Why IDers Really Fight

|

Washington Post reporter Shankar Vedantam asks the right questions in his Post Magazine article "Eden and Evolution." To wit: "Religious critics of evolution are wrong about its flaws. But are they right that it threatens belief in a loving God?"

Vedantam is right when he writes:

While the controversy over intelligent design is superficially about scientific facts, the real debate is more emotional. Evolution cuts to the heart of the belief that humans have a special place in creation. If all things in the living world exist solely because of evolutionary competition and natural selection, what room is left for the idea that humans are made in God's image or for any morality beyond the naked requirements of survival? Beneath all the complex arguments of intelligent design advocates, Georgetown theologian John Haught agreed, "there lies a deeply human and passionately religious concern about whether the universe resides in the bosom of a loving, caring God or is instead perched over an abyss of ultimate meaninglessness."

Anti-evolutionists are afraid that if their children accept the findings of evolutionary biology that they will lose their faith and go to hell. I appreciate the distinction between methodological naturalism (within scientific enquiry, one can only use natural explanations) versus philosophical naturalism (no supernatural forces or entitities exist). However, as scientific explanations of phenomena advance, the space in which a loving God can exist and act does seem to shrink.

On personal testimony, I know that the creationists (young earth, gap theorists, or ID types) have a point–at least about losing their children losing their faith. My own faith cracked when I learned about biology and evolutionary theory as a 13-year old. Scientific explanations were and are vastly more exciting and satisfactory than the "poof" then a miracle occurs accounts in the Bible.

Darwin was certainly right when he wrote: "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."

However, many Americans are untouched by the grandeur of the scientific project. Vedantam notes that the fight is particularly fierce in the United States because the Constitution guarantees the separation of Church and State. This means for believers that assertions made by public school biology teachers about how livings things arose are not countered by the "competing" claims of Christianity or other religions. Vedantam quotes University of Lancaster historian Thomas Dixon as proposing, "a solution to this may be to have schools teach religion. Let them teach Christianity and everything else. It may be a complete and utter revolution in American history, but I'm saying it's a good idea."

Perhaps an even better idea would be school choice–in which parents could send their children to schools that reflect their values and beliefs. As a supporter of a free society, I make this proposal even though it saddens me to realize that millions of faithful parents believe that they must stunt their children's educations in order to save their souls.

NEXT: Most Noxious Senator Awards

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. You may not believe in God, but you sure believe in something crazy if you have a left-handed DNA helix on the cover of your book. Did you not take High School biology?

    Yeah, and I agree, the one thing that worries me about school choice is the fundamentalists who will mentally scar their children with creationist tripe. Oh well, I guess they’ll just be at a competitive disadvantage when the new biotech economy comes full blast and then they, not wanting their kids to be at the same disadvantage, will make sure their progeny actually understand biology.

  2. Unsolicited advice for Ron Bailey: start all Hit and Run posts with a disclaimer saying “I am not the one who designed or chose the illustration on the cover of my book.”

  3. In a nice kick for ID’ers outside the high school biology class, NASA has good ol’Young Republican Deutsch doing “God’s Work” to make sure people who think the solar system is only 5000 years old get ‘offended’ by science:

    ..He said that the Big Bang is not a proven fact it is just opinion. “It is not NASA’s place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator. This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA,” he wrote…

    http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=29502

  4. I fail to see the necessity of choosing to beleive in science OR a god…it strikes me that, like other human domains of discussion, both the religious and the scientific spend considerable energy characterizing the other’s position as extreme.

    In the absence of scientific data that answers the most basic and fundamental of human questions (why are we here?) then I think there will be a role for more nuanced views that combine both a scientific and religious/philosophic view of human existence…

  5. Is there really any reason to keep talking to or about these people? If a person conciously chooses to chuck mountains of evidence in favor of a literal interpretation of a book of scripture which is not even internally consistent, that person has chosen to reject rationality and logic. At that point, why go any farther?

  6. The real debate is emotional. IDers will not be defeated by biologists or paleontologists. It will take an army of psychologists and at least a platoon of philosophers to turn back 10,000 years of superstition.

  7. Perhaps an even better idea would be school choice–in which parents could send their children to schools that relfect their values and beliefs. As a supporter of a free society, I make this proposal even though it saddens me to realiize that millions of faithful parents believe that they must stunt their children’s educations in order to save their souls.

    What the hell? Yeah Cuz it is hard for someone raised by christians to look up the theory of evolution…or gasp take a collage course when they are adults.

    Blah…the knowlage is there for the taking. If people don’t want it they won’t and assholes should not be trying to force it down thier throat. It is not sad it is not stunting…it is freedom.

  8. As a supporter of a free society, I make this proposal even though it saddens me to realiize that millions of faithful parents believe that they must stunt their children’s educations in order to save their souls.

    This line of thinking was exactly what attracted me to libertarianism all those years ago (the eighties, christ has it been that long?). Even as a dopey teenager, I was able to appreciate that freedom meant having to allow for many things that I personally found repugnant.

  9. Yeah, and I agree, the one thing that worries me about school choice is the fundamentalists who will mentally scar their children with creationist tripe.

    If the state of american public schools tells us anything is that you don’t need religion to waste the minds of our youth.

  10. Creationist tripe and revisionist history, as well.

    I used to teach karate a while back and there were a brother and sister who attended my class, two lovely, kind, sweet, intelligent kids, who were being sent to Christian school by their parents. so far, nothing wrong with this picture. I volunteered to help the girl with a history report once – the topic was the discovery of America by Chris Colombus. Her text was published by a Christian Mission, and it said something to the effect that God sent CC on his mission and that the heathen Natives who were killed by disease deserved to die because they refused to embrace the word of God that CC was sent to deliver.

    OK, so back to ID or creationism or whatever they want to believe in – it’s really all connected; you teach ID as an alternative to evolution and you think, sure, so they don’t believe in evolution and have a skewed understanding of science – but it won’t stop w/ ID – it bleeds into all other areas of understanding about our world, be they natural, political, social, medical, etc.

    I can laugh off someone who believes that an unknown miraculous force suddenly popped the Earth into existence as it is now 5,000 years ago. But I am scared to death of people with a revisionist bias in their history/social studies educations, who think that if I don’t hear the word of god and believe that I must die, ’cause that’s how it happened in the past.

    It will just breed close-mindedness and further remove us from understanding each other. This would not bother me if people could just accept difference and leave each other alone (so long as no harm was being done to one by another’s actions). However, people can’t leave each other alone. We have to be looking and analyzing everyone else, criticize what they’re doing wrong, and offer judgements and/or advice as to how to do it better. If school-choice leads to a proliferation in leaders with an educational background devoid of reason, I might have to move to another country.

    And whatever its flaws, I love America and don’t want to see it drawn backwards through time just to spare religious sentiment.

  11. “However, as scientific explanations of phenomena advance, the space in which a loving God can exist and act does seem to shrink.”

    As we have discussed here at HnR, this is an illusion. There is no “shrinkage” in philosophical or metaphysical senses. What we have here is a 13 year old boy whose biology class suggested to him that science had more of the answers than it really had and continuing impact of that mistake on the man that that boy evolved into. A classic case of why high school biology should teach about THE LIMITS OF SCIENCE.

    That said, this was a substantial and thought-provoking post by Mr. Bailey. And, of course, Mr. Bailey is entitled to his godless metaphysics so long as he doesn’t confuse them with his science or with fruits of his faculties of reason.

  12. Considering the Publik Skools churn out every year hundreds of thousands of children who functionally illiterate, I doubt any of them will be worse off if their biology teacher casually mentions that there might be a God.

    Still, the solution to mediocre Publik Skools is not turning them into mediocre Parochial Schools. The solution is getting rid of public schools altogether.

    And the first commenter is correct: From what I’ve seen, when most parents gain control over their kids’ education they tend to demand the best. On average, the most sheltered homeschooled Christian kid still reads, writes, and does math better than the average Leviathan-schooled kid.

  13. This line of thinking was exactly what attracted me to libertarianism all those years ago (the eighties, christ has it been that long?). Even as a dopey teenager, I was able to appreciate that freedom meant having to allow for many things that I personally found repugnant.

    But here’s the problem I have with that line of thinking–yes, you should have the freedom to screw up YOUR life however you wish, but I don’t think you should have the freedom to screw up your kids. If you’re an adult Jehovah’s Witness and you’d rather die than have a life-saving blood transfusion, then by all means drop dead, but don’t make your KIDS die because you refuse to give them access to life-saving medical technology.

    I have similar problems with the rulings that the Amish can take their kids out of school in the eighth grade, which makes it practically impossible for a kid who wants to leave Amish country to do so.

  14. Is there really any reason to keep talking to or about these people?

    Hey Number6…What do you suggest? They aren’t going away…perhaps you have mountains of evidence to explain why they are the way they are? Or do you only have the certainty that you are right? That would be faith, now, wouldn’t it?

  15. ..He said that the Big Bang is not a proven fact it is just opinion.

    Hell i have problems with the big bang…to say that everything suddenly apeared from nothing seems a bit supersticious if you ask me.

    I think the big bang is more of a reflection on the aging and stagnent academic hirerarchy and the relative slow speed of our computer hardwear then having anything to do with fact.

    god won’t replace the big bang theory…but that does not mean that the big bang isn’t complete crapola.

  16. Number 6,

    One of the problems is that they indeed aren’t Biblical literalists; most of what your average IDer knows of the creation myth doesn’t come from the Bible.

    As to their willingness to ignore the evidence (and thus the fruits of rational thought) they’re no different from Tom Cruise claiming that the brain’s chemical make-up is effected by say drugs to combat epilepsy. Then again, Scientologists also believe that volcanoes that didn’t exist 75 million years ago were the site of the great alien holocaust.

    Now I await Dave W.’s efforts to justify both of these beliefs by most absurd and fallacious rhetorical devices.

  17. I think we all need to learn to say “so what” more often. I mean, school choice might make some kids sort of ignorant, so what? One, there are plenty of ignorant kids now and two, how is that my problem or my concern? Other than the extent to which these sorts of people are annoying, it’s really not that big a deal. Parents want to do that to their kids, let them, and if I ever have progeny mine will be properly educated and out compete the little bible beaters on the job market. Then make fun of them for being ignorant and poor.

  18. Jennifer- I’m sympathetic to your argument, but the problem is that the only organization in a position to protect those kids is the government. Let’s face it?government is awful and most things, and horrifyingly so when it comes to things involving children. There’s also the problem of who determines what beliefs are harmful.
    This appears to be one of those situations in which there is no good solution, only less bad ones.

  19. …chemical make-up is in no way

  20. Hmmm. I would say

    “Religious critics of evolution are wrong about its flaws”

    is not exactly right. They are right about the flaws in many respects, scientifically speaking. Specifically, they have correctly identified certain aspects of the theory as lacking in evidence. What they are wrong about is that these flaws mean it (evolution) can’t be true, or that these flaws are positive evidence of their favored hypothesis. They’ve applied the scientific method incorrectly, but they are pointing to valid criticisms.

    That’s why it can be so hard to persuade them – there’s a kernel of truth that they start from (and which they go radically wrong from). It’s similar to commited Marxists – there’s a kernel of truth in their criticisms of mercantilism (which they label as capitalism). They just go radically wrong when they identify the market as the problem and not the state.

    That point aside, I think science does challenge religion/philosophy, but that’s a good thing. But I don’t think it’s true that science destroys religion/philosophy. It just demonstrates that God/Gaia/the universe/whatever is so much more complicated than what our minds can currently comprehend – after all, I think even the fundies believe God functions at a different level than we do.

    Further, there are certain ‘truths’ in philosophy that are empirically established as better – such as property rights to one’s own body – that inherently touch on questions of morality/philsophy and can’t be answered directly by utilitarianism.

  21. Captain Holly, you are right in general abuot Christian/Religious schools having somewhat better educated kids. Lutheran, Catholic, and religiously affiliated private schools sent about 3% more kids (averaged) on to college than their public school counterparts did.

    And in general, I think most kids who go to religious schools come to the same conclusions that Vedantman did, that science can provide better answers than religion. But if science is going to be taught alongside an alternative to biology (ID), then those kids who can read, write, and do math better than the average public school kid can, will be the ones with the money and the power to influence the future.

    I just think, taken to extreme lengths, one can envision a future where science is all but kicked out of curriculums because those in power (at any level) have their beliefs about how things happened and what should be taught. Math education may not extend to anything beyond the skills necessary to balance a checkbook, and only a selected few will be permitted to learn advanced concepts that enable them to build homes or run power plants.

    Its regression instead of progress. Its an extremeist VP, I know this. I’m not saying this is what will happen, its just a freak possiblility if left to run unchecked.

  22. But here’s the problem I have with that line of thinking–yes, you should have the freedom to screw up YOUR life however you wish, but I don’t think you should have the freedom to screw up your kids.

    yeah becouse I would much rather have jennifer and the state screw up my kid then to do it myself.

    Who is the magic god who decideds what is screwing up a kid Jennifer? You? Our elected leaders? a Board of proclaimed educators?

    WHO?

  23. Or do you only have the certainty that you are right?
    I have science, they have one self-contradictory book. I recognize that we, as humans, don’t have all the answers. They have the certainty that they have a lock on absolute truth.
    In short, I’m not certain that I’m right. They are irrevokably certain that they are. And I’m certain that they are wrong about that last part.

  24. …yes, you should have the freedom to screw up YOUR life however you wish, but I don’t think you should have the freedom to screw up your kids.

    But who is to say what screws kids up? Or what the definition of screwed up is? Certainly not the state…for now, parental choice is the worst option…except of course for all the others.

  25. But who is to say what screws kids up? Or what the definition of screwed up is?

    Well, for starters, making your kids resort to prayer rather than an appendectomy to cure appendicitis would be a good start.

    Somebody–I forget who, made a point on a Hit and Run post which I think applies to this: it’s not so much that laws let the government protect people, as it is that the government has the power to punish people after the fact. For example: rape is illegal, but this does not mean that the government protects me from being raped; it means that if someone DOES rape me, the government now has the legal power to arrest and convict him.

    So for my previous examples of parents refusing to give their kids medical treatment: I’m not saying that the government should stick its nose into every doctor visit, but if a kid dies of appendicitis and it turns out the parents refused to allow surgery, then by all means prosecute them for the death of their kids.

  26. Hakluyt: Forget literalism, most of them are not even bible-literate.

    By clinging to their emotions and sensibilities, they are effectively sayng that they cannot be “reasoned” with. Fine. They no longer get to decide scientific policy. They have the right their own ignorance, but when that ingnorance becomes a mandate, they become a problem.
    They need to to be made aware that this is not acceptable.

    I still stand by my position that the more vocal of the religious mouthpieces need to experience some real persecution for a change.

  27. Yep, Ronald Bailey’s biology teacher is the one who should be held responsible for his lack of religious faith. Right.

  28. One of the problems is that they indeed aren’t Biblical literalists; most of what your average IDer knows of the creation myth doesn’t come from the Bible.

    Biblical literalists (as contrasted with say, deists) are not consistent with scientific evidence. We shouldn’t lissen to the literalists opinion when fashioning science class curricula.

    As to their willingness to ignore the evidence (and thus the fruits of rational thought) they’re no different from Tom Cruise claiming that the brain’s chemical make-up is effected by say drugs to combat epilepsy.

    I don’t know whether the brain’s chemical make-up is compromised in relevant way(s) by epilepsy drugs or not. Neither does Tom Cruise. Neither does Hak.

    Then again, Scientologists also believe that volcanoes that didn’t exist 75 million years ago were the site of the great alien holocaust.

    As with many things that might have happened 75 million years ago, we don’t know. There is no particular reason to believe that it was aliens. That is different than being sure it wasn’t aliens.

    Now I await Dave W.’s efforts to justify both of these beliefs by most absurd and fallacious rhetorical devices.

    I am always saying that true science and reason is agnostic. My answers are here agnostic, which hopefully won’t surprize anyone but Hak. Hak, if you still think that an agnostic position somehow “justifies belief,” then you got it backward. Agnosticism justifies the *absence of belief,* whether theist, antitheist or atheist.

  29. I think the root of the fundamentalist discomfort with evolution is more specific than Mr. Bailey indicated. If evolution is fact (it is, even if some of its mechanisms aren’t yet completely understood), then the Eden story and original sin are called into question. Without original sin there is no need for a redeemer.

  30. But, but… where was the disclaimer about not flacking for any biotech companies?!?!

  31. Yep, Ronald Bailey’s biology teacher is the one who should be held responsible for his lack of religious faith. Right.

    I specifically identified which of Bailey’s errors that his biology class was responsible for. The error I identified is not the one you are guessing in this reply.

  32. “I still stand by my position that the more vocal of the religious mouthpieces need to experience some real persecution for a change.”

    Hallelujah…er, I second that.

    It always amazes me that Christian evangelists can call for laws and whatnot in Jesus’ name. I mean, honestly, what about his teachings would lead you to believe he was ever interested in governance in the material world? Granted, I’ve read very little of it, but it seems to me the “render unto Ceasar” line is the ultimate in refuting a desire to control other people. His desire was to influence other people.

  33. Good point, D.A. Ridgely. Ron Bailey, do you own stock in companies working on cures for drug-resistant bacteria?

  34. The real danger here is that this fundamentalist co-opting of science is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out the article God’s Senator in the most recent issue of Rolling Stone Magazine. The goal is to install Biblical law as the law of the land in the United States!

  35. Agnosticism justifies the *absence of belief,* whether theist, antitheist or atheist

    Would this then be potential belief? or does it preclude kinetic beleif..;-)

  36. I can say for sure, it wasn’t my biology class that caused me to lose my faith.

    In fact, I blame reading the Bible in earnest that finally broke my faith. Unless God follows no sense of logical pattern and can be considered randomly malevolent, I think that either
    A: God was so badly interpreted by human writers that his true nature is still just as mysterious
    B: There is no God in a form we believe and writers were using their own life and experience to bring about a creation to unify communities under a common thread

    Either way, evolution never killed my philosophy, the good book did.

  37. Agnosticism justifies the *absence of belief,* whether theist, antitheist or atheist

    Would this then be potential belief? or does it preclude kinetic beleif..;-)

  38. A classic case of why high school biology should teach about THE LIMITS OF SCIENCE.

    What are these limits, do you think?

    (Since this is my third time attempting to make this damn post, I’m willing to concede one limit: the ability to make a Reason server that can go more than five minutes without crashing. But this is hardly a religious matter, unless you count the way it makes me say things like “goddammit” on a higher-than-average basis.)

  39. Dave W,

    Sounds like your “agnosticism” applies to anything not directly observed? That’s pretty extreme.

  40. I still stand by my position that the more vocal of the religious mouthpieces need to experience some real persecution for a change.

    I’m still amazed at how quickly so many “libertarians” eagerly become Leviathan’s bitch if it means sticking it to the Religious Right.

  41. In the book, Childhood’s End, I think written by Arthur C. Clarke, aliens who happen to look like the devil take over and benevolently rule Earth. During some conversation between characters meant to tell the reader what’s happening, it is observed that after this event religion fades away. One character suggests this is odd since the aliens’ arrival didn’t really disprove God’s existence, and the other character (perhaps one of the super-intelligent benevolent aliens) points out that the existence of the Greek and Roman gods was never disproven either but that the advance of science just kind of made them seem more and more unlikely, and that the aliens’ arrival presented a similar situation.

    Science does not directly challenge religion because one can always say that what science discovers is just part of God’s work. But there’s something about science and evolution that just seem to make the Christian view of God and Creation less likely. Certainly it could be because the former makes the latter less necessary as a means of explaining things, but I think there’s something that goes beyond that, something psychological that’s difficult to put one’s finger on.

  42. During some conversation between characters meant to tell the reader what’s happening, it is observed that after this event religion fades away.

    I seem to recall that the reason religion faded away in the book was because the aliens had time machines, which gave people the ability to go back in time and see for themselves what really happened at the founding of their religions.

  43. I have always wondered just why this difficulty with evolution and scientific advancement seems to be a particularly American Protestant issue; one would think that the Catholic Church would be leading the charge in this discussion, and yet for the most part they are mild supporters of the concept of evolution. Is this ‘learning from past mistakes,’ the Jesuit intellectual tradition, top-down dictates in a hierarchial society, or some combination of all of these?

  44. “But who is to say what screws kids up? Or what the definition of screwed up is? Certainly not the state…for now, parental choice is the worst option…except of course for all the others.”

    In my estimation, nearly anyone who chooses to go into public elected office probably wasn’t given enough attention by their parents in childhood.

    Those are the last people who ought to be making policy decisions about kids.

  45. “I’m still amazed at how quickly so many “libertarians” eagerly become Leviathan’s bitch if it means sticking it to the Religious Right.”

    Similarly, I’m constantly amazed by how many ‘libertarians’ eagerly become Leviathan’s bitch if it means getting to play with cool guns and shiny toys while killing innocent people in far-away lands. Or even better, that they can send other people to do such, and get Leviathan to force others to pay for it, without having to risk their own hides.

    But I guess it really is a big tent after all.

  46. Jennifer,

    By your own formulation of when the State should intervene, with which I heartily agree, there should still be no role for government in education. Rather, the government’s role in the matter at hand should be limited to prosecuting parents for child abuse. I would imagine that as the law currently stands it would likely be difficult to show that sending one’s kids to a religious school which ruined their ability to understand biology* would constitute child abuse. But I wouldn’t put it past some prosecutor somewhere to try and possibly succeed!

    *Even setting aside the fact that kids (who later becaome adults) can always find a way to make up for a lacking in their early education if they so decide to.

  47. Jennifer,

    By your own formulation of when the State should intervene, with which I heartily agree, there should still be no role for government in education. Rather, the government’s role in the matter at hand should be limited to prosecuting parents for child abuse. I would imagine that as the law currently stands it would likely be difficult to show that sending one’s kids to a religious school which ruined their ability to understand biology* would constitute child abuse. But I wouldn’t put it past some prosecutor somewhere to try and possibly succeed!

    *Even setting aside the fact that kids (who later becaome adults) can always find a way to make up for a lacking in their early education if they so decide to.

  48. Testing.

  49. A concern that I have over the theory of evolution is this. I do not see ‘life as a phenomenon’ appearing in our universe according to our known laws of science. Science is a dialogue and means for explaining phenomenon. Is there something special about our planet that allows the phenomenon of life to appear(and not elsewhere)? Could we have predicted that life would appear on earth by a scientifically testable model? Given that humans do not conceive of life as anything but a unique process in the universe, we are going to construct unique theories. Science is nothing but a method of reliable, testable prediction. //// I guess the point for all of my blitherblather here is that I dont think that science can ever or will ever explain everything. Religion is not childish pratter necessarily, and that is coming from a agnostic.

  50. “I’m still amazed at how quickly so many “libertarians” eagerly become Leviathan’s bitch if it means sticking it to the Religious Right.”

    Hehe!

    I still have yet to read a convincing argument of exactly how evolution challenges morality or a belief in God. Every argument I hear is little more than assertions, false dichotomies or non-sequitors. Like the “universe resides in the bosom of a loving, caring God or is instead perched over an abyss of ultimate meaninglessness.”

    I’m not sure what’s more annoying to me,

    a) people who take the bible literally
    b) people who discount religion because the literal reading of the bible is fallacious

  51. Captain Holly, I took that comment about persecution to mean that they don’t know what persecution is when they complain about it. Jeff can correct me if I’m wrong.

    I’ve said similar things. Several years ago I was at dinner with some people from a Catholic church (I’m Catholic myself) and they were complaining about how the media persecutes Catholics. This “persecution” comes in the form of newspaper articles about pedophile priests. I argued that reporting inconvenient facts hardly constitutes persecution, so maybe we need to stop whining. I said that if we want to get upset about persecution we should be upset about the situation facing Christians in, say, China.

    They kind of got real quiet after that.

  52. I seem to recall that the reason religion faded away in the book was because the aliens had time machines, which gave people the ability to go back in time and see for themselves what really happened at the founding of their religions.

    Wow, that would sure do it! But I do believe that’s a different book you’re thinking of there, Jennifer. Of course, I read it over 30 years ago, so who knows!

  53. fyodor – good point. I’ll have to ruminate on that.

    Steve –

    ” one would think that the Catholic Church would be leading the charge in this discussion, and yet for the most part they are mild supporters of the concept of evolution”

    Actually, it has a lot to do with the history of the Catholic Church, which was nowhere near as hostile to science as is commonly believed (not that they were different from any other political body, however). In fact, Catholics very quickly latched onto “Reason” as a gift from God that God intended man to use. I’m not a scholar in the area, but I’ve read a few articles about pre-Renaissance Catholic thinkers who explicitly advocated this position, and about how the Church actively incoporated this belief until it became more of a state and less of a religion, at which point reason became very dangerous, just as it always is to all states.

  54. Dave W.,

    I don’t know whether the brain’s chemical make-up is compromised in relevant way(s) by epilepsy drugs or not. Neither does Tom Cruise. Neither does Hak.

    Apprently you’ve never heard of tests of drugs in MRI machines. *LOL* And you claim to want to create a science curriculum? I really, really fear for your clients.

    As with many things that might have happened 75 million years ago, we don’t know. There is no particular reason to believe that it was aliens. That is different than being sure it wasn’t aliens.

    Actually we do know. There’s this science called geology and it demonstrates (by looking at the age of the rock at those volcanoes) that those volcanoes didn’t exist 75 million years ago. BTW, Hubbard is quite clear when it comes to the volcanoes that were supposedly the locale of this holocaust – he names them and/or regions quite specifically. Of the fact that some of these regions haven’t been the site of any volcanic activity doesn’t dissuade Scientologists from believing what they do. Like I’ve written before, your mind is so open that your brain has fallen out.

    There is a significant difference between being agnostic and being foolish; you are the latter and not the former.

  55. They kind of got real quiet after that.

    You go, thoreau!!

    quasibill,

    Thanks, but I wonder which post of mine you liked?

    Oh, and good point yourself about history being the answer to Steve’s rumination. I figured it was that, but I lacked the info to back it up!

  56. one would think that the Catholic Church would be leading the charge in this discussion, and yet for the most part they are mild supporters of the concept of evolution.

    IMHO, the Jesuit’s intellectual tradition are at least partly responsible.

    The church did review the theory of evolution a couple of years ago and did conclude that it is good science. I forget how they reconciled it with the garden of Eden story.

    I believe it was St. Thomas of Aquainas who said that if new discoveries by man contradict scripture, then scripture needs to be reinterpreted.

  57. Rather, the government’s role in the matter at hand should be limited to prosecuting parents for child abuse. I would imagine that as the law currently stands it would likely be difficult to show that sending one’s kids to a religious school which ruined their ability to understand biology* would constitute child abuse

    Well, I’m thinking more along these lines, Fyodor: say you’re an Amish kid whose parents forced you to drop out in eighth grade. And now you want to leave Amish country, but for all practical purposes you can’t; as an eighth-grade dropout you can’t even find a job as a frycook, or enlist in the military. This doesn’t mean your parents committed child abuse, but I DO think you should have grounds to sue your parents to make them pay the costs (tuition and living expenses) for you to get that high-school diploma they chose to deny you.

    But I do believe that’s a different book you’re thinking of there, Jennifer.

    I don’t think so–I had to read the book in high school, when I was still a nominal Christian, and I was actually a bit offended by that scene. (But it never, ever occurred to me to sue the school as a result; even as a teenager I didn’t believe I had the right to go through life without ever being offended.)

  58. From the article:

    An unintended consequence of the scientific establishment’s exasperation with evolution’s critics is that supporters of intelligent design such as Crocker and Kamel are increasingly limiting their conversations to fellow sympathizers. Among themselves, these advocates believe the wheel has turned full circle: If Galileo and Copernicus were the scientific rebels who were once punished by the dogma and authority of the church, these advocates now believe that they are being punished by the dogma and authority of science.

    “Just like they say you can’t discriminate against black people, or against gays, maybe they will say you can’t discriminate against Darwin-doubters,” Crocker told me.

    What a silly thing to say.

  59. Anti-evolutionists are afraid that if their children accept the findings of evolutionary biology that they will lose their faith and go to hell.

    Mr. Bailey needs to get out more. If he did, he’d find that not every anti-evolutionist fits into his cartoonish description. There are plenty who maintain that their faith would not be disturbed one bit if they were shown convincing evidence that species had indeed evolved into other species through natural selection, but who simply don’t believe that the evidence in favor is very persuasive. (G.K. Chesterton appears to have been among this group.) It needs to be admitted that the dogmatists, whose world view would be irreparably upset if their views on evolution were shown to be inadquate, include materialists as well as fundamentalists. Materialists simply cannot admit the possibilility that the purposeless workings of natural selection are insufficient to explain the development of different species; if they did, they wouldn’t be materialists any more.

  60. If Galileo and Copernicus were the scientific rebels who were once punished by the dogma and authority of the church, these advocates now believe that they are being punished by the dogma and authority of science.

    According to the Crackpot Index, Crocker gets 40 points for comparing herself to Galileo, and an additional 30 points for fantasizing that some day her opponents will be legally obligated to recant their criticisms.

  61. Lurker,

    “I forget how they reconciled it with the garden of Eden story.”

    They didn’t, the Catholic Church doesn’t take the bible literally.

  62. fyodor – the post about the deeper psychological challenge science poses to religion/philosophy. Although the more I think about it, the more it sounds like where I already was (so maybe I was just being a haughty ass again?).

    I think the point there is that of course science is challenging in the extreme to those who assume a religion or a philosophy without any introspection or critical analysis. In fact, it might be ‘deadly’ to faith in those situations. However, for those that approach their ‘faith’ through introspection and critical analysis, it seems unlikely (though not impossible, certainly) that science and faith will be mutually exlusive traits in an individual.

  63. Seamus,

    There are plenty who maintain…

    It doesn’t matter what they say they claim, it matters what they actually believe. Behe is a perfect example of this disconnet; he claims in neutral or scientific circles that I.D. is not centered on any particular religion, etc., yet amongst Christians he is rather forthright that he hopes that I.D. can be used as a device to convert people to Christianity.

    Materialists simply cannot admit the possibilility that the purposeless workings of natural selection are insufficient to explain the development of different species; if they did, they wouldn’t be materialists any more.

    The concept you discuss in that sentence is known as “God working through history,” and as a concept it is indeed directly threatened by evolution. As a materialist I can admit the possibility, indeed I had to before I became a materialist. As a materialist and rational thinker I can also weigh the evidence and dismiss the concept. In other words, the truely dogmatic person here is you.

  64. Steve M- The Catholic Church learned their lesson with that whole Geocentric vs. Heliocentric flap a few centuries back.

    The protestants, not having much of a taste for history, are doing a fantastic job of repeating it.

  65. quasibill,

    Well, people tend to compartmentalize what would otherwise be discordant positions.

  66. Regarding the Amish:

    Don’t Amish teens have something called Rumshpringer or something? They go to live among “the English” and decide whether or not they wish to continue following the ascetic life demanded by Amish teachings?

  67. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater,

    I believe what tends to happen is this: they’re ill-prepared to live in the modern world (or even in a world where the actions aren’t closely monitored) so they tend to return to the farm. Of course given the genetic defect crisis in the Amish community these day it may be the future of the whole group is in peril.

    If anyone has some contradictory studies, statistics, etc. do supply them.

  68. mediageek: Think for a moment about how hilarious the existence of the Lutheran church is…but then realize that Protestants are really the Catholic’s fault :-).

  69. From Wikipedia: “Rumspringa is a traditional rite of passage in the Amish religion, and describes a period lasting months or years during which adolescents are released from the church and its rules. The custom is part of the Amish belief that only informed adults can “accept Christ” and be baptized, along with the belief that the unbaptized cannot enter heaven.

    After turning sixteen, Amish teenagers are allowed to live among the “English”, or non-Amish North Americans, and experience a way of life outside of Amish culture through the utilization of technology and experimentation with sex, drugs, and alcohol. Traditionally, they are welcomed back in order to be baptized in the Amish church no matter what they do during this time. Most of them do not wander far from their family’s homes during this time, and an estimated 85 to 95 percent ultimately choose to join the church. However this number would vary from community to community, and within a community between more acculturated and less acculturated Amish”

    they do have a choice; most choose to remain with their families and the Amish church.

  70. “Well, people tend to compartmentalize what would otherwise be discordant positions.”

    Don’t I know it. I see it all the time here with people who bleat on about the inviolability of individual rights when they want to be left alone, but in the next sentence will defend the knowing killing of an innocent child so long as the child’s next door neighbor makes them piss their pants.

  71. After reading that account of Crocker’s classroom session, I believe she not only should have been fired — rather than simply not rehired — she should have been sued blind by both the college and the students. To take a job in which you are required to teach college-level biology, and use it to a) tell lies and b) perform religious indoctrination? Despicable, and all too typical of the ID crowd.

  72. Slightly off-topic, but an interesting article about the Amish view of the outside world and distrust of education:

    http://www.legalaffairs.org/issues/January-February-2005/feature_labi_janfeb05.msp

    A woman who now lives near the Amish in Ohio’s Guernsey County reports that many of her neighbors weren’t taught that the earth was round. “A lot of Amish will tell you they don’t want their kids to be educated,” she said. “The more they know, the more apt they are to leave.”. . . .

    This approach is rooted in the Amish notion of Gelassenheit, or submission. Church members abide by their clergymen; children obey their parents; sisters mind their brothers; and wives defer to their husbands (divorce is taboo). With each act of submission, the Amish follow the lesson of Jesus when he died on the cross rather than resist his adversaries. But can a community govern itself by Jesus’s teaching of mercy alone? It is sinful for the Amish to withhold forgiveness?so sinful that anyone who refers to a past misdeed after the Amish penalty for it has ended can be punished in the same manner as the original sinner. “That’s a big thing in the Amish community,” Mary said. “You have to forgive and forgive.”

    (Here’s what happened to a girl who defied the church’s order to forgive her sexual abuser):

    When Fannie found out about the CYS visit, she and Anna went with 13 other kids to the home of John Yoder, an Amish dentist who lived an hour and a half away in the town of Punxsutawney. Yoder’s living room had a recliner with a tin pan and some needles next to it. Anna watched as the other kids each had one or two bad teeth pulled. When it was her turn, Yoder shot some novocaine into her upper gum. She shook her head and told him that two of her lower teeth had cavities. He shot the lower gum, and asked Fannie which teeth should go. Anna’s mother answered, “Take them all,” and Yoder pulled?along the upper gum, along the lower gum, until every tooth was gone. “After he had pulled the last tooth,” Anna remembered, “my mom looked at me and said, ‘I guess you won’t be talking anymore.’ “

  73. Similarly, I’m constantly amazed by how many ‘libertarians’ eagerly become Leviathan’s bitch if it means getting to play with cool guns and shiny toys while killing innocent people in far-away lands. Or even better, that they can send other people to do such, and get Leviathan to force others to pay for it, without having to risk their own hides.

    Like when Thomas Jefferson sent the Navy and Marines to deal with the Barbary pirates to keep them from stealing from wealthy Americans?

    Damned statist.

  74. I do have to admit that it was fun to watch Dave W. dismiss several decades of brain behavior research in a few seconds. *rolls eyes*

  75. And I’m almost 100% certain that there are no time machines in Childhood’s End. The closest thing I can think of is the guy who stows away on an Overlord ship and, because of relativistic travel effects, returns to Earth only a few years older while 100 years have passed on Earth.

  76. Re: the post above on the Amish and Rumspringa – if they choose not to join the non-Amish culture after this experience, and instead choose to remain in the Amish community and church, has child abuse occurred from the start, by indoctrinating the children into the culture and only allowing them to experience “the outside” after Amish traditions have become a comfort to them?

    Just playing devil’s advocate, Jennifer. It is difficult to draw lines around practices that might be considered “child abuse” when they are really just culturally acceptible practices. Like my friend who comes from a South American Hispanic background; my friend’s mother is constantly trying to overfeed her one-year old baby, because in her mother’s south american culture, a fat child is a sign of health and wealth in the family. My friend knows better and is trying to nip childhood obesity in the bud, since she was overfed and battled her weight for years.

    So, was my friend’s mother guilty of child abuse by forcing her to overeat and drink sugar water to make her heavier, or was she just engaging in a cultural norm that had non-violent but unhealthy consquences for her children?

  77. In other words, the truely dogmatic person here is you.

    How can you possibly know, much less say, that I am impervious to any arguments in favor of evolution? How, indeed, can you know whether I am a believer in origin or species through evolution? I merely described the opinions and beliefs of some critics of the accepted evolutionary theory. From that, and from the fact that I didn’t engage in the kind of ritual denunciation that you do of the likes of Behe, you apparently concluded that I was “one of them.” That might be a good way to bet if you have to guess one way or the other but don’t have complete information, but it betrays a certain tendency to shoot from the hip that isn’t very consistent with a scientific approach to evidence.

  78. Seamus,

    Dude, the essence of your argument was a crude and rather insulting caricature of materialists. That’s enough evidence for me.

  79. From Sparknotes.com: (Childhood’s End, chapter 6)

    Religion has been almost eliminated due to a device given to scientists by the Overlords. It allows a person to look at any instant in time over the last five thousand years, although there are occasionally gaps in the timeline. But this allowed people to see the true lives of people like Christ and Muhammed, and it did much to eliminate religion as an influence.

    http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/childhoodsend/section3.rhtml

    Not quite a time machine, admittedly. But considering that I read the book 20 years ago, my memory ws close enough.

  80. From Sparknotes.com: (Childhood’s End, chapter 6)

    Religion has been almost eliminated due to a device given to scientists by the Overlords. It allows a person to look at any instant in time over the last five thousand years, although there are occasionally gaps in the timeline. But this allowed people to see the true lives of people like Christ and Muhammed, and it did much to eliminate religion as an influence.

    http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/childhoodsend/section3.rhtml

    Not quite a time machine, admittedly. But considering that I read the book 20 years ago, my memory was close enough.

  81. From Sparknotes.com: (Childhood’s End, chapter 6)

    Religion has been almost eliminated due to a device given to scientists by the Overlords. It allows a person to look at any instant in time over the last five thousand years, although there are occasionally gaps in the timeline. But this allowed people to see the true lives of people like Christ and Muhammed, and it did much to eliminate religion as an influence.

    http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/childhoodsend/section3.rhtml

    Not quite a time machine, admittedly. But considering that I read the book 20 years ago, my memory was close enough.

  82. This server sucks.

  83. This server sucks.

  84. So comments either don’t appear at all, or they appear in triplicate. Fine.

  85. Seamus,

    I merely described the opinions and beliefs of some critics of the accepted evolutionary theory.

    What you did was describe the claim of a particular individual, a claim which has yet to be tested against that individual’s own words. Having seen the janus-faced nature of IDers on numerous occassions, you’ll have to excuse my skepticism of your claim.

    What your original statement does demonstrate is the “everyone has a viable, worthwhile opinion on any subject” notion that so pervades our culture. Which is why we have people like Dave W. taking the statements of people like Tom Cruise seriously.

  86. Capt –

    I hope you don’t think Jefferson was some kind of unassailable Saint. He may have been the best of the lot, but he sure had his own sins. He certainly was a statist in many regards, not the least of which was his utilization of the machinery of Leviathan to subsidize ‘ownership’ of other human beings.

    So, yes, he was a statist (and BTW, the Barbary pirates thing is highly perverted by the Straussians – you oughta read some non-neo-con history if you think that episode in any way relates to building permanent bases in a country on the other side of the planet).

  87. Captain Holly, I took that comment about persecution to mean that they don’t know what persecution is when they complain about it. Jeff can correct me if I’m wrong.

    I interpreted it as a call to give them a taste of what it’s like. Jeff can correct me — if he can get a comment to successfully post.

    I do believe — and some of the comments here would support my belief — that many agnostic/atheistic libertarians are far more enthusiastic of Big Government meddling in schools or families than they would normally be when it involves traditional religion.

    Which, considering it took me three tries to post this comment, is my last word on this subject.

  88. quasibill,

    A lot of them read the episode as an example of the inherent “war powers” of the President, but the actual nature of the events shouldn’t lead one to that conclusion.

  89. What you did was describe the claim of a particular individual, a claim which has yet to be tested against that individual’s own words.

    I’m sorry, what individual was that? I wasn’t aware I was talking about *any* particular individual (unless it was Mr. Bailey).

    What your original statement does demonstrate is the “everyone has a viable, worthwhile opinion on any subject” notion that so pervades our culture.

  90. Even as an atheist, I always found the theory of evolution a clever and subtle thing far more worthy of being designed by an omnipotent god than the rather clumsy creation myth of the ancient Jews.

  91. Yeah, Jennifer, that’s close enough for government work.

    Actually, Clarke expanded on that idea later on in life, in a novel he co-wrote with Stephen Baxter called The Light of Other Days. In it, a corporation invents stable wormhole technology, which allows people to view any point on Earth in realtime, in fact at FTL speeds. They then realize that people can also view any point in time; the combination results in a complete end to the concept of privacy and secrecy on Earth, as anyone can spy on anyone, even in their past, completely undetected.

    There’s a touching passage near the end of the book where one of the characters uses the technology, which it is discovered can be keyed to DNA-identifying technology to trace a person’s relatives, to track his own ancestry through millions of generations back to the beginning of life on Earth. The passage is no less beautiful for his investigation leading him to Australopithecenes, pre-human mammals and ocean-dwelling proto-creatures as his precursors in life.

  92. If a person conciously chooses to chuck mountains of evidence in favor of a literal interpretation of a book of scripture which is not even internally consistent, that person has chosen to reject rationality and logic. At that point, why go any farther?

    What else are we supposed to do, work?

  93. Seamus,

    Your html skills need improving.

    G.K. Chesterton is the individual you named.

    David Hume is the classic example; he basically asserted that there was no evidence that he would accept that would persuade him that a miracle had occurred. If that isn’t a dogmatic position, then I’ve never seen a dogmatic position.

    Hume was a moderate skeptic (in the same fashion that Montaigne was). His point of course was that those who try to “prove” miracles do a disservice to their religious beliefs by undermining them.

    But there are plenty of other materialists in the world who put the rabbit in the hat, by asserting as a premise (not just a working assumption that is capable of falsification) that all natural phenomena have natural explanations.

    Its more likely that to you they come off that way because they are just tired of making the proper noises and caveats every time they address the subject.

  94. I’m personally tired of trying to point out to the unconvicable the mountains of datum available at their disposal. Sorting through scientific information requires a certain amount of logic skills, and the average human seems to fall below that threshold.

    Besides, most careers don’t require much scientific knowledge, and those that do are rapidly being outsourced to India. Creationism hasn’t been taught in schools in a long time, yet there’s still a lot of people who believe in it. Seems to me, allowing school choice isn’t going to change much. The kids will just get indoctrinated from a school instead of a church, or at home.

    To summarize: Non-believers can’t stop kids from being taught religion from their parents. So give them their damn choice in schools. It also means non-believers are free to find an anti-religious school to send their kids. Everybody is happy.

  95. I found the piece ironically personal, since I attended George Mason and my brother is attending Fuller Theological Seminary, both of which were featured in the article.

  96. I used to be upset by the possibility that school choice would mean some parents send their kids to creationist schools, but the more I think about it, you can lead a successful, productive life without believing in evolution. Moreso, most colleges do have some sort of science requirement, so it is likely that if these kids end up going to college, they’ll be exposed to what they need to know. Also, if they want to be part of an AP or IB program, they’ll have to learn a standard curriculum. My only hang-up with school choice is that there should probably be some sort of accreditation procedure (albeit a minimalist one) just to make sure that the voucher isn’t going to a huckster who smooth-talks a parent into sending their kid to his school when he justs pockets the money and does jack shit to teach the kids.

  97. For the last time, I didn’t come up with the theory of *evolution,* I came up with the theory that evolution worked via the mechanism of *natural selection*!

  98. You and Lincoln were also born on the same day. Can anyone think of another day when more than one historical figure of that magnitude (I’m talking like top 100 most significant people of their millenium) was born?

  99. Actually, Clarke expanded on that idea later on in life, in a novel he co-wrote with Stephen Baxter called The Light of Other Days.

    That’s a great damn book, Phil.

  100. Charles Darwin,

    Forgive my ignorance, but did someone before you postulate that species descended from previous species? Naturally I understand that “natural selection” is integral to your theory of the origin of the species, but I would be surprised to learn that the notion that the species originated from previous species, and thus “evolved,” was not also one for which we are in your debt.

  101. Hmmm. I would say

    “Religious critics of evolution are wrong about its flaws”

    is not exactly right. They are right about the flaws in many respects, scientifically speaking. Specifically, they have correctly identified certain aspects of the theory as lacking in evidence. What they are wrong about is that these flaws mean it (evolution) can’t be true, or that these flaws are positive evidence of their favored hypothesis. They’ve applied the scientific method incorrectly, but they are pointing to valid criticisms.

    Mr Bailey, Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

    It is easy to accuse “religious critics” of being biased against the evidence for evolution. It is, however, not a universal bias. Some of the religious accept evolution.
    If you are a philosophical natrualist, you must accept evolution. It cannot enter into your mind that science is unable to reconcile the “flaws”. If that is not bias…

  102. I have similar problems with the rulings that the Amish can take their kids out of school in the eighth grade, which makes it practically impossible for a kid who wants to leave Amish country to do so.

    Jennifer… Sorry, I disagree on this one. The less competition in my job hunt with the Amish, the better, I say. Currently, I’m not up against large numbers of Amish in my hunt for an I.T. job. In fact, if everyone else would please embrace some kind of religious fundamentalism- something decidedly ‘technology averse’, that would be great.

  103. I was talking to my wife about ID last night. She doesn’t follow this much. I explained it to her. And, Catholic though she is, she thought it was ridiculous that God would periodically intervene to produce blood clots, retinas, flagella, and whatever else the ID people are currently crediting Him with. She’s much more awed by a universe that doesn’t require periodic intervention to make up for the deficiencies of biochemistry. Besides, if God was in the intervention business, why hasn’t He stepped in and eliminated the genes that cause diseases? (Yeah, I know, some of those genes confer survival advantages if you only have one copy, but why not give us a new and improved version that can only confer benefit and not disease?)

    I guess that He is too busy giving a stroke to an elderly, obese man with a stressful lifestyle.

  104. Angainor-

    I see you’ve been reading the Silmarillion.

    Does it get dull, having to be wrapped around Melkor for all of eternity?

  105. An explanation that’s just as undisprovable as ID that would explain life on our planet would be that there are in fact trillions of universes and we happen to live in the one that beat the odds and led to intelligent life. There’s probably lot’s of other undisprovable theories like that and intelligent design, so it makes no sense to believe one but not the other. Sure there are unsolved questions in how bacteria + a billion years = humans, but scientific knowledge is exponentially growing as newer technology begets newer science at an ever increasing rate, so we may have the answers to the holes of evolutionary theory in the next couple centuries. Until then, it’s silly to believe some crazy idea instead of just acknowledging that science might take time every now and then to figure things out.

  106. Ron, have you ever even met someone who is actually a practicing scientist and knows intelligent design theory in and out, or just your random soccer-mom who heard that preacher on the radio say it’s the godly thing to believe? It has no more to do with emotion than a mainstream scientist defending neo-Darwinian evolution – they very strongly disagree over not so much the proper interpretation of facts, but deduction from limited evidence. You can’t infer your way from primordial goo to human beings without a compelling explanation, and for ID proponents, the Darwinian explanation falls far short. Please, stop trashing your opponents by saying they’re driven by emotion, lumping them with real creationists – the type who explain the world through Genesis – and otherwise waving off their point of view.

  107. Greg,

    You are making a fundamental mistake made by most of the lay proponents of I.D. – that evolutionary theory and the issue of origins are synonymous.

  108. Greg,

    Ron, have you ever even met someone who is actually a practicing scientist and knows intelligent design theory in and out…

    Ron may or may not have but the good scientists at Panda’s Thumb have.

  109. I see you’ve been reading the Silmarillion.

    Does it get dull, having to be wrapped around Melkor for all of eternity?

    Gandalf was a tyrant…long live suron or seron or what ever…the big giant eye thing, that guy. Long live the big giant eye!

  110. Gandalf was a tyrant

    Gandalf was a libertarian. He destroyed the ring of power.

  111. I miss the first 3rd of these comments when there was a bunch of comments on how public schools suck. Those were the good ol days. *sigh*

  112. Gandalf was a libertarian. He destroyed the ring of power.

    no, frodo did…and Gandalph could have put frodo on an eagle in the begining and frodo could have flown there in a day and thrown the ring into the mount and have been done with it…but gandalf didn’t. Instead he hatched his plan to put the adopted bastard son of the elves Aragorn on the thrown with his imortal elven wife as queen insuring that gandalf’s and the elves order would continue even after their deaths in the west.

    And where was arragron and gandalf and the elves when hobbiton fell to the wizard suromon? The heros of middle earth were abandoned becouse thier purpose was done.

    Gandalf is no libertarian but a dying tyrant trying to control the world after his death.

  113. Instead he hatched his plan to put the adopted bastard son of the elves Aragorn on the thrown with his imortal elven wife as queen insuring that gandalf’s and the elves order would continue even after their deaths in the west.

    I admit I was always uneasy about the crowing of King Aragorn and all those damn elitist N?reans. But as far as I can tell Aragorn ruled like a libertarian. Anyway, the Hobbits were the real role models, always have been.

    And where was arragron and gandalf and the elves when hobbiton fell to the wizard suromon? The heros of middle earth were abandoned becouse thier purpose was done.

    What would you have a libertarian do? Roll in there with tanks and liberate Hobbiton? Sharkey was nothing they couldn’t handle.

  114. On personal testimony, I know that the creationists (young earth, gap theorists, or ID types) have a point–at least about losing their children losing their faith. My own faith cracked when I learned about biology and evolutionary theory as a 13-year old. Scientific explanations were and are vastly more exciting and satisfactory than the “poof” then a miracle occurs accounts in the Bible.

    Interestingly enough, several mathematical logicians (famous examples include Brouwer, Heyting, and Godel) were known to have embraced mysticism. They believed that they reached the end of rationality, having seen the limits of deductive and empirical reasoning. They found it wanting.

  115. Didn’t Mark Twain pretty much have all this worked out in Letters from Earth?…and with a dose of humor that the world seems to be missing these days…

  116. What would you have a libertarian do?

    I don’t know how about not letting a mass murder go free in the first place. And then when you do instead of doing nothing do something.

  117. wait a minute.

    i forget.

    am i talking about france or gondor?

    :p

  118. I do have to admit that it was fun to watch Dave W. dismiss several decades of brain behavior research in a few seconds. *rolls eyes*

    Okay, smart guy. One type of chemical changes in my brain and my family’s brains that I am worried about is call Alzheimer’s disease. You mighta herd of it. What causes it? What are the risk factors? How do we maximize our chances of avouding it?

    If your brian research paints Tom Cruise as a fool, but can’t answer my burning questions, then what good was it. We already knew Cruise was a fool and I still might end up facing the (increasingly common) tragedy of Alzheimer’s. Are just fooling around here, Hak, or do you have a study to show e that epilepsy drugs are *not* correlated with brian cancer, Alzheimer’s or other types of chemical changes in the brain?

  119. I know nothing about epilepsy drugs, except that very few people take them. So I doubt that epilepsy drugs can be used to explain any national patterns concerning “brian” cancer or Alzheimer’s.

    Maybe corn syrup causes epilepsy?

  120. For the record, I don’t own stock in any company making epilepsy drugs. For all I know, taking epilepsy drugs could be the equivalent of drilling a hole in your skull and pouring in the sludge from an oil refinery on a daily basis.

  121. I should hope that epilepsy drugs are correlated with chemical changes in the brain, otherwise they would not prevent epileptic seizures, the very function they’re designed to perform.

  122. Those who believe in the great God Science are no different from the young earth creationists.

    I was luckier. When I was taking biology at 12 or 13, and they explained how abiogenesis is impossible one week, and then explained that millions of years ago life began in the primordial ooze by abiogenesis, I was smart enough to ask how the hell that was different from God creating Adam from clay? Since neither was possible, only faith can convince anyone they have a lock on the answer.

  123. Maggots may not spring fully formed from meat, but strawmen spring fully formed from Tim McDonald’s mind.

  124. Uh, yeah. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. And they breed, and pass on the misinformation anyway. So let them have their schools already. There’s no way to gracefully debate with some people.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.