Random Thoughts

RandomThoughtsThumb2by Brad Nelson6/1/15
I ran across this delightful song from 1936 on the radio on a local FM station: Christopher Columbus by Fats Waller & His Rhythm. They’re truly not making them like this anymore. Contrast this with the poison of rap.

Ben Carson is making his play to become the leading Establishment Republican running for president. M. Catherine Evans has a blog post at American Thinker on the subject where she writes:

Instead of letting the local community and federal agencies deal with the millions of poverty-stricken single mothers after they’ve hopped into the sack, why not address the root cause—sleeping around.

As a neurosurgeon would Carson diagnose an operable brain tumor and then proceed to treat the symptoms sans surgery?

For the last 40 years, the term ‘single mother’ is used as if it were akin to sainthood. Okay, some single mothers deserve it. They work and struggle to raise children on their own because of a justifiable divorce or death.

But many low-income single mothers spread their legs for any wandering sperm donor, get pregnant and then hop on Uncle Sam’s gravy train. The government then becomes the primary funding agent of this pornification of American men and women. From kindergarten up, public schools assure kids there’s no downside to having indiscriminate sex. Taxpayers will foot the bill.

It’s unlikely a man would say this…so leave it to a woman — thus we see how far the female-centric viewpoint has progressed in society. Like blacks, we’re making females exempt from normal criticism.

It seems there’s an ethical or behavioral problem in single-motherhood that is not solved by further intrenching government as the parent-by-proxy. But who will say so besides the bold and eloquent M. Catherine Evans? We need more “Mama Grizzlies” like her and fewer of those whose first instinct in regards to a problem is to create yet another government program.

For those who like David Berlinski (or who just like a forthright speaker), it is well worth your time to watch this 38 minute video of Berlinski excoriating Darwinism: David Berlinksi Destroys Darwinism

Berlinksi however isn’t an advocate of intelligent design. That’s probably somewhat by design because it insulates him from the disingenuous and somewhat chorused lunatic accusations by Darwinists that anyone who believes in intelligent design is a “creationist.” (Note that I’m a creationist…it just depends on the definition of the word.)

What is the current state of intelligent design and/or my opinion of it? I’ve been keeping in the loop, particularly by reading articles and posts over at Evolution News & Views. I think the truth is is that both sides deal heavily in rhetoric…and necessarily so, because no one has much of an idea as to how life came to be in the first place and how it changed over time. The disjointed fossil record adds to this mystery, as do things such as homologous traits. No one has put together a thread of an idea that takes the evidence in and makes sense of it all.

The best sense I’ve read is that the progressive stages of life (generally from simple to complex) and the punctuated nature of the fossil recored suggests something like Granville Sewell mentions in his article, Two Reasons Darwinism Survives:

Second, there are many things about the history of life that give the impression of natural causes. The argument is basically, “This doesn’t look like the way God would have created things,” an argument used frequently by Darwin in Origin of Species.

But in fact, as I pointed out in a 2000 Mathematical Intelligencer paper, “A Mathematician’s View of Evolution,” although the history of life may not give the appearance of creation by magic wand, it does look very much the way we humans create things, through testing and improvements . . . So if the history of life looks like the way humans, the only other known intelligent beings in the universe, design things — through careful planning, testing and improvements — why is that an argument against design?

We see from the thinking of ID advocate Sewell that being an ID advocate in no way demands a 6000 year young-earth creationism. He, like me, is positing a designer who very much is not quite the perfect, omniscient, idealized God Almighty which is the common image — and against which much of Darwinism and atheism survives by stating, as Sewell notes, “This doesn’t look like the way God would have created things.”

As I’ve noted (and if I haven’t before, I’m doing so now), it’s likely that Intelligent Design ultimately will be as unfriendly to some Judeo-Christian notions of God as it is to Darwinism. The best guess I’ve seen so far posits the Designer as a progressive tinkerer…and indeed, an extreme genius of one. But the earth would seem to be a laboratory of sorts where life is tested, changed, redone, etc. No magic wands of perfection, per se.

In this long view, although it might be true that people are on the top of the pyramid, this designer seems fascinating with playing with all sorts of life. He particularly liked dinosaurs, if only because they existed for so long. And one look at any nature program (such as the one I’ve been viewing lately, “Life,” narrated by David Attenborough), you see an extreme creativeness…even to the point of playful eccentricity.

What we can know with a high degree of assurance is that neo-Darwinism can account only for things at the margins…for micro-evolution. And this still could account for a lot. But even so, this micro-evolution isn’t blind. And it’s not king; it’s a mere subset of higher functions that clearly allow for this kind of adaptation. Micro-evolution is empowered by the higher systems and programs that are specifically created (designed) in order to allow life to evolve in response to environmental cues. As Michael Behe’s notes in The Edge of Evolution, we’re just not sure where that edge is in terms of how high up the cladistic tree (species, genus, family, order) that micro-evolution goes.

In regards to what happened and how this all works, we’re still in the realm of somewhat informed guessing. But the real battle isn’t about facts. It’s about the religion of atheism/naturalism vs. the view that atheism/naturalism isn’t the entire picture. And seeing the reaction of atheists/naturalists to even the mildest critiques of neo-Darwinism, it’s clear that it is ideology and power, not facts and theories, that are their central concern.

Does anyone else think that the redesign of National Review Online is a complete stinker? Besides once in a while reading their token conservative (Andy McCarthy), I do not find myself frequenting the place. It’s just a pain to navigate, especially on a tablet.

People are becoming cruder, less polite, and more vulgar. The lights are going out upstairs. Ever see a photo of a criminal (black or white) who has slightly closed eyes and has the blank stare of a dumb animal? Well, I do believe that our entire society to some extent is being made sociopathic. Despite all the alleged “caring” for this or that (including Gaia), I’m seeing more and more of the blank stare. We are indeed reverting to the animal.

On a happier note, it’s the first day of June and I love how late it stays light out. It’s great growing weather for the garden.


Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.

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10 Responses to Random Thoughts

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Is there any connection between M. Catherine Evans and the late M. Stanton Evans, the conservative stalwart whose many books included a definitive conservative biography of Senator Joseph McCarthy? The similar use of the same first initial is certainly suggestive of one.

    This is the important point about ID that Darwinist Fundamentalists like Michael Shermer can never grasp (because they don’t want to confront the implications). ID is NOT a variant of short-Earth creationism, and in fact doesn’t require God as the designer. And since nearly every DF argument against ID is based on proving that an omnipotent, omniscient, omni-caring deity would have created something like the vertebrate eye when the cephalopod variant was available . . .

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I don’t know of any connection between M. Catherine Evans and the late M. Stanton Evans. Offhand, I’ve never been able to find an email address in order to contact her.

      ID is NOT a variant of short-Earth creationism, and in fact doesn’t require God as the designer.

      Yes, that’s exactly and clearly said. Still, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to support one’s religious beliefs. But ID itself is not technically (in practice, who knows?) stealth Young Earth Creationism or even monotheism. It matters not if someone with the ID theory wants to show that God Almighty of the Bible is true, no more then it matters if an atheist studies biology because he wants to show that random processes are at the root of everything. So long as either distinguishes between theories and beliefs, all is well.

      Darwinists, of course, don’t. As Granville Sewell points out in another article, for Neo-Darwinists and materialists, Evolution is an Axiom; It Doesn’t Need Supporting Evidence.

      Basically materialists are blinded to their own faith propositions. Completely consistent with the Left’s blinkered/ignorant stance, their views are considered like bedrock or air. They just are and everyone knows they are true. They need no explanation. They are taken as an obvious given (axiomatic). Only those with different (and thus inherently incorrect) views must defend them.

      It may be astonishing to see so many in the profession of science be so biased. But many are. There are other concerns as well (baaa!). People are sheep, and despite the conceits of “welcoming disagreement” (an idea the David Berlinksi explodes), most go along with the prevailing culture, if only because of job and grant prospects.

      And since nearly every DF argument against ID is based on proving that an omnipotent, omniscient, omni-caring deity would have created something like the vertebrate eye when the cephalopod variant was available . . .

      It may or may not be possible to do a little spelunking into the fossil record, combined with what we’re learning of deep biology, and put together some rough picture of what occurred. Such speculations will, of course, be difficult to keep out of the realm of myth. But in order to try to give at least a beginning account that fits the facts (or at least doesn’t contradict them), it will require an open mind. I find this hard to do. Oh, not wanting to have an open mind. But it is very difficult to start from scratch and stretch yourself beyond prevailing opinions. It is, frankly, difficult to imagine the techniques and motives of a Designer. You’d expect that.

      But it is an interesting notion that the fossil record does resemble man’s record in regard to his inventions. Yes, there is a general evolution of complexity. And yet it is also full of leaps — leaps that are due completely to intelligence. But there is no smooth transition to many, if not most, of mankind’s major inventions.

      Is this what the fossil record shows? We start with single-celled cyanobacteria for a few billion years (whose purpose could be to create an oxygen-rich atmosphere), a few very simple multi-cellular pre-Cambrian creatures (sponges, and a couple fossils that are so different, we can’t be sure what they are — perhaps the designer is just tinkering here, sort of using a few test subjects…beta-life, if you will), then we move from prokaryotic (no cell membrane as well as other simpler aspect) to eukaryotic cells (that we have and that are far more complex), then we move from plants to animals, from sea to land….and in the front-end of this is apparently the gigantic kick-start of the Cambrian Explosion whereby this designer created 20 or more basic phyla (body plans) that could evolve from there.

      How much evolution from there? We don’t know. We do not see any kind of complete gradualism from the Cambrian Explosion in the fossil recored. We still have that odd situation of fully-formed animals entering the fossil record, existing more or less unchanged for millions of years, and then exiting the fossil record. Neo-Darwinism is in no way adequate to explain this, and intelligent design can do little more than make educated guesses at this point. But some of this sure does look like a biblical Special Creation of kinds.

      Still, much of the intuition that went into Darwinism in the first place is still there. Nature is very often a very nasty thing. Life eats life. Every creature struggles mightily to survive, even if we don’t as non-materialist accept it as axiomatic that survival and reproduction is the totality of what it’s all about. It’s hard to see the kind of guiding benevolence of an Almighty God of the Bible. Again, we do face that idea of This doesn’t look like the way God would have created things.

      This aspect has been a cudgel used by Darwinists, atheists, and materialist to ridicule the idea of a God, let alone a Designer. This is why I say that intelligent design is ultimately as likely to rile atheists as it is bible-believers. The real story might not be as Disneyesque as many suppose. Nature is indeed red in tooth and claw. But at the same time, it’s clear that nature couldn’t invent itself. All aspects of materialism are refuted by the encoded complexity of life. Life is designed. This is a major intellectual and emotional leap to make — too large for some because they suppose it automatically implies being a Bible-believer, which is a leap too far.

  2. Tom Riehl TRiehl says:

    I’m post surgical so can’t say much, but you are one million percent correct about NR’s site. What a stinker! WFB is rolling for other reasons, too.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Ben Carson replies to M. Catherine Evans in a blog post at American Thinker. Here is my comment to Dr. Carson that I posted over there:

    Candidate Carson,

    Unless those agencies — private or governmental — are as tough as your momma and teach good morals along with the “free stuff” then you’re just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic and proving yourself to be an Establishment Republican (who isn’t for reforming the welfare state but running it better or differently and without an insertion of good morals and holding people to standards).

    A good book to read on the subject is Marvin Olaskky’s The Tragedy of American Compassion. You will learn that it is not enough just to offer “help.” Unless a moral message goes along with this help (and, indeed, is a requirement for receiving help), then little is gained and much is lost.

    I think a commenter here, summed it up perfectly (if unwittingly):

    I think Carson is advocating this as part of a prudent and responsible reach out to the women demographic.

    Exactly right. What we see is a sort of non-judgmental “reaching out.” No one is told to act more responsible. Well, Dr. Carson, if you want to be president by being Nanny in Chief, the Democrats already have the monopoly on that position.

    What M. Catherine Evans did was insert the moral argument into this question of single motherhood…which you did not. Whether this was (as a candidate) out of fear of offending anyone, I don’t know. But if you mean to be a reformer and pass on the life lessons you have learned, you’re going to have to do better than just suggest bland, amoral, institutional answers.


    StubbornThings.org

  4. NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

    Brad – I well remember that Fats Waller recording of Christopher Columbus (I had it on reel-to-reel tape taken from FM radio). It was a lot of fun, and the difference between Waller and these hideous rappers is actually quite shocking. Even when Waller gets in some sexual innuendo (as he did here with “the crew was making Mary”), he does so in a charming little-boy way. I think that’s also why Benny Hill got away with so much during the 60’s and 70’s.

    Waller, when he hadn’t been drinking, was one of the giants of stride piano and had a serious, poetic side that was not obvious to some. I painstakingly transcribed his piano solo version of I Ain’t Got Nobody, although I never tried to publish it – too much effort to put together an entire book of transcriptions. That version is on YouTube for any who are interested.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Very nice piano piece by Waller. I ran into him by accident the other day and had never before heard of him. From what you’re saying, he’s quite worthy of being heard of.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    M. Catherine Davis replies to Ben Carson”:

    Having children after marriage raises the odds that women will be better off financially.  Elite Ivy League feminists know this.  Ever notice how many set up their own little nuclear families at the same time they encourage the common ruck to sleep around and raise the kids without those obsolete father figures?

    So why isn’t Dr. Carson, who prides himself on being politically incorrect, pushing marriage instead of daycare?

    What do kids need more?  Free daycare or married parents?

    The good doctor needs to tell single men and women to stop having babies without the benefit of marriage.  And then advise them that if they don’t follow his prescription, that’s their choice, but nobody is giving them free daycare.  Now that’s throwing off the shackles of political correctness.

    Bingo. I think she showed the ideological weakness of Ben Carson in terms of offering solutions to what ails us. Ben Carson strikes me as just another elitist. He has his now, and espousing the way he got there (hard work and discipline) is suddenly not the answer for the plebs who, instead of being given the go0d advice they need, are coddled and pandered to.

    Well said, M. Catherine. You go, girl.

    As for daycare being the solution to what ails single mother, LauraR has some great words of advice:

    I was ridiculed by some of my neighbors and my husband and I would fight about not putting our boys in a pre-school years ago. It didn’t stop me from keeping them out, and I’m so glad I stayed home with them, instead. Not only do they behave better, but I worked in a preschool for a few years, and it teaches them about communism. Moreover, why would I want to put my kids in a daycare or pre-school, just so I can work? I would have to pay my whole salary, plus some of my hubby’s. Some may argue, that daycare and pre-school is where kids learn social skills. I’ve got news for those of you who think that: social skills begin at home! If a child is around other kids with very little supervision, they will not act very well in school I’ve seen it for myself. If a child is around their parents, they will act like their parents and behave better.

    And Alecto espouses what has become known to me as the Tarzwell Theory:

    Dear “M.Cat”, you’re absolutely correct, but what does being right get you in this topsy-turvy nuthouse we call “America”? You will be labeled a hater, mean, narrow-minded, etc…. Thank you for attempting to set another aspiring politician (a pox on all of them) straight.

    What this country needs is pain. Pain forces change. Got that America? Making conditions comfortable perpetuates them. Forcing people to confront their mistakes is actually a public “good” because they must change the behaviors which resulted in the consequences we seek to ameliorate with gubmint support. The left has demonized poverty. Poverty is not necessarily a bad thing if it means we finally deal anti-social behavior which leads to poverty, a death blow.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Of course, the lessons to be learned from poverty are lessons the Left doesn’t want people to learn. Hard work? Stable families? Self-reliance? No liberal worth his salt advocates any of those.

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