The Seguin Gazette-Enterprise and Misrepresentation of Pianka.

| 42 Comments

—– **Update- 7 April 06, 18:00 HST ** All of the Sequin Gazette-Enterprise articles linked to in this article are no longer available through those links, and I am currently unable to find them as live links elsewhere on their site. I will be emailing the paper for comment shortly, and will attempt to contact them by phone for an explanation if that does not work. —–

It’s been several days since the attacks on University of Texas ecologist Eric Pianka first began, and there’s no end in sight. Yesterday, Texas governor Rick Perry’s office compared Pianka to the Nazis, and today he is being required to talk to the FBI so that they can make sure that he’s not a terrorist. Meanwhile, various portions of the right-wing community are continuing to rave against Pianka - the Uncommon Descent folks alone have no less than four posts up on the topic today.

Also today, the Seguin Gazette-Enterprise (the local paper that got the ball rolling on this whole affair) posted the transcript of another, more recent, speech by Pianka. This is interesting because the transcript is for the same speech discussed in the April 2nd Gazette-Enterprise article that was picked up by the Drudge report, sparking the national outcry. Having the transcript available makes it much easier to critically examine the news article about the speech, and to see how well the material in the article reflects what was actually said.

Read more (at The Questionable Authority):

42 Comments

This is a terrific article, Mike.

Everybody, if you haven’t read it, you need to. Right now. Go.

That’s really well done.

So, once again the fundies are caught lying. Dishonest hate mongers. Good thing they don’t get to teach their “morality” in schools. Now, I recall the last book in the Bible… but to them, that’s ok.

Disgusting!

Honestly, I think this is the most reprehensible campaign of lies I’ve ever witnessed from the creationists. The fact that it’s not just the Buckinghams and DaveScots (long ago dismissed as raving loonies) but the Dembskis and Pearceys - the Big Guns of the DI - makes me wonder if they’ve either lost what grasp of reality they had, or they’ve decided for some reason to “bring the temple down on their own heads”, as it were.

Where is the actual speech?

Not lectures, not other speeches, but THE speech.

Wouldn’t posting it solve the problem?

Or maybe the problem is that it that he doesn’t want people to see what was said.

You may claim there are no recordings but I…don’t…believe…you.

This issue is important to the Creationist/IDers/DI people. They need to show that anyone who champions Evolution or who disagrees with their ideas is inherently evil. If they can do this, it helps to undermine the causes or ideas that this person promotes.

It also serves another purpose; it helps to whip up the faithful in support of their own cause.

Emmanuel Goldstein Wrote:

Where is the actual speech?

Not lectures, not other speeches, but THE speech.

Wouldn’t posting it solve the problem?

Or maybe the problem is that it that he doesn’t want people to see what was said.

You may claim there are no recordings but I…don’t…believe…you.

The link to THE speech was posted on the front page of Panda’s Thumb nearly twelve hours before you posted that comment, and earlier at other sites. A little slow, are we?

BFD! Why doesn’t Gub’ner Perry, the Feds, Matt “Where’s Mrs. Drudge?” Drudge, and the rest o’ the hootin’ and hollerin’ rite wing idjits git all het up over the fundies and George Noory who peddle all sorts o’ similar doomsday scenarios for fun and profit on nationwide teevee and the late nite AM ray-dee-oh? Oh, yeah. That’d piss off their Base Crazies.

Oh, yeah. I’m goin’ out this mornin’ and stock the ol’ bomb shelter with Triscuits. Just in case ya know. That’ll show Mr. Smarty Pants.

An Enquiring Mind wrote:

That’d piss off their Base Crazies.

But this won’t: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/07/s[…]wanted=print Study, in a First, Explains Evolution’s Molecular Advance

I hesitate to mention DaveScot on this thread, but over at the QA he’s indicating the line of attack that is now being pursued: “but what about Pianka’s student evaluations?”

No reflection on the fact that the lecture transcripts (that they DEMANDED be released!) don’t say what Mims says they do.

Nope, it’s on to the next claim.

(BTW, Gerard Harbison handily takes DaveScot down for this.)

Jon Fleming Wrote:
Emanuel Goldstein Wrote:

Where is the actual speech? [etc]

The link to THE speech was posted on the front page of Panda’s Thumb nearly twelve hours before you posted that comment, and earlier at other sites. A little slow, are we?

A little fictional, actually. Emanuel is taking a break from being the nonexistent bogeyman in George Orwell 1984 and instead now sputters inanities and runs off like a cowardly poopyhead. The proof that he’s just doing his best to get everyone to love Big Brother is that he doesn’t even remember how to spell his own name. Pathetic.

I read the Times article and Behe’s comments cited at the end. Well it is not surprising that Behe finds nothing of worth in the notion of molecular evolution of irreducibly complex systems. He is a pathetic looser that shows his commitment with his particular pet hypothesis and will clink to it regardless of evidence. That looks more like a statement of faith from his part than anything else. But wait ID is not about religion what am I saying? Behe ceased to be an objective scientist long time ago. He is just a pathetic clown peddling his false, heretic theology. And a bad theology to boot!!!

I hesitate to mention DaveScot on this thread, but over at the QA he’s indicating the line of attack that is now being pursued: “but what about Pianka’s student evaluations?”

What about them? Out of around 90 evaluations that were listed, Dembski could only find 2 that were even remotely inflamatory.

He is just a pathetic clown peddling his false, heretic theology. And a bad theology to boot!!!

Yeah, but bad theology is a seller’s market these days.

Head’s up: You should probably check out this paper before you see it distorted by Creationists:

Darwinian Evolution Can Follow Only Very Few Mutational Paths to Fitter Proteins Daniel M. Weinreich, Nigel F. Delaney, Mark A. DePristo, Daniel L. Hartl Science 7 April 2006: Vol. 312. no. 5770, pp. 111 - 114

Dembski/Scot et al are just taking a cue from the Karl Rove playbook here – the DI has absolutely no good news to talk about what with Dover, Tiktaalik, Ohio, the meltdown of the Bush presidency and Delay, etc. etc. So what better strategy than to knock all that off the front page and change the whole conversation by lying about a talk given by an ‘evilutionist’ and ostentatiously reporting to him the DHLS? It’s the same thing that prompts DaveScot to accuse ‘Darwinists’ of burning down the Alabama churches. Political responses initiated by grassroots rightwing groups are now indistinguishable from those emanating from the RNC.

From the Seguin Gazette-Enterprise story:

…”community scientist” Forrest Mims, who chairs the Environmental Science Section of the TAS.

You have to wonder about the Texas Academy of Science. How does a responsible, scientifically respectable organization elect a creationist as chair of the Environmental Science Section?

Good headsup Wamba. You’d have to be a total idiot to think that paper damages evolution, which means we’ll be seeing it on the ID sites any minute. Your comment here in fact might be their tipoff.

What an excellent article, but good gracious, I hope nobody is surprised here! Creationists have been doing this kind of thing for decades with quote mining, and the kindly folks over at Answers in Genesis, for example (oh heck, I can’t think of any of them that HAVEN’T engaged in this kind of crap), have never had any qualms about smearing people’s moral and ethical fiber. I even saw a recent post by these folks favorably referring to the infamous Dawkins TV interview. This unethical sleaze is par for the course with these people.

And of course the media just eat it up. Readers want controversy, not measured consideration of facts and their implications. My own discipline is rife with this sort of thing – reporters ignore reams of excellent science for a sensationalist claim based on flimsy evidence that is largely brushed off as trivial by the majority of working scientists. It’s the perfect set up for folks like Mims and our good friends at the DI to work with. (OTOH, I am pleased to see the NY Times and other outlets do such a nice job with the tetrapod transition and the report this morning on molecular evolution. What a breath of fresh air.)

from normdoering: Study, in a First, Explains Evolution’s Molecular Advance

Great example, normdoering. That’s a marvelous piece of work by evolutionary biologists. I love how they inferred the form of the ancestral receptor from phylogenetic data– and it turned out to have exactly the properties that evolutionary theory suggested it would.

It’s not just that this is another severe blow against Behe’s idea of irreducible complexity– no matter how Behe responded, it’s clear that this system fits his definition of IC. It’s that predicting the function of the ancestral gene required a phylogenetic analysis that depends on all of the things IDists hate: descent from a common ancestor through random mutation and natural selection.

I’ve got to go find that article. It looks like a sublime piece of ammunition.

Brenna McConnell’s Serenity blog seems to have dropped off the face of the internet. I wonder what the story is there…

What’s the Brenna McConnell connection?

Never mind.

The link to the Seguin Gazette piece where Gov. Perry compares Pianka to Nazis doesn’t work. Is somebody retracting or hiding? And given the politics of Texas, is it clear that Perry’s comments were criticism?

About Brenna McConnell.

The only page cached form her blog seems to be the Pianka story. Does anyone know how that might happen?

Also: she goes to a Lutheran college in Seguin. Anyone think there’s a possibility that she was put up to this?

dkew is correct.

interestingly enough, i could find no letters or articles pertaining to any of the issues surrounding Pianka/Mims in the Gazette, not even in the opinion section.

Seems the area has been completely sanitized, top to bottom.

This never happened. We’re all just dreaming.

The Pianka entry doesn’t seem out of place on the blog. Here’s a cache dump:

Serenity

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 I have a picture on my desktop now of a women whose picture I took while I was in Ecuador last year. She’s gorgeous. She is probably the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Her smile has a sereneness to it that I can only hope to one day share. Her eyes are gentle; she has those beautiful smile-crinkles under them that you see in people who love life and love to show it. Her hands and feet are dirty and wrinkled. In front of her is a tray of plantanas that she is peeling. She obviously has a hard life, as the village that I met her in is a poor indigenous village. I’d guess her to be about 70 years old, but it’s kind of hard to tell given that working hard ages people fast. My grandparents are around 70 years old and they do not get around so well anymore. Inspite of all the medicine and technology that they are blessed to take advantage of, my grandparents do not look as healthy as this woman in Ecuador.

I didn’t think too much about it when I snapped the picture. We were leaving the house of a shaman, and she was sitting just around the corner, peeling her plantanas. I asked her permission to take her picture in Spanish, and she just nodded her head at me and smiled. I wish now that I had taken more time to get to know her, to talk to her, though I doubt it would’ve done any good. She probably doesn’t speak Spanish and most definently does not speak English. Most likely, this woman speaks only her indigenous language. After I took her picture, I asked if she’d like to see it. I held my camera in front of her, but she just continued to nod her head at me and smile; she never looked at the camera. I wish I knew her story. I wish I could go back to Ecuador and find her again, just to sit beside her and help peel plantanas. Maybe I’d learn something in her silence.

I hope, when I’m 70 years old, I can smile to strangers with the same sort of happiness in it that she smiled to me. posted by brenna at 1:10 AM 0 comments

Monday, March 20, 2006 Haven’t updated in a good long while, but I have a semi-decent excuse as to why not. It pretty much boils down to homework and studying with small breaks for Wow. Occassionally, I eat.

I’ve made it through chapter 1 of the book my folks loaned me, and I hate it. (Yes, it’s a short book, but I’m busy so the going’s slow) If I wrote down everything that I hated about that one chapter and quoted every sentence that was ignorant and and patronizing, this blog would be pages long and I would have quoted the entire chapter. I will not do that. I am trying to approach the book with an open-mind so as not to be as close-minded as I accuse my folks of being, but I think I might be failing. In my defense, however, it’s hard to appreciate a book that tells me that both evolution and creationism must be taken on the basis of faith so obviously creationism is the only valid option. Is there really something threatening to the the idea of Jesus Christ bringing us salvation through his death and resurrection so that we might live by his example and show love to all that share this earth with us? Because correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought that was the basic point of Christianity, so who really cares if people believe differently about how the world came into being? Honestly, is my salvation really dependent upon believing in a literal 6 days of creation and then having to believe in the theory of “creationism with the appearance of age” to back up that belief? I hate this book. I wish someone who believed in creationism (and not creationism blended with evolution) would respond to this to tell me why the Christian conservatives are so strongly opposed to evolution. Why is it such a threat?

In other news, I have not yet been accepted into grad school, and I’m finally coming to terms with the very real possibility that I might not be accepted into grad school. I hadn’t even considered this ’til recently when I’ve already received one rejection and am waiting on three more. I am genuinely thrilled for all my friends who have gotten into grad school already, but right now, I do not want to hear anything more about grad schools. From anyone. Especially the grad school plans people are making, such as future living arrangements, when they’re leaving, etc. This is probably one of the most stressful times of my life right now, and I try real hard to keep myself from getting stressed. Not good for the heart and all. But I am tired of constantly hearing my parents tell me that Bridget will be leaving for NY soon and that they need to know the date. I’m tired of their question every time I talk to them “So, have you heard back from grad schools yet?” I’m tired of hearing of all the housing plans my friends are making next year for grad school, who they’ll live with, if they’ll get a pet, or if they should bring a car. I can’t handle hearing anymore about how worried they are about grad school. This sounds horrible of me, and I hope that they all know just how happy I am that they got in. The world needs more smart people. But I haven’t gotten an acceptance letter yet, and that small voice inside of me (that’s becoming much louder) says I probably won’t get it at all. And I’m scared. posted by brenna at 6:40 PM 1 comments

Monday, March 13, 2006 My folks loaned me a book titled “The Evolution of a Creationist - A Layman’s Guide to the Conflict Between the Bible and Evolutionary Theory” by Jobe Martin (still trying to save my soul, I see). It’s.….….interesting. Still reading it. I’ll update when I’ve finished it. Or when I just get too frusterated with it, whichever comes first. posted by brenna at 8:04 PM 0 comments

Thursday, March 09, 2006 Dr. Eric R. Pianka, University of Texas at Austin:

“There’s a place called Three Trees. One night, some cold, poor fellow went out and cut down those trees to build a fire. The trees are gone now, but we still call the place Three Trees. And that’s how we do things.”

“Snakes behind glass are like words in a book out of context. They have no habitat, no reality, no context. The snake may as well be dead.”

“Technology has only gotten us out even further on thin ice.”

“We’ve made wild animals very valuable and humans very cheap.”

Dr. Pianka was named the 2006 Distinguished Scientist by the Texas Academy of Science. He’s an ecologist, a “doomsday ecologist” as he puts it, with a CV several pages long and results that have changed the way ecologists think, forever. And damn is he ever entertaining to listen to.

Dr. Pianka’s talk at the TAS meeting was mostly of the problems humans are causing as we rapidly proliferate around the globe. While what he had to say is way too vast to remember it all, moreover to relay it here in this blog, the bulk of his talk was that he’s waiting for the virus that will eventually arise and kill off 90% of human population. In fact, his hope, if you can call it that, is that the ebola virus which attacks humans currently (but only through blood transmission) will mutate with the ebola virus that attacks monkeys airborne to create an airborne ebola virus that attacks humans. He’s a radical thinker, that one! I mean, he’s basically advocating for the death of all but 10% of the current population! And at the risk of sounding just as radical, I think he’s right.

Humans are far too populous. We’ve used up our resources, and we’re destroying the Earth at an accelerated pace. The more technology we create, the more damage we’re capable of doing. We now consider keeping the forest natural to save a species of catepillar more important that using that space for humans to live and till. And I’m in complete agreement with that. It’s the harsh reality that many people alive right now should be dead. And even harsher to think that the world would be better off with them dead too. My grandparents, who I love dearly and am so incredibly thankful to know, are honestly being kept alive only through the technology that we have created via medicine. The same goes for the millions of other old folk alive and kicking and will continue to do so for another 5-10 years, using up more resources. Or think of all the babies being born every hour with abnormalities that 50 years ago would have kept them from living. Now, those lives can be saved, and we pat ourselves on the backs at how smart and charitable we are as a species that we can create and sustain life. For those against cloning, etc because it’s “playing God,” how is this any different?? Life has a built-in mechanism that keeps species from becoming too overpopulated, and it wasn’t until humans started messing with the system that it went out of whack. Now that we’ve killed off the majority of all top predators, we now must take on the duty of keeping populations in check and at the same time, allowing other species a fair chance at reproduction.

It wouldn’t have been so bad 15-20 years ago when we reached that threshold of sustainability if we as humans would have learned to control our population size then. But instead, we saw the Earth’s resources as unlimited and our authority over them exclusive, and we continued to reproduce when we should’ve stop. Dr. Pianka made a very profound comment during his presentation; he said that China has the right idea by limiting reproduction at 1. We’re past the point of replacement reproduction as a species. We’re too many for the number we’re at now! We need to decline in population. A virus is probably the fairest method of extermination (though still not completely fair, I admit) because it’s nondiscriminatory as to whom it targets. Rich, poor, black, white, brown, nice, mean, religious, agnostic - we’d all be targeted equally. The only difference is who can afford medicine and even then, if it’s a mutated virus that strikes fast, humans would have only the tiniest of a chance to find a cure in time so money wouldn’t matter.

It’d be nice if humans could learn to manage our population as successively as we’ve learned to manage the population of literally every other species on this planet with whom we share. We’re very skilled when it comes to killing off deer, snakes, rabbits, and fish for population control. But we’re a stupid species when it comes to managing ourselves. An insightful observation was made during the talk that education should be the key to learning how to take care of the Earth, but the problem is that the educated have fewer children and the uneducated have many children. So eventually, the uneducated will take over the Earth. It may have already happened. posted by brenna at 11:09 AM 2 comments

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 Happy Fat Tuesday everyone!

I almost forgot about it except that my apartment mates have chosen to give up sweets and chocolate for Lent and so were determined to gorge themselves on it last night. I took a random poll (random meaning I polled the 4 people in my apartment last night) and found that out of the 4 people, 2 will be giving up something for Lent, and out of those 2, 2 do not really know what Lent is for except that it has something to do with Jesus.

I did not grow up celebrating Lent. It’s not like I didn’t know it was there or that our church didn’t redo its colors in purple during the 40 days. My family just never did anything special for it, gave anything up for it, or really made any point about it other than that we always had to go to church Wednesday night for the ashes. Maybe I didn’t pay attention enough during the sermons (something which is entirely possible) but I don’t remember my pastors ever making much of a big deal out of Lent either. At least, I don’t remember them ever saying anything about giving stuff up or taking up an activity. That was just one of those things that other people did. Sadly, for a kid that was pretty much raised in the church, took confirmation, has read the Bible in complete, etc., I did not know what Lent celebrated. I mean, I knew it had something to do with the time before Easter, but I didn’t know if Jesus did something special during that time that I just forgot about (special meaning something besides the extraordinary miracle stuff he did on a daily basis) or what. So I looked it up. God bless Wikipedia.

When I first got to college and it seemed like everyone gave up something for Lent, I tried doing it too but quickly forgot about my promise after the first week or so. After that, there didn’t seem to be a point in giving up something for Lent since there was no meaning in it to me and I couldn’t remember it anyways. I think I want to give it another try now.

I have been thinking about spirituality on and off this year and the past few. It comes and goes with certain conversations I have, books I read, wishes I hope to fulfill. I want my Lenten offering to God this year to be to pray. I’ve more or less forgotten to pray in my everyday life. When I do think about it and begin to pray, I’ve noticed that when my mouth shuts up, my brain goes into hyperactivity and I begin to daydream right in the middle of it. Don’t know how it happens, but I always find myself talking to myself in the end rather than to God. Why is praying so difficult? I think now, the only time I really have a conversation with God anymore is when I go through one of those random jolts of insecurity after asking one too many existential questions like, why are we all here, what am I supposed to be doing, what is my purpose, what happens after death, etc. It’s not like everyone has trouble praying. I’ve seen lots of people feel pretty calm and refreshed after a quick prayer so either they’re good fakers or they’re on to something that I don’t know about yet.

I know I’ve got enough friends who pray religously (pardon the pun) so I suppose I could ask them what they do differently, but prayer seems like one of those personal activities you can’t just learn from a guideline and talking about it makes me uncomfortable. And that’s why I like this blog. It’s the stuff I can’t talk about, my faults and insecurities, written out for me to at least recognize them. posted by brenna at 3:28 PM 0 comments

“Is Black History Month hypocritical?” That’s the title of this week’s LSL article by Adam Sweeney that’s causing quite a fuss on campus. It seems that some folk here think he’s a white supremacist and hates all black folk, which, if only judging by the title, I’d agree with, but truth in fact, if they read his article at all, they’d realize that he is anything but trying to be racist. Also, that wasn’t his title. He had written some neutral title (I forget now what it said), and an idiot editor at the LSL decided to change it to to what it is now to make it more catchy or whatnot. But unless I’m completely reading him wrong, what I got out of Adam’s article is not that he doesn’t want to get rid of Black History Month, but that America needs to recognize all races that make up the citizens of this nation. And I think his point is valid. Especially when considering how high the Mexican-American population is and will be in 10 years, they are still facing discrimination. And this isn’t to say that discrimination against black people has stopped either. I still see it, and it makes me sick. I want to punch every person that makes a racist comment just because of how ignorant they are and because of how much hate they are spreading. (eh, I like to punch the ignorant. That’s how I roll.) But America is more than black and white, and it’s time we started giving equal recognition to all those colors in between.

And to clarify from his article, I do not think we should stop seeing races. By acting like we can’t see the most obvious thing about a person besides their gender would be stupid, and honestly, I think the fact that we are all of different races is beautiful. It took me a long while to appreciate the fact that my skin is brown and my eyes are shaped differently than everyone else’s around me. Maybe it’s because I grew up “white” and am really only Asian on the outside, but seeing my differences as actually being beautiful was very hard. Especially since Bridget and I were literally two of maybe 5 Asians in our town. We got stared at quite often growing up. But we’re also twins so I guess seeing Asian twins in a small Texas town can be a bit odd. Still, it’s hard not to feel a bit uncomfortable about your physical appearances when, in high school, you’re asked by a peer if you were born with fetal alcohol syndrome because your eyes don’t have the crease above them. Even now, I think being asked point-blank with no leading-in conversation, “So, where are you from?” is a bit rude. I choose to tell them Texas, but I know they’re always asking about my ethnicity. I had one gentleman at the restaurant the other day start speaking Spanish to me when I asked to take his drink order and when I said I did not know Spanish, he proceeded to speak to me in Japanese. I laughed it off, but I really think it was fairly offensive at the same time. I was speaking perfect English to him. Why didn’t the dummy just speak English back? Okay, I’ve digressed. Back to the main point, pretending not to see race is nearly as insulting as identifying a person only by their race because it ignores a part of that person. Whether they want it or not, their identity is built partially on how they are perceived, and race, even when we don’t acknowledge it, factors in to our perception of people. When I look at my sister, I immediately see that she’s a) female, b) Asian, c) skinny, and d) I am so much better looking than her. (I don’t think she reads this blog anyways, so I guess I can make up anything I want about her here.….) I do not want one diluted race that fails to see our differences. Equality shouldn’t be about seeing everyone as the same but about seeing all our differences as being equal and deserving in respect.

I’m not sure that I agree with Adam’s stance that students at TLU do not face oppression and have no right to act like they do because like it or not, racism is still alive in this town as well as in the rest of the nation and anyone not white will inevitably face some sort of prejudice. Hell, in certain parts of America, you will most likely face prejudice for being white. Whether that equates to oppression I don’t know. How much prejudice do you need to go through to say you’ve been oppressed? I mean fuck, I was working at Gatti’s and my manager specifically approached the only two black guys in the restaurant to see their receipts and make sure they paid for their meal. I could have probably pointed out to him at least 3 other groups of folk, not black, who probably didn’t pay for their meals but he certaintly didn’t approach them by golly. That might hurt business! Point being, racism is not dead, and we need to keep working to recognize and respect all skin tones equally.

On an aside, why are race jokes so damn funny? Honestly, I really want to know. I mean, on any given week, I’ll probably make at least one comment about rice. I’m not racist, and I think that when we make fun of the race stereotypes, it is just showing how absurd they really are. I guess that’s why I still crack up every time I see the Asian Sensation, Everyday Asian for any Occassion commercial. Come on, who doesn’t find that funny?? posted by brenna at 12:16 PM 0 comments

Thursday, February 23, 2006 I was too hasty in my last blog and should really start checking my facts better. The Mormon Church does not own Pepsi. Sorry. posted by brenna at 9:59 PM 0 comments

In a fowarded email I received from a friend today, Pepsi Corporation has decided to put out new patriotic cans with the empire state building and the Pledge of Allegiance on it but omitting the words “under God” from it. The gist of the email was to tell everyone to boycott Pepsi because they didn’t want to offend the company by sending them money with the words “in God we trust” on it. According to Snopes, this is just another email myth circulating around cyber space.

Myth or not, the email pissed me off royally. Okay, firstly, I try not to support Pepsi when at all possible because it’s owned by the Mormon Church, and not that I have anything against Mormons, but I do not think that a religion should also be a corporation. I lived in Utah for a summer, and trust me, they don’t need any more money being concentrated there. That state is freaking RICH. If the Mormons would disperse the money from Pepsi to hungry nations rather than building beautifully ornate gold temples, then maybe I’d be more understanding. Secondly, why are the insane, ultra-conservative Christian fanatics getting so upset? America is not a Christian country, despite how badly they want it to be. America is also the home to Muslims, Jews, Atheists, Agnostics, Buddhists, Hindus, and a long list of other such religions. This country is made up of more than just Christians!! What the fuck is wrong with people that they can’t understand that one of the reasons for establishing America was for religious freedom? I think I remember there being more to it than that, but that was the point my high school history teacher stressed, and I haven’t had a history class since then to update my understanding of it. But us Christians aren’t the only ones living in the good ole’ US of A, and we need to learn how to get along with all the children, not just the ones who own Bibles. Especially since the majority of them have probably not read it for the past 10 years anyways.

This issue pissed me off during Christmas time too when all the ultra-conservative Christians threw a hissy-fit because the offical White House Christmas card said “Seasons Greetings” rather than “Merry Christmas.” Okay, President Bush has done a fantastic job as advertising himself as the posterboy Christian American, and I don’t think one little Christmas card is going to make anyone forget that he has practically claimed to have received a mandate from God herself (well, I guess Bush’s god is a “he”) to carry out all of his presidential actions because they are “righteous and just”. I don’t think he was trying to “water down” his Christianity or appeal to those heathen, god-forsaken seculars. Moreover, how would the Christians all feel if people only told them Happy Hanukkah? Some people would probably be okay with it, but I can imagine others being offended that the Jew won’t even acknowledge a faith other than their own. So reversing that now, how do people of any other faith in America other than Christianity feel when we only want to acknowledge Christianity? Is it so damn horrible to say “seasons greetings” rather than “merry Christmas”? Afterall, shouldn’t your Christianity be more than what you buy on a card anyways?

That was a tangent. Sorry. But I really hate that Christianity is trying to be an all-encompassing religion, corporation and government. When I worked at a Christian camp as a counselor one summer, it never ceased to grate on my nerves that we and all the kids would have to say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. I’m not unpatriotic. I just don’t like nationalism. And I don’t want to see religion mixing with government because rather than a fair representation of all religions, we’d inevitably see only one. “God” is a great general word for any worshipped deity so it’s funny to me that Christians have adopted it as their word to use for their god and only their god. Afterall, you don’t see the email telling Jews and Muslims to take up the fight because “under God” got left off the Pepsi can.

I don’t think being a majority is healthy for Christianity, and here’s why. As a majority, Christianity has nothing keeping it in check, nothing to stop it from becoming a power-hungry, over-dominating religion. The majority of anything, actually, is always a dangerous group because they have the most control and the least accountability. But as an underdog, Christianity would be constantly fighting for the better cause, the worthier cause, the causes that Jesus would fight for. As an underdog, Christianity would go back to the most basic, important mandates that Jesus left us with, which would be to love God and love each other. There wouldn’t be petty fighting over the words “under God” because being Christian is more than what you say; it’s about what you do. I know Christians like to say that faith is everything, but I don’t think so. Faith is enough to get your soul saved, but the way you act out your faith is what I think God is really interested in. Afterall, what God wants to have lots of lazy believers who don’t care enough about anyone else to help feed the hungry and clothe the naked? posted by brenna at 12:22 PM 0 comments

Tuesday, February 21, 2006 Days like these, when it’s cold and dreary, all I can say is that I miss my dog. posted by brenna at 12:05 PM 0 comments

I don’t think being a majority is healthy for Christianity, and here’s why. As a majority, Christianity has nothing keeping it in check, nothing to stop it from becoming a power-hungry, over-dominating religion.

interesting thought.

another interesting thought:

Why do so many these days feel the need to barf their stream of consciousness into the public arena?

It is obvious why the ID/creationists don’t like Pianka. I read some of the articles on Uncommonly Dense and found this link to reviews of Pianka’s class http://www.zo.utexas.edu/courses/bi[…]uations.html. It seems that many undergrads develop a passion for Biology when they take Pianka’s class. This is a huge threat to ID/creationism; namely because an increased understanding of biology invariably leads one to the conclusion that ID/creationism is BS science. The IDiots simply can not have someone stoking students’ flames for Ecology/Biology this way because that would ruin their plans to keep people ignorant. I really enjoyed Mike’s article and I think it shows what this is really about. It really shouldn’t be a surprise that the ID/creationist camp is misrepresenting their opponents views yet another time. It’s unfortunate that their attacks must take such a huge personal toll on such a brilliant educator.

Dudes, if THIS whole thing is the best that ID has to dish up, then ID is well and truly dead. Dead, dead, dead. Just a stinking rotting corpse.

Just a stinking rotting corpse.

So the IDiophilles on UD are necrophilliacs?

that would explain a lot.

Comment #95406

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on April 7, 2006 05:32 PM (e)

Dudes, if THIS whole thing is the best that ID has to dish up, then ID is well and truly dead. Dead, dead, dead. Just a stinking rotting corpse.

Yep.

Comment #95408 Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 7, 2006 05:38 PM (e)

Just a stinking rotting corpse.

So the IDiophilles on UD are necrophilliacs?

that would explain a lot.

Hypothetically, Salvador is a necrophiliac.

Hypothetically.

STJ Wrote:

interestingly enough, i could find no letters or articles pertaining to any of the issues surrounding Pianka/Mims in the Gazette, not even in the opinion section.

Indeed. A search of the paper for the last month (from the site) contains no reference to Pianka at all.

Yes, they have been disappearing. I’ll be blogging this soonest. Look for “Harry Potter and the Seguin Gazette’s Cheshire Cat” at a Panda’s Thumb Blog outlet near you.

Dave

the gazette’s behavior reminds me of officer Barbrady’s type of crowd control.

while some sort of obvious disaster is happening right behind him,

“All right, people, nothing to see here, just move along…”

I’d just like to add my voice to those urging Pianka to take legal action.

I strongly hope that Pianka takes legal action, such gross defamation must be punished. Dover hurt em real bad, a second case exposing their dishonesty might really bring the whole tent crashing down.

It would create a pleasing symmetry since the two primary features of Intelligent design creationism, scientific vacuity and dishonesty would each have a court case devoted to it. It would be the perfect compliment to the recent fossil discovery, and it would be richly deserved .

Pianka should use this personal setback for the greater good, sure he’ll be the bogeyman to narrower minds but to the nerds of the world he’d be a hero, maybe could get into wired’s sexist nerds list.

B. Spitzer wrote:

Great example, normdoering.

Carl Zimmer is writing about similar stuff on the evolution of biological molecules: http://loom.corante.com/archives/20[…]ocksmith.php

http://loom.corante.com/archives/20[…]mplexity.php

Also I would like to point out the following:

http://immunoblogging.blogspot.com/[…]rticles.html

Basically, I’ve discovered that the articles are back and they’ve been changed from what they originally said. Looks like the Seguin Gazette-Enterprise has changed its tune considerably. Best of all, they apparently have been given the chance to get a full transcript of the speech made by Dr. Pianka.

It can’t be all that dramatic of course, because they are only going to stick it up later in the week and not immediately. It looks like Mims hysteria has truly become unstuck.

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This page contains a single entry by Mike Dunford published on April 7, 2006 1:25 AM.

Mims Dishing It Out Fine; Taking It Badly was the previous entry in this blog.

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