Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 10:21 pm

“File this under, ‘Things you never want a judge to write about you.’”

So say those raging secular humanists at The Wall Street Journal:

Austin federal judge Sam Sparks dismissed a suit by the Dallas-based Institute of Creation Research, which seeks the right to grant a master’s degree in science from a biblical perspective. And by “dismissed,” we mean the judge tore it apart.

But first, a summary of the suit, as reported today by the San Antonio Express-News. The Institute seeks to offer a masters degree that critiques evolution and champions a literal interpretation of the biblical account of creation. Texas’s higher education board nixed the group’s application, because of the proposed program’s creationist slant. This, the Institute contended, was a violation of its First Amendment Rights.

That claim was dismissed by Sparks in an opinion that criticized the Institute’s arguments as incoherent. At one point he writes that he will address the group’s concerns “to the extent [he] is able to understand them.” At another, he describes the group’s filings as “overly verbose, disjointed, incoherent, maundering and full of irrelevant information.” Click here for the judge’s opinion.

So I clicked there for the judge’s opinion and read all 39 pages. And lemme tell you, I would say that Sparks’ ruling in this case will stand with the ruling in Dover v. Kitzmiller, except that there was even less substance in the creationists’ arguments in this case than there were in Dover. Which is saying something, I’ll grant, but good night, the Institute of Creation Research’s suit was a dog’s breakfast of FAIL:

  • A review panel “reasoned much of the course content was outside the realm of science and lacked potential to help students understand the nature of science and the history and nature of the natural world.”
  • “First, although it is difficult to follow ICRGS’s complaint, it appears …”
  • [Sparks, quoting a state reviewer]: “The proposed program of study in no way would adequately prepare students in the field of science education, at any level, and certainly not at the graduate level.”
  • “It is unclear whether ICRGS intends to assert a procedural or substantive due process claim in its complaint …”
  • “Because ICRGS alternates between arguing it is merely teaching science and arguing its program is compelled by its religious beliefs, the Court is at a loss to determine what portion of ICRGS’s behavior should be considered motivated by its religious beliefs.”
  • “And although its pleadings and various documents in the record (such as the report of the review panel) contain third-person references to ICRGS’s religious beliefs, the Court has no actual evidence (such as an affidavit) of what those beliefs are and to what extent they motivate ICRGS in offering the degree in question.”
  • “… because ICRGS has not raised a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the Board imposed a substantial burden on its religious exercise, the presence or absence of a compelling governmental interest is immaterial.”
  • “ICRGS claims Standard 12 “criminalizes free speech.” (see Pl.’s Mot. Summ. J. at ¶ 5.) The statement is misleading. The governing regulations do in fact have a criminal component: Rule 7.5(a)(1) provides, in relevant part, that no person or institution may offer a degree on behalf of a nonexempt institution unless the institution has a certificate of authority to offer the degree. 19 TEX. ADMIN. CODE § 7.5(a)(1). Rule 7.5(c) warns a violation of the rule may constitute a violation of Texas Penal Code § 32.52 or Texas Education Code §§ 61.312 and 61.313, and an offense under subsection (a)(1) may be a Class A misdemeanor.”
  • “In this case, ICRGS has offered no actual evidence Standard 12 is unconstitutionally vague (though it pontificates extensively on the subject) …”

And last but not least:

In conclusion, the Court finds ICRGS has not put forth evidence sufficient to raise a genuine issue of material fact with respect to any claim it brings.

Memo to creationists: You can call it creationism or you can call it intelligent design or you can call it a dog’s breakfast, but whatever you want to call it, in front of any half-bright judge, your sins Stoopid will find you out and leave you, as the Institute of Creation Research Graduate School is left tonight, in a well-deserved world of butthurt.

Unfortunately, the only negative consequence to this attempt to securitize Teh Stoopid is that they get told no. I think these people ought to face criminal fraud charges for making the state waste so many bureaucrats’ time, and the lawyers who represented this asshattery should lose their licenses. That would put a stop to this foolishness right quick.

But this is Texas we’re talking about.

Friday, January 22, 2010 1:44 am

Odds and ends for 1/21

Does Rielle Hunter know?: Former presidential candidate John Edwards finally admits that he is the father of a former campaign staffer’s daughter. I would say “Stop the presses!” except that the presses stopped on this one a long time ago.

One last party before the walls come down: Morgan Stanley has earmarked 62% of revenues for employee compensation. Not earnings, revenues. Which is good if you’re an employee, because there were no earnings; the company posted an annual loss for the first time in its 74-year history. Goldman Sachs will be paying its employees a comparatively modest 36% of annual revenue, although that amounts to 121% of earnings. Question: What do the (non-employee) stockholders think of this?

What part of “all” did you not understand?: Rep. Darrell Issa, ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is asking committee chairman Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., to hold Federal Reserve Bank of New York officials in contempt for turning over only some, but not all, subpoenaed documents relating to the AIG bailout. Zero Hedge, which has been on this subject for close to a year, helpfully offers some other questions Issa could raise.

Why do teabagger leaders hate America?: Tea Party leader arrested on first-degree rape charge; search turns up stolen Army grenade launcher; YouTube video features him planning to be a “domestic terrorist.”

Remind me again who’s not being bipartisan enough?: I happen to think the proposed commission is a horrible idea, if not unconstitutional, but still: Congressional Republicans have demonstrated repeatedly that they cannot take “yes” for an answer. Jackasses.

So. Um. Troops to Haiti — why, exactly?: Two possibilities, neither flattering.

OK, maybe the Mayans were right: Quoth DougJ at Balloon Juice, “With unlimited corporate money fueling crazed Nixon-style anger, things are going to get very, very ugly.”

I sort of want to know what exactly Spencer is talking about and I sort of don’t.

Finally, the people who know what they’re talking about get a turn: Obama pushes a Paul Volcker-backed plan to limit the size of banks, so as to eliminate the possibility of “too big to fail.” The idea here is to reduce the taxpayer’s exposure to any privately incurred risk in the financial industry. And that’s a good idea. (Know who else thinks so? Mark Zandi, the guy who advised McCain’s presidential campaign on economics.)

Purse v. policy-making: The pants-wetters want the Khalid Sheikh Muhammad trial not to be held in civilian court. Congressional Republicans are plotting to get some moron Dems to go along with them on barring funding for it. Now, why is it that the existing appropriation is in such a condition that that approach is even possible? And who would know enough about the appropriations process to have made this possible to begin with? Hint: it ain’t anyone with an R after his name.

As Alannis said, this could get messy: Sen.-elect Scott Brown got a lot of support from teabaggers, and he very quickly and publicly blew them off. We know how Rush reacts to that treatment. Let’s see how the teabaggers do.

And people wonder why I think Christianists and Islamists are essentially the same species.

Ethnic profiling won’t help: “An additional concern, [a Senate Intelligence Committee report] says, ‘is a group of nearly 10 non-Yemeni Americans who traveled to Yemen, converted to Islam, became fundamentalists, and married Yemeni women so they could remain in the country.’ One U.S. official, it reports, described them as ‘blond-haired, blue-eyed types’ who ‘fit a profile of Americans whom al-Qaeda has sought to recruit over the past several years.’”

Related: More pants-wetting. C’mon, America, man/woman up, will ya?

And even more pants-wetting, called out by Digby: “Everyone seems to forget that a year ago, Obama only had 58 votes in the Senate and everyone was in a state of near hysteria over his massive institutional power and soaring mandate. Now he has 59 and he’s suddenly impotent.”

As we turn more security operations in Afghanistan over to that country, we need to beware of residual problems.

AWOL pirate: Well, skull of pirate. Skull of total butt-kicking 14th century German pirate Klaus Störtebeker, who — and I must admit this even though I’m from North Carolina — makes Blackbeard look like Richard Simmons. Reward.

Awwww: Shiba Inu puppycam!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 8:36 pm

Can we PLEASE let the smart people run things for a while?

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 8:36 pm
Tags: ,

Because Teh Stoopid  is not only stupid, it’s also embarrassing:

A British film about Charles Darwin has failed to find a US distributor because his theory of evolution is too controversial for American audiences, according to its producer.

“Creation,” starring Paul Bettany, details Darwin’s “struggle between faith and reason” as he wrote “On The Origin of Species.” …

US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.

Movieguide.org, an influential site which reviews films from a Christian perspective, described Darwin as the father of eugenics and denounced him as “a racist, a bigot and an 1800s naturalist whose legacy is mass murder”. His “half-baked theory” directly influenced Adolf Hitler and led to “atrocities, crimes against humanity, cloning and genetic engineering”, the site stated.

It would be funny if it didn’t, you know, have all sorts of unpleasant implications for our competitiveness in a global economy and stuff. And I’m not just talking about the movie biz.

Monday, August 10, 2009 8:31 pm

Intelligent-design trolls don’t evolve. They are created …

… by professors at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, who make ID trolling on ID-hostile Web sites 20% of the students’ final course grade.

Then there are exam questions like this one, full of both Assumption Fail and Reality Fail: “Trace the connections between Darwinian evolution, eugenics, abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. Why are materialists so ready to embrace these as a package deal? What view of humanity and reality is required to resist them?”

And this is for graduate-level work. If my child was attending that school, I’d yank ‘em out and demand my money back.

I also see that they’ve given up on pretending that ID isn’t religious. I guess they realized after Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District that that wasn’t going to fly, anyhow.

Monday, September 29, 2008 7:41 pm

Idiocy ne plus ultra

You know, a lot of incredibly stupid things have been said and written in defense of teaching creationism (and “intelligent design,” which is the same thing) in public schools. But, ladies and gentlemen, we may have reached, like absolute zero, the point of idiocy beyond which we cannot go, a level of Teh Stoopid so vast it either crowds out all other thought in the universe or sucks it all into a Singularity of Stoopid.

Brunswick County (N.C.) resident Joel Fanti, before graciously offering to teach creationism in the county school system himself, offered this stirring defense of creationism: “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?”

Thursday, June 12, 2008 8:03 pm

First we flood them out. Then we make them stupid.

The Louisiana House has voted 94-3 — 94 to 3!! — for a bill that apparently would allow the teaching of creationism in science classes.

Creationism isn’t science. “Creation science” isn’t science. And as much as the pro-creationist liars would like you to believe otherwise, there is no controversy within the scientific community about evolution.

Evolution is a theory as “theory” is defined in science, where “theory” is a term of art meaning a hypothesis that has been tested repeatedly and can be used to predict certain outcomes. Saying that evolution is wrong is like saying germ theory is wrong, or the theory of gravity.

This bill, if enacted, will be a crime committed against the children of Louisiana, who, frankly, have more than enough on their plates as it is.

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