Tuesday, February 24, 2009

If you can't handle nature. . .

I have a weak stomach. That's why I'm not a doctor, or a vet, or even much of a nurse to ailing family members. I feel for the emergency workers that had to treat this woman.

But to all you Peta-tics out there! Hey! This happens to some poor animal MANY times, EVERY DAY in nature.
The wounds inflicted when a chimpanzee attacked 55-year-old Connecticut woman last week were apparently so gruesome that Stamford Hospital announced it was offering counseling services to the doctors, nurses and surgeons who spent seven hours treating the victim.
Never fear though, Congress has swung into action, pushing a ban on owning primates as pets. Hmmm, wonder if the bill says anything about banning primates in Congress?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sex isn't (im)moral

Parents told: avoid morality in sex lessons

PARENTS should avoid trying to convince their teenage children of the difference between right and wrong when talking to them about sex, a new government leaflet is to advise.

Instead, any discussion of values should be kept “light” to encourage teenagers to form their own views, according to the brochure, which one critic has called “amoral”.

Talking to Your Teenager About Sex and Relationships will be distributed in pharmacies from next month as part of an initiative led by Beverley Hughes, the childrens' minister.

Say what???

Such is Britain. And you can bet we'll share the love if we come to fall under the UN Rights of the Child Treaty.

As I always say, "An open mind is like the town dump. Everybody throws their garbage in".

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pride In Facism

note to readers - There is a LOT of Pride in Facism out there. I'll try to capture them for you. It is worth increasing awareness, and maybe a laugh or two.

Why This Qualifies for PIF.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Affirmative Asininity

There is a stupid new idea circulating, that says corporate boards, executive positions, Wall Street should be forced into greater gender equity. Because, you see, if *women* had been in charge, the credit bubble would never have burst.

"Clearly, something needs to change," said Howard Archer, the managing director of European Forecasting and Analysis at IHS Global Insight in London. "You can argue that the men have made a right mess of it, and now the ladies should have a go."

I could write a book on the stupidity of this, but it's not the type of book I'd prefer to write. So I'll just highlight a few major issues.

1) The financial woes of the US was fueled in large part by deplorable lending practices, where banks gave out credit to people who didn't deserve it. Now. Think for a minute. Is this charitability a MALE problem?

"She" is the pronoun commonly used to refer to Sec. of State Hillary Clinton.

"The Community Reinvestment Act is essential to ensure that banks and other financial institutions provide access to capital to everyone -- from small business loans to low-income mortgages. Access to financial capital for low and moderate income families is critical to the future of our communities and our economy," Senator Clinton said [in 2004].

2) Affirmative action is a terrible concept especially when it comes to employment statistics. I would argue that there are just as many women ceo's right now as there should be. And there are probably just as many stay-at-home husbands as there should be.

[Warren Farrell] argues: women commonly prefer jobs with shorter and more flexible hours to accommodate the demands of family. Compared to men, they generally favor jobs that involve little danger, no travel and good social skills. Such jobs generally pay less." - Why Men Earn More by Wendy McElroy

I know one who preferred the late hours and the travel, and when her son complained about his mom never being home, she countered "how many of your friends' parents call the principle from Japan?" Nice trade, huh?

3) Pot calling the kettle...

Harriet Harman, the minister for women and equality, blasted the banking world for "discrimination and harassment" against women, including using lap-dancing clubs for corporate entertainment.

I can't let this pass. In April 2005 20/20 ran a sweeps week special called "Inside the Lives of Strippers". The show had one memorable quote. One of the featured women looked straight into the camera and said "We're Executives too".

Case closed.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Roll Over Darwin.

You're stifling learning. Evolutionary biologist Stuart Newman says
people are concerned if they open the door to non-Darwinian mechanisms, they will let creationists slip through the door as well.

What non-Darwinian mechanisms could he be talking about?

Well, says Newman, "self-organization represents a challenge to the Darwinian theories of natural selection."

Darwinian orthodoxy, you see, says everything is incremental.

Wikipedia (where most people seem to get their understanding of evolution) says

While the fossils cannot undoubtedly prove common descent, they are highly suggestive of it if they show two patterns:[1]

* older forms are simpler than newer forms;
* the number of species increases with time.

The fossil record certainly meets the first criterion. Among the earliest mammalian fossils, there are no specialized mammals like whales, but we do find fossils of whale-like terrestrial mammals that possessed underdeveloped legs. The second criterion poses a sort of impasse between evolutionary scientists who claim their findings to be incomplete yet compelling and creationists who bemoan them as severely lacking.

These gaps in the fossil record are a problem for the theory of darwinian evolution.

Punctuated Equilibrium is another explanation for the fossil gaps. It fell out of favor for a while, but now the top evolutionary scholars are re-assessing its potential. Like self-organization, punctuated equilibrium creates a problem for the darwin religious sect. You know who they are, they will ask you if you "believe in evolution", or condemn you if you don't "believe in evolution".

Farmers who don't believe in evolution. Oy vay.

End of discussion. - Heather Houlahan

Darwin proposed natural selection as the mechanism for 'Common Descent'. Natural selection has been observed, but is yet to be substantiated as the driving force of species jumps.

When most people talk about evolution today, they really mean "natural selection". When they ask you if you believe in evolution, they are asking you an impossible question. Of course you don't have to believe in natural selection, it has been observed. And since natural selection isn't the only (or even perhaps most critical) force in generating separate species, no one should sign up to believing in 'Darwinian Evolution'. But if you don't? Oy vey.

Epigenetics has thrown another wrench into the previous understandings of natural selection.

And for the final word, the entertaining Fred Reed asks questions that have yet to be answered...

If the faithful of evolution spent as much time examining their theory as they do defending it, they might prove to be right, or partly right, or discover all manner of interesting things heretofore unsuspected.

At any rate, the idea is that slight selective pressure (operational definition, please? Units?) over enough time produces major changes. The idea is appealingly plausible. But, for example:

(1) A fair number of people are deathly allergic to bee stings, going into anaphylactic shock and dying. In any but a protected urban setting, children are virtually certain to be stung many times before reaching puberty. Assured death before reproduction would seem a robust variety of selective pressure.

Yet the allergic haven’t been eliminated from the population. Why is it that miniscule, unobserved mutations over vast stretches of time can produce major changes, while an extraordinarily powerful, observable selective pressure doesn’t? The same reasoning applies to a long list of genetic diseases that kill children before they reach adulthood. (Yes, I too can imagine plausible explanations. Plausibility isn’t evidence.)

(5) If intelligence promotes survival, why did it appear so late? If it doesn’t promote survival, why did it appear at all?

(8) So much of evolution contradicts other parts. Sparrows evolved drab and brown so that predators won’t see them. Cockatoos and guacamayas are gaudy as casinos in Las Vegas so they can find each other and mate. But…but….

So get over Darwin already, and let people question evolution. Maybe we'll actually learn something.