Gills, Stars and Important Issues

Science and Creationism
I really don’t mind ignorance; after all ALL of us are ignorant about most things. Really; no matter how good you are at something, it is impossible to be “in the know” about every topic. But what bothers me about creationists the most is this (Katha Pollitt via The Nation):

One reason is that rejecting evolution expresses more than an inability to think critically; it relies on a fundamentally paranoid worldview. Think what the world would have to be like for evolution to be false. Almost every scientist on earth would have to be engaged in a fraud so complex and extensive it involved every field from archaeology, paleontology, geology and genetics to biology, chemistry and physics.

Seriously; do these people really believe this? Or is it worse: do they believe that they actually “know more” than all of these scientists….or that putting faith in the stories written down by ignorant sheepherders thousands of years ago gives them some special wisdom?

I suppose that once superstition has you by the throat, it is difficult to let go of it, no matter the amount of evidence.

Speaking of creationism, Troy Britain (in the his blog Pigeons Playing Chess) writes an excellent rebuttal to creationist claims about the so-called “gill slits” that human (and other mammal) embryos have. This reminds me a bit of what is in Neil Shubin’s book Your Inner Fish.

(hat tip: Jerry Coyne)

Note: the title of Britain’s blog comes from the following: arguing with creationists is a bit like playing chess with a pigeon. It doesn’t matter how good you are; it struts onto the board, knocks the pieces over, craps all over it, and then sticks out its chest as if triumphant.

More science

Click on the thumbnail to see the full size version. Note: in the thickest part of this cluster, there may be as many as 100 stars in a cube of 3 light years across. For reference: our nearest star (other than the sun, of course), is 4 light years away. That would be some night sky, wouldn’t it? However, I wonder if such a cluster would play havoc with planetary orbits.

Science and Society

Lest you accuse me of being a hypocrite: I drive a hybrid…when I drive at all. I walk to work every day.

Come on Romney campaign:


Today, President Obama gave a major speech. He pointed out that, as it currently sits, we are going nowhere. We have two very different versions of where to take the country and there is little opportunity to compromise between these two versions. Now if we have the same result (divided Congress, Obama reelected), maybe, just maybe, the Republicans will realize that there is nothing to gain by opposing the President just to oppose him. Maybe….I doubt it.

The problem is our system. People who live in Republican Congressional districts aren’t going to like the direction that I would like and visa-versa. We might be better served by a Parliamentary system with lots of parties.

Republicans: FAIL., the Republican National Committee’s new website aimed at Latino voter outreach, uses a stock photograph of Asian children as its banner picture.

The stock photo found on Shutterstock is listed with tags including “asia, asian, cheeks, children, cool… interracial, japanese… thailand, together, trendy.” But the words ‘hispanic’ or ‘latino’ are nowhere on the page.

The GOP has been making a concerted effort to reach out to Latino voters this election season — but, by any account, this particular effort was less than successful.

Geeze…how hard could it be to round up some Cuban kids for your own cute photo?

2012 election
A few readers (including me) sent in our 2012 predictions. Consensus: close race; Obama a slight edge for the moment.

Intrade has Obama 52.8, Romney 42.6, which sounds just about right. I’d put it 55-45 which would be in line with what I am seeing in the European betting lines.

June 14, 2012 - Posted by | 2012 election, astronomy, Barack Obama, economy, evolution, political humor, politics, politics/social, racism, republicans, science

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