Weeds and Tares

Nice catch! by Davers @ Flickr

Nice catch! by Davers @ Flickr

So today I attended my first Science Club event. The club keeps a little garden out back of the science building, and it needed weeding.

I stopped by after English class to find Doc all alone, weeding. He pointed out what needed done, what to yank up and what not to, and I set to work. We had the department head pop in and out to lend her hands, and someone who I think is another instructor helped for a while.

It actually turned out to be a nice bit of relaxing time, just chit chatting with Doc about science, the exam, the class, the lab, that sort of thing. We talked about the Thumb and After the Bar Closes, Randi and Dr. PZ, Dover and Brunswick County, Barbara Forrest and Michael Behe, Gould and Dawkins, and Dionaea muscipula, Spanish class and English class, my history with Dr. Bob and my flirtation with L. Ron Hubbard.

It was a great day for it, just the perfect temperature with a perfect breeze, and I was having a good day regarding my neck. I’m kinda glad no one else showed up, in an odd way.

From whence came the art:

That image is titled Nice catch! by Davers, and is licensed by the artist under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 license.

Blogging My Biology Class

Biology, Eighth Edition, by Campbell & Reece, et al.

Biology, Eighth Edition, by Campbell & Reece, et al.

I’m going to start cross-posting my Biology 111 comments from the thread at AtBC, just for convenience. I’ll insert a new category, just for this class, and all my posts about it will be on this page.

Here are my notes and thoughts from the lecture and the lab on Monday, August 18, 2008, with a little subsequent information tacked on the end:

A little about the course:

It’s Bio 111, with a lab, and it’s the first course along my way to a Biology Education degree.

The instructor, who I’ll just name “Doc” for now, earned his bachelor’s at Ohio State, his master’s at University of North Carolina Wilmington, and his PhD at North Carolina State.  Along the way, he taught various places, including at Coastal.  He’s been teaching there for (if I recall correctly) 22 years or so.

The text we’re using is Biology, Eighth Edition, by Campbell & Reece et al, and the lab manual is Biology, Ninth Edition, by Sylvia S. Mader.

I have the lecture at 8:00 AM on MWF, and the lab is Mondays from 11:00 to 2:00.

(Notes and thoughts below the fold)
Read the rest of this entry »

Slide into the Weekend

Get Thee Behind Me, Charles!

Get Thee Behind Me, Charles!

Click for the full strip, at Abstruse Goose.

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been blogging my Bio 111 course over at After the Bar Closes.

I’ve posted up my notes from this morning’s lecture there, and that link will take you right to the top of them, if you give it a sec to load.  Briefly, we touched on Charles Darwin today, and then got into emergent properties, heredity, descent with modification, common descent, and natural selection.

I also joined the Science Club today.

English class was short, as we had a sub (Mr. B is at a wedding), she couldn’t get the powerpoint projector working, and she isn’t as boisterous or as gregarious (or as verbose) as Mr. B.  She cut us loose early.

Between both classes, it was a nice easy slide into the weekend.

From whence came the art:

That is a snip of one panel from A Wise Man Once Said… at Abstruse Goose.

So, Almost Done Week One

Narnia Entry in Spring by Fort Photo @ Flickr

Narnia Entry in Spring by Fort Photo @ Flickr

College has been tough on my broken body this first week.  If you’ve been following my twitter page, you know that I’ve got a bunch of homework from my Pre-calc algebra class (my night class).  Little bit of Spanish, little bit of English, no Biology homework yet.

I’m enjoying my classes, all of them, but most especially my Biology class.  The prof is great, and the subject of course is the reason I’m there, so it’s inherently interesting to me.  He’s spending a great deal of time and effort on the Scientific Method, which rocks.  You simply can’t do Science without it.

By request of Steve Story, Moderator Emeritus at AtBC, I’m sort of pseudoblogging my Bio class at After the Bar Closes.  Please feel free to read and/or contribute there.  It’s a great place, full of Scientists, Science educators, and people just interested in Science.  Mostly, its raison d’etre is for mocking creationism and the dishonest purveyors of the Intelligent Design Creationism Hoax, so although you’ll find some heavy duty science there in places, you’ll also find a lot of mockery that might be described as “puerile”.  It’s sort of to be expected, given the target.

For English class, I have a great guy for a teacher.  Very gregarious, very boisterous, and not afraid to be fun and/or cheesy.  I like that in a teacher, as well.

I have a very young lady for PreCalc Algebra.  She nice, and she’s friendly, but seems just a little nervous or timid or something, like she could really use a drink before class.  Is is appropriate for a student to suggest such a thing?  If so, how would one go about that without implying that she have a drink with me?  My wife would probably be a little sour on such an idea, so I definitely don’t want to give that impression.  I kinda like sleeping indoors, I’ve grown accustomed to it, and would rather not find myself on the porch.

My Spanish class is a bit livelier – sometimes.  The teacher does a lot to get everyone involved and keep it light, but in a class made up of kids, well, sometimes they’re just introverted.  It’s been interesting to see the collective mood swing back and forth within each class period.

Anyway, I’ll try  to blog a little more often about my classes, but right now I have a ton of homework and my first quiz (precalc) is Monday.

From whence came the art:

That image is titled Narnia Entry in Spring by Fort Photo, and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.

Expelled Tanking Quickly

Dr. Dr. NeinStein, by QuidamCurrently floating around 8% 7% 6% 5% and nose diving at RottenTomatoes, critical reviews are beginning to come in for Ben Stein’s “documentary” Expelled.  (ETA – back up to 9%, on the strength of a review by Christianity Today.  Yep, All Science So Far!)

Minneapolis Star-Tribune: “Typical of all propaganda, it also distorts language.

The New York Times: “One of the sleaziest documentaries to arrive in a very long time, ‘Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed’ is a conspiracy-theory rant masquerading as investigative inquiry.”

Salt Lake Tribune: “a slick but intellectually dishonest documentary

E! Online: “A flunkout of a documentary, this features Ben Stein….Stein’s credibility is blown on this poorly constructed diatribe, and you’d be smart to save your bucks.

Seattle Times: “A hard-core, fundamentalist bit of right-wing propaganda”

Kalamazoo Gazette: ” ‘Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed’ (PG) — Ben Stein stars in a controversial satirical documentary asserting that ‘intelligent design’ (creationism) advocates are being persecuted. Rave Cityplace 14, Kalamazoo 10, Lakeview Square Cinema in Battle Creek. Grade: F”

Orlando Sentinel (my personal favorite so far): “…a cynical attempt to sucker Christian conservatives into thinking they’re losing the ‘intelligent design’ debate because of academic ‘prejudice.‘ “

Further down:

Shockingly, the ‘experts’ Stein hurls against evolution are disgruntled, under-credentialed academics dismissed from lesser colleges, they say because they say they wanted to teach creation rather than science. Other ‘experts’ in the film come from anti-evolution ‘think tank’ cranks.

Actually, it’s only shocking if you haven’t been following the shenanigans of The Intelligent Design Creationism Hoax for more than five minutes.

One more little bit from the Sentinel:

Expelled relies on the viewer’s inability or unwillingness to wrestle with a complex corner of science, double-talking its way toward a ‘must be a miracle’ solution to anything that science may not claim to have an answer for. Dismiss that for having no basis in fact, and you’re infringing on ‘academic freedom.’

Edit to add my new favorite review, from FlickFilosopher:

It’s apeshit crazy nuttiness right from the opening moments of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, as imagery of Nazi atrocities and the terrors of life behind the Berlin War are smugly deployed in a demented attempt to editorialize away basic scientific fact. And in a saner universe than the one in which we live, you could scoff at Stein and dismiss him and not give this propagandistic nonsense another thought.

Even their target audience is panning it outright.

Nell Minow, the Movie Mom at beliefnet: “he should understand that freedom of speech also guarantees the freedom not to have to listen to mangled, manipulative, and disingenuous rhetoric like this.”

Ouch.

For the actual lowdown on this piece of third rate garbage, pop over to the National Center for Science Education’s website at ExpelledExposed.com.

HT – Carlsonjok and Rich Hughes at AtBC

That image of Dr. Dr. NeinStein is titled Dr. Dr. EvilStein and is used with permission, courtesy of Quidam at AtBC. (I even have the latest version before the boys at AtBC do.)

AtBC – Doomed

(Click to embiggen.)

AtBC - Doomed

Image credits forthcoming.

Read them all.

AtBC – Shimmy

Guest starring…

(Click to embiggen.)

AtBC - Shimmy

Image credits found here.

Read them all.

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