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Elect Sarah Palin To The PTA… And No Further

I once sat through a sales pitch at the airport Holiday Inn that was not much different than being subjected to Sarah Palin’s gloppy spiel. The “seminar” I attended was a on how to get rich quick in real estate. It was free and I was bored. So, it was purely a whim on my part, one that turned into an unintended source of comedy… for me.

Well, many Republicans have speaking styles similar to unctuous and smarmy sales folk. Just watch that self-satisfied git on CNN, Glenn Beck. With his cornball sense of humor and conceited tone, he tells the audience exactly what to think about god and country. For example, when he compared George Bush’s policies on torture to the actions of Batman; The Dark Knight.

The ability to reduce complex political and social issues to over-simplified caricatures seems to be the modus operandi of the Republican Party. Alaska needs a new natural gas pipeline? Well, Sarah Palin says, “God’s will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built. So pray for that.”

After listing the basic infrastructural needs of Alaska, the “cop cars, public schools, the roads“,  Palin said, “All that stuff doesn’t do any good if the people of Alaska’s heart isn’t right with god“.

Salesmen and saleswomen often use props to drive their point home. Maybe they’ll present a colored chart or a boring slide show. Not Sarah Plain. She’s got the biggest and cheapest prop of all, the invisible hand of god.

So, at the risk of sounding sexist – I beg you not to elect this dumb broad to office. But if you want to vote for a bitchy, holier-than-thou, empty headed, self-anointed, princess, then go right ahead. If she is elected, the PTA will be shy one vacuous soccer mom. And the White House will be up one nitwit politician. I can hear the laughter of foreign leaders now. Palin doesn’t even understand the basics of the US housing market. How the hell is she going to deal with the rest of the world?

Finally, there’s her policy of teaching creationism in the public schools. One more step toward making American public education the best in the third-world.

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Partying With Lincoln

The Republicans cry “Lincoln” and “let slip the dogs of war” when they are desperate for support. “We are the party of Lincoln“, they say. “We are the party of patriotism“, they say. But I think to call the modern Republican Party the party of Lincoln is like calling McDonald’s fast food authentic Scottish Cuisine.

A political party can be divided into the powerful people who run it and the voters who support it at the polls. When Lincoln was elected President, the Republican Party was considered progressive and the party of the urban elite. America was mostly an agricultural nation at the time, in the process of becoming a major industrial one. In contrast, the Democratic Party was the party of slavery and of the rural poor and the country elite. But political times change.

William Jennings Bryan, the lawyer who helped prosecute in the 1925 Scopes Trial, was a staunch Democrat. (He had served as Secretary of State under President Wilson, a major racist). Bryan supported the common man, prohibition, labor unions, and creationism. He spent the last years of his life fighting against Social-Darwinism and the teaching of evolution.

Modern Republicans pander to rural and suburban America. They court the “soccer moms“,  “The Heart Of American“, and “The Bible Belt“. Modern Democrats court everyone else. A demographic map denoting the blue vs. the red states is simplistic, but it does demonstrate where a party is strongest. McCain isn’t in San Francisco, and Obama isn’t in Boise. The maps have shifted since 186o. The Democratic Party, once the party of slavery, racism, and creationism, is now supporting a black “evolutionist” for president.

The Republican Party is now the party of Chuck Norris, and the Democratic Party is the party of science. I don’t know about you, but I’m voting for science.

P.S. McCain is a computer illiterate.

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The Discovery Institute’s Hoopla Machine

Casey Luskin insists the Discovery Institute is a secular think tank. And he says it with a straight face.

What is it about the spreading of pseudo-science that makes reasonable people cringe and gag? One characteristic is surely the introduction of religious / political thinking into discussions of fact. The natural world simply is. If it upsets our human sensibilities, too freaking bad for us. When a bull shark bites a potential food item (a human leg, perhaps), it is being neither good nor evil; it’s simply hungry and inquisitive. It’s nothing personal. Thus, describing the natural world is best accomplished through observations of what is, not through contemplation of how things should be. Blaming Darwinism for the Holocaust, communism, capitalism, rock ‘n roll music, abortion, racism, moral relativism, and the general decay of Western society is irrelevant to the scientific question of whether or not evolution by natural selection is a valid explanation for observed evolutionary change on planet Earth. What is and what ought to be are two distinct questions.

But throw a rock at the Discovery Institute and you’re more likely to hit a lobbyist or a lawyer than an actual scientist. For example, Casey Luskin, an attorney with the DI, blogs to his fellow intelligent designers about the “it’s just a theory” argument.

Darwinists love to bash Darwin-skeptics who call evolution “just a theory, not a fact.” The truth is that I rarely, if ever, hear people who are closely involved with the ID movement using this line to oppose evolution. The “evolution is just a theory, not a fact” phrase tends to come from the vox populi—intelligent people who studied this issue in their biology class or perhaps have read books like Darwin’s Black Box, Icons of Evolution, or Darwin on Trial, but otherwise don’t follow the issue very closely.

But most creationists do use the argument, endlessly. They also use the “intelligent designer” and “irreducible complexity” arguments. The fact is that intelligent design creationists are a small minority. Polls indicate that most American creationists are of the Old Earth variety. And I think the Discovery Institute knows this full well. Isn’t it really all about talking points, ones the DI can easily disseminate, and ones the general public can easily digest and regurgitate, regardless of the scientific facts?

Casey Luskins also lists his scientific qualifications:

Having taken over a dozen courses covering evolutionary biology at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, I’m a scientific skeptic of neo-Darwinism.

Fine, be a skeptic, Luskin. But are you as skeptical about intelligent design? Have you taken a dozen courses covering intelligent design at the undergraduate and graduate level? No, because intelligent design isn’t a science, and it can be pretty well summed up in a single 15 minute lecture. ID is a vague conclusion, not an explanation. The only thing propping it up is a propaganda machine. And all the whining in the world about “morals”, “culture”, and “academic freedom” isn’t going to polish the ID turd. The Discovery Institute calls itself the “Center for Science and Culture”. But it really should choose one or the other, “science” or “culture”, not both. Let “ought” and “is” be distinct; life works so much better when our desires don’t cloud our judgment of reality.

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Filed under Culture Warfare, Intelligent Design, Politics