CC-licensed image, courtesy of Mr. Physics, via Flickr

An excellent post today on the Dangerous Minds blog, and an ensuing discussion on Facebook got me to thinking about the differences between the minds of conservative folks and liberal folks.

Namely, why should it be that so many conservatives have such a hard time changing their opinions when presented with bald facts that contradict those opinions?

We normally think of humans as rational agents.  That is, we expect the beliefs we each hold are based on some sort of evidence and argument, and as more data becomes available to a person, they should update their model of how the world works.  But often, in practice, it doesn’t seem to work out that way.

(This is going to turn out to be a long post.) Continue reading

Wowee!  My old friends published a mention of my book, along with a mini-interview, in this week’s Happytown column!

Here’s the relevant portion:

Not a day goes by in which someone doesn’t ask, “Hey, Happytown™, whatever happened to that Ask Ian the I.T. Guy? He sure had a nice ponytail.” In an effort to satiate Orlando’s thirst for information on our former I.T. guru and columnist, Ian Monroe, we tracked down the man himself and found him with a newly minted degree from the Medill School of Journalism in Chicago and, more exciting still, a new book! It’s called The ____ of _____ by Means of Natural _____, which probably needs a tiny bit of explanation.

See, Monroe, ever the intellectual prankster, “cleaned up” Charles Darwin’s masterwork, The Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection, for evangelical Christians by redacting every word in Darwin’s book not also found in the Bible. Now even Baptists can read about evolution without risking their immortal soul! Thanks Ian!

Here’s our tiny little interview with Monroe. For more information on the book check his website at www.ianmonroe.com.

Happytown™: Aren’t you making fun of Jesus and thus risking eternal damnation?

Monroe: On the contrary, Jesus is never mentioned in the Origin of Species.  If he were, I assure you, he would retain his rightful place as lord of lords within my King James Version as well.

Happytown™: Is it possible to still glean important concepts from Darwin’s work after running it through your Jesus sieve?

Monroe: Not really, no.  It’s pretty unreadable.  However, I did learn some interesting things about the Bible while I was working on it. For instance, did you know that unicorns are mentioned in the Bible twice? That makes them more real than the entire continent of South America, which didn’t even appear once.

Happytown™Are you planning to do the same for other great works of science?

Monroe: Darwin was particularly well-suited to analysis through a biblically correct lens; I imagine that most modern science would yield even more redactions.  However, I invite readers to “correct” their own texts with the interactive Bible masher on my website, ianmonroe.com/bibleizer/.

So, the Bibleizer doesn’t work at the moment … terribly sorry about that.  I’ll have it working tonight, though, so stay tuned.  (I’ll update this post when it works.)

openpagebookshot

Audiobook version coming soon.

I’m happy to announce today that I’ve released my first book. It’s called The _____ of _____ By Means of Natural _____ or the _____ of Favoured _____ In the Struggle For Life: King James Version.

I also set up a separate page for it on this site, so that I’d have a nice little landing page for it.

Basically, I wrote a PHP script that took Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species, and I had the script redact every word from Darwin which does not appear in the King James bible.

The resulting work is an amusing objet ‘d art. I think it says something about fundamentalism and language.  I also hope it says something about the absurdity of creationism, and the importance of science in how we understand the world.

It’s available now as a 204-page, perfect bound trade paperback.  A bargain, at a mere $13.25.

After the jump, the text of the press release I’ve been spreading around.

Continue reading