Friday, June 29, 2007
Prize for the best sound bite goes to Chief Justice John Roberts: "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race." Amen to that.
Has any one noticed how the coverage of this issue is studiously avoiding the "B" word? Why is the media scared to utter the unutterable word: busing. No, we prefer the much more abstract and sterile expression "desegregation policies." That way, we don't have to think about all the time and money being wasted on what they are actually practically really doing: putting kids on buses when they would otherwise be at home in their own communities.
So from now, let's use the word (busing) as often as possible. Let me repeat that, what I just said about busing, which was to say the word busing as much as possible. Because that's what they're doing. Busing.
Of course, the proponents of this social engineering scheme (another expression the proponents don't like, just like busing) continue to maintain that these schemes (the ones that involve busing) improve academic performance--a position that has everything going for it except the evidence.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
The problem is that shock and outrage is, well, so yesterday. Kimball explains:
Don't get me wrong: it was plenty awful. Body parts, "explicit" images, and naughty language galore. The exhibition certainly merited the warning to parents at the entrance. But it wasn't worse than dozens of other exhibitions I've seen, you've seen, we've all seen.He continues:
No, the thing to appreciate about "Wrestle," about the Hessel Museum and the collection of Marieluese Hessel, and about the visual arts at Bard generally is not how innovative, challenging, or unusual they are, but how pedestrian and , sad to say, conventional they are. True, there is a lot of ickiness on view at the Hessel Museum. But it is entirely predictable ickiness. It's outrage by-the-yard, avant-garde in bulk, smugness for the masses. And this brings me to what I believe is the real significance of institutions like the art museum at Bard, the Hessel collection that fills it, and the surrounding atmosphere of pseudo-avant-garde self-satisfaction. The "arts" at Bard are notable not because they are unusual but because they are so grindingly ordinary.I think these people seriously think that we're all going to faint when we see this stuff for the umpteenth time in its most recent derivative incarnation. These people don't need to be met with cries of protest, they need to be met with a collective yawn. But such is the state, not only of our artists (if I may use that term loosely), but of our universities which apparently have nothing else better to do, now that they've given up on passing on Western culture, than to tear it down.
Although he doesn't mention Chesterton directly, Kimball recognizes what Chesterton spoke of in the introduction to Heretics, where he points out that heresy is essentially boring. Everyone is a heretic now. The subversives have taken over. It's time to subvert them. If you want to strike out on your own, if you want to be different, if you want to revolt, about the only thing to revolt into is orthodoxy.
Someone needs to tell these people the 60's are over. Yoohoo! Jerry Garcia is dead. So's Timothy Leary. Turn off, tune out, drop in. Or, perhaps preferably, go somewhere and don't bother people with your ludicrous attempts to bother people. It's getting very old.
Monday, June 25, 2007
At the risk of setting off one of those book list brush fires that periodically light up the blogosphere, here are 25 great books that explain and critique modern thought and culture:
- Reflections on the French Revolution, by Edmund Burke
- Orthodoxy, by G. K. Chesterton
- What’s Wrong with the World, by G. K. Chesterton
- The Wasteland, by T. S. Eliot
- That Hideous Strength, by C. S. Lewis
- Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
- 1984, by George Orwell
- Animal Farm, George Orwell
- Ideas Have Consequences, by Richard Weaver
- The Abolition of Man, by C. S. Lewis
- Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
- Love in the Ruins, by Walker Percy
- The Triumph of the Therapeutic: The Uses of Faith After Freud, by Phillip Rieff
- Shadows on the Hudson, by Isaac Bashevis Singer
- A Third Testament, by Malcolm Muggeridge
- Entertaining Ourselves to Death, by Neil Postman
- Technopoly, by Neil Postman
- Chance or the Dance: A Critique of Modern Secularism, by Thomas Howard
- The Children of Men, by P. D. James
- The Restitution of Man: C. S. Lewis and the Case Against Scientism, by Michael Aeschliman
- The Closing of the American Mind, by Alan Bloom
- Degenerate Moderns: by E. Michael Jones
- Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe
- From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, by Jacques Barzun
- Jayber Crowe, by Wendell Berry
Friday, June 22, 2007
Several of us have been having a little discussion about evolution, creationism, Intelligent Design, etc. on the comments section of an earlier post, but I thought I would bring it back out on the main page for anyone else who is interested.
I wanted to respond to David Charlton’s challenge to state my reasons for believing what I did about evolution and intelligent design. First, in regard to evolution, as I have said, I am a skeptic, and have more questions than I do answers. My problem with evolutionists (if I may distinguish them from the theory they espouse) is that they have become so smug that they turn off much of their audience. It’s as if they believe that their skeptical audience does not deserve answers to their questions.
In regard to Intelligent Design, I think the first thing to say (in contrast to the way it is portrayed by evolutionists) is that it is not the same as creationism. In fact, many creationists are at odds with Dembski and others about this. In fact, Michael Behe, one of the most prominent IDers, accepts common descent. It is not common descent that is at issue between ID and Darwinism: it is the legitimacy of methodological naturalism, which Darwinism assumes (but doesn’t want to prove), and IDers challenge.
Dembski’s thesis, which gets distorted by Darwinists, is simply that there is a way to determine whether the world is the product of design. His argument is that we make such determinations about the lesser things all the time--whether they are designed--and never question the legitimacy of the process. The SETI project is a perfect example of how scientists themselves sometimes operate under that assumption. Dembski has set forth his criteria for how we would determine whether something is the product of design. But, instead of directly addressing these, and saying why they are or are not legitimate, the Darwinists continue to largely ignore Dembski’s actual arguments.
Dembski’s thesis seems to me eminently sensible, and I have yet to hear a convincing argument refuting it.
The chief argument leveled against Intelligent Design is that it “is not science.” This was one of the findings of the Dover vs. Katzmiller decision by Judge Jones. In making this argument, the Darwinists uncritically apply Karl Popper’s falsifiability criterion: that a theory is scientific if it is subject to falsifiability. But you don’t have to know much about the philosophy of science to know that Popperian falsifiability is extremely problematic, and, in fact, is not accepted by most philosophers of science as the sole way to demarcate what is science and what isn’t.
The chief problem with the falsifiability criterion is that applying it results in counting things as non-scientific that clearly are. The most salient example is superstring theory, which is not falsifiable, and yet is clearly a scientific theory. The same is true of numerous problems in physics. Many of the positions Einstein set forth (and I keep mentioning him simply because I am currently reading his biography) either were not falsifiable at the time he propounded them or will never be falsifiable.
A good example of this is his thought experiment about inertia. He was trying to determine whether, if a bucket was hanging from a rope in a universe which contained no other mass, and the bucket was set to spinning, whether the water would rise at the sides. At first he accepted the thesis that it wouldn’t because inertia depends on the rest of the mass in the universe: the water would rise whether the universe was constant and the bucket was spinning or the bucket was stationary and the universe was spinning around it. But if there was no other mass in the universe, thought Einstein, there would be nothing relative to which the bucket was spinning; in fact, you could not say whether the bucket was spinning or not. This was part of his idea that space was relative. Einstein later changed his mind about this, and came to believe that space was not relative.
But how could you ever prove this one way or another conclusively, since you would never be able to test anyone’s theory on this in an empty universe? Were Einstein’s theories about it therefore not scientific? Einstein’s theories were largely developed through thought experiments. Only later did he find ways in which they could be verified. But when he got to certain things, like inertia, there was simply no way to verify them conclusively.
So why are we so comfortable in allowing scientists like Einstein a pass on the falsifiability criterion, but so stringent in our application of it to people like Dembski? I have yet to hear a satisfactory answer to this question. In fact, this tendency on the part of Darwinists to employ a double standard here has all the hallmarks of simple prejudice.
The problem is there is no one criterion by which you can judge whether a theory is scientific or not. And you certainly can’t say (as Darwinists often argue) that a theory is not scientific because those behind the theory have religious motivations. Newton had religious motivations, but that doesn’t means Newton’s theories were not scientific.Anyway, those are my preliminary thoughts on the issue.
Monday, June 18, 2007
The editorial on my new addendum to Darwinian theory (see below) landed in the Cincinnati Post today. New title: "One man's theory: Humans evolving into creationists." You can find it here.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Evolutionist response to new Gallup poll further evidence that humans are evolving into creationists
A majority of Republicans, according to Gallup, "do not believe the theory of evolution is true and do not believe that humans evolved over millions of years from less advanced forms of life." This new survey result also shows that, even among non-Republicans, there is a significant minority who do not believe the theory of evolution. In fact, 40 percent of Democrats take a basically creationist position.
The new survey, when considered in light of past surveys showing increasing popular support for creationism in recent years, gives added credence to my theory that human beings are evolving into creationists. People who believe in the survival of the fittest, as it turns out, are less fit for survival. Those who believe in natural selection are losing out in Nature's selection process.
In short, when the final character in the Hall of Man has been added, he will be a guy in a short sleeve dress shirt with horn-rimmed glasses and a pocket protector who believes the earth is 6,000 years old.
I am still waiting for the recognition and celebrity that is my due for thinking up this revolutionary new addendum to Darwin's theory, but I may have to wait until all the Darwinists have become extinct--until, that is, Nature has finished playing her ultimate practical joke.
Darwinists have completely misinterpreted these survey results (and if this is not evidence of their diminishing status in the gene pool, I don't know what is), seeing in them further evidence of how much smarter they are than all those religious rubes, and how much higher their branch is on the evolutionary tree. But this does nothing more than add to the increasingly formidable body of data suggesting the deterioration of their ability to reason properly and to see the plain truth in front of them--important survivability traits in humans. Their branch on the tree is rotting from the inside, and, if they are not careful, they will only succeed in landing themselves alongside the Tasmanian Wolf, the Great Auk, and the Wooly Mammoth on Nature's scrapheap.
These new poll results, they seem to think, should be considered evidence of the ignorance of religious people in general, and Republicans in particular. They prove, once and for all they think, the tendency of conservative religious people to ignore reason and evidence in favor of faith and reliance on authority. This, of course, assumes that people who believe in Darwinism are all independent-minded people who have come to their views by having gone through some kind of advanced scientific reasoning process, which, of course, is nonsense.
Most people who believe in Darwinism believe in it for the same reason religious people believe in creationism: on the basis of faith and authority. Instead of placing faith in religion, their authority is Science. Creationists have the Bible; evolutionists have the Origin of the Species. In both cases, the majority of the adherents believe unquestioningly in what their holy books say. At least religious people have the excuse that that is what they are supposed to do.
Most people who believe in evolution have no clue why they believe it, other than that's what they are told is believed by Science, that exalted body of knowledge overseen by those higher beings in white laboratory smocks. They can't tell a helium molecule from a hole in the ozone, but they do know this: Science hath spoken.
The idea that most people believe in evolution for any other reason is just wishful--and quite sloppy--thinking, which, if Darwinists didn't have their noses so high up in the air, they would realize. This increasing tendency on the part of Darwinists toward careless reasoning and self-congratulatory rhetoric is a sure sign of a species in decline.
"Pride goeth before the fall"--or, as my theory states it: "Arrogance precedes extinction." Evolutionists are losing their evolutionary edge. The dominance of Darwinism is diminishing.
When the chapter in the book of evolutionary history on the theory of evolution is finally written, there will be little doubt why they went the way of the Dodo.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
He said bad things about gays. Well, now, that's completely different.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Bible Belt Blogger Frank Lockwood (who, by the way, kindly posted a link to a previous post despite the fact that I took a pop at him in the piece--what a guy) spotted this comment in The Kentucky Equality Federation's newest press release:
Kentucky Equality Federation will be sending its certified condemnation of Dr. James Holsinger as U.S. Attorney General to U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. [emphasis added]I'm sure Ted Kennedy will appreciate the sentiment.
While they're at it, why don't they go ahead and oppose him for Labor Secretary, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State? They could, on the other hand, take a completely different tack and actually support him for some other position. I'm thinking, for instance, of something like Ambassador to the Sudan.
The wording of the Equality Federation's press release is interesting for another reason. Note that they are not simply opposing Holsinger's nomination, but condemning him. This is not atypical behavior for the Tolerance Police, who, while they lecture everyone else about the evils of hate, are in fact the most inveterate practitioners of it.
Oh, and this condemnation is not just a condemnation, but a "certified condemnation." Ooooh. Exactly where does one go to get a condemnation certified? Can I do it at my local bank? At the post office? One begins to think that it is only a matter of time before the Equality Federation begins issuing official anathemas against those who have the temerity to question their gay rights dogmas.
The press release contends that Holsinger's medical opinions have been influenced by his religious beliefs. That, of course, is against the Equality Federation's long-standing position that medical opinions should not be influenced by religion, but should instead be influenced by politics.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Having it both ways: The critics of creationism can't seem to decide which of two mutually exclusive criticisms they want to make
Consider this. Last year the rap on Intelligent Design (which the Darwinists say is just another form of creationism) was that it was not science because science makes falsifiable claims, and Intelligent Design (hereafter referred to as "creationism" at the Darwinists' own insistence) does not make falsifiable claims. And since it was not science, it shouldn't be taught in science classes.
This criterion (the "falsifiability criterion") for what constitutes science comes from philosopher of science Karl Popper, and is the preferred criterion used by the scientific establishment to avoid arguing the merits of positions that disagree with currently popular dogmas--except when, like now, in the case of the Creation Museum, they want to turn around and say that creationists make false (and therefore falsifiable) claims.
In other words, they argue on the one hand that creationism isn't science because it isn't falsifiable. Then they turn right around and say that creationism makes false claims. But if creationism's claims are false, then they are falsifiable claims, and therefore scientific. You can't have it both ways: either it is science, in which case the worst you can say about it is that it is not good science (since it makes false claims), or it is not science at all, in which case you cut yourself off from saying that it makes false claims.
Back to my original question--does the assault on the Creation Museum indicate that the "Creationism isn't science" position is dead?--I think obviously not. In fact, the Darwinists make whichever of these two mutually exclusive arguments suits their case at the time. Just wait a couple months and they'll be back to the first argument, counting on the fact that we will have forgotten about the one they're making now.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
The secret involves homosexuality.
Isn't it strange? You think you know someone one moment, and the next you find that he's a completely different person from the one you thought you knew. Holsinger, who holds the Wethington Chair in Health Sciences at UK, had all the appearance of a morally upright, model citizen. He was active in his church, and he seemed for all intents and purposes to be just like you and me.
Then, the awful truth finally came out: Holsinger, whose career includes several stints as chief of staff for several VA hospitals, thinks that homosexuality has bad health consequences.
Yes, it sounds preposterous, but there it is. A religious believer who thinks that there's something wrong with men having sex with other men. A doctor who thinks that anal sex isn't healthy.
Just what turnip truck did this guy fall off of anyway? Where has he been the last few years? Studying AIDS data or something? Reading his Bible? Okay, I know people used to take medicine seriously, and that once upon a time all you needed to have to say something negative about a certain behavior was actual evidence. But aren't we past all that? Haven't we come to the realization that there are certain things more important than medical facts?
Things like the political agenda of gay rights groups?
And since when were people like Holsinger, former Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, allowed to take their religious beliefs seriously and use them as some kind of basis for what they think--or how they act? You would think religious fanatics like Holsinger, who was chancellor of the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center for nine years, would have at least a passing familiarity with the Constitution, where it talks about a "Wall of Separation" between church and state.
It's right there in the First Amendment. Well, okay, it's not really there, but it ought to be, and what it means is you can't be religious and be in government. Or something like that.
We could lay all this at the feet of Holsinger himself, who earned his MD as well as a doctorate in anatomy and physiology at Duke University, but there is a larger question that needs to be answered: Where have the Tolerance Police been all this time? Why weren't groups like the Fairness Alliance warning us all along that this guy was on the loose? What if his beliefs had never been discovered? Would Holsinger, who holds a master’s degree in hospital financial management from the University of South Carolina, still be walking the streets?
Yes, Holsinger has tried to cover his tracks by going out of his way to personally give medical attention to gays and lesbians with diseases which no one knows how they got, but all this shows is just how cunning this man is.
And who are we supposed to believe about the health effects of homosexuality anyway: some guy with a list of medical credentials a mile long? Or the medical geniuses over at places like the Fairness Alliance, Soulforce, and the Human Rights Campaign?
Holsinger's scandalous background was only made public when religious blogger Frank Lockwood ("Bible Belt Blogger") began publishing past statements Holsinger, one of the nation's most respected physicians, had made about homosexuality. Lockwood's impeccable religious credentials include the fact that he was the religion reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Lockwood, who underscores his objectivity (which he undoubtedly learned at the Herald-Leader) by always prefacing Holsinger's name with the term "anti-gay," uncovered the fact that Holsinger wrote a report for the Committee to Study Homosexuality of The United Methodist Church in 1991. The discovery has caused an uproar--among people who get in an uproar when other people disagree with them--for its bizarre conclusions.
Check this out: the report claims that scientific disciplines like anatomy and physiology have some bearing on the health of sexual behavior. Right. He probably believes that eating right and getting exercise can reduce heart disease too.
And if that doesn't make you wonder what planet this guy beamed down from, listen to this: the human digestive system, he says, shouldn't be used like the human reproductive system!
Sheez. Some people really know how to spoil a party.
And then there's the statement in the report that men having sex with men isn't a good idea from a health standpoint. The reason? Because it leads naturally to "gonorrhea, infections with chlamydia trachomatis, syphilis, herpes simplex infections, genital warts, pubic lice, scabies); enteric diseases (infections with hig gel la species, Campylobacter jejuni, Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia lamblia, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis non-A, non-B, and cytomegalovirus); trauma (fecal incontinence, hemorrhoids, anal fissure, foreign bodies, rectosigmoid tears, allergic proctitis, penile edema, chemical sinusitis, inhaled nitrite burns, and ... AIDS."
I mean, does the guy really have to be such a killjoy? Chill out with the medical jargon, dude. Can't people have a little fun without doctors throwing medical statistics in their face?
And after all, isn't that the worst aspect of this whole episode? Here we have a nominee to be United States State Surgeon General who takes this medical stuff just a little too seriously.
What's the world coming to?
Friday, June 01, 2007
June 1, 2007
Contact: Martin Cothran
LEXINGTON, KY—The spokesman for The Family Foundation said he is gratified by the Kentucky Attorney General’s Opinion released today, stating that domestic partner benefit plans at UK and U of L are in violation of the Kentucky Constitution. “This is obviously the ‘stake in the heart’ for attempts by UK’s Lee Todd and U of L’s James Ramsey to sidestep the State Constitution,” said Martin Cothran.
“Our main argument against the university plans for taxpayers to subsidize the live-in partners of their staff was that they created a legal status similar to marriage, and that they were therefore in violation of the language placed in the constitution by the Marriage Amendment of 2004. Today, the Attorney General agreed with us. We hope those who contested our argument inside and outside the General Assembly have taken note.”
Cothran said that this was just the most recent defeat for groups like the Fairness Alliance, whose arguments in favor of domestic partner benefits plans, he said, have been systematically repudiated. “They first argued that these plans would have no impact on taxpayers—that was before UK came out with a report in January, which showed the university was planning on subsidizing the benefits for as much as $633,000 a year. Then they said U of L was not subsidizing its benefits. That too was shown to be false. Now their argument that these plans are constitutional has been put on life support. They have not had a good year.”
The Family Foundation supported Senate Bill 152, a bill proposed in this year’s General Assembly session that would have prevented public agencies from instituting domestic partner benefit plans.
Don't you dare negate my polarity: Spalding University shouldn't invite Yarmuth to give its commencement. It's bad Karma
The Louisville Courier-Journal yesterday had a story about the little dust-up over Congressman John Yarmuth being invited to give the commencement address at Spalding University in Louisville. Spalding is at least nominally a Catholic institution and Yarmuth is pro-abortion. As my friend Mike Janocik at Kentucky Right to Life pointed out in the story, the U. S. Catholic bishops released a statement several years back that would seem to preclude such invitations.But what I found most interesting--and amusing--were a couple of comments by Tori Murden McClure, vice president for external relations for Spalding, although she could pass for the school's astrology adviser. In the first comment, she pretty much lays bare why Yarmuth was invited:
"The congressman is in a position to influence financial aid policies that might improve access to higher education for those who can least afford it," she said. . Murden McClure said Spalding's trustees chose Yarmuth because he serves on the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor and can promote legislation on student grants and loans.There you have it. Just dangle a little money in front of some people (or institutions), and those nice little principles they like to tout go right out the window. But then there was this one (and you might want to prepare yourself to read this by burning a little incense and sipping some herbal tea):
"True diversity is challenging. It calls us to be reflective, humble, and hospitable in our responses to opposing points of view. Promoting diversity forces us to negate polarity and to question single-sided viewpoints."Okay, I can handle some of the first part of that. But "negate polarity"? What does that mean? Or maybe there is something in canon law forbidding positive polarity that I missed. How do you negate polarity anyway? And does it require an electrician?
And then there is the little matter of questioning "single-sided viewpoints." First of all, is there such a thing as a viewpoint that is not "single-sided"? Aren't all viewpoints "single-sided", even (and perhaps especially) those viewpoints that reject single-sidedness? And by questioning anything, aren't you, ipso facto, rejecting diversity?
Now c'mon. Do they really allow Catholics to talk like this? I thought Benedict was going to bring more discipline to the Church?
I'm Sorry. I'm being sarcastic. Maybe I need my polarity negated, or maybe I just need to sit down and contemplate all this for a while.
In the lotus position, of course.