Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Miseducation of Louisiana - paid for by David Vitter

Jena is embarrassing....but to some extent it was unavoidable. We have racist idiots in our state who are going to bubble up into the national spotlight every now and then and perpetuate our state's backwoods stereotype to the rest of the nation. The best thing we can do is show overwhelming solidarity against incidents like this and do as much damage control as possible.

But there are other embarrassing marks against the state which are not only avoidable but are being perpetuated by our political leaders. Such is the case here. We have a Senator attempting to push 100k in federal cash to a group of idiots trying to block evolution from being taught in public schools.

I honestly didn't really give a shit about Vitter's romps, but this absolutely sends me through the roof. He gets caught with his pants down and he trys to atone for it by pushing 100k to these morons in Baton Rouge. Is it because Vitter actually believes creationists' delusions or is it because they're making painfully poor propaganda pieces like this?

So it's ok to the break the law, fuck prostitutes and continually lie about long as he funnels cash to the state's self-righteous organizations and then "repents". All I can say is I hope they use the money to upgrade their website and video production. If you watch their videos without choking on the smugness, you'll get a snapshot of how indignant these people really are.

What pisses me off the most about this is that money could go to any number of national or state educational organizations who would actually promote valid the grossly underfunded Smithsonian Institution which sits only steps away from Vitty Cents' workplace.

Vitty has apparently been too occupied with hoin' around to walk down the mall and educate himself

I have close ties to the Smitshonian and just happened to be at the Museum of Natural History the other day. I decided to take the opportunity to give Vitty a little bit of a science lesson and show him some of the painstaking research scientists have done over the past century which has constituted our understanding of the process of evolution.

This is the Dinosaur and Fossil Mammal exhibit which walks you through the earliest stages of life to the present via an extensive display of fossils. You see, Vitty...fossils are a physical track record which we accumulated over a century of backbreaking excavations by archeologists, paleontologists and geologists who devoted their lives to create a better understanding of what forms of life have inhabited the planet. We use methods such as radiocarbon dating, potassium-argon dating, thermoluminescence, and DNA analysis to figure out just how old these fossils really are. When the data is collected and cross referenced with other scientific disciplines, namely geology, we begin to get a holistic view of the grand picture of life as it has transpired on this planet. The painstaking work these great minds have done have allowed future generations of scientists to stand on their shoulders and exponentially expand our understanding of our planet and it's origins.

This is the tower of time. It gives you a pretty good visual representation of how old the planet is and how long life has existed on it. We believe the earth began to form through a process called heterogeneous accretion about 4 1/2 billion years ago. The first semblances of life sprang up in the form of single-celled organisms, prokaryotes, around a billion years after the birth of the planet. It took another 2 billion years for those cells to evolve into more complex, multicellular forms of life known as eukaryotes. Once the process kicked in it began to naturally accelerate and within another 500 million years or about 600 million years from today, the first multi-celled animals came into existence. It took another 400 million years for the first primates to appear and 40 million for the first known hominid (man) to appear.....we call him Australopithecus.

That's the macrocosm... now how does evolution actually work?

It's chemical.

There are only two self-replicating processes known on the planet: RNA and Crystallization. RNA replicates all organic matter....anything with a carbon molecule. Crystallization creates minerals and rocks...anything that's not alive.

Organic replication occurs from a series of chemical reactions among amino acids called DNA. DNA is the code of amino acids which form the double helix structure most of us are familiar with, but RNA is the actual single strand messenger or catalyst which instigates the chemical reaction and replication process.

What's happening in the "creation" of life (and I use that term lightly because nothing is really created or destroyed, it's just a recombination of matter) is DNA helix strands are being ripped apart and recombined a gazillion times to create single cell to complex multi-cellular organisms. The more complex and larger the organism...the more extesnive the recombinant process.

While RNA/DNA is the most accurate replicating process we know's not perfect. Exterior forces like ultra-violet radiation lead to mistakes in the replication process or what we refer to as mutations. The more complex the organism, the more mutations occur during the replication process. The majority of these mutations (genotypes) don't end up manifesting themselves in physical changes (phenotypes). But on occasion a mutation occurs which can mildly or dramatically alter the physical appearance of an organism. Most of these mutations are once again useless and most likely detrimental to the organism's, albinism, deformed limbs, blindness, etc. However, on very rare occasions a mutation can prove to be beneficial to the organism. The deciding factor is of course the natural surroundings or the environmental surroundings to which the organism is exposed....this process is what's referred to as natural selection.

For example, if an animal is born with the albinism gene in an area where camoflauge is necessary for it's survival....the odds are that organism is going to get eaten at a very early stage of it's life before it has a chance to reproduce. But if it's mutation gives it a trait which somehow enhances it's ability to survive and reproduce in it's environment, such as a heightened sense of smell or sight, then that mutation becomes an asset to the organism. But it's important to note that even with the genetic advantage that organism must reproduce and pass that genetic trait on in order for it to actually affect the evolution of the species.

In essence, every single organism truly is unique in it's own way due to it's unique mutations...even twins are very different on a genetic level.

I think the problem most people have understanding the process of evolution is that they can't comprehend the massive expanse of time in which the process occurs. If you were to take the history of the planet and condense it into a room with a 12 foot ceiling with the birth of the planet starting at the floor and the present day ending at the ceiling.....the amount of time man has walked the planet would be about as thin as the paint on the ceiling.

It's quite staggering to comprehend, but we must if we are to understand how evolution works.

Now according to Vitty and his creationist buddies...the planet was just created about 8,000 years ago because that's what the Old Testament states. If you're going to accept that logic, then you simply can't justify methods such as DNA testing as real....which means the science we're using to put murderers away all around the country is just bunk and we should immediately release anyone whose been convicted using DNA analysis.

The notion that the planet is only 8000 years old is absolutely absurd and contradicts just about every scientific discipline known to man. But Vitter wants to give some backwoods idiots in Baton Rouge 100k in federal cash to perpetuate this stupidity.

Contrary to creationist's belief this T. Rex's choppers never bit into human flesh....cause we didn't even make it to the planet until 200 million years after dinosaurs became extinct

Some creationists have worked around their agenda's obvious discrepancies creating the notion of "Intelligent Design". So essentially they are willing to yield on the overwhelming scientific data slapping them in the face and say "Alright we admit evolution is real....but God makes it happen!"

This cracks me up.

If you actually understand how the process works, you would know that about 99.9% of mutations are useless or even detrimental to the organism and the majority of the ones that are beneficial never end up getting propagated by the organism. The process as a whole is incredibly chaotic and ineffecient. If they want to make their god responsible for evolution be my guest....but it must mean their god is a complete fuck up and can only get shit right about .00001% of the time.

Australopithecus...the first man....cranial capacity is slightly larger than the members of the Louisiana Family Forum

To be honest with you....I don't have a problem with Creation Myth being taught in high schools. It shouldn't be taught in biology classes, but I think it would be healthy to teach myth and culture across high schools nationwide. have to teach all creation myth....not just the Old Testament.

One that comes to mind is from a Northwestern Native American tribe (I think Kwakiutl or Nootka...can't remember) where the deities Rat and Raven are in a canoe and the whole world is still covered in water. Raven being the mischeivous dude that he is, turns the canoe over and flys off leaving Rat to fend for himself. So Rat comes up with the idea to let a massive fart and suddenly land springs up from the water (not making this up).

Creation by flatulence...I like that.

You may laugh but I would argue that the metaphorical content of that myth is much more pertinent than Genesis. I could equate the fart to the Big Bang or even the gaseous creation to heterogenous accretion. If you think that's silly keep in mind that in Genesis, Yahweh didn't create the sun until the 3rd day. How can you have a day without a fucking sun?

To sum all this up, directing 100k to these idiots is a much bigger crime than fucking prostitutes. The only children Vitty Cent hurt when he got his freak on was his own. If these idiots in Red Stick get 6 digit funding, it scares me to think about how many young minds they can completely fuck up. Not to mention the message it sends about Louisiana to the rest of the rational human beings in this country and worldwide.

Haven't you been laughed at enough, Dave?


Anonymous said...

Excellent summary, Dambala! I love your statement about God being a fuck-up if he's responsible for evolution. I'll have to remember that one for the next time I get into this debate (unfortunately, this happens all too often)! The jump from 8,000 year-old-earth to no DNA replication is probably a bit of a stretch for these people (well, anything is, but anyway...). I usually prefer to remind people that without evolution there would be no need to develop new antibiotics. If they don't believe in evolution they should just keep taking penicillin, since they don't believe resistance can be evolved.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Oooo....that's a good one. Where were you when I wrote this. I know the DNA issue is a stretch but it was 2 am when I wrote it and I just grabbed the first scenario which came to my head....there as so many to choose from which their lives depend on every fucking day. microbial mutation is much more obvious though....I will use that in oral debate. thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

actually, i would guess that vitter is a big fan of penicillin.

wonderful article D. the irony of the term "intelligent design" coming from those idiots is rich.

i think if those turkeys get $100k, vitter should also be required to give 100k to the producers of Zeitgeist the movie, as equal time, so they can use that money to show their film in every school around the country that teaches intelligent design and creationism and ... here's an idea, let the kids make up their minds about what really happened, rather than forcing it down their throats with threats of eternal damnation.

Jason Brad Berry said...

oh but eternal damnation is the Rock of Girbraltar in the evangelical/conservative mindset. Rule by fear...once you scare the shit out of those kids they'll digest anything you give them.

Anonymous said...

DAAAMMN! That was an intense read D! You should be teaching this to those kids. As complicated the idea may be, you explained it so well! Excellent post.

Tim said...

Outstanding! I picked up a few new facts and I will definitely look for the Tower of Time next time I visit the Smithsonian. Where are we, in like the top two milimeters? Wow.

Sadly, Vitter probably doesn't read your blog. He's too busy surfing porn.



Leigh C. said...

"I usually prefer to remind people that without evolution there would be no need to develop new antibiotics. If they don't believe in evolution they should just keep taking penicillin, since they don't believe resistance can be evolved."

Nicole, there's a possibility that Diaper Dave is allergic to penicillin. If he is, then it's yet another way in which nature is working its selective magic. Hey, medical community: who are we to get in the way of this kind of natural selection?