Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Obamacare website Hell

A lady describes her experience signing up online:
...I tried again, was able to get on and was then told that I needed to authenticate my identity.  I was asked several questions such as “What town did you live in when you lived on Pinewood?”  Three of the four questions, while going back 18 years ago, were reasonable and I was able to answer.  Then we came to a fourth question – “In the past you purchased veterinary insurance for your pet…What was the name of the pet?”  I answered “none of the above” because I NEVER purchased health insurance for my pet(s).  Since I answered “none of the above” I was given another question…”What was your former telephone number?”  All the answers were for area code 803.  I never lived in area code 803 and had to look it up on the internet.  I never lived in the state.  So…I could go no further.  I called the Center and they told me that they were having systems issues and to try back.
Read the rest here.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Jake Payne, Constitutional scholar

Jake Payne at Page One, Kentucky criticized U. S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin today for not knowing "the difference between the Bill of Rights and the Constitution."


The Bill of Rights is a part of the Constitution. It consists of the first ten amendments to it. The amendments to a document are part of the document. Otherwise, what are they amending?

Jake says Bevin "was clearly educated in one of Kentucky’s unfortunate school districts." It would be interesting to know which school Jake went to that taught him that the Bill of Rights was not part of the Constitution.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

PRESS RELEASE: United Way of the Bluegrass pulls support from Boy Scouts

LEXINGTON, KY—The Family Foundation today said the United Way of the Bluegrass should be engaging in charity, not politics. The group responded to reports that the United Way was pulling funding of the local chapter of the Boys Scouts because of the organization's policy against hiring gay scoutmasters.

"This is the first time to our knowledge that the United Way of the Bluegrass has targeted a group for persecution because it didn't hold a particular political position," said Martin Cothran, spokesman for The Family Foundation.

The group said it was trying to find out if the action was taken unilaterally by United Way's president, Bill Farmer, or whether the United Way board voted on the action. "If this was a board decision, we would like to know which of the local banks and insurance agencies and computer companies who are represented on their board want the Boy Scouts de-funded." Cothran said his group will try to determine how the decision was made and by whom.

"The United Way should be a politically non-partisan organization," said Cothran. "Now it seems to be moving in a more political direction. Instead of trying to intimidate the nonprofit organizations it supports into following its increasingly liberal political agenda, it should be trying to help its member groups. This is a disservice to the community and we think it hurts United Way's credibility."

Cothran said his group is urging United Way donors to send the money they would otherwise give the United Way to the local chapter of the Boy Scouts of America instead. "That way it will go to help children, not support liberal political causes."


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bureau for Better Atheists issues advisory on Jerry Coyne

Once again, we here at the Bureau for Better Atheists (BBA) are having to set aside our other important work (such as trying to find Richard Dawkins a competent barber) to deal with Jerry Coyne.

As we have mentioned before, the BBA is devoted to improving the quality of atheists by dealing with a problem that is reaching crisis proportions: the increasing intellectual deterioration of atheists. An increasing number of atheists are questioning basic historical facts and setting out in the apparently unfamiliar terrain of philosophy.

Our file on Coyne, a prominent evolutionary biologist, now occupies a whole cabinet. In fact, we are thinking of hiring a full-time staff member devoted solely to Coyniana. It is atheists like Coyne who make opposition to atheism that much more tedious and unchallenging.

Anyway, Coyne is now contesting the idea that religion had a prominent role in the rise and development of science. This is just one of the eccentric views being promulgated by modern atheists who either a) don't know the history of science; b) have issues with truth generally; or c) are functionally illiterate.

Coyne says:
All progress in science, whether ancient or modern, came from ignoring or rejecting the idea of divine intervention. Even if theories were inspired by thoughts of God, they were substantiated or disproven by tacitly assuming a godless universe—that is, by employing methodological naturalism. 
Ah, methodological naturalism. Does he mean the methodological naturalism that originated in the 12th century with Adelard of Bath, who believed that reason did not in any way conflict with Christian faith? That methodological naturalism? If you want to maintain the discredited theory of the inherent conflict between religion and science, it's probably not a good idea to use an idea developed by someone who completely disagreed with that theory.

Coyne continues:
Religion has of course also repressed the search for knowledge. Not only do we have the cases of Galileo and Bruno, but also the active discouragement of the use of reason by many church fathers, especially Martin Luther, who made statements like this: “Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.” And freethinkers like Spinoza were regularly persecuted by religion (Judaism in his case.)
Yes, and governments have repressed knowledge. Is government, then, inherently anti-science? And what about males? Most of those who have repressed science have been males. What is it about these males that makes them so anti-science? In fact, now that I think about it, human beings seem to be the culprits. Have you ever noticed how many of the people who have hampered the progress of science are human beings?

And since when is Martin Luther a "church father"? I don't know anyone, including Luther fans, who call him a "church father." "Protestant reformer" yes, but no one even remotely familiar with history calls Luther a "church father."

In addition, Coyne apparently forget (or never knew) that both Galileo and Bruno were Christians. And why is the Church how tried to hold Galileo to the standards of proof a bad guy? Galileo didn't have adequate proof of his theory (which wasn't completely correct anyway, since it presumed the circular orbit of planets, which Kepler had already shown to be false, among other things). The Church (which Galileo was a voluntarily member of) didn't allow Galileo to assert that his theory was true because he hadn't proved it. The Church had no problem with the propagation of Copernicus' theory as a possible explanation of the data and, in fact, most of the Church was accepting of some heliocentric view.

He goes on:
The major achievements of science, including relativity, evolution, and modern molecular biology, were achieved by non-theists.
I have only one thing to say: Gregor Mendel (Augustinian friar. Mendelian genetics named after. Salvaged evolutionary theory from sole reliance on natural selection. Check it out.)

Joseph Pearce coming to Louisville this weekend

One of the best Catholic writers now writing is coming to Louisville for a conference this weekend at Immaculata Academy. Here are the specs from Immaculata:

Please join us for an upcoming conference with guest speaker Joseph Pearce! Mr. Pearce is an world-renown author and speaker on Catholicism, literature, education, and other related topics. He will speak on Education and Catholic Culture at our first Immaculata Conference on Friday evening, October 25th and Saturday evening, on the 26th.

The title of the conference is, "Reclaiming Catholic Culture: A Focus on the Family and Education." As part of an ongoing service to the wider community, this free event is hosted and sponsred by Immaculata Classical Academy and WLCR 1040AM Holy Family Radio.

The conference begins on Friday, October 25th from 7:00 — 8:30 pm with an opening talk entitled: "Reclaiming Catholic Culture: The Battle Begins in the Home." The conference continues on Saturday morning, October 26th from 9:00—12:00 pm with two talks entitled, "The Catholic Cultural Revival: Teaching our Children their Cultural Hertitage"; "A Matter of Life and Death: The Battle for True Education."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I will be on "Pure Politics" tonight at 7:00 p.m.

I will be on CN2's "Pure Politics" tonight at 7:00 p.m. and again at 11:30 p.m. The panel discussion/debate is on the issue of religion and politics. Guests are me, State Sen. and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Whitney Westerfield, and Edwin Kagan, representing American Athiests.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Everything you know about prohibition is wrong. Well, almost

Anthony Esolen on prohibition:
In October, 1919, a heavily “progressive” Congress passed the Volstead Act enforcing the Eighteenth Amendment, prohibiting, for almost all purposes, the production, sale, and distribution of alcoholic beverages. There are two things everybody has learned from Prohibition. First, it is wrong to try to legislate morality. Second, you cannot do it, for Prohibition failed. But neither of these things is true, and the real lessons of Prohibition go unheeded.
Read the rest here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

KY track attorneys go both ways on Instant Racing

I am quoted in a Louisville Courier-Journal story today about attorneys for Kentucky Downs, a horse-racing track, who can't seem to decide whether Instant Racing is legal or not. Or at least the
FRANKLIN, KY. — In a high-profile case before the Kentucky Supreme Court, Kentucky Downs — the state’s first track to offer the Instant Racing game that looks like a slot machine — has argued that it is the same as a bet on a live horse race, and just as legal. 
But a month later, Kentucky Downs argued in a different case in Simpson Circuit Court that Instant Racing is alternative gambling — a phrase used to describe slots and other casino games that are currently illegal in Kentucky.
Maybe it comes down to money. Just speculating here. Read the rest here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

National merit scholars at Highlands Latin School

This just in ...
Three out of thirteen Highlands Latin seniors were recognized as National Merit Scholars. Maggie Collum and John Sweeney were recognized as National Merit Semi-Finalists and Jackson Walter was recognized as a National Merit Commended student. 
Nationally, less than one and one half percent of college bound seniors are recognized as National Merit Scholars.  At Highlands Latin, 23% of seniors and 20% of all HLS graduates since 2005 have been National Merit Scholars, the highest percentage of any school in Louisville. 
Highlands Latin offers a classical, Christian education for students in K-12 in a unique 4-day schedule.  Find out why HLS students achieve such great academic success our our Open House on Sunday, November 10th.
Read more about Highlands Latin School here.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Richard Day: Opposition to science standards a plot by coal companies

I posted a comment on the most recent silliness coming from Richard Day's blog, where anti-religious conspiracy theories take the place of rational arguments. Richard's most recent fantasy involves The Family Foundation taking coal money to advocate against climate change.


Maybe, as I point out my response, which I have included below, that is why I have publicly opposed mountain-top removal.

These are the people who are going to be teaching your children "critical thinking skills."
I'm not sure quite what Richard means when he says that I will "go with whatever argument gets [me] movement." Is he saying that I try to use the best arguments for my position? If so, I'm fail to understand what the problem with that is. Is he implying that I use arguments that I don't believe in myself? If so, he's questioning my motives. 
When you start questioning people's motives, it usually means you don't have much in the way of arguments. You owe it to your opponent in an argument to refute his best arguments, not his worst motives. 
The problem with Richard and some of his readers is that they can't seem to answer the main argument I presented, which is that the standards are weak on content knowledge (which they are). Instead, they launch off into speculation about my being a closet creationist (which I'm not) and go off into spinning conspiracy theories about me wanting to foist my religion on everyone. 
Richard and his followers don't have a shred of evidence for this, so they have to manufacture things. 
For example: that The Family Foundation of Kentucky's "new interest" in the climate change issue (the only comment in regard to which I can even remember being the two or three paragraphs in that one op ed) is due to "donations from pro-coal interests." 
This is absolutely false. In fact, it's pretty close to a smear. But that was conspiracy theorists do: they charge their opponents with things that they don't have a shred of proof for that make them feel comfortable in their own ignorance. Charges like this are not only reckless, they are ethically questionable and they don't belong in a civilized exchange of beliefs. 
And besides, how does this charge square with my publicly-stated opposition to mountain-top removal? 
One thing you can say for Richard, he can pack a lot of falsehoods into one pretty brief comment. He claims that I "roused up church folks to go testify." I presume he means at the recent Administrative Regulations Review Subcommittee meeting in which the science standards were rejected.  
In fact, although The Family Foundation urged people to call legislators (because of the content issue), no one in that organization, including myself, ever asked anyone to go to the meeting to testify. In fact, when the chairman asked for the seventeen people who had signed up to testify against the regulation to decide among themselves which one would speak for them, Richard Innes of the Bluegrass Institute and I went to the table and told the chairman that we had no idea who the other 15 people even were, so it was hard for us to "decide." It was then he allowed both of us to speak briefly--in a smaller space of time than the advocates got to give their case. 
But even if it were true we were "rousing up church folks" to testify at the meeting, how would that act be "specifically anti-evolution"? 
I think the real answer is for Richard and his friends to get out more. Maybe actually acquainting himself with religious people would help him realize that they don't go around thinking anti-evolution thoughts all day. It also might diminish the necessity of him having to lay awake nights worrying that someone, somewhere might be thinking creationist thoughts if he realized that not all people who take their religion seriously are creationists. 
But the best thing to do is to stop trying to discern people's private thoughts just because they can't answer their public arguments.
You can read more about the secret plot by Christians to foist a knowledge of nature on poor, helpless school children here.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Justice Scalia scandalizes NY magazine interviewer by belief in the Devil

U. S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia scandalizes a New York magazine interviewer by telling her he believes what most Americans believe:
... When I’m dead and gone, I’ll either be sublimely happy or terribly unhappy.  
You believe in heaven and hell?Oh, of course I do. Don’t you believe in heaven and hell?  
Oh, my.  
Does that mean I’m not going?[Laughing.] Unfortunately not!
Interviewer Jennifer Senior must have imagined horns growing on Scalia's head as the interview was in progress.

How could a Catholic Supreme Court justice be a ... a ... Catholic?!!! It's just too much to stomach. In the name of Tolerance and Diversity, something must be done.

Why liberals need racism to continue

Liberals need racism. And they need it—or the perception of it—to continue. If it were to go away, a good part of their very reason for existence would disappear.

That is why they reach for any little scrap of evidence that it is still rampant in our society—so that we are all assured that we still need liberals—if, for no other reason, than that they are the only ones with the sophisticated racism detectors that can detect the slightest hint of the deep-seated racism that is still rampant.

This is why, whenever Billy Jo Bob, his brothers, and his loser friends have a little too much Wild Turkey and decide in a less than sober moment to form a chapter of the KKK in some Kentucky town that doesn't even show up on a map, the Courier-Journal runs a front page story on the "Return of the Klan," with a large picture of six hungover guys with pot bellies wearing sheets they took from momma's closet that morning.

Or check out the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of hate groups, which they use to hate on legitimate conservative groups like the Family Research Council on the sole reason that they oppose same-sex marriage. If you go on their website and check out some of the many "hate groups" they list, you will find that many of them are completely inactive—or they're run by Billy Jo Bob and his other brother, Billy Jo Bob.

Now there I go using all kinds of stereotypes of country people. But that doesn't count as anti-Ruralism because liberal journalists don't seem to think too highly of country people (they're probably just racist anyway) and so their intolerance detectors don't pick it up. In fact, it's an open question whether they run such stories as the one above just because it furthers the stereotype that country people are racists.

Maybe I'll spend 832 words writing about such outrages the next time I hear a liberals calling into a radio program calling someone a "rube."

On the other hand maybe I won't—largely because it would be a completely illegitimate inference. There are very few conservative groups in the Indignation Industry that I could go around and quote in order to smear a conservative radio talk show host whose beliefs I don't like.

But that didn't stop Joe Gerth from attempting a silly hit job on Leland Conway, whose new show on WHAS received a call from someone named "Gary" who called President Obama a name which may or may not have been racial in nature and who Conway cut off in short order anyway.

Conway (like almost every other talk show host in existence) just cut the call short and went on with his show. So Gerth went around interviewing other, like-minded liberals (you know, the ones who pride themselves on independent thought) on whether Conway should have openly condemned the man after the call.

But (not even recognizing the remark as racist) Conway didn't, and this amounted to an incident of racism that called forth from the vasty deep of Gerth's racial indignation a column of some 832 words arguing that Conway was racially insensitive.

This, the reader was given to understand, was further evidence of the specter of racism which all of us ought to be thinking about all the time, except when we're thinking about the bliss of same-sex marriage and the glories of public school teachers' unions and desirability of big government.

No, this one caller on one conservative talk show is a sign of the end of Western civilization as we know it.

Oh, wait a minute, I forgot: Modern liberals don't like Western civilization as we know it. It's racist and sexist and isn't worth teaching in our schools, which is why they mostly don't do it anymore.

So never mind about that.

Gerth thinks this is another example of the coarsening of political discourse, pointing as his sole example to a rude remark by a Republican congressman. Liberals, as we all know, are so high-minded that they would never, EVER use course words about conservatives.

Gerth writes for a paper that regularly runs pieces that either propagate or pass on hate speech in the form of anti-religious bigotry. But there are only certain groups on the liberals' list of specially protected groups and religious people just don't make the cut.

It is a measure of just  how desparate liberals are becoming in their crusade to keep racial politics alive and thriving (and in the process contribute to the very coarsening of politics that they lament) that they have to resort to something so insignificant as this.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

A test for Joe Gerth: Is the CJ accepting money from a racist radio show?

The Louisville Courier-Journal is willing to smear a conservative radio talk show host by asserting that his actions were racially insensitive, but it is perfectly willing to accept money from the company that airs and promotes his show!

The Courier-Journal today ran an op-ed by Joe Gerth lamenting that someone named "Gary" called into the Leland Conway Show on WHAS and used what Gerth thought was a racial slur in reference to President Obama, after which point Conway quickly dispatched the caller and went on with his show, but didn't explicitly condemn the caller's (debatably) racist remark.

This, according to Gerth--that one caller called into a conservative talk show and used what might have been (but wasn't necessarily) a racial reference and who was basically cut off anyway--is evidence not only of continuing racism in larger society and a coarsening of political rhetoric, but of Conway's own racial insensitivity.

Seriously? This must be the first time Gerth ever listened to a radio talk show, since strange people call in all the time and say insensitive things and are cut off by hosts who just go on with the show.

But to Gerth, it was a racial incident calling for condemnation of Conway and his show.

But here's the funny thing: Take a look at the screen shot below. Notice anything interesting? Above the very article in which Conway's show is condemned is an advertisement for Conway's show!

This is priceless. If Conway's show is insensitive on racial issues, then why is the CJ accepting advertising money from it—to advertise the very show its writer condemns as racially insensitive?

Joe, are you going to call on your employer to cut its ties to WHAS and its advertising money?

Jerry Coyne's silly accusation that Chesterton was an anti-Semite

Atheist biologist Jerry Coyne, who is vying to be the poster child for cultural illiteracy, claims that Chesterton, who the Catholic Church is considering for sainthood, was an anti-Semite. He culls his reasons from a few scraps of quotes from Chesterton's detractors.

Coyne admits to not having read Chesterton:
I’ve tried to read Chesterton, but simply can’t do it, just as I can’t read P. G. Wodehouse (yes, I know I’ll be faulted for it; but I see it as one of those English/American dichotomies, like my complete failure to even giggle at “Yes Minister”).
He probably thinks Shakespeare is kind of mediocre too.

And if he thinks Chesterton and Wodehouse are a burden to read, he should try reading his own blog some time.

If you're going with any integrity to accuse someone of being an anti-Semite, then you should a) have actually read the person's writing, and b) read what that person may have said in his defense against the charge (which Chesterton did here). But Coyne not only has not done these things, but apparently doesn't see the obligation to do them. In fact, for someone who has so often accused others of "quote-mining," Coyne seems to be rather fond of it in this case.

Not only that, but the anti-Catholic remarks Coyne has made would surely qualify him as being anti-Catholic in the same respect he's accusing Chesterton of being anti-Semitic, which makes you wonder about the dullness of someone who, in the very act of accusing someone else of something, engages in it himself.

Chesterton talked about Jews the way he talked about the Germans or the French--or the Americans. In fact, there were a few British people for whom he had choice words: He saw how each man in some way displays the unique characteristics of his nationality and particularly for those who display it in extreme proportion.

"I should imagine that Jews varied in their moral proportions as much as the rest of mankind," he said.

But we'll just add this to the Jerry Coyne tag we've got here at Vital Remnants as another reminder of just how silly the scientific materialists can be.

UPDATE: Coyne has deleted several of my comments from his blog in response to the post. You gotta love these champions of rationality. It's so much easier when you can deal with disagreement by pressing a button.

Friday, October 04, 2013

The Redcoats are Coming: Queen reasserts British rule, citing government shutdown

Okay. We've really stepped in it now. But at least liberals will be happy, they've been praising constitutional monarchies for years:
In light of your immediate failure to financially manage yourselves and also in recent years your tendency to elect incompetent Presidents of the USA and therefore not able to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary.)
We're going to have to relearn how to spell certain words like 'colour' and 'doughnut,' stop celebrating on July 4th, and drive on roundabouts. And you better start looking for good Spam recipes because the cooking's going to get a lot worse.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Do we really need more science majors? A broadside against the "S" in STEM

I have a new hypothesis that goes thusly: The predictions by the education bureaucracy of what jobs will be needed in the future is about as reliable as your daily horoscope. Wait, scratch that. A horoscope is more reliable.

When I was in college we were told that the future job prospects of graduates who know Fortran and Pascal were bright. As it turned out, the older people who knew those languages were being ushered out the door about the time we graduated. The problem, of course, is that such predictions are almost always based on the current economic situation.

It's sort of like the Transportation Security Administration: They're great at predicting events that have already happened.

As it now stands, there are certain STEM fields which pay more, but there is no  guarantee that it will remain that way. And if schools actually produce the supply of STEM graduates they say they want produce, then it surely won't remain that way by virtue of the simple logic of supply and demand (if there is a greater supply of STEM workers in relation to STEM jobs, wages must necessarily go down).

But even if the present job market were to remain the same, there's a problem with STEM. At least with the "S" in STEM. Here is the Atlantic, inveighing against the latest predictive craze among educationists:
Wage data in several states show that employers are paying more -- often far more -- for techies (i.e.: computer science majors), engineers, and math grads. But no evidence suggests that biology majors, the most popular science field of study, earn a wage premium. Chemistry graduates earn somewhat more than biology grads, but still don’t command the wages that are quite TEM-quality. 
...The data from these states show that while students in technology, engineering and math earn more, on average, than other students, graduates in the “S” fields in STEM do not. 
I remember noticing the flood of biology B.S. degrees being awarded at my son's graduation ceremony at the University of Kentucky several years ago and wondering, "What in the world are we going to do with all of these biology graduates?"

Not much, apparently.

Heaven shut down, essential services will continue

From Adam Kotsko, at the blog An und für sich, this is priceless:
With the Son and the Holy Spirit still deadlocked on key issues, God the Father announced today that divine providence would be shutting down, effective immediately. This is the first providence shutdown since the Filioque controversy that famously led to the East-West schism in 1054, nearly a millennium ago. 
Angelic messengers emphasized that certain essential services would continue uninterrupted. Most importantly, the Holy Trinity has measures in place to make sure that the creation is sustained in its existence even in the absence of an annual providential plan, and most laws of physics will continue to be enforced. Satan and his fallen angels will also continue to torture the damned in hell, which is technically not a providential agency, but an independently funded providence-sponsored enterprise. 
However, non-essential services such as coincidences that are too perfect to be mere coincidences will be suspended. Guardian angel services will be continued, but due to reduced staffing, parents were urged to keep a close eye on their children until providence is fully restored. The Virgin Mary and a limited number of other important saints will continue to hear intercessions, but the majority of the heavenly host has been furloughed pending a providential plan. Prayers will of course continue to go unanswered in any case, as agreed in the providence sequester measure passed in 1754.
I don't normally blog an entire post from another blog, but this was worth it. Go visit Kotsko's blog here.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

How the Queen handled a government shutdown: Another reason America needs a monarch

We have observed many times here at Vital Remnants the penchant liberals have for all things Scandinavian (including Canada, a Scandinavian country in North American drag). But, of course, the countries they are always saying we should be like have constitutional monarchies and established state churches.

So liberals should be quite okay with the following historical scenario, offered by Max Fischer in today's Washington Post, in which Fischer responds to Georgetown professor Erik Voeten's assertion that the government shutdown is unprecedented: "I cannot think of a single foreign analogy to what is happening in the U.S. today," says the historically illiterate Voeten.

As a matter fact, there is a historical precedent for this: Australia in 1975:
Australia's 1975 shutdown ended pretty differently, though, than they do here in America. Queen Elizabeth II's official representative in Australia, Governor General Sir John Kerr, simply dismissed the prime minister. He appointed a replacement, who immediately passed the spending bill to fund the government. Three hours later, Kerr dismissed the rest of Parliament. Then Australia held elections to restart from scratch. And they haven't had another shutdown since.
And what did the Australian people think about the Queen's move to replace the politicians they elected with Fraser? They swept Fraser and his party to victory in both houses in the next election. It is a fascinating account and can be found here.

My favorite part is when, after the Governor General Kerr fired the Labor Party's leader and appointed Malcomb Fraser Prime Minister, the Labor Party revolted and passed a no confidence resolution in Fraser. It was at that point that Kerr fired everybody with a formal proclamation that ended with the words, "God Save the Queen."

You gotta love it.

More Science Follies: UK science professor defends former professor who says that scientific method is a Medieval superstition

Someone must have spiked the contents of the water cooler over at the faculty lounge of the University of Kentucky's science department.

Yesterday's claim by a former UK science professor in the comments section of my Lexington Herald-Leader op-ed that the scientific method is obsolete is being defended by a current UK science professor.

Our own Art, a UK science professor now under the influence of the Next Generation Science Standards Kool-Aid, says that his former colleague "can be excused" for saying that the teaching of the scientific method is "a return to early 13th century standards in teaching science."


Because, says Art (still clearly suffering the after-effects of one cup too many), I believe science consists of "rote memorization of Latin names" and think scientific inquiry consists of falling "on your knees and ask[ing] the voices in your heads for the answer."

This is not the first time Art has suffered such hallucinations, but I think maybe the Kool-Aid touched off an unusually serious visitation.

Perhaps he should seek some kind of treatment for this. I suggest an emetic, followed immediately by a laxative, followed by frequent repetitions of this same regimen over a period of several days. It may not make him feel better, but a few of the rest of us will certainly be cheered by it.

Of course, it might just be the result of his humors being out of balance, in which case a good bloodletting might be in order.

I wouldn't be surprised if he couldn't find a leechmaster right there in the UK science department. I mean, after all, I understand they still practice the scientific method there.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Scientificus Contralogicus

If you can't deal with someone's argument, simply change the subject something completely unrelated.

In response to my op-ed on the science standards in yesterday's Herald-Leader, we get this from Paul Vincelli, an extension professor and Provost's Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Kentucky who apparently wandered into the comment section of my op-ed from a totally different article:
I use the word "theory" in the sense of modern science: a set of well-established concepts that fit observations. In other words, no one doubts the existence of electricity, our understanding of which is based on the theories of electromagnetism, atomic structure, and quantum mechanics. In that sense of the word "theory", the theory of evolution and the theory of human-influenced climate change are fundamental to modern science. 
This is in response to my argument that the Next Generation Science Standards Kentucky just implemented are lacking in content knowledge. Don't you see the argument?
Evolution and global warming are fundamental to modern science
Therefore, content knowledge of nature is not fundamental to modern science
Maybe we should just take this as an indication of what is coming in the "critical thinking skills" program that the Common Core people still haven't produced.

Scientific method obsolete, says defender of state science standards

Okay class, next question: Which planet are defenders of science standards from?

Here is Tom Kimmerer, a former science professor at the University of Kentucky, responding to my article in yesterday's Lexington Herald-Leader:
Mr. Cothran is trying to blur what his organization is after: a return to early 13th century standards in teaching science. The scientific method, consisting of observation, hypothesis, experimentation, and independent verification, was developed beginning in the mid-1200s, mainly by the clergy of several faiths. It is absolutely in the interest of all Kentuckians that we teach our children a 21st century view of science. Children are natural-born scientists, observing, playing and hypothesis testing in a natural way. Mr. Cothran wants to wring this ability out of students by appealing to didactic fundamentalism. Those of us who live in the current century should thank the Governor for ignoring the forces of ignorance.
Oh my. The scientific method. A medieval superstion. I think. I'm going. To laugh now.