After the events in Iowa last week, it is clear that "the winds of change"
The general population is just fed up with the current situation.
As the old saying goes, "A new broom sweeps clean".
I have the distinct feeling there is going to be a lot of "sweeping" in the
The "Wall of seperation" was penned by Thomas Jefferson during his
term as president. It was in a letter in response to a Baptist
congregation (Danbury) which had written him regarding some concerns
about religiuos freedoms. Jefferson assured them the constitution
protyected their rights to express their religion in civic affairs. He
apparently coined the well known phrase in this letter, although
Madison uses a simialr but stronger phrase "total wall..". However, to
be clear in both case the writers were speaking to the protection of
the church and their religious freedom and not the protection of the
state. More specifically to the churches right to organize and be
active in civic affairs (vote in theior guy). And they both stress
that it is the civic duty of the religious to exercise their "natural
right" and their "right to conscience" commonly interpreted to mean
they should be active in civic affairs such as campaigning, etc. So I
would contend that the legislative intent of the first ammendment is
at least equally strong in both the establishment and restrictive
If you would like, I can go back farther, into maybe the 1600's and
discuss the Mayflower Compact. Now that is a document that claims this
land for God!
By coincidence I've been reading memoirs of W T Sherman -- last night
got to point where the Union had recaptured Fort Sumter. On the day of
the fourth anniversary of its surrender, there was a major observance
during which the specific flag which had been flown at the time of
surrender was re-raised, salutes in tribute and acknowledgment were
fired from the same batteries which had performed the bombardment and
there was a program. The order of the program was to open w/ prayer and
the address was by an ordained preacher. The "separation" so extolled
by the present-day folk as a tenet is, as noted above, absolutely not
the same thing as most now take it to be.
It was, of course, simply that there was a strong aversion to the
founding of an actual state-sponsored and/or required religion and/or
church, _not_ that there should be no religious observation.
True. But one way to make the formation of a state-sponsored religion
difficult, if not impossible, is to forbid government sponsored events
from having officially led prayers. It's a little like the school
prayer bullshit: no one is prevented from praying in school; what is
prevented is any official form of prayer, led by teachers, or by
student leaders. Any student, teacher or principal, can sit and pray
to himself or herself as often as they like, without let or hindrance,
except that if they are too loud at it, others will scratch their
heads and gaze upon them with wonder--asking themselves, "What's that
fool doing out alone?"
Then again, people may just think they're using a cell phone.
But, imo, that violates the proscription clause from the other direction
by eliminating free expression. (Again, I'm not promoting religion,
simply pointing out that what is presently being practiced is _FAR_
different than the observations and intentions and actions of those
involved in the beginning who established the rules as compared to the
interpretations of present day.)
But those rules were made by politicians in a land whose predominant
culture was Protestant Christianity. There was a limit as to what they
could say without losing all support. For example, if you read the
private writings of Jefferson you'll find a much less benign view of
I agree you can say many of the founding fathers had a dim view of
"Religion" but that should not be construed to support any contention
that they weren't "God fearing Christians". They surely were believers
in public and private.
You gotta remember, though, that many Christians cannot accept that
someone is a deist if they don't believe as the Christian believes. If
you don't believe in Christ and the Trinity, then you, by definition,
are NOT a deist.
The gyrations some locals go through to show that scientific theory is
on a par with creationism are absolutely incredible. So far, science
has sort of won, but I'd bet if we get another committed born-again in
the White House, we can kiss that goodbye, and start bowing down to
intelligent creation, a newer form of myth.
Bush is talked to by God. I'd guess that Huckster is, too, or, like
Bush, believes he is. He probably believed the same when he got the
stomach banding that he know calls willpower and diet. Or maybe it was
God that told him that the Writers' Guild had ended their strike for
the talk shows (another facile lie to try to keep from upsetting his
heavy load of union supporters).
Basically, one pseudo-relgious nut a century is sufficient for the
U.S., IMO, and I dont' give a damn what Locke or Adams or even
Jefferson or even my leading founding father, Ben Franklin, would
think. I feel that Eric Hoffer was right: True Believers do too damned
much damage to make up for any good they may do.
Deists believe in a divine power but as I understand it, Christianity
would be, to them, a "revealed religion" relying on Christ being a
divine incarnation which would defy their version of "reason". Of
course, how "reason" derives the divinity to begin with is a little hard
to contemplate... :)
So, I don't see how any Christian would have a problem being convinced
someone is a deist if the don't believe as they do. The last sentence
seems almost precisely backwards.
Huh? That entire parapgraph is incoherent. A "theist" is someone
who believes in God. A Judeo-Christian believer is a theist who
believes God is personally knowable and has expressed Himself
in a number of ways humans can apprehend (General Revelation [nature],
Special Revelation [the Bible], the advent of Jesus, etc.).
A *deist* is some who believes there is a creating God but one
who "wound up the clock of nature" and walked away - in effect
deists believe in a Creator, but not a personally knowable one.
The ignorance that most self-proclaimed modern "sophisticated thinkers"
exhibit in this matter is profound. Science in its perfect form
can only ever be about *how things work*. Science cannot - by its
very definition - speak to questions like "Where did it come from?",
"Why is it here?" or "What does it mean?" That's why it is perfectly
possible to acknowledge the value of science, accepting its results
where they are valid, and at the same time be personally devout in
one's faith. Only the truly arrogant (and ignorant) think science
trumps theology. The fact that a few people have misused religion
and abused science does not speak to the larger issue in any meaningful
And scientists have "Aha Moments!", mathematicians pursue "hunches",
philosophers "contemplate". Your arrogance is exceeded only by
your ignorance. The human thought/creative process is complicated.
It is not easily expressed in words. People faced with difficult
decisions find various ways to work through them. It is hardly
your place to decide which methods are- and are not "acceptable"
until/unless every single thing you do is rooted *exclusively*
in a rational process - something NO functioning human can claim.
Yeah, unlike those fine "rational" atheists/anti-religionists of the
20th Century that were responsible for ... lessee now ... about 100
MILLION dead. You fear the leader with a life of faith. I fear a
conscience-free atheist who thinks science has all the answers, there
is no God to whom they answer, and they are free to do whatever they
wish. This has nothing to do with defending a particular religious
tradition. It has to do with the observable damage that secular
atheists have wrought upon mankind which is many orders of magnitude
worse in kind and scale than all the abuses by religionists over
Oh, and one more thing - it took people of Judeo-Christian faith to do
something in Western culture that NO one had done for the preceding
9000 years: get rid of slavery. Slavery is recorded in almost every
part of the human history we have available. It was those "religious
nuts" in Western Europe and the U.S. that forced their respective
nations to face the moral foul that is slavery. They did this in less
that 500 whereas slavery had been nicely tolerated by virtually every
culture for the preceding nine millennia. So before you blather on
about the evils of religion, you might try and acquaint yourself with
some slight understanding of factual Reality, because the absence of
religion - Judeo-Christianity in particular - has done a whole lot
more harm than its presence. I can provide more examples if you like.
Tim Daneliuk firstname.lastname@example.org
"Science in its perfect form" ? What in the hell does that even mean?
That is absurd! Sure it can! I encourage you to read about "God of the
Why do we have dark followed by night? Don't know, must be God.
Why does it rain? Don't know, must be God.
Where did this meteorite come from? Don't know, God must have sent it here.
What does it mean when I get nauseous after drinking sour milk? Must be God
Lets look into your "Why is it here?" question and use MRSA and other
antibiotic resistant bacterial strains as an example. Bacteria demonstrate
evolution before our very eyes. We know "why MRSA and antibiotic resistant
strains are here" and it they were not before. Over use and mis use of
Bible rigid Christians would disagree with your above statement. Literalist
bible thumpers have a problem accepting evolution and being devout at the
same time. Mainly because they are told that every living organism was
"created" at the same time. Dinosaurs walked the earth with humans, etc.
We now know (Science filling in the Gaps) that this is not the case.
It's called a "boundary condition argument". Assume science were perfect.
What could it "know". It could know how things work, how the universe
operates, how life evolves/adapts, etc. It could NEVER know
where it all came from, why things are the way they are, what - if
any - meaning it has, taken as a whole. Science it a utilitarian
philosophy that is strictly limited in what it can examine - it is
limited to those things open to the empirical/rational method.
But there are lots and lots of other things that matter to humans
than just those that can be inspected by reason and science by its
very structure must be mute on these questions.
I encourage you to explain - just in principle - how by sticking stictly
to science we can ever discover answers to questions of first cause.
Modern Man: I have this nifty swiss army knife of utility value called
"science". Since it has provided so many interesting results for
me and given me useful consequences I will assume, without proof, this
is the only form of knowledge that exists or that I need. I will dumb
down my quest for Truth to that which is limited to purely rational
inspection and make fun of or demean anyone else who has larger questions.
A purely mechanical question well below the level of ontology I was
Now I understand your reasoning: Because there are people who improperly
apply a school of thought or method of knowledge the entire method
is invalid. Guess what Sparky? You better abandon science. I can
show you any number of bad science practitioners just as you can show
me bad theologians. But unlike you, I don't presume science is invalid
because some people abuse it.
Truly ignorant on your part. I have studied and been schooled by
*both* rational empiricists, mathematicians, AND theologians.
The smartest of the bunch - by a mile - were the theologians.
This doesn't make them right. But your dismissal of theology
to the benefit of science means that you've simply switched religions.
Instead of treating science for what it is - a utilitarian philosophy
of knowledge - you've elevated it to being a belief system.
Welcome to the world of religion.
Tim Daneliuk email@example.com
PGP Key: http://www.tundraware.com/PGP /
Well, if it were to be such perfect knowledge then it would also be able
to ascertain the existence or not of the outside influence--ergo, all
would be known including root cause.
It may also turn out, that the root cause is, indeed, buried in the
randomness of quantum theory.
Then again, more realistically, it's likely we'll continue delving
No Sir (or Ma'am as the case may be) - for the following reasons:
Note 1: Science - by it's design and method is innately limited to
those things which can be known by means of the
sense/reason process, as filtered through the rules of logic.
Once you leave sense/reason and/or abandon logic, it *may*
be "true" but it is not science, nor can science comment
upon it. This is where the Intelligent Design people
get in trouble, BTW - they take a big jump that is
outside the methods of science (a jump with which I at
least partially agree), but then demand it be recognized
as "science". Good manners demands that we all admit
the limits of any system of knowledge we're currently
using. I fault the IDers for this but I also fault
the science worshipers for assuming everything else is crap.
Note 2: Goedel pretty much demolished the idea that *any* logical
system can be internally consistent AND complete. In effect,
using logic, you *cannot* "ascertain the existence or not of
outside influence". This drove mathematical logicians
mad when it was first demonstrated within mathematics.
Science folk - especially those who are laypersons interested
in science without the requisite mathematical background -
often don't get how this translates into the limits of
knowledge for *any* logic-based reasoning system, including
For instance, a perfect science would take us all the way back
to the Big Bang (or before that if there was a "before"), explaining
all the minutae of how it worked. But even perfect science could
not meaningfully comment upon whence the matter and energy that
comprised the "First Event" came from. It's an interesting
question because science does inform us that matter and energy can
be exchanged but not increased. So ... where did it come from?
Who/what made it happen? Why do the rules of quantum physics
(to the extent we understand them), cosmology, etc. work the
way they do. Once you step up a level from the mechanical details
you discover: a) Science has no voice in these existential/ontological
questions and b) They are pretty dang interesting questions.
Even so, how things got to be quantum/random is a question
science cannot answer.
Probably, and that is as it should be. The search for knowledge is
a very good thing for we humans to undertake. I just rebel at the idea
that there is only *one* meaningful way to know things, that's all...
Tim Daneliuk firstname.lastname@example.org
Well, it appears it just "is" -- read Hawking, Greene, etc., ..., for
about the best common explanation of what we now understand.
As for "why" it works as it does, it's getting to appear more and more
that "because it can't work any other way" is a reasonable approximation.
Many people seem to confuse what science _has_ done with what science
_can_ do. We're a long, long way from hitting the limits. Maybe
there _are_ questions that it can't answer. If so, I'd wait until we
knew enough to allow it to take a solid whack at them before I
dismissed its ability to do so.
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