Skepticism, Religion Archive

Monday, April 14, 2008

Expelled Exposed

Expelled Movie PosterI recently wrote a an entry about the upcoming movie, Expelled, and how biologist blogger PZ Myers was kicked out of the line to a screening, while they let Richard Dawkins right in. Well, I still haven't gotten around to writing anything more detailed about the movie, but the NCSE is working on a site, Expelled Exposed, aiming to refute many of the inaccuracies in the film (that's a polite way of saying lies). They currently only have links to reviews of the movie, but on April 15th, their full site, with all of their original work, should be available.

Update: It's April 15th, and the full site is now online.

Friday, April 11, 2008

No Big Entry This Week

I have a goal of making at least one post per week. It's late Friday afternoon, I just finished up work, and I haven't posted anything yet this week. Yeah, there are issues I could blog about right now, but honestly, I'm feeling pretty lazy. I'm really just looking forward to going home and spending some time with my family, and not sitting here writing a blog entry. But, a couple weeks ago when I wrote that e-mail about evolution, I did update an essay from my Religious Essays section. And since it was on my mind, this week I made a few more (very small) changes to some of the other essays in that section, and updated them all. So, if you're interested, you can go read them.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Science & Engineering Indicators 2008

NSB LogoIt's that time again. The latest NSF report on Science and Engineering Indicators 2008 has been released. I've made previous entries for the 2004 and 2006 versions of the report. While Americans' scientific literacy did improve somewhat for most questions over the 2006 report, the long term trends are relatively constant, and the overall literacy is still depressingly low.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Expelled from Expelled

Expelled Movie PosterThere's a new movie coming out called "Expelled," that maybe I'll get aruond to blogging about in more detail later (or maybe not). Its about the supposed close mindedness of the scientific community concerning Intelligent Design, how ID advocates have been unfairly discriminated against because of their views (I'm sure anyone reading this can guess how I feel about those two things), and supposedly even tries to link evolution to the Holocaust (actually, that last one does piss me off - it's an insult to all the people that suffered and died in that tragedy to use their memory for such a dishonest political purpose. Have they no shame?). Anyway, the biologist, blogger, and outspoken critic of ID/creationism, PZ Myers was interviewed for the movie (under false pretenses), and recently tried to attend one of the screenings. There was an online registration you had to complete before going, which he did. Well apparently, the producers had left specific instructions not to let Myers in, he was recognized him while he waiting in line, and was told to leave. Just imagine - a movie all about supposed suppression of free expression, asking a person they'd interviewed, to leave so that he couldn't see what they had to say or how he was being represented in their film. Oh, the irony. But that's not even the worst part. Myers was there with a few friends and family, one of whom was very notorious, who the security didn't recognize and was allowed to enter. Who, you ask. Well, go read Pharyngula to find out.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Ray Comfort: Quote Miner Extraordinaire

Mining EquipmentI know I've written about Ray Comfort several times before (here, here, and here), and for a blog with as little output as mine, that represents a good percentage of my entries, but I swear I don't purposely go looking for Comfort's antics. However, I recently read a comment on Pharyngula about Comfort, that seemed so outlandish, I had to verify it for myself. And sure enough, it was true. Here's the post in question, for anyone that ones to see the full entry (warning - the comments section will draw you in like a train wreck; you want to look away, but can't, because you want to see what's going to come up next). Anyway, here's the relevant excerpt, where Comfort's discussing his upcoming book, Evolution A Fairy Tale for Grownups:

I have never claimed to be an authority on the subject of evolution, but I have quoted authorities. Lots of them. The publication is filled with quotes from the mouths of evolution experts who admit that they have nothing. They have no empirical evidence for the theory.

No doubt you will accuse me of "quote mining" (for those who don't know what that is, it's the practice of taking a quote--often out of its context, and using it in a way that was never intended by the author). However, every gold nugget is legitimately mined out of its context. No one seriously values the earth that encases the gold. So, when I uncover an evolutionary expert quietly admitting that he has no evidence to back up his theory, I don’t see any value in the soil of his surrounding words. I merely extract what I believe is of value for those who want to discover the truth about the theory of evolution.

I'm guessing that most of my family, friends and possibly a few other visitors that read this blog, probably don't follow the creationism/science "debate" as much as I do, and so may not have seen many examples of quote mining. Since Comfort's book hasn't even been released, yet, I obviously haven't had a chance to read the quotes he's talking about (and in all honesty, I doubt I'll ever read his book at all, given what I've seen of his previous output), but I've been following this debate for long enough now to have an idea of the way creationists distort people's original meanings when they quote them.

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Selling Out