Monday, October 23, 2006

Sitting it Out

Ramirez offers his opinion of the silliness of the threat by some Republican voters to sit out this election because of disappointment with their party's shortcomings:

Smuggling Religion into Science Class

We've been told ad nauseum, as you well know, that Intelligent Design should not be taught in schools because it's religious, and religion has no place in public schools, especially in science class. ID is just a Trojan horse used to smuggle religion into public schools, the story goes, but Darwinism is genuine science and as such should be taught to our children in their science classes.

Well. Uncommon Descent has a page full of quotes taken from biology textbooks, many of them used in public high schools which it would be good to review. Here are a couple of examples. Read these and see whether you agree that Darwinists have no religious agenda and that Darwinism carries no religious freight.

"By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous." (Evolutionary Biology, by Douglas J. Futuyma 3rd ed., Sinauer Associates Inc., 1998, p. 5.)

"Darwin knew that accepting his theory required believing in philosophical materialism, the conviction that matter is the stuff of all existence and that all mental and spiritual phenomena are its by-products. Darwinian evolution was not only purposeless but also heartless-a process in which the rigors of nature ruthlessly eliminate the unfit. Suddenly, humanity was reduced to just one more species in a world that cared nothing for us. The great human mind was no more than a mass of evolving neurons. Worst of all, there was no divine plan to guide us." (Biology: Discovering Life by Joseph S. Levine & Kenneth R. Miller 1st ed., D.C. Heath and Co., 1992, pg. 152; 2nd ed.. D.C. Heath and Co., 1994, p. 161; emphases in original.)

The real difficulty in accepting Darwin's theory has always been that it seems to diminish our significance. Earlier, astronomy had made it clear that the earth is not the center of the solar universe, or even of our own solar system. Now the new biology asked us to accept the proposition that, like all other organisms, we too are the products of a random process that, as far as science can show, we are not created for any special purpose or as part of any universal design." (Invitation to Biology, by Helena Curtis & N. Sue Barnes 3rd ed., Worth, 1981, pgs. 474-475.)

"The advent of Darwinism posted even greater threats to religion by suggesting that biological relationship, including the origin of humans and of all species, could be explained by natural selection without the intervention of a god. Many felt that evolutionary randomness and uncertainty had replaced a deity having conscious, purposeful, human characteristics. The Darwinian view that evolution is a historical process and present-type organisms were not created spontaneously but formed in a succession of selective events that occurred in the past, contradicted the common religious view that there could be no design, biological or otherwise, without an intelligent designer. ... The variability by which selection depends may be random, but adaptions are not; they arise because selection chooses and perfects only what is adaptive. In this scheme a god of design and purpose is not necessary. Neither religion nor science has irrevocably conquered. Religion has been bolstered by paternalistic social systems in which individuals depend on the beneficiences of those more powerful than they are, as well as the comforting idea that humanity was created in the image of a god to rule over the world and its creatures. Religion provided emotional solace...Nevertheless, faith in religious dogma has been eroded by natural explanations of its mysteries, by a deep understanding of the sources of human emotional needs, and by the recognition that ethics and morality can change among different societies and that acceptance of such values need not depend on religion." (Evolution by Monroe, W. Strickberger 3rd ed., Jones & Bartlett, 2000, pg. 70-71)

There's much more at the link. For some reason this sort of thing elicits no lawsuiits from outraged parents who don't want their tax dollars used to smuggle religion and metaphysics into their children's science class and stuffed down their throats. However, let the school board require teachers to merely inform students that maybe what they're reading in their textbooks isn't the whole story about origins, and the entire scientific establishment, abetted by the ever-vigilant ACLU, mobilizes to support any parent who feels that their child is going to be scarred for life by the constitutional sacrilege.

Ted Kennedy and the KGB

CNS quotes presidential biographer Paul Kengor from his new book (The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism) as having come into possession of a memo written in 1983 from the Soviet KGB chief to General Secretary Yuri Andropov. Kevin Mooney of CNS writes:

In his book, which came out this week, Kengor focuses on a KGB letter written at the height of the Cold War that shows that Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) offered to assist Soviet leaders in formulating a public relations strategy to counter President Reagan's foreign policy and to complicate his re-election efforts.

The letter, dated May 14, 1983, was sent from the head of the KGB to Yuri Andropov, who was then General Secretary of the Soviet Union's Communist Party.

In his letter, KGB head Viktor Chebrikov offered Andropov his interpretation of Kennedy's offer. Former U.S. Sen. John Tunney (D-Calif.) had traveled to Moscow on behalf of Kennedy to seek out a partnership with Andropov and other Soviet officials, Kengor claims in his book.

At one point after President Reagan left office, Tunney acknowledged that he had played the role of intermediary, not only for Kennedy but for other U.S. senators, Kengor said. Moreover, Tunney told the London Times that he had made 15 separate trips to Moscow.

"There's a lot more to be found here," Kengor told Cybercast News Service. "This was a shocking revelation."

It is not evident with whom Tunney actually met in Moscow. But the letter does say that Sen. Kennedy directed Tunney to reach out to "confidential contacts" so Andropov could be alerted to the senator's proposals.

Specifically, Kennedy proposed that Andropov make a direct appeal to the American people in a series of television interviews that would be organized in August and September of 1983, according to the letter.

"Tunney told his contacts that Kennedy was very troubled about the decline in U.S-Soviet relations under Reagan," Kengor said. "But Kennedy attributed this decline to Reagan, not to the Soviets. In one of the most striking parts of this letter, Kennedy is said to be very impressed with Andropov and other Soviet leaders."

In other words, if this is true, Senators Kennedy and Tunney and other leftists in our government were conspiring with the Soviets at the height of the cold war to bring about the defeat of an American president. At the very least this is reprehensible. At worst it's treason. It also illustrates the point that liberals and leftists never see any enemies on the left. To them the enemy is always the United States and the Republican party.

Hot Air and Human Events have more on the story.

This whole business offers yet another reason why the Democrats simply cannot be trusted with the national security of this country. Had Ted Kennedy and his allies been successful Reagan would not have been re-elected in 1984, the Berlin Wall would not have fallen and the cold war would not have ended.

NYT: Oops, Our Bad.

The New York Times finally admits that they made a mistake in publishing their "expose" on our secret program of tracking terrorist banking activities. According to Michelle Malkin they only have one excuse: They hated Bush so much that it completely blinded them to their professional obligations and their responsibilities to the nation.

Read her account of of the pathetic mea culpa rendered by Times editor Byron Calame here.