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Welcome to another edition of Derp Roundup, the weekly feature where we steam-clean our browser tabs and scrape together all the stories that weren't worth their own posts, but were too stupid to ignore altogether. We recommend you numb yourself against the dumbassery that is sure to follow.


  • Our Top Derp for this week comes from the great state of South Carolina, where the State Legislature helped an adorable, smart 8-year-old learn exactly how government works. Olivia McConnell was looking at a restaurant menu that listed all the official symbols of her state, and she noticed that South Carolina doesn't have a state fossil. So she did some research and wrote to her state legislators, Sen. Kevin Johnson and Rep. Robert Ridgeway, to ask them to correct this oversight and designate the Columbian Wooly Mammoth the state fossil. She laid out her reasons:

    1. One of the first discoveries of a [vertebrate] fossil in North America was on an S.C. plantation when slaves dug up wooly mammoth teeth from a swamp in 1725.

    2. All but seven states have an official state fossil.

    3. “Fossils tell us about our past.”

    “Please work on this for me,” McConnell wrote to Ridgeway, signing her letter, “Your friend, Olivia.”

    Rep. Ridgeway thought it was a great idea, and would help children "realize that they do have a say-so in what happens in South Carolina" and give kids "experience and information about the governmental process and legislative process in South Carolina.”

    Which it certainly did, because after Kevin Johnson introduced the Senate version of the bill, creationists decided it needed some improvements. You know, because Science.

    State Sen. Kevin Bryant, a fundamentalist Christian who back in 2008 got big satirical larffs with a Facebook post saying "the difference between Obama and Osama is just a little B.S.," added an amendment to include three verses from the Book of Genesis to  explain that God made everything 6000 years ago, because no way did mammoths evolve or anything. Bryant explained that he had no intention of interfering or anything; fossils are nice and all, but "I just felt like it’d be a good thing to acknowledge the creator of the fossils.”

    And when the amendment was ruled out of order on procedural grounds, because it introduced a new topic, things got even stupider. Another member of the "science is lies from the pit of hell" caucus, Sen. Mike Fair, whose district includes Bob Jones University, placed a hold on the state fossil bill. Sen. Fair is such a committed opponent of children being poisoned by knowledge of evolution that the National Center for Science Education dedicated a webpage to documenting his attempts to block the teaching of science.

    The bill is stalled, probably permanently, so now Olivia and all the children of South Carolina have learned a whole heck of a lot about how their state government works. She says she's learning that getting things done requires "time and patience," which is pretty awesome, because a less optimistic kid might decide that the real lesson is This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things. And although her friends tell her maybe she should run for Governor someday, Olivia says she wants to be an Egyptologist when she grows up. Yr Wonkette advises her to try college in a state that values science.

  • In other Science Education news, Very Smart Man Donald Trump has taken to the Twitters to say that he's pretty sure that vaccinations cause autism (they don't) and that when he becomes President, he'll do something about it.

    Mr. Trump, who is very scared that Barack Obama made Manhattan a target for terrorism by mentioning its name, is apparently unaware that New York City is experiencing a measles outbreak, likely fueled in part by idiots refusing to vaccinate their kids. Two of the 20 people infected in the outbreak were children whose parents refused to vaccinate them.

  • What, more science? Kinda-sorta: Medical care is science, right? Here's some Prime Stupid related to the Big Slut Pill case this week. On Fox News, judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano said that the Affordable Care Act would force Hobby Lobby to pay for employees' contraceptive services, for which he offered this creative definition: "Contraceptive services means contraception, euthanasia, and abortion." Hey, kids, can you tell Judge Napolitano which two of those are neither "contraceptive services" nor covered by the ACA?

    And Scott Prior, an Arizona Democrat running for the state Senate, tweeted this screengrab of a Facebook comment that sums up just how well Americans understand the news:

    Just to be clear, Mr. Prior is not the author of this comment; he very expressly mocks it. Not that anyone might mistakenly think he wrote it and mistakenly call him a chowderhead in the comments. Prior is running on a clear anti-chowderhead platform.

  • Ken Ham, the creationist who "debated" Bill Nye the Science Guy, announced that Bill Maher is going to go to Hell, because "God is a God of grace and mercy,” but He doesn't have any patience for those who reject Him. You see, Maher had made fun of the story of Noah's Ark and called the Old Testament version of God a “psychotic mass murderer” for wiping out all of Creation after humanity got too sinful:

    What kind of tyrant punishes everyone just to get back at the few he’s mad at? I mean, besides Chris Christie?

    Ham explained in his Answers In Genesis blog that Maher's blasphemy was going to get him in big trouble one of these days, though not in the form of a lighting bolt or a plague of boils, because God isn't into that sort of thing anymore:

    So why does God allow Bill Maher to continue his increasing God-hating comments? He really is tempting God. It’s as if he’s saying, “Come on God, I’m saying more and more outrageous things about You — come on — come and get me!” Bill Maher is blaming God for death because he does not want to accept that he is a sinner in need of salvation. He wants to be his own god — he shakes his fist at the God who created man and also provides the gift of salvation for those who will receive it.

    And then Ham explains, "I’m reminded that God is a God of grace and mercy" and promises that unless Bill Maher accepts Christ's forgiveness, he's in for a world of pain once he dies:

    But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8).

    See? Heretical comedians and doubters get exactly the same eternal treatment as murderers. Nothing psychopathic about that.

  • And finally, in Athens, Georgia, a bank teller mistakenly deposited $31,000 into a teenager's bank account because the kid had the same name as the customer who made the actual deposit. When the kid checked his account and saw the balance, he did exactly what any smart teen with poor impulse control would do: He went on a spending spree, managing to blow $25,000 within just 10 days. He then went back to the bank and tried to withdraw more, but was told that the deposit was an error and the bank would very much like its money back, please. The kid insisted that he had inherited the money from his grandmother, a story he repeated later to a sheriff's deputy sent to his house. Who knows, maybe he really believed, it, too?

    The teen told the deputy he would go back to the bank to clear up the mistake so he could avoid prosecution, and the deputy left. You may be astonished to learn that the kid never turned up, and the bank intends to prosecute. As of Wednesday, no charges had yet been filed.

    It is not known whether anyone has yet secured the movie rights to the story.

  • [Daily Beast / The State / NCSE / Fox Carolina / RawStory / NBC Philadelphia / Media Matters / RawStory / Answers in Genesis / Gawker]

    Doktor Zoom

    Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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