Friday, December 28, 2007

That Was Scary

[warning - nerdage to follow]

almost the scene of disaster

A few weeks ago, I finally got around to installing Thunderbird on my Mac, missing the halcyon days of a dedicated email program. Now that it's running, it's fantastic. But, I got word that there is a Firefox 3 beta out, and I was curious to test it.

I downloaded it and couldn't get it to open, so in my haste, I trashed my copy of Firefox 2. For whatever reason, version 3 isn't happening on the Mac Lappy, so I gave up when I remembered...

All of my stuff was on Firefox 2. And I trashed it.

Grad school research, bookmarks, toolbars, search preferences, everything. And when you trash something on a Mac, it's like it never existed. But let it be said that Mozilla rocks. Mozilla knew I might do something rash/stupid. It backed up my stuff. I re-downloaded v.2 and everything was there waiting for me. Phew.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I just read this article by a guy who wanted to find out if waterboarding is torture by trying it on himself.

I'm not one who is often greatly disturbed by the written word, but this was just gut-wrenching. Anyone who says waterboarding is not torture is just lying to themselves. As the author says:

It seems that there is a point that is hardwired in us. When we draw water into our respiratory tract to this point we are no longer in control. All hell breaks loose. Instinct tells us we are dying.

I have never been more panicked in my whole life. Once your lungs are empty and collapsed and they start to draw fluid it is simply all over. You know you are dead and it's too late. Involuntary and total panic.

There is absolutely nothing you can do about it. It would be like telling you not to blink while I stuck a hot needle in your eye.

At the time my lungs emptied and I began to draw water, I would have sold my children to escape. There was no choice, or chance, and willpower was not involved.

I never felt anything like it, and this was self-inflicted with a watering can, where I was in total control and never in any danger.

The complete article is here. I would highly recommend you read it, but know that it is not for the faint of heart.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Yeah, what he said.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Bon Nadal, Everyone!

Well, it's Christmas here in Barcelona. How did we ring in the Yuletide? By going to the Italian Bar. I had my first mojito. It was yummy. But anyway, Merry Christmas, or Happy Christmas (British), or Feliz Navidad (Castillano), or Bon Nadal (Catalan) to everyone who reads this blog! Hope you have a wonderful time and get lots of awesome presents.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Well, F*ck

F.C. Barcelona 0 - 1 Real Madrid

Baptista ('36)


Real Madrid - 41 points
Barcelona - 34 points
Espanyol - 33 points
Villareal - 32 points
Atletíco Madrid - 31 points

Public Health Crisis

Every year, over two million kids are infected.

Friday, December 21, 2007

"Random" Update of "Conglomeration"

A few random, unrelated things to toss out into the Blogosphere:
  • I haven't written about Barça in a while, but they keep on truckin'. Today they had their Champions League knockout round draw, and will face my other favorite European team, Celtic F.C. More to come on that subject, I think.
  • Jason Kottke has a link to the 30 Best Blogs That You're (Maybe) Not Reading. The funniest is the "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks. You should "totally" check it out.
  • This weekend features the Classico here in Barcelona, which will be the best sporting event of Christmas week, lesser-bowl-games-be-damned. Barcelona vs. Madrid "for the soul of Spain," as Esquire once put it. Since there's no World Cup or Euro this year, and the US/Mexico Gold Cup final was above average, but not spectacular, this has the potential to be the Game of the Year. Definitely more to come on this one.
  • Pizza Party Tonight! Woo!!!!
  • J&S is closing in on its 100th Postiversary. Soon, we will be eligible for syndication* on KPLR.
*I maligned my spelling of "syndication" so badly that Firefox wanted to correct it as "redacted". Oof.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

So, remember when . . .

. . . I had this great idea for a blog so everyone could be kept up-to-date on the life Jake and I were leading in Spain. And then I got worried because Jake never posted and I wanted this blog to be about us, not just one of us. And then I never really wrote to the blog, but Jake posted al l the time...yeah. I am a bad blogger. I'll admit it.

And it's not for a lack of things to say, because certainly a lot has been happening here that merits a blog post from me.

But I am turning over a new leaf and am planning on being a more regular blogger.

That being said, (ooohhh....we just got a Christmas gift delivery!), a lot has been going on here in Barcelona. My job with the study abroad program is going well. I just got back from a two week trip around Spain with the students. It was very fun, but pretty exhausting. I think the "death march" total ended up being 10 (I will post soon about more trip details). I will also post my hundreds of photos from the trip soon.

Aside from that job, I also am teaching English classes. Right now I have three classes: one class with 2 12 year old girls; one class with 3 10 year old boys; and one class with one 11 year old boy. I also assist once a week with this English speaking play group, with 7 kids ranging from 4-7 years old. Needless to say, this keeps me quite busy.

Aside from work, Jake and I have found time to have some fun, too. We are regulars at the two neighborhood bars, where we go at least once a week to watch a soccer game. I also have a few different intercambio buddies who I meet up with once a week to speak in both English and Spanish. And starting tomorrow, I will begin two new group intercambios at the local library. One intercambio group is Spanish-English, and the other intercambio group is Catalan-English. I'm a little worried about the Catalan group, as my Catalan is a little rusty. But, that's why I'm practicing it, right?

Jake and I also hang out with the students from the study abroad program from time to time. They're really fun and a great group of students. I have enjoyed getting to know them.

With Christmas rapidly approaching, we have been quite busy here trying to buy and ship Christmas gifts. We are also frantically cleaning the apartment in anticipation of my parents' arrival on Christmas Day. I am so unbelieveably excited to be spending Christmas with my parents! We will also be able to celebrate their 36th wedding anniversary (the day after Christmas) and New Years' together. We have some fun things planned (soccer games, baking cookies), but for the most part we'll just go with the flow. It certainly will be good times, though.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Good to Know...

According to a Reuters article published today, "[Mitt] Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, gave a speech two weeks ago in which he said if he wins the election he will observe the U.S. constitutional separation between church and state and not let his Mormon church run the White House."

That's funny, I didn't know that observing separation of church and state was optional.

Monday, December 17, 2007

It's A Start, I Guess

King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (known to you and me as the king of Saudi Arabia), has found it in his heart to pardon the girl that was sentenced to receive 200 lashes for being gang raped.* This comes, of course, after international outcry and not after some sense that such a punishment was a bad idea.

Next, they might want to consider repealing the law that makes it ILLEGAL TO BE RAPED.

Just a thought.


*Incidentally, 200 lashes is enough to kill a strong man, to say nothing of a 19 year old girl. She would have been lashed, given time to heal, and then lashed again, repeating the process until she received the full 200. But that's Sharia law for you.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Quick! Hide!

Google Reader has this really nifty new feature that lets you read your friends' shared items without leaving your reader. But what makes it hilarious is the text that informs you that you have been automatically subscribed to your friends' feeds. Maybe you don't want to look at your friends' feeds. Maybe your friends' feeds are lame.

If that's the case, you have the option to hide said feeds. But the button doesn't say "Hide feeds" or anything like that. I just want my Google friends to know that if they're ever running from the law, I can hide them real quick.

Have you seen this boy?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I Guess This Means I'm Officially European

Roger Cohen, guest columnist at the Times while Nicholas Kristoff is on book leave, has an excellent column this morning about the merits of secular Europe, titled (conveniently enough) "Secular Europe's Merits".

He says, "Europeans still take the Enlightenment seriously enough not to put it inside quote marks. They have long found an inspiring reflection of it in the first 16 words of the American Bill of Rights of 1791: 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.'"

Meanwhile, America is falling into theocracy. Think that's too harsh a view? Consider this.
  • Republican front-runner Mike Huckabee doesn't believe in evolution.
  • Mitt Romney believes that freedom requires religion. (As Cohen so eloquently puts it, "secular Sweden is free, while religious Iran is not."
  • 54% of Americans DO NOT believe that humans involved independently from other species. (Harris Interactive Poll)
  • 44% of Americans, according to Sam Harris, believe that Jesus will return in the next fifty years - 22% are sure of it. This means that for every five people you know, one of them is convinced that Jesus is a comin' within their lifetime. Do you think this influences voting and national policy? I would think so.
This worries me. It really does. I want to come back to America and go to grad school and raise a family, but not surrounded by nutjobs. Jefferson, who wrote the First Amendment, believed in a wall of separation between church and state. Kennedy believed that the separation of church and state should be "absolute."

The founding fathers didn't even think that the Congress should have a chaplain, and now we have people running for president on the platform of America as Christian Nation.

It's strange. Living in Europe has made me appreciate America more, but it's as much (if not more) what America could be if it lived up to its principles and didn't allow itself to be hijacked by religiosity and Orwellian flag-waving* as it is what I actually miss about America. I want to get my Ph.D. so I can teach kids how to think for themselves, rather than have thoughts dumped into their heads from authority. I just don't want it to be a Sisyphean task.


* Calling America "The Homeland" still sounds very 1984/Third Reich to me, and it just creeps me out.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

So What Do I Do When Susie's Not Here?

I blog more often that usual, but whenever it's just me, I tend to do something else, too.

I'm something of a videogame completist. I still remember the first time I cracked one million points in Super Mario Bros.* I can get 100% of the items in Metroid (even both ice beams). Unfortunately, today's games (like my copy of FIFA '07) have too many unlockables to fully complete the game and still have something resembling a life. But classic games have no such restrictions, and with Susie out of town, I have no real life to speak of (all of my friends from the program are out of town, as well). So what did I do?

I beat Super Mario World.

Not just beat, mind you. Found every hidden exit, finished every level, and opened every path (even the ones you don't need to finish the game, like Special World).

To beat the game in the most straightforward manner without secret exits, you have to complete 36 levels. That absolute shortest route is 12.** Total completion is 96.

The star means I need to get out more.

I finished with 96 completed levels, 99 lives, and 2,050,260 points. I have no life whatsoever.


*I was 14 and posted my score (something like 1.1 million) on the refrigerator. My parents were confused. You have to beat the game without warping and use both places you can do the 1-up trick (the end of 3-1 and the end of 7-1) without getting so many lives that the game fails on you. You need to average 125,000 points per world. Needless to say, it takes a few hours.
**The shortest route, for those keeping track, is:
Yoshi's Island 2 -> Yoshi's Island 3 -> Yoshi's Island 4 -> Iggy's Castle -> Donut Plains 1 (secret exit) -> Donut Secret 1 (secret exit) -> Donut Secret House (secret exit) -> Star World 1 (secret exit) -> Star World 2 (secret exit) -> Star World 3 (secret exit) -> Star World 4 (secret exit) -> Front Door

Monday, December 10, 2007

Of Course He Is...

The war on reason continues, my friends. Reuters (via Yahoo!) is reporting that a biologist formerly employed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute has decided to sue his former employer. Why? Because he's a "Bible-believing Christian" Creationist, and firing a marine biologist because he refuses to accept Evolution violates his first amendment rights. (So he says.)

His case has already been dismissed by The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, so he's taking it to federal court.

So why doesn't Nathaniel Abraham believe in Evolution? Has he made a scientific breakthrough that gives us a more complete view of the universe? Has he devised a falsifiable test that illustrates that we lived alongside dinosaurs? No, he just believes that the Bible provides a true account of human creation. Who needs reason and evidence when you have the inerrant word of God at your side?

By the way, is he free to believe this? Absolutely. That's why we have the first amendment. But doing biology without Evolution is like doing physics without gravity, or medicine without the germ theory of disease. Imagine you went to the doctor complaining of high fever and he said, "I don't buy this whole 'germ theory' nonsense. Just a theory after all, not a FACT. And nowhere in Genesis did God create the germs! Have an ice pack." What would you do? You'd run, that's what. You'd run, because if your fever was high enough and went untreated, you might die. I doubt a doctor could make an Establishment Clause claim on that one. And if you need to work within a certain framework to do a job, and you refuse to do it, you're S.O.L.

At this point, you may be wondering how this all ties into the title of this post. Of course he is... what? An idiot? Well, yes, but not what I meant. Going to lose his lawsuit? Right again, but not what I had in mind. The question is, what is Dr. Abraham up to now that he's no longer at Wood's Hole?

He's teaching at Liberty University.

Of course he is.

Since I just finished reading High Fidelity, here are the Top Five Things to Know About Liberty University:
  • Students can be reprimanded "for attending dances, violating curfew, viewing R-rated movies (on or off campus), drinking, smoking, viewing sexually explicit material, entering the bedroom of a member of the opposite sex (on or off campus), and participating in unauthorized petitions."[1]
  • Liberty asserts "there is now mounting evidence that man and dinosaurs did indeed live on earth at the same time."[2]
  • Furthermore, they believe that Behemoth and Leviathan (in Job) are specific references to dinosaurs in the Bible.[2]
  • Liberty has received a personal smackdown from Richard Dawkins, who called Liberty "an educational disgrace" that "is debauching the whole idea of a university."[3]
  • Their public relations director, Don Egle, said that at Liberty, they "follow scripture" regarding homosexuality.[4] I sure hope he read Leviticus 20:13 before he said that. "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them."

[1] From Wikipedia
[2] From the Liberty University website
[3] From a lecture at Randolph Women's College. The entire lecture is available on YouTube.
[4] From Inside Higher Ed

Sunday, December 9, 2007

We Have a Phrase for This in Soccer

We call it "playing the ball."

And that, kids, is why they call me the Dominator.

No way this is a foul in the beautiful game. Well, Jens Lehman got red carded in the '06 Champions League final for taking down Samuel Eto'o, but he grabbed Eto'o's foot, not the ball.

God, that was awesome.


I don't think I can describe to you right now just how windy it is in Barcelona, because I don't think I've ever seen (heard?) so much wind, ever. Even the prairies of Galesburg had nothing on what's going on right now.

Normally, every night sees a fair deal of wind, since temperature change coming from the Mediterranean causes the wind to run up against the mountains that my apartment sits at the foot of. Last night, that was certainly the case, but it was so bad that I couldn't sleep. Apartments in Spain, rather than having blinds or shades on the interior of their rooms, all have exterior aluminum roll-down shades. This is wonderful for blocking light and reflecting/trapping heat (we still haven't turned on our A/C or our heater), but in extreme wind, they rattle. A lot.

This usually doesn't pose too much of a problem. First, when I go to bed, I'm tired, and it takes a lot to wake me up, once I'm asleep. Second, the wind is not typically what I would describe as "extreme". But last night, I was waking up every 30 minutes or so, hearing Rattle rattle. Rattle rattle rattle. Rattle. Rattle Rattle THUD!


I cautiously raised the blinds and looked onto our balcony. Our jade tree had fallen over. Our jade tree that is exactly the size of the wall that should have buffeted it from the wind and weighs about the same as a sumo wrestler is now horizontal on the balcony, blown over by the wind.

I think I know what my project for the day is!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Guess Who?

What if I told you that I knew of someone who believed the following:
  • "If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague,"
  • "In light of the extraordinary funds already being given for AIDS research, it does not seem that additional federal spending can be justified. An alternative would be to request that multimillionaire celebrities, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna and others who are pushing for more AIDS funding be encouraged to give out of their own personal treasuries increased amounts for AIDS research."
  • "I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk."
  • "If you want to believe that you and your family came from apes, I'll accept that. . . I believe there was a creative process."
  • "We shouldn't indoctrinate kids in school. I wouldn't want them teaching creationism as if it's the only thing that they should teach."
  • "I'm not sure what in the world [evolution] has to do with being president of the United States."
Who do you think it would be? Old quotes from Jerry Falwell? A megachurch pastor? Or how about the Republican front-runner for the Iowa caucuses? Yup, Mike Huckabee actually said all of those things - VERBATIM. Flying Spaghetti Monster (bless His Noodly Appendage!) help us if he actually wins the nomination or (gulp) is elected president. . .

Source article here and here.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Religion & Morality

As anyone who watches the news knows, Mitt Romney (R-MA) gave a speech yesterday regarding his Mormon faith and how it would effect a Romney administration. In one of my previous entries, I mentioned how it was right for Romney to address this issue, not because of any religious test for office (specifically prohibited by the Constitution, by the way), but rather because his religion was publicly a racist organization until 1978. Further, Romney was a Mormon bishop, so this case differs slightly from Kennedy's lax Catholicism.

Americans rightly asked questions of Robert Byrd's (D-WV) affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan decades ago. It is absolutely right to give Gov. Romney a chance to say whether or not he agrees with the racist dogma of an organization he was affiliated with while it was officially racist.

So yesterday he did it, and he said something that bothered me at the time. And the more I think about it, the more it bothers me. He said:

"Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone."

I'm sorry, but that's just wrong. Not only is it wrong, it is diametrically opposed to the intention of the founders, a great number of whom were deists. But let's break this down for a minute...

Freedom Requires Religion

The Spanish Inquisition* (persecution of Jews by Catholics)
Divine Right of Kings (Do what the kings says because GOD HIMSELF put him in charge)
The Troubles (Protestants and Christians killing each other over the Six Counties)
The Crusades (Catholics and Muslims killing each other over Jerusalem)
The Israeli/Palestinian conflict (Jews and Muslims fighting over land promised by God)
The "War on Terror" (Fundamentalist Muslims goading Fundamentalist Christians into a "New Crusade")
Stem Cell Research (Christianity imposing itself on scientific research)
Slavery (Justified in the South by using the Bible)
Terri Schiavo, et. al. (Religion invading personal freedoms)
Intelligent Design (Fundamentalist Christianity imposing itself on science and free thought)

Freedom requires religion? Good job, guys. Seriously, keep up the good work. If we didn't have religion, we'd be screwed! I mean, Christ Almighty!

When you actually look at it, removing God from morality forces you to set up a free society. You can advocate for other forms of government, and perhaps on small scales they would work, but human society moves naturally toward freedom. You could argue that it's a side effect of our curious, inductive natures. We want to know the truth. And the truth, as they say, shall set you free. For a great explanation of why this is, see Rawls' A Theory of Justice. I'm sure I'll blog about it sometime, the Original Position is my favorite philosophical idea.

Our Founding Fathers Believed Freedom Required Religion

Nope. They certainly believed that everyone has the right to believe what they want, but most of the founders believed that God created the universe and then walked away, having nothing to do with us. No Abrahimic revelations. No Jesus. No Muhammad. So if God had nothing to do with us, how could our freedom require religion?

Still not convinced? Read Jefferson's letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut;** Washington's letter to the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island; any Thomas Paine; any Ben Franklin; or documents connected with the Barbary Coast War (which is immortalized in the Marine Corps Hymn - "To the shores of Tripoli...").

America has religious plurality because of freedom, not freedom because of religion. The idea, as advanced by Justice Antonin Scalia, that justice is derived from the ten commandments is a joke. What it says is that the Jews were wandering in the desert, and Moses came down with ten things you're not supposed to do, and all of this was supposed to be news to the Israelites. Oh, we can't kill now? No Graven Images? Somebody hide the calf! I don't know how your wife got into my bed...

I don't know about you, but I have a somewhat higher opinion of human intelligence than that.


*You may not have expected it, but there it is, along with its chief weapons of fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, and and almost fanatical devotion to the pope. Oh, and the COMFY CHAIR!!
** And who were the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut worried about being persecuted by? The (wait for it... wait for it...) CONGREGATIONALISTS of Danbury, Connecticut. They weren't even worried about non-Christians trying to keep them down. And they were worried enough to write the President about it!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

One More Lap Around the Sun

Well, I'm another year older. Woo. I've managed to successfully survive another lap around the sun. As you can tell, there are other holidays that I like more than my birthday (e.g. Christmas and Thanksgiving), but there are still a lot of cool things that happened on December 5th. So, here are the ten coolest things that happened on my birthday.*

1492 - Christopher Columbus becomes the first European to set foot on the island of Hispaniola.
1766 - In London, James Christie holds his first sale.
1782 - Martin Van Buren, 8th President of the United States born.
1791 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian composer, died.
1830 - The premiere of Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique in Paris.
1901 - Walt Disney, American animated film producer, born.
1926 - Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin premieres.
1933 - Prohibition ends.
1955 - E.D. Nixon and Rosa Parks lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
2005 - The Civil Partnership Act comes into effect in the United Kingdom, and the first civil partnership is registered there.

December 5th is also the Day of the Ninja.

*Things may or may not have occurred before my birth.

NPR's Democratic Debate

You can download this afternoon's NPR radio debate between Democratic candidates for president. First, I think that NPR should do more debates - they actually have this thing called, well, substance. No "diamonds or pearls" plants from the networks. Three topics, deep dives, and (get this) actually making the candidates answer the questions.

I'm an hour into it, but I think you can start to draw conclusions:
Hillary Clinton is a campaign machine - if she thinks it will get her elected, she'll say it.
Barack Obama's star wattage goes down considerably on the radio (think Kennedy vs. Nixon in '60), but his positions are reasonable and well put regardless of star power. He gets much stronger as the debate goes on.
Joe Biden is perhaps the smartest, most well spoken person running for the Presidency.
John Edwards almost sounds reasonable until he hops on his "big corporations are the height of evil" hobby-horse.
Chris Dodd is like a bad cassette copy of Joe Biden.
Dennis Kucinich may still be on the UFO.
Mike Gravel is just-plain-goddam-straitjacket-nuts. The highlight of the first hour was Michele Norris basically telling him to shut up when he went on a crazy rant.

Bill Richardson was not present, as he was attending a funeral for a New Mexican Korean War soldier whose remains he was able to repatriate.

UPDATE: In the 77th minute (yes, I watch too much soccer), there is a freaky Joe Biden/Chris Dodd mind meld. Maybe Dodd really is a Biden clone...

UPDATE AGAIN: In the 95 minute, Joe Biden talks about women "getting the crap beat out of them" and says "S.O.B." I didn't know he had it in him to drop the senatorial decorum and get emotional about domestic violence. Go Joe.

If I lived in Iowa, I would caucus in the following order:
Barack Obama
Joe Biden
John Edwards
Hillary Clinton
Bill Richardson
Chris Dodd
Dennis Kucinich
Bag of Baseballs
Mike Gravel

This Is An Outrage!

Texas has just fired their state science director for not sticking up for Intelligent Design.

The director, Christine Comer, was forced to resign for forwarding an email to a science group regarding a lecture to be given by Barbara Forrest, a professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University and expert witness in Kitzmiller v. Dover (the Pennsylvania ID suit). Why force her to resign?

Forwarding info on a lecture, in the eyes of the Texas board of education, apparently implies implicit endorsement of its ideas, and as Debbie Ratcliffe, a spokesperson for the board says in a New York Times article, "[An educator's] job is to enact laws and regulations that are passed by the Legislature or the State Board of Education and not to inject personal opinions and beliefs."

Personal opinions and beliefs? Evolution is not a personal opinion or belief any more than the Theory of Gravity. Scientific theories are not ideas. No scientist wakes in the middle of the night and has a sudden hunch which is proclaimed a theory. That's an idea. A scientific theory is "a mathematical or logical explanation, or a testable model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena, capable of predicting future occurrences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being tested through experiment or otherwise falsified through empirical observation." (via Wikipedia) Evolution is not an idea bandied about by scientists late at night around a wine bottle. Neither is Cell Theory, Atomic Theory, the Kinetic Theory of Gas, the Germ Theory of Disease, Special and General Relativity Theory, Quantum Theory, Number Theory, or the Theory of Gravity.

Intelligent Design, on the other hand, is a personal opinion. That the Bible is the inerrant word of God is a personal opinion. Rejecting scientific claims that do not square with your religious beliefs is a personal opinion. And advocating for these claims in the public square via a method that uses taxpayer dollars is unconstitutional.

As Judge John Jones III wrote in his Kitzmiller opinion,

ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980's; and (3) ID's negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. . .

ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the Intelligent Design Movement is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID. . .

Accordingly, we find that the secular purposes claimed by the Board amount to a pretext for the Board’s real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom, in violation of the Establishment Clause."

Mr. Jefferson, build up that wall!

Monday, December 3, 2007

By The Way...

Hillary Clinton just attacked Barack Obama's record as a kindergartener. I'm not even kidding.

Here's the story, courtesy the Chicago Tribune.

Seeking Criticism

New post up on the other blog, and I think I'm onto something, but the ideas don't seem totally cogent yet. Any feedback would be appreciated. Lots going on right now here in BCN, and a more substantive update is coming (likely tomorrow), but highlights include Susie being on a two week tour of southern Spain and me going to the Barcelona/Espanyol game on Saturday night. More soon!

P.S. Anyone looking for a good book should check out Carl Sagan's The Varieties of Scientific Experience. Best book I've read in some time.
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