The Poetry of Reality

Items about Daylight Saving Time, Tucker Carlson, Biblical Errancy, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Richard Dawkins

Salon, Nicole Karlis, 12 Mar 2023: Why sleep scientists think Standard Time is best, subtitled “People love the extra hour of sunlight at night, but there’s a cost to that”

I’m sure I posted several items about DST a year ago, or maybe two. I may not have mentioned that, given some of the defenses of DST, and even the name of the congressional bill to establish year-round DST (the “Sunshine Protection Act“), it seems to me that some people think DST really creates extra daylight. It doesn’t. The issue is whether our clocks indicate the actual time of day, or not.


Washington Post: Alexandra Petri, 8 Mar 2023: Opinion | Tucker Carlson has proof the dinosaurs were not killed by a meteorite

Viewers! For too long, Big Paleontology and the mainstream media have lied to you, saying that the planet was hit by a meteorite that caused dinosaurs to go extinct. That’s what they want you to think. But I’ve looked at the footage and — it’s just not the case. For the overwhelming, vast majority of the time that dinosaurs were walking around on Earth, there’s not a single meteorite to be seen.


Biblical Errancy for Beginners

OnlySky, Bob Seidensticker, 7 Mar 2023: Damning Bible contradictions: 2 Ten Commandments, 2 creation stories, 2 Flood stories, and more

The fourth and fifth of the five in this article are “Resurrection contradictions” and “Jesus forgets the plot.” There was an earlier set posted last month. That these aren’t better known is evidence to me that the vast majority of “believers” don’t actually read their Bibles, beyond very carefully preselected passages. And that the Bible, far from being the “inerrant” word of God, was in fact stitched together, rather badly by common editorial standards, from patchworks of ancient, inconsistent texts. Consistency wasn’t a concern, since ordinary people wouldn’t read the result; the priestly class thus had a variety of sources to choose from in their sermons, depending on the needs of the moment. Ironically, once the Church reluctantly allowed the Bible to be translated out of Hebrew and Latin, so that everyone could read it, most people didn’t.


In contrast, people who know things and know how to think:

Skeptical Inquirer, 2 Mar 2023: Neil deGrasse Tyson and Richard Dawkins in Conversation

An hour-long YouTube conversation.


Finally for today. I mentioned via Jerry Coyne the kerfuffle in New Zealand about accommodating indigeneous Maori “ways of knowing” alongside science, in schools. Here’s Richard Dawkins on the subject.

The Spectator (via WaybackMachine), 4 Mar 2023: Why I’m sticking up for science

Origin myths are haunting and poetic, but they belong elsewhere in the curriculum. The very phrase ‘western’ science buys into the ‘relativist’ notion that evolution and big bang cosmology are just the origin myth of white western men, a narrative whose hegemony over ‘indigenous’ alternatives stems from nothing better than political power. This is pernicious nonsense. Science belongs to all humanity. It is humanity’s proud best shot at discovering the truth about the real world.


The true reason science is more than an origin myth is that it stands on evidence: massively documented evidence, double blind trials, peer review, quantitative predictions precisely verified in labs around the world. Science reads the billion-word DNA book of life itself. Science eradicates smallpox and polio. Science navigates to Pluto or a tiny comet. Science almost certainly saved your life. Science works.


Postscript on the flight out: Air New Zealand think it a cute idea to invoke Māori gods in their safety briefing. Imagine if British Airways announced that their planes are kept aloft by the Holy Ghost in equal partnership with Bernoulli’s Principle and Newton’s First Law. Science explains. It lightens our darkness. Science is the poetry of reality. It belongs to all humanity. Kia Ora!

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