Pharyngula

Another day of celebration

Since the wingnuts and creationists are busily pushing a bogus version of intellectual responsibility that they have labeled “academic freedom”, which is really an excuse to peddle any old nonsense to children, some wag is now promoting Academic Free-For-All Day.

Ever since that sad debacle known as the “Enlightenment”, a cult of knowledge-and-learning has insisted that any investigation be based on what has been learned in the past. How limiting! If we can only free our minds from the yoke of wisdom, the possibilities become endless. Also, there is way too much hero worship these days. Copernicus, Newton, Darwin, Einstein, blah, blah, blah. They are just a bunch of old dead white guys. Why stand on the shoulders of giants when we can peer from between their ankles?

On Academic Free-for-All day, everyone can have it their way. Don’t worry if 99.9% of the experts on some subject agree on one conclusion about the facts — if your ‘gut’ says differently, then go for it! No matter how wacky the idea is, you can usually find a handful of cranks with Ph.D.s to back you up!

They also have a t-shirt contest, always the hallmark of great ideas.

Comments

  1. #1 Kryth
    January 18, 2009

    Stupid post-modernism BS.

  2. #2 clinteas
    January 18, 2009

    What I like about that website already is that they put the term “Darwinism” in “”,because it drives me mad to see that term used….

    We should take creationist’s ideas to their surreal logical conclusions more often,really !

  3. #3 June
    January 18, 2009

    No Theory Left Behind !

  4. #4 'Tis Himself
    January 18, 2009

    Copernicus was a “mathematician, astronomer, physician, classical scholar, translator, artist, Catholic cleric, jurist, governor, military leader, diplomat and economist”. Guess he just couldn’t hold down a steady job.

    <snortle>

  5. #5 Isherwood
    January 18, 2009

    This looks like satire to me. I think it’s funny.

  6. #6 SteveM
    January 18, 2009

    This looks like satire to me. I think it’s funny.

    Look at the category tag under the article’s title.

  7. #7 Don Bredes
    January 18, 2009

    On this note, PZ and others, there’s an excellent, sardonic but serious essay in the Notebook section of the new (February) “Harper’s.” It’s “A Quibble,” by Mark Slouka. His thesis is that for too many people in this country “belief” easily trumps “knowledge,” as being of a higher order of validity. He says, “We know because we feel, as if truth were a matter of personal taste, or soemthing to be divined with the human heart, like love.”

  8. #8 Joe Shelby
    January 18, 2009

    Ah, gotta love Poe’s Law in action. I almost wonder why “Chicken Shed Cleaner” wasn’t on Copernicus’s resume.

  9. #9 O-dot-O
    January 18, 2009

    > If we can only free our minds from the yoke of wisdom, the possibilities become endless.

    Wow.

    Reminds me of the time that somebody (in another forum) told me that I’d had common sense educated right out of me.

  10. #10 Julie Stahlhut
    January 18, 2009

    It is satire. Even says so right there on the web page.

    I love it!

  11. #11 O-dot-O
    January 18, 2009

    > category tag

    Doh! That’ll teach me to post before reading all of the comments.

  12. #12 Valis
    January 18, 2009

    They also have a t-shirt contest, always the hallmark of great ideas.

    Make it a wet t-shirt contest and I’m in.

    Sorry, feeling juvenile today…

  13. #13 Ian
    January 18, 2009

    Too bad they apparently got their HTML skills from a real geocentrist. :/

  14. #14 mikeg
    January 18, 2009

    so it’s going to be a wet t-shirt contest then? im in!

  15. #15 clinteas
    January 18, 2009

    Wet T-shirt sucks….I prefer no t-shirt lol….
    Ahhh,feeling juvenile..:-)

  16. #16 'Tis Himself
    January 18, 2009

    Don Bredes #7

    (February) “Harper’s.” It’s “A Quibble,” by Mark Slouka. His thesis is that for too many people in this country “belief” easily trumps “knowledge,” as being of a higher order of validity. He says, “We know because we feel, as if truth were a matter of personal taste, or soemthing to be divined with the human heart, like love.”

    People do not care what is true. People care about what makes them feel good. This is the ultimate, primary and foremost concern for every member of the human species. We may be most happy and content with observed, objective reality. But if people find peace in fantasy, then using evidence to change their minds is useless. They need to feel secure, their fantasy makes them secure, and reality doesn?t.

  17. #17 Miguel
    January 18, 2009

    On Academic Free-for-All day, everyone can be a maverick!

  18. #18 John M 307
    January 18, 2009

    Hey on this day, if a commercial aircraft disappears from ATC (turning off its transponder), we can now search the entire USA — or better yet, the entire world — or how about the entire solar system — instead of limiting our search to two or three minutes’ travel distance (twenty or thirty miles).

    “Why couldn’t ATC find the hijacked flights? When the hijackers turned off the planes’ transponders, which broadcast identifying signals, ATC had to search 4500 identical radar blips crisscrossing some of the country’s busiest air corridors.”

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military_law/1227842.html?page=3

    (Would one call the author of this piece a Truther or a Liar?)

  19. #19 Richard W (Sussex, England)
    January 18, 2009

    They’ll be letting off-duty bus drivers teach next.

    By the way, The latest news on the UK bus driver, Ron Heather, who refused to drive the Atheist Ad Bus is that his “CV” has been leaked:

    http://creativeyear.wordpress.com/2009/01/18/110/

    This explains everything!

  20. #20 Crystal D.
    January 18, 2009

    They can use Adam’s Mythbuster T shirt: “I reject your reality and substitute my own!”

  21. #21 Bad Albert
    January 18, 2009

    Why stand on the shoulders of giants when we can peer from between their ankles?

    Great line!

  22. #22 Valis
    January 18, 2009

    The latest news on the UK bus driver, Ron Heather, who refused to drive the Atheist Ad Bus is that his “CV” has been leaked:

    Whahahahaha! That’s a good one ;-)

  23. #23 george.w
    January 18, 2009

    Pretty good parody but I saw a conspicuous lack of all caps and multiple exclamation points.

  24. #24 Lilian Nattel
    January 18, 2009

    Too funny. But if you click on the link on their site to what they are parodying, the original is not so funny. I just hope that Canada doesn’t follow the States into the ignorant abyss. Unfortunately we have Bush-petite as our PM, but lucky for us the Bloc kicks butt.

  25. #25 Cuttlefish, OM
    January 18, 2009

    Good morning, class; Today, we?ll call
    The ?Academic Free-For-All??
    We?ll take a break from evidence,
    From peer-review, from making sense,
    From climbing up atop our giants
    And other silly ways of science.
    Today, I?d like to talk about
    The theories often done without;
    The ones held by tenacious few
    (And yes, they laughed at Einstein, too!)

    [more...]

    http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2009/01/free-for-all.html

  26. #26 fcaccin
    January 18, 2009

    Why does this sort of things always happen on the other side of the planet?
    Too bad.

  27. #27 Holbach
    January 18, 2009

    Would be nice if it was announced as “Academic Free From Religion Day”.

  28. #28 Blind Squirrel FCD
    January 18, 2009

    Why does this sort of things always happen on the other side of the planet?

    You mean edge of the planet, don’t you?

  29. #29 Mena
    January 18, 2009

    Oh, the soon to be “good” old days when the person allegedly running stuff was stuck in the high school mentality of thinking that smart people were somehow inferior. Here’s some more humor, sort of:
    http://www.mightywombat.com/oldtoon.php?year=2009&id=433

  30. #30 Diego
    January 18, 2009

    It’s nice that the site is labeled as satire. It would undermine Poe’s Law if folks would conveniently label their insane dreck. In the same vein Behe and Dembski and their ilk should wear little signs that read, “Yes, I am serious about what I am saying. This is not a clever satire.”

  31. #31 Bob of QF
    January 18, 2009

    I love the headline/byline on the site:

    “End the Tyranny of 1,000 Years of Learning!”

    I love it!

  32. #32 blf
    January 18, 2009
    Why does this sort of things always happen on the other side of the planet?

    You mean edge of the planet, don’t you?

    Disc. Edge of the disc.

    The turtle moves!

  33. #33 TigerHunter
    January 18, 2009
  34. #34 Sastra
    January 18, 2009

    ‘Tis Himself #16 wrote:

    People do not care what is true. People care about what makes them feel good.

    The other day I got a couple of friends of mine who are seriously into believing and promoting religious/spiritual/paranormal claptrap to admit this. Except that I didn’t frame it in terms of what makes them feel good: I said they cared less about the truth of anything they were saying than they did about whether or not it made other people feel good. And I said it as if I was giving them a compliment, because it showed how loving they were.

    And they readily agreed.

    Now, these aren’t just believers. One of them is a minister and radio show host for some sort of religion based on “A Course in Miracles,” and the other has given numerous courses herself, including one promoting a New Thought- Wilhelm Reich forerunner of “The Secret” called psychobionics. And yet, it turns out that, by their own admission, the accuracy or truth of any of it isn’t important to them. Did it make anyone happy? Did it help anyone? Did it “work” for someone? Did they think it worked? That’s what matters.

    Love in action. It all comes down to love. And yes, I said that, with a smile and nod, and they smiled and nodded and said it right back. See? Secular Humanism isn’t so bad after all. Sighs of relief.

    Nitwits. Bliss Ninnies. Silly geese. What they consider a compliment, is high insult in humanism-land, where the reality-based community hang.

    But that’s name calling, and mean of me. There’s actually a technical term for what they’re doing — but I didn’t tell it to them. People who try to sell, argue for, and promote ideas without regard or even significant interest in whether they’re true or not, because they have another agenda, are called bullshitters. The fact that they’re nice people, and care about sweetness and light and comfort and happiness and helping others, doesn’t change that.

  35. #35 Paul Gowder
    January 18, 2009

    Isn’t that called a comp lit department?

  36. #36 horse-pheathers
    January 18, 2009

    *tip of the hat to Cuttlefish* Lovely work, as always. :)

    I have a game that we can play
    on Academic Freedom Day!
    If ID can, it is my thought
    In public schools that day be taught
    there’s nothing stopping teaching on
    the Greek and Roman pantheon
    or Odin, Loki, Freya, Thor
    or Mithras who came years before
    the Christians had their rise to power
    and tried to siege our “ivory tower”.
    They call to open classroom floor
    to thoughts of all sorts, rich and poor
    and whatever idea sane or odd…
    including teaching “There is no God.”

  37. #37 PixelFish
    January 18, 2009

    BLF@32: The daily message in our WoW guild is “The Snapjaw moves.” :)

    Apropos to the discussion at hand, that’s a pretty good satire of the current grandstanding going on every time an irrational twit decides to declare a day to celebrate whatever gawddamn notion they think ought to be privileged. (Latest example: President Bush declaring TODAY to be the National Sanctity of Life day. If you are like me, you are wavering between apoplexy and wondering when has Bush given a rat’s ass about the sanctity of life. And of course, Bush being Bush, he couldn’t declare it on rational grounds alone–he had to say that we believed as a country that our creator had given life as a special gift.)

  38. #38 the other Adam
    January 18, 2009

    Does this mean I can finally have a pet dinosaur? Yay!

  39. #39 The Tim Channel
    January 18, 2009

    No matter how wacky the idea is, you can usually find a handful of cranks with Ph.D.s to back you up!

    Because there is little other reason for places like Liberty Baptist University to exist than that.

    Enjoy.

  40. #40 Fellow Traveller
    January 18, 2009

    As part of academic freedom, will these conservatives support the teaching of Marxist-Leninism in civics class?

  41. #41 blf
    January 18, 2009

    As part of academic freedom, will these conservatives support the teaching of Marxist-Leninism in civics class?

    If you called the course The Many Problems of Darwinism? Lawlessness and Daemons they’d have no problem. Not even if you then pointed out to them the class had nothing to do with evolution. Of course, if any of them actually bother to learn to read, and then read the syllabus, and comprehended it, well? self-propelled aerial pigs are more likely.

  42. #42 Kagehi
    January 18, 2009

    Now, now, PixelFish, I am waiting for our glorious president to, on his last day, declare the wonderful, “I am the best president the US ever had or will have, because god said so”, day, so I can celebrate that too! How dare you suggest he is a total idiot that actually thinks that making up these stupid days, and promoting them in such a way that they piss off, even more, people that don’t like him, will make him “look better” in future history books!?! Or something…. lol

  43. #43 abb3w
    January 18, 2009

    Teach the Controversy?

    Hm, some new shirts since I last checked….

  44. #44 Sissy Willis
    January 18, 2009

    Yes, of course, but how does the now-discredited theory of anthropogenic global warming/climate change fit into your pretty picture? It seems that many flat earthers are still clinging bitterly to Al Gore’s ankles.

  45. #45 Tezcatlipoca
    January 18, 2009

    I thought there was a day for this already. April 1st.

  46. #46 itwasntme
    January 18, 2009

    Here’s something fun to send back to those ID email friends:

    http://listverse.com/science/top-10-signs-of-evolution-in-modern-man/

  47. #47 Patricia, OM
    January 18, 2009

    Sissy Willis – Do you make much selling those Pope Benedict mugs and teddy bears?

  48. #48 Sissy Willis
    January 18, 2009

    Hey, Patricia, OM, I’m not in it for the money. :-)

  49. #49 Matt Penfold
    January 18, 2009

    I just looked at Sissy Willis’s blog. The person (I am still not clear what sex/gender the person is) does not seem to be sane.

    I also doubt they are calling themselves Sissy with any kind of ironic intent. Which also suggests their grasp of English is as bad as their understanding of climate change, or since they seem to consider the current Pope to be some kind of hero, their grasp of morality.

  50. #50 bootsy
    January 18, 2009

    @44: Why are Exxon employees commenting on this blog on Sunday? Don’t you have an AEI party to attend, to celebrate the victorious rule of the bestest former president ever, Dick Cheney?

    In happier news: Bush (even if unprosecuted) may stay unemployed: Being ex-president is usually easy and lucrative. It won’t be for George W. Bush.

  51. #51 Center
    January 18, 2009

    And Tuesday will be another celebration! The Obamagasm is upon us at a cost to the taxpayers of $100 million. Yay! Progressive politics rule! Just print more money! More! More! Raise taxes to 100%! Why the fuck not? Woo hoo!

  52. #52 Rey Fox
    January 18, 2009

    “Raise taxes to 100%!”

    Who is proposing tax increases?

  53. #53 Deacon Barry
    January 18, 2009

    Contentio T-subucula umidus!
    (Aaah! Feeling Juvenal!)

  54. #54 C. M. Baxter
    January 18, 2009

    ?Why stand on the shoulders of giants when we can peer from between their ankles??

    Watch out! I hear Einstein suffered from incontinence during his later years.

  55. #55 Bill Ockham
    January 18, 2009

    Obamagasm is upon us at a cost to the taxpayers of $100 million.

    No, paid by voluntary contributions.

  56. #56 Sissy Willis
    January 18, 2009

    I am intrigued with Mr. Penfold’s scientifically-challenged powers of research and analysis, not to mention his tenuous grasp of the language:

    “I also doubt they are calling themselves Sissy with any kind of ironic intent”

  57. #57 "some wag"
    January 18, 2009

    As the author of the Academic Free-for-All Parody, I do hereby affirm, that yes indeed, it is satire. Some pre-release reviewers were concerned that despite explicitly labeling it as a parody that some folks might still take it literally. They were right, apparently.

  58. #58 Snarla
    January 18, 2009

    Academic Free-For-All Day sounds like a great day to do speaking in tongues instead of foreign language instruction. No more, “Yo quiero ir al dentista,” and more, “blagha blagha updasamananana waooooagh.”

  59. #59 Marc Abian
    January 18, 2009

    the now-discredited theory of anthropogenic global warming/climate change

    Can you please post a link to the peer-reviewed article that discredited it?

  60. #60 nick nick bobick
    January 18, 2009

    Deacon at 53:

    I don’t understand your quote… I am a Juvenal delinquent.

    (Gawd! I’ve wanted to say that for 20 years!)

  61. #61 William Z
    January 18, 2009

    No, paid by voluntary contributions.

    Bullshit. Obama’s inaugural committee has raised just over $40 million. The rest, such as security and transportation and other costs, are government (taxpayer) funded. It’s D.C. that’s really getting hammered by the costs. Over 8000 police officers (at last estimate) for an inauguration? Is everyone back there smoking radioactive crack or something?

    What’s wrong with a small ceremony in the Oval Office? He says the words, and gets to work. Quick and simple and no worries about which religious pinhead is giving an invocation. Weren’t there complaints about the costs of Bush’s inauguration? I thought we were trending in the smaller and saner direction.

    I voted for Obama, but this extravagant nonsense in a time of financial hurt is embarrassing. Check out the ticket prices. So many of the common folks helped get (and keep) the Obama train rolling, only to see something more akin to a coronation than an inauguration. No riff-raff allowed. Politicians, celebrities and rich CEOs only, please. Feh…

  62. #62 'Tis Himself
    January 18, 2009

    I am a Juvenal delinquent.

    But are you Ovid about it?

  63. #63 SteveL
    January 18, 2009
  64. #64 Deacon Barry
    January 18, 2009

    For nick nick bobick at #60

    Contentio = Contest
    subucula = shirt
    umidus = wet

    I won’t repeat it, at the risk of my voice getting Horace.

  65. #65 horse-pheathers
    January 18, 2009

    Deacon — I’d try to say something witty right now, but I can’t; I’m in-communi-Cato.

  66. #66 DLC
    January 18, 2009

    Hmm… I could do flat earth theory as long as it was Discworld. Teach the controversy!
    Or something
    Teach the controversy: The WTC was blown up by a UFO Piloted by Dick Cheney.
    Teach the Controversy : The world was created at the behest of the Mice, who were using it as an experiment.

  67. #67 delta
    January 19, 2009

    This is parody of postmodernism, though. They don’t mean it.

    > Throughout the various tabs on this page you will see a reminder that what you are reading is a parody.

  68. #68 Vestrati
    January 19, 2009

    I think a coloring contest might be more their speed…

  69. #69 Sissy Willis
    January 19, 2009

    Marc Abian: Here’s a link to get you started:

    Completely inadequate IPCC models produce the ultimate deception about man made global warming

    I’ve always been deeply offended by Stephen Schneider’s anti-scientific espousal of the view that “we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts we may have?each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective, and being honest.”

  70. #70 Sissy Willis
    January 19, 2009

    More debating points in the offing for Marc Abian (since you asked):

    Second Annual International Conference on Climate Change

  71. #71 Nerd of Redhead
    January 19, 2009

    Oh YAWN, another anti-AGWer. Boring. And wrong.

  72. #72 Sissy Willis
    January 19, 2009

    Here’s that link again (it didn’t take first time around):

    Second Annual International Conference on Climate Change

  73. #73 Nerd of Redhead
    January 19, 2009

    Sissy, who am I going to believe, scientists working in the field, or you? The scientists are required to be honest in their professional endeavors, as lying will get them shunned. Now, what is your specialty, degrees, areas, and years of working in what field to back up what you are trying to claim?

  74. #74 Sissy Willis
    January 20, 2009

    I am a seeker of wisdom and truth. No scientific degrees whatever. They do not give one license to jump on bandwagons of politically correct gobbledygook. Darwin rules, and Al Gore is a conman.

  75. #75 Sissy Willis
    January 20, 2009

    Don’t forget that many of those scientists working in the field are intimidated into spouting the party line. Grants and peer acceptance may depend upon it.

  76. #76 Nerd of Redhead
    January 20, 2009

    Sissy knows not of what he/she speaks. What else is new?

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