Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Book of Matthew - the short version.

Most people desire to know more about what lies beyond our perception than they will ever understand. Many people claim to know more than they really do. Too many people believe them without reason or question. And when those imaginative tails come in to conflict, far too many people are willing to fight and die over them.

Friday, September 26, 2008

No Guff Chet

My aunt forwarded one of those inane "funny" emails deriding the Democratic party today. I don't read political blogs so I avoid writing them. It is muttering against the dark and I find my energy better placed in dozens of other tasks. I'm not a member of either party but I couldn't help but rant a bit. This was one of many asinine items in the email.

I am 42 years old,
I love the outdoors,
I hunt,
I am a Republican reformer,
I have taken on the Republican Party establishment,
I have five children,
I have a spot on the national ticket as vice president with less than two years in the governor's office.
Did you guess?
I am Teddy Roosevelt in 1900

My response to her and some of my "republican" family members:

If you're going to send this over-generalized, half-truth nuttery, don't expect us all to laugh. I don't have the time to sit down and pick apart all of the silly fallacies in this email and I doubt you would care to read even if I did but I can't let one item slide. Drawing a parallel between Gov Palin and T. Roosevelt is insanity. The debate about Palin's experience and ability to lead her way out of a box is a non-starter. I won't even go there. Teddy was a progressive reformer who, after McKinley was assassinated, protected the environment, pushed for universal healthcare and dissolved corrupt monopolies. Mostly though, you must concede that the Republican parties of 1900 and today have almost nothing in common. Back then, the party was actually fiscally conservative, reduced federal and executive power in favor of state power and observed a hard line between church and state. The neo-Republican party in office right now cares for none of those ideals and is unable to see the hypocrisy that they are socially conservative but governmental liberals. The opposite of what they were back then. I'd like to think McCain might hold some of those old ideals but I know Palin does not and as long as the party plans on pissing away my tax dollars on a futile war, expanding executive power and reducing civil liberties, they are far more harmful than any socialist agenda. Palin's extemporaneous interviews make her appear even less aware and intelligent than our current commander in chief. The thought that she could be president scares the bejeebus out of me to the point I might actually vote within the two parties for a lesser-of-two-evils Democrat or move to Europe.
End rant...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Clarifying "Theory" -- Evolution

To the the intellectual bankrupt among us who downplay evolution as a "just a theory" in favor of some intelligent design. Never mind the flaws in the intelligent design rational (e.g. The laptop is so fantastic and complex that it must have had an intelligent creator, Man -- Man is so fantastic and complex it must have had an intelligent creator, a god -- God is so fantastic and complex, he must have had a creator...). I'm simply sick of the mindless, broken record, pejorative misuse of the word "Theory". The following are both FACT and THEORY:




These are facts, we know that they happen, there is abundant evidence of them and no real evidence against them. Facts indeed by any definition of the word.

They are also theories. We KNOW that they happen. We don't know exactly all the details of how. This is the theory part.

Evolution is really a scientific consensus. Not every scientist agrees with the theory, but the vast majority do. That is, by definition, what the word "consensus" means: majority of opinion.

The assertion that a number of scientists have been "blackballed" from the scientific community is a rehash of the argument most recently put forth in the pseudo-documentary "Expelled," starring Ben Stein. This documentary, incidentally, has been refuted at length in all of its claims by Scientific American (a widely regarded publication) and several journals, including Science.

But you really demonstrate your ignorance of science when you say "So, until honestly proven, it remains theory, despite what the NAS chooses to call it." Here's a news flash: In science, you can never "prove" a theory. And the theory of evolution has just as much evidence to support it as the theory of universal gravitation. Yes, gravity and evolution are in the same realm when it comes to the amount and quality of supporting evidence. With theories, you can devise experiments based on predictions that theories make. These experiments are devised to falsify the theory. If the falsification does not occur, the theory survives. If the theory is falsified (disproven), it is thrown out or revised to account for new facts.

That's the scientific method, and your ignorance proves you do not understand science. Please, stop using the word theory as a pejorative. Calling something "just a theory" is simply asinine. If gravity is "just a theory," would you jump off a 20-story building because you might not fall to your death? If evolution is "just a theory," then would you withdraw funding from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) because they research disease pathogens and rely on evolutionary models to predict how some organisms become more virulent over time?

And please, stop spreading this claptrap that scientists only support evolution because they fear losing their jobs. That's conspiracy theory nuttery, and most "cases" cited by anti-evolution propaganda (such as "Expelled") don't stand up to independent scrutiny. Scientific American debunked those claims too.

Respect our democratically ratified constitution and do not put 'intelligent design' in to scientific ciriculum. Contrary to some opinion, real, honest science and religion can not go hand in hand. Science is a pursuit of knowledge based on hypothesizing the unknown and working to disprove the hypothesis. Any assertion taken on faith is conceding that it can't be taken on its own merits and outrages reason. But I digress. Stop regurgitating this nonsense of dismissing rational thought labeled with the word 'Theory'.

Thank you,