"Undoubtedly, the pledge contains a religious phrase, and it is demeaning to persons of any faith to assert that the words 'under God' contain no religious significance," Judge Karen Williams wrote. "The inclusion of those two words, however, does not alter the nature of the pledge as a patriotic activity."Look for this case in a Supreme Court near you.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Humanists should applaud Rushdie's call for scholarly reassessment of Islam, and its potential to wrest control of this major world faith from the hands of the Islamofascists who now hold it hostage and threaten world peace.
It would be good to see governments and community leaders inside the Muslim world as well as outside it throwing their weight behind this idea, because creating and sustaining such a reform movement will require, above all, a new educational impetus whose results may take a generation to be felt, a new scholarship to replace the literalist diktats and narrow dogmatisms that plague present-day Muslim thinking.
It is high time, for starters, that Muslims were able to study the revelation of their religion as an event inside history, not supernaturally above it.
Friday, August 05, 2005
The important thing to remember is that like supply-side economics or global-warming skepticism, intelligent design doesn't have to attract significant support from actual researchers to be effective. All it has to do is create confusion, to make it seem as if there really is a controversy about the validity of evolutionary theory. That, together with the political muscle of the religious right, may be enough to start a process that ends with banishing Darwin from the classroom.The question, of course, is what can be done about this situation. Clearly it is unproductive (and even counter-productive) to debate the merits of evolutionary theory, and proponents of ID have yet to put forth a falsifiable hypothesis that can be attacked directly.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
"Both sides ought to be properly taught . . . so people can understand what the debate is about," he said, according to an official transcript of the session. Bush added: "Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought. . . . You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."The complete transcript of the exchange from which this excerpt is taken was published by the Washington Post on 2 August 2005 as part of its "White House Briefing" feature.
Predictably, this pronouncement has resulted in widespread denouncement by such organizations as Americans United for Separation of Church and State, American Humanist Association, National Science Teachers Association, and American Geophysical Union,
An interesting parody of the case for teaching ID may be found here.
The problem arose, says Universist Movement founder Ford Vox, when he met with Anderson to discuss holding a gathering at Cool Beans. After she asked what the group believed in, he claims, Anderson said she was not comfortable with it meeting in her cafe because she is Christian.This is somewhat reminiscent of WASH being denied the use of Winchester Hall in Frederick, Maryland for a forum on the public display of the Ten Commandments a few years ago.
Universists embrace a "progressive, natural religious philosophy" not entirely unlike Humanism.