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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Education & Intelligent Design

Posted: 08/16/05 11:36, Edited: 08/17/05 09:26

By Paul Bartlett

So G.W. Bush thinks that "Intelligent Design" should be taught in science classes along side evolution, with equal footing. Why am I not surprised?

Perhaps Bush should just rework our entire educational curriculum. Let's see, how about these subject tweakers: geography texts must include the plausible theory that the earth is, in fact, flat; all chemistry classes must devote some time to the advancement of alchemy; astrology must be given equal status with the teaching of astronomy; no math class could be complete without including a good dose of numerology; and, most importantly, our science teachers must plant the notion in all impressionable young minds that the sun does indeed revolve around the earth.

Bush should keep his nose out of our science curriculum and do what he does best, things like: starting unprovoked wars, driving up the deficit, slashing the taxes of the most privileged, overseeing our continued environmental degradation, offending and alienating every historical foreign friend, giving major corporations free access to empty our national treasury, targeting gays and lesbians as our next state sanctioned group to be collectively harassed, and on and on. Hasn't he done enough damage to our public schools with his
wrong-headed "No Child Left Behind" debacle?

The next time you hear a news report that rightfully condemns the
Islamic madrasas, keep in mind that that is precisely the path that
Bush would have us take. Teaching "Intelligent Design" would be just the first step toward the "Christianizing" of the entire curriculum. While he lectures the Islamic world about the importance of modernity, Bush has us headed back to the Middle Ages.

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Could It Be Real Sorrow???

Posted: 08/14/05 21:41

by Dave Mindeman

This is going to be a strange post for me. For a long time, one thing has seriously bothered me about Bush and his handling of this war. His recent "no show" with Cindy Sheehan only reinforced that irritation. It has to do with what I perceived as a complete disconnect with the grief and destruction he has caused with this foolish war. I wanted to see some sorrow...some visible anguish. Somthing that indicates feelings for these families that endure so much. I wanted him to feel something.

Well, it was with enormous interest that I read the Newsweek article about that very subject. The President's "I'm sorry" is important in the midst of this foreign policy nightmare. And I understand that he is never going to apologize for his overall actions. But these families need to hear some measure of regret for what they endure...they deserve at least that.

The cynic in me still has lingering doubts that this is, indeed, just another staged political stunt. Because after all, if he can meet with these other families, why can't he meet with Cindy Sheehan? Still, I can't imagine that any President faced with the emotions of grieving families can hold back his own emotions. And in a very real sense, it must give him pause about the reality of what he is doing. So, I am going to choose to believe that he has emotions that cause him some pain... and believe it or not that gives me some measure of comfort. Anyone who feels the pain of such loss will hopefully at least think about the next action with some trepidation. I want to believe that... I have to believe that....
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God In A Box

Category: Society
Posted: 08/12/05 11:01

by Glenn Marshall

I just don't get the whole creationism thing, including the new and improved version, "intelligent design".

This isn't about science-versus-religion. My puzzlement goes a lot deeper than that. It goes right to the core of precisely what we mean by "God".

There are a few nearly universal divine attributes that the faithful accept. God is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (everywhere). God is transcendent - thoroughly and completely above human experience, only making contact with us mortals when He chooses to. God is inscrutable, not bound by the limits of human understanding and reason. God is the prime mover, having created all that is. I'm pretty sure that most theologians agree with these characterizations.

Here's the weird part.

The more we see of our universe through exploration and science, the more we find that we can't yet explain. We look deep into space, using the gravitational bending of light by distant clusters of galaxies as giant, cosmic magnifying lenses to see farther away in space, and so farther back in time than ever before. We keep noticing peculiarities in the motion and behavior of different bodies in space, and scientists create placeholder constants to compensate for effects that we don't yet understand, hoping that some day we'll be able to replace those constants with something that explains a little more to us. Scientists are suckers for asking questions that simply result in more questions.

Why? To amount to anything as a scientist, you have to have a well-developed sense of awe and wonder. Respect for creation.

What baffles me is that those who profess to have the greatest faith in God and reverence for His creation insist on constraining his abilities. They draw a little, tiny human-centric box that is anything but transcendent, and attack anyone who suggests God doesn't live in that little box.

What is more awe-inspiring:

The bearded giant in the clouds, snapping his fingers and magicking the world in a nice little chronological sequence of six days?

Or the inscrutable, transcendent force, utterly independent of space and time, creating all that exists in a single instant with unimaginable energy, yet with such delicacy that several billion years later in one immeasurably tiny section of the universe, we tiny, delicate mortals are made?

It is obscenely egotistical for a human being to believe that God must exist according to the rules of man, especially when they attack their fellow humans who paint really only a slightly different picture of the Bearded Cloud Giant than their own.

That difference is truly slight, when viewed with an honest acceptance of exactly what transcendence means. Independent of space. Independent of time. Independent of our notions of paradox. Even the most basic of constraints that bind the universe as we know it, the sequential measurement of time, one event following another, simply does not exist as a limit for such a being. Our method of comprehension on this is so puny that we cannot even describe it. Think about it: how can the phrase "before time began" even make sense?

I speak to every one of you who denies that reason and logic and mathematics are merely tools for better appreciating the wonders of creation: show a little respect for your Creator. Curb your pompous arrogance that insists that he lives only in the little box of your making. You're embarrassing the rest of us.
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