Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Jim's Links

This is the latest edition of my brother's links. As always, I add a lot of commentary and sometimes more links. My brother reminded me I had missed John Bolton on the Daily Show, I was going to work, and Jon was brilliant, particularly the next night follow-up fact check. How does anyone give the least bit of credence to our former official UN cretin? For another battle of wits check here.

Gonzale's Priorities - bong hits, porn, gambling and voting while Democrat.

Rush seemed to get enough oxy but the DEA sentences a doctor for 25 years for not following the confusing OXY guidelines and getting scammed by patients.

How an "office furniture" contract for the White House wasn't. Not clear in that link is that the exact $140,000 contract amount was within two months used for a congressional bribe. Did Cheney know it was going to be used for a bribe? Was this why Lam was fired as her investigation headed in Cheney's direction?

Meritocracy My Ass
- McNamee and Miller’s The American Meritocracy Myth.

Better parents = better kids. What a shocker. Should people receive training in being parents?

From the current studies of "creation science": how peanut butter disproves evolution. Yes, people can be that stupid. There was a Coast to Coast Show recently that had on an author who said Darwinism was totally wrong. Now, they have on people who believe in the hollow earth, and angels, and demons, and shadow people and all kinds of strange ideas and it doesn't bother me. This doctor did. As the show went on it was obvious he was a Discovery Institute "intelligent design" apologist and propagandist. He displayed appalling ignorance about evolution in trying to disprove it. His reasoning was sloppy and unscientific. But he kept to the Discovery Institute training, being unfailingly soft spoken and reasonable "sounding" and emphasize this is not a religious teaching, although his family and his wife are very strong Christians. The Discovery Institute was founded and funded by people who needed a non-religious institution to attack secularism as part of a a religious agenda:
In 1999, an internal Discovery Institute document was leaked to the Internet by an internal source. The document outlined the Discovery Institute's longterm plan to, as it states, produce a "broadly theistic understanding of nature" (Discovery institute, The Wedge Document, 1999), and its tactic of using the evolution "controversy" as a "wedge" to do this. The authenticity of the "Wedge Document", as it quickly became known, was later admitted by the Discovery Institute.

The very first sentence of the Wedge Document makes plain the underlying religious aim of the Discovery Institute and its anti-evolution campaign: "The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western Civilization was built." (Wedge Document) The Discovery Institute, like other fundamentalist Christians, refers to the rejection of this religious idea as "the philosophy of materialism" or "naturalism" or sometimes "darwinism" (all are phrases which have long been the fundie code words for "atheism"), and explicitly states that this materialistic atheism is the direct result of science: "This cardinal idea came under wholesale attack by intellectuals drawing on the discoveries of modern science. Debunking the traditional conceptions of both God and man, thinkers such as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud portrayed humans not as moral and spiritual beings, but as animals or machines who inhabited a universe ruled by purely impersonal forces and whose behavior and very thoughts were dictated by the unbending forces of biology, chemistry, and environment. This materialistic conception of reality eventually infected virtually every area of our culture, from politics and economics to literature and art." (Wedge Document) Thus, as the Discovery Institutes's basic complaint can be summed up as "science is atheistic". Under the heading "Governing Goals", the Discovery Institute lists, "To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God."
More here. The Discovery Institute admits their plans and has a couple of long defenses that boils down to that they don't believe attacking secularism and atheistic scientific philosophies is promoting a religious agenda. Duh. Besides, they argue, they do other conservative things and they believe at this time promoting a carefully articulated doctrine on the separation of church and state fulfills their long range plans. Here is how their long-range plans were progressing - PDF - very successfully. (How is this for expanding my brother's three word comment and one link: "ahhhhh creationist science.")

Tesla - Genius and eccentric and poor businessman. Screwed out of a fortune by Westinghouse which is too long a story to get into now.

Films From the National Reconnaissance Office. Linked from Boing Boing.

Cool Tools for Space

I'll add a cool practical link - How to find lost objects from the writer of How to Make the Most of a Flying Saucer Experience with his saucercam.

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