All posts by Andrew Arensburger

Michael Behe Gets His Ass Handed to Him

Michael Behe, a professor at Lehigh University, and one of the leading proponents of Intelligent Design, has been on the witness stand in the Dover ID trial. And it looks as though he had his ass handed to him.

The York Daily Record writes:

In his writings supporting intelligent design, Michael Behe, a Lehigh University biochemistry professor and author of “Darwin’s Black Box,” said that “intelligent design theory focuses exclusively on proposed mechanisms of how complex biological structures arose.”

But during cross examination Tuesday, when plaintiffs’ attorney Eric Rothschild asked Behe to identify those mechanisms, he couldn’t.

I think what this really boils down to is “ID is the answer, but only if you ask the question in a very specific manner”, and the lawyer isn’t playing along and asking the correct questions.

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Political Brand Names

Paul Waldman has an interesting article in the American Prospect.

This view is embodied in what political scientists call the “median voter theory,” which posits that political success belongs to the party that positions itself closest to the voter who lies in the precise middle of the ideological spectrum. But who is the actual median voter in America? At this moment in history, that voter is pro-choice, wants to increase the minimum wage, favors strong environmental protections, likes gun control, thinks corporations have too much power and that the rich get away with not paying their fair share in taxes, believes the Iraq War was a mistake, wants a foreign policy centered on diplomacy and strong alliances, and favors civil unions for gays and lesbians. Yet despite all this, those voters identify themselves as “moderate.”

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Avast, Ye Swabs!

Ahoy! September 19th be Talk Like A Pirate Day, so mark it well, ye bilge rats. Ye’ll comment in piratey, if ye don’t want to be keelhauled!

Arrr! Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!

Pledge of Allegiance Ruled Unconstitutional

A federal judge has ruled the Pledge of Allegiance to be unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton sided with atheist Michael Newdow in ruling Wednesday that the pledge’s reference to God violates the rights of children in three school districts to be “free from a coercive requirement to affirm God.”

Okay, this part is pretty much a no-brainer. But there are other problems with the pledge.
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The Annotated Republican Oath

Courtesy of the GOP:

Republican Oath

I’m a Republican Because…

I BELIEVE the strength of our nation lies with the individual and that each person’s dignity, freedom, ability and responsibility must be honored.

Unless, of course, the freedom in question involves marijuana. And dying with dignity is right out. Also, terrorism trumps people’s dignity and freedom. And don’t get us started on abortion.

Also, “honor” may extend only to the sporting of a magnetic ribbon on an SUV.
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Codeword: Restoration

On a hunch, I popped over to and searched for bills with “Restoration Act” in the title. You’ve probably heard of the Constitution Restoration Act, which aims to restore the original intent of the US constitution by helping usher in a theocracy, but there were several others as well.
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Morons on Parade

Pat Robertson has apologized for calling for the assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Earlier, he had said that his comment had been taken out of context, and that “take him out” didn’t necessarily mean “assassinate.” However, he also said

“If he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war.”

I don’t see how that can mean anything other than “assassinate.” I guess his apology means that even he realizes the “out of context” defense won’t work in this case.
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Site Facelift

I hope you like the new look. The default WordPress theme is fine, but I wanted something that could be resized, so I hammered the default/Kubrick theme into something I liked.

The theme can be downloaded . Please let me know if you like it.

Pascal’s T-Shirt

PZ Meyeyers provides the most succinct refutation of Pascal’s Wager that I’ve seen:

Suppose I had a million dollars. Then I would be rich! Therefore, I have a million dollars.

I suppose a better parallel would run something like:

If I think I’m rich, and I really am rich, then I get lots of good stuff.
If I think I’m rich, but I’m really not, I can’t spend my money anyway, so I haven’t really lost anything.
If I don’t think I’m rich, but I really am, then the IRS will demand a lot more money from me than I think I have, which will make me sad.
If I don’t think I’m rich, and I’m really not, I haven’t gained or lost anything.

However, PZ’s version fits on a T-shirt or bumper sticker, and is a lot snappier.

Stop Presses! ID Actually Explains Something!

In Uncommon Descent, Bill Dembski criticizes Steven Pinker’s evolutionary explanation of goosebumps as “fluffing up long-gone fur”, then attempts to give an ID explanation:

What about the intelligent design of goose bumps? I’m perfectly happy to consider them a quirk that results from evolution working in tandem with design. But let’s say we had to come up with a design explanation of them. Here goes: goose bumps kick in when we’re frightened or cold or otherwise experience strong emotions. But is it that we are consciously having such experiences or is it the goose bumps that assist in bringing to consciousness such experiences. Goose bumps are, after all, not under conscious control — they are governed by the sympathetic nervous system. Perhaps goose bumps are designed as a way of bringing to consciousness various stresses that need attention.

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