On Something Nice

The dominos of life are interesting when one event leads to another. Not all that long ago Nia, a photographer and genuinely nice person from Istanbul, Turkey, granted me the Angelika Award. Interesting it had no ties to it as many other awards do.

It so happens that receiving that award came not too long after the March 10th post where I listed links to many blogs I had discovered since the fall and encouraged readers to visit them. Did you visit any? Did you find new places you regularly visit? Did receive any new visitors? Have any become regular visitors?

If any of the answers above is yes, this award is for you – and without strings attached. In my own way, passing along goodness and thanks seems to be the appropriate way to celebrate my 900th post.

On Evolutionism

One should not confuse evolution and evolutionism because they are different. Whereas evolution is about nature (previously explained), evolutionism attempts to use evolution to express progress and value of society. Some even link biological and cultural progress back to God because humans are worth more to God as a result of this progress.

We can trace the concept of evolutionism back to Aristotle’s hierarchical Great Chain of Being. Numerous societal shifts during the 1800s as agricultural to industrial and rural to urban marked the growth in evolutionism. With these shifts in mind and the thought that the church was not addressing society’s latest needs, evolutionism became an ideology challenging the religious trends at the time of literalism, fire, and brimstone.

Hebert Spencer (1820-1903), a Darwin contemporary, used psychology, sociology, philosophy, and biology to embrace human struggles and evolutionism to justify social policies. Spencer coined the phrase “survival of the fittest” (yes, Hebert Spencer, not Charles Darwin) because he saw evolution as a mechanism to explain social development. Because he influenced so many sociologists, some say that Hebert Spencer’s work has been more influential than Charles Darwin.

Thomas Huxley (1825-1895), another Darwin contemporary and Darwin confidant and supporter, also used Darwin’s theory to promote a social agenda in his challenge to the Church of England – deeming it as an obstructionist to human and culture progress.

It is the work of Spencer, Huxley, Francis Galton, Ernest Haeckel, and others morphed into “social Darwinism”, which some use to embrace selective breeding for humans. Interestingly, Galton (1822-1911), Charles Darwin’s cousin known as the founding father of eugenics – a socio-biological movement advocating methods for improving the human population through genetics.

Haeckel (1834-1919), a German biologist and philosopher, embraced Spencer and evolution, but not Darwin’s natural selection. Adolph Hitler mistakenly used Hackael’s “politics is applied biology” as one reason for justifying Arian dominance. It is this on this point that anti-evolutionists today inaccurately point to Charles Darwin’s evolution leading to a life of homosexuality, promiscuity, abortion, dysfunctional families, and other societal issues.

Today, evolutionism referred to as Social Darwinism, lies in the social sciences than in the natural sciences. One should not confuse this field with sociobiology, which studies social behaviors by animals. (Many recognize E.O Wilson for his work in this area.)

Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection is not about culture and values or a vehicle for exposing desired values – nor does it attempt to answer questions as why are we here, what is the role of humans, what is the role of God, or what would Jesus do. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection is not tied to Nazism, Fascism, communism, and socialism. Darwinism is about genetics, adaptation, diversity, and the natural world.

Science is supposed to yield objective knowledge that is free from cultural values. Social Darwinism/evolutionism was not good science in the time of Hebert Spencer nor is it good science today because good science involves observation, measurement, experimentation, predictions, and conclusions that are free from societal norms and philosophy.

On a Monday Reporter

Hope you had a good weekend. What did you do that was memorable?

As I prepare this post Sunday mid-afternoon, I’m exhausted – thus hoping for a nap. We danced ballroom both Friday and Saturday night, but it was the handbell event that how put me in a low energy level. Because our church hosted other choirs, those of us who go out of our way to help guests more is demanding.

Then there was this crazy, energetic, difficult song that our choir played. During the song, the effects of my extra adrenalin pushed me – and then when it was over, the “someone pulled the plug” feeling crashed me to normalcy soon after the last night as I suddenly realized we hit it! Maybe our best! Needless to say, I  am quite proud of our group’s accomplishment.

Because I’m on the topic of energy and dancing, Cincinnatians have a local TV personality who is quite the entertainer. Although he serves as  a weekend anchor, during the week early risers can find him during the early morning traffic reports; however, he vaults viewers into the weekend with his quirky Dancing Party Friday report before the Friday sun rises.  Enjoy this one from several years ago, and I look forward to catching up on reading your posts. Have a great week!

On a Cute Couple

To those of us who grew up during cartoon’s golden age, Rocky and Bullwinkle are icons. Add the show’s entire cast, now we have a tribute to creator Jay Ward’s brilliance.

J Troplong “Jay” Ward, creator and leader of Jay Ward Productions, is responsible for such characters as Rocky and Bullwinkle, Peabody and Sherman (past post), Dudley Do-Right, Snidely Whiplash, Hoppity Hopper, Tom Slick, Super Chick, Crusader Rabbit, and the two honorees in this post.

Rocky and Bullwinkle debuted in 1959 on ABC, and then moved to NBC two years later. Notables as Frostbite Falls, Wossamatta U, Mr. Know It All, Fractured Fairytales, a way-back time machine for Peabody and Sherman (past post), and more became part of popular culture.

Two villains constantly chasing Bullwinkle – and always foiled by Moose and Squirrel – were Boris and Natasha. Not only was the Cold War prominent in our lives at that time, this event of the era also served as the springboard for these two characters. A few notes about each are below, followed by a wonderful music video about them. Enjoy, and thank you Larry for the find.

Boris Badenov

  • From Pottsylvania
  • Name is a play on the 16th-century Russian Tsar Boris Godunov
  • Degree from The University of Safe-Cracking (USC)
  • Taglines: Must capture moose and squirrel;
  • Report to Fearless Leader, and occasionally Mr. Big
  • List of his disguises

Natasha Fatale

  • Taglines: Hello Dollink, Sharrup your mouth,
  • A former Miss Transylvania
  • Almost always seen in a purple dress, put also wore red in the final season
  • Original name Natasha Nogoodnik
  • Appeared in two Mr. Know-It-All segments
  • Appeared in all but four Rocky and Bullwinkle storylines

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 136

On Politics
I’ve been shaking my head at Congress for some time. Oh my my! Just wait until the end of 2012 when Congress faces the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, expiration of the payroll tax holiday, debt ceiling extension, and the looming deadline of the automatic budgets cuts.

Speaking of Congress, which is worse: One chamber knowingly passing a bill that has no chance of passing the other chamber or not acting on a bill sent by the other chamber?

As a component of overall foreign policy, the US government this dilemma: what to do when promoting national values and national interests are in conflict with one another.

Given the scandal at the US General Services Administration, I would be tempted redistribute its most important duties, and then disband the entire organization.

Because people like Ted Nugget are totally irrelevant to a campaign, why does he keep getting press? Then again, he earned a Dork of the Year nomination.

A thought about the Secret Service scandal in Columbia: Because Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has never heard to this happening before, this must be the first time this has ever happened – therefore it must be President Obama’s fault; but I am not sure what Rep. Issa’s brothers think. (For that don’t know, that’s Larry and Darryl)

On Headlines from The Onion
Trusted Sistine Chapel Janitor Convicted of Sexually Abusing the Last 4 Popes
Depressed Ralph Lauren Releases New Wrinkled Shirt with Marinara Stain
Local Idiot to Post Comment on Internet
Every Potential 2040 President Already Unelectable due to Facebook
Scientists Discover Delicious New Species
Local Priest Grateful to FTD for Easter-Reminder Email
Study Shows 38% of People Not Entitled to Own Opinion

Interesting Reads
Maureen Dowd on Phony Mommy Wars 
A Mummified Kitten
Interesting graphic regarding a naval war with Iran
For those with an interest in style, Plastic in Fashion
Fact or Fiction: Debunking Rural Legends (Thanks Starla)
Companies that Lobby the Most and What They Get

On Potpourri
Tuesday provided wonder camera work of the space shuttle Discovery riding piggyback on a NASA 747 on its final journey from the Florida to DC. For anyone who missed it, see the takeoff and DC flyover + landing.

Jim Abbott has one hand, but pitched in Major League Baseball. Watch this several-minute interview from CNN.

Do you remember the pictures from The Wave by my friend Steve? See his new site, which includes a wonderful musical slide show on the front page.

Interestingly, recent research by the Public Religion Research Institute about Jewish values shows that more Jews have a more favorable rating of Mormons and Muslims than the Christian Right – and I imagine the Christian Right doesn’t really care about that!

As US gas prices continue to rise, let us not forget that US exports of gasoline lowers the US supply. Why export? – because the companies can get a higher price for their product elsewhere!

So far, I’ve enjoyed the current cast of Dancing with the Stars because the overall dancing is good and the cast is likeable. Meanwhile, Holy Menounos, have you seen opera singer Katherine Jenkins?

Blog numbers are down, so the surge was fun while it lasted. Meanwhile, with another classic cartoon salute tomorrow, post #900 should be sometime midweek. Woo hoo!

Have a good weekend everyone. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch. Now I close with an interesting music and description from the video. Enjoy and thanks Xandi.