Recent Posts

Marriage of Jesse Stone and Rachel McLaren

On Sunday, August 20, my son, Jesse, married a wonderful woman, Rachel McLaren, from a wonderful family. I couldn't be happier.

Gary & Linda Stone, Jesse Stone & Rachel McLaren, Grace & Brian McLaren


Jesse's Mother, Linda, and our son Eliot (Jesse's Best Man)

Slow School Zone Project Resumes

To read and comment on this item on my Muirkirk Road News and Views Blog click here

Montpelier Elementary School Cross-walk Safety Beacon Failed on First Day of School

To read and comment on this item at my Muirkirk Road News and Views blog click here

Bush on Teaching Intelligent Design in Public Science Classes

I felt anger when i read about the President promoting
the teaching of "Intelligent Design" in public school
science classes.

But, if the purpose of Skepticism is to achieve for
myself, and promote in others, respect for reason and
reasoned argument based on empirically demonstrable facts
and well-tested theory ... then it behooves me as a
Skeptic to be not only passionate in defense of reason,
but at all times a REASONABLE person (equivocation
intended) ... in public where it shows and in private
where it forms habits ... and at a minimum ... on my part,
to eschew ad hominem attacks on others, even when --
especially when -- seemingly well-justified anger and
frustration well up within me. Often i will fail in that
effort -- but i should continue to try.

Else, i believe, skepticism will lose (fail to reach?)
the ethical and rational high ground it presumes to be
defending, because others will see Skepticism (in my
practice of it) as just another venally partisan and
selfish "special interest group".

When i compare these two statements from an Aug 3
Washington Post article, it is clear which one is easy
for anyone to dismiss out of hand and which one genuinely
advances the argument against ID.

1) Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), a leading liberal
lawmaker. Noting Bush's Ivy League education, Frank
said, "People might cite George Bush as proof that
you can be totally impervious to the effects of
Harvard and Yale education." [such examples cover
the political spectrum, of course, and the intended
audience is usually the partisan choir]

2) Bush's comments were "irresponsible," said Barry W.
Lynn, executive director of Americans United for
Separation of Church and State. He said the president,
by suggesting that students hear two viewpoints,
"doesn't understand that one is a religious viewpoint
and one is a scientific viewpoint." Lynn said Bush
showed a "low level of understanding of science,"
adding that he worries that Bush's comments could be
followed by a directive to the Justice Department to
support legal efforts to change curricula.

I'm both encouraged and cautioned by this excerpt from
Surowieski's The Wisdom of Crowds, page 76 large print
edition (last page of Chapter 2):

"Ultimately, [expressed] diversity contributes not just
by adding different perspectives to the group but also by
making it easier for individuals to say what they really
think." ... "Having even one person in the group who
felt as they did made the subjects happy to announce their
thoughts, and the rate of conformity plummeted."

The President's highly visible statements have made it
much easier for more people to express and act
(legislatively and otherwise) on their beliefs in ID.
As a Skeptic i need to become more visible in supporting
the teaching of evolution vice ID in public school
science classes, so that others will feel more comfortable
expressing their support for the teaching of evolution
vice ID in public school science classes.

I know how to do this, conversation by conversation,
letter by letter, email by email. I just need to get busy.