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Friday, Dec 30, 2005
Wartime spying
People argue that US govt spying is limited by wiretap laws, even in time of war, because the wiretap statutes already have provisions for what to do in wartime.

50 USC 1811

§ 1811. Authorization during time of war

Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for a period not to exceed fifteen calendar days following a declaration of war by the Congress.

I don't know how Congress passed such a silly law. The USA formally declares war, and that only justifies a measly 15 days of spying?! Did they realize that a war might last more than 15 days, or that there might be some larger issues at stake than the privacy of some terrorists?

Thursday, Dec 29, 2005
ID debunker
Florida news:
HAMMOND -- When a federal judge in Pennsylvania banned public schoolteachers from offering intelligent design as an alternative theory to evolution last week, he relied heavily on the work of a Southeastern Louisiana University professor and Hammond native.

A proponent and product of Hammond public schools, philosophy Professor Barbara Forrest says her work to debunk intelligent design stems from her desire to protect the integrity of public education.

"It's because of the good education I got in the public schools here that I am able to do what I do," she said. ...

Forrest co-wrote "Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design" with biologist Paul R. Gross.

She argues intelligent design is repackaged creationism, the belief that the Earth was created as detailed in the Book of Genesis.

No one offered intelligent design (ID) as an alternative theory to evolution. None of the ID folks subscribe to the Genesis account, as far as I know.
Moment of silence
I have a new idea. Now that the courts have ruled that it is unconstitutional to disparage evolution or to mention ID, we should start a movement to declare a moment of silence in biology class. During that minute, students would be free to think thoughts that might be unconstitutional to express aloud.

Monday, Dec 26, 2005
Evolutionist J.Q. Wilson
James Q. Wilson writes in the WSJ:
When a federal judge in Pennsylvania struck down the efforts of a local school board to teach "intelligent design," he rightly criticized the wholly unscientific nature of that enterprise. Some people will disagree with his view, arguing that evolution is a "theory" and intelligent design is a "theory," so students should look at both theories.

But this view confuses the meaning of the word "theory."

Wilson is the one who is confused. The Dover PA school board pointedly avoided saying that intelligent design (ID) is a theory. It said that Darwin's theory of evolution is a well-tested theory, but it only called ID "an explanation of the origin of life".

I don't know why it even matters whether ID is scientific or not. The Dover PA statement had 2 sentences on ID that were read by administrators to students, and ID was not taught by science teachers in science class. No students had any ID assignments or exams.

What schools should do is teach evolution emphasizing both its successes and its still unexplained limitations. Evolution, like almost every scientific theory, has some problems. But they are not the kinds of problems that can be solved by assuming that an intelligent designer (whom ID advocates will tell you privately is God) created life. There is not a shred of evidence to support this theory, one that has been around since the critics of Darwin began writing in the 19th century.
The idea that God created life has been around for a lot longer than that. And evolution doesn't really teach anything about the origin of life. ID may lack evidence, but it does try to explain something (the origin of life) that evolution does not explain.

By referring to evolution's "still unexplained limitations", Wilson had made himself constitutionally unfit to teach in the Dover PA schools. Judge Judge has issued an injunction against "requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution". Wilson's statement is quite similar to the Board's unconstitutional statement that evolution has gaps.

Some people worry that if evolution is a useful (and, so far, correct) theory, we should still see it at work all around us. We don't. ... Besides, the modern world has created an environment by means of public health measures, the reduction in crime rates, and improved levels of diet that have sharply reduced the environmental variation that is necessary to reward some genetic mutations and penalize others.
Here Wilson sounds like one of those evolutionists who doesn't really believe in evolution. They say that all animals evolve, and that man is an animal, but man does not evolve. It makes no sense to me, unless you assume that Wilson has some ideological purpose for saying this nonsense.

Andy writes:

Mr. Wilson implicitly denies parents their right to ensure that their children hear, in the public schools they pay for, a brief reference to intelligent design. Mr. Wilson's position is an astounding act of censorship. Shouldn't the persons paying the bills (the parents) and raising the children (the parents) have the power over this issue, rather than an unelected federal judge?

Sunday, Dec 25, 2005
Merry Christmas

Saturday, Dec 24, 2005
ID in science class or not
A lot of evolutionists are making a big deal about of intelligent design (ID) being mentioned in a Dover PA science class. The trouble is that I am not sure that it was ever intended to be in a science class.

The court opinion said, "teachers would be required to read the following statement to students in the ninth grade biology class". It can be parsed in either of these 2 ways:

A. teachers would be required to (read the following statement) to (students in the ninth grade biology class)

B. teachers would be required to (read the following statement to students) in (the ninth grade biology class)

Under A, the statement could be read to the students outside class.

The significance is that even the Bible can be taught in a comparative religion class, so I don't know why ID could not be taught outside science class.

This may be a debatable point. It was not read by teachers as if it were part of the biology curriculum. Judge Jones said:

Administrators were thus compelled to read the statement to ninth graders at Dover High School in January 2005 because of the refusal by the teachers to do so. (25:56-57 (Nilsen); 35:38 (Baksa)). The administrators read the statement again in June 2005.
So it was something that took place outside normal biology instruction.

Friday, Dec 23, 2005
Is physics a science?
Evolutionists like to spend a lot of time on the definition of science, as a way to dismiss their critics. Evolution itself is not very scientific, so they look to physics as the most scientific of the sciences.

But physics doesn't necessarily meet their definitions either. Currently, there are some top theoretical physicists who are mired in a debate over String Theory Versus Intelligent Design. See this Leonard Susskind interview in New Scientist and in Edge, also the Not Even Wrong blog.

The evolutionists say that a theory must be well-tested, but the string theorists have no way to test their theory. The Anthropic Principle is even more removed from scientific reality.

Thursday, Dec 22, 2005
What was really decided in Dover PA
The Dover PA case was not about whether the theory of evolution or ID is correct, or whether ID should be taught, or whether ID is science.

The Dover school board had not proposed to teach ID, to say ID was scientific or valid, or even to mention ID in the midst of any science classes.

This case was about 2 things. Whether the US Constitution allows students to be told that evolution is a well-tested theory that has some gaps, and that "Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view."

Judge Jones ruled that both teachings were possibly true, but unconstitutional anyway. He permanently enjoined the school board "from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution". They cannot say that the theory has gaps. They also cannot refer to an "alternative theory known as ID" in science class or any other class.

If a Dover PA student asks about the origin of life on Earth, then I don't know what the teacher can say under these rules. The theory of evolution has very little to say about the origin of life, but he can't say that there are any gaps and he cannot acknowledge other beliefs.

Perhaps the teacher can say, "I work for the school board, and it has been enjoined from telling me how I can answer that question."

I think that this decision will ultimately hurt the evolutionist cause. It shows the leftist-atheist-evolutionists as people who cannot defend their beliefs on the merits. They can only survive by censoring alternate views.

Tax deduction for scientologists only
NY Sun news:
A federal tax court yesterday refused an Orthodox Jewish couple's request to deduct religious education fees for their children on the grounds that the Internal Revenue Service allows a similar deduction for members of the Church of Scientology.

Judge John Colvin said the couple, Michael and Marla Sklar of Los Angeles, would only have been entitled to a deduction if they intended their tuition payments as gifts and didn't expect to get a substantial benefit in return. He said the Internal Revenue Service's 1993 agreement to allow deductions for "auditing and training" by Scientologists was irrelevant to the Sklars' case.

An attorney for the taxpayers, Jeffrey Zuckerman, said an appeal is planned. He faulted the judge for blocking the couple's efforts to inquire about the Scientology arrangement, which remains secret, and for disallowing a deduction for Mishna classes, which are entirely religious.

I didn't know that scientologists get tax deductions for using lie detectors to find the ghosts of 75-million-year-old space aliens.

Wednesday, Dec 21, 2005
Lying in Dover Pa.
Evolutionists are gloating about their win in the Dover Pa. trial, and they are especially happy that the judge accused the ID proponents of lying to cover up their religious motives. The judge also says this:
Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs’ scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator.
These evolutionists were lying. The leading evolutionist, Richard Dawkins, once said, "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist." America's most famous scientist and evolutionist (until he died a couple of years ago), Stephen Jay Gould, wrote a whole book saying similar things. Similar ideas are also expressed in a brand new book by the eminent physicist and string theorist Leonard Susskind, Cosmic Landscape: String theory and the illusion of intelligent design.

The leftist-atheist-evolutionists would not have made such a big case out of 4 innocuous paragraphs unless they had an ideological cause. Their cause is atheism and attacking religion. They spent most of the trial attacking religion, not discussing science. Evolution is their tool for denying the existence of God. Here is a National Review article on evolutionist hostility to religion.

Tuesday, Dec 20, 2005
Intelligent Design is unconstitutional
Dover PA censors intelligence:
HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (AP) -- "Intelligent design" cannot be mentioned in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district, a federal judge said Tuesday, ruling in one of the biggest courtroom clashes on evolution since the 1925 Scopes trial. ...

But, [Judge Jones] wrote, "our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom." ...

Said the judge: "It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy."

No, it is not ironic. They are being persecuted for their religious beliefs, and truth is not a defense.

Andy writes:

The longtime head of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, now Judge Judge John E. Jones III, held today that "teaching about supposed gaps and problems in evolutionary theory are creationist religious strategies that evolved from earlier forms of creationism."

He then went further. He permanently enjoined defendants "from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution." He also smeared defendants by saying they lied about their motives, as though motive should even be relevant.

Another Bush/Santorum pick has delivered big time for the liberals. Perhaps a 2-inch headline on the front page of the NYT will greet us tomorrow? What a scientific and educational genius this former liquor chief is!

John Dean on libel
John W. Dean, the famous Watergate felon, writes:
Defamation Law Is In Need of a Major Revision, as Justice Scalia Suggested

The constitutional law of defamation is a disaster. It is nearly incomprehensible. It is unfair. It is unjust. And it is long overdue for a correction. Sadly, I could randomly select dozens upon dozens of cases to make the same point the Lohrenz case makes.

Scalia is correct: Everybody should be able to protect their reputations. But not until New York Times v. Sullivan -- which literally changed the law of the land overnight -- is reversed, will that ideal be a reality.

So why does he care? Dean doesn't explain it in his article, but he filed and lost some libel lawsuits himself. He was one of the chief villains of the Watergate scandal, and he just hates it when people describe what he did. He deserved a long prison sentence more than any of the others.

So instead of describing his own problems, he picks on Elaine Donnelly instead. Donnelly exposed some bad affirmative action policies in the Navy, and was subjected to a SLAPP lawsuit. She was vindicated in the U.S. DC Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Navy reassigned the female pilot who got the dubious promotion.

Dean says:

To read Donnelly's website, however, it is difficult to envision any woman who, in Donnelly's view, could be a competent combat pilot. In a press release, Donnelly charged the Navy with recklessly racing the Air Force to hire women pilots, in a contest "instigated by aggressive female officers, feminist advocates, and Navy public affairs officers."
Donnelly doesn't say that, but so what if she did? If she doesn't think that women make good combat pilots, then she is entitled to her opinions. The First Amendment guarantees her the right to criticize US Govt policy.

After Dean's Watergate crimes and subsequent selfish backstabbing, it is difficult to envision anyone listening to his legal opinions. He has already been disbarred once.

Monday, Dec 19, 2005
Legality of the Bush wiretaps
Some Democrats and lawyers are arguing that the recently-revealed Bush wiretaps are illegal. This one argues:
Who says Bush's end run around surveillance laws are illegal?

The Supreme Court.

Back in 1972, the Supreme Court took on a case (where President Nixon ordered wiretaps on individuals suspected of plotting to bomb a CIA building) and ruled ...

Supreme Court decisions remain the highest law in this country.

Despite whatever advice President Bush received from his lawyers, it is clear that the NSA wiretaps he ordered were illegal and set a dangerous precedent.

I don't know if the wiretaps are legal or not, but I do know that Supreme Court decisions are not the highest law in this country, and they never have been. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and the three branches of the federal govt are independently obligated to follow it. One 1972 court opinion on domestic security practices does not determine whether the President can expand Echelon to use new technology to catch Al Qaeda terrorists.
Catholic Church supported medieval progress
David Brooks writes:
Now another academic heavyweight has entered the arena. In his new book, ''The Victory of Reason,'' the Baylor sociologist Rodney Stark argues that the West grew rich because it invented capitalism. That's not new. What's unusual is his description of how capitalism developed.

The conventional view, embraced by most of his fellow cultural determinists, is that during the Renaissance and Reformation, Europeans shook off the authority of the Catholic Church. When a secular world was created alongside the sacred one, when intellectual freedom replaced obedience to authority, capitalism and scientific advances were the result.

That theory, Stark says, doesn't fit the facts. In reality, capitalism developed in the Middle Ages, and the important innovations were made by people in the belly of the faith. Religion didn't stifle economic and scientific ideas -- it nurtured them. ...

But the more we learn, the more we realize that most of the progress we link to the Renaissance or later years actually happened during the Middle Ages. Roughly a hundred years before Copernicus, Jean Buridan (circa 1300-1358) wrote that the Earth is an orb rotating on an axis. Buridan, a rector of the University of Paris, was succeeded by Nicole d'Oresme (1323-1382), who explained why the rotation of the Earth doesn't produce wind.

Other medieval Scholastics made the same sort of discoveries in economics and technology. Five hundred years before Adam Smith, St. Albertus Magnus explained the price mechanism as what ''goods are worth according to the estimate of the market at the time of sale.''

There is another copy here.

Friday, Dec 16, 2005
Evolution sticker tells truth
Georgia news:
ATLANTA - Federal appeals judges roasted the attorney fighting evolution disclaimers placed in Cobb science textbooks during oral arguments before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, suggesting that he misled the court in his legal brief. ...

Judges also appeared puzzled over the uproar surrounding the sticker - which states that evolution, "is a theory, not a fact" - when its message is supported by information published in the books.

"It's fascinating to me here that you have a sticker that seems to be technically accurate," Carnes said. "(Evolution) is a theory, not a fact. I mean the book supports that." ...

[The lower court] found that the stickers violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because they did not have a secular purpose and had the primary effect of advancing religion.

It appears that the lower court made several errors.

Thursday, Dec 15, 2005
New York to monitor people with diabetes
AP story:
NEW YORK -- Hoping to save hundreds of lives, New York adopted a health-code regulation Wednesday that will make it the first American city to keep track of people with diabetes in much the same way it does with patients infected with HIV or tuberculosis.

The policy breaks ground because it involves the collection of information about people who have a disease that is neither contagious nor caused by an environmental toxin. It has also raised privacy concerns.

What's next? Monitoring fat people?

Tuesday, Dec 13, 2005
Parents rights in federal law
John writes:
Phyllis's new column deals with the "triple whammy" of recent court rulings against parents' rights versus the public schools.

Besides the 9th and 3rd Circuit decisions, previously discussed, Andy discovered a 7th Circuit decision, to which the Supreme Court denied cert on Nov. 28, 2005. Here is the link to the (pdf) decision and the oral argument.

Unlike the 9th and 3rd Circuits, which were unanimous, the 7th Circuit had a good dissent by Judge Diane Wood, a Clinton appointee who had clerked for Blackmun.

Another key difference is that, unlike the other cases, in the 7th Circuit the claim of parental rights was made by the child's noncustodial father.

The oral argument was enlightening. The father apparently could not afford to hire an appellate lawyer, so the court appointed a lawyer named Busbee or Busby as amicus curiae.

Posner had obviously made up his mind in favor of the school, just as Diane Wood had obviously made up her mind in favor of the father. The oral argument consisted mainly of those two judges debating each other.

Posner made it clear he does not think parents have any constitutional rights, saying at one point, "I thought Meyer and Pierce were pretty discredited cases, anyway."

Posner said the father should get all his child's school reports from his ex-wife (and complain to the divorce court if she won't give them to him), because it's unreasonable to expect the school to provide information to more than one parent.

Part of Posner's argument is that it is too burdensome for schools to maintain separate addresses for divorced parents, and to give both copies of school records. My local school does this already. It is trivial.
Long arm of the law
Atlanta news:
ATLANTA (AP) - Transit police handcuffed and cited a man who sold a $1.75 US subway token to another rider who was having trouble with a token vending machine. He vows to fight the citation in court.

Transit authority spokeswoman Jocelyn Baker said Friday that the officer "acted within the law" after he spotted Donald Pirone, 42, apparently selling the token Nov. 30 inside the West End subway station.

I didn't know that it was illegal to sell a subway token.

Monday, Dec 12, 2005
Historian attacks Sen. Joe McCarthy
I just watched historian Haynes Johnson say this on UCTV:
McCarthy gives a speech in Wheeling. He waives a sheaf of papers in his hand. He says, I have here in my hand a list of 205 Communists who are active members of a Co spy ring who are at this moment developing and shaping policies of the United States thru the State Department. Bang. That's where it started. He made up this charge. There was no list. It was made up out of whole cloth. Totally untrue.
When a historian writes a book about McCarthy, then I expect him to be a little more accurate about the facts. You can find most of the speech here. McCarthy did not say that they were spies. The list did exist, as explained here.

Sunday, Dec 11, 2005
Anchor babies
Some congressmen are interested in cutting off the free American citizenship for illegal alien babies. Most other countries do not offer citizenship to such babies. The Si Valley paper editorializes:
Those who argue for this change call the children born to illegal immigrants ``anchor babies.'' That's because once the child reaches 21, he or she can then petition for parents and siblings to become permanent residents. Proponents believe that many illegal immigrants come here to give birth in hopes that their child will be a ticket to legal status.

But there's no proof of this happening, especially since the alleged scheme would take 21 years to come to fruition.

No proof?! The scheme is effective immediately because the illegal alien parents are not deported. The baby is their green card until the baby is 21.
Regulating California preschools
WSJ op-ed:
Movie director turned child advocate Rob Reiner--best known for playing the role of "Meathead" on "All in the Family"--recently acquired a million signatures to put his Preschool for All initiative on the California ballot next June, his second attempt to launch a "universal" preschool program. The initiative would impose a 1.7% income tax on couples making over $800,000 a year ($400,000 for individuals) to offer three hours of free preschool for all the state's 4-year-olds. ...

The initiative would require all preschool teachers to obtain both a bachelor's degree and a one-year certificate in early childhood development by 2014.

The article also says that the initiative has some peculiar unionization requirements.

This is really a bad idea. Those training courses in early childhood development teach some really wrong ideas, and the preschool teachers may even be worse after taking the classes. This is another nanny state law. They want to regulate baby-sitters.

A lot of people will vote for this because it is funded by a tax on the super-rich. But that is foolish also. If the super-rich are under-taxed, then we could jack up the tax until they cannot pay anymore, and put the money in the general fund. There are many uses for the money that are better than state-regulated babysitters.

I am all in favor of taxes that relate to usage of govt services. For example, I think that it is great that road work is funded by gasoline taxes. But the super-rich have no use for state-subsidized babysitters.

NY Times is anti-science
Jim Holt suggests that the Bush administration (and most of America) is anti-science:
In rationalizing his opposition to the creation of new embryonic stem-cell lines, for example, the president informed the public that existing lines would be sufficient for medical purposes - a claim that left researchers flabbergasted and proved to be wildly off the mark. On the issue of climate change, American inaction on curbing greenhouse gas emissions is defended on the grounds that there is still some uncertainty about the magnitude and causes of global warming. Administration allies have even maligned the motives of climate researchers, ...
No, the existing stem-cell have been sufficient for medical research so far. American reluctance to mandate greenhouse gas emission reductions is usually defended on the grounds that such reductions will be very expensive and that it is doubtful whether they will result in any measurable benefit.

Holt's real complaints are on policy issues, not science issues. It is the folks who confuse science with policy who are anti-science.

Holt goes on:

One of the most durable sources of evil in the world has been the idea that humans are divided into races and that some races are naturally superior to others. So it was morally exhilarating to discover, with the rise of modern genetics, that racial differences are biologically trifling - merely "skin deep," in the popular phrase. For the last three decades, the scientific consensus has been that "race" is merely a social construct, since genetic variation among individuals of the same race is far greater than the variation between races. Recently, however, a fallacy in that reasoning - a rather subtle one - has been identified by the Cambridge University statistician A.W.F. Edwards. The concept of race may not be biologically meaningless after all; it might even have some practical use in deciding on medical treatments, at least until more complete individual genomic information becomes available. Yet in the interests of humane values, many scientists are reluctant to make even minor adjustments to the old orthodoxy. "One of the more painful spectacles of modern science," the developmental biologist Armand Marie Leroi has observed, "is that of human geneticists piously disavowing the existence of races even as they investigate the genetic relationships between 'ethnic groups."'
What this really shows is how a leftist scientist consensus can ignore the facts, and proclaim some supposedly scientific conclusion for ideological reasons.

The leftist-atheist-evolutionists think that Darwinism is morally exhilarating. The leftist-abortionist-euthanasiaists think that embryonic stem-cell research is morally exhilarating. The leftist environmentalist no-growth anti-population advocates think that carbon emission limitation proposals are morally exhilarating. I think that we need to distinguish science from the politics and policy choices.

George writes:

Are you denying that there were legitimate scientific reasons for thinking that race is a social construct?
Yes. Scientists don't even talk that way, unless they have a political ax to grind. There used to be a whole field of study called physical anthropology until it became politically incorrect.

Saturday, Dec 10, 2005
Evolution school books
Florida school textbooks are influenced by intelligent design:
Since at least 1995, Biology: The Dynamics of Life, has told students about the origin of life.

In its 1998 national edition, Glencoe decided to add a few sentences about "divine origins." However, authors warned students that "divine creation is a belief rather than a scientific theory, because it is accepted on faith."

By 2004, the "origin of life" section on page 388 was changed again. The new wording added "some people believe that the complex structures and processes of life could not have formed without some guiding intelligence."

It also removed the sentence that said creationism is not considered a scientific theory.

These changes sound sensible to me.

Friday, Dec 09, 2005
Tookie's apology
Death row inmate Tookie is widely credited for his 1997 apology for the harm caused by the Crips (and criticized for not admitting his 4 murders). But it is just another non-apology apology. He says:
I created the Crips youth gang ... I never imagined Crips membership ... I also didn't expect the Crips to end up ruining the lives ... So today I apologize to you all -- the children of America and South Africa -- who must cope every day with dangerous street gangs. I no longer participate in the so-called gangster lifestyle, and I deeply regret that I ever did. ... I am no longer "dys-educated" (disease educated).
An apology is supposed to express regret for having done something wrong. If he could not have foreseen the harm from what he was doing, then what did he do wrong?

This is not an apology. This is a proclamation of his innocence.

Thursday, Dec 08, 2005
Kansas science maligned
AP story:
A national education group says Kansas has the nation's worst science standards for public schools. And the Thomas B. Fordham Institute condemns the state for rewriting its definition of science and treating evolution as a flawed theory. ... The institute described such changes as the result of a "relentless'' promotion of intelligent design.
No, the Kansas standards do not even mention intelligent design.

Wednesday, Dec 07, 2005
Afghanistan invasion a success
ABC News poll:
Four years after the fall of the Taliban, Afghans express both vast support for the changes that have shaken their country and remarkable optimism for the future, despite the deep challenges they face in economic opportunity, security and basic services alike.
Iraq may yet be similarly successful.
Law prof fails bar exam
John writes:
Kathleen Sullivan, endowed professor (and former dean) at Stanford Law School, former law professor at Harvard, and all-around liberal "rock star" whose curriculum vitae runs 24 single-space typewritten pages, recently took and failed the California Bar Exam.
She has been living in California 15 years, and her resume shows that she has argued cases in the California courts. It looks to me as if she has been practicing law without a license.

This is explained by her being a professor of constitutional law. The experts on constitutional law are the first to ignore basic principles of law.

Tuesday, Dec 06, 2005
Anti-fundy prof beaten
Kansas news
LAWRENCE - A professor whose planned course on creationism and intelligent design was canceled after he sent e-mails deriding Christian conservatives was hospitalized Monday after what appeared to be a roadside beating.

University of Kansas religious studies professor Paul Mirecki said that the two men who beat him made references to the class that was to be offered for the first time this spring.

Originally called "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies," the course was canceled last week at Mirecki's request. ...

One recent e-mail from Mirecki to members of a student organization referred to religious conservatives as "fundies," and said a course describing intelligent design as mythology would be a "nice slap in their big fat face." Mirecki has apologized for those comments.

This is unfortunate. This leftist-atheist-evolutionist should have been allowed to teach his course in peace, as an example of anti-Christian propaganda.

Some people doubt Mirecki's story. It does sound fishy that he would go on a pre-dawn drive on a country road, and run into some intelligent design advocates in the middle of nowhere who beat him up.

Monday, Dec 05, 2005
Paper questions ethics of delousing
The lead Page 1A story in the Si Valley paper attempts to expose an ethical breach in a medical experiment.
Stanford medical school instructor Dale Pearlman: head lice hero or flimflam man?
A physician invents a new method for delousing hair. He does a controlled study, and shows that it works. He patented it and tried to sell it, without success. Finally, he put it in the public domain, allowing anyone to use it.

So what is the ethical complaint? That he didn't just put his idea in the public domain first, without testing it!

Sunday, Dec 04, 2005
Ousting Saddam Hussein
Au Nguyen is a typical Santa Clara idiot:
What `mission' was accomplished?

On Wednesday, President Bush appeared in front of a banner that says ``Plan for Victory'' (Page 3A, Dec. 1). I'm confused. I thought we achieved victory two years ago, when he appeared in front of a banner that said ``Mission Accomplished.'' If we are still in search of victory, then what exactly was the mission accomplished in 2003?

In 2003, we won the Battle of Baghdad, and disabled the Iraq govt. It was a great military victory. How difficult is that to understand?

Thursday, Dec 01, 2005
Museum on the Age of the Earth
I previously questioned these museum claims. I asked, "Do you have a source for this?" I just got this reply:
Thanks for your inquiry to the American Museum of Natural History Library.

We spoke with someone in our Exhibitions Department about your question and we were told that you are right -- there were indeed estimates of the age of the Earth that greatly exceeded 6,000 years before Darwin was born, perhaps most notably Georges Buffon, who had already published an estimate of 75,000 years. They also said that several geologists, including James Hutton, as is pointed out in a later section on geology, were already describing processes that would have taken much more than 6,000 years.

They went on to say that even in the scientific community, these views were not yet widely accepted, especially in England, where most naturalists remained firm supporters of the creationist stance of the Church of England. And among the general public, the religious perspective on Earth's creation was clearly still dominant. Those who cared to put a number on the age of the Earth would have used the Sacred Chronology of Archbishop James Ussher, who by adding the generations cited in the Bible, came up with a date of 4004 BC for Earth's creation. It is this number that is referring to when we say "most people in England believed that Earth was only about 6,000 years old."

We would recommend for more information on this aspect of the exhibition - "Darwin: A Life in Science" by James White and John Gribbin, and "Evolution, the Triumph of an Idea", by Carl Zimmer.

We hope this information is helpful to you.

-Reference Library

This is unsatisfactory. In the mid 1800s, the age of the Earth was unknown. There were scientists who estimated millions of years, and there was an obscure theologian who said 6 kyrs. I am skeptical that "most people" believed in Ussher's figure.

Wikipedia says:

By the end of the 18th century, Ussher's chronology came under increasing attack from supporters of uniformitarianism, who argued that Ussher's "young Earth" was incompatible with the increasingly accepted view of an Earth much more ancient that Ussher's. By the time Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution through natural selection, which assumed an ancient Earth in order to allow for the immense amount of time required for evolutionary processes to work, the majority of scientists had abandoned the Ussher chronology.
I suggest that the evolutionist museum is engaged in what I call Flat Earth thinking. That is the idea that because people of some other era lacked today's scientific knowledge, then they must have a stupidity that can be blamed on religion. (The Flat Earth theory was invented by evolutionists for the purpose of making fun of Christians.)