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Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Ah - the difficulties of Political Correctness

A certain female professor has taken it upon herself to stand up for the rights of neglected female security guards at Brooklyn Law School. Tragically, Brooklyn does not have a single female security guard, which, as we all know is evidence of discrimination.

Now, a female student at BLS was walking with a security guard, bumming a cigarette off of him (she also 'happens' to be hispanic - which of course adds a delicious dimension of 'racism' to this charge) when this professor happened to walk by.

Filled with that "Fight the Power" spirit of the 60's this professor smiled warmly at our hispanic student and told her how wonderful it was to see female security guards at BLS.

Sadly for this professor (who I might add spends her free time working for the ACLU) the student is a why you might call a 'professional' victimologist.

She loudly and often declares "racism" explains all from her poor grades to the decisions of some not to associate with her.

Thus the drama begins and the discussion I overheard ensued...should she out this obvious insensitivity? To confront the prejudice rife within a repressive institution like Brooklyn Law or stay silent.

Well, eventually this student concluded the latter. She explained the obvious guilt on the face of the professor and how well that might play when it comes time for a recommendation. "I think I'm going to tuck this in my pocket" she said. When I need something from her - then I'll pull it out.

Welcome to Academia

While we are on the subject of academics unhinged, one of my colleagues spoke approvingly of assassination today, to the approval and laughter of another faculty member at the table. The guy is a (generally) reasonable and intelligent guy, and I am sure he was "joking," but it is an indication of the climate on campus.... It is largely under the surface, but every once in a while you are reminded that while on campus you aren't in Kansas anymore -- or any part of real America for that matter. .
What a neanderthal! Everyone knows the modern term for assassination is now "targeted killing"
ah yes, good old kansas. The place where evolution is just a theory. The space shuttle is so complicated god must have made it.
Brush up on your Kuhn, Job. Evolution is a theory. A really, really good one, but a theory nonetheless. By declaring evolution fact, and not theory, you are essentially making evolution your religion. That isn't science. I disagree with the micromanagement approach to teaching, but I applaud their effort for its success in getting under the skin of people like you.

The goal of science is to knock down theories, not declare your allegiance to them. In a funny way, both sides (the Intelligent design camp and the secular left) have abandoned science in favor of dogma. Kind of amusing when you think about it.

Thanks for your continued support of academic freedom. In that spirit, I think I will assign my students a chapter from the Bible just for kicks.
kuhn, lol. next you'll bring up the intelligent designer's favorite falsificationist karl popper. Evolution is a fact as much as gravity is. you know that THEORY of gravity. Maybe you can jump off your roof and test it out. Gee seemed to work again, but maybe, just maybe tomorrow it won't. The whole idea of science is based not on allegiance but on EVIDENCE. All the evidence, and their is alot, proves, yes proves that evolution happened. I know you like to claim that it doesn't but it does. What science has pledged is it's allegiance to the truth. Unfortunately, you want none of it.
TJ - omg! are you a teacher?! You don't even know the definition of the word 'theory'. Go look it up in the dictionary, definition 1:

the·o·ry (th-r, thîr)
1: a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; theories incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses;

This is not only the main meaning of the word, it is also the meaning used in the term "theory of evolution". Theories don't grow up to be facts and laws. No, groups of facts and laws are organized into a group called a theory.

Even forms of mathematics are often referred to ( among educated people who can lift heavy words and use numbers ) as "theories".

The "theory of evolution" incorporates a bunch of established scientific facts. Such as the fact that humans evolved from early apes, and that the earth is millions of years old. These are proven facts - just as solid as the fact of the earth being round, or the fact that inbreeding causes birth defects ( it makes sense if you understand evolution ).

To accomodate ignoramuses like you I think scientists should start using smaller simpler words and start referring to the "fact of evolution" so that you don't get confused.

Also I agree with job - I hope that you have the chance to test the "theory of gravity" by jumping off a bridge.
Theory is a funny word because it means different things to different people.

I think it's better to place things you're considering believing on a spectrum of probability because who really feels comfortable saying that one thing or another is absolutely, immutably true or, alternatively, 100% hands-down false. As Bertrand Russell once said, "I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong."

When you decide to believe in one thing as opposed to another you are making a kind of wager and, usually, things work out better if that wager is based on empirical evidence rather than appeals to mysticism or supernaturalism.

When it comes down to it, ID, as a theory (or explanation), is far less probable than evolutionary theory in that there's no empirical evidence to support it. Unilke evolutionary theory, ID doesn't lend itself to testability nor can it be infered from any known facts.

You can sit it out under a microscope for a few weeks (or maybe even hours, who knows) watching bacteria or viruses mutate, and get a good look at evolution in action. But it seems more difficult to design an experiement to see if an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent supernatural being can create a universe out of nothing. But who knows, really. Of course, you cannot disprove it.

Again, if you're going to pick one over the other, how can you not go with evolution?
I think Braveheart gets it mostly right, which is to say he agrees with me but doesn't know it. Job is simply wrong on the science.

Let's take this slowly, for Job's sake:

1. I believe the theory of evolution is a pretty sound theory. I've said this many times on this site, but some people can't seem to figure this out.

2. Theories can be more or less correct and more or less useful. They can also be incorrect and useful at the same time. The theory of gravity could be completely wrong, but the law of gravity (i.e., the accumulation of human observations and experience) tells me that jumping off a bridge would be a bad idea.

3. I agree with Braveheart, evolution is a well-substantiated explanation of an aspect of the natural world. It is not, however, a "fact." As BH says, theories don't grow up to be facts and laws. Again, that's my point.

4. All theories incorporate facts and laws, but that doesn't mean all theories are correct, does it? They are simply not facts, as Job asserts them to be. Many theories appear at first to be consistent with all available evidence and later, with additional study, they turn out to be completely wrong.

5. Scientists don't pledge allegiance to their theories. They pledge allegiance, if anything, to the scientific process -- which requires us to be skeptical about what we know and to make every effort to test our theories by trying to disprove them. No reputable science would say that X, Y and Z proves that evolution happened. You might "prove" something in a court of law or in the court of public opinion, but you don't prove anything in science... you fail to disprove the null hypothesis.

I agree with Adam, it is better to speak of things in terms of likelihood than proof.

6. Given the evidence, I think it is clear that evolution is the best explanation we have for the origins of man. Because it fits with the evidence, it is widely accepted. There is little evidence in favor of intelligent design, which is why it is more about faith than science.

Though I disagree with the intelligent design folks on the merits of their case, I appreciate the fact that this debate has revealed the secular left to be as much about faith as those they reject as snake handlers. People like Job have abandoned science to worship the god of evolution -- it is fact, it can't be disproven, it is the accepted TRUTH! Settle down. Take your medication, Job. And be sure to e-mail Jason and thank him and those in the pharmaceutical industry who have made it possible for you to live a somewhat normal life.

Intelligent design isn't a good theory and I am not an intelligent design supporter. I just find it funny to watch lefties get your underwear in a bunch insisting that evolution isn't a theory, which it most certainly is.
Was anybody else disturbed by Braveheart's use of the acronym "omg!" I can't help but think that Braveheart is posting while listening to his favorite boy band and waiting for the next episode of the OC.
just so we get things straight, and since we can all read I will repost what I said "Evolution is a fact as much as gravity is. you know that THEORY of gravity." I think this sentence is clearly different than saying "Evolution is a fact." I guess when tj admits that he is wrong about evolution being a theory he must save some sort of face by recontextualizing my statements. I think this is the same technique tj uses to misrepresent the so-called scientist who take science as their "religion".

In reference to this sentence(No reputable science would say that X, Y and Z proves that evolution happened) please read any book by richard dawkins, available at your local library.
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