blueollie

overslept

Too tired, so I’ll walk instead of swim this morning.

Right now, I am waiting for the coffee to perk up.

Here are a couple of items of interest:

Telescopes
Here is a cool blog article about the Hubble and the Webb telescopes; there are some spectacular space photos as well.

Brownback:

He is one of those clowns that are running for President but doesn’t believe that evolution happened. There is a supporter of his (?); well, I can’t rightly say; the blog could be real, and it might be a spoof. But the wingnuts are so idiotic is is not always easy to tell.

Anyway, this post argues against…that’s right…the earth going around the sun. Again, it reads like a spoof, but if you look at the rest of the blog…;)

This one: gotta be a spoof. But still is funny as all get-out. And it does point out that

This is the best news I have heard since I found out that Clinton (hell spawn) got impeached for his high crimes. It looks like the new president of the NEA (National Education Association) is going to be Kenneth Willard, a Kansas Republican, and an opponent of teaching evolution in science class in favor of teaching the truth… that God created the Universe and the Earth in 6 days, and on the 7th day he rested.

The author goes on to say that he (she?) hates science and math classes. You know, religion might make it all easier: “ok class, learn Stoke’s Theorem by tomorrow or all of you are going to burn in hell for all eternity! Why? God told me so and it says so in the Bible…somewhere…you’ll find it if you read it with the proper attitude” or something like that. 🙂

So what is hell? Hmmm, for me it might mean it is a place where you can’t use the Continuum Hypothesis in your proofs and the women who wear spandex shorts/tights also wear long shirts that come down lower than their rears. 🙂 Oh yeah, the running/walking/cycling courses are always one way, uphill, with the wind constantly against you. 🙂 For the late Rev. Falwell, it might mean only having salads to eat!

For Richard Dawkins, it might mean being perpetually stuck as a schoolboy in Bible study classes where his knuckles get wrapped every time he says “evil-lution”.

Here is a nice post by Delicatemonster about religiosity and America; the post is broken down into several smaller parts. I’ve shown the first parts of each sections to entice you to the article..

‘Americanism’ the term and the concept has a relatively old pedigree. Generally it’s seen as a belief system that implies American values are the most ideal of cultural values or an attitude that gives special importance to the United States of America. It became a more ‘formal’ term when Pope Pius IX decided to define the concept as a heresy. I can only imagine what the Knights of Columbus thought of that. This declaration apparently occurred when America was coming into its own as the quintessential imperial melting pot and, as such, it couldn’t very well maintain a ‘state religion’ no matter what the Catholics might think. […]

American Innocence

Hegel didn’t think much of Native Americans. Around 1822 he wrote that they were “like unenlightened children, living from one day to the next, and untouched by higher thoughts or aspirations.” But in a not so subtle manner, Hegel paid homage to the primitiveness of the place called America and wanted European Americans “weary of the historical arsenal of the old Europe” to “abandon the ground on which world history has hitherto been enacted.” Hegel hoped, as William Blake wished as well, that the American ‘experiment’ would rise above the weight of European history, and “offer a new sense of reality for the world.”

It’s a beguiling fantasy based in historical fact: the persecuted Europeans flee the Old Europe. They arrive in the Americas, wide-eyed and curious, desirous only for a new life. They are Adam and Eve returning to the primeval Garden, seeking absolution from the decadence of European history, seeking innocence. “Hardy, courageous, tough – this is the self-image of the colonial settlers.”

We know this is true, because we have diaries and journals in which their visions are noted by the peerless settlers themselves. Alas, we also have the accounts of the others—those ‘unenlightened children’—the Indians—whom the innocent ‘pioneers’ first encountered.

[…]
Americanism – Part II, American Militarism

Note: I initially planned the Militarism section to be the last portion of the Americanism series, however, the untimely death of Andrew Bacevich’s son in Iraq warrants some commentary. I thought his father’s own words on the ‘New Militarism’ which I quote heavily in this essay might be appropriate.

Boston University Professor Andrew J. Bacevich is, in Steven Clemon’s words …

“a brave, thoughtful public intellectual who has tried — in reserved, serious terms — to challenge the legitimacy of the Iraq War. He has been one of the most articulate leading thinkers among military-policy dissident conservatives who have exposed the inanity of this war and the damage it has done. He authored the critically-acclaimed book, The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War.”

Now his son by the same name who was serving in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom is dead — announced today by the Department of Defense

Not every American leader claims divine sanction, nor is every military General a holy roller, but the idea persists that the United States is uniquely justified in using its power to expand throughout the world. And the military is necessary to fulfill that particular mission, whether it’s a God inspired crusade or merely one more slight expansion with a few discomfiting elbows in the ribs of neighbors either near or far. […]

Americanism, Part III- American Exceptionalism

Closely tied to the notion of American innocence is a sense of our exceptional character. We believe we are an exceptional people, as George Will is often at pains to point out, we’re the only country founded on an ideal—actually a series of ideals. G. K. Chesterton put it this way:

“America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence.”

[…]

One off shoot of this is that Americans also tended to suspect intellectual and intellectual elites—the refinements of aristocracy were conflated with the leisure of contemplative thought and so both were frequently tossed overboard, unless the egg head could also prove himself industrious and useful to some extent. Inventors were welcome, theoreticians, not so much. Tocqueville asserted such ‘natural elites’ were the lone virtuous members of American society, but they could not enjoy much share in the political sphere as a result of the middling values system inherent in America. Ordinary Americans enjoyed too much power to defer to intellectual superiors as it were. He called this leveling of leadership “a middling mediocrity.” We’ve all seen examples of this, from the lowering of the national discourse around election times, to the daily embarassments that passes for entertainment and news on American television and radio. Our Presidents are especially emblematic of this ‘middling’: Relatively taciturn leaders like Coolidge, unable or unwilling to speak much to anyone, folksy inarticulate Presidents like Eisenhower or Reagan with his sweeping folksy rhetoric but little or nothing in the way of insightful policy intelligence…all the way to the acme of inarticulate: George W. Bush, an incoherent, drawling good ole’ boy who has worked very hard to make himself the anti-thesis of the intellectual. Tocqueville wouldn’t roll in his grave, he’d just nod and roll his eyes.

But there is another aspect to the notion of American exceptionalism, that is not so much how we ourselves act among ourselves, but how we act toward the rest of the world. The idea, as Howard Zinn has put it,

“is that the United States alone has the right, whether by divine sanction or moral obligation, to bring civilization, or democracy, or liberty to the rest of the world, by violence if necessary”

[…]
Americanism, Part IV – American Religiosity

Underlying both American’s sense of innocence and the idea of an exceptional destiny and purpose is America’s religiosity. Has ever a country been more religious? According to Samuel Huntington writing for a recent American Heritage Foundation report overwhelming majorities of Americans affirm religious beliefs.

When asked in 1999 whether they believed in God, or a universal spirit, or neither, 86 percent of those polled said they believed in God, 8 percent in a universal spirit, and 5 percent in neither. When asked in 2003 simply whether they believed in God or not, 92 percent said yes. In a series of 2002–03 polls, 57 to 65 percent of Americans said religion was very important in their lives, 23 to 27 percent said fairly important, and 12 to 18 percent said not very important. In 1996, 39 percent of Americans said they believed the Bible is the actual word of God and should be taken literally; 46 percent said they believed the Bible is the word of God but not everything in it should be taken literally word for word; just 13 percent said it is not the word of God.

These high levels of religiosity would be less significant if they were the norm for other countries. Americans differ dramatically, however, in their religiosity from the people of other economically developed countries. According to the report,

“This religiosity is conclusively revealed in three cross-national surveys. First, in general, the level of religious commitment of countries varies inversely with their level of economic development: People in poor countries are highly religious, those in rich countries are not. America is the glaring exception. If America were like most other countries at her level of economic development, only 5 percent of Americans would think religion very important.”

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May 21, 2007 - Posted by | creationism, politics/social, religion, science

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