Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Fun w/ Venn Diagrams

You know I never thought Barbara Walters could out dumb *teh dumb of that blond chick. However, a few months ago she added Sherri unsure of the earth's roundness Shephard to the show and now ...she's even outdone herself. Sherri evidently hasn't heard of B.C. because she doesn't believe " ... anything predated christians ..." and that Jesus came before the Greeks and the Romans.

But hey, she's just a talk show flunky on a program of which the viewership primarily consists of those possessing a similar level of sophistication but what of a presidential candidate?

Yes, Mike believer of creation, nonbeliever of evolution Huckabee who touts his theology degree as a foreign policy credential can't, apparently, even keep up with current events. Never mind that the National Intelligence Estimate has been in the news for days (as well as numerous times during the Bush reign) and that the Idiot in Chief (a member of Mike's own political party) thought it significant enough to hold a presser but elect-me Mike don't know nothin' 'bout no 'telligence. [my apologies to Margaret Mitchell. Also, obviously, the diagram is not to scale. Although Sherri and Mike are truly huge ignoramuses they certainly don't comprise quite the percentage of their ilk represented in the pic.]

And for the record ... you don't get to not believe in Evolution; it's not a belief system. Nor is it random or an accident. However, evolution deniers are correct on one point ... it's not a fact. Not a single one anyway. It's many many facts based on voluminous observations and testable, and tested, hypotheses leading to the theory.

You see, while it may be used in a manner to indicate as much, a theory is not a hunch. It's not something flimsy or weak but a very strong foundation that has been strengthened and refined over time. Evolution may never be a law, not owing to any deficiency but because laws tend to be mathematical in nature -equations with predictable solutions.

But while there's not any all encompassing evolutionary equation for which we can enter v, w and x evolutionary variables to solve for z that's not to say it doesn't have predictive capability. As a demonstrated theory that's a necessity. Long before the fossil record obliged by contributing a physical record, features of expected transitional species to fill in existing gaps in the evolutionary trail were predicted by scientists. For example, Tiktaalik discovered only last year looks (as expected) like a cross between primitive fish and the early tetrapods (4-legged animals) and represents the earliest appearance of tetrapod features - and around 12 million years before the first tetrapods.

Let's face it, most people find it difficult to solve even simple mathematical equations (another failure of our educational system but that's a topic for another day), evolution is a complex theory and the scale of evolutionary time is hard to fathom (perhaps especially so for such an ego-centric population as is our nation) but we really have to start to be aggressive in challenging all of this 'random' nonsense. It's just plain wrong. Wrong and dangerous.
Of course, like every other man of intelligence and education I do believe in organic evolution. It surprises me that at this late date such questions should be raised.
That was from Woodrow Wilson in 1922. Look where we are today. It's sad. It's depressing. Looking at the Republican candidates for president certainly doesn't assuage the feeling. Seriously, when was the last time the Republican party fielded a candidate that wasn't bat-shit crazy?

Okay, tirade finished. Sometimes you just have to get it out.

*Not a typo ... convention.

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