Saturday, May 07, 2005

Long-term impacts of evolution debate

By not letting creationism be debated in comparative religion classes, where it really belongs, we are furthering the decline of science in this nation. What does that mean?

It means that other nations are passing us in math and science. School vouchers or school choice or fixing our public schools does not in any way change the fact we have made science less important in the curriculum. While we sit here and debate school prayer, creationism, Hollywood, "filibusters against faith," No Child Left Behind, we've let some of the most important subjects in our school system go.

Math and science are the guiding forces behind innovation. We invented so many of the great technologies of the past two centuries in this nation, but now those R&D jobs are going to India, to China, to nations who are putting emphasis on these important subjects. And those jobs are going along with other jobs because along the way to trying to "regain religion in our schools," we de-emphasized what makes us strong as a nation.

Let me ask you a question. What good will it do any of us if we have all the religion in the world in our schools if our nation is poor and indebted to others? Religion is important to private, in my house of worship. Religion is important to many of us....but it should not be a political tool. Religion has a place to play in any believer's life, but it shouldn't stop us from teaching the sciences, from teaching math, from teaching literature of all sorts. Religious conservatives wish to stop teaching evolution, wish to ban any literature that was written by a homoxsexual or mentions one, and wish to bring "faith" back to public schools.

Let me be perfectly clear: This drive to make creationism a science is lethal. It is injecting a religious issue into a field that needs to be agnostic. When we let religion be a filter for the things we see, the things we hear, the things we test ruthlessly, we have lost. Galileo was decried by the religious conservatives of his time, but he was right. Copernicus was criticized, yet he was right. Darwin was ruthlessly attacked, but he was right. The reason there is such a rush to bring creationism into a science curriculum is, I think, because the thought that a higher power doesn't guide all our actions scares many people. They must have that idea, because it makes them feel secure. It's the idea that leads Pat Robertson to declare that federal judges are a greater risk to the American people than Al-Qaida. It's the idea that takes extreme judges, who rule far outside of the law and interject their personal politics into their decisions, to become martyrs to a "filibuster of faith."

I'll tell you what it is. It's garbage. I believe in God, Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit. I believe, as I stated in a previous post, that God was the force that began it all, but I do not believe that man walked with dinosaurs, or that our Earth is only 7,000 years old. There is definitive proof that this earth is far older than that, and that evolution has taken place in many species. I mean, look at the striking similarity between President Bush and many monkeys (kidding, I'm kidding!) Genesis, in fact, doesn't even mention dinosaurs. I think that people were told these stories for generations, and eventually wrote them all down. It probably wasn't until the time of Joseph, as far as I know, that there began to be comtemporary documentation.

Ultimately, when we degrade science, when we degrade technical skills, when we waste more time fighting to bring religion into schools than we do in improving our technical skills and improving our education, we decline. Remember, the Romans started going downhill after Constantine's conversion to Christianity. This is not in any way to demean religion or its role in our lives, rather, it is to make the point that we're spending too much time in all the wrong places, and instead of fighting to reduce evolution to one of several beliefs, these conservatives should be spending their time making sure our children are the best educated, best trained, most well-prepared to deal with reality. The world doesn't conform to our shape. We have to find our place in the world, and I can tell you that the Indians aren't having this debate, and they are taking our jobs.

By the way, they're pretty faithful over there.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Cheerleading causes STD's and pregnancy...and this is a Democrat talking??

Yes, Texas has decided to try and pass a law that bans sexy cheerleading. It's a Democrat trying to push it through, leading me to believe that this man has abandoned all principle to keep his seat in born-again Texas. I mean, why else would a politician come up with such a ridiculous statement with absolutely no sociological basis.....oh, wait, these people love Bush and DeLay, nevermind.

Really, though, I've known many a cheerleader, and none of them ever got pregnant, and to my knowledge, never contracted an STD. I don't see how dancing in sexy outfits means they are going to engage in sexual activity, and I'm amazed someone is that dumb. All 65 of them, to be exact, the amount of legislators who voted to pass this bill. I'd call them retarded, but that'd be an insult to my brother, who is mentally retarded.

Once again, this is proof that those who run our governments don't give a shit about anything significant, and instead just want to ru(i)n our lives in perpetuity.

Evolution is a some, anyways

Ah, time to ask once again, "What's the matter with Kansas?"

It's kind of funny, considering usually we're asking this question about Florida, but I digress. In what is either a giant remake of Inherit the Wind or a giant joke, Kansas is holding six days of hearings on whether evolution should remain the only basis for the teaching of biology, or whether creationism should join it. If the latter were to happen, evolution would be called a "theory," which is funny, considering hypothesis is what they really mean, but apparently evangelicals on that school board don't know how to read, either.

Evolution is not incompatible with belief in God. I personally happen to believe that God is the reason the Big Bang happened. God set evolution in motion. He created the matter that eventually formed stars and planets, then let events take their course. Since then, he's intervened a few times (and I kinda wish he'd intervene by destroying the Westboro Baptist Church and its hateful congregants, but I suppose he has a nice spot in hell for them), but mainly sat back and let life on Earth evolve.

There are people who'll say that I'm not being consistent or realistic, but my answer would be, "Why not?" I mean, no one has any real justification or way to prove that the "seven days" in Genesis was seven days as we know it today. It could've been seven million days for all we know. In terms of realism, well, a skeptic would reply, "Is it realistic to believe that all life as we know it was created by someone we cannot see or hear in seven days?"

My point here is that evolution can be and is fully compatible with a belief in God. Kansas, and any others trying to ban evolution, would do well to act like it.

Real support for the troops

I was driving yesterday, and I saw a sticker that said "Support our troops. Don't question where they fight, don't question our leaders that send them to fight," (I'm paraphrasing, because I don't remember the exact wording). I'm sure that if Clinton had sent the troops to Iraq, the sticker would've read something like, "Support our troops, tell Clinton to bring them home," or something more vulgar, perhaps.

What is it with people like this? Supporting our troops does not ever, ever mean blind faith. Supporting our troops means praying for them, not treating them like many did after Vietnam (my uncle fought there), doing anything we can to help them. However, supporting the troops does not mean we fall in line behind George W. Bush or any other president who sends our troops into harm's way.

Any president who sends troops into battle should be watched, should be scrutinized, should be questioned on what he is doing and why, because there are times where a president isn't doing the right thing for our troops. LBJ, Richard Nixon, and George W. Bush all fit in that category. LBJ and Nixon perpetuated a war that was unnecessary, and today Bush is conducting a war in all the wrong ways.

Supporting our troops means not cutting their benefits. Supporting our troops means not leaving them vulnerable in the new handout to credit card companies known as the Bankruptcy Bill of 2005. Supporting our troops means they have enough firepower to defend themselves well. Supporting our troops means they have the right weapons, the right armor, enough troops, enough armor, a leadership that understands the nature of the mission, and the proper training.

You know why recruitment is down for the Army, why they are cutting corners to bring people in? It's because this war has become an albatross. It was the right thing to do. It has been done in all the wrong ways. If we sent in the troops we needed in the numbers we needed, if we thought everything through and realized that this wouldn't be a cakewalk (and how did we all buy that it would be a cakewalk?), if we had help from Arab nations, if we had just listened to others before doing this, maybe we wouldn't be in the mess we're in.

Maybe those corners wouldn't need to be cut because recruits wouldn't be seeing soldiers dying in the numbers they are. Maybe these corners wouldn't need to be cut because Abu Ghraib wouldn't have turned many people against this war. Maybe those corners wouldn't need to be cut because more people would be willing to join the cause, because it would seem a much nobler cause than what it has become in many respects.

Finally, maybe corners wouldn't need to be cut because the nation would believe this wasn't a futile effort, which, sadly, it seems to be becoming.

Monday, May 02, 2005

And I'm back, back again

I'm graduated!!! Yay!!! My fianceƩ is gone!!! BOOOO!!!!! (Not missing, she just flew back home until I move out with her next month.)

I've been getting caught up all evening, and I'm still not sure where to start, so this will probably have to wait until tomorrow. Things seem to be in a stall right now politically, and I'm both hopeful for progressive change in 2006 and scared that the nation will forget what idiots the leaders of the Republican Party have been and re-elect them to offices they don't deserve.