Archive for the ‘diversity’ Category

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Lumpers, Splitters and Noah’s Ark

19 August, 2010

One of my father’s frequent pithy comments, one of his stock phrases, was, “The world is made up of two kinds of people:  lumpers and splitters.”  And palaeontologists are no exception.  Actually, they may be the definition of lumpers and splitters.

Scientists in almost every discipline are, whether they choose to admit it or not, are natural splitters.  Every (well, almost every) budding palaeontologist is a splitter.  Why?  What better way to get one’s name noticed, to get that elusive grant or, even better, teaching position, than to have your very own genus chalked up on your wall of fame?  This means, of course, that species are sometimes described based upon flimsy evidence.  One of the most famous was Apatosaurus/Brontosaurus.  Othniel Marsh, one of the true giants of early palaeontology, described Apatosaurus ajax based on a very incomplete fossil in 1877.  Then, two years later, he described Brontosaurus excelsus  based on six skeletons and part of a skull.  A quarter century later, the species, which had been split, was lumped back together by Elmer Riggs.  Of course, Brontosaurus is such a beautiful name that we continue to use it, though it is a junior synonym. Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Dangers of Saying “Happy Holidays”

18 December, 2009

Today, while in uniform (National Park Service), I (not on the clock at the time (I was out to lunch (physically, not just mentally))) wished someone “Happy holidays.”  And got a rash of shit. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Persecuted Christians?

17 June, 2009

Back in April, I asked Christians to make up their collective minds.  Either they are the majority who gets to run roughshod over any and all with whom they disagree, or they are the poor oppressed minority forced to pray in secret and oppressed by the courts and the ACLU.  Pat Boone (former mediocre actor, singer and porn star (okay, I made last one up) and currently columnist at World Net Nut Daily) has decided that Christians will soon be fed to the lions (I spotted this courtesy Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars (so blame him if you follow the link and lose brain cells)). Read the rest of this entry ?

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Is the GOP a Cult?

10 May, 2009

I ran across this at the International Cultic Studies Association (I was looking for Celtic Studies) about (go figure) cults.  And as I read the warning signs of a cult, I realized, “Holy batshit, fatman:  The GOP’s a cult.”  Don’t believe me?  Read the rest of this entry ?

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Rules, Laws, the Constitution, and Contracts are Null and Void (if the Bible Says So)

21 March, 2009

One of my pet peeves (other than people who use the phrase, ‘pet peeve’) is the inability of the religious right to understand America.  We are, without any doubt, a secular country.   We are not a Christian nation.  Yet every argument against equal rights for Americans who are homosexual comes from a couple of verses taken out of context from the Bible.  The religious right wants to deny human rights to homosexuals (and expects them to be happy that they aren’t being stoned to death).   And the religious right thinks that rules, laws, the Constitution, and contracts can be ignored anytime it interferes with the bigotry of bromze age mythology. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Faith and Freedom Institute Wants Neither

10 March, 2009

A new group, The Faith and Freedom Institute, has decided to fill in the vacuum of evangelical leadership created by the semi-retirement of James Dobson.  The FFI will combat “satanic wickedness” and will return America to a foundation of Biblical principles.

Theocratic Democracy

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All Non-Christians are Atheists?

6 March, 2009

Did you know that atheists are not a minority in the world?   I didn’t, either.  How could I have missed this?  Who are all these atheists? Read the rest of this entry ?