Monthly Archives: November 2011

Michele Bachmann Confirms Her Lunacy

At the website Iowa Caucuses, maintained by the DesMoinesRegister, we found this article: Michele Bachmann reflects on early life in Iowa, takes education questions in Cedar Falls. It confirms what we’ve written about this crazy woman before (see Michele Bachmann in New Orleans: Insanity!). We’ll skip everything in today’s article but the creationism, and the bold font was added by us:

Among the issues that came up – and which Bachmann said her administration would push to the local level – were K-12 programming and funding, early childhood education, higher-education funding, arts and music education and decisions over teaching evolution and so-called “intelligent design” theories on the origin of life.

Go, Michelle, go! The madness continues:

Bachmann’s position on intelligent design was tested in a series of questions from the audience.

While emphasizing that she didn’t have a platform position on the issue – since she believed it wasn’t something the federal government and president should be involved in – Bachmann said her religious beliefs informed her scientific views and that sufficient questions have been raised concerning evolution to justify alternative theories to be discussed in science classes.

Religion prevails over science. Brilliant! The woman is probably also a flat-earther. Let’s read on:

“I do believe that God created the earth and I believe that there are issues that need to be addressed – the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the issue of irreducible complexity, the dearth of fossil record,” she said. “Those are all very real issues that should be addressed in science classes.”

Classic idiocy! Absolutely classic. The woman is insane! Here’s the last of it:

Not allowing ideas like intelligent design to be discussed in science classes amounted to government censorship, she said. “I think the one thing we do not want to have is censorship by government,” she said. “Government shouldn’t be dictating what information goes on the table.”

There’s a lot we could say, but why bother? It’s obvious that Michele Bachmann is one of the most ignorant humans alive.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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ICR Lectures Scientists on Misinformation

If you’ve been wondering why your irony meter has been blowing out the last few days, we think it’s because of a pair of posts by the granddaddy of all creationist outfits — the Institute for Creation Research (ICR). They’re the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom.

Both ICR posts refer to an article in Nature about a recent surge in withdrawn papers: Science publishing: The trouble with retractions, which says:

This week, some 27,000 freshly published research articles will pour into the Web of Science, Thomson Reuters’ vast online database of scientific publications. Almost all of these papers will stay there forever, a fixed contribution to the research literature. But 200 or so will eventually be flagged with a note of alteration such as a correction. And a handful — maybe five or six — will one day receive science’s ultimate post-publication punishment: retraction, the official declaration that a paper is so flawed that it must be withdrawn from the literature.

It is reassuring that retractions are so rare, for behind at least half of them lies some shocking tale of scientific misconduct — plagiarism, altered images or faked data — and the other half are admissions of embarrassing mistakes. But retraction notices are increasing rapidly. In the early 2000s, only about 30 retraction notices appeared annually. This year, the Web of Science is on track to index more than 400 (see ‘Rise of the retractions’) — even though the total number of papers published has risen by only 44% over the past decade.

Bear in mind that creationists never retract anything, and they endlessly recycle old, oft-refuted clunkers to illustrate their “creation science.” See TalkOrigins excellent Index to Creationist Claims, many of which have been around for a century, and some, like William Paley’s watchmaker argument have been around far longer.

The only exception to this dreary recycling of shabby nonsense is a peculiar feature maintained by Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of young-earth creationist wisdom. They have a small list of Arguments that should never be used. And here’s a supplemental list. There they’ve collected some of the absolute worst, most easily-debunked creationist arguments. This lets them pretend that they don’t promote nonsensical claims. But of course they do.

We’ll give you some excerpts from each of ICR’s two posts, with bold font added by us and their links omitted. The first is Mistakes and Misconduct in Science. Here we go:

These numbers [of retractions] are difficult to ignore, particularly in the case of politically charged research areas. In 2004, South Korean stem cell researcher Woo Suk Hwang claimed to have cloned a human embryo and taken stem cells from it. The following year, he said he had created 11 stem-cell lines. Then in 2006, investigations by both scientists and media found that all his data were faked.

Yeah, yeah. One clown’s misconduct is sufficient to prove that Noah’s Ark was real. The ICR article continues:

And if that’s just scientific reliance on faulty data from 1966-96, what about the theories of Charles Darwin that have pervaded scientific thinking for the past 150 years? Later discoveries are continually refuting his speculations, like his “evolutionary tree,” and yet many scientists still accept and support evolution.

Right! When will science finally get around to retracting the theory of evolution? Here’s the end of ICR’s first post:

With this many errors, and more disturbingly the acknowledged presence of falsified and fabricated data, how can the field of science maintain any semblance of infallibility [huh?] or impartiality, especially when used in concert with political agendas?

They have a footnote to explain “political agendas.” It says:

Stem cells, global warming, and teaching evolution in public schools are some of the controversial areas that have called for political intervention based on partisan scientific perspectives.

Now let’s turn to ICR’s second post on this topic. It’s More Transparency Needed in Science Textbooks, Museums. They repeat the information about retractions, and then say this:

But just because a retraction occurs doesn’t mean that the flawed report goes away. Nature reported that 235 papers retracted between 1966 and 1996 were cited in 2,000 later studies, and only 8 percent of those acknowledged the retractions.

That can happen. Let’s read on:

If other scientists are citing outdated or misleading data, what about outdated and misleading data presented in museums and textbooks? For instance, in 2010, the University of Pennsylvania toured an exhibit called Surviving: The Body of Evidence that claimed, “You are a survivor…of the process of evolution.”

Wow! That’s gotta be retracted! Then they mention Haeckel’s drawings, and after that:

Scientific investigation is an ongoing effort, and as more discoveries are made, it makes sense that older studies will be disproven or updated. But like the science paper retractions, discredited scientific notions keep turning up.

Okay, that’s enough. Now you know what’s been causing your irony meter to explode. It sure is thoughtful of ICR’s creation scientists to tell real scientists how to behave.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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David Coppedge v. JPL & Caltech (29 Nov ’11)

This is about the case of David Coppedge, the creationist who claims he was wrongfully demoted (and later fired) by his employer because he was promoting Intelligent Design (ID) on the job. He used to work as a computer technician for Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). He also maintains a creationist website: Creation-Evolution Headlines [which was recently moved here].

The trial is scheduled to start on 14 December, which is 15 days from now. If you haven’t been following the case, you can find some background information in this earlier post.

As you’ve known since we posted Discoveroids Spin Recent Coppedge Rulings a bit more than a week ago:

There’s been a “TENTATIVE RULING” on the 26 October motion for Summary Judgement, but we don’t know what the order says. … Until we see the pleadings, we won’t know what’s going on, but something obviously happened yesterday.

Now the court’s ruling has been posted at the website of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), which maintains an archive of pleadings in the case here: NCSE’s Coppedge archive. This is the court’s Ruling on JPL’s Motion for Summary Judgment.

JPL’s motion was granted as to issues 2, 3, and 5 in Coppedge’s complaint, and denied on issues 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11. Those nine remaining issues (they’re technically “causes of action”) will be decided in the trial. The other three are no longer part of the case.

If you want to see what those issues are, here’s Coppedge’s Second Amended Complaint. The issues that JPL won, and that won’t be going to trial, are (starting at page 22): Issue 2, Discrimination based on political activity and the exercise of protected rights; Issue 3, Retaliation in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act; and Issue 5 (on page 28), Harassment. Although Coppedge has lost on those issues, he has plenty of others to present to the jury, as you’ll see if you review the complaint.

The court also ruled on some evidence questions, but there’s no detail given. We’d have to go back and look through all the objections that had been filed earlier, and that’s too much to bother with. The court’s order then briefly discusses its reasoning for letting several issues go to trial, so you may want to take a look at that. Essentially, the judge thinks there are “triable issues of fact” regarding those items.

This is likely to be the last time we’ll know what’s happening until the case is either settled or tried. It won’t be long now.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Rick Santorum: Dumbest Man in the Room

The interesting thing about the Republicans seeking the presidential nomination is that the most crazed among them are doing badly in all the polls. There may be hope for humanity yet.

Among those scraping bottom is Rick Santorum — flaming creationist and all-round anti-science retardate. The last time we wrote about him was Rick Santorum: Proud To Be a Theocrat, and before that Rick Santorum: Full-Blown Creationist. We haven’t written about him lately because he seems no longer worth the bother, but we found something amusing about him the Nashua Telegraph located in Nashua, New Hampshire.

The story is titled Santorum claims conservative mantle. We’ll skip most of it because Santorum is not only stupid and irrelevant, he’s also boring. Our few excerpts will focus on his creationism. Here we go, with bold font added by us:

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is neither the establishment choice or best-financed contender but presents himself as the one with the most consistent record as a fiscal and social conservative.

The social conservatives are the extremely crazy wing of the GOP. Okay, let’s get to the good stuff:

Santorum once led the effort in the Senate to require the teaching in science class of intelligent design that would include examining creationism.

Yes, he was the leader of that madness. He’s proud of it. Let’s read on:

On Monday, Santorum said teachers should be allowed to “teach the controversy” between the theory of evolution and any gaps in the study that would allow for dialogue on a divine beginning.

He’s just as crazy as he always was. Well, at least he’s consistent and straightforward about it, so we know where he stands. The article continues:

What I was advocating was teaching the intellectual debate in a classroom that most children would love to have,” Santorum said. “Where do we come from? How did we get here?”

There’s nothing else in the article that interests us. Santorum has been, still is, and probably always will be an idiot.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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