December 20, 2005

Merry Kitzmas!

Two months ago it was Fitzmas. Now the blend du jour is Kitzmas, and the occasion is the decision handed down today in Kitzmiller vs. Dover, the case regarding a Pennsylvania school board that tried to enforce the teaching of "Intelligent Design" in its science curriculum. U.S. District Judge John E. Jones has ruled that the Dover Area School Board violated the constitutional separation of church and state, and that Intelligent Design may not be taught in the school district's science classrooms. (AP report here, decision by Judge Jones here.)

There is understandably much rejoicing among those who care about the proper teaching of evolutionary science in the public schools. Biologist Paul Z. Myers, writing on the science blogs Pharyngula and The Panda's Thumb, was evidently the first to wish everyone a "Merry Kitzmas" when the news was announced earlier today, but the blend is already beginning to spread through the blogosphere. We'll see if it displays the rapid neologistic success of its predecessor, Fitzmas.

(Thanks to science writer Carl Zimmer, whose blog The Loom is unmatched in its lucid and eloquent commentary on evolution and other biological subjects. And I'd think that even if he wasn't my brother.)

[Update: Via Dennis Des Chene at Philosophical Fortnights, a survey of other Xmas coinages. As for Xmas where X = X, see the historical discussions at Abecedaria and Language Hat.]

Posted by Benjamin Zimmer at December 20, 2005 04:00 PM