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Quick’ Change

first_imgBETHESDA, Md. – This is not going to play well on message boards and across the social media universe, but when it comes to Tiger Woods everything has changed. Don’t take our word for it, let the man himself explain. Remember that old fallback, “Second sucks”? There is no doubt that bridesmaid finishes are still best avoided, but after another extended stay on the DL and more time under a surgeon’s knife, the former world No. 1 has embraced the long view. “Expectations don’t change. That’s the ultimate goal (to win),” Woods explained on Tuesday at the Quicken Loans National, his first scheduled PGA Tour start since he signed for a 78 on March 3 at Doral. “It’s just that it’s going to be a little bit harder this time. I just haven’t had the amount of prep and reps that I would like.” Things have changed, like at 38 years old, it’s time to listen to his body and the team of medial minds he has on retainer. That hasn’t always been the case (see Open, U.S. 2008). “That’s one thing I have learned – stubbornly,” he conceded. That luck may favor the prepared – for the better part of his Hall of Fame decade and a half it was all the things the public didn’t see, the countless hours perfecting his craft on the practice tee at Isleworth, that separated him so drastically from the pack – but some stop signs are best obeyed. The microdiscectomy procedure he had on March 31 to remedy a pinched nerve has taught him that. More than a year and a half of debilitating back pain has dictated that. “I’m not able to do the work I’m accustomed to doing,” he said before heading out for a session on the range at Congressional. That he’s playing this week, with his doctor’s blessing, in large part because the Quicken Loans event benefits his Tiger Woods Foundation. “If this wasn’t the foundation and our goal we have with the kids I probably would not (have played this week),” Woods said. That he’s thrust himself back into breach with something less than his best stuff. “It still hasn’t happened,” he said when asked if his “explosiveness” had returned. “Not to the level that I’m used to, not to the level that I’m used to being that explosive. That’s going to come in time.” That there is a time and a place for an 80-percent Tiger if it means he can avoid the MRI machine. “I probably may not go at it as hard on all shots,” he allowed. With age and an endless list of medial maladies have come perspective and patience, the ability to endure months of “tedious” therapy in his return to competitive golf. When Woods last spoke publically at Congressional during the Quicken Loans National media day on May 18 he was not hitting full shots. Since then he’s slowly worked his way through his bag, hitting each club farther and farther in 10-yard increments until he worked his way up to hitting his driver “a couple weeks ago.” Because he couldn’t bend over immediately following surgery, he filled in the holes on his practice green in South Florida with sand. Now he’s filling in the blanks. Of all of Woods’ various injuries – ruptured ACL (2007), torn Achilles’ tendon (2008), stress fracture in his tibia (2008), inflamed facet joint (2010) – this one was different. “Pre-procedure, right before I went in, I wasn’t able to function. I couldn’t get out of bed,” Woods said. “I just couldn’t do any normal activities. When I blew out my knee and even had my Achilles problems I could still do things.” And post-procedure? “Like you get your life back,” he said. His competitive life begins a new chapter on Thursday at 8:12 a.m., under a vastly different backdrop. Gone, it seems, are the days of defying doctors and the determined march of time. There will be no more 30-mile runs and endless hours in the gym or on the practice tee. There is no more room for misplaced machismo in what Justin Rose dubbed his race to 18 major championships, and definitely no place for unrealistic expectations. In many ways, this week’s Quicken Loans National is akin to a rehab start, think a hard-throwing right-hander knocking the rust off in Pawtucket before joining the big club for a weekend series in Boston. It was important for Woods to be at the Quicken Loans National, where he has missed two of the last three tournaments, and there was no small amount of optimism in the fact that his recovery is ahead of schedule (his original plan was to return in time for next month’s Open Championship at Royal Liverpool). “No matter who you are, there’s an element of getting the rust off and if I was Tiger Woods I would probably be looking at the Open Championship and the decision to play here is because he doesn’t want to be rusty at the Open,” Rose said. But that reality was tempered by a man who after nearly a decade of overcoming physical barriers is at ease with the fact that recovery from injuries is not a race. Perhaps tune-up starts have never really been in Woods’ repertoire, but then things change. If Tuesday’s Q&A was any indication, everything has changed.last_img read more

Streelman makes 7 straight birdes, wins Travelers

first_imgCROMWELL, Conn. – As much as Kevin Streelman enjoys the back nine at TPC River Highlands, even he didn’t think what he accomplished Sunday was possible. Streelman birdied the last seven holes to win the Travelers Championship by a stroke, shooting his second straight 6-under 64 to finish at 15-under 265. ”It’s probably my favorite nine holes on the PGA Tour,” Streelman said. ”But you can’t plan for something like that to happen. It just kind of falls into place.” He broke the Tour record for consecutive closing birdies by a winner of six set by Mike Souchak in the 1956 St. Paul Open. He matched the tournament record with a 7-under 28 on the final nine. ”I had 10 one-putts in a row,” Streelman said. ”That’s something I’ve definitely never done before.” Also the Tampa Bay Championship winner last season, the 35-year-old Streelman missed the cuts in his previous four starts on Tour. ”I didn’t have too many expectations coming here,” said Streelman, who earned $1.12 million for the victory. Travelers Championship: Articles, videos and photos Sergio Garcia and K.J. Choi tied for second. They each shot 67. Aaron Baddeley was fourth at 13 under after a 69. Streelman was 1 over for the day before starting the birdie run on No. 12. The streak reached five with a 37-foot putt at No. 16, and he capped it by hitting a wedge to 9 feet and rolling in another putt at No. 18. ”I knew when that putt fell on 16 that something kind of special was happening,” Streelman said. Streelman said he hasn’t focused on golf exclusively lately, trying to spend more time with wife Courtney and 6-month-old daughter Sophie. ”I was thinking about her (Sophie) on those last couple of putts. I was thinking, ‘You know what? If these go in, great. If not, great. She’s going to love me either way and we have a nice family vacation coming up either way,”’ Streelman said. Streelman said a 10-foot putt for birdie on No. 9 gave him a boost of confidence that he could finish with a flourish. Garcia has six top-10 finishes in 10 PGA Tour starts this season, and won the European Tour’s Qatar Masters in January. ”At the end of the day he played really, really well,” Garcia said about Streelman. ”I feel like I played quite nicely and it just wasn’t my time.” For the sixth straight year at the Travelers the player who held the 54-hole lead was unable to win. Ryan Moore was one stroke ahead after three rounds, but closed with a 71 to tie for fifth at 12 under. Second-round leader Scott Langley birdied his first three holes and briefly pulled into the lead at 14 under. He, too, finished with a 71 to tie for 11th at 10 under. Miguel Angel Carballo became the second player to make three eagles in a round on the PGA Tour this season as part of a 63 early Saturday. He finished at 9 under. Patrick Rodgers, the former Stanford star making his pro debut, shot a 70 to tie for 46th at 4 under. Ken Duke, the winner last year, had a 68 to also finish at 4 under.last_img read more

Cut Line: Source of Inspiration

first_imgIn the lull between major championship storms, we search for new ways to describe Jarrod Lyle’s inspiring return to golf, and a reason why Bubba Watson’s search history appears to be half empty. Made Cut Lyle’s legacy. In many ways it was like he’d never left. For Jarrod Lyle, his opening 67 at the Midwest Classic on Thursday felt like old times, four birdies, 14 pars, that familiar welcoming smile. There were no outward signs of the scars left by the graft-versus-host disease he will likely deal with the rest of his life, the byproduct of the stem cell transplant that allowed him to beat leukemia for the second time, or the hours of chemotherapy he had to endure. It was the best possible start for Lyle, who began the first of three rehabilitation starts on the Tour this week as he prepares to return to the PGA Tour this fall for the first time since being diagnosed in early 2012. “I always said through my treatment that if I never hit another golf shot I could walk away from the game and be happy,” Lyle said. “I wasn’t going to live or die by playing golf. I live and die by my family (wife Briony and daughter Lusi). It means the world to me to have them both here and supporting me in my golf again. I’ll do anything for those two.” Lyle’s fate as a professional golfer remains unknown, but his status as an inspiring tale was solidified long ago. Pool party. For all those who continue to question the International Golf Federation’s decision to use 72-hole, individual stroke play as the format for the 2016 Olympic Games, this week’s International Crown will only rekindle that debate. The first-year team event will include pool play the first three days with each team playing two best-ball matches against every country in its pool. The top two countries in each pool – plus one wild card – will advance to Sunday’s final round of singles play. While the format may be on the Mensa side of confusing, it could create a few compelling match ups and even some rare Saturday drama. As for the Olympic dream, that ship – at least as it relates to the ’16 Games – has sailed. But it’s never too soon to start a campaign for the 2020 Games. Tweet of the week: @bencranegolf (Ben Crane) “Being at a tournament and not starting in it is a new experience. Makes me love/appreciate the game more. Going to qualify outright next year.” There are a lot of reasons to respect Crane’s decision to fly from Oregon to England for a chance to play in the Open Championship (which he did not). Perspective just makes it that much more endearing. Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF) Another Monty moment. European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley may have been a consensus choice for many of his potential players, but for those of us who carry notebooks for a living there may never be another captain like Colin Montgomerie. The outspoken Scot made the 2010 matches particularly entertaining thanks to a steady diet of juicy sound bites, and this week at the Senior Open Championship in Wales he gave the U.S. team some early bulletin board material. “If (Bernhard) Langer and I were paired together in the foursomes, we’d feel we could bring a point home for Europe,” Montgomerie said. “We’d need to sit out the four-ball (matches) though – we’d be knackered.” Considering Montgomerie and Langer’s solid play on the Champions Tour this season – they’ve combined to win five times, including the last two senior majors – perhaps they could make a game of it against America’s best. The U.S. team may not like Monty’s take, but they can’t be surprised he would say it. Missed Cut Being Bubba. Considering the level of background noise and vitriol that permeates sports today it’s not surprising to discover a professional athlete who has elected to tune out. “Sometimes you can get too much bad talk or negative talk where you think you’re the worst golfer in the world. Next week I could probably win; this week I’ll probably miss the cut. It fluctuates,” said Bubba Watson after explaining that he had removed the internet from his phone. “I’m trying to stay away from negative and positive, just remain even keel. As long as my wife loves me and my child thinks daddy is the greatest, then I’m good to go.” Cut Line often wonders why more players don’t follow a similar path. But where Watson drew a few double takes was when he was asked if he ever read the positive comments about him. “There’s not been one positive thing. I’m waiting on that one. Then I’ll start reading. Well, I can’t read yet, but I’ll start,” he said. Which prompted a quick Google search: “He swings out of his shoes with a pink-shafted driver, his golf ball traveling distances that are awed and admired. Bubba Golf, it is called, often with disbelief and wonder.”, April 13, 2014 “This wasn’t Bubba golf as much as it was simply great golf.” -Associated Press, Feb. 16, 2014 (following his victory at the Northern Trust Open) “Even after Saturday’s 74 left him tied with Spieth, Watson remained unfazed on his way to a sixth PGA Tour. It seems Bubba has grown up.”, April 13, 2014 “Watson swings with an individuality and majesty that belongs with other mind-blowing athletic motions, like Tim (The Freak) Lincecum’s pitching delivery or sprinter Usain Bolt’s stride.” -Golf Digest, August 2009 “For Watson, the tears pour because when blessings flow, he often asks the question, why? … With gifts that great, the better question is, why not?”, April 13, 2014 All of which makes your scribe wonder what exactly Watson was searching for before he nixed the Internet from his phone?last_img read more

Cut Line: Out of the Woods

first_imgOne season ended with a dramatic announcement on Wednesday, the same day the roadmap for another season was laid out. The PGA Tour’s new schedule and the end of the 2013-14 road for Tiger Woods highlight this week’s Cut Line. Made Cut No “I” in T-E-A-M. This was shaping up to being a classic staring contest between U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson and Woods. On Monday, Watson seemed to reverse course when it came to the possibility of making Woods one of his three picks for this year’s matches saying, “He brings a lot to the team, if he has the ability to play and he’s healthy. I’d be a fool not to consider him.” Less than 72 hours later Woods made Watson’s decision for him, saying in a statement, “While I greatly appreciate Tom (Watson) thinking about me for a possible captain’s pick, I must take myself out of consideration. I’ve been told by my doctors and trainer that my back muscles need to be rehabilitated and healed. They’ve advised me not to play or practice now.” Not having Woods on the U.S. team in September will hurt. Conversely, not having the distraction of whether to make him a pick will only make the American side stronger. Ross revisited. It’s been more than a half century since Donald Ross designed a golf course, but his finger print endures at the game’s highest level with both the PGA Tour and LPGA holding events on Ross designs this week. Sedgefield Country Club is hosting the Wyndham Championship for the seventh time and the classic layout continues to draw players despite an awkward spot on the schedule for the final regular-season event. Even more impressive is how Monroe Golf Club is rewarding diverse styles of play at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. Consider that Lexi Thompson and Meena Lee shared the first-round lead at the year’s fourth major championship and rank first and 139th, respectively, in driving distance. Modern architects have been straining hamstrings for the last decade trying to find an answer to increased distance gains. It seems Ross had it figured out over a half century ago. Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF) Travel advisory. The Tour unveiled its 2014-15 schedule on Wednesday with few surprises, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t any double takes. Atop the curious list of schedule changes is the transition of the WGC-Match Play away from Dove Mountain near Tucson, Ariz., a widely unpopular venue among Tour types, and the West Coast swing to Harding Park in San Francisco in early May. While the venue and the new format are solid upgrades, the new spot on the schedule will necessitate a 2,798-mile journey for players from San Francisco to Jacksonville, Fla., for The Players Championship which will be held the following week. There is also the issue of how this will impact the Wells Fargo Championship, which was shifted to the week after The Players and has been one of the circuit’s top events. The Match Play makeover is an improvement, but Camp Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., still has some work to do if they are going to get it right. Tweet of the week. @Chris_Kirk “I guess I need a new head shot!” Kirk was responding to Jimmy Fallon’s spoof on “The Tonight Show” that used various Tour player headshots to dole out “superlatives.” Kirk won “Most likely to say, ‘Enjoy your stay. They all do . . .” when handing over your hotel room key.” #CrazyEyes Missed Cut Storm warnings. The final round at last week’s PGA Championship was arguably the year’s most compelling, and entertaining, theater. Lost amid the excitement, however, were a surprising number of curious decisions. The PGA of America’s decision to not adjust Sunday’s tee times with more rain bearing down on the Louisville, Ky., layout led to a nearly two-hour rain delay and more than a few questionable rulings. “They didn’t do a very good job with the rules in my opinion. I saw two rulings that were completely incorrect, never seen them before, don’t know how you can do it,” Jason Bohn told “I couldn’t really do anything because an official was telling me what to do.” The race against darkness also led to a questionable decision to have the final two groups essentially play up as a foursome. There are plenty of times in professional golf when groups are allowed to “play up,” but according to various sources it was officials, and not the players, who made the call at Valhalla. That’s not the way it is supposed to work. Nobody wants to hang around until Monday to finish a tournament, but when the sprint impacts play it may be time to slow down.last_img read more

#AskLav finale

first_imgHave a question that you want answered? Tweet me at @RyanLavnerGC. So we’ve finally made it to the last week of the golf calendar. Surprisingly, not many of you are clamoring for up-to-the-second results from the Asian Tour’s Dubai Open, so in the absence of any notable tournament, here’s a recap from the most significant event in our little Golf Channel digital world: the third annual Red Solo Cup, which was held last week in beautif  … well, let’s just say it was held last week in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. The RSC is a spirited one-day competition that pits 16 writers, editors and video wizards in a battle for a makeshift, alcohol-stained trophy. The format for our little shindig at Mission Inn Resort was nine holes best ball, nine holes singles, and each of the past two years the matches have gone down to either the last pairing or a sudden-death playoff. Indeed, the winner is usually decided by which team wants it less or chokes the least, and our 18th-hole chop-fest serves as an annual reminder that we should always think twice before criticizing a professional athlete for crumbling under the pressure of playing for a $1 million payday. Anyway, the Red Solo Cup once again proved to be golf’s fifth (or fiftieth) major. Several players pumped their opening tee balls into the wilderness. Others gagged over 3-footers. A nagging hangover crippled at least two team members. And when it was mercifully over, Team Coffin held on for a 6 ½ to 5 ½ victory. Managing editor Mercer Baggs, who went 2-0, was named Most Valuable Player – or the one who stunk the least when it mattered most. Saddled with a slumping partner, I lost the team portion of the matches, then rallied to take down the previously undefeated Bailey Mosier – or, as she was briefly known on Twitter, “Bogey Bailey” – in afternoon singles, 3 and 2. Just changed my name on Twitter for a week b/c I lost to @RyanLavnerGC in #RedSoloCup singles #LostSingles #WonTeam— Bogey Bailey (@BirdieBaileyGC) December 11, 2014 Alas, it still wasn’t enough to lead my side to victory, and Team Coffin celebrated in the clubhouse by snapping 46 blurry photos and drinking Guinness out of the trophy. Except the joke was on them – two days later, their captain revealed he had pneumonia. The Red Solo Cup was the final leg of our two-day off-site retreat during which we discussed our successes/failures, talked smack about each other’s golf games and, eventually, developed a plan of attack for next year. So thank you, loyal reader, for pushing us to new heights in 2014. We’re excited about what lies ahead. Without further ado, here are your questions for the year-ending edition of the #AskLav mailbag: @RyanLavnerGC what did you think about tiger swing?— nulscal (@nulscal) December 9, 2014 To my semi-trained eye, his swing looked markedly improved. He had a weaker grip, a wider base at setup, and more speed and power through the ball. That’s something that had been lacking over the past few years, when his clubhead speed dipped to 115 mph while dealing with his back injury. (By comparison, in 2008, the last year he won a major, he topped out at 124.6 mph.) I have no idea whether this new-look swing will lead to lower scores, or if his brittle body will even be able to withstand the wear and tear of a full season, but the early returns at the World Challenge were promising. His full swing looked great. His short game, not so much.   @GolfChannel will Tiger win tournaments next season with his new swing and can he finally end his major drought? #AskLav— Lee Hannon (@lee20495) December 9, 2014 Well, let’s break this down into two questions. Though the PGA Tour has never been deeper or more competitive, Tiger still has more than enough firepower to win at least one event next year. And yes, while swing changes take time, Woods should still be full steam ahead by summertime, given that he’s reverting to old motor patterns and not starting from scratch. As for the major question: It would be a surprise if he won No. 15 in ’15. The first three majors of the season set up particularly well for Rory and his power draw, and Whistling Straits isn’t a venue on which Tiger has traditionally fared well (no top 20s in two tries). A successful 2015 season would include a win and a few chances in the majors.   Hey @TigerWoods , @RyanLavnerGC is expecting you to be one of the Top 3 fallers of 2015. Show him why you are the GOAT. #FuelToTheFire— Mike Coleman (@the1mc) December 9, 2014 Well, you must not have been listening very closely. Actually, what I said was that I was fading the idea of Tiger Era Expectations – or the assumption that Woods can still four or five times a year, including a major. Those days are over. He’s entering his age-39 season, he’s coming off major back surgery, he’s on his third swing coach since 2010 and now he’s dealing with the chipping yips. He couldn’t afford that lost year in 2014, not at his age and not with that ideal slate of major venues. Embrace the new reality that there are better, younger players on Tour, and that Tiger’s best might not always be good enough. I’d argue that his race against Father Time and history – not to mention the Rorys, Rickies and Jordans of the PGA Tour – is the most compelling battle in all of sports.   @GolfChannel who will be favourite to win the british open? #AskLav— stew (@tigerstewy) December 9, 2014 Easy: Rory McIlroy. The kid has shown what he can do there, throwing down an opening 63 in 2010 en route to a T-3 finish. Plus, he didn’t look too shabby while shooting rounds of 64-68 on the Old Course during the Dunhill Links in October. If the weather is decent next July, McIlroy will be a monster favorite at St. Andrews. His driving ability gives him a massive advantage, and the huge, flat greens place an emphasis on lag putting, one of his strengths. After spending the past few years unable to solve the riddle that is links golf, Rory is now positioned to go back-to-back.      @GolfChannel #AskLav why isn’t Rory or any of tour players scrutinize or put under Microscope like TW?— john bethea (@BetheaJohn) December 9, 2014 Wait, we aren’t there already? That’s not to suggest that Rory is as popular among the mainstream sports audience as Tiger, but in our little golf media world there’s both a want and a need to document each and every one of his rounds across the globe – whether that’s a 64 or a 74. Adding to the intrigue for McIlroy next year is his impending court case against his former management company, slated for February, in which unflattering details are likely to emerge. As the new No. 1 in the men’s game, Rory is being thrust under the same microscope that Tiger has spent his past 20 years. That won’t change anytime soon.   @GolfChannel @RyanLavnerGC who is going to have the better year keagan bradley or webb simpson? Bradley if he uses a normal putter? #asklav— Tristan Lee (@TristanLee92) December 9, 2014 Bradley, but only because, quite frankly, he is the better player. Keegan switched to the 40-inch putter two weeks ago at Isleworth and said it was one of the most important tournaments of his career, because he was trying to convince not only fans but also himself that he could handle the move away from the belly putter. (It certainly helped that he finished in a tie for third.) Granted, Bradley made a similar switch at the Memorial, and he spoke just as confidently, but his comments at the World Challenge seemed to indicate that he’s converted for good. Who wins a major first: Spieth or Fowler? – @mattieb1976, via Instagram Right now, I think Rickie is better equipped to win a major. Spieth is arguably the hottest player in the game, and he’ll continue to roll in 2015 if his driver and putter cooperate. But with top 5s in all four majors this season, Rickie has experienced what it’s like to be a factor on major Sundays, and the sharpness of his tee-to-green game gives him an opportunity to factor more often. Obviously, both players are more than talented enough to win one in 2015, but Rickie’s big-game experience gives him an edge, however slight.last_img read more

Burmester wins Tshwane Open by 3 for first Euro title

first_imgPRETORIA, South Africa – Dean Burmester finished with a 65 for a convincing three-shot victory at the Tshwane Open on Sunday, his maiden European Tour title. The South African came from a shot off the lead overnight to win on 18-under-par 266 at Pretoria Country Club. Mikko Korhonen (67) and Jorge Campillo (68) were tied for second as overnight co-leaders Alexander Bjork and Scott Jamieson fell off the pace. Burmester made six birdies in his opening nine, starting with three on his first three holes, to go out in 29 and had a 6-shot lead over his challengers at one point. He made three more birdies but also three bogeys coming home but was still far enough ahead to win comfortably. Burmester didn’t have automatic rights to play on the European Tour this season but top-10 finishes in the South African Open and Abu Dhabi Championship in January gave him his chance at a first tour title in Pretoria. He shot 65s on both Saturday and Sunday in the South African capital to surge to victory. Bjork was fifth behind Peter Uihlein after a level-par 71, while Jamieson tumbled out of the reckoning with a 7-over 78, a terrible finish for him that included four bogeys and three double-bogeys.last_img read more

Li leads McIlroy by one headed into Dubai Sunday

first_imgDUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Rory McIlroy was within sight of a first title in 17 months after the third round of the Dubai Desert Classic where he lay only one shot behind surprise leader Li Haotong on Saturday. McIlroy, who finished his second round in the morning, surprisingly struggled for the first time in seven rounds into his comeback from a three-month layoff, and was 1 over par at the turn in the third round. The four-time major champion then recovered with three birdies and an eagle on the back nine for a 4-under 68 and 19 under, overall, that put him one behind Li. Li, in the leader group with McIlroy, shot a bogey-free 64 at Emirates Golf Club. Li, the highest ranked Chinese male player in the world at No. 60, produced a brilliant display of iron play and putting to be in great position to add to his only previous European Tour win, the 2016 China Open. He needed just 24 putts to complete his round, and said: ”It’s going to be fun out there tomorrow.” McIlroy’s last win was in August 2016 at the Tour Championship, and he was impressed by Li. Full-field scores from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic ”He holed everything he sort of needed to,” McIlroy said. ”I know that if he continues to play like that, he will be tough to beat, but I feel like if I play my game, I’ve got a good chance. ”I showed that even when I didn’t have my best stuff, I was able to battle around and get in with a decent score. So hopefully, I have a bit of a better game tomorrow.” On another low-scoring day, Alex Levy of France made a hole-in-one in a round of 65, a score which was matched by playing partner Haydn Porteous of South Africa. The duo was tied for third, three behind the leader at 17 under par. Levy was making a stunning run and reached the top of the leaderboard briefly before falling back with consecutive bogeys on 15 and 16. That run included a hole in one on the par-3 fourth hole with a 9-iron shot from 171 yards. Porteous joined him with three birdies in his last three holes. The low round of the day was a 9-under 63 by Andy Sullivan of England, who moved to fifth on the leaderboard at 16 under.last_img read more

Monday Scramble: Wait lifting

first_imgAngela Stanford cries tears of joy, the PGA Tour season comes to a close, Tadd Fujikawa comes out, Sang-Moon Bae finds his form and more in this week’s edition of the Monday Scramble: Even Angela Stanford was surprised Sunday. On tour since 2001, the 40-year-old Stanford hadn’t won in six years or really contended in months, but she was the one who left France with a trophy – in her 76th career major start, as the second-oldest, first-time major winner. “I have no idea what just happened,” she said. It wasn’t hard to see how much the Evian title meant to her. After years of uncertainty, she’d finally reached the mountaintop, just as it appeared that her steady but unspectacular career would end without a crowning achievement. “God’s funny,” she said through tears afterward. “He catches you off-guard just when you think that maybe you’re done. I don’t think I could have asked for it any other way.” Either could the LPGA, as one of the most popular American players finally got her due. 1. Stanford lost an 18-hole playoff at the 2003 U.S. Women’s Open and racked up a dozen other top-10s in majors throughout the years. But still no wins. That all changed Sunday, when she surged into the lead with an eagle-3 on the 15th hole (followed immediately by an ugly double on 16). She bounced back to birdie 17 and narrowly missed on the final hole. Her final-round 68 was just enough. For more on Stanford’s stirring win, read colleague Randall Mell’s column.  2. Here’s guessing Stanford now has this low, hooking 3-wood – which rolled out to 8 feet and set up her go-ahead eagle – on a loop in her mind: Your browser does not support iframes. 3. Part of the surprise afterward was that Stanford shouldn’t have been the one who walked away the winner.  It should have been Amy Olson.  The small-town girl, who dominated the college golf scene when she starred at tiny North Dakota State, appeared on the verge of scoring her first major title at the Evian. She came to the home hole needing only a par to win. Then she hooked her drive into the left rough. Then she couldn’t escape the tall stuff. Then she hacked out onto the front of the green, raced her par putt 6 feet past and missed the comebacker to lose by one. It was the kind of nervy finish you’d expect from a player who hadn’t been in that position before. Not only had she never won on tour, but it was her first 54-hole lead.   “It’s disappointing to finish like that,” she said. And it’s a blown major she’ll remember for a long time. 4. Here are the top 5 players who – all together now – control their own destiny at the Tour Championship, meaning if they win at East Lake, they also capture the season-long FedExCup title: 1.) Bryson DeChambeau 2.) Justin Rose 3.) Tony Finau 4.) Dustin Johnson 5.) Justin Thomas DeChambeau and Rose are interesting cases, as the top two seeds who mathematically have the best chances of claiming the cup. DeChambeau is making his first career start at East Lake; Rose, meanwhile, has never won in Atlanta but he finished second in 2013 and has five consecutive top-10 finishes there. Hmmm. 5. If you’re sinister (like me!), you’re rooting for Tony Finau this week. Sure, he’s a great dude and a helluva player, but there exists a scenario in which he could win the cup without winning a tournament all year. And, as the 3 seed, it’s not totally unrealistic. According to the tournament projections, he has a “reasonable chance” of winning with a T-2 finish, and he can finish as low as a two-way tie for third and still have a mathematical chance of winning, depending on how those around him perform. 6. The scenarios for Tiger Woods, in the 20th spot, are more extensive. He needs to win the Tour Championship and get some help: DeChambeau finishes T-15 or worse; Rose finishes three-way 5th or worse; Finau finishes T-3 or worse; Johnson finishes in a three-way tie for second or worse; Thomas finishes in a three-way tie for second or worse; and Keegan Bradley finishes T-2 or worse. Woods hasn’t played East Lake since 2013, but he has two wins and four runner-ups there. The way he’s striking his irons, he has a chance anywhere he tees it up. 7. Perhaps it’s a sign of progress that former teen star Tadd Fujikawa came out this week – he’s believed to be the first professional male golfer to publicly declare that he’s gay – and hardly anyone in the ultra-conservative golf world seemed particularly shocked or moved by it. Fujikawa, who qualified for the 2006 U.S. Open as a 15-year-old, described his struggle late last year with depression and anxiety. Here’s hoping his courageous reveal helps give him some inner peace.    “I spent way too long pretending, hiding and hating who I was,” Fujikawa said. “I was always afraid of what others would think/say. I’ve struggled with my mental health for many years because of that and it put me in a really bad place. Now I’m standing up for myself and the rest of the LGBTQ community in hopes of being an inspiration and making a difference in someone’s life.” 8. If you wondered whether Sangmoon Bae could regain his form after taking off two years in his athletic prime to fulfill his duties in the South Korean military, well, there’s your answer. It was a rotten return to the Tour for Bae, who lost his card after finishing 202nd on the FedExCup points list. Sent back to the minor leagues for the Tour Finals, and needing only a few thousand dollars at the Albertsons Boise Open to regain his card, he won the tournament and now is in line to secure fully exempt status for 2018-19 as the Finals money leader. Think about that: Bae was a two-time Tour winner, gave up the game for TWO YEARS and then found his form again. Good stuff. Along with the reemergence of Hunter Mahan, the Finals (which concludes this week with the season-ending Tour Championship) has produced a few feel-good stories this year. Phil Mickelson always has plenty of eyeballs on him, but the pressure for him to perform in Paris is ratcheted up even more with the emergence of Xander Schauffele, who many thought deserved the final Ryder Cup captain’s pick. So Lefty is pulling out all of the stops. In a short video posted on Twitter, his new favorite medium, Mickelson showed that he was training for the upcoming Ryder Cup by … doing some long-range sniper shooting? It’s an exercise, apparently, that slows his heart rate. If it means winning two points in Paris, hey, whatever works, man.   This week’s award winners …  Whoops: Player of the Year debate. Trying to inject some much-needed drama into the season finale, the Tour’s official Twitter account last week wrote that the Player of the Year race is still “far from decided.” To which Justin Thomas responded: Best Major Performer: Ariya Jutanugarn. The Thai star won the Annika Award, which recognizes the player with the best results in the majors each year. She won the U.S. Women’s Open and also tied for fourth at the ANA and Women’s British. Own It: Anders Albertson. Albertson almost won the Albertsons Boise Open. You can’t make this stuff up. What Could Have Been: Chris Wood. At the European Tour’s KLM Open he recorded his THIRD runner-up of the year, falling just short of Ashun Wu. Round of Applause: Jordan Spieth. Incredible achievement and gesture by the 25-year-old.  Still Ballin’: Matt Wolff. Two events, two wins for the Oklahoma State star. It’s all coming together for a player who’s just getting cooking. Or Is It The Opposite?: Thomas Pieters. In an interview reflecting on the raucous atmosphere at the 2016 Ryder Cup, Pieters (who went 4-1) said that Americans golf fans “can’t drink” and that contributed to some of the ridiculous fan behavior at Hazeltine. Oh, no, Thomas – Americans can drink, all right. It’s that many can’t handle their beer after starting at 7 a.m. Big difference.last_img read more

At an unusual Masters, a bit of normalcy: Tiger in contention

first_imgAUGUSTA, Ga. – For countless reasons beyond golf it wasn’t the return he’d hoped for, but it was a hopeful return to Augusta National for Tiger Woods. After beginning the week as an unusual afterthought, given that he’s the defending champion at this Masters after claiming his fifth green jacket and his 15th major championship and moving to within a single triumph of surpassing Sam Snead on the all-time victory list … well, you get the idea. This Masters should have been all Tiger all the time, but it wasn’t. The media, be it social or otherwise, talked of Bryson DeChambeau doing Bryson DeChambeau things and the first November Masters and Augusta National without patrons. It’s been a strange year and as such a strange Masters is only status quo, but at an eerily quiet Augusta National Tiger made things feel normal, if only for a moment. Thursday’s opening round was delayed nearly three hours by early storms and when Tiger did get his round started the traditional cheers had been replaced by the incessant hum of the club’s SubAir machines as technology squeezed the layout into something close to April shape. 84th Masters Tournament: Full-field scores | Full coverage Tiger normally keeps the competitive blinders locked firmly in place during these Grand Slam get-togethers, but following his workday he acknowledged the odd elephant in the room. “There were a lot of differences today, playing on [Nos.] 1 and 10 today,” Woods said of the split-tee start. “There was a drone flying over the putting green. Down 1 today you could hear the drone over there. You don’t hear drones here. There’s no patrons, no roars.” But as the “no’s” piled up on Day 1, Tiger provided a much-needed measure of familiarity. In 22 starts at the Masters, he’s managed just a single first round in the 60s, a 4-under 68 in 2010 that was otherworldly for an entirely different set of reasons. On Thursday he matched that with an impressively consistent bogey-free effort – his first in a major since the 2009 PGA Championship. In normal times, Tiger tied for fifth place at the Masters probably wouldn’t be worth a hashtag, but these aren’t normal times. The defending champion admitted as much earlier this week when asked about his record this year. After missing much of the spring with an assortment of injuries, he played just six times following the PGA Tour’s restart in June without so much as a cup of coffee in contention. In his last start before this week’s tournament, he finished 72nd out of 77 players at the Zozo Championship and said he needed to work on nearly every aspect of his game if he was going to defend his title at Augusta National. News & Opinion TT Postscript: Masters defense starts strong BY Tiger Tracker  — November 12, 2020 at 5:00 PM With a 68 Thursday at the Masters, Tiger Woods made it clear that he has no plans to relinquish the green jacket anytime soon. If there was a sliver of hope, it was that Tiger said that physically he was fine. Better than fine, in fact, when compared to how he felt before the 2019 Masters. “My body is feeling better than I did last year, so it was a little bit easier to hit those shots,” he said on Tuesday. Tiger seemed to have the entire arsenal on Thursday. He hit 15 of 18 greens in regulation, 10 of 14 fairways and came in with a 281.5-yard driving average, which is perfectly respectable for a 44-year-old with a surgically repaired back. “I did everything well. I drove it well, hit my irons well, putted well,” Woods said. “The only thing I could say is that I wish I could have made a couple more putts.” In Los Angeles he said there was a kernel of hope in his putting and putting, despite the buzz created by DeChambeau’s quest for longer and longer drives, rules at Augusta National. Tiger was tied for first on putts from 5-10 feet, converting 16-for-16 attempts. He made birdie attempts from 20 feet on No. 1, 10 feet at No. 15, 2 feet at No. 16 after a brilliant tee shot and he two-putted from 46 feet at No. 13. Tiger on bogey-free 68: ‘Did everything well today’ It was textbook Tiger at a place where he’s written the book. Nothing flashy, just a markedly stress-free day, which after the year he’s had was something of a surprise. This was not supposed to be Tiger’s tournament to win. DeChambeau was the favorite, world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm all seemed to be trending in the right direction and yet there Woods was at 4 under after 18 holes for just the second time in his career at Augusta National. Despite his poor form, Tiger’s institutional knowledge of Augusta National proved just as relevant as it was last year. After 22 Masters, he knows where to miss drives and where to make putts and, for at least one more day, he was able to execute that game plan. “I think that understanding how to play this golf course is so important,” he said. “I’ve been lucky enough to have so many practice rounds throughout my career with so many past champions, and I was able to win this event early in my career and build myself up for the understanding.” Thursday at Augusta National was so different for so many reasons, but Tiger, the Masters fixture for over two decades, found a way to make the surreal seem strangely standard.last_img read more

Thousands of Euthanasia Killings in Canada

first_img Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share ElementsJanuary 1 – June 30, 2017July 1 to December 31, 2017 Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Total number of medically assisted deaths8751086 Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos I see no reason why that trend will cease, and so we are probably looking at some 2,500 Canadians killed by lethal injection this year — just under 50 a week, or seven every single day. Note that as is the usual case, the number of doctor-facilitated deaths has increased steadily since legalization. For example, there were more than 200 more such deaths in the last six months of last year than the first.Trend Without End Canadian doctors and nurse practitioners have reported that they have killed almost 4,000 (3,714) patients since euthanasia was legalized in Quebec in December 2015 — after which it was legalized throughout the country by Supreme Court fiat — an act of judicial hubris quickly formalized by Parliament.Nearly 2,000 were killed in 2017, not including a few territories that did not report figures and assuming all euthanasia deaths were reported. All but one of these deaths resulted from a lethal jab — homicide — at the patients’ request. See the “Third Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada.”Table 2. Profile of medically assisted deaths and persons receiving medically assisted deaths in Canada, 2017 (excludes: Quebec, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut) Medicine Thousands of Euthanasia Killings in CanadaWesley J. SmithAugust 4, 2018, 4:45 AM TagsCanadaCanadian Charter of Rights and FreedomsdementiadissenteuthanasiahomicideParliament (Canada)QuebecSupreme Court (Canada)United States,Trending Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Recommended Culture & Ethics Wesley J. SmithChair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human ExceptionalismWesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.Follow WesleyProfileTwitterFacebook Share The report notes that some euthanasia requests were refused because the patient wasn’t competent or the deaths were not reasonably “foreseeable” — the wording of the national law passed by Parliament.But even these weak limitations are likely to be discarded soon. Canada is already debating whether to permit people to order themselves killed if they ever become incompetent with dementia.Moreover, the “foreseeable” limitation is likely unconstitutional — cases have already been filed — as the Supreme Court made it explicitly clear that the positive right to receive euthanasia it conjured was not to be limited to the dying. If (when) these court challenges succeed, Canada’s euthanasia numbers will spike even higher.A Shocking EnthusiasmIt is shocking how enthusiastically Canada has embraced the culture of death — to the point that little dissent is allowed. For example, Ontario passed a law requiring all doctors to either kill a legally qualified patient or procure a doctor willing to commit the homicide, a law specifically approved by a court even though the judge acknowledged it violated the Charter-protected religious and conscience rights of dissenting physicians.If we in the United States ever jump off the same moral cliff — considering that Canada has about one-tenth of the U.S. population — we would be looking at tens of thousands of medicalized homicides per year. That is why we must resist assisted-suicide legalization without flagging.Photo credit: Kuebi = Armin Kübelbeck [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons.Cross-posted at The Corner. A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to Alllast_img read more

Free Speech on Campus: Considering State and Federal Action

first_img Free Speech Free Speech on Campus: Considering State and Federal ActionSarah ChaffeeMay 6, 2019, 11:33 AM Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All In March, President Trump issued an executive order calling for free speech on university campuses as a requirement for receiving federal research funding. In order for this order have teeth, several agencies would need to comply and put systems in place to carry it out. In my work for the Center for Science & Culture, I deal regularly with abridgements of academic freedom and free speech — the crisis is real, not least when it comes to science. Will this executive order work? Things get messy when considering who should regulate, given the Federal Government’s extensive funding provided for research at state and local institutions. But unravelling that knot is not what I wish to do here. Rather, I’d like to make the case that some of the best ways to uphold free speech come from state and local action. The Extra MileFirst, state residents and legislators may be alumni or they may have sent sons and daughters to these institutions. They have a vested interest in the integrity of these universities that federal regulators don’t. I grew up in a neighborhood with a block watch, and at times mail theft, planned city zoning changes, and other issues came up. My neighbors have vastly varying political and religious viewpoints and income levels, but the neighborhood always came together. I remember an all-neighborhood meeting with the mayor in attendance, as well as my family going to city hall with other neighbors to testify. The city council members did not have as clear ideas about how to further the best interests of the neighborhood as did the community itself. In the same way, community members are likely to go the extra mile to enhance the quality of their university and the education it provides.   Second, public universities are state and local entities, not federal ones. Compared with federal legislation and federal regulation, decisions at the state level are likely to be much more responsive to change and constituent opinion. One reason for this is the vast amount of work federal policymakers and regulators may be dealing with, and the likelihood that they may have no reason to prioritize any particular institution in your own state. People are more likely to be able to influence policies at the state or local level — one easy reason for this is that the ratio of officials to constituents/people they serve is much higher at state and local levels than at the Federal Government level.  Another reason is that one can access local officials much more easily — stop by their offices in person, or schedule a phone call, etc. Since many local and state level officials are elected, they try to make themselves available to constituents. The Federal Government is much less accessible to the man on the street. An Invitation to Get InvolvedPerhaps you find yourself concerned about free speech on the public university campuses in your state. Maybe your son or daughter is a student, and knows there is something he or she can’t say in class, or propose to do with a student group, that would be perfectly acceptable at some private institutions. I encourage you to become involved. Learn as much as you can about the climate at your local public university, then talk to your legislators about free speech and academic freedom. For more information, see the Free Science website, and in particular our Student Academic Freedom in Science resolution.There is no easy fix here. The President’s signature on a piece of paper won’t restore open inquiry on campuses. What’s needed is effort and energy at the state and local levels. The good news is that you can play a part in making a difference!Photo credit: David Everett Strickler via Unsplash. Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Tagsacademic freedomblock watchCenter for Science & CultureconstituentsDonal Trumpexecutive orderFederal Governmentfederal regulatorsFree Sciencefree speechmail theftneighborsofficialspublic educationresearch fundingstatesStudent Academic Freedom in Science resolutionuniversitieszoning,Trending Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesiscenter_img Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Sarah ChaffeeNow a teacher, Sarah Chaffee served as Program Officer in Education and Public Policy at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. She earned her B.A. in Government. During college she interned at Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler’s office and for Prison Fellowship Ministries. Before coming to Discovery, she worked for a private land trust with holdings in the Southwest. Share Education Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Recommended “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guidelast_img read more

Remembering the First Manned Moon Landing at 50; What Does the Future Hold?

first_imgPhysics, Earth & Space Remembering the First Manned Moon Landing at 50; What Does the Future Hold?Guillermo GonzalezJuly 18, 2019, 12:58 AM “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share TagsApollo moon landingsastronomycivilizationsearthEarth’s crustFlordiafossil fuelsgalaxiesGreat PyramidHubble Space Telescopehumanshydrogenintelligent designinterstellar travelkeroseneMiamiMichael HippkeMilky WaymineralsMoonnight skiesoxygenpayloadperfect solar eclipsespropellantssatellite TVSaturn Vsolar systemstars,Trending Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Recommended Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man I remember watching the Apollo moon landings on TV from 1969 to 1972 as a child. Witnessing that very first landing on the moon was inspiring. I was even an eye witness to one thrilling event during those years. I can still recall the sight of the Apollo 17 Saturn V rocket flames rising into the night sky from my front yard in Miami, Florida in 1972. These sights no doubt had something to do with my lifelong interest in all things astronomy and space exploration. As we prepare to celebrate the golden anniversary of the first manned moon landing on July 20, we should pause to consider what made it possible. The Saturn V rocket was a monumental technological achievement. Some 400,000 people worked to design and build it in the decade leading up to its first launch (see here and here). While we are right to recognize these fruits of human ingenuity and labor, they would not have been possible without a number of just-right aspects of our home world.A Simple FactConsider the simple fact that we can see the stars. Not every world affords its inhabitants clear views of the night sky, or even nights. Some Earth-size terrestrial planets, like Venus, have thick, nearly opaque atmospheres. Others are located closer to the galactic center or within star clusters, where nights aren’t very dark. Planets around red dwarfs tend to have tidally locked rotation, and they are often accompanied by multiple planetary neighbors in close proximity. If any inhabitants of such a planet could somehow live on its dark side, they would likely have bright “planet-lit” night skies.We live in a relatively sparse region of the Milky Way galaxy around a singleton star. Free from the glaring light of excessively bright or excessively numerous stars, we can see many faint small Solar System bodies, nearby stars and distant galaxies. We do have a bright light in our night skies, but it’s largely out of the way for about two weeks every month. It more than makes up for this inconvenience by giving us “perfect solar eclipses” and a motivation to leave our nest. Taunted by the MoonWould we even have thought of developing a space program if we couldn’t see the stars or a nearby large moon taunting us every month? Not only have we known that the moon is the closest celestial neighbor for over 2,000 years, but we’ve known since then how far away it is. The modern answer is that its average distance is between 238,000 and 239,000 miles. I recently experienced a personal sense of how far this is. Just a couple weeks ago the odometer in our 2003 Toyota Corolla reached 238,000 miles (see picture above). The Moon was an “easy” first destination for space-bound humans, serving as a kind of training ground for us to get our space legs. We were able to put people on the moon with computer technology far inferior to that found in a cell phone. What made the moon shots “easy” for us were many generally unacknowledged requirements for space exploration satisfied by our environment. Not only should we not take for granted our clear dark nights, we should be thankful that we can gather the raw materials needed to build and fuel a rocket like the Saturn V. Earth’s crust is a ready-made storehouse of concentrated, purified, and accessible minerals and fossil fuels (see here and here). The industrial revolution and modern technology very much depend on our ability to mine these resources with relative ease. The two propellants employed in the Saturn V were refined kerosene/oxygen in the first stage and hydrogen/oxygen in the upper two stages. Kerosene comes from petroleum pumped out of the ground, hydrogen comes from water and oxygen can be obtained from either water or the atmosphere. The hydrogen/oxygen combination is one of the very best chemical rocket propellants (measured by the thrust force produced for each unit mass of propellant), given the small mass of hydrogen. Think of that next time you take a drink of water (H2O)! The reason kerosene was used in the first stage is because it is a much denser fuel than hydrogen, allowing for a smaller tank for the same mass.With the rocket and its propellant at the ready, next we need to launch it. Obviously, we need a solid platform — water-worlds and gas giants will not do. The two biggest hurdles to overcome are the planet’s gravity and atmosphere. On a super-earth the weight of the Saturn V would be greater even though the mass would be the same. In such a case less payload can be sent into space, or, to put it another way, the fraction of the payload mass to the rocket mass will be smaller. To launch the same payload mass as the Saturn V did on Earth on a planet ten times Earth’s mass the rocket would have to be almost as massive as the Great Pyramid of Cheops! Astronomer Michael Hippke writes:I am surprised to see how close we as humans are to end up on a planet which is still reasonably lightweight to conduct space flight. Other civilizations, if they exist, might not be as lucky. On more massive planets, space flight would be exponentially more expensive. Such civilizations would not have satellite TV, a moon mission, or a Hubble Space Telescope. This should alter their way of development in certain ways we can now analyze in more detail.Do I Dare?Do I dare bring up the word “purpose?” Is our environment setup for us to be able to leave our nest and travel to the planets and even other stars? It certainly seems that way. Once we leave Earth, what next? We have already gone to the moon, other planets, and we’ve even sent five spacecraft on their way out of the Solar System. Something else we can try to do is visit the asteroid belt to mine minerals. The fact that asteroids are small makes them relatively easy to mine; there is more surface for a given mass for smaller bodies. Once we start mining the asteroids (again, it should not be taken for granted that any planetary system will have accessible asteroids), we can build large interstellar ships. It can almost be done now. What is required is increased automation in mining and manufacturing. Once we can achieve that, the stars are ours.This brings up an aspect of intelligent design rarely discussed: predicting the future. If evidence for design also points to a specific purpose (not always the case), then you might be able to predict events that would continue to satisfy that purpose. In the case of space travel, a number of features of our planet have conspired to allow travel beyond Earth. Additional features of the Solar System seem to have conspired to permit travel beyond the Solar System. From these, can we predict that human interstellar travel to other planetary systems is possible? I think so. Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Guillermo GonzalezSenior Fellow, Center for Science and CultureGuillermo Gonzalez is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. He received his Ph.D. in Astronomy in 1993 from the University of Washington. He has done post-doctoral work at the University of Texas, Austin and at the University of Washington and has received fellowships, grants and awards from such institutions as NASA, the University of Washington, the Templeton Foundation, Sigma Xi (scientific research society) and the National Science Foundation.Follow GuillermoProfileWebsite Share A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to Alllast_img read more

Remembering Phillip E. Johnson (1940-2019): The Man Who Lit the Match

first_img Recommended Share “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Billions of Missing Links: Mysteries Evolution Can’t Explain Author’s note: With great regret, we recognize the passing of Phillip Johnson, a key guiding spirit of the intelligent design movement. He died peacefully overnight this weekend, at age 79, at his home in Berkeley, California. I am publishing below an essay by Casey Luskin, written in 2011 for the website Darwin on Trial, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of Johnson’s crucial book of the same name. He held the title of Program Advisor for Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture.A special regret for me is that I never had the opportunity to meet Johnson, or Phil as he was called by those who knew him. But we in the community that seeks to advance the theory of intelligent design live in his presence every day. And we will continue to do so even following his death. It is that way with great men and great women: they launch a movement, or “light a match,” an image cited below, and stamp their vision and personality permanently on events, institutions, and persons that follow.With his vision, Johnson changed the terms of the debate about origins, with brilliance and gusto. In doing so, he changed many lives, of scientists and others, across the globe. But he did it in the spirit of a gentleman: as John Mark Reynolds has written, he “suffered fools gladly.” Now there is a model to follow! He was very humble, as the greatest men often are, and refused credit for striking the match that became the fire that is currently at work consuming a desiccated theory left over from 19th century materialism. After all, Johnson wrote, “the logs had been piled high, and the tinder gathered. Darwinian naturalists had accumulated a large stock of public discontent.” True, but nevertheless it was Johnson’s first book that set the fire, and not someone else’s. That, with his subsequent contributions and leadership, much of it behind the scenes, makes him the “Godfather of Intelligent Design.”We will have much more to say about Phil’s legacy and his personality in days and weeks to come. For now, the following comments can’t be much improved upon:The Significance of Phillip JohnsonPhillip Johnson, law professor emeritus of UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, is widely recognized as the godfather of the contemporary intelligent design (ID) movement. As the author of several books and numerous articles explaining scientific, legal, and cultural dimension of the debate over ID and Darwinism, Johnson was one of the most prolific authors in the formative years of the movement. It was Johnson’s 1991 book Darwin on Trial that first convinced many thinkers that neo-Darwinian evolution was buttressed more by a philosophy of naturalism than by the scientific evidence. Johnson’s influential writing became the magnet of scholars from a variety of fields — biology, chemistry, physics, philosophy, theology, and law — to forge the intelligent design movement. The stories of many of these scientists and scholars are told in the volume Darwin’s Nemesis (InterVarsity Press, 2006). But Johnson too recounted — with humble surprise — the impact of his work in the 2008 volume Intelligent Design 101:Fifteen years ago I published a book that I thought might add a few ounces of balance to the debate over Darwin’s theory of evolution. The main thrust of that book, Darwin on Trial, was that evolution is propped up more by naturalistic philosophy than by the scientific evidence. Much to my pleasant surprise, this book turned out to be the match that lit the tinder beneath a stockpile of dry logs. This is not to my credit; the logs had been piled high, and the tinder gathered. Darwinian naturalists had accumulated a large stock of public discontent. [p. 23]The Right QuestionsPart of Johnson’s vision as a legal scholar has been knowing how to ask the right questions. The 1980s was an era of controversy for Biblical creationists. While young earth creationists and old earth creationists squabbled about whether Noah rode a dinosaur, or a camel onto the Ark, elite materialists were happy to take over the culture.With the mind of a law professor, Johnson was a master at spotting issues. And the key issue he saw in the origins debate was not the age of the earth or the differing interpretations of Genesis by Christians. It was a more fundamental question of interest to theists and non-theists alike: Is life the result of blind, undirected natural causes, or is it the result of purposeful design? By focusing on this question, Johnson transformed the entire origins debate. Johnson continues:Darwin on Trial became a uniting force around which many like-minded individuals — scholars of many stripes, churchgoers, students, and even open-minded agnostics who dared extend their skepticism to Darwin — could rally. For many, that rallying cry ultimately became “Intelligent Design!”It has been often said that all truth passes through three stages. First it is ignored. Then it is violently opposed. Finally, it is accepted as being self-evident. This seems to be the arc that intelligent design is traversing. Objective Education, Not CensorshipMany were content to ignore Johnson’s ideas until they actually started to impact public education. In 1999, members of the Kansas State Board of Education voted to soften the dogmatism that had dominated evolution-instruction. Yet Johnson was critical of the 1999 Kansas decision because it removed some aspects of macroevolution from the curriculum. Johnson has always been a proponent of objective education — not censorship. He argued in The Wedge of Truth that students should learn both the evidence for and against Darwinian evolution: What educators in Kansas and elsewhere should be doing is to ‘teach the controversy.’ Of course students should learn the orthodox Darwinian theory and the evidence that supports it, but they should also learn why so many are skeptical, and they should hear the skeptical arguments in their strongest form rather than in a caricature intended to make them look as silly as possible. In 2001, the Ohio State Board followed Johnson’s approach and required students to critically analyze the evidence for and against Darwinian evolution. Objective evolution education had won.It was around this time that Darwin-lobbyists realized that they better stop ignoring Johnson, and start telling the world that unless students are prevented from questioning Darwinism, the sky will fall.What You Saw, What You GotID critics quickly learned that the most effective way to target ID was not to address its arguments, but to make accusations of secret, sinister motives among proponents. One imagines the godfather Phillip Johnson in a smoky dark room handing “wedge documents” to his eager followers, charging them to go forth and baptize converts to intelligent design. On the contrary, with Phillip Johnson, what you see is what you get. As John Mark Reynolds explains in Darwin’s Nemesis:Phillip Johnson is one of those rare individuals who is always the same person. He asks the same hard questions in Sunday School as he does in the Berkeley classroom. He has a unified personality. I have seen him in hundreds of different situations, and there is no split in his soul. [p. 27]While Johnson wouldn’t flatter himself with such praise, he too observes that he has never hidden anything. “I always find these conspiracy theories amusing because our strategy has been transparent from the beginning,” writes Johnson. “After all, I titled my fifth book The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism.”What is more striking is Johnson’s gentlemanly responses to critics. “He is not a hater, not even of his enemies,” writes John Mark Reynolds. “This is why so many who disagree with him can still respect him…He suffers fools gladly.” (Darwin’s Nemesis, pp. 26-27)Ironically, intemperate efforts to attack Johnson often ended up drawing people to him, creating a growing network of scientists and other scholars interested in intelligent design. Biochemist Michael Behe explains how a biased critique of Darwin on Trial in the journal Science led Behe to join the ID movement:The news item made me so mad that I wrote a letter to the editor of Science, which they published … I wrote that this Johnson fellow appears from his book to be a rather intelligent layman, and that scientists would do much better to address the substance of his arguments than to rely on ad hominem attacks. About a week later I received a letter with a return address of Boalt Hall. … I was now in the loop—I was within the circle of Phil Johnson’s acquaintances and useful contacts. [Darwin’s Nemesis, pp. 44-45]Behe’s story is not unusual for members of the ID movement. Attracted by his intellect, character, and boldness, a new generation of scientists and scholars became connected to each other through Johnson.The GodfatherSome critics would like to call Johnson the father of ID. In fact, they sometimes claim that Johnson, a non-scientist, invented the term “intelligent design” as a scheme to get around a 1987 Supreme Court ruling that declared creationism unconstitutional. Aside from the fact that this story isn’t true, it’s also grossly anachronistic. ID thinking and arguments date back to the ancient Greeks, and even in its modern form, the term “intelligent design” was used long before Johnson got involved with the issue, and before any court contemplated creationism. In this sense, Johnson is not, and cannot be the “father” of intelligent design. But the Godfather? Most definitely.Photo credit: Lit match (top), by Yaoqi LAI via Unsplash; Phillip E. Johnson (below), by Greg Schneider. Intelligent Design Remembering Phillip E. Johnson (1940-2019): The Man Who Lit the MatchDavid [email protected]_klinghofferNovember 3, 2019, 3:53 PM Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Sharecenter_img Evolution Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Tagsancient GreeksBoalt Hall School of LawCasey LuskincensorshipCenter for Science & CulturechristianscreationismDarwin on TrialDarwin’s NemesisDarwinismDiscovery InstituteGenesisintelligent designIntelligent Design 101John Mark ReynoldsKansas State Board of Educationmaterialismnaturalismobjective educationPhillip E. JohnsonscholarsScience (journal)scientistsSunday SchoolSupreme CourtThe Wedge of TruthUC Berkeley,Trending A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to Alllast_img read more

When Alfred Russel Wallace Spoke to Me

first_img Photo: Statue of Alfred Russel Wallace, by George Beccaloni / CC BY-SA ( was born forty years after Alfred Russel Wallace died. So obviously my life never intersected with the life of the man who, with Charles Darwin, discovered the theory of evolution by natural selection. But the beauty of reading is that figures from the past can still speak to us, and happily, by the time I was a young college student Wallace spoke to me.  Intelligent Design When Alfred Russel Wallace Spoke to MeMichael FlannerySeptember 9, 2020, 1:26 PM Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Michael FlanneryFellow, Center for Science and CultureMichael A. Flannery is professor emeritus of UAB Libraries, University of Alabama at Birmingham. He holds degrees in library science from the University of Kentucky and history from California State University, Dominguez Hills. He has written and taught extensively on the history of medicine and science. His most recent research interest has been on the co-discoverer of natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913). He has edited Alfred Russel Wallace’s Theory of Intelligent Evolution: How Wallace’s World of Life Challenged Darwinism (Erasmus Press, 2008) and authored Alfred Russel Wallace: A Rediscovered Life (Discovery Institute Press, 2011). His research and work on Wallace continues. Share Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Wallace went on to challenge and break with Darwin over what I’ve called “intelligent evolution,” a forerunner of modern intelligent design, as readers of my book, Intelligent Evolution: How Alfred Russel Wallace’s World of Life Challenged Darwinism, will be aware. He came to me indirectly, through William Irwin Thompson’s At the Edge of History. When I was a freshman in 1972 that book was hot off the presses, and making its impression upon those of us who were avid readers and interested in thinking outside the box. Purpose and Meaning TagsA. P. MeadAlfred Russel WallaceAt the Edge of HistoryCharles DarwinDarwinian evolutionevolutionintelligent evolutionliberalsLoren EiseleyLouis PasteurM. R. A. Chancemeaningnatural selectionPithecanthropuspurposesurvival of the fittestThe World of LifeWilliam Irwin Thompson,Trending “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Evolution Recommended Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All Thompson’s book certainly exposed me to new ideas, and Darwin’s reigning paradigm at the time found itself in his crosshairs. I thought (like Thompson once did) that only backwater hicks and assorted religious extremists seriously questioned Darwinian evolution. But Thompson shook my presumptions and certainties: And, in fact, this kind of snobbery seems to have been one of the historical conditions which enabled the theory to triumph: the Victorian liberals were quick to champion the new theory because it helped them put the staid, port-sipping, fox-hunting, Tory clergy in its place. Loren Eiseley has recalled how vehemently Darwin reacted to Wallace’s questioning of their joint theory. Even at the time of its formulation Wallace wondered why, if survival of the fittest was the mechanism of natural selection, man ever evolved a brain a hundred times more complex than that needed for survival. “‘No adequate explanation,’ they [Eiseley quoting M. R. A. Chance and A. P. Mead] confess over eight years after Darwin scrawled his vigorous ‘No’ upon Wallace’s paper, ‘has been put forward to account for so large a cerebrum in man’.” Five hundred thousand years ago, Pithecanthropus “evolved” with an explosion of brain size and frontal development. Since there are more primitive man-apes farther back, in the few remains of bones we have, it is tempting to connect the dots in a line that cuts across all the dimensions of plentiful space. It is all the more tempting to connect the dots in this way if one is living in an empire that places the white race at the end of a long line of progress in which the darker races are but bestial prefigurings of the Englishman. And if one lives in an economic system in which the market is red in tooth and claw, it is tempting to think that laissez faire and survival of the fittest are part of nature’s way. Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis I never looked at Darwinian evolution in quite the same way after that, and although Wallace receded into the deep recesses of my memory, I had what Pasteur called “the prepared mind” to take in what Wallace had to tell me in The World of Life when I was happily reacquainted with him. That was some 15 years ago.  I invite you to join me on my intellectual journey. My carefully edited and introduced abridgment of that work will bring you into Wallace’s rich world of purpose and meaning. Get Intelligent Evolution today! The “Edge of History”last_img read more

Biofluorescence in the Platypus — Design at Its Whackadoodliest

first_imgCongratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos The finding is also interesting from an evolutionary perspective. Monotremes, marsupials, and placental mammals (eutherians) split off from a common ancestor some 150 million years ago, when the Triassic was coming to a close. That, dear readers, is a hell of a long time ago, as the descendants of this evolutionary divorce had to then fight their way through the ensuing Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, not to mention the mass extinction that wiped out all non-avian dinosaurs. That’s a lot of time and lot of possible evolution.In a De Gruyter press release, [Professor Paula Spaeth] Anich said that “it was intriguing to see that animals that were such distant relatives also had biofluorescent fur.” The authors close their paper with a related question: “Is biofluorescence an ancestral mammalian trait?”Hard to know. If these three wildly disparate groups of mammals retained this trait after 150 million years, it means the genes responsible for biofluorescent fur are highly conserved, in the parlance of biologists. It’s not impossible, but another reasonable explanation is that these three species—opossum, flying squirrel, and platypus—acquired their glowing fur independently as a consequence of convergent evolution. In nature, a good idea is a good idea, which is why common traits can appear in unrelated species. Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share The platypus is nature’s crazy quilt, as this strange creature looks like about a half-dozen different animals all rolled into one. Turns out that platypuses were hiding yet another conspicuous feature: THEY CAN FREAKIN’ GLOW IN THE DARK. Those paragraphs are, not surprisingly, a de rigueur nod to evolutionary theory, and as usual, it’s pure gloss, no substance, no evidence that the platypus evolved from a fundamentally different animal form via a blind evolutionary process. Is it any less speculative than this classic bit from comedian Robin Williams? You be the judge (warning for the sensitive, Williams is reverential neither to God nor to Charles Darwin). Consider also the alternative hypothesis that the designer has a sense of humor: TagsbiofluorescenceCharles Darwincomic reliefconvergent evolutionelectionevolutionevolutionary theoryflying squirrelfurintelligent designMammaliaopossumOrnithorhynchus anatinusPaula Spaeth AnichplatypusRobin Williams,Trending Recommended Evolution NewsEvolution News & Science Today (EN) provides original reporting and analysis about evolution, neuroscience, bioethics, intelligent design and other science-related issues, including breaking news about scientific research. It also covers the impact of science on culture and conflicts over free speech and academic freedom in science. Finally, it fact-checks and critiques media coverage of scientific issues. Share Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Sharecenter_img Intelligent Design Biofluorescence in the Platypus — Design at Its WhackadoodliestEvolution News @DiscoveryCSCNovember 5, 2020, 12:54 PM They report on a paper in Mammalia, “Biofluorescence in the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus).” More: Evolution “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Photo: Ornithorhynchus anatinus, by Goddard Photography, via EurekAlert!Feeling stressed about the election and in need of a bit of comic relief? Here is a fun new finding about one of nature’s whackadoodliest of creatures. From Gizmodo: Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to Alllast_img read more

The Myth of “Deep Learning”

first_imgBillions of Missing Links: Mysteries Evolution Can’t Explain Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share “Deep learning” is as misnamed a computational technique as exists. The actual technique refers to multi-layered neural networks, and, true enough, those multi-layers can do a lot of significant computational work. But the phrase “deep learning” suggests that the machine is doing something profound and beyond the capacity of humans. That’s far from the case. The Wikipedia article on deep learning is instructive in this regard. Consider the following image used there to illustrate deep learning: Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man William A. DembskiBoard of Directors, Discovery InstituteA mathematician and philosopher, Bill Dembski is the author/editor of more than 20 books as well as the writer of peer-reviewed articles spanning mathematics, engineering, philosophy, and theology. A past philosophy professor, he retired in 2014 from active research and teaching in intelligent design (ID) to focus on the connections between freedom, technology, and education — specifically, how education helps to advance human freedom with the aid of technology. Bill Dembski is presently an entrepreneur who builds educational software and websites. He lives in Iowa.Follow BillProfileWebsite Share “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Neuroscience & Mind The Myth of “Deep Learning”William A. DembskiApril 22, 2021, 6:38 AM Photo: No, this elephant did not sketch a self-portrait; by Deror Avi [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons.I’ve been reviewing philosopher and programmer Erik Larson’s The Myth of Artificial Intelligence. See my earlier posts, here, here, and here. Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Note the rendition of the elephant at the top and compare it with the image of the elephant as we experience it at the bottom. The image at the bottom is rich, textured, colorful, and even satisfying. What deep learning extracts, and what is rendered at the top, is paltry, simplistic, black-and-white, and unsatisfying. What’s at the top is what deep learning “understands” — in fact, its “understanding,” whatever we might mean by the term, cannot progress beyond what is rendered at the top level. This is pathetic, and this is what is supposed to lay waste and supersede human intelligence? Really now. Tagsartificial intelligencecomputational techniquescomputer sciencedeep learningelephantErik Larsonhuman intelligenceNeural NetworksphilosophersprogrammersThe Myth of Artificial IntelligenceunderstandingWikipedia,Trending Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Recommended A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to Alllast_img read more