Surrounded by Paganism

Encouraging news from Newt Gingrich:

Two leading voices of the Republican Party’s evangelical wing visited Rock Church on Friday for a forum aimed at recapturing some of the movement’s political momentum.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee urged Christians to get involved in politics to preserve the presence of religion in American life.

“I think this is one of the most critical moments in American history,” Gingrich said. “We are living in a period where we are surrounded by paganism.”

There are worse things to be surrounded by. People who support Gingrich and Huckabee, for example.

Comments

  1. #1 Robert
    June 7, 2009

    Isn’t that a bit snide and mean-spirited?

  2. #2 James F
    June 7, 2009

    The article continues:

    They and other speakers warned about the continuing availability of abortion, the spread of gay rights, and attempts to remove religion from American public life and school history books.

    Gingrich and Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, argued the rights of Americans stem from God and to ignore that connection is perilous. The two were among several speakers, including former U.S. Senate candidate Oliver North, at the three-hour “Rediscovering God in America” event. The event was closed to reporters but was broadcast live on God.TV, an evangelical Web site.

    Huckabee told the audience he was disturbed to hear President Barack Obama say during his speech in Cairo, Egypt, on Thursday that one nation shouldn’t be exalted over another.

    “The notion that we are just one of many among equals is nonsense,” Huckabee said. The United States is a “blessed” nation, he said, calling American revolutionaries’ defeat of the British empire “a miracle from God’s hand.”

    The same kind of miracle, he said, led California voters to approve Proposition 8, which overturned a state law legalizing same-sex marriages.

    Just…wow. Dominionism is alive and well. For me, the most unsettling feature, not mentioned in the article, is that former Baptist Gingrich converted to Catholicism this year. Uniting far-right Catholics with the usual evangelical base of the Religious Right is truly terrible to contemplate.

  3. #3 bric
    June 7, 2009

    I have been castigated in many an online forum for suggesting that the USA is not, in fact, God’s gift to the world. Usually i quote Dickens’ ineffable Podsnap, when he had the misfortune to be forced to speak to a foreigner:

    ‘It merely referred,’ Mr Podsnap explained, with a sense of meritorious proprietorship, ‘to Our Constitution, Sir. We Englishmen are Very Proud of our Constitution, Sir. It Was Bestowed Upon Us By Providence. No Other Country is so Favoured as This Country.’
    ‘And ozer countries?–’ the foreign gentleman was beginning, when Mr Podsnap put him right again.
    ‘We do not say Ozer; we say Other: the letters are “T” and “H; “You say Tay and Aish, You Know; (still with clemency). The sound is “th”–”th!”‘
    ‘And OTHER countries,’ said the foreign gentleman. ‘They do how?’
    ‘They do, Sir,’ returned Mr Podsnap, gravely shaking his head; ‘they do–I am sorry to be obliged to say it–AS they do.’
    ‘It was a little particular of Providence,’ said the foreign gentleman, laughing; ‘for the frontier is not large.’
    ‘Undoubtedly,’ assented Mr Podsnap; ‘But So it is. It was the Charter of the Land. This Island was Blest, Sir, to the Direct Exclusion of such Other Countries as–as there may happen to be. And if we were all Englishmen present, I would say,’ added Mr Podsnap, looking round upon his compatriots, and sounding solemnly with his theme, ‘that there is in the Englishman a combination of qualities, a modesty, an independence, a responsibility, a repose, combined with an absence of everything calculated to call a blush into the cheek of a young person, which one would seek in vain among the Nations of the Earth.’
    Having delivered this little summary, Mr Podsnap’s face flushed, as he thought of the remote possibility of its being at all qualified by any prejudiced citizen of any other country; and, with his favourite right-arm flourish, he put the rest of Europe and the whole of Asia, Africa, and America nowhere.

  4. #4 Bezoar
    June 7, 2009

    Hey Newt and Mike. Take your heads out of your respective asses. No one is saying that we want religion out of america; we are saying we want religion to stay in churches and homes. Period!

  5. #5 voter
    June 7, 2009

    Hey, Number 4, guess what — Newt and Mike WERE in a church — got it??? That’s what is so ridiculous about all this brow-beating. They were in a church, talking to believers as believers — not as politicians.

    And might I suggest — if you don’t believe, then get the HECK out of OUR RELIGION.

  6. #6 Thony C.
    June 7, 2009

    Surrounded by Paganists

    The substantive is ‘pagan’ plural ‘pagans’. ;)

  7. #7 Roger
    June 7, 2009

    Hey, Number 5, guess what — Newt and Mike may have been in a church but, if you think they weren’t talking politics, you are very naive. I’d love to stay “the HECK out of OUR RELIGION” but, your religion keeps intruding on my life.

  8. #8 John Kwok
    June 7, 2009

    Well, Huckabee is a well-meaning creationist clown who, unlike, many of his fellow Xians, does have a genuine sense of humor and at least, on the surface, is willing to compromise on various issues. I usually ignore him regardless. However, Gingrich, as a former college professor of American history, ought to have known better than stating his support for the inane proposition that the “rights of Americans stem from GOD”. Has he forgotten that the Founding Fathers – while noting the existence of GOD – seemed to be taking more of their political philosophy from leading figures of both the Scottish and French Enlightenments, than from relying upon Christian scripture. Indeed, in our very first treaty with a foreign power back in 1796 – which, I believe was with the Barbary state Tunis – we acknowledged that the United States was not, nor had never been conceived of as a Christian nation.

  9. #9 David Marjanović
    June 7, 2009

    Tunis

    Tripoli, but the rest of your comment is correct. I’d also have added that most of the Founding Fathers were not Christians but Deists… which means they did not believe in miracles.

  10. #10 Oatwhore
    June 7, 2009

    Um, just google “Gingrich Bohemian Grove”

    Does anyone know what they do at Bohemian Grove besides running through the woods naked? Yeah, they have a ceremony called the “Cremation of Care” and it involves a giant stone owl and a mock sacrifice with actors playing druid priests.

  11. #11 John Kwok
    June 7, 2009

    @ David,

    Thanks for the correction. As for the Founding Fathers, I know that virtually all were either explicity or implicitly, Deists (which is my religious faith).

  12. #12 Jason Rosenhouse
    June 7, 2009

    Thony C -

    Part of American exceptionalism is our right to invent whatever plurals we like.

    I’ve corrected the title to use Gingrich’s phrase, which was my intention in the first place.

  13. #13 SLC
    June 7, 2009

    Re David Marjanović and John Kwok

    Unfortunately, I have to correct Mr. Marjanovic and Mr. Kwok. As Ed Brayton has shown on numerous occasions on his blog, Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Franklin, etc were not Deists. They believed in an intervening god so should best be described as non-Christian theists. Deists believe in a non-intervening god.

  14. #14 Robert O'Brien
    June 7, 2009

    Tripoli, but the rest of your comment is correct. I’d also have added that most of the Founding Fathers were not Christians but Deists… which means they did not believe in miracles.

    Uh-huh. You have the numbers then? As for the Treaty of Tripoli, the part about the U.S. not being a Christian nation was dropped a mere eight years later, which suggests that statement was not considered so important after all.

    “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”–John Jay

  15. #15 SLC
    June 7, 2009

    Re Robert O’Brien

    Would Mr. O’Brien care to provide a reference to the alleged quote by John Jay.

  16. #16 Robert O'Brien
    June 7, 2009

    Would Mr. O’Brien care to provide a reference to the alleged quote by John Jay.

    The life of John Jay

    Snopes (Scroll down)

  17. #17 Crandaddy
    June 7, 2009

    There are worse things to be surrounded by. People who support Gingrich and Huckabee, for example.

    *sigh*

    I really must agree on this one.

  18. #18 John Kwok
    June 7, 2009

    @ SLC,

    I’m not sure Ed Brayton is correct. Here’s some reasons why:

    1) At the time of the American Revolution, a substantial percentage of the American population did not regard themselves as religious. I believe published writings from notable American historians such as Gordon Wood and Bernard Bailyn substantiate this. Moreover, in her latest book, “The Age of American Unreason”, noted secular humanist – and journalist – Susan Jacoby has asserted that this was probably the least religious period in our country’s history.

    2) Even if they were not strictly speaking, Deists, many of the Founding Fathers either explicity or implicitly rejected the notion of a “revealed religion”, basing their religious beliefs primarily on a rational footing, and, as I have noted earlier, strongly influenced by both the French and Scottish Enlightenments.

    3) Franklin was one of those who explicitly called himself a Deist, and here, in his “Autobiography”, he explains how he became one:

    “Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle’s lectures. It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist. My arguments perverted some others, particularly Collins and Ralph; but each of them having afterwards wrong’d me greatly without the least compunction, and recollecting Keith’s conduct towards me (who was another freethinker) and my own towards Vernon and Miss Read, which at times gave me great trouble, I began to suspect that this doctrine, tho’ it might be true, was not very useful.”

  19. #19 Jim Harrison
    June 7, 2009

    The thing about exceptionalism is how unexceptional it is. Hooray for our side has got to be the ultimate political banality. A nation whose citizens didn’t think their nation were the greatest thing since sliced bread would have a much better claim to distinction than this land of tub thumpers. Fellas, this sort of thing has already been done to death. Meanwhile, extreme patriotism frequently goes along with dubious loyalty. The loudest and most loutish of American hyperpatriots are the ideological and often the literal heirs of traitors. Which is not to say that Perry or Huckabee or Chaney aren’t authentic Americans. They stand in a long tradition that stretches back to Benedict Arnold, Aaron Burr, Jefferson Davis, Joe McCarthy, and Richard Nixon.

  20. #20 Jason Rosenhouse
    June 7, 2009

    Crandaddy –

    Nice to have you on my side this time.

  21. #21 Crandaddy
    June 8, 2009

    Jason,

    Paganism seems in many ways considerably more Christian than a lamentably large part of what actually carries the name. It gleams with that unspoiled flame of vitality that is purged from our would-be state religion, which consequently is nothing like what I recognize as truly Christian. (Read the gospels. Just how politically ambitious was Jesus?)

    When I saw an interview of Bill Maher that Huckabee did a few months back, I was so embarrassed by Huckabee’s performance that I couldn’t even look at the screen for most of it. The worst part was his claim that religious violence is due to excess of true religion. My response to the ordained “Christian” minister is that true religion is precisely what our world cannot possibly have an excess of. Nothing could possibly be farther from violence and hatred than Love, and true religion by another name is our course to that end and by means of it.

    At least Maher understands that we don’t learn morality from having it dictated to us by our religious culture. Ironically, I think this is the first step toward God.

    Anyway, the City of God and the City of Man are oil and water. True religion has no place in politics. That’s my point, I guess.

  22. #22 Jr
    June 8, 2009

    Paganism? Now that is pretty wrong.

    Most American are heretics, not pagans according too classical Catholic theological terminology. Hasn’t Ginrich read Tertullian or Irenaeus or the other classical heresiologists?

    If he hasn’t he certainly shouldn’t express opinions on what Christianity is. I am sure all those who complained about Dawkins will rush to make the same point here.

  23. #23 SLC
    June 8, 2009

    Re John Kwok

    If Deism is defined as belief in a god who created the universe and then withdrew never to be heard from again (e.g. a god who never intervenes in human affairs), and theism is defined as a belief in a god who created the universe and, on occasion, intervenes afterward, then certainly Jefferson and Adams were not Deists. Both of them believed tht there was a supreme being of some sort who occasionally intervened in the affairs of his creation, and thus would be considered theists. On the other hand, it is clear that they were not Christians as they rejected the virgin birth, the resurrection, and the tales of miracles performed by Joshua of Nazareth. They also rejected the notion that Joshua of Nazareth was the messiah as prophicised in the Hebrew bible and in fact rejected the entire notion of such an individual.

  24. #24 John Kwok
    June 8, 2009

    @ SLC -

    If Jefferson was really such a “theist” as you contend, then why did he produce a substantially edited version of the Bible in which every reference to the supernatural was removed? As for Adams, I have yet to come across any substantial reference – and for this I have to recall my interpretation of David McCullough’s substantial biography – in which Adams believed firmly in the supernatural either.

    Before you comment further, may I suggest you read the work of a decades-long American advocate of secular humanism, Susan Jacoby and also look at both Gordon Wood’s and Bernard Bailyn’s work too (Both Wood and Bailyn are regarded as our foremost historians of the American Revolution – and Wood, especially, for his work emphasizing the radical nature of the American Revolution and on the drafting of the U. S. Constitution.)? Reading Wood is relevant too since he has influenced greatly Ken Miller’s recent thinking as to why we have such a problem with evolution denial here in the United States, as Ken has noted in his book “Only A Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul” (In the interest of full disclosure, I will note too that Wood was one of my college professors.).

  25. #25 SLC
    June 8, 2009

    Re John Kwok

    I would refer Mr. Kwok to Mr. Braytons’ blog where he recounts numerous instances where both Jefferson and Adams invoke the notion of an intervening deity. It is true that Jefferson (and Madison more emphatically) rejected organized religion but rejection of organized religion does not make one an atheist, agnostic, or Deist.

  26. #26 John Kwok
    June 8, 2009

    @ SLC,

    So you are you suggesting that I ought to take Ed’s word over that of scholars who have studied Jefferson and Adams for decades, like Susan Jacoby and Gordon Wood? That’s almost as silly as telling me that Dishonesty Institute mendacious intellectual pornographer David Klinghoffer is correct in asserting that Darwin EQUALS Hitler, merely because Klinghoffer has been bleating incessantly about this for years?

    But let’s get more to the point instead of citing who is – and who isn’t – credible regarding their interpretation of what Adams and Jefferson believed in. It is a fact that both men were strongly influenced by French and Scottish Enlightenment philosophers, who, in turn, were inspired more by Isaac Newton’s concept of a mechanistic universe while ignoring Newton’s own devoutly Christian religious beliefs.

  27. #27 Thony C.
    June 8, 2009

    John Kwok wrote:

    …were inspired more by Isaac Newton’s concept of a mechanistic universe…

    Newton’s model of the universe was not mechanistic, which is why it was rejected by both the Cartesianer and the Leibnizianer.

  28. #28 Cephe Kaplama
    June 8, 2009

    Tripoli, but the rest of your comment is correct.

  29. #29 John Kwok
    June 8, 2009

    @ Thony C. -

    Neither Descartes nor Leibniz were members of the French Enlightenment. By French Enlightenment, I am referring of course to Rousseau and Voltaire – and those of them who met with Benjamin Franklin regarded him as one of their peers, primarily because of Franklin’s work on electricity. Maybe I should have said “experimental or rational” in lieu of “mechanistic”, but the point remains that both the leading figures of the French and Scottish Enlightenments were increasingly more Deistic than theistic in their religious orientations, and that it was their thinking which influenced most, if not all, of America’s Founding Fathers.

  30. #30 eric
    June 8, 2009

    Jr:

    Paganism? Now that is pretty wrong. Most American are heretics, not pagans according too classical Catholic theological terminology.

    More to the point, their argument is a nonsequitur. If we are truly “surrounded by paganism” then religion IS being preserved in American life.

  31. #31 KeithB
    June 8, 2009

    John Kwok wrote:
    “So you are you suggesting that I ought to take Ed’s word”

    Uh, this is Science Blogs, look at the *evidence* that Ed provides from quotes by Jefferson. Ed would be the last one to say “Take my word for it.”

  32. #32 John Kwok
    June 8, 2009

    @ KeithB

    I don’t have time to search Ed’s archives. And even if he did find supporting quotes, so what? It is accepted that, at the end of his life, Jefferson finally embraced a “Unitarian” version of Protestant Christianity. But I’m not referring to Jefferson’s thoughts towards the end of his life, but rather, on the period between 1774 and 1790, when it seems he was more Deistic than Theistic in his religious orientation.

    That’s why I believe it is more relevant to read Susan Jacoby’s or Gordon Wood’s writings than to rely on Ed’s – and my apologies in advance for saying this – “quote mining” of Jefferson.

  33. #33 KeithB
    June 8, 2009

    But you have the time to post 6 (fairly long) comments here?

  34. #34 John Kwok
    June 8, 2009

    @ KeithB -

    That’s when I have the time. Am sorry, but I don’t have time to read each and every one of Ed’s posts in which he claims to have found pertinent quotes from Jefferson.

    Instead of arguing with me, perhaps it might be more useful if you heed my advice and read what Jacoby and Wood have written.

  35. #35 John Kwok
    June 8, 2009

    @ KeithB -

    I like Ed a lot and greatly appreciate all that he’s done, starting of course with being one of the co-founders of Panda’s Thumb. But Ed isn’t a historian, and, if I am going to believe anyone, then it would be the historian who is the leading authority on the American Revolution and the drafting of the United States Constitution; Gordon Wood (And I state this because Wood is widely recognized by his fellow historians for being the leading authority. The fact that he was also a college professor of mine is completely irrelevant IMHO.).

  36. #36 Thony C.
    June 8, 2009

    Mr Kwok, before answering I think you would do good to actually read the comment that you wish to criticise. I never claimed that either Descartes or Leibniz were part of the French enlightenment I merely objected to your labelling of Newton’s model of the universe as ‘mechanistic’ as it definitely was not; a fact that was stated very pointedly, at the beginning of the 18th century, by both the Cartesianer and the Leibnizianer who were at the time the main purveyors and defenders of the mechanistic philosophy.

  37. #37 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    June 8, 2009

    is that former Baptist Gingrich converted to Catholicism this year. Uniting far-right Catholics with the usual evangelical base of the Religious Right is truly terrible to contemplate.

    I’m not worried too much about that. I have met several Evangelicals of the Southern Baptist persuasion who insist that Catholics are not really Christians. So perhaps the scenario you describe can be averted simply by publicizing Gingrich’s conversion.

  38. #38 John Kwok
    June 8, 2009

    @ Thony C. -

    You must have missed my reply at @ 29, in which I noted that maybe I should have used the words “experimental” or “rational” in lieu of “mechanistic”. As for saying that I misinterpreted your insinuation that Leibniz and Descartes were members of the French and Scottish Enlightments, how else could I interpret it, when I had obenserved earlier how and why the writings of such prominent Enlightenment figures as Smith, Rousseau, Voltaire and, Montesqieu (If I am misspelling his name, please note my apologies in advance) influenced America’s Founding Fathers.

  39. #39 John Kwok
    June 8, 2009

    @ 38

    Typing “obenserved” was a typo. I meant “observed”

  40. #40 eddie
    June 8, 2009

    Regardless of the subtle points of the theology of the founding fathers, they certainly rejected the authority of church as they did of court.
    By that measure, gingrich, huckabee are straight-up traitors.

  41. #41 Anthony McCarthy
    June 8, 2009

    that former Baptist Gingrich converted to Catholicism this year.

    With his marital history? I’ll have to look into that.

    Part of American exceptionalism is our right to invent whatever plurals we like.

    Yesterday a Brit twit at Chris Mooney’s blog accused me of American exceptionalism because I said I might defend the separation of church and state with blood. We were on opposite sides of the Coyne controversy, oddly enough. Him for Jerry, me not.

    You guys do realize that pagans are religious believers, don’t you?

  42. #42 Matt Penfold
    June 9, 2009

    “Yesterday a Brit twit at Chris Mooney’s blog accused me of American exceptionalism because I said I might defend the separation of church and state with blood. We were on opposite sides of the Coyne controversy, oddly enough. Him for Jerry, me not.”

    I guess this is another example of that civility you keep demanding. I have been keeping an eye on your comments here. If anything they are even more inane than the ones on Mooney’s blog.

  43. #43 Anthony McCarthy
    June 9, 2009

    Matt Penfold, I meant what I said at Chris Mooney’s blog, you need professional help.

  44. #44 Matt Penfold
    June 9, 2009

    “Matt Penfold, I meant what I said at Chris Mooney’s blog, you need professional help”

    I sure you do mean it. Maybe you could tell us your qualifications that mean you are able to make a diagnosis over the internet.

    I also meant what I said. I find you totally dishonest. Going by the comments here and elsewhere in reposonse to you, I am not alone in that assesment.

  45. #45 John Kwok
    June 9, 2009

    @ Matt Penfold,

    Speaking of Chris Mooney’s blog, I posted these comments which were addressed to you:

    “@ Matt Penfold,

    “Let me remind you that there is a growing problem with evolution denial in the United Kingdom as I have noted in my most recent post. If there isn’t a problem as you’ve contended, then why was the British Center for Science Education, the United Kingdom’s counterpart to NCSE, established?”

    “Instead of making an ad hominem accusation that I am ‘insane’, let me remind you that, at Jason Rosenhouse’s blog earlier today, I stated that I was joking when I insisted that PZ Myers purchase photographic equipment. I would appreciate an apology please.”

    I am still waiting for suitable responses to these remarks of mine.

  46. #46 John Kwok
    June 9, 2009

    @ Matt Penfold,

    For someone who has a special affinity for the “truth”, both here, and at Chris Mooney’s blog, you seem a rather odd choice as a personality who believes that those who disagree with you, like myself or Andrew McCarthy, are indeed “insane”.

    I don’t agree with all of McCarthy’s comments, but he has done a much better job in his stating his case than you have.

    Again, I would appreciate an apology from you.

  47. #47 Matt Penfold
    June 9, 2009

    “Again, I would appreciate an apology from you.”

    For what ?

    I have not said anything about you that is untrue. You DID email PZ demanding a camera and threatening to tell your friends to boycott him on facebook. I note you do not even bother denying it, but instead pretend it was a joke.

    Tell you what, go ask your friends for money to sue me. I will see you in court.

  48. #48 John Kwok
    June 9, 2009

    @ Matt Penfold,

    You owe me an apology for calling me “insane” after I had noted here at this blog:

    “The only person who should honor my request for camera equipment is one Bill Dembski. Even after I told PZ Myers I was joking, he was still insisting that this is what I was demanding from him. Whatever respect I had had for Myers vanished immediately. Moreover, it merely reaffirmed that my assessment of Myers as the ‘William A. Dembski of militant atheism’ was both a fair and accurate one.”

    If I’m not mistaken, I had posted these comments BEFORE you told Andrew McCarthy that I was “insane” over at Chris Mooney’s blog.

    You also owe me an apology for refusing to admit that the United Kingdom has its own evolution denial problem. If such a problem doesn’t exist, then why was its British Center for Science Education established? Why did the Royal Society have a newsworthy furor over creationism which was noted by NCSE last fall here:

    http://ncseweb.org/news/2008/09/royal-society-furor-over-creationism-002131

    Maybe Andrew McCarthy is right. You may be out of touch with reality.

  49. #49 Kevin (NYC)
    June 9, 2009

    ““I think this is one of the most critical moments in American history,” Gingrich said. “We are living in a period where we are surrounded by paganism.””

    wait! didn’t he just join the pagan Catolick Church that worships Dagon the FishHead God?

    And believes in sprites and spirits and demons? …he joined the pagan side!!

  50. #50 SLC
    June 9, 2009

    Re Matt Penfold

    It should also be pointed out that Mr. Kwok last December filled up a thread over at Pandas’ Thumb with all sorts of nonsense about President Elect Obamas’ birth certificate, thus joining the legions of morons like Alan Keyes, Joe Farah, Alan Berg, and Orley Taitz who we refer to as birfers.

  51. #51 Amber
    June 9, 2009

    Can someone explain to me why the religious right thinks that God gives a sh** about America. America didn’t even exist when Christianity began, and I don’t think that if there is a God he wanted to create one country that could rule and “be better” than all others. That seems like it goes against what I thought God and Christianity was about.

  52. #52 Matt Penfold
    June 9, 2009

    “It should also be pointed out that Mr. Kwok last December filled up a thread over at Pandas’ Thumb with all sorts of nonsense about President Elect Obamas’ birth certificate, thus joining the legions of morons like Alan Keyes, Joe Farah, Alan Berg, and Orley Taitz who we refer to as birfers.”

    Even less need for me to apologise then. Kwok is insane, at least in the colloquial usage of the word.

  53. #53 John Kwok
    June 9, 2009

    @ SLC -

    Maybe you didn’t get the message, but I’ve recanted those remarks. In my case, it makes special sense for two reasons:

    1) I endorse strongly Obama’s cabinet picks in the realm of science and technology.

    2) Two of Obama’s key advisors, Attorney General Eric Holder, and special advisor David Axelrod, are prominent alumni of New York City’s prestigious Stuyvesant High School, which, incidentally, is also my alma mater. (Because Stuyvesant is America’s foremost high school devoted to the sciences, mathematics and technology, it would make a lot of sense for its school principal to pledge that Intelligent Design creationism would never be taught there. Unfortunately that’s a crucial point that you missed over at Pharyngula and seem to be missing now.).

    @ Matt Penfold,

    My own errors do not excuse you from apologizing. An apology for your inane remarks is expected by yours truly.

  54. #54 Matt Penfold
    June 9, 2009

    Kwok, you lied. You failed to admit that in a timely manner.

  55. #55 SLC
    June 9, 2009

    Re John Kwok

    1. The foremost high school of science in the US is the Bronx School of Science, not Peter Stuyvesant. Seven Nobel Prize winners in physics trumps anything that Stuyvesant has to offer.

    2. In other words, President Obama is not a natural born citizen and his birth certificate is a phony but Mr. Kwok is willing to overlook these items because he likes the presidents’ science appointments and the latter isn’t such a bad guy after all.

    3. How about Mr. Kwoks’ cyberstalking of Abbie Smith over at the ERV scienceblogs web site?

  56. #56 pough
    June 9, 2009

    which, incidentally, is also my alma mater

    I had a strange feeling while I was reading the comments in this thread like something important was missing. Once I got to this comment, though, the feeling went away.

  57. #57 John Kwok
    June 9, 2009

    @ 54 -

    You’re a self-serving jerk, Penfold. I am sure you still refuse to admit that your home country, the United Kingdom, has a serious problem with evolution denial. Since you claim that there’s no problem, can you explain this statement in support of evolution that was issued by the Geological Society of London a year ago, which was reported by NCSE:

    In a statement issued on April 11, 2008, the Geological Society of London denounced young-earth creationism, “creation science,” and “intelligent design” as “a trespass upon the domain of science,” and described the great age of the earth, the great age of life on earth, and evolution by natural selection as “long established beyond doubt,” adding, “Close study of the structure and organisation of living animals and plants clearly indicates their common ancestry, and the succession of forms through the fossil record, as well as the genetic record contained in every living organism, provides powerful evidence of the reality of evolution.”

    You can read the rest of the Geological Society of London’s comments here:

    http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/gsl/views/policy_statements/page3635.html

    And you were telling me that the United Kingdom DOESN’T HAVE a problem with evolution denial? Your refusal to admit that there is a problem seems reminds me of IDiots who’ve been posting elsewhere online, claiming that Intelligent Design creationism isn’t religiously-derived or influence.

    As for me being a “liar”, if that was indeed the case, I would have been banned from Panda’s Thumb a long time ago. Virtually all of those who questioned my political beliefs last fall have now a favorable opinion of me.

  58. #58 John Kwok
    June 9, 2009

    @ SLC -

    I have spoken to teachers who have taught recently at both Stuyvesant (Its name IS NOT Peter Stuyvesant) and Bronx Science, and they believe that the most capable students are those at Stuyvesant, not Bronx Science. That wouldn’t surprise me since the minimum entrance exam scores are higher for Stuyvesant than for Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech, and the other, relatively brand new, New York City specialized science high schools.

    Your risible comment about Abbie Smith isn’t worth commenting, period. I check both hers and PZ Myers’s blogs every day, simply because theirs are still two of the most popular science blogs. Sometimes they both manage to get stuff right with respect to science. Not always, but sometimes.

  59. #59 SLC
    June 10, 2009

    Re John Kwok

    1. I repeat, 7 Nobel Prizes in physics trumps entrance scores. Call me when Stuyvesant can boast of 7 such individuals. And by the way, Bronx School of Science graduate Neil Tyson agrees with me.

    2. Gee, Prof. Myers and Ms. Smith sometimes get the science right. Of course, Mr. Kwok always gets the science right, just like he got the issue of President Obamas’ birth certificate right. Or something.

  60. #60 John Kwok
    June 10, 2009

    @ SLC -

    Thanks for keeping score. BTW I know about the 7 Nobel Prize laureates too. But if you want to name that “prominent scientific alumnus”, the edge is tipping in favor of Stuyvesant as evidenced by the fact that two of the most prominent physicists actively working today are high school and college classmates Brian Greene and Lisa Randall and molecular biologist Eric Lander, who led one of the two teams which sequenced the human genome.

    As for me getting the science “right”, which is most of the time, I think you ought to know me well enough now that if I goof I apologize quickly on that. Haven’t seen that from either Myers or Smith IMHO, and Smith, especially since she’s a mere graduate student, has posted a couple of whoppers recently.

    Last but not least, since you seem incapable of having a rational discourse with me regarding evolutionary biology – and I have yet to recall a single instance where we ever had – you rely on an ad hominem attack by referring to my former reservation regarding the validity of Obama’s birth certificate (I don’t believe in the controversy now, but it hasn’t died down yet, and frankly, if I was Obama, I would have asked the State of Hawaii to release an official copy just to shut the critics up.).

    I’ve concluded that you’re no better than an IDiot or other kind of creo troll. Run along and play with your “toys”.

  61. #61 SLC
    June 10, 2009

    Re John Kwok

    Just for the information of asshole Kwok, President Obama has released his certificate of live birth which is the only document that the State of Hawaii provides. This document is sufficient to allow the individual to obtain a drivers license, apply for fellowships and scholarships, and apply for a passport. It would appear that Mr. Kwok and his fellow birfers’ beef is with the State of Hawaii, not with the president. But maybe Mr. Kwok should pay a visit to Kenya. Maybe he can find a copy of President Obamas’ Kenyan birth certificate.

  62. #62 John Kwok
    June 10, 2009

    @ SLC,

    He has not yet allowed an officially notarized version of his birth certificate to be released, and frankly, I wished he did so he could shut up all of his critics (I have other, much better, reasons to criticize him, starting with his worthless economic “stimulus” package.).

    Once more you indulge in an ad hominem attack on me by believing that I want to visit Kenya to find Obama’s birth certificate.

    Well, let me close by making the same observation I have made of other, equally delusional creos elsewhere online. Your own mind is so intellectually-challenged, that you’re probably best suited as potential croc or python chow.

  63. #63 SLC
    June 10, 2009

    Re John Kwok

    I suspect that Prof. Rosenhouse is probably getting a little tired of this aimless discussion between Mr. Kwok and other commentors.

    Well, let me close by making the same observation I have made of other, equally delusional creos elsewhere online. Your own mind is so intellectually-challenged, that you’re probably best suited as potential croc or python chow.

    As someone who has a PhD in elementary particle physics, I would be willing to put my educational record up against Mr. Kwoks’ any day of the week and twice on Sunday. The only degree that Mr. Kwok seems to have is a bachelors in assholery.

  64. #64 John Kwok
    June 10, 2009

    @ SLC -

    Just because you have a Ph. D. in elementary particle physics doesn’t mean that that degree “innoculated” you from your ongoing problem of being an asshole. I’ve met others, including Nobel Prize-winning scientists, who’ve demonstrated far more humility than I have read from you either here or elsewhere online.

  65. #65 Uppity
    June 10, 2009

    As for Adams, I have yet to come across any substantial reference – and for this I have to recall my interpretation of David McCullough’s substantial biography – in which Adams believed firmly in the supernatural either.

    McCullough specifically states that Adams was both a devout Christian and an independent thinker, and saw no conflict in that. He also saw the principal of human equality springing directly from Christianity.

  66. #66 John Kwok
    June 10, 2009

    @ Uppity -

    It wasn’t really clear to me whether McCullough thought that Adams was someone who did believe in supernatural phenomena, but the rest of your remarks reflect my memory of McCullough’s thoughts about Adams’s religious inclinations. Thanks for your comments, I greatly appreciate them.