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Seed Newsvine

Another example of misusing data to fit a theist view of the world. By rejecting scientific evidence and more, Michael Behe is able to convince only the uninitiated, the believer. He is not able to make inroads on well trained biologists or other scientists. The lesson is, it seems to me, is that before one accepts anything at face value one has the obligation to address the appropriate available evidence and then asks the skeptical questions that make that evidence stand up to those questions. It is not good enough to believe in something because you believe in something. That tautology will only run you around in circles causing only severe dizziness.

clipped from www.youtube.com

Michael Behe is one of the most well known ID proponents. However, his arguments must be seen in light of his character and his agenda. This video deals with several problems with Behe’s position:
1. Behe ignores and rejects empirical evidence
2. No major scientific organization, including Behe’s own colleagues, endorse ID
3. In 20 years (some would say a couple of hundred years), ID has failed to make its case to the scientific community
4. Behe rejects the scientific method, and wants to replace it with his own5. Behe’s version of “peer review” is simply dishonest and misleading

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Seed Newsvine

Watch this one and wonder if the ethics of our soldiers match the ethics of the administration that sent them into battle?This MSNBC report is extremely disturbing.

clipped from www.youtube.com

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Seed Newsvine

The most recent Gallup Poll (done before VT) indicates that the majority of Americans favor a combination of new legislation and stricter enforcement of existing gun control laws. The poll also indicates that only a minority of American homes (43%) indicate gun ownership, the majority of those households are in the South or rural areas of the United States. But why should I speak when the clip does a better job…

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Seed Newsvine

clipped from harpers.org
The leading newspaper in the Spanish-speaking world, Madrid’s El Pa’s, puts the blame squarely on the National Rifle Association and reproduces a photograph of Charlton Heston brandishing a rifle. “[C]ontrol measures,“ writes that paper, ”are systematically challenged by an abusive interpretation of the Second Amendment—which was written before there was a National Army or National Guard—says that, ‘A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep
and bear arms shall not be infringed.’”
In France, Le Monde calls the event a typically American tragedy, highlighting President Bush’s condolence message which incorporated a defense of firearms. “There is no reason to be shocked, since the American chief executive is supported by a party that in 2004 wentas far as refusing to re-approve the prohibition on sales of assault rifles put into place in 1994 by a Congress with a Democratic majority under Bill Clinton.”

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Read these couple of clips from the foreign press is a difficult task. The critique of our national response to the VT shootings, to the gun culture in general is disturbing. And these are our friends. Imagine what the enemies of the United States must think?I think it is shameful that in times of great tragedy our nation becomes the laughing stock for the rest of the world. My dear old grandmother used to mumble the following ethical pronouncement whenever she decided one had done something of which one ought not be proud, “What you did you did yourself and what you did yourself you are responsible for.” This was her translation from Polish and her grasp of English was not so hot, but the meaning was clear even to my ten year old ears when I first heard her speak these words. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTS, FOR YOUR ACTIONS. In my personal life I have honored those sentiments and granny has been gone nearly 30 years. When I read the international response to America as a Cowboy nation obsessed with guns I am ashamed to say that my country’s leaders fail to follow my grandmother’s advice.

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This is an annotation of Where Is Atheism When Bad Things Happen? – News Bloggers

Dinesh D’Souza exposes his bigotry and, frankly, his stupidity as he slams atheists in this posting. In part he states: “Notice something interesting about the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings? Atheists are nowhere to be found. Every time there is a public gathering there is talk of God and divine mercy and spiritual healing. Even secular people like the poet Nikki Giovanni use language that is heavily drenched with religious symbolism and meaning….”

read the annotated post here | digg story

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Seed Newsvine

Writing for the Associated Press (as reported by Yahoo News), Calvin Woodward reports:

Gun control has been treated with a mix of silence and discomfort in the presidential campaign, a stance that may become insupportable once the nation finds its voice in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech mass murder…

Enter the massacre at Blacksburg, Va., an attack so horrific it froze the presidential campaign in place. Candidates called off events and expressed only sorrow, not opinion, in the first hours.

Advocates of any stripe raised their gun agenda at their peril.

“I think that people who want to take this within 24 hours of the event and make it their political hobby horse to ride … I’ve got nothing but loathing for them,” Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine said. “To those who want to try to make this into some little crusade, I say take that elsewhere.”

But the bloodiest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history, with 33 dead, is certain to set off a debate that those who would be president can hardly sit out in the days and weeks ahead.

Read the whole article here. Of course I want to ask Virginia Gov. Kane where else would one take this “little” crusade?

Just a bit more to think about. As the world changes around us, where terror is a reality even in America, and not just from the vilified other coming in the guise of the Muslim fundamentalist…I mean, think of Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombings, the Columbine High School massacre, and now Virginia Tech…just perhaps it is time to think about the fact that the widespread proliferation of guns in our society has an overall negative effect on the security of our nation. Now that shouldn’t be too hard a thought to wrap one’s brains around.

“I think when a guy walks in and shoots 32 people it’s going to cause there to be a lot of policy debate,”President Bush said. “Now is not the time to do the debate until we’re actually certain about what happened and after we help people get over their grieving.”

If now is not the time for policy debate, Mr. President, then when? You claim it begins when people get over their grieving. Grieving is for the families of the dead, Mr. President, not for the rest of us. For the rest of us there is a significantly different set of emotions–ANGER, SHOCK, DISBELIEF, DISMAY–anything other than grief. It is only now, because that is all that is, that the debates can occur. Don’t run away from this one too, Mr. President.

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Reporting for Reuters, Andrea Hopkins writes:

By all accounts, the prayers started even before the gunshots stopped at Virginia Tech university, and the pleas to God from grief-stricken survivors of the massacre have continued ever since.

“God cares about Virginia Tech,” said Megan Martin, 24, joining about a dozen fellow students in a traveling prayer vigil that rambled across the sprawling campus a day after the worst U.S. shooting spree in modern history.

Carrying placards reading: “Jesus loves you,” “God knows and He cares,” and “Can we pray with you?” the small knot of students worked their way through the university grounds in Blacksburg, a Bible Belt town in the mountains of southwest Virginia.

I suppose turning to God(s) cannot do any serious harm to the individual that does the turning. The evidence, however, does not justify such a move. “God cares about Virginia Tech,” said Megan Martin, is quoted in the article. Is this God so cruel that he (she, it) only cares after the fact? Is this God(s) so indifferent that he (she, it) only takes an interest after the dastardly deed has been accomplished? God knows and He cares, is another after the fact fantasy that may serve to salve heightened emotions but does not address the fundamental issue–was this God who cares so much simply on vacation when Cho Seung-Hui decided to engage on a shooting rampage on the VT campus? Does the evidence point to a God(s) who cares, who knows? I think not. What the evidence points to is a random series of events that occur every so often because Americans are willing to sacrifice security for the right to bear arms for any purpose whatsoever. The evidence does not point to a loving God(s) but, rather, to a heightened probability that because guns are so readily available in the United States tragic events such as the VT shootings are more likely than not to occur.

While turning to God(s) is a defensive move in cases of unthinkable tragedy for many people, it seems to me that it is simply a misplaced use of human energy. Telling one’s self that God(s) really care, while that might have a temporary calming effect, does nothing to solve the problem that lies at the root of the VT shootings. Far more productive an approach is to focus the anger and frustration one feels in moments of unspeakable tragedy into efforts to place meaningful regulation on the ownership of weapons that have no other use than to cause permanent harm to those to whom the guns are directed. Gun nuts that demand no regulation of weapons spouting rights granted under the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed,) must ask: to what militia did Cho Seung-Hui belong when he began his rampage? Why was Cho Seung-Hui permitted to purchase and own guns? Why do we put up with this cowboy mentality? Is life really imitating the wild west shootout of the movies?

Rather than turning to God(s) how about turning to Congress and demanding that your lawmakers do something to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again. If you don’t then, it seems to me, that events like the VT shootings will surely occur over and over, again and again. One Italian journalist wrote that the VT shootings are as American as apple pie. It this the image America and Americans portray to the world? Is this the image we want to portray? It is time to stop the madness.

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