Archive for February, 2009

The Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp stands as a monument to the hypocrisy of the George Bush/Dick Cheney administration. So-called “captured enemy combatants” have been secretly transported to Guantanamo from various locations around the world, while the Bush administration denied that these people were entitled to any rights under the Geneva conventions, which governs the treatment of prisoners of war.  Only the convoluted minds of Bush, Cheney, and their gang could say with a straight face that people who were captured during the “War on Terror” are not prisoners of war.  It is the twisted minds of this gang of “patriots” who chose to deny these prisoners the basic human rights that the U.S. has sworn to uphold under the Geneva accords.  It is these people who even sanctioned the use of torture on these prisoners in order to try to gain information.  Far from being inspired by Thomas Jefferson, this President and Vice-President more legitimately owe their vision of the appropriate treatment of war prisoners to Edgar Allen Poe’s story, The Pit and the Pendulum.

Now, President Obama seems to be wrestling with George Bush’s dilemma: should we close Guantanamo and bring the prisoners to the U.S. for trial? For Bush the answer was a firm “NO”. This is because he felt that if the prisoners were brought to U.S. soil then they would be entitled to the rights of a U.S. citizen – like the right to a fair trial.  A fair trial? Yes, something that George Bush was determined that they would not have.  Wait a minute.  Just wait a minute. A fair trial is not some sort of lofty “Americans only” right. It is a human right – it is a right that every person on earth has.  It is one of those self-evident rights that everyone is born with –  it is one of those rights that Jefferson spoke so eloquently about.  The Bush/Cheney denial of a fair trial to these prisoners was not a denial of American rights; it is a denial of human rights.

None of us should be afraid of giving any captive a fair trial.  Why should we be afraid?  They are either guilty or they are not. We either have evidence of their guilt or we don’t.  And if we don’t have any evidence of their guilt then why in the world are we holding them captive?  Keeping people prisoner when you have no valid reason to believe they are guilty of a crime is lunacy – which probably begins to explain why Bush/Cheney locked these people up and threw away the key.  Oh, I know the story about classified information – you know, the evidence that condemns these people is so secret we can’t tell anyone about it.  I don’t believe it.  There are plenty of people – thousands, I’m sure – who have all sorts of security clearances who could be on a jury for these cases.  That argument doesn’t make any sense – it’s just Bush/Cheney lunacy again.

So what can Obama do? First, get these people out of Cuba and bring them to the U.S. for trial.  Now, a lot of people say they are afraid of having these “terrorists” in their local prison, and I suppose they might have a point.  Just in case these people are as dangerous as Bush/Cheney have claimed, they need to be locked up in an ultra-secure facility that is in nobody’s backyard.  What could be better than Alcatraz?  I know it is no longer an active prison – but it could be reactivated for this particular task.  There is no record of anyone ever successfully escaping from Alcatraz. So, the first step is to do a quick rehab of a section of Alcatraz, in order to make it habitable again. With enough priority, I expect this could be done in six months.  The work could be even be paid for with the economic stimulus package.  Think how many construction jobs it would create!

Then the trials would begin in the Federal courts.  Let the government make its case against each prisoner and let the courts decide innocence or guilt.  Those who are convicted of serious acts of terrorism could be sent right back to Alcatraz for a life sentence.  Those who are found “not guilty” would be returned immediately to those countries of which they are citizens.  It seems pretty straightforward to me.  People are either guilty or they are not.  This Bush/Cheney imprisonment-and-torture-forever-on-suspicion-of-guilt is as unAmerican a process as anything ever dreamt up by the leaders of the Spanish Inquisition.  It is more than unAmerican, it is a disgrace to humanity, and it is a blot on each of us until we bring it to an end.

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Can a statement be true and untrue at the same time?  Yes, it can.  Take Thomas Jefferson’s famous “self-evident” statement that “all men are created equal”.  In the context that Jefferson was referring to when he was addressing the King of England, he meant that the colonists in America did not recognize that the King or any other members of the English royalty had any right by birth to rule over them.  In that sense everyone was equal.

However, in the literal sense, we are all born decidedly unequal. This is evident, more and more, as discoveries are made concerning genetic diseases.  Some of us are fortunate, and we are born, more or less healthy.  Others, less fortunate, suffer from inherited disease from the moment they are born.  Still others have inherited diseases that do not manifest themselves immediately but only appear later in life, such as certain forms of cancer.  All of these susceptibilities for particular diseases can be found in one place – our DNA.  Now, as more and more breakthroughs are made in biotech, companies like Myriad Genetics are able to create DNA tests to determine whether we are likely, or perhaps certain, to develop certain diseases as we get older.

The good thing about having the ability to analyze our DNA and see if we are likely to contract certain diseases is that some form of treatment can sometimes be started before the disease even appears.  We are about to enter a new age of medicine where newborn infants are routinely screened for a host of genetic diseases. Lifesaving steps can be taken while the disease still lies dormant in the baby’s DNA.  This, of course, is only the first step into a new realm of biology that will soon create a whole new set of questions that must be answered by those who would set our ethical bearings.

For example, it is well known that some people are born with bodies that produce mostly “fast twitch” muscle tissue in their legs, while others produce mostly “slow twitch” muscle tissue.  The fast twitch people are natural sprinters while the slow twitchers are more suited to running marathons.  Let’s suppose a child enters high school and decides to try out for the track team.  Let’s suppose the child wants to train for and run the 100 meters race; however, let’s also suppose that his DNA analysis shows that he will never be a competitive sprinter, no matter how hard he trains.  What should the track coach do?

Let’s suppose that, at some point in time, a structure in our DNA is discovered that promotes certain types of intellectual activity, such as music or art or mathematics.  It’s not impossible. There are well known cases of geniuses in the arts, like Mozart, who created magnificent music at a very early age.  Could this astonishing capability have all been taught by his father?  Maybe, but maybe not.  So, what do we do if more and more DNA research shows that we are all born with different gifts and capabilities, as well as different weaknesses.  Do we make use of such information starting from an early age or do we pretend that it isn’t real because we are all created equal?

We will soon have to contend with the fact that Jefferson’s statement was a statement of equality of rights and not literal physical or mental equality.  We have already entered the age when we can predict with high degrees of certainty which people will contract which diseases, just by examining their DNA.  The question we are about to face is this: do we hold on to “equality” with a religious fervor and refuse to go where no man has gone before, or do we boldly look at the facts encoded in our DNA, accept what is written there, and then decide to use that information for the benefit of all?

And the biggest question of all might be: Who will be the Decider?

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Is it me?  Has anyone else noticed a gradual degradation in U.S. television news over the years?  Maybe it’s my imagination, but I seem to recall that when CNN started out with their continuous news coverage channel they really had lots of news to report. Didn’t they used to have reporters all around the world, from Tokyo to Sydney to Rio de Janeiro, sending in reports of the latest news from even the remotest parts of the planet? Now, if you watch CNN, you seldom see a report from one of their reporters from some exotic locale.  When was the last time we had a CNN report from Mumbai or Shanghai?  How about Brussels or Manila?  What about Auckland or Toronto? Doesn’t news happen in those places anymore?

I suppose budgets being what they are, the news people have had to cut back on their major expenses – you know things like covering the news.  Today, if you turn on CNN you have a 50/50 chance at best of getting coverage of a news event. You are just as likely (if not more likely) of getting one of their staff “experts” commenting on the economy and what you should do with your money or another CNN “expert” commenting on politics and whether Barack Obama has a chance of being reelected in 2012. This is news?

Lest it appear that this is an anti-CNN rant only, let me assure you that I find Fox News equally, if not more so, vapid.  Besides Fax’s vapidity, I find I also have to contend with what seems to be a slight right-wing spin on their reporting. Has anyone else noticed that? I have to wonder if they are trying to influence my opinion rather than just reporting the news as it happens.  The result is that I seldom watch Fox. It’s just my opinion, but they seem to be just a little too, how shall I say it? Foxy. Yes, that’s it, a little too foxy.

It seems that the old, established networks like NBC, CBS, and ABC still put together a nightly version of the news that is fairly straightforward. However, I still feel they are provincial, if not myopic, in their coverage of important news in the today’s world.  There is still a great emphasis on happenings in the U.S.  Perhaps too much.  Remember the global economy?  Remember multinational corporations? Remember the United Nations? The world today is not the same world we had  twenty or thirty years ago.  Everything is interconnected and whenever we pull on a string here, or someone on the other side of the world pulls a string there, the effects are felt everywhere.  We are caught up in a giant web of interconnectedness. The world economic collapse is a very good, but not the only, example of this. So shouldn’t we have news reported to us that is much more global in scale? Don’t the U.S. news organizations realize that the world really is round and that as a result something very important is happening somewhere in the world 24 hours a day?  So why don’t they tell us about it instead of inundating us with hour upon hour of vapid opinions by their staff commentators? Could it be because they are running low budget operations and can’t actually afford to cover the world news as they should?  I don’t know.  Maybe.

But, just for the sake of comparison, take a look at how other countries cover the news on television. Check out how the news is covered in England on the BBC. This is their website, of course, but their televised news is similar.  You can even see it in many parts of the U.S. on your local PBS network.  Their coverage of the world is infinitely superior to the U.S. news media. Of course the BBC is well known for that, but they are not alone in this regard. Check out Radio Telefis Eireann in Ireland at this link. Once again, it’s a website, but their broadcast world news is very complete also.

But wait!  There’s more.  The Germans, perhaps not as famous for their world news coverage, also do a very good job of providing real information via their Deutche Welle broadcast.  This is also available in parts of the U.S. via the Public Broadcasting Network. The good thing is that the news is broadcast in English so that we monolingual Americans can actually understand what they are saying.  Check out Deutche Welle at this link and see what I mean.  Finally, one of my favorites for keeping up with events of the day throughout the world, is a French (yes, French – I know) network news program called France 24. Their website is worth looking at and so is their broadcast. Although I have yet to find it in the U.S., even on PBS, I am hopeful that someday it will show up here.  Maybe the answer is the internet.

Which means that I think it’s time our U.S. news media took a look around at the competition.  With the advances in broadband and the capability to view television programs on the internet, it may not be too long before we will be able to watch internet-based news broadcasts from around the world,  maybe even on our own television sets.  It seems clear to me that these two media are bound to merge in the not too distant future. When that happens CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, and the other U.S. news media will find they are competing directly for audience share with the BBC, RTE, Deutche Welle, France 24, and many, many more.  I don’t think our news networks realize this, and because they don’t, they may find themselves in the not too distant future going the way of a few other U.S companies that ignored their foreign competition for far too long, companies like GM, Chrysler, and Ford.

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It’s not bad enough that the stock market is collapsing, the banks are going under, and unemployment is skyrocketing. Now we have this.  The print publishing industry is about to go belly up.  It seems that almost all the major newspapers have created online editions that are available free to anyone who wants to sign up.  Those newspapers that still publish hard copies are trying to figure out how to stay in business at a time when sales are down, and advertising revenues are down, while the internet versions of the papers are not only free to readers, but they are also undated hourly so they provide much more up to the minute coverage of the news than any print edition possibly could.

Now, the same sort of thing is happening to the book industry.  With the successful launch of Amazon’s Kindle people can download a bestseller for a fraction of the price of a hard copy.  Yet, at the same time, Amazon can make money on these low priced editions.  That is because the cost to publish is negligible compared to printing hard copies of books, distributing them, and so forth, only to find out that the publisher guessed wrong about the demand for the book and they printed way too many copies that will never be sold.  It is clear that online publishing and distribution is far more cost effective than hard copy book publishing. However, there are other advantages that will also ensure that the print media will soon disappear.

Take Amazon’s Kindle for example.  There are other electronic book readers, but this seems to be the most popular at the moment.  It can store over 200 books in a small handheld device that is as easy to read and as easy on the eyes as a paper book.  Imagine if students could have all their textbooks stored in their Kindle.  No more lugging around a backpack with 40 pounds of books. Also, if you haven’t bought a textbook recently, you might be startled to see how expensive they are, some cost well over $100 each. However, without the need to print copies and guess how many might be sold, it would be expected that electronic textbooks will provide a great cost savings to students (and their parents).

There  is also another characteristic of electronic books that will completely revolutionize the publishing industry.  Suppose you want to be a novelist.  OK, well you have to write your entire novel first.  Then you have to get a literary agent interested, based upon sending them a couple of sample chapters.  If they don’t resonate with your book, then their answer is “no”.  If you are one of the very, very few who actually gets an agent, then your agent has to find a publisher who also likes the book. This is not a sure thing.  Remember the book business is a business. They don’t publish good books, they publish books that they think will sell a lot of copies.  After all, that’s how they make money. So today, someone like Sarah Palin can get a $10 million book deal without having written a single page, because she is famous and the publishers figure a lot of people will buy her book regardless of what she says in it.  On the other hand an unknown scientist could solve Einstein’s perplexing problem of the Grand Unified Field Theory and not get published at all because the publishing industry didn’t understand what he was talking about and besides not more than ten people will buy it anyway.

The new electronic book industry will be, in some ways, like the new world of blogs and You Tube and Facebook. There will be opportunities for many people to publish their books and get discovered and maybe even make money. The land of the electronic publishing is a land of opportunity for publishers and readers alike. It will offer low cost books to everyone and a thousand (a million?) times more titles and topics that we ever could have with the print industry.  I suppose we will need something like Digg to help people decide which books to consider, but overall, it will be a much more democratic system that will enable people to write about and read about even the most arcane topics in an inexpensive way. It will lead to an explosion of knowledge and the potential of entirely new types of books, for example, books that have embedded video. It will also lead to interactive books, massively collaborative books, and who knows what else.

Get ready. Change is coming; no it’s already here and growing fast right now at Amazon.  This is just the beginning for a new generation of reading devices that will cause printed books to soon go the way of papyrus scrolls.  It is an exciting time for anyone who is an author or a reader of books.  It will revolutionize how we communicate and how we learn.  The ebook will soon be seen as the greatest thing since Gutenberg invented the printing press.

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The news for Bank of America and Citibank  today is grim. Their stock values are tanking, investors have lost confidence, and many fear nationalization.  I guess they think that nationalization would cause them to lose all of the value of their investments in these banks. Wait a minute. In the last five years Bank of America stock has dropped about 92% and Citi has dropped about 96%. How much more is there left to lose? These two banks, and others too, are on life support.  They are being fed on an I-V of our tax dollars, otherwise known as the Great Bank Bailout.  It’s time to take a step back and review the patients’ prognosis.

They are suffering from massive infections.  Their circulatory systems are infected with toxins for which we have no cure.  It’s like bank-eating bacteria.  These patients are going to die without more truly massive transfusions, but no one wants to donate any more blood. And why should they? What have the banks done for us lately? Aren’t they largely responsible for this massive infection that has crept around the world, destroying the economies of country after country?  Can massive blood infusions even save the patients? They not only need new blood, they also need some sort of antibiotic to kill the infection and to prevent future infections. But the banks say they’ll take the blood, but their religion prevents them from taking antibiotics.  No medicine for them; just blood please.

It’s time for the doctor to tell these poor infected banks the truth.  They’re going to die.

OK. So now what do we surviving relatives do? Should we immediately take over the banks, i.e. nationalize them, before they die? And if we do that, what to we do about the infected, toxic tissues in their vaults?  And what about hidden toxins we may not even know about yet? Does it make sense to pour new blood into these son-to-be dead banks and then get the infection ourselves? No, it doesn’t. It’s like there’s plague on Wall Street.  We can’t help them anymore.  Let them and their investors go and meet their maker.

Meanwhile, while the banks take their last, gasping breaths, we (meaning the government – remember government of the people, by the people, and for the people?  That’s us.) start our own National Banks. We start fresh with new blood, that is to say: money.  Sure, it’s our tax dollars, same as in the bailout thing.  But this time we are not buying toxic waste or flushing money down the toilet. We are creating our own banks with no toxic assets, nothing hiding in the closet, nothing lurking in the dark corners. Just a brand new, government-operated set of banks that will meet all of our banking requirements in a completely honest way while the sick banks dissolve into pools of coagulated ooze.  Thankfully, unless we are investors in those pathetic banks ourselves, its not our problem.

Now here’s the real beauty of my plan: the Republican Party has to wholeheartedly endorse it because it is founded on two of their fundamental guiding principles: 1) You Are On Your Own 2) We are not paying to get you out of a mess you got yourself into.

Imagine that. I kind of always thought of myself as a Democrat, but now that I look at it this way, maybe I have some Republican values too.  Maybe I’m actually more like President Obama: I think I have found a truly bipartisan solution to the banking crisis.  President Obama, are you listening? I think the Republicans will go along with us on this one. No, really. How could they say no?

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In 1933, Fred Zwicky, an astrophysicist at Cal Tech noticed an anomaly in his star data.  The measured motion of certain galaxies did not agree with what theory predicted.  He decided that there must be some unseen matter that affects the motion of these galaxies.  His work was noted and soon forgotten. It was not until forty years later that Vera Rubin,  a young astronomer at the Carnegie Institution of Washington noticed the same effect in the motion of stars within spiral galaxies, including our own Milky Way. Her measurements indicated that there had to be much more matter in these galaxies than we had thought – we just couldn’t see it.  Today, the existence of this undetectable matter, improbable as it seems, is accepted as a fact by the scientific community. It even has a name: Dark Matter.

I mention this because it illustrates an important point.  We all have our own view of the world and how things work.  However, sometimes we encounter events that don’t fit into our explanation of the world.  We are confronted with a set of data that, no matter how we look at it, turn it sideways or upside down, we just can’t make it fit into our neat little picture of the way things are.  It is at times like these that we have to consider whether our concept of the world is wrong in some way, and, if so, what is a truer picture of the world?  Just as Zwicky and Rubin found that they could not overlook some data that didn’t make sense, we are now confronted with an analogous situation in our society. Something doesn’t make sense about our country and its economy. Something just doesn’t seem to add up about the way our banks operate and how our government interacts with these wealthy institutions.  It make me wonder if there is perhaps some dark matter here too.

We are perhaps, all of us, already too familiar with the collapse of our economy.  Remember how the government helped rescue Bear Stearns but let Lehman Brothers fail? Remember how Secretary Paulson suddenly said the sky was falling and he had to give hundreds of billions to Goldman Sachs and the other big banks – but he wanted a piece of paper signed by someone in authority that said he could never be prosecuted for any part of his role in bailing out the banks?  Didn’t that seem a little strange, like maybe his orbit was a little eccentric?  Remember how a bill was rushed through Congress and John McCain called off his campaign (temporarily) so he could go back to D.C. and do nothing? Wasn’t that a little odd? Did that fit in with our idea of how things work in our government?  Remember how the banks took the handout of $300 billion or so from Congress and then refused to say how they spent it – all the while giving out multi-million dollar bonuses to their employees, even while the banks, like Merrill Lynch were disintegrating? Does that make sense?  Remember how the GM, Ford, and Chrysler execs flew to D.C. in their corporate jets and told Congress they were broke?  And then Citibank goes out and buys a $50 million corporate jet after they received $45 billion in bailout money.  Somehow this just doesn’t add up, does it?  There has to be some dark matter here, I think.

This all started to make sense when I saw Bill Moyers show on PBS a few days ago. His guest was Simon Johnson, a professor of economics at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Simon contends that we don’t have a democracy in this country; instead we have an oligarchy – rule by an elite group of very powerful people.  Oligarchies were a problem in ancient Greece; so were plutocracies, i.e. rule by the wealthy. The problem with an oligarchy is that they often try to be invisible; indeed, that is partly how they maintain their control. They work behind the scenes in such a way we never see them moving, we only see the tracks they left behind.

Here is one of those tracks: when Secretary Geithner was testifying before the Senate Finance Committee last week, and he was asked by Senator Sanders the following question, “In 2006 and 2007, Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs was the highest paid executive on Wall Street, making over $125 million in total compensation. Due to its risky investments, Goldman Sachs now has over $168 billion in total outstanding debt. It’s laid off over 10 percent of its workforce.  Late last year, the financial situation at Goldman was so dire that the taxpayers of this country provided Goldman Sachs with a $10 billion bailout. Very simple question that I think the American people want to know.  Yes or no, should Mr. Blankfein be fired from his job and new leadership be brought in?

Mr. Geithner replied, “Senator, that’s a judgment his board of directors have to make….”

What???? The CEO of Goldman Sachs drives the company so solidly into the ground that the government has to provide emergency funding or Goldman Sachs will vaporize, and Secretary Geithner can’t figure out whether the CEO should be replaced????

There’s dark matter here all right, and lots of it.  Its getting hard to know where Goldman Sachs and the other big banks on Wall Street end and our government begins.  I’m not so sure there is an end or a beginning.  Maybe its just one big, smooth, money-law continuum where the laws are not absolute, money can be created from laws and laws from money, and everything is, in general, relative.

The problem is that we’ll never know until someone shines some light on the dark matter – but who is going to do that?

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I happen to like Golden Retrievers. They seem to be intelligent and friendly and make the perfect family dog – in my opinion anyway.  It’s interesting to note that if you wanted to buy a Golden Retriever in 1850 you couldn’t.  Not for any money in the world.  Why? Because they didn’t exist.  Golden Retrievers were created by breeding a Retriever with a Tweed Water Spaniel in the late 1800’s.

I don’t think I would care much for having a Lhasa Apso, however.  Too much chance of accidentally stepping on it. They’re really, really small and don’t look or act anything like a Golden Retriever. The Lhasa Apso was bred exclusively in Tibet about 2,000 years ago and was not found in the west until about one hundred years ago.  At first glance, if you didn’t know better, you might not guess that both of these animals are actually dogs.

DNA evidence has shown that dogs became a separate breed apart from wolves about 100,000 years ago. If you look at the diversity in dogs, from Chihuahuas to Saint Bernards to the vicious and often banned Presa Canario, it becomes even harder to believe they are all examples of the same species, let alone all descended from wolves.  How could a Lhasa Apso be a modern day wolf?  But they are and their DNA proves it. So do the written records of the modern day 19th and 20th Century breeders who created most of our breeds by mating selected individual dogs. These latter day breeders were unknowingly the agents of artificial evolution. By using selected breeding they were able to accomplish in a hundred years what nature might have taken thousands of years to produce, if at all. (Why would nature ever create a Lhasa Apso anyway?)

Most of our domestic animals, horses, cows, chickens and so forth have been bred by farmers over the centuries in order to optimize some property or other.  The same is true for the vegetables and fruits that are grown on our farms.  Farmers have long known that they could alter the size, shape, and taste of animals and plants by selective breeding.  In the process they have created a variety of breeds and variations, all descended from a handful of ancestors.  In some cases there is only a slight resemblance between today’s descendants and the ancient origins of the various breeds and cultivars.  Once again we have humans deliberately creating evolved organisms in a much shorter time that would normally occur by the chance matings in nature.  The results, like those with dogs, can show such wide variation that it might be hard to believe that a particular plant or animal had descended from a certain distant parent.

If you look at people in America today and compared them with the people who lived here 200 years ago you would notice something different right away: on the average we are quite a bit taller than the people of those days. Not because of selective breeding but because we have a more nutritious diet.  We are also a lot heavier on the average too, because we are overfed.  We also suffer from diseases, such as heart disease, that were essentially unknown 200 years ago.  Is this a sort of evolution?  Well, if by evolution we mean change, then of course it is. If you care to look, you can see we are immersed in a constantly changing world. Almost every living species, for one reason or another, is continually evolving – some slowly and some quickly.  So why do only 39% of Americans believe in evolution? Why do 61% of Americans deny it?

Good question, when all you have to do is open your eyes to see it. It is undeniable.  It is the way of the world.  So what is the problem and why do the fundamentalist churches teach their members that evolution cannot and does not happen? And why do the people who belong to these churches deny the evidence of their senses and agree with the leaders of these churches?  It comes down to how evolution happens and what is evolving. Even those people who are determined to believe that the Adam and Eve story is literally true have to explain how we have now become an assortment of Eskimos and Kenyans, Irish and Tibetans, Native Americans and Russians, Australian Aborigines and African Pygmies. If there is no evolution then why do we all look so different, and which of us looks most like Adam and Eve?And are the others, who don’t look much like Adam and Eve anymore therefore less perfect? I would have to believe that, because the Bible originated in the Middle East, our best guess would be that Adam and Eve must have looked sort of Semitic, right? I mean, what else makes sense? So…what happened to the rest of us?  Why don’t we look Semitic too?

Part of the issue the churches have is the random change theory. You know, evolution is caused by completely random changes in DNA that sometimes works out and sometimes doesn’t.  This is the theory put forth by many proponents of evolution, but it is not necessarily correct, even if Darwin proposed it himself. This theory completely ignores selective breeding and the potential, newly discovered, adaptive capabilities found in the epigenome.  The idea that randomness is the only engine of change in the world is a philosophy put forth by people who, for one reason or another, want to prove that there is no need for an ordered mechanism in evolution, because then someone might say this orderly mechanism is proof of the existence of God.  However, we have just shown that people are capable, all by themselves of causing dogs to evolve.  The presence of a causative mechanism or the effect of random mutations in DNA cannot be used to either prove or disprove the existence of God. It’s time we got past this artificial argument and accepted the reality we live in. Our world is a constantly changing and mysterious world, and we are part of the change and mystery.  To deny this is to deny reality – which, apparently, is what 61% of Americans are happy to do.

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