Thursday, September 11, 2008

Contretemps Over Sex-Ed

The Obama campaign is upset by a McCain ad that takes the senator to task for favoring sex education for kindergartners. Jim Geraghty at NRO claims that the language a bill Obama voted for as an Illinois state senator certainly makes it look like the controversial ad is basically correct. Geraghty quotes from the bill these words:

Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV.

It's one thing to teach children the difference between good touch and bad touch, it's something else to teach them how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases. To be sure the bill required that the instruction be "age appropriate" but any discussion of avoiding STDs must perforce address matters of sexual intimacy and prophylaxis if it's to be at all meaningful, so the question is what need has a kindergartner for such information? Are five year olds at an appropriate age to talk about these matters at all?


The God Gene

"Professor" John Cleese presents a lecture on the God gene. The lecture, of course, is a spoof of Dawkinsian sociobiology that holds that all of our behavior is a product of genetic influences which have evolved over vast stretches of time:

Those scientists searching for a "God gene" are trying to show that if belief in God is genetic then there's no objective reason to think God really exists. The claim "God exists" is rendered trivial, it's thought, if our belief in God is genetically caused.

Unfortunately for these scientists, the attempt to discredit belief in God by showing that the belief has a genetic provenience is too clever by half. It winds up defeating itself.

If our belief in God is a product of our genes then it would seem that all of our beliefs must be similarly caused or influenced, but this means that the very belief that our genes cause our beliefs is itself caused by our genes. If that's so, then there's no reason why we should believe it. The belief that beliefs are genetically caused has no objective truth value. The claim is absurd, and Cleese's skit does a nice job of illustrating the absurdity.

HT: Uncommon Descent


Barack's Life as an Organizer

Since Senator Obama cites his three years as a community organizer as an important element among his qualifications to be President, Byron York wanted to learn what a community organizer does and what Barack Obama accomplished in his tenure as an organizer in Chicago. So York went to the Windy City to find out, and writes about what he learned in an article at National Review Online.

He says:

[I]f you ask Obama's fellow organizers what his most significant accomplishments were, they point to two ventures: the expansion of a city summer-job program for South Side teenagers and the removal of asbestos from one of the area's oldest housing projects. Those, they say, were his biggest victories.

Neither of these achievements amounted to much, and Obama sensed that he really wasn't going to get a lot done in his role as an organizer, which is why he decided to go to law school. He believed that he needed more power and being a lawyer would confer that power. York's piece gives us the details and offers us an interesting and important glimpse of these formative years in the life of the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.


The Price of Freedom

An Iraq war vet shares his thoughts on what the war means and why he thinks Senator Obama is wrong on the war. Watch to the end: