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Chuck Baldwin, prominent Baptist pastor: "The Religious Right Scares Me"

By michaelmalak in Op-Ed
Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 10:00:05 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Dr. Chuck Baldwin, vice-presidential candidate on the Constitution Party ticket in the 2004 U.S. election, wrote a “Food For Thought From The Chuck Wagon” entitled I Am A Conservative Christian, And The Religious Right Scares Me, Too. Chuck Baldwin starts off demonstrating his Christian roots, e.g.

I am currently in my thirtieth year as the Senior Pastor of the Crossroad Baptist Church (Independent) in Pensacola, Florida.
Then he explains his opposition to the "Religious Right."
Sadly, the Religious Right is now a movement without a cause, except the cause of advancing the Republican Party.

[...] I used to believe that liberals were paranoid for being fearful of conservative Christians gaining political power. Now, I share their trepidation.


I’ve made similar observations here.

To relieve the boredom of commuting, I torture myself too often with ClearChannel hate radio. A recurring theme this past week has been about the rise of anti-Christianity in general, and using Christmas as an example. It’s never pinpointed on the air by either the hosts or the callers what the cause is.

The recent rise in anti-Christianity is because of Bush. The world (rightly) hates Bush’s actions. The world (incorrectly) identifies Bush with Christianity. Thus the world blames all Christians for Bush’s actions. Where does that leave Christians such as Chuck Baldwin and myself?

Stuck without the dual megaphones of Big Media and taxpayer-funded schools, and—in the case of Chuck Baldwin himself—stuck without the megaphone of the bully pulpit of the executive branch, due to the two-party system. These three megaphones plus the two sources of funding for them, large corporations and the IRS/Federal Reserve, comprise what I call the fascist quintet.

There are a lot of confused Christians out there, and there are a lot of intentionally fake Christians out there doing the confusing. This has led to people like Chuck Baldwin, the archetypical “Religious Right” member, to rail against what is now known as the Religious Right. The Nouveau Religious Right is neither religious nor conservative.

The term “Religious Right” has lost all meaning, similar to the terms “multiculturism” and “smart growth”. It’s one of those terms that has been co-opted by the enemies of a movement’s founders, so that the use of the term can mean either its original meaning or its opposite.

If you encounter the term, ask which meaning is intended. And if you encounter someone who claims to be from the religious right, try and figure out if the person is a confuser or of the confused. If the latter, point the person toward the growing legions of cognitively coherent Christians, even—or especially—if you’re a liberal, for it may mean one fewer Bush supporter.

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Chuck Baldwin, prominent Baptist pastor: "The Religious Right Scares Me" | 116 comments (93 topical, 23 editorial, 0 hidden)
It's simple and yet not so (2.50 / 8) (#8)
by elver on Fri Dec 17, 2004 at 08:35:28 PM EST

To someone who wants an excuse for "taking over the world," religion is a bloody good one. It doesn't matter whether the person in question is religious or not. Without religion, it's considerably harder.

To someone who doesn't want anyone taking over the world, a cold-blooded mass-murderer is a simple target. A cold-blooded mass-murderer with a religious book, however, is another thing entirely. Whack him off and you'll have a holy war on your ass.

Any sensible atheist can see that religion is a tool used to justify murder. Sure, it has other uses. But it's a bit like the whole gun control problem. You can use it for hunting, you can use it for protection and you can use it to go out and kill some people.

Religion, however, is a very powerful weapon that's there for anyone to grab and use. The whole anti-christianity thing is self-preservation, not misplaced hate. If you disarm religion, if you destroy it, people won't be able to use it to justify murder.

Simple and yet not so (none / 0) (#95)
by Niha on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 04:43:41 PM EST

If you were to disarm anything that could have a bad use...

[ Parent ]
What confises me towards most Christians... (2.71 / 7) (#10)
by The Amazing Idiot on Fri Dec 17, 2004 at 09:55:09 PM EST

---the president said that "freedom and fear, justice and cruelty have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them."

Why is God not neutral? Why does he care if one nation obliterates the people of another? Why does it matter to Him if one nation takes the resources of another?

Or the better questions that go directly towards God...

Why is there war?
Why is there evil people?
Why is there hunger?
Why does God not directly support one people (like that of old Jews)?
Where is the direct evidence that God is here?

Or to best them all, why does God care if we live and die? According to Christanity, we all go either to Heaven, Hell, or (for a time) Purgatory.   And dont fail to forget, We're fighting against the people of the SAME GOD.

Sad, it seems, that the bloodiest fights are between family members. I guess we all didnt really learn all that much from Abraham's death..

What matters more: The time of life, or the good works done in that life?

Something can be both true and deceitful (1.50 / 2) (#31)
by cburke on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 03:02:59 PM EST

"freedom and fear, justice and cruelty have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them."

See, that's a true statement, which is why Bush isn't called on it.  The deceit, the lie, is in the (often, but not always) implicit claim that we represent freedom and justice and They represent fear and cruelty.  That war when waged by us is justice and when waged by Them represents cruelty.  The best kind of lie is one that is partially true.

Your post seems to understand this.  So I suggest that it isn't you who is confused, but the Christians who nod their heads when the President says this.  

Also, briefly:

Why is there war?
Why is there evil people?

Free will.  Love it or leave it.

What matters more: The time of life, or the good works done in that life?

Well, the Christian answer would be neither, only Jesus matters.  But Jesus was always encouraging good Christians to do good works. :)

[ Parent ]

some comments. (none / 0) (#46)
by The Amazing Idiot on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 03:15:31 AM EST

---See, that's a true statement, which is why Bush isn't called on it.  The deceit, the lie, is in the (often, but not always) implicit claim that we represent freedom and justice and They represent fear and cruelty.  That war when waged by us is justice and when waged by Them represents cruelty.  The best kind of lie is one that is partially true.

WHich military operation are you talking about? Vs Afghanistan was against the people who blew up the 2 towers. That I consider retaliation, and by the worlds concern, fair.

Iraq was largely considered us flexing our muscle in a threat to every country. Mess with us, and you're our new bitch, was the message.

Then again, most of the middle eastern culture codifies the rules of Islam, and extremly demeans and disrespcts women. I fail to understand a culture that would plain.. hate women.

---Your post seems to understand this.  So I suggest that it isn't you who is confused, but the Christians who nod their heads when the President says this.  

Of course. Whenever somebody says "Im a Christian so you can believe me", I know NOT to believe them.

---Also, briefly:

"Why is there war?
Why is there evil people?"

---Free will.  Love it or leave it.

Wrong. Given that God does exist, with the 3 OMNI- traits, that right there makes no free will, as He can make us do whatever He wishes.

"What matters more: The time of life, or the good works done in that life?"

---Well, the Christian answer would be neither, only Jesus matters.  But Jesus was always encouraging good Christians to do good works. :)

You didnt understand the reasoning of that question. Let me try to make it clearer. What reasoning does God have to interfere with Earth and its people?

God is obviously Omni- so, He can do whatever He wishes. Instead of "just" making everybody good, he seems to just observe to see what people make of their own life. But in order for him to judge us, it does not depend on how long we live, but instead of how many good works we make.

Even Catholics acknologe, that if somebody is not in the same religion, that they can still receive the grace of God just by the works they did that would have been in His view of goodness. Still, Im not going to delve into Catholic philosophy (even if I am one). It's just too confusing.

[ Parent ]

Free will (none / 1) (#47)
by Anonymous Hiro on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 04:37:55 AM EST

So far it sure looks like the Universe isn't Newtonian.

Why shouldn't there be free will even if 3-Omni God knew exactly what all of us would do in the end?

I think a critical element is that we are made in the image of God. I'm not sure about the full implications of this, but I believe it has a very important part in explaining things.


[ Parent ]

Comments and such. (none / 0) (#78)
by cburke on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 12:25:06 PM EST

Iraq was largely considered us flexing our muscle in a threat to every country. Mess with us, and you're our new bitch, was the message.

Maybe that was the message we wanted to send.  I'm pretty sure the message that was received was:  We will make you our bitch whenever we want and for whatever reason, and if that reason turns out to be false we'll make up a new one.

Afghanistan, sure, the message was don't screw with us or we screw back.  But the difference between these two wars perfectly illustrates my point that America waging war is not automatically anything just by virtue of it being America.  Both the "America rules!" and "America sucks!" sides ignore this.

Of course. Whenever somebody says "Im a Christian so you can believe me", I know NOT to believe them.

Heh.  A pastor was once describing Churh Board meetings, and how the disagreeing parties would race to invoke the WWJD phrase, implicitly tying it to their cause and preventing their opponent from doing so.  I think it's kinda funny that I was taught not to trust people invoking the name of Jesus in a church sermon; or maybe it's funny that so few others seem to have.

Wrong. Given that God does exist, with the 3 OMNI- traits, that right there makes no free will, as He can make us do whatever He wishes.

Can but doesn't.  Free will is His gift to us.  Enjoy it, and try not to abuse it.

You didnt understand the reasoning of that question. Let me try to make it clearer. What reasoning does God have to interfere with Earth and its people?

What do you mean by "interfere"?  Barring some of those delightful OT bear-maulings, fire-and-brimstonings, and person-into-salt-pillarings, God seems to be a pretty hands-off kind of deity.  Is asking us to worship Him interference?

Even Catholics acknologe, that if somebody is not in the same religion, that they can still receive the grace of God just by the works they did that would have been in His view of goodness.

Acknowledge, or believe and hope?  As far as I know this is a grey area of theology.  Jesus was pretty clear that doing good works doesn't make up for our sinful existences (that's why He had to die for us). On the other hand He said that you will know them by their works, implying that someone who is saved will necessarily be doing good, but not necessarily vice versa -- it's not an equivalence.

[ Parent ]

Fear and Cruelty (none / 0) (#48)
by cactus on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 06:18:36 AM EST

--the president said that "freedom and fear, justice and cruelty have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them."

Why is God not neutral?
Well, we can look at this empirically. If God were neutral then nature, unsullied by original sin, would be relatively free from fear and cruelty.

Oops. Looks like God's on the side of Fear and Cruelty, not that of Justice and Freedom. Why does the President hate God?
--
"Politics are the entertainment branch of Industry"
-- Frank Zappa
[ Parent ]
-1 i dont care (1.05 / 19) (#13)
by Your Moms Cock on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 12:02:16 AM EST

hi get a life


--
Mountain Dew cans. Cat hair. Comic book posters. Living with the folks. Are these our future leaders, our intellectual supermen?

+1 incoherent n/t (1.14 / 7) (#14)
by Uncle Enzo on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 12:12:37 AM EST



Yet another article with less than a decade of (2.60 / 10) (#18)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 10:26:18 AM EST

perspective.

It's Bush's fault that people don't like Christians. It has nothing to do with the 30 years of culture war that broke open with Roe V. Wade and continued through the 1980s and the Moral Majority. It has nothing to do with the relentless toll of lawsuit after lawsuit that drove Christianity from the public stage through those 30 years.

Nope. Nothing to do with that. Radical Christianity sprang up, fully formed, born from Karl Rove's play book, at the turn of the millenium.

RUN !! IT?S AN ATTACK OF THE ?WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS? NAZIS!!!! - Brian Crouch

Karl Rove is older than Bush II's Pres bid... (none / 1) (#30)
by cburke on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 02:50:32 PM EST

He had quite a bit to do with turning Texas from  Democratic stronghold into a Republican one.

But yeah, the issue is clearly far larger in scope and history than Bush or Rove.

[ Parent ]

Yeah yeah. (2.66 / 3) (#39)
by fluxrad on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 09:27:56 PM EST

Who are these people you speak of that are in the overwhelming majority, overtly squashing any notion of merriment on this, our lord Jesus Christ's birthday? The last time I checked, almost 70% of americans placed religion as very important in their lives. There's currently a boycott of Macy's because they're saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." I just read an op-ed by some guy throwing a shit-fit because there are Kwanzaa and Hanukkah stamps but no Christmas stamps - nevermind the fact that the post office is selling one titled Madonna and Child!

For christ's sake, man. People are being convicted of double homicides for killing a pregnant woman. New laws come on to the books every year further regulating abortion and providing "rights" to the foetus (no doubt patching the hole in Roe in preparation for the next anti-abortion salvo from the right). A judge is ordered to remove a religious monument from the courthouse in Alabama and what's frightening is not that he refuses to remove it, but that 80% of Americans agree with his decision not to remove the monument!

In Estes Park (about 90 minutes from Denver) a city councilman who's been on the council for 12 years is about to be recalled because he refuses to say the pledge of alliegence (disagreeing with the words "under God").

I'm sorry friend, but it's you who doesn't seem to see the forrest for the trees.

And finally, Please tell this guy to stop. He's scaring the fuck out of the children.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
Are you replying to the wrong post or something (none / 0) (#41)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 11:08:12 PM EST

because I can't see how anything you wrote has anything to do with the idea that this fight has been going on for a lot longer than Bush's presidency. In the final analysis, what's frightening isn't the attitudes of most Americans but your inability to admit that they've held those attitudes for more than 200 years now.

But I'm glad to see you took the time to visit my site, I dare say that he's done more about caring for the less fortunate than you ever have.

RUN !! IT?S AN ATTACK OF THE ?WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS? NAZIS!!!! - Brian Crouch
[ Parent ]

Hah! Shows what you know (none / 0) (#44)
by fluxrad on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 02:10:25 AM EST

In the final analysis, what's frightening isn't the attitudes of most Americans but your inability to admit that they've held those attitudes for more than 200 years now.

Most Americans aren't even 200 years old! But in all seriousness, we're talking about the number of people who've held these attitudes and whether or not "mainstream" christianity has been co-opted by this particular brand of asshole, which it has - as evidenced by my post. You see how this all ties in here?

Oh, and as for:

I dare say that he's done more about caring for the less fortunate than you ever have.

That's probably true. I'm a selfish bastard, and asside from buying the occasional homeless guy a cup of coffee, I pretty much abstain from helping anyone but myself. But I fail to see what that has to do with that particular picture being scary as hell.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
A few notes: (none / 0) (#113)
by JohnnyCannuk on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 03:44:24 PM EST

I agree with all you said. And I think it's shocking that so-called "Christians" know so little about their own religion:

December 25 is NOT the birthday of Jesus, if such a person ever actually existed. According to historical evidence and the words in the Bible itself (if it is to be believed)- sheppards watching their flocks by night - Jesus (if he ever existed) was born between March and October. Sheppards in both modern Palesine and ancient Judea would not tend their flocks at night in December. It was simply too cold and not what was done during that season. Combined with other historical evidence from early Christian times, the most likely date of Jesus birth was April 17. December 25 did not become "Christmas" until 325 BC by order of the Council of Nicea and Emperor Constantine. Why December 25? Because that was the birthday of at least 3 other pagan gods worshiped in the Roman empire at the time, most notably Mithras. Mithras was the god worishipped by the Roman Legions and soldiers. He was born of a virgin on December 25, coinciding with the Winter Solstice. He was known as "the light of the world" (sound familiar). His symbol was a cross (like a celtic cross - cross with a circle around it. The Christain symbol before 325 was a fish). Mithras was worshiped for about 1500 years before Jesus. Constatine moved "Christmas" to December 25 to gain the confidence and favour of the Legions and to effectively take over Mithranism with Christianity. Christians who refused to change to the new holiday became known as "April Fools", a "holiday" we still cellibrate today....

In short, all Christians today are actually doing pagan worship cerimonies and celebrating the birth of Mithras (and Dionysys and Saturnalia as well) not Jesus. Happy Holidays indeed.

Given the historical facts, I find it almost amusing when Christians get all huffy about insisting on "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays"

Other interesting things about "Christmas":

Christmas Trees, wreathes, holly, ivy and mistletoe are all pagan religious traditions that existed for thousands of years before Jesus. The 'evergreen' leaves represented eternal life, even in the 'death' of winter and represented the renewal of life with the passing of the shortest day of the year (the solstice). Days would get longer until the Spring Equinox when they would be born again...well you get the picture..very nature based.

The act of giving gifts was strictly forbidden by Christians until the mid 18th Century, when they finally gave up an regognized the pagan tradition of giving gifts on this day (a tradition whci they couldn't kill off, even after 1800 years of trying). Since then, the story of the 3 wise men has been used as an excuse to carry on this pagan tradition, to the point where most Christians beleive that Christmass gifts were always given on Christmas, since the time of Jesus....Orwell would be proud.

The only thing Christian about Christmas is the name....


We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

the politicization of religion (2.28 / 7) (#19)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 10:57:00 AM EST

is a quick way to gain power in the short term, but discredit the religion long-term

what is christianity? what is islam? what is judaism?

you could point to some book somewhere, or some span of history, but what these religions actually are is defined by the current interpretation thereof, and it changes all the time, and it has many different flavors and sects: what "christianity" is when all is said and done is an emergent, democratic definition comprised of the views of its current practioners

therefore, it makes no sense for a "real" christian to cry foul about what some other "fake" christian is doing in the name of christianity

unless that voice is loud enough, and unless someone action on the name of "real" christianity actually shuts down the "fake" christians, then what the "fake" christians do comes to actually define the religion

in other words, mainstream christian criticism of fundamentalist politicized christianity is toothless, and it means nothing, because it doesn't actually do something about the fundies

more action is needed to shut down the fundies, less talk and hand-wringing

same with moderate muslim castigation of suicide bombers acting in the name of islam... ok, well, it is your societies that continue to create these madmen, so when are you actually going to do something about their continued creation?

toothless criticism seems to suggest passive condoning... in islam, in christianity, in judaism

so what am i trying to say?

it is one thing for "real" christians to cry foul when fundamentalist christians do something that upsets mainstream christians, but is quite another thing altogether to actually shut them down

so i ask mainstream christians to not only castigate fundamentalist politicized christianity, i ask them to fight them more directly, confront them head on, shut down fundamentalist organizations, discredit politicized fundamentalist christianity, expose the power-grubbing antichrists in their midst acting in the name of christianity, while at the same time betraying everything christianity is supposed to stand for

what is at stake is how christianity itself is defined

and the same goes for islam

and the same goes for judaism

when someone does something vile in the name of a religion, they will get away with it in today's day and age, mainly because the more moderate mainstream elements of christianity, islam, and judaism fall silent about their actions... possibly because there is sly support for militant religion, possibly because moderate religious interpretations are toothless and useless to sway or fight the fundies

but what is at stake though is how their religions are defined

and they are losing that battle

and their religions are being discredited

so i ask of moderate religous people: wake the fuck up, your religions are being driven into the ground by madmen, and you do nothing about it

you are all fiddling while rome burns


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

One might reasonably assert... (2.00 / 2) (#20)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 11:02:40 AM EST

that this is the natural course of religions.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
how did zoroastrianism come to fall after all? (nt (none / 0) (#21)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 11:06:18 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
I don't know anything about it, (2.66 / 3) (#22)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 11:10:54 AM EST

but if I had to venture a blind guess, it would be that it was not competitive enough in the market for mind share. This could mean anything from being uninteresting, to being incapable of raising an adequate military.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
yup (2.33 / 3) (#23)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 11:24:36 AM EST

and it would be an interesting study for someone to examine the fall of zoroastrianism and the rise of islam where it used to be in persia

and then try to make parallels with today

one hopes that one can usurp a dominant religion with something that is less militaristic, but then you are faced with a conundrum: isn't something less militaristic automatically and forever more prone to being overthrown by something more militaristic?

and therefore, is humankind doomed to nothing but a succession of one religion after another, each one more hypermilitaristic than the one before?

there must be a way to defeat militarism and barbarism and defend against it without corrupting the message of a religion, that is, there must be way of defending against evil and defeating it without becoming evil yourself

and there is, but it is a very difficult road

let us hope we can find and follow that road


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I'm not sure that it is possible. (none / 0) (#24)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 12:03:03 PM EST

I think it may very well be one of those situations where you are more or less guaranteed an unpleasant outcome due to a tragedy of the commons. It's a dangerous game to play, and a suicidal game not to play. It depresses me to no end.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
don't let your intelligence (2.33 / 3) (#28)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 01:04:18 PM EST

lead you to a death of hope

any pov of humanity that is very cynical or negative is flawed, and is doomed, simply because humanity, if anything else, is hopeful- what is the point of life if you use your mind to convince yourself it is not worth living?

the point is to use your mind for a goal you believe in that is better for all

this is of course, the same prime directive to a proselytizing religion

the difference of course, is that there is no hocus pocus

so pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and brave onward


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I try very hard not to let it do that, (none / 1) (#55)
by skyknight on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 12:38:38 PM EST

but it seems to be the inevitable result. I think I'd probably be a lot happier if I were a little less logical, and a lot less inquisitive. I have a way of reducing everything to the lowest order components, and the result can be both beautiful and depressing. It's wonderful to grasp how things work from the perspective of the satisfaction that comes of knowledge. It's terrifying, though, to actually realize the implications sometimes. The actual nature of things is often very dark, vicious, and ruthless.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Take comfort in your ignorance (none / 0) (#56)
by whazat on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 04:37:54 PM EST

Because there may well be factors you don't know or existing factors you haven't fully seen the ramifications of.

Me, I find that the nature of things is amoral, arbitrary and meaningless. When looked at from a physics/computational point of view.

[ Parent ]

There is no absolute meaning. (none / 0) (#68)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 07:39:34 AM EST

However, there is relative meaning. Meaning is sort of like time, in that it is only capable of being defined by relationships between two or more entities.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
What is meaning? (none / 0) (#71)
by ghjm on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 09:10:59 AM EST

In order to have "relative meaning" you accept that entities can exist. However, "entities can exist" is a statement with meaning. It is axiomatically true under the system you described, without regard for any entities or the relationships between them. Therefore, your statement "There is no absolute meaning" is false within the system you have described. More seriously, the system itself is logically inconsistent and therefore (presumably) not descriptive of reality.

-Graham

[ Parent ]

Confusing the meaning of meaning? (none / 0) (#94)
by whazat on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 04:40:07 PM EST

Which meaning are people talking about?

Example of difference
What is the meaning of life?

Answer 1 (Teleological)
42 Or to strive for perfect harmony with nature/redemption.

Answer 2 (Descriptive)
It is an english word used to indicate an entity that undergoes the physical process of reproduction and autopoiesis.

So which meaning (answer 2) are people using?

"Entities can exist", has no teleological component and would make your point moot if that was the meaning of meaning meant by the grandparent.

[ Parent ]

yer not gettin' lowest order (none / 1) (#63)
by LilDebbie on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 12:37:31 AM EST

now skynight, i like ya and all. you laugh at my inane jokes, give me threes, and occasionally chit-chat about stupid minutiae with me while the flames roar on around us. anyway, I feel you haven't given reductionism it's full berth. you make the mistake at stopping when you hit what you consider axiomatic statements but only because they've been grilled into you since you were born. examples:

is there really anything that can be clearly defined as "good" and "evil?" or maybe all this bullshit is really about "control," which is an idea you've no doubt danced with all night long with your hand on its ass, but you never made your move and abandoned ALL the morality, ethics, whatever attached to the dubious institution of "religion."

i suggest you meditate on string theory. i find it helps to try to render your perception of all existence, space and time included, to a mere field oscillations. it's difficult, but it's very enlightening (don't do it while driving though, almost got into an accident that way).

all is lies nothing is truth

the above is a internally consistent tautology, therefore be skeptical of it because it is not an absolute tautology. know said truth was easy.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Er... (none / 1) (#67)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 06:07:10 AM EST

Are you saying that my reductionism to atomic theory is not enough? That I really need to get down to the sub-particle level in order to fully appreciate reductionism? I just woke up, and the tea kettle is only just starting to heat up, so the first caffeine of the day is still about ten minutes in the future, and consequently I honestly cannot tell whether I am being trolled. Does it help to know that I don't believe in free will? That I don't even believe free will is possible? That I find even randomness to be unlikely?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
You're either deluded or lying (none / 0) (#69)
by ghjm on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 08:42:40 AM EST

There is no conceivable way that you could have "reduced" morality, ethics, politics, etc to "atomic theory." Where do you get your axioms?

If you aren't lying, and have actually convinced yourself (e.g. formed the delusion) that you can "reduce" complex moral thoughts to "atomic theory," then please show your derivation for the following:

  • "Death is bad."
  • "Love is good."
  • "Stealing things is wrong."
  • "Dieting is good for you."


[ Parent ]
Don't confuse your intellectual laziness... (none / 1) (#70)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 08:58:32 AM EST

with intellectual laziness or duplicity on my part. It's simple, really. Everything boils down to genetics and memetics, i.e. selfishly reproducing genes and selfishly reproducing memes. Competition drives everything. All morality derives from utility. That is why what is classified as moral behavior has been so dynamic over history, and why it varies so widely from society to society. All functionality in the universe is grounded in interaction of particles, so if you had adequate predictive capacity then you could simulate the whole universe. The only catch is that you basically need a whole universe's worth of particles to run the simulation. As such, you could just as well think of this universe as a simulation of itself. How's that for bat shit insane?

Let's take a simple example, society's prohibition of murder. Well, in the individual case a murder may in some instances yield a positive net utility. In fact, I suspect that this is often the case. We have laws that impose external negative utilities so as to make it not in the best interests of the potential killer to perform the act. Often simple matters of reputation are enough to make the would-be killer refrain, but often we do need a codified justice system.

Why do we need this system? What facilitates its existence. Well, it's a matter of competition between societies. Societies, whether you want to pretend otherwise or not, are in a constant state of war. To be able to compete effectively, societies need a solid industrial base. Lawlessness, or in our particular example, murder, undermines this goal. You can't have people running rampant killing one other if you want to keep your armies, offices and factories full.

So, competition between societies results in the formation of various instantiations of ethics. Societies that have poor codes of ethics, i.e. ones that make them uncompetitive, get killed by other societies. Successful societies stick around, perpetuating their own flavor or ethics.

Now, why are these societies in a state of war? Well, there is an underlying competition between genes and memes, and these various collections of genes and memes aggregate into societies for the purpose of gaining collective advantage. Genes are pretty clearly physical things, subject to atomic theory, right? Memes are non-physical, but they have physical representations in human brains, and human brains are subject to atomic theory. So, what's the problem with this logic? You're just being lazy.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
so you're a fatalist (1.50 / 2) (#75)
by LilDebbie on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 11:47:13 AM EST

then why aren't you happy? you have abdicated all responsibility for your actions and the consequences thereof to the mechanisms of the universe. i suppose you could argue that your unhappiness is also a manifestation of these machinations that are a direct result from your intellectual capacity, but if you can truly remove yourself from all that, you can do as lao tzu and just appreciate the wackiness of reality.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
I'm trying. :-) /nt (none / 0) (#90)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 03:55:30 PM EST



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
As the biggest liberal here... (2.75 / 4) (#25)
by codejack on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 12:04:12 PM EST

I pretty much agree, with some qualifications. First, I don't associate Christianity with Bush; I associate Bush with that particular flavor of Christianity, seemingly isolated to the U.S., that insists on enforcing their religious beliefs on everyone else; Maybe we should start calling them the Church of Latter Day Puritans? Many people associate Islam with Osama bin Laden, but ad hominem arguments can always be refuted in the same way, which is why they do not work in formal logic. The laughable part is the "Christian Conservative" part, as if they either represent all Christians (I'm not one myself, but I know several who disagree with Bush, Q.E.D.) or have any conservative beliefs at all (how is getting the government involved in religion and peoples' personal lives encouraging small government?).

Second, I'm not sure there is any difference between the "confusers" and the "confused" in the religious right; Even the "masterminds" like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson seem to be getting screwed in this whole process. And conservatives in general keep trying to "encourage" economic growth through conservative principles, and it keeps on fucking up the economy. These people just don't make any sense.

And finally, I can only make so much of a distinction between, for example, Chuck Baldwin and Oral Roberts (much less the crazy woman we had running for congress down here in Tennessee; She wanted to overturn Roe v. Wade, then apply the death penalty retroactively to everyone who had ever had or performed an abortion); They both want to tell me how to live my life, make laws about it, and now Dr. Baldwin is getting upset because the others have somehow "corrupted" the movement? Well, I'm a liberal, so I guess my heart has to bleed.


Please read before posting.

wow (none / 0) (#74)
by Cackmobile on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 11:12:57 AM EST

Oral Roberts.....what a nutcase. Never heard that one before. BTW I bet she must have been the butt of a few jokes with that name.

[ Parent ]
Where to begin... (3.00 / 6) (#32)
by mikepence on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 04:36:13 PM EST

Using a quote as your title is is bad form, with some rare exceptions. I understand the temptation to do so -- sometimes you get a quote so juicy, you think that it deserves to be the title -- but it is a temptation best resisted.

In your first two paragraphs, you quote Baldwin, then you go on to present an editorial about how you feel about it. Why not just skip the Baldwin quote altogether?

It all goes completely awry when you say "The recent rise in anti-Christianity is because of Bush." The recent rise in anti-Christian feelings has been about 2,000 years in the making -- well earned by millenia of crushing opposing views while virally spreading around the globe, dividing families, just as Jesus promised.

You then go on to present a straw-man argument bashing the religious right that just rambles off in so many directions that I can't be bothered to follow it.

Keep thinking, dude. Maybe eventually you will realize that religion is just the stories that adults tell each other so that they can sleep at night.


shut the fuck up dude n/t (1.00 / 9) (#42)
by Jason the Mathematical Solo Guitarist on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 11:53:36 PM EST


In a math sense this sig is just applied group theory: what we are talking about is the decomposition of the direct product of 2 irreducible representations of the rotation group into a direct sum of irreducible representations
[ Parent ]

Scripture in question: (none / 0) (#62)
by LilDebbie on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 12:21:53 AM EST

Not that I agree with mikepence, but I thought I'd share the Bible verse wherein Jeebus confesses to the Cause For Division:

"Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword."

-- Jesus Christ, Gospel According To Matthew, Chapter 10, Verse 34. One of my favorites.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
I call BULLSHIT (3.00 / 13) (#36)
by jubal3 on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 06:25:46 PM EST

82% of Americans identify themselves as christians. Of those,almost 55% beleive that the bible is the LITERAL word of God,without exception. More disturbing afacts here

The Idea that there is "a rise in anti-christian sentiment" is just plain ludicrous. Finally, over the last few decades, there has been enough (although still tiny) of a populatiuon who isn't Christian that they can insist that state-sponsored blatantly sectarian religious icons be taken down or held at arms length. This wasn't an issue for most of the U.S.'s history simply because 98% of people living here were Christians.

The idea that anyone objecting to their tax dollars funding chreches on City Hall lawns or the 10 comanadments being placed in a courthouse is anti-christian is beyond stupid.

Fundamentalist Christians have a hard-on for being persecuted. They get off on it.

And the best of all possible worlds is when one has to suffer none of the pain of actual persecution, like the Christians in Afghanistan or China, while getting all the psychological boosts from pretend persecution.

Personally, I don't consider it persecution when someone prevents my foisting on them my personal religious convictions at taxpayer expense. --More like common sense and righteous indignation.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***

LITERAL word of God. (1.33 / 3) (#37)
by bfasten on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 08:19:22 PM EST

I do believe the bibel is the LITERAL word of god, too. For all the intended double meaning and ambiguity to work as intended there probably wouldn't be much room for modification. The interesting bit is that you are not supposed to take it literally.

Heaven and Hell, for example, make a lot of sense as planet earth in its virgin state and planet earth as an industrialized and depleted planet.

The phrase "in the beginning was the word" makes a lot of sense if put into relation with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_theory. String theory suggests that all the universe is is a complex vibration of strings in a 10 or 11 dimensional space. A word is just that: A complex vibration.

http://www.ikfk.de/idea.html, http://homepage.mac.com/bfastenrath/religion.html
[ Parent ]

Vibrations (none / 0) (#49)
by Torka on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 06:30:31 AM EST

A word is just that: A complex vibration.

lol what

[ Parent ]

Er... (none / 0) (#51)
by BJH on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 09:14:30 AM EST

I do believe the bibel is the LITERAL word of god, too... The interesting bit is that you are not supposed to take it literally.

...so do you take it literally or not?
--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]

equivalent to (none / 0) (#52)
by skelter on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 09:52:02 AM EST

he believes thats what god said, but god didn't mean it literally.

[ Parent ]
Ergo.... (none / 0) (#79)
by kjd6ca on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 12:45:28 PM EST

...he does *not* believe in the literal word of God. What's more amazing is that it took this many posts to figure out that he doesn't know the meaning of literal as opposed to allegorial or figurative.

[ Parent ]
I'm not quite sure how to say this... (1.50 / 2) (#73)
by IndianaTroll on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 11:00:00 AM EST

Wait, yes I am.

You are an idiot.

Your personal experiences don't mean diddly in a nation of 300 million people. jubal3
[ Parent ]

IHBT? (none / 0) (#43)
by regeya on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 01:42:17 AM EST

It's a long jump from anti-Christian sentiment to persecution, you know.

I have no hard data, but I know a number of people who have no problem with Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, etc., and when asked have no problem with open, public displays of faith. Let one of the local fundies hand out copies of the New Testament at a public place, and the whole world's coming to an end! The fundies are deluded morons, allowing fundies to exercise their free-speech rights infringes on their rights, etc. etc. blah blah blah. When badgered most these people will admit that they think it's OK to treat Christians differently from other religions because it's believed that Christians are in the majority in the U.S.(!)

Don't tell me there's not an anti-Christian sentiment in the U.S., because I've seen it more than once.

Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't hold anti-science fundies below contempt, or people who wish to legally enforce supposed Christian values on non-believers, but I am saying that there's an anti-Christian sentiment in the U.S. You want to see persecution? Look for communities where church buildings are sprayed with Pagan symbolism, looted, otherwise vandalized, and burned to the ground. It even happens in the Midwest U.S. Just because you don't look for it doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

There is a big difference between (none / 1) (#53)
by JetJaguar on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 10:11:43 AM EST

some misguided teenagers with too much time on their hands defacing a church, and state sponsored persecution. Hell, when I was a teenager, I knew people that did this kind of stuff. They weren't persecuting anybody because of their beliefs, they were just trying to get a rise out of people that they felt were getting a little too holier than thou (and they were bored, had too much time on their hands, and didn't have girlfriends). Only in broadly interpreting policies way beyond the edge of sanity can you conclude that the state sponsors any sort of religious persecution. Pointing out idiotic and undereducated actions of some misguided people with too much time on their hands and calling it persecution is going way overboard. It is an insult to those that have endured the real thing. I'm not saying it's right, there are laws against this kind of thing, but elevating it to the level of what the Nazi's did to the Jews, what the Romans did to Christians, or any number of well organized and occaisionally state sponsored activities throughout history is going a little too far.

The fact is that there will always be people that believe different things, and those differences will always drive certain segments of any school of thought into doing something stupid. One of the roles of government is to step in and stop those kinds of things from happening, punish those who cross the line, and do so in an equal fashion. It doesn't matter which set of beliefs you follow, if you cross the line, you will be punished (if you get caught).

And lastly, for the record, as a lifelong agnostic athiest and "liberal," I have no problem what-so-ever with Christians handing out tracts in a public place, and doing so in a civilized manner. I can be civil and friendly, and still decline what they are giving out. On the other hand, being acosted on the street and being told I'm going to hell by a complete stranger is probably crossing the line. I also have no problem with religious displays on public property, as long as "equal time" (however you want to define that) is given to people of other faiths. However, I am against tax dollars being spent to support those things. If religious groups want to put on a show, then they have to pay for it, that's one of the reasons they have tax exempt status in the first place.

[ Parent ]

You need to re-define your terms (none / 0) (#58)
by jubal3 on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 05:56:43 PM EST

anti-christian sentiment is so miniscule in the U.S. as to be non-existant.

Again you confuse people opposing the fundies with anti-christian.
This is what the religious right does all the time.

Anything but their way=anti-christian.

As for some idiots vandalizing churches, so what?

The school down the street from me gets grafitti all the time. Does this mean there is a "rising tide of anti-school sentiment?" Or does it just mean some vandal found it a convenient target.

There is no rash of such activity. That's BIG TIME front page news. When there was a handfulof church burnings in short order a few years ago, the FBI formed a task force and it was TV news non-stop for weeks. (Turned out to be a few wackjobs).

There is no hard data about this supposed rise in "antichrstian sentiment." Not a shred.

Your personal experiences don't mean diddly in a nation of 300 million people.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

Evidence of rise in U.S. anti-Christian sentiment (none / 0) (#104)
by michaelmalak on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 06:12:28 PM EST

I'll be the first to agree that there is no Christian persecution in the U.S. as there is in, as you mentioned, China. I also agree that many in the U.S. take a perverse pleasure in seeking persecution, kind of like how basketball players seek fouls.

But the evidence for a recent increase in anti-Christian sentiment is real, such as in the Washington Post article Seasonal Displays Being Looted:

But this year the number being vandalized or stolen appears to be higher than usual; the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights says it has logged twice as many complaints as in most years, and more are expected in the days leading up to Christmas.

Some see the rash of stolen Christ figures as indicative of hostility toward Christmas or Christianity.

Also, I noticed after I submitted the kuro5hin story that a Vatican archbishop has also tied worldwide anti-Christianity to Bush. From the Catholic World News:
"It should be recognized that the war against terrorism, even though necessary, had as one of its side effects the spread of 'Christianophobia' in vast areas of the globe," the archbishop said.
Most importantly, I described the rise in anti-Christian sentiment only to support Chuck Baldwin's observation that the "religious right" no longer represents Christian ideals -- that the reasons Chuck Baldwin opposes the religious right are shared in part by the world at large. And this opposition has, for the most part at least in the U.S., been in terms of legal forms of opposition (through the courts, free market, or First Amendment), not violent persecution.

--
BergamoAcademy.com  Authentic Montessori in Denver
[ Parent ]
The Church of England (3.00 / 4) (#38)
by caek on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 08:39:19 PM EST

The Church of England has not been associated with the de facto right wing political party in the UK, or indeed thought of as right wing, for several decades. Indeed its current leader, Rowan Williams, famously describes himself as a "beardy leftie" and was quite vocal in his opposition to the war in Iraq.

It's clear from this that there is no simple mapping from Christianity to a position on the political spectrum, so it should come as no surprise that (un)reasonable Christians can disagree with one another's politics.

I don't buy your thesis that there are two distinct groups of people described as the Religious Right. The RR is the same vague intersection of evangelism and pro-life its always been. The only unusual thing about the current Religious Right is that its morals often match the instincts of the current US administration. As you rightly say, they don't always match though, and supporting the Republican Party therefore requires political pragmatism on the part of the Religious Right. I guess you just disagree about where to draw the line.

And oh yeah, the guys on talk radio are idiots.

the public schools are _religious_? (2.66 / 3) (#45)
by Delirium on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 02:54:22 AM EST

Every time I hear people talk about the public schools being some sort of conservative bastion, I'm convinced that either they're crazy, or the schools I went to were somehow bizarre anomalies. And I went to public high school in Texas, of all places.

Sure, there was the usual patriotic bullshit, but that's hardly even conservative—that's what 80-90% of the country believes. If you said anything bad about any of the founding fathers, lots of people would be pissed, and lots of them wouldn't be Republicans. This is true in most countries—Greek textbooks don't say anything even remotely negative about Greek national heroes either, and people would be mighty pissed if they did.

As far as religious conservatism goes, I got the exact opposite impression: The public schools are bastions of studious secularism, to the point of it being ludicrous. My freshman English class was to include reading excerpts from the Bible, as it's necessary background material if one is to understand allusions in a lot of the other stuff we were to read, namely 19th-century British and French literature, and even some of Shakespeare. A bunch of parents got up in arms about "OH NOES RELIGION IN THE CLASSROOM" and, not wanting a fight with rabid parents, the school ended up cancelling that part of the assignment. So, the kids who were not already familiar with the Bible got a shitty education, because you really can't understand a lot of western literature if you don't have at least a vague familiarity with some of the major stories in the Bible.

I count myself as pretty secularist, to the point of even thinking that "In God We Trust" should not be on money, but this sort of nonsense is just ridiculous. So, in conclusion, I don't see how public schools are a bastion of the religious right; much the opposite.

Well, it depends on where you are... (2.66 / 3) (#61)
by JetJaguar on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 10:36:59 PM EST

Most public schools in cities aren't going to be so "conservative," but I also know of areas in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama where the schools are conservative in the extreme, and they routinely cross lines that the supreme court has set for schools. Every once in a while there will be a dust up of some kind when someone from a big city moves into a rural area of the deep south and starts filing lawsuits when their kids are being forced to pray in school or something similar. Occaisionally that stuff will make national news, but it's rare.

A more prevalent form of conservatism that exists broadly in the public school system is just the general resistance to change. There is currently a lot of research being done on how people learn, etc, with some interesting results. Even when research has proven that there are better teaching methods most schools and their teachers, and often the parents as well refuse to adopt them for no better reason than that they are different from the way that they learned things.

At any rate, I don't think I would call most public schools to be conservative in the religious right kind of way, especially given that a lot of our public school system's current critics are on the religious right, but there is a different kind of conservatism there that doesn't necessarily benefit the school system all that much.

[ Parent ]

there's some distrust of new learning methods (none / 0) (#64)
by Delirium on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 01:26:22 AM EST

In many peoples' estimation, many of the previous attempts to try out new learning methods were utter failures, and so there's a distrust for anything else new being proposed. From "spelling doesn't matter, just teach phonics" to trying to teach kids math starting with a foundation of set theory, there's been a lot of hare-brained schemes.

[ Parent ]
Two things... (none / 1) (#72)
by JetJaguar on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 09:50:00 AM EST

You are correct that there is a degree of mistrust, and some of that is earned, but the resistance goes deeper than that.

First, a lot of the things that people were trying previously, like the ones you mention, were never really fully vetted and evaluated to see if they really work. In many cases, these things were thought up by school teachers themselves who either didn't have the ability, time, or resources to properly evaluate what they were doing, it looked like it was working and that was good enough for them. The word spread, and since these things were thought up by their colleagues many teachers accepted it without questioning it as much as maybe they should have.

Second, the current research isn't about what order to teach a subject, or even about what you teach, it's about the methods that you use to teach. It looks at out how to engage students in the learning process rather than having them sit passively. It's not about phonics, or "new math," or anything like that. It's about the student, and how the student learns. This research is being backed up by teachers in the field, neuro- and cognitive scientists, and math and science education faculty at our universities. And what they have found is that there is a very strong correlation between student performance and the teaching methods used by the teacher, or perhaps more accurately, how well is the teacher able to engage their students and what methods can be used to engage the students' minds.

There is a lot good work being done there, and there are already several programs throughout the US turning out teachers that know how to engage their students. But the second one of these new teachers get hired into a school, the principle, the teachers, and the parents immediately start applying pressure to that teacher to conform to what they think is the "right way," even though the research has shown pretty conclusively that there are better ways. Which is a different kind of resistance, it's one thing to have some new hare-brained scheme at teaching students, but completely changing the way that teachers think about teaching their students is a completely different beast, and much more difficult to do.



[ Parent ]
Schoolboards (none / 0) (#98)
by zrail on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 11:20:18 AM EST

The schoolboards have a gigantic say in what happens with curriculum in most school disctricts. Most of the time, the board is made up of elder teachers, priciples, and various community members, none of whom are reading papers about new teaching methods.

Another thing you have to remember is that it costs a lot of money to develop a new curriculum, especially when there's an entirely new method of teaching to go along with it. In the United States today, a large number of school districts are either bankrupt or heading there and they just don't have the money for curriculum development.

[ Parent ]

Yep, I know... (none / 0) (#100)
by JetJaguar on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 11:54:15 AM EST

Providing time for professional development is a very difficult thing, and that is one of the problems with the president's No Child Left Behind plan, since it requires all teachers to be certified for a certian level of teaching, but the program provides little means for allowing teachers to attain the certification. And while schoolboard members don't read research papers, they do pay attention to test scores, and there are already a good set of test scores to prove it. The school districts that have been piloting these programs are getting big gains, so hopefully, it's only a matter of time before other school districts start to take notice. But it is certainly not something that will happen overnight.

As for the curriculum, a good portion of that has already been developed, since it was part of the research. As I mentioned above, a lot what's been developed has already been field tested and gone through several revisions. The schools shouldn't need to provide support for curriculum development so much as just finding a way to get the teachers the time they need to learn how and why the new methods work, and how to use them in their classrooms. I'm not saying that's a trivial task either, but a lot of the details have already been work out, it's more a matter of getting with the program, and implementing it.



[ Parent ]
Unfortunately, most teachers don't know squat... (none / 0) (#107)
by akulkis on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 12:25:35 AM EST

Unfortunately, the typical new Elementary Education graduate from the last 15 years doesn't know squat about anything other than Education theory....which is to say, they can teach up a storm, provided that they don't have any actual subject matter to teach...because the OTHER half of the equation (the teacher having a freaking clue about the subject matter)....is sadly a big fat ZERO in most Education majors in the last two decades.

Surveys have shown, that, on nearly every college and university campus in the nation, the Education majors are the absolute bottom of the barrel.

One night, while we were working on 500+ line assembly language programs, a friend of mine commented that her El-Ed major roomie was whing about how difficult her El-Ed homework was.... MAKING A COLLAGE ... that's right... the El Ed student was complaining about the difficulty of cutting out pictures from magazines, and pasting them on a piece of paper.

My mother still mentions the rediculous percentage of notes (mid-term evaluations, parent-teacher confrences, etc.) from my K-12 teachers which contained grevious misspellings, grammatical errors, and other demonstrably poor communication skills. And I attended schools in Royal Oak, and Rochester, MI, both of which were in those days (1970's, 80's) and maybe still, near the TOP for public school systems.

[ Parent ]

No argument here (none / 0) (#108)
by JetJaguar on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 02:08:58 AM EST

Yes, you are absolutely right. Particularly when it comes to elementary ed. Unfortunately, a lot of the current research going on has focused on elementary ed in only a very cursory fashion, although that is beginning to change.

The problem (especially in elementary ed) is that socially, teachers don't get much respect, are underpaid, and generally abused. With that kind of treatment, it's a small wonder why only the dregs of the college campus are education majors. The best and the brightest students will go to bigger, better, and more lucrative positions, leaving education fields to be filled by people of a lesser caliber. There are exceptions, but they are rare. And it's quite true that until society begins to value it's teachers more with better benefits, the number of high quality teachers will continue to be limited, and it's also the case that all the research being done in how we learn isn't going to be as effective with out high quality teachers.

[ Parent ]

Tenth grade English (none / 1) (#66)
by curien on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 04:11:28 AM EST

This was "World Literature". Our first bit of reading material was Exodus. In all fairness, we also read excerpts from Gilgamesh. OTOH, Gilgamesh was actually in our textbook, whereas she made photocopied handouts for us to read Exodus. The teacher went on to talk about how it's likely that the Flood really happened since various cultures have stories about it.

Then we went on to read Siddartha. The part where the teacher told us (after I riled her up a bit) that all Hindus were Devil-worshipers was especially enlightening. To her credit, she clarified that they didn't actually know they were worshiping the Devil.

This was... hm... 1996, I think.

The year before, my biology teacher got fired (well resigned, but he was forced out) because the first lesson in the book was about how Creationism is a "pseudoscience". He handled the lesson badly (he was new to teaching, poor guy), and basically ended up with people in tears.

--
This sig is umop apisdn.
[ Parent ]

Poor fucker (none / 0) (#82)
by CodeWright on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 01:57:40 PM EST

Is the age-old story of attempting to carry the Lamp of Reason to the superstitious peasants -- with the usual outcome (okay, minus the lynching and torches).

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
Conversely -- (2.00 / 2) (#76)
by Mr.Surly on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 12:14:24 PM EST

I went to a public school.  After school, the school bus would take everyone to church, wait until their Christian Indoctrination class finished, and then took the kids home.  My mother raised hell, and I was the only kid who got taken straight home.

This was in rural Utah in the 70's

[ Parent ]

Holy Crap (none / 0) (#81)
by CodeWright on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 01:56:28 PM EST

I would never have tolerated that.... it would have eaten into my D&D time.

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
Still happens today (none / 0) (#99)
by zrail on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 11:23:09 AM EST

When I was going to school (late 1990's) there was always a bus that made rounds to the local churches for this. It was not the only bus, though, and you always had the option of taking your regular bus home.

[ Parent ]
Texas, Our Texas (none / 0) (#102)
by Democratus on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 05:01:56 PM EST

I, too, went to public school in Texas and had a vastly different experience.

Our world history classes were altered to remove any non-christian references.  The history that we learned omitted all references to any culture that predated Christianity - and ignored any non european cultures after that point.  When asked, my history teacher informed me that "we don't promote godless thinking in this school".

Furthermore, after some time it became widely known in my school that I wasn't a Christian.  After that point I suffered teacher-sponsored abuse in class and many fights afterward.  One of my teachers even referred to me as "heathen" in class and encouraged the other kids to do the same.

That was my Texas schooling experience.  I guess milage does vary.

[ Parent ]

-1, "fascist quintet" (2.00 / 3) (#50)
by Empedocles on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 09:01:43 AM EST

Jesus H. Christ, even among the half-baked drivel that you seem to think is an article that phrase ("fascist quintet") and the hyperlinked comment stand out. And even amidst that tripe this stood out:
Localities struggle for money because they cannot print money they way the fed can. Localities are thus subject to the whim of the fed as they beg for money.

Even if the rest of that comment were somehow 100% correct (subtract 99% for a more accurate figure), those two sentences alone would hang you in the eyes of anyone even remotely acquainted with economics, government, or the cigar-smoking chimp next door named "Bobo."

Kindly review at least one (preferably all three) of the above topics and come back when you are done.

---
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
'Till touch down brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home

Sigged [n/t] (none / 0) (#87)
by jandev on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 02:41:50 PM EST


"ENGINEERS" IS NOT POSSESSIVE. IT'S A PLURAL. YOU DO NOT MOTHERFUCKING MARK A PLURAL WITH A COCKSUCKING APOSTROPHE. APOSTROPHES ARE FOR MARKING POSSESSIVES IN THIS CASE. IF YOU WEREN'T A TOTAL MORON, YOU WOULD BE SAYING SOMETHING LIKE "THE CIVIL ENGINEER'S SMALL PENIS". SEE THAT APOSTROPHE? IT'S A HAPPY APOSTROPHE. IT'S NOT BEING ABUSED BY SOME GODDAMN SHIT-FOR-BRAINS IDIOT WITH NO EDUCATION. - Nimey
[ Parent ]

...And now for real. (none / 0) (#88)
by jandev on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 02:49:18 PM EST

Web-based interfaces befuddle me.


"ENGINEERS" IS NOT POSSESSIVE. IT'S A PLURAL. YOU DO NOT MOTHERFUCKING MARK A PLURAL WITH A COCKSUCKING APOSTROPHE. APOSTROPHES ARE FOR MARKING POSSESSIVES IN THIS CASE. IF YOU WEREN'T A TOTAL MORON, YOU WOULD BE SAYING SOMETHING LIKE "THE CIVIL ENGINEER'S SMALL PENIS". SEE THAT APOSTROPHE? IT'S A HAPPY APOSTROPHE. IT'S NOT BEING ABUSED BY SOME GODDAMN SHIT-FOR-BRAINS IDIOT WITH NO EDUCATION. - Nimey
[ Parent ]

You need an overarching group name. (none / 0) (#57)
by Russell Dovey on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 05:43:50 PM EST

The religious right have cohesion and strength because they know who they are. They are the religious right.

Who are you?

(Why are you here? What do you have worth living for? (damn b5))

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan

wow (1.00 / 5) (#60)
by fhotg on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 08:25:27 PM EST

so that's about the annoying mentally retarded getting pissed because the nasty mentally retarded give them a bad rep or what ?

I am worried about you drifting into dangerous freak-mindsets.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

multiculturism and Religious Right (2.80 / 5) (#65)
by theantix on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 03:25:26 AM EST

The term "Religious Right" has lost all meaning, similar to the terms "multiculturism" and "smart growth". It's one of those terms that has been co-opted by the enemies of a movement's founders, so that the use of the term can mean either its original meaning or its opposite.

Just because you don't understand a concept doesn't mean it has lost all meaning.  Multiculturalism is an important pillar of the Canadian immigration system, meaning that our objective is not to be an American-style "melting pot" and make immigrants act like the residents.  It means that you are no less Canadian for retaining your cultural nuances when you come to this country, and your added diversity is considered an asset not a liability.  It is not only meaningful, but a very important distinction that is very obvious by its very name.

Likewise, "Religious Right" refers to right wing people who act out of religious imperitive.  Just because they don't vote in a 100% cohesive block and share completely identical positions on every issue doesn't mean the concept is meaningless.  It's just not constrained to something entirely specific, but no more vague than the terms "liberal" or "conservative".  It is a useful concept to distinguish from the "wealthy right" who are acting primarily out of financial self-interest or the "nutjob right" who avidly listen to Art Bell.

You make a fatal flaw in your argument equating "Religion" with your own personal definition of Christianity.  I actually agree with you in what I think is your argument -- war-loving, hate-filled Bush supporters didn't pay that much attention to what Christ actually stood for.  But that doesn't mean that evangelicals aren't a religion, it's just a particularily ugly religion.  Thus the term "Religious Right" is still wholly accurate, though I can see how a non-evil religous person might object to that.

--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!

Question about diversity (none / 1) (#77)
by cdguru on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 12:16:35 PM EST

A difficultly that some people are experiencing is when an area stops being "diverse" and becomes majority inhabited by folks with a different culture/language/background. The obvious result is that English is no longer spoken or understood in this area. New customs for this area take over, displacing what was there before. Logical, and obvious. The familar legal system may even be viewed with suspicion and the new residents may want to displace the original court system with their own. Again, sounds reasonable, doesn't it - these people have set up an enclave of their former lives in a new location and want it to be as much like their old home as it can possibly be. How does this work in Canada? Do you welcome newcomers with their laws, shaman and male-only educational systems when this comes up? Or, do you say "but that isn't what Canada is all about?"

[ Parent ]
That's a good question (2.50 / 2) (#80)
by theantix on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 01:54:03 PM EST

And the answer might surprise you.  Indeed, you have the option to be judged under an alternate style of justice should you prefer it.  For example, if both parties agree they can choose to be judged under Islamic Sharia law, even though this justice system is horribly flawed and biased against women.  Of course, if one party does not approve of Sharia law they are judged under the normal Candian justice system.  Of course, many different cultures set up alternate private schools that fit their own definitions, and by and large they are free to do whatever they want.  However, if they were to discriminate against hiring women, they could still come under attack under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

So, if you're Canadian you've got the benefits of Canadian rights and our legal system, but if your enclave prefers an alternate system you have that option as well.  Perhaps the most notable example of this is the native healing circles, often used to deal with non-serious crimes committed by and/or against First Nations peoples.  It's quite an interesting procedure to observe, if you ever get the chance you should do it.

--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]

Historical usage (3.00 / 3) (#91)
by aphrael on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 04:04:50 PM EST

It's worth noting that most states throughout history have allowed the existence of alternate legal frameworks for different communities. The canonical example is the Ottoman Empire, in which Orthodox, Islamic, and Jewish communities had different legal codes; but similar things were found in all premodern European states, as well.

The notion that the entire population should be subject to one legal system is a modern one, associated with the centralization of political power in the Baroque Era and with the rise of militant nationalism.

[ Parent ]

I wasn't aware of that (none / 0) (#93)
by theantix on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 04:25:24 PM EST

But it's pretty cool to know.  Thanks for the info.

--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]
Yeah, there's a broad range. (none / 0) (#96)
by aphrael on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 05:18:14 PM EST

It varies from (say) the Austro-Hungarian empire allowing the continued existence of local legal codes (eg, the Polish Galicians kept their own laws after the partition, etc) to the persistence, in Imperial Burgundy, of seventeen different law codes in different parts of the Netherlands.

[ Parent ]
Nice. (none / 0) (#83)
by CodeWright on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 02:00:08 PM EST

I wish I could give this comment a + 10

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
Obvious result? (2.33 / 3) (#86)
by rodentboy on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 02:32:01 PM EST

A difficultly that some people are experiencing is when an area stops being "diverse" and becomes majority inhabited by folks with a different culture/language/background. The obvious result is that English is no longer spoken or understood in this area.

Care to give an example of where your scary straw man example has actually occured? Give me an example of a neighbourhood where english is no longer understood at all.



[ Parent ]
ha, you've got to be kidding right --nt? (none / 0) (#92)
by lostincali on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 04:14:31 PM EST


"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."
[ Parent ]

Uhm, no (none / 0) (#101)
by rodentboy on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 01:20:41 PM EST

And on a related note, I think it's annoying how americans seem to think that learning another language impoverishes them instead of enriching them.

I shouldn't be surprised, after all, americans are pretty dumb, and have enough trouble grasping the subtleties of the english language.

Even though it doesn't apply to you, you might be surprised that people in other countries sometimes speak 2 or even more languages and that it doesn't cause their skin colour to darken or cause them to develop accents when speaking english or anything!.



[ Parent ]
America isn't like the rest of the world! (none / 0) (#106)
by akulkis on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 12:10:47 AM EST

I studied both Spanish and Russian (and can read, write, and speak, both, but not understand either very well when spoken--due to lack of opportunity to hear others speaking these languages at a rate I can even begin to understand within the vocabularies I posess)

However..you must realize...most of the immigrants who came here for, among other reasons, to GET AWAY from the *need* to know 5 languages to get through the day, or to take a trip of even less than 1000 km

[ Parent ]

Too easy.... (none / 0) (#105)
by akulkis on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 12:05:16 AM EST

Windsor, Ontario.

You walk into a Chinese restaurant, and the staff tells you "this Chinese neighborhood, you not chinese, you go!"

All I wanted is some Chinese food.

Toronto and Vancouver are experiencing similar problems. In Montreal, the terrorist organization HAMAS is openly collecting money in the streets.

I don't even live in Canada and I'm fully aware of these things!

[ Parent ]

mahahah (none / 0) (#114)
by DominantParadigm on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 08:09:46 PM EST

hahaha *sniff* oh dear.... resistance is futile, be as us or we will grind you to a pulp. now i recognize the wisdom of the tossed salad... far better than the meat grinder of conformity

Caller:So you're advocating bombing innocent children? Howard Stern:Yes, of course!


[ Parent ]
Well, maybe (none / 0) (#85)
by jolly st nick on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 02:11:59 PM EST

Likewise, "Religious Right" refers to right wing people who act out of religious imperitive. Just because they don't vote in a 100% cohesive block and share completely identical positions on every issue doesn't mean the concept is meaningless.

While it is true that if you use "Religious Right" in the sense you indicate, it still has meaning, I think you are being excessively broad in how you use the term. There are coherent, coordinated efforts between groups like the Christian Coalition and the Republican party to promote a right wing social, political and economic agenda. This coordination allows them to frame the debate, not the least of which is by linguistic means. Thus "tax cuts" become "tax relief".



[ Parent ]

Well, it makes sense (3.00 / 2) (#84)
by jolly st nick on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 02:05:00 PM EST

Traditionally, one of the things that the Baptists have stood for are strong separation of church and state and independence of conscience.

However, the religious right staged a takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention in the 70s early 80s. They were far better organized and disciplined than their opposition, who never saw this coming.They were energized by an explicit agenda to wrest political control of the SBC from the moderates and traditional conservatives. They succeeded in 1979, and susequently purged all the moderates and liberals from leadership posts in the denomination.

However, it seems likely to me, given the traditional viewpoints of the denomination, that people who are longtime Baptists may have issues with the brand of church based political activism practiced by the new SBC leadership, even if they might generally be in agreement with them.

As I understand it (none / 0) (#97)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 09:48:05 PM EST

The SBC isn't organized like the Catholics or Anglicans. It's not a single "corporation" so much as a loose confederation of independent churches.  The "Northern" (American) Baptists are the same way - churches choose to join or not, and the churches hire/fire their staff rather than having staff assigned to them by some hierarchy.

In other words, the SBC may not reflect the attitudes of any particular SBC church.

RUN !! IT?S AN ATTACK OF THE ?WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS? NAZIS!!!! - Brian Crouch
[ Parent ]

Or something... (none / 1) (#89)
by sethadam1 on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 03:53:00 PM EST

As a non-practicing American Jew, I can tell you that neither I nor any Jew I know of gives a rat's ass about Christians expressing their faith, even in public areas.  What we care about, as should you, is a religious movement whose specific goal is to influence politics.  This is what is feared, and frankly, what I feel has happened.    

I've personally always felt as though Republican equals Christian in some form or fashion, and although probably not related, better education usually means a democratic vote.  You'll find this tends to hold true in many areas if you look for maps that represent votes and education.  

What we should all fear is much greater than this though, it's that America is repeating the same mistakes as past powers, and is, I fear, in the first stages of its decline as the sheep become blind followers of their faith.  

All eyes to China, folks, in 100 years, they'll be the new America.  

I agree... (none / 0) (#109)
by nous on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 09:01:33 AM EST

I am a Buddhist and can't think of a single person who has a problem with Christian displays of religion. But having an entire "grassroots" religious movement that is dedicated to nothing more than influencing and supporting politics is a frightfully scary thought. No government should be used religion as much as the Bush administration is in order to simply pull the wool over impressionable people's eyes. Much more of this and instead of the land of the free we will be the land of the christ reborn and Bush will be our savior. At which time I will be leaving the US heading for a destination unknown.

[ Parent ]
You are a day late and a dollar short. (1.00 / 2) (#110)
by Reductio on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 09:50:18 AM EST

The damage is done. They coddled to you moron christians with their wedge issues-- Abortion, Gay rights, etc. You were used as pawns. Go back into your hole.

RE: You are a date late and dollar short. (none / 0) (#112)
by ZephyrXero on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 02:19:26 PM EST

Do be aware that I know many self-proclaimed atheists who are just as much, if not more against things such as gay marriage and abortion than the average christian.
"Of all the forces of nature, never underestimate the power of human stupidity."
[ Parent ]
Not all Christians are idiots (none / 1) (#111)
by ZephyrXero on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 02:15:46 PM EST

I agree with much of this article. This is a big problem for America right now (no matter what you believe in). Even though I'd say over half of the people who claim to be "christian" don't really know the first thing about God, these people foolishly vote for things by it's faux-christian appearance given. George Bush, prime example... if W was such a good Christian, he wouldn't have sent thousands of US troops to kill and be killed in Iraq. That whole "thou shalt not kill" thing still applies these days...

I know this may have all been said before, but I can't believe how many "anti-christian" posts there have been on here in responce. This guy want to help, not hurt... some of you have some serious misdirected anger issues.

[*First Kiroshin comment, so feel free to flame away]

"Of all the forces of nature, never underestimate the power of human stupidity."

Right-Christianity: one ideology among many (none / 0) (#115)
by mn worker on Sat Dec 25, 2004 at 12:26:59 AM EST

The response you offer to criticism of right-christian politics - you must already be aware - is not novel. While it is an important point to make, I do not think it addresses the core cause of the (now popular) negative reaction to right-christian political agendas.

There are two aspects to this reaction.

First, many people are personally, strongly opposed to the right-christian positions on particular issues; right-christian positions on abortion, on sex education, and on homosexuality, directly conflict with their beliefs, values, and practices.

Second, many people react negatively, also and additionally, specifically because this idealogy with which they disagree is presented as a religious ideology.

In the USA in particular, this is seen by many to be legitimate and fully justifiable grounds for criticism of any political agenda grounded in this ideology, a priori.

This second aspect appears to be an instance of enlightenment rationalism used as a propaganda platform in a power-play against alternative political agendas.

Ideologies are conveniently partitioned into two groups: religious and non-religious. Religious ideaologies are a priori illegitimate grounds for political agendas and their associated political agendas should not be seriously considered, while non-religious ideaologies are all potentially legitimate grounds for political agendas no matter how ill-founded or destructive.

The power relationship should be clear in, historically, an openly secularist political movement (very successfully) propagating the rhetoric that non-secularist political agendas are a priori illegimate.

It seems incredibly disingenuous to say that either 1) we have an ethical obligation to promote egalitarianism, or 2) pre-emption is justifiable grounds to invade a sovereign nation, are potentially - or are - legitimate political agendas, while 3) regulating homosexual practice is a legitimate role of our justice system, is a priori an illegitimate political agenda.

No one of these positions seems to be any more neutral or less ideology-free than any other.

Attention (none / 0) (#116)
by Armada on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 11:24:16 PM EST

Democrats: This is your plan of attack.

If you can strip the fundamentalist Christian from the Republican party, it is a lofty goal, but it will serve you.

Just as the Republicans stripped the union worker, the immigrant, and the fiscal conservative from you, so you too can pull the fundamentalist Christian from the Republican party.

Don't speak as if you have to gain their support, but do question if their support is in the right place. A great deal of Christians fall more politically into the Constitution and Libertarian parties, and, as such, it only needs to be made aware to them.

Question the Republicans stance on meddling in other world affairs. If they are irrate about it, suggest Constitutionalism as the solution. Question the Republicans stance on increasing federal government spending. If they are irrate about it, suggest Libertarianism as the solution.

The Republican party has been hijacked by lawyers, CEOs, and blue-collar workers that don't have a clue. If you can strip even 20% of the base religious group that makes up the party, you stand a chance in 2008.

Chuck Baldwin, prominent Baptist pastor: "The Religious Right Scares Me" | 116 comments (93 topical, 23 editorial, 0 hidden)
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