“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Idaho GOP Brain Trust War on Science - “Standing for Ignorance”

Idaho Republicans want Bible in schools for “astronomy, biology, geology”

It's no wonder that teachers think teaching creationism is acceptable.

Yesterday, we described how legislation in Louisiana may be encouraging teachers to introduce religious material in science classes. But Louisiana is clearly not alone in recommending that its educators engage in constitutionally forbidden activities. Later that day, we were directed to a document suggesting that problems could be brewing in Idaho.
The document is a set of proposed resolutions crafted by the state Republican Party's Central Committee. Among those is Resolution 2015-P20, "A Resolution Supporting Bible Use in Idaho Public Schools." While the Bible could add value to a number of curricula (social studies, literature, and comparative religion, for example, all of which are named in the resolution), it's not widely recognized for being much help with plate tectonics. Yet the resolution also suggests that the Bible should be used in classes on astronomy, biology, geology, world geography, archaeology, music, and sociology. Somehow, chemistry and physics escaped the committee's notice.
While a resolution like this is a long way from becoming law, the Republican Party holds the governorship and large majorities in both houses of the legislature, so there is a heightened risk.
On the plus side, a number of state parties have had creationism as an official part of their platform for years without any laws getting passed. For example, the Minnesota Republican platform states, "Educators who discuss creation science should be protected from disciplinary action and science standards should recognize that there is controversy pertaining to the theory of evolution." That approach—prevent educational authorities from disciplining teachers who introduce religion—is the basis for a law that was passed in Tennessee.
It's also similar to Texas' state Republican platform:
Controversial Theories- We support objective teaching and equal treatment of all sides of scientific theories. We believe theories such as life origins and environmental change should be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced. Teachers and students should be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these theories openly and without fear of retribution or discrimination of any kind.
But no state blatantly crosses constitutional lines as clearly as Oklahoma, where the same party's platform contains the following:
We believe that the scientific evidence supporting Intelligent Design and Biblical creation should be included in Oklahoma public schools curricula. And where any evolution theory is taught both should receive equal funding, class time, and material. Teachers should have the freedom to cover creation science without fear of intimidation or reprimand.
Believe it or not, there is good news here. Over the last four years, a number of state parties have dropped either creationist or "teach the controversy" language from their platforms. However, surveys show that over 10 percent of US high school teachers instruct their students in creationist ideas, and each year, there are a handful of bills introduced in state legislatures that promote this behavior. Further encouragements like these platforms and resolutions don't help.


  1. Insight on Alabama in the Rockies

    Being a longtime Idaho resident, it wouldn’t surprise me if this nonsense became law. I love the beauty of this state but greatly dislike those who govern with passion. My crowd call them the Christian Taliban. Sadly, many residents aren't the brightest bulbs on the Christmas tree and are the ones electing these total morons to represent them only to turn around and bitch about it later and by golly turn around yet again and re-elect said morons. Idaho is Mississippi West to many and they are right. I can only shake my head and say “WTF” yet again...

  2. from the “Beloved Republican Party” of Idaho

  3. One thing our *urd from Philly would not know a thing about is intelligent design.

    He is of the deep 'it just happened school'..

    I was thinking in a Hegelian manner the other night concerning the stars and thought:


    Huck - Was they made ?


    Huck: Or did they just happen?


    Nigger Jim - The moon laid 'em

    I've been around here all my life, and very glad of it, and I can tell you things in the classrooms will continue tomorrow just as they have in the years past.

    Why anyone should object to this:

    >>We believe that the scientific evidence supporting Intelligent Design and Biblical creation should be included in Oklahoma public schools curricula. And where any evolution theory is taught both should receive equal funding, class time, and material. Teachers should have the freedom to cover creation science without fear of intimidation or reprimand.<<

    is beyond me.

    Yet here is our whiz kid from 'the it just happened school' doing just that.

    Any idiot knows, for instance, that the Catholic Church does not oppose evolution. It is self evident. Catholic Thought is a form of Intelligent Design.

    See: 'The Phenomenon of Man' Teilhard Chardin

    The question is whether it is going anywhere interesting, is now, in fact, quite fascinating.

    This question hasn't even arisen for our dour poor angst ridden existentialist of the ongoing nightmare, Deuce the Vain.

    He hasn't the Blakean Imagination for it.

    1. Asking Deuce to read the Bible with an imaginative eye, with a enthusiasm for metaphor, as, say, the Jews and the poets do, is like asking water to not run downhill or something, choose the impossibility that pleases you most.

      3;00am here.

      Time to shower, and head on


      Cheers !

    2. ("Idle Hands are the Devil's Workshop, and an Unimaginative Mind is a Curse" - anon)

  4. The "Founders" didn't go far enough. Instead of insisting on "separation of church and state," they should have gone ahead and done away with "the church."

  5. Now that it is warm Kitty always comes in and wakes me and wants to go out about an hour before first light. In the old Egyptian iconography the baboons chirped and clapped at the rising of the sun, old image for the coming of consciousness.

    What is the difference between evolution and creation ?

    One 'takes' longer than the other.


    But not really so in the Bible, where the creation story is underlain by the older images from the east in the ages of the Patriarchs, 432 etc.

    How this miracle of writing occurred Joe Campbell, as I've mentioned, said he was at a loss to explain.

    It is not even interesting to General R.

    Guys like General R and Deuce ought to be required by law or the will of the graceful gods to provide their wives or girlfriends with a steady supply of anti-depressants.

    Showered fit trim and ready for the 'day' !

    Heading out at first light, a lifelong habit of many older farmers...

    Cheers !

    1. Quickly -

      'NYC is lost. Totally.' - 6/11/15 New York City students are often illiterate. A teacher explains the scandal. More

      American Thinker this day

      Undoubtedly the same is true in Philly, and especially Detroit, Michigan, home of "Q's Quik IQ Cure LLC", a noted failure in 'home schooling for a slight fee' as the fancy ad brochure proclaims.

    2. Here's another -

      >>And, if Darwin is correct, how is it wrong to cage an African in a zoo, if the African in question is not exactly a human being? We cage bears in zoos. We cage elephants and rhinos. Why not exhibit a specimen halfway between an orangutan and a European?

      Well, because Darwin is wrong, of course.

      In propositional logic there is a valid rule of inference called modus tollens, Latin for "the way that denies by denying." If A entails B, so that B is a logical extension of A, then if B is found to be wrong, we can reasonably conclude that A is wrong as well.

      Shall we do the math?<<

    3. Well, bob, you have give us another example of why the American Thinker is just plain wrong!


      The argument has two premises. The first premise is a conditional or "if-then" statement, for example that if P then Q. The second premise is that it is not the case that Q . From these two premises, it can be logically concluded that it is not the case that P.

      Consider an example:
      If the watch-dog detects an intruder, the watch-dog will bark.The watch-dog did not bark.Therefore, no intruder was detected by the watch-dog.
      Supposing that the premises are both true (the dog will bark if it detects an intruder, and does indeed not bark), it follows that no intruder has been detected. This is a valid argument since it is not possible for the conclusion to be false if the premises are true. (It is conceivable that there may have been an intruder that the dog did not detect, but that does not invalidate the argument; the first premise is "if the watch-dog detects an intruder." The thing of importance is that the dog detects or doesn't detect an intruder, not if there is one.)"

  6. Deuce, why not just take down Everything he puts up, until he finally gives up and goes away?

  7. A nice Retail Sales number, today. 1.2%, with a small revision up to 0.2% for April.

    The last 3 months, annualized, comes out to a tisch over 10%.

    Pretty good.

    Retail Sales

  8. Highlights

    Jobless claims continue to run at extreme lows with initial claims up only marginally to 279,000 in the June 6 week. The 4-week average did rise for a 3rd straight time but only by 3,750 to 278,750. This level is about in line with the month-ago comparison in a reminder that claims are so low right, improvement is difficult to come by.

    (Details to follow)

    Jobless Claims


  9. Thomas Friedman Can't Understand a Shortage of Demand
    Published: 11 June 2015

    The man who said he endorses any trade deal that has the words "free trade," and said that the Germans would insist Greeks work shorter hours as a condition of a bailout is talking about economics again.

    Citing a McKinsey study, Friedman tells readers:

    "Millions of people can’t find work, 'yet sectors from technology to health care cannot find people to fill open positions. Many who do work feel overqualified or underutilized.'"

    The situation where workers can't find work or take jobs for which they are overqualified is what would be expected in an economy that is suffering from a lack of demand. The best remedy for a lack of demand is to generate more demand (i.e. spend money). The government can do this by running larger budget deficits. We can also generate more demand by reducing the size of the trade deficit through a lower valued dollar. We can also create demand for more workers by creating incentives for reducing the average number of hours that each worker works in a year, as Germany has done. All of these are fairly simple stories that don't require using big data or the new complex matching programs that Friedman is touting.

    What about the sectors that cannot find people to fill positions? Well skepticism is in order here. Where do we see rapidly rising wages? The answer is pretty much nowhere. This suggests that sectors are not really having trouble filling positions. Higher pay is how employers ordinarily attract more workers, if employers aren't raising wages then we can reasonably assume they don't think they have trouble getting the workers they need. That doesn't mean employers don't complain. They are always looked for handouts from the government and complaining is the best way to get them.

    Of course it is possible that we have . . . . .


  10. Arindrajit Dube enlarges on my post about efficiency wages, pointing out that the same logic applies to firms that have monopsony power. That’s a very good point — and I think we’re circling in on an important part of the logic behind the “new view” on inequality policy, which says that policies to enhance worker bargaining power can have major effects on the distribution of market income.

    What’s going on here? Maybe two schematic pictures can help.

    The conventional view about the choices facing an employer looks something like . . . .

    The Mutability of Wages

    1. Walmart reports that its recent wage hike is paying off via reduced turnover, which produces cost savings that offset the direct expense of the higher wages. In other words, efficiency wage theory is vindicated. What are the political/policy implications? What follows is a slightly wonkish note, largely to myself.

      Efficiency wage theory is the idea that for any of a number of reasons, employers get more out of their workers when they pay more. It could be effort, it could be morale, it could be turnover. The causes of the efficiency gain could lie in psychology, or simply in the fact that workers are less willing to risk better-paying jobs with bad behavior. The details can matter a lot in some contexts, but in this note I just want to assume that worker productivity is increasing in the wage rate. And I want to focus on the decisions of an individual employer, not the full market equilibrium.

      In the absence of . . . . . .

      Walmart and Wages

  11. Quirk,

    Here is a bunch of info on TTIP


    "U.S. Weighing More Military Bases in Iraq, General Says


    The move would require at least hundreds more American military trainers to help Iraqi forces retake cities lost to the Islamic State."

  13. June 11, 2015
    Climate Change: Where is the Science?
    By Howard Hyde

    Is it twice as likely that the Earth is cooling than that it is warming? That humans and fossil fuels have nothing, or everything to do with it, or somewhere in between? Or is it over 99% certain that anthropogenic carbon burning-induced warming is sweeping us to the apocalypse, with all other possibilities combined being less than one percent probable?

    The only way to find out is through the most rigorous and critical application of the scientific method, from laboratory practice to public discourse. Anything less than that increases the risk that the 'solution' could be more catastrophic to humans than the results of climate change itself.

    Let us examine what the climate change alarm community has done and how they have done it, and see if it qualifies as the rigorous and unimpeachable science that its proponents claim it is. We'll walk it back from results to first principles.

    First, results. Nothing defines science so well in the popular mind than the predictive power of scientific theory. "If the conditions, materials and/or forces A, B, C, and D come together in such-and-such a way, then the outcome WILL BE 6.7294874X. If variables P, Q, and R are substituted for A, C, and D, then the outcome will be 2.1 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol in combustion." Awesome.

    So, how is that predictive power working out so far? And more to the point, what effect have those results had on the public's confidence in the supposedly infallible science and scientists? In 1999 they said that warming would wipe out the Great Barrier Reef. In 2000 they said that Britain would no longer see snow during winter. In 2001 they predicted starvation from failing grain crops in India. From 2003 to 2005 they concluded that the drought then occurring in Australia would be permanent and Sydney dwellers would have nothing to drink. In 2006 they predicted unprecedented severe cyclones and hurricanes. In 2008 they said that by 2013 there would be no more arctic ice cap; that we would be swimming with the otters at the North Pole.

    None of these predictions have come to pass. The Reef is still there, as is the arctic ice. Children make more snowmen than ever in Britain and the rains returned to Australia with a vengeance. Thanks to the instantaneous and ubiquitous communications made possible by our smartphones and social networking, there is much greater awareness of the severe weather events that do occur than there was before, but in absolute terms, such events are neither more frequent nor more severe than they have always been.

    The climate computer models have demonstrated themselves to have no reliable predictive power. The mother of all predictions, that global warming was inexorable, has been debunked by the past seventeen years of actual measurement, sending the climate change community into a mad scramble to explain it, deny it, 'correct' the earlier data, explain why it doesn't disprove their theories, or explain it away.

    Even so, none of this proves that global warming isn't happening or won't happen, or that excess carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning won't send us over the brink, right? Of course not -- how do you prove a negative? But the persistence of politicians with a vested interest insisting that Climate Change is a greater threat to humanity than ISIS, Iran, North Korea, unemployment, burning American cities and negative economic growth combined, in spite of the failures of any of the predictions to come true, suggests that something is wrong at a deeper level with the way we are practicing and discussing science.

    1. Scientists, strictly defined, should have no agenda whatsoever other than the discovery of truth; truth of which no human being is the ultimate arbiter, but only Nature. Albert Einstein famously did not want his theory of Relativity accepted until its predictive power had been proven. Scientists who have come to believe that a certain theory is closer to the truth than any known alternatives have the right, indeed the duty, to defend that theory against any and all challenges. But the true scientist must always, without exception, maintain intellectual honesty and be prepared to abandon a theory if its predictive power cannot explain empirical data that does not fit and/or when a rival theory that seems to do a better job of explaining the subject phenomena (often in simpler terms) arises. Skepticism and openness to change and to challenge is the fundamentalist creed of the true scientist.

      A theory that does not contain within it the terms of its own falsification is not a valid theory. If the planet Mercury's orbit did not vary by the number of degrees that Einstein's theory said it would, then Relativity would be unproven and Albert would have had to admit failure, as he indicated he would be willing to do. A weasel-word term like Climate Change, where any drought and any flood, any heat wave or cold wave, any storm or any clear sky, any melting or freezing, anywhere at any time, can be cited as evidence of industrial humans' culpability, and there is no defined criteria that would exculpate us, is not a valid theory; it is meaningless Catch-22 Heads-I-Win-Tails-You-Lose political propaganda.

      The climate change alarm scientists have lost credibility because too many of them have behaved not as scientists but as politicians. They will regain the trust of the people when they rediscover their principles and comport themselves accordingly, to wit:

      They debate each other honestly and respectfully, including the skeptics and 'deniers', with no recourse to ad hominem attacks or defamation lawsuits.
      Instead of firing, defunding and/or persecuting scientists with whom they disagree, they advocate for funding for research into alternate theories by those same rival scientists on a comparable scale as their own results-oriented research.
      They express their honest scientific opinions in terms of relative probabilities. '100% certainty' in a matter as complex as the entire Earth's climate for the next hundred years should be looked upon with the utmost suspicion.

    2. They rebuke any and all meteorologists or news readers who ascribe any significance whatsoever to transient local weather events as proof, or even evidence, of anthropomorphic climate change.
      They discontinue all scare tactics and sensationalism, and stick to objective reporting of measurement and rational hypotheses.
      They discontinue hiding behind consensus or authority, and instead demonstrate the courage of their facts, logic, and the track record of their predictions over the long term.
      They stop papering over the differences of opinion within the alarm community in order to present a unified public front; keep the discussion transparent.
      They publicly disclaim any among them who make anti-scientific claims such as that "the debate is over" or "the science is settled". Yes, that means Al Gore and anyone else. Anyone asserting such a preposterous thing should take the statement to its logical conclusion by resigning his or her position and/or returning any unspent research grant money and forswearing any continuance of the same. If the world is round not flat, we don't need to fund research and deploy hardware to ascertain the shape of the earth. If the debate is over, then go home.

      In short, we will restore to them the trust and respect to which science and scientists aspire when they demonstrate that they are worthy of it.

      Lay persons are easily intimidated from taking on scientists on their turf. But when supposed scientists behave anti-scientifically and demand that we surrender our civil liberties, our private property rights and our prosperity, that's our turf. Giving up the cheapest and most plentiful energy sources available (fossil fuels and nuclear, the latter which does not contribute to greenhouse gasses) can cause a great deal of poverty, hunger and death by exposure to the hostile elements of a poorly understood climate.

      It doesn't take a PhD to know what science is and isn't; climate science as practiced by the IPCC, Al Gore and their fellow travelers does not qualify.

      Howard Hyde edits the website email: Howard willbe a guest on the Larry Elder Show on Friday, June 12, discussing climate issues.