The Definitive Todd Akin

Fresh off attempting to define what "legitimate rape" is, Rep Todd Akin, the GOP candidate for the US Senate in Missouri, now wants to define what "ladylike" behaivor is or is not. After feeling the brunt of Senator Claire McCaskill during a debate last week, Akin told the Kansas City Star:

“I think we have a very clear path to victory, and apparently Claire McCaskill thinks we do, too, because she was very aggressive at the debate, which was quite different than it was when she ran against Jim Talent,” Akin said. “She had a confidence and was much more ladylike (in 2006), but in the debate on Friday she came out swinging, and I think that’s because she feels threatened.”

One gets the impression that Todd Akin thinks women should just sit there, be lecture at and not be allowed to speak much less opine. Did he expect Claire McCaskill to just sit there and listen to his Biblical views on gender? This is a man who thinks the world is 6,000 years old and who has called anyone who believes in evolution "a monkey-lover". He's hardly a suitable candidate for dogcatcher but somehow the state of the GOP in 2012 is such that the party establishment thinks a man with such misantrophic views is eligible to sit in the US Senate. 

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My Recent Debate With The Leadership of the Intelligent Design Movement

Over the last couple of days, I've been involved in yet another online exchange of hostilities with the folks behind the intelligent movement; this particular conflict began on Thursday evening when The Huffington Post published an article I wrote on the various strange and dishonest things that chief ID proponent William Dembski and his associates have done over the years since the 2005 Dover Trial. A couple of Dembski's colleagues have responded by pronouncing me "Barrett Clown," which is very painful to me. That's not how my name is pronounced.

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My Vanity Fair Piece on Conservapedia

If you're looking for an amusing distraction this morning, you might be interested in a little piece I wrote for Vanity Fair on Conservapedia and the wackiness to be found therein.

Now, you're probably thinking to yourself, "I already know all about the general douchebaggery that goes on at Conservapedia. Like every liberal with an internet connection, I went over there a couple of years back and read the article on evolution and how it was invented by Hitler or some such, and I even checked out the early version of the page on Nineteen Eighty-Four, the one that explained that the ending 'has something to do with rats.' Surely, I have nothing to learn from your little article. I am the Alpha and the Omega."

Well, perhaps you're right, although I find your boastfulness a little off-putting. But, let me ask you this - did you ever check out the article discussion pages?

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Major Biology Conference Shuns Louisiana

"The executive committee of the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology decided not to hold any future meetings in New Orleans owing to 'the official position of the state in weakening science education and specifically attacking evolution in science curricula,' according to a February 5, 2009, letter (PDF) from SICB's president, Richard Satterlie, to Louisiana's governor Bobby Jindal. Noting that the last SICB meeting, held in Boston, attracted over 1850 scientists and graduate students to the city for five days, Satterlie observed, 'As you might imagine, a professional meeting with nearly 2000 participants can contribute to the economic engine of any community.' But in 2011, those economic benefits will accrue to Salt Lake City rather than to New Orleans."read more

Texas Board of Education to Vote on Evolution

Later this week, the Texas Board of Education will consider a new science curriculum designed to challenge the teaching of evolution in Texas high schools but the decision could influence what is taught in biology classes across the nation because Texas is the nation's second largest textbook market.

The Chairman of the Texas Board of Education is Dr. Don McLeroy, a dentist by profession. He's also a creationist. The story in the Wall Street Journal:

Dr. McLeroy believes that God created the earth less than 10,000 years ago. If the new curriculum passes, he says he will insist that high-school biology textbooks point out specific aspects of the fossil record that, in his view, undermine the theory that all life on Earth is descended from primitive scraps of genetic material that first emerged in the primordial muck about 3.9 billion years ago.

He also wants the texts to make the case that individual cells are far too complex to have evolved by chance mutation and natural selection, an argument popular with those who believe an intelligent designer created the universe.

The textbooks will "have to say that there's a problem with evolution -- because there is," said Dr. McLeroy, a dentist. "We need to be honest with the kids."

Funny that because his views on sex education are what's the word, well, the exact opposite. Texas law requires school districts to emphasize abstinence in sex education classes. Asked in 2007 about the possibility that Texas' emphasis on abstinence in sex education might be a factor in the state's relatively high teen pregnancy rate (the fifth highest in the nation) Dr. McLeroy had this to say:

The idea that just giving them a lot of information is going to solve it, I think, is kind of naive. Certainly, it's more of a societal problem than it is a school problem."

So much for honesty.

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