Inherit the (Dust in the ) Wind?

So the ACLU (that would be, the Anti-Christian Liberals Union) are representing a handful of parents upset because a Pennsylvania high school is actually allowing people to think by including the mention of “intelligent design” as part of the science curriculum.

Ironic, isn’t it? The ACLU claims (at least according to their name) to defend our civil rights, free speech being one of the big ones. Here, however, they are essentially arguing for censorship. Acknowledging “intelligent design” as a theory could apparently be damaging to young minds, and teenage students need to be protected from any notion that there may indeed be a God, or at least some kind of other-worldly intelligence. Children apparently have the Constitutional right to learn about alternative lifestyles, birth control and the right to an abortion. However, they need to be protected from the concept of “intelligent design.”

At first my assumption was that these parents and the ACLU are afraid of religion, because they are raising the mythological “Constitutional separation of church and state.” However, I don’t think it’s necessarily religion that they are afraid of; I think the key word here is intelligent. They are simply afraid that these High School students may learn to think on their own, and so the ACLU needs to protect their Constitutional right to ignorance. (What amendment was that?)

I could possibly agree, if the issue was teaching Creationism only; that would be just as improper as teaching solely Darwinism. The truth, as they say, will out; that is, if you give opposing viewpoints a chance. By avoiding confrontation, and presenting only one side of an issue, the truth doesn’t get a chance. That’s censorship.

Of course, what these people really may be afraid of is the radical right, and there they may actually have a point. The radical righters, who would also impose censorship if they had a chance, are often not the best people to represent intelligence.

What really cracked me up was a CNN story (which they attribute to Rueters), which stated, “They also argue that intelligent design is unscientific and has no place in a science curriculum.” So, now the courts are going to decided what is scientific? I’ve dealt with the courts enough to know they have a hard enough time trying to decide what the law is, much less what is “scientific.” (Is there a jury instruction for that?)

I am afraid that no matter which way the court rules on this case, truth will lose, because the real problem has nothing to do with the issues being debated. The real problem is one of categories. It seems that both sides, in true modern, rationalistic fashion, have taken for granted that science is something that must be kept separate from philosophy, so they are debating in which category ID should fall. It’s ridiculous. Science has always had a philosophical component, whether scientists care to admit it or not.

How you approach any study depends on your worldview, as does how data is interpreted. The fact that someone becomes a scientist is a result of their worldview. The fact that someone’s worldview doesn’t include a belief in God does not mean their approach to science is not tied to a philosophy. Again, the whole thing is ridiculous. However, a modernistic worldview (again, a philosophy) believes – wrongly – that you can isolate “science” from anything else.

In perhaps two or three generations, I expect that the impact of post-modernism and advances in scientific discovery will change how everyone views science. And, maybe by then someone will have figured out that freedom from religion is really not in the Bill of Rights, and that all of this arguing has just been a waste of time. Or, maybe not. But, by then we’ll probably all be dust in the wind, scientifically speaking.

Equal Opportunity or Equal Results?

America is known as the land of opportunity. We have even tried hard to make America a land of equal opportunity. However, to some extent that is impossible. As someone once said, “it takes money to make money.” T hose who come from a more privileged background have a better chance of success. However, we have a number of programs to assist those not so fortunate, no matter what race they are. There are some racial issues still in America, and where they exist, they should be dealt with. However, there are a whole lot of poor white folk, too, and I think to deal with the issue of poverty we need to stop being racist about it.

What does “equal opportunity” actually mean? Is it a guarantee of results? While the answer has to be “absolutely not,” many of the well-known crusaders (you all know who they are) have created an expectation of equal results, and the result is an addiction to government handouts and a guarantee that the poor will remain poor. (Of course, if the problem of poverty was ever really solved, these crusaders would have no one to crusade for.)

You can’t guarantee equal results – you shouldn’t even try. There are too many factors, including the individual’s aptitude, and especially attitude, to guarantee anyone anything. America was not founded on the principle of equal results. In fact, I doubt that the founding fathers even thought of guaranteeing equal opportunity – again, some came over rich, some came over poor. There wasn’t a program for “handicapping” immigrants (that is, giving them an equal footing – even homesteading took much work and commitment), or giving handouts to anyone – at least until the welfare programs started.

Speaking of welfare programs, I recently found an interesting quote from FDR (that’s Franklin D. Roosevelt, the President who introduced Social Security):

The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. It is inimical to the dictates of sound policy. It is in violation of the traditions of America. Work must be found for able-bodied but destitute workers. The federal government must and shall quit this business of relief.” (emphasis mine)

I was raised a relatively poor “dirt farmer” in the mid-west, where we constantly faced the potential of loss due to extreme weather and floods and low grain prices. Pain and suffering were not damages to be sought in lawsuits, they were a way of life. My dad taught me from an early age that government hand-outs were not the solution; government subsidies and hand-outs could never be the long term solution to anything, and he resisted these attempts at the government “buying off” the farmers. To guarantee results only promotes laziness and a sick dependence on the government, and resulting tax increases to pay for it.

I fully support charity and assistance to the poor and down-trodden, and the Biblical charge to take care of widows and orphans, but that is one thing – a guarantee of equality is another. The concept simply defies good sense. Socialism, in any form, fails. It is a fundamentally flawed concept to guarantee equality; as Orwell put it, “… some are more equal than others.” It’s just a fact of life.

William Hung will never be an American Idol, or a great singer. However, he managed to make himself famous and is reportedly doing a great job at simply being an entertainer. He did not have an equal opportunity, and to guarantee equal results is ridiculous. However, by his own perseverance and determination, he’s doing ok. Who would have thought there was opportunity for an entertainer with no talent whatsoever? That’s called creating your own opportunity. It can be done.

The fact that some “people of disadvantage,” whether that be financial, race, family background, or talent succeed, dispels the belief that there is no opportunity. It can be done. There is potential. However, I think that the notion must be dispelled that we are somehow entitled to a car in every garage or a big-screen TV in every living room. (If we are entitled, I want one; and a living room big enough for one.) The reality is, there is no such thing as true equality, we are entitled to nothing, and life and opportunity are gifts for which we should be thankful. I’m sorry, but that’s life. There is nothing that any government can do to change that. The quicker we learn the true meaning of opportunity, the better off we will be.

News, Polls & Stupidity

Okay, I should just stop reading the news – it just makes me mad. The main thing that infuriates me is stupidity … sometime I should go into therapy to find out why I can’t just let stupidity go, like much of the world does. I guess the problem is that I realize that the U.S. has a more or less democratic form of government (less, if you consider the Supreme Court, but that’s an issue for another time). So, people under the influence of stupidity get the same vote that I do. Therefore, stupidity affects me.

In reality, our votes mainly count in electing the people who will make the decisions for us; after that’s done, we’ve pretty much lost control, except to take part in a poll. Everyone knows that polls are really what decides things. Politicians, for the most part, have two key things they look at when voting for something: what’s in it for them, and what will help them get elected again. Granted, some actually vote on principle, but I think if that happened alot, we’d start calling it “principlics” instead of “politics.” (ever notice that the first three letters of “politician” and “poll” are the same? That should tell you something.)

Public opinion, supposedly represented by polls, is what might really run this country. Unless, you believe all of that trilateral comission & illuminati stuff; in that event, public opinion is just a clever smokescreen, the media is duped, and public stupidity is still the problem.

ok, get to the point…

Oh, yes, the news. Will Rogers once said, “All I know is just what I read in the papers, and that’s an alibi for my ignorance. ” He was talking about public stupidity, and the news is at the heart of it. The news creates its own reality, because people want to believe what they read. That’s the only excuse for all those rags at the grocery checkout stands. People figure that if it’s in print or on the air it has to be true, other wise they wouldn’t put it there. So, the media creates the opinions they want people to have, and then they take polls to see how it’s working.

That’s the only real significance of polls – to see how well the media is doing its job. And, if they aren’t doing so well, they just take the numbers and write new stories making illogical claims about what the numbers mean, and try it again. It’s a really cool system, if you’re the media. If you start to believe what you read, then you become under the influence of stupidity, and the media wins.

What prompted this rant was some article about the President’s popularity slipping in a recent Newsweek poll. What do you expect? Newsweek and the rest of the left leaning media spend a lot of time telling us the President isn’t doing his job. Most people don’t even know what the President’s job is, much less how he’s doing in it. I doubt that the pollsters even ask the people if they actually know anything. As a result, the only thing that the poll tells you is that people are believing the media’s skew.

A Plot to Change America

You know what would be really fun? If everyone started lying to the pollsters — it would throw the whole media system off. The politicians wouldn’t know what to believe, so maybe they’d have to rely on their principles a bit more. The media wouldn’t know what to say, so they’d be tempted to actually report the facts. Then, we’d all have to learn to think.

Wow… that sounds a bit anarchist, doesn’t it?

Talk Radio

I became somewhat of a talk radio junkie a couple of years ago. It started when I wanted to listen to something somewhat intelligent as I ate my lunch (I tend to eat lunch in my car). I was listening to NPR, but the extreme liberal slant – especially obvious during the beginnings of the Iraq thing – drove me nuts.

I listened to Christian talk radio for a short bit, but the extreme wacky right slant (I’m sorry, it’s not just extreme right, but there’s a definite “wacky” edge to a lot of it) drove me nuts, too. It’s terrible to feel weird being a Christian, because of Christians….

After a while I discovered Sean Hannity, who happened to be on when I was usually out for lunch. I appreciated hearing news that you can’t find on the mainstream media (again, there is a definite left bias, often in just choosing what stories to talk about). Hannity has some interesting guests on, and tries to let both liberals and conservatives express their opinions.

However – talk radio is inherently flawed. Talk radio host have absolutely no reason to resolve any issues. There is no incentive to bring together people in discussions that may actually produce any sort of reasonable solution to issues, or to serve as a mediator between contrasting opinions.

They make their money out of controversy. It is in the best interest of radio to create conflict. Without conflict, the show is downright boring. Who wants to listen to people agree with each other? What is entertaining about reasonable people talking about reasonable things? Certainly Hannity and the others are not shock-jocks, but the point is the same: if there is nothing provocative, they lose their audience.

It scares me, sometimes, when people call up these radio hosts and blabber on about how great they are, and what a great service they are doing to the country. Certainly, there is value in bringing issues and hidden news stories to light (such as the current “Able Danger” issue – try to find a story on that anywhere else…). However, don’t these people realize that the shows are to some extent manipulating thought and causing division?

Certainly a synthesis of ideas is not always the answer- that’s flawed, too. However, Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers.” He also said he came to bring a sword – not all issues can be resolved.

I hope that people who listen to talk radio are thinking critically, and are picking out what is good, from what is just inflammatory rhetoric. But, considering the majority of the people calling in, I tend to doubt it.