Sunday, March 23, 2008

Lazy, linky weekend

Unlike last year and the year before, I don't have any cute pics of coloring eggs with my kids for everyone's second-favorite christo-pagan festival. This is because I told my husband that I needed to spend the whole weekend working on the lecture I'm giving at a Java conference, and he gallantly offered to take the naughty ones (as we've nicknamed them) to visit his mom. Naturally, my first thought was "Party time!!!" so I spent Easter Sunday enjoying the hospitality of a lovely and charming fellow exmo Wry Catcher.

I had a whole post planned about what the BBC and French television stations are teaching my kids about science, biology, and evolution (are there any American science programs for kids, BTW?) but in the interest of getting some work done this weekend, I'll put that off until I have time to prepare the scans, photos, and screenshots. In the meantime, here's some fun stuff from blogspace:

First, I narrowly escaped hosting the 29th Carnival of Mathematics. Not that I'd object to hosting it, it's just that it's not clear I'm qualified since the last time I posted about math was my post about celtic knotwork (perfect for me because it's celtic and it's not work, hehe!). See the comments of that post for the mathematical part. Anyway, I asked a real mathematician to host the carnival instead, and I was right -- he did a great job!!! Interestingly, he included some posts from my own husband's blog!!! I'd link directly to my sweetie's blog, but I don't think he wants me to (don't worry -- not that he thinks people who read my blog are weirdos or anything, it's just a question of separation of business and pleasure). I'm starting to think maybe I should at least subscribe to my husband's RSS, though, so I can see what he's up to when he's not busy taking care of the naughty ones.

Then -- as much as I hate to just repeat what all the other bloggers are linking to -- I have to make a special exception today since this is just about the funniest thing that has happened in blogspace in some time. It turns out that some creationists interviewed some scientists for a film that was supposed to be a balanced presentation of the battle between science and "Intelligent Design" called "Crossroads," but was in reality called "Expelled" and was made to show how "I.D." is unfairly "expelled" from the science classroom. Among the scientists interviewed was atheist superblogger P. Z. Myers who has been mocking the filmmakers on his blog lo these many moons since they interviewed him. You might think that the filmmakers wouldn't care what P. Z. writes about them on his blog, since hey, he's just a random guy with a blog, right? Well, you'd be wrong, as the producers demonstrated by singling him out to be barred from a screening of the film. Apparently the producer was so flustered by the sight of the mighty P. Z. Myers that he didn't even notice Richard Dawkins (author of The God Delusion) standing right next to him, so Dawkins was admitted to the screening. (I'm reporting this all second-hand, so take it with a grain of salt and visit the primary sources for yourself by looking here and here.)

The icing on the cake?

In the credits they thanked P. Z. for his contribution to the film. Oh, if only he could have been there in person to accept those warm and heartfelt thanks!! lol


Anonymous said...

The morons associated with Expelled created a huge PR disaster for themselves. That movie may join Plan Nine from Outer Space as one of the worst movies ever. It will be in appropriate company. The last time I checked, both movies were fiction.

Alon Levy said...

Hey, if I were a religious nut, I'd thank PZ, too. The guy's like an Evangelical recruitment machine.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Chaplain!!!

No doubt!!! Expelled probably isn't as funny as Plan Nine, but it might make for an amusing drinking game... ;^)

Hey Alon!!!

You think so? He's definitely a polarizing figure, so I'm sure he strengthens the resolve of people who fear atheism. But to push undecideds towards joining up with the Evangelicals? I'd be surprised -- ultimately his rhetoric is less strident than theirs.

Aerin said...

Glad you had a good, relaxing weekend! You deserve it! Let us know how the conference goes!

Alon Levy said...

He's not going to make anyone who's on the fence become an Evangelical, any more than James Dobson causes Christians to stop believing. But he helps religious fundamentalists by giving atheists bad rap. Religious people I meet assume I'm necessarily as bad as Dawkins or Murray O'Hair. In the same vein, he's turning science into a politicized issue. On both counts Dawkins is a far greater problem, but that's only because Dawkins is better-known.

(By Dawkins' own admission, he's not a good advocate for evolution, because he gives it an atheistic spin. And he also admits his political approach to atheism isn't necessarily the most effective. This makes me suspect he's in it just for the booksales, not for the education or activism.)

C. L. Hanson said...

Thanks Aerin!!!

Actually, the conference isn't until this summer, so you'll get more updates. :D

Hey Alon!!!

That's a good point.

Perversely, Myers and Dawkins are on the same side with those Expelled clowns on one question: that science and religion threaten one another; that one must reject (and attack) scientific reasoning in order to maintain one's belief in God(s).

Personally, I've argued against this position (see here and here) because -- as you point out -- it motivates people who believe in God to attack and reject science. I think that promoting reason and critical thinking is more important than promoting atheism -- once people accept the methods of science, let them draw their own conclusions about God(s).

However, one could argue the other point as these guys do: tell people that evolution = atheism. Religion is ambiguous (inspiring both good and evil), but people who claim that "Intelligent Design" is a scientific theory that belongs in the science classroom are the basest of liars, and they make Christians look bad. Myers is basically going with the strategy of "give 'em enough rope..."

Anonymous said...

Hey -- thanks again for coming, it was SO fun!! Must get together often. :-)

C. L. Hanson said...

Thanks for having me over -- that was so much fun!!!