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Archive for November, 2007

November 29th, 2007

I Thought We Had The Conference Room Now…

Via Brad DeLong, who has been there a few times I’m sure…

D-squared Digest — FOR bigger pies and shorter hours and AGAINST more or less everything else: It is a strange fact about organisations that although we can put men on the moon and grow human ears on the backs of mice, there is no force on earth that can stop people from double-booking rooms. One of the most unrealistic things about Star Wars is that Darth Vader never swept into a conference room ready to do something dramatic and evil, only to find a bunch of IT people with sandwiches having their monthly planning meeting…

Heh…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on I Thought We Had The Conference Room Now…


The Fall Of St. Rudy

I think he’s on to something there.  The moral posturing of the hard right, especially the southern contingent, has always been a nothing more then a thin veneer over the bedrock of their prejudices. 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Fall Of St. Rudy


On The One Hand, Terri Schiavo Must Live…On The Other, Dennis Lindberg Must Die…

Via Slog…  They took the kid from a parents who were meth addicts, and gave him to a Jehovah’s Witness aunt who killed him…

Judge: 14-year-old Jehovah’s Witness can refuse blood transfusion

A 14-year-old Jehovah’s Witness sick with leukemia has the right to refuse a blood transfusion, even though doing so might kill him, a judge ruled today.

Skagit County Superior Court Judge John Meyer denied a motion by the state to force Dennis Lindberg, of Mount Vernon, to have a blood transfusion. The judge said the eighth-grader knows "he’s basically giving himself a death sentence."

Doctors diagnosed the boy with leukemia on Nov. 6 and began treating him with chemotherapy at Children’s Hospital in Seattle, but stopped a week ago because his blood count was too low, the Skagit Valley Herald reported. The boy refused the transfusion on religious grounds.

However, his birth parents, who do not have custody and flew from Idaho to be at the hearing, believe their son should have the transfusion and suggested he has been unduly influenced by his legal guardian, his aunt, who is also a Jehovah’s Witness.

Several friends of Lindberg and of his parents attended today’s hearing, and some ran out crying when the judge announced his decision.

"Dennis does present himself as a very mature man. But he really is just a child trying to please the adults around him," said Jan Curry, whose daughter, Morgan, is his friend.

On Tuesday, Lindberg’s doctor told the judge that the boy’s blood was hypoxic, or deficient in oxygen, and that he would not be surprised if the boy died overnight.

Well hold the surprise then, because that’s exactly what happened.  The boy is dead.

So…let me get this straight…  According to the religious right, a 14 year old can’t consent to sex…but they can consent to suicide.  As long as they’re doing it for God.  Well praise the Lord.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

November 28th, 2007

Defending America From Teh Gay…

I’m headed for bed, and not even going to bother watching the republican debate.  But scanning the blogs that are following it live, I’m seeing that a gay (former) general asked a question concerning gays in the military and he was apparently roundly booed by the audience…

…so I just want to re-emphasize something I put up on my Twitter bar a few hours ago, for the sake of a few certain someones I no longer speak to, and one who I’m still very much holding at arm’s length:  If you can still vote republican after all the gay bashing they’ve been doing, then we are not friends.  It really is that simple.

Someone put a fork in the party of Lincoln, it’s done.  And…I’m going to bed now…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Defending America From Teh Gay…


Defending The Sacred Institution Of Marriage…

Rudy Giuliani stands tall for the heterosexual prerogative…

Giuliani continues his conservative shift

Favors fewer rights for same-sex unions

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani continues to discard the moderate and liberal positions of his past. The latest is civil unions for same-sex couples, which the Republican presidential candidate has been backing away from in recent months.

A campaign aide told the Globe this weekend that Giuliani favors a much more modest set of rights for gay partners than civil union laws in effect in four states offer.

Giuliani has described himself as a backer of civil unions and is frequently described that way in news reports. But he began distancing himself from civil unions in late April, when his campaign told The New York Sun that New Hampshire’s new law goes too far because it is "the equivalent of marriage," which he has always opposed for gays.

Giuliani’s aides offered little explanation of what specific rights he would support for same-sex couples.

Perhaps…a city expense account…?

‘Taxes funded Rudy Giuliani love trysts’

Rudy Giuliani faced fresh questions about his judgment last night amid claims that trysts with his mistress while he was New York’s Mayor cost taxpayers thousands of dollars.

The Republican presidential frontrunner’s record as New York mayor is already facing closer scrutiny after the indictment this month of his close friend Bernard Kerik, whom Mr Giuliani appointed as the city’s police chief.

According to records obtained by a respected US political website, Mr Giuliani billed New York City for tens of thousands of dollars in expenses for his security detail, who accompanied him on trips to Long Island while he visited his mistress.

Many of the security expenses were billed to obscure city agencies, such as the New York City Loft Board, giving the impression somebody did not want the expense claims to be linked to Mr Giuliani. The expense receipts tally the cost of hotel and petrol bills for police detectives who travelled everywhere with Mr Giuliani, according to the website, Politico.com.

More fun and games, from the folks morally qualified to tell gay people that our unions aren’t fit to be called marriages.  Tune in next week as Mike Huckabee explains how having a divorce rate three times that of Massachusetts means Arkansas covenant marriage laws are working to protect and preserve the sacred institution of marriage whilst same sex marriage in Massachusetts has been greatly weakening it…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Defending The Sacred Institution Of Marriage…


On The Other Hand, Maybe Germans Are Starting To Resemble Americans…

On the one hand there’s Bernd das Brot…and on the other, there’s The Gummibär…

Ich Liebe Eine Gummibär. I first saw this YouTube on the Slog blog, bearing the headline Worse then Hitler, or just the New Crazy Frog? I had no idea until I searched for it again on Google that Gummy Bears originated in Germany (Gummibär is “Rubber Bear” in German). But this is a bit much. Supposedly this is a craze in Germany right now, but every German I’ve seen commenting on it hates it. I’m sparing you the long version. It’s enough to make me go stare at my wallpaper.

[Update…] Alas, I can no longer embed the short version as the bastard disabled embedding on it. So now I have to serve up the long version instead. Hate me.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)


Coming Soon To America…Bernd das Brot

Via Spiegel Online…  You know the Germans have become pessimistic about America, when they start making cracks about us like this…

The Depressed Superpower

As frustration takes hold in the land of optimism, Americans are beginning to resemble Germans.

Oh it’s not That bad over here.  Really.

  
 
 
  
 
by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Coming Soon To America…Bernd das Brot


Those Wacky Heterosexuals…(continued)

Via Slog…  Another reason not to check myself into an Ex-Gay ministry…

“A Consequence of Misuse of the Internet”

That’s how a New York judge has summed up this tragically effed-up mess, in which a 48-year-old man (who’d been posing as an 18-year-old Marine in online chat rooms) murdered his 22-year-old rival for the virtual affections of a middle-aged West Virginia mother posing online as an 18-year-old student.

The Associated Press untangles it all for you here.

You know…I’ve never lied about myself on the Internet…about my age or my looks or my income or anything.  Not on the Internet, not on the few dating sites I’ve tried.  I just don’t do it.  Believe that or not as you like, but I’ve never even used a pseudonym.  I’ve have always gone by my birth name online.  It’s not rectitude, it’s vanity.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Those Wacky Heterosexuals…(continued)


!=

Via Pam’s House Blend…  The last transgendered folk on HRC’s Business Council have resigned.  You have to wonder if HRC will even noticed they’re gone…

It has been an honor and a privilege for both of us to serve on the Human Rights Campaign Business Council. Since joining the Business Council in 2002 we have both played active roles in advancing workplace equality, providing education, guidance and leadership, and ensuring that workplaces in America are fair for ALL employees. Our collective work has been at the forefront of the successes that HRC has enjoyed in recent years, has affected the daily lives of GLBT employees throughout this country in profound and substantive ways, and is a continuing source of pride for us both.

Rather than rest on past achievements, the Business Council continues to develop critical new initiatives to support transgender employees. We are working to raise the bar on the Corporate Equality Index. We are planning to revise and re-publish the booklet Transgender In the Workplace: A Tool For Managers. We are planning a Female-to-Male educational DVD. We have been working on insurance issues affecting transgender employees. Never before have so many important efforts for transgender workers been underway and we are both heavily involved in all of them. That is why the decision we are announcing today is an extremely difficult one.

Recent HRC policy decisions – to actively support a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that excludes our transgender brothers and sisters as well as gender-variant lesbian, gay, and bisexual people – have placed us in an untenable position. On November 8, the day after the ENDA vote in the House of Representatives, we requested an opportunity to meet personally with HRC President Joe Solmonese to share our concerns and to discuss HRC’s strategy for addressing recent legislative shortcomings before making a decision to stay or go. As the only transgender representatives on the Business Council our community expects us to have some influence, or at least to receive the courtesy of a consultation. Almost 3 weeks have passed since that request and we have heard nothing in response. This lack of response speaks volumes, so we feel compelled to take this stand today.

(Emphasis mine…) After a while, you finally begin to realize that the reason you’re there is window dressing.  And then…you’re no longer needed. 

That the bill in question doesn’t really do anything is wrongheaded, only if you think it’s purpose to make a difference in the lives of GLBT Americans, and bring this nation a little closer to reaching its promise of liberty and justice for all.  No.  That’s not the purpose of this bill.  What the bill does, is give Barney the place in history he’s always wanted, as the man who put through the nation’s first non-discrimination bill for gay and lesbian Americans.  It’s not that it doesn’t actually protect any of us, it’s that its got his name on it.  That is why transgendered Americans had to be thrown under the bus. 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on !=


Another Good Reason To Want My Ashes Scattered Over The Earth When I’m Gone…

This is just plain ridiculous

STAR TREK Line of Urns and Caskets


For the millions of fans on our planet and beyond, our new line of STAR TREK urns, caskets, monuments and vaults will be an important discovery indeed. After ten movies and five television series, phrases like “Live long and prosper,” “Resistance is futile” and “Space: the final frontier” have become part of our global vocabulary.

Monuments and vaults will also debut next year. The Eternal Image STAR TREK line is licensed for sale in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Korea and Japan.

The first two products to debut will be the STAR TREK urns and caskets.

Like any other human being on this earth, I have my own little obsessions.  They’ve given me hours and hours of enjoyment in this life.  I don’t need to be buried in them however.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Another Good Reason To Want My Ashes Scattered Over The Earth When I’m Gone…


Pissing On Edward R. Murrow’s Grave…(continued)

In case you haven’t been following it…Time Magazine, courtesy of its columnist Joe Klein, has been giving the nation a textbook example of the problem with American corporate journalism.  Some days ago Time columnist Joe Klein huffed that, basically, the democrats were once again coddling terrorists

Unfortunately, Speaker Nancy Pelosi quashed the House Intelligence Committee’s bipartisan effort and supported a Democratic bill that — Limbaugh is salivating — would require the surveillance of every foreign-terrorist target’s calls to be approved by the FISA court, an institution founded to protect the rights of U.S. citizens only. In the lethal shorthand of political advertising, it would give terrorists the same legal protections as Americans. That is well beyond stupid.

Note that this verbiage has now been…altered…on their website since the netroots started blasting Klein and Time over the original text’s blatant, in-your-face-falsehood.  In fact, the bill did no such thing as even a child with third grade reading skills could clearly comprehend.  Glenn Greenwald has been on it relentlessly since Klein’s bullshit column hit the newsstands

"Well beyond stupid" is a good description for what Klein wrote here. "Factually false" is even better. First, from its inception, FISA did not "protect the rights of U.S. citizens only." Its warrant requirements apply to all "U.S. persons" (see 1801(f)), which includes not only U.S. citizens but also "an alien lawfully admitted [in the U.S.] for permanent residence" (see 1801(i)). From 1978 on, FISA extended its warrant protections to resident aliens.

But Klein’s far more pernicious "error" is his Limbaugh-copying claim that the House bill "require[s] the surveillance of every foreign-terrorist target’s calls to be approved by the FISA court." It just does not.

The only reason why Congress began considering amendments to FISA in the first place was because a FISA court earlier this year ruled that a warrant was required for foreign-to-foreign calls incidentally routed through the U.S. via fiber optics. Everyone — from Russ Feingold to the ACLU — agreed that FISA never intended to require warrants for foreign-to-foreign calls that have nothing to do with U.S. citizens, and thus, none of the bills being considered — including the bill passed by the House — requires warrants for such foreign-to-foreign calls. Here is Rep. Rush Holt, a member of the House Intelligence Committee and one of the key architects of the House bill, explaining what the House bill actually does:

* Ensure that the government must have an individualized, particularized court-approved warrant based on probable cause in order to read or listen to the communications of an American citizen. . . .

The RESTORE Act now makes clear that it is the courts — and not an executive branch political appointee — who decide whether or not the communications of an American can be seized and searched, and that such seizures and searches must be done pursuant to a court order.

Under the House bill, individualized warrants are required if the U.S. Government wants to eavesdrop on the communications of Americans. Warrants are not required — as Klein falsely claimed — for "every foreign-terrorist target’s calls."

While the government (in order to prevent abuse) must demonstrate to the FISA court that it is applying its surveillance standards faithfully, the warrant requirement is confined to the class Rep. Holt described. Klein’s shrill condemnation of the House FISA bill rests on a complete falsehood (that’s not surprising; the last time Klein wrote about FISA, he said that "no actual eavesdropping on conversations should be permitted without a FISA court ruling" and then proceeded to defend a FISA bill which, unbeknownst to him, allowed exactly that).

What Time Magazine did, essentially, was smear the democrats as terrorist coddlers in the minds of millions of Time Magazine readers, and if you think that was accidental or merely a case of slipshod journalism you are not paying attention.  

Klein’s broader point is even more odious. Along with most of the "liberal" punditocracy, Klein has been singing the same song for years and years and years now. The salvation for Democrats lies in following Republicans on national security issues. He’s been warning Democrats from the very beginning of the NSA scandal that they had better stop condemning Bush’s illegal spying on Americans or else they will justly suffer the consequences, and he issues similar lip-quivering warnings about Iraq: Democrats better stop opposing the Leader’s War or else they will lose.

The big joke here you have to realize, is that Klein is Time’s Liberal columnist.  The corporate news media has been playing this game for decades…dragging the American political dialogue ever further and further to the right, by pitting hard core movement conservatives like Charles Krauthammer and outright lunatics like Pat Buchanan and Ann Coulter against ersatz liberals like Joe Klein. Democrats and progressives are never represented in the corporate news media dialogue, and indeed are usually portrayed as extremists, while the likes of Ann Coulter are given plenty of time to spread their venom in the name of "Balance". 

And in that environment, where the playing field is relentlessly tilted toward the right, actual policy differences between the republicans and the democrats have been consistently represented in a "he said, she said" format, where actual facts are never discussed, never even sought.  For years now, the republicans have been able to push any damn lie they wanted into the public discourse, with absolutely no fear of being contradicted by the press.  And this latest Joe Klein column has been a perfect example of how that not only works, but how the corporate news media remains doggedly determined to keep it working that way.  After days and days of being raked over the coals for the blatant in-your-face factual inaccuracies in the Klein column, Time Magazine finally prints a…correction…but not…

Time Magazine has done a superb service for the country by illustrating everything that is rancid and corrupt with our political media. After I emailed Time.com Editor Josh Tyrangiel asking why the online version of Joe Klein’s column remains online uncorrected given that — as Managing Editor Rick Stengel now says — the article contains a "reporting error," this is the "correction" Time has now posted to the article. Seriously — this is really it, in its entirety:

In the original version of this story, Joe Klein wrote that the House Democratic version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) would allow a court review of individual foreign surveillance targets. Republicans believe the bill can be interpreted that way, but Democrats don’t.

Leave aside the false description of what Klein wrote. He didn’t say "that the House Democratic version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) would allow a court review of individual foreign surveillance targets." He said that their bill "would require the surveillance of every foreign-terrorist target’s calls to be approved by the FISA court" and "would give terrorists the same legal protections as Americans." But the Editor’s false characterization of Klein’s original lie about the House FISA bill is the least of the issues here.

All Time can say about this matter is that Republicans say one thing and Democrats claim another. Who is right? Is one side lying? What does the bill actually say, in reality?

That’s not for Time to say. After all, they’re journalists, not partisans. So they just write down what each side says. It’s not for them to say what is true, even if one side is lying.

In this twisted view, that is called "balance" — writing down what each side says. As in: "Hey – Bush officials say that there is WMD in Iraq and things are going great with the war (and a few people say otherwise). It’s not for us to decide. It’s not our fault if what we wrote down is a lie. We just wrote down exactly what they said." At best, they write down what each side says and then go home. That’s what they’re for.

That our typical establishment "journalist" conceives of this petty clerical task as their only role is not news. But it is striking to see the nation’s "leading news magazine" so starkly describe how they perceive their role.

After watching our corporate news media passively allow the election of 2000 to be stolen by the republicans, after watching them cheer Bush on as he lied this nation into a war that has killed hundreds of thousands, ruined our economy, and thoroughly trashed our moral capital, after watching them help Bush cover up the outing of one of our CIA agents in an act of cold, calculating political retribution, none of this should surprise anyone.  Journalism is dead and rotting in America, everywhere but in the alternative press, and on the Internet, which, not coincidentally, is the one place corporate America cannot dictate the rules of the game.

You should go read Glenn Greenwald’s evisceration of this whole sorry episode, starting Here, and then moving on Here, Here, Here, and Here.  You need to see, all Americans need to see, how the news media many of us grew up reading and watching, has bellyflopped itself into the gutter.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Pissing On Edward R. Murrow’s Grave…(continued)

November 27th, 2007

Quote File

I saw this tag on a comment over at Daily Kos and tried looking up the source, but it seems it’s original to the commenter, who goes by "Slowheels"…

Abandon ideology. Instead, tell the truth. Always.

That’s pure gold.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Quote File


For Tax Year 2007 I Will Not Be Bringing My Schedule C Income Onto My Balance Sheet

Via Atrios… 

From CNBC: "Citigroup will not be bringing its SIV assets onto their balance sheet."

SIV = Structured Investment Vehicle.  The Wiki article isn’t bad…go read it for some insight into why big capital is getting anxious about what’s happening now due to the sub-prime mortgage collapse.  Basically what Citigroup is trying to do here is a little creative Enron style shell company book keeping in the hope of propping up their market value.  Oh no…those aren’t Our worthless assets…they belong to that company over there…er, the one we created to hold those worthless assets… What’s…astonishing…is how brazen they’re apparently being about it.

And you thought the stock market was the only form of gambling Wall Street did.  Oh goodness no…

by Bruce | Link | React! (4)


Oh Shoot Me Now…

Christ Almighty someone’s decided to breath life back into Staircase

Review: ‘Staircase’ revival – ‘Honeymooners’ in gay ’60s London

Charles and Harry could be many a bickering, thoroughly co-dependent couple who’ve been together for two decades, but life wasn’t that simple for gay men in the London of the ’60s. That’s what adds some dramatic meat and bite to Charles Dyer’s "Staircase," the otherwise schematic if waspish 1966 comedy that opened Saturday at Theatre Rhinoceros. The darker notes that creep into the last scene humanize the camp, bitchy-hairdressers couple and add depth to a fitfully funny show.

"Staircase" is of historical interest in any case. A late replacement for Mart Crowley’s unavailable "The Boys in the Band" in Artistic Director John Fisher’s 30th anniversary season, "Staircase" actually predates "Boys" (by a few months) as the first openly gay play on Broadway in the modern era. A hit in London (with Paul Scofield and Patrick Magee) in ’66, and a flop in New York (with Eli Wallach and Milo O’Shea) in ’67, it also bombed as a movie, starring Richard Burton and Rex Harrison, in ’69. In every case, the publicity stressed the heterosexual credentials of everyone involved.

If there was any doubt as to the heterosexual credentials of the makers of that film, watching it should have decisively hammered them to the floor.  That rank piece of trash is even more offensive then Boys In The Band in the cheapshit stereotypes it trades in.  It doesn’t need a fucking revival, it needs to be buried in the same grave as the blackface minstrel shows.

For two hours they moan and piss about their sad, wasted lives, never showing a sign of love or affection.  We are meant to feel sorry for them, but after all their time together there is no sign of an emotional attachment between them, no indication of a commitment to the relationship.  When they do cling to one another, it is in loneliness and desperation, emotions that have been used to characterize homosexual relationships in film and literature for a century.  Throughout the film Charlie and Harry repeat how much happier they would have been if only nature had not played them such a dirty trick…

-Vito Russo, The Celluloid Closet

Staircase mocks its aging gay characters, and invites the audience to join in.  In that, Staircase was eminently typical of the films of its day that pretended to shine a light on the sordid homosexual underworld, and were in reality nothing more then freak shows.  Played for shock value, and sporting a thin veneer of pity, straight audiences were supposed to come away from the experience happily horrified, and relieved that they weren’t like those poor twisted queers. 

There’s a great movie to be made someday about the lives of older gay people back before Stonewall.  It could have pathos, it could have comedy, it could be full of the human struggle of people living in an age when gay folk could only see monsters reflected back at them by the popular culture surrounding them…an age when most gay people themselves believed that they were sick in some deeply profound way.  Maybe someday someone will do that story.

[Edited to add the Vito Russo quote, and some additional verbiage of my own]

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Oh Shoot Me Now…


Who Are You Going To Believe…Us Or Your Lying Eyes…?

Over at Christianity Today, Christian Smith peers into the black hole forming in American churches

Note that some of the statistics about emerging adulthood today are not historically unique. For example, young Americans in the 19th and very early 20th century, when society was more rural and agricultural, also married later in life than they did in the 1950s. Nevertheless, changes in the larger culture and social order in late 20th-century America make the experience of emerging adulthood today very different from the young adulthood of a century ago.

What then are some of the specific issues that this new life phase might raise for church and culture? First, we might consider the content and texture of the religious faith of emerging adults. Having grown up in whatever religious traditions, congregations, and families of faith they have, and having participated in whatever youth groups and Sunday School and catechism classes they have, what then becomes of the religious faith of youth ages 18 to 30? At a recent University of Southern California conference organized by scholars Don Miller and James Heft, in which I participated and which served as the basis of the edited volume Passing on the Faith, discussed below, the central image animating discussion was of young adulthood as a mysterious "black hole" in the life of the American church. Quite a dramatic idea. Does research bear it out? Two authors in the other books noted here address this question in some depth. Their answers, while not definitive, will not be particularly reassuring for Christian churches, educators, and parents.

Jeffrey Arnett explored the religious beliefs and practices of the more than one hundred emerging adults he interviewed in various locations around the country. Here is what he concluded:

The most interesting and surprising feature of emerging adults’ religious beliefs is how little relationship there is between the religious training they received throughout childhood and the religious beliefs they hold at the time they reach emerging adulthood … . In statistical analyses [of interview subjects’ answers], there was no relationship between exposure to religious training in childhood and any aspect of their religious beliefs as emerging adults … . This is a different pattern than is found in adolescence [which reflects greater continuity] … . Evidently something changes between adolescence and emerging adulthood that dissolves the link between the religious beliefs of parents and the beliefs of their children.

Although the transmission of religious faith is not a central concern of Arnett’s, he still finds this observation startling. He writes, "How could it be that childhood religious training makes no difference in the kinds of religious beliefs and practices people have by the time they reach emerging adulthood? It doesn’t seem to make sense … . It all comes to naught in emerging adulthood? Yet that seems to be the truth of it, surprising as that may be." Need I say that these findings raise serious questions? To be sure, Arnett is not working with nationally representative data, and so his findings must be viewed with some skepticism. Even so, the very possibility should make Christians sit up and notice.

(Emphasis mine)  How could it be that childhood religious training makes no difference in the religious beliefs and practices of young adults?  Let me hazard a guess.  Because when you demand that people believe the bible over clearly observable facts that even a concrete block can grasp then religion starts looking less and less like a spiritual relationship with your creator and more and more like a self inflected lobotomy.  What happens between adolescence and adulthood is you leave the nest, go out into the world and then you encounter reality.  And reality never looses.  You can’t walk away from it.  You can only take your mind, your heart, your conscience, and ultimately your soul, around behind the barn and shoot them.  Like this poor lost soul did

It’s impossible to feel sorry for the hacks who promote intelligent design, especially after you hear the evidence presented at the famous Dover trial (if you haven’t watched it yet, NOVA has its complete Judgment Day episode up online—I recommend Chapter 11, in which the roots of ID are located in a Supreme Court decision rejecting the teaching of creationism in schools).

IDers clearly know they’re misleading the public, if not with regard to their beliefs, then at least with how those beliefs are described and marketed. It’s infuriating.

But I am not so cruel that I can’t see the tragedy in today’s New York Times Magazine article about young-earth creationists who have also earned legit PhDs. Their cognitive dissonance is heartbreaking:

Given the difficulty of their intellectual enterprise, the creationist geologists often have a story about the time they nearly gave it up. For [Kurt] Wise the crisis hit when he was a sophomore in high school. He was already an avid fossil collector who dreamed “an unattainable dream” of going to Harvard to study paleontology and then to teach at a big university. But as he told a friend, he couldn’t reconcile the geologic ages with what he read in his Bible. So he set about figuring this out: every night, for months, he cut out every verse of the Bible he’d have to reject to believe in evolution. “I dreaded the impending end,” he writes in a collection of essays called “In Six Days: Why 50 Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation.” “All that I loved to do was involved with some aspect of science.”

When he was done, he tried to pick up what was left. But he found it impossible to do that without the Bible being “rent in two,” he writes. “Either the Scripture was true and evolution was wrong or evolution was true and I must toss out the Bible.” In the end, he kept his Bible and achieved his unattainable dream. But it left him in a strange, vulnerable place. “If all the evidence in the universe turned against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate. Here I must stand.”

[…]

If Wise still has doubts, or unhappiness, he has learned to put them aside. When consulting for the Creation Museum, he considered his most important duty to be presenting a “coherent story line about the earth’s history,” he said. “Even if it’s wrong, it’s a starting point. We use coherence as a criteria. It ought to fit together not as a set of random processes but something coherent orchestrated by God.”

From searching for truth to fumbling after coherence. It’s so sad.

But if God is that which created all that is, all that was, and all that will ever be, then it is not those of us who are willing to let nature speak for itself who have turned away from God.  The bible may be the testament of Moses, of Mark, Paul, and all the other authors who made the cut over the ages.  The universe is the testament of God.  It is the original manuscript.  Everything else is commentary.

If all the evidence in the universe turned against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate. 

No.  The universe is the word of God.  The rock that cradles the fossil is God’s handwriting.  And if beholding that little two-hundred and fifty million year old trilobite cradled in Paleozoic stone makes you feel very very tiny in a universe that is immense and strange and sublime so far beyond your ken that just trying to grasp it all makes you feel ridiculous, there’s probably a reason for that.  And if you’d rather flee from that universe into the embrace of an idol made of paper and ink because that idol cuts the universe down to a size small enough that you can imagine you’re the center of it and God made it all Just For You…there’s probably a reason for that too.  For all the fundamentalist posturing that they’re simply bowing down to the will of God, fundamentalism is a very, very arrogant religion.  And increasingly in an age where knowledge is literally at everyone’s fingertips, the cost of worshiping that idol is more then many want to bear.  Young adults, raised in the age of computer technology and the Internet, just don’t see throwing their ability to reason away, and along with it their conscience, their self respect, their dignity, and their very soul, as being a normal part of having a spiritual life.  If anything it is completely destructive to having a spiritual life.  An empty vessel waiting patiently for some authority figure to give it meaning contains no spirit…it is just a blackboard waiting helplessly for someone to scribble something on it.  But that’s exactly what the religious right wants us all to be.

And there’s Christian Smith’s black hole.  It isn’t age.  It isn’t that parents are more indulgent.  It isn’t that society is more permissive.  It’s that fundamentalism has put itself on a path diverging ever more and more away from reality, and if an adult knows anything that a child does not it’s that reality always wins in the end.  Someone who really believed in standing humble before the will of God might actually appreciate how that works. 

There is a signpost next to that black hole.  It reads: When the bird and the bird book disagree, believe the bird.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Who Are You Going To Believe…Us Or Your Lying Eyes…?

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