This time it seems as if it’s actually the creationists who have the slight patina of rationality. All they want is for the evolutionists to admit that evolution is a theory, and not an established cold hard fact.
Of course that puts the evolutionists on the edge, much like the global warmingists get on the edge whenever a “denier” surfaces.
Did I mention it snowed here? Anyway, moving on.
My parents adhere to the strict creationist theory, they being ordained ministers of the fundamentalist Christian faith. Their view is that things happened exactly the way it’s laid out in Genesis, and if you don’t believe that you are a Godless heathen.
I love my parents, I don’t think I could have gotten a better set if I had had a year to pick them out. It doesn’t alter the fact that I think they are wrong. And I say that with all the respect that a Godless heathen can muster.
I’m reminded of the verse in Job, where God says “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the Earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.”
To me that’s a commandment from on high, saying “You weren’t there, you don’t know, so STFU about it already.”
I have an idea that once we are at that place where we have those answers, they won’t really matter all that much anymore.
But getting back to the subject on hand, I don’t have a problem reconciling religion with science. One must actually credit religion with advancing the cause of science if one is to be completely honest with oneself. The best colleges and universities have historically been sponsored by the Church, and in fact many of the first scientists were monks.
Then politics got involved, and things went completely to Hell from there, if you will pardon the expression. The Church found itself at the beginning of a rise to power, and political considerations soon overrode religious ones. After that the Church began setting itself up as the absolute moral authority on the face of the Earth.
Of course any true scientist will tell you that part of science is formulating theory and then proving it right or wrong. The problem is that when you set yourself up as the absolute moral authority, you have to be right all the time. If you aren’t, people will begin to doubt.
And as any theologian will tell you, doubt is bad for the faith.
Not long afterwards the Church started persecuting scientists who disagreed with their theories and teachings. The Church taught that the Sun revolved around the Earth, and when Science proved them wrong Science was vilified. The Church taught that the Earth was the center of the universe, and once again when Science proved them wrong, Science was vilified.
It didn’t take long for Science to develop an attitudinal problem with the Church, as could be expected.
This adversarial relationship exists to this day. The sad thing about it is that there can be no separation between religion and science, because one Supreme Being created them both. This schism is political, and therefore man-made.
I don’t know how God created the Heavens and the Earth, I wasn’t standing beside Him that day to see how He did it. It could have very well been that He said “Let it be so” and it was.
On the other hand, He could have said “Hey, hold my beer and watch this!”
It could be that the Heavens and the Earth were all created in six magnificent days, or it could be that it took eons. Who among us has the audacity to take a stopwatch to the Almighty, after all?
(If that’s you, kindly stand well away from me. Thanks.)
For all we know we are a science experiment gone horribly wrong and God only keeps us around to serve as an object lesson to the rest of the Cosmos (“Watch yourself there buddy or you’re gonna end up like that Earth place!”), in which case Einstein was way off; not only does God play dice with the universe, but occasionally even He craps out.
The science of evolution is not set in stone, but neither has it been disproven. It could be that God uses evolution to refine the product, at least that is what I believe. And when it is written that God created life from the dust of the Earth, he could have been talking about how life evolved from the primeval ooze. We don’t know.
Keep in mind that the book of Genesis was written by someone (or some ones, the latest thing I read is that there may have been as many as five original authors and the final product is an amalgamation of their works) who couldn’t grasp the fact that thunder is caused by lightning. This is the greatest engineering mind that has ever existed, the very mind that created engineering itself, trying to explain the creation of the world to someone who doesn’t even have the understanding of an infant in comparison.
Even today, not only would we (still) not understand the answers, we don’t even have enough knowledge to ask sensible questions. All we can do is stand around like two year olds asking “Why? Why? Why?”
I’m a parent, I have no problems believing that God finally threw His hands up in exasperation and said “Because that’s the way I made it!”
So it was written, so it was done.
In this instance both sides need to admit that neither one of them was there. The evolutionists need to admit that yes, evolution is in fact just a theory, and the creationists need to acknowledge the fact that the Bible was written to the lowest common denominator, and even Einstein couldn’t wrap his head around quantum mechanics.
In short, both sides need to admit that yes, they can in fact be mistaken. It happens every day, to all sorts of people.
And then they need to STFU about it already.
Picture shamelessly stolen from somewhere off the internet.
Greg from 454 Monte tells a story about how not using certain skills causes them to degrade.
I was unpleasantly brought to the same conclusion recently myself.
I am taking a course on industrial electronics to be a better technician where I work as an equipment technician on semiconductor manufacturing equipment. When I got my list of the topics in the course I thought to myself "This will be easy!"
Over half of the topics are basically reviews of what I learned in my Navy tech courses many years ago. Of course, it's been almost 20 years since my last tech course, so I expected to be a bit rusty.
What I didn't expect was to have completely forgotten, except for a vague memory, entire swaths of the subject material.
I have been able to refresh myself on the subjects that I had forgotten, but it took a bit of study to do so. In the end it will be a good experience, but in the meantime it's a humbling one.
I have just gotten an email from my daughter who I haven't spoken to in many years. I am hopeful that this is a trend that will continue.
Her mother and I divorced when she was two, her mother got full custody since I was in the Navy and couldn't provide a full-time stable home, they moved away and we haven't lived in the same state since. In fact, we have usually been separated by 2000 miles or more.
I've lived long enough that I've gotten over the blame game. Suffice it to say that Navy life is not easy for a spouse, she was miserable in the Navy and found her own way out. I haven't been good at keeping the lines of communication open, so I kicked my own dog in that respect.
It's enough to know that she's healthy and happy, anything above and beyond that is a bonus.
"We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too, But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you; An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints, Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;"
To all who have served, to all who are currently serving, to all who will serve, this fat old retired squid thanks you from the bottom of his heart.
While I have thought about your proposal, I have been thinking of the last 8 years.
I have been thinking of the last 8 years of Bush Derangement Syndrome.
I have thought of all the times you questioned President Bush's intelligence, character and honor. I have thought of all the times you accused him of being nothing but a puppet, with Karl Rove or Dick Cheney controlling the strings.
Speaking of Dick Cheney, I have thought of all the times he did not escape your attention, either.
As I thought of you questioning President Bush's intelligence, character and honor I have thought of the way you likewise questioned Governor Palin's intelligence, character and honor.
I understand what a big threat she is to you. She can speak to us, heart to heart, the way Ronald Reagan could speak to us. She can inspire and motivate us, the way Ronald Reagan could. And she is capable of great things, the way he was. If God wills it, she will be a great President one day.
By the way, I am old enough to remember the way he was treated by your side as well. I remember a lot of things.
I remember the way we have been called chickenhawk, godbag and Christofacist. I remember how you have treated our troops in harm's way. I remember how you screamed at the tops of your lungs that President Bush (the same President Bush who's intelligence you questioned) managed to pull off the largest scam in history by having two very large remote controlled airplanes hit the World Trade Center towers, and how they were brought down by high explosives in a controlled demolition.
I remember every insane ranting and accusation. I remember every insult and invective. I remember every comparison you made to the Third Reich (never mind that Hitler was a Socialist). I remember every time you screamed about perceived insults to imagined rights, even as you ignored real insults to actual rights, like the Second Amendment.
Speaking of the Second Amendment, I remember how you say that the Constitution is a “living document” and can be changed (or in extreme cases, ignored altogether when it would be convenient for you to do so). I remember how you screamed (again with the screaming, it's all you have done for eight years over one thing or another) that an extremist Supreme Court invented new rights out of whole cloth when they ruled on Heller vs. DC, which is based on an actual freedom written into the fabric of the Constitution, but you staunchly defend abortion (which actually was invented out of whole cloth by an actual extremist Supreme Court) as an inviolate and sacred right.
I remember how the Fairness Doctrine is an actual, rather than perceived, violation of an actual, rather than imagined, right as laid out in the First Amendment. I see that there are Democrats in Congress and in the Senate who are panting even now to re-institute it, and I notice that you don't have much to say on the subject. Yet, once again you would take to the streets with your effigies and your burning flags to protest some imagined slight on your own First Amendment rights, while completely ignoring actual slights on the rights of others.
In fact, you have taken to the streets quite a bit with your effigies and burning flags over the last eight years, all the time chanting your slogans and claiming Bush = Hitler and Cheney = Himmler and AmeriKKKa = oppression and fascism. Somehow it escapes you completely that if these things were true you would have been arrested, if not outright executed on the spot.
I've noticed that you aren't very familiar with history at all.
I've heard you make fun of the racist hillbilly gun and Bible clinging sister swapping rednecks out here in Flyover Country. I've heard you call Condolezza Rice horrible names, and seen you draw offensive cartoons with her as the subject, all the time while claiming to champion the equal rights of black Americans. And while you are doing this, I have heard you claim that it is the "Rethuglicans" who are racists because they do not agree with your victimist mentality.
(Please note that I will not use hyphenated terms. Once upon a time another American President warned us of doing just that. Once again, not familiar with your history, you wish us to be doomed to repeat it.)
I've heard you mistake academic credentials for actual intelligence. I've heard you extol the virtues of academians who you admire for their degrees while ignoring their hatred towards this country. I've heard you call the rest of us unenlightened ignorant rubes because we have degrees from state “cow colleges” instead of Ivy League universities.
And I have heard you praise actual morons in the entertainment industry as enlightened intellectuals because they blindly parrot your ideals and practice professional McCarthyism on their conservative colleagues.
Finally, I have heard you scream "FOUL" over every slightest shadow of "us" doing to you what you have constantly and brazenly done to us, whether the insult actually occurred or not. Most of the time it did not, but the Republican leadership has had the spine of boiled spaghetti for the last 10 years or so and so they haven't called you on it.
Frankly, I've heard you say and do and scream quite a bit for the last eight years, and I'm sick of it. I'm sick of your elitist condescending attitude, I'm sick of your rank hypocrisy, and I'm sick of your imbecility masquerading as culture.
Now you have what you wanted. Congratulations. But it's not over.
Now you own it.
Every market hiccup will soon belong to you. And with the economic plans of the next President and Congress, it shouldn't take long before our economy is in actual, rather than imagined, trouble. Even now it is starting as those with accumulated wealth divests from the stock markets and places their assets somewhere safe, out of reach.
The next terrorist attack on our soil will likewise belong to you. And there will be one, mark my words. It's a mean old world out there, much meaner than Michelle Obama imagines this country to be, and it is filled with people who don't like us very much. And they are just waiting for their chance to tear a hunk out of us.
You think they don't like us because we are mean, or unenlightened, or that our current President has incited their hatred of us. You are wrong. President Carter had the Iranian Hostage Crisis, and President Clinton had the first WTC bombing as well as a long string of smaller attacks on our embassies and servicemembers. And never forget, the second WTC attacks, the one that finally brought them down, was years in the planning. Years that occurred during the Clinton Presidency. I don't think that anyone in his or her right mind can say that Carter or Clinton displayed any serious tendancy to confront terrorism.
They hated us before George W. Bush, and they will hate us after. The only reason they have not brought the fight back to us, in our homeland, is because this President, for all his faults (and there are many), understood that if we engage them over there we won't have to engage them over here. Our next President doesn't seem to understand that, and we will pay for it in our blood, running in our streets.
We on the Right won't be devolving into Obama Derangement Syndrome, but we will be pointing out every fatal flaw. And we will be back.
We will be busy in the meantime, trying to convince the Republican National Committee that running candidates that are RINO's (that's an acronym, it means a democrat in Republican clothing, or Republican In Name Only) will not be acceptable to us anymore. When you choose the lesser of two evils, you still choose evil. We are done with evil. We will instead find actual Conservatives in the mold of our beloved leader Ronald Reagan to run for office, and we will win. Perhaps it will not be the Republican party at all, but some other political vehicle. Much of that depends on the Republican party.
And finally, when the Democratic led Congress and Presidency has left this country a shattered hulk, we will once again step in and pick up the pieces. It's what we do. We do it because we have to live here, too, and while the idea of a Socialistic hellhole might appeal to you it does not appeal to us.
I will not join you, I will not forget what you have done, and I do not forgive you.
Congratulations to President Elect Barack Obama. May God grant him the wisdom to lead for the next four years, may God keep us and bless us as a Nation, as he has ever done, amen.
On a personal note, I will hold President Obama's feet to the fire, but I will not degenerate into the same kind of hysterical screechy ODS that was so typical of the left's reaction to George Bush's election and subsequent re-election. I have more respect for myself than that.
So, what have we learned?
The first thing I hope we have learned is that mavericky RINOs who delight in sticking their thumbs into their conservative base's eyes don't win elections. McCain's vote tally, even with the support of the PUMAs, was more than SEVEN MILLION less that George W. Bush won by in 2004. Sarah Palin's addition to the ticket, rather than being a drag, improved that figure slightly by giving conservatives something to vote for, but in the end it wasn't enough. I don't have any numerical evidence for that last line, but I do know of several people (myself included) who decided to support the Republican ticket only because of the selection of Sarah Palin as VP.
UPDATE: His Rottiness, Emperor Misha I, has the proof that you seek.
Hopefully the Republican party learns the lesson that they obviously failed to learn when they were banished back to the political hinterland from whence they came in 2006, and we will have actual conservatives (Palin/Jindal?) on the ticket for the next election cycle. If not, this will be another long walk through the political wilderness, and they will have earned every step of it. You own this one, RNC. Enjoy it.
The second thing that we have learned is that the projected huge youth vote once again failed to materialize. There was certainly some improvement, but even with that, coupled with the historic turnout of the black vote, Barack Obama was elected with only 400,000 more votes than George W. Bush won with in 2004. The net total is 3 and a quarter million less votes for this election than for the last. Some of McCain's missing seven million, I am certain, showed up to vote for Obama. The rest of the Republicans either stayed home or did not vote for a Presidential candidate. I base this assumption on the fact that the down ticket races did not see a huge increase in voter totals, either. The Democrats picked up some seats, as expected, but did not get the desired super majority. Also, since the third party candidates did not fare any better than they usually do, it's pretty evident that the Republicans did not come out to pull a lever for them either.
The third thing we have learned is that if you are a Democrat running for election in Pennsylvania you can call your prospective constituents all kinds of names, insult their honor and intelligence, and promise to bankrupt their biggest industry, and still get elected. Apparently the insults to their intelligence was, in large part, deserved. Barack Obama was elected despite his bitter, gun and god clinging remarks and Jack Murtha was re-elected despite his crucifiction of the Haditha Marines and his "my constituents are racist morons" remarks. Congratulations to the Keystone state, you have, as a group, won the coveted Electoral Idiocy Award.
Second runner up could still very well go to Minnesota. At the time of this writing, with a spread of only 500 votes or so, Norm Coleman and Al Franken (really?!?) are statistically tied for the Senate race. When the final results are tallied the judge (me, of course) will announce his decision.
UPDATE: Now it looks like the Democrats want to make up. That's nice. Hat tip to Sockless Joe over at Alabama In Between.
And I have the good fortune to catch it at the beginning of the first episode!
If it's any good, it will become a regularly recorded show.
UPDATE: Eh, it's OK. Gives at least a passing familiarity with the book outside of having the characters names, but also has a number of really obvious differences. The action is good, but personally I would have found a different actor for Zed. I will likely watch it if I'm home but won't make a special effort to tape it.
Not nearly as good an adaptation as Hogfather (but then again, I don't know if anything could have been as good as that), but not as bad as, say, Starship Troopers (but then again, I don't know if anything could have been as bad as that). Call it maybe halfway between the two. And, as it is a series, it may grow on me. Like I said before, time will tell.