Craig’s apparently done with the whole blogging thing. That’s too bad, I really enjoyed it during the relatively short time I’ve read it regularly.
UPDATE: I should also point out that Craig, through his YAMB posts, brought my blog to the attention of the community of Montana bloggers (and other blogs to my attention), exposing me to plenty of interesting people, some of whom I’ve been able to meet in person. That definitely deserves a thank you.
I can’t really improve on what Matt said, so I’ll just repeat it: Thank you.
In particular, my friend Raleigh Smith, who died on December 23rd, 2004, in Iraq. R.I.P.
Well, the Missoulian published a pretty stupid letter today. On the plus side, it’s very short. On the minus side, it’s not particularly crazy or interesting. Here it is:
Freedom of expression goes both ways
It is said that 86 percent of Americans believe in God. Therefore, it is very hard to understand why there is such a mess about having the Ten Commandments on display or “In God We Trust” on our money and having God in the Pledge of Allegiance.
We should just tell the other 14 percent to sit down and be quiet! It’s also our freedom of expression.
That’s a pretty common argument. Of course, it’s ridiculous. Does it really need to be explained that minorities have rights in this country and that having the state endorse your beliefs has nothing to do with freedom of expression?
It feels strange to me to put up a post saying it’s my birthday. But, it’s not like blogging is a humble enterprise anyway. However, I do have a comment to make:
As I learned from Heliologue the other day, being awake for 21 hours straight is equivalent to being legally drunk. Since it’s a little after Midnight now, I’ve been up for 21 hours straight. I’m also 21 years old today, which is an excuse to get drunk for nearly everyone I know. I don’t have any interest in drinking, but I apparenly already have the drunk thing done. Hooray for me!
That sounded more interesting in my head. I need to go to sleep.
Portable MP3 player edition:
The Mars Volta – Tira Me A Las Aranas
System of a Down – Darts
Spineshank – Forgotten
Dimension Zero – Slow Silence
Epoch of Unlight – The End of All
Black Sabbath – Changes
Rapture – I Am Complete
Bloodbath – Cry My Name
Frantic Bleep – Curtainraiser
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Come to Daddy
Over at WorldNetDaily, there’s an article on evolution by Brannon Howse. Despite having an interesting name, he trots out tired anti-evolution arguments and rhetoric:
In the now-famous Scopes trial of 1925, the American Civil Liberties Union defended the teaching of evolution in public schools. True educational freedom, Clarence Darrow argued, requires the teaching of both theistic and naturalistic versions of origin. Any person with a well-rounded education should know the differing views on something as important as the most basic question in the universe.
Is this true? Talk Origins has an article related to the claim that the ACLU was trying to argue for the teaching of both scientific and theistic theories:
“It is bigotry for public schools to teach only one theory of origins.”
Hmmm. Did Clarence Darrow ever say that? Tom McIver attempted to track down the source of this quote . The results are very interesting.
First it should be noted that it wouldn’t make any sense for Darrow to say such a thing at the Scopes trial. Darrow was trying to defend the practice of teaching only evolution, which is what the Dayton public schools were doing at the time of the Scopes trial . Darrow would be shooting himself in the foot.
So, it looks like that idea is in dispute, but it’s not a major point here.
Now, I don’t think for a split second the ACLU in 1925 was nearly so well-intentioned as to simply want academic freedom for all. But the case could be made that a well-educated person should understand the arguments for and against the major theories about how we got here. Building on the momentum started by Scopes, however, the ACLU has fought hard to keep creationism from being taught in America’s public schools. With the aid of the National Education Association and other liberal groups, it has been stunningly successful in the censorship of facts and reality. Red-faced and veins bulging, these radical liberals verbally assault conservatives that seek the true educational freedom of teaching both Darwinian evolution and creation.
Blah blah blah, nothing interesting here. Conservatives are the persecuted truth-seekers, etc, etc.
Since the ACLU and National Education Association have always been supported by prominent humanists, we should not be shocked by their contempt for the creationist worldview. Evolution, as outlined in the Humanist Manifesto I, II and 2000, is a major doctrine of Secular Humanism. Instead of believing in God as the basis for their religion, humanists believe in nature or “natural science” – naturalism. The reason is supposedly to avoid resting an intellectual foundation on what secularists call “blind faith.”
Nothing very interesting here either. A nine year-old can attack evolution by calling it a religious “doctrine.”
The Christian faith, however, is anything but blind from an intellectual standpoint. Arguments for the God of the Bible are well-founded. What liberal humanists have substituted for a reasonable faith in a Creator God is, I would contend, blind science. Dr. D.G. Lindsay agrees and describes the intellectual underpinnings of evolution this way:
Evolution is a religion that attributes everything to “nature.” It demands a faith that is totally blind. Since the evolutionist believes nature and its laws are the guiding force in the universe, he is totally at odds with the Christian faith and the essential miraculous aspect of creation. The miraculous events of the Bible deviate from the known laws of nature, or at least from our understanding of them.
However, the evolutionist is blind to the fact that his religion, evolution, violates every known law for its own existence, making atheistic evolution more incredible (miraculous) than the Christian faith.
Violates every known law? I’ll be on the lookout for his explanation of how evolution violates Newton’s Laws of Motion. And of course, what arguments for God does he think are well-founded? We get an idea in the next paragraph:
In real life, logic applies. If we see a painting, we assume there was a painter. If an airplane flies overhead, there’s a pilot. It doesn’t matter that we don’t see the painter or the pilot. Elementary logic guarantees in our minds that they exist. If something looks like it was designed – a building, a watch, an airplane or a cosmos – we are safe to assume it was. Not so, however, in the world of blind science. Naturalistic humanists believe there is no God, not because that is the logical conclusion but because that is their preference.
Through experience, we know that the airplanes we see, the paintings we see, are flown and painted, respectively, by humans. Does someone who has never seen an airplane before assume there’s a human inside it? No, he or she would probably assume it was magic or a large animal. Now, how many Universes have we seen? Just this one. We in fact have no experience from which to judge. So, isn’t the logical conclusion to suspend judgement and investigate?
Don’t ever think for a minute they have the intellectual high ground. Much to the contrary, they abandoned the heights occupied by deeply committed Christian scientists like Galileo, Copernicus, Pasteur and Newton long ago. The humanist has no choice but to reject God and believe in man and naturalistic evolution because the alternative is to say there is a Supernatural Creator and Intelligent Designer. Their problem is that if such a Creator exists, then He is the author of the laws of nature, and we are accountable to Him. But being accountable to anyone other than self is not acceptable to the humanist. As a result, humanists reject out of hand any and all evidence that challenges their desired reality.
Here’s the problem with that: belief in God doesn’t lead to any of that. Belief in a theistic god does. If I were to believe in some Creator, it doesn’t follow that I know how it wants me to act or that it wants me to act in a certain way. Hell, it doesn’t even mean the Creator still exists. In any case, evolution doesn’t exclude the possibility of a Creator. For one thing, evolution doesn’t deal with the actual origin of life. That’s abiogenesis. For another, a Creator didn’t have to create us specifically to have been our Creator. Could it not have created the Universe (the big bang?) in such a way that life was a natural consequence? Maybe we can push it back farther and say God is simply the reason there’s something rather than nothing? We could say everything is a consequence of God creating “something” and we are a result of unaltered cosmic evolution from then on. So, I don’t really see anything in science that directly rules out an overall Creator. In my opinion, science has shown that a Creator is either unnecessary or of unknown necessity, not impossible. All that means is faith is necessary for a belief in God. Surely Howse doesn’t think faith is bad.
The liberal, then, who has faith in evolution does not do so out of compelling intellectual honesty but because the alternative requires accountability to God (both in this life and the next). Naturalists look only at theories that don’t contradict their presupposition. Consider the a priori discounting of evidence advocated by the Humanist Manifesto II:
We find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural; it is either meaningless or irrelevant to the question of the survival and fulfillment of the human race. As non-theists, we begin with humans not God, nature not deity.
Anything that calls into question the original presupposition (that there is no God) is rejected, even if it means having faith in an idea, belief or theory that is mathematically not possible and even it if it contradicts bedrock scientific facts or the laws of physics. Their version of science must blind itself to logical deductions in order to draw the conclusion they prefer.
Way to misrepresent a quote! The skill never ceases to amaze me. It seems to me that they are taking the position I just did: there is no evidence and even if there was, it makes little difference to us as a species.
After this we get no more arguments, just a couple of quotes:
Four years after the ACLU worked the Scopes trial, Professor D.M.S. Watson, one of the leading biologists and science writers of his day, explained that the real goal behind evolution is to reject the alternative – a belief in God. Watson notes, “Evolution [is] a theory universally accepted not because it can be proven by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.”
And I can produce a quote that says otherwise. Hooray.
Professor Richard Lewontin, a geneticist and self-proclaimed Marxist, reveals why the dogmatic humanist continues to accept evolution despite its improbability and the unscientific propositions on which it is built:
We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so-stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.
So why has materialism become the assumption behind science? Is it because it provides the most rational foundation? No. Professor Lewontin explained it quite clearly. It’s because only materialism provides the liberal humanist’s preferred philosophical base.
Lewontin wrote that in a critique of Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World. He is disagreeing with the typical viewpoint of scientists. Howse would probably say it’s a case of uncommon honesty, but all it is is a quote. There’s still no support for the argument, proposed by a scientist or not.
It is really quite pathetic when you consider the mental gymnastics a humanist must perform – and the ACLU must defend – to uphold the new version of educational freedom that allows only one view of origins to be taught in our public schools. Although the humanist typically mocks as unscientific those who believe in a creator God, when the science of their worldview is proven to be unscientific and mathematically impossible, they ignore the facts and create preposterous theories simply to sidestep the logical belief in an Intelligent Designer. Which brings me to the one summary statement that explains what is truly the foundation of Blind Science: Note its initials.
I find it funny that Howse has only given us only one (very poor) argument for a Designer, buried in all his bluster and table pounding.
This is old, but I just read it and it’s pretty bizarre:
On the other side, the liberal People for the American Way released an ad May 3 attacking both Owen and Brown. The PFAW ad says of Brown, “She’s so radical that she says, with programs like Social Security and Medicare, seniors are cannibalizing their grandchildren!”
Actually, Brown was speaking about the debt being passed on to future generations, not suggesting that Medicare or Social Security causes old people to eat human flesh. Here’s the full quote from a speech she gave in 2000 before the Institute for Justice:
Um, ok. Who the hell would think that ad says old people are cannibals? “Balanced” journalism gone crazy, I guess.
So, it looks like a compromise has been reached on judicial filibusters. The agreement is:
Under the terms, Democrats agreed to allow final confirmation votes for Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor, named to appeals court seats. There is “no commitment to vote for or against” the filibuster against two other conservatives named to the appeals court, Henry Saad and William Myers.
The agreement said future nominees to the appeals court and Supreme Court should “only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances,” with each Democrat senator holding the discretion to decide when those conditions had been met.
“In light of the spirit and continuing commitments made in this agreement,” Republicans said they would oppose any attempt to make changes in the application of filibuster rules.
At first glance, I wasn’t too happy with this, as Avedon is over at Eschaton. Then, I checked Kos and noticed that the other side seems really pissed about it. Now, I’m not one to decide it’s a good deal because the opposition hates it, but it does force a bit more thought on the subject.
Democrats let through the three worst nominees, but they can still filibuster any Supreme Court nominee. That, however, might not be so easy. The deal says only under “extraordinary circumstances” should there be any filibuster attempts. What happens if Bush nominates a far right judge? Is that extraordinary enough? Does the deal breakdown if Democrats filibuster?
I’m sort of (but probably shouldn’t be) surprised at the reaction from the right. Not surprisingly, the Freepers are going crazy. They didn’t completely lose, though: they got the three most conservative nominees through. Small consolation prize when compared to a SCOTUS nominee? Probably, but it is something. It’s not like Bush has to nominate a liberal now. If it does anything, it pushes him to nominate a moderate.
So, all told, I think we did ok. We gave up three pretty bad nominees, but probably preserved the ability to stop a really bad SCOTUS nominee.
This is odd:
The octogenarian legislator, rising in defense of the filibuster, displayed a larger-than-life poster of Ian McDiarmid playing the evil Supreme Chancellor Palpatine in the just-released film “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.”
“In a far-off universe, in this film, the leader of the Senate breaks the rules to give himself and his supporters more power,” Lautenberg inveighed. “I sincerely hope that it doesn’t mirror actions being contemplated in the Senate of the United States.”
I’m hardly a supporter of the nuclear option, but this is ridiculous.
(via Brendan Nyhan)
The Haunted – 99
Carcass – Embodiment
Vehemence – Darkness is Comfort
Testament – Low
Porcupine Tree – Shesmovedon
Soilwork – Blind Eye Halo
Sigur Rós – Syndir Guos (Opinberun Frelsarans)
Dark Tranquillity – The Wonders at Your Feet
Led Zeppelin – Hot Dog
Arsis – Maddening Disdain