Saturday, July 05, 2008

A Darwin by any other Name... still the same.

Ah, yes, dear old Darwin. We keep coming smack up to him. When most scientists have long since given him the boot and moved on to more sophisticated methods of understanding evolving species, the Darwinists and neo-Darwinists are still kicking his can.

Is it possible they are doing this out of a defensive reaction to the Creationists and their loud fanfare? Or as a reaction, albeit a tenuous one, to Bush and his evangelical coterie? As I said to my dear atheist, Bush-hating husband the other day, whatever will you have to complain about come November?

Anyway, I digress. There's a new movie out called Expelled, which I read not such good reviews about. Do I send my 15-year-old to see it without vetting it? Bad movies only make bad impressions even if the intent is good. And he's pretty mature about movie quality (and hates to be reminded of his love of Barney only 9 short years ago.)

I see that Louisiana has effected a bill that the left claims undercuts the teaching of evolution, while those who proposed adding creationist/intelligent design in addition to evolution sounds pretty reasonable to me. It's not as though they're removing evolution from the curriculum. I don't really quite understand their fears -- seeing as ID promotes evolving species, just not in as simplistic a manner as the Darwinists, but also sees it with a guiding hand.

Usually, people dig in their heels for two reasons, or one really: they feel insecure in their position. So either, they worry that the future holds only a nightmare of right-wing evangelical thought control, or they worry that ID will legitimately erode the non-theistic Darwin theory, (neo or otherwise).

While I champion the rights of people to ensure their children get taught the way they want them to, (and personally I am a proponent of ID because I think it's the only reasonable choice between evolution which has the scientific evidence on its side, and creation which has a deep understanding of how God operates with the world He loves), I also worry that the approach taken is accomplishing little, and possibly creating a large wake of unreparable damage.

Extreme Makeovers

There was another story in the NY Times last week about an extreme makeover that caught the public attention, as if they don't as a matter of course. This particular story was about a woman, a former correctional officer, who took on her sister's ten children after her sister died of cancer and the dad disappeared. Felicia Jackson had four children of her own, which brought the tally to 14.

Jackson's sister Cassandra died in 2004. In an interview, 'Jackson was plain-spoken about her life since then. "We've been moving every year to a different house," she said. "I had to resign from my job with the government. And I got divorced."'

Whenever I see or hear stories like this one, my immediate reaction is what a good thing for EM to do, and for the building company to absorb the whole cost themselves. There was another EM a few months back about a young family with 3 or 4 kids all of whom had the same rare disease, which drove the dad to study for medical school at night after he finished work so that he could find a cure for his sick children, when there was a hospital right in Pittsburgh halfway across the country with the best specialists in his kids' disease.

After the emotional hit of all those nice EM people helping out, and the pathos of the story they find (they get about 1,000 requests a week, apparently), I find myself critical of a "system" that we the people have created whereby people fall through cracks every day of the week. In the sick children's case, why aren't the Extreme Makeover people making the link between the failing American health care system and the fact that a dad is trying to reinvent the wheel? In the case of the single mom with 14 kids -- where are those dads? where is the community? why was that mother left languishing with 14 kids, having to be one step ahead of the rent police?

It's wonderful that EM took them on, and I'm not criticizing them at all, just feeling a little helpless when I see unmonitored tragedy going on.