Stupidity on Stilts

Number 6 of a continuing series

The above meme showed up on my Facebook feed, and I grabbed it up.

I call this series “Stupidity on Stilts,” because first there is stupidity, but when you want to elevate it even more you need to put it on stilts. There are people who do just this, some even get paid to do it. One Ben Shapiro, “an American conservative political commentator, writer, and lawyer.” His Wikipedia entry continues:

He has written seven books, the first being 2004’s Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth; Shapiro began writing this book at age 17. Also at age 17, he became the youngest nationally syndicated columnist in the United States. He writes columns for Creators Syndicate and Newsweek, serves as editor-in-chief for The Daily Wire, which he founded, and hosts The Ben Shapiro Show, a daily political podcast and radio show. He was an editor-at-large of Breitbart News between 2012 and 2016.

That should explain a bunch. “conservative political commentator,” “Creators Syndicate,” and “Breitbart News” provide a clear heads up about what is coming next:

From there, he winds up to deliver the made-for-virality part of his outline: Even if global warming happens, Shapiro asks dramatically, and even if its effects as as disastrous as predicted, aren’t rational, free-market actors already equipped with the tools to deal with it?

Let’s say for the sake of argument that all of the water levels around the world rise by, let’s say, five feet over the next 100 years. Say 10 feet over the next 100 years. And it puts all of the low-lying areas on the coast underwater. Let’s say all of that happens.

Now get ready for the TRUTH BOMB…

You think people aren’t just going to sell their homes and move?

I will give readers about a second and a half to digest that.

Finished? Good! In the interest of pandering to the obvious, let me spell it out.

  • Sea levels are rising. Shapiro acknowledges that.
  • The cause is global warming. Shapiro acknowledges that.
  • Human activity is contributing enormously to global warming. Shapiro acknowledges that (I think).
  • Homes near the coast are going to be under water. Shapiro acknowledges that.
  • No big deal. What!!!!
  • Shapiro says it’s no problem because people whose houses are going to be under water will just sell them and move to higher ground. Really?

Ben. Ben! Who’s going to buy a home that’s going to be under water in a few years? People living in a soon-to-be-flooded area are screwed. Nobody is going to buy their houses. Let me dig deeper.

Suppose your house is going to be flooded, but not for about 50 years. You’re going to be dead by then, even if you may have already relocated for other reasons. But you sell your home anyhow. Somebody purchases your home, and this person knows that in 50 years it’s going to be flooded. He figures like you, that he will be out of there before it’s under water. He’s going to die or sell first.

Sooner or later somebody is going to have to buy a home that’s already threatened by high water. Yeah, this train of events will eventually break down.

Ben, forget about what you learned from studying economics in school. Here is what is going to happen. Property that’s going to be unusable in 50 years will decrease in value over time and reach zero about the time waves start to breach the property line.

Hopefully we are done with that line of reasoning, so we can now take a look at the bigger picture. With rising sea levels the land area of the North American continent will decrease perceptibly. Places where we have, in ignorance or in defiance of climate predictions, built infrastructure and personal and commercial development are going to be under water. They will either be under water, or they are going to be protected by dikes to stave off the sea level rise.

More specifically, roads will need to be elevated, power stations will need to be protected by dikes, electric, water, and sewer facilities are going to have to be drastically restructured. A pile of money will need to be poured into regions near the waterline. This expense will be borne by those directly affected, citizens and businesses in the region, or else the entire country will be called upon to pitch in through their tax dollars.

So, that’s the bad news. And now for the bad news. There is nothing we can do today to stave off catastrophic sea level rise. We waited about a century too long to get started. It is too late to turn the world’s economy around and shed its dependency on fossil fuels. Existing CO2 levels in the atmosphere are sufficient to cause catastrophic sea level rise, and CO2 levels will continue to rise for the next 50 years, despite the best measures we can take now.

In the meantime you might plan ahead and start shopping for some of that prime Orlando beach front property. Ben, are you listening?

Bad Movie of the Week

Number 259 of a series

Thank God for Amazon Prime Video, repository for a treasure of old science fiction films. From 1958 this is The Astounding She-Monster. Without a lot of elaboration, here is a summary of the plot and a list of acting credits. Details are from Wikipedia.

As the movie opens a young, rich, and beautiful heiress ,Margaret, leaves her palatial home for another boring afternoon schmoozing with her rich friends. She does not get very far. Two rough characters, Nat and Brad, waylay her and take her away in their car. The object is ransom.

They are really bad. While poor Margaret sits trussed up and gagged in the back seat, the mobsters moll, Esther, drinks from a bottle and tosses the empty out the window onto the pavement. They are litterbugs, besides.

They are headed for the San Gabriel Mountains near Los Angeles. Meanwhile, geologist Dick Cutler is out walking his dog when he spots a meteorite landing with a loud crash.. He and the dog return and settle in, not realizing what the night holds for them.

Brad, driving the mobsters’ car, encounters the Astounding She-Monster in the middle of the traffic lane. She is clothed in a skin-tight, shimmering body suit and is wearing spiked heels. We used to call these FMN shoes. He swerves and clips a tree. The car is disabled. The mobsters make it to Dick’s cabin. Nat goes in first to check it out and threatens Dick with a gun. The mobsters move in.

Brad goes outside to check on what’s raising a ruckus. He encounters the Astounding She-Monster and fires several rounds into her from his pistol. It does not phase her, and she kills him by touching him, giving him a fatal dose of radium poisoning.

Nat goes out to investigate what happened to Brad, and he encounters the Astounding She-Monster. At a certain point in the plot she comes at him and backs him against a precipitous drop-off. She lunges at him, and he steps aside. She plunges to the bottom and lies still. He returns to the cabin and announces he has killed the Astounding She-Monster.

But no. She is alive. She re-appears outside the cabin, and the Earth people prepare a scheme to roast her alive with gasoline. Before they are ready she crashes through the window and menaces them.

They flee outside, where she follows. The gasoline bomb attack fails, and she kills Nat and Esther. She has already killed the dog. She later kills a bear that’s been prowling around the cabin.

Dick has an idea that she is wearing a layer of platinum for protection. He prepares a solution of aqua regia to douse on her.

That works. When the Astounding She-Monster enters the cabin, Dick hits her with a flask of aqua regia, and she succumbs immediately, completely vanishing, even her spiked heels. Dick and Margaret recover the medallion she has been wearing around her neck. They open it and find a note, in English, that describes the purpose of her mission to Earth. She has come to invite Earth to join a league of planets for peace. And they have killed the ambassador.  Things are not looking good for Earth.

Do a search on YouTube. All or parts of the movie are available for watching.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a series

Celebrating the wit of Rodney Dangerfield, 1921 – 2004

Try to stop smoking, that’s a beauty.We made a deal, my wife and I. We would only smoke after sex. I’ve been on the same pack since 1975. My wife is up to three packs a day.

My wife and I, we never have sex. We get undressed, we can’t stop laughing.

But I have to tell you, when my wife does have sex, she screams. Especially when I walk in on her.

I know my wife cheats on me. Whenever I come home the parrot says, “Quick, out the window.”

We have a dumb dog. We call him “Egypt.” Every room he leaves a pyramid.

My kid. I have a smart kid. I told him, “Someday you’ll have kids of your own.” He said, “You will, too.”

My daughter. She’s been picked up so many times she’s starting to grow handles. Here graduation book, her picture’s horizontal.

They call her Federal Express. When she goes to a guy’s apartment she absolutely, positively has to be delivered.

I talked to my doctor. I asked him if my heart was strong enough for sex. He told me not if I join in.

One girl told me, “Come on over. There’s nobody home.” I went over. There was nobody home.

Watch the video.

Your Friend The Handgun

Number 151

I’m sure Kenneth Lilly was glad he had his friendly handgun when his car got bumped from behind by a school bus. This is one of those times when the Second Amendment comes in handy. It is, however, possible he is having second thoughts about actually using his handgun to shoot the bus driver twice:

Man shot into school bus, hit driver in the head after minor crash

A student seated in the back of the bus was unharmed. Police call the incident especially reckless.
In case you missed it, “reckless” is the new term for “assault with intent to kill.” Keep safe out there you all.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

Films that came out last year are streaming on Amazon Prime Video, where I obtained these screen shots. This is The Commuter, starring Liam Neeson in the title role as Michael MacCauley, former NYPD detective, more recently selling life insurance. Details are from Wikipedia.

This is going to be another of those Liam Neeson thrillers with any number of improbable connections, but it is intriguing to watch. When you think it might finally be over, it’s not. It’s not over until it’s over.

Life for Michael MacCauley is a tightly-lace routine. His clock radio comes on with today’s news. It’s the time of economic melt-down, and Michael is sailing right into it.

Morning after morning he rises, goes through the morning routine with his delightful wife in his delightful home in his delightful neighborhood north of New York City. The seasons come and go as Michael catches the same train into work.

On this day his employer hands him his walking papers. The economy will no longer support his expense. He is 60 years old, and his world is crashing down. He does not tell his wife he has been fired as he meets an old NYPD buddy, Patrick Wilson as Detective Lieutenant Alex Murphy, at a bar for a beer. He discusses his situation with Alex before heading out to catch his usual train back home.

Then, on this day of days, things begin to really go wrong. He bumps into a stranger, who walks away with his phone as the train doors close. A woman, Vera Farmiga as Joanna, sits down and tells him he is being given a great offer. There is $25,000 in cash hidden in the restroom, and if he takes the cash he will agree to locate another passenger on the train and mark that passenger with a tracking device. He will get an extra $75,000 if he completes the assignment. Then she gets off the train.

He finds the money and is naturally suspicious. He quickly learns he is up against an incredibly adept agency, as all his efforts to counter the scheme fail. He passes a written note to a fellow passenger, then watches in horror as the man is pushed in front of a bus before he can talk to the police.

Things get crazy. The person Michael is supposed to identify is not one of the usual passengers. That narrows things down. He suspects the man carrying a guitar case. He confronts the man. The case carries a guitar. But it is a left-handed guitar, and the man points a pistol at Michael using his right hand. Michael kills the man in a struggle, clubbing with the guitar, rather what remains of the guitar after the struggle. Michael recovers the pistol. But he subsequently discovers the body of a police agent stashed in a compartment beneath the floor of a train car.

The person Michael is supposed to tag, “Prynne” (real name: Sophia), is scheduled to get off at the Cold Springs station. FBI agents are waiting there to meet the targeted person to obtain critical evidence of a major crime. Joanna keeps in contact with Michael by phone, anticipating his every move. She says her group has his family, and if he kills Prynne his family will be spared. Else they will die.

Before the train arrives at Cold Springs Michael identifies Prynne, a young woman who witnessed a murder carried out by New York police officers. Michael attempts to stop the train, and forces the conductor to pull the emergency switch. But that just sets off an explosion that kills the motorman and prevents the train from stopping. Michael has moved all passengers into the last car in the train, and he and a conductor decouple the car from the train as it roars through Cold Springs without stopping. We are treated to a prolonged train wreck, as cars slide and tumble along the tracks.

Police have been told that Michael is holding hostages inside the car, and Detective Murphy comes aboard to negotiate his surrender. While negotiating, Murphy uses language Prynne recognizes as identical to that used by the police officer who murdered her cousin.

Murphy is killed, FBI agents obtain the girl and the evidence. Some time later Joanna is aboard a train and Michael confronts her.

He is once again an NYPD detective and is about to arrest her.

What’s wrong with this plot is what’s wrong with so many. The scheme is overly complex, really outlandish. The bad guys know a person will be on the train and getting off at Cold Springs. In order to kill this witness and keep the key evidence (turns out to be a computer disk drive), they involve a multitude of people and a chain of action, any broken link of which would foil their plot. Their plot goes so far as to rigging a bomb that will go off if the emergency stop is activated. People, if you are going to that much trouble, why don’t you just firebomb the train, kill everybody aboard, and destroy the evidence? Then, who would watch the movie?

Neeson is famous for the Taken series, all involving highly improbable plots and famous for the “I will find you” threat.

Dying to Believe

Number 135 in a series

In celebration of Charles Darwin’s birthday, here is a post celebrating those who remove themselves from the gene pool:

Horrific moment shaman who said his supernatural powers would protect him in crocodile-infested lake… is suddenly dragged beneath the waters as shocked onlookers gasp

This is the moment a man claiming to have supernatural control over crocodiles died after one of the reptiles appeared to drag the shaman under water.

The man, named Suprianto, died after the suspected crocodile attack in Kutai Kartanegara, Indonesia, despite his supposed powers.

In the shocking video, he is seen swimming into the waters to look for the body of a teenager, called Arjuna, who was attacked the previous day.

Horrifying video of shaman dragged under water by crocodile.
Byron, if you are reading this, please caution everybody you meet. Some crocodiles have not read the memo.

This is your president speaking.

Number 197 in a series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

We’re up against people that want to allow criminals into our society.

[ABC World News Tonight with David Muir – 11 February 2019]

A quick fact check: Jesus! President Trump is right. We are up against people who want to allow criminals into our society. Not only did these people allow criminals into our society, they elected one of them president.



Abusing Science

Number 11 of a series

This series is inspired by Philip Kitcher’s book of the same name. The creationist Center for Science and Culture, a compartment of the Discovery Institute, is a major supplier of material for this series. Their blog site, Evolution News, posts items promoting contrary views on modern science, and this one is typical:

First Review of Darwin Devolves Relies Heavily on Circular Reasoning

Full disclosure: I subscribe to Science magazine, and I have a copy of the 8 February issue with the review of Behe’s book. The authors are Nathan H. Lents, S. Joshua Swamidass, and Richard E. Lenski. The review is on page 590 of the issue, but you can follow the link posted by Brian miller and read it on the Science magazine blog.

The core of Miller’s argument seems to be this section, titled “Unlimited Creative Power.”

The authors argue that many of the traits found in life give evidence that they are the product of evolutionary processes having dramatically altered ancestral precursors. How do the authors come to this conclusion? First, they assume that all biological features are the result of undirected processes transforming features in ancestral organisms. Second, they identify some remarkable trait in life, such as the auditory ossicles in mammals. Then, they explain its origin through evolution without providing any substantive details. Finally, they use the “fact” that evolution formed the new trait as evidence for its unlimited creative power. 

This line of argumentation only appears compelling to those who assume from that start that the core assumptions of the standard evolutionary model are true.

Miller continues his argument against natural processes by again recapitulating Behe’s principle of irreducible complexity. Features, such as the use of echolocation by dolphins would require multiple, beneficial mutations simultaneously, which occurrence is considered by legitimate scientists to be unlikely. Mainstream scientists continue to point to paths of evolutionary development that reach observed features without encountering irreducible complexity. However, critics of natural origins, such as Miller, ignore or disparage these explanations.  Lents, Swamidass, and Lenski include the following in their review of the book:

Behe also ignores the fact that some of his prior arguments have been dismantled (2). He includes a lengthy appendix that argues that the blood-clotting cascade is irreducibly complex, for example, but fails to mention Kenneth Miller’s simple, elegant scheme for its stepwise evolution (3) or the fact that a progenitor fibrinogen gene has been discovered in echinoderms (4).

Behe doubles down on his claim that the evolution of chloroquine resistance in malaria by random mutations is exceedingly unlikely because at least two mutations are required, neither of which is beneficial without the other. His calculations have already been refuted (5), and it has long been known that neutral and even deleterious mutations can provide stepping stones to future adaptations. Indeed, a 2014 study, unmentioned by Behe, reported discovery of two genetic paths through which malaria has evolved chloroquine resistance through multiple steps (6).

The references cited are:

3. K. R. Miller, in Philosophy of Biology: An Anthology, A. Rosenberg, R. Arp, Eds. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004), pp. 439–449.

4. X. Xu, R. F. Doolittle, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 87, 2097 (1990).

5. R. Durrett, D. Schmidt, Genetics 181, 821 (2009).

6. R. L. Summers et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 111, E1759 (2014).

Darwin Devolves will be issued on the 26th of this month, and I will obtain a copy for review, but not anytime soon. These creationist books tend to hit the market at full price, eventually becoming available at a discount. I have previously reviewed The Edge of Evolution and Darwin’s Black Box.

Quiz Question

Number 190 of a series

This one is from The Moscow Puzzles by Boris A. Kordemsky, page 75.

  1. Can a cube be cut with a plane to form a regular pentagon?
  2. How about an equilateral triangle? A regular hexagon?
  3. How about a regular polygon with more than six sides?

Explain or show. Post your answer in the comments section below.


The answers are:

  1. Maybe
  2. Yes, yes
  3. Maybe

For the equilateral triangle, see the following illustration

The plane, viewed on edge, leaves a cut that is an equilateral triangle. For the regular hexagon, see this:

Place points on selected edges of the cube. The cube has 12 edges, so 1/2 the edges are selected. Place the cube in a 3-dimensional coordinate system as shown. The vector values of the points are:

A = (0, 1, 2)

B = (1, 0, 2)

C = (2, 0, 1)

D = (2, 1, 0)

E = (1, 2, 0)

F = (0, 2, 1)

A bit of vector analysis demonstrates the points are co-planar. The lines and angles are equal by symmetry argument, so the hexagon is regular.

I am thinking a regular polygon of more than six sides is not possible, but I need somebody to demonstrate this.

Wacko Right Wing Religious Fanatics Say The Darndest Things

Number 24 of a continuing series

This is about right wing religious fanatic Mike Huckabee, but that’s not Mike Huckabee in the photo above. That’s Sarah Sanders, daughter of the former Arkansas governor and further proof that the nut does not fall far from the tree.

We have met Governor Huckabee before, unadulterated:

One Nation Underpaid

Anyhow, here is what Governor Huckabee informed us recently:

Mike Huckabee to “Fox & Friends”: Trump juggles responsibilities like chef at five-star restaurant

Mike Huckabee insists that it only looks like the White House is chaotic, and argued instead that President Donald Trump was juggling responsibilities like the chef at a five-star restaurant.

The former Arkansas governor and father of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders appeared Tuesday morning on “Fox & Friends” to deliver a folksy rebuke to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who said “chaos and incompetence” prevented the administration from carrying out its duties.

This is breaking news. This is critical. This is telling us what what we are seeing with our eyes is not what we are seeing with our eyes. Which leads me to consider, “Maybe what you are reading right now is not what you are reading right now.” Anyhow, that’s question for the existentialists. For now we might want to review what it is we are not seeing with our eyes:

North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, will become a great Economic Powerhouse. He may surprise some but he won’t surprise me, because I have gotten to know him & fully understand how capable he is. North Korea will become a different kind of Rocket – an Economic one!

Brings a whole new meaning to the term “five-star.” Would anybody like to take a look at one-star? Anyhow, here is more:

Strictly five-star:


Governor, let’s not dine there.

Bad Movie of the Week

Number 258 of a series

Where else? Amazon Prime Video is the source for this Bad Movie of the Week. It’s Devil Girl from Mars, from 1954 out of England. Details are from Wikipedia. Watch it if you get a chance. Here’s a summary.

A meteorite lands near Inverness, Scotland, and Professor Arnold Hennessey (Joseph Tomelty) and newspaper reporter Michael Carter (Hugh McDermott) drive up from London to investigate. They stop at The Bonnie Prince Charlie inn, where all the action takes place. Also at the inn are fashion model Ellen Prestwick (Hazel Court), bar tender and waitress Doris (Adrienne Corri), proprietor Mrs. Jamieson (Sophie Stewart), and her husband (John Laurie). Not seen here is the Jamieson nephew Tommy and escaped convict Albert Simpson (Peter Reynolds).

Albert is Doris’s lover, and she has stashed him in a spare room.

With a loud rush in the sky, a spacecraft from Mars appears and lands nearby. The Devil Woman exits. She is played by Patricia Laffan.

Her first task on exiting the spacecraft is to encounter and annihilate a crippled handyman with her ray gun.

She confronts the residents of the inn and announces the intention of Mars to get rid of the useless people on Earth, taking back robust men to replace Martian men annihilated in a battle between the sexes.

Tommy escapes the inn by way of an adjacent tree, and Albert joins him. The Devil Girl discovers them, paralyzes Albert, and takes Tommy aboard the spacecraft.

Professor Hennessey offers a trade, himself for Tommy, and he uses his visit to the spacecraft to discover its weaknesses.

Tommy describes his adventures aboard the spacecraft.

The Devil Girl makes one final demand. She will take one of them with her as a guide when she attacks London, and she will obliterate the inn and all inside.

Albert learns of these plans, and when the Devil Girl returns to take the one chosen by the group, Albert is alone to meet her. The spacecraft takes off with Albert aboard, and explodes.

And that’s the end of the story. Neat, what?

One thing I did not mention is the robot. Whenever the Devil Girl really wants to bring the hammer down she summons the robot, which has tremendous power. We see it vaporize somebody’s house. Here’s an image.

You can watch the trailer on Youtube:

Don’t have an Amazon Prime Video account? Watch the movie on YouTube.

This is your president speaking.

Number 196 in a series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, will become a great Economic Powerhouse. He may surprise some but he won’t surprise me, because I have gotten to know him & fully understand how capable he is. North Korea will become a different kind of Rocket – an Economic one!

People, you need to listen to this man. He means what he says.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a series

On this particular night Willy had a few too many at the Royal Crown Pub, and he was trying to make it home on his own. He steered his car carefully down the narrow country lane, and was proud of himself keeping his car between the lines.

Suddenly he saw the headlights of a car approaching, and he realized he was in the wrong lane. Willy quickly changed lanes, but the other car did, as well. Quickly he switched lanes to avoid the other car, but it switched lanes also. Just as the two cars were about to collide the other suddenly veered off the road and plowed through a fence before stopping in a potato field.

Horrified, Willy stopped his car and lurched over to the car stalled in the potato patch. The other driver got out, and Willy saw that he was a priest.

“All you all right, father?” Willy asked.

The priest was brushing dust off his sleeve and he sought to reassure Willy. “I’m just fine, my son. I have The Lord riding with me.”

“Well,” Willy replied, “you better let him ride with me. The way you drive you’re liable to kill him.”

People Unclear

This is number 73 of a series

Another definition for “unclear” might be “clueless.” Either the President of the United States is clueless, or else those who work for him think I am. Here is something I received from them this morning: <>
To: jf_blanton@yahoo.comFeb 8 at 10:08 AM

We have MASSIVE drugs flooding into our country, MS-13 gang members pouring through the weak spots on our border, and terrorists threatening our national security.

Democrats in Congress refuse to acknowledge the CRISIS at our Southern Border simply because they want to Harass our great President.

The Fake News Media & Democrats want to call this a “Manufactured Crisis” but that is just a Manufactured Soundbite they worked on together to obstruct our agenda.

If we asked the families of every American Citizen who has lost a loved one due to illegal immigration if this was a “Manufactured Crisis” what do you think they’d say? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

If Democrats refuse to work with the President, he will have no choice but to declare this a National Emergency for the sake of our country.

But, before he makes this CRITICAL decision he wanted to get your input John.

Look at the last line. They want my input. They want my input? I will give them my input. You, Mr. President, are a demonstrated, congenital liar. And you want me to believe any or all of this email? Get real. First I will need to believe any part of the following:

Somebody up there in Washington needs to get a clue. I’m not holding my breath.

Lock Her Up!

Number 7 in a series

It all brings to mind the words of an old song:

Somebody going to emergency
Somebody’s going to jail

Here are a few choice words from the President of the United States.

An economic miracle is taking place in the United States.

Granted, that might take a fresh definition of “miracle,” but let’s plow on.

And the only things that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous, partisan investigations.

It is at this point we need to take a look at some of these “ridiculous, partisan investigations.”

Fortunately, Mr. Trump is in a position to make his wishes turn into reality.

If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.

So that’s it. If we are going to get the President of the United States to cooperate and help pass laws and do other matters designated by the Constitution, there is going to need to be a stop to these embarrassing investigations. Apparently the president wants to cool the rhetoric and to get the government back onto an even keel. Except, there is a fly in the ointment, and that would be Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Fortunately for President Trump, he and Congressman Schiff are on good terms.


So funny to see little Adam Schitt (D-CA) talking about the fact that Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker was not approved by the Senate, but not mentioning the fact that Bob Mueller (who is highly conflicted) was not approved by the Senate!

Hopefully, that is by now water under the bridge. This would be a good time to test those waters. Oops again!
He’s just a political hack who’s trying to build a name for himself.

The President of the United States is eager to remind us that

It’s called presidential harassment, and it’s unfortunate, and it really does hurt our country.


“Hurts our country” or possibly corrects some things that have gone wrong with our country.

I have a final word for this president, and it’s from an old movie: “And your little dog, too!”

Your Friend The Handgun

Number 150

Before I get into the Second Amendment Moment of the Week, here are a few words from NRA mouthpiece Dana Loesch:

“Martin Luther King Jr. was denied a gun permit as a result of gun control laws put into effect by white male Democrats. Out of all the law-abiding, peace-loving people, this man was denied the means to protect himself while those who wished to do him harm for believing in equality were allowed to carry. Dr. King was disarmed by Democrat laws. That is just one in a series of examples of the explicit racism behind left-wing gun grabs. It should be taught in schools, how the origination of modern-day gun control laws were designed to prevent racial equality.”
― Dana Loesch, Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America
And that is enough of that for now. Let’s see how all of this is working out:

Someone survived mass shooting at Sebring SunTrust Bank, Sheriff’s Office now reports

One day after police say Sebring shooting suspect Zephen Xaver entered a SunTrust Bank and killed five people inside, this is what we know:

Someone survived

The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office revealed Thursday afternoon one person inside the bank survived the mass shooting, despite initial reports that the 21-year-old Sebring local had killed everyone inside.

It’s good to see the Second Amendment is keeping us all safe.

People Unclear

This is number 72 of a series

The following was posted by a Facebook friend I know to be a strident conservative.

This is supposedly from the Ted Cruz Meme Page, and I cannot verify that Senator Cruz (my senator) had anything to do with it. This Facebook friend misses irony so thick you have to hack your way through it. Somebody obviously has not received the message.

Abusing Science

Number 10 of a series

It never lets up, and for this I am thankful. Nothing exposes the shallowness of the Intelligent Design argument so much as the continued efforts of its people to discredit legitimate science. Let’s recapitulate:

The Discovery Institute‘s Center for Science and Culture (CSC) is the leading organization promoting Intelligent Design in this country, perhaps in the world. On Monday they posted this on Evolution News, a site sponsored by the CSC.

Skepticism About Darwinian Evolution Grows as 1,000+ Scientists Share Their Doubts

Over 1,000 doctoral scientists from around the world have signed a statement publicly expressing their skepticism about the contemporary theory of Darwinian evolution. The statement, located online at dissentfromdarwin.orgreads: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

“Because no scientist can show how Darwin’s mechanism can produce the complexity of life, every scientist should be skeptical,” said biologist Douglas Axe, director of Biologic Institute. “The fact that most won’t admit to this exposes the unhealthy effect of peer pressure on scientific discourse.”

On the surface that would appear to be devastating to any science suffering some kind of weakness. This kind of argument has a lot of appeal to people who don’t dig too deeply, especially when confirmation bias weighs in. The story goes back to 2002 and maybe before. When I debated creationist Don Patton in April that year, the creationists who showed up were crowing over The 100. Time has passed, and the list has grown to 1000 (and more). It would be fun to peruse that list and write up details on each of the scientists, most I am sure are serious, who have signed up as dissenting from Darwin. It turns out I can save myself the trouble this morning, this morning after the day I was supposed to have posted this entry. That’s because years ago I went down this rabbit hole on the shorter list, so I am going to recapitulate what I wrote back then. First, here is an excerpt of the new, expanded list:

Charles Edward Norman Ph.D. Electrical Engineering                                                     Carleton University (Canada)

Dewey Hodges          Professor, Aerospace Engineering                                                Georgia Institute of Technology

James P. Russum      Ph.D. Chemical Engineering                                                        Georgia Institute of Technology

Marko Horb               Ph.D. Cell & Developmental Biology                                             State University of New York

Here is what I had to say, from the August 2005 issue of The North Texas Skeptic:

The Christian Post mentioned that the DI CSC has compiled a list “of over 350 scientists” who have signed onto their “Scientific Dissent from Darwinism.” I did a quick check on DI’s Web site and noticed the list is now “[m]ore than 400.” The list doesn’t seem to include any of the luminaries of biological science, and I didn’t notice any Nobel winners, although there have been Nobel laureates in the past who oppose evolutionary theory.

Taking a sample of one from DI’s list, I checked out “Marko Horb,” who is listed as a Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology at the State University of New York. An Internet check turned up numerous references to Dr. Horb, of SUNY at Stony Brook. Looking further, I was unable to locate Dr. Horb through SUNY Stony Brook’s Web site.

In the past we have noticed that a creationist’s link to a famous university has lingered long past its shelf life. In critiquing the DI-sponsored video “Unlocking the Mystery of Life,” Andrea Bottaro, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center noted the peculiar circumstances of Jed Macosko. In the video Macosko is listed as one of these scientists who oppose Darwinism and, presumably, someone who supports Intelligent Design. However, as we reported in our February issue of this scandal sheet last year, Macosko’s credentials were considerably laundered. See the link above to the newsletter item:

Macosko is described in UML as “Molecular Biologist, UC Berkeley,” but his association with Berkeley seems to be limited to his UC Berkeley degree and his work there as a postdoctoral trainee. He has never been listed on the UC Berkeley faculty and is not currently at the University. Some ID Web sites show him teaching chemistry at the religious La Sierra University in California, though at the time Dr. Bottaro wrote to WNYE Macosko was not listed on that university’s faculty.

We don’t claim this is the case with Dr. Horb or any of the other 400 dissenters listed by DI. Except for Dr. Jed Macosko. On DI’s list of “[m]ore than 400” Dr. Macosko is still listed as “Ph.D. Chemistry University of California (Berkeley).” DI is probably still working to bring the list up to date.

DI’s list provides skeptics a marvelous opportunity to practice their investigative skills. Go to DI’s Web site, navigate down to the section on the Center for Science and Culture. Get the list of 400 and have a go at it. If the file has moved or is no longer available, send me an e-mail, and I will forward a copy to you.

In the meantime, the Berkeley, California, based National Center for Science Education has compiled a similar list. Similar in the sense that NCSE’s list is of scientists who support evolutionary theory. Dissimilar in the sense that their list is larger, and NCSE has tried to keep it small enough to fit on most people’s computer hard drive. They kept the list small by restricted the list to scientists named Steve. Supporters of Evolution named Steve, Stephen, Steven, even Stephanie are listed, but all the Toms, Dicks, and Harrys are excluded. Maybe later when computer drives get larger. In the mean time, you can get the condensed list from NCSE’s Web site. See the link above.

And, yes, Jed Macosko is still on the list, and I assume his status has not since improved. That said, I am pleased the CSC and all the other creationists out there have not improved on their methods after being at it these past decades. Keep at it, people. We love to watch you work.