Archive for February, 2007

No dogs on mountains, please!

My congratulations to the climbers on Mt. Hood for getting down safely, but please stop all this nonsense about how the dog saved their lives. I can see it now. Next summer when I go hiking, trying to get away from civilization and perhaps see some wildlife, instead I’ll be treated to barking dogs running wildly.

As a Washington State resident, my first thought was, “What the hell is a dog doing on a mountain climb?” That would never happen on Mt. Rainier for several good reasons, the first being that dogs aren’t allowed on trails in a national park. Unfortunately it turns out that Mt. Hood is not a national park; it is instead part of the U.S. Forest Service which allows most anything to happen, whether it be dogs or snowmobiles. Aargh.

Please leave your dog at home when you go hiking or climbing. It spoils it for all of us who are hoping to see ground squirrels, birds, and perhaps larger mammals while we are hiking. We do not appreciate your dog being allowed to run wild up and down the trails scaring everybody and everything in sight.

And on glaciers, it is absolutely insane to bring a dog. They might have 4 legs, but they don’t have crampons and hiking boots, and what happens if your dog falls in a crevasse? Are you going to risk your own life and your climbing partners trying to save him? It just doesn’t make any sense to bring an animal up a glacier.

Flock of Dodos: Documentary Movie Review

To celebrate Darwin’s Birthday next week, the documentary Flock of Dodos is being previewed simultaneously at several places. Last night I saw the premiere at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center. In attendance was the producer and director Randy Olson.

It is a rather entertaining movie featuring opponents and proponents of Evolution in a fairly-well balanced way. Although Olson himself is a scientist and admits to believing in evolution, he does come across as very sympathetic to some of the most outspoken proponents of Intelligent Design.

Unfortunately he was unable to get anybody from the Discovery Institute to appear on video. Based in of all places, Seattle, the Discovery Institute is a “think-tank” that provides most of the financial support for those who oppose the teaching of evolution in the United States. It is a shame for us that they refused to appear, as it would have been interesting to see how they explain themselves.

The current strategy of those who promote Intelligent Design is to say that the controversy should be taught in schools, not just the theory of evolution. Even President Bush has argued that “the controversy” should be taught in schools. Olson shows what a red-herring this is, because there is no way that Intelligent Design is science. There have never been any experiments designed to prove or disprove Intelligent Design. It is really nothing more than a fancy name for “faith.”

By contrast, the “Theory” of Evolution has been subjected to countless studies and experiments. There has never been a single scientific experiment that has contradicted the theory. This is what a scientific theory is all about. Most scientists consider it to be proven fact, much like the Theory of Gravity.

The movie does show, however, that those who promote Intelligent Design are nice, well-meaning people and that scientists tend to be pompous and very impatient with those who disagree with them. In other words, they need better P.R. It’s kind of a travesty that one-third of Americans do not even believe in Evolution, and another one-third say they do not know. That certainly doesn’t say much for our educational system; in fact it is kind of embarrassing.

Highly recommended. This fall Flock of Dodos will appear on Showtime and after that it is scheduled to be released on DVD.

Speaking of ignorance, right now Dori Monson is on the radio saying that Global Warming is not caused by human beings. And this guy went to college? Once more, I am embarrassed.