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August 03, 2005


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Control seems to be a dominant characteristic of human nature. "What I believe is what is right." Like other survival features of the make-up of humans, when carried too far it leads to destruction. Science is search for truth by physical means. Faith is a hope for ultimate meaning when the limits of our capabilities have been reached. Faith may have its place but should not be confused with scientific fact.

Even the suggestion that we allow children to learn that there *is* controversy about a *theory* is unacceptable for many clinging to a paradigm. As relevant truth is simply abandoned by those in the secular universities and then by their followers in the elementary and high schools, we see hints of a brave new world around us and before us (know all that there is one Science and one Theory and no one shall dare to utter anything differently).

Still. Still. Still many cling tightly to their beliefs and insist that their science is not influenced by their beliefs for their beliefs are not beliefs but fact. Secular fundamentalists exhibit an intolerance for diversity of thought and theory and promote their propaganda talking points reducing faith to church - thus allowing *their* faith-based world view to be integrated in the public marketplace of ideas and policy while banning the faith-based world views of
others as "church" and - thus - to be separated.

Ironically, it is *they* who exhibit the intellectual intolerance exhibited earlier by those rejecting the theories of Galileo.

Ah, yes, the intolerance of insisting that FACTS and EVIDENCE are the supreme arbiters of what is real, and insisting that anything taught in SCIENCE class be vetted for its consistency with the same.

You must really have trouble with those intolerant weather predictors and astronomers, eh Blue Goldfish? Their insistence that the weather is ruled by the laws of fluid mechanics and the motions of the planets by the laws of physics, and not an iota of room for "intelligent anything" in their theories. I bet you toss and turn at night over that.

(Yes, I am anti-idiotarian.)

Actually, Engineer-Poet, I sleep at night well and have no trouble at all with facts or with evidence. In fact, I embrace and celebrate them. And, I would recommend to you Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions ( As you read it, you will realize the importance of our paradigms as we interpret so-called facts and evidence. For we all believe we are armed with facts and evidence, do we not? And is not history full of those who thought they had most of the scientific answers, EP? Has not each generation thought that is has known almost all to be learned. Science! And is it not so that we see what we want to see and ignore the rest?

I believe we live within a world and a universe comprised of norms and laws governing all modalities - all aspects - of reality. And I believe these laws and norms - those for each aspect of reality - the modalities of the numerical, the spatial, the kinetic, the physical, the psychic/emotional, the social, the symbolic, the historical, the juridical, the aesthetic, the ethical and ... yes ... the modality of faith (including your faith in Science!, Engineer-Poet), were created by an intelligent designer.

Check out the book by Thomas Kuhn sometime, Engineer-Poet. Then get back to me. We’ll talk.

(For it’s funny, I am anti-idiot Arian as well.)

"I sleep at night well and have no trouble at all with facts or with evidence. In fact, I embrace and celebrate them."

You celebrate them?  Then why on earth would you refer to a political campaign which implicitly denies established fact and any role for reason and investigation with words like these:

"Even the suggestion that we allow children to learn that there *is* controversy about a *theory* is unacceptable for many clinging to a paradigm."

If someone suggested that we "allow" children attending public school to learn that Christian Scientists believe that disease is caused by lack of faith and there are no such things as infectious bacteria, would you say that this is acceptable?  Would you say that their disagreement means that a "controversy" exists?

"And I believe these laws and norms ... were created by an intelligent designer."

First, remove the log from your own eye.  Once you have decided that everything is the work of an unspecified designer, you have no further questions to ask, indeed no further questions that you CAN ask... and you are not doing anything that relates to science.

"Check out the book by Thomas Kuhn sometime, Engineer-Poet. Then get back to me. We’ll talk."

I read it before many of today's bloggers had learned their alphabet.  Go ahead and try to lecture me, though; I can use a good laugh.

You should check out this Paul Krugman piece:

(Lack of proper HTML links, blockquotes and other formatting in this and previous comment due to someone stripping all HTML out of posts.  How rude.)

I posted this in a comment thread far, far, away, related to the persecution of the Dutch apostate Muslim, Ms Ali. But it's relevant here, too:

One way to understand the thrust and effect of various religions is to take them as attempts by cultures to enshrine their practices and attitudes as eternal, and to provide for their ongoing imposition and preservation, in saecula seculorum. Judaism around 800 BC, Catholicism around 400 AD, Islam about 650 AD, Hinduism around 6000 BC, Buddhism around 1,000,000,000,000 BC/AD. Et cetera.

The Reformation and Enlightenment set Protestant Christianity's clock to around 1700 AD, a major "improvement", but resists much change after that.

But no era has the "right" to lock in all succeeding generations into its world view, even though this is perhaps the fundamental wish of every culture at any moment of time. In any case, one can certainly pick and choose between eras that one currently wants to emulate, if any. Ali, e.g., prefers the Enlightenment period over medieval Bedou Desert Arabism--not necessarily as an absolute, just as a huge improvement. But at heart the problem is the "lock-down" impulse.

Cultural relativism claims to be free of all that, but misses the mark totally. The point is not that all world views and cultures are equal and equally deluded; it is that they are powerful, and use many tools including religion to perpetuate themselves. Choose carefully and don't give a blank cheque against your moral and mental bank account to any of them.


Evangelical Christianity is a kind of retrofit to about 300 AD, Protestantism minus the Enlightenment. Go figure.

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