Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Meanwhile, on another planet
The other day I posted a brief run down of a few of things that happened in the real world while I was away. I focused on sciency things and bits and pieces that I thought were interesting and noteworthy. What I didn't talk about was the political blag-o-verse, which appears to be designed to make talk back radio look like a forum for well reasoned arguments. So here are some of the very strange things people have been up lately:
- A group of American "conservatives" became so disgusted with
realitywikipedia's 'liberal bias' (like using international English spellings and replacing BC with BCE in attempt to remove Jesus from discussion of Greek history) that they saw no option but to set up their own truth and call it conservapedia. This new wiki is, of course, free of bias of any type
- We have anti-science nutcases in New Zealand too. Ian Wishart, differencephobe, editor of Investigate magazine, self promoter (of faint praise) and owner of many books - mostly hard-bound, thinks that evolutionary biology is on its last legs because one character that was thought to have evolved three times in insects with membranous wings has actually evolved four times. And because 300 engineers and computer scientists say so and presumably because he's been praying real hard for it. Can't wait to get a copy of that book (which is more popular even that 101 things to do with a slow cooker. Take that Richard Dawkins!)
- The Pope announced he was catholic (no word from bears as regards their defactionary habits) and a little bit confused. Catholics announced the Pope we was being very sensible.
- But anti-science isn't just for creationists anymore! Out right denial of global warming is getting harder to find, but we have on these rare birds in Whaleoil who thinks that an hour tapping away on the keyboard probably qualifies him to teach climatologists a thing or two (debunked here) because climatology has something to do with weather forecasts (debunked here) and is totally like phlogiston because it has no checks and balances (debunked here)
- Cynicism is the new skepticism in global the global warming debate, see David Farrar who thinks that since the biggest forest fires in a hundred years release about as much CO2 as one state in one country for one month which is then absorbed in new forests we should probably not bother to limit our own emissions. Or something. And besides, much like our stance on human rights and fair trade, we probably shouldn't bother doing anything until China does
- At least everyone can agree a single record of temperature is of no particular importance when we are talking about global trends in temperature. Unless of course it's a cold one.
- I have to admit that a little bit of me is happy that the most egregious attack on common sense, rationalism and scholarship is at the expense of history and not science. Lucyna (yes, an anagram of lunacy...) has found an appalling piece of crypto-history called the Pink Swastika that picks through obscure sources, quotes real historians selectively and jumps on the speculations of less reputable authors to make a case that The Third Reich was a vast homosexualist conspiracy. She has also been seen arguing the case that modern scholars think the gospels were written by the actual apostles of Jesus, that the contradictions in those gospels are proof that their story is real ( because who would make something that weird up) and any number of other things
Just like last time this isn't an exhaustive list of the strange an irrational things people have done recently, just a litte taste of whats out there if you're foolish enough to look.