Natura non facit saltus
Debunking the Paradigm Shifters
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Tuesday, May 31, 2005
The press is accepting the story that Mark Felt was the infamous Watergater leaker code-named Deep Throat. I am skeptical. There have been published rumors about Felt since 1974, and he probably leaked some info. But there are a number of holes in the story, and neither Felt nor the Wash. Post is clearing them up. I think that Deep Throat was a fictional character that was created to sell the Woodward-Bernstein book.
Assuming that Felt did leak details of a confidential FBI investigation because he hated Pres. Nixon, then he was irresponsible and criminal. He should have been prosecuted along with John Dean and the others.
Definitions of science
Show me anywhere where evolution relies upon peculiar definitions of science. Evolutionary work is full of repeatable experiments, such as the extensive work with fruit flies that I have mentioned before. Fossils are available for all to examine and to use to support or refute other scientist’s interpretation of them. You are going to have to provide a “broad definitions that include giving explanations for nature” that are rejected out of hand by evolutionary scientists.I just listened to a lecture on global warming from a prof who spent half her time repeating that there is no scientific criticism of "climate change", and attacking Michael Crichton. Sure, no one disputes that the climate can change, and her protestations were hiding legitimate controversies related to global warming.
Likewise, evolutionists like define evolution as change, and they include any changes in the history of the universe. Even the Big Bang and the early history of the Solar System is part of evolution. Evolution is divided into biological evolution and non-biological evolution. Defined that way, I agree that there is no criticism of evolution.
Here is a discussion with various definitions of biological (or Darwinian or neo-Darwinian) evolution. One of the definitions is "descent with modification". Some textbook definitions are longer, but they mainly just say that populations of organisms exhibit change over time.
Nader wants impeachment
Ralph Nader cites the Downing Street Memo:
C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.and argues for impeaching Bush:
The president and vice president have artfully dodged the central question: ''Did the administration mislead us into war by manipulating and misstating intelligence concerning weapons of mass destruction and alleged ties to Al Qaeda, suppressing contrary intelligence, and deliberately exaggerating the danger a contained, weakened Iraq posed to the United States and its neighbors?"The simple answer is No.
Here is a Conservative list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries.
Origin of the Species is claimed to be worse than Foucault or Coming of Age in Samoa. Too bad it didn't make the top 10 so they would have to state the rational for the bad rating. If evolution were properly taught, more people would realize that it is right wing.If evolution were taught properly, then it would not be so harmful.
There are some idiotic comments here. They point out that the list overlooks the Harry Potter books, Catcher In The Rye, and the Warren Commission Report.
Sunday, May 29, 2005
Judges v Democracy
John sends this John Leo column:
Here is the dominant Republican concern in two short sentences, as framed by blogger Mickey Kaus (a conservative Democrat, as it happens): "In the post-Warren era, judges . . . have almost uncheckable antidemocratic power. The Constitution has been durably politicized in a way that the Framers didn't anticipate." Burt Neuborne of New York University law school said recently that his fellow Democrats may be making a mistake by depending so heavily on judges to establish law without seeking true public support.I can shorten the concern to two words: Judicial Supremacy.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Trying to censor a cosmology movie
The NY Times is upset that:
Smithsonian to Screen a Movie That Makes a Case Against EvolutionBut the Smithsonian is just allowing a private showing for a fee, and the movie is about cosmology:
Elsewhere, you might learn that Earth and its local environment provide a delicate, and probably exceedingly rare, cradle for complex life. But there's another, even more startling, fact, described in The Privileged Planet: those same rare conditions that produce a habitable planet-that allow for the existence of complex observers like ourselves-also provide the best overall place for observing. What does this mean? At the least, it turns our view of the universe inside out. The universe is not "pointless" (Steven Weinberg), Earth merely "a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark," (Carl Sagan) and human existence "just a more-or-less farcical outcome of a chain of accidents" (Steven Weinberg). On the contrary, the evidence we can uncover from our Earthly home points to a universe that is designed for life, and designed for discovery.This is a typical leftist-evolutionist-atheist attack. If anyone merely suggests that life has a purpose, then the evolutionists want to censor him, and brand him an enemy of science and evolution. In this case, it appears that the movie doesn't even have anything to do with Darwinian evolution.
Since the quote is a direct blurb from the movie website and takes the comments it chooses out of context it can hardly be considered “typical leftist-evolutionist-atheist attack” whatever that may be. (Rather like the time I was accused of being a “fascist-communist” while discussing hand gun control.)Your comments relate to the Anthropic principle. It is a controversy on the fringe of science. If a school were to teach this principle, then I think that it should say that it is controversial, and that the scientific views on it are not the only ones.
Update: Because of leftist-evolutionist-atheist pressure on the Smithsonian to censor the cosmology film, it is showing the film for free. I guess the evolutionists decided that it would be bad for a museum to accept money from an organization suspected of trying to promote a belief in God.
More on evolutionists
You may be able to find a few evolutionists who say the things you claim. This proves nothing. Most of your complaints are about the personal, rather than scientific, opinions of scientists, which are irrelevant. Definitions of evolution are in the province of philosophy of science. The Darwin quote in the piece by Dawkins you link to gives one way of falsifying evolution. Given your straw-man claims about what Dawkins said in that piece I am not surprised that you ignore it. Evolution predicts that there will be no fossils of rabbits found before a specified date. Evolution predicted that all living things would share genes. Evolution predicted that the more distantly related species are, the more differences there are in shared genes. Failure of these predictions would put evolution in doubt. You persist in mentioning observations which put evolution in doubt but refuse to cite them. You have yet to give a scientific argument against evolution. Your arguments are political and philosophical. Scientists reject theories that rely on the supernatural and theories which are capable of explaining any possible observation. Even philosophers agree that this is a defining property of science. I guess that you are shocked that academicians tend to be left wing. People who get their money from the government tend to be left wing. The beauty of science is that it weeds out ideas with nothing to back them up but ideology and politics. If religious people didn't make false claims and bogus arguments which disillusion people there would be fewer atheists.When the evolutionists took over the Kansas school board in 2001, they made the following change to the science curriculum:
Old standard: "Learn about falsification. Example: What would we accept as proof that the theory that all cars are black is wrong? How many times would we have to prove the theory wrong to know that it is wrong? Answers: One car of any color but black and only one time. No matter how much evidence seems to support a theory, it only takes one proof that it is false to show it to be false. It should be recognized that in the real world it might take years to falsify a theory."The evolutionists eliminated the notion of falsification. The evolutionists also eliminated this section:
If a student should raise a question in a natural science class that the teacher determines to be outside the domain of science, the teacher should treat the question with respect. The teacher should explain why the question is outside the domain of natural science and encourage the student to discuss the question further with his or her family and other appropriate sources.It seems to me that the evolutionists want to be able to teach untestable theories, and still be able to ridicule alternate theories.
A Boston Globe editorial says:
Last year, the Kansas Legislature approved a $500 million initiative to attract biotechnology companies into the state. Kansas will be less appealing to these companies if it becomes a haven for antiscientific dogmatism. Scientists would do well to join forces with business leaders to prevent that occurrence.Evolutionary theory has no significant impact on development of flu vaccines or tracking HIV infections. Evolution has inspired some "genetic algorithms" that are indeed useful in some situations. The vast majority of the time, though, you want software that has been intelligently designed.
Friday, May 27, 2005
Ideas that must not be discussed
Richard John Neuhaus says:
Some school boards have very modestly suggested that students should know that evolution is not the only theory about the origin and development of life. What they want students to know is an indisputable fact. There are other theories supported by very reputable scientists, including theories of evolution other than the established version to which students are now bullied into giving their assent. On any question, the rational and scientific course is to take into account all pertinent evidence and explanatory proposals. We can know that the quasi-religious establishment of a narrow evolutionary theory as dogma is in deep trouble when its defenders demand that alternative ideas must not be discussed or even mentioned in the classroom. Students, school boards, and thoughtful citizens are in fully justified rebellion against this attempted stifling of intellectual inquiry.Bob writes:
A "theory" is not a scientific theory because you, Richard John Neuhaus, and a few "reputable" scientists say it is. A theory is a scientific theory when it is based on science. It is hard work to determine whether a theory is based on science. It requires reading scientific literature, following scientific arguments, and for those of us who are not scientists, looking up words in dictionaries and glossaries. It requires understanding unfamiliar concepts and critical thinking. It requires the ability to distinguish between a scientific argument and legalistic cheap shots like those presented by you and Neuhaus. If our schools taught those skills it wouldn't matter what they taught about evolution.Okay, but evolutionists want to use their own peculiar definition of science that no one else accepts. Evolutionists don't like traditional definitions of science in term of repeatable experiments, because they hardly have any repeatable experiments. They don't like definitions in terms of falsification, because they are not willing to admit that any observation would falsify their theories. They don't like broad definitions that include giving explanations for nature, because they might include creationism, intelligent design, or something else with potential religious overtones. The evolutionists want to define science as any leftist-atheist-materialist activity that has the support of the scientific establishment.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
No doubt, there are those who do ridicule those who believe in God (Christian, Moslem, Pantheist, Wicca, Druid, Taoist, and all others) and they may very well be leftists, evolutionists or atheists; just as there are those who, some who may well believe in God, ridicule those who believe in science. Neither group is terribly serious nor am I sure seriously involved in wanting to improve the education our children, as well as the children in Kansas. Rather they are people who live a small, self-centered existence that does not allow them much freedom or joy.People do propose goofy alternatives to the space-time continuum. There is a current Wired magazine article about one. I think that all scientific theories should be subject to criticism, including gravity and evolution.
Science constrains what it is reasonable to believe as fact. It is reasonable to believe that the explanation of creation in Genesis is a useful metaphor which evokes the appropriate emotions of gratitude and reverence we should have about creation and the universe. It is not reasonable to believe the Genesis account as a scientific or historical fact. There is nothing wrong with pointing out that certain beliefs are unreasonable. Serious people are careful about what they say serious people can say.Then you shouldn't mind when I point out that certain beliefs are unreasonable.
I do not know a single scientist who thinks that any scientific thought is beyond critiscm. The major occupation of most science is to poke holes into other people?s theories as well as conducting experiments to provide data that will help to refine any theories more precisely or disprove all or part of a theory. The article you cite is a perfect example of the entire process. Lynd has found a different way of thinking about time and other scientists are excited to try to prove or disprove. Like quantum Gravity a ?chronon? has eluded experimentalist for many years despite their best efforts to determine its existence and duration. Quantum mechanics has already shown that sub atomic particles move freely forward and backward in time violating our concept of causality. That experimental result lacks a coherent theory to explain how particles can come into existence before the collision that produces them.No, I do not want religious beliefs to be taught in public school science classes, nor do I want gratuitous attacks on religion to be taught. The Kansas school board does not want religious beliefs to be taught either.
The Kansas school debate is all about whether evolution theories should be subject to criticism. The evolutionists want evolution to be taught in a dogmatic manner, with no alternative views allowed.
Reading the Kansas report
Here is one of the stories quoting Kathy Martin as not having read the standard she was voting on.I haven't read the whole draft either. I just read the changes that are generating the controversy.
Try asking your congressman whether he has read the USA Patriot Act.
I expect more from members of a board of education than from a congressman whose primary skills are the ability to remember names and to raise funds from special interest groups.
Kansas is Scopes Trial redux
In the 1925 Scopes Trial, William Jennings Bryan testified on the witness stand, as Clarence Darrow demanded. Darrow tried to attack his beliefs:
[Bryan] refused to attempt to tell how old the earth might be, although he said: "I could possibly come as near as the scientists do."Darrow then sandbagged Scopes with a guilty plea, rather than take the stand himself, or let any scientists take the stand.
The evolutionists were the bigots and ignoramuses in 1925, and they are the bigots and ignoramuses in Kansas today. Their purpose is to ridicule everyone who believes in God, and they will not stand up and defend their leftist-evolutionist-atheist beliefs.
The 1925 biology textbook cited Piltdown Man as proof of evolution, and advocated white supremacy and eugenics. Bryan understood Darwinism and evolution much better than Darrow, and had legitimate reasons for opposing it.
More stem cell facts
For those who are worried that the Koreans are the only ones doing human embryonic stem cell research, the WSJ says:
In fact, federal funding for all forms of stem-cell research (including adult and umbilical stem cells) has nearly doubled, to $566 million from $306 million. The federal government has also made 22 fully developed embryonic stem-cell lines available to researchers, ...There is now more money available for stem cell research than anyone knows how to spend. It looks like a big boondoggle to me. I predict that most of the money will be wasted.
So, how did the Koreans get ahead of the US in an area where we had a decisive lead? Embryonic stem cells were first isolated and cultured by James Thomson at U. Wisconsin in 1998. The Koreans and the UK can now do something which no US lab is able to reproduce. Patents may prevent US labs from reproducing these results for 20 years.So maybe patents will prevent some useless cloning.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Dawkins on ignorance
Richard Dawkins complains that quoting scientists admitting to ignorance "threatens the enterprise of science itself", and says:
The standard methodology of creationists is to find some phenomenon in nature which Darwinism cannot readily explain. Darwin said: "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." Creationists mine ignorance and uncertainty in order to abuse his challenge. "Bet you can’t tell me how the elbow joint of the lesser spotted weasel frog evolved by slow gradual degrees?" If the scientist fails to give an immediate and comprehensive answer, a default conclusion is drawn: "Right, then, the alternative theory; 'intelligent design' wins by default."Here is a typical college lesson in evolution (pdf slides). It argues that evolution is scientific, states a few generalities, and concludes that "Evolution explains the diversity of life on earth".
It seems to me that if evolutionists are going to claim that the theory explains everything, then it is fair game for critics to try to find things that it does not explain.
After reading all of the Dawkins piece linked to above, I understand. I read a book review once in which the author complained that a book which he had reviewed, "Leadership Principles of Attila the Hun" and called "twaddle" had a quote taken out of context as a blurb on the cover. The reviewer ended the review with the statement that he had made sure that nothing could be taken from the review and made to sound positive. Dawkins is complaining about unscrupulous creationists taking the words of scientists out of context to criticize evolution, nothing more.So Dawkins wants his fellow evolutionists to carefully control their language so that nothing they say will be construed to be a limitation on the explanatory power of the theory of evolution?!
Real scientists are happy to explain what is and is not explained by theory. They are happy to explain what has and has not been empirically demonstrated. Only leftist-atheist-evolutionist science propagandists like Dawkins are so concerned about people discovering the theory's shortcomings.
I defy you to supply the quote where Dawkins or I say anything which justifies your statement [about Dawkins].Dawkins says, "It isn’t even safe for a scientist to express temporary doubt ...". The whole point of his column is to encourage evolutionists to avoid expressing doubts or evolution limitations, and to attack efforts to fully inform Kansas students. Dawkins also said in 1986:
Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.That is his real problem. He is a propagandist for atheism, and he wants the schools to teach science in a way that promotes atheism and does not allow alternative views.
Here is another attack on Dawkins' essay.
Stem cell junk science
I'm glad that someone is concerned that conservatives are embracing junk science. I thought that was a lost cause when conservatives started supporting ID. Personally, I reject the assertion that bible banging busy bodies are real conservatives.He sends an incoherent stem cell essay by Harvard researcher David Shaywitz. (The essay is not freely available.) It says:
For true believers, of course, these scientific facts should be beside the point; if human embryonic stem cell research is morally, fundamentally, wrong, then it should be wrong, period, regardless of the consequences to medical research. If conservatives believe their own rhetoric, they should vigorously critique embryonic stem cell research on its own grounds, and not rely upon an appeal to utilitarian principles.This is nonsense. He is not a conservative, does not know any conservatives, and may not have ever even read anything that conservatives wrote. Yet he somehow thinks that he knows what conservatives ought to be thinking.
In fact conservatives do sometimes criticize embryonic stem cell research on its own grounds. It is especially strange to hear a scientist complain about someone else using a utilitarian argument!
Shaywitz is complaining about following deceptive practice. Monday on Lehrer a Republican congressman was shown holding up a folder with 60 some odd "cures" using adult stem cells and a folder showing 0 cures from embryonic stem cells. The complaint is not that a utilitarian argument is being used, but that the particular argument that adult stem cells are more useful than embryonic stem cells is based on junk science. This is exactly what is being implied by the Republican scam artist I mentioned. Of course adult stem cell research is ahead of embryonic stem cell research, it has been funded for more than a decade longer than embryonic stem cell research. Adult stem cell research has never operated under the severe restrictions under which embryonic stem cell research must operate in the US. While US research is pawn in the abortion wars, Korea, the UK, Japan and Singapore are patenting the technology we will need to solve our health care crisis. The end of this research is not organ farms, but an understanding of the molecular basis for the development process by which we become what we are starting from a single cell. The factors which guide this process and which can turn an adult cell into an embryo in cloning will be identified, their mechanisms understood, patented, and used to repair diseased or failing organs in situ. Thanks to the obstructionists, the US is already years behind in this race for intellectual property and the means to save lives. I call that evil.The congressman was stating a fact. Adult stem cells have led to useful therapies, and embryonic stem cells have not. If Shaywitz's objection is to that congressman stating facts, then he should say so. Instead, he wrote a dishonest straw man attack.
Supremacists let murderer go
I'm surprised nobody on this list has complained about the Supreme Court's latest outrage - the decision yesterday throwing out a death penalty because the convicted murderer was shackled during the penalty phase of the trial. Again, a Missouri criminal defendant was involved. Apparently the state now has to show that the shackling is necessary because the defendant (who has already been convicted of murder, remember) represents a threat! This decision is especially weird coming so soon after an Atlanta defendant went nuts and killed a few people in the courthouse.Yes, Graglia fails to grasp the true nature of the problem.
Judicial supremacist is sensitive to criticism
A Mass. judge just hates it when people call a spade a spade. She is a good example of a judge who ought to be impeached for irresponsible behavior in office.
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Prof. Larry Tribe
Prof. Larry Tribe has just canceled volume 2 of his constitutional law treatise. Apparently he is worried that it would be obsoleted by a couple of Bush appointments to the Supreme Court. One can only hope!
Anti-social behavior orders
Here is a weird British trend:
ASBO is an acronym for the ''anti-social behavior orders'' that have been introduced by the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair. He has promised to extend them in the third term he won in elections earlier this month. An ASBO is a kind of esoteric injunction that bans people from highly specific acts that fall just this side of criminality. Kerry McLaughlin's order, for instance, threatened her with jail if she had more than two guests over after 10 at night.In Britain, you cannot even encourage a kid to catch a butterfly:
A spokesman for Butterfly Conservation, a Dorset-based charity, was appalled by the prospect of thousands of net-wielding children charging across the British countryside with murder in mind.What are they going to do -- license the use of a butterfly net?
Benefits of preschool
A third-grade teacher says:
While research suggests that the benefits of preschool tend to wear off by fifth grade, some would argue that the first five years of school are important.In other words, preschool has no benefit to the kids, but it does benefit the teachers by brainwashing the kids into accepting their idiotic and destructive teaching techniques. That kids is probably better off taking a nap.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Gumma approves of Judge Janice Rogers Brown, because she testified:
If my family had a motto, it would be 'Don't snivel'. We had a very clear sense of right and wrong.She says that the statements proves that Brown is not a feminist. Feminists are all whiners and snivelers.
Friday, May 20, 2005
Leftist nut-case Catherine Crier complains on Court TV about how we have a conservative court. Pat Buchanan sets her straight. Most of the Republican-appointed judges are judicial supremacists and liberals. Crier is unwilling to distinguish between judges who rule contrary to the Constitution or to statutes, and judges who rule contrary to "case law".
The Mohammedan world does not believe in religious tolerance:
The Bible in Saudi Arabia may get a person killed, arrested, or deported. In September 1993, Sadeq Mallallah, 23, was beheaded in Qateef on a charge of apostasy for owning a Bible. The State Department's annual human rights reports detail the arrest and deportation of many Christian worshipers every year. Just days before Crown Prince Abdullah met President Bush last month, two Christian gatherings were stormed in Riyadh. Bibles and crosses were confiscated, and will be incinerated.Disposing of a copy of the Koran in front of a terrorist prisoner is trivial in comparison.
IBM wants cheap programmers
A N. Carolina paper says:
DURHAM -- With a critical shortage of Information Technology workers projected in the coming years, it's crucial that university computer science departments do all they can to attract top students to the field, a local IBM official said Tuesday. ...It is a simple matter of supply and demand. IBM pays much more to its lawyers, salemen, and managers than it pays its programmers. Programmers suffer an unemployment rate that is higher than the national average, while other professions have much lower unemployment rates. The USA has policies of importing cheap programmer labor from India and China. The students are acting rationally when they avoid computer science classes.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
The mainstream media (MSM) is saying that the polls favor the Democrats in the current filibuster debate. Here is the Time poll question:
Some Republicans in the Senate want to eliminate the ability of Democrats to use the filibuster, or extended debate, to block the Senate from voting on some of President Bush's judicial nominees. Do you think the Republicans should or should not be able to eliminate the filibuster in this case?Time says only 28% support the Republicans. But I wonder what the result would be if the question were phrased more like this:
Some Democrats in the Senate want the ability for a minority to block the Senate from voting on some of President Bush's judicial nominees. Do you think the Republicans should or should not be able to hold a vote on the nominees?"My hunch is that people who don't follow this issue closely are likely to oppose whoever seems to be changing the rules. The Democrats say that the Republicans are changing the rules, but the Republicans say that it is the Democrats who want a minority to be able to use the filibuster to kill judicial nominations, and that has never been done before.
The use of the word "filibuster" is also confusing. The traditional Senate filibuster was just a debating tactic, and it only delayed votes. It did not prevent votes. The average voter is likely to think that a full debate on judges is a good thing. But what the Democrats really want to do is to veto the nomination with a minority of the votes. They do not just want a full debate.
A new study says:
More than 600 kids are expelled from preschool in New York each year, according to a new study. That means preschoolers get kicked out at a rate nearly 18 times higher than that of kids from kindergarten to 12th grade. Preschoolers are generally three- and four-years-old.The preschool lobby is unhappy:
The fact that children who are just learning how to hold a crayon or recognize the alphabet are being tossed out of classrooms has surprised and alarmed researchers and preschool advocates, who warn that early intervention and support -- not expulsion -- is the key to long-term student success.They ought to be alarmed, because they are ideologically committed to a fallacious theory. A lot of 3- and 4-year-olds just aren't ready to be ruined by educators yet. Preschool is just daycare, and I suspect that most kids are better off without it.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Darwin on trial
John sends this Wash Post article about evolution and intelligent design.
"Evolution is the most plausible explanation for life if you're using naturalistic terms, I'll agree with that." Johnson folds his hands over his belly, a professorial Buddha, as his words fly rat-a-tat-tat. "That's only," he continues, "because science puts forward evolution and says any other logical explanation is outside of reality." ...If it turns out that the junk DNA is needed, then I am sure that the evolutionists will say that it is further proof for evolution and for the non-existence of God.
The Wash (com)Post quotes a lawyer to defend ID and a philosopher to defend evolution. In a political fight I guess it is better to have a lawyer on your side. Fortunately, the defense of evolution does not require philosophers. ID on the other hand would not even exist if it hadn't been concocted by Johnson, a lawyer.Yes, the scientists followed an AAAS-led boycott of the Kansas hearings. It is hard to find a scientist who will defend the evolutionist position.
Friday, May 13, 2005
John sends this Thomas L. Friedman column and writes:
The same people who supported outsourcing U.S. computer jobs to India now wonder why college computer departments no longer attract the best students.Yes. Simple supply and demand. If computer jobs disappear because of outsourcing, then the best students will go elsewhere. No mystery to it.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Buchanan questions WWII
Pat Buchanan quotes Pres. Bush, and then questions whether fighting WWII in Europe was worth the cost. Critics are calling him an anti-Semite again. Cramer suggests asking the Jews who were murdered by the Nazis? I guess he means to ask the Jews who escaped the Nazis.
Today, schoolkids are taught that the USA went to war in WWII because of Pearl Harbor and to save European Jews from the Nazis. It must seem strange that Buchanan doesn't mention either. However, I really don't think that saving the Jews had much to do with entering the war in Europe.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Saw Kuhn's "SSR" on your list of harmful books. Maybe you're a "sophisticated methodological falsificationist" and disagree with Kuhn's "psychology of research" approach, but ... harmful? Isn't Kuhn just a sociologist and "mildly interesting"? Where's the harm?I guess it sounds odd to attack such a universally praised book. People like Al Gore and Stephen Jay Gould said it was one of the best books they ever read.
I don't like the book because of the way in which Kuhn denies that there is scientific progress. Furthermore, the book inspired all sorts of other bad ideas.
For a good criticism of Kuhn from the point of view of a scientist, see Steven Weinberg's essay.
Anyone who defends Kuhn must defend his remarks on "Revolutions and Relativism" p205-206 second edition, in which Kuhn denies that science has anything to do with objective reality and effect endorses relativism in a mealy mouthed fashion. Go ahead, make my day.If science doesn't explain objective reality, then the next step is to say that there is no such thing as objective reality.
Iraq War plans
The latest UK scandal is this 23 July 2002 leaked memo:
C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.I don't know why anyone would be surprised that the USA was making Iraq war preparations in 2002. We had even bombed Iraq as recently as 1998.
Monday, May 09, 2005
Democrat nonsense on judges
John sends this Ramesh Ponnuru article as a good response to a Wash. Post column defending Democrats who want to filibuster judges.
See also this scathing criticism.
Finally, Caplan says "the current Supreme Court has a right and a center, but no left." This is just silly. If it were the case we would see more decisions overturning Warren and Burger Court precedents and fewer cases that, like Lawrence and Roper, shift constitutional jurisprudence to the left. Any description of judicial ideology along these lines must account for the trajectory of the Court's doctrines, many of which, I would submit, still trend left.Anyone who says that we have a right-wing court is just a leftist propagandist.
Emotional-assistance service dog
I didn't know that non-blind people get to have seeing-eye dogs.
Another Seattle case in which a merchant got in trouble for not admitting a dog which was accompanying its owner for purposes of psychological assistance (as distinct from the service provided by seeing-eye and hearing dogs for the physically disabled). This time the Wicker Basket grocery store in Ballard was fined $21,000 after owner Hojoon Park wouldn't let the dog into the shop.I did once see an apparently normally-sighted man with a seeing-eye dog eat in a restaurant. I figured that maybe he was training the dog, or had some unusual visual problem.
Woman Gets $45K for Cat Killed by Dog
John sends this:
SEATTLE (AP) - A woman who sued a neighbor after his dog mauled her cat to death has been awarded more than $45,000.I think that a better remedy would have been to just let her shoot his dog.
Saturday, May 07, 2005
Shiavo's effect on Bush
It is depressing the way the TV commentators , in evaluating Bush's standing in the polls, or report on his forst 100 days, or whatever, continually refer to the Schiavo case as a negative for Bush without any explanation whatsoever. Everybody is just supposed to understand that it was a Bush/Republican negative. Any ideas for dealing with this?Andy writes:
It should be a negative. Bush hid behind the skirts of the judges. Bush passed the buck. Bush gave quotes like "it's up to the courts to decide this." For pete's sake, ever since Harry Truman it has been understood that the president should not be passing the buck. Bush made himself look less important than a mere probate judge.John writes:
Schiavo is a negative for Bush and the Republicans because they set a goal but failed to accomplish it. Like the CW song, they "fought the law and the law won" - law in this case meaning the judges.I don't buy this analysis. I don't think that Shiavo was a negative for Pres. Bush. And if it was, you have to ask whether it was because Bush did too much or too little.
I think that Clinton was severely damaged by the impeachment.
Schiavo's supporters lost in the sense that Schiavo died, but she may have been a martyr to the cause, and her death may help the cause in the long run. Until she actually died, there were probably a lot of people who didn't believe that the authorities would really starve her.
All of those same TV commentators claimed that Bush lost the Bush-Kerry debates, and argued that poll data proves it. They were wrong. Bush won the debates. Bush articulated where he stands and why, and Kerry never did.
Friday, May 06, 2005
Man's refusal to return digit found in custard kills bid to reattach
Here is proof that we have too many lawsuits by greedy plaintiffs.
RALEIGH, N.C. — To a dessert shop customer, the severed fingertip found in a pint of frozen custard could be worth big dollars in a potential lawsuit. To the shop worker who lost it, the value is far more than monetary.I was surprised to learn that a small fingertip can sometimes regenerate in a child.
This story has pictures. I am a little surprised no one forcibly took the finger away from Stowers. I hope that there is an investigation of Stowers, to see what produced his mindset.
Meanwhile, we are learning more about the background of the Wendy's finger woman. She practices witchcraft, and has a husband who owes $433,000 in child support.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Politics & EvolutionNPR had a story today about Kansas and other states debating the teaching of evolution.
I am happy to believe that the less people know about science the more likely they are to be conservative and Republican. I just didn’t think that anyone would be proud to be walking down the middle of the street proudly waving the banner of “Know Nothingism.” I am always impressed by peoples ability to be proud of their ignorance.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
You Say:Yes, I do think that it is slander (or libel) to say that a Gonzales court opinion called Owen a judicial activist. It is not true. I blogged about this in 2002 and 2005.NY Times slanders judgesTo paraphrase ‘The Princess Bride’ “I don’t think that word means what you think it means.” Unless you genuine believe that quoting directly from a judge’s written opinion is slander. I am willing to assert if Attorney General Alberto Gonzales opinion of Justice Owen‘s is that she is a judicial activist she might very well be.
As far as I can determine, there is no Constitution in Exile movement or group. The issue is debated here. Apparently it is just a big straw man.
The attacks on Justice Brown are strange. Her attackers do not usually cite any of her opinions. When they do, those opinions are excellent. I actually hope that she does not get confirmed, because we need her here on the California Supreme Court.
John sends this Michael S. Greve essay writes:
It just won't fly to try to deny there's a conservative Constitution in Exile movement. Clearly, the Supremacists envisions a Constitution before it was misinterpreted by the Warren Court. A better response is to point out that the Left has its own Constitution in Exile, i.e., leftist legal doctrines that they want to write into the Constitution.Yes. The NY Times article attacks the so-called CIE with quotes from Cass Sunstein, who calls himself a moderate. In fact, Sunstein has his own extreme leftist ideas for his own constitution in exile.
I don't know whether there is a CIE movement or not, but I do know that J. Brown's opinions are on the record. The attacks on her rarely mention that record. When they do, it is often like this:
In a lead Oct. 25 editorial, "Out of the Mainstream Again," The New York Times cited as one of her "extreme positions" Justice Brown's dissent in a case where "her court ordered a rental car company to stop its supervisor from calling Hispanic employees by racial epithets." Also attacking Justice Brown for her dissent in that case, Aguilar vs. Avis Rent A Car Systems, were Sen. Edward Kennedy and the Congressional Black Caucus Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. Have they read the full record of the case?This Gene C. Gerard article attacks Brown on this case first:
Justice Brown dissented, and argued that the right to free speech protected the use of racial slurs in the workplace, even when it violated federal laws against racial discrimination. Her dissent essentially ignored many previous rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court.Brown's excellent opinion in that case is one of 3 dissents, and it cites 15 US Supreme Court precedents. It does not say that the racial slurs are protected, because she upholds the employee's lawsuit for damages. If that is her worst opinion then I think that Pres. Bush should appoint her to the US Supreme Court. She would be better than 7 of the 9 we have.
You Say: “Yes, I do think that it is slander (or libel) to say that a Gonzales court opinion called Owen a judicial activist. It is not true. I blogged about this in 2002 and 2005.”The phrase "an unconscionable act of judicial activism" does come from a Gonzales court opinion, but it did not refer to Owen's reading of the law. The NY Times repeats this falsehood.
Most harmful nonfiction books
Human Events is collecting lists of the most harmful nonfiction books on the last 2 centuries. Here is mine.
There are some idiotic comments here. They point out that the list overlooks the Harry Potter books, Catcher In The Rye, and the Warren Commission Report.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Liza sent several message objecting to selling blood and eggs, including:
In your own words: "in California, there are some laws restricting paying blood donors."I should have made it clear that California has no practical restriction on paying blood donors. Anyone can pay any donor any amount of money for blood, as long as the blood is marked "paid". The blood banks can resell the blood. There are some mild restrictions on the usage of paid blood. They don't matter much because we have a surplus of blood.
If a law is passed to regulate selling eggs in a manner analogous to current laws on selling blood, then it would not be much difference from current practice.
It sounds like Liza just wants to cap the price for baby selling at $10k or so.
Princeton Univ. is holding a Frist filibuster, and they are reading evolutionist essays!
Meanwhile, evolutionists cannot agree whether there is any reason for parent to take better care of pretty kids.
Dr. W. Andrew Harrell, executive director of the Population Research Laboratory at the University of Alberta and the leader of the research team, sees an evolutionary reason for the findings: pretty children, he says, represent the best genetic legacy, and therefore they get more care.Bob writes, "It is my experience that parents favor the kids who look most like them."
When I get the chance, I'll connect the dots on these issues.
Women earn more
John sends this John Leo article about women earning as much as men for the same jobs.
Sup Ct vacates feminist ruling
The Sixth Circuit had expanded equal protection to include feminist demands, and forced the entire state of Michigan to revamp its boys and girls high school schedules. I wrote about this here.Andy also notes that the US Supreme Court also just agreed to hear a case on the Solomon Amendment. This means that the Court may uphold the power of Congress to require colleges to allow military recruiters on campus.
Congress can enforce the 14A
Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment (and ERA) says that "CONGRESS SHALL HAVE THE POWER TO ENFORCE, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article."John cites this Austin Bramwell article for a similar argument, and writes:
One trouble with the idea is that in the 1997 case of City of Boerne v. Flores (which the author erroneously cites as "Boerne v. City of Flores") the Supreme Court tried to say that it and not Congress will have the final say on the scope of the 14th Amendment, at least insofar as the 14th is used to "incorporate" the 1st Amendment against the states.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
Science of global warming
John sends this UK Telegraph story:
Two of the world's leading scientific journals have come under fire from researchers for refusing to publish papers which challenge fashionable wisdom over global warming. ...Remember that the next time you read about a scientific consensus on global warming.