The evolution debates lately... or rather the creation debates... really just the question of how anyone could believe in young-earth creationism has been weighing on my mind. I'm pretty convinced that the way to deal with it isn't to try to logically point out the scientific evidence for evolution. That has all been laid out before, over and over again. Saying it again is just suggesting that you are somehow a better communicator than any other person who has existed since Darwin. There's also the issue that you can't argue logic against crazy. The crazy is always going to win. It's a little like trying to out-stubborn a 3-year-old. That little kid doesn't have anything else going on, they're definitely going to win.
I think the answer is just to call people out. They won't listen to science, so you just have to straight-up tell them that you believe they're wrong. (Never mind the fact that they won't listen to theologians who say the Bible doesn't really support young-earth creationism.)
The problem is that we're in a time when everything is shifting to be firmly anti-science. Psychology is perverted by people trying to stop gay marriage. Meteorology is perverted by people who don't want to accept global warming. Medicine is perverted by people refusing to vaccinate their children. It's a time where it has become perfectly acceptable to basically say "I don't like the way things work, so I'm just going to claim that there's uncertainty and then do whatever in the fuck I want."
I think that may mean that I need to stop shopping at places like Whole Foods. There are just too many examples of liberal stupidity that show up in the extreme faith-based approach that organic food is better or that homeopathic medicines are something more than just water.
Some good reading from Mother Jones and The Daily Beast.
I have to say though, the best orange that I ever had came from Whole Foods. It must have been 2002, January, the Whole Foods in Cambridge, MA. It was so good that Kirsten and I went back and bought two cases and rationed them out for a few weeks. It's 12 years later and I can still think of those oranges, so they really were pretty fucking good. I think they were also conventional!
You pay taxes, that money goes into a pot, and then gets redistributed in a way so as to take advantage of economies of scale. Rush Limbaugh is apparently upset about this (making up the total lie that his tax dollars are being spent to pay for Sandra Fluke's wanton orgies)...
... and so is Jon Stewart. "Reimburse me for the Iraq war and oil subsidies, and diaphragms are on me."
So this is just a blatant repost of a cartoon from the web, but it's kind of shockingly true.
I feel the same way about Walla Walla. You have to assume that normal people grow up in Walla Walla, but the only people you see out and about have had kids by 23 and have slumped towards morbid obesity. Depressing.
Another week, another flight. I have an hour and a half to kill at the airport though, almost could have driven in the same amount of time. On the other hand, driving doesn't let you get any work done and I'm going to get some grading done sitting here.
Here's the humourous part. I just got a cupt of tea at the airport coffee shop and the conversation was a classic.
Barista: Do you want room in that?
Me: Yes, thanks.
Tea is made
M: Where's the milk at?
B: Oh, you wanted milk?
Which leads me to instantly question why you'd want room if you weren't going to add anything to your drink. Maybe there's some mystery of the universe that I don't fully understand.
I fly Horizon Air every week and frankly they're a pretty good little airline even if the distiction between Horizon and Alaska is getting washed away a little with every airplane as it gets repainted. Horizon realized that the cheapest way to fly is to use lots of copies of one plane... completely cuts down on the variety of spare parts you need, training pilots across multiple airplanes... and they settled on the Bombardier Q400. Quiet, extremely fuel efficient little plane. Little plane, as in they take your rolly bag and put it in cargo when you get on and then pull it back out as you get off because there isn't room in the cabin for rolly bags.
In order to facilitate finding my bag as quickly as possible, I've gotten some orange handle wraps. Makes the whole process super easy. You just scan the cart looking for orange and then grab.
The thing that amazes me though is the number of people who look closely at the bag and then have to check the nametag to make sure it isn't theirs. Do people think that their bag magically grew trendy orange covers while it was in the baggage compartment? Like it's some sort of tattooing ritual for bags that they secumb to when the peer pressure of the other bags is upon them?
AHHHH! I can't keep my eyes open after reading 50 students subtly misexplain how retrograde motion is explained in the heliocentric and geocentric system. Or completely bomb questions about why reflecting telescopes don't have issues with chromatic aberration. (I really didn't think people were going to have so much trouble with that one.)
I'm rewarding myself for finishing a page by blogging.
It's lead me to some interesting realizations. Namely that the problem with the exams is that I'm teaching the class as a breadth of a knowledge class rather than a depth of knowledge one. The advanced astrophysics class that I'm giving a final to right now will be much easier to grade since they're showing me the interconnectedness of different details in how stars work. I can't ask the same sorts of questions of my intro students though since we cover everything from astronomical history to planets to evolution of the Universe.
I think the answer is going to be to just suck it up and power through.
Ok eyes, stay open!
After a two-year hiatus, it's probably time to start thinking about blogging again. It's not that I don't have things to say, it's just that I don't have time to say them.