What is that?
It's a duck pond.
Why aren't there any ducks?
I don't know. There's never any ducks.
Then how do you know it's a duck pond?

Wednesday, December 21

World

In Yer Face, Behe!

Via, oh, lots of places, comes the news of a well-deserved smackdown of the Intelligent Design movement:
After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980's; and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. As we will discuss in more detail below, it is additionally important to note that ID has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community, it has not generated peer-reviewed publications, nor has it been the subject of testing and research.
Even better:
After this searching and careful review of ID as espoused by its proponents, as elaborated upon in submissions to the Court, and as scrutinized over a six week trial, we find that ID is not science and cannot be adjudged a valid, accepted scientific theory as it has failed to publish in peer-reviewed journals, engage in research and testing, and gain acceptance in the scientific community. ID, as noted, is grounded in theology, not science. Accepting for the sake of argument its proponents’, as well as Defendants’ argument that to introduce ID to students will encourage critical thinking, it still has utterly no place in a science curriculum. Moreover, ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID.
A personal favourite is this paragraph:
A significant aspect of the IDM is that despite Defendants’ protestations to the contrary, it describes ID as a religious argument. In that vein, the writings of leading ID proponents reveal that the designer postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity. Dr. Barbara Forrest, one of Plaintiffs’ expert witnesses, is the author of the book Creationism’s Trojan Horse. She has thoroughly and exhaustively chronicled the history of ID in her book and other writings for her testimony in this case. Her testimony, and the exhibits which were admitted with it, provide a wealth of statements by ID leaders that reveal ID’s religious, philosophical, and cultural content.
Proponents of ID have often claimed that ID is not religion, but an alternative scientific explanation. We have already established that ID is not science; what the Dover trial showed was that it is indeed religion, and that those who make claims to the contrary are either unreasonably credulous or lying.
Moreover, in turning to Defendants’ lead expert, Professor Behe, his testimony at trial indicated that ID is only a scientific, as opposed to a religious, project for him; however, considerable evidence was introduced to refute this claim. Consider, to illustrate, that Professor Behe remarkably and unmistakably claims that the plausibility of the argument for ID depends upon the extent to which one believes in the existence of God. (P-718 at 705) (emphasis added). As no evidence in the record indicates that any other scientific proposition’s validity rests on belief in God, nor is the Court aware of any such scientific propositions, Professor Behe’s assertion constitutes substantial evidence that in his view, as is commensurate with other prominent ID leaders, ID is a religious and not a scientific proposition.
And let's not forget our friend Wedge:
The Wedge Document states in its “Five Year Strategic Plan Summary” that the IDM’s goal is to replace science as currently practiced with “theistic and Christian science.”
Kind of a giveaway, that.

The Commissar has the complete ruling. Thanks to Jon at JREF for finding some particularly fine quotes.

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Thursday, December 15

World

Potential Bombshell

If this story holds up, it could spell big trouble for the NSW Government and the Police Commissioner:
Senior police today pledged to keep up their presence on Sydney's streets as members of a Muslim youth group and the surf movement held peace talks on the boardwalk at Cronulla.

But a leaked document has indicated that police were not equipped to respond to Monday's violence in Cronulla, in which people were assaulted and cars, shopfronts and windows were smashed.

The Seven Network said it had obtained a police incident report instructing officers to stay away from one of the trouble spots – believed to be Punchbowl Park in Sydney's west – on Monday night.

The park is believed to have been the meeting place for scores of men who formed a vehicle convoy which drove to Cronulla unimpeded by police.

The report showed those in the crowd were suspected of being Middle Eastern criminals who had been involved in malicious damage and civil disobedience offences throughout the Sutherland Shire, the network said.

The report said "a direction was given to police about midnight not to enter the area and antagonise these persons".

Right. Don't antagonise the rioters, because they might, um, riot.

I call for the 48-hour rule on this, though.

(via comments at Tim Blair's)

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Wednesday, December 14

World

Sydney Riots, Day Thr... Oh.

It appears that if you fill the area with police and arrest the rioters at gunpoint, they stop rioting.

A church burned down overnight and that is being investigated as arson, but other than that, not much happened last night.

Even the possum turf war that has been waking me at dawn every day seems to have been called off. Good work.

For those of you trying to make sense of things from the media reports - never an easy task - this timeline from the Wog Blogger may help.

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Tuesday, December 13

World

Sydney Riots, Additional Reporting

Tim Blair has some posts up, and his commenters are active as always. He also notes the CNN blooper.
Silent Running
RWDB
Evil Pundit
Right Wing Death Bogan

One thing becomes obvious: The mainstream media, never mind their habit of editorialising and passing it off as news, can't even get the facts straight. Those layers of editors and fact-checkers must be off on an extended lunch break, I guess.

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World

Not France

I hope that The Daily Telegraph doesn't mind me extensively quoting from this article, because they are doing some of the best reporting on the events.
Police ordered scores of trouble makers to the ground at gunpoint in a bid to regain control following a day of rising tension across the city.

The first flashpoint was Lakemba, where a small group of Caucasian men began vandalising cars near the mosque. A crowd of about 500 local men quickly gathered, some of them turning on the interlopers while others threw missiles at police.

Shortly afterwards carloads of Lakemba men headed for Cronulla and nearby suburbs, bashing passers-by and smashing shops and vehicles.

Although intent on destruction, dozens of the intruders were arrested as they ran into a massive police net strung across Cronulla, Brighton-le-Sands and Maroubra.

The violence began at the Lakemba mosque, where hundreds of local men gathered before a hard core of hotheads drove east late in the evening.

About 70 car-loads hit Cronulla soon after 10 o'clock. Police had already began sealing off roads into the beach suburb.

Within 20 minutes police were responding to reports of assaults, vandalism, men on the streets with baseball bats, bashings and shots being fired.

A number of cars were stopped by police, with guns drawn.

Drivers and passengers were swiftly dragged on to the pavement and arrested.

At one stage police were chasing a Ford Laser which had tried to run down officers.

"Get out of the car, get out of the car," officers yelled at the driver when he was stopped minutes later on Elouera Rd.

A man and a youth with their hands up got out of car and were forced to the ground at gunpoint.

The police response could have been better, but it could have been a whole lot worse. Riots have to be stopped fast, and hopefully that's what will happen.

One note on the vandalising of cars at the Lakemba mosque: This article reports the situation a little differently:

Hundreds of youths last night rampaged in Lakemba, while further trouble was brewing in Maroubra and again in Cronulla. A woman police officer was injured when more than 400 youths of Middle Eastern descent smashed cars and rioted at Lakemba mosque.
Even local newspapers have trouble keeping the story straight.

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World

Sydney Riots, Day 2

Today, it's CNN taking the honours for abysmally inaccurate reporting:
Anti-Arab rioters smash cars, windows in Sydney

Monday, December 12, 2005; Posted: 2:44 p.m. EST (19:44 GMT)

Police arrest a man Sunday at Cronulla Beach in Sydney.

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Violence on the streets of Sydney spilled into a second night Monday, as scores of youths drove through beachside suburbs smashing windows of stores, homes and apartments, police said.

Any hopes that a race riot Sunday would be an isolated incident were shattered after dark when car loads of youths rampaged through southeastern Sydney chased by hundreds of police vehicles and a helicopter.

A police spokesman said the violence first broke out in Cronulla, where Sunday's riots also started.

"We have shops damaged at Caringbah, cars damaged at Cronulla," according to Paul Bugden, spokesman for New South Wales police. "We have six arrests at this stage."

One person was apparently hit with a rock outside the Cronulla police station, he added, saying that youths riding around in at least two dozen cars were involved in the violence.

Bugden said he did not have descriptions of those involved in Monday night's rampage, but said that clearly it was linked to Sunday's rioting.

One tiny problem: It wasn't "Anti-Arab rioters" at all, it was Lebanese Muslim street gangs. Let's see if CNN changes the headline to "Arab rioters smash cars, windows in Sydney"...

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World

Sydney Riots

I wasn't going to write anything about this, because I know little more about the events themselves than what has been reported on the news. And I'm not a resident of Cronulla or Maroubra; I live way up on the northern edge of Sydney.

But when it comes to something like this:

The violence started at Cronulla after about 5000 people gathered at the beach, many were chanting racist comments and waving Australian flags.

The rioters then moved on to other beach suburbs, vandalising cars and targeting innocent individuals.

I really have to comment.

What happened at Cronulla Beach was a protest against ongoing harassment and intimidation by Lebanese Muslim street gangs that turned ugly under the influence of alcohol and stupidity, never a great combination.

The second part was an planned attack by the street gangs, not by the Cronulla rioters. That's some really amazingly bad reporting on the part of Sky News, but the BBC is hardly any better:

Thousands of young white men have converged on Cronulla Beach in Sydney, Australia, and attacked people of Arabic and Mediterranean background.

...

By Sunday night, the violence appeared to have spread to a second beach suburb, Maroubra, where men armed with baseball bats reportedly attacked cars.

With no indication whatsoever that we are talking about two entirely different groups.

Put not your faith in the media, for they are lying weasels.

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Monday, December 12

World

A Brief History

I keep losing this thing - I've posted it on other blogs when the subject came up, but I've never posted it here, so every time I need it I have to spend five minutes Googling first.

So, here it is:

A BRIEF HISTORY OF FRANCE SINCE THE REVOLUTION

1789-1792 Period of increasing strife, culminating in French Revolution (technically, the first of many French revolutions)
1792-1804 Chaos (also known as the First Republic)
1792-1795 The Convention
1795-1799 The Directory
1799-1804 The Consulate
1804-1815 Empire of Napoleon I
1815-1830 Restoration of Bourbon monarchs.
1830 Revolution
1830-1848 Louis-Philippe rules as King of the French. (Yeah, they had a revolution and ended up with another king.)
1848 Revolution
1848-1852 Chaos (also known as the Second Republic)
1851 Napoleon III kicks the bastards out
1852-1870 Empire of Napoleon III
1870 Revolution
1870-1940 Third Republic - which, for France, doesn't suck too badly
1871 Attempts at restoration of monarchy fail
1871 Paris Commune
1877 Attempts at restoration of monarchy fail
1940-1944 German occupation, Vichy government
1940 British sink French fleet, French actually fight back for first time in WWII
1945 France rescued by U.S. and Britain
1946 Attempts at restoration of monarchy fail
1946-1958 Fourth Republic
1958-present Long slow decline (also known as the Fifth Republic)

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Monday, December 05

World

Fruit Bat Is Off

Looks like scientists have found the infection reservoir for Ebola: Fruit bats.

Never did like fruit bats.

(via Balloon Juice)

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Friday, December 02

World

Supporting The Troops

Most U.S. troops will leave Iraq within a year because the Army is "broken, worn out" and "living hand to mouth," Rep. John Murtha told a civic group.
Eep?
Murtha predicted most troops will be out of Iraq within a year.

"I predict he'll make it look like we're staying the course," Murtha said, referring to Bush. "Staying the course is not a policy."

"Staying the course is not a policy"?
He said a civil war is likely because of ongoing factionalism among Sunni Arabs, and Kurds and Shiites.
Yeah, so we should opt for
immediate redeployment
What was that, Rep. Murtha?
immediate redeployment
and leave them to it.

I won't question his patriotism; I'll just point out that he's a partisan hack and an idiot.

(FOXNews)

Update: The Commissar has his own take on the story.

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