Category Archives: Politics

Editorial Supports Hambo on School Field Trips

We found a totally crazy editorial in the Tulsa Beacon, a weekly newspaper in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They don’t have a comments section. The editorial is titled Atheists target school field trips. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

A group of atheists [Gasp!] is trying to prevent school children in Kentucky from visiting the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. They sent letters to some schools surrounding the museum with a warning that they shouldn’t take students on field trips there because all public school events should be “secular.” They want students to be taught that only the theory of evolution – that man evolved from ape-like creatures [Oh no!] – be taught and that schools have no Christian influence.

We recently wrote about the field trip controversy — see Hambo’s War on the Constitution. Hambo was complaining about a letter claiming that public school field trips to the Ark Encounter or Creation Museum are unconstitutional violations of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. He insisted that separation of church and state is nonsense. Now he has support in Oklahoma. The editorial says:

They [the hell-bound atheists] ignore the U.S. Constitution, which allows students to explore differing viewpoints. [Huh?] Ken Ham, the CEO and founder of Answers in Genesis, said children already get “evolutionary and atheistic indoctrination … five days a week for the whole school year.”

Then the editorial tells us:

The only way that a public school would violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution would be if teachers told students that this is the only true interpretation and that they must accept Jesus Christ. In other words, there is nothing wrong with a visit to the museum but it is an exceptional educational and cultural experience.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The teachers don’t need to say anything. Hambo’s museum and Ark replica make that claim for them. The editorial continues:

It is a parallel principle to the teaching of the Bible in public schools, which is completely constitutional even though school boards and administrators all over the nation forbid it.

Yes, it’s “completely” Constitutional. Let’s read on:

This is a bullying tactic by the secular humanists (atheists) who want students to be indoctrinated – not taught – only the “facts” that they adhere to.

Ooooooooooooh! Insisting that public schools should adhere to the Constitution is a “bullying tactic.” Why — Oh why — do they oppose theocracy?

Another excerpt:

The rate of Biblical illiteracy in America is getting worse. When the United States was founded, the Bible was the primary textbook. Our legal system is based on principles from the Bible.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! See Is America a “Christian Nation”? And now we come to the end:

The field trips should continue unhindered.

Hambo must be thrilled to be supported by such a brilliant editorial. So let the buses roll!

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The Discoveroids and Thomas Jefferson, Again

They did it last year — see Discoveroids Pervert the 4th of July Again and they’ve done it before. It began nine years ago with Thomas Jefferson Joins The Discovery Institute!

The Discoveroids are once again hijacking Thomas Jefferson, perverting his views and the meaning of the American Revolution. The latest in this shameful series was posted at their creationist blog on the Fourth: We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident. As with some of the earlier versions, it was written by Stephen Meyer. This one even has the same title as his similar post last year.

Meyer’s Discoveroid job description has changed over the years, but as their bio page indicates, he’s one of their senior fellows and currently the Program Director of their Center for Science and Culture — that’s their creationism shop. It should not be forgotten that Meyer was a central figure in the infamous Sternberg peer review controversy. Here are some excerpts from his new post, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

On Independence Day, it’s appropriate to review the sources of our rights as citizens. There is one source that is more basic than any other, yet that receives less than the attention it deserves. I refer to the idea that there is an intelligent creator who can be known by reason from nature, a key tenet underlying the Declaration of Independence — as well as, curiously, the modern theory of intelligent design.

Amazing, isn’t it? The American Revolution was based on intelligent design! Whoa — hold on a minute! This year’s post is a duplicate of what Meyer wrote last year. We’ve been duped!

Okay, two can play that game. We’ll remind you of a few of our own posts from the past. First there’s Thomas Jefferson on Young-Earth Creationism, in which we quoted extensively from his Notes on the State of Virginia, and then said:

Jefferson, when confronted with the peculiarity of fossil seashells on mountaintops, rejected all three hypotheses which were current in his day: (1) the Flood, because there was no evidence for it; (2) geological convulsions (the correct answer) because the science of geology was then unknown; and (3) Voltaire’s spontaneous generation, which seemed ridiculous. Then, to his great credit, he declared that “Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, then he who believes what is wrong.”

We also wrote The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. It was Jefferson’s work. We quoted the statute in its entirety, after which we said:

[T]hose who try to rewrite American history to assert a theocratic meaning for Jefferson’s Declaration and (largely) Madison’s Constitution and Bill of Rights are strangely silent about this statute.

This is the last paragraph of Meyer’s duplicate post:

The growing evidence of design in life [Hee hee!] has stunning and gratifying implications for our understanding of America’s political history — and for our country’s future. On the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the evidence for “Nature’s God,” and thus for the reality of our rights, is stronger than ever.

The Discoveroids are not only — shall we say — somewhat deficient regarding science, but their understanding of America’s founding is also in need of some heavy-duty work. In that regard, inspired by Meyer’s repetition, we’ll wrap this up by referring you to one of our own favorites: Is America a “Christian Nation”?

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The Enlightenment as the Sixth Estate

This is difficult for an American to write because it involves concepts from another time and place, but we’ll give it a try. Historically there have been three Estates of the realm. Wikipedia says:

[They] were the broad orders of social hierarchy used in Christendom (Christian Europe) from the medieval period to early modern Europe. Different systems for dividing society members into estates developed and evolved over time. The best known system is the French Ancien Régime (Old Regime), a three-estate system used until the French Revolution (1789–1799). Monarchy was for the king and the queen and this system was made up of clergy (the First Estate), nobles (the Second Estate), and peasants and bourgeoisie (the Third Estate).

In some regions, notably Scandinavia and Russia, burghers (the urban merchant class) and rural commoners were split into separate estates, creating a four-estate system with rural commoners ranking the lowest as the Fourth Estate. Furthermore, the non-landowning poor could be left outside the estates, leaving them without political rights.

For those who live in what we call Western civilization, that describes a creepy, alien kind of society. But the concepts linger. We now have people who refer to themselves as the Fourth Estate, about which Wikipedia says:

The Fourth Estate (or fourth power) is a segment of society that wields an indirect but significant influence on society even though it is not a formally recognized part of the political system. The most commonly recognized part of the fourth estate is the news media, or press.

[…]

Thomas Carlyle attributed the origin of the term to Edmund Burke … . [They quote Carlyle:] “Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all.”

[…]

Oscar Wilde wrote: “In old days men had the rack. Now they have the Press. That is an improvement certainly. But still it is very bad, and wrong, and demoralizing.”

And that’s not the end of it. Wikipedia also describes the Fifth Estate as “a socio-cultural reference to groupings of outlier viewpoints in contemporary society, and is most associated with bloggers, journalists publishing in non-mainstream media outlets, and the social media …:”

The “Fifth Estate” includes all kinds of economic, political, and supernatural craziness, including creationists, who dream of their glory days when they were the First Estate and literally wielded the power of life and death.

So why do we bother discussing these shadowy concepts today? It’s because we humbly suggest the existence of what could be described as a Sixth Estate — the only one that really matters. And what would that be? Isn’t it obvious? It’s science — recognized and liberated by the Enlightenment, which doomed the traditional estates to utter insignificance. What we’re describing isn’t really an “estate” in the traditional sense, because those who comprise it wield no actual power — except over their own minds.

The Enlightenment has been a constant theme of this humble blog since its earliest days — see, for example: Discovery Institute: Enemies of the Enlightenment. As we said there:

The Scottish Enlightenment achieved advances in numerous fields, including, e.g., philosophy (David Hume, one of the greatest philosophers, an empiricist, skeptic, and advocate of separation of powers and decentralized government), economics (Adam Smith, intellectual founding father of the free enterprise system), and geology (James Hutton, father of modern geology, and discoverer of “deep time” which contradicts the brief Genesis chronology of creation). Almost a century later, that continuing outburst of rationality resulted in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Additionally, due to trans-Atlantic travel and correspondence (Benjamin Franklin knew David Hume, for example) the Scottish Enlightenment inspired the American Revolution, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. It created an intellectual climate of reason and progress that powers our civilization to this day.

Reason, liberty, science, free enterprise — splendid results for an intellectual movement. Not even Athens at the height of its glory enjoyed such a philosophical foundation. We experience more freedom, health, and prosperity than any age ever dreamed of, and we have more knowledge of the universe than was ever believed possible. But not everyone is delighted with those magnificent accomplishments. Would-be tyrants, theocrats, Grand Inquisitors, Marxists, fascists, and other assorted despots are nostalgic for the pre-Enlightenment days when men lived in ignorance and unthinkingly obeyed authority. They hope for a restoration of those sordid centuries, imagining that in such a nightmare world they would be our masters.

Okay, now how can we bring this rambling discussion to a close? We suggest that it’s of vital importance to recognize — and teach! — what drives the age in which we live, and what lurks in the darkness that would bring our civilization to an end. It’s not enough to enjoy the life that we have. We need to know how it happened, what a difficult struggle it was — and how important it is to defend what we have against those who want to drag us backward.

So there you are, dear reader. Make of it what you will, but we think this is one of our best posts ever.

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Mitt Romney’s Nephew — Creationist

As most of you recall, Mitt Romney was the Republican Party’s candidate for President of the United States in the 2012 election, and he was defeated by Barack Obama.

Romney’s nephew, Doug Robinson, is running for the nomination to be the Republican candidate for Governor of Colorado. There’s an article about him in the Post Independent of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Their headline is Race to June state primaries continues through Glenwood Springs. They have a comments section, with no comments so far. Here are some excerpts from the news article, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Mitt Romney’s nephew, Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Robinson, made a campaign stop in Glenwood Springs Wednesday afternoon at The Pullman [a restaurant]. He was the third candidate in the crowded field of both Republicans and Democrats to pass through Glenwood Springs in less than a week.

They list the other candidates who had visited their town and then say:

With the June 26 primaries rapidly approaching, Robinson, who made the ballot after a district judge ruled in his favor, will face off against fellow Republican candidates Lopez, the former mayor of Parker; former state Rep. Victor Mitchell; and current state Treasurer Walker Stapleton, who was the top choice among Republicans at the state party assembly this spring.

Robinson shared his views on a number of relevant issues.

They go through his views on a whole list of issues, such as minimum wage (it shouldn’t be raised), marijuana (he’s concerned), selling public lands (he’s generally against it), higher education (student loans shouldn’t be forgiven), sanctuary cities for undocumented immigrants (he’s opposed), and the Second Amendment (he won’t support a ban on assault weapons). Then they get to what concerns us:

Evolution, creationism, intelligent design: When asked if, as governor, would he support the teachings of creationism or intelligent design in Colorado’s public schools the candidate replied, “I think there’s a place for teaching evolution, teaching creationism, teaching intelligent design. Our kids should know what’s out there, they should be exposed to all of that.” Robinson continued, “Let’s present all the facts to our kids. Let them decide how they feel about it.”

The man is an idiot! Oh, one more issue:

Climate change: Robinson said he believes in climate change.

Whatever he means by that. This is the article’s last paragraph:

Ballots for the June 26 primaries will be sent out June 4. Voters not associated with either the Democratic or Republican Party will receive two ballots; however only one may be completed for the votes to count. Registered Democrats and Republicans will receive their respective party’s ballot.

We don’t know anything about the other candidates, and we won’t be following this race too closely, but because of the Romney connection, we thought Robinson’s views were interesting.

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