July 22, 2007 - July 28, 2007 Archives
It’s not even about the lawsuits and charges of corporate theft that have cropped up between Creation Ministries International (formerly known as Answers in Genesis (AiG)-Australia) and its former partner, AiG-USA, under Ken Ham, nor is it about the on-line porn star who played the role of Adam in a movie made for AiG’s new Creation Supposeum.
No, this new scandal involves Kevin Jackson, whose term as Mayor of Rio Rancho, New Mexico ended prematurely when he was forced to resign over a slew of allegations of financial misconduct.
So, how is Rio Rancho’s ex-mayor involved with creationism? More below the fold.
I’ve been a busy little bear this summer, and no, I’m not talking about my duty to return Ailuropoda to its once great numbers. I’m referring to my travels around the globe these last few months. I’ve been to so many interesting places that you’d think that I can exist in multiple places at the same time. Call me the Quantum Panda ™ if you want to. My reports from Evolution 2007 will be up later in the week, but I can now give you some links to blog posts done by some of my companions.
Now to the blog posts.
From Sandra Porter at Discovering Biology in a Digital World:
Professor Steve Steve caught experimenting with human subjects!—Don’t look at me like that. I have IRB approval from UE.
Professor Steve Steve bears all at Virginia Tech—Strike a pose. Vogue!
Meanwhile Bora of A Blog Around the Clock and I have been busy in SF:
Professor Steve Steve is helping me work—Is it working hard or hardly working?
Professor Steve Steve at PLoS—PLoS: Pandas Love Open Science
San Francisco—a running commentary—I saw a flock of seagulls in the bay.
San Francisco—a running commentary #2—And I ran so far away.
Professor Steve Steve meets Harry Potter—Not to spoil the ending, but I had no idea that it was all a dream, and Harry would wake up and find Ron in the shower.
Hi, Michelle!—I meet the most interesting people for lunch.
Framing San Francisco—Bamboo frames are my favorite.
Many of you may remember Danica McKellar from her role as Winnie Cooper in The Wonder Years in the late 1980s and early 1990s. What you may not know is that, following the television show, McKellar attended UCLA, where she graduated summa cum laude with a major in mathematics (and published proof to boot). Since graduation, McKellar has maintained an interest in math and science education for girls, and has been active in promoting this. She’s now also published a book on math education for middle school girls (Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail) that comes out in early August. For those interested, I have a review of the book up here at Aetiology. I also managed to snag an interview with Danica about the book and other topics, including math advocacy for girls that you can check out here.
Here’s an interesting article from Nature News (subscription may be required):
Astronomers have found the largest negatively charged molecule so far seen in interstellar space. The discovery, of an organic compound, suggests that the chemical building blocks of life may be more common in the Universe than had been previously thought.
The molecule is a chain of eight carbons and a single hydrogen called the octatetraynyl anion (C8H¯). Two teams of scientists have spotted it near a dying star and in a cloud of cold gas.
The discovery, along with that of three smaller organic molecules in the past year, opens up a suite of potential chemical reactions and products. It suggests that ‘prebiotic’ molecules such as amino acids, the building blocks of protein, could form all over the Universe, says Tony Remijan, an astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Over at the Discovery Institute's blog, Casey Luskin thinks he's caught evolutionists wanting it both ways:
Question: What do you do when a theory logically predicts both (a) and not (a)? Answer: Apparently you heavily promote it.
MSNBC recently published two articles promoting Darwinian just-so stories to the public. The first article about the evolution of Waterfowl genitalia contends, “Scientists had speculated that male waterfowl evolved longer phalluses to give them a competitive edge over those not as well-endowed when it came to successfully fertilizing females.” That makes sense, I suppose. But the article makes one admission that strikingly contradicts that little just-so hypothesis: “Most birds lack phalluses, organs like human penises. Waterfowl are among the just 3 percent of all living bird species that retain the grooved phallus...” If long phalluses are so advantageous for reproduction, why did so many birds supposedly lose them? Darwinists will look back retroactively and claim that under the environmental conditions or sexual selection pressures experienced by most bird species, long phalluses weren't advantageous. The problem in so doing is that they now have a theory which can explain both (a) long phalluses, and also not (a).
You might enjoy listing all the reasons why that is a silly criticism. My list is available over at EvolutionBlog. Comments can be left there. Enjoy!
It’s over in Libya. Nick previously blogged about the Tripoli Six: a Palestinian doctor and five Bulgarian nurses, working in Libya, who were accused of infecting hundreds of children with HIV. The group have been imprisoned since 1999–despite the fact that an analysis of the HIV isolates from the children confirmed that the epidemic began before the medical workers arrived in the country (and continued even after they were jailed). After a long battle, mostly legal and political rather than scientific, they’ve been freed and sent back to Bulgaria. More on the story at the BBC and the New York Times.
I should note that though the science ultimately wasn’t the determining factor in their release, the science blogosphere and Nature (with journalist/blogger Declan Butler leading the charge) were important in keeping this prominent in the scientific community. And while we celebrate their freedom, there are still hundreds of HIV-infected children in Libya, and grieving parents who missed out on justice in this case.
The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, William Dembski’s current employer, has something rather curious on its website. If you look at their page of upcoming conferences, here is what they have listed in the left-hand sidebar:
- The Practice of Biblical Counseling
- Certification in Biblical Counseling
- The Family: Reclaiming a Biblical View
- Intelligent Design in Business Practice
Can you spot the one that appears out of place? Me neither.
But anyway, yes, they really are having a conference called, Intelligent Design in Business Practice. The flier for the conference comes complete with an obligatory ape-typing-at-keyboard graphic. Unfortunately, it does not say which of the speakers this is intended to represent.
If you’re wondering what the heck ID could have to do with business practice, when it doesn’t even have anything to do with science, then you’re thinking what I’m thinking. All the pretense about ID being some dispassionate scientific theory – not exactly believable to begin with – is rather hard to maintain with them holding conferences that try to apply ID to things that have little or nothing to do with science. (Not to mention that even their supposedly “scientific” conferences tend to resemble tent revivals.) As the Wedge Document has promised us, ID is supposed to have “cultural implications” for “sex, gender issues, medicine, law, and religion”. Business isn’t listed there, but once you’ve declared that your theory makes sweeping dictates over all facets of human society, it’s hardly a stretch to add business practices to the list.
Nevertheless, one has to wonder, given the history of the ID movement, exactly what useful advice the ID movement could possibly have to offer business. As luck would have it, I’ve gotten my hands on a preliminary schedule – the only copy in existence as a matter of fact – which I will post below the fold.
A few months ago I posted an essay about a remarkable example of the evolution of Irreducible Complexity from scratch, via natural, unguided mechanisms. While the reaction to this essay has been pretty muted (precious little to take note of, save for one well-hidden reference on Uncommon Descent to “No Free Lunch”, citing pages that make arguments clearly refuted in the PT essay), I had no idea that a much bigger response, or target, would emerge from the Halls of ID. This would, of course, be Mike Behe’s recently-released follow-up to “Darwin’s Black Box”, entitled “The Edge of Evolution”.
More follows beneath the fold, but here’s the short version for those of us with miniscule attention spans -the previous essay refutes (or, better said, refuted) the EoE in no uncertain terms, showing that the centerpiece of the EoE, the value Behe assigns to the “probability” of occurrence of a protein interaction or binding site, does not agree with what we can and do know about the history of a bonafide multiple simultaneous mutation.