Archive

  • ID, UC, And U

    PZ on UC disallowing creationist science classes from counting towards admission requirements: This is something we have to deal with at universities all the time. We get transfer students, too, and we have to evaluate how their prior classwork corresponds to our requirements—after all, if they transfer to this university, and are planning to get a degree from this university, we're not going to give the degree to them because they met the standards of some other random university. Every year we get several students who want transfer credit from a community college or some other institution, and we review their class syllabus, look at the textbook used, ask whether it was a lab course or not, etc., and make decisions about whether it's good enough for UMM. Looking at those excerpts , there's no way we'd accept a course taught with that book here. If this lawsuit isn't laughed out of court, I know what I'm going to have to do: set up a mail-order university in my basement, offer...
  • Trippy

    Seth Stevenson on taking shrooms : One thing about interesting drugs (not boring drugs like cocaine or Vicodin) is that they can help you appreciate simple truths. Things you've been taking for granted. I mean, you look down at your hand, and the drugs say, "Wow, far out, there are bones inside my hand!" but then the sober, together voice in your head says, "Well, of course there are bones inside your hand, you doofus—you have a skeletal system to provide structure for your body," and then the drugs say, "No, dude— there are bones inside my hand! That is trippy !" And the thing is, both of you are right.
  • Darfur

    This is really horrible. There's nothing much I can say about it, but it's really, really horrible.
  • ID: Where Domino Theory Works

    By Neil the Ethical Werewolf A while ago, Matt Yglesias stepped back from his shamefully accommodationist position on Intelligent Design. I was originally confused by his stated reason for doing so -- "At any rate, if ExxonMobil, the American Beverage Association, and their ilk think it's worth lending financial support to this sort of nonsense, I can start to see why pushing back may be important." Why does it matter who's supporting the nonsense anyway? If fighting ID is a bad political strategy, it's a bad political strategy regardless of who's paying TechCentralStation to publish pro-ID nonsense. Now I think that Matt's list of TechCentralStation corporate contributors does, in fact, lead us to a good reason to fight back against the enemies of evolution. It's essential to demonstrate that the Reality-Based Community has the power to defend public education from right-wing manipulation. If the ID movement is able to show other conservative interest groups that confusing dull-...
  • Knocking Down Domino Theory

    By Ezra Robert Farley does a bang-up job of, well, banging up domino theory today, and I'm glad to see him doing it. From Ben Stein's insane editorials after Deep Throat revealed himself to Peggy Noonan's odd pivot at the end of the first chapter of her memoirs, the essential rightness of domino theory keeps popping up among right-wing "intellectuals" as proof of the left's basic naiveté and idiocy. It shouldn't. Domino theory is the sort of supratheory used as trump card by those who want to justify war when the conflict itself is unjustified. It also, helpfully, lets them argue for indefinite warfare, even when our continued presence would render our immediate objectives harder to attain and do enormous damage to us, our enemies, and all civilians unlucky enough to become collateral. That's the sort of theory that deserves extra-super-special scrutiny and domino theory, as it stands, doesn't hold up. The threat in domino theory, of course, was that American weakness anywhere would...
  • The Failing, Faltering Media

    By Ezra It's interesting that in a discussion where everyone agrees on much, the one thing no one disputes is that the press is blind, deaf, and dumb. In the ID debate, and particularly the paragraph Melissa excerpted below, the problem isn't bias, it's ignorance. The reporter is clearly trying to call ID a "mere" theory and then show that scientists reject it as "scientific" theory, but he's got the definitions all wrong, he's conflating the colloquial and the academic, and ending with incoherence. Policy reporting, in the contemporary press corps, is worse than bad. On an intellectual level, it's criminally negligent. During the 1994 Health Care Battle, polls showed that the American people knew less about Clinton's plan as time went on. So from the start, and through the press's blanket coverage, news consumers actually lost information. That's a staggering statistic if you think about it. When the fight was ending, polls were done on what sort of health care system Americans...
  • Salon-a-Thon: Media Bias

    Shakes here… Ezra tells me he’d like to hear my response to his Media Bias posts, so off I go… Mannion and Ezra are both right and wrong. Mannion, the observer, sees a press who had it in for Clinton, and Ezra, the wonk, sees a press who rightfully turned the stupid actions of a president into news stories that sell. They aren’t, as they first appear, contrasting theories of what happened. What’s missing is the connecting piece between the two that Shakes, the anthropologist, can’t help but see—human nature, that confounding and unshakable thing that makes a term like “media bias” not a theory, but an inevitable and intractable fact. The media are, in the end, just people, and people are not objective, even if the press is meant to be. It’s not only just possible, but likely, that the media covering Clinton, who, as noted in Ezra’s piece, were Clinton supporters to the man, were frustrated by a successful president who undermined his ability to effectively do his job because he couldn...
  • Nice Country You Have Here...Shame If Anything Should Happen To It

    So how's that Iraqi Constitution going? Well, glad you asked ... Sunni Arab political leaders condemned a draft of Iraq's proposed constitution handed to them on Saturday, saying it was unlikely that they would approve the document and that it could provoke even more violence . And they scrambled to arrange meetings to revise the document even as Shiite and Kurdish leaders insisted that it would be published without substantial changes. ... "We still have some hope that we could reach something," said Saleh Mutlak, a leading Sunni member of the constitutional committee, referring to the ongoing struggles to reach agreement with his Shiite and Kurdish colleagues. "If we reach it, fair enough. If we don't, then they have to take responsibility for what happens if this constitution is passed." Asked what the consequences of such a rupture might be, Mr. Mutlak said: "The violence will go up, the hope among the people will go down. And the extremists will be the ones who are in control of...
  • Covering His Bases

    The question that really must be asked is Why is John Roberts objectively pro-slavery ? Not only is the guy an affront to what Sandra Day O'Connor represented, but this memo makes him look a slap in the face to Thurgood Marshall.
  • More on Media Bias

    Alright -- I know this'll be even less popular than the last post, but since I've already sprayed flame-retardant on, let's do it: Is Bush really that popular with the press corps? Shakes, Mannion, and Paul all say he is. But I'm not sure where they're seeing it. I get three papers in my inbox each morning and, I've got to tell you, not one of them shakes my faith in liberalism. All I seem to read about are a) Iraq going to hell, b) gas prices rocketing towards the heavens, c) protesters on Bush's doorstep, d) John Roberts mocking women, and e) the health care system crumbling. So when Shakes says the media is afraid to criticize him, what does she mean? The folks who do supposed "objective reporting" are certainly giving ample time to everything going wrong in the country, they're certainly not buying the spin on Iraq, they're certainly not glossing over gas prices. I mean, granted, I'd like to see the New York Times put "BUSH A DOUCHE FOR GOING ON VACATION" in 48-point type in...

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