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Good for Doug Bjerregaard!

Here's a story that might polarize a few readers: Class Dissection Of Live Dog Outrages Parents, Students. With a few caveats, though, I thoroughly endorse the teacher's actions.

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Academics • Science • Permalink • (13) Comments • (0) Trackbacks • Other weblogs

A historian disgraces himself

David Hadley sent me a link that was unbelievable. Please, somebody tell me that this weblog, The Social Affairs Unit, is a satire site. I looked all over, and it seems to take itself very, very seriously, and its authors have academic connections. I'm hoping it is merely the most incredibly deadpan English humor, because I've just read an appallingly stupid article on evolution there. It's written by a professor of modern history at the University of Wales-Aberystwyth, one William D. Rubinstein. Despite the credentials, though, the idiocy starts with the title, and it just gets worse and worse.

Look upon this title, and cringe with me: The Theory of Evolution: Just a Theory?

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Creationism • Permalink • (29) Comments • (0) Trackbacks • Other weblogs

Almost done

Today is commencement at UMM, and it's snowing. Just as well, though—I'm planning to spend my day grading. I think if I make a solid push, I can finish everything by this evening and put Spring Semester 2005 behind me.

Academics • Permalink • (8) Comments • (0) Trackbacks • Other weblogs

Friday Random Ten: with Extra Monkeys!

Here's the latest random playlist off of my iTunes library—I cheated a little, though, and went with 12 this time, because I noticed a bit of a theme in the first ten that was carried on in the next two songs.

What strange creatures, these Hu-Mans

For those of you wanting an illustrated primer on human evolution, DarkSyde has one for you: check out parts 1, 2, and 3 at Unscrewing the Inscrutable.

Phil Skell: Dingbat Emeritus

The Discovery Institute is such a haven for lying phonies. Their weird little blog has an article with this title: An NAS Scientist Breaks Ranks: Urges Kansas to Teach the Controversy over Neo-Darwinism

Who is this "NAS Scientist" who has broken ranks? None other than infamous crackpot Phil Skell, emeritus professor of chemistry at Penn State. No rank breaking occurred, of course; Skell has been in the loon brigade for years, with his johnny-one-note complaint that evolutionary theory is useless and has never helped any biologists…and yep, that's what he's doing again in his ridiculous letter to the Kansas State Board of Education.

Darwinian evolution is an interesting theory about the remote history of life. Nonetheless, it has little practical impact on those branches of science that do not address questions of biological history (largely based on stones, the fossil evidence). Modern biology is engaged in the examination of tissues from living organisms with new methods and instruments. None of the great discoveries in biology and medicine over the past century depended on guidance from Darwinian evolution—it provided no support.

Spare me. I've been all over his dishonest claim before.

There are phenomenal, intelligent emeritus professors who are inspirations to us all, who maintain an active intellectual life and are a model for what a scientist should do with his or her retirement. And then there are old cranks who verge on senility and hamper our understanding of science. Guess what category I think Skell belongs in?

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