Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 238

On Politics

From WordPress

From WordPress … but I will vote on Tuesday

I encourage those in US states with Congressional races to use the three fact checkers I provide on the sidebar (under Resources): Annenberg FactCheck, PolitiFact, and The Fact Checker (@Washington Post). , ,

On the topic of fact checks, one of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) ads mentions a factcheck regarding his opponent. Interestingly, Sen. McConnell’s has claims don’t clear the same bar.

Not surprisingly to me, the Cincinnati Enquirer endorsed Sen. McConnell for the contested Senate seat. However, and sad to say, the last sentence in the endorsement caused me to laugh: We (the editorial board) just hope that, if re-elected, McConnell will remember that’s it’s Kentuckians first – not his party – whom he answers to first.

I find this scenario interesting: What if the Republicans gain control of the Senate, but their leader loses his re-election?

Mitt Romney says a GOP-controlled Senate would end gridlock in Washington. Sorry Mitt, I disagree. Did your Civics class leave out the White House’s role in legislation?

Last week I asked instead of disposing all four of the top Congressional leaders (Reid, McConnell, Boehner, Pelosi), and if you could keep just one, who would it be? … and who do you think I would keep. Surprise … for me it would be John Boehner (R-OH). Although he has to deal with a difficult caucus within his own party, as an individual, I believe he would be the one most willing to make a deal.

To lead you into this week’s headlines from The Onion, here a few about next week’s election:

  • Midterm candidates distancing themselves from the United States
  • 45-year-old to help candidate understand the youth vote
  • Traumatized nation terrified to make its voice heard in another election

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Two-year old never thought he would see the Giants win the World Series
Man’s heart stops as speaker asks audience to turn to person next to them
Four angels banished from heaven for attempting to unionize
Antidepressant can’t believe it’s expected it’s expected to fix this mess all on its own
Crowd outside White House hoping to catch glimpse of President naked

Bonus Graphic: How Ebola Quarantine Works

Interesting Reads
Shift college programs to 3 years?
Media habits of the partisans …. (and something I wrote in January 2009)
Keyless cars and thieves
Neil Young: Musician, artist, and painter
Denying science in politics
Interactive: Henry Hudson on the Hudson

On Potpourri
Happy Halloween. Here’s an interesting read wondering if adults have hijacked Halloween.

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants for winning baseball’s World Series … and special congrats to their fans who visit here that I know love their Giants … especially Lame and Amy.

Pope Francis’ support (this week) for science regarding evolution and creation not only does not surprise me, but it continues a trend going back to Pope Pius XII. Regardless the clamor of the noisy cranks, there is no question in my mind that when measured along denominational lines, this is the predominant view among Christians. Even in that light, much of the Atheist community is not willing to join in partnership against the conservative agenda of placing God-driven creationism based on Genesis in public schools.

To go along with the previous comment, I’ve been saving this one from Pew Research about attitudes about evolution by political party.

Dr. John Walton is a professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. (I loved his book about Genesis that I reviewed here.) Recently, I read this worthy essay about right vs. wrong … and I think agree vs. disagree is also valid.

I continue to find a wonderful interest in Cynthia’s poems, Her audio versions add to my experience because she has an outstanding cadence. If you visit and comment, tell her I sent you … and a special thanks to Mary for directing me to Cynthia.

Lauren Hill, the college freshman from the Cincinnati area with an inoperable brain, is expected not to see 2016, yet this Sunday she will get her dream of playing in a college basketball game. It seems that various cable stations will be broadcasting the game in different parts of the country. I’m curious if this makes the local news (television, radio, or newspaper) in your area … so let me know. Here’s an article about her. PS: I’ve learned that she will be in the starting lineup, plus the last player introduced.

Cheers to everyone’s effort in yesterday’s Act 11 of Life: The Musical. In the history of musicals here, readers provided many songs that I didn’t know … and as one who appreciates a wide-variety of music, I say Many thanks!

This blog hit the 200,000 hits mark late Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the rollover, but my guess the celebratory moment occurred sometime between 11:40-11:55 AM (Eastern US).

No Saturday Morning Cartoon this week because tomorrow is a special day! Do you remember why?

Your weekend celebrations

  • (Weekend) Punkin Chunkin Champtionships (Video to learn about it)
  • (Fri) Happy Halloween!, Knock-Knock Jokes Day, Caramel Apples Day, Books for Treats Day, Day of the Seven Billion, Frankenstein Friday, Girl Scout Founder’s Day, Bandana Day, Breadsticks Day, Magic Day, Scare a Friend Day
  • (Sat) Fried Clams Day, Extra Mile Day, Give Up Your Shoulds Day, Sadie Hawkins Day, Games Day. Authors’ Day, Family Caregivers Day. Family Literacy Day, Go Cook for Your Pets Day, Prime Meridian Day, Kite Day, Games Day
  • (Sun) Deviled Eggs Day, Cookie Monster Day, Plan Your Epitaph Day, Zero Tasking Day, Name Your Car Day, Look for Circles Day

Here’s another 2-fer to send you into the weekend. With Saturday being Sadie Hawkins Day, the first takes you back to 1959 with Stubby Kaye in Lil Abner. If musicals of that era aren’t your thing, you are only going back to 1980 for Turn It On Again (Genesis). Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Letter

Long-time readers know about my interest in the religion and science interchange. To newcomers, seeing the Categories > Religion and Science in the sidebar reinforces my point.

Recently, I was purging files from my classroom days. Some of the things I rediscovered were interesting enough to save for possible incorporation into posts – so here is one.

Context: Students had just informally (and individually) answered questions about common misconceptions in science. Next, they discussed answers in a small group, thus free to change any answers. I concluded the activity by leading short discussion of each answer. Two of the 33 questions were about evolution, but this post focuses only on one of them.

Lesson Goal: Misconceptions exist and they come from a variety of sources.

A question: (True/False) Humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time.

Answer: False – Research indicates 60 million years separated dinosaurs and humans.

Later that day, this note (below) appeared on my classroom desk.

September 9, 1994

Today you made the statement that there is scientific evidence that dinosaurs and men did not live at the same time. There is none. On the contrary, there is only evidence against it. There is not even any evidence that Earth was around 20 million years ago.

Your argument might be that scientists have dated the footprints of animals in mud, which has turned to stone at billions of year ago. It is virtually impossible to do so unless you compare the footprints to that of a species and have the guess of the time of this species. But there is nothing to date. There is the absence of rock.

As for evolution itself, it cannot stand the question of life in the equation X times Y equals Z. We are trying to find X. Y is filled in with how we interpret physical evidence found. Z is filled with God, so for X, I get from the Bible.

You (Atheists) have decided that you don’t want to follow the Bible, so you fill in Z with your own philosophy. Your X is based on your Y. Your Y is based on your X. Since your equation never equals out, your Y is dynamic.

Unless you repent your sins and become a Christian, you will find out on the Judgement Day that I and right and you are wrong. When God asks you why he should let you into heaven, what will you say? I know what I will say.

On a Glorious Creation

Science does not threaten God, nor does it remove God. Scientific explanations as evolution or an old earth does not remove God, nor does it diminish his power, sovereignty, or creative accomplishment. Science merely shows an aspect of how God operates within His creation. Maybe we should look to remove the burden we place upon God who gave us creation and Scripture by trusting the tools he gave us, including our faith.

Christianity is not life in a straightjacket. God gave us good news for everlasting life through Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection on the cross. God also gave as nature as a place for us to act in his behalf – and Scripture provides our expectations.

We are not Pharisees who used their feeling of superiority and self-righteousness to proclaim being right with God. We should not create a hostile wall with other Christians by confusing God’s kingdom with our own. As we accept weather reports through maps, data, and predictions based on natural cause-and-effect processes gathered through science, they reject evolution that the same mechanisms explain. We cannot adopt a rationale based on when all else fails, God did it. After all, on his Sermon on the Mount, isn’t Jesus criticizing the Pharisees?

Through the way I see science, evolution, creation, and theology, I have great joy in knowing that I’m glorifying God through a deeper understanding of His creation – our majestic, awesome, intricate, beautiful, continually growing universe.

In order to gain a great understanding and appreciation for God’s creation, we need to strengthen our understanding of science, theology, and the interchange between them. The interaction of our neurological network serves as our symphony of thought, reason, and understanding. Bringing science and theology together brings the greatest sense of awe. Maybe I too am a creationists – but not in the same sense as many typically use the term.

Many thanks to the United Church of Christ for this short, but excellent, summation.

Blessed is God the creator, who is also the light and life of all creation

On Evolution and Education

Although some anti-evolutionists are knowledgeable about evolution, many, probably the majority, are not. Gallup and Pew Research polls show that people do not know much about evolution and they hold many misconceptions. So, why are there so many anti-evolutionists when so many do not know much about it? In other words, how can one be against something they do not know?

The two main distribution points of information about science and theology, especially evolution, are schools and churches. There are three groups of biology teachers: those avoiding evolution, those teaching it poorly, and those teaching it well. Through my experiences, there is no question in my mind that the first two groups are the overwhelming majority. Besides, ample research exists about the public’s limited knowledge of science.

Churches also play a role with both children and adults. Children coming from school may want to talk about the evolution issue with their parents, thus parents need to be informed about both the science and the theology. Church is a one place where both children and parents can learn about the important connections between science and theology. Simply put, the issue of God, theology, faith, and science is for the church, not for the public schools.

There is no doubt that the anti-evolution churches are teaching their members about the choice they must make. The five congregations in my history have not addressed this topic. A friend recently told me that neither has any of the 14 churches in his history.

I simply wonder why so many congregations in the traditions of Roman Catholicism, Episcopalian, ELCA Lutheran, Presbyterian (USA), United Methodist, United Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, Episcopal-Methodist, and other evolution-supporting denominations continue to promote ignorance to their membership by ignoring the evolution and theology topic with their members. Your thoughts?

On the Models between Science and Theology

Last week’s post was about a conversation I had several years ago with my pastor. Various comments served as a clue to me that I should post about the other models; so here is a short summary of four models illustrating the interchange between science and theology.

#1: Conflict
Science and theology are in opposition in the Conflict Model as one field sees the other as an invader of their knowledge domain. This model of hostility and conflict signifies the science-or-God decision, although the two are not comparable terms.

This model not also describes creationism, but also the scientists who proclaim that science so accurately describes the natural world, science explains everything – thus there is no need for religion – although science cannot confirm or deny God’s existence.  As each side within this model tosses bombs at one another, this model drives public perception about the interaction between science and theology – probably because of media coverage of this fight.

#2:  Non-Overlapping Magisteria (NOMA)
NOMA has science and theology respectfully operating as watertight-independent disciplines without overlap and without conflict. Although each has its own expertise, the interaction between them occurs within an individual as they process science and theology. Interestingly, evolutionary writer Dr. Stephen J. Gould came up with the name – and he was either an atheist or agnostic. In last week’s post, this was my point in the conversation with my pastor.

#3: Complementary
The Complementary Model has science and theology working together from different perspectives, which was my pastor’s position. Although each works within their own processes, the overlap represents one field using information for the other.

Whereas Galileo explained that theology is about how to go to heaven, but not how the heavens go (thus the NOMA model), the Complementary Model can produce greater insight toward our quest for understanding of our world and life. Viewing these content rings from the side shows a space between science and theology – the creative tension of respecting their own space. Let us not forget that the degree of overlap is another question.

#4: Fusion
The Fusion Model has science and theology working together and influencing each other. There is no question in my mind that this is the most complex model because it requires a deeper level of understanding about the science-theology interchange than most people possess.

Interestingly, many people (and probably, in my opinion, most) are only aware of the Conflict Model. However, several comments last week unknowingly indicated the NOMA model.

What do you think?