The Watering Hole – Saturday, August 25, 2012 – Keep the Kids Out of This

Bill Nye, the Science Guy (@TheScienceGuy), has a video out called “Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children.” It was put out for This week’s hat tip goes to LGF.:

Denial of evolution is unique to the United States. I mean, we’re the world’s most advanced technological—I mean, you could say Japan—but generally, the United States is where most of the innovations still happens. People still move to the United States. And that’s largely because of the intellectual capital we have, the general understanding of science. When you have a portion of the population that doesn’t believe in that, it holds everybody back, really.

Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology. It’s like, it’s very much analogous to trying to do geology without believing in tectonic plates. You’re just not going to get the right answer. Your whole world is just going to be a mystery instead of an exciting place.

As my old professor, Carl Sagan, said, “When you’re in love you want to tell the world.” So, once in a while I get people that really—or that claim—they don’t believe in evolution. And my response generally is “Well, why not? Really, why not?” Your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don’t believe in evolution. I mean, here are these ancient dinosaur bones or fossils, here is radioactivity, here are distant stars that are just like our star but they’re at a different point in their lifecycle. The idea of deep time, of this billions of years, explains so much of the world around us. If you try to ignore that, your world view just becomes crazy, just untenable, itself inconsistent.

And I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can—we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.

It’s just really hard a thing, it’s really a hard thing. You know, in another couple of centuries that world view, I’m sure, will be, it just won’t exist. There’s no evidence for it.

Directed / Produced by
Elizabeth Rodd and Jonathan Fowler [via LGF]

It wasn’t a belief in Creationism that gave this nation a reputation for being the best and richest country, that expanded it through the Industrial Revolution, that built the Interstate Highway System, that had twelve of its citizens walk on the surface of the Moon or that landed a nuclear-powered probe on the surface of Mars and broadcast pictures and other data back. It was a belief in Science that did all that, and without it, we would be no better off than those that live in deeply religious Third World countries.

If you have a child that really wants to study Science and Math, encourage him or her to do so. It’s not just our nation that needs more scientists, it’s the world. We are all in this together. The world’s climate problems are not going to be solved in such a way that we in the United States live and everyone else fends for themselves. Global problems require global solutions and global participation.

One of the biggest dangers to our country lies in our political system. We are a two-major-party country, and one of the two major parties simply does not believe in Science. Nor have they bothered to educate themselves on the subject and insist on just flat-out denying the inescapable conclusions of the men and women who have actually studied these things whenever they don’t like the results, as if Scientific Consensus meant whatever the uneducated-in-Science people thought was true. That’s not how Science works. A Scientific Consensus is the conclusion arrived at by Scientists, not the public. And not the Republican Party.

This is our open thread. Feel free to discuss any topic you want.

[Cross-posted at Pick Wayne’s Brain.]

116 thoughts on “The Watering Hole – Saturday, August 25, 2012 – Keep the Kids Out of This

  1. Nice post, Wayne. It occurs to me that we’re only now at a point where we can see we have a two-major-party state; for many years in so many ways, both Rep and Dem have been two sides of the Establishment Party. Lately, though, the extreme and ignorant Tea Party has actually pushed the Republicans so far Right they actually are very different from the Democrats.

  2. James Fallows’ insight on how Obama can win the debates:

    “Romney is very strong as a debater but has also shown two repeated weaknesses: a thin command of policy details, and an awkwardness when taken by surprise.

    When the subject is one he’s prepared for, he rarely falters. When it’s not, or when an exchange goes on longer or in a different direction than expected, many of his ad-libbed responses turn out to be mistakes (“I’ll bet you $10,000!”). Thus the Romney team has the impossible challenge of trying to imagine every question or attack line that might come up in debates with Obama, while the Obama team tries to imagine what Romney’s might have missed. This kind of chess game is always part of debate preparation, but it is unusually important this year, because the gap between Romney at his best and at his worst is so wide.”

    • I would bet that if President Obama tried he could get Mitt to use the “N” word. That would be awesome. Mitt’s already gone birther you know he’s been thinking that word for a long time. Obama with his chess and poker skills could make it happen.

    • I would say his awkwardness also extends to being under personal pressure. I think the President’s innate style, class and cool will rattle Willard before they get halfway through the first debate.

      • I believe Mitt Romney is either dumb or has some sort of emotional/social disorder. Maybe both. I think he’ll definitely crack at the debates.

        • I think most of it is that he’s a pathological liar. He’s directly contradicted virtually everything he’s ever said and just can’t keep his stories straight due to the sheer volume. Like I keep asking:

          “Was he lying then or is he lying now?” There is no third option.

  3. House of Roberts,

    Please evacuate now or batten down the hatches for a Cat 1, min, hurricane headed straight up your way. Expect power outages and reduced food and water supplies, for the short term, at least. If it ends up being not that bad, at least you were ready for worse.

    Good luck, and please let us know you’re safe. 🙂

    • I never have real bad weather from hurricanes. The power was out for an hour or so when Katrina moved through.

      Thanks for worrying, but I can wait until it hits the Gulf Coast to even think about leaving. That shouldn’t be until Monday night.

      • Okay. Just wanted to make sure you were aware that the projections all point toward a wide Cat 1 swath going right up through your area. I’m concerned, too, for our Floridian Critters and Zoosters, but they’re just getting clipped by this. You’re going to get, shall we say, the Full Monty on this one. 🙂

  4. Sen. “Diaper Dave” Vitter tweets at 20-year-old woman, “@LuvMy_Kisses.” Staff says was “inadvertent staff” error. Staff falls on its staff for Diaper Dave.

    • As a Repugnant party member Dave is aware he’d never be held responsible for such actions. Perhaps if he’d put up pictures…nah, he’d still not be admonished.
      Now if he were a Dem…(see Anthony Weiner)

  5. Come on folks. We are the 37th best country in the world, and thanks to Republican political strategy, we can slip down another 100 notches. An ignorant public is the easiest to manipulate and control. The people need opiates to take their minds off of their misery. It is part of the master plan. Evolutionary science, or all science for that matter is representative of rational thought and logical sequences. Can’t have that going on, can we? Too dangerous.

  6. There are two kinds of people who decry public education. Those who are concerned their children might not learn enough and those who are simply terrified their children will learn too much. I think Bill is addressing the second group but they are notoriously hard to reach.

    That’s why that second group is frantically trying to enact legislation, particularly in certain southern states, that forbids teachers from teaching anything that might contradict the “values” children learn at home and in church. I wish Zombie Ben Franklin or Zombie Thomas Jefferson would rise from the grave and eat their brains.

      • Exactly! The zombie would consume the bits of gray matter that facilitate autonomic functions and then die, again, before he became a pest. Although, there is a danger that said zombie would try to prey on people with more brains I figure most of them would be smart enough to simply run faster than the zombie could shuffle.

  7. Science has rules and methods that must be logically implemented. Proof is required, which makes it the opposite of faith. Faith and science are not incompatible in an individual as long as that person respects the boundaries of both.
    Teaching one’s faith as science is insane.
    I’ve been asked many times if I “believe” in evolution. It’s sort of like being asked if I believe in gravity.

  8. Neil Armstrong, 1st man on the moon, dies

    CINCINNATI — Neil Armstrong was a quiet self-described nerdy engineer who became a global hero when as a steely-nerved pilot he made “one giant leap for mankind” with a small step on to the moon. The modest man who had people on Earth entranced and awed from almost a quarter million miles away has died. He was 82.

  9. Do wingnuts deny that science and technology, and not God, put Neil Armstrong on the moon?

    Oh wait, since no godless Commies have been on the moon they must be right.

    • Yeah, but he also had a room full of Government workers with sliderulers! And Math full of imaginary numbers. 😉

  10. Carl Sagan, as he was won’t to do, may have said it best.

    Yes, the Darwinian insight can be turned upside down and grotesquely misused: Voracious robber barons may explain their cutthroat practices by an appeal to Social Darwinism; Nazis and other racists may call on “survival of the fittest” to justify genocide. But Darwin did not make John D. Rockefeller or Adolf Hitler. Greed, the Industrial Revolution, the free enterprise system, and the corruption of government by the monied are adequate to explain nineteenth-century capitalism. Ethnocentrism, xenophobia, social hierarchies, the long history of anti-Semitism in Germany, the Versailles Treaty, German child-rearing practices, inflation, and the Depression seem adequate to explain Hitler’s rise to power. Very likely these or similar events would have transpired with or without Darwin. And modern Darwinism makes it abundantly clear that many less ruthless traits, some not admired by robber barons and Führers – altruism, general intelligence, compassion – may be the key to survival.

    • Darwinism makes it abundantly clear that many less ruthless traits, some not admired by robber barons and Führers {insert: and Ayn Rand}
      – altruism, general intelligence, compassion – may be the key to survival.“

  11. ‎”But who prays for Satan? Who in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most, our one fellow and brother who most needed a friend yet had not a single one, the one sinner among us all who had the highest and clearest right to every Christian’s daily and nightly prayers, for the plain and unassailable reason that his was the first and greatest need, he being among sinners the supremest?”
    Mark Twain

    • I’m thinking no religion of country can survive without a built in bad guy. The ironic thing is none has really managed to do so well even with that. When you focus so much energy in fighting, you don’t have much left to actually build something.

    • Are they going to set up metal detectors or just pass out the guns at the door? I suppose they could just use braces of loaded dueling pistols as table decorations. What would be hilarious is if it ends up with the hall having a “No Guns” policy!

  12. I wonder what particular event is going to cause the US and the world for that matter that the people who are claiming leadership do so because a bunch of their paid minions ride herd on such valuable things as data bits in computers. These are people who probably would have a difficult time even finding a grocery store let alone knowing what to do with any of what they might buy there. They probably think potatoes grow in kitchens.

  13. The Economist slams Willard:

    “WHEN Mitt Romney was governor of liberal Massachusetts, he supported abortion, gun control, tackling climate change and a requirement that everyone should buy health insurance, backed up with generous subsidies for those who could not afford it. Now, as he prepares to fly to Tampa to accept the Republican Party’s nomination for president on August 30th, he opposes all those things. A year ago he favoured keeping income taxes at their current levels; now he wants to slash them for everybody, with the rate falling from 35% to 28% for the richest Americans.

    All politicians flip-flop from time to time; but Mr Romney could win an Olympic medal in it.

    [C]ompetence is worthless without direction and, frankly, character. Would that Candidate Romney had indeed presented himself as a solid chief executive who got things done. Instead he has appeared as a fawning PR man, apparently willing to do or say just about anything to get elected. In some areas, notably social policy and foreign affairs, the result is that he is now committed to needlessly extreme or dangerous courses that he may not actually believe in but will find hard to drop; in others, especially to do with the economy, the lack of details means that some attractive-sounding headline policies prove meaningless (and possibly dangerous) on closer inspection. Behind all this sits the worrying idea of a man who does not really know his own mind.”|a

    • That was in ’08 and he tried and failed doing the fist bump.
      He’s even more wooden and phony today.

      Wonder if he’ll wade into a crowd while in Tampa.

  14. Today’s level of religious/wingnut science denial nonsense reminds me of a conversation I had with a college roomy way back when, a fellow non-theist who very often would say, “If only we could find the means of ridding the world’s human population of faith, the species might find the means of indefinite survival.” Or something very close to that. He was right, of course. There’s been little or no progress along those lines since way back then — actually, it was fifty years ago next month, i.e. September 1962, the first semester of my junior year at Arizona State U. And ‘faith’ in Jack’s context is much more a problem today, by orders of magnitude, than it was then. Wonder if the human species will still be around fifty years from today? I’m not a betting man, but if I was I wouldn’t bet on it. The slippage of our species into the slime of ignorance seems to be picking up speed every day … along with blind allegiance to “faith.” Why is that, I wonder?

    • That one is fairly easy to understand. Belief requires no effort or thought, just a desire to belong. History has shown that every time a society starts to rely more on belief than knowledge, it is on the decline.

      • ‘Faith’ and ‘decline’ go hand-in-hand, absolutely. What puzzles me is why a society or culture most noted for its intellectual accomplishment almost invariably slides into the darkness that is ‘inspired’ by religious mythology. Is it the assault on education that is the prime mover? I know that, beginning with Reagan, education in the US suddenly came under concentrated and direct fire, and has been on the down slope ever since; the coordination of that reality with the uptick in religious nuttery are approximately coincidental as well, so we’re at least three decades closer to collapse than we were in January 1981 when everything changed.

        The dynamics remain puzzling, though, in much the same fashion as does the dynamic implicit in mass suicide. But here we are, well on our way down that very road and picking up speed in the process. History repeats. Again.

  15. It’s a message from God. He doesn’t like Romney.

    Approaching storm forces Republicans to consider delay of convention start | Fox News

    Organizers of the Republican National Convention are considering a delay to the Monday start of the four-day event in Tampa, Fla., because of the approaching tropical storm, sources tell Fox News.

    The convention committee is scheduled Saturday night to discuss Tropical Storm Isaac and safety preparations for Florida residents and the estimate 50,000 visitors to Tampa.

  16. Nascar has started having a soldier from a nearby National Guard unit recite the Pledge Of Allegiance just prior to the invocation and National Anthem at each race.

      • The anthem has been a tradition for as long as I can remember. This pledge business is new.

        They had boxing announcer Michael Buffer to give the command to start engines, with his trademarked ‘Let’s Get Ready To Rumble!’ substituting for the usual command.

  17. Danica’s owner, Tony Stewart isn’t going to be able to complain about how she’s running tonight. She’s in 33rd place a lap down. He’s in 32nd place, also a lap down. The other Stewart-Haas car, Ryan Newman, is in 29th, but at least he’s still on the lead lap.

      • She was good on fuel and tires. She might have picked up a few spots at the end when some had to pit. Still, she got a good tutorial, following Tony before halfway, then he got his lap back. It took her three more cautions to get hers back. Then she did it again later. She was cruising.
        She ran good last night too. It still isn’t the ‘old Bristol’, though. The groove is too high.

  18. After the 9/11 attacks, when President George W. Bush, in a speech aimed at distinguishing the U.S. from the Muslim fundamentalists, said, “Our God is the God who named the stars.”
    The problem is two-thirds of all the stars that have names, have Arabic names. I don’t think he knew this. This would confound the point that he was making.

    – Neil deGrasse Tyson

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