17 September 2005

"they're blinding you with NOT-science" -- Lewis Black (CS)

Add the evolution v. Intelligent design debate (particularly the "what should we teach in schools?" corollary) to the ever growing list of frustrating, exhausting, and impossible issues out there.

The debate itself is a tough one, of course. Science and religion are, on their own, vast topics that take years of study to even begin to understand fully -- juggling them both at the same time no doubt causes headaches. But what creates the mother of all migraines for those of us with common sense is the battle regarding teaching Intelligent Design in schools.

I'm not about to go on an attack and defense of Intelligent Design and evolution respectively. As I've said, it's certainly a long and drawn out debate that is ultimately irreconcilable thanks to the inability to prove Intelligent Design. But that of course is exactly the problem in insisting on bringing something without any scientific bearing into a scientific classroom. Science is based on evidence, building evidence, putting forward theories that make sense from that evidence, and then trying to prove said theories with more (you guessed it) evidence. Intelligent Design is, by comparison, purely conjecture. Scientific evidence has built the theory of Evolution and it has lead to many advances. It is the only explanation that belongs in a science classroom. It shouldn't take thirty-eight Nobel laureates to point this out.

Of course, all the great minds and Nobel laureates in the world will never convince those set on the idea of Intelligent Design or Creationism to change their views. These are the same factions that time and again have proven themselves adverse to common sense (and certainly ignorant of the power and brilliance of satire). And that is where this debate crosses the line into "mother of all migraines" territory. As if the argument weren't complex enough, those who are pushing for science curriculum reform are too set in their ways to give even a moment's consideration to the cold, hard reason they are up against. The result? Stalemate, anger, yelling, accusations of bias and ill will (and the occasional step backwards in districts and states that seem to have an intellectually paralyzed majority.... I'm looking at YOU Kansas). The only thing I can remotely be thankful about regarding the whole mess is that I don't have to put up with high school science classes anymore.

14 September 2005

Strength, Determination, Skill... Fur (CS)

Peep my new hero here.

We're Talking.... Baseball? (CS)

After the extent of the damage in New Orleans and Southern Mississippi (as well as the lack of help coming their way) became apparant, i found myself at a loss for words for what was happening. One of the prevailing emotions as disheartening reports came in was "How could this be happening here in America?" No one seems to have the right words to say. No one seems to have much more than a finger to point or an idiotic statement at the ready. Whether it's Barbara Bush's "they're better off now," regarding the poor of New Orleans, or El Presidente's lamenting over his friend's big house that he's looking forward to seeing rebuilt, never has the administration (and the rich people who comprise it) been so obviously out of touch with what is going on in this country. Few have mentioned the actual human element of not only of the victims but of the local government of New Orleans and Louisiana (kudos to The Oh Really Factor on that one). Few have said anything of worth at all. I would rather not say too much about it lest i join the ranks of oportunists, jerks, and morons already raising quite a cacaphony. I'll leave the commentating to the "professionals."

The (infamous) Sportsguy mentioned in his Katrina/New Orleans article that after the tragedy of 9/11, the coping tactic he used (and the coping tactic of the nation at large) was to throw him(it)self back into "regular" life... sports, pop culture, etc....

So I thought i'd try a bit of that here and mention this year's newcomers to the Major Leagues who i've dutifully ignored up until now -- The Washington Nationals. Four games out of the wildcard, i'm pulling for a drive on their part at least putting them into the playoffs. Why does a lifelong Yankee fan root for the Nationals? Partly because the Yankees have grown a bit grotesque over the past two years with team development (or the lack thereof) and business practices, making it easier to give up on what is looking like a hopeless season. Partly because this is one of the few expansion enterprises that hasn't made me question "Wait, why would they expand there?" Partly because my whippersnapp cohort apparantly pitches for them. Partly because it would be nice to see something good come out of Washington. And partly because they were thankfully not named The Senators.

Why were they named the Nationals anyway? The previous Washington baseball teams had been called The Senators. When football returned to Cleveland, they re-adopted the name previously used there... The Browns, not naming themselves something new. In hockey, Canada's capital at Ottowa has a team called The Senators (not that anyone would know it... or seems to care).
Could it partly be because nobody would want to root for The Senators at this point? Could it be that calling a team The Senators right now would be about as unencouraging as naming them The Ineffectual Dimwits or The Not So Good Guys? The approval ratings of those that represent us on the Hill right now is only manageable in light of the President's being as pathetitc as it is. The old jokes that proclaim congress to be full of crooks come to light now as scary truths. These guys seem full of praise for each other, full of action for nobody (and how does a former arabian horse rearer get a job in charge of FEMA???). There are few people in the capitol who seem to be working for us in earnest.... but in the end, who voted for all these schmucks? And who can really keep track of them all?

OK, so I guess i failed at that not saying much and keeping my attention diverted thing.