hips and breast reduction won't fix. It is necessary for the society to become androgynous. There are no physiological differences and there are no role differences between the genders.'

Student Sagredo: 'Sir, there are clearly physiological differences. In Biology class...'

Pedant Simplicio: 'This is NOT Biology class - this is English class - and I warn you - DO NOT proceed down this path. I will have to schedule you for additional sensitivity training if you don't shut your mouth! Now, back to the appendages and orifices...'

Student Salviati: 'Professor, may I please be excused. I'm just feeling a bit nauseated having my 'appendages' and 'orifices' compared to those of...'

Pedant Simplicio: 'Now, you just stop right there mister! I WILL send you up for hate crimes if you say another word!'

History -

Pedant Simplicio: 'So we can see from this radioactive decay that the earth is billions of years old.'

Student Salviati: 'Sir, I'm trying to work out the equation on this. What were the initial conditions of the sample?'

Pedant Simplicio: <Suspiciously> 'Well, you just take the amount of both isotopes in the current sample and add them together.'

Student Salviati: 'But how do we know that there has been no entrance or exit of either isotope from the sample over time? And how many isotopes does the sample go through prior to becoming stable? What byproducts are produced through the isotope chain and what impact do they have on the calculations? Why isn't the decay rate considered as a variable?'

Pedant Simplicio: 'Look, you just have to assume that the solution is correct.'

Student Salviati: 'But, professor, in Applied Mathematics they teach us to take initial conditions, boundary conditions, and all possible variables into account in contemplating the solution to a calculation problem. Wouldn't it be appropriate to take a set of terms, say, the initial amount of each isotope in the sample, the entrance of any of each isotope into the sample over time, the exit of any of each isotope from the sample over time - on down the isotope chain until stability, the rate of decay, the byproducts of the radiation in the sample, and look at all possible mathematical solutions by treating them as variables?'

Pedant Simplicio: 'Please don't tell me you are a YEC? God, how do these things happen to me?'

Student Salviati: 'Sir, I am asking a question about the math...'

Pedant Simplicio: 'Plebe, this is not Math class, this is History class - the assumptions are valid, you don't need to work out any results.

Student Sagredo: 'Professor, here is a chart from an empirical study that was done evaluating helium diffusion through zircon crystals as Uranium - U238 decays through several isotopes into Lead - Pb206. In the process through this isotope chain eight helium atoms are emitted by each U238 atom. These radioactive crystals are found in granite and have been found in significant quantity in many different locales. Helium diffusion through these zircon crystals show an age of the earth at 6,000 plus or minus 2,000 years.

Tempdiffusionplot_1

Pedant Simplicio: 'Do you know how completely ridiculous that is? That's not science - that's just YEC mumbo jumbo!'

Student Salviati: 'So, professor, is it the rate of diffusion of helium in radioactive zircon that you have an issue with? Is it the way the data was collected? The professional qualifications of the scientists that did the work? The journal that the paper was published in?'

Pedant Simplicio: 'It's just junk science. Anyone who starts out to prove a point of view is not doing science.'

Student Sagredo: 'You mean like making assumptions...'

Pedant Simplicio: 'Don't start with me! NOW GET THAT CHART OUT OF HERE - it's illegal to even have it here you know? I don't care what they dig up, I don't care what they measure, I don't care what observations they make. I don't care if the observable phenomena differ by six orders of magnitude from accepted theory! The case is closed! Got it?'

Modern History -

Pedant Simplicio: 'Now, repeat after me: "The Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state", "The Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state."...'

Student Salviati: 'Sir, I'm reading through and searching the Constitution here and I can't see anything about separation of church and state - where is it?'

Pedant Simplicio: 'TURN OFF THAT COMPUTER! Just take it from me that it's in there. Now , repeat after me...'

Student Sagredo: 'Professor, I know that the Constitution says: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

Pedant Simplicio: 'What did you do, memorize it? Ok, so that means separation of church and state...'

Student Sagredo: 'Well, it says here that it was intended by our founding fathers to mean that there would be no state sponsored religion like in the countries they were often fleeing from. They wanted a governmental guarantee that they could worship as they wished. There was no intention of the negative. The fact that we have an array of restrictions "prohibiting the free exercise thereof" would have appalled all of them.

Pedant Simplicio: 'Plebe the only reason I let you continue is that you didn't use the 'G' word. So, let's move on. Say after me: "Emanations and penumbra", together now: "Emanations and penumbra", you can do it ...'

Biology -

Pedant Simplicio: 'And, as you observe this taxonomy catalog, realize that all species originated from that first single celled simple life that emerged so long ago. Know that through the incredible power of fitness selection each species, living or extinct, developed and came about step by step until we see the wondrous panoply of life around us...'

Student Salviati: 'But, professor, looking at this fossil catalog, it appears that there isn't much of anything that is claimed to be a transitional form between one species and another anywhere in the taxonomy tree. Shouldn't there be an equal number of fossils found for every transitional form as there are for the existing or extinct species?'

Pedant Simplicio: 'Oh, that's such a tired old game. Can't you think of anything better than that? Don't you realize that the formation of a fossil is really a pretty rare event? How could you possibly put up goalposts like that - I mean 'filling in the fossil record' - it's just not rational!'

Student Salviati: 'Well, professor, it says here that by 1955 the world had accumulated about two hundred million (200,000,000) catalogued fossils of about 250,000 species3. Since then the catalog has certainly increased immensely - but the species count remain essentially the same. Of course, cataloging doesn't really represent the inconcevably immense number of fossils that are known (just not catalogued). Robert Broom, the South African paleontologist, estimated that there are eight hundred thousand million skeletons of vertebrate animals in the Karro formation in Africa4. More than a billion fish, averaging 6 to 8 inches in length, died on 4 square miles of bay bottom in England5. Sir, it appears from the observable fossil record that it isn't the rarity of fossil deposition, but the lack of evidence of gradual speciation change that is the case...'

Pedant Simplicio: DIDN'T I SAY TO TURN OFF THAT COMPUTER? It doesn't really matter what's in the record. You can't believe your lying eyes. The force of natural selection and the mechanism of genetic mutation are so powerful that there is no other rational conclusion...'

Student Sagredo: 'But, professor, neo-Darwinism has been utterly ignoring the revolutionary expansion in knowledge in cellular biology in the last few decades. The knowledge explosion that has been occurring in most every field of endeavor has certainly been occurring within cellular biology as well. The revolution in understanding about genome organization, the capabilities for cellular repair, the mobility of genetic elements for adaptation, natural genetic engineering, and cellular information processing demand formation of new theories - but practitioners in the field, primarily of evolutionary viewpoint - find themselves rebuffed by mainstream neo-Darwinists that still consider the cell to be a chunk of protoplasm surrounded by a membrane. Given the almost continuous reformulation of theory in the last 150 years in Physics, for example, why does evolutionary theory still function with a knowledge orthodoxy that is contemporary with the Civil War?'

Pedant Simplicio: 'We will not be drawn into a discussion that involves cells acting as information processing entities - that just opens the door to ID nonsense. Think of the textbooks that would have to be changed!'

Phys Ed -

Pedant Simplicio: 'Now, everyone just close their eyes and visualize that they have a healthy body. Just see yourself as happy and healthy...'

Student Salviati: 'Professor, shouldn't we be exercising to increase our heart rate or studying nutrition? In the last several decades cutting edge nutrition science and exercise science has shown how effective exercise and good nutrition are for the prevention of disease.'

Pedant Simplicio: 'No, it is important that you continue the sedentary obesity trend in the country - you need to continue to consume primarily refined carbohydrates and we certainly don't know about the value of nutritional supplements - after all, we have a vast pharmaceutical industry and allopathic medicine infrastructure to support. As to exercise, right now we're finding the value of meditation - I need you to clear your mind, make it devoid of everything but my voice...'

Student Sagredo: 'But, sir...'

Pedant Simplicio: 'Now, stay with me here for a bit - we're going to move on to massage techniques, I need you to pair off into non-gender specific couples according to sexual preference. We're going to do a little appendage and orifice exploration. Why shouldn't we? We are no different than the animals. And it will feel good.'

Music -

Pedant Simplicio: 'Ok, time for music appreciation...;

Student Salviati: 'Professor, may we listen to The Great Debate from the Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence double album by Dream Theater?'

Pedant Simplicio: 'No you may not - we will not be listening to any music that questions stem cell research - even if it is from the best progressive rock band in the world. Not in my class. Here's what we're going to listen to: Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads, come on kids: 'Same as it ever was ... Same as it ever was ... Same as it ever was ... Same as it ever was ... Same as it ever was ...' come on kids: 'Same as it ever was ... Same as it ever was ... 'Same as it ever was ... Same as it ever was ...'

Pre-Med (Elective) -

Pedant Simplicio: 'Now, the AIDS complex is caused by the retrovirus HIV.'

Student Salviati: 'Sir, isn't it true that no live HIV virus has ever been isolated?'

Pedant Simplicio: 'Yes, but you have to understand it's a retrovirus. It has completely different properties and we shouldn't expect to understand it in the same way that we do other viruses.'

Student Sagredo: 'But, sir, isn't it true that the AIDS complex is a list of 29 or more familiar conditions known well in advance of the AIDS 'epidemic'? Isn't it true that some people have these conditions without having any dead HIV virus identified in them? Isn't it true that some people have supposedly had dead HIV virus detected in them, but they have no AIDS syndrome? Isn't it true that different diseases - like cervical cancer in women - have been added to the list of the AIDS group of conditions which immediately changed the calculation of those who had AIDS without any new HIV 'infections'?'

Pedant Simplicio: 'Now, you are really sounding lke a raving lunatic! Look, even the religious nuts are with us on this one. Anything to promote safe sex is a good thing you know.'

Student Salviati: 'But, sir, if there is no evidence of an effective pathogen ... look I've read a book by one of the most brilliant scientists in the world...'

Pedant Simplicio: 'Oh, but we've taken care of him. He has for all practical purposes been stripped of all of his honors and is a pariah in the scientific community. We know what to do with a heretic.'

Student Sagredo: 'Well, sir, now he has a cudgel. And life and new media, and information, and Africa, and communities will expose the truth.'

Pedant Simplicio: 'Ha! Good luck! We own the media, we own the funding, we own the governmental and institutional support, and we own mainstream science. DIDN'T I TELL YOU TO PUT THAT COMPUTER AWAY!'

Start a Center Right Blog (Extra Credit) -

Pedant Simplicio: So you may now start a center right blog. This will allow you to opine primarily against the faults of the liberal media. You will participate in a shared epiphany: that the fourth estate is tightly controlled by elitists who manage what information is disseminated and the dialog that takes place in the public square. You will feel a great sense of liberation as you gain insight into what they have been doing for decades and what strides have been made against them. We allow this because it should be sufficient for you. After all economic Marxism has failed, so we need some ascendancy of economic conservatism.

But, you must never think that it is possible that the sciences feature the same kind of elitism and agenda to control the information that is disseminated, control the money designated for research, or the dialog that takes place in the public square. You must continue to keep your cultural Marxist imprinting and never question the objectivity of all of the sciences. Remember that the intellectual freedom you crave in your quest against the liberal media cannot be tolerated in regard to science. All of the significant questions have been settled. Science is your friend - as it is to all the cultural proletariat - do not turn against it.

1Dean L. Overman, A Case Against Accident and Self-Organization (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1997) pp. 58, 59.

2Leonard Brand, Faith, Reason, and Earth History, (Berrien Springs, Michigan: Andrews University Press, 1997)  p. 260).

3W.R. Bird, The Origin of Species Revisited (1954), p. 48.

4N.O. Newell "Adequacy of the Fossil Record," in Journal of Paleontology, May 1959, p. 496.

5Harry S. Ladd, "Ecology, Paleontology, and Stratigraphy," in Science, January 9, 1959, p. 72.

H/t Bill at INDCJournal for the link to the Diktat post.



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One of the Creationists' favorite claims is that "there are no transitional fossils" between one species and another. Not true. False. A lie. Here is the obligatory list of hundreds of transitional forms at talkorigins.org. A careful reader might note ... [Read More]

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Shouldn't there be an equal number of fossils found for every transitional form as there are for the existing or extinct species? No. There's no need for an "equal number."

EMCEE: Why not? Are you resorting to punctuated equilibrium?

'But, professor, looking at this fossil catalog, it appears that there isn't much of anything that is claimed to be a transitional form between one species and another anywhere in the taxonomy tree.

Thousands of transtitional fossils have been found.
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html

EMCEE: A paltry few thousand? Come on - it's incumbent on the theory to produce at least more transitional forms fossils than there are current species. This just by inspection. Of course, what Kathleen calls 'transitional' others - including evolutionists - call sharks, frogs, fragments, and 'just can't agree on taxonomy', etc. - see a point by point refutation of the talkorigins faq here.

Posted by: The Commissar at May 23, 2005 6:06:16 AM

All chemistry majors learn the 2nd law of thermodynamics that the energy systems of the universe run downhill unless acted upon by an outside Source.

A world renown atheist recently admitted believing (more or less) because the chances of such intelligent design and complexity of DNA happening by chance seem impossible.

The best answer that I've found against evolution is in a book, "Education," eulogized by Prof. Stratemeyer of Columbia University. You can see or copy it www.whiteestate.org/books/ed/ed14.html
Page down twice to view pg 130, large paragraph.

Thanks for the opportunity to share on this.
Richard Ruhling, MD
www.DontAskYourDoctor.com

Posted by: Richard Ruhling at May 23, 2005 6:56:58 AM

"There are NO transitional fossils. NOT ONE!!!"

...(later) ...

"A paltry few thousand..."

Who's moving goalposts?

Your link noted that a few of the transitional categories did not explain every transition and ignored hundreds of other categories.

EMCEE: I'm not sure where you got: "There are NO transitional fossils. NOT ONE!!!" - was it from the link? "A paltry few thousand..." - is from me and my saying it does not acknowledge that any of the proferred few thousand is indeed a transitional fossil - every one that is examined just doesn't pass the sniff test. With billions of extant fossils, it is just strange that a defender of a body of knowledge would, in effect, state: "don't pay any attention to that 99.9999% - look at this .0001% - isn't that convincing?" There would be no debate if it were the other way around - which is a reasonable expectation were one interested in evidence.

Posted by: The Commissar at May 23, 2005 10:18:46 AM

There are thousands of transitional vertebrate fossil FORMS noted, not merely thousands of specimens. Thus all the fossils for transitional form ursus minimus were "one" of the thousands.

Which one(s) don't pass the 'sniff test?'

There are transitional forms documented for all the vertebrate families, as well as for many of the invertebrate families, which don't fossilize as well.

Among hominids: Australopithecus afarensis. A. africanus, Homo habilis, H. rudolfensis, H. ergaster, H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis, H. sapiens. There are plenty of transitional species right there. As well as the 'dead-end' species of Paranthropus and Neanderthal, which also were transitionl FROM other forms.

(This is where you invoke Piltdown.)

EMCEE: Oh, this is where you say, "I know what you are going to propose next." I'll offer no prognostications. The argument here basically lies in that one person's transitional is another's species. We could start with Kathleen's first one -Cladoselache - pirate? Nope, shark. Not a transition from one species to another - it's an extinct species of shark. As well, there is no agreement among all scientists that the ape/hominid fossil remains are anything other than either apes or humans. Perhaps it would be appropriate to define the term 'transitional form'.

Posted by: The Commissar at May 23, 2005 11:31:23 AM

Some of the characters of Cladoselache that mark it as transitional between jawless fishes and modern sharks:

No anal fin, two dorsal fins
***Terminal mouth*** (like a fish)
Jaws fused to its braincase
Fins were stiff and simplistic
no claspers (external fertilization?)

EMCEE: My friend, we aren't going to be able to communicate effectively until we establish a working definition of what a transitional form is. You provide a number of characteristics that supposedly establish Cladoselache as a shark predecessor - but it shares such characteristics for the most part with living shark species - and is referred to as a 'shark' in the literature.. There are currently something over 400 species classified as 'shark' - and they are a quite diverse fauna. In the shark family, the squatiniforms, pristiophoriforms, and squaliforms all have no anal fin and two dorsal fins, a number of species have a terminal mouth - the frilled shark (which has even been suggested to be closely related to Cladoselache - and has a 'more primitive' tail) - and the whale shark are examples, the subclass bradyodonti is comprised of cartilaginous species of chimaeras and ratfishes (and you'll forgive me for grouping the cartilaginous species together) which for the most part have the upper jaw fused to the braincase. Certainly, the lack of claspers is a surprizing feature of this shark, but it can't be claimed as some sort of evolutionary predecessor, because xenacanths and Diademodus either 'preceeded' or were 'contemporary' of Cladoselache and they had claspers. Perhaps the lack of claspers is a good reason that this species is extinct :) In any event shark species are variously oviparous, ovoviviparous, and viviparous - so an oviparous reproduction mode for this species would be reasonable. Fin renderings in some of these links allow for flexible and complex characteristics.

Of course, Cladoselache is cartilaginous, has no significant rib cage, has a streamlined body plan, a number of gill slits on the side, dermal denticles covering the body, and rows of replaceable teeth - which is the gross definition of - a shark. Cladoselache: fascinating, interesting, unique ... shark.

Re: apes/humans. So, where's the magic line, in the species I listed?

EMCEE: Commissar, I continue to propose that we develop a working definition of a transitional form. I suspect that you will want to have a definition that we would be able to apply to all 1.75 million or so known living species. I would not support such a definition. I might like to see a definition that could not be applied to any current living species or group with common characteristics - and one that prescribed a distinct morphology differentiation - and you likely would not support that. I don't know if thoughtful people with differing views have attempted to do this before. I'm certainly willing to try. Then we can take up some more discussion.

And, please note, the point in my post regarding the fossil record was about preponderance - and that's still, to me an insurmountable issue. Of the many billions of extant fossils, the evolutionary gradualist points to .0001% of them - all of which can be reasonably argued against IMO - and expects that to carry the evidential case. I say that the 99.9999% does.

If I were concerned, for example, about Cladoselache's lack of claspers, I could argue that the 100 or so specimen that we have from the Cleveland dig that were instantaneously interred with all of their food either still in the mouth, partially consumed, or digesting were all female. You might suggest that this was an improbable conjecture. You might suggest that it was unreasonable, perhaps irrational for me to make such an argument. Yet, evolutionary theory demands acceptance of a proposition in terms of just the number of proferred fossil transitional forms against the required number of transitional forms that is almost infinitely more improbable.


Posted by: The Commissar at May 23, 2005 12:48:46 PM

All chemistry majors learn the 2nd law of thermodynamics that the energy systems of the universe run downhill unless acted upon by an outside Source.

Like the Sun, for instance?

Posted by: at May 23, 2005 4:16:32 PM

"Among hominids: Australopithecus afarensis. A. africanus, Homo habilis, H. rudolfensis, H. ergaster, H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis, H. sapiens. There are plenty of transitional species right there. As well as the 'dead-end' species of Paranthropus and Neanderthal, which also were transitionl FROM other forms."

MC: "They are nothing other than either apes or humans."

Which ones are apes? Which ones are humans?

EMCEE: Commissar, since you won't provide a defitnition of transitional form, I will formulate one that I will work against and I'll get back to you. Heading to California today.
These are all examples of transitional forms, which are abundantly represented in the fossil record, not just 0.00000000001%.

Posted by: The Commissar at May 24, 2005 5:54:58 AM

You're a Renaissance man, MC. You really ran the educational gamut in your post. People are too fixated on evolution trivia. As you've shown, there are lots of other areas where the education system refuses to address the complexity of the material it teaches.

EMCEE: Gosh thanks Gail. It's great teachers like you that foster that healthy, open curiosity so necessary for inspired education.

Posted by: gail at May 24, 2005 6:32:39 AM

As to elitism, in the final analysis, I would say yes, if only to suggest that, in general, scientists focus first on an expected result, then need to figure out how to get there; not always knowing what to do with unexpected results, which can be pushed aside in the process because they don't or won't fit in with the basic premise. It's in the thesis. Once published, they hate dissent or to be proven wrong and embarrassed. I suppose one can attribute it, somewhat, to basic human nature.

I've been blessed with an intense curiosity, not focused, but generalized. Which, in the long run, has kept me from the study of any one particular subject. It's also kept me from striking any sort of extreme position on any one topic. There's always a ... What if? I like to take things apart, just to see how they work. Once I have the thing in pieces, I sometimes lose interest in the reconstruction, usually because there's so little time or something else has piqued my interest or required my attention. Common sense tells me that this is not necessarily a good thing when I want a toasted BLT for breakfast. The subjects of dissection have been all over the map: music, chemistry, physics, languages, history, math, religions, athletics, motherhood, the human condition, ad nauseum. I think I've been quite fortunate to have had very intelligent parents and siblings, son and ex-hubby, and a few excellent teachers. I've had a somewhat privileged upbringing, a few years at private school, some post-secondary schooling, but mostly self taught ... always, everyday, still learning something new. To be honest, I'd expected that motherhood would be my life's work, and to some extent, it is.

I'll start, I suppose, with some small observations of the education system and social condition extending back about thirty years. I haven't seen that there are too many differences between the US and Canadian process.

The first issue that makes me angriest is the dumbing down of very young children, usually boys. Using drugs and diagnoses of ADD just to keep order in a class of six year olds is, to me, outrageous. The feminization of the classrooms is not a healthy result. Taking physical fitness/education out of the main curriculum ... not letting the little guys burn off all that excess energy ... stifling any and all competition ... has resulted in almost two generations of lazy and incurious individuals who will suck up the latest in couture philosophy, just because it's easy. I'm generalizing, of course. There are certainly many who have come through the system somehow unscathed. I'll also suggest that the teaching profession has been somewhat populated with mediocre, uninspired individuals, who either don't have the answers and the will to seek them, or know how to handle the curious child.

I AM a proponent of a very strong basic 3R's education. That being said, what we've seen over the past thirty years is an explosion in discovery and exploration of just about everything. I expect that this is exponential and what we will see and learn in the next thirty years will be extraordinary. None of this would have been possible without stimulating the curiosity of some pretty remarkable people and inspiring them to "think outside the box". I have doubts that much of the stimulation has originated inside the classrooms. It's really too bad.

So, bottom line (just 'cause I need to stop somewhere), as to science education in particular, I firmly believe that nothing should be off the table. Although there are some finite truths to be learned, they only assist in looking for the unknown. Sure there will be stupid questions, but there are also inspired questions which will take us someplace new. Where would we be without a naked Archimedes?

Fair is fair; have I lost it?

P.S. When I say "nothing should be off the table" in science education, I mean "discussion", not experimentation. I would expect that ethics MUST be a topic of conversation. I have very, very grave concerns about such things as cloning and related issues.

EMCEE: Wow! What a thoughtful response. Thank you!

Posted by: Diana at May 24, 2005 9:51:34 AM

"When I say "nothing should be off the table" in science education, I mean "discussion", not experimentation. "

I have a theory of "Scientific Astrology." Let's teach it. Or my "Modern Alchemy," -- let's let the students decide. How about Holocaust Denial - shall we 'teach the controversy?'

Yup. That's the plan. Dress up any old medieval mythology in scientific lingo and put it out there.

EMCEE: Hey thanks, Commissar, your straw man soliloquy proves my point. We can have reasoned dialog or you can play foil to your own devising.

Posted by: The Commissar at May 24, 2005 10:18:11 AM

So what's stopping you from gathering a group of concerned parents to figure out some way to stop the fluff?

Posted by: Diana at May 24, 2005 10:43:00 AM

I don't think that an argumentum ad absurdum (with a touch of slippery slope) really addresses the issues that MC brought up.

Posted by: gail at May 24, 2005 10:45:39 AM

Clarification: EMCEE posed the question ...

"Thought about whether the sciences are as elitist as the LSM? And what impact that should have on education?"

... which was the source of my initial response.

My critique is focused on a relatively classic "Math and Science" curriculum .. not on foolish "bird" course nonsense.

Posted by: Diana at May 24, 2005 10:56:43 AM

You can define 'transitional fossils' any way you like.

There are abundant examples in the fossil record of forms that were transitional between an earlier and later form. Not just 0.0001%

If all extinct hominids were either "apes" or "humans," why not identify which you call which?

Posted by: The Commissar at May 24, 2005 12:35:22 PM

I found a few problems with the helium diffusion thru zircon study:

The results in Humphreys et al. (2003a) and related YEC documents are clearly based on numerous invalid assumptions, flawed arguments, and questionable data, which include:

* invoking groundless miracles to explain away U/Pb dates on zircons,

* misidentifying samples as originating from the Jemez Granodiorite,

* performing helium analyses on impure biotite separations,

* dubiously revising helium measurements from Gentry et al. (1982a),

* relying on questionable Q/Q0 (helium retention) values from Gentry et al. (1982a),

* failing to recognize that the Q0 values (maximum possible amount of radiogenic helium in a mineral) for their samples were probably much greater than 15 ncc STP/μg,

* inconsistently interpreting already questionable helium concentrations from samples 5 and 6 to make them comply with the demands of their "models,"

* seriously underestimating the helium concentrations in the zircons from 750 meters depth and not realizing that their Q/Q0 value for this sample (using Q0 = 15 ncc STP/μg) would be greater than one and therefore spurious,

* not properly considering the possible presence of extraneous ("excess") 3He and 4He in their zircons,

* listing the average date and standard deviation of their 2004 results as 6,000 ±2,000 years when a standard deviation (two-sigma) of ± 4,600 years is more appropriate.

* "fudging" old Soviet data that should have been ignored,

* deriving "models" that are based on several invalid assumptions (including constant temperature conditions over time, Q0 of 15 ncc STP/μg, and isotropic diffusion in biotite),

* failing to provide standard deviations for biotite measurements (b values) and then misapplying the values to samples from different lithologies,

* inserting imaginary defect lines into Arrhenius plots, and

* deriving and using equations that yield inconsistent "dates."

The relatively high Q/Q0 values of some of the Fenton Hill core zircons may be due to extraneous helium or artifacts of grossly underestimating the Q0 values of uranium- and thorium-rich zircons. Because of these and other problems, the YEC "dates" and conclusions in Humphreys et al. (2003a) and related documents are completely unreliable.

EMCEE: Humphreys has graciously answered Henke here. Henke's 'science' is an example of the purposeful obfuscation that some offer as if throwing around minutiae disguised as formalism and tables proves anything. Interesting to me is that Humphreys answers when Henke's 'paper' has not been peer reviewed or published in a science journal. Of course, 'objective scientists' excoriate YEC PhD's for forming their own scientific institutions and publishing their own journals - but, of course, there is no where else where they could get published because of the elitist practice by the journals. If Henke were really being honest, he would get his debunking published by Science or Natureor another of the 'mainstream' science journals. Alas, that would give too much credibility to Humphreys et al and would expose Henke's errors. We couldn't have that now could we?

Posted by: The Commissar at May 24, 2005 6:50:45 PM

All bullet points detailed here:

http://www.trueorigin.org/henke_helium_archive.asp

EMCEE: Thanks. Answered - see previous comment. It's also worth noting that Henke could hardly be called an objective party to the debate since he repudiated his own religious faith and has a personal antipathy towards those who profess it. A judge (well a non-activist judge) recuses himself when he has an obvious conflict of interest in a case.

Posted by: The Commissar at May 24, 2005 6:52:23 PM

Any comment on Humphrey's U/PB dates?

To explain away the U/Pb dates, Humphreys invokes a miracle. Humphreys claims that God created a "brief burst of accelerated nuclear decay," which supposedly produced the necessary amounts of radiogenic lead and helium in a short period of time without melting and sterilizing the Earth. Specifically, Humphreys states:

"As before, the creation model starts with a brief burst of accelerated nuclear decay generating a high concentration C0 of helium uniformly throughout the zircon (like the distribution of U and Th atoms), but not in the surrounding biotite. ...
"Thus our new diffusion data support the main hypothesis of the RATE research initiative: that God drastically accelerated the decay rates of long half-life nuclei during the earth's recent past."

He further speculates that the global "burst of accelerated nuclear decay" could have occurred during the "Creation Week," "the Fall of Adam and Eve," and/or "Noah's Flood."

Hmmm.

"A burst of accelerated nuclear decay during Creation Week" which affected zircon but NOT the surrounding biotite.

Okay, that explains it. I'm convinced. Where do I sign?

EMCEE: On the one hand, the isotope decay process exists, and on the other hand, the byproduct of that decay exists as well. As my original post suggests, solving this problem scientifically requires taking all data into account. As Humphreys points out, his YEC reasoning is his explanation for how the scientific measure of isotope decay provides a date of 1.5 billion years and the scientific measure of the helium byproduct provides a date of 6,000 years - and that is a matter of taste. In Humphreys' words:
This means he does not find RATE’s “accelerated nuclear decay” hypothesis to his taste. But, as the ancient Romans said, “There’s no disputing about taste.” In other words, Henke’s personal preference in theories means exactly nothing to the rest of us. Moreover, it is beside the point. The main subject of my articles is the experimental data, and I offered only a few paragraphs about our hypothesis simply to explain what we think really happened. If Henke doesn’t like our explanation, let him offer his own. I’d be very interested to hear (preferably in a peer-reviewed scientific journal) how he thinks the zircons suffered 1.5 billion years worth of nuclear decay but only 6,000 years worth of helium losses!
. The situation as it is now is analogous to the state of affairs in physics when the two-slit experiment was performed. Instead of reacting with: "Hmmm... empirical observation (i.e. 'science') has been demonstrated that causes us to alter our theory", the reaction is "There is no screen! There are no photons that cause both a wave-like and a particle-like effect! Everyone ignore it and perhaps it will go away!"

Posted by: The Commissar at May 25, 2005 6:09:51 AM

Whoa! So you guys are going to decide "origins" here? Good luck. How about a broader discussion about updating curricula to bring us into the 21st century and beyond?

EMCEE: Hi D! I would love to have such a discussion. That was my objective in writing the post in the first place. My friend, der Commissar, apparently takes the view that those who propose such a broader discussion have no standing to sit at table. I have suggested that based on empirical observation in modernity in a number of disciplines, science advancement has taken place and that the 'science' elite actively suppresses open dialog on such observation. This is not just happening in the education environment, but in the entire 'science' infrastructure. So far, Commissar Stephen is proving my point. But at least he's discussing something. So I'll choose to credit that and continue that discussion.

In the meantime, what do you think are practical steps to take that would foster an intellectual openness in curricula advancement?

Posted by: Diana at May 25, 2005 8:21:17 AM

No. Humphrey's invokes a miracle and then calls on his critics to disprove his miracle, in a peer-reviewed journal no less.

Humphrey is all about propaganda, not science.

"God drastically accelerated the decay rates of long half-life nuclei during the earth's recent past."

Using the scientific method, how would you falsify the proposition that God did something special that otherwise appears to be a date of 1.5 billion years.

Here's my proposition: God really made the world 4.5 billion years ago, and has since artificially depressed the decay rates to MAKE IT LOOK LIKE it happened 6,000 years ago.

Please falsify that proposition.

EMCEE: Again, Humphrey offers an explanation for what is, in essence, the two slit experiment (You understand that he acknowledges that standard radioisotope dating provides a 1.5 billion year age? He also asserts and offers empirical proof that helium diffusion provides a 6,000 +/- 2,000 date for the same entity.). And, as he says in his rebuttal - his explanation for the dichotomy is a matter of taste.

I know that it is probably frustrating, but I think what is fundamentally at issue here is the choice of viewpoints. The YECs and others in alternate camps don't accept the western philosophical tradition that began with Descartes, and developed through Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and finally Nietchze. What began as "in some cases we can't trust our senses" became "we can't know anything outside of ourselves", and eventually, "there is nothing." This changed the nature of the propositional calculus and was adopted by western science - even though it has nothing to do with science whatsoever - it's philosophical metaphysics.

Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, and perhaps even Einstein were not under such constraints. So, there has been historically and there is now a group of scientists that assert that a propositional calculus that begins with "1. There is God" - is equivalent in value to the propositional calculus of "1. There is NOT God". Our 'science' mainstream asserts that there can be no other propositional calculus than "1. There is NOT God" (and spare me the 'we can't know whether there is or not' - in this context it's functionally equivalent to NOT).

Neither of these assertions are testable - observation and repeatability is not possible. As assumptions, they provide viewpoints to guide scientific exploration.

So Humphrey et al are within their science definition (which has a long historical legacy) when they discuss things which sound beyond the pale to your allowable propositional calculus. It's not deceit, it's not propaganda - it is their world view.

Of course your proposition is not falsifiable (and there is no presented evidence of 'depressed decay rates' - I'm sure you meant 'depressed helium diffusion'). But Humphrey is not placing Henke in the same predicament. He is saying "We now have what is equivalent to the two-slit experiment in physics - there is the 1.5 billion year solution, there is the 6,000 year solution. Acknowledge the 6,000 year solution and offer explanations for why we have empirical data that supports both."

Posted by: The Commissar at May 25, 2005 12:07:01 PM

MC,

This is going nowhere fast. You are polite adversary and are willing to use humor to make your points. That is more than can said of many people on various sides of various debates.

EMCEE: I don't know if it's going nowhere. I'm happy to dicsuss or not discuss. Thank you for the kind words, as well. It's much better than the appellations you've been throwing my way on your posts so far:)

Now, to Humphreys' 6000 year old earth study:

World War Two happened. The Holocaust happened. In 1969, an American astronaut landed on the Moon. The Earth is about 4.5 billion years old.

EMCEE: World War Two happened - check, observable, unfortunately (and pray to God that it never happens again) repeatable. The Holocaust happened - check, observable, unfortunately (with another strong invocation of never) repeatable. In 1969, an American astronaut landed on the Moon - check, observable, hopefully repeatable. The Earth is about 4.5 billion years old - not even in the same class of propositions - not observable, not repeatable - not science by science's own definition.

There is massive data to support all those statements. They are all facts. All around the world, reputable, thoughtful people have provided oodles and oodles of documentation about these facts. Nonetheless, all of them have been questioned by various people, for reasons that I honestly don't really understand.

EMCEE: Again, those assertions are not of the same propositional value. I can talk to my uncles who were actually participants in WWII and can provide eyewitness accounts. There are still people alive with serial numbers on their arms - there are historical records like film and photographs and eyewitness accounts, and the ovens and gas rooms of Buchenwald and Auschwitz are still in evidence. Hubble could, if so directed, take photographs of Armstrong's footprints on the moon and people can still talk to Neil and others from time to time. None of those things are true about the origin of the earth - or the origin of most of what we call reality for that matter. There are no eyewitness accounts and there is debatable evidence.

There are many set of observable data - or data sets for which we have a fairly long term period of observation or collected data - including the argon content of lava, potassium argon in andesite, erosion data, mountain uplift rates, sedimentation rates, sedimentary paraconformities, amino acid decay rates, human population rates, the earth's magnetic field, the moon's observable recession, and the sun's rate of oscillation - that provide substantially different ages than the 'standard' age suggested by radioisotope dating methods. Why not take all of the observable data into account?

Here's what it comes down to ... Either there is a massive, global, air-tight conspiracy of atheist, evolutionist scientists OR Humphreys' is a crank.

EMCEE: I never asserted that there was a conspiracy. You have been tossing that about on your posts - I never said it. A conspiracy is secret. Scientific elitism is practiced openly and observable evidence is being suppressed. Those are just the facts. I've mentioned a few cases in my post. Or perhaps you are aware that Humphrey has been invited to present to the next symposium on radioisotope dating? No? Oh, yeah, he's not doing science digging up those crystals around the world and measuring their helium content.

It's not a conspiracy, it's completely open disbarment of dissident views from the public square. And it just happens that subjects such as the age of the earth have religious implications. I've given several examples where there are no such implications - and the disbarment is the same.

I am a pretty bright guy, but cannot debate every scientific detail. I can see that, among other errors, Humphreys invokes a "God did it" to explain away a critical aspect of his data.

If you want to hold out for Humphreys and his ilk, that's your call.

Regards,

Stephen Sherman, aka The Commissar

EMCEE: I have no desire to debate all scientific details either (though I still intend to complete on the 'apes and men' issue with you - it's just a good exercise). My advocacy for Humphrey and the other viewpoints that are represented in my post is just advocacy that their point of view should be heard in the public square. In our current infrastructure, that is not going to happen and I will continue to decry that. It is tyranny that I'm against... not viewpoints that I am for..."

Posted by: The Commissar at May 25, 2005 12:24:20 PM

Fabulous! Let’s backtrack a bit to where this first started … high-school; and in some broader sense the “public school” responsibilities to give our/your youngsters some general sense of the “state of the art/discussion” in a variety of disciplines.

M. le Commissar, in his original post is obviously concerned, and rightly so, at the frivolity of the programs being touted as legitimate courses of study, at that level.

So, remembering that we only have about 150 days a year to stimulate the little monsters through the public schools over a period of 10 to 13 years, it’s no wonder that educators are confounded in laying out their agendas (“auto mechanics” certainly isn’t the same as it was in 1970 (not with electronics and On-Star/GPS) and, music now has a range anywhere from The Barber of Seville to 50 Cent). However, I see no excuse for “Alchemy 666” (though, dammit, I do know what it means). The sciences can’t keep up to the current developments – it’s happening so fast. No one can expect rocket science (although it should be mentioned) from 12-18 year old kids.

The basic (primary and secondary) system is badly broken, and trying to morph into something that makes little sense to young people, because it can't keep up.

Back in a bit (I’m writing) .

Posted by: Diana at May 25, 2005 12:47:20 PM

Since I’m quite certain that we can’t fix the problems of our Departments of Education here in this thread, I’ll just try to make a few points.

So, what do we do … where do we go from here? (Remember, I’m simply a mother.) We are now living in such a global environment, we can post digital pictures of Japan … from Japan, on the server nearest your local Starbuck’s. Thirty years ago, it was a real adventure to plan and really “live” the experience of a European tour.

You can now book your own accommodation and flights or do a virtual tour of the Galleria Dell' Accademia. Thirty-five years ago, I was picking punched cards off the floor (oops! did I say that? … the machines were newer … no chads) and IBM Selectrics were being turned into dumb terminals (modems were a foot long to accommodate your handset … I exaggerate). No one had even seen a computer monitor, let alone conceived of plasma screens. There’s a dune buggy on Mars.

(I’m trying to empathize with the kids today, and non-geeks.)

1) Home-schooling? I’m afraid that, in the long run, we’ll find that these children will not have had enough exposure to diverse opinion and culture … nullifying some of the very positive results. This structure requires incredible discipline from parents, but could do irreparable social harm. It’s an insular world.

2) Private Schooling? Most of the same.

3) Public Schools? Really need to allow a true diversity of fact and disclosure of controversial opinion to elicit reaction from the students. Make them think and research. They need to be excited about something other than the latest Sith costumes.

At least, in the past, and without this current atmosphere of anger, there didn’t seem to be any hesitation to discuss a diversity of ideas or invoke a dialogue on varying ideologies, whether religion or political systems (monarchies, communism, totalitarianism, republics, etc.). It’s really just vocabulary.

To the sciences, at a secondary school level, I have no concerns about teaching what Darwin learned, but there’s potentially so much more, and yes, some who have a different opinion! But the diversity can’t be hidden any longer … so why not bring all ideas into the arena for dissection?

Knowing the limited attention span available to some of these kids, (hormones tend to get in the way), I can’t but conclude that “public” schooling must (aside from requiring more tolerance and spark from the teaching professions) reconstruct itself to accommodate “questions”.

EMCEE: D, thanks for the great insights. We do live in interesting times! Since public education seems the best alternative - what is the appropriate avenue to take to foster an appropriate 'diversity of views' for teaching? If Kansas, for example, was not appropriate, what could be? I know we can't fix it, but how could it start?

Posted by: Diana at May 25, 2005 5:56:18 PM

I think I know where you want to go with this, so again, more points.

Kansas, of course, was a disaster because it wasn’t a debate or a reasoned discussion, the media hype was downright silly, and fundamentalists from both sides of the spectrum went apeshit. People got scared.

You also, can’t scare billions and billions and billions of people around the world like Darwin did, and not expect some fallout and pretty major resistance. Most religions around the globe harbour some form of “Creation” in the tenets of their faiths. Hey, where do Cabbage Patch dolls come from? The 150 years or so since Darwin, is only a spit in the ocean of the millennia of religious dogma.

The last 30 or so years of technical advancements in sciences that have allowed us to see farther into the past, support some of Darwin’s conclusions and assumptions …. but, there are still many, many questions.

“Toumai” was only three years ago.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/07/0710_020710_chadskull.html
In a statement issued by Nature, which reported the discovery in its July 11 issue, anthropology professor Daniel Lieberman of Harvard University said the new find "will have the impact of a small nuclear bomb."

"One of the most important things this skull tells us is how much we don't know," he said in a phone interview. "It suggests how diverse hominids might have been in Africa, and shows that lots of things were going on in Africa that we can't imagine."

This one’s also worth repeating (it comes from Islam):

http://www.islamonline.net/English/Science/2002/08/article02.shtml
Scientists Question Evolutionist Theories: “John Whitfield, in his article "Oldest Member of Human Family Found" published in Nature on July, 11, 2002, confirms this view quoting from Bernard Wood, an evolutionist anthropologist from George Washington University in Washington:

"When I went to medical school in 1963, human evolution looked like a ladder. The ladder stepped from monkey to man through a progression of intermediates, each slightly less ape-like than the last. Now human evolution looks like a bush. We have a menagerie of fossil hominids... How they are related to each other and which, if any of them, are human forebears is still debated."

The comments of Henry Gee, the senior editor of Nature and a leading paleoanthropologist, about the newly discovered ape fossil are very noteworthy. In his article published in The Guardian, Gee refers to the debate about the fossil and writes:

"Whatever the outcome, the skull shows, once and for all, that the old idea of a 'missing link' is bunk... It should now be quite plain that the very idea of the missing link, always shaky, is now completely untenable."

Lieberman was right about the “nuclear bomb”, and now we have “ID”.

So, where do we start?

I’m quite certain that your constitution upholds the idea that you cannot regulate the establishment of religion. Fine, so we/you have the public school systems. Private schools, church schools and home schooling can take care of themselves.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to just mention religion in a public forum. “Hi, I’m Aaron. I’m Jewish so we don’t celebrate Christmas.” “My name’s Joan. I’m Presbyterian and I’ve never heard of Hanukkah, tell me about it.” It happens all the time in school hallways.

First, everyone has to tone down the rhetoric.

Second, teach the basic “proven” truths. There are now enough to fill a lifetime. Teach Darwin, and his limitations. Teach that there are “other” opinions out there. Teach the new science and discoveries (which will, of course sometimes close the door on previously held “truths”) and open the discussion about the new questions that arise.

Third, add in assignments that will inspire the little monsters to research those new questions.

Fourth, have a scotch (or something else non-life-threatening), as this all is. I’m done.

Posted by: Diana at May 27, 2005 8:14:38 AM

You do realize, don't you, that you've kept me from playing at my place and PW!

EMCEE: What a brilliant analysis! I do release you for some PW and Crock play ... and can only offer to grovel :). Thanks so much for the great insights and also the fascinating references.

Posted by: Diana at May 27, 2005 8:46:52 AM

Thank you ... what a compliment!

Posted by: Diana at May 27, 2005 2:20:51 PM

I don't get this respect for human life bit, much less embryos. There are so many humans, and most are expendable. Politicians know this, that's why they send other people's kids to war.

Abortion should be legal to the 9th month, as should euthanasia. That's where we are headed as a race, so bullshit Republicans are just hypocrites.

Posted by: George van Driem at Sep 3, 2008 7:28:41 PM

Well Georgie boy, I suppose you must then decry your own survival.

Posted by: MC at Sep 4, 2008 12:06:15 AM

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Crusty trial lawyer, bemused observer of politics & internet dilettante from Houston, Texas

the pragmatic chef™
Scott is a connoisseur of food and life! He really knows what seared means...

The Radio Equalizer -Brian Maloney
Could Brian be the next conservative heavy lifter? My money's on him.

The Truth Laid Bear
TTLB Ecosystem host and esteemed pundit.

Timothy Goddard
Brilliant analysis - plus Red State WA!

Wizbang!
Great conservative commentary and about some kind of Weblog awards or something like that

Yippee-Ki-Yay
Fellow traveler McGehee's musings





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