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Politics adapts the language of “intelligent design” and “evolution”

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In evaluating whether or not Barack Obama, now pretty much confirmed as the US Democratic candidate for president, is indeed a “Messiah in our midst?”, commentator Jonah Goldberg comments:

Obama’s apostles are hard to dismiss. Oprah simply calls him “The One,” because “we need politicians who know how to be the truth.” (Jesus says in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth …”) Oprah goes on to say Obama will help us “evolve to a higher plane,” which would put Obama in the role of our Intelligent Designer.

Intelligent Designer? Hold that thought. And hold your fork, Duke, there’s pie:

According to the New York Times, Obama’s volunteers are taught to eschew discussions of the issues and instead “testify” about how they “came to Obama.”

For many, he’s no retro-redeemer, but a 21st century savior, a Matrix-messiah and Neo for our modern-day Nineveh. Self-help guru Deepak Chopra dubs Obama “a quantum leap in American consciousness,” while prominent “leadership coach” Eve Konstantine assures us that, “He’s our product out of the all-knowing quantum field of intelligence.”

Obama willing, I will never be stuck next to these people on a plane.

Well, speaking for myself, Jonah, if I were stuck next to them on a plane, I would burst out singing, “If I had the wings of a … private jet!

Yes indeed, a private jet, just like some American politicians*, who can insulate themselves from their goofy supporters, even if the rest of the travelling public can’t.

Goldberg warns that the Obamans will never leave you or forsake you as a mere one-celled, unquelled amoeba:

Those of you who thought we had a Second Amendment to keep government from fixing your soul are so 20th century. Evolve already.

Anyway, what I find fascinating is how the terminology of the debate finds its way into popular culture. Note especially: “Attention: Burgeoning post-Darwinists: Should we all sign up and get a tax number at this point?”

(*Disclaimer: Yes, yes, I am sure that the Republican contender has wingnut supporters too, but Do. Not. Ever. Mail. Me. Their. Literature.  I. Believe. You. Already. Yet.)

Meanwhile, just up at Overwhelming Evidence

If you read it in a science textbook, it must be true, or anyway …“correct”!

What would convince Darwin of design? An angel? A brass man maybe?

Intelligent design research: Using Chinese anagrams to model proteins

The Fibonacci series and intelligent design: Returning to grass roots … and stems

IDEA clubs – student ID clubs – experiment with video advertising

Also, at The Post-Darwinist

The Mark Steyn show trial in Vancouver

The past as if nothing ever changes?

Oh no, Ono! Judge rules, the film about the ID guys can still be shown.

And at Colliding Universes:

“Did you imagine that science was a disinterested pursuit of truth? Well, … ”

“Now remind me again why we needed this multiverse theory in the first place?”

And hold your fork, Duke, there’s pie ???!!! Hahahaha, thanks, O'leary for the belly laugh! jstanley01
Pazu, I think you should really clam down a bit. Every person on earth fallows their own will. We all have ambitions, values, hopes and dreams. Some of us are willing to sacrifice for virtue and truth and others are less inspired. The politicians for the most part are people that do have some sense of a mission whether that be right or wrong. However politicians usually have to make friends with a lot of not so great people to get to where they are. They also have to compromise and basically mislead and or lie to gain the popularity necessary to rise to the top. However once at the top they start worrying about getting reelected and out goes the promises and the dreams. So what I am getting at is that I don't think there is any grand conspiracy to create an Orwellian 1984 world order. This however (a little watered down) could be the result of the natural political process... People in this world are constantly looking for ways to get ahead and gain an advantage over others. This is not a truth that only applies to politicians. A lot of people make their life goal to be solely about accumulating as much power and wealth as possible. So don't confuse politics with human nature. Yet, just because human beings have certain inclination such as those totally selfish ones, it doesn't mean that they are right. Thomas Aquinas said the human mind was inclined but not compelled. So what we are really criticizing here is not a government, or a conspiracy or even a philosophy, but the cumulative character of the individuals that rule a given land. This is largely about finding a true faith and religion and one that IS personal not simply pantheistic. I do not think that the elections are predestined or rigged. Is there voting fraud? Sure. Could the ballot boxes be tampered with? Sure. Does money do most of the talking? Absolutely. But the overall numbers are by in large directly reflected by the people's opinions. The real fraud is in the press. People today are so manufactured by the education system to "fallow directions" to "get the grade" and as we motioned above to "get ahead" that the world is just marching in lock step to the beat of a social economic nexus that has no vested interest in truth or virtue. People don’t question or stand up for anything regarding truth. They don’t really think for themselves and that is what ultimately causes the 1984 scenario not a small evil group of super rich people plotting in a smoke filled room. Freedom doesn’t come free and blaming everything on the rich wont ever solve anything- especially if you spend all of their income on social programs before you even tax them. Once the rich are tapped out the problems will still remain they will just be bigger delayed and without any easy way out. Some times the truth only hits home when its too late. I hate to say it but the real reason the world is having economic problems is because of government regulation, (especially regarding power) over population, crappy morality, and a belief in false idols and Gods like money and environmental extremism. America could cut the price of gas in half over night by allowing drilling in the artic. We could pump that stuff out so fast that that the economy would be roaring into time. You often hear that it would make a difference but that is an obvious lie. People just accept this because they are brain washed. The truth is that if we started using our own energy the middle east and south America would be in bad shape and the political powers at be (and the oil companies and speculators) could easily take a huge hit. So once again people need to think for themselves demand the right thing. People don’t strive towards an ideal good anymore- and if they do the good that they strive for is really not a good per se' but an illusion. I’m talking about purpose, meaning and idealism here. I don’t mean idealism in the sense of an “unreachable expectation” or religious nirvana but as an apex of what we CAN expect of people. The world is currently having to deal with socialism. Socialism seems like the logical rout to a more equal and free society. I don’t totally blame people for voting for it. But the truth is that in reality it is the same as capitalism with less equity, freedom liberty and growth. Socialism is currently on the rise and it is strangling not just free markets but economies in general. If you pay people to have kids and cover their health expenses with barrowed money- bills that they can't even afford to begin with- then how can you possibly keep such a system going? You can't. That is one reason why America was doing so well for so long prior to our current spending situation. Inflation is a real menace in the world economy right now and it is hard to beat down because no matter what I or anyone else says about government spending there is going to be some ego nut like Obama or Clinton who is going to tell the people different. You cant just pay for everyone’s lives with free government cash-- it is an absurd idea and the proof is in the pudding. The prices of commodities have increased significantly in the past decade and correlate quite well with increased government costs. And yes while the rich get richer it does not help to tax them for money that they government has already spent "and then some." The world is not sacrificing for tomorrow and is virtually living in debt off of a gigantic government credit card. I work for a credit card company and I can tell you that getting out of debt is hard and outside of physical illness and rare bad luck, debt is half the time the result of ignorance, denial and selfishness. The only way the world can truly get better and be free is for the people (those poor, rich and middle class) to decide that they want something better not just for themselves but for others and future generations. My best friends father is a liberal and I am more conservative but we once talked about some hot political issues and he had an excellent point that we both could agree on. He said “we don’t have an economic problem, or a governmental problem or an environmental problem, we have a human problem.” While I do think that governments help to perpetuate the problems I believe he is ultimately right. In the end it is about you and me and not about Bill Clinton or George Bush or some mysterious entities whose characteristics mainly exist only in our imaginations. Are there people that have powerful influence in the world? Yes. But most of those individuals have little direct impact in our every day lives. The patriot act will most likely never even impact, not only you, but anyone you personally know. But that wont stop the press from sellin the story like its some kind of super important very relavent event that is hurting everyone and everyhting. Yet, the choices of your boss, friends and family DO directly effect you both personaly and poltically on a daily basis. Bottom line: The answers do not lie with the politicians or those in power, and certinly not with the tabloid nonsense of the mainstream press (which I don't watch at all anymore) but they lie within the hearts minds and "efforts" of the people who elect them time and time again and theor willing to seak and accept the truth. Frost122585
Pazu, He's just a communist. That's all. I don't think he will win though because he is black and the Dems need the south. Blacks are a minority and so he is at a natural disadvantage. It may not be pretty but it is the truth. Just imagine a white guy running for president in a majority black country. He would not have much of a chance. I however am more neo-conservative (in the Reagan, not the Bush sense) so I will not vote for Mccain unless he picks ROmney for the VP. So it is voters like me that Mccain needs to worry. He also needs to worry about "THE MEDIA" because they are so left wing and internationalist that they will do (and are doing) all in their power to destroy him.- they pushed Mccain over the top in the RNC primary just to screw up the RNC's base and core. They ran Billions of dollars of air time for Mccain- Mccain probably got about 20 to 1 air time over Romney. If Obama or Hillary wins it will be because of the media. Anyways I agree with that last part. May God bless America. Frost122585
Berceuse I think you are being overly critical. Chopra may have a different religious philosophy then you, but he fights against materialism, he is on our side and he is always preaching against materialism. See his critique of Dawkins at http://www.beliefnet.com/story/212/story_21237_1.html Also, anyone who is an enemy of P.Z Myers et al--can't be all bad http://www.google.com/cse?cx=017254414699180528062%3Auyrcvn__yd0&q=chopra&sa=Search mentok
A wingnut with absolutely no credibility holed away somewhere in the mountains is not so scary as when such an idiot takes on such elite cachet as to take over the chancellorship of a great nation. Well said. tribune7
Re: mentok at 7 Deepak Chopra will support just about anything to maintain his status as a wise peacemaker. His views on ontological truths are entirely solipsistic, that "everybody's right," which is just another way of saying there's no objective truth. He thinks God is "consciousness," and that "everything is an illusion." Obviously, he's heavily influenced by Eastern mysticism. I started reading his book "Life After Death" and couldn't even finish it because it made me want to kill myself, and I say that without the slightest hint of hyperbole. When I was at an unstable period in my life, his ideas told me the very last thing I needed to hear; they are poisonous, and I hate him for that. Berceuse
Talking about wingnut supporters and wingnuts in general---it's not so much that they're out there---it's what kind of influence they wield. A wingnut with absolutely no credibility holed away somewhere in the mountains is not so scary as when such an idiot takes on such elite cachet as to take over the chancellorship of a great nation. Thus I'm not as frightened by Bible thumping looneys "out there" as all the elite idiots taking center stage these days. Rude
Who would most help/hurt the ID cause as his veep? If Obama picked Dembski that would help the ID cause a lot. If he picked any nationally know Dem it would hur the ID cause due to their obvious predilection to accept the establishment special interest groups. tribune7
Hey all, it was commentator Jonah Goldberg who riffed off the ID vs. eggsplat evo controversy, not the Democrat pretty-much nominee. Now here is some new fun: Who would most help/hurt the ID cause as his veep? Who would most help/hurt the ID cause as McCain's veep? O'Leary
Forgot to add-- and brilliant, great folks can have stupid beliefs, too. Personally, I think everyone has something they're a moron about.... Foxfier
mentok- I don't even know who this Chopra guy is, but you can be an utter moron and still believe something true. "Even a blind pig will sometimes find an acorn." Foxfier
Berceuse you wrote
Sorry to be so uncivil, but since he came up: Deepak Chopra is a blithering idiot.
What about this great support of ID from Deepak Chopra from http://www.intentblog.com/archives/2005/08/intelligent_des_1.html I was asked to appear on CNN Larry King Live Show tonight at 6:00 pm West Coast Time on August 23, 2005. Since television time is always limited, I thought I would post my views on the debate between Intelligent Design and Evolution on this blog. I will follow up with another post on this subject tomorrow. It is disturbing to see that the current debate over evolution has become Us-versus-Them. To say that Nature displays intelligence doesn't make you a Christian fundamentalist. Einstein said as much, and a fascinating theory called the anthropic principle has been seriously considered by Stephen Hawking, among others. The anthropic principle tries to understand how a random universe could evolve to produce DNA, and ultimately human intelligence. To say the DNA happened randomly is like saying that a hurricane could blow through a junk yard and produce a jet plane. It's high time to rescue "intelligent design" from the politics of religion. There are too many riddles not yet answered by either biology or the Bible, and by asking them honestly, without foregone conclusions, science could take a huge leap forward. If anyone here is interested in placing this debate on a higher plane than Us versus Them, I think the main issues are these: 1. How does nature take creative leaps? In the fossil record there are repeated gaps that no "missing link" can fill. The most glaring is the leap by which inorganic molecules turned into DNA. For billions of years after the Big Bang, no other molecule replicated itself. No other molecule was remotely as complicated. No other molecule has the capacity to string billions of pieces of information that remain self-sustaining despite countless transformations into all the life forms that DNA has produced. 2. If mutations are random, why does the fossil record demonstrate so many positive mutations--those that lead to new species--and so few negative ones? Random chance should produce useless mutations thousands of times more often than positive ones. 3. How does evolution know where to stop? The pressure to evolve is constant; therefore it is hard to understand why evolution isn't a constant. Yet sharks and turtles and insects have been around for hundreds of millions of years without apparent evolution except to diversify among their kind. These species stopped in place while others, notably hominids, kept evolving with tremendous speed, even though our primate ancestors didn't have to. The many species of monkeys which persist in original form tell us that human evolution, like the shark's, could have ended. Why didn't it? 4. Evolutionary biology is stuck with regard to simultaneous mutations. One kind of primordial skin cell, for example, mutated into scales, fur, and feathers. These are hugely different adaptations, and each is tremendously complex. How could one kind of cell take three different routs purely at random? 5. If design doesn't imply intelligence, why are we so intelligent? The human body is composed of cells that evolved from one-celled blue-green algae, yet that algae is still around. Why did DNA pursue the path of greater and greater intelligence when it could have perfectly survived in one-celled plants and animals, as in fact it did? 6. Why do forms replicate themselves without apparent need? The helix or spiral shape found in the shell of the chambered nautilus, the center of sunflowers, spiral galaxies, and DNA itself seems to be such a replication. It is mathematically elegant and appears to be a design that was suited for hundreds of totally unrelated functions in nature. 7. What happens when simple molecules come into contact with life? Oxygen is a simple molecule in the atmosphere, but once it enters our lungs, it becomes part of the cellular machinery, and far from wandering about randomly, it precisely joins itself with other simple molecules, and together they perform cellular tasks, such as protein-building, whose precision is millions of times greater than anything else seen in nature. If the oxygen doesn't change physically--and it doesn't--what invisible change causes it to acquire intelligence the instant it contacts life? 8. How can whole systems appear all at once? The leap from reptile to bird is proven by the fossil record. Yet this apparent step in evolution has many simultaneous parts. It would seem that Nature, to our embarrassment, simply struck upon a good idea, not a simple mutation. If you look at how a bird is constructed, with hollow bones, toes elongated into wing bones, feet adapted to clutching branches instead of running, etc., none of the mutations by themselves give an advantage to survival, but taken altogether, they are a brilliant creative leap. Nature takes such leaps all the time, and our attempt to reduce them to bits of a jigsaw puzzle that just happened to fall into place to form a beautifully designed picture seems faulty on the face of it. Why do we insist that we are allowed to have brilliant ideas while Nature isn't? 9. Darwin's iron law was that evolution is linked to survival, but it was long ago pointed out that "survival of the fittest" is a tautology. Some mutations survive, and therefore we call them fittest. Yet there is no obvious reason why the dodo, kiwi, and other flightless birds are more fit; they just survived for a while. DNA itself isn't fit at all; unlike a molecule of iron or hydrogen, DNA will blow away into dust if left outside on a sunny day or if attacked by pathogens, x-rays, solar radiation, and mutations like cancer. The key to survival is more than fighting to see which organism is fittest. 10. Competition itself is suspect, for we see just as many examples in Nature of cooperation. Bees cooperate, obviously, to the point that when a honey bee stings an enemy, it acts to save the whole hive. At the moment of stinging, a honeybee dies. In what way is this a survival mechanism, given that the bee doesn't survive at all? For that matter, since a mutation can only survive by breeding--"survival" is basically a simplified term for passing along gene mutations from one generation to the next-how did bees develop drones in the hive, that is, bees who cannot and never do have sex? 11. How did symbiotic cooperation develop? Certain flowers, for example, require exactly one kind of insect to pollinate them. A flower might have a very deep calyx, or throat, for example than only an insect with a tremendously long tongue can reach. Both these adaptations are very complex, and they serve no outside use. Nature was getting along very well without this symbiosis, as evident in the thousands of flowers and insects that persist without it. So how did numerous generations pass this symbiosis along if it is so specialized? 12. Finally, why are life forms beautiful? Beauty is everywhere in Nature, yet it serves no obvious purpose. Once a bird of paradise has evolved its incredibly gorgeous plumage, we can say that it is useful to attract mates. But doesn't it also attract predators, for we simultaneously say that camouflaged creatures like the chameleon survive by not being conspicuous. In other words, exact opposites are rationalized by the same logic. This is no logic at all. Non-beautiful creatures have survived for millions of years, so have gorgeous ones. The notion that this is random seems weak on the face of it. mentok
I was watching cable news talk show and a lady accidently? called Barack Obama--Barama. baRack obAMA http://www.1000ventures.com/business_guide/crosscuttings/cultures_hinduism_rama.html http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sA-451XMsuY mentok
Poachy-- don't be too sure about the complete sentences thing; when he doesn't have a prepared speech, the guy sounds like a teenager in speech class. I wish he'd gone to hollywood--he'd be a hit. Mrs. O'Leary, you forgot the OTHER proof he's supernatural: he saw some of the long line of fallen heroes in the crowd at a speech.... Foxfier
Sorry to be so uncivil, but since he came up: Deepak Chopra is a blithering idiot. Berceuse
Those of you who thought we had a Second Amendment to keep government from fixing your soul are so 20th century. LOL. Not sure he meant it that way but you have to love it still. tribune7
Well for those of us that like the message of Freedom, check this out: http://freedomtour.tv/ Gods iPod
Cult of personality seems to be the defining characteristic of the American political landscape for the last 30 years or so. At least you can say that Obama can speak in complete sentences and isn't a sereal philanderer. poachy

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