Sunday, April 17, 2005

Rampant Nitwitism

Campus Magazine Online's 2005 Campus Outrage Awards are out. Sterling examples of political correctness run amok on our college campuses, the awards are hilarious in their stupidity but terribly sad in the toll that PC takes on individual lives and what it portends for intellectual freedom in this country.

Here, for example, is the account of the second place winner which Viewpoint thinks may well have deserved top honors:

At the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Economics Professor Hans Hoppe received disciplinary sanctions for making an economically verifiable argument that homosexuals engage less in long-term financial planning than heterosexuals because they typically do not have children. One of Hoppe's students, Michael Knight, filed a complaint leading to a yearlong battle between Hoppe and the University (which Hoppe eventually won). Knight accused Hoppe of "stereotyping homosexuals...When the door closes and the lecture began [sic], he needs to make sure he is remaining as politically correct as possible."

In an interview with Professor Hoppe by the Collegiate Network, Professor Hoppe believes he lost a year of his life to the entire affair. The University's Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity Officer affirmed the complaint by Knight and recommended that Hoppe receive a reprimand and be suspended without pay for one week. A grievance committee made up of one student and Hoppe's faculty peers was held on November 18, 2004. The committee upheld the original grievance and recommended that Hoppe be reprimanded and forfeit any merit pay for the current academic year.

On February 9, 2005, Hoppe received "a non-disciplinary letter of instruction" from Raymond W. Alden, III, the university's Executive Vice President and Provost, affirming the decision of the grievance committee, stating that Hoppe had created "a hostile learning environment" in his classroom, and instructing Hoppe "to cease mischaracterizing opinion as objective fact in the educational environment." However, nine days later, the university's president, Dr. Carol Harter, released a statement in which she acknowledged that professors "are entitled the freedom to teach theories and to espouse opinions that are out of the mainstream or are controversial...."

Nowhere in the statement did Harter apologize to Hoppe for what university officials put him through, nor were any individual university officials singled out for criticism.

We have said it before, but it bears repeating. No one should be permitted to serve in any capacity on a college or university campus, or to graduate from any such institution, without having read, discussed, and digested John Stuart Mill's On Liberty. It is the perfect antidote to the rampant nitwitism and intellectual tyranny that afflicts our institutions of higher learning.

The Wolphin and the Hominids

Scientists have found that an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin has bred with a false killer whale to produce a hybrid referred to as a "wolphin".

Although false killer whales and Atlantic bottlenose dolphins are different species, they are classified within the same family by scientists.

Scientists identify a species in terms of whether members of the two groups can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. If they cannot, like cats and dogs which cannot interbreed, or horses and donkeys which can interbreed but whose offspring (mules) is infertile, they are said to be reproductively isolated and are therefore regarded as separate species.

If this "wolphin" is fertile, however, then either the concept of species loses a lot of its meaning or we must allow that at least some kinds of whales and some kinds of dolphins are really the same species.

A revision of the concept of species would have interesting implications for human evolution. There are numerous fossil hominids which have been placed in disparate species on the basis of morphological differences which may or may not warrant the separation. Morphology, after all, is a precarious criterion for taxonomic distinctions. All the domestic dogs around the world, from Chihuahuas to Great Danes, are members of the same species.

If the various hominids were indeed interfertile then the rationale for placing them in different species disappears. As it is, the only rationale for separating them is that paleontologists assume that they have evolved over time one from the other, and that, being separated by vast amounts of time, they must have been reproductively isolated.

If, however, it were to turn out that they were all members of the same species it would certainly make life difficult for evolutionists. They would then be confronted with a relatively abrupt speciation event in which ape-like hominoids transitioned to Homo sapiens while leaving very little evidence of intermediary forms.

The story of human evolution, like evolution in general, is far from settled.

Sarah Lunde

Another little girl has been raped and murdered by a registered sex offender, a man who has committed sexual assault and rape on previous occasions:

David Lee Onstott, 36, was charged with first-degree murder in Sarah Lunde's death after confessing Saturday, Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee told reporters. He had once dated her mother and unexpectedly showed up at the family's trailer home after the girl returned from a church trip April 9.

Sarah let Onstott into the house when he came looking for her mother, Kelly May Lunde, in the predawn hours of the next day, Gee said. After getting into a verbal fight with Sarah, he put her into a choke hold and killed her, Gee said.

Onstott had been previously convicted of a rape, but his father, David Onstott Sr., has said his son wouldn't hurt the girl. Investigators found Sarah's partially clothed body in an abandoned fish pond Saturday. Gee said Onstott "went to great effort to keep her body from being discovered."

Sarah's 17-year-old brother came home early April 10 to find the front door wide open and his sister gone. He told detectives that Onstott came by shortly after, and took a half-empty beer bottle before leaving the house in a rural community about 20 miles south of Tampa. Both Sarah's brother and mother initially assumed Sarah had gone to a friend's house. She wasn't reported missing until April 11.

Doris Fontana, the mother of Sarah's best friend, said that Sarah had told her she didn't like Onstott. "We felt it was him all along. He had no business being there. He hadn't been there in months," she said.

Before Gee announced the charges, her relatives and her church "family" turned out in droves to tearfully mourn the loss of the girl who'd found a safe haven at First Apostolic Church. Sarah almost never missed Sunday morning services at her beloved church.

Among the mourners were Mark Lunsford, whose daughter Jessica was found dead last month after she was kidnapped from their Citrus County home, and Roy Brown, whose daughter Amanda was murdered in 1997 by convicted child molester Willie Crain.

"People asked me why did she come here, why did she spend her time here," said Matt Fontana, the youth minister at the church. "Because she found love here...Now she's in heaven."

Sherry Cook, who with her husband founded the rural church more than two decades ago, said Sarah rarely missed church services. The girl's life seemed to revolve around the church's youth group, and she had spent her last day at a church function.

Sarah had started coming to the church three years ago on her own. No other members of her family attended with her, church leaders said. So determined was she to make it to church that Sarah would often call two or three families to arrange for a ride; they'd all show up to get her.

Fontana said other members of Sarah's youth group were taking the news of her death hard. "I'm trying to stay composed so they stay composed," he said. "They think only bad things happen to bad people."

Standing at the church's altar and surveying the crowd that included about 20 of Sarah's relatives, Fontana told the mourners that more than anything Sarah had wanted to bring her friends and family to the church she so loved. "It's ironic that not until she goes to be with the Lord that she got her wish," Fontana told the congregation.

If our courts won't put these predators in prison and keep them there the next best thing is for people to know who they are. FoxNews has posted a link to the Megan's Law site that lists all registered sex offenders in the nation. You can search the database by zip code or county. It might surprise you what you'll find.

A search turned up seven offenders living in my zip code and over 250 in my county. If you click on the person's name you'll be given some information about them, including a photo. If you have young children you might wish to see if any of these gentlemen (and a few ladies) are living in your neighborhood.

Not all molestors are repeat offenders, I suppose, but virtually everyone who kills is. Many of them testify to the fact that just as an alcoholic is never cured of his alcoholism, neither are sex offenders, especially those who target children, ever cured of their "addiction". If they're going to be allowed to live among us it's worth knowing who they are.