Saturday, June 15, 2013
Got That Right!
Rob Boston at Wall of Separation, the blog of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, has it exactly right:
Whenever I hear someone – especially a politician – say that the First Amendment protects freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, I just want to start screaming.This is in reaction to Rick ('I'm too stupid even for Republicans') Perry's signing message of a Texas bill to "allow" public schools to use the term "Christmas."
As Boston continues:
[T]hat statement is inane and shows great ignorance of our founding principles. Religious Right figures started using it a few years ago, apparently believing they had stumbled onto something clever. In fact, they are simply spouting puerile nonsense.Oh, go read it! I'm so tired of "the stupid party" that it is hard to work up the moral indignation it deserves.
Friday, June 14, 2013
Worst Metaphor Ever?
Paul Nelson hit the nail on the head. I didn't transcribe his exact remarks, but Paul explained that a novelist is in the business of creating worlds and so not surprisingly recognizes the work of another designer. Moreover, said Dr. Nelson, when King's publisher cuts a royalty check for his books, the check is made out to the creator, Mr. King, not to "the laws of physics." Or you might add, to "a law such as gravity," as Stephen Hawking might prefer to say.Let's see how this works:"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist."
In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone and were asked how the stone came to be there, I might possibly answer that for anything I knew to the contrary it had lain there forever; nor would it, perhaps, be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer. But suppose I found a paperback book upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the paperback happened to be in that place, I should hardly think of the answer which I had given, that for anything I knew the paperback might have always been there. Yet why should not this answer serve for the paperback as well as for the stone; why is it not admissible in that second case as in the first?Even better is the argumentum ad publisher!
But if publishers are supposed to make the checks out to the actual creators of worlds, why aren't they making them out to "God" instead of God's supposed creation?
Such are the arguments for ID. Confused people making confused arguments to confuse people who are likely equally confused.
* I have no idea if those people are really IDists, and why would I care?
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Congratulations to him! The Discovery [sic] Institute drones rarely bother to notice people who they consider "lesser lights," concentrating instead on people like Richard Dawkins, PZ Myearshertz and Jerry Coyne.
Michael has more than adequately defended himself.
Casey Luskin has, again, made a fool of himself.
Grifters & Shills
Specifically, in the "debate" between Zack Kopplin and Casey
The purpose of this book is to present a new mechanistic theory of mutation-driven evolution based on recent advances in genomics and evolutionary developmental biology. The theory asserts, perhaps somewhat controversially, that the driving force behind evolution is mutation, with natural selection being of only secondary importance. The word 'mutation' is used to describe any kind of change in DNA such as nucleotide substitution, gene duplication/deletion, chromosomal change, and genome duplication. A brief history of the principal evolutionary theories (Darwinism, mutationism, neo-Darwinism, and neo-mutationism) that preceded the theory of mutation-driven evolution is also presented in the context of the last 150 years of research. However, the core of the book is concerned with recent studies of genomics and the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution, and their relevance to mutation-driven evolution. In contrast to neo-Darwinism, mutation-driven evolution is capable of explaining real examples of evolution such as the evolution of olfactory receptors, sex-determination in animals, and the general scheme of hybrid sterility. In this sense the theory proposed is more realistic than its predecessors, and gives a more logical explanation of various evolutionary events.Strangely, Larry Moran, one of the DI's most hated opponents, doesn't seem to think that Nei's book opposes evolutionary theory. How can that be?
But the interesting thing is what the DI leaves out of the blurb:
Mutation-Driven Evolution is suitable for graduate level students as well as professional researchers (both empiricists and theoreticians) in the fields of molecular evolution and population genetics. It assumes that the readers are acquainted with basic knowledge of genetics and molecular biology.Hmmmm ... no mention of grade school or high school science students.
This is typical. The creationists refer to "scientific dissent to "Darwinism" as if it is dissent from evolutionary theory and, what is more, they usually refer to material that is far beyond what is appropriate for ElHi education. High school, much less elementary school, kids are in no position to evaluate Nei's hypotheses. The only reason to raise such hypotheses is to confuse them, which is the aim of the DI ... confuse 'em enough ... ergo God.
Dollars to donuts, Nei's work will be no more than an attempt to refine present evolutionary theory and any publisher's hyperbole is well explained by the late, great, philosopher of science, David Hull:
Some scientists exaggerate their differences with the received view to emphasize how original their contributions are, while others exaggerate the similarities between their views and those of contemporary Darwinians in order to throw the mantle of the great Darwin around their own shoulders. Their opponents then attempt to unmask these exaggerations. ... From the beginning of their careers, scientists are presented with a dilemma. They can make their work look as conventional as possible -- just one more brick in the great edifice of science -- or as novel and controversial as possible -- declaring the foundation of a whole new theory or possibly even a whole new science. On the first strategy, their work is likely to be incorporated effortlessly into the greater body of scientific knowledge. If so, then they will get some credit, but not much. On the second strategy, the work is likely to be greeted with silence. If the author is especially lucky, perhaps an authority can be smoked out to attack these radical new views. However, if on the outside chance that these new views become accepted, the author receives considerable credit. The choice is between a safe strategy with minor payoff versus a very dangerous strategy that promises great rewards.Scientists are human beings. Creationists are too ... it is just that too often creationists are humans who are also con artists.
Monday, June 10, 2013
Stupid Is as Stupid Does
Bobby Jindal admitted that the oxymoronic Louisiana Science Education Act is really intended, as understood by the man who signed it into law as Governor, to promote the teaching of creationism.
Look beginning at about 10:00. Here's a transcript from White:
Jindal: "We have what's called the Science Education Act, that says if a teacher wants to supplement those materials, if the school board's OK with that, if the State school board's OK with that, they can supplement those materials.Teach them about ID? Heaven [cough] forfend! ... according to the Discoveryless Institute!
"Bottom line, at the end of the day, we want our kids to be exposed to the best facts. Let's teach them about the Big Bang theory. Let's teach them about evolution. Let's teach them….
"I've got no problem if a school board, a local school board, says we want to teach our kids about creationism, that some people have these beliefs as well.
"Let's teach them about intelligent design.
White has the DI's desperate attempt to spin Jindal's admission under the appropriate title "The Discovery Institute Thinks Americans Are Stupid."
Naturally, Casey Lumpkin is involved, not to mention outright lies.
Thursday, June 06, 2013
What she wants to flirt with is disaster for the fiscal health of the school system she is supposed to protect and advance. In short, she wants to institute the teaching of creationism in the public schools she is in charge of.
Now, at least, Kohls (a
She hadn't quite gotten the hang of it two years ago (can you say "Buckingham," boys and girls?) when the idea was first brought up:
"My input on creationism has everything with me being a parent and not a member of the Tea Party," she said. "We are motivated people who want to change the course of this country. Eliminating God from our public lives I think is a mistake and is why we have gone in the direction of spending beyond our means."So much for this being about "critical thinking" or "strengths and weaknesses." As to the failure to teach creationism being why we have a deficit … and not the Bush tax cuts, along with not one but two (count 'em) wars at the same time ... what can anyone say but ... Boggle!!!!
The stupid party is alive and "well" in Ohio.
P.S.: The good news is that students, parents and teachers seem to be pushing back.
See also PZ Megahertz and the Sensuous Curmudgeon.
Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Saturday, June 01, 2013
He has had an extended dialogue with Don McLeroy concerning the science of evolution while remaining unfailingly polite and calm. (Okay, maybe that's not amazing; maybe Novella is just a better person than I am.)
It began with an interview on May 11, 2013 with McLeroy in a podcast at The Skeptics' Guide To The Universe. Novella wrote four posts on the interview and his impression of McLeroy: Part I; Part II; Part III and Part IV.
McLeroy then responded to the four posts and Novella replied here.
One amusing aspect of that exchange is that McLeroy claims that Novella's four posts presented "only " seven or eight 'evidences' of evolution. McLeroy, who claims "[t]he evidentiary requirements to demonstrate evolution are immense," says he "rests his case" based on the paucity of the evidence presented. Novella correctly points out that McLeroy counts each link Novella supplied as one piece of evidence when, in fact, each contain many pieces of evidence.
I find this a fascinating interplay between the Fundamentalist predilection for "proof texts" and the trope (that I've never had much truck with) that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." McLeroy clearly regards the claims of evolutionary science to be "extraordinary." By what objective metric do we say he is wrong? On the other hand, he denies that the evidence for evolution is "extraordinary" and, again, by what objective metric do we say he is wrong? Personally, I think the evidence is extraordinary that the trope is wrong. As J. B. S. Haldane purportedly said, "my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose." Talking about "extraordinary" claims and evidence is just as foolish for a scientist as a creationist.
[Climbing down off hobbyhorse]
The (purportedly) last exchange between Novella and McLeroy is here. Most telling is this from McLeroy:
We agree that historical sciences like evolution are "tested" by the evidence. My key insight from our discussion is we disagree about the amount of evidence needed to demonstrate evolution. I want to see significantly greater evidence than you do.In short, 'I don't need no steenkin facts, I've still got fingers to stuff knuckle deep in my ears; eyelids to screw tight shut and I still remember how to hum "Nearer My God to Thee" as loud as I can.'
I admit that I do not have the time to read all the technical articles and read all the links you have referred to , but I do not admit that I am unable to judge the adequacy of the evidence evolutionists have presented for evolution. I have read the popular literature of highly acclaimed evolutionists; I have thought about how much evidence is required to demonstrate evolution. And, I have found it unconvincing.
It has been said before but bears repeating. Evolution has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt. It just has not been proven beyond unreasonable doubt.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Did I Get the Scout Salute Wrong?
Oh, here's one, from John Stemberger, founder of OnMyHonor.net:
He claimed that scouting groups now have two options: to "segregate" gay Scouts from heterosexual ones by putting them in separate tents, or "put homosexual boys with other boys and put them at risk."At "risk" of what? Rape? But the Bible is okay with rape: Judges 21:10-24; Numbers 31:7-18; Deuteronomy 20:10-14; Deuteronomy 22:28-29, for example.
Now "boys being boys" was a common phenomenon in the Army when I was in. Scared and lonely kids tend to seek solace. Here's an idea! ... let's stop making kids scared and lonely and maybe they won't "huddle up" at night. As always, the Righteous Right imagines that what they hate is so attractive that no one can resist it. Maybe they should look into their own psyche.
Here's a nice one:
Jonathan Saenz, president of the Austin-based conservative advocacy group Texas Values, which organized one of the protests outside the annual meeting, called the vote a "tragic decision" that showed the Boy Scouts had "chosen to place sex and politics above its timeless principles."Because, of course, allowing a vote is a terrible thing. Wait a minute! Weren't the homophobes saying just a second ago that whenever the "homosexual agenda" was put to a vote they won? Voting is, apparently, a good thing only when they win.
He blamed national leaders who called for the vote and "willingly opened the door to allow homosexual advocates to overrun an organization that stands for a code of morality that these intolerant advocates reject." He predicted the vote could destroy the organization.
And, again, from the Family Research Council:
It is clear that the current BSA leadership will bend with the winds of popular culture, and the whims of liberal special interest groups.Because, of course, all those anti gay marriage votes a decade ago were just the winds of popular culture and the whims of wingnut special interest groups.
“My concern all along has been boy-on-boy sexual contact,” John Stemberger, an Eagle Scout and organiser of On My Honor, told the Dallas Morning News in April. “If this resolution passes, it will be open season for gay young men. How do we protect the Scouts who are not gay?”Oh, I don't know ... maybe by telling the non-gay kids to just say no?
Bryan Fischer could not be far behind:
BSA now stands for Boy Sodomizers of America, because that's what will happen. Mark my words.It's a little late for that, Bryan.
Okay, it is only fair to include some sensible things that are said, in this case by a parent, Wes Comer, a Pentecostal:
To be honest, I'm torn at this point. I'm not sure exactly what our decision will be.Yeah, but if it was violating your own sense of justice before the change, isn't it nobler to take that "mortal blow" than to continue as it was?
If I place this situation in the context of my religious beliefs, I'm forced to ask myself, 'Would I turn a homosexual child away from Sunday school? From a church function? Would I forbid my children to be friends with a gay child?' I can't imagine a situation where I would answer 'yes' to any of those questions. So how can I in this one?
Yet he said was "extremely disappointed" in the entire debate, and suggested that the BSA "has dealt itself a mortal blow."
Back to the stupid, in the person of Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma:
If the Left were truly tolerant, they would tolerate the Boy Scouts being who they have always been.Umm ... Did you notice that 61 percent of the voting members of the BSA's National Council supported the change? Do "liberals" really make up 61 percent of the BSA's National Council? Or is that most Americans have become fed up with homophobes?
In the category of duh, there is Bishop Paul Loverde of the Arlington Catholic Diocese:
Overarching all of this will be our firm commitment to preserving the integrity of the Church's teaching on the authentic meaning of human sexuality.Riiight! As if the Church of Pedophile Protectors is anyone to lecture the rest of us on the meaning of human sexuality!
As an organization founded on character and leadership, it is highly disappointing to see the Boy Scouts of America succumb to external pressures and political causes at the cost of its moral integrity.
Here's a good one:
He [Jonathan Saenz, president of the Austin-based conservative advocacy group Texas Values] blamed national leaders who called for the vote and "willingly opened the door to allow homosexual advocates to overrun an organization that stands for a code of morality that these intolerant advocates reject."As before, when you win, democracy is a great thing ... when you lose, it is the worst thing in the world.
Expect more ...
Friendly, Courteous and Kind
The Boy Scouts of America threw open its ranks Thursday to gay Scouts but not gay Scout leaders — a fiercely contested compromise that some warned could fracture the organization and lead to mass defections of members and donors.Of course, this measure did not go nearly far enough. Openly gay scouts will be, for as long as this lasts, forced out of scouting when they turn 18. Still, baby steps ...
Of the roughly 1,400 voting members of the BSA's National Council who cast ballots, 61 percent supported the proposal drafted by the governing Executive Committee.
Naturally, the Righteous Right is threatening to pick up their marbles and go home because they lost. Since many scout troops are sponsored by church groups, that could be harmful to the scouts in the short run. But, then again, I wouldn't be surprised to see local governments, enlightened corporations and secular groups picking up at least some of the slack. And the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest sponsor of scout groups, has signaled that it's okay with the change.
As Ted Olson, hardly a flaming liberal, said, in a slightly different context:
I have no doubt that we are on the right side of this battle, the right side of the law, and the right side of history.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Amusingly, they note that it is suitable for use:
... in settings such as private schools, a general family and home setting, homeschool, church environments, small discussion groups, extracurricular school organizations (such as IDEA Clubs), or personal use. When used as a textbook, DID is not intended to replace standard subject science texts, but instead can supplement them by presenting information not available in many standard textbooks. While DID is strictly scientific in its content, it is not recommended for use in public schools.As the Curmudgeon notes "They claim it's "strictly scientific," yet it's not recommended for public schools. Why is that?"
Well, for one thing, in the first chapter of the curriculum, the DI resorts to a quote mine, hardly a marker for science. Arguing against "materialism," they present this:
Materialists impose philosophical restrictions upon science which prohibit any reference to intelligent causes. As one evolutionary biologist argued in the world's leading scientific journal, Nature:Um ... not quite. Here is the complete quote from Scott C. Todd, an immunologist at Kansas State University, commenting on the Kansas Board of Education's 1999 decision to eliminate the required teaching of evolution in public schools:
Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.
Most important, it should be made clear in the classroom that science, including evolution, has not disproved God's existence because it cannot be allowed to consider it (presumably). Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic. Of course the scientist, as an individual, is free to embrace a reality that transcends naturalism.In short, Todd was not espousing "materialism" but Methodological Naturalism, which the DI defines as:
The belief that, whether or not the supernatural exists, we must pretend that it doesn't when practicing science.But, wait a minute! The DI also says:
However, in the debate over ID, those who raise questions about the supernatural are often attempting to shut down the discussion by refusing to address the evidence.Well, if the DI recognizes that the supernatural is "beyond the boundaries of science," then what was wrong about what Todd said?... Other than the fact that the DI is lying through its teeth and wants their audience to make exactly the conclusion that the "designer" is the God of Christianity.
The bottom line is simply this: All that intelligent design scientifically detects is the prior action of intelligence. It does not venture further, beyond the boundaries of science.
This is also cute: the DI says that there are Seven Tenets of Materialism, the first two of which are:
1. Either the universe is infinitely old, or it appeared by chance, without cause.But if the designer who created the universe and the physical laws and constants of the universe isn't God, I'll eat John Wilkins' epistemological hat!
2. The physical laws and constants of the universe ultimately occurred by purposeless, chance processes.
And they wonder why we call them liars.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Lion's Liar's Den
Now, the reason I know this is because I happened to drop into the Answers in Genesis site to see if anything interesting going on and, lo and behold, Ken was kvetching about "an 'interesting' blog post [that] appeared on a well-trafficked atheist blog" that recounted how "[t]wo women, both atheists, had attended the conference in an "undercover" manner—with an obvious agenda".
Of course, lest his followers might hear anything that would take them out of their little biblical cocoon, the maintenance of which is, of course, the major objective of the Creation "Museum," Ham didn't give the name of the blog, much less a link. It took me a few minutes to find "We Attended the Answers in Genesis Women's Conference… and This is What Happened."
Ham's first complaint is that:
... part of the ministry of the Creation Museum is to share the gospel with unbelievers, in the hope that they will repent and believe. So we encourage atheists to visit.Um, riiight!
He next complained that:
They made fun of the attire of attendees at the conference, indicating that they had to wear skirts and couldn't wear shorts. But other women in attendance wore a variety of clothing including skirts and slacks.We're really getting to the substance here, aren't we? In point of fact, what was said was:
I definitely needed caffeine to get started. Unfortunately, the hotel we picked was also home to many of the other conference attendees, and in my sleep-fogged state, I accidentally wandered down to the continental breakfast area in shorts. After collecting two dirty looks for my bare legs (the horror!) I headed back to my room, feeling properly cowed, and changed into an appropriately long skirt.So, one of the women getting "bad vibes" for wearing shorts is refuted because some of the attendees wore skirts and slacks? And it's making fun of what the other women wear to wear a skirt? As usual, logic eludes Ham.
Then there is the standard ploy:
You know, it's interesting that atheists find our conferences and other meetings important and influential enough that they have to send people to attend to find out what's going on here. What are the atheists scared of?Well, I'll let Louise answer that:
The misinformation, demonization, and outright disdain they showed toward anyone who isn't a "Creationist" or "Christian" came shining through at the conference. Ken Ham may say, "Why are they so worried about us?" I would flip the question back to him. We were only two females who respectfully attended a conference and wrote about it. Atheists and "Nones" comprise less than 30% of the population while the majority of Americans call themselves "Christians" and nearly half the country believes in Creationism.I'd add that creationists are always busy ... trying to keep children in public schools ignorant, to violate the Constitution, to turn America into a theocracy where their religious beliefs are enshrined in the civil law ... and it is always legitimate to study your opponents ... especially when all you have to do is go and listen to what they say in public.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Speaks With Forked Tongue
The Louisiana Senate overwhelmingly rejected an attempt Monday to repeal a 2008 law that permits public school science teachers to use material outside of the adopted textbook in the classroom — leeway critics say turns science into religion.Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, who has been working with Zack Kopplin in an attempt to repeal the badly misnamed Louisiana Science Education Act, tried to attach the repeal onto a bill by Sen. Eric LaFleur, which would require local school boards to create foreign language immersion programs under certain circumstances. Sen. Bill Nevers, who sponsored the LSEA, defended it by saying there is "not one word about teaching creationism." The funny thing is that LaFleur's bill would do something that Nevers wasn't so happy about:
But Nevers also opposed a section of LaFleur's bill that would repeal the Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science law, ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987. That law required public schools in the state to give balanced treatment to creation-science and evolution-science in classroom instruction and instructional materials.But, of course, there is no reason at all to think that Nevers is interested in injecting creationism into Louisiana's public schools!
Nevers said the law should be kept on the books in case the Supreme Court ever reversed its decision.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
They Just Can't Get the Hang of It
Apparently, Ten Commandments plaques hang in every classroom in Muldrow (Oklahoma) High School.
A brave young man, Gage Pulliam, contacted the Freedom From Religion Foundation which, in turn, wrote to the school district demanding the removal of the clearly unconstitutional plaques.
The reaction was predictable:
[H]undreds of students have decided to stand up and defend the plaques by launching petitions and raising awareness on social networking sites. And lots of folks around town are wondering why a Wisconsin-based organization is concerned about the affairs of Muldrow, Okla.Ya see, this Constitution thingie applies everywhere in the US and taking away other peoples' rights anywhere is a concern of every citizen! As to standing up and 'defending' the plaques, I suggest the students adopt George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door as their role model. Just because the local majority happens to think it is okay to violate the Constitution doesn't make it right.
"It's Christianity under attack within our own country," said Josh Moore, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Muldrow, Okla. "The irony can't be missed by anyone who's lived in this country or grown up in this country."Because, of course, not letting Christians impose their beliefs on everyone else is to "attack" it. The irony that can't be missed is that the pastor is so certain that "our" country is coextensive with his particular version of Christianity that it is obvious that everyone has to agree with him.
But, for irony all around, this is the winner:
Parent Denise Armer told KHOG* she supports the students' efforts to save the Ten Commandment plaques.But the government can make students who do not agree, for example, that "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath" to sit there under a plaque telling them that they should believe? There is always a simple test for how serious this claim is. Would Ms. Armer be okay with verses from the Qur'an being posted on the walls of the public school for her kids to read or not as they choose?
"If other kids don't want to read the Ten Commandments, then they don't have to," she said. "But that doesn't mean that they have to make everyone else do what they want."
Even state legislators in Oklahoma realize that the attempt to 'save' the plaques is hopeless:
"A majority of teachers and students didn't agree with the Freedom From Religion Foundation letter, so they contacted myself and Senator Mark Allen. After talking with numerous Christian organizations and constitutional lawyers, it became clear that the superintendent and local school board has no choice but to remove the plaques if they want to avoid a lawsuit," State Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, said.In 1980, in Stone v. Graham, the Supreme Court thought it was so obvious that public schools could not post the 10 Commandments that it did not even bother to have briefs and oral arguments. Instead, on a petition for writ of certiorari, it ruled:
The preeminent purpose for posting the Ten Commandments on schoolroom walls is plainly religious in nature. The Ten Commandments are undeniably a sacred text in the Jewish and Christian faiths, and no legislative recitation of a supposed secular purpose can blind us to that fact. The Commandments do not confine themselves to arguably secular matters, such as honoring one's parents, killing or murder, adultery, stealing, false witness, and covetousness. See Exodus 20:12-17; Deuteronomy 5:16-21. Rather, the first part of the Commandments concerns the religious duties of believers: worshipping the Lord God alone, avoiding idolatry, not using the Lord's name in vain, and observing the Sabbath Day. See Exodus 20:1-11; Deuteronomy 5:6-15.But the locals still may not get it:
This is not a case in which the Ten Commandments are integrated into the school curriculum, where the Bible may constitutionally be used in an appropriate study of history, civilization, ethics, comparative religion, or the like. Posting of religious texts on the wall serves no such educational function. If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the schoolchildren to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments. However desirable this might be as a matter of private devotion, it is not a permissible state objective under the Establishment Clause.
It does not matter that the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are financed by voluntary private contributions, for the mere posting of the copies under the auspices of the legislature provides the "official support of the State . . . Government" that the Establishment Clause prohibits. Nor is it significant that the Bible verses involved in this case are merely posted on the wall, rather than read aloud, for "it is no defense to urge that the religious practices here may be relatively minor encroachments on the First Amendment." We conclude that Ky.Rev.Stat. § 158.178 (1980) violates the first part of the Lemon v. Kurtzman test, and thus the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.
The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted, and the judgment below is reversed. [Citations omitted]
Independent Christian student groups and the members of the Muldrow Ministerial Alliance are protesting the removal of the plaques with a planned show of unity by wearing T-Shirts on Wednesday with the Ten Commandments printed on them.No, no, no! The kids are allowed to express their beliefs. It is the government that cannot endorse a particular religion or religion in general.
Students have reportedly been told if they wear them they will be made to turn the shirts inside out or go home and change.
* Love that call sign!
Update: The school board is doing the right thing. The plaques were taken down last week and the board voted to make that permanent.
The board got good advice from its lawyers:
"The Supreme Court has of the United States has already decided this issue and said that you can't post the Ten Commandments on a wall of a public school classroom,"Jerry Richardson, an attorney with Rosenstein, Fist & Reingold, explained. "That's pretty clear-cut."While "dozens" of parents were described as upset, the reaction seems pretty muted. One bright high school student, Darian Preston, saw the big picture:
"I can see that they want to take it down that all religions are shown equally," she said. "They don't want to favor Christianity over Atheism or Agnostics."Despite some nasty comments to the news stories, it seems cooler heads have prevailed.
Preston said that she recognizes the severity of the school being sued.
"It might be better for them to take them down just so they don't lose a bunch of money that they need to buy books and everything we need," she said.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Samantha Paulin, apparently a student at Greenville, reports on her experience at the colloquium.
First of all, she calls Collins "a renowned Intelligent Design proponent."
Really? Dang! I thought I knew most of them!
But Samantha may have answered that puzzle:
So what happens when one who supports this very idea steps onto the grounds of a Christian institution? I came into the colloquium and especially the discussion in class wanting him to come out and defend against the many critiques of Intelligent Design. ...But ID has nothing to do with religion!
Dr. Collins presented his points of view towards both the natural and spiritual world, but nowhere did he attempt to push ID down upon us or desperately defend his beliefs. What he did do was lay out the facts, definitions, and ideas behind Intelligent Design, describe what it means to be a good theological theory, and show those present many of the quotes and views of the leading names in the fields of science and religion that came before him. [Quote mines, anyone?]
... Dr. Collins doesn't necessarily support 100 percent of the views that more conservative ID proponents believe in. He is first and foremost a believer in the Lord, not a scientist. He doesn't define his life by what he has discovered or written about, but rather by where his heart is and how he acts through his beliefs. ...
He doesn't let his scientific values govern his core religious beliefs, and why should he? If someone is serious about following the Lord, then conforming to a certain scientific theory and all that comes with it seems extremely limiting because science itself is limited to the study of the natural world.
So, as far as the idea of Intelligent Design and all theories for that argument goes, there will always be critics and rightly so. But, as Dr. Collins showed, just because a scientist claims to support a certain theological idea, doesn't make him or her an unreliable scientist or a weak believer. It makes him or her a broken human saved by grace who uses this salvation to honor God through the study of the natural world. [Emphasis added]
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
They Know Their Own
Intelligent Design is a commonly accepted theory in the faith community used to explain the role of God in creation and human existence.Was that some evil "Darwinist" misrepresenting the Intelligent Design Movement?
No, it was the student newspaper of Greenville College, a Christian institution, reporting on a colloquium led by Dr. Jack Collins, a professor of Old Testament studies at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, who has degrees from MIT in Computer Science and Systems Engineering, a M.Div. from Faith Lutheran Seminary and a Ph.D. in Hebrew linguistics from the University of Liverpool.
It is not possible to tell how good Collins' presentation was from the scant information in the report but he apparently conveyed this:
Collins is careful to point out the flaws that come with a belief in ID. The theory lends itself to propose "God created this, because it is 'design,' while God is not responsible for that, because it is not 'design.'" He also cautions against appealing to areas of ignorance for assertions in God, and resting faith on an absence in knowledge.Specifically, he warns against "God of the gaps" theology which, of course, the IDers deny they are engaged in.
No matter what their hope to someday fool the courts, it's clear they can't fool their co-religionists.
In case you don't know who he was, he made PZ Myearshertz' favorite movie, It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955), along with many others.
Saturday, May 04, 2013
This is more in the territory of Ed Brayton but the latest explosions of wingnut heads lighting up the night sky have to do with the impending courts martial of evangelical Christians in the military.
It will come as no surprise that it is, to put it charitably, bullhockey!
Warren Throckmorton is a Professor of Psychology at Grove City College (a Christian school where Guillermo Gonzalez wound up after he was [snicker] Expelled) who has in the past dismantled David Barton's crap, correctly, if inadvertently, titled The Jefferson Lies.
Throckmorton is all over the story:
Is the Military Preparing to Court Martial Christians? (UPDATED)
On the Military and Religious Proselytizing: Military Spokesman's Original Comments Used Out of Context
The Military's Policy on Proselytizing Is Not New and Is Consistent with Federal Law
Air Force Statement on Religious Proselytizing and Religious Materials on Desks
The short version is this: Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation had a meeting with the Air Force Judge Advocate General (the Air Force's top lawyer) to discuss the problem of military commanders using their positions to coerce those under their command to participate in religious functions that violate their subordinate's freedom of conscience. (See Ed's Blog generally on that point.)
Weinstein apparently said "Until the Air Force or Army or Navy or Marine Corps punishes a member of the military for unconstitutional religious proselytizing and oppression, we will never have the ability to stop this horrible, horrendous, dehumanizing behavior."
Faux News faux pundit, Todd Starnes, then apparently asked a military spokes-person about such courts martials, who, correctly, replied on that point::
Court[s] martials and non-judicial punishment are decided on case-by-case basis and it would be inappropriate to speculate on the outcome in specific cases.Typically for wingnuts, that was changed to "Pentagon May Court Martial Soldiers Who Share Christian Faith."
In short, it is another in a long line of wingnut manufactroversies.
Oh, look ... the pretty lights in the sky ...
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
David Klinghoffer is in high dudgeon!
It seems that some dirty "Darwinist" interrupted the lovefest between wingnut Michael Medved and Stephen Meyer on Medved's new weekly "Science and Culture Update" show by calling Meyer a "preacher" not a man of science.
There is, of course, the obligatory bluster:
Intelligent design considers the evidence of nature and infers the activity of a designer. But science does not say who or what that designer is. It just doesn't, much as some believers might wish it did. On claims about the supernatural, ID is simply agnostic. It must be. Why can't these people understand that?Oh, maybe, it is because we just keep on actually listening to you.
But the funny part is that Klinghoffer fumes:
Isn't it interesting how often, confronted with scientific [!] evidence and arguments for design in nature, ID critics respond with theological countercharges. And they call folks like Stephen Meyer "preachers"?Yeah! How could we possibly do that?
TRUEU: DOES GOD EXIST?Preacher? ... What preacher?
By Stephen Meyer and Del Tackett-- TrueU is a DVD-based apologetics curriculum. Dr. Del Tackett, architect and voice of Focus on the Family's The Truth Project®, describes this endeavor this way:
Produced by Focus on the Family in conjunction with Coldwater Media, TrueU is an apologetics training series primarily geared to help prepare high school students for the rigorous challenges and attacks that will confront them on the university campus.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Thursday is the National Day of Prayer, and if you want to pray, by all means have at it.
I'll let you in on a little secret: You can pray (or not) as dictated by your very own conscience. You don't need any branch of the government to tell you what to do when it comes to religion.
At Americans United, we find the National Day of Prayer offensive for a number of reasons. In the first place, it violates the constitutional separation of church and state. Congress passed a federal law requiring the president to acknowledge the day. Most governors follow suit, thus giving Americans the false notion that elected officials have some sort of official role in religious matters. ...
There is a little bit of good news here: During the presidency of George W. Bush, the White House usually held a big public NDP event and invited Religious Right leaders. It was Bush's way of letting the Religious Right know that he appreciated the movement's support. President Barack Obama ended that practice. Obama will sign a proclamation (remember, by law he has to), but it's unlikely that any far-right radio and TV preachers will be lurking at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Thursday.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Nits for Picking
The reading lists pretty much tell the tale, including works By Discovery [sic] Institute stalwarts such as Michael Behe, William Dembski, Guillermo Gonzelez and Stephen Meyer; out-and-out creationists, such as Hugh Ross, Lee Strobel (!) and even C. S. Lewis (!!); and well known theistic evolutionists, such as Guy Consolmagno, Owen Gingerich and Francis Collins. On the other hand, there is no sign of counter views from people like Dawkins, Stenger, or Krauss.
Intellectually, it sounds bad. The students seem to like the professor personally and think the class is easy which will, of course, make up for a lot in student's eyes.
But here's the nit: Coyne says:
... Hedin's course, and the University's defense of it, violate the separation of church and state mandated by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ("freedom of religion") and which has been so interpreted by the courts.Well, not exactly. The leading case in this regard is Edwards v. Aguillard, which specifically dealt with a law concerning only primary and secondary education. Those classes are, for the most part, mandatory and, as a result, Justice Brennan noted in his decision that the Court is "particularly vigilant in monitoring compliance with the Establishment Clause in elementary and secondary schools." That rational is much weaker when it comes to university courses, particularly electives. Just so, public universities not infrequently have departments and even schools of religious studies and no one expects all their courses to be religiously neutral or even nonsectarian.
In point of fact, this course is much closer to a violation of "truth in advertising" laws than it is a constitutional violation. I suspect that a much more effective technique to end it is for students who were looking for real science education to demand their money back for having been lied to as to its scientific content than to bring an action under the Constitution.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
The ACLU Foundation of Kansas & Western Missouri and the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief have discovered that mandatory all-school assemblies will be held at Hugoton (Kansas) Public Schools by people associated with a creationist organization, the Creation Truth Foundation of Noble, Oklahoma.
Au contraire, they cry. According to Mark Crawford, superintendent of Hugoton Unified School District, "someone was misinformed":
Crawford says the speakers visiting next week will hold nonreligious events during school hours and have rented school space to hold events concerning creationism in the evening. ...Also according to Crawford, the school assembly program won't be Creation Truth Foundation's "The Truth About Dinosaurs" but the Foundation for the Advancement of Childhood Education's "Dinosaurs: Those Terrible Lizards." I didn't bother to watch much of the "The Truth About Dinosaurs," since it starts off with the tired old presuppositional assertion that scientists and creationists are looking at the same evidence but filtered through different "worldviews." On FACE's website,"Dinosaurs: Those Terrible Lizards" is described as:
Crawford said Matt Miles, one of the Creation Truth Foundation's speakers, was from Hugoton. Community members invited the group to Hugoton for evening events and asked whether Miles also could give presentations during the school day. Crawford said the district agreed but secured a written statement from Miles promising that the content of daytime talks would be "school appropriate."
"Matt is from Hugoton," he said. "The people here know and trust him."
"I completely understand the red flags that the ACLU sees in this, but it's a unique situation," he said.
Crawford said school and district staff hadn't promoted the evening events to students.
The district says Miles' talks during the day will be on behalf of the Foundation for the Advancement of Childhood Education.
The program entitled "Dinosaurs: Those Terrible Lizards tm" is a presentation complete with richly illustrated graphics and animations. In the program, the instructor presents a science based hour long investigative and captivating view about the nature and behaviors of these fascinating animals; much of which is not published in textbooks or seen in the main stream media.That "not published in textbooks or seen in the main stream media" is a large red flag but, ultimately, the real stealth is in the juxtaposition of the school assemblies and the creationist presentations in the evenings. FACE boasts about their ability to hold students "spell bound" for an entire class period and I'm sure they work very hard at that. Even if school and district staff don't promote the evening events to students, the kids not idiots and are surely aware of them. If they had fun in the assemblies, they are more likely to want to attend the evening classes where they will be seriously abused intellectually.
Like luring children with candy or puppies.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Jerry Coyne has an amusing post at his notblog.
First of all, Jerry reports on Darwin's Doubt, the latest "Game-Changing New Book" on Intelligent Design Creationism by Stephen C. Meyer, that will be "a paradigm shift" in the evolution "debate."
Jerry notes that it is being published by HarperOne, which describes itself as publishing "[t]he most important books across the full spectrum of religion, spirituality, and personal growth."
Wait a minute! Doesn't the Discoveryless Institute keep telling us that ID has nothing to do with religion?
But that's not all!
Jerry goes on to say:
If Meyer can't adduce positive evidence that a designer created the Cambrian explosion—and I can't imagine how he could possibly do this—his argument would rest only on our current ignorance of why it happened (Emphasis added).You know, I've mentioned once or twice, that Jerry may just not understand the concept of Methodological Naturalism.
But maybe he is getting a glimmer. After all, if he cannot "imagine" how science could confirm the action of a "designer," how could science discomfirm the action of a "designer"?
However, I suspect his own words will fail to sink in.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
The death of a man in the infield of Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night during the Sprint Cup Series NRA 500 has been ruled a suicide from a gunshot to the head, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's office.Ah, yes ... public relations at its finest!
The incident happened late in the race when Kirk Franklin, 42, of Saginaw, Texas, apparently got into an argument with other campers, according to the Associated Press. Track spokesperson Mike Zizzo said Saturday night that the incident happened "in or around a pickup truck" in the infield.
The subject is a six-week "Origins" series that was organized by Cornerstone Ministries that included the Discovery [sic] Institute's Paul Nelson (correctly described as "[w]idely considered a creationist") and the execrable Jerry Bergman saying this:
[Darwin] was a chauvinist pig that never evolved and believed women evolved less than men. Why are we taking a man like that and holding him up as an example to our children?And Martin Luther was an anti-Semite, so anyone who teaches Protestant Christianity is wrong to hold him up as an example to children? Darwin was human and his attitude towards women was not very enlightened by our standards. But if he is held up as an example, it is because of the meticulous science he conducted, something Bergman wouldn't recognize if it bit him on the ass.
The article is a bit of a mess but not, I think, because of the reporter. Unlike so many of her compatriots, Ms. Kurutz made an attempt to really get "both sides," giving prominent space to Josh Rosenau of the NCSE and making rather strong statements such as:
Considered in the context of the scientific method — the basic process that calls for scientists to observe, measure, experiment and test, revise and, if possible, disprove their hypothesis — intelligent design isn't science at all, opponents of intelligent design say.The contradictions all come from the creationist side.
They say the notion at the heart of the idea can't be scientifically tested or disproved. If the scientific method can't be applied to the idea, it isn't science and doesn't belong in a science classroom, they say. In essence, it's religion without using the word "God."
In Pennsylvania, the courts agree. In 2005, Judge John E. Jones III ruled that teaching intelligent design in public schools violates part of the First Amendment because it "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents."
Donn Chapman, senior pastor at Cornerstone, said he became interested in the subject when a staff member asked about the evolution his child was studying. So Chapman borrowed a copy of the textbook, intending to present the material in a "way that is more akin to our faith."
Chapman, who hosts a weekly show called "Origins" on Cornerstone's Christian TV station, said schools should focus on sharing ideas and learning the truth. In particular, he advocates for teachers sharing alternate ideas — most notably intelligent design — on evolution.In one of those shows, featuring Paul Nelson, he maintains that the show "Is a forum where we take the evidence of science and use it to validate the truth of creation." (See, "Origins - The Miracle of Development Part 2")
But, of course, he gives the obligatory denial:
Intelligent design isn't the same as creationism, he said. Creationism is a belief that God created man, animals and the earth in six days, Chapman said. Intelligent design, he said, is based on scientific evidence and points to a directed process and a designer, not necessarily God.Riiight! It's just more akin to his faith to pretend that the evidence of science validates the truth of creation ... without falling afoul of the Constitution by actually mentioning who the "designer" is.
Just in case you think I'm being uncharitable in my interpretation of Chapman's position, he spelled it out plainly:
"Our kids shouldn't have to surrender their faith to get a good scientific education," Chapman said. "That's all I'm saying. The church and home have work to do to teach who that creator is and to bring them to know God."In other words, teach ID as a way of making it easier for churches and parents to teach children their religious beliefs. Chapman and like-minded pastors and parents have the constitutional right to teach religion but they do not have the right to use taxpayer money to make it easier for them, especially not by having the schools lie to them about the science of evolution.
There's a lot more to the article, so go read it ... but make sure your blood pressure meds are up to date.
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Family Research Council Endorses Dishonesty or Stupidity
In a post entitled "President Endorses Intelligent Design!" he "quotes" Thomas Jefferson to the effect:
…the Theist, pointing to the heavens above, and to the earth beneath, and to the waters under the earth, asked if these did not proclaim a first cause, possessing intelligence and power; power in the production, and intelligence in the design, and constant preservation of the system; urged the palpable existence of final causes, that the eye was made to see, and the ear to hear, and not that we see because we have eyes, and hear because we have ears…... and claims:
In this letter, the former president, Thomas Jefferson, one of the leading scientific minds of his day, rejects the atheism of some of the French philosophes with whom he shared so many ideas. He ascribes to the Creator "power in the production, intelligence in the design, and constant preservation of the system…" [Emphasis in original]Really?
Here's the original, To John Adams, April 8, 1816, in which Jefferson is writing to John Adams about a certain Baron Grimm:
Did I know Baron Grimm while at Paris? Yes, most intimately. He was the pleasantest and most conversable member of the diplomatic corps while I was there; a man of good fancy, acuteness, irony, cunning and egoism. No heart, not much of any science, yet enough of every one to speak its language; his forte was belles-lettres, painting and sculpture. ...Clearly (to anyone with at least as much honesty as intelligence), Jefferson is not "endorsing" ID, he is comparing two schools of thought, atheist and theist. His sympathy for "traditional" theism can be seen in his description of "fabricated Christianity" in the thrall of pagan priests.
Although I never heard Grimm express the opinion directly, yet I always supposed him to be of the school of Diderot, D'Alembert, D'Holbach; the first of whom committed his system of atheism to writing in ''Le bon sens,'' and the last in his "Systeme de la Nature.'' It was a numerous school in the Catholic countries, while the infidelity of the Protestant took generally the form of theism. The former always insisted that it was a mere question of definition between them, the hypostasis [underlying state or substance; fundamental reality] of which, on both sides, was ''Nature,'' or ''the Universe;'' that both agreed in the order of the existing system, but the one supposed it from eternity, the other as having begun in time. And when the atheist descanted on the unceasing motion and circulation of matter through the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms, never resting, never annihilated, always changing form, and under all forms gifted with the power of reproduction; the theist pointing "to the heavens above, and to the earth beneath, and to the waters under the earth," asked, if these did not proclaim a first cause, possessing intelligence and power ; power in the production, and intelligence in the design and constant preservation of the system ; urged the palpable existence of final causes; that the eye was made to see, and the ear to hear, and not that we see because we have eyes, and hear because we have ears; an answer obvious to the senses, as that of walking across the room, was to the philosopher demonstrating the non-existence of motion.
I have lately been amusing myself with Levi's book ... His style is inelegant and incorrect, harsh and petulant to his adversary, and his reasoning flimsy enough. Some of his doctrines were new to me, particularly that of his two resurrections; the first, a particular one of all the dead, in body as well as soul, who are to live over again, the Jews in a state of perfect obedience to God, the other nations in a state of corporeal punishment for the sufferings they have inflicted on the Jews. ... He alleges that the Jews alone preserve the doctrine of the unity of God. Yet their God would be deemed a very indifferent man with us; and it was to correct their anamorphosis [a deformed image] of the Deity, that Jesus preached, as well as to establish the doctrine of a future state. However, Levi insists, that that was taught in the Old Testament, and even by Moses himself and the prophets. He agrees that an anointed prince was prophesied and promised; but denies that the character and history of Jesus had any analogy with that of the person promised. He must be fearfully embarrassing to the Hierophants [chief priests] of fabricated Christianity ; because it is their own armor in which he clothes himself for the attack. For example, he takes passages of Scripture from their context, (which would give them a very different meaning,) strings them together, and makes them point towards what object he pleases; he interprets them figuratively, typically, analogically, hyperbolically ; he calls in the aid of emendation, transposition, ellipse, metonymy, and every other figure of rhetoric; the name of one man is taken for another, one place for another, days and weeks for months and years; and finally, he avails himself all his advantage over his adversaries by his superior knowledge of the Hebrew, speaking in the very language of the divine communication, while they can only fumble on with conflicting and disputed translations. Such is this war of giants. And how can such pigmies as you and I decide between them? For myself, I confess that my head is not formed tantas componere lites [to settle such great disputes].
And if you can't see the mockery in "one of the leading scientific minds of his day" declaring himself (and John Adams) to be "pigmies" incapable of addressing such issues, you are so tone deaf that wearing 200 pounds of woofers and tweeters strapped to your head isn't going to help.
Moronic or mendacious ... does it matter?
Labels: Quote Mining
Monday, April 01, 2013
As you know if you’ve read this site before, I don’t adhere to the view that science should be wedded a priori to either of these views. Although we do use the methods of reason, experimentation, replication, and so on to study phenomena in nature, we aren’t limited to studying purely natural phenomena—that is, unless, you define “natural phenomena” as those amenable to scientific investigation, in which case the claim becomes a tautology.This is, again, the issue of whether science practices "methodological naturalism" ("MN") versus "ontological naturalism" ("OM"), also known as philosophical or metaphysical materialism.
And indeed, scientists have studied “supernatural” or “paranormal” phenomena before, including ESP, intercessory prayer, and so on.
Jerry at least has actual philosophers on his side this time, Yonatan I. Fishman and Maarten Boudry. I've discussed Boudry's views before and even had some interaction with him. I respect his views even if I disagree.
Now, it will probably take to the weekend before I can give the Fishman and Boudry ("F&B") paper (49 pages worth) the attention it deserves but, with the above quote from Jerry and the following from the paper itself, I think I can see where this is going.
As in Boudry's previous paper, F&B want to distinguish Intrinsic MN ("IMN"), which they claim "considers supernatural explanations to be off-limits to science in principle" from their favored view of Provisional MN (PMN), "which tends to discount supernatural explanations as a general methodological guideline, on the grounds that they are extremely unlikely given the consistent failure of supernatural hypotheses in the past."
F&B quote Michael Ruse:
[S]cience [makes no] reference to extra or supernatural forces like God. Whether there are such forces or beings is another matter entirely, and simply not addressed by methodological naturalism ... [Emphasis added]... and conclude that MN holds that "science is necessarily mute on the question of whether or not supernatural phenomena exist" [Emphasis added]. Similarly, F&B quote the National Academy of Sciences:
Because science is limited to explaining the natural world by means of natural processes, it cannot use supernatural causation in its explanations ...Notice how they are talking past their "opponents"? Coyne and F&B are insisting that science can investigate "supernatural" phenomena while the MNers are talking about "supernatural" causation.
I'd like F&B to give an example of MN proponents who claim that phenomena, for example, the age of the Earth, cannot be investigated by science and, to the extent that religions claim that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, refute such claims.
I've said this before: there are (at least) two great objectives of science ... 1) to determine if phenomena truly exist and 2) to determine the causation of those real phenomena. MN only applies to the second objective.
For example, in Jerry's example, science can determine if there is a statistical correlation between intercessory prayer and healing (assuming that is actually a claim made by "religion"). If such a correlation was found, however, how, exactly, would science go about determining whether it was the result of a "supernatural" cause rather than an (as yet) unknown "natural" cause?
The issue between IMN and PMN is one of the nature of induction. As Hume pointed out long ago, there is a problem with induction. Stubbornly, not all swans are white.
F&B would ignore the problem and anoint it, philosophically, as science instead. I think science is better ... truer ... than that. It recognizes its limitations and, instead of enshrining those limitations as part and parcel of it, it boldly proclaims them, in the form of MN, and challenges any philosophy or theology to do better ... or even as well.
Labels: Methodological Naturalism
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Design and Discovery
John Henry Newman, the great theologian who started life as an evangelical Christian, then became the leader of the High Church faction of the Church of England, and finally converted to Rome and ended up as a cardinal, can stand for many. He had long rejected the argument from design as a major stumbling block to science. In 1870, about his seminal philosophical work, A Grammar of Assent, Newman wrote: "I have not insisted on the argument from design, because I am writing for the 19th century, by which, as represented by its philosophers, design is not admitted as proved. And to tell the truth, though I should not wish to preach on the subject, for 40 years I have been unable to see the logical force of the argument myself. I believe in design because I believe in God; not in a God because I see design." He continued: "Design teaches me power, skill and goodness -— not sanctity, not mercy, not a future judgment, which three are of the essence of religion."
Michael Ruse, Introduction, The "Origin" Then and Now: An Interpretive Guide to the "Origin of Species," 2011. Princeton University Press.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Someday Christians are going to be gagged!
As long as there are still Christians who actually follow Christ and uphold his word, a vast amount of people around the world — never mind Islam — will never ever see gay marriage as anything other than a legal encroachment of God's intent.The funny thing is, at the comments section on Erickson's post, a commenter nymed "joec" was banned rather quickly for taking a libertarian sentiment that government should get out of the marriage business and for expressing skepticism of the claim that there is something that can be called "natural marriage."
So those Christians must be silenced. ...
Any Christian who refuses to recognize that man wants to upend God's order will have to be driven from the national conversation. They will be labeled bigots and ultimately criminals.
And the excuse was joec's "stupidity."
What was that about using labels to silence people?
There's a whole lot more stupidity both in Erickson's piece and the comments, not least the insistence that God is against gay marriage and "that this country was undoubtedly founded on Judeo-Christian values," which pretty well demonstrates that laws against gay marriage are sectarian, not secular, in purpose and, therefore, unconstitutional.
What Erickson and his cohorts at RedState are afraid of is that they will no longer be able to demonize and discriminate against others without being criticized for it.
Oh, the horrors!
This does make want to gag ... but not them.
Via Ed Brayton
Monday, March 25, 2013
But I can't resist highlighting the (the so-far sole) comment to the letter by one Pete Greer. He is upset:
Mr. editor, I would like to show you a few conflicts between man's word (represented by the microbe to man Theory of Evolution) and God's Word (a literal reading of Genesis chapter 1). Evolution states that dinosaurs came before birds and Genesis says that birds came before land animals. Evolution says that the sun existed before plants and Genesis says that plants came before the sun. Evolution says that marine creatures came before land plants and Genesis says that land plants came before marine creatures. These are just 3 of many examples that demonstrate that a person must choose who to believe. These statements are in direct conflict, they cannot be reconciled with one another.At first, I thought that Mr. Greer might be perpetrating a sly parody of creationism but, sadly, apparently not.
The concept of kinds stated in Genesis 1 (ten different times) stands today as a truth that has never been negated by OBSERVATIONAL science ... (Kind is usually on the level of family in the human classification system.)Well, if he is using the standard bafflegab about "observational science" as something we can reproduce in a laboratory or has been observed during a human life span, then no, we haven't directly observed the origin of a new taxonomic family. If we had, of course, it would be a pretty good disproof of evolutionary science.
Frighteningly, Mr. Greer is not content to keep his ignorance to himself ... he spreads it like a virus:
I do teach basic genetics to older children in Sunday School at the appropriate time so they can understand the simple difference between the biblical view and what they learn in the public school classroom.Because, naturally, Sunday School is where science should be taught.
But this is what made me comment:
What does a creationist have to do to be considered scientific rather than religious?Well, let's see ... so far you have denied the science of cosmology, astronomy, physics, radiometric dating, geology, taphonomy, biology and ... for good measure ... the kind of archeology that Christians often cite as evidence for the truth of the Bible.
Maybe if you stop denying just about all of science, you might have a tad better likelihood of being considered scientific.
Unfortunately, it's so much easier to shoot yourself in the foot when you're wearing floppy shoes.