Evidence Mounts For Greg Ladenblather as Flame War Flashpoint

18 02 2009

He’s ba-ack. Playing the provocateur from behind his Harvard science degree and geographic proximity to the deservedly renowned PZ Myers, destroying intelligent discourse in whole communities all the while claiming HE is the injured party — science is about recognizing and intelligently interpreting patterns, and this one is repeating itself in classic form, another human pot stirring to generate a fresh batch of the same recycled crap with which to fertilize his ego-operated science bloggery.

He did it to evolved homeschoolers in 2007 and was rewarded with enough traffic to earn a coveted scienceblog all his own! If those memories aren’t seared in your brain, see this and this and this for a refresher course in the baiting process he indignantly pretends is intelligent inquiry.

Two excellent discussions at Rolfe’s are most revealing though:
Keep Your Radicals Free and Deja Vu.

It’s like I’ve read it all before, and I know what’s coming next. I have better things to do with my time.

I don’t mean to insult any of you who participated passionately — good for you! — that game just isn’t for me. The fight seems futile, and I’m not sure what the prize is for winning. Do we get Greg Laden to write a “I love homeschoolers” post? What would that be worth? Maybe you want to participate so people can see that there are reasonable and effective home educators out there? You[r] voice will probably be heard quietly, but prepare to be dismissed as atypical and therefore irrelevant.

While I don’t see much upside for participating, I do see a downside. Some of the commenters in this game are downright nasty. I remember how COD got slammed out of the blue when they came into a discussion at Greg’s earnestly trying to give him a broader perspective on homeschooling. As I recall, Doc, Nance, JJ and others got similar treatment, and responded with varying degrees of patience. Did they get mean after that? Yep, but they started out very nice, and even ignored the first few shots. And their nastiness is nothing compared to what has been sent their way.

Then there was that unbelievable attack on JJ and her daughter that Read the rest of this entry »

FSU professor measures Obama’s positive effect

16 02 2009

More change we can believe in? 🙂

“Dwarfing Pluto and Shrinking Ourselves” Redux

15 02 2009
Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, says he thinks Pluto is "happier" in its current classification as a dwarf planet. topfoto.co.uk

Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, says he thinks Pluto is "happier" in its current classification as a dwarf planet. topfoto.co.uk

Here’s science storytelling from NPR that also adds power of story to well-worn culture clash among homeschooling parents.

The public shock of shrinking Pluto as a planet hit when our national homeschooling networks were years deep in a civil war over public charter programs and other hybrid homeschooling, unable to clearly define distinctions and differences between like kinds without dislike, much less kindly.

One side called for involuntary legalistic redefinition (demotion) of all bodies unlike themselves in some aspect however strained,  assuring us it would help rather than hurt those whose status was thereby dwarfed by calling them what they really were, and that they would be happier once instructed in reclassification camps to face their factual lack of fit as full-fledged homeschooling planets, I mean PARENTS. . .

I first satirized our “what’s in a name?” clash as “Large Dogs Welcome” but  then this campaign to “help” Pluto out of its redefined-as-illegitimate status presented the perfect parable:

Dwarfing Pluto and Shrinking Ourselves: A Joyfully Unclear Meditation
[UPDATE: Culture Kitchen is still offline for site maintenance so I put the whole essay here too.]

Would the best-integrated and most powerful leadership for home education look and feel much more like viral collective wisdom expressed by autonomous individuals, and less like cliques, gangs, law firms, Congress, the Vatican, media marketing, house organ pandering for profit, union protectionism or the sausage-making of paid political campaigns and federalized public schooling?

Wouldn’t it look an awful lot like all of us just being US, as confident, sovereign individual Thinking Parents, a whole creative class of families freely learning and thinking as we wish, choosing whatever connections with each other we wish and communicating about it all as we wish, to help people hear and understand and perhaps begin to crave the healthy, happy fundamental freedoms we enjoy?

“In education politics of any kind (home education or not), we always come down to: what DO we teach our children, so they can best preserve and protect their own freedoms?

The Revealer Offers Perverse Take on Valentine’s Day

14 02 2009

Here’s some new content emailed from Jeff Sharlet’s religious journalism site, how romantic! 😉

New from The Revealer, published at New York University’s Center for Religion and Media:

“Where’s the Love?” — Meera Subramanian on a Hindu extremist Valentine’s Day marriage-by-force campaign. (On The Revealer’s sister site, KillingTheBuddha dot com)

“My Bloody Valentine” — Louis A. Reprecht asks, “How have we gone from a beheaded priest to a giddy worldwide day of romantic love?
In a word: the widespread conviction that love is a dizzying sacrifice.” (Via ReligionDispatches dot com)

“Pray Away the Gay; Abort the Retort” — Two new “liberal” films, “Praying for Bobby” and “Revolutionary Road,” tell the same old conservative stories.

I Like Rachel Maddow But. . .

14 02 2009

. . .does she channel Paul Lynde and Alice Ghostley when she gets snarky, like she did tonight mocking how Blackwater is rebranding itself as “Xe”?

No matter, you’ve got to love her report on India’s pink-panty rebellion by the “consortium of pub-going, loose and forward women”!

Vatican Admits Evolution Compatible With Christian Creationism

13 02 2009

“The Church of England is seeking to bring Darwin back into the fold”. . . see story here.

Too bad it comes too late for this poor sap.

BREAKING NEWS: Vaccine Didn’t Cause Autism, Court Rules

12 02 2009

Vaccine didn’t cause autism, court rules

* Story Highlights
* NEW: Autism not caused by specific vaccines, special court rules
* NEW: Panel of “special masters” issues decisions on three test cases
* Cases involved children with autism that parents say was triggered by vaccinations

(CNN) — A special court ruled Thursday that parents of autistic children are not entitled to compensation in their contention that certain vaccines caused autism in their children.

“I must decide this case not on sentiment, but by analyzing the evidence,” one of the “special masters” hearing the case said in denying the families’ claims, ruling that the families had not presented sufficient evidence to prove their allegations.

The decisions came in three test cases heard in 2007 involving children with autism that their parents contend was triggered by early childhood vaccinations.

The three families — the Cedillos, the Hazlehursts and the Snyders — were notified Wednesday night that a decision had been reached, as were the more than 180 lawyers collectively representing the 4,800 families with claims in the Vaccine Court Omnibus Autism Proceeding, said lead plaintiffs’ attorney Thomas Powers. . .