Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Science?! We Don't Need No Stinkin' Science!

In the latest chapter of the Bush administration's ongoing War on Science, President Bush has come out in favor of the teaching of the "intelligent design" theory of the Earth's creation. "I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," Bush said. "You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes."

This is yet another bold initiative from a bold leader, and one that shouldn't simply be confined to the science classroom. In all other fields, we should apply the same approach, teaching side-by-side the theory that all the experts agree on, and the theory that some ill-educated mouthbreather believes in. If we don't, then we'll be guilty of persecuting Christians. Again.

In history class, for instance, we should teach that the North won the Civil War, and then that the South won, and let the students decide. Teach students that FDR led Allied forces to victory over Adolf Hitler, and then teach that he led the A-Team to victory over Col. Decker, and let the students decide. Teach them that Martin Luther King delivered his powerful "I Have a Dream" speech, and then that he delivered the powerful guitar solo in Aerosmith's "Dream On" and let the students decide.

Seriously, I don't know about you all, but between the creationism, the denial of global warming, and all the stem cell stuff, I'm really looking forward to my geriatric days, when my doctor will tell me we have two course of treatment to heal my broken hip -- saying the rosary or a good, old-fashioned leeching.

(For more thoughts on this nonsense, check out a classic post from Norbizness. Now with 100% more Tom Wopat!)

Update: Wonkette has a brilliant line on this mess: "Teaching it as 'alternative' to evolution is a little like teaching magic as an alternative to physics, which at least would at least explain the president's belief in the missile defense program."


Thrillhous said...

Great post! I love how Bush has to change the question he's being asked so that he can claim he wasn't saying whatever it is that someone says he said (or something).

Otto Man said...

Hey, I live to serve. And frankly, I've been looking for an excuse to use the church sign generator.

Christopher said...

Excellent blog! I give it an A+ with a Gold Star!! I'll be creating a blog on nintendo revolution soon, in the meantime if you want to review my website on nintendo revolution uncensored, i'd really appreciate it!

Tokyo Joe said...

Great post and all, but there is something to be said about teaching different views in history (teaching it in sciense is absolute crap though). For example, the one topic I can't bring up with my wife is World War 2 (you probably thought I was going to mention ex-girlfriends or the like, but that would make my life too easy). See she's Japanese and they were taught that Japan was FORCED into the war to stop European colonialization of asia and actually they saved most of asia from the evils of western society. Now while I think that might be a bit of propaganda, if I had been taught that maybe not everyone thinks that the Japanese were not the "bad guys" in WWII, then I would have been spared at least one arguement and a cold/lonely night on the couch. History does has some varying opinions that might be worth knowing.

Also, global warming is bullshit. I have an advance degree in that area and I'm telling you that most of the so-called science behind it is crap. It's hippy nay-saying at it's worst.

alex supertramp said...

Tokyo joe - curious if you accomplished your studies at the same place Tom Cruise mastered the ins and outs of the black art commonly referred to as "psychiatry"? .... I actually agree with the bulk of what you are saying: teaching (and being aware of) multiple viewpoints is important (and saying american history is rife with ignorance and lacking in objective oversight is a world class understatement) but to completely dismiss global warming is crazy (sure the alarmist propaganda is out of control and further investigation is needed to examine all the factors but your blanked dismissal negates any positive spin on any of your comments) -- ps why are your fraternizing with the enemy???

otto - excellent post, plus I like pictures....

Otto Man said...

Christopher, as much as we love Nintendo, we don't really review other blogs. I have enough trouble reading this one.

Joe, I agree that multiple perspectives on history are worthwhile, but there's a difference between different perspectives on events and different versions of what happened. The Japanese may believe the US oil embargo pushed them towards war, but that's different from believing space invaders from the planet Voltron started the war. And that's what ID seems like to me.

As far as global warming goes, I'm pretty convinced by the evidence I've seen. What doesn't sway you?

Tokyo Joe said...

The very recent trend in global warming just doesn't have the data to justify the either the mass hysteria or the vast amounts of money being wasted to combat this imaginary threat. Here's some data from respectable organizations: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globtemp.html
(sorry for not putting in the links, I'm not exactly sure how to do that). While on the surface this data just proves global warming, it is actually quite misleading. To take temperature data from 1880 and compare it with today's temperature is crazy. The advancements in technology make any temperature reading before at least 1980 completely incompatible (the fact they even put data that unreliable on the page makes me wonder about their critical thinking skills). With recent satellite technology we can now actually start to determine average world temperatures, but how much data do we actually have from this method? 20 data points? 30? That's no where near enough information to base national policy on.

Additionally, earth has its own way of handling temperature fluctuations. Please follow along: The hotter the planet gets, the more water vapor in the atmosphere. The more water vapor, the more clouds. The more clouds, the less heat hits the planet surface. The less heat hitting the planet, the more the earth cools. Just because we see a very, very recent warming trend doesn't mean that it won't settle itself down in the future.

I'm not saying that we should just ignore the issue and hope it goes away, but it's far too early to even start worrying.

here's a quote that I think is great and kind of illustrates my point:
"There are now at least 85,000 Elvis’s around the world, compared to only 170 in 1977 when Elvis died. At this rate of growth, experts predict that by 2019 Elvis impersonators will make up a third of the world population." - The Naked Scientists, 3rd December 2000.

Yossarian said...

Joe - A couple things about post:

1. I understand your hesitance with accepting data from 1880, but according to the EPA site ( http://yosemite.epa.gov/oar/globalwarming.nsf/content/climate.html) most of warming has been done in the past 30 - 50 years.

2. Besides satellites, If I am not wrong, global warming has been scientifically recorded in the study of tree rings, corals and ice cores that record the average temperatures of Earth at different times in history.

3. Lastly I love the Elvis impersonator quote and I understand your point about statistics, but rarely does the Earth act in the same way as a Vegas performers (and if it does - what's the cover charge?)

Tokyo Joe said...

Yossarian, some good points that I'd like to respond to:

1. Yes, most of the warming has been done in the last 30-50 years and that was kind of my point as well. 30 data points aren't enough to make such huge decisions on. this is especially true when talking about such an amazingly complex system like weather.

2. yes, there are some other proofs about recent warming trends. Please see this site: http://www.koshland-science-museum.org/exhibitgcc/historical02.jsp and notice the temperature trends for the past 300,000 years. Some really big swings there (especially the younger dryas -15°F (8°C) in less than a decade)

3. I think you missed the point of the quote entirely. It's not that I expect the earth to behave in the same way as Elvis impesonators. It's the fact that statistics can be very misleading and the vast majority of people don't know what they mean or how to use them. This is especially true when you use any statistics to predict future behavior. Here's another quote that I know: "the vast majority of people have more than the average number of legs". While that might seem like a strange statment, statisticly true.