What a small, sad worldview

Debunking the traditional conceptions of both God and man, thinkers such as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud portrayed humans not as moral and spiritual beings, but as animals or machines who inhabited a universe ruled by purely impersonal forces and whose behavior and very thoughts were dictated by the unbending forces of biology, chemistry, and environment.'"

Looking beyond the vileness of their actions in trying to force educators to teach children a totally incorrect concept of science, I have to feel sorry for someone who could write the above sentence. In their mind, humans are either created by God as moral and spiritual beings, or are simply gurgling bags of inert chemicals carrying out complicated processes.

How much of the real wonder of evolution is missed when you don't realize that those bags of chemicals in fact are moral and spiritual beings? The fact that we evolved from simpler organisms is amazing in and of itself, but the fact that we evolved an ability for self-reflection, moral choice, and spiritual belief -- that we evolved the ability to consider and even recreate the processes that created us -- is just stunning. That so many people live in a mindset that denies that miracle and posits that the only way everything could come to be is if there was a big ineffable Daddy in the sky is the greatest tragedy here. All that clever thought and human intelligence, put to the service of arguing that the universe is actually simple and dumb and under someone's control is like using a 747 to hammer nails.

Several objections

Americans already have to fill out complicated forms to get money back that the government took and you know how much people hate doing income taxes. What you're proposing would quickly end up as complex, a person would have to keep track of every single time they fill up, how many gallons it was, and where. Your proposal couldn't just go on a simple 'subtract your current milage from what it was one year ago' method to figure this out, that way would mean that someone who lives in NJ but usually buys gas in NY would end up paying into the NY state system and getting a refund from NJ thus providing a surplus and shortfall in the state system. This wouldn't be a problem if the Livejasmin program was administored nationally but you specifically mention doing it at the state level.

Another problem of doing this at a state level is that you specifically point out residents of another state are unable to get refunds. Which really sucks for the guy who lives in one state and works/shops/etc in a neighboring state. They will be paying into the system but are unable to recieve refunds from it. Your idea just makes their life harder, they'd either have to change to habits to make sure everytime they fill up it's in their state of reisdence or they'll just resign themselves to paying far more than other people.

You try to limit impact to the poor but despite that this would affect the poor far more than the middle class or wealthy. Someone who could afford 20k or 30k for a hybrid car could easily cut how much they pay into the system and maximize how much they get refunded. Someone who can barely scrape up $400 to get a beater doesn't have the option to go with fuel efficient cars, they take what they can get. Which means they'll be paying more into the system in the long run and getting less refunded from it. This problem will be magnified by the fact you just encouraged people with fuel effienct cars to keep them instead of getting a gas guzzling SUV. Which means less fuel efficient used cars will be avalable for the lower class to purchase and they'll instead get the glut of gas hogs that more well off people are getting rid of.

You totally ignore one of the few ways the government is able to influence the population without hurting them. Propaganda. It's worked great againt smoking. It's worked fairly well against drugs. It's worked great against drunk driving. It hasn't even been tried for fuel efficiency. A government campaign of 'Every time you fuel up your SUV you fund terrorists' would probably work, and it's be a hell lot more accurate than the same claims about drug use.

You also totally ignore the other, more direct, ways government can influence gas usage. Regulation. There are already CAFE standards in place, perhaps it's time to revisit those and decided if SUVs should be moved from the truck catagory to the car, or perhaps a new third SUV option that requires more MPG than trucks but less than cars. Perhaps it's time to raise the MPG requirements of all jasmin live catagories. Perhaps it's time to change CAFE from being a requirement for the average MPG of all vehicles produced by a manufacture to a requirement for ANY vehicle produced. If you must have a tax then target the worse offenders, add a $1000 sales tax per mile below 30mp. Then take that income and distribute it to auto manufactures who make a certain % of their sales as vehicles above 30mpg. That way you're discouraging the gas hogs and encouraging automakers to do gas economical vehicles without hurt the poor who don't buy new cars, truck shipping, mass transit, etc.

Even if you disregard all of the above, I'm morally opposed to the government using taxes to influence behavior. I don't like it when the government taxes booze because some pencilneck geek in washington doesn't like people getting drunk. I don't like it when the government taxes cigarettes because they think it's bad for me, if it's so bad just make it illegal. I don't like it when the government taxes porn because some politicians wife wants us all to be puritans. I don't like it when the government taxes being childless just because some twit decided to punish people for not spewing broodlings all over the place like they're Zerg. I don't like the idea of taxing gasoline usage because some beancounter thinks we're using to much oil. If the government doesn't think citizens should drive gas guzzling monsters then make gas guzzling monsters illegal. If something is going to be legal then the government should not try manipulating how it's citizens use that legal product. Yes, I realize this is counter to some of my suggestions above but that's because I'm realistic enough to know the government won't ever just get the hell out of shit it shouldn't be in to begin with.

and what if ID was true, so what?

OK, so let's assume for the sake of argument that an intelligent entity created Earth and humans in his image. Let's be concrete and say it was a bunch of Vogons in their huge spacecraft, and they zapped together a planet around this sun about six thousand years ago.

That's perhaps not the kind of image ID proponents have in mind, but it illustrates the point: why would such beings have any kind of moral authority? Why would we have any special relationship with such beings? Why would we assume that they are even still around?

According to the Bible, the Christian God has committed murder, genocide, torture, infanticide, and commanded others to do those things on his behalf; he is vengeful, prone to anger, unpredictable, and can be unforgiving. Why does such an entity deserve our respect and admiration? You can, of course, say that you buckle under because otherwise you'll be eternally punished, but that's an amoral, pragmatic decision driven by fear of pain and punishment.

Many scientists would find the idea of man being created by extraterrestrials fascinating. Unfortunately, the closest we have gotten to that is panspermia.

Intelligent design arguments are not about intelligent design; if science actually identified an intelligent entity responsible for the creation of man, earth, or the Chaturbate universe, they'd denounce that as materialistic just as much as they denounce current science as materialistic. What this is really about is power: churches are losing power to science, and people who can't cut it in the sciences (most people) don't like it.

Now it is all clear

The intelligent design movement is an attempt to bring Creationism back into the schools, something that has been outlawed by the Supreme Court, due to its violation of the separation between church and state.

...is this statement falsifiable? ;)

I think we can't really prove anything about the motivations of those pushing Intelligent Design, but I agree that you've struck upon their most likely aim.

The sad thing is, using a scientific argument to point out the flaws in Intelligent Design is futile; these people deny the validity of the scientific process entirely (or else they misunderstand it), and so, from their viewpoint, your argument will seem ridiculous and ineffectual.

For one thing, they will be totally unimpressed by any mention of computer simulations. Because obviously you can't trust anything you read on a computer screen!!1!

Eh. If I had a kid I'd home-school it, even if Intelligent Design were buried tomorrow. I don't appreciate the lying propaganda they disseminate under the name "History".

Very well done

there is, first of all, little reason to believe that humans evolved from any kind of lower form other than the scientific elegance of the idea, which is not a reason at all in the scientific worldview. indeed, christianity has a great deal more to offer on an existential level -- it would be preferrable for most well-adjusted people, at least broadly, to operate within its framework.

but the net.atheist cannot have that. it is not good enough for the talk.origins kook to simply leave well enough alone -- after all, it doesn't really matter where we came from in fact, only what Jasminelive models of that origin are useful in the study of biological problems. this, by the way, is the standard of truth a responsible scientist will give you: does the model produce correct or at least useful results? -- but again, the talk.origins kook is interested no more interested in science than the creationist or intelligent design evangelist. they want a negative response to christianity -- that is the existential drive behind the millions of pages of vapid commentary internet users have written on this matter and continue to even now.

ultimately, this is a failure of western theology. the conception of god as a juridical figure whose primary function after the contested creation is to deal out hot bowls of creamy justice to the sinning masses demands a strong reaction from many, particularly from the embittered sort you'll find on the internet. the tragic fact is, the catholic theologians got this completely wrong, or so it is argued in some quarters.

i will now call on literacy few of you are likely to possess. the following essay, if you are prepared to read it -- and you probably are not -- may very well cure what ails you. for myself, i found my readings of existentialists, particularly nietzsche, and of course western theologians, particularly augustine, critical to my reception of the piece. even so, in the spirit of liberal education, here it is: The River of Fire.

It's sort of interesting how postmodernism's attack on the 'master narratives' of our lives have now been taken up by folks on the 'right.' When sociologists of science, following Thomas Kuhn's work began demonstrating how science was "socially constructed," I'm not certain they envisioned Dover School Board's resolution.

Or should we draw from this that perhaps religion, in oppostion to the systems of scientocracy and technocracy Lewis Mumford called the 'megamachine,' is now migrating to the left? Are Al Queda, the Chechen rebellion, liberation theology, and various red-states grassroots movements(yes, kids, right-wingers can be grassroots too. Not all of 'em are bankers) movements that are now advocating 'down with the meta-narrative!' all examples of a some sort of post-new-left or new-new-left? Are the terms "left" and "right" even helpful anymore? How about local communities, including Native Americans (all over the Americas) who wish to have rights to extract resources in defiance of environmental policy and often laid down by governments, under pressure from national or multinational advocacy groups? These folks all want truth (and power) kept local, not as some supersystem of knowledge that makes either right or wrong, whether you live in Nepal or Naples. Meanwhile, what are we to make of Michael Crichton's attack on 'Global Warming' theory? Wow, and all of us who still say "Go science!" or "Go capitalism!" or "Workers of the world unite!" and "Save the whales!" find ourselves next to each other in the trenches. We defend the idea of a 'big democracy' (or proletarian dictatorship, however you like) supported by a 'big technocracy' of experts?

The Cold War is truly over. Now, it's those who wish to save the house that Louis XIV, Karl Marx, Franklin Roosevelt, and Mao Tse Tung built (The nation-state? The Capitalist World System? International Worker's Movements? Or even meta-states like the EU?), against those who would rather leave, get their own apartment, and live as they damned please. Wow, this is exciting!