Making the Rounds of the Moment
January 31, 2006
Customer: Hello. I wish to complain about this so-called 'scientific theory' what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very establishment.Sometimes it seems like Monty Python really is the Alpha and Omega of geek humor, or at least a definate shibboleth.
Salesman: Oh yes, 'Intelligent Design'. What, uh... what's wrong with it?
Customer: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. Its vacuous, that's what's wrong with it!
Salesman: No, no, uh... what we need now is to 'teach the controversy'...
Customer: Look matey, I know an empty 'argument from incredulity' when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.
Salesman: No, no, it's not empty: it's just being elaborated. Remarkable theory, 'Intelligent Design', innit, eh? I mean, just look at all these books and articles: millions and millions of words...!
Customer: The verbiage don't enter into it, my lad. It's stone dead. It's a non-starter. Empirically untestable, it belongs in metaphysics. This 'theory' makes no predictions; has no contribution to make beyond extended polemics; and can't even be honest about who it thinks the 'Designer' was. Bereft of all logical and epistemological credibility, it has no scientific status! If certain right-wing and fundamentalist pressure-groups hadn't hit upon it as a way of opposing decades of uncomfortable scientific and social progress, it'd be pushing up daisies! It's off the table. It's kicked the waste-paper bucket. THIS IS A NON-THEORY!
Salesman: Well, I'd better replace it then. [takes a quick peek around] Sorry, squire: looks like that's all we've got...
Customer: I see, I see. I get the picture.
Salesman: I've got a piece of coal that looks quite a bit like a human tibia, if you squint at it...
Customer: Pray, is it part of a theory that unifies the paleontological and biological sciences and leads to a powerful understanding of observed homologies and the nested hierarchy of life?
Salesman: Not really.
Customer: WELL IT'S HARDLY A BLOODY REPLACEMENT FOR DARWINISM THEN, IS IT?
Actually I don't know if this is even funny if you don't know the original source.
Politics of a Past Moment
I must say to you that the state of the Union is not good.Slate points out that they don't HAVE to be the big cheerleading, rah-rah sessions that they've become...and I agree, the applause and posturing is just silly.
In other news, Sayonara Greenspan! Hope the next guy does as well, and that we manage to get this whole "massive crushing debt" thing back under control.