Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Juan Cole gets both barrels.

Juan Cole, UberJerk, had this coming.

Good news on the important war

Michael Barone on a Pew report which indicates that minds are changing, and in the right direction.
Most importantly, support for terrorism in defense of Islam has "declined dramatically," in the Pew report's words, in Muslim countries, except in Jordan (which has a Palestinian majority) and Turkey, where support has remained a low 14 percent. It has fallen in Indonesia (from 27 percent to 15 percent since 2002), Pakistan (from 41 percent to 25 percent since 2004) and Morocco (from 40 percent to 13 percent since 2004), and among Muslims in Lebanon (from 73 percent to 26 percent since 2002).

Why Theology is a Simple Muddle

Derb linked to this long but excellent essay. No matter where you stand on creationism or evolution, it's worth reading. Take your time; it's long. And full of gems, such as
In short, the belief, or illusion, if you will, that the world is the result of intelligent design has been the necessary condition for the construction of Western science, and it explains the otherwise mysterious fact that science, in any genuine sense of this world, arose only in countries that were part of Christendom.
Of course the author distinguishes between intelligent design and Intelligent Design, much as the distinction between evolution and Evolution.

I'll give you one more tease. He also defines "creationism" as the pseudo-science which is quite distinct from belief in a creator. And, at the end of the article offers some advice.
Leave the Christian fundamentalists alone. Don't take their children away from them for refusing to let them be taught Darwin's theory of evolution, as Daniel Dennett has suggested-I hope, in jest. We desperately need to get back to the good old American tradition of imagining the world in all sorts of exotic and crazy ways. We need desperately to re-enchant the world that diehard materialists are robbed of so much meaning by making people feel intellectually guilty because they sometimes catch themselves thinking that they are really thinking, as opposed to merely firing off synapses along neural pathways.

On the other hand, my advice to the Christian fundamentalists is: Keep Adam and Eve, but get rid of creationism. It betrays your cause in the worst possible way, because it violated one of the basic rules of survival, which is, Never play by another man's rules. If faith and imagination comes first in your life, then science must come somewhere else in the hierarchy, assuming that it appears at all.

The intro on Tech Central Station says it well:
What follows is an essay, divided into four chapters, that is considerably longer than that typically published in TCS. For your comfort, please consider printing the whole thing to read away from the computer screen. While we are sure that many, if not most, of you believe you have heard more than enough about Charles Darwin, evolution and the debates over Intelligent Design, we trust you will find that this essay will make you think anew and that reading it will be more than worth your time and effort.