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 Montreal_Guy
Joined: 3/8/2004
Msg: 4
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Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?Page 1 of 6    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
Well, you can thank the neocons for that one....


Strauss thought that "those who are fit to rule are those who realize there is no morality and that there is only one natural right, the right of the superior to rule over the inferior." For Strauss, "religion is the glue that holds society together," said Drury, who added that Irving Kristol, among other neoconservatives, has argued that separating church and state was the biggest mistake made by the founders of the U.S. republic.

"Secular society in their view is the worst possible thing," because it leads to individualism, liberalism, and relativism, precisely those traits that might encourage dissent, which in turn could dangerously weaken society's ability to cope with external threats. "You want a crowd that you can manipulate like putty," according to Drury.

http://www.fpif.org/commentary/2003/0305strauss_body.html


If you get them hooked on God (in a cynical, Straussian sense) then you have control. Science can be minimized, like you see with the intelligent design manipulation.

If God is on your side, then everyone else is an infidel.


Using religion as a political tool has two equally unsavory consequences. First, when religious beliefs become the guide for public policy, the social virtues of tolerance, freedom, and plurality are undermined, if they are not extinguished altogether. Second, the use of religion as a political tool encourages the cultivation of an elite of liars and frauds who exempt themselves from the rules they apply to the rest of humanity. And this is a recipe for tyranny, not freedom or democracy.

There is a strong asceticism at the heart of the neoconservative ideology that explains why it appeals to the Christian Right. Neoconservatism dovetails nicely with the views that humanity is too wicked to be free; too much pleasure is sinful; and suffering is good because it makes man cry out to God for redemption. With the neoconservatives and the Christian Right in power, Americans can forget about the pursuit of happiness and look forward to perpetual war, death, and catastrophe. And in the midst of all the human carnage and calamity that such policies are bound to bring, the Olympian laughter of the Straussian gods will be heard by those who have ears to hear it. In short, the Straussian elite makes the Grand Inquisitor look compassionate and humane in comparison.

Another important Straussian close to the Bush administration is William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and chairman of the Project for the New American Century, in which the neoconservative foreign policy is clearly outlined. Kristol wrote his thesis on Machiavelliæa theorist who was much admired by Strauss for everything except his lack of subtlety. Strauss endorsed Machiavellian tactics in politicsænot just lies and the manipulation of public opinion but every manner of unscrupulous conduct necessary to keep the masses in a state of heightened alert, afraid for their lives and their families and therefore willing to do whatever

was deemed necessary for the security of the nation. For Strauss as for Machiavelli, only the constant threat of a common enemy could save a people from becoming soft, pampered, and depraved. Strauss would have admired the ingenuity of a color code intended to inform Americans of the looming threats and present dangers, which in turn makes them more than willing to trade their liberty for a modicum of security.

http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=library&page=drury_24_4


You set up the enemy outside your borders, and that pushes people in fear towards your camp.

You set up the enemy WITHIN your borders, those godless liberals, and do the same thing.

Works like a charm, as we can see quite clearly.
 Montreal_Guy
Joined: 3/8/2004
Msg: 6
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History
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 9/13/2008 10:29:07 PM
I don't think that the reason for the rise of Religion in America has to do completely with the "neocons."


Oh, really ?


YouTube
How the Neo Cons use the Myth of religion in politics



Darwinism is on the way out. At least, that's what Irving Kristol announced to a gathering at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington not long ago. Darwinian evolution, according to the godfather of neoconservatism, "is really no longer accepted so easily by [many] biologists and scientists." Why? Because, Kristol explained, scientifically minded Darwin doubters are once again focusing on "the old-fashioned argument from design." That is to say, life in all its apparently ordered complexity cannot be understood in terms of chance mutation and the competition for survival. There must, after all, be a designer. So, exit Darwin; enter--or re-enter--God.

This may seem to some readers to be a personal quirk of Kristol's. Perhaps as he approaches Eternity (he's 77), he may want some grand company there. But Kristol's friend and colleague Robert Bork is claiming the same thing: Charles Darwin and his theories are finished. In his new work, Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline, Bork pins his own anti-evolutionary attack on Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, a recent book by biochemist Michael Behe. Bork declares that Behe "has shown that Darwinism cannot explain life as we know it." He adds approvingly that the book "may be read as the modern, scientific version of the argument from design to the existence of a designer." Bork triumphantly concludes: "Religion will no longer have to fight scientific atheism with unsupported faith. The presumption has shifted, and naturalist atheism and secular humanism are on the defensive."

Are these merely two isolated intellectual voices preaching that old-time design? Hardly. Last summer, the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a think tank devoted to studying the role of religion in public policy, and now headed by neoconservative Elliott Abrams, called together a group of conservative intellectuals, including Kristol, his wife, Gertrude Himmelfarb, and Hoover Institution fellow Tom Bethell, to listen to anti-Darwin presentations by Behe and Michael Denton, author of Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. Himmelfarb has told at least one colleague that she, too, thinks the Behe book "excellent."

There's yet more. The neoconservative journal Commentary, of all periodicals, joined this attack last June with a cover essay, "The Deniable Darwin," written by mathematician David Berlinski.

"An act of intelligence is required to bring even a thimble into being," wrote Berlinski, "why should the artifacts of life be different?" Berlinski warmly endorsed Behe's book, praising it as "an extraordinary piece of work that will come to be regarded as one of the most important books ever written about Darwinian theory. No one can propose to defend Darwin without meeting the challenges set out in this superbly written and compelling book." Commentary Editor Neal Kozodoy says he was "delighted" that his magazine served as a "forum for airing this issue." Berlinski "hit a nerve," according to Kozodoy, not only among the scientists he criticized, but "out there, among general readers, many of whom seem preoccupied with the issues he raised."

What's going on here? Opponents of Darwin traditionally have been led by biblical literalists, whose "arguments" on the subject have been generated mostly by the Book of Genesis. Now their camp includes some of the most prominent thinkers in the conservative intellectual movement.

As a matter of historical curiosity, this new turning of neocon eyes toward heaven comes just as Pope John Paul II has officially recognized that "the theory of evolution is more than an hypothesis." Indeed, it comes as evolutionary thinking itself is shedding considerable light on an array of questions and problems, from brain growth to the development of immune systems, from sociobiology to economics, from ecology to software design. Such research is yielding anti-designer results. F.A. Hayek long ago recognized the phenomenon of "spontaneous order" and described how it arose in markets, families, and other social institutions. Now, ingenious computer models are confirming Hayek's insights. It is increasingly obvious that social systems, from commerce to language, evolve and adapt without the need for top-down planning and organization. Order in markets is generated through processes analogous to Darwinian natural selection in biology. In other words, we can indeed have apparent design without a designer; the world is demonstrably brimming with just such phenomena.

But the neocon assault on Darwinism may not be based on either science or spirituality so much as on politics and political philosophy. That is the view of Paul Gross, a biologist and self-described conservative. Gross is much concerned with the interplay of science and politics--he is the co-author of the 1994 book, Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science--and is puzzled by the attacks on evolutionary biology by people whose political views he largely shares. Regarding Commentary's anti-Darwin article, he says he is mystified that the magazine "would publish the damned thing without at least passing it by a few scientists first."

Gross believes that the conservative attack on Darwin may be a case of tactical politics. Some conservative intellectuals think religious fundamentalists are "essential to the political program of the right," says Gross. As a gesture of solidarity, he says, these intellectuals are publicly embracing arguments that appear to "keep God in the picture."

The end of the Cold War may also be a factor. Marx fell with the Soviet Union; Freud has been discredited by modern psychology and neuroscience. The last standing member of the 19th century's unholy materialist trinity is Darwin. Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson, author of Darwin on Trial, makes the connection clear: "Darwinism is the most important of the materialist ideologies--Marxism, Freudianism, and behaviorism are others--which have done so much damage to science and society in the 20th century." Kristol agrees. "All I want to do," he told his AEI audience, "is break the bonds of Darwinian materialism which at the moment restrict our imagination. For the moment that's enough."

But something deeper seems to be going on, and the key to it can be found in Bork's assertion in his book that religious "belief is probably essential to a civilized future." These otherwise largely secular intellectuals may well have turned on Darwin because they have concluded that his theory of evolution undermines religious faith in society at large. Of course, this is not a novel thought. Many others have arrived at the same conclusion. Conservative activist Beverly LaHaye, a biblical literalist who is president of Concerned Women for America, puts the matter directly: "If the biblical account of creation in Genesis isn't true, how can we trust the rest of the Bible?"

Kristol and his colleagues may worry that once this one thread is pulled from the fabric of religious belief, perhaps the whole will become unraveled, with grave social consequences. Without the strictures and traditions imposed by a religion that promises to punish sinners, the moral controls that moderate our base desires will lose their validity, leading ultimately to moral chaos. Ironically, today many modern conservatives fervently agree with Karl Marx that religion is "the opium of the people"; they add a heartfelt, "Thank God!"

It is no secret that many neocons are in a deep funk over the state of American society. (For an especially glum assessment, dip into Bork's best-seller.) In the 1960s, many of them advocated federal programs to ameliorate such social ills as poverty, crime, racial discrimination, illegitimacy, and drug abuse. But as one social welfare program after another succumbed to its unintended consequences, they recognized the limits of governmental intervention. Having suffered a crisis of faith in the efficacy of social science, they now believe that only the restoration of religious belief among the masses can re-establish order in American society. As David Brooks recently wrote in the conservative journal The Weekly Standard, policy intellectuals used to sound like economists; now they sound like ministers. He's right. At conservative confabs today, the longing for yet one more Great Awakening of religious fervor is palpable.

Kristol has been quite candid about his belief that religion is essential for inculcating and sustaining morality in culture. He wrote in a 1991 essay, "If there is one indisputable fact about the human condition it is that no community can survive if it is persuaded--or even if it suspects--that its members are leading meaningless lives in a meaningless universe."

Another prominent neoconservative, Leon Kass, author of Toward a More Natural Science (1985), and a member of the University of Chicago's prestigious Committee on Social Thought, also believes that evolutionary theory poses a threat to social order: "[T]he creationists and their fundamentalist patrons...sense that orthodox evolutionary theory cannot support any notions we might have regarding human dignity or man's special place in the whole. And they see that Western moral teaching, so closely tied to Scripture, is also in peril if any major part of Scripture can be shown to be false."

At the heart of the neoconservative attack on Darwinism lies the political philosophy of Leo Strauss. Strauss was a German political philosopher who fled the Nazis in 1938 and began teaching at the University of Chicago in 1949. In an intellectual revolt against modernity, Strauss focused his work on interpreting such classics as Plato's Republic and Machiavelli's The Prince.

Kristol has acknowledged his intellectual debt to Strauss in a recent autobiographical essay. "What made him so controversial within the academic community was his disbelief in the Enlightenment dogma that `the truth will make men free.'" Kristol adds that "Strauss was an intellectual aristocrat who thought that the truth could make some [emphasis Kristol's] minds free, but he was convinced that there was an inherent conflict between philosophic truth and political order, and that the popularization and vulgarization of these truths might import unease, turmoil and the release of popular passions hitherto held in check by tradition and religion with utterly unpredictable, but mostly negative, consequences."

Kristol agrees with this view. "There are different kinds of truths for different kinds of people," he says in an interview. "There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn't work."

In crude terms, some critics of Strauss argue that he interpreted the ancient philosophers as offering two different teachings, an esoteric one which is available only to those who read the ancient texts closely, and an exoteric one accessible to naive readers. The exoteric interpretations were aimed at the mass of people, the vulgar, while the esoteric teachings--the hidden meanings--were vouchsafed to the few, the philosophers. Philosophers know the truth, but must keep it hidden from the vulgar, lest it upset them. What is the hidden truth known to philosophers? That there is no God and there is no ultimate foundation for morality. As Kristol suggests, it is necessary to keep this truth from the vulgar because such knowledge would only engender despair in them and lead to social breakdown. In his book, On Tyranny: An Interpretation of Xenophon's Hiero, Strauss asserts with unusual clarity that Socratic dialogues are "based on the premise that there is a disproportion between the intransigent quest for truth and the requirements of society, or that not all truths are always harmless."

Political scientist Shadia Drury, a passionate critic of Strauss, puts it this way: "For Strauss, the ills of modernity have their source in the foolish belief that there are no harmless truths, and that belief in God and in rewards and punishments is not necessary for political order....[H]e is convinced that religion is necessary for the well-being of society. But to state publicly that religion is a necessary fiction would destroy any salutary effect it might have. The latter depends on its being believed to be true....If the vulgar discovered, as the philosophers have always known, that God is dead, they might behave as if all is permitted."

Thus, to preserve society, wise people must publicly support the traditions and myths that sustain the political order and that encourage ordinary people to obey the laws and live justly. People will do so only if they believe that moral rules are divinely decreed or were set up by men who were inspired by the Divine.

Kristol restated this insight nearly five decades ago in an essay in Commentary dealing with Freud: "If God does not exist, and if religion is an illusion that the majority of men cannot live without...let men believe in the lies of religion since they cannot do without them, and let then a handful of sages, who know the truth and can live with it, keep it among themselves. Men are then divided into the wise and the foolish, the philosophers and the common men, and atheism becomes a guarded, esoteric doctrine--for if the illusions of religion were to be discredited, there is no telling with what madness men would be seized, with what uncontrollable anguish."

Thus, following the lead of Strauss and Kristol, those who support the attacks on evolutionary biology may be reasonably suspected of practicing a high-minded hypocrisy. They want to bolster popular morality and preserve social order. Attacking Darwin helps to sustain what Plato regarded as a "Noble Lie"-- in this case preserving the faith of the common people in Genesis, and thus the social order.

http://www.reason.com/news/show/30329.html


It's no accident Palin is on the ticket, and the neocons were the first to find her, promote her, and push for her to be VP.
 The Artful Codger
Joined: 2/29/2008
Msg: 8
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 9/13/2008 11:13:05 PM
It's interesting because both Canada and America are Christian Nations
Did I miss a memo?
I thought they were secular countries.
On what grounds do you claim them for your faith?
 greg8001
Joined: 7/10/2008
Msg: 9
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 9/13/2008 11:25:09 PM
Religion and its importance in politics depends a lot on how strong religion is as a cultural force generally. In places in the world where religion dominates culture, such as the Middle East, it is not surprising that religious considerations and laws are very powerful influences on politics. However, religion is not so powerful in other countries, and in some countries, the ability of religion to influence politics and law is greatly hampered by things such as constitutional considerations, pluralism (a strong minority of non-believers), secularism (a general principle of keeping religion private) and a respect for the rule of civil law. The US arguably has a strong religious grassroots movement but the ability of religious groups to influence politics generally in the U.S. is checked by the Constitution, the separation of powers, the power and independence of the Courts, the cultural dominance of secularism, and so on.

Ultimately while religion may be an important force in politics, I think ultimately other considerations prevail, especially economic considerations, in all but the most theocratic of countries.
 Kissnguy
Joined: 9/10/2007
Msg: 15
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 9/15/2008 1:09:32 PM

Most people on POF seem to think that Religion has a negative influence on Politics. I would argue that Religion has a POSITIVE impact on Politics. For example, here are some of the ways Religion can have a positive effect on Government & Society:
1. STRONG MORALITY
2. DESIRE TO HELP OTHERS



Morality is an opinion...stop using it in your examples. I can have strong morals and not believe in your strawman god. Perfect example; I routinly give money to bums on the street cause they need help. I pull up to a stop light in my semi...I see a guy with a leg missing...I know damn well he's not faking it..I throw him a couple of bucks.Why? I may not be doing spectacularly, but Im doing better then him and at least I know he'll have lunch today. The conservatives would rather say...Aww he's just a lazy **stard who dosent want to work..Im not giving him a hand out...let him take some personal responcibility...etc etc. So the religious right, for all their "Christians are superior people" posturing, really dont give a damn about their fellow man. While me, the Athiest, without believing in god, knows right from wrong.

We dont need religion to have a strong country with ethics. You just have to teach the right ones.
 Kissnguy
Joined: 9/10/2007
Msg: 16
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 9/15/2008 1:33:13 PM

Reasons Why Religion is Important in American Politics:

1. Secular Darwinism

Why? To combat the lies of evolution?
So tell me Mr rocket scientist, explain dinosaurs without telling me that man and dino lived together at the same time, or that Satan put the dino fossils in the ground to confuse us?


2. Godless Communism


Atheism does not promote communism any more then being left handed promotes innability to sing or dance!


3. Threat of Radical Islam


any enemy is a threat. You dont need to fight religion with religion


4. Rise in Abortion Rates


I'll bet you could start a thread on why Star Trek: TOS is better then Star Trek: TNG and manage to bring abortion into it? Everything you write is either about morality or abortion. If you dont like the idea of microscopic fetal tissue being removed from a uterine wall, support the morning after pill and birth control.


5. Increase of Immorality


Case in point... To you a nudist camp is immoral..go head, tell me Im wrong
 Slowride_
Joined: 4/6/2007
Msg: 20
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 9/15/2008 3:26:18 PM

All Religions advocate Positive Morality


Just as laws promote good behavior, we both know that there are those who will break the law, and those who are religious who will break with morality. Religion may be tied to morality, but morality isn't tied to religion.

Jim Wallis, a progressive evangelical minister had this to say:


People who are religious must make clear that religion does not have a monopoly on morality. Martin King did this best, I mean, in the church the night before the streets, he had Baptists like him, he had Catholics, Abraham Joshua Hoesch, the rabbi, came down; Agnostics, they're all in the room.

Everybody felt a part of the conversation; cause you had to be prepared spiritually to face the, the water canons, the dogs, the clubs in the streets. So it wasn't a religious moment, it was how to find the spiritual resources to do what, in fact, was right. So we need a better conversation in America.

we all like moral values, but are there only two, Only abortion and gay marriage? Republicans seem to say that. I'm an evangelical Christian which means I value three thousand verses in the Bible about poverty. So I would say, fighting poverty is a moral value. I'd say protecting the environment, God's creation, is a moral value. I'd say how and when we go to war, and whether we tell the truth about it, is a moral value. Is torture a moral value? So let's have a better conversation about this.
 Pickme83
Joined: 6/13/2007
Msg: 22
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 9/15/2008 8:37:42 PM
I think religion is an important factor in politics because we tend to gravitate towards people with the same values that we share.
 tallskier
Joined: 5/20/2005
Msg: 25
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History
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 9/16/2008 1:52:00 PM

Most people on POF seem to think that Religion has a negative influence on Politics. I would argue that Religion has a POSITIVE impact on Politics. For example, here are some of the ways Religion can have a positive effect on Government & Society:

1. STRONG MORALITY

2. DESIRE TO HELP OTHERS

3. FAITH-BASED ORGANISATIONS

4. BUILDING COMMUNITIES

5. RAISING CHILDREN


religion is only necessary for #3.
 laxref41
Joined: 7/20/2008
Msg: 26
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 9/19/2008 7:06:34 AM
sydneyricky...

i think you are correct... religion has a strong influence on politics because it can be so much a part of a person's makeup... helping them lead moral and ethical lives, raising responsible children, etc.

the issue at hand is not "influence"... it's that some then become fanatical about their beliefs as the only righteous way and they attempt to impart their beliefs through public law which respects their religious beliefs... even if it's contrary to others religious beliefs...

example... i'm giving Sarah Palin the benefit of the doubt that she is a good, well meaning person... but now her devout faith and the similar people around her have her thinking that Intelligent Design (creationism) should be taught in public schools.
How would I explain to my buddhist, hindu, sykh, agnostic and atheist neighbors that their children must learn a religious belief that is contrary to their own highly moral and ethical beliefs?
The fact that Sarah Palin would actually go to this extreme and basically undermine the first amendment of the constitution that she would be swore to uphold, protect and defend has to be enough to force a vote for the other side.
 Kissnguy
Joined: 9/10/2007
Msg: 27
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 9/29/2008 7:12:22 PM

example... i'm giving Sarah Palin the benefit of the doubt that she is a good, well meaning person... but now her devout faith and the similar people around her have her thinking that Intelligent Design (creationism) should be taught in public schools.
How would I explain to my buddhist, hindu, sykh, agnostic and atheist neighbors that their children must learn a religious belief that is contrary to their own highly moral and ethical beliefs?
The fact that Sarah Palin would actually go to this extreme and basically undermine the first amendment of the constitution that she would be swore to uphold, protect and defend has to be enough to force a vote for the other side.



Thank you....a voice of reason
 rutryin2bfunny
Joined: 12/24/2006
Msg: 28
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 9/29/2008 9:30:43 PM

You set up the enemy WITHIN your borders, those godless liberals, and do the same thing.
You set up the enemy WITHIN your borders, those 'godful' neocons, and do the same thing.
Yeah if we can just get rid of all that nasty conservative Christian authority, then surely our true human nature can burst forth in all of its perfect splendor from each one of us. Everyone will smoke herb, dance naked, and shake tambourines. Peace and love will reign supreme. Humans will hug trees and bunnies at every opportunity now that we are finally able to express our perfect and free loving inner nature. Because food and shelter and pot and free sex all are plentiful, nobody will hurt anybodys feelings ever.... huh?..... Rwanda?.... Wtf you talking about now dude?.... just pass the peace pipe..... everything will be cool..... I promise.....
 cosmopolitician
Joined: 7/19/2008
Msg: 29
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History
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 9/30/2008 1:34:21 AM
Probably because people can't separate moral from religion. You can be kind and respectful to neighbors, elders, love your family and friends, and not do drugs, drink underage, commit other crimes not because the church tells you to, but because your parents instill these values in you by raising you that way. They do that not because of God but because they love their kids & are responsible parents. It's that simple.
 HalftimeDad
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 31
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 9/30/2008 4:56:53 PM
Sorry, but evolution is a fact - not a pseudo science with many holes in it.

It allows for making predictions, which turn out to be true. Most recently they've looked at retrovirus' our ancestors encountered making up a big chunk of our DNA. If evolution has it right, we should share more of these with animals we're more closely related to, than with birds for instance. Turns out we do. Our common ancestor passed on the retroviral history to both chimps and us - we have differences where the species diverged.

Intelligent Design can be taught in church, since it's a faith thing. Not in science classes.
 geeleebee
Joined: 5/26/2008
Msg: 32
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History
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 9/30/2008 5:15:50 PM

What's wrong with teaching Intelligent Design/ID?


Nothing is wrong with presenting the idea of Intelligent Design, but it can't be 'taught' as a fact. It is a theory, as is the theory of gravity and evolution, though evolution is arguably a fact in that one can prove that organisms have changed (evolved) over time.

This is from Richard Lenski, Phd.:

There exists no other scientific explanation that can account for all the patterns in nature, only non-scientific explanations that require a miraculous force, like a creator.
 themadfiddler
Joined: 9/17/2008
Msg: 34
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 9/30/2008 9:44:24 PM

What's wrong with teaching Intelligent Design/ID? The Theory of Evolution is a Pseudo-Science with many holes in it. Evolution is not measureable, repeatable, or observeable. At least children should have the right to CHOOSE between Intelligent Design and Evolution instead of forcing only one biased-perspective at them.


This has already been played out twice in the courts.

On both occasions, the opinion you are expressing has been weighed in the balance and found wanting...or to put it clearer, you have been found wrong by two court justices. One of which was a Christian and a G.W. Bush appointee.

Intelligent Design does not meet the qualification necessary to form a "theory" as science currently defines that term - which is not a "notion" but a model from which experimental data may be tested, hypothesis may be made and tested and conclusions drawn therefrom (eg. Atomic theory, Electrical Theory, Viral Theory, and dun, dun, DUN Evolutionary Theory by Natural Selection)

ID is a notion, and at best a religious one, and an attempt to teach a faith based notion in a science class has been twice ruled as not constitutionally acceptable by the US courts. End of Story. This is also only tangentially topical to this thread...there are MANY threads on this topic and it has been hashed out for literally hundreds of pages...use your search function...also read about the two trials first and save us all some time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitzmiller_v._Dover_Area_School_District

The Judge's conclusion:



In his Conclusion on pages 136–138 of 139 of this decision he writes:

The proper application of both the endorsement and Lemon tests to the facts of this case makes it abundantly clear that the Board’s ID Policy violates the Establishment Clause. In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents. [...]

The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy. With that said, we do not question that many of the leading advocates of ID have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors. Nor do we controvert that ID should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed. As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.


ID is not a science. Twice, it has been proved beyond a shadow of doubt in court. The horse is dead, there is no meat left on the bones.

Now is evolution a science?

I will let this article from talkorigins answer that question:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolphil/falsify.html



It is often argued, by philosophers and creationists alike, that Darwinism is not falsifiable, and so is not science. This rests on the opinion that something is only science if it can be falsified, i.e., proven wrong, at least in principle. This view, which is due to Popper, is not at all universally accepted, and some history of philosophy is in order to make sense of it and the criticisms made of it.[note 1]

At the time Darwin was formulating his view of evolution, the prevailing exemplar of science was the Newtonian program. Laws were paramount, and they determined the outcome. Science sought generalisations. Darwin tried to make a Newtonian science, and was hurt when the leaders of the field like Whewell and Herschel, two of his acquaintances and mentors, dismissed his theory as insufficiently like their model of science.[note 2]

William Whewell was the first real philosopher of science. He was heir to the English and Scottish schools of empirical commonsense. He rejected Hume's notion that induction (proving a rule or law by reference to singular examples of data and observation) was not correct, even if he didn't deny the logical force of the argument, that you cannot prove a universalisation no matter how many pieces of evidence you have to hand. Whewell proposed what he called the 'consilience of inductions' - the more inductive cases you have based on data, the more reliable the generalisation. This is what Darwin tried to attain, and partly explains why he spent so many years gathering case after case to bolster his theory. He thought he was doing it the Right Way [Ruse 1979].

Another school of thought was Positivism. This view affirmed that the only true knowledge was scientific knowledge, and that only positively established proofs were scientific knowledge. This meant the positivists had to be able to distinguish between real science and the pseudosciences of phrenology, spiritualism and the other crank theories coming onto the scene during the nineteenth century. One influential positivist was the physicist Ernst Mach of Mach speed fame, and from him grew a school of thought in the German-speaking countries of Europe known as Logical Positivism, centering on Vienna. The Logical Positivists held that something is science when it can be verified, and they had all kinds of rules for that, based on Hume's dictum that whatever does not logically follow from matters of fact or number was metaphysics. This was equivalent to saying it was literally nonsense for the positivists. When it was observed that the Verification Principle was unverifiable, and so nonsense, the school fell apart.

However it spurred the young Karl Popper [note 3] to put forward his own way of telling apart science (of which the exemplar was the new physics) from pseudoscience (of which the exemplars were Marxism and Freudianism). Popper also accepted the legitimacy of metaphysical statements, but denied they were any part of science. Popper's view (a variety of logical empiricism) was called 'falsificationism', and in its mature versions held that something is scientific just so far as it

1. is liable to be falsified by data,

2. is tested by observation and experiment, and

3. makes predictions.

Real Scientists Make Predictions. This was the True Scientific Method. A minor quibble should be dealt with - Popper knew that the Falsification Principle could not be falsified. It was openly metaphysical. In this context, it makes sense why a pro-evolutionist like Popper called Darwinism a metaphysical research program. It was no more falsifiable (he thought) than the view that mathematics describes the world, and it was just as basic to modern biology [Popper 1974: sect 37].

The spanner in the works was first thrown by sociologists and historians of science, including Robert Merton, and later Thomas Kuhn. Kuhn's book [1962] in particular set the cat among the pigeons. If Popper thought that what he was doing was distilling the essence of science into a set of proscriptions, Kuhn and others observed that no science in fact looks like this model.

According to Kuhn, you can't even compare when one theory is better than another scientifically, for each global theory carries its own assessment methods. Change from one global theory to another is more akin to a religious conversion than a rational decision. Science only changes when the older theory can't cope with some arbitrary number of anomalies, and is in 'crisis'. When this happens, the scientific community acts like someone looking at those dual-aspect pictures like the famous old crone/young woman picture. They 'snap' from one view to another, what Kuhn called a 'paradigm shift'. Science undergoes revolutions, and the only way to determine if something is scientific is to see what scientists do (there is an obvious circularity here).

This was very popular in the relativistic late 1960s, but ran up against some serious problems. For a start, nobody could find these radical revolutions in the historical record. Even Galileo and Newton turned out to be revisionists rather than revolutionaries. Then, 'paradigm' started to be used for every new theory with impact on a discipline (which is all theories, in the end). Eventually, it became obvious that while Kuhn had made many interesting observations, there was no such universal cycle as he had proposed in the 'life' of a scientific theory. The very term 'paradigm' was attacked as being too vague [Masterman 1970], and Kuhn eventually dropped it in favour of more restricted terms like 'disciplinary matrix' and 'exemplar' [Kuhn 1970, 1972].

Kuhn's friend Paul Feyerabend [1970a, 1970b, 1975] stirred things even more by arguing that there was no such thing as the Scientific Method, either, something Kuhn held to exist in a more philosophical sense. Feyerabend argued that method was restricted to small subdisciplines, and that at any point any scientists could bring in anything from astrology to numerology if it helped. He even cheered on early recent creationism. This was the extreme end of the 'science is what scientists do' approach. Feyerabend wanted scientists to do anything they wanted, and call it science.

It was opposed by Imre Lakatos [1970], who argued that science was a historical series of research programs. So long as they were getting results, progressing from one problem to another, they were 'generating', otherwise they were 'degenerating'. According to Lakatos, a research program is a strongly protected core of theories that are relatively immune to revision, while ancillary theories are frequently revised or abandoned.

One thing all three of these philosophers thought in opposition to Popper - there was no point that could be ruled off as the dividing line between 'rational' science and 'non-rational' non-science. Lakatos identified what he called the Duhem-Quine Thesis - nothing can be falsified if you want to make suitable adjustments elsewhere in your theoretical commitments. Get a result that upsets your favoured theory of gravitation? Then the instrument's in error, or something is interfering with the observations, or there's another process you didn't know about, or some other background theory is wrong. And the point of this is that all these moves are actually used - they are rational in the sense of good scientific practice. Positivism is irretrievably dead by this stage.

So, what is the difference between science and non-science? There are several mutually compatible alternatives on the board. Pragmatism, the only philosophy to have originated in North America, holds that the truth or value of a statement like a theory or hypothesis lies in its practical outcomes. Pragmatists say that being scientific is a retroactive label given to what survives testing and makes a real practical difference, like a theory about a cancer affecting how that cancer is treated, more successfully. Progress in science is the accumulation of theories that work out [Laudan 1977].

Realists continue to say that what makes something scientific is its modelling reality successfully, and this has given rise to what is known as the Semantic Conception of Theories [Suppe 1977, 1989, see Ereshevksy 1991 for criticisms of this approach]. On this account, what science does is create effective models, and if a model meets Lakatos's criteria for a generating research program, those models are presumed to be adequate and true. And there is a sociological strain. This is divergent, but is either fully relativistic (science is just something that scientists construct for some social reasons of their own), or more pragmatist and realistic, and shares a strong commitment to the importance and uniqueness of science (eg, Hull [1988]).

Back to evolution. It becomes clear why the simple-minded parroting, even by scientists, that if it can't be falsified it isn't science, is not sufficient to rule out a theory. What science actually is, is a matter for extreme debate. The rediscovery post-Merton of the social nature of science has thrown eternal Scientific Methods out the window, but that doesn't mean that science is no longer distinguishable from non-science. It just isn't as easy as one would like in an ideal world. Last I looked, it wasn't an ideal world, anyway.

However, on the ordinary understanding of falsification, Darwinian evolution can be falsified. What's more, it can be verified in a non-deductive sort of way. Whewell was right in the sense that you can show the relative validity of a theory if it pans out enough, and Popper had a similar notion, called 'verisimilitude'. What scientists do, or even what they say they do, is in the end very little affected by a priori philosophical prescriptions. Darwin was right to take the approach he did.

It is significant that, although it is often claimed that Darwinism is unfalsifiable, many of the things Darwin said have in fact been falsified. Many of his assertions of fact have been revised or denied, many of his mechanisms rejected or modified even by his strongest supporters (e.g., by Mayr, Gould, Lewontin, and Dawkins), and he would find it hard to recognise some versions of modern selection theory as his natural selection theory. This is exactly what a student of the history of science would expect. Science moves on, and if a theory doesn't, that is strong prima facie evidence it actually is a metaphysical belief. [note 4]

A final quote from Hull [1988: 7] is instructive:

Yet another ambiguity constantly crops up in our discussions of scientific theories. Are they hypotheses or facts? Can they be "proved"? Do scientists have the right to say that they "know" anything? While interviewing the scientists engaged in the controversies under investigation, I asked, "Do you think that science is provisional, that scientists have to be willing to reexamine any view that they hold if necessary?" All the scientists whom I interviewed responded affirmatively. Later, I asked, "Could evolutionary theory be false?" To this question I received three different answers. Most responded quite promptly that, no, it could not be false. Several opponents of the consensus then current responded that not only could it be false but also it was false. A very few smiled and asked me to clarify my question. "Yes, any scientific theory could be false in the abstract, but given the current state of knowledge, the basic axioms of evolutionary theory are likely to continue to stand up to investigation."

Philosophers tend to object to such conceptual plasticity. So do scientists -- when this plasticity works against them. Otherwise, they do not mind it at all. In fact, they get irritated when some pedant points it out.

Most scientists are not philosophically inclined and will make use of whatever is a help in their work, but not in the way Feyerabend thought. Reflective scientists know that it's all how you ask the question that counts. Most physicists would not immediately think that atomic theory could be false, either. They are answering the question "is it likely to be dropped later on?" not the philosophical "could it in theory be dropped?" which is a different issue. Philosophers do conceptual tidying up, among other things, but scientists are the ones making all the sawdust in the workshop, and they need not be so tidy. And no cleaner should tell any professional (other than cleaners) how it ought to be done. Creationists who say, "evolution is not like what Popper said science should be, so it isn't science" are like the janitor who says that teachers don't keep their classrooms clean enough, so they aren't teachers.


Intelligent design is not falsifiable, it is not testable. It cannot, therefore, be a science, a model, or theory for which any hypotheses can be made, tested, etc. Show me a way you can test for and/or falsify a designer, then we can talk about it.
 gizmosellschickens
Joined: 5/20/2007
Msg: 35
view profile
History
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 10/11/2008 4:46:42 PM
Secularizaiton makes society culturally and intellectually wealthier. Also, the role of religion in society is mixed bag. The reason its mixed bad is religious leaders try to slience ideas like Evolution or world is round. The most successful and wealthy nations put tolerance of faith as cornerstone. Holy Roman Empire was mix of Luthern and Catholic chruchs in central Europe and the Prussian knew tolerance was key to successful state. The religion factor in politics is based on morality most cases, but sometimes what the bible says is not what is best for society and goverment. Scienifitical reseach may cross certian moral issuses in regards to stemcells resreach or idea of evolution. The steamcell reseach has not moral basis with pros and cons to it, but the goverment role should be to promote progress in science and also to promote tolerance of all Religions.
 BeachlessBlond
Joined: 2/12/2008
Msg: 36
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 10/11/2008 7:26:58 PM
Our countrywas formed, based on Judeo-Christian values, and our gov't gives creedence to a higher authority when they put, "In God We Trust", on our money.I don't believe our forefathers were mixing religion and gov't, necessarily. Only saying we are not a godless nation, but believe in a higher power. Certain Christian religious groups believe God is offended by our current divorce rate, abortions, porn, promiscuity, etc., and sends down trials and tribulations on this country, for it's sinfulness. They believe, if we all would get back to "the word of God", how they interpret it, this country will be back on track. Those that believe that Christ is returning shortly and we should not stand in the way of His return, are growing in numbers, and politicans' religious beliefs are going to become more important.
 themadfiddler
Joined: 9/17/2008
Msg: 37
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 10/11/2008 7:53:02 PM


Our countrywas formed, based on Judeo-Christian values


Respectfully, this opinion seems based on ideas that are at best anachronistic and at worst uninformed. While almost all the Founding Fathers were members of a Church of some kind, they lived during the Age of Reason. Many of these men were far better educated than the average poster to these boards, despite the technological gap, as far as being well read in political and philosophical terms and in living memory had seen the effects of political and religious wars and in fact did everything to prevent their nation from being founded on the values of any one religion. The laws of the United States are not in any wise founded on Judaeo-Christian values at all...in fact documents like the unanimously ratified Treaty of Tripoli say the exact opposite.



and our gov't gives creedence to a higher authority when they put, "In God We Trust", on our money.


In God We Trust is a MUCH later addition to the money. This has been discussed ad nauseum on these forums.

http://www.ustreas.gov/education/fact-sheets/currency/in-god-we-trust.shtml



The motto IN GOD WE TRUST was placed on United States coins largely because of the increased religious sentiment existing during the Civil War. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase received many appeals from devout persons throughout the country, urging that the United States recognize the Deity on United States coins. From Treasury Department records, it appears that the first such appeal came in a letter dated November 13, 1861.


The fact that there is no good evidence to promote the truth of one religion over another, and that all religions are essentially equal, is more than reason enough to prevent ANY religion from being state sanctioned. This is certainly why the Founding Fathers had the good sense to include the Establishment Clause.
 BeachlessBlond
Joined: 2/12/2008
Msg: 38
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 10/11/2008 10:38:42 PM
FIDDLER- This is from American Thinker, www.americanthinker.com- "Judeo-Christian values in America have a basis in the Declaration of Independence." "...we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness;...." -Declaration of Independence. From Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judeo-Christian "Judeo-Christian is a term used to describe the body of concepts and values which are thought to be held in common by Judaism and Christianity, and considered often along with classical greco-roman civilization, a FUNDAMENTAL BASIS FOR WESTERN LEGAL CODES AND MORAL VALUES. (My caps). In particular, the term refers to the common Old Testament as a basis of both moral traditions, including particularly the TEN COMMANDMENTS, and implies a common set of values present in the modern western world. The values most commonly assigned to the Judeo-Christian tradition are LIBERTY and EQUALITY (my caps) based on Genesis, where all humans are created equal and Exodus, where the Israelites flee tyranny to FREEDOM (my Caps)......these ideas from the Hebrew bible brought into American history by Protestants, are seen as underpinning the American Revolution, Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution." "and our gov't gives creedence to a higher authority when they put "In God We Trust," on our money." MY WORDS- I don't know what your argument is with my statement. Creedence IS spelled wrong, true. but the meaning doesn't change; belief as to the truth of something. The gov't was announcing publicly,to the world, that this nation believed in a higher power. Not a specific religion. Maybe I'm missing your point.
 themadfiddler
Joined: 9/17/2008
Msg: 39
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 10/11/2008 11:02:24 PM


FIDDLER- This is from American Thinker, www.americanthinker.com- "Judeo-Christian values in America have a basis in the Declaration of Independence." "...we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness;...."


Well I don't know why you cite "American Thinker" as a particular source. It's an internet site. It's got a clear opinion/agenda. It's not a scholarly source so it's not any more moving than "some guy.com"



these ideas from the Hebrew bible brought into American history by Protestants, are seen as underpinning the American Revolution, Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution."


I don't know what writer or source you are quoting here...but it's certainly a gross oversimplification...and again, clearly a biased one. The underpinnings of the American Revolution could not be any less related to ideas from the Hebrew Bible...the Declaration and Constitution have more in common with the Magna Carta than any religious document.

My points are simple.

The Founding Fathers did not put "In God We Trust" on the money. This was a late addition done at the time of the Civil War.

The Founding Fathers, while many were church goers, were not comparable to today's modern believers for a variety of complex reasons, not the least of which being that they were men of the Age of Reason. These selfsame men also ratified - unanimously and without argument - The Treaty of Tripoli, which stated in no uncertain terms that the United States was not a Christian Nation and was not founded as such.

It is also my point that while many of the Founding Fathers were men of faith, they were also men that believed in Freedom from state imposed religion and state interference in religion and thus made sure the Establishment Clause existed so that no religious test would be required for anyone entering public office and no religion would receive preferential treatment over any other - including Christianity - and that all the people of America would be free to practice whatever faith they choose without interference from the State or their neighbours.

The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, written in 1779 by Thomas Jefferson, proclaimed:

"[N]o man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities."

I trust that clears it up.
 cncgandolf
Joined: 7/29/2007
Msg: 40
view profile
History
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 10/11/2008 11:21:11 PM
" "...we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness;...." "

The key term is "Our Creator" which establishes that our forefathers did tie the existence of a "creator" ... but not a specific religion. I actually had a student flat out state that Islam, Jewish and Christian's had different "god"s . What is very sad about this is that those 3 religions are simply branches of earlier versions of the same religion much the same as the various protestant religions are branched off from the Catholic religion .. in protest, which is where the name comes from.

Separation of church and state doesn't mean our forefather's didn't believe in a creator. There are many spiritual but not religious people in this country who are actually living much much more Christian lives without claiming Christ as their savior. They claim with their actions by acting like Christ ... which is what the word Christian actually means. Not words - actions.

Religion is a factor because most of us want a person who behaves like Christ behaved ... including not shoving their religion down our throats. Politicians who spout religion but don't act it scare those of us who want the actions without the words.

If God is everything then God is the tree, the sun, the moon and if someone wants to pray to that embodiement of God it is not up to me to constrain them to worshiping my embodiement .... or I am saying God is not everything.
 themadfiddler
Joined: 9/17/2008
Msg: 41
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 10/11/2008 11:38:01 PM

Religion is a factor because most of us want a person who behaves like Christ behaved ... including not shoving their religion down our throats. Politicians who spout religion but don't act it scare those of us who want the actions without the words.

If God is everything then God is the tree, the sun, the moon and if someone wants to pray to that embodiement of God it is not up to me to constrain them to worshiping my embodiement .... or I am saying God is not everything.


Exactly and very well said. If Jesus indeed did say "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matt. 25:40) then with 1,000,000 dead due to the Iraq conflict...let's just say for starters, the tab is pretty high.

I have no doubt that the majority of the Founding Fathers believed in God and were even Christians...but that the nature of their belief was very different compared to men of today and that they had the wisdom to enshrine religious liberty in law for men of ALL faiths.
 BeachlessBlond
Joined: 2/12/2008
Msg: 42
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 10/12/2008 9:37:22 AM
My point was that certain Christian groups take carte blanche from the fact that our gov't uses the word "God", and they use it to further their belief that it is THEIR God and THEIR religion that should be instituted in this country. The particular faith I was thinking of, although I only know it's general theme, believes Christ is returning to earth soon; the end of days, and that we should look forward to Armageddon. The faith is growing in numbers, and knowing which politicians follow and support this idea
should be known. To have anybody in a position of power who believes that the end of the world is, or should be near,, or any other idea, that is contrary to the safety and welfare of the country and our people, raises the subject of religion in politics to new importance. IMO, the worse the problems become in this country, the more many people will use a faith based yardstick to pick candidates. And that leaves more of a chance for an extreme viewpoint to infiltrate.
 rutryin2bfunny
Joined: 12/24/2006
Msg: 43
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 10/12/2008 2:17:36 PM

Our country was formed, based on Judeo-Christian values
Yes, partly. It is important to bear in mind that the influences include other sources as well, to a significant degree.


Respectfully, this opinion seems based on ideas that are at best anachronistic and at worst uninformed.
Wrong. Her statement is not untrue. Had she said 'Our country was formed, ONLY based on Judeo-Christian values', then I would agree with your response.
The USofA was formed in accordance with the strong societal values of a nation of people who clearly revered the Bible and its content. An argumentative attempt to surgically remove the large influence the Bible had on the people and the new nation they built is utterly ridiculous.
The USofA was built upon principles of tolerance, dignity for all, freedom, justice, and the high valuation of human life.... (except for the non-persons of course.... slaves.. women.. haha so much for your glorious 'Age of Reason' huh?... but nevermind...) Anyhoo, all these noble principles are espoused and reinforced greatly within the Bible. Having built such a national foundation, the founding gentlemen proceeded to protect that foundation by making a clear and absolute separation of church and state, so that no 'kook' may, in the future, be able to claim divine authoritative right to change that foundation. They saw plenty of attempts at 'divinely inspired' state imposed mass religious conversions in Europe, and were absolutely sickened by the resultant mass, gross, injustices and carnage, and rightfully so.
So, the USofA was founded in part in accordance with Biblical values. And because it was founded so, it was absolutely necessary for the nation to not be a 'Christian Nation', or an 'Islamic Nation' or any other religious nation. It was a nation that was, in part, founded to respect the dignity of all 'persons' irrespective of their faith. Just what Jesus taught, if I am not mistaken....

IMO, the worse the problems become in this country, the more many people will use a faith based yardstick to pick candidates. And that leaves more of a chance for an extreme viewpoint to infiltrate.
Agreed. And what sickens me more is people using a race-based yardstick to pick candidates.... which I am seeing LOTS of...
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