Monday, January 23, 2006

Intelligent Design and the Vatican

They got it right at the Vatican, now if only the Darwin crazies would come clean...

The Vatican announced that Intelligent Design is not science and it should not be taught in science class. I agree. However, I disagree with the the statement made by Rev. George Coyne, who said "intelligent design" wasn't science and had no place in school classrooms. It should not be taught in science class but it should have a fair hearing in Social Studies class.

In today's modern classroom only Native American spirituality and Islamic fundamentalism are allowed. Judeo-Christian tenets are useful only for negative comparisons. This false premise of the "separation of Church and state" has led to history classes in our public schools that are forced to ignore the beneficial effects of Christianity on western culture. And how is it that for the Jews only the Holocaust is mentioned and not the fact that Einstein and a hundred other consequential scientists and inventors were Jews? Public schools are doing a grave disservice to our young people by enforcing this false wall.

Still, I have to agree with the Darwinists that Intelligent Design and/or Creationism should not be in the science classroom. Unfortunately the Darwin hordes cannot stand to have their own "faith" questioned. I think everyone from the Pope on down believes that many of Darwin's observations and theory's on micro-evolution and intra-species adaptation are demonstrably true. Just looking at the humble hummingbird shows that each variety is a specialist and has a beak adapted perfectly for extracting nectar from specific species of flowers. Yet, through this adaptation process the Darwinist sees nothing miraculous, just a logical progression until the "bill fits the bill". It is when Darwinists insist that this process is also responsible for entirely new species to "evolve" out of the old that science and faith converge.

The fossil record is incomplete, that much is agreed upon by Darwinists and their detractors, and it has not been demonstrated in an indisputable way using the fossils we have that one species has "changed" into another. In fact, the gaps in the fossil record might as well be canyons. The so-called missing links are still missing. This, of course, does not deter the Darwinists with their insistance that school children be indoctrinated into believing that a chimpanzee is their evolutionary cousin. There is a leap of faith that has to be taken to link modern humans to modern primates. To answer the question of human origin with any degree of satisfaction our scientists need to open their minds and suspend their egos enough to acknowledge that they do not actually know that much about how our own species fits into the natural world. Until that happens this conflict between religion and science will remain contentious.

That said, the onus for harmony on this topic is on the Darwinists. They have been using bullying tactics for decades anytime something threatens to rock their apple cart. The religious faithful will have to bow out of the science realm and keep their hands off the science classroom. These two gestures will go a long way toward ending this conflict and hopefully keep it out of the courts where absolutely nothing good will come of it.


REVIEW: Walk The Line

Awesome - go see it! An Oscar worthy picture.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Kids That Kill

Is It Nature or Nurture?

In recent weeks and months us nice folks up here in Minnesota have seen a rash of what the dictionary refers to as -

patricide: [ ptr-sd ]n. The act of murdering one's father and
matricide: [ mtr-sd ]n. The act of killing one's mother.

In two of the cases rather elaborate plots to cash in life insurance policies were involved. Ill conceived as these murders were the trigger man was able to rope his friends into the plot with promises of cold hard cash. It's chilling to think that ones own child could be so cool and calculating when comtemplating putting a bullet in your head.

One has to wonder how these kids were raised and what kind of families these were. As the facts emerged we were all amazed to learn that these were traditional two parent households that from the outside looked like perfectly normal church going, community minded, straight laced salt-of-the-earth type families.

Neighbors, relatives and friends were shocked. No one, it seems, saw this coming. Local talk show hosts began asking the question: are these murders more common now or is it the fact that we live in an era of the media super-saturation? Actually, these acts were henious enough that they would have been sensationally reported in any era.

So what is going on here? Are we just seeing a confluence of events that is magnifying a rare phenomenon onto a small geographic locale? This is probably true, however, the calculating and greedy substrate beneath these particular murders is different. In the past I would venture to guess that parental abuse (of the kids or the mother) was behind most patricidal incidents. Authorities would take the history of abuse into account and neighbors and relatives would whisper under their breath the "drunken bastard" had it coming.

So who is to blame?

Society is different today, kids are different today. It is too easy to lay the blame for the way kids are today solely at the feet of the parents. Being a parent myself (two teenagers) I know that this is bullshit. I refuse to be blamed for my daughter blowing off school work and other important duties and tasks she is responsible for anymore than my mother could've been blamed for me doing the same 25 years ago. At some point we all have to admit that kids who are nearly adults have responsibilities and obligations regardless of how "badly" they were raised. Who among us had a perfect childhood and an ideal rearing?

Kids do need to be held accountable for their actions and inactions too. This is where I and other parents have been lacking. It's not to say we haven't tried. Part of the problem is that kids can use threats against their parents that would bring the weight of the social service goons down on our heads. Don't believe it? My own daughter has used that one on me a few years ago...

Still, as parents we need to be demanding bastards yet worthy of their respect. This is not always easy since we are not perfect either. Think back to high school and those few teachers that really made a difference in your life. I can almost guarantee that they either had high expectations for you and accepted no less or they were very demanding and even first class disciplinarians. And those of you who did have a parent you respected and loved I will guess that these same attributes were true of them as well.

As I struggle with my own children in this society I am constantly amazed at how difficult it is to instill a work ethic and a notion that they are entitiled to no more than food, clothing, shelter and love. Believe it or not the food, clothing and shelter is the easy part.

So to answer the first question: is it nurture or is it nature??? The cop out would be to say it's both, but it wouldn't be true. There is only so much we can blame on original sin... These kids have and want too much - and they want it now! This is, of course, an over generalization of kids today but we have to admit since the Vietnam generation kids have not been asked to do much more than to "feel good" about themselves. If we want answers we might want to look at the mentality of the purveyors of so much of this self-esteem nonsense.

Looks like nuture wins this debate...


Saturday, January 07, 2006

The End of Faith... But Is it Reasonable?

I cannot recommend strongly enough watching CSPAN or it's companion BookTV whenever you get the chance. If you could at least try to click on them every once in a while when flipping through the cable channels you are bound to come across a topic that really, really interests you. Call me weird, but public affairs TV is some of the most compelling programming out there these days. Unlike commercial TV the topics on CSPAN/BookTV are not smashed into tiny segments sandwiched between endless advertisements. And to CPSAN's credit you as likely to find something aired from the halls of the Heritage Foundation as you are from the hyper-liberal group like the People For the American Way. If you are at all honest with yourself you suffer through those authors or lecturers who fundamentally oppose your world view. You may wonder why it is necessary to sully yourself so... Simple. It's how we learn.

Take for example, Sam Harris and his book "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason". Here we have a bright, engaging man detailing the irrationality of faith and religion in the face of science and reason. Yet, he can't really snuff the flame a faith solely with science and irrefutable facts as he sees them. I would be first to admit that faith in the divinity of Jesus Christ is irrational on the face of it. On the other hand "faith" in the wisdom of the socialist state or "faith" in the infallibility of science is equally irrational.

The main premise of Sam Harris' book is that we are war, but not merely with the evil of islamic terrorism, but the evil of religious faith itself. He rightly chastizes fundamental extremists in the Islamic world and their counterparts in the Christian world - although the two cannot be considered even remotely the equal in the 21st century. He saves his most vitrolic disdain for religious moderates and especially the Catholic Church.

In his speech (and I assume in his book) he tries to show that the faithful do not care about evidence, that religion is actually contrary to the evidence. He says without hestation that religion is more harmful than just about anything devised by man while he practically ignores the most destructive social experiment of modern times -- the rise and fall of Marxism-Leninism. He holds a paticular disdain for moderates stating that moderation in religion is no virtue.

Harris became emotionally animated when charging the Catholic Church criminally responsible for the spread of AIDs in sub-Saharan Africa. The Church's teachings on contraceptives and abortion sticks in the craw of most socialists. Once again another intellectual fails to realize that procreation is the divining force behind the Church's (worldwide) position on condoms and sex outside of marriage, not because the Pope hates Africans.

I would not argue with much of what Harris postulates, for example, how the lack of an Islamic reformation was a major contributor to its current death-worship and confrontation with the West. This is, of course, nothing that hasn't been said before by folk several rungs above him on the academic ladder- both by religious and irreligious experts.

He also likes to point to polls that state that 53% of Americans believe that man was "created" 6,000 years ago in a fantasyland with talking snakes and with a impulsive appetite for apples. Yeah, well, 53% of Americans also think Elvis is still alive! Kidding aside, here I think Sam Harris has a real cause for concern. I for one am not a biblical literalist. Those who cannot see that the Good Book is written in a story/parable/lesson format do deserve some measure of scorn. It is a teachers guide book not a literal history book. This does not mean there is not truth in there, quite the contrary, one way or another all truth is in there. Still when I hear elected southern Senators spew literalist nonsense and knowing they are bent on making policy based on it then I think people with views like Harris' have valid concerns.

Harris is particularly hard on Muslims and Christians throughout his speech. Not being too well versed on Islam and the Koran I cannot sit here and defend what on the surface looks like a train wreck in the making. When it comes to Chritianity and Catholicism I take exception with his negativity. He gives only a passing comment on how Christianity has transformed the idea of charity and selflessness. So many millions of lives have been saved by Jesus Christ the personal savior of souls that simply pointing out the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades is an unfair representation of the width and breadth of Christianity's footprint on this world.

The inspiration the love of Christ has brought to this world is so profound that we cannot let people like Harris and other spiteful atheists diminish the goodness and love of our faith.Anyone can cherry pick destructive elements that dot the history of the Jesus movement and say that death and destruction is what faith and religion brings to world.

Can we take a moment and compare what atheism as opposed to Chritianity has given this world:

Communism, Socialism, Marxism, scientific relativism, moral relativism, uh, I can't think of anything else... This stuff really made the world better, well, maybe not.

Raising the status of women and children, the concept of educating the masses, the concept of nursing and hospitals, the founding of of most Western universities, the advent of charitable organizations, scientific inquiry, religious pluralism and tolerance, some of the greatest works of art, some of the greatest music, some of the greatest literature...

The list goes on but perhaps the greatest thing we can attribute to Jesus, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit is encapsulated in one simple word - love.

God is love.

It's really that simple. Love is irrational is it not? Love is not scientific nor analytical, right?

Love is nebulous, but love is oh so real...

Love is God.


Thursday, January 05, 2006

Of Fools and Cowards

Quite often when we hear a hero being interviewed, and I mean real hero, like say, a Coast Guard rescuer that dives into the swift running current to save a drowning man, they are asked "Do you ever get scared?" And the hero will say something like - "I'd be fool if I wasn't afraid." No one would think of questioning the man's bravery. Being unafraid is a fool's game in the face of life threatening danger.

Fear can be paralyzing but it can also be a lifesaver. Fear is nothing to be ashamed of when it based on fact. I broach the subject because I want to counter a thread I have seen over and over on the leftist blogosphere. The supposition that conservatives are cowards because we fear islamofacist terrorism. Over at the DailyKos blog the post "Why Are Conservatives so afraid?" generated more than a hundred comments that mostly expressed confusion over the GOP's "unfounded" fear of terrorism. This comment is fairly typical...

...when I said how sick I was of everyone trying to scare us to death about everything: 911, Avian Flu, Terrorism, etc, etc, etc. All the media does is give warnings about unsafe toys, unsafe cars, diseases. Now the Republicans are willing to give away their freedoms on hand of being scared to death about terrorism. What they need to be afraid of is BushCo and they don't even realize it. Are they so naive as to think that he is only wiretapping Al Quaida?

by linnie on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 12:03:16 PM PDT

or this one...

The conservatives I know are the most cowardly people I know. They tremble at the sight of every non-white face. They cringe in fear when they see a homeless person. They are the first to be convinced that some scary non-white person is going to break into their house and rape them.

No wonder they're so fixated on going to heaven, because their earthly lives are living hells.

The idea of "preemption" works quite well for them. They'd be more than happy to kill everyone who scares them and let God sort them out.

And we scare them, too. Because we don't think the way they do. That's SCARY.

by Nordic on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 12:03:33 PM PDT

Here the Kos patted himself on the back when conservative bloggers took umbridge with his original post...

Their fear and cowardice is exposed when they patently refuse to put on some combat boots and head to the theater of war to fight their boogeymen. They'd rather hide under the bed than confront the object of their fears. Instead, they agitate for more war, more death and destruction, from the safety of their warm, cozy, and IED-free homes.

Of course this is ridiculous pap and I can't lose too much sleep over it, but I can't help but wonder what planet these people live on. While I'm fairly certain that I am relatively safe living in St. Paul MN and that those in Topeka and Peoria, Vicksburg and Cheyene are too, that doesn't mean we shouldn't have a healthy fear of terrorists and their evil plots. I can think of 3,000 people in New York who felt the reality of terrorism. Sixty people in London and over 200 in Madrid felt the same sick feeling as their lives were being snuffed out. IED's indeed!

Other comments eluded to the relatively small number of terrorists in contrast to the population of the world as a whole. Again, what poppycock. A single serial killer can terrorize a city of millions. The whole point of terrorism is to breed uncertainty and fear across the width and breadth of a given population. In reality it is the terrorist who is the coward not those that fear him.

I also think that most people and especially the "Bush Haters" are so shortsighted that they refuse to see the writing on the wall. Too many of them think we can simply try to understand the Islamofacist terrorist, address his grievances and he will fade back into the woodwork. In their hatred of Bush they sympathize with the self pitying terrorist and convince themselves that these cold-blooded killers have a legitimate gripe.

I think conservatives by and large know that things (the good and the bad) will never just stay the same and that change is inevitable. Change can be a good thing. Still, we have an obligation to protect and preserve what is good and right and that includes much of what is referred to as Western Civilzation.

I challenge all of you to take the time to read Mark Steyn's piece "It's the Demography, Stupid" The real reason the West is in danger of extinction. The fact that we as Westerners will be marching toward our own extinction at the point of jihadist sword should scare everyone. When will these crazy asses at the DailyKos and DemocraticUnderground and realize that we ARE in a global war and that the enemy doesn't want our land or our resources, they want us DEAD! How much evidence do these numbskulls need?

The brave and foolish over on the left can revel in their bravery and breathe the rarified superior air up there on their ivory towers while spewing their pseudo-intellectual diatribes toward us cowardly neo-cons all they want. We will continue to sing the Siren Song and hope it's not too late for the Western World.


Monday, January 02, 2006

Coming Clean on ET's

Earth: a Resort or a Laboratory?

There's nothing I like better than a grand old conspiracy theory. They can be a lot of fun and ideally the more preposterous the better. Take the grand daddy of them all - no, not the JFK assassination - I'm talking about the UFO cover-up! After 5 decades and thousands of UFO sightings and alien abduction stories no one has ever produced concrete physical evidence of extraterrestrial visitations. Still, the circumstantial evidence is extremely compelling. The videos coming out of Mexico are remarkable. Most recently UFO's were caught on video by news cameras covering the inauguration of a regional governor attended by many government officials. It's going to be rather difficult for them to issue any sort of denials now isn't it.

For the sake of argument let's say that ET is real and the government(s) knows about them. What benefit to the government is a blanket cover-up? For one, there is the social control issue. Would knowledge of extraterrestrials cause mass panic and lawlessness? It is possible. There is also the stategic advantage over other nations --- since we all know that information is power. There is the fear factor. Since governments, organized religions and the news media are in the fear management business could it be that divulging this information would lessen their grip on us while gaining them virtually nothing? Very possible.

Is the world ready for the truth whatever it is? Paul Hellyer, Canada's former defense minister thinks so. He is calling on the government's of Canada and the United States to come clean with what they know. Because of his former high ranking position he is being taken a little more seriously (and I mean a little) than the usual suspects claiming a massive government cover-up. I heard talk show host Michael Medved's condescending interview of Hellyer on the Salem Radio Network. Hellyer is known as a bit of a radical in his own country but he deserves some modicum of respect.

Hellyer entered the fray after seeing a documentary called "Seeing is Believing" and reading a book by Philip Corso called "The Day After Roswell". Corso was a career military intelligence officer and claimed to have managed research projects connected to recovery of the Roswell craft. Asking the question: was the Cold War a cover to develop "alien technology". Considering how technical knowledge, particularly in electronics, exploded a decade or so after Roswell the timeline seems plausible. Corso claims to have been involved in the reverse engineering alien technology in the 50's. Both Hellyer and Corso have their detractors but given the UFO footage I have seen on the Discovery and History channels over the last few years even the most cynical skeptic could not deny the "possibility" of extraterrestrial visitations.

If ET's are real then one of two scenarios are true. 1) the government - thereby all governments - have entered into pact with the aliens to keep the huddled masses in the dark, or... 2) the government doesn't know any more than we do about an alien presence and is practicing a denial stategy.

Me, I believe the government does know more, but not much more. I believe that they have NOT been contacted by the alien visitors. Then the question becomes what do the aliens want? Science fiction writers have addressed that question thousands of times. Any one of them might be right. Take, for instance, the movie "Predator" and it's premise that Earth is a resort - or a game farm if you will for alien safaris. I addressed this issue in an unpublished novel I wrote in the late 90s. In the "Eye In The Sky" aliens (who, in fact turned out to be human) discovered Earth accidently and upon witnessing the barbaric warrior mentality of us earthlings banned any possibility of contact with us as equals. Earth became a fishbowl for study.

There is another theory that dovetails into the Darwinian/Creation debate called Intervention. In this theory Lloyd Pye asserts:

Among those who study the processes of life on Earth, they must cope with the knowledge that a surprising number of species have no business being here. In some cases, they can't even be here. Yet they are, for better or worse, and those worst-case examples must be hidden or at least obscured from the general public. But no matter how often facts are twisted, data are concealed or reality is denied, the truth is out there.

Pye believes that we (humans) are the product of alien intervention for the purposes we can only guess at. In his fascinating essay "Evidence for Creation By Outside Intervention" he skewers Darwinian dogma and dismisses the notion of Intelligent Design by a Judeo-Christian God. He offers some compelling theories and asks good fundemental questions. He challenges an entrenched scientific community:

Apart from disputes about the date and circumstances of our origin as a species, there are plenty of other problems with humans. Like domesticated plants and animals, humans stand well outside the classic Darwinian paradigm. Darwin himself made the observation that humans were surprisingly like domesticated animals. In fact, we are so unusual relative to other primates that it can be solidly argued that we do not belong on Earth at all, that we are not even from Earth, because we do not seem to have developed here.

We are taught that, by every scientific measure, humans are primates very closely related to all other primates, especially chimpanzees and gorillas. This is so ingrained in our psyches that it seems futile even to examine it, much less to challenge it.

Whatever the ultimate truth is about alien visitation and UFO's I believe the world is ready to know. We deserve to know. Don't we?