April 2004 Archives

Alabama theocrat and demagogue, Judge Roy Moore, exhausted his last attempt to stay on the bench. A stand-in Alabama Supreme Court unanimously rejected his appeal to the ruling of an ethics panel that removed him from the bench for failing to follow the lawful order of a federal judge to remove his ten commandment monument from the Alabama Judicial Building.

The high priest of ‘Bama got defrocked and must live with it.

Alabama Times Story

What can you get a faith-healing televangelist who has everthing he could ask for? Why an endorcement from intelligent-design “theoretician,” William Dembski.

The ministry of the Manmin Church is quite remarkable, and I have been following it now for several years. As a scientist, I tend to be skeptical about events that are supposed to be miracles. Yet as a Christian, I also know that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that there is nothing to prevent the power of God from working miraculous events. Having visited the Manmin Church and having seen the news reports of Rev. Dr. Jae-Rock Lee’s ministry around the globe, I am persuaded that God truly is manifesting himself with works of power through this ministry. There is a great need for people to experience the power of God in their lives. I therefore commend “Manmin World News” for emphasizing this aspect of the Christian life that is so often neglected in the West.

— Dr. William A. Dembski (Author of “Intelligent Design”)

“As a scientist” Dembski sure lacks any of the educational background or professional experience to merit the title. Now “pseudo-scientist,” I’d believe that. His entire professional output consists of writting popular books which are are the exact opposite of what he describes above. About the only things he is skeptical of are natural explainations when they come up against his favorite childhood miracles.

First spotted on IIDB.

Also blogged by Pharyngula.

Earlier this week Italy removed the concept of evolution from middle school curricula. This caused a mighty outrage in the country.

Tens of thousands of Italians have expressed their disagreement with a plan by the minister of education, universities, and research, Letizia Moratti, to ban the teaching of evolutionary theory to young teenagers.

Fearing the measure will pave the way for creationist teaching, more than 40,000 citizens-and the number is still increasing-have subscribed a petition launched last week by some of the country’s top scientists through the daily La Repubblica.

However, the decision was quickly reversed.

According to a story in the April 28, 2004 La Repubblica, the largest newspaper in Italy, the decision by the Minister of Education and Research, Letizia Moratti, to drop evolution from the science curriculum in middle school has been reversed. Instead, evolution will be taught beginning with the elementary schools. Minister Moratti has named a commission to be chaired by Nobel laureate Rita Levi Montalcini to provide specific guidance on the subject of evolution.

(From NCSE.)

I wonder if Kathy Cox has called Italy to offer her experience in damage control?

Bush-League Lysenkoism

The White House bends science to its will

In February his White House received failing marks in a statement signed by 62 leading scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, 19 recipients of the National Medal of Science, and advisers to the Eisenhower and Nixon administrations. It begins, “Successful application of science has played a large part in the policies that have made the United States of America the world’s most powerful nation and its citizens increasingly prosperous and healthy. Although scientific input to the government is rarely the only factor in public policy decisions, this input should always be weighed from an objective and impartial perspective to avoid perilous consequences.… The administration of George W. Bush has, however, disregarded this principle.”

Science isn’t the only thing being rewritten by the Bush Administration to suit their needs. The Whitehouse has apparantly rewirtten the biographies of past presidents to make them look like early versions of our current Idiot and Chief.

White House Re-Writes Presidential Histories

The White House website tries to recast Jefferson (among many others of the various presidents) as an early version of George W. Bush. It highlights that “he was no public speaker,” and emphasizes that he was elected by a vote in the House of Representatives - implicitly not unlike Bush’s selection by the Supreme Court.

Update #1

Using http://www.archive.org/ it appears that these biographies predate Dubbya’s administration. So the misleading information doesn’t appear to be their fault; although, it is their responsibililty to correct.

Update #2

These biographies appear to be taken from a short book written in the Reagan years, The Presidents of the United States of America (Amazon.com). I guess that would explain the Republican goggles. This book was produced by the White House Historical Association, which would explain why the Clinton administration used it when they set up the website.

The Evolution Cruncher

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My advisor, Wyatt Anderson, got The Evolution Cruncher in his mailbox today, complements of the North Dakota Bible Society.

I am sad that any trees had to be cut down to print 900+ pages of crap.

From EvolutionBlog I found this link to an ARN report on the recent ID conference at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA). The following caught my attention.

Featured speakers included Dr. Henry Schaefer, University of Georgia and five-time nominee for the Nobel Prize, and Dr. Michael Behe, Professor of Biochemist at Lehigh University.

It is funny to see the same erroneous memes passed around. Schaefer is not a five-time nominee for the Nobel prize, as far as anyone actually knows. The Nobel committee doesn’t release nominations.

According to the Statutes of the Nobel Foundation, information about the nominations is not to be disclosed, publicly or privately, for a period of fifty years. The restriction not only concerns the nominees and nominators, but also investigations and opinions in the awarding of a prize.

The idea the Schaefer has been nominated five-times comes from a U.S. News and World Report story from December 23, 1991. That’s right; the authority for Schaefer’s near-Nobel-laureate credentials is the speculation of a weekly news magazine. Not what I’d consider ironclad enough to state as a sure thing.

It is very interesting to watch the evolution of the description of Schaefer’s credentials, as I once did through some googling. Before Schaefer tossed his “weight” into the ID ring, the descriptions of him correctly noted that the five nominations were speculations by US News and World Report. However, as he began to be cited more and more by anti-evolutionists, the source of the five nomination claim was stripped off and their speculated existence became an actual existence. Credential inflating is often used by anti-evolution activists who rely on misplaced appeals to authority to support their anti-scientific agendas.

I am at the same university as Schaefer, and we have the honor of having a world class evolutionary biology program. However, despite Schaefer’s apparent interest in evolution, given his relationship with the anti-evolution movement, I have never seen him at any of our evolutionary biology seminars, which involve major scientists of the discipline. In actually, he is nothing but a devoutly religious and conservative chemistry professor who has no professional experience in evolutionary biology and, as far as I can tell, takes absolutely no advantage of the resources the campus has in the discipline. His objections to evolution are nothing but religiously motivated incredulity.

“What are his objections?” you might ask. Well he lists them (circa 2002):

My first concern is that, with the collapse of the Miller-Urey model, there is no plausible scientific mechanism for the origin of life, i.e., the appearance of the first self-replicating biochemical system. The staggeringly high information content of the simplest living thing is not readily explained by evolutionists. Second, the time frame for speciation events seems all wrong to me. The major feature of the fossil record is stasis, long periods in which new species do not appear. When new develpoments occur, they come rapidly, not gradually. My third area of reservation is that I find no satisfactory mechanism for macroevolutionary changes. Analogies between a few inches of change in the beaks of a Galapagos finch species and a purported transition from dinosaur to bird (or vice versa) appear to me inappropriate.

His first concern defiantly shows that he is arguing against a straw man. What he is concerned about is not part of “the standard evolutionary model.” Only someone ignorant of evolutionary biology would think otherwise. Evolutionary biology does not explain where the first self-replicating system came from, due to the simple fact that evolution cannot happen until after the first self-replicator comes into existence.

His second concern is another one based on incredulity and ignorance. Stasis in the fossil record refers not to the stasis of forms, but to stasis of the distribution of forms. The rapid turnover that Schaefer is referring to is the fact that in the fossil record species often abruptly disappear and are replaced without any recorded species to species transitions between them. However, he is guilty of equivocation by confusing what is considered gradual and rapid in biological time (evolution) with what is considered gradual and rapid in geologic time (fossilization).

Schaefer is not a paleontologist, so I can’t imagine that he has much first-hand exposure to the fossil record. So the question is “where did he get his information on it?” Probably not from Gould and Eldredge who first described the broad pattern of species stasis and abrupt replacement in the fossil record (punctuated equilibrium) and who demonstrated how it was logical the result of “the standard evolutionary model.” Schaefer probably was exposed to punctuated equilibrium thought the many anti-evolutionists who completely and perhaps intentionally misconstrued the work of Gould and Eldredge to support their agendas. Simply put, he was had.

Gould and Eldredge explained how evolution, which is biologically gradual, coupled with the rare event of fossilization would produce stasis and abrupt replacement in the fossil record. Because fossilization is rare, the species most likely to be represented in the fossil record are ones that have body parts able to be fossilized, die in areas and in ways prone to cause fossilization, and are numerous. Now assume we have a species complex that reasonably satisfies the first two conditions. Now the species in this complex most likely to be represented in the fossil record are the most populous ones. However, large populations also evolve slower than small populations. Thus fossilization most likely will preserve species that evolve slowly, explaining the observed stasis.

Because large populations evolve slowly, “the standard evolutionary model” predicts that most speciation events will happen in the periphery of the population range where there can exist small subpopulations and, more than likely, different habitats. It is in these locations that gradual evolution will lead to speciation. However, fossilization is unlikely to preserve the event. From ecology and demography we know that population replacement can be relatively rapidly (over a few thousand years). One example would be a pathogen wiping out the parent species, and a daughter species, which before was on periphery invading the newly open central habitat.

Together, the evolutionary, demographic, ecological, geographic, and geological forces would produce a fossil record showing a species with a stable range of morphology existing for–say–100,000 years disappearing and being replaced by another species in less than–say–5,000 years. The interesting thing in all of this is that “the standard evolutionary model” was already elucidated before Gould and Eldredge describe and explained punctuated equilibrium using it. Punctuated equilibrium is not an application of the fossil record to evolution as is commonly claimed by anti-evolutionists, but rather an application of standard evolutionary theory to the fossil record.

Schaefer’s third concern is similar to his second. He says he can’t “find a satisfactory mechanism for macroevolutionary changes,” but I have to wonder how hard he is looking. There was much debate in the early part of the twentieth century about whether microevolutionary changes could lead to macroevolutionary changes. Many scientists thought that they were different processes, but since the middle of that century biological data has demonstrated that they are not.

One of the most important tenets of the theory forged during the Evolutionary Synthesis of the 1930s and 1940s was that “macroevolutionary” differences among organisms–those that distinguish higher taxa–arise from the accumulation of the same kinds of genetic differences that are found within species. Opponents of this point of view believed that “macroevolution” is qualitatively different from “microevolution” within a species, and is based on a totally different kind of genetic and developmental repatterning. The iconoclastic geneticist Richard Goldschmidt (1940), who held this opinion, believed that the evolution of species marks the break between “microevolution” and “macroevolution”–that there is a “bridgeless gap” between species that cannot be understood in terms of the genetic variation within species. Genetic studies of species differences have decisively disproved Goldschmidt’s claim. Differences between species in morphology, behavior, and the process that underlie reproductive isolation all have the same genetic properties as variation within species: they occupy consistent chromosomal positions, they may be polygenic or based on few genes, they may display additive, dominant, or epistatic effects, and they can in some instances be traced to specifiable differences in proteins or DNA nucleotide differences. The degree of reproductive isolation between populations, whether prezygotic or postzygotic, varies from little or none to complete. Thus, reproductive isolation, like the divergence of any other character, evolves in most cases by the gradual substitution of alleles in populations.

(Douglas Futuyma, Evolutionary Biology, 3rd ed. pp 477-478)

Or to put it another way, differences between individuals of different species (macroevolutionary changes) are no different than differences between individuals of the same species (microevolutionary changes); they just have had longer to accumulate. Schaefer’s third concern is a view of biology that the evidence dismissed over fifty years ago.

Although, Schaefer is a very good computational chemist, he is a lousy when it comes to biology. His concerns are not informed by biology, but rather creationist propaganda in which all three often appear. His name might initially look good in a press release for critics of modern biology, but upon further examination his support lacks the authority they think it has.

Last year Cirque du Soleil fired an HIV positive performer because they believed that he was a heath risk to other performers, crew members, and the audience. I’ve only been to one Cirque du Soleil show, but I must have missed the part of the act that involved group sex and needle sharing.

Cirque du Soleil spokeswoman Renee-Claude Menard said the company regretted firing Cusick and blamed the decision on ignorance.

“We didn’t have all the knowledge on what HIV is and how it’s transmitted,” Menard said. “We were very genuine in saying that we wanted him back. He could’ve done so much to raise awareness.”

I’m suprised that such ignorance still exists in today’s society. Too bad we can’t make the religious right, who has spread many of these HIV/AIDS myths, also pay.

The federal, state, and local governments and their various agencies are prohibited from campaigning in elections. Such laws don’t stop the Bush administration, as is evidenced by the IRS, in its Tax Day Reminder.

America has a choice: It can continue to grow the economy and create new jobs as the President’s policies are doing; or it can raise taxes on American families and small businesses, hurting economic recovery and future job creation.

Of course, as we all know Bush’s tax cuts for the rich haven’t helped the economy one iota. The only time unemployment went down in recent months is when people simply stopped looking for work.

This administration sucks.

John Maynard Smith

John Maynard Smith FRS passed away peacefully at home on April 19th. He was a world renouned evolutionary biologist and pioneered the application of game theory to evolutionary questions. The University of Sussex has issued a press release about his passing.

Evolutionary biologist John Maynard Smith dies

Professor John Maynard Smith, the internationally renowned evolutionary biologist, 84, died peacefully at home on April 19.

Maynard Smith was remarkable for the breadth of his contributions to biology, including his radical application of game theory to understanding evolutionary strategies, and his clear definition of the major transitions in the history of life. Maynard Smith was always enthusiastic about new data sources and continued to be a driving force in the use of molecular data to answer biological questions.

Like his mentor, J.B.S. Haldane (one of the founders of the modern synthesis of Darwinian evolution and genetics), Maynard Smith was deeply committed to making evolutionary ideas accessible to a wide audience. His book, The Theory of Evolution, inspired many of today’s leading researchers to become biologists. Despite his fame, he would nevertheless take time to discuss ideas with undergraduate students and eminent professors alike.

Maynard Smith was Emeritus Professor of Biology at the School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex. He joined the University as the founding Dean of its School of Biological Sciences in 1965, and served as professor there until 1985. He remained active in original research until his death, working on the evolution of animal behaviour, and practical issues such as tuberculosis in cattle.

A graduate of University College London, where he first taught before coming to Sussex, Maynard Smith’s distinguished career spanned more than 50 years and brought numerous accolades and honours, including the Crafoord Prize in 1999, awarded by the Swedish Academy of Sciences and widely recognised as the equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

Japan followed suit with the Kyoto Prize, Japan’s highest private award for lifetime achievement, in 2001.The citation read: “Professor Maynard Smith is a keenly intelligent and curious biologist, yet he is capable of explaining complex theory in simple terms and with wit and a sense of humour.”

The University of Sussex also acknowledged his achievements, awarding Maynard Smith an honorary degree in 1988 and renaming its Biological Sciences building after him in 2003.

Colleagues and friends paid tribute today to Maynard Smith’s unique contribution to biological science and to the University. Professor Alasdair Smith, University of Sussex Vice-Chancellor, said: “John Maynard Smith was one of the great scientists of the 20th century. He was the central figure in the development of biological sciences at Sussex. The University mourns his passing.”

Maynard Smith’s colleagues at the Centre for the Study of Evolution are feeling the loss of a dear friend and energetic colleague, whose knowledge, enthusiasm and curiosity enlivened discussion, whether in the office, in the field, or in the pub.

A celebration of the life of John Maynard Smith will be held at the University in the near future.

This came from the EvolDir email list.

John had just finished his latest book (on animal communication, with David Harper) and has recently been working on various theoretical and empirical problems, particularly in bacterial population genetics. He had also started work on a new edition of his book on the Major Transitions in Evolution (with Eors Szathmary). He was thinking, working, and helping his colleagues until the very end.

He was not totally comfortable in the last months of his life (mostly due to breathing difficulties) but he was not suffering very badly either.

Professor Maynard Smith is survived by his wife, Sheila, and his three children, Anthony, Carol and Julian.

Another great one has passed.

Foxhole

This was posted on IIDB, and I thought I’d share it.

Hi, I’m Jean Rice, a US Navy veteran (late 80s) . I am a member of the Military Associaton of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF).

http://maaf.info/

MAAF has a new UBB forum, The MAAF Foxhole… (in reference to “There are no atheists in foxholes”). It’s brand-spanking new, a forum for atheist, agnostic, humanist and freethinkers who are associated with the military, either active duty, veteran, dependant or civilian contractor.

MAAF serves to connect military atheists with other military atheists, to council military atheists of their rights under the UCMJ and the US Constitution, to assist with EO and other issues pertaining to the military and religion, and to simply provide a forum to vent when your CO just doesn’t get it.

http://www.maaf.info/foxhole/

This is a brand-new forum, we only have 8 members at the time I am writing this. So please come on over and help us get the Foxhole going!

Jean Rice Administrator The MAAF Foxhole

Cool, Huh?

I’d just like to say that Kill Bill vols. 1 & 2 are awesome. I’ve watched the DVD of vol. 1 three or four times since I got it on Wednesday. I saw vol. 2 on Friday by myself and again on Sunday with Tiffany, my wife. Great cinema. It will be even greater if there is ever an extended director’s cut that puts the two of them together.

The second volume is different from the first; it concentrates more on dialog and detailing the backstory than on action. However, the best action scene in the volumes is in the second one when The Bride fights Elle Driver.

I just wish that the movies were a little more balanced. So much time was spent detailing O-Ren’s backstory that I want the same treatment for the other five characters.

It’s not a chain letter.

  • Grab the nearest book.
  • Open to page 23.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post the sentence on your blog along with these instructions.

“As becomes large, the distribution of approaches the familiar bell-shaped curve called the normal distribution.”

References

  • Hartl & Clarke (1997) Principles of Population Genetics. Third Edition.

Well there is some whining today in the AJC today about lack of conservative professors in America’s Colleges and Universities.

Let’s look at a few claims.

Colleges and universities are widely known to have overwhelmingly liberal faculties; most institutions have only a few, if any, conservative professors.

Correction: Colleges and universities are widely believed to have overwhelmingly liberal faculties; most institutions are believed to have only a few if any conservative professors. However, this belief is unsupported by any evidence. I know of no college dedicated to upholding the politics of the left, whereas there are many colleges dedicated to upholding the politics of the right. Such colleges are usually affiliated with conservative, evangelical Christianity and require that both students and professors sign statements declaring the commitment to conservative values. I know of no school that does something equivalent for liberal values.

On numerous occasions, I’ve observed firsthand the ridicule that we conservative students are subjected to upon offering a viewpoint other than the professor’s.

Well, my experience with conservatives (and the extreme left) is that they usually take any challenge to their viewpoints as ridicule or biasness. It couldn’t be because they are wrong or haven’t thought through their viewpoints enough? College is about education. These whines from conservatives about liberal bias in education derive from a desire not for education but from a desire for simple approval of their viewpoints. In other words, they don’t want to use college to reexamine their highschool viewpoints, but to rubber stamp them. They whine because their viewpoints can’t stand up to the challenge. If they don’t want challenge, they should go to a bible college.

I have seen students–conservative, liberal, and moderate–be challenged by teachers when they say something not well thought out, mistaken, or just plain stupid. I have been both the student and the teacher.

What student who cares about his academic standing dares contradict a professor utterly convinced of his perspective? Maybe if I didn’t want to get into law school, I would have the courage to risk a real debate!

Pure and utter projection. Professionals, like most professors are, don’t let things like political differences dictate the grades they give. The fact that so many of these whining students imagine that it would happen makes me worry what they would do if they were the professor and some student had different politics.

Pharyngula has blogged this topic before here, here, and here.

This originally appeared here on my pre-blog site.

Introduction

This document shows an analysis of the life science benchmarks in the recently proposed Georgia science standards, by comparing them to the the Project 2061 benchmarks developed by AAAS. Georgia’s proposed standards are based on the AAAS benchmarks by way of the Council for Basic Education’s Standards for Excellence in Education. The information to compile this document can be found at the following links. Do not take my word on it; do your own analysis.

Lying for Jesus (Again)

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Sometimes I wonder if fundies worship the god Ironicus, they sure seem to do his bidding a lot. Take this recent “report” in the Agape Press.

The problem is that even though a bill was introduced in January in Missouri that would have penalized teachers for not teaching an evolution alternative, the measure was later revised and the teacher penalty was eliminated. In addition, the revised bill is no longer under active consideration by the Missouri Legislature, according to the bill’s sponsor.

Dr. John West with the Seattle-based Discovery Institute says the whole report filed by Belgrave was false and amounted to “shoddy journalism.”

“Denise Belgrave apparently got some information from a pro-evolution group and simply parroted it; she apparently didn’t try to verify it herself. I was interviewed for the report and actually appeared briefly on screen, and the amazing thing to me is that she didn’t even ever ask me about the Missouri bill – or even about the subject of teachers being fired for not teaching alternatives to evolution. Even though that turned out to be what her whole report was about.”

The problem with Agape Press’s reporting is that the bill that was introduced in January was never revised. (See the activity report for HB911 from the Missouri General Assembly. Here is the current text of the bill; section 7 is still there.) Jim Brown and Jody Brown apparently got some information from an anti-evolutionary group and simply parroted it; they apparently didn’t try to verify it themselves.

A new bill (HB1722 was introduced in the Missouri Legislature on April 7th, and that bill doesn’t include the teacher penalty. However, CNN story ran on April 4th, a full three days before the new bill was introduced. In their effort to discredit accurate reporting, the anti-evolutionists and their sheep expect CNN to have reported on something a full three days before it happened. A notice to anti-evolutionists, CNN does not mean “Clairvoyant News Network.”

Perhaps they think CNN could do this since the Discovery Institute appears to be able to. On April 6th, the day before the new bill was introduced and while the old bill, complete with the section that would terminate teachers, was the only anti-evolution bill in the Missouri House, the Discovery Institute issued a press release whining about false reporting on CNN. The only false reporting was that coming out of the Discovery Institute and their parrots. Where have we seen that before?

It seems that DI had this new bill in mind when they were criticizing CNN. This of course leaves me wondering how DI knew about the new bill before it is submitted? The only conclusion that I can think of is that they played a roll in its creation, by directing the original bill’s sponser to remove the sections that were an embarrassment or that didn’t follow the aideeist party line, like complaints about radiometric dating.

But if DI only heard about the proposed changes through the anti-evolution grapevine, then they still demonstrate their usual level of shoddy scholarship by not checking the official records of the Missouri General Assembly to see if the bill had actually been changed. So they are still left doing the bidding of Ironicus, by simply parroting with out doing research the claims of anti-evolutionists. Buisness as usual, I guess.

I would ask for the parties involved in this witch hunt against CNN to retract their stories and press releases, but I don’t stay awake at night expecting them to be consistent.

(Thanx to Jason at EvolutionBlog for the heads up on the Agape Press story.)

Happy Easter

Check out my Easter Post on Panda’s Thumb.

I found this headline on the NY Times.

I didn’t read the story, but I’m trying to figure out which southern cities these are.

Atlanta and Miami?

How Bush Scuttled our Health

Read the story in the NY Times.

One key element of the strategy was putting the right people in under-the-radar positions. The Bush administration appointed officials who came directly from industry into these lower rungs of power – deputy secretaries and assistant administrators. These second-tier appointees knew exactly which rules and regulations to change because they had been trying to change them, on behalf of their industries, for years. One appointee was Jeffrey Holmstead, a lawyer and lobbyist for groups like the Alliance for Constructive Air Policy, an electric utility trade group that sought to weaken the Clean Air Act. Holmstead stepped into the role of assistant E.P.A. administrator for air and radiation, where he would oversee changes to new-source review.

Nine days after his swearing in, President Bush created the National Energy Policy Development Group, a task force headed by Vice President Dick Cheney and charged with developing a national energy policy. The timing of Bush’s ascendance to the presidency could not have been better for the energy industry. When Bush came to office, the nation was riveted by a bizarre energy crisis unfolding in California. We now know that California’s energy shock was largely caused by market manipulation (by Enron, among other companies) and regulatory breakdown, not by a drought in supply. But we didn’t know it then. A few days after he created the energy task force, President Bush went on CNN and blamed environmentalists for the crisis. “If there’s any environmental regulation that’s preventing California from having 100 percent max output at their plants – as I understand there may be – then we need to relax those regulations,” he said. California utility officials denied that environmental rules had anything to do with the crisis. But their protests didn’t matter. The president had forged the link.

The report from the American Lung Association and various environmental groups estimated that compared with enforcement of the old N.S.R. rules, the new rules would result in emissions increases of 7 million tons of sulfur dioxide and 2.4 million tons of nitrogen oxides per year by 2020. Had the new rules been in effect before 1999, the lawsuits that the Justice Department filed against the power companies would have been impossible: nearly every illegal action the power companies were accused of back then would have been legal under the new rules.

The White House’s reversal of clean-air gains was especially disturbing to Biondi, who joined the agency in 1971, six months after its inception under President Nixon. The rule changes and the abandonment of the new-source review investigations “excuse decades of violations,” he said. “We worked 30 years to develop a clean-air program that is finally achieving our goals. It was frustrating to see some of our significant advances taken away. I left because I wanted to make a difference, and it became clear that that was going to be difficult at the E.P.A.”

Voters need to wise up. Bush does not have our interests at heart. He needs to go, now. Four more years of this beast will ruin our country for a long time. We in the South thought reconstruction was bad. We haven’t seen nothing yet.

I have converted and improved my Hardy-Weinberg post for The Panda’s Thumb.

Read it here.

Lucretius

Things have about settled down at The Panda’s Thumb. I will probably post my EvoMath series there for the larger readership. I’ve gotten some good comments on the Hardy-Weinberg one and it is much better than the one I posted here a while back.

While I think of something to put on this blog, I thought I’d share some Lucretius with you.

In those days also the telluric world Strove to beget the monsters that upsprung With their astounding visages and limbs- The Man-woman- a thing betwixt the twain, Yet neither, and from either sex remote- Some gruesome Boggles orphaned of the feet, Some widowed of the hands, dumb Horrors too Without a mouth, or blind Ones of no eye, Or Bulks all shackled by their legs and arms Cleaving unto the body fore and aft, Thuswise, that never could they do or go, Nor shun disaster, nor take the good they would. And other prodigies and monsters earth Was then begetting of this sort- in vain, Since Nature banned with horror their increase, And powerless were they to reach unto The coveted flower of fair maturity, Or to find aliment, or to intertwine In works of Venus. For we see there must Concur in life conditions manifold, If life is ever by begetting life To forge the generations one by one: First, foods must be; and, next, a path whereby The seeds of impregnation in the frame May ooze, released from the members all; Last, the possession of those instruments Whereby the male with female can unite, The one with other in mutual ravishments.

And in the ages after monsters died, Perforce there perished many a stock, unable By propagation to forge a progeny. For whatsoever creatures thou beholdest Breathing the breath of life, the same have been Even from their earliest age preserved alive By cunning, or by valour, or at least By speed of foot or wing. And many a stock Remaineth yet, because of use to man, And so committed to man’s guardianship. Valour hath saved alive fierce lion-breeds And many another terrorizing race, Cunning the foxes, flight the antlered stags. Light-sleeping dogs with faithful heart in breast, However, and every kind begot from seed Of beasts of draft, as, too, the woolly flocks And horned cattle, all, my Memmius, Have been committed to guardianship of men. For anxiously they fled the savage beasts, And peace they sought and their abundant foods, Obtained with never labours of their own, Which we secure to them as fit rewards For their good service. But those beasts to whom Nature has granted naught of these same things- Beasts quite unfit by own free will to thrive And vain for any service unto us In thanks for which we should permit their kind To feed and be in our protection safe- Those, of a truth, were wont to be exposed, Enshackled in the gruesome bonds of doom, As prey and booty for the rest, until Nature reduced that stock to utter death.

This is a translation of book V, lines 837-877. I found a book today that I want dearly, Lucretius on Creation and Evolution. Too bad it costs so much.

Happy April Fool’s Day

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I’m still a little busy with Panda’s Thumb and research. However, I will point out that Wesley on PT has list of creationist fools up.

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