The Mix

Meanwhile, in other news…

A smattering of interesting news items today, including the Vatican's stance on intelligent design, drunken animals, an end to the chili-finger case, and bin Laden's truce offer.
Today's one of those days where there's both so much and so little news that it's all I can do to just dole out the highlights of what may be the lowlights of the news.

Vatican comes out against 'intelligent design'

More than anything else, I am chagrined that the furor over intelligent design is still going strong. The whole concept of pushing something that has no evidence, no proof and no scientific consensus as "sound science" is so remarkably stupid as to make my eyes cross.

That said, when something as patently unscientific as 'intelligent design' makes the news today, at least it's for the right reasons: the Vatican's official paper today published an article "praising a U.S. court decision that rejects the 'intelligent design' theory as non-scientific". The article continues:
"Intelligent design does not belong to science and there is no justification for the demand it be taught as a scientific theory alongside the Darwinian explanation," said the article in the Tuesday edition of [Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano].
Which brings to mind the recent offshoot controversy here in California about a school district that intended to teach "ID" in a philosophy class. That class has since been cancelled, but the idea (though not the execution, in this instance) is not entirely unsound. Promoting discourse between such diametrically opposed concepts is what education should be about. Instead, we get locked into these competing ideas where neither side will give any ground except under court order. It's sad and shameful that our society is so polarized in just about everything, and especially all things political, that we can't simply discuss these ideas and even occasionally agree to disagree.

Russian zoo animals live to drink, drink to live

Moving on, if there's one topic that unites folks of all ages, races, nationalities, political persuasions, and so forth and so on, ad infinitum et ad nauseam, it is this:

Drunken animals are amusing. But animals do not often drink alcohol of their own accord. Therefore, animals should be encouraged to do so whenever possible. Ipso facto, QED.

The reason behind Russian zookeepers' forced endrunkening of their animals was less for humans' amusement as it was to keep the animals alive as temperatures dropped to -40 degrees Celsius (-110 degrees Fahrenheit [!!! -ed.]). As a result of the incredible cold:
the [town of Lipetsk] zoo's contingent of macaques was being fortified with cheap French table wine three times a day, and in other zoos camels, wild boars and reindeer were being given regular shots of vodka to stave off the chill.
There is nothing I can possibly add to this story. It is what it is. And what it is is perfect.
Matthew Wheeland is AlterNet's managing editor.
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