The powerful pull of stupid

Check out this idiot Sherri Shepherd. Apparently she is a new co-host of a morning talk show. In the clip below she claims not to know if the world is flat or not – because she really hasn’t thought about it.

Seriously, how the fuck did this nitwit get on TV? How does she dress herself in the morning? She probably needs help to remember to breathe. She goes on to say that she absolutely doesn’t believe in evolution. Because she apparently thought about that.

The stupid is thick with this one.

Update: A partial transcript from The Daily Background:

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Is the world flat?

SHERRI SHEPHERD: Is the world flat? (laughter)

GOLDBERG: Yes.

SHEPHERD: …I Don’t know.

GOLDBERG: What do you think?

SHEPHERD: I… I never thought about it, Whoopi. Is the world flat? I never thought about it.

BARBARA WALTERS: You’ve never thought about whether the world was round or flat?

SHEPHERD: I tell you what I’ve thought about. How I’m going to feed my child–

WALTERS: Well you can do both.

SHEPERD: …how I’m going to take care of my family. The world, is the world flat has never entered into, like that has not been an important thing to me.

ELIZABETH HASSELBECK: You’ll teach your son, Jeffery, right?

SHEPHERD: If my son, Jeffery, asks me ‘is the world flat,’ I guess I would go…

JOY BEHAR: You know, didn’t some person already work this question out? I mean, why are we doing this again? (laughter, applause)

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Complete works of Darwin online

The complete works of Charles Darwin have been posted by University of Cambridge for your free perusal. The cool thing about this is that it isn’t just in plain old text format. You can also choose to view the text along side a scan of one of the original published books. They’ve got the text to multiple editions of The Origin of Species ,The Descent of Man, and even his field notebooks from the Beagle voyage.

Good stuff here. They also state that only about 50% of the material has been published, and are promising to get everything on the site by 2009.

Charles Darwin using his laptop

Hey Nutjobs: You Lose

It’s a nice Christmas gift! The judge in the Pennsylvania intelligent design trial has ruled today and said:

… (Wait for it) …

That ID isn’t science, can’t divorce itself from it’s creationist and religious roots, and hence, cannot be taught in science classes in PA. Expect the counter suits to begin any day now, as well as Pat Robertson to call for the death of the judge, lawyers, and any “science types” in Pennsylvania.

Can we put this behind us now, please? Keep your fairy tales out of the science classroom. That is all.

Link to CNN article.

Whales are fish, right?

This was too funny not to post. Google News picks up these little editorials and letters from small papers around the country with the keywords evolution, intelligent design, etc. Most of these are unintelligible and completely forgettable. But every once in a while, you get something like the following:

Another convincing proof is the fact that there are similarities between species, which would be expected if they were all designed by the same Designer. If evolution is the great unifying principle in biology, why don’t we see the evolution of species today? (The sort of massive change that would be necessary for Darwinism to be true. Imagine. Mammals becoming whales, reptiles becoming birds, etc.) In the absence of such evidence, the proof is strong that one intelligent designer is responsible for whatever similarities exist in nature.

Imagine! WHALES BECOMING MAMMALS! Man, if that ever happened, evolution would have just have to be true. But since they’re, like, fish, or something, there must be a designer.

Buttars at it again

State Senator Chris “I’m not from South Park” Buttars is again in the news with yet another misguided attempt to shove intelligent design down the throats of educators and students alike. That’s right – if you don’t like science, just pass a bill to legislate the truth out of existence.

This guy is just setting up the state for a ridiculous number of lawsuits costing millions of dollars. I can’t seriously believe that someone in this day and age can be so willfully ignorant that he spends his time in office not helping his constituency, but actively working to destroy children’s educations.

Like Kansas, soon Utah will become the laughing stock of university admissions boards everywhere.

Keep up the good work Chris! Legislating science worked so well in Russia, it’s bound to do the same for us!!

Utah Board of Education Votes to Keep Teaching Evolution

Sad that this vote was really needed, but grateful that it was a unanimous “yes” to keep teaching evolution in Utah’s classrooms. From an article on firstamendmentcenter.com:

The State Board of Education voted unanimously on Sept. 2 to continue teaching evolution as part of the biology curriculum in Utah’s schools.

In a position statement, the board said the theory of evolution was a mayor unifying scientific concept appropriate for public instruction.

But Utah state Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, is countering the board’s position with his “Academic Freedom Act,” a document that looks like draft legislation to present “intelligent design” in classrooms as well.

But unfortunately, it looks like state senator Buttars is still at it. Get this from him:

On Sept. 2, he told the state board the theory of evolution had “more holes than a crocheted bathtub,” adding that barring a discussion of intelligent design was a move akin to censorship.

It’s obvious now to me that Buttars is completely uneducated with respect to biology. I thought he might just be pandering to voters, but with statements like these it pretty obvious he just hasn’t read any books on evolution other than Behe’s.

As reported, the board ignored his request for a two hour session to discuss intelligent design.

HA! Good for them!

Connections Between New Agers and Creationists

There is a a great article in Salon about the surprising (at least to me) connections between those aliens-and-Atlantis “archaeologists” and today’s creationists. It draws parallels between their methodologies and their common interests in tearing down the current scientific establishment:

… over the last several decades, a loose and sometimes uncomfortable common front has been forged between fundamentalist Christian creationists and New Age-flavored practitioners of alternative archaeology. Although the two sides’ philosophies are sharply different in some areas, they’ve both launched forceful attacks against the authority and guiding ideology of modern science. (In general, these movements rely on reinterpreting existing data, although some prominent alternative-archaeology researchers fund their own expeditions and research, and there are creationists involved in biblical archaeology.)

Good read.

How the ID Hoax was Perpetrated

And another article from the NY Times, this time an op-ed with an excellent summary of how the intelligent design nutcases have pushed it into the mainstream, and duped millions of people in the process. He brings up a good point that I had pondered (and feared) as well: The attacks against the theory of evolution would work equally well against, say relativity or quantum theory.

Think about this for a moment: If those pushing ID can convince people about how ridiculous sounding the theory of evolution is, just imagine what could be done with quantum theory and some of it’s consequences: they completely defy common sense, and yet they appear to be completely true. The only reason these things aren’t targeted is because they don’t offend the common fundamentalist religious types – yet.

I especially like these paragraphs toward the end:

The Discovery Institute, the conservative organization that has helped to put intelligent design on the map, complains that its members face hostility from the established scientific journals. But establishment hostility is not the real hurdle to intelligent design. If intelligent design were a scientific idea whose time had come, young scientists would be dashing around their labs, vying to win the Nobel Prizes that surely are in store for anybody who can overturn any significant proposition of contemporary evolutionary biology.

Remember cold fusion? The establishment was incredibly hostile to that hypothesis, but scientists around the world rushed to their labs in the effort to explore the idea, in hopes of sharing in the glory if it turned out to be true.

Instead of spending more than $1 million a year on publishing books and articles for non-scientists and on other public relations efforts, the Discovery Institute should finance its own peer-reviewed electronic journal. This way, the organization could live up to its self-professed image: the doughty defenders of brave iconoclasts bucking the establishment.

Very good read.