Politics Archive

Monday, February 6, 2006

Scary Religious E-mail

This is an excerpt from another entry on this blog. The original entry was so long that I wasn't sure people would read the whole thing, so I've decided to pull out the best parts into their own entries.

The other day, I received a religious e-mail that was pretty disturbing. Basically, it links separation of church and state with the September 11th terrorist attacks, then goes on to say that the world's going to Hell in handbasket because of our Godless ways. I think it's scary the type of mindset it takes to write that type of e-mail, believe it, or forward it on to people.

Continue reading "Scary Religious E-mail" »

Monday, February 6, 2006

Retroactive Soapbox Entry- Fed Up with U.S. Public, Part II

Note: This is a post of an essay that first appeared on my website November 2nd, 2005. The original essay can be found here. This is part of an ongoing effort to put all of my soapbox entries onto this blog, to give a space for user feedback. A "new" retroactive post will be made every Monday.

To start off, let me say that when this soap box entry was written, it wasn't completely up to date with current events. I began writing this in August, before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. But, like it says on my homepage, my website's just a hobby, so with my focus being on other things, it's taken me a little while to write this entry. I've even put this essay aside to complete two other pages on this site that were more important to get done quickly (Guatemala 2005 Photos and Homosexual Marriage Soapbox Entry). So, there are many things I've seen since I started writing this essay that would go right along with the topic, especially remarks I've seen related to Hurricane Katrina. However, in the interest of actually completing this essay and getting it posted on my website, I'm not going to write about them. In fact, I'm even going to drop one of the original topics I was going to discuss, Justice Sunday II, just because it's taking me so long to write this.

2 November 2005

Okay, I don't want to beat a dead horse. I know I've gone over the subject of evolution several times. So, I'm going to try to stear clear of that in this essay. (Maybe I'll start a new section on my site, Evolution Rants, so I can just write away about it to my heart's content, and not have it interfere with the rest of this site.) Anyway, I've been doing a lot of reading over the past couple months on evolution, creationism, science, religion, etc., probably devoting more time to it than I should. And so it's making me notice these things more in daily life. And now I think that the whole evolution vs. creationism debate is just the symptom of a larger problem in this country. I'll just throw out a few examples here in the opening paragraph, and then discuss them later on. First, just the other day, I got an e-mail, the same one from two different people (though one guy sent it to me just to get a rise out of me, but it still shows that it's making the rounds), that correllated the September 11th terrorist attacks with taking prayer out of school and the moral decline of our country. Second, and I don't remember exactly where I saw this, but at the time, some book called Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About by Kevin Trudeau was the second best selling book in America, followed behind Harry Potter. Actually, as I began writing this in August 2005, and again when I checked in October 2005, it's at the number one spot for Hardcover Advice on the New York Times bestseller list. And finally, I was watching the National Geographic Channel the other night, and on their new series, Is It True (which is a very good series, by the way), they did a special on excorcisms, and showed all the people that are buying into it.

All of these examples, as well as my previous rants on evolution, show a society that's increasingly abandoning science and embracing the mystical. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm a Christian myself (though my views would probably get me branded as a heretic in most circles), so I believe that there's more to the universe than just what science can tell us. And some home medical remedies do work. But I think that for the most part, scientists, doctors, and other technical people know what they're doing and what they're talking about, supernatural explanations are usually the wrong explanations, given the choice between homeopathy and modern medicine - I'd take modern medicine any day, and that some of the religious views in this country right now, to put it frankly, just plain scare me.

Continue reading "Retroactive Soapbox Entry- Fed Up with U.S. Public, Part II" »

Monday, January 30, 2006

Retroactive Soapbox Entry- Legalizing Homosexual Marriage, Part II

Note: This is a post of an essay that first appeared on my website October 26th, 2005. The original essay can be found here. This is part of an ongoing effort to put all of my soapbox entries onto this blog, to give a space for user feedback. A "new" retroactive post will be made every Monday.

26 October 2005

On November 8th, among other things, Texans will vote on Proposition 2, "The constitutional amendment providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage."

Now, I know I've written about the issue of homosexual marriage before (2004-04-02 Soapbox Entry, but in light of the upcoming vote, and considering that I live in Texas, I thought it would be worthwhile to visit the issue on my website again (actually, this current essay began its life as an e-mail written in response to a chain mail that I received about Proposition 2). I won't try to cover all of the points in that original essay - no sense in repeating everything here since I've already written most of it down, once. However, there will still be some repetition, because I feel that the additional time to think has allowed me to reword some of the points in a better manner. This essay will also contain a few new points I've thought up since that original soapbox entry.

Continue reading "Retroactive Soapbox Entry- Legalizing Homosexual Marriage, Part II" »

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Retroactive Soapbox Entry- Fed Up with U.S. Public & Religious Fundamentalism

Note: This is a post of an essay that first appeared on my website August 15th, 2005. The original essay can be found here. This is part of an ongoing effort to put all of my soapbox entries onto this blog, to give a space for user feedback. A "new" retroactive post will be made every Monday.

15 August 2005

It seems like religious fundamentalism, specifically Fundamentalist Christianity, is on the rise in this country. I don't know if that's actually the case, whether regligious fundamentalists are just becoming more vocal, or whether it's because I moved from the northeast down to Texas, so I've noticed it more. Even though I'm a Christian, to me, religious fundamentalism seems like a bad thing. It takes a mindset that ignores scientific evidence and fosters ignorance, keeps scientifically knowledgeable non-Christians from accepting the religion, causes scientifically knowledgeable Christians (like myself) to question their faith, and in general makes Christianity seem like a religion for ignorant people. Worse, even though so many people claim to be Christians, I see a huge amount of hypocrisy in this country.

So, I'm writing this Soapbox entry. This is probably one of the least organized and least constructive essays I've ever put on my site. It's mainly just a chance for me to vent about things I see going on around me. Several of my friends fit into some of the things I'm complaining about, so don't take this too seriously. Yes, these things bother me, but my wording's probably a little bit stronger than I actually feel about it. They certainly haven't come in the way of any of my friendships.

Continue reading "Retroactive Soapbox Entry- Fed Up with U.S. Public & Religious Fundamentalism" »

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Public Opinion Polls as Reasons to Teach Creationism & ID

Ever since I've gotten caught up in reading a lot of the debate between science and ID/creationism, I've noticed that many people try to use public opinion polls to say that ID or creationism should be taught alongside evolution in the science classroom. And ever since the Dover trial decision, I've read quite a few more articles using that argument, so I thought that I'd briefly address it.

Trying to base science curricula off of the public's understanding of science is just plain silly. Yes, we live in a democracy, so people should have a say in things that go on in our country. Unfortunately, most people don't have a good understanding of science. In 2001, the National Science Foundation conducted a Survey of Public Attitudes Toward and Understanding of Science and Technology. A summary of some of the findings are copied below.

United States Europe
The center of the Earth is very hot. (True) 80 88
All radioactivity is man-made. (False) 76 53
The oxygen we breathe comes from plants. (True) 87 80
It is the father's gene which decides whether the baby is a boy or a girl. 65 48
Lasers work by focusing sound waves. (False) 45 35
Electrons are smaller than atoms. (True) 48 41
Antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria. (False) 51 40
The continents on which we live have been moving their location for millions of years and will continue to move in the future. (True) 79 82
Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals. (True) 53 69
The earliest humans lived at the same time as the dinosaurs. (False) 48 59
Radioactive milk can be made safe by boiling it. (False) 65 64
Does the Earth go around the Sun, or does the Sun go around the Earth? (Earth around the Sun) 75 67
How long does it take for the Earth to go around the Sun? (one year) 54 56
SOURCES: National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics, Survey of Public Attitudes Toward and Understanding of Science and Technology, 2001; and European Commission, Eurobarometer 55.2 survey and standard report, Europeans, Science and Technology, December 2001.

Science & Engineering Indicators – 2004

Just look at some of those results, and not just the ones about evolution. They clearly show that a lot of people really don't know much about science. I mean, one in four people thought that the Sun goes around the Earth, half of the people surveyed didn't realize that electrons were smaller than atoms, and nearly half of the people didn't know that it takes a year for the Earth to go around the Sun. If this is American's understanding of basic, simple scientific facts, why should we rely on public opinion polls when it comes to teaching ID alongside evolution, or creationism in science at all, even ignoring the separation of church and state. School curricula should be determined by experts in the fields.

Really, if there's one thing that these public opinion polls tell us, it's where the weaknesses are in our science education system that need to be addressed. If our education system's so bad off that only half of Americans accept evolution, we obviously need to do a better job of teaching it (and apparently a whole bunch of other areas, as well).


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