Tuesday, June 21, 2005

What's Going On

What's Going on in the World Wide Web

I just got out of my committee meeting, and boy are my arms tired . . . I don't get it?? Said committee meeting is one of the reasons blogging's been light recently. That and the fact that NOTHING INTERESTING IS HAPPENING.

The meeting went well; my committee was both supportive and encouraging, all the while offering suggestions for improving my projects. What more could you want out of a thesis committee? We'll wait and see if they feel the same way when I take my comps soon.

I lied about nothing interesting happening -- there are a couple of things I noticed while surfing the internet. I'll take this opportunity to briefly blog on them, returning to the original incarnation of the blog as a collection of links.

Science as politics: The NYTimes has a particularly dated review of the Kansas Kangaroo Kourt (hereafter referred to as the KKK, which reminds me of Krusty's Komedy Klassics, wherein I lose all of my non-Simpsons literate readers). Other than the fact that it came out a couple of weeks too late, the article is fairly readable. The article focuses on Ken Miller, of Finding Darwin's God fame, and how Miller and other real scientists refused to participate in the KKK because "the outcome of the hearings was a foregone conclusion, and that participating in them would only strengthen the idea in some minds that there was a serious debate in science about the power of the theory of evolution." You can't sum it up better than that.

My favorite aspect of the review were the quotes from John West, a Discovery Institute (DI) fellow and political scientists. You know the DI is bogus when the use a political science to argue biology. Here is Dr. West in a shining moment of irony:

"The majority of biologists obviously support Darwinian evolution in its full-fledged view. The question is, are there legitimate, peer-reviewed criticisms? If there are, students should know about them."

Because there are no "legitimate, peer-reviewed criticisms" (at least none that mention Intelligent Design as a viable alternative) can we call the whole "teach the controversy" thing off and move on to more important topics?

Politics as science: Also from the NYTimes comes this discussion of a study in The American Political Science Review. Using data from twin studies the authors conclude that political beliefs are heritable. I'm not interested in figuring out if the research is legitimate or not, I just find it amusing that the study is described as "the first on genetics to appear in the journal." Pretty soon we'll see political scientists writing papers on the implications of tissue specific alternative splicing on voter turnout in non-presidential year elections. You can read the original actual article here.

Bad religion as science: I watch way too much TV. I'll watch TV when I wanna see my favorite shows and sporting events. I'll even watch TV when there's nothing good on, which is how I discovered my new favorite show (warning, hardcore Christian fundy fake-science behind this link), OriginsTV on Cornerstone Television. If you thought the Discovery Institute was a barrel of monkeys, check these guys out. They take literalism to the extreme.

That's all for now. Hopefully I'll have some more posts in the coming days, provided something interesting happens.


At 10:24 AM, Anonymous John A. Davison said...

There have been plenty of interesting things going on like the ultimate and long overdue demise of neoDarwinism, the most discredited hypothesis in the history of experimental and descriptive science. Even Dawkins is keeping a discrete silence. I still can't believe the man is sincere. Can anyone?


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