Donald Simmons (theengineer) wrote,
Donald Simmons


As mentioned, last Friday I went to a lecture by PZ Myers, a biologist who runs the blog Pharyngula, one of the most popular science blogs on the web. When he's not talking biology (and squid) he's talking about science and religion. He's an outspoken atheist, and his talk was on the state of science education (specifically evolution) in the US right now. In his view, we're losing ground to the religious fundamentalists. While we win all the court cases on teaching evolution over "Intelligent Design" (which is nonsense if you give it half a critical look) we're losing the wider culture war. Also, while most states have criteria on teaching evolution in science class, a lot of them shove it to the end of the year, when they usually run out of time, or otherwise gloss over it, mostly due to not wanting to take on the bother of dealing with a few screaming parents about how they're corrupting their kids morals.

What really, truly, pisses me off about this issue is it glorifies ignorance. If people want to believe in the literal truth of the Bible go right ahead. But they are plenty out there who are demanding that the rest of society conform to their beliefs or at the least affirm that a belief based on no evidence whatsoever is at least the equal of one of the most solid theories in all of science. That if you say "Well, I just don't believe that" I'm expected to treat that, based on a (often proud) refusal to even try to understand the issue at any level, with respect and deference.

Well, no, I'm not going to treat that with respect because it doesn't deserve any. "Intelligent Design" or Bible literacy doesn't make any sense unless you completely turn your brain off to any new ideas, unless you never, ever admit for a single second that you might be wrong about anything!

And these are the people who then call scientists "elitists" or "closeminded"!


Anyway, Saturday was the Small Press Affair, an small press evening arranged by Myna Wallin and Callie Forgot-Her-Name at the Tranzac Club with various local authors and presses (including Kelp Queen Press) with reading, music, and various spoken-word events. It was a great night and Myna and Callie deserve major kudos, it's too bad they're stepping down from running the regular Small Press Book Fair. I spent $5 on door prize tickets and walked (staggered) away with a literal armful of books, five assorted hardcovers, a bunch of manga samplers, and six SF books donated apparently by Robert J. Sawyer. Don't know when I'm going to find the time to read them all.

And Sunday Dave Gibbon, artist on Watchmen was at the World's Biggest Bookstore, in an event which was barely advertised at all as far as I can tell, I likely would have missed it if my brother hadn't emailed around about it. It was a great talk, he's seen the rough cut of the movie and quite liked it, although that may be because a lot of the composition was taken directly from the graphic novel he admitted. Working with Alan Moore was wonderful but a chore, the issue treatments he received from Alan being typewritten, single-spaced, with no page numbers. Alan's description of the FIRST PANEL took up four pages (and it eventually just became the smiley face lying in the gutter). And since the movie was announced, they've sold another million copies of Watchmen, which is very good for Dave Gibbons. Ran into my brother (duh) and Nicholas there, and had late lunch with green_trilobite and moon_custafer.

And got some cycling in last weekend too, I'm now at 2300+ km for the year. But thanks to the time change it gets dark too early now to taken advantage of this week's good weather and cycle into work (streets around here are too scary when it's dark AND busy).
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