Cow + Magic = Cheese

This evening I’m off to walk my ex-girlfriend’s dog and to have dinner with her parents, absent the ex-girlfriend, of course. What a magnificently troubled life I lead.

This past weekend I attended the Toronto concert of the guru of the sitar school where I am a student. Ustad Shahid Parvez provided perhaps the finest live performance of any musical instrument or style I have ever personally witnessed. I was able to record two minutes worth on my trusty Treo, and I will post the sample here for download once I figure out how.

NASA is offering a quater of a million bucks to whoever can design a better shovel for digging up lunar regolith. Anybody got any ideas? Need an epidemiologist on your team?

Okay, here‘s a reasoned attempt to explain why so-called “Intelligent Design” (ID) does not belong in classrooms as an alternative “theory” to Darwinian evolution. The author’s thesis is essentially that a scientific “theory” must enable its adherents to make predictions; ID does not and so cannot be put forward as an alternate “theory” for the diversification of life. I am no defender of ID, of course, but I don’t think this refutation is valid. The article cites the philosopher Popper, with whose precepts I was beaten over the head in graduate school. Popper stated that a scientific theory must be “falsifiable”, or present its own opportunities to be proven false.

The problem is that, to my way of thinking, there’s nothing intellectually wrong with operating within a different paradigm, one where Popper’s guidelines do not apply. Using Popper’s rules, the author has successfully convinced me that ID is not technically a scientific theory, according to the definition of theory embraced by most of the scientific world. This in no way disproves ID. Those making policy decisions on behalf of public education, and those who must choose what to what to expose their children, care little for the formal definition of theory. Rather, they want to know which truth is the true truth, paradigm be damned.

So in matters like this, the best authority is often The Onion. This graphic also describes well the folly of ID:



And for the record, while I am opposed to the teaching of ID in schools –for the simple reason that the observable evidence does not point in its direction– I’m quite open to its idea, subject to further evidence being introduced. It would unscientific of me to discard an idea outright without reserving the right to re-examine it in the future, should circumstances indicate.

On a completely different topic, the NY Times is suggesting that Canada already has its own codified version of the US’s detestable “extraordinary rendition” practice, citing the Arar case and others. This is certainly not surprising, though it will no doubt shock some of the more naive members of our society. My suspicion is that the security and military authority of this nation operates in relative isolation from official government instruction. Governments change every four years or so, sometimes drastically so; but the same dinosaurs with the same relationships with their US counterparts remain fixed in positions of power within this complex. I fully expect that over-eager and arrogant senior beaurocrats have developed and are enacting their own foreign and security policies, some of which skirt both Canadian and international laws. I’m not giving the government a free pass on this scandal, but rather am merely suggesting that it is very possible that these activities were occurring without the Prime Minister’s knowledge or imprimatur. If this is the case, it speaks not just to the moral dissolution of our nation’s powerful, but also to the existence of what amounts to an unelected parallel government in the form of bureaucrats who answer to no one… much like the Americans have been plagued with for generations.