The ‘Darwin is Dead’ carnival

Let’s just start by saying this is the most laughably inept, ludicrously nonsensical, and horrifyingly dishonest bunch of malarkey I have read in quite some time.  In support of the growing war creationists are perpetrating on science as a whole and more specifically on evolution, it would seem a handful of ill prepared Christians began their own blog carnival called “Darwin is Dead” in which they intend to prove that evolution is untrue.  Luckily for all of us, it is nothing more than a conglomeration of the same balderdash creationists use to push intelligent design.

If you want to see the first carnival, go to Darwin is Dead.  I assure you that it’s not worth your time.  Please rest comfortably knowing this will not be included in my normal carnival barking.  I may, however, use it in the future as fodder for the cannons of amusement.  Also note that reading through the comments on that link is akin to standing in a kindergarten class and asking for explanations of quantum mechanics.  You’ll get answers, of that I’m sure, but none of them will be accurate and each will construe facts and bend rules of general understanding to accommodate their answers.  Much patience is needed to wade through the mess.  That said, there is a great debate that is taking place in the comments, and while getting through the circular and meaningless arguments of the creationists is difficult, the ultimate discussion is more than interesting with many capable folks proffering their opinions as well as fact to provide an interesting thought medium.

The first edition of this carnival has only five posts.  Let’s assume, if I’m to be entertained, that the limited participation is a growing pain and that it will be more highly populated.  Future editions of this carnival will go a long way in demonstrating the lack of scientific knowledge in the creationist arena.

Understand that not a single entry in this deluge of ignorance has any real scientific value.  They demonstrate a complete misunderstanding of basic mathematical, geometric, philosophical, journalistic, and scientific premises, functions and facts, a failure that negates serious consideration of the moot arguments made.  They fail entirely to address accuracy or clarity, and much of what is said is near gibberish or outright deceptive drivel.  That doesn’t negate the entertainment factor, though.

I started a long post about this, addressing it piece by piece after thorough examination of each of the entries.  Perhaps midway through I began to realize I would be rehashing arguments I’ve already made.  It also required me to repeat what has been said already by many bloggers in response to this cluttered jumble of misinformed mishmash.

Rather than bore you with my own dialectic response, let me point out some of the more notable rebuttals I’ve seen thus far.

Orac starts it off by bringing the carnival to our attention and pointing out some of his personal favorites among the not-so-much-a-plethora of entries.

PZ steps up to the plate next with his response to the mayhem.  He addresses the lamest of creationist arguments: if humans evolved from apes, why are there still apes?  I already addressed that argument, but PZ gives it a different spin by pointing out that such logic would mean that only one species could exist on the planet at any time.  After all, if related organisms had to die in order to give rise to an evolutionary offshoot species, the journey from the first single-celled organism to human beings would always kill off foundational species as new species evolved.

Ed gives the whole thing a bit more consideration.  He points out the tired arguments of ignorance regarding the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the absolute untruth of the nonexistent “Law of Biogenesis”, reiterates the “if man… apes… yadda yadda yadda…” BS and logical response, completely debunks and bashes the misrepresentations of carbon dating, and eventually points out the blatant lies told by some of the commenters (and, therefore, creationists).

I laugh to think that Darwin actually died in 1802.  This fact amused me when I read the title of the carnival since it inferred more the truth of human mortality than any stance on issues for which the authors were unprepared for debate or understanding.  Also, I am still considering the option of authoring debunking posts for each of the current entries in this half-witted yet humorous dabble in science by the very un-scientific.  I don’t want to be brutal…

Random Thought

For want of a nail, the shoe was lost;
for want of a shoe, the horse was lost;
for want of a horse, the rider was lost;
for want of a rider, the battle was lost;
for want of the battle, the kingdom was lost;
and all from the want of a horseshoe nail.

— Albert Einstein (explaining relativity)

More on the Dubai port deal

I was quick to throw something together on the UAE/Dubai port hoopla and how bizarre I think it is that so many see danger in the deal.  Just a few days after I posted that, I’m still in awe watching the entire political spectrum fall all over itself in an attempt to paint the business agreement as a definitive step toward the destruction of America.  I just don’t get it.  The facts of the deal remain clear, and those facts in no way justify the horrific bigotry that’s being acted out in opposition.  I guess I’m still waiting for someone to provide the definitive report on how this deal is going to hurt us.

Amba sees it the same way I do, although she covers a few different aspects I did not and also does a good job of consolidating some of the best third-party information she has come across.  I think you’ll appreciate her point of view and what she has to say about it.  You’ll also find some great resource material that she links to, material that sees through all of the negative spin and looks clearly at the facts.

Boycott Iams

I never use Iams pet foods.  Because my cats need prescription food to address a very specific issue for Kako, because the food I use is the most highly recommended by my veterinarians, and because Iams products have inherently been unwelcome by my pets (dogs and cats alike), there has never been a need in my house to purchase their products.  I do know people who use them, however, and now I have reason to tell them to switch to a different brand.

Imagine my horror to learn only recently that Iams has made the torture, mutilation, mistreatment, and killing of animals (from cats to dogs to rabbits to chicks to…) a part of their normal research and product development.  The abuse of animals performed by Iams even breached Proctor & Gamble’s own “Animal Welfare Research Policy” which was forced on the company by shareholders offended by Iams’ practices.  To add insult to injury, Iams even funded research by a doctor at Wright State University who had been charged formally by the USDA for willfully violating the federal Animal Welfare Act (subsequently settled out of court by the university, as it did not wish to face trial).

Despite being a PETA-organized site (I abhor PETA for their tactics, although I agree in principle with their intent), all you need to know about the Iams terror is at Iams Cruelty.  It took me hours to get through the site.  The horrors were too much for me to absorb in one sitting, therefore I had to walk away from it repeatedly and come back to it later.  The biggest problem?  My tears were interfering with my ability to comprehend the material I was reading.  I could not help lamenting what I was seeing: a company sworn to providing for pets intentionally torturing, killing, mutilating, and mistreating them in the name of research.  Would consumers think they were doing the best for their pets if they truly understood what buying Iams products was actually funding?

Iams appears to be guilty of offenses against animals that no one should tolerate.  It horrifies me to think that a company misrepresents itself as caring for animals while it secretly conducts barbarous research on them and mistreats them with obvious disdain.  All I can recommend is that you visit the site and gain a clear understanding about what Iams is doing to the animals they claim to protect.  This is hypocrisy at its most horrendous.

There is a video at the site showing what the PETA investigator found at the Iams research lab.  While I cannot stress enough that it is worth your time in order to understand the horrors taking place there, I will also warn you that it is more than disturbing.  I wept and could not watch it in a single sitting.  I was forced to walk away from it several times in order to gain my composure and ability to sit for a few more moments to watch more of it.  You see animals kept in cages that cannot provide comfort, treated like commodities and slabs of meat, existing in conditions that make them fear and even abhor the presence of humans, given only minimal care equivalent to brutality, forced to insanity by their captivity and horrendous treatment, physically mutilated to induce disease or further research into food products, and a great many other terrible sights that should overwhelm even the most stoic of hearts.  My very being was offended by what I beheld.

I contain no words to communicate properly the offense that Iams has committed.  A company billing itself as caring for animals, manufacturing products to ensure the health and welfare of pets, conducts itself in direct contradiction of that claim and intentionally harms the very pets that it deceives consumers into believing that it cares for.  It offends me on levels I did not deem possible.  Until the company demonstrates with third-party confirmation that such practices have been halted entirely, that they are no longer funding torturous experiments by modern day Dr. Frankensteins, and that they have abandoned for all time the abuse and murder of animals, I strongly recommend that you boycott the company.  If that proves insufficient, perhaps a boycott of Proctor & Gamble as a whole will be in order, not to mention any company that does business with them.

My taxes are done

I finished my 2005 tax return and have already gotten my refund.  Yippee!

But there’s a catch.  I forgot some retirement account juggling that I did last year, juggling that had tax implications.  Now I have to amend my return to compensate for that.  Luckily, at least from my preliminary calculations, it doesn’t increase my tax burden since those transactions were already taxed at 20%.  At worst, I may owe the IRS a few dollars, but right now I think they’ll actually owe me more money.  I can handle that.