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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Stories to Watch: 2/3/14

Noted Science Guy Bill Nye is debating creationist cultist Ken Ham tonight on whether evolutionary biology -- an applied science -- is correct in explaining speciation or whether, as Ham believes, the early days of man were practically identical to an episode of The Flintsones. Some worry that debating nuts like Ham gives them credibility, but the fact is that not engaging them leaves them free to spread their horseshit unchecked and unchallenged. No one expects Nye to convert Ham to the acceptance of reality and no one expects Ham's followers to be convinced either. But the fact is there are people out there yet to be persuaded either way. And if we abandon those minds to charlatans, faith-healers, and snake oil salesmen, then we risk the further rise of right wing anti-science and a further retreat to a society that believes in things like sorcery and exorcism, instead of science and medicine. Ask any climate scientist: these clowns have fucked up enough people's heads already -- and it's causing real damage. Thinking you're above the fray is a invitation to disaster.

Nye said it best himself: "I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, that's completely inconsistent with the world we observe, that's fine. But don't make your kids do it. Because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need engineers that can build stuff and solve problems."

We need to save kids from their own parents and if we appeal to their natural curiosity, we can. The future depends on it.

The harsh brutality of being gay in Russia.

Related: AT&T calls on other Olympic sponsors to condemn Russia's human rights abuses of their LGBT community. I'd rather that they not actually be an Olympic sponsor at all, but this is better than nothing.

A Montana GOP congressional candidate thinks Hillary Clinton is the antichrist, because obviously. Ryan Zinke's campaign finances also seem a little hinky, which is also par for the Republican course.

The state of West Virginia is now a crime scene -- finally.


A new poll finds that a majority of Americans back limits on carbon emissions and a huge number think we should be investing more in green energy and renewables.

Republicans have pretty much killed their effort at immigration reform -- if you can call it an effort. It was more of a case of handing it over to the Tea Party, so they could take it out back and shoot it.

Finally, House Republican's latest debt limit hostage scenario is starting to look a lot like grandstanding political theater. He's got the gun, but Boehner's telling everyone that he'd never pull the trigger.

[cartoon via McClatchy Newspapers]

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