blueollie

Happy 2008 to Everyone!

Workout notes 3100 yard swim. 10 x 100 free (on 2), 10 x 100 free (on 2; flip turns, 1:41-1:45), 4 x 100 IM on 2:30 (slow), 400 IM in 8:44 (pathetic), 300 cool down.

2007 in review: athletics. Not a great year. I totaled 1794 miles of running and walking, previous years were: (2003) 2514, (2004) 2714 (2005) 2778, (2006) 1498, (2007) 1794. I was hampered by a very long lay-off and couldn’t start running/walking again until April of this year.

Performance wise, this was my worst ever, with 34 miles in the 12 hour walk (did 41 miles on my own at a later date), 9:25 for a 33 mile trail walk, 66 and 58 miles for the 24 hour, and a DNF in a road marathon.

Swimming: I did swim pool 5Ks (5500 yards) in 1:36:49 and 1:36:51, which are PR’s, and I did get back to 16:13 for the 1000.

Yoga I took teacher training and that was about it. Some of my basics (triangle, camel) have improved.

Injury Speed work tends to make the outside of my left hip tingle; but it is now away from by butt; more in the bike crash area.

Professional One rejection (due to style; they liked the result); I need to rewrite that and work on my three outstanding projects.

Reading My list is here. I have yet another stack of books to tackle. 🙂

Social I’ve talked about this too much; it meant something at the time but ended up not amounting to much. But it did help me make some new internet friends and for that I am grateful!

One other personal remark: late last year, I had a friend get diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. He was “due to die” this summer, at the latest. He is still with us, and still works out frequently! 🙂

A bit of humor: Can you name these guys? I’ve read three of their books, and regularly read three of their blog/websites. The other two books are on my reading list for 2008.

Goals for 2008 Submit three quality mathematics articles for publication, make 100 miles at the June FANS 24 hour walk (injury heal-up will determine if this goal is feasible), break 1:40 for the Big Shoulders 5K (or other open water 5K), run a marathon/50K (sub 4 hour goal for the marathon, sub 5 hour for the 50K).

Yoga: Get control for “peacock feather” and improve my crane pose.

Social goals: volunteer to sub for yoga classes, help new runners at Building Steam, volunteer for 3 college XC races and 4 public ones.

But we all know about the best laid goals for mice, men, and recreational endurance athletes.

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December 31, 2007 Posted by | Friends, humor, religion, running, swimming, ultra, walking | 2 Comments

Goose Run

Workout notes Slept in; ran 7 miles (to the Gooseloop, to the Marina dam, back to the Gateway building for 7; this took 1:14:33), then walked back (41:19). It was cold but not very cold; some ice and snow was left but the footing was good about 95% of the time.

The run felt great for the first 5 miles, good for the next 1.5 then the running muscles got very tired (especially where the upper front part of the thighs connect to the torso).

I managed to take some photos of the geese in the area. Click on the link to see larger photos.

Two families of geese together.

The Canadian Geese; the most common type around here.

This family of geese has slightly different markings. Note the white face; the middle goose has an orange bill (the background makes it hard to see) whereas the others have black bills.

Here are three snow geese; note that one is whiter than the rest, though it has some brown-gray patches.

This is why the “Goose Loop” is so named.

Feeding Frenzy at the Marina. You are about 1 mile way from the Riverplex at this point.

Evolution and Politics

The blog Good Tithings has an interesting post on evolution and religion. It takes the point of view that evolution and religion are not compatible.

In some sense I think that they ARE incompatible, at least if one thinks that religion posits the existence of a personal deity that has set up the universe for humanity. Here is why I think this: if one truly accepts evolution, then one understands that there are indeed random mutations. Hence, chance plays a role in humans getting here. Had things gone slightly different many years ago, humans might not be here, though there would probably be some other type of “intelligent” life form “in our place”.

In fact, science shows that the earth orbits a rather ordinary star in a rather ordinary part of an ordinary galaxy which is part of an ordinary cluster of galaxies. In other words, it ain’t all about us! 🙂

Now, if thinks of a deity (“universal spirit”?) that is some sort of “outside of the space time continuum” entity that we can’t detect with our 5 senses, well, I have no way of knowing how possible that is, or even how likely. What I completely reject is any of those “we are in it’s image” deities.

December 30, 2007 Posted by | creationism, religion, running, science, walking | 1 Comment

Patriots go 16-0 in a thriller

This game was worth a case of the sleepies. It ended 38-35, and the Patriots had to rally from 28-16 down in the 4’th quarter to do it.

What was fun is that I got to chat about it with Daily Kos members.

Prior to the game, there was a poll:

I’m rooting for the
NY Giants
55% 2034 votes
New England Patriots
44% 1614 votes

| 3648 votes

I told my wife that the team in the “silver and blue” would win. 🙂

December 30, 2007 Posted by | football | 2 Comments

Atheist Video Saturday

Hat tip to Stubborn Curmudgeon

About 6 minutes; very crisp and funny. Pat Codel is the speaker.

Hat tip to Tennessee Guerilla Women. Two 5 minute videos and one 10 minute video on the emerging atheists from CBC.

From the other side: the new atheists are scaring people:

I had a good belly laugh at much of this. Christians, tolerant? Uh, secular societies that have Christians in them are tolerant, sort of. But inquisitions, auto-de-fes, burning at the stake, expulsion, etc. Check out any history of torture; most of the techniques were aimed at the heretics.

As for college kids “losing their faith”: the vast majority of elite scientists are non-theistic and most “regular” scientists are as well.

But of course, most people aren’t scientists, and some top scientists are still theists.

Here is what is going on: it is true that in some small subcultures of society (e. g., science and mathematics departments, the culture is highly tolerant of atheism. If, in a conversation, someone says that they are an atheist, no one gasps or even raises an eyebrow; the “believer” is the one that is a bit off of the mainstream. But most people don’t live in such social circles; many people are downright offended if someone says that they are not a believer.

What these books do is make it more comfortable for this still small minority of people in the US to talk about what they believe and to discuss their beliefs with the same freedom that theists discuss their beliefs. In non-academic/social circles, (which is the majority culture in the US) atheists (with reason) feel hatred and derision directed toward them. Hopefully these books and this “micro-movement” will change that.

Of course this video wasn’t really about any of that; this video was basically whining that they aren’t getting acceptance from the smart people! 🙂
I guess that being a part of the 90% that “believe” isn’t good enough for them? 😉

Humor

George Carlin, on religion. Hat tip to the Stubborn Curmudgeon.

December 30, 2007 Posted by | religion | Leave a comment

Last Saturday 2007

Workout Notes Rest day; did a yoga class with my daughter.

Update I couldn’t resist: 3 mile easy racewalk around the neighborhood; I had good footing on the roads, even if many of the sidewalks were unusable. Note: going at 4:15 pm isn’t a great idea; folks are going out at about that time.

Speaking of yoga: I sometimes check out other people’s yoga practice photos. One of my favorite is Yoga Chickie’s. Some snapshots with comments:

I am not even close to this one (Peacock)

One of the problems is that when I try to go horizontal, my forearms and elbows don’t stay together and my wrists scream in pain. My shoulders aren’t flexible enough as yet.

This one:

I can hold for a few breaths without touching a wall; I still haven’t “figured out” the balance and I don’t have enough control to dispense with the wall altogether.

This one:

Perhaps in another lifetime. 🙂

I can get my torso maybe to within, say, 30 degrees in front of my legs ; that is about it. On the other hand, her torso is well behind her legs.

Science and Learning

There is an interesting post at Sandwalk about fundies not actually learning science in college.

Last summer Tom Bozzo, an economist in Madison Wisconsin, played around with the latest data on science education in America [Scientific Knowledge in the US by Religion]. He was interested in any correlations between religion and the understanding of basic scientific concepts.

A reader reminded me of this data. It was discussed on several blogs last summer but I had forgotten the details. There’s one pair of graphs that are particularly interesting. The first one shows that fundamentalist Protestants, as expected, do not believe that humans evolved whereas atheists—and most other groups—accept the scientific facts. […]

Keeping all these cautions in mind, it is still quite remarkable that some significant percentage of fundamentalist Protestants can go to college and still reject the basic scientific fact that humans evolved. Note that in all of the other groups the college educated subset are more inclined to accept evolution. (Do most of those “college” educated fundamentalists go to some cheap reproduction of a college run by a religious organization?)

As we’ve seen time and time again on the blogs (and elsewhere), the Christian fundamentalists have erected very strong barriers against learning. It really doesn’t matter how much they are exposed to rational thinking and basic scientific evidence. They still refuse to listen.[…]

(larger)

There may be more than meets the eye here. My hunch is that people often do learn new stuff provided it doesn’t conflict with the “common sense” that they bring into the study of their subject. If the new material does violate their “common sense” (e. g., is non-intuitive to them), then it takes a long, long time to internalize the new material and make it a part of their everyday thinking.

To see an example of this in other areas, consider physics. In the paper by Sanjoy Mahajan that I linked to (pdf file), several examples of people not being able to applied the physics (and mathematics) that they “know” are given. Here is a sample question:

Suppose you are on a Merry-go-round with a friend who is a diameter away from you. You throw a ball to her. The path of the ball is a straight line relative to

  • The earth only
  • The merry-go-round only
  • both the earth and the merry-go-round
  • neither

Only 58 percent of physics students got it right, and only 40% were both correct and “sure” of their answer!

To see more on “bad physics” and how it gets passed along in the popular media, go to Bad Physics

December 29, 2007 Posted by | religion, science, yoga | Leave a comment

Apology to Fatfu

A couple of days ago, I found this post in the “hot post” section of the WordPress Dashboard.

I linked to this post on my blog and commented; I realize now (as I should have then) that my comments might be “trollish” and unwelcome. I apologize.

But I’d like to add a couple of paragraphs of explanation. The reason I went to Fatfu’s post to begin with is:

  • The post was listed on the hot post section of the WordPress dashboard; I wouldn’t have noticed it otherwise and
  • The avatar was a rubenesque woman walking in tight jeans, from behind. Let’s just say that I have an evolutionary driven curiosity about such photos from such angles! The fact is that, while my visual tastes in women are rather eclectic, my “favorite visual range” is what would correspond to dress sizes 10-16. I don’t care for the anorexic look. Or put another way, I like big butts. 🙂

The reason I commented on the post (in my blog) is that fat phobia/hatred issues resonate with me a bit. On one hand, I hated being morbidly obese and I never want to go back. So I do have some somewhat latent fat phobia myself. On the other hand, when I hear fat people being attacked, I still feel attacked. On still another hand (Ganesh is one of my favorite deities) I don’t have much patience with those who take offense too easily.

Anyway, I suppose I shouldn’t have mentioned it at all in my blog, or if I did, I should have used a cut-and-paste link.

The only reason I am not using a cut-and-paste link right now is so those on Fatfu’s blog can read my apology.

December 28, 2007 Posted by | politics/social | 1 Comment

Overslept again!

Workout notes I’ll probably irritate my family by running on the treadmill; I woke up late due to football watching last night. 🙂 But it was worth it, at this time of the year. I might torture my daughter with a 7:45 yoga class tomorrow. 😉

Update: 5 mile run on my home treadmill (10 minutes low grade, then varied the grade; about 51 minutes) then 1 mile walk in 13 minutes. The snow is coming down in buckets, though it should get above freezing today.

Some notes: the lovely Shalini sends along this lament:

(click here for a larger version)

She says that this has been the “story of her life”. I had to chuckle; almost everyone who has dated me expected me to be that way. I suppose that women are expected to be different.

I know that were I single and 25 years younger, I’d be on my knees begging her for a date! 🙂

Hillary Clinton:

Pat Oliphant weighs in:

(larger image)

Frankly, this captures my opinion of not only her and some of her supporters (not all of them), but also of the media (and campaigns) placing so much blasted importance on Iowa. I’m sorry, but who friggin cares what a handful of rural Iowans think? Or, more to the point, who should care? 🙂

I’ll finish this post with a couple of rants:

From Rate Your Students, a professor who won a “professor of the year award” for good teaching confesses:

I cleaned out my office over the past two days. No more teaching. Today’s the first day that I’m not a college professor. I’ve been teaching a dozen years, the last 6 at a medium sized state university in the northeast.

I tell my friends outside the academy that I just got tired of babysitting, and that’s as close as I can come to explaining it to anyone.

When I was in college, it never occurred to me that I was there to be placated and entertained. I wasn’t brought up in a time when every spelling bee contestant got a ribbon, and where every soccer team went home at the end of the year with a 4 foot high trophy. College was tough, and it was worth something.

But something happened – or so it seems – between the end of college and the end of grad school. As soon as I started teaching I was pressured in minor and major ways to ease the students through the big educational machine. Low student evaluations – always a result of tough classes or “honest” grading – resulted in ominous visits to the chair’s office or the Dean’s office.

And so I slacked off like my colleagues had done, became popular, and taught less and less. I won a teaching award 2 years ago. We have 350 faculty members and I was chosen professor of the year. I’m glad I didn’t have to make a speech because I would have choked. I knew I wasn’t a good teacher. I had become an entertaining facilitator and that was all. That I was good at that brings me nothing but unhappiness. […]

I understand this person’s pain. No, I am not about to quit (too bad for you! 🙂 ) but one thing many of us go through fairly routinely is the old “ok, am I really being demanding enough, or am I too easy? What is the line between spoon-feeding and giving them enough guidance? That isn’t always an easy question because the intellectually immature mind simply doesn’t grasp things the way a more mature mind does. Not only do I remember this from my own experience, but any professor knows that there is a huge difference between the way a typically “good freshman” and a “good senior” learns things. But even the seniors haven’t intellectually matured as yet; I remember trying to teach Laraunt Series, Cauchy’s integral formula and residues. As an undergraduate, this stuff seemed all but incomprehensible to me. Now, I wonder why it seemed so hard.

So, when I read some of the bad solutions that the students wrote to some of these problems, my “you idiot” reaction that I mutter under my breath is tempered by “ok, how well did YOU answer these questions” and I remember the look of disappointment that my professor gave me when he returned my “D-” paper. 🙂

Here is a well done “social rant” given by one of my favorite bloggers; somehow the verse from the New Testament came to me: “filter a gnat but swallow a camel

The rant from Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:

What has made so many Christians so irritatingly, depressingly crabby — and can we get them to just shut up about how great achievements are somehow sins instead?

Al Gore won a Noble Prize — for peace, not for science. Get over it. It’s not the end of the world. It’s a great accomplishment, a pinnacle of human acheivement. It’s a cause for great celebration for Americans — Christians, too. It should be a great plum for Christians when Gore, a lifelong, nearly-every-Sunday-in-church Southern Baptist who followed James Madison’s example of leaving study for the clergy in order to answer a clearly much higher calling, gets the call to collect the Nobel medal in Oslo. Instead, Groothuis says (in comments), it makes his head hurt.

Hillary Clinton may not be your choice for president, but that hardly makes her evil. And like Orrin Hatch, I’m sick and tired, of people ignoring Clinton’s 40-years of advocacy for children, and suggesting instead she has no moral roots. Methodists do have moral roots, and the critics should be ashamed of such attempted character assassination. If there is something wrong with Clinton’s advocacy for children, state it clearly. But don’t pretend to be “in the know” about some imagined sins of leadership you think you know she might have committed.
[…]

We can kick about any of the candidates, but the field in both major parties is as strong as it has ever been, and almost all of the candidates offer significant advantages over the current White House — none of them is running to “restore respect and morality,” which is a good sign they might actually do it. If you’re not out there advocating for one of these outstanding people, you’re a major part of the problem. You’re advocating against quality in politics. Shame on you.

Get a grip on reality, Christians (if you really are Christians), and pay attention to what’s going on in the world. […]

Osama bin Laden is still at large. The United States is known more for executing prisoners and torturing people than any other nation.

But Douglas Groothuis, a philosophy prof in a Denver, ivory tower, fundamentalist Christian seminary, is blind to all of that. He’s crabby instead about trivialities. Al Gore got an award. Hillary Clinton is taken seriously as a candidate for president. People, tired of such hypocrisy among the religious, are actually reading atheists’ books. The courts won’t let woo into science classes to make American kids stupider.

That’s what makes Douglas Groothuis grumpy.

Groothuis makes me grumpy.

No kidding; here’s his list, verbatim, from his blog — there is nary a mention of Darfur, nor Guantanamo, nor Bosnia, nor bin Laden (terrorism has to share an angst point with abortion); no mention of our failure to eradicate hunger, or our failure to provide even decent health care to all Americans:

Go ahead and read the whole thing. The point about HRC is funny. Many people who hate her view her as a flaming liberal, whereas I (and others like me) have been critical of her for being too corporate and too conservative! 🙂

December 28, 2007 Posted by | Friends, hillary clinton, politics/social, running | Leave a comment

Holiday Bowl Blogging

Right now I am watching the Holiday Bowl as I blog; UT is up 38-20 in a wild game.

Texas has scored on a fumble that went forward, has fumbled themselves, and have has an untimely sideline violation which kept the Longhorns from keeping a fumble. Yet the Sun Devils have made tons of mistakes, including an untimely personal foul to keep a Longhorn drive alive, and a fumbled punt.

Oops, make that 45-20; the offense is moving well, and the defense has harassed the Sun Devil quarterback. Whoops, make that 45-27, with about 7:20 to go. Nope, make that 52-34 with about 2 minutes left.

(photos from Yahoo NCAA Football Gallery)

Other stuff

A yoga friend decided to poke fun at me for my tongue and cheek Holiday cards:

Politics Unfortunately, I’ve stumbled across yet another good blog; this one is called the Edge of the American West.

Two (of many) good posts:

An article about the Democratic Party and its “evolution” from racist/populist to being pro civil rights.

This article is about Charles Darwin, and how dumb it is to use the theory he developed to justify so called “social Darwinism”.

Obama

About 22 minutes long, but this is an excellent speech.

Just a note: Obama was elected to the State Senate in 1996 and elected to the U. S. Senate in 2004. He has more legislative and public office experience than either of the other top tier Democratic candidates, though I admit that he wasn’t the spouse of an elected official. 🙂

December 28, 2007 Posted by | football, obama, politics/social | 1 Comment

bleah!!!

Workout notes I managed to make my 6 am yoga class but had to come home right afterward to tend to my wife (still laid up with her foot); but then I couldn’t get outside because she didn’t know when her doctor’s appointment is and will have to call. Normally I walk prior to the class but her son was over last night so I didn’t get to sleep when I normally do.

But snow is on the way this afternoon. *&^%$#!!! so walking outdoors probably won’t be an option.

Hey, does anyone out there want a, ahem, rubenesque female sexagenarian with a bad foot? You can have her! 🙂

Update the appointment wasn’t until 2:45, so I was able to get in 5 miles outdoors! Basically, I averaged about 14 minute miles on the slick areas (temperatures just at freezing; perhaps 1 degree above), and 13 minute miles on the rest. Not great, but ok for a winter walk outdoors.

By the way, someone is whining about a grade school class singing a song about Santa which is about Santa being “too fat”. Oh yes, her avatar is a photo of a heavier than average woman walking from behind, while wearing tight jeans. 🙂 I won’t say anything else.

Note: as far as the song, I can see why people might not like it. I see fat this way: if you are morbidly obese, you will reduce your risk factors by moving into the “obese” category, provided you do so via healthy means. And frankly, there are some cool fat people out there that I’d like to see hang around our planet for a long time! (e. g., Michael Moore)

But as far as being a few pounds overweight: who friggin cares! Ok, I do, for myself, mostly because carrying more weight hurts my performance at endurance events. But most people are sane enough not do to these things.

Just be active enough to be healthy, ok? I’d like to have you on this planet for a while longer. 🙂

Some politics Vote Hillary Clinton. Why? Because some woman couldn’t get the men in her household to help clean up.

There seems to be no way around this. No matter how much I yell, scream, beg, or threaten, I’m still the one scouring the pans, cleaning the carpets, and gathering up everybody else’s discards. If you’re a mom, or you have a mom, you know what I’m talking about. We’re the ones that are cleaning up right now, whether we want to do it or not. While everyone else is off ice skating, hanging out at malls, shooting baskets or shooting the bull, we’re picking everyone’s mess.

It’s a gender thing: Women clean up the messes. […]

A woman understands what it means to handle the dirty work. To change diapers on only two hours of sleep, to clean up a child’s vomit while you’re dressed in evening clothes. To handle the house, to take care of the kids, to bake classroom cookies at midnight in between loads of laundry, to do the grocery shopping after an eight hour shift. To be the first one up in the morning, and the last one to bed at night.

Obama doesn’t know from this. Biden hasn’t got a clue about this. Nor does Dodd. Richardson. Edwards. Or any other man candidate.

Hillary knows what I’m talking about.

The guy candidates have modeled themselves after their dads. Hillary comes from a long line of hardworking women who have been her role models.[…]

And yes, this “diary” made a brief say on the recommended list.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to give a diary a “inverse recommendation”.

The one possible point is that, when it comes to the general election, HRC might actually underpoll; that is, she might get more votes than the polling shows.

But there is this annoying undercurrent that I am seeing at the Kos: “yeah, our candidates are good, but if you want to win, nominate the white guy because the woman and the black don’t have a chance.”

I am not so sure. Where is is true that JRE might well get more rural votes than the others, I don’t know if it will be enough of an effect to actually swing states, but HRC’s women voters might be more universal.

Still, I am sticking with Obama as I think that he is the best of the three, and there is no way of knowing until you try.

On a more uplifting note, a Cosmic Variance blogger talks about getting along with theists.

[…]The reason that she couldn’t quite give up Santa yet is simple. At this point, Santa makes her happy. Deeply, contentedly happy. On some level she knows that the mechanics of Santa go against everything else she understands about how the world operates. And yet, the idea that there is still a little bit of magic that might operate in her very own life makes her giddy.

As adults, even the most rational of us sometimes make small concessions to that joy in letting ourselves believe in something wonderful, but not sensible. When I bowl, I firmly believe that absurd amounts of body english after the ball has left my hand are key to keeping the ball out of the gutter. I obviously “know” that this can’t possibly help, but it makes me really happy to indulge my belief that it does. I have friends who have chants that will make parking spaces open up, who carry umbrellas to prevent it from raining, or who have magical articles of clothing that are critical to the success of their favored sports team. All of these beliefs are obviously absurd, but satisfying nonetheless.

Which in the end, is why I typically stay out of the God vs the Atheists discussions in the blogosphere. I am soft enough of heart to take no pleasure in trying to argue people out of something that makes them deeply happy. I find no evidence for what they believe, and I profoundly disapprove of any attempt to institutionalize those beliefs beyond an individual church/synagog/mosque, but I just cannot build up a big head of steam to fight against individuals’ believing in something that helps them cope with life’s frustrations, tediums, and cruelties. I am not blind to the evils that have been visited upon us in the name of organized religion. […]

Because I have seen individuals make themselves miserable over religion (a gay person can’t accept herself, someone else thinks that he has been predestined to hell because he won’t fake “speaking in tongues”, a family member is shunned because they don’t believe in the family superstition), my message is “hey, your religious myths are irrational and make no sense. Believe in them if it helps you get by, but realize that you are making a choice to believe something. You don’t have to pretend to believe that if it doesn’t work for you!”

And as far as tolerance: “I’ll accept your disbelief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster” if you accept my disbelief in your god.”

December 27, 2007 Posted by | edwards, hillary clinton, obama, politics/social, walking | Leave a comment

FSM Victorious in Florida!

Workout notes 2650 yard swim; 5 x 75 fist, 25 free, 5 x (25 drill ,25 free, 25 drill, 25 free), 10 x (25 free (hard), 25 back), 10 x (25 fly, 25 free), 10 x (25 side, 25 free), 150 free.

Then 5K run on the treadmill, .9 mile walk to cool down (about 40:30 total); started out slow and did the second half at 8:57 pace (I know, it is slow); varied the incline.

Science The Polk Country School board finally saw the wisdom of teaching science in the science classroom. A Daily Kos diary by davidkc talks about a situation in which a school board had considered teaching ID/creationism in science class. Many went into action, including the Pastafarians:

[…]The Pastafarians appear to have grown in numbers quite a bit since 2005, and soon after the Ledger story appeared, Polk school board members were deluged with e-mails demanding that Flying Spaghetti Monsterism’s version of intelligent design be taught in the classrooms alongside evolution and the “alternative” ID theory.

And the school board members didn’t hear from just the Pastafarians. Local residents wrote scathing letters to the Ledger criticizing the school board members’ positions:
– “It looks as if Polk County School Board members Fields, Harris, Lofton, Sellers and possibly Cunningham would have us return to those dark days of yesteryear when the old men who wove the creation fairy tale believed Earth was the center of the universe and that it was flat,” wrote one Ledger reader. – “Look out Polk County – as long as our School Board considers flouting science standards, we will remain Hillbilly USA,” wrote another local citizen.

In addition, many local officials made statements to distance themselves from the board members’ views. You see, the dust-up over ID/creationism comes just as Polk County is trying to secure approval for construction of a science-focused campus of the University of South Florida in Lakeland that would be the state’s first four-year public polytechnic college. Polk County and Lakeland city governments each have recently pledged $5 million to help kick-start the campus, which local leaders hope will start a high-tech corridor. Marshall Goodman, a USF vice president who has worked to promote the new campus, was blunt in telling the Tribune his views on ID. “You can’t even call it pseudo-science,” he said.

Polk school board members were clearly caught off-guard by the speed and verocity of the response to their public support for ID/creationism in the classroom, and they quickly backed off any efforts to teach intelligent design. “They’ve made us the laughingstock of the world,” board member Lofton told the Tampa Tribune, in reference to the Pasafarians. Board member Tim Harris was quick to say that he had no “agenda” to insert ID/creationism into the curriculum. “My personal opinion and how I vote don’t always jibe,” he told the Tribune. And board member Fields, who started the controversy, tried to blame – big surprise here – the media! Fields told the Tribune, via e-mail, that she didn’t realize there would be a story “on the front page of the Ledger indicating that I opposed evolution.” Yes, it’s definitely the Ledger’s fault for letting the public know what a publicly elected school official told the newspaper, on record, about a public education issue. […]

December 26, 2007 Posted by | creationism, running, science, swimming | Leave a comment