Thursday, November 03, 2005


I am an atheist but I think it is for the good of science for the holes in evolution theory to be pointed out. So the push by the Australian Feds to allow ID to be taught in the schools -- but in religion rather than in science classes -- seems a reasonable compromise to me

Christian schools have defended their right to teach intelligent design in science classes to explain the origin of life, accusing sceptical scientists and teachers of "ideological conservatism". In the latest salvo over the theory emanating from the United States, Christian educators said no approach to science was "value-neutral" and that both Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and intelligent design "have their own strong ideological foundations". Intelligent design says that some forms of life are so complex they can be explained only by the actions of an "intelligent designer".

Carolyn Kelshaw, chief executive officer of Christian parent-controlled schools, and Richard Edlin, principal of the National Institute for Christian Education, said "intolerant" opponents of intelligent design were holding back "the genuine exploration of alternative approaches within science teaching in Australian schools". "We are dismayed that some science educators appear to be committed to their own ideological conservatism," they said in a statement. There are 24 parent-controlled Christian schools in NSW and another 56 schools represented by Christian Schools Australia.

More than 70,000 Australian scientists and science teachers this month criticised the infiltration into schools of intelligent design, saying that it was a belief, not a scientific theory. Nobel prize-winning scientist Peter Doherty said it was "a ridiculous idea and has no place in science teaching". The Dean of Sciences at the University of NSW, Mike Archer, told ABC Radio that equating intelligent design with science could lead to teaching "astrology instead of astronomy" and "flat earth [theory] and fork bending".

But the chief executive of Christian Schools Australia, Stephen O'Doherty, said he was happy to "take on" the scientists and teachers, who were "dogmatic and close-minded". He said intelligent design was "a debate among scientists" using the scientific record and complexity of biological systems "as evidence of an intelligent designer". "But there is no such thing in Australia as an intelligent design curriculum that takes Darwin off the shelf," he said.

In the past two months, Australian schools have snapped up a US-funded intelligent design DVD called Unlocking the Mystery of Life after the federal Minister for Education, Brendan Nelson, said he supported intelligent design being taught in religion or philosophy classes.

More here

Stanley Renshon speaks on immigration and the importance of a sense of common citizenship

As an American professor, what Renshon can say is limited but he does have some criticisms of politically correct American immigration and citizenship policy. A few excerpts:

The core issue of immigration is not one of dollars or cents; the core issue in my view is national attachment and identity, emotional attachment to this country and developing an identity as an American. This is what I call the hidden core of the immigration debate. It doesn't matter if immigrants contribute more than they cost if they are not emotionally attached to the country and identify as Americans.

So too illegal immigrants are not only damaging to the United States because they begin their association with us by breaking the law and spawning a host of illegal activities from document fraud and human smuggling to government corruption. They are damaging as well because their enormous presence underscores and undermines citizen's confidence that the government can do or perform its most basic function, which is preserving the integrity of the American national community and its physical boundaries....

Now, I recently had the honor of testifying before the congressional House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration where, aside from a contentious exchange with Congressman Sheila Jackson Lee about whether the concerns I expressed here were anti-immigrant - she repeatedly pressed for examples of real and immediate damage done by dual citizenship.

Well, in that regard, consider the Pew Hispanic Center's 2002 survey of 3,000 persons of Hispanic and Latino background. I recommend it to you; it's a very interesting set of data, which you can get online. Among the many useful questions the survey asked were those concerning national and ethnic identity. The survey asked respondents about the terms they use to describe themselves and found that a large majority of Latinos, that is 88 percent, indicate that they identify themselves by the country where they or their parent's ancestors were born, for example, a Mexican or a Cuban. They were almost as likely to use the term Latino or Hispanic - much less likely to use the term American, which didn't show up very often.

We are talking about a lot of people here. There are 14.5 million people from Latin America living in the United States by some estimates. So to say that 88 percent of that sample refers to themselves primarily in terms of their country of origin is to say that we have almost 13 million immigrants with no "American" in their cognitive structure.

The data on what is happening to some immigrant children is no less troubling. A 1992 study found that 25 percent of the second-generation immigrant children identified themselves as a non-hyphenated Latin nationality, country of origin, despite the fact that they had been born in the United States and grown up here. A more recent survey of over 5,000 children - it is the major study of Hispanic assimilation in the United States - found that among the U.S. born, just four percent of American - of Mexican-American - youth identified themselves in any way as American, the lowest proportion of any group.

And I think there is also an issue, which has not been looked at carefully, which is just how much emotional attachment is represented by contemporary hyphenization. We assume that every group is like the Irish, but there is a lot of evidence to suggest that this historical parallel is misplaced. Now, it's hardly surprising that other countries try to maximize their self-interests here through their immigrants.

The question before us is whether we should encourage their success at the cost of our own civic and cultural institutions. I believe obviously the answer to that is no. No country and no democracy certainly can afford to have large groups, members of its citizens, with shallow national and civic attachments. No country facing dangerous enemies, as America now does, benefits from taking a laissez faire attitude towards truly integrating its citizens into our national community. And no country striving to reconnect its citizens to their civic and national identity can afford to encourage its citizens to look to other countries for their most basic and profound national attachments. Thank you.

More here


Confirmation from a Leftist source follows:

Before refusing to give up her bus seat, Parks had been active for twelve years in the local NAACP chapter, serving as its secretary. The summer before her arrest, she’d had attended a ten-day training session at Tennessee’s labor and civil rights organizing school, the Highlander Center, where she’d met an older generation of civil rights activists, like South Carolina teacher Septima Clark, and discussed the recent Supreme Court decision banning “separate-but-equal” schools. During this period of involvement and education, Parks had become familiar with previous challenges to segregation: Another Montgomery bus boycott, fifty years earlier, successfully eased some restrictions; a bus boycott in Baton Rouge won limited gains two years before Parks was arrested; and the previous spring, a young Montgomery woman had also refused to move to the back of the bus, causing the NAACP to consider a legal challenge until it turned out that she was unmarried and pregnant, and therefore a poor symbol for a campaign.

In short, Rosa Parks didn’t make a spur-of-the-moment decision. She didn’t single-handedly give birth to the civil rights efforts, but she was part of an existing movement for change, at a time when success was far from certain. We all know Parks’s name, but few of us know about Montgomery NAACP head E.D. Nixon, who served as one of her mentors and first got Martin Luther King involved. Nixon carried people’s suitcases on the trains, and was active in the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the union founded by legendary civil rights activist A. Philip Randolph. He played a key role in the campaign. No one talks of him, any more than they talk of JoAnn Robinson, who taught nearby at an underfunded and segregated Black college and whose Women’s Political Council distributed the initial leaflets following Parks’s arrest. Without the often lonely work of people like Nixon, Randolph, and Robinson, Parks would likely have never taken her stand, and if she had, it would never have had the same impact.

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