Monday, August 26, 2013

Paint It Black

With all due respect to the Rolling Stones, this post has nothing to do with their 1966 song, although it is worth listening to:
To reverse a line from the fashion industry Black is the new Gray, maybe.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

It’s Easy to Be Mad – But If You Are What’s That Mean?

There was a recent New Mexico Supreme Court Ruling that found a photographic business discriminated in its refusal to take wedding pictures of a couple.  I’ve not read the judgment of the Court, but I have read the judgment from the Court of Appeals, upheld by the New Mexico Supreme Court.
At the heart of the case is the New Mexico Human Rights Act that  prohibits “any person in any public accommodation to make a distinction, directly or indirectly, in offering or refusing to offer its services ... to any person because of race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, spousal affiliation [,] or physical or mental handicap."[1]  The critical aspect of this ruling is the determination on whether a photography business is a public accommodation.  In this case the court agreed with the plaintiff that a public business fit the intent of the legislature in passing the law.
In the bits and bites I’ve seen floating around those who take issue with this judgment, and the Supreme Court ruling that upheld it, believe the government is forcing the owners of Elane Photography to violate their religious beliefs by mandating they must photograph couples they do not believe should have the right to marry.
This does not strike me as a case those who oppose same-sex marriage should hang their hat on.  This is a simple case of discrimination.  The business rationalized that discrimination on their religions beliefs, but the photography business was not being asked to sanction an act; they were performing a public and commercial service.  Would this same support for their position exist if they refused to photograph American Indians, African-Americans, Lutheran’s, members of the military, or even people with Down’s syndrome? I doubt it.
In this emotional debate how quickly we dismiss the guidance of Jesus who said. “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.  And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7, 1-5 NKJV)

[1] Elane Photograhy, LLC v. Vanessa Willock, Court of Appeals of New Mexico, May 31, 2012.

Friday, August 16, 2013

On Science, On Faith

I watched a video the other day.  It was on the theories of evolution versus creationism, or probably more correctly the atheist’s view that evolution can be the only explanation of the development of life on this planet, versus the religious belief that God had a hand in shaping life and the creation of man.
What struck me so clearly, and I recognize it was the video’s intent to do so, was the atheists (including PhD’s) who supported the theory of evolution took as a matter of faith -- that it could be the only explanation.  Of course they cited their teachers and the various classes they had taken to confirm this must be true, but when asked if there was a clear observable chain that showed one species evolving into another they all cited fossil evidence dating back millions of years that suggested a transformation.
In Darwin’s “The Origin of Species” he speculated that natural selection could cause a land mammal to turn into a whale.  “As a hypothetical example, Darwin used the North American black bear, which is known to catch insects by swimming in the water with its mouth open.[1]”  Theorists who have followed Darwin have expanded his theories to include microevolution – where a species can be changed in small ways, like in color or size, over a number of generations.  They also speculate that natural selection will, given sufficient time, result in the large-scale change of one species into an entirely new species.
The challenge for me is the rejection of objectivity.  In this case, evolution has become a faith unto itself; with the scientific community’s knowing that evolution must have happened within a predictable process without having the factual basis to confirm it.  So they teach a theory as fact, based on a faith it must be correct.
The referenced article cites the example of the Ambulocetus natans or “swimming-walking whale” to show evolutionary theory must be correct.  Ambulocetus natans is a fossil whose forelimbs had fingers and small hooves and who had large hind feet and a tail.  It was adapted for swimming like an otter.  From this they speculate it is the ancestor of the modern whale, but what if it was a unique species that did not evolve, but rather went extinct?  The problems with dealing with fossils that are millions of years old is you must base your judgments regarding them on your knowledge and training, and your faith in that theory. 
When the need to prove the Creationists wrong becomes the compelling choice don’t those who believe in evolution abandon the fundamental basis for scientific questioning?  When the scientific method is altered and a basis for questioning is no longer accepted the issue then becomes -- do its proponents have any foundation, other than arrogance, to hold their belief as superior to those who suggest Intelligent Design, or Creation are possibilities?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Merry-Go-Rounds and Visions

Some days are like a merry-go-round.  You buy your ticket, climb on the horse, and reach for the brass ring.  Other times it is like someone put the ride in reverse.  You are all set to have a fun day and everything seems to be spinning out of control until the ride ends and you throw up.
I am reminded of that visionary President Calvin Coolidge, Why don't we just buy one airplane and let the pilots take turns flying it?” 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

As We Come Back Around

First, let me say this is one of the things I agree with John Oliver (The Daily Show) on.  We are three years away from the 2016 election; give us a break on speculating who may or may not run for whatever party is going to be contesting the election.  But then talking heads like Chris “I do this for a living” Matthews really doesn’t have anything else worth keeping them on TV for and the unemployment rates for political pundits would skyrocket, and that would be terrible for them.
I do have to say I am amused that the who is or isn’t eligible to be president because of where they were or weren't born seems to be changing poles, just like our sun is about to.  I wonder how this will play out when all the people challenging the current President's right have to defend the next set of candidates, or all the people who called those other guys racists for their challenges now take up the self-same issue they so heatedly opposed over the past five years?
As Walt Kelly wrote:  “We have met the enemy and he is us!”
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