Update: (at the end of this post)
If you've ever debated the merits of Intelligent Design with an evolutionist (or even a Darwinist), then you've probably run up against an argument that essentially follows this line of reasoning: Intelligent Design entails creationism*, and creationism entails religion; because the government cannot endorse religion, Intelligent Design cannot be taught in a public school science classroom.
Indeed, if you meander over to the anti-ID website, The Panda's Thumb, and do some basic searches, you might find the results interesting. For instance, searching for the exact phrase "ID is not religion" yields 16 hits, "ID is religion" yields 61 hits, "ID is not creationism" yields 45 hits, and "ID is creationism" yields 52 hits. The results are even more interesting if one searches for all the words "Dover," "creationism," and "religion." The hits for that search come in at 688. Dover refers to the case in which a challenge was made to a school district that required intelligent design to be presented as an alternative to evolutionary theory. As noted at Wikipedia,
The plaintiffs successfully argued that intelligent design is a form of creationism, and that the school board policy thus violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
What is so interesting about the posts (and comments) at Panda's Thumb is to note the manner in which the evolutionists genuflect whenever an oracle is made which reinforces the mantra, "ID is religion!"
We found many of these little fellows in our yard - they like fennel plants. Life is hard on them, though, as gophers like the fennel plant as well. Birds, on the other hand, like the swallowtail caterpillar, and it is not unusual to see the caterpillar's numbers dwindle from day to day. Rescuing a few of these guys, we placed them in a butterfly incubator, along with a daily supply of fresh fennel. In time, with suspended chrysalis, they performed their transformation dance, eventually emerging as swallowtail butterflys. Life renewed, our pleasure fulfilled, we granted them their well earned freedom, from their safe confines, into the landscape of our front yard.
What an envigorating experience it was, to see an aspect of the handiwork of God, creator and designer of the natural realm. The integrated complexity of even a small section of the ecosystem we live in is truly amazing. Yet not even the slightest motion of a cog, nor the barest turning of a wheel, goes without notice, or approval, of the One who created it.
How wondrous is their transformation... a renewal of sorts... life anew. Hope. Hope for what is to come. From the cursed bondage of corruption, to the hope of the future of glory, we rest assured.
- photograph © 2006 A. R. Lopez
The Bush administration has authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranian operatives inside Iraq as part of an aggressive new strategy to weaken Tehran's influence across the Middle East and compel it to give up its nuclear program,
Afghanistan has been the victim of international attention deficit disorder. Not only the Bush administration suffers this malady that could snatch victory from defeat. What has changed in the past 18 months? The Taliban have new weapons, vehicles, communications equipment with encryption, and outreach and propaganda facilities.
Iraqi security forces, backed by American tanks and air support, attacked what appears to be a mixed group of Sunni insurgents and a Shia end-times cult known as the "Soldiers of Heaven." The battle occurred in the suburbs and orchards north of Najaf. "Police Colonel Ali Nomas said 250 militants had been killed," reported Reuters.
Strategies: The global war on terror cannot be won by fighting with conventional tactics. We must take the fight to the terrorist organization, in their own backyard, seeking out the wretch before the wretch seeks us out. These roaches with cellphones must be hit, again, again, again, and again. (also see here, and here).
Michael Yon, on the former dictator of Iraq:
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti never denied being a mass murderer. He never apologized for it. He never showed any inclination to mend his ways. Judging from the violent and suspiciously timed deaths of lawyers and judges assigned to his trial, his hands were never washed clean. He may have been frail from a rumored terminal illness, but Iraqi justice is not yet tempered by patience and Saddam was breathing his final hours.
There was a time when he used chemical weapons on humans, when he forced dissenters into acid baths and their families to watch them dissolve into screaming death. There was a time when he set Kuwait’s oil wells ablaze in a tantrum, poisoning the earth, the air, and the sea because if he couldn’t have them, he’d make sure no one else could either. When Saddam was driven into hiding by the same soldiers he’d once called weak, he crawled into a hole in the ground to avoid capture just outside of his hometown Tikrit and not far from where he is buried now, cold and moldering under Iraqi dirt.
In another post, just after Christmas, he writes,
In Qatar, from which I’d just departed, I spoke with troops taking four-day R&R passes, some having just returned from the most dangerous parts of Iraq, and others heading straight back, and their overall morale was also very high. The morale at war is higher than I have ever seen it at home; makes me wonder what they know that most Americans seem to be missing.
Yes indeed, just what is it we are missing?
The son took it all and went far away.
My son was lost, but now he is found.
- Pretend you're not sure the son took it all. Turn that part of the sentence (the son took it all) into a question.
- Write three words that rhyme with took.
- Alphabetize the words the, son, took, it, all, and, went, far, and away.
- Circle the antonyms in the second sentence.
- The second sentence is a compound sentence. Rewrite it as two smaller sentences.
- Draw a box around the homonym of sun.
- Underline the excalmatory sentence.
The Rev. Albert Mohler wrote a post, recently, titled Defining Literacy Down - Do Your Kids Read Books? He wrote about the dismal state of affairs our youth find themselves in with regards to reading - generally they just don't like to do it. He echoes a point I wrote about (ref. Technically Savvy, Practically Mundane) when he states,
Young people are adept at using the Internet and they are avid consumers and users of electronic media in all forms. They will watch a DVD rather than read a book -- even the book upon which the film is based.
It was almost 2 years ago that I wrote about an offensive TV commercial by Bob Parsons' GoDaddy.com outfit.
Well, they're at it again. Via HotAir we see what the marketing wizards at GoDaddy have been up to. Incestuous, sophomoric humor. You can see Parsons respond to Kirsten Powers' questioning the ad's legitimacy with "Aw, come on now... Do you keep your children from going to the mall?"
Now that you mention it Bob, given that teens now consider the media's hyper-sexualized images of women to be normal, we do keep our children from going to the mall.
According to an ABC news story, if you're teenage daughter is posting revealing photos of herself online well, hey, that's okay. In Some Say It's OK for Girls to Go Wild, we read,
Wearing short-shorts and belly shirts, grinding to hip-hop hits, and posting provocative pictures of themselves on the Internet — the behavior of many teen and tween girls has parents wondering if their daughters are bound for a lifetime of promiscuity and loose morals.
But some psychologists and child-development specialists believe nothing about the teenage drama has really changed. While young women may express their sexuality more overtly than they have in the past, for the most part, their behavior isn't cause for alarm. It's a necessary step in growing up.
Of course, that's it - just like when you and I grew up.
Maybe the psychologists should do some additional research over at The Rebelution's Modesty Survey website? Or how about investigating the impact of the little slut dolls aka The Bratz? And let's not even take a peek at what Britney Spears is up to.
Well, let's chill for a minute. Perhaps a more artsy approach to this topic is warranted. Perhaps we can take some solace in the fact that 12 year-old Dakota Fanning is rendered as promiscuous and as the victim of a rape in her upcoming movie Houndog.
Or, perhaps not.
HT: Cold Type
An interesting post at The Technology Liberation Front. Tim Lee writes about a software patent for software that allows visual programming. The abstract for the patent is
A method for programming a computer to execute a procedure, is based on a graphical interface which utilizes data flow diagrams to represent the procedure. The method stores a plurality of executable functions, scheduling functions, and data types. A data flow diagram is assembled in response to the user input utilizing icons which correspond to the respective executable functions, scheduling functions, and data types which are interconnected by arcs on the screen. A panel, representative of an instrument front panel having input and output formats is likewise assembled for the data flow diagram. An executable program is generated in response to the data flow diagram and the panel utilizing the executable functions, scheduling functions, and data types stored in the memory. Furthermore, the executable functions may include user defined functions that have been generated using the method for programming. In this manner, a hierarchy of procedures is implemented, each represented by a data flow diagram.
This is interesting because it utilizes a sort of backwards approach to a problem. Instead of the code being written with characters (a particular software language), it is graphically portrayed, and then translated into the necessary code. Some of the more artistically minded folk out there may consider this a better approach to software development. Personally, I think that, all things being equal, such a method would ultimately be less powerful than the traditional computer language approach.
Data can be represented in many different forms. For my occupation I deal with various datasets which have to do with a particular project in terms of its current and projected cost and schedule status (note: this is not the same as accounting, which typically is concerned with current and past values). For years we have dealt with the various methods and means with which to display the values in our datasets. The various methods can depend on many factors, such as target audience or level of detail, not to mention the mundane, but powerful factor of the project manager's whim. [sidenote: Joe Carter linked to an interesting site which displays a plethora of charting examples]
This backwards approach, as Tim Lee notes, is not necessarily a new idea. Back in the early 1990s I tested software which allowed us to utilize CAD drawings of a nuclear power plant, animate the installation of various components, and then have the software return a schedule of the work. Even today, as part of our homeschooling approach, we use the software Inspiration, which provides the ability to outline a research assignment by means of a user created chart. The software can then translate the chart into a standard outline form.
For people who are visual-learners, this type of an approach can be very illuminating. For people who are a bit more analytical in their thinking, this type of an approach can help open up new vistas, new ways of looking at a particular problem.
Part of our home education mission is to teach our children how to see, especially how to see from different points of view. It's a lesson that applies far beyond a simple outline for one's school assignment of the week.
After the showing of Flags of our Fathers, late last year, we now see Letters from Iwo Jima, which is portrayed as some sort of complementary bookend - a tit for tat type of work that is supposed to provide us with a unique perspective on the warriors we fought against in the Pacific of World War II. Clint Eastwood, the producer of both films, is lauded as having powerfully presented an emotionally charged work which captures the human qualities of the Japanese soldiers. Indeed, another critique goes on to state, in comparing the two films,
Flags was a cynical, skeptical, pointed view of war from the American side.
Letters offers a pure, almost poetic vision through the eyes and language of the Japanese - an idealistic depiction of duty and dying for one's country.
Such admirable praise for those individuals who fought the United State Marines of WWII.
One could almost forgive the reviewers for not mentioning the manner in which the Japanese defended their island of Iwo Jima. Perhaps the reviewers have not read the work from which the first movie was based - the book with the same title, Flags of our Fathers. If they had, then maybe, just maybe, they would have placed more emphasis on how these warriors purposely targeted American medics, sometimes capturing and then mercilessly torturing them (one incident, as told in the book, tells how a medic's body was found three days after he had disappeared - eyes gouged out, tongue cut out, ears cut off, teeth knocked out, arms crushed, with his private parts stuffed in his mouth). Perhaps the reviewers could recount, in detail, the manner in which Japanese soldiers tossed Chinese babies onto their bayonets during the Rape of Nanking.
The Japanese defenders of Iwo Jima were not inhuman, on the contrary - they were human - depraved and evil humans. The Marines landing at Iwo Jima were not perfect - they too were humans - humans fighting for a morally good cause. When a reviewer states,
The ultimate point, of course, is that, despite being an ocean apart, the men fighting and giving their lives on both sides of the battle weren't so different after all. (emphasis added)
that reviewer is flat out wrong.
In a world of historical ignorance, one sees two opposing soldiers as equals. In a world of misplaced tolerance and fluid morality, one sees importance in the emotional well-being of a terrorist.
From Counterterrorism Blog, A Big Week in Jolo,
The US-Assisted Armed Forces of the Philippines had a morale boosting week. Today, the Philippine Government announced that US investigators had positively matched Khadaffy Janjalani’s DNA. The AFP had been certain that Janjalani, the leader of the Abu Sayyaf, had been wounded in a firefight on 4 September 2006. Two ASG captives led them to an unmarked grave and investigators took a sample of DNA. In the night of 16 January, Philippine Special Forces killed Jainal Antel Sali, jr. @Abu Solaiman, the top military planner. Sali was implicated in the kidnapping of US citizen Jeffrey Craig Schilling in 2000 on Jolo island; kidnapping 20 hostages including three Americans from the Dos Palmas resort in Palawan in 2001, one of whom, Guillermo Sobero he decapitated. Of particular gratification to the US military advisors, Sali was responsible for a string of bombings in Zamboanga City in October 2002, one of which killed a US Special Forces personnel, one of the few casualties the Americans have sustained.
Strategies: The global war on terror cannot be won by fighting with conventional methods. We must take the fight to the terrorist organization, seeking out the wretch before the wretch comes to us. These roaches with cellphones must be hit, again, again, again, and again. (also see here).
Here's a little grammar lesson for you:
At Bertha's request Lincoln untied Roy, and he and Kusiq carried him into the tent. Roy's face was bloodied by Lincoln's blow, and he moaned in pain. Little Owl followed them into the tent and put on a pot of tea to soothe everyone's distress.
The preceding is taken from the homeschool curriculum we use - Sonlight, Ltd. It is a literature based curriculum.
So, how did you do? (by the way, the exercise shown is what our 6th grader is currently learning)
Do you read a newspaper anymore? I don't.
I stopped the subscription to our local paper a few years ago, mainly due to the fact that I rarely had a chance to read it. I took some of the money I spent on a daily newspaper and spent it on a subscription to the journals First Things and Touchstone. Yet, while both journals are excellent reads, I have since cancelled both subscriptions. I find that, for the most part, I can get to an article of interest via the web. And it is certainly easier to access news via the internet, as opposed to waiting 24 hours for it to appear in newsprint.
In Good Riddance to Print, Tim Lee expounds on the coming demise of newsprint.
The medium-sized metropolitan dailies are a throwback to the 20th century, and as far as I can see, they're coasting almost entirely on the inertia of older readers who continue reading them out of habit. When I picked up my morning paper, I was struck by how old and shallow the news I found there was. With Google News, I get fresh news just minutes after it happens, and if I'm particularly interested in a story, I can skim reports from a dozen different news outlets.
News. News used to occur when it arrived.
On January 24, 1848, gold was discovered in California (actually, it was first discovered in California several years earlier, but that's a different story). Yet the plethora of miners, stricken with gold fever, were not given the nickname "48'ers." It would take the rest of 1848 for news of the gold discovery to make its way back to the East. Primitive modes of travel would force many to wait until early 1849 to make their trek to California. Hence, 49'ers for a 48'er bit of news.
News. Now news is expected to occur as it happens.
We want the news now. We want to read about it now, we want to hear about it now, and we want to see it now. And if it is yesterday's news, we will deem it less important. Last week's news? Passe.
Despite the benefit of having instant access to news across the world, we should not - we must not - lose sight of our place in a historical context. Past generations understood their place as that of merely present tense - present tense after a long line of very historical events.
We are not, now, history.
The Weather Channel is standing by a climatologist who is taking some heat after blogging that TV weather forecasters skeptical about man-made global warming theories should lose their professional certification.
Evidently, Dr. Heidi Cullen believes that science is validated by dictate in that she quotes a statement by the American Meteorological Society regarding global warming (of the doomsday variety). The statement reads,
There is convincing evidence that since the industrial revolution, human activities, resulting in increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and other trace constituents in the atmosphere, have become a major agent of climate change.
Cullen trips up when she wonders whether the AMS should give its seal of approval to meteorologists who don't accept global warming theory since the AMS doesn't agree that global warming is due to cyclical weather patterns. She states,
It's like allowing a meteorologist to go on-air and say that hurricanes rotate clockwise and tsunamis are caused by the weather. It's not a political statement...it's just an incorrect statement.
Okay, so let's compare the task of demonstrating which direction hurricanes rotate with the convincing evidence regarding a major agent of climate change. Which phenomenon has causation factors that are demonstrably falsifiable?
You see, there probably isn't an AMS statement indicating there is convincing evidence for the direction of hurricane rotation for the simple fact that the data precludes the need for such a statement. The reason a statement is needed for global warming is that the data for it is weak.
In their efforts to capture the public's attention, then, have climate scientists oversold global warming? It's probably not a majority view, but a few climate scientists are beginning to question whether some dire predictions push the science too far.
"Some of us are wondering if we have created a monster," says Kevin Vranes, a climate scientist at the University of Colorado.
Vranes, who is not considered a global warming skeptic by his peers, came to this conclusion after attending an American Geophysical Union meeting last month. Vranes says he detected "tension" among scientists, notably because projections of the future climate carry uncertainties — a point that hasn't been fully communicated to the public.
You gotta love it - "...projections of the future climate carry uncertainties..."
No kidding. Let me add this corollary: The wilder the projection; the greater the uncertainty. Oh, and add to it this footnote: The further into the future the projection; the greater the uncertainty.
Just how far into the future do we have to go before we run into these uncertainties? What does your local weather forecaster give you on the 10 o'clock news? A five day forecast? And how solid is that five day forecast?
Greg, over at Areopagitica, posts on some statistics from the U.S. back in 1906, just 100 years ago. A couple of interesting ones: Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone and, the maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph. Now can you imagine, given the context of life in 1906, what a projection 100 years into the future would have resulted in?