I Swear It Wasn’t Me

31 07 2008

“Main Reasons Why Jehovah’s Witnessism is False” from the Jesus is Jehovah blog:

JJ Ross, pastor of the James Street Baptist Church of Hamilton, Ontario, published a denunciatory pamphlet about Russell entitled Some Facts about the Self-styled `Pastor,’ Charles T. Russell. [Martin & Klann, 1959, p.18]
Russell sued …

Gillian, You’re Not Sick, You’re on a Reality Show!

30 07 2008

Remember “everybody has an interesting education” from Sir Ken at the TED conference?

The little girl he talked about in that video, who grew up to be dancer and internationally famous choreographer Gillian Lynne, was just spotlighted in the audience of “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Fun. 🙂

McCain Approves Ad Linking Britney and Paris To Hitler (and Jesus?)

30 07 2008

Have you seen the new McCain ad? Its logic is very clear if subliminal.

Major Premise:
Obama is Hitler (also Jesus if you’ve heard Rush lately, which then would equate Jesus and Hitler too, but that’s probably another ad)

Minor Premise: Dumb blonde bimbo celebrities are the same as Obama

Conclusion: All empty headed, morally bankrupt female celebrities are Hitler.

But wait, so by this logic Obama is secretly blonde and a shopaholic, and a girl? Was Hitler?
(Rush Limbaugh was actually ranting today about Obama sounding like a girl — did Jesus? — and how mature conservative women want “real men” instead of “metrosexuals” so don’t be surprised if that’s McCain’s next logical ad: Too girlie to lead, like Jesus!)

And what does this syllogism say about blonde female celebrity Jodie Foster, so brilliant and grounded she’s worth a dozen Britney-Paris sorority sisters? If she’s more like Obama than they are, is she also more like Hitler too, then? (Did you know she has an unusual real middle name, like Obama? It’s CHRISTIAN.) Will the media hold the McCain campaign accountable for these answers?
My head hurts . . .

Oh, what tangled webs we weave, when first we make the people heave . . .

Girls and Boys Get Math Scores Equal (So Are They the Same Now?)

29 07 2008

Good review of the findings, cock of the snook for it to BitchPhD.

The effect sizes they found — ranging from 0.01 and 0.06 — were basically zero, indicating that the average scores of girls and boys were the same.

This had to be my favorite part though, it’s about time we got some research ammunition on this. . .

Again, the team found little difference, as did a comparison of how well boys and girls did on questions requiring complex problem solving. What the researchers did find, though, was a disturbing lack of questions that tested this ability. In fact, they found none whatsoever on the 10 state assessments for NCLB. . .

Connected Catholics “Cook Up” Month of Prayer for PZ Myers

29 07 2008

No comment, except don’t you love it when a theme comes together?
Even as these Catholics believe they’re defending and being obedient to never-changing universal Church traditions, these same hyperconnected individuals help create chaotic change pressures with every keystroke:

“August 2008 Is Officially Pray for PZ Myers Month”

Snook Scoops World! Maverick McCain’s Running Mate Revealed

27 07 2008

Think about what we know that’s been in plain sight all along and you too, won’t have to wait for the formal McCain VP announcement.

It makes perfect political and strategic sense. It’s a Democratic Year, right? So he has to pick a Dem and that lets Lieberman out. (Not to mention that standing together they are old and short and goofy-looking.)

Just picking Bill Clinton alone would be unconstitutional, having already served his allotted full terms as prez. And just picking a woman alone — even Hillary herself — isn’t sexy and historic enough, now that Hillary already got more votes than anybody ever, by her own count. She shattered that glass ceiling and broke all the china too, so Day One was yesterday at 3 am. Old news.

But a COUPLE for VP?
This will truly be history-making, groundbreaking, not an individual but a couple as McCain’s VP. The Next Food Network Star pioneered this historic approach since our last presidential election — picked a gay couple as “the” winner of its individual contest for “a” new host. The 2008 finale of this year’s competition is TONIGHT (which is why Snook is announcing McCain’s pick today) and btw instead of a two-person race this year, it’s another first — three finalists instead of two, one white, one black, one girl!

And what great advice Steve and Dan, the “First Couple to Share a One-Host Show Slot” could offer presidential candidates: Read the rest of this entry »

Protest UCF’s “Ecclesiastically Motivated Witch Hunt”

26 07 2008

The persecuted PZ Myers today finally notices what’s REALLY going on down here, that this is a public education policy story and real kids’ real lives are at stake, right now.

I sure hope besides this Furbush fellow, PZ notices UCF student MICHELLE DUCKER and helps turn the investigative brainpower of Pharyngula’s informal research team toward her story, such as figuring out the real reason Cook’s countercharges against her were dropped with no investigation or temporary hold on MICHELLE DUCKER’s student registration . .near as I can tell, she’s central to this whole incident and may well have precipitated it, may even have had prior animus toward Cook, yet the Catholics have stage-managed her involvement after the fact (successfully so far) with the result that it’s been alternately covered up and pimped out as PR incriminating Cook.

Which makes perfect sense in this Bonfire of the Vanities remake, considering Bill Donohue’s belligerent media prizefighter role and this note accompanying MICHELLE DUCKER’s tiara-crowned publicity photo:

“This fall she’s interning with UCF’s Catholic Campus Ministry in marketing and public relations. . .”

UPDATE – some commenters in Pharyngula’s thread have posted great language from the letters they’re sending to the UCF president and other officials, for when you’re ready to write your own and in search of inspiration:

. . .To have an innocent student’s education curtailed due to the paranoia, bigotry and stupidity of a religious group’s unfounded beliefs smacks of the Spanish Inquisition. Such practices should have been relegated to the Dark Ages and should certainly not be allowed to corrupt an educational establishment of the 21st century.


As far as I know, there is no Constitutional protection against being offended and therefore no crime.


This entire episode is the result of religious dogma and a state supported institution has no legal interest in this matter except to the extent that the university must protect and defend the Constitutional rights of free expression and due process.


It is every Catholic’s right to believe that bread is their savior’s flesh, despite visual and olfactory clues to the contrary, just as it is every Muslim’s right to believe their prophet had a flying horse. It is not a requirement, however, that others embrace or even respect these irrational beliefs. While the student senate can take whatever action it deems necessary in Mr. Cook’s case, I hope that the University will reverse its charges against these students. To enforce someone else’s irrational beliefs is outside the bounds of your authority.

Carry on!

Godwin’s Law Shuts Down Homeschool Politics!

25 07 2008

So I guess the online homeschooler political conversation is over, and anyone who took this seriously, lost?

“Perhaps Obama doesn’t seek to exterminate anyone – but who is he really?”

UCF Student Webster Cook Speaks Out on Radio

22 07 2008

Audio link via American Freethought, cool!

Before Cook’s live interview explaining what happened in his own words, the first part of the program compares his UCF religious service issue to senior centers across the country that are “local” and not public, but do receive federal dollars and are open to all seniors seeking food and social contact. The “good people that the senior centers approve of” — for praying before meals and not protesting it as impermissable or offensive — were being treated better, fed first and included in the group, whereas an elderly man who objected was told if he didn’t like the religious music and prayer, he could come late, sit alone and if there was any food left, he could have it.

UCF is of course entirely a public institution, not just a recipient of some public funding. Cook explains in detail that religious services are explicitly funded by UCF student government with about $40,000 per year, not simply allowed to use UCF buildings. He also explains that the Catholic woman (Michelle Ducker — LOL, some “woman”, I was picturing a middle-aged nun-type,what a story this is!) trying to force him to eat or return the wafer, was already angry with him before the communion rite began, for trying to sit in the back and for for not standing and kneeling at appropriate times, etc. SHE threatened HIM with a disruptive scene rather than the other way around, and then apparently made good on that threat when he wouldn’t follow her worship directives.

The boys’ conversation with Swallows in the hallway, about black magic, is pretty interesting to hear, too . . .

Finally, I was personally tickled by the jazz music interlude, “It Ain’t Necessarily So!”

UPDATE – About Michelle Ducker, still chuckling at the ironies:
“Last spring, she balanced her Project Smile activities with a part-time job at Waccadoo’s and her Interpersonal Communications major. This fall, she’s interning with UCF’s Catholic Campus Ministry in marketing and public relations. ., .”

Hope It’s Hereditary!

21 07 2008

From the Boston Red Sox Mailbag

If I recall, the Red Sox drafted at least one Papelbon, if not two of them. How are they doing and do either of them have a chance of playing with the Red Sox?
— Paul J., Brewer, Maine

Yes, the Red Sox drafted Josh Papelbon in the 2006 Draft. A submarine pitcher, Josh is pitching at Class A Lancaster this season and posted a 4.26 ERA over his first 27 outings.

The third Papelbon brother — left-hander Jeremy — was taken by the Cubs in that same draft. Jeremy is in Class A Daytona of the Florida State League, and has solid numbers this season. It’s hard to say at this early juncture if either of those Papelbons will join their big brother in the Majors.

“Respect the Jeez-Its” Is Sorry Sign of Our Educational Times

21 07 2008

UCF has an official student newspaper too, not just a student senate and a student union handy for religious services.

So you may well wonder (I do) if its student editors and reporters will receive threatening letters and risk removal from their campus responsibilities should their coverage or commentary upset powerful Catholics and/or the university administration — and I wonder if it’s occurred to THEM yet, that once even one student is thrown to the dogs by the system, anyone can be.

What do kids get taught by public universities these days, particularly political science, history, journalism (and religion?) majors, about how human power of story plays out in real life? Do they still study the view — whether attributed to Mencken, Dunne or Twain (would they know to care?) — that journalism’s responsibility is “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,” or that “the most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos?”

Do they study this cautionary tale? Do they think about meaning and human power of story at all, or just career competition and how to use rules against each other to get ahead? The history of their student newspaper since 1968, and its proud name, “Central Florida Future” suggests reason to hope, but the latter seems sharper and clearer and more real with every morning’s news.

Read the rest of this entry »

Six Stages of Moral Development, From Piaget to Kohlberg

18 07 2008

Kohlberg’s stages of moral development . . . explain the development of moral reasoning. . . inspired by the work of Jean Piaget and a fascination with children’s reactions to moral dilemmas.

. . .Expanding considerably upon [Piaget’s] groundwork, it was determined that the process of moral development was principally concerned with justice, and that its development continued throughout the lifespan, even spawning dialogue of philosophical implications of such research.

Kohlberg used stories about moral dilemmas in his studies, and was interested in how people would justify their actions if they were put in a similar moral crux. He would then categorize and classify evoked responses into one of six distinct stages.

Obedience to authority on pain of righteous punishment types will reject this, no doubt, but they are reasoning like little kids. As adults, the reasoning stage our majority politics seems obsessed with is the fourth, Authority and Social Order Maintenance.

School, State and Church too, all seem Very Authoritarian these days, as playing out in the UCF Catholic communion controversy, for example.

Level 1

1. Obedience and punishment orientation
(How can I avoid punishment?)

2. Self-interest orientation
(What’s in it for me?)

Level 2

3. Interpersonal accord and conformity
(The good boy/good girl attitude)

4. Authority and social-order maintaining orientation
(Law and order morality)

Level 3

5. Social contract orientation
6. Universal ethical principles
(Principled conscience)

Dana at Principled Discovery thinks through some high level reasoning imo, about the different moral arguments for homeschooling, in “Homeschooling is Not the Gospel:” Read the rest of this entry »