Daily Archives: June 4, 2008

And because Ben Stein gets on my ever lovin’ last nerve….

And I actually had an email argument with someone about it this morning (my god-fearing cousin), so I’m ranting.

It’s been fairly common knowledge for a while now that the movie distorts facts and sneers at any scientific theory that doesn’t have God in it, but I had no clue it would resort to Godwinizing itself.

That’s right. Ben Stein actually said that Darwin’s theory of evolution is responsible for the Holocaust. “What, the Ben Stein?” you ask, all flummoxed at the idea of an obviously intelligent individual actually making such a ridiculous assertion. Yes, I respond, the same. He’s been making silly assertions for quite a while now. The Scientific American article states:

Ben Stein acts grief-stricken and the director juxtaposes quotes from evolutionary biologists with archival newsreel clips from Hitler’s Reich

Oh, the HUMANITY!!! How can scientists ever look god in the face? If he had one. Or even existed.

The main issue with the movie is, of course, that it isn’t actually science. It’s a propaganda film for ID, and doesn’t really bother to refute any scientific evidence with scientific evidence of its own so much as it mislabels evolutionary theory (Darwinism…I guess Mendelism or an -ism on the end of any of the other half dozen better known evolutionary scientists’ names just didn’t sound as good) and scientists (Darwinists. Because, y’know…that’s all any science that adheres to verifiable fact is really about. Darwin) and attempts to paint their work as faulty for lack of a deity.

At any rate. My cousin was trilling praises to the movie in her monthly newsletter to the family. She took her daughters to see it so they could know just how science “misleads us and attempts to lead us away from our father.” I’m still not sure how, exactly, since all science really does is present facts, but she was fairly insistent that science attempts to divorce us from god.

It went rapidly downhill from there. I hit “reply all” to make sure I had everyone in my entire family on the cc line as well as hers (after all, if you’re going to start a family war, do it big, I always say…) and sent a few links showing the critical flaws in ID, the absurd flaws in Expelled, and kindly requested that she take me off her mailing list if she was going to insist on sending out patently wrong information with which she knew very well I would take issue, as I would just have to call her out in front of the entire family again.

So far only two responses. One from my brother, who accused me of timing my email to perfectly coincide with his ingestion of his morning coffee and a request for $25 for a new ergonomic keyboard, and one from my sister who called me evil. But I think she meant it in a good way.

Gene linked to walking upright

A geneticist in Turkey has traced mutations in a protein gene that directly applies to development of the central nervous system and our ability to walk upright. The article goes on to say:

“We carried out genome-wide screening on these families”, said Professor Ozcelik, “and found regions of DNA that were shared by all those family members who walk on all fours. However, we were surprised to find that genes on three different chromosomes are responsible for the condition in four different families.”

[snip]

Mutations causing VLDLR deficiency are also found in Hutterites, a group of Anabaptists who live in colonies of North America. There, however, most of the affected individuals cannot walk at all. The neurological characteristics of the affected members of the Turkish families and the Hutterites seem similar, with the most striking difference being that the Turkish individuals are able to walk on all fours, said the scientists. They hypothesize that the Hutterites may be more profoundly affected due to the deficiency in VLDLR and a neighbouring gene, and therefore lack the motor skills even for quadrupedal locomotion.

Simply put, the discovery challenges many of our preconceptions regarding the development of early man. Until I read some of the articles, I had no idea this was so widely disputed.

Why Obama must not choose Hillary Clinton…no matter what Tim Russert says.

Barack Obama has been looking to the general election for some weeks now. The nomination secured last night…he will now be considering a running mate (I tend to take articles like this with a grain of salt. Of course they’re saying he isn’t thinking about it yet. But I doubt that’s true. If he isn’t then he’s nuts. Thinking at least five moves ahead is imperative).

A recent post to my blog asked why I feel it would be so incomprehensible for Hillary to be Obama’s running mate. So…without further ado…here’s why:

  1. Republicans hate her. No. I mean, they really, REALLY hate her. They would turn out in droves to see her defeated, even if their nominee is a turnip. They’ll do anything to keep her away from the White House, even as second banana. Not to mention, plenty of independents dislike her as well. She’s too partisan, too rigid, and just plain rubs people the wrong way.
  2. If he takes on Sen. Clinton, he takes on her baggage. That includes Bill. I love the man. I do. But dammit, he will torpedo the campaign just as he helped torpedo his wife’s. There was just an article last week speculating whether or not he slept with Gina Gershon. My response? “Who cares?” The rest of the US? Not so much. Yes, yes, we can act all enlightened and self righteous and say it doesn’t matter. But to lots of people it does. Go figure.
  3. There was plenty of talk when she was First Lady that she was the one running things behind the scenes. That pissed a lot of people off, even if I do disagree. Any world leader is still a human being. Do they listen to their spouses? Sometimes. Sometimes not so much. But the implication was still there. Think people won’t remember that? Think again. An ex-President and a VP with that history? How will he be able to convince any undecided voters that it will be his presidency and not theirs?
  4. Politics is perception. If Obama is perceived to be knuckling under to pressure¬† from others to put her on the ticket instead of making his own decisions as to who his running mate and cabinet will be, he will lose respect. Hence the whole “We haven’t really thought about it yet…” article.

Obama’s run an almost dirt free campaign. Everything that can be dug up about him of note already has been. By the Clinton campaign. Frankly, I think she did him a favor in that; it pulled the Republican smear machine’s teeth. But it would be suicide to choose her as a running mate.