Thursday, September 30, 2010

Once More into the Breach

A new friend of mine sent me a link to an interesting essay that discusses the theory of evolution vs. intelligent design. It is definitely worth a read. You can check it out here.

It is important to note, and I think the author does a good job doing this, that the theory of evolution is just that; a theory. Regardless of whatever empirical data can be presented to support the theory, there still are gaps in that data. It can be said that, whether one adheres to the theory of evolution or intelligent design, there is a certain amount of "faith" involved. I do think the author does fall a little short in his constitutional argument...

"It is already legal to teach intelligent design in public schools. What is not currently legal is to mandate its teaching. The Supreme Court has ruled that this would violate the First Amendment's establishment of religion clause.

But I have some questions relating to this: Does not classical evolutionism, based almost entirely upon faith, violate the same clause? More importantly, what about the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which states that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion?"

This is a circular argument. The two sides could forever debate the application of these constitutional tenets to this issue ad nauseum. Also, I'm not sure that it is fair to say that the theory of evolution is "almost entirely" based upon faith. The theory is based upon the fossil record and biology observable today.

The author also doesn't exactly explain which theory of intelligent design could or should be mandated. The religious concept of origin varies greatly from religion to religion. Should it be then, that all beliefs be mandated? Should students be taught Genesis, reincarnation, that the earth rests on the back of a turtle, that a titan ate his kids who had to subsequently cut themselves out?

These are questions, not condemnations of the essay. Outside of these questions, the author presents a compelling case. I would not rule out intelligent design, just as I wouldn't rule out the theory of evolution. I would even go so far to say that it is unrealistic of humans, in our current state of (dare I say) evolution, to hope to comprehend the origins and true nature of our universe. There are certainly answers, but i don't believe we are properly equipped, intellectually, to find them.

I'm afraid to ask, but...comments?


  1. 1) The question of what should or should not be mandated to be taught in public schools is moot once one asks the larger question of whether we should have any government run schools in the first place -- the obvious answer is NO!

    In a perfect world, all parents would be responsible people who take personal responsibility for funding the education of their children. But, we do not live in a perfect world and -- “Progressive” fantasies aside -- we never will. Ergo, preferring not to tolerate child abuse on the part of irresponsible parents, I am willing to pay taxes to fund the education of other people’s children. But, there is absolutely, positively no reason why government should have a monopoly on the delivery of publicly funded education. As I noted in this post, adopting a Socialist paradigm for the delivery of publicly funded education is the single worst mistake this country ever made. And, that mistake will be the death of us -- no question!

    2) So called “Progressives” have -- as is their nature -- invented language which does not exist anywhere in the United States Constitution. Nowhere does the Constitution speak of “separation of church and state”. To the contrary, the first amendment provides for freedom of religion not freedom from religion. So, to argue that this or that should not be taught in government schools because it might violate some imaginary Constitutional clause concerning the separation of church and state is yet another “Progressive” fantasy based on nothing more than their usual bald faced lies.

    The United States Constitution places one and only one restriction on the role religion can play in the public arena. That one restriction reads:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion

    Any other restriction is a “Progressive” invention predicated on a bald faced lie.

    P.S.) I am a lifelong Agnostic.

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  3. Annoying Joe, thanks for sharing this article. I think both you and the author make some extremely valid points. While most us recognize the loopholes in the evolution theory, we are equally skeptical of intelligent design. The human condition is one which has caused us to question our purpose in the world and the way we got here in the first place. The other arguments by SBVOR are also valid. Over the past century, we have seen our government commit atrocity after atrocity. Why should we allow government officials to dictate the curricula presented to our children. Imagine G.W. Bush's "Masking oil intiatives in the name of supposed freedom 101" or Obama's "Winning a campaign without being 100% honest 101"
    We all know that the government has failed us in many ways, but instead of name calling, perhaps identifying common goals would be more effective. Progressive or not, I am aware of the shortcomings in our system.
    Joe, you made a great point about what exactly should be taught. I believe that exploring the beliefs of many cultures is exciting and interesting. It is important, for Americans in particular, to see the world from less ego-centric eyes.
    In the words of Socrates, "the only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing". Something to ponder...

  4. Liz thats a great quote and it points to the fatal flaw in any extremist way of thinking as extremist/fundamentalist thought process inherently claims a monopoly on the "truth."

    Great comments all.

  5. AJ,

    As a counter-point consider this quote from Barry Goldwater:
    "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice"

    Or, this quote from Patrick Henry:
    "Give me liberty or give me death"

    Personally, I would say that when the pursuit of liberty becomes labeled as an "extremist" position, then our government has become extremely tyrannical.

    We will either break free from the bondage of entitlements and reclaim our liberties or we will all go down.

  6. The American public school system was originally developed as a means to keep children from running rampant in the streets while their parents (usually poor immigrants) worked endless hours in factories. Once children were no longer subject to 15 hour days in sweat shops, society needed a way to keep them occupied in the absence of parental guidance. Sad, but true.
    Although educational objectives have changed over the decades. It is upsetting that neither the government nor society place enough value in children.
    While money is spent fighting wars in countries that don't welcome us, our children's academic futures suffer.
    That being said, I understand the debate about evolutionism, creationism, etc...I think both sides have valid points. But, at what point do we collectively re-visit American education in general, which is put to shame by many countries around the world?

  7. Irving 1923 sez:

    “While money is spent fighting wars in countries that don't welcome us, our children's academic futures suffer.”

    1) Click here and put war spending into proper context. Here’s a hint -- the non-partisan CBO documents that 8 years of war in Iraq cost LESS than 2 years of utterly failed so-called “Stimulus” spending. Worse than that, this “Stimulus” failure was entirely predictable (to those of us who have broken free from the Marxist indoctrination we received at the hands of government schools).

    2) The USA ranks third in spending per student. Yet, USA student test scores rank among the very worst in the entire developed world. Clearly, more money is NOT the solution. But, the teachers unions -- the most evil organization in the known universe -- welcome your entirely counter-productive suggestion.

    3) The ONLY hope for improving our education system is to demolish the government monopoly on the delivery of publicly funded education and introduce private market competition. Vouchers are the best solution I have seen to date.

  8. SBVOR-Is there any chance you can lose the attitude. For the love of God, people are trying to share ideas here. We are here to partake in discussions and possibly widen our perspectives. You make valid points, but geeze...can you please cut the anger out. The point here is that the system is flawed. In more ways than one. We all agree. Your audience would likely receive you more readily if you would stop attacking everyone else's thoughts before asking questions. It appears that you are assuming that Irving is unaware of the failed stimulus initiatives...but that is just your assumption.

  9. P.S.) Click here to further put defense spending into proper context. Here’s a hint -- for the last 50 years, as a percentage of GDP, defense spending has been going down and entitlement spending -- basically the sole source of all deficit spending -- has been soaring.

  10. Lizzardo,

    You see what you want to see, nothing more, nothing less.

  11. Lizzardo,

    I simply presented the facts. NOWHERE did I offer or even imply ANY assumptions about the opinions of Irving1923. You, on the other hand, quite typically made all sorts of utterly unfounded assumptions about me personally.

    Your apology is graciously accepted (in advance).

  12. Lizzardo...THANK YOU. This person is so angry, it is incredible. As a student myself, spending exhorbitant amounts of money on college, I can attest to the fact that a free market also has its flaws. We graduate up to our ears in debt, and can't find decent jobs. There has to be a better way. SVBOR, we can all see that the country is failing. But, I am willing to bet that sharing ideas and coming to a concensus would be far more effective than shoving your ideas down other peoples' throats

  13. No apologies here. By quoting someone and responding to them with such fervor, you most certainly did make an assumption. By the way, Irving presented facts as well. So your apology to him and to the nature of our group is accepted by all of us in advance, as well.

  14. Slow down everyone. I don't want this to deteroriate the way it did yesterday.
    Everyone is making excellent points, and although SBVORs presentation is a little rough, he, like everyone else, is bringing alot to the discussion.
    I'm out and about, will pipe in about some of the points brought up in a bit. Thanks for a great discussion everyone, please continue....nicely please.

  15. Gasper (October 1, 2010 11:11 AM ),

    Every sector of our economy where prices are soaring orders of magnitude beyond the basic rate of inflation directly correlates with government intervention to ostensibly make the goods or services in that sector “affordable” (in other words, to provide an entitlement). Education is no exception. You are the victim of a Socialist paradigm, NOT a private sector paradigm. But, I am certain our government run schools have indoctrinated you to believe exactly the opposite of what is true.

    Case in point…
    The cost for plastic surgery (an area where government has not intervened) has -- for decades -- been rising at a rate lower than the rate of inflation. Meantime, costs for every single health care service which government has purported to make more affordable have soared.

    Click here and here for the economic realities of the situation.

  16. Wow...SVBOR, you seem unable to say anything positive about anyone else's comments. Are you my father in disguise?

  17. Gasper (October 1, 2010 11:46 AM),

    Yeah, unlike your "teachers", I don't embrace the concept that artificially propping up your self-esteem is more important that educating you.

    When I was 20 years old, my father was the most ignorant man in the world. Over the next 20 years he acquired amazing wisdom and knowledge. Or, was it my perception which changed?

    With luck, you may -- like many of us -- one day have a similar epiphany (unless, of course, your father is a registered Democrat).

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  19. I may be twenty years old, but I am mature enough to disengage from a fruitless conversation. You have, on more than one occasion, accused others of making judgments, but you seem to be an expert. I intend to enjoy my evening and not obsess over what my next comment will be or what link to add. I intend to be and enjoy every ounce of 20. Toodles

  20. We can debate the lesser of evils all day long. I am a teacher in a public school and can tell you that lack of funding is a growing concern. On several occasions, I have had to pay out-of-pocket for supplies for my 24 students. A HUGE issue with my kids, is their parents' lack of involvement. Our country is so focused on cell phones, flat screen tvs, and fancy cars, that we work our lives away without considering how this affects our children. I am not implying that either parent stop working, but I am implying that the amount of hours worked to satisfy the modern lifestyle is excessive. Wake up folks....your kids need you!

  21. Lou Anne 40 (October 1, 2010 1:02 PM ),

    If the exorbitant amount we are spending per student is not making it to your classroom, where do you think it goes? Perhaps to bloated and corrupt federal, state and local “education” bureaucracies? To corrupt building contractors and the political cronies who award their contracts?

    No doubt, we need more parental involvement. But, more than anything, we desperately need to demolish the government monopoly on the delivery of publicly funded education (and the utterly corrupt and entirely counter-productive teachers unions).

  22. Where to begin?

    SBVOR - point well taken re:extremism but I would say that there are always exceptions. Taking your Patrick Henry quote, extremism as a response to an extreme situation is not only acceptable but appropriate. I would even go so far as to say that Mr. Henry and his contemporaries weren't acting as "extremists" as they were acting out of "common sense." Cue Thomas Paine.

    As to the current state of things...I don't know...Have we lost and now need to reclaim our liberties? Thats the million dollar question, and it's a subjective one. Does it require the "extremist" philosophy of a revolutionary? I don't think so. But it is a question that should be asked.

    "Moderation in all things --
    including moderation." - Ben Franklin.

  23. AJ sez:

    "Does it require the 'extremist' philosophy of a [violent?] revolutionary?"

    To be clear, I do NOT endorse violence as a proper remedy to our current condition -- resorting to violence will ONLY result in a greater loss of liberty. A violent response is EXACTLY what the so-called "Progressives" want -- they want another crisis to exploit for the sake of yet another power grab. Why do you think they continually lie about the alleged violent nature of the Tea Party when the obvious truth is that virtually all of the politically driven violence (and property destruction) today is coming from the Left?

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  25. Lou Anne - Don't let SBVOR scare you. He's a bit excitable yet harmless.

    Your point is well taken. We can say this or that about the bureaucracy or this misuse of funds or the pros and cons of teachers unions, but a parent's influence, attention and love (or the lack thereof) will always be the strongest factor in a child's development/education

  26. Lizzardo - Thanks for maintaining a semblance of order in my absence. I have a sudden craving for shellfish...

    Irving - Great points as always. Its always interesting and helpful to see the origins of our current problems.

  27. SBVOR - Watched your little video, there's nuts everywhere, no doubt.

    Did you check out the Rick Barber video I posted a couple of days ago under the post "Myth-Understanding?"

    Gasper - Have fun. 20 rules.

  28. AJ,

    Shellfish? Good choice! Be sure to request shellfish from the Gulf of Mexico.

    Perhaps the Gulf disaster that never was might be a topic for your next post.

    Click here for a broader compliment of resource materials on that subject.

  29. AJ,

    I did watch the Rick Barber video and I sincerely hope Mr. Barber wins his race. The founding fathers would roll over in their graves to see what has become of the Republic they handed us.

    Click here if you have some academic interest in what was arguably the single biggest "Progressive" catalyst in the creation of the current federal monster.

  30. P.S.) Actually, it is this link (at the bottom of my post) which makes the (quite salient) argument as to how the Seventeenth amendment subverted the original intent of our quite brilliant founding fathers and thereby created our current federal monster.

  31. As an addendum to my comment on Rick Barber...

    I'm afraid I had not followed the Alabama congressional race closely enough to notice that Rick Barber lost his race for the Republican nomination to Martha Roby.

    I have no knowledge of Ms. Roby. But, I suspect Rick Barber would have better served the nation.

    I see the race between Roby and Bright is currently a toss-up.

  32. AJ sez:

    “Watched your little video, there's nuts everywhere, no doubt.”

    1) I take that to mean that you only watched the first of many videos included in that label set.

    2) Nuts everywhere? Yes, the Left always resorts to the phony moral equivalence argument, but never backs it up. Show me your videos.

  33. I did show you one of "my" videos. By "my" I mean the videos I, like you, pull off of youtube.

    I also have another one from a while back, actually one or two, from the insepid health care debates. They're particularly infuriating.

    c'mon SBVOR, you and I both know that we could both present a plethora of videos, I'm talking hundreds each, supporting or discrediting any view we wish. I liked it better when you were just sharing your own views, there was some real honesty in your earlier comments today.

    Your better than that! You must be sleepy. Have some warm milk.

  34. AJ,

    You know very well that the moral equivalent of what I offered would require you to show me at least one video of a Tea Party member engaging in either violence or property destruction.

    Obviously, you have none -- otherwise you would not have, once again, stooped to the purely ad hominem.

  35. Your adorable.

    Go to youtube. search "violent tea party" you will find, on the first page, ridiculous behavior on both sides. The Palin rally's particularly funny. Unlike you, I don't have an inexhaustible amount of time/social security checks to copy/paste/copy/paste/copy/paste every video that supports my views.

    Every group has their share of nuts. The "left" has nuts. The right has "nuts". Embrace your nuts!

  36. AJ,

    I followed your instructions.

    Here's what I found:

  37. Hi, taking the family out, can't play with you today. Maybe later we can have a game of youtube pingpong. Enjoy your day

  38. Volley for serve...

  39. AJ (October 3, 2010 11:19 AM),

    Really? Seriously? THAT is your evidence of the violent nature of the Tea Party?

    1) Where is there any evidence the alleged perp has anything to do with the Tea Party?

    2) Other than a vague impression from the ONLY person interviewed for this story, where is there ANY evidence that this instance of road rage had ANYTHING to do with politics? Maybe the victim lied, maybe he imagined that the perp pointed at his Obama bumper sticker. Maybe the victim is paranoid. Maybe the victim is desperate to validate all the bald faced lies about how violent the Tea Party is.

    Sorry AJ, that was just way beyond pathetic!

  40. Maybe the dude in your video was a schizophrenic off of his medication.

    waaaaaaaait-a-minute - I thought we were playing video ping-pong. You're supposed to respond with a video, not rhetoric. I call shenanigans on you.

    Plus I was saving the better videos for later....

    "Half the truth is often a great lie." B. Franklin.

  41. Fine, let's see your "better videos". I don't think you have any.

  42. Fine, if you are STILL unable to document even ONE example of Tea Party violence, let's take a look at Far Left violence which took place just yesterday:


    remember no to overUSE caps. Make YOU look SILLY. LIKE your trying to YELL yet your TYPING not YELLING. can you HEAR the WORDS that are COMING out OF my mouth.

  44. 1) I’m sorry, where was the violence?

    2) Since the Dims have admitted to planting their own people with their own signs in yet another pathetic attempt to discredit the Tea Party, it is impossible to know whether these signs are carried by Dim plants or not.

    3) Yet again, you have failed to present ANY documentation of Tea Party violence. I’m going to assume -- as I knew from the beginning -- that you can’t produce even ONE such example.

    You’re wasting my time. And, you’re not worth my time. You’re a child.

  45. When all else fails, there's always conspiracy theory.