December 2007


Before you support Ron Paul, I recommend reading this:

Respectful Insolence – Ron Paul: Quackery enabler:

In some ways, it’s easy to see why Ron Paul attracts strong support from certain significant segment of the American electorate. His opposition to the war in Iraq is perhaps the premier reason, as it resonates with both the left and the right. Some of his libertarian views appeal to conservatives and liberals, as do what are viewed as his anti-“New World Order” foreign policy proposals and attacks on the encroachment of the post-9/11 security state, the latter of which, I must admit, appeals to me. The problem is that there’s just too much other baggage associated with his positions on theses issues, and that baggage is full of cranks. For one thing, Paul’s religion sets the limits of his libertarianism, leading him to support much of the Christian right agenda. For another thing, Paul courts the support of the most reactionary wing of the libertarian movement. Meanwhile he accepts neo-Nazi money and makes lame excuses for doing so; published racist tracts back in the 1990s; made a nutcase like Lew Rockwell his Chief of Staff; not only supports, but actively promotes quackery-friendly legislation designed to neutralize the FTC and FDA; and doesn’t accept evolution. This confluence of crankery makes it very hard for me to find any way to conclude that Paul’s opposition to the war and the abuses of federal power resulting from it can possibly overcome such powerful negatives. It’s even harder for me not to come to the conclusion that he is, on many issues, a crank par excellence, which is, of course, almost certainly why he exhibits such powerful crank magnetism. Electing Ron Paul would be electing a major crank to the Presidency and hoping that only the sane parts of his agenda are enacted into law and policy.

Good luck with that.

Guess who is #1….

The BEAST 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2007

From the Carpetbagger Report:

As the campaign unfolds, Mike Huckabee sounds less like a former governor, and more like a religious right activist with reporters following him around.

Read the full article

From the Church of Flying Spaghetti Monster:

The Tampa Tribune reports the Polk County School Board was caught by surprise by the widespread response to their interest in Intelligent Design. They have decided not to pursue the teaching of Intelligent Design.

I suppose it’s a victory for science, but I was optimistic about Polk County being the first to introduce Pastafarian theories into the curriculum.

The article by Billy Townsend is titled “Polk Needled, Noodled in Evolution Flap“.

It’s an excellent article. I’m even quoted a couple times. I admit it sounds like I’m against the inclusion of supernatural theories in science, which would include Pastafarian beliefs as well as Intelligent Design, but I assure you my statements are part of a larger strategy of some sort, in the best interest of Pastafarianism.

Here is a excerpt from the Tampa Tribune article:

Public floggings hurt, even when administered by satirical sacred noodles.

Ask the Polk County School Board. The panel made news last month when five of its seven members declared a personal belief in the concept of intelligent design, the religiously based explanation of the development of life believed in by many Christians.

Four of those five sympathetic board members said they would like to see intelligent design taught in Polk schools as an alternative to Darwinian evolution, at a time when new state standards mentioning evolution by name for the first time are under consideration.

Just like that, it appeared the Darwin wars had found their newest battlefield.

Yet a few weeks later, the controversy is dying with a whimper. There’s no board support for a challenge to the proposed standards. Some of the five school board members blame the local newspaper for trying to start a fight.

“It’s not our agenda,” said Tim Harris, one of the board members. “My personal opinion and how I vote don’t always jibe.”

What happened? You can start with the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The satirical religious Web site asserts that an omnipotent, airborne clump of spaghetti intelligently designed all life with the deft touch of its “noodly appendage.” Adherents call themselves Pastafarians. They deluged Polk school board members with e-mail demanding equal time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism’s version of intelligent design.

“They’ve made us the laughingstock of the world,” said Margaret Lofton, a school board member who supports intelligent design.

From Toledoblade.com:

Legal battles over public displays of religious symbols pop up every Christmas season, but a survey by the Barna Group shows that three-quarters of Americans are in agreement on one of the fundamental elements of the holiday: that Jesus Christ was born to a virgin, Mary.

Three out of four people polled said they believe Jesus was born to a virgin as described in the Gospel narratives, according to the latest Barna survey. The Ventura, Calif.-based polling firm asked 1,005 adults whether they viewed six Bible stories as literal truth or “merely as stories told to communicate life’s principles.”

George Barna, founder and director of the Barna Group, said in an interview with The Blade that a majority of respondents in virtually all demographic categories voiced a literal belief in the virgin birth.

There was little difference between Protestants and Catholics on this point, he said, but among evangelicals, the percentage who said they believe that the virgin birth was literally true was in “the upper 90s,” Mr. Barna said.

Except for atheists and agnostics, of whom just 15 percent took the virgin birth story as historically true, a majority of all other subgroups believed it to be factual.

“As we looked at 65 or 66 different population subgroups, and compared them across all kinds of measures, there really was not much distinction across any of the groups,” Mr. Barna said.

In addition, some subgroups in which a majority rejected the literal interpretation of other Bible stories broke the pattern in regard to the virgin birth, he said. For example, 60 percent of people who categorized themselves as “mostly liberal on political and social issues” expressed a literal belief in the virgin birth.

The survey asked similar questions about five other Bible stories, with poll results showing that:

–69 percent of adults believed Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana.

–68 percent believed Jesus used five loaves of bread and two fish to feed a crowd of 5,000.

–64 percent believed the Earth was covered by a flood in which Noah, his family, and numerous animals were spared by living on an Ark.

–56 percent expressed literal belief in the Bible account of the devil, disguised a serpent, tempting Eve to eat forbidden fruit.

–49 percent accepted as accurate the Bible story of Samson losing his legendary strength when Delilah had his hair cut.

Mr. Barna said more people are prone to believe New Testament stories as literally true than Old Testament writings, a result that was especially notable among Catholics.

Including results from previous recent polls on Bible stories, Mr. Barna said about half of the Catholics surveyed believed Old Testament stories were literal while three-quarters of Catholics said they believed New Testament stories were literally true.

The Barna Group interviewed 1,005 adults by telephone in December, with a sampling error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

Reprinted from the Herald-Tribune:

SARASOTA – City officials plan to return a $1,000 donation to a local church that paid to have a bench and plaque honoring Jesus Christ installed at Sarasota’s bayfront park.

In a legal opinion sent to city staff yesterday, City Attorney Bob Fournier concluded the plaque would be unconstitutional under the clause of the First Amendment which separates church and state.

The plaque – which would have read: “Sit here for healing, hope and salvation, in memory of Jesus Christ.” – failed a three-part test set by the U.S. Supreme Court, Fournier said.

Congregates at Sarasota-based Hope International Ministries collected $1,000 to pay for the bench and plaque under the city’s legacy bench program. The program is designed to allow residents to honor lost relatives or friends.

But the church’s message raised a red flag for Public Works Director Todd Kucharski, who sent Fournier an e-mail earlier this month asking if the plaque would violate the Constitution’s separation clause.

“I think it was better that it was looked at before the bench was installed,” Fournier said. “A citizen who reads a plaque in the park that says by sitting on a bench you can achieve salvation from Jesus can come to the conclusion that the city is promoting Christianity.”

Hope Ministries Pastor Ron Kutinsky said a church member came up with the ideal as another way to reach out to the community and “lift the name of Jesus.”

Kutinsky said he was shocked Friday to hear the city would return the check. “It seems kind of funny this time of year when everyone stop to honor our savior that a plaque honoring his name would be rejected.

“But we’ll take the $1,000 and put it into another effort to bless the community of Sarasota.”

Read more about this in Friday’s Herald-Tribune.

YouTube Video:

Dr. Ken Miller talks about the relationship between Homo sapiens and the other primates. He discusses a recent finding of the Human Genome Project which identifies the exact point of fusion of two primate chromosomes that resulted in human chromosome #2….

Some quotes from Pinellas County School Board members that rejects evolution-only teaching (from Tampa-Bay.com):

“I think that students should be given the opportunity to view all theories on how man evolved and let their science background and their religious background take over as to which one they believe in,” said Gallucci, the immediate past president of the National School Boards Association.

Bostock: “The entire theory of evolution is not scientific fact. Intelligent design balances it out.”

Cook: “To teach one as if nothing else existed, I think we’re doing our students a disservice.”

O’Shea suggested that parents who object to evolution being taught to their children might be able to opt them out of that day’s lesson. “I’d probably ideally like to keep it all out of the classroom,” she said. “If it’s going to create this much controversy, how important is it?”

I see ignorance of science is well represented on the school board.

From The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster:

I suggest we contact the school board and let them know there are more than two theories of our origins. Pastafarianism is built on similar tenets as Intelligent Design, and has much greater support from the academic community.

Contact Info:

Office: (727) 588-6300
E-mail: Board@pcsb.org

While you are at it you may want to contact the Polk County School Board as well.  Polk county is starting to notice that Pastafarians want their (superior) theory taught in the science classrooms.

From the Herald-Tribune:

Human bodies exhibit to be shown in Sarasota

SARASOTA — The exhibit that has drawn praise and criticism for its intimate look at the inner workings of the human body is coming to Sarasota beginning this week.

“Bodies Revealed” opens for what promoters call a limited engagement on Friday at G.WIZ, the hands-on science museum. The length of the exhibit’s stay will be decided by its popularity, organizers said.

Full article here

If you haven’t seen the BODIES exhibit yet, I highly recommend it.

More information available at the G.WIZ webiste:
http://www.gwiz.org/

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