Because I'm not a scientist and will never see Ben Stein's movie claiming that simple, honest creationists are the victims of a cabal of evolutionary biologists and other scientists aiming to erase the local god from society, I feel inadequate to comment on the movie. However, that's what this blog is for. How could I not? "Expelled", Stein's creationist film, attacks two things I hold dear; The scientific method of winnowing mere speculation down to solid theory and rational enlightenment. Stein also elevates the thing I most loathe, religion. Oh how could I not?
Stalin, Hitler and the tobacco companies all perverted science to political ends, but their webs of lies didn't last twenty years because science is self correcting. Lisenko's genetic theories could only be sustained by a police state, as was the racial purity of the German fascists. Big tobacco only had money to save them from the nasty habit that science has of telling us things we don't want to hear, but that lasted only a couple of decades. From cold fusion to homeopathy to zero point energy science has doused these unsupportable concepts with a bucket of research. Every day every where there is some con man dreaming up an new cure or secret energy source. I've had one guy tell me that if you entered the king james bible into a compiler it would run as software. I've been told by folk, now dead, that the apricot pits they were eating would cure their cancer. Ditto with wheat grass, mega dose vitamins and prayer.
Creationism has been re-packaged as "intelligent design" in a dishonest effort to revive the dead folk tale into the pantheon of scientific theories. The IDiots want to add their beliefs to those rare theories that represent millions of man-hours of research and endless perfecting. The Theories of gravity, germs, mathematics , evolution and physics have tens of thousands of scientists working to better hone these theories. Physics has a way to go yet, but the big pieces are there (I think). The various gods haven't shown up in any of these theories, and this drives people like Stein and the Discovery Institute crazy.
If the creationists want to be taken seriously they first need to enter the scientific arena without their pre-conceived postulates based on bronze age mythology. Let the observations create the theory.
As a former small town dweller, city councilman and mayor I understand what Obama was grasping to explain when he opined why small town middle Americans are voting directly against their own interests. He thought "bitter" described their mood, but cynical is much more on target. Rural America has been slapped around quite regularly in the last century. Un-urban America is falling more and more out of the modern global economy. This decline is a function of free markets in action.
The county where I lived between 1975 and 1990 had an economy based on logging, mining, cattle and transfer payments (welfare). Mining played out and moved on. Logging was unsustainable at the rate being cut, and the trees ran out. The sawmill closed. Cattle ranching is still going strong, but employs few people in that the processing and marketing of the beef is done in a more urban setting. Transfer payments are problematic in that welfare reform has booted most of the old families that have been generationally dependent on the subsidy off the rolls. I make no judgement here. The Democrats who used to represent the area brought a Job Corps facility to the county and forrest service facilities that oversee the leasing of government lands to ranchers and sale of the diminishing timber stock. As the economy faded in the last half of the 1980s Republicans began to edge their way in by telling the voters that the source of all their problems was "government interference". Retirees moved in, with their general rejection of school taxes, and the schools deteriorated. The politicians campaigned on privatization of the schools. Parents fearing the problems of urban schools flee to rural America and start private schools that have forced prayer and don't pollute their kids minds with evolution and sex education. Limbaugh preaches three hours a day to the faithful on the liberal roots of their problem. Things just get worse and cynicism prevails.
Give Barak Obama a break. His word usage was wrong, but he wasn't playing the Kabuki politics that requires no analysis or criticism. Rural Americans are the salt of the earth and no naysaying will be allowed.
Pope "Eggs" Benedict, former Nazi and head of the spiritual KGB within the catholic church better known as "The Inquisition" has come to New York. Daily he changes cheap wine into blood and soda crackers into jesus meat and feeds these gorey treats to his cultists. On the West Coast we have the first counter demonstration against the Dali Lama, former pope of Tibet. The nerve of some people! Most folk think the Dali Lama is a sort of glowing entity with one foot in the great beyond and the other on the earth. Granted he never, to my knowledge, sent albino monks out to murder Tom Hanks, but he is the head of a theocracy in exile. The Tibetan tribal theocracy had a very dark side that went underground with the Chinese invasion and occupation. Unfortunately I have a complete archive of The National Geographic Magazine on CD ROM, and viewed the piles of bones of the serfs that the monks had flayed the flesh from for "banditry". The article, from the late '20s went on to explain that banditry was any withholding of the cut of their production demanded by the monastery looming over the villages and fields. Not exactly the heaven on earth imagined by many.
On balance Tibet is a tribal culture, and should be viewed as such. On the other hand the Church of Rome knows better, but does evil anyway.