Saturday, September 17, 2005

With Friends Like These

A group of 38 Nobel winners, led by Elie Wiesel (Elie Weisel?!) have written a letter to the Kansas State Board of Education asking them to keep any criticism of evolution out of the state science standards.

Thirty eight Nobel winners might sound like a powerful voice advocating on behalf of evolution, but we shouldn't be too hasty to allow ourselves to be impressed. The letter contains these words:

Logically derived from confirmable evidence, evolution is understood to be the result of an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection.

Thirty eight Nobel winners, 34 of them scientists, signed off on this definition. Why is this remarkable? Two reasons: The first is that this statement accurately defines Darwinian evolution, but it does not define a scientific theory. How can the claim that evolution is unguided and unplanned ever be subjected to testing? What experiments or observations would count for or against it? The answer, of course, is that there are none. These brilliant scientists are in effect calling for schools to teach metaphysics in public school science classes while at the same time demanding that a competing metaphysical theory, Intelligent Design, be banished from science classes because it can't be scientifically tested.

The second problem with this definition is that it contradicts the assurance that evolutionists keep offering to the public that there is no real conflict between evolution and religion. Evolutionists like Eugenie Scott, president of the National Council for Science Education, spend a good deal of time seeking to allay parents' concerns that their children will be given the impression in their science classes that God is either non-existent or irrelevant. If, however, The Nobel winners' definition is correct, and it certainly does define Darwinism, then the truth is out, and Scott and her accomplices must be beside themselves wondering why they need enemies with friends like these.

The evolutionists, or at least the Darwinian variety, may have thirty eight Nobel Prize winners on their side, but it doesn't seem to be helping the cause much.

The New Flu

As if we didn't have enough to worry about along comes this very disturbing report. We apparently face a distinct possibility this winter of an outbreak of virulent avian flu that kills 55% of the people who are infected, and we don't have any vaccine and only a limited amount of the only effective drug for treating it.

Once again we are unprepared for a natural disaster, only this one could make Katrina seem like a summer-time zephyr by comparison. At present avian flu is transmitted only through birds, but scientists fear it will mutate to a form that allows it to be transmitted from human to human. If it does it could kill a billion people worldwide and hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, in the U.S.

Sleep tight.

Strange Reasoning

The Republican mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, puts ideology above competency as he delivers himself of a strange piece of constitutional reasoning:

"In July, following the nomination of Judge John Roberts to the Supreme Court, I stated clearly that I wanted to hear a clear indication that Judge Roberts accepts Roe v. Wade as the law of the land. After days of testimony and intense questioning at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, Americans have had a glimpse into the thinking of Judge Roberts.

"While I am impressed with the deep intellect and understanding of the law that Judge Roberts has shown and believe him to be a man of integrity, I am unconvinced that Judge Roberts accepts the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling as settled law. What I was waiting for, as were many Americans, was a clear affirmation that the life-altering decision as to whether or not to have a child must be a woman's decision. Unfortunately, Judge Roberts' response did not indicate a commitment to protect a woman's right to choose.

"At the hearings, Judge Roberts spoke with clarity and, of course, correctly, that he agreed with the 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education. And this most important decision, the evil practice of segregation, is now considered settled law.

"What I was hoping to hear was the same simple affirmation of Roe v. Wade, a decision which has had a long-lasting, profound impact in improving women's health and lives. There can be no turning back and for that reason I oppose the nomination of Judge Roberts as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court."

In other words, Roberts has a deep intellect and understanding of the law and is a man of integrity, but he seems insufficiently convinced that the founding fathers really did insert a right for mothers to kill their unborn children into the constitution, so Bloomberg can't support him.

Maybe the mayor's right. We can't have people on the Supreme Court, no matter how bright, honest, and knowledgeable they are about the law, if they think their job is to determine what the constitution actually says rather than what people like Bloomberg wish it said.