UK Rejects Teaching Creationism As Scientific Theory

When faced with IDiots who desire to have their creationist beliefs taught in the UK, the government has responded with guidelines to keep such non-scientific viewpoints out of science classes. The guidelines explain what it means to be a scientific theory and note that creationism and intelligent design are not scientific theories:

The use of the word ‘theory’ can mislead those not familiar with science as a subject discipline because it is different from the everyday meaning of being little more than a ‘hunch’. In science the meaning is much less tentative and indicates that there is a substantial amount of supporting evidence, underpinned by principles and explanations accepted by the international scientific community. However, it also signals that all scientific knowledge is considered to be provisional as it can be overturned by new evidence if this is validated and accepted by the scientific community.

Creationism and intelligent design are sometimes claimed to be scientific theories. This is not the case as they have no underpinning scientific principles, or explanations, and are not accepted by the science community as a whole. Creationism and intelligent design therefore do not form part of the science National Curriculum programmes of study.

The full text of the guidelines can be downloaded here. These guidelines were published soon after a similar statement from the Council of Europe on the dangers of teaching creationism.

Christian Porn

Hat tip to Ed Brayton for uncovering this page on A Proposal for Christian Pornography, along with the other articles at Sex in Christ.

Robert Reich Contradicts Bill Clinton on Experience and Running for President

Robert Reich sets the record straight on Bill Clinton’s recent claims that Barack Obama isn’t qualified to run against his wife. Reich discusses Obama’s experience as compared to Hillary Clinton’s experience. He also contradicts Bill Clinton’s claim that he didn’t run in 1988 because he didn’t feel he was qualified enough.

Bill Clinton was 46 when he was elected president in 1992 – the same age as Barack Obama is now. But Clinton has questioned Barack Obama’s readiness to become president – arguing that by the time he himself ran in 1992 he had far more experience than Obama. He also states that when he decided not to run in 1988 (when he was “closer to Senator Obama” in experience) he didn’t think he “knew enough and had served enough and done enough to run” at that point in his own career. While I can understand Bill Clinton’s eagerness to undermine his wife’s most significant primary opponent, he is not, I believe, completely ingenuous. I happened to talk with him in 1988 before he decided not to run, and also in 1991 before he decided to run the following year. His calculation at both times was decidedly rational and entirely political, based on whether he could win.

But more to the point, it strikes me as unfair to claim that Obama lacks relevant experience for the presidency. When he ran in 1992, Bill Clinton had been the governor of a small, rural southern state; as such, he had only limited experience with national issues and no foreign policy experience to speak of. Incidentally, at this point in the 2008 presidential election, Hillary Clinton has served as an elected official in the U.S. Senate for not quite eight years, and before that a First Lady in the White House. Obama has so far held elective office for almost twelve years, at both levels of government – first as an Illinois state senator and then as a U.S. Senator. Before that he was a community organizer among Chicago’s poor, and then a civil rights lawyer – two experiences that in my view are critically relevant to anyone seeking to become president of all Americans.

Putin Threatens To Continue Rule as Prime Minister

Term limits just don’t seem to stop an aspiring dictator. Hugo Chávez simply decided to eliminate them in Venezuela. In Russia, Vladimir Putin has found another way around the prohibitions against him running for a third term as president:

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that suggestions he could head a future government as a prime minister were “realistic”.

Speaking at a congress of the main pro-Kremlin force, United Russian, Putin also announced he would head the party’s list for December’s parliamentary elections, guaranteeing him a place in the Duma (lower house of parliament).

Walter Shapiro on John Edwards

Walter Shapiro has a favorable look at John Edwards in Salon. While I do not agree with many of Shapiro’s favorable comments on Edwards, at least he understands how many of us feel (ignoring how he writes this off as “elite opinion”).

As someone who has been covering Edwards since his first foray into New Hampshire during the summer of 2002, I have long been stunned by the animus toward him that lurks just beneath the surface of elite opinion. In conversations with Washington political consultants, major Democratic donors, former Senate colleagues and big-time reporters, I have repeatedly heard the vague, but damning, refrain that Edwards is a shallow phony and his commitment to fighting poverty is mostly a political pose.

While I disagree with many of Shapiro’s defenses of Edwards, there is one factual error which I cannot ignore in the discussion of the limitations which Edwards would face by accepting matching funds:

Asked about this problem in the interview, Edwards argued, “I think it’s classic Washington think … It ignores the extraordinary free media that exists for a Democratic nominee for president.” Deputy Edwards campaign manager Jonathan Prince also pointed out that in 2004 John Kerry did not face any fundraising limits, but still was upended by the Swift boat ads, which were nominally sponsored by an independent group.

Contrary to the claim that Kerry didn’t face any fundraising limits, the Swift Boat ads appeared in August when Kerry was forced to limit spending because of the Republican advantage in having a later convention date. Both parties had an equivalent amount of money to spend in the period between their convention and the general election, but Kerry was forced to spread this money out over a longer period. As the Edwards campaign has raised this point, it is also worth noting that the Kerry campaign had wanted Edwards to fulfill the traditional role of the Vice Presidential candidate and go on the offensive in response to such Republican attacks. Edwards refused, presumably to preserve his “nice guy” image for his own future run.

A Republican campaign against Edwards would have a much easier job than they had against Kerry as they wouldn’t even need to invent charges, including some of those noted here. Shapiro wrote, “As a highly successful medical malpractice trial lawyer before his 1998 election to the Senate, Edwards labors under the odd political burden of being too glib and convincing in his public appearances.” It won’t be hard to convince voters to be wary of anything said by a candidate who made his fortune from glib talk before juries to convince them that problems caused by fetal brain injury long before the onset of labor were due to alleged malpractice at the time of delivery.

Questions for Obama

George Will poses seventeen questions for Barack Obama. These aren’t the top questions I would ask him, and I don’t share some of the assumptions behind some of his questions, but I wouldn’t mind a more detailed explanation from Obama as to his beliefs on these issues.

This got me thinking about what I would ask Obama if I had the opportunity to question him. If I had the opportunity for follow up questions, I would begin with just two questions which might get to the heart of a major theme of the Obama campaign to get beyond the current partisan stalemate and change the direction of American politics.

My first question would be, “Which beliefs which are more commonly accepted by conservatives and Republicans do you agree with and would be seen in the policies you would pursue as president?” My second would be, “Which ideas which are commonly accepted by Democrats (if any) do you reject?”

In 2003, John Kerry could have answered these questions with satisfactory answers. Kerry supported balanced budgets before it became popular among Democrats. Kerry has a long history of supporting small business. Kerry made opposing the trial lawyers and backing malpractice reform a part of his health care proposals. Unfortunately in 2004 far less was heard of these ideas as he listened too much to his handlers and simplified his message.

I’ve also seen traces of answers to these questions from Obama, but I also fear that as the campaign goes on he will increasingly become a generic Democrat as Kerry did in 2004. Hopefully Obama proves me wrong on this prediction.

Right Wingers’ Favorite People

Right Wing News has surveyed right of center bloggers and compiled this list of their favorite people on the right. Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter head the list, but Bill O’Reilly only gets honorable mention. Apparently all those conservative bloggers who denounced Coulter for calling Edwards a faggot have forgiven her, and nobody on the right cares what Limbaugh said about those “phony soldiers.” Fred Thompson beats out the other declared Republican candidates, but does trail New Gingrich. Mitt Romney and John McCain didn’t even make the list. The winners are:

Honorable Mentions: Larry Elder – 4, Mary Katherine Ham – 4, Brit Hume – 4, Bill O’Reilly – 4, Jeff Sessions – 4, Robert Spencer – 4, John Stossel – 4, Walter Williams – 4

21 Tom Tancredo –5
21 Condi Rice – 5
21 Charles Krauthammer – 5
21 Hugh Hewitt – 5
21 John Bolton – 5
20 Sean Hannity — 6
20 Jim DeMint – 6
16 Judge Antonin Scalia – 7
16 Jonah Goldberg – 7
16 Tom Coburn – 7
16 Glenn Beck – 7
13 Glenn Reynolds — 8
13 Duncan Hunter – 8
13 Neal Boortz – 8
10 Victor David Hanson – 9
10 Laura Ingraham – 9
10 Dick Cheney — 9
9 Rudy Giuliani – 10
8 George W. Bush – 11
6 Fred Thompson – 13
6 Thomas Sowell – 13
5 Newt Gingrich – 14
4 Mark Steyn – 17
2 Michelle Malkin – 19
2 Ann Coulter – 19
1 Rush Limbaugh – 28