Imagine that you owned a house, and you discovered what might be a serious problem with its construction. This is a problem that you yourself are not qualified to deal with – let’s say that it’s some combination of engineering and local construction code which only someone with intense training and experience could competently solve. You call a contractor, or an engineer, someone who professes and certifies their expertise in exactly this sort of matter. You pay this person to inspect the damage and give their honest opinion, and recommend a way forward. They tell you bad news – not only is this damage severe, you must tear down your whole house. There’s no way around it. You ask why and they tell you ‘it’s just how it is, I know, because I’m an engineer.’ What else could you say? In the interest of your family’s safety and obeying the law – you tear down your home, presumably to move into an apartment nearby. Maybe you have to money to rebuild, maybe you don’t.
Let’s say that down the road, in about six months, you find out that not only was your house not unsafe, but no laws requiring it to be torn down even exist, and your engineer was lying. They did this to your face, in a public setting and in an official capacity, and they were wrong. Would that person not be responsible? Imagine that this house was in the family for years – wouldn’t that kind of willful fraud be a crime? Isn’t it a gross violation of trust and common decency to profess expertise that one does not have, with the knowledge that people will make decisions on your advice which could impact their lives and those of their family?
I drove myself down to City Hall on Tuesday night to take part in what would probably be the most important political event in our city for a long time. I live tweeted as much as I could – right up until my Android phone ran out of batteries. For those of you who thought I may have been arrested or hurt – do not fret. Yours truly stayed well out of the way of both protesters and the police, I didn’t even yell and scream. I just wanted to be there to show support for all involved, and to witness and document a moment in history.
In an op-ed in the ‘On Faith’ section of WaPo, Richard Dawkins lays into Rick Perry and every other politician who uses their ignorance of facts as a tool to court the scared and uneducated Republican base.
Except that a politician’s attitude to evolution, however peripheral it might seem, is a surprisingly apposite litmus test of more general inadequacy. This is because unlike, say, string theory where scientific opinion is genuinely divided, there is about the fact of evolution no doubt at all. Evolution is a fact, as securely established as any in science, and he who denies it betrays woeful ignorance and lack of education, which likely extends to other fields as well.
Darwin’s idea is arguably the most powerful ever to occur to a human mind. The power of a scientific theory may be measured as a ratio: the number of facts that it explains divided by the number of assumptions it needs to postulate in order to do the explaining. A theory that assumes most of what it is trying to explain is a bad theory. That is why the creationist or ‘intelligent design’ theory is such a rotten theory.
I love that he focuses on the elegant simplicity of Darwin’s theory (using the word theory correctly, of course) and how implausible and complex intelligent design actually is. I tend to think people who accept intelligent design as possible have switched these distinction in their minds – they think evolution requires complexity where God is simple. He isn’t, but his followers are.
Posted in atheism, people, politics, Quickies
Tagged Darwinism, god, Intelligent design, Republicans, Richard Dawkins, Rick Perry, Scientific theory, Texas
As reported by Entertainment Weekly.
I’m going to do everything possible to get a job in this writing room. Everyone pray for me.
Miss California knows evolution is true, and thank GOD she won.
Big surprise. 49 out of 51 Miss USA contestants don’t believe evolution should be taught in school, or believe that the choice to teach it should be up to individual localities.
This doesn’t account for how they completely misunderstand evolution (most of them refer to biogenesis, which is different) and how they don’t remember ever learning evolution when they were in high school six months ago. It seems the only thing they took away from school is that high school students get to decide what’s true and tell their teachers to shove it.
The whole world (except these guys and these guys) is celebrating the end of Osama Bin Laden’s life. But is celebration the appropriate response?
Ricky Gervais fancies himself quite the ethical bloke, at least according to the traditional rules. And just like his inflammatory essay from last summer, ‘Why I Am an Atheist,’ Ricky wants people to know how ridiculous and preferential their faith really is. This morning he released via his website a breakdown of how he’s probably a better a Christian than 90% of Christians, according to Christianity, and only because he doesn’t give a fuck.
Are you really that surprised?
After what might now be the 2nd best season of Top Chef (Season 6 is the best, sorry ya’ll), former choke artist and current self-depricating genius Richard Blais took the title of best reality TV chef on Bravo. As he was a favorite son of this writer’s TV-watching household, I am very glad that the forces of redemption, braised meats, and network expectations came together to give Blais his day in the sun.
Which one am I, the has-been or the never-was?
Jose Canseco apparently was too scared to get into a Celebrity Boxing match against actual-boxer Billy Paden, so instead of backing out over privacy concerns related to the inevitable blood testing he’d endure, he sent his identical twin brother to fight for him! Problem is, he has tattoos that appear not only on his body, but on the ads for the fight itself. Nice move.
First of all, I had no idea Jose Canseco had a twin brother. Second of all, this is ballsy. Third of all, why didn’t they do an awesome tag team act?
Also, the Bash Brother has struck back on Twitter, which is hilarious. That we can write, I mean.