Dark Matter Finally Identified!

I’ve solved the mystery that astrophysicists have been puzzling over for decades: What is dark matter?

That’s easy! It’s Anti-Science!

Republicans, the anti-science

We’re surrounded by it. It’s everywhere! Just look. Here’s a bunch right here!

Organized crime

It obviously makes up the majority of the matter in the United States alone; therefore (and I’m extrapolating here), it must make up the majority of the matter in the rest of the universe.

Mystery solved.

For my next miracle, I will explain why so many women and minorities vote Republican.

OK, on second thought, maybe I can’t explain that one.

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On the anti-science front, there was an article in the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday about the quandary the Republican presidential hopefuls are in when they come out here to Silicon Valley:

But the Republican candidates’ views on climate change are being met with the most raised eyebrows in Silicon Valley, the mecca of political fundraising, tech innovation and venture capital dollars.

“In a valley of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs, the science behind climate change is overwhelmingly accepted,” said Carl Guardino, president and CEO of the nonpartisan Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which represents more than 325 of the region’s top companies.

That will hurt them a bit financially, but I suspect there is more than enough stupid money in the rest of the country to make up for it.

Fortunately, their irrational beliefs will also make it harder for almost any of these Republican to carry the state in 2012.

There is little doubt about climate change among likely California voters, 61 percent of whom believe that the effects of global warming have already begun, according to a July survey by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

It also might work against them, to some extent, in the rest of the country.

Nationally, 55 percent of Americans believe that global warming is a “serious personal threat,” according to a Gallup survey in August.

Here’s where it gets good:

The bad news for Republican presidential candidates: The Public Policy Institute survey found that 62 percent of independent voters, who are the swing voters in the state, believe that, too.

Of course, they always have the idiot core:

Thirty-two percent of California Republicans believe that the effects of global warming “will never happen,” the poll also found.

That’s just not enough to carry the state. If things were settled purely rationally (the way they ought to be!), the election would already be over in California. Just hand over those 55 electoral votes to Barack Obama!

In reality, since Obama is a thoroughly incompetent president, he’ll probably manage to hand over those 55 electoral votes to the Republicans.

An example of this is best illustrated by this tweet from God regarding the recent earthquake on the East Coast:

There was just a 5.8 earthquake in Washington. Obama wanted it to be 3.4, but the Republicans wanted 5.8, so he compromised.

But let’s get back to the Chronicle article:

Only one major Republican candidate has dared to challenge his party on these views. Last month, Jon Huntsman, a former U.S. ambassador to China and Utah governor, tweeted: “To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”

He is crazy. By Republican standards.

He has other problems, so I could never support Huntsman, but I still wish he’d be the Republican’s pick. Actually, I really wish they’d pick Michelle Bachmann. She’s so crazy that she probably couldn’t win the general election.

Since the Republicans will probably nominate someone else, My hope is for Huntsman. If they pick a “moderate” (by Republican standards), whoever that is will probably win. I’d rather we have a pro-science Republican in the White House than an anti-science Republican. All of the other GOP candidates are anti-science.

In addition to climate-change denial, all of the other candidates also deny evolution. The Chronicle article briefly touches on those views too.

Rick Perry has described himself as “a firm believer in intelligent design as a matter of faith and intellect…”

OK, I can understand it being a matter of faith. But intellect?

…and has called evolution “a theory” with “some gaps in it.”

I think it’s his brain that has some gaps in it.

Mitt Romney appears to be taking a nuanced position. “I believe God is intelligent, and I believe he designed the creation,” he said.

He’s not taking a nuanced approach. That’s exactly what the Intelligent Design creationists are saying.

“And I believe he used the process of evolution to create the human body.”

This actually shows that not only does Romney not understand evolution, he doesn’t understand Intelligent Design creationism! According to Michael Behe and the other pushers of this drug, evolution alone isn’t capable of creating us. God had to step in at critical points during our evolution and poof us to the next stage.

Michele Bachmann…

Who let the crazy woman in here? How did she get out of bed this morning? Didn’t anybody check her straps?

…has claimed that “hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes,” believe in intelligent design, as she does.

If by “hundreds and hundreds” she means “one or two” and by “many of them holding Nobel Prizes” she means “none of them”, then she’s absolutely correct!

But she said government shouldn’t take sides in scientific debates “when there is reasonable doubt on both sides.”

She’s right. Some scientists look at her brain scans and claim to see activity. Other scientists only see a wet gray sponge. The government shouldn’t take sides in that debate until we can cut her open and check. Evidence! We need more evidence, people!

Ron Paul said he does not accept the theory of evolution. “The creator that I know created us, each and every one of us, and created the universe, and the precise time and manner,” Paul has said, although he has also said there is no “absolute proof on either side.”

Science doesn’t work on absolute proof. It works on data. In the case of evolution, “absolute” refers to the absolute mountain of data we have supporting it. Where is any data supporting his claim?

Newt Gingrich…

Newt Gingrich!? Is that guy still around?

…has said, “I believe that creation as an act of faith is true, and I believe that science as a mechanical process is true.… Both can be true.”

What does that even mean? The universe had two origins? A created origin and a mechanical origin? When we finally look, the act of observing will make the entire universe collapse!

He says both should be taught in schools, evolution as a science and intelligent design “as a philosophy.”

ID creationism isn’t philosophy. It isn’t the intellectual equivalent of Plato or Kant. Just try to justify teaching creationism in the schools, Newt! You’ll discover you Kant.

Jon Huntsman is the only candidate in the GOP ranks who has taken a strong position in support of evolution, recently tweeting, “I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”

Rick Santorum, who calls himself a fierce believer in creationism, jabbed back at Huntsman, saying, “I believe in Genesis 1:1 – God created the heavens and the earth. I don’t know exactly how God did it or exactly how long it took him, but I do know that he did it.”

And I do know that the Republicans are hell-bent on destroying science and science education. Lose your house in the Republican-caused Great Recession? Don’t worry! Just vote Republican a few more times, and we’ll all be living in nice warm caves again! Then we’ll be arguing over “teaching the controversy” and the “strengths and weaknesses” of the theory of fire.

16 Responses to “Dark Matter Finally Identified!”

  1. Lindsay Says:

    Great to have you back Ron. I enjoyed the article but was a bit worried Santorum was no longer being spread. However, I just had to wait until the end to get a big load of Santorum.

    Call me juvenile, but Santorum never gets old…

  2. Andy Hollandbeck Says:

    Michelle Bachmann came out on top in the race to crazy with this short-sighted statement: “…government shouldn’t take sides in scientific debates ‘when there is reasonable doubt on both sides.’”

    You know in what other areas you can find a reasonable doubt? How about the link between smoking and lung cancer? Between immunizations and autism? How about eugenics?

    For that matter, you can find plenty of people for both sides of a debate about capitalism. Or democracy.

    The idea of a government that requires unanimity before action is ridiculous. And frightening.

  3. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Huntsman doesn’t stand a chance. I agree he is incredibly sane for a modern Republican. His winning the primary would be good for America because his moderation would actually allow Obama to move further left to distinguish himself. But he doesn’t stand a chance.

    So out of what’s left, I’m rooting for Perry because I don’t see any conceivable way he survives the general even with an abysmal economy. My position is that he won’t lead or vote appreciably any differnet from Romney or the rest, so by having the most insane candidate take it all has no real net effect on the country if he wins, but helps Obama greatly in the general.

    Perry’s Yosemite Sam act may work in the Republican primary, but I don’t see how he can walk that back effectively. He really has a Bush The Third perception problem too. He just looks, acts, and sounds too much like him. I don’t see how it works.

    In reality, since Obama is a thoroughly incompetent president, he’ll probably manage to hand over those 55 electoral votes to the Republicans.

    Oh, for fuck’s sake.

  4. Ron Britton Says:

    Parrotlover:

    Obama is incompetent, because he completely lacks the ability to recognize when he’s being fucked up the ass by the Republicans. He gives away 90% and then gets nothing in return. He’s now willing to damage Social Security and Medicare, something even many Republican presidents have been unwilling or unable to do. He completely caved in to the teabaggers over that manufactured debt ceiling controversy.

    Here’s a couple of articles for you:

    From The Guardian, “Obama Criticised for Continuing Civil Rights ‘Violations’ Introduced By Bush“.

    On becoming president in January 2009, Obama promised to close Guantánamo Bay within a year. He did order an end to waterboarding but Guantánamo remains open and almost all the rest of the Bush era anti-terrorism apparatus, from the Patriot Act through to increased surveillance is still in place. [emphasis added]

    From The Nation, “Our Vanished Civil Liberties“.

    In pursuit of both terrorists and common criminals, Obama has perpetuated so many of the Bush administration’s policies that even Republicans might take heart.

    Data collection on individuals has flourished without judicial oversight. People under no suspicion are still monitored clandestinely with Bush-era legal tools. State secrecy is invoked to thwart lawsuits by victims of government abuse. Leakers and whistleblowers are aggressively prosecuted, and federal agencies vigorously resist inquiries made under the Freedom of Information Act. Last spring the hard line against defendants’ rights reached into certain criminal matters that have nothing to do with national security.

  5. Ron Britton Says:

    Andy:

    The idea of a government that requires unanimity before action is ridiculous.

    I wonder what Bachmann’s opinion was on the Iraq War when we first went in. Most of the experts doubted there were weapons of mass destruction, our stated goal.

  6. Parrotlover77 Says:

    No argument from me on civil liberties, which is my biggest complaint about him. It is also something he never campaigned on. This is what we get when we have a completely broken media and horse race obsessed political system, instead of sound governing bodies that use evidence-based metrics to create policy.

    That said, the “he gives republicans 90% of what they want” is just an emoprog myth. An excellent example is the government shutdown fiasco. I wish I had bookmarked the link, but I read where they analyzed every cut and something like 80-90% of it was stuff that was already cut or expiring or overfunded, being put into a bill in order to make it look like it was additional cuts.

    The fact is, a moderate/conservative Democrat is the best we can do until the rest of the system is fixed.

    To everybody who can’t stop complaining about Obama, I tell them to work on their local representatives. If you want a liberal president, you start with a Democrat (even a Blue Dog), then you add salt, pepper, some half and half, and heaping spoonful of LIBERAL CONGRESS. Without that, it will never happen.

    Yelling at Obama might feel good, but it doesn’t solve the problem. Worse is apathy. Apathy in the 2010 elections gave us conservative state governments. The next ten years of elections are going to be fucked up due to the lines being drawn right now because emoprogs stayed home because Obama disappointed them with the lack of ponies he was able to pull out of his ass.

    Finally, since when are you against cutting social security? I clearly clearly remember you posting about how the retirement age should be moved up. Although no specific policy guidelines have come out yet, that is the most likely outcome from the austerity folks and the most likely outcome to make it through congress. And for the record, I’m against that big time. I think social security should be expanded. But I’m not going to yell at Obama for holding that opinion when the rest of the proposed Jobs bill looks so good.

    ETA: The Supreme Court. Even if you think Obama is terrible in every other conceivable way, his Supreme Court picks have been stellar. And those fuckers are getting old fast. That alone could set the stage for what is possible in the next 20-30 years of progressive policy. In a sane country, the ACA would be upheld by the supremes unanimously. Right now, it’s looking like it’s going to be a coin toss. Imagine how a truly progressive law would fair against those odds?

  7. S. Says:

    women? I thought most women were smarter than that.I’ve never,ever voted republican and don’t ever intend to.

  8. Ron Britton Says:

    PL:

    No argument from me on civil liberties, which is my biggest complaint about him. It is also something he never campaigned on.

    It doesn’t matter that he didn’t campaign on it. He swore to uphold the Constitution, not shred it. It’s appalling that this country has moved so far toward totalitarianism that most Americans have no qualms about the government monitoring all of their telephone and internet traffic, and all without warrant or oversight.

    This is his single biggest failing. Passing piss-poor third-rate health care reform or raising automotive fuel economy standards is very feeble compensation for the loss civil liberties. Maybe you’ll accept that deal. It’s intolerable to me.

    That said, the “he gives republicans 90% of what they want” is just an emoprog myth.

    Emoprog and Proud

    The fact is, a moderate/conservative Democrat is the best we can do until the rest of the system is fixed.

    I agree with you there. The system is very broken, and the unwashed masses are too ignorant to realize it. They’re too busy getting all their news from TMZ & ESPN to have any room left in their brain for any actual information that profoundly affects their lives.

    Worse is apathy.

    I’m not advocating apathy. Anger doesn’t come from apathy.

    Finally, since when are you against cutting social security? I clearly clearly remember you posting about how the retirement age should be moved up.

    Yes. And you had some ludicrous fantasy of lowering the retirement age to 55. I did some research at that time to write one of my scathing rebuttals. What I read changed my opinion. People tend to go through a fairly rapid decline once they’re into their late 60s/early 70s. A retirement age of 67 is about as high as we should go. I’m still opposed to lowering it. (I was going to follow up on that discussion with either a comment or an article, but as you can tell, I’m not able to post as often as I used to.)

  9. Jeff Says:

    “The creator that I know created us, each and every one of us, and created the universe, and the precise time and manner,”

    “I believe in Genesis 1:1 – God created the heavens and the earth. I don’t know exactly how God did it or exactly how long it took him, but I do know that he did it.”

    I love it when they say they “know”. They really don’t understand the difference between faith and knowledge.

    Or perhaps it’s just the language that confuses them – ’cause you know, English is hard.

  10. Sue Blue Says:

    Perry is a twat who makes even Bush look reasonable and middle-of-the-road. This is the guy who supported Texan secession and who thinks holding huge public prayer rallies at taxpayer expense is the way to fix Texan weather and economic woes. The irony of this guy running for president just fucking blows the top right off my irony meter. Here’s someone who claims to hate “big government” so much that he wants his state to secede… yet he wants to be POTUS? Who in their right mind – even a Republican – would want this guy running the country? Then there’s the do-nothing-but-pray-loudly approach to natural and man-made disaster. He’s as dumb and crazy as Bachmann when it comes to his statements about evolution and science. He’s only slightly more articulate than that other Texan village idiot.

    I was down in Texas visiting unfortunate relatives when this moron held his prayer-fest, held in a huge, air-conditioned stadium while thousands of Texans sweltered in 110-degree heat with their power turned off because the emergency funds collected by the utility to help the poor were being held in a special account used to make the state budget look good and keep the Repub promise not to raise taxes. These guys would rape their own Grandmas if there was a buck in it for them.

  11. Jeff Says:

    Everything Sue said is correct. Frankly, I wish Texas would secede, or at least try to. It would bring everything to a head. Perhaps the sane citizens of Texas (I’m told there are a few) would rebel, and inspire the rest of the red state liberals to do the same. We could do with a good, old-fashioned uprising. It might end this perpetual stand-off into which we’ve locked ourselves – because reason ain’t gonna do it.

    And if not, and Texas did secede – good riddance.

  12. Parrotlover77 Says:

    This is his single biggest failing. Passing piss-poor third-rate health care reform or raising automotive fuel economy standards is very feeble compensation for the loss civil liberties. Maybe you’ll accept that deal. It’s intolerable to me.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree. I understand your position that you want large change and you want it now. I actually want that too, but I’m okay with gradual change as long as we’re moving in the right direction, and I think some very key issues have done so recently after about a decade of nothing.

    I am quite happy to read that you have walked back on social security. I still think it should be age-lowered, but only after doing three things: removing the cap on contributions, progressively decreasing payouts for those who have wealth (thanks, Jimmy Carter, for that idea), and progressively increasing contributions from the wealthy. Turn it into a regular god damned tax, like the income tax. The whole “it’s a fund you pay into and draw from” may be structurally accurate and a fine way to run it from an accounting stand point, but fuck it for having anything to do with contribution levels and realized benefits. If billionaire rich fucks get to pay only 15% on capital gains, they can suck it up and stuff more money into SS and Medicare.

    You know, spread the wealth around. That sounds like a golden idea.

  13. Parrotlover77 Says:

    The secession of Texas would be a pivotal event, policitically. Such an event would almost guarantee Democratic presidential domination for decades due to Texas’ sizable electoral college allocation. While Congress would always be a battle (one everybody here needs to fight and fight hard, no matter how discouraged you get), presidential candidates would almost certainly get more liberal since such a sizable conservative base of supporters would be gone.

    I would feel bad, very bad, for the citizens, animals, lands, waters, and everything else, in the great Republic of Texas because it would be a worse conservative hell hole than now. Imagine what would happen once Texas is no longer able to suckle off the government’s liberal teet they complain about so much?

  14. Sue Blue Says:

    Texan secession would almost guarantee a tsunami of northward-fleeing refugees within a decade as the consequences of Republican theocratic government become painfully obvious to even the most deluded, retarded Texans. The only good thing about that is it would almost certainly stamp out the Republican party in one fell swoop. Although human memory tends to be short and we seem to have to keep learning the same tired old lessons over and over again, the next generation or two might actually be scarred enough by the ordeal to lock out conservatives for a good long time.
    Or maybe we are just fucking doomed by some lurking gene for stupid.

  15. anti_supernaturalist Says:

    Science is not to be believed in

    • The question, do you *believe in* evolution — conflates disparate worlds of thought and behavior. Rather the question is — how could anyone know that evolution is true (false)? The difference between knowledge-based scientific inquiry and faith-based assertions may not be dismissed as “mere semantics”.

    Were I asked — do you “believe in” evolution? — Indeed not; I do not believe in evolution. I know that Modern Evolutionary Theory is true beyond a reasonable doubt — based on evidence, sound method, and explanatory power.

    Consequently, any denial of evolution, by xians or by moslems, is a Big-Lie in the political sense made notorious by propaganda minister Goebbels during Germany’s uncontrolled social experiment 1933–45.

    A belief that a faith-based statement is true requires no evidence at all to be asserted. Determining which empirical claims are true requires an entire set of procedures and methods to verify or falsify that claim.

    That is — the concept of truth is distinct from the means by which a truth claim must be evaluated. (Search terms: Tarski, semantic theory of truth.)

    No scientific theory is logically immune from rational criticism — that is a necessary (though not sufficient) mark of its legitimacy! The distinction between statements which are empirical — which require evidence to ascertain their truth value — and all other statements — is that empirical statements must be open to being false on the evidence. (See Karl Popper, demarcation criteria.)

    • Certainty is a chimera. Believers are obstinately and irrationally certain. Christians falsely believe that they already have the Truth. They claim that their ideology is immutable, immune from rational overthrow. Nonsense.

    One pays dearly when immunizing an alleged fact — a xian god rose from the dead — against all empirical criticism. Such a strategy is literally unreasonable. It cuts off rational communication. The immunizer gives up the right to be classed as a reasonable person — in the common sense meaning used by courts of law.

    In the matter of MET there are no more legitimately naive adult persons. Just as when willfully drinking and driving, willfully dismissing modern evolutionary theory has no excuse. All Republican aspirants to the Presidency hope to steer the nation while driving intellectually drunk.

    the anti-supernaturalist

  16. Parrotlover77 Says:

    anti – I just want to say I really enjoy your comments.

    But if you actually spend time arguing the language semantics of a “do you believe in…” question, you are going to lose not just the scientifically ignorant, but basically everybody except English nerds.

    Like it or not, the “Do you believe in…” construct has two meanings and will continue to have two meanings for the foreseeable future. It’s probably not worth the time to debate the question being worded incorrectly when literally everybody knows what the asker is asking.

    It’s bad enough that Republican presidential respondants answer “no” to that question, without having to explain why the question itself is flawed.

    Also, too, MITTENS!

    I’m looking forward to my city elections tomorrow. Remember: electing more liberal local representatives is how you end up with more liberal state representatives is how you end up with more liberal federal representatives. If you are disappointed at the national level, start by getting involved at the local level. It’s an investment that will pay off.