Saturday, August 27, 2005

I admit it. I agree with Pat Boone.

I admit it. I agree with Pat Boone.

Whodathunk it, but in this piece, I really agree with Boone. Discussing his opposition to the theory of evolution,

[h]e cited America's founding documents, quoting the Declaration of Independence as he stressed, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator ... "

"That's how opposed to God Thomas Jefferson, who wrote that, was. Yet he is credited with trying to keep all mention of God out of public life. I wish Jefferson could be back here today just for 30 minutes to set things straight."

The part I agree with is in bold. Pity we can't get old TJ back. Too bad we don't have any of his writings to tell us what he was really thinking, something like this:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state. [italics mine]
Pity that. Pity that Pat doesn't comprehend, either.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Surely Not!

Today the Grey Lady has a page one piece on Alabama that is remarkably positive, titled "Once Woeful, Alabama Is Model in Child Welfare." Alabama still has a great deal to be humble about, but it's nice to see national recognition in a positive way, especially considering the disasters in foster care widely publicized in much wealthier states.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Opinions Differ on the Structure of the Universe

Seems the good folk at the Ptolemaic Institute got their britches in a bunch over the recent Nightline expose, which reported that there was no actual controversy among reputable astronomers as to whether the sun revolves around the earth, or vice versa.

Nightline's main point appears to be that there really isn't any scientific controversy over Copernicanism and intelligent epicycles. How do they know this? They checked with several Copernicanists, who told them so!

OK, I confess. I made it up, kind of. BUT -- and like my own, it's a huge one -- I challenge anyone to show me how my parodic extrapolation (not a good band name, unlike, say, Disembodied Anus) fails in the slightest iota of parallelism, except that the Catholic church was among the last earthly entities to accept "Copernicanism."

via Pharyngula (oughta be a street in Rome, no?)

Late Update: Swift himself would've had trouble satirizing these folk; it turns out they're out there, only they call themselves the Association for Biblical Astronomy (originally the Tychonian Society, though -- pretty close to Ptolemy, doncha think?) From their manifesto:

All scientific endeavor which does not accept this revelation from on high [ie, ...his* infallible, preserved word, the Holy Bible] without any reservations, literary, philosophical or whatever, we reject as already condemned in its unfounded first assumptions.

Quoth the Lord to the scientist (at least according to these bozos): Who you gonna believe, My good Book or your lyin' eyes, ears, other senses, and power of reason?

* HEY, wait a minute! Shouldn't that be His infallible etc? Now let's see who's going to roast eternally.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Followup: From Obfuscation to Outright Lies.

Latest reaction to doofus-in-chief's pronouncement vis-a-vis Intelligent Design Creationism:

"It's what I've been pushing, it's what a lot of us have been pushing," said Richard Land, the president of the ethics and religious liberties commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Land, who has close ties to the White House, said that evolution "is too often taught as fact," and that "if you're going to teach the Darwinian theory as evolution, teach it as theory. And then teach another theory that has the most support among scientists."

Nothing more to say, really.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I Misunderestimated.

I don't know why I'm surprised. Here's the latest from our doofus-in-chief:

President Bush waded into the debate over evolution and "intelligent design" Monday, saying schools should teach both theories on the creation and complexity of life. In a wide-ranging question-and-answer session with a small group of reporters, Bush essentially endorsed efforts by Christian conservatives to give intelligent design equal standing with the theory of evolution in the nation's schools. . . . Bush declined to state his personal views on "intelligent design," the belief that life forms are so complex that their creation can't be explained by Darwinian evolutionary theory alone, but rather points to intentional creation, presumably divine. . . . Bush compared the current debate to earlier disputes over "creationism," a related view that adheres more closely to biblical explanations. As governor of Texas, Bush said students should be exposed to both creationism and evolution. On Monday the president said he favors the same approach for intelligent design "so people can understand what the debate is about."
"I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," Bush said. " You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes."

What is this guy's problem with reality, anyway? I know, I know; he really doesn't give a crap. It's as though that one-finger salute was directed at the entire reality-based universe. I truly believe the only calculus he can muster is the cost-benefit payoff in votes. This is a bone to throw in the direction of the fundamentalist community, who might be miffed that he didn't react strongly enough to Frists's shocking (and likely staged) display of independence vis-a-vis stem cell research. It certainly costs him nothing in terms of the low-taxes-is-good-for-big-business crowd. And what are we to make of his defiance of established constitutional law that teaching creationism violates the first amendment? I guess it's this: aside from gravity, no law applies to George W. Bush unless he allows it to.

PS: You Reality Cadets are gonna love his response to the suspension of Rafael Palmeiro. It boils down to, "Who you gonna believe, my friend or your lying drug tests?"

That's My Our Jeffy!

Herbert's got a column today about the efforts of Sens. McCain, Warner, and Graham to enact "legislation ... that would expressly prohibit cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody."
Tell it, Bob:

There was a dramatic encounter during the floor debate last week when Senator Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama, spoke out against the legislation, saying there was no need for it because, as he put it, the detainees are not prisoners of war, "they are terrorists."

Senator McCain, of Arizona, argued that the debate "is not about who they are. It's about who we are." Americans, said Mr. McCain, "hold ourselves" to a higher standard.

At least, we used to. Honestly, you gotta love McCain when you see stuff like this, not only for forgetting to be a Bush apologist, but also for giving Jeff "I got 59% of the vote" Sessions the smackdown he so richly deserves. Remember, Senator Jeff is or has been a practicing attorney, a US Attorney, Alabama Attorney General, and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Judging from his bio, what he has NOT been a member of, is the US military. Still, he should know better.

Well, Jeff, you've certainly got my vote -- for Legal Lamebrain of the Week.

Clarification: Please understand, I'm not criticizing Sen. Sessions for not having served in the military. I'm not certain that he did not, although surely his senate web bio would mention it if he did. Many fine individuals, myself included, have not. What I'm saying is, when three senators with distinguished service records think this issue is important enough to take on the White House directly, because they say it's important for our men and women in uniform, that's a good time for those of us who haven't worn the uniform to listen closely and think twice before opening our mouth and demonstrating a general state of cluelessness to the entire world.