At last a really big blow to creationism

From the Pope

The theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real and God is not “a magician with a magic wand”, Pope Francis has declared.

Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pope made comments which experts said put an end to the “pseudo theories” of creationism and intelligent design that some argue were encouraged by his predecessor, Benedict XVI.

Francis explained that both scientific theories were not incompatible with the existence of a creator – arguing instead that they “require it”.

“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” Francis said.

He added: “He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfilment.

Thanks to Montchiloff and kukla on Facebook.

What would you have done?

Imagine the scene:

You are at a very formal dinner that a foundation has organized to present its medal of honor to a very distinguished scientist.  You are also sitting next to a quite distinguished scientist, X, on your left.  And on X’s left is a young woman who, as it turns out, is in Chemistry at a quite good university.  And you, mistakenly taking the situation for a reasonably friendly one, mention the NSF Advance program for advancing women in science.  The conversation then goes:

She:  my university has one.

Me:  o, do you interact with it much.

She:  no, I think the best thing to do is for women to ignore any discrimination.  I really don’t think we should be creating special clubs for women.  That’s what creates the problems.

Me:  but universities are full of special clubs for men.

Distinguished scientist:  well, that used to be so.  In the 1970’s.

She:  anecdotes about her social skills.

Me:  Look, this really isn’t about personal anecdotes.  One just has to look at the statistics.  The last time I looked the percentage of female full professors in physics was 4%

She:  Well, maybe they just didn’t want to become full professors.


This was not in fact the end of the encounter.  I felt flummoxed,  however.  Do tell me, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE?  We were not just having a tete a tete; I had to lean over X to speak to her.  And I basically gave up.

Somehow we fairly quickly turned to philosophy and the distinguished scientist had read about Colorado, so we moved on to easier topics.


Who has a right to self-defense?

From Mother Jones:

One Friday last May, the sun had not yet risen when a SWAT team ignited a flash-bang grenade outside Marvin Guy’s apartment in Killeen, Texas. Officers were trying to climb in through a window when Guy, who had a criminal record and was suspected of possessing cocaine, opened fire. Four officers were hit; one of them was killed.

Five months earlier, 100 miles away, a SWAT officer was shot during a predawn no-knock raid on another house. In that case, too, police threw a flash-bang grenade and tried to enter the residence. Henry “Hank” Magee, according to his attorney, grabbed his gun to protect himself and his pregnant girlfriend. “As soon as the door was kicked in, he shot at the people coming through the door,” says his attorney, Dick DeGuerin. With his legally owned semi-automatic .308 rifle, Magee killed one of the officers.

The cases are remarkably similar, except for one thing: Guy is black, Magee white. And while Magee was found to have acted in self-defense, prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Guy. He remains in jail while he awaits trial.