Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The decline of Western Civilization--Part III UPDATED

The not-so-secret plot to foster Creationism, the zoo of the very, very distant past, and the war on the ocean.June 8, 2005

Even paranoids have enemies--
It is called the Wedge. It is the way anti-evolutionists pry their way into public institutions—even the Smithsonian—to get their religion-disguised-as-science to the public. It is not a chimera of paranoid biologists, but an actual plan, worked out in considerable detail. You can read it here, a site posted on a public page at Arizona State University (I’m not sure why) and published by the Center for the Renewal of Science & Culture, part of the Discovery Institute, the home of Intelligent Design. The basis of their plan is open and concise: if man was created in God’s image, he cannot be the result of evolution, nor can he be the kind of complex, materialistic, subconscious-ridden creature of Freud (and Marx). They divide the process of replacing evolution into three parts: research, writing and publication; publicity and opinion making; cultural confrontation and renewal. Once the research is done (how one researches a religious doctrine is never stated), the public must be prepared to accept the idea of creationism (they of course use an euphemism—part of the public relations spin) and then go confront the scientific community. You know, it is actually possible to believe in evolution and that there was a “designer?” I do, for one. But that, of course, is not what these people are up to. You can follow along, step-by-step. The galoots are loose. And if you don’t believe me, visit the Tulsa Zoo in the near future.

Creationists two by two--The Tulsa (Oklahoma) Parks Board has approved—after some debate—an exhibit chronicling the biblical account of creation. The only refreshing part of the debate was that those in favor admitted their point was religious in nature, not scientific, and as there were other religious icons in place at the zoo now, so what’s another one? It also means other accounts of creation can go up. An attorney for the city said the display could only go up if it had a disclaimer saying that it was just one of many views of creation. A guy named Dan Hicks is involved. In 1995, he protested displays showing the evolution of humanity as being “offensive.” The zoo, remarkably, told him to shove it.

The best place to keep track of this mishegas is The Panda’s Thumb, a wonderful blog, and The Society for the Study of Evolution.

When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less.'--The Bush administration has never been accused of letting facts get in the way of ideology and tinkering with government documents is not the least of how this policy is played. Andrew Revkin, in the New York Times, reports that a White House official, who once represented the oil industry’s battle against global warming theories, edited government documents to minimize any link between greenhouse gases and climate change. His name is Philip A. Cooney and he saw it as his function to remove or alter reports of government research that didn’t fit into the administration’s perverse worldview. Sometimes he was subtle, adding a modifier here and there. Other times he just went at it armed with scissors. Cooney was a lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute, listed as a “climate team leader.” While every administration tinkers with government documents, bowdlerizing scientific reports is new.

UPDATE--Two days after Revkin's story, Cooney resigned. The White House said his resignation had nothing to do with the story. The White House is shameless.

Taking the war on the environment out to sea--The administration announced it was proposing to expand the practice of fish farming out as far as the U.S.’s 200-mile limit. The administration called it a boon for consumers and for the economy. It is, rather, yet another disaster from the most anti-environmental administration in modern American history. For one thing, most of this farming is more a matter of shoveling money, not fish. The industry is heavily subsidized and all this would do is pump money like water to the companies owning the factory farms. More important, however, is that fish farming on a mass scale is a terrible idea. Most of the fish is second-grade, poor tasting and so devoid of color they have to add coloring to the flesh to convince anyone to buy it and eat it. Worse, however, is that they are the seagoing equivalent to chicken farms in terms of the pollution they create. Huge farms already exist raising salmon in Chile, Norway and Canada. In some cases, they fill a void because the natural stocks are in steep decline, and most seafood served in the U.S. is now imported.

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