All the graves of US Confederate soldiers have opened up, and the evil dead are walking among us in the form of revisionist amateur-historians. For only a mindless corpse could make the case that the American Civil War was fought over states’ rights. Here’s why –It’s an undisputed fact that leading up to the Civil War, the slave states demanded, in no uncertain terms, that by law all slaves that runaway to free states ought to be forcibly returned to their masters; it was a major issue leading up to the war. The slave states argued that states ought to be able to decide for themselves whether or not to participate in slavery. And to this day Confederacy sympathizers attempt to fight the Civil War for a second time by saying that it was really all about states’ rights, and not so much about that pesky side-issue called slavery. Bullshit, I say.
The difficulty with this most hypocritical of arguments is that for slavery to have continued, the free states would have had to comply with the returning of runaway slaves, which is an act of slavery in itself. But how can a state have a choice if it is forced to participate in an evil it wholeheartedly rejects?
Do you see the contradiction? The South was happy to use the states’-rights argument when it worked in its favor, but when it was inconvenient it insisted that the law compel the North to participate in the horrors of slavery. You can’t have it both ways. Either a state had the choice or it didn’t. What the South really desired was that all the states abide by the tenets of slavery, which wasn’t going to happen, hence the inevitable war. The Union either had to consist of all free states or all slave states; it could not exist peacefully as a combination of both.
I recommend everyone read The Causes Of The Civil War (edited by Kenneth Stampp), a wonderful little book of essays, which chronicles the politics preceding the war.
I think the general public has a somewhat comical view of animals and their mental abilities. From chickens playing tic-tac-toe at county fairs to “stupid pet tricks” on TV to humorous news clips of zoo animals entertaining the masses. It isn’t much of a résumé. Perhaps one of the mental barriers to seeing evolution in a clear light is regarding animals as buffoons; and being related to a buffoon is unacceptable to many people.
But if we actually give animal behavior more than a cursory glance, we find that many groups exhibit extraordinary abilities on par with humans, if not quanititatively then qualitatively. My favorite is the birds, specifically the corvid family. (Monkeys get all the attention, the diaper wearing media whores.) New Caledonian Crows have demonstrated their ability to use tools. Watch the video of a crow forming a wire tool, but look closely or you’ll miss the key moment.
“Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays” by Candace Savage
“Ravens In Winter” by Bernd Heinrich
It’s unsupported claim time. Roy Davies, an author, has written a book, The Darwin Conspiracy: Origins Of A Scientific Crime, claiming that Charles Darwin stole the work of naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace and presented it as his own. The “theft” supposedly occured when Wallace wrote to Darwin. Conspiracy by snail mail. A UK article explains:
[Davies] crucial evidence, he claims, is in pinpointing the exact dates that letters from Wallace to Darwin explaining his theories arrived at Darwin’s home, proving that the Welsh scientist developed them first.
When Darwin received “the” letter from Wallace, Darwin had already been researching his theories for 20 years. Darwin’s famous sketch from 1937 clearly shows that he understood that evolution was a branching tree and not a straight line. Wallace had extensive experience in the field, but his published work at the time was practically nill. Science requires evidence.
Both men presented their theories to the scientific Linnean Society of London, but Darwin’s manuscript was published the following year, and he has since been universally credited with the theory, while Wallace’s name has largely been forgotten.
Both their papers were presented for them at the Linnean Society. Wallace was in Malaysia at the time and Darwin was cloistered at home. The papers fell flat and no one gave them much notice. The reason was that big claims require even bigger evidence. The papers simply weren’t enough. So, Darwin spent the next year writing his book, On The Origin Of Species. If anything, Wallace’s letter spurred him on to compile his book. Both men independently discovered how evolution works. However, Darwin was the first to explain it properly with mounds and mounds of evidence.
To say that Darwin stole Wallace’s material is pure speculation and contrary to the overall facts. Writers love to create controversy where none exists, because it sells. And dead men can’t defend themselves. No doubt creationists will misuse this new book by Roy Davies for their own sleazy agenda.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board rejected the Institute for Creation Research’s bid ” to offer an online master’s degree in science education”. Basically, the ICR’s credit is no good, and teachers who only have an ICR degree are not qualified to teach in public schools.
The Dallas Morning News
Citing the group’s teaching of creationism rather than evolution in its science curriculum, Dr. Paredes said it was clear the school [ICR] would not adequately prepare its graduates to teach the scientific principles now required in Texas public schools.
“Evolution is such a fundamental principle of contemporary science it is hard to imagine how you could cover the various fields of science without giving it [evolution] the proper attention it deserves as a foundation of science,” he said.
“Religious belief is not science. Science and religious belief are surely reconcilable, but they are not the same thing.”
How beautifully honest is that language? Raymund A. Paredes is the commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Most often government officials tap dance around evolution and creationism with soft appeasing words, so as not to offend anyone. An example is John McCain and his stupid fence sitting answer at last year’s Republican Debate. So I have to applaud Raymund for getting to the crux of the matter.
Credit also has to go to the Texas Citizens for Science.
Before the vote, the board heard comment from several persons, most of whom urged rejection of the proposal. Among them was Steven Schafersman, president of Texas Citizens for Science, who said the ICR was a Christian ministry rather than a science organization that was primarily interested in promoting pseudoscience.
Pseudoscience doesn’t spread when good people do something.