Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Now THERE'S A Surprise

Originally uploaded by Mickey Marx.
This is where Mickey Marx sits in the political spectrum, according to the Quiz! Go try your luck! Find out how your nuanced and complex outlook can be boiled down to a bright red dot on a grid. It doesn't seem to have a vector for your bile-spitting hatred index.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Puzzling Evidence

Here's a piece of evidence of dinosaurs and humans co-existing. This oughta add a bit of gravitas to the Intelligent Design theory and Ken Ham's self-amusement park (see LAPSUS SCIENTIA below).

Lapsus Scientia: "Intelligent" Design

You're tuned to the Lapsus Linguae show, kids, where it's the unflagging duty of our team of crack professionals (well, crack aficionados, at least) to point out slips of the tongue in public life, so you don't have to! Today's special friend is Richard Thompson, a lawyer representing the Dover School Board right here in sunny Pennsylvania, the global headquarters of people who seek meteorological advice from groundhogs (thanks, Phil!). Seems the good people of Dover aren't satisfied with the explanation of biodiversity offered by Darwin, and want the science teachers of the Dover School District to read aloud a statement in support of "Intelligent Design," a theory which proffers that life is so complex it could not possibly have been an accident, and goes on to extrapolate the existence of God. The science teachers, because they are trained to teach "science," refused to read the statement, and this has caused a backlash that has, surprise of surprises, reached the point of litigation.

Enter Richard, who refuses to allow the liberal media to suggest that this is a battle between science and religion:

"This is science versus science, where scientists looking at the same data come to different conclusions," Mr Thompson said.*

Well, that's cute, isn't it? Lets see what "science" has to say.

In the final analysis, the biochemical hypothesis of intelligent design fails not because the scientific community is closed to it but rather for the most basic of reasons -- because it is overwhelmingly contradicted by the scientific evidence. --Kenneth R. Miller**

Intelligent design theory has no "positive evidence," meaning there is no data to back up the explanation, while evolutionary process has mountains and mountains of data. That's probably enough for most scientists, and also most rational people, who feel that Intelligent Design theorists are at best lacking in imagination and scientific curiosity (lots of very smart people CAN imagine natural systems to account for such complexity); at worst, they are intentionally misdirecting and falsifying "scientesque" "data" for the purposes of advancing a moral and theological agenda, one, I might add, which suddenly seems bolstered in connection with the first election of George Bush, which occurred in 2004, and which he's been paying people off to advance for him.***

But don't let THAT run-on sentence fool you. Rational people are getting scarce. Enter Ken Ham, a Kentuckian who has just blown $25 million on a museum which will show the Garden of Eden where humans co-existed with dinosaurs."Who's gonna win this culture war, between secular humanism and Christian morality, or as one of the newspapers put it, between Godly America and Worldly America?" Mr Ham asks.* Take that, "science!"

Right. This is really about Spongebob Squarepants being gay, isn't it? There's national policy issue of immeasurable cultural importance.

Anyway, I'm happy that Ken Ham is blowing his Christian wad on rubber dinosaurs, so long as he's not just sitting around the house playing Bible-themed video games all day. I'm thrilled that Dover kids will be sharing scientesque Christianity in place of "learning." More seats free in my university classrooms for actual participants in society. Let the rest of us get on with human progress and the struggle for equality in peace. While you're at it, why don't you abandon the rest of science as well? It's not like there's enough flu shots to go around without you God-botherers hypocritically gobbling them up.

Anyway, today's Lapsus for Richard Thompson. Rich, you misspoke. When you said "this is science versus science," what you meant to say was "this is science versus the Inquisition." Today's Lapsus comes with an all-expense paid trip to Jurassic Park, where you can see how much fun it is to co-exist with dinosaurs. Mmmm-mm! Now that's what I call survival of the fittest! For Lapsus Linguae, this is Mickey Marx.

*Pannell, Ian. "US School's New Challenge to Darwin," BBC News, 9 Feb 05 2/8/05

**Intelligent Design? a special report reprinted from Natural History magazine 2/8/05


Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The 2004 Golden Lapsus Linguae Award

From April 20, 2004:

At a recent dinner party hosted by New York Times D.C. bureau chief Philip Taubman and his wife, Times reporter Felicity Barringer, and attended by Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Maureen Dowd, Steven Weisman, and Elisabeth Bumiller, Rice was reportedly overheard saying, "As I was telling my husband," and then stopping herself abruptly, before saying, "As I was telling President Bush."? Jaws dropped, but a guest says the slip by the unmarried politician, who spends weekends with the president and his wife, seemed more psychologically telling than incriminating. Nobody thinks Bush and Rice are actually an item. A National Security Council spokesman laughed and said, "No comment."?

Well, this is certainly the #1 Lapsus Linguae of 2004. But I think I won't comment on it further. I refuse to assist those smutmongers who profit from implications of warm feelings between Condie and Curious George. I categorically absent myself from any suggestion whatsoever that Bush is involved in some kind of threeway Mormon-style interracial love nest at the ranch with Condi and Laura, snorting coke of each other's nipples while Karl Rove reads aloud transcripts from Hannity and Colmes. That would be unpatriotic.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Lapsus Moralis: Mike McManus

Welcome back to the Lapsus Linguae show, kiddies, and boy do we have a slip of the tongue for you today. Seems Mike McManus has been putting his tongue places it shouldn't go. You see, kiddies, Mr. McManus is a syndicated newspaper columnist, which means he has an ethical code not to take kickbacks from the subjects of his news stories. See, if columnists did that, well, you just wouldn't know who to trust in the Fifth Estate, would you? And "journalism" would become "advertising." Now, you might argue that happens all the time, but here's what's curious about ol' Mikey. Mikey accepted at least $10,200 from the Department of Health and Human Services to further the wacky, nefarious $300 million Bush initiative (read "scheme") of pushing marriage to unwed couples who are having children (Mike confesses this on his very own government-backed "Marriage Savers" website: Mike obliquely justifies this blatant conflict of interest by pointing out that his program appears to have a coincidental relationship with the fall in divorce rates in the US). See, George doesn't like "non-traditional" families, like the ones with two daddies or two mommies, or the ones where daddy and mommy don't want to get married, or the ones where mommy and daddy come from different ethnic backgrounds or have different skin colors. Come to think of it, George doesn't take much of a shine to anything that's "non-traditional," which is why this country is starting to feel a bit medieval around the edges, if you ask me. Now, what's really so unusual about McManus' taking a little honorarium from his ol' buddy the Department of Health and Human Services? Not much, since syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher was caught with her hand in the HHS cookie jar last month to the tune of 21,500 cookies, and columnist and TV pundit Armstrong Williams collected a cool $240,000 from the Education Department to plug the "No Child Left Behind" legislation. That legislation deserves its own Lapsus, but back to business. Actually it turns out that last Wednesday the House Committee on Government Reform revealed in a report that Bush's cronies spent a grand total of $88 million on government-funded public relations contracts like these (thanks for those figures, Nancy Pelosi D-Calif). See, when a syndicated columnist gets paid by the GOVERNMENT to secretly push a political agenda, it's not "advertising," it's "propaganda." Say it with me now. "Prop-a-gan-da." Rhymes with "mil-i-ta-ry au-to-cra-cy."

And this week's Lapsus Linguae goes to Mike McManus, for his weekly pro-marriage web column, entitled "Ethics & Religion." Slip of the tongue, Mike. I think the word you're looking for isn't "Ethics," it's "Corruption." I've included a picture of Mike McManus and his lovely wife Harriet. They're smiling because your tax dollars built them a new wing on their house.