Green Gabbro

Employed at Last

Update, April 2: I hope you all had a wonderful April Fools Day, unmarred by water shortages, supervolcanoes, and threats to your world view. This was a fake, but I should have a real job announcement to make soon – and it won’t involve any quack apologetics.

After months of searching in a desperate economy, I am incredibly relieved to have been offered a permanent position. Not just relieved, but tremendously excited – I’ve managed to find an incredibly exciting, challenging, and meaningful job. As of today, I am the newest adjunct fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture!

My role will be to expand the Institute’s existing “Teach the Controversy” campaign to include other scientific debates. Eventually this will encompass everything from protecting linguistics professors who discuss the number of words that Eskimos have for snow, to advocating for free market policy solutions in the design of the next big particle accelerator (to ensure that any wormholes created only lead to awesome alternate universes), to making sure that the broab is included as part of an alternate functional diagram in neuroanatomy textbooks. For now, though, I’ll be getting my feet wet sticking close to my field of expertise: the Expanding Earth hypothesis.

The Expanding Earth hypothesis was one of a number of ideas proposed during the heady days following the discovery of sea-floor spreading. While the modern theory of plate tectonics eventually emerged as the most popular scientific paradigm, not all of the alternative viewpoints were thoroughly falsified. Some of them still address some inconsistencies in the data – inconsistencies that would be glaring if we weren’t all working with plate tectonics blinders on. I will be working – through both “new” and “old” media – to make sure those inconsistencies are given a fair hearing in the public sphere.

This might seem like a bit of a departure from my previously-expressed views, but it really isn’t. I have long thought that we in the geoblogosphere do ourselves a disservice with too much talk about “EEdiots” – we’re accomplishing nothing but alienating people who might otherwise listen, and we look like judgmental buffoons. This isn’t about my personal beliefs or the merits of any particular position, it’s about the fundamental value of academic freedom and spirited, respectful debate. I firmly believe that minority viewpoints and “alternative” theories can have great pedagogical value – even if most students reject them in the end, they will learn so much when they are allowed to explore all sides of the argument for themselves!

My new commute is lovely on a bicycle, but today, I have also pledged to fight through downtown Seattle’s traffic and parking to participate in Drive to Work Day. American society was built on the automobile, and now our nation’s auto manufacturers are in crisis. Now, more than ever, it is vital that we act to preserve our car-centric culture, and I hope you will all join me in taking action to strengthen your bond to the automobile.

Comments

  1. #1 dean
    April 1, 2009

    Sweet :D

    Can you expand “My role will be to expand the Institute’s existing “Teach the Controversy” campaign to include other scientific debates.”

    into mathematics as well? My students would love to find out that the only probability distribution ever used is the normal distribution, and then only when we need to find the area to the left (or the right) of the mean.

    And that whole 0.99999……. = 1 thing needs to be fixed too – I have some home-school graduates in my class who would love to help you with that one.

    :D :D :D

  2. #2 J-Dog
    April 1, 2009

    pi = 3 would also help make mathy stuff easier. HTH )

  3. #3 Academic
    April 1, 2009

    will u x-pand ur werk 2 use txt-spch as vald comm? ;)

  4. #4 cherish
    April 1, 2009

    I knew those subduction zones were a hoax! They ought to change to song it “It was a small world.”

  5. #5 arvind
    April 1, 2009

    Excellent!! I hope your pioneering work with the expanding earth theory will finally end the stranglehold of the “global warming” theory in academia. Everyone knows from a basic knowledge of thermodynamics that an expanding volume automatically causes a reduction in temperature and so we will be just fine. Teach the controversy! Also, the expansion gives us a lot more area to drill in and otherwise use for human consumption as the good lord intended.
    And while you’re about it, could you try to do your best to have a bridge built across the puget sound. That whole ferry thing is insane! What if I wanted to drive in my hummer at 80 mph to go to Olympic national park and shoot some tree octopus for fun? It’s time we stopped those coffee sipping, grunge music listening, bicycling maniacs from cramping our style!!

  6. #6 Sandra Porter
    April 1, 2009

    Excellent timing! :P

  7. #7 Pete Buchholz
    April 1, 2009

    Expanding earth? What nonsense…. everyone knows that Catastrophic Plate Tectonics and Hydroplate is what really happened. I mean, it’s obvious that in the flood times we went from Pangea to at least the Miocene coastlines.

  8. #8 Jesse P.
    April 1, 2009

    Brilliant. They are a wonderful institution and will benefit greatly from your input. I love their table of the elements:
    http://stupid-ideas.blogspot.com/2006/11/truth-is-constant-periodic-table-of.html

  9. #9 Falyne
    April 1, 2009

    I lol’d. ^_^

  10. #10 Anonymous
    April 1, 2009

    How do you feel about the “creationist” view of your work place?

  11. #11 Alice
    April 1, 2009

    W00T! This does look cool. Congratulations! :-)

  12. #12 Andrew
    April 1, 2009

    This is great news, Maria.

    As you learn more about EE, I’m sure you’ll correct your error of thinking that EE followed seafloor spreading. In fact, Sam Carey proposed EE in 1955, and he has cited earlier thinkers. The real source, of course, is much older. You’ll find out when the Discovery Institute gives you your library card, and you can consult their book.

  13. #13 Martin DeMello
    April 1, 2009

    The ‘drive to work day’ was a lovely touch :)

  14. #14 Alice
    April 2, 2009

    OMG I suck. I totally read this as real. And thought, ok, it doesn’t sound quite right, but she seems enthusiastic, so live and let live, right? I suck. Thanks for coming clean. And I’ll read more carefully next time. ;-)

  15. #15 Arikia Millikan
    April 6, 2009

    HAHA MARIA! I was doing some research on the Edu/Careers channel and came across this. Brief moment of panic despite your disclaimer at the top. You’re good.

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