Monday, October 31, 2005

The Wisdom of Mother Basil:
Mother Basil would not have liked the intelligent design people. She would have felt that they bring religion into disrepute. What kind of religion is it that wants to enter the science class?
Good for Mother Basil.
How about a little something to cheer you up as you get off the subway today?
As for the small size of the weapons and the notion that they can be detonated by one person, those claims also been authoritatively dismissed. The only U.S. government official to publicly admit seeing a suitcase-sized nuclear device is Rose Gottemoeller. As a Defense Department official, she visited Russia and Ukraine to monitor compliance with disarmament treaties in the early 1990s. The Soviet-era weapon "actually required three footlockers and a team of several people to detonate," she said. "It was not something you could toss in your shoulder bag and carry on a plane or bus".

Glenn Reynolds, with some much needed clarity, on the Libby case and its implications. Here:

THE BIG LOSER in the Libby affair, it would seem to me, is the CIA. At least it will be if anyone pays attention.

Consider: Assuming that Valerie Plame was some sort of genuinely covert operative -- something that's not actually quite clear from the indictment -- the chain of events looks pretty damning: Wilson was sent to Africa on an investigative mission regarding nuclear weapons, but never asked to sign any sort of secrecy agreement(!). Wilson returns, reports, then publishes an oped in the New York Times (!!) about his mission. This pretty much ensures that people will start asking why he was sent, which leads to the fact that his wife arranged it. Once Wilson's oped appeared, Plame's covert status was in serious danger. Yet nobody seemed to care.

and here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

From the House Divided Against Itself Dept. Interesting:

On October 21, the American Enterprise Institute sponsored a forum titled “Science Wars” that focused on the intelligent design/evolution controversy. Among the participants in the forum were the Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, Richard Thompson, and Mark Ryland, Director of the Discovery Institute’s Washington office.

During the course of the discussion, Ryland claimed that the Discovery Institute had “never set out to have school boards” teach intelligent design. He was swiftly corrected by Thompson, who held up a copy of the Discovery Institute’s “Intelligent Design in Public School Science Curriculum: A Guidebook” by Steven Meyer and David DeWolf Intelligent Design in Public School Science Curricula: A Legal Guidebook.

This is becoming a little farcical.

Update: it gets even better.

From Rosemary Righter at the Times in London:
Since the euphoria of their first chance at the vote last January, thousands of Iraqis have lost limbs and lives at the hands of terrorists and insurgents bent on inciting civil war. They have chafed under a weak, bickering Government that most Iraqis would say has done precious little to improve their lives. Yet even more people voted this time than in January.

The robustness of the Iraqi commitment to the political process is beyond remarkable. So listen, you defeatists and cynics who said that this couldn’t be done, shouldn’t even be attempted: however confused the outcome may be, the democracy that you patronisingly declared that Iraqis could never handle is taking shape. By all means sneer when Bush and Blair talk about progress, but lay off the Iraqi people. They are not the benighted fools you took them for; and their courage puts us all to shame.
God Bless them.

Monday, October 24, 2005

From the Times' coverage of Michael's Behe's cross examination in the Dover Case:
Under sharp cross-examination by a lawyer for parents who have sued the school district, he said he was untroubled by the broadness of his definition of science and likened intelligent design to the Big Bang theory of the origins of the universe because both initially faced rejection from scientists who objected for religious and philosophical reasons.
I've been told by people who know and have debated him that Michael Behe is a nice guy. One cannot resist, however, feeling he must have an ego the size of Jupiter to compare Intelligent Design to the Big Bang theory.

The Big Bang is science. Intelligent Design is smoke and mirrors.

Indeed, from the outset the whole ID movement has been about rhetoric, not science. Behe's position just proves it. There were specifically scientific reasons for the development of the Big Bang theory back in the late 1920s and early 1930s, ones that can be referenced and looked up to this day in any good library. To summarize, Georges Lemaitre convinced Einstein and his contemporaries in 1930, that the universe had to be expanding. He did this by essentially showing that Einstein's 'static' model, a temporally infinite, 4-dimensional model of the universe, and Dutch astronomer Willem De Sitter's essentially flat, empty model of the universe, were two bookends of a larger, dynamic model of the universe.

Shortly after this, Lemaitre realized that an initial static Einstein state could not be sustained indefinitely. The laws of physics couldn't support it. The expansion therefore had to wind back to some temporal, spatial origin, a point he liked to call the Day Without Yesterday. While this bothered Arthur Stanley Eddington and others because of the implications (the world began with a bang), no one dismissed Lemaitre's work the way Michael Behe's work has been dismissed by his own contemporaries, because the physics and mathematics behind Lemaitre's paper were so solid. And one can see by the number of papers by colleagues his own work generated. Indeed, in the 1960s Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking showed that any relativistic model of the cosmos has to have its origin in a singularity.

Such scientific fecundity cannot be attributed in any way, shape or form to the patchwork pseudo-philosophizing that goes by the name of "Intelligent Design." The "theory" has not inspired a single scientific paper or experiment.

Friday, October 21, 2005

It's been way too long since I last cited the always excellent Victor Davis Hanson:

We are left only with the U.S. military. It is without much overt public support in Iraq, demonized in Europe, and feared and resented in the Arab world. And yet had American forces lost in Afghanistan, stumbled in Iraq, or given up on the democracy, there would now be no hope for the 50 million who voted in Afghanistan and Iraq.

So when this is all over — and it will be more quickly than we imagine — there will be a viable constitutional government in Iraq. But the achievement will be considered either a natural organic process, or adopted as a success by former critics only at its safe, penultimate stage.

Most of us tragically will forget many of the American soldiers who courageously fought, died, and gave the Middle East its freedom and us our security. Purple fingers, not overloaded American helicopters taking off from the embassy roof, is the future of Iraq.

Yes, the terrorists’ assault against the Iraqi democracy will end — as all failed insurrections do — not with a bang but with a whimper.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Hanna Rosin is covering the Dover case on "intelligent design" in the Public Schools.

And here is an excellent update on the status of Darwin's theory. One of the most dishonest things about the "intelligent" design crowd is their repeated insistence that there are "problems" with Darwin's theory.

What's next? Are the public schools supposed to teach students about the "problems" with Einstein's theory? With Newton's?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

After more than twenty years as one of the nicest restaurants up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, The Clam Shell, is...well, there's no other way to put it—selling out to Walgreen's.

Sheesh. Now, it's a family owned restaurant, and hey, a good offer is a good offer. So, you can't blame them. But there are already two huge pharmacies, Brooks and RX up there, more than enough for a small town. Who needs another Walgreen's and where the hell are we starved-for-food-and-drink hikers supposed to go now?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Rafat Ali:
@ We Media: Gore's A Blowhard: No, that's not me saying that, but everyone I spoke to after his speech this morning said so...someone said that now we know [why] he never won: he is boring as hell. Here's another one I heard: Gore to Web: TV rocks; Web to Gore: Drop Dead. Plus his point about TV being the dominant medium for the next decade didn't go down well with the converts here...
Like we didn't know this?