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Archive for Monday, October 17, 2005

Teacher has background in science, belief in Bible

Pointed views on evolution

October 17, 2005

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Ron Krestan is 46 years old. He has a bachelor's degree in science education from Emporia State University, a master's degree from Kansas State University.

Although he's certified to teach science courses in public schools in Kansas, he doesn't believe in evolution. Not for a minute.

Evolution, he said, doesn't jibe with the Bible so it cannot be true.

"Fundamentally, we believe there is a God and that he has revealed himself in Scripture, both through written word, the Bible, and the living word, Jesus Christ. That is our starting point for everything we believe," said Krestan, a third-year science, math and Bible teacher at Veritas Christian School, 256 N. Mich.


Ron Krestan instructs Veritas Christian School seniors in his Bible/rhetoric class at the Lawrence school, 256 N. Mich. Krestan is certified to teach science courses in public schools in Kansas but he doesn't believe in evolution.

Ron Krestan instructs Veritas Christian School seniors in his Bible/rhetoric class at the Lawrence school, 256 N. Mich. Krestan is certified to teach science courses in public schools in Kansas but he doesn't believe in evolution.

Krestan, who lives in Ozawkie, personifies the state's ongoing debate over the teaching of evolution, which, he said, cannot take precedence over belief in God.

"We believe that when God speaks, he is authoritative," Krestan said. "We also recognize that although we are made in the image of God and we have the ability to know and understand things apart from revelation, all of what we know needs to tie back to what God has revealed."

Evolution is a flawed theory, he said, because it assumes life on Earth is a consequence of random forces. But in the Bible, Krestan said, the universe has purpose and meaning.

"Revelation makes it clear that this universe is not here by random-chance events," he said. "It has an origin by a personal creator that has a purpose and is moving toward a goal."

He added, "That personal creator is God, the God of the Bible."

Other flaws, according to Krestan:

¢ The Bible says death began with Adam and Eve, but evolution contends that life and death were going on long before man's presence on Earth.

¢ Under evolution theory, the Earth has been evolving for millions of years. The Bible says God created the universe in six days.

"It is difficult to reconcile the first three chapters in Genesis with evolution," Krestan said. He called the three chapters "historically accurate accounts."

In the debate over evolution, Krestan and his boss, Veritas administrator Jeff Barclay, said they differed with conservatives on the State Board of Education on the issue of intelligent design.

After consulting with intelligent design proponents, the state education board is poised to approve science standards for public school teaching that are critical of evolution.

Intelligent design, which critics consider thinly disguised creationism, holds that life's complexity is evidence it was the work of a designer and not the result of random circumstances.

"We don't use the term 'intelligent design,'" Barclay said. "We prefer creationism."

According to intelligent design, the universe was created by a higher power that may or not have been God.

At Veritas, this higher power is the God in the Bible. He is not a Martian, a Hindu or Buddha.

"Fundamentally there is only one God," Krestan said. "We have a starting point. We say that 'God is' and that God has revealed himself through the written word of the Bible and the living word, Jesus Christ. In that sense, we are very exclusive."

Other religions, he said, worship false gods.

Though most public schools do not teach intelligent design or creationism, Krestan and Barclay said they've not been reluctant to expose Veritas students to evolution theory.

"We are not here to create cookie-cutter Christians," Barclay said. "We're here to graduate thinking, lifelong learners."

Veritas, Barclay said, has welcomed the evolution debate with open arms.

"We use it as a springboard. It's exciting for us," he said. "We use it as a real teaching tool. It creates emotion in students. We want them to be able to speak rhetorically. We teach them logic here.

"We don't want them pounding their fist on the desk and saying, 'Because God says so!' We want to know why God says so."

Comments

Kodiac 8 years, 6 months ago

But that just it Devo. You can ask those questions and think about those questions even if you don't know the answers to them. I wonder where we would be today if Newton or Dalton or Galileo or Darwin or Corpenicus or Curie or Einstein or Watson and Crick or countless and countless of many others throughout history just through up their hands and said, "we can't know about it so lets not explore it at all or lets only look at what we know." Lets not stifle questions just because we don't know the answer to them. We haven't made the scientific advances and had the scientific revolutions with people who have sat there and said "I'm old enough to know how much to bite off, how much I can chew." Of course I am glad that you have things you are interested in and want to know more about and that is all well and good. I will reiterate naturally that evolution is a well-tested theory and provides useful tools for scientists across many disciplines. Until you actually deal with this point Devo, I am going to keep reminding you of it. As I have said you continue to avoid the actual evidence and I imagine you will continue to do so. So Devo I think this is where it stands. There is nothing more to discuss here.

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devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

Kodiac, this world is filled with a zillion answerable questions, as well as a multitude of human activities. All great fun. Come on Kodiac, I teach 20 high school kids every year, a new bunch each year. I travel, I coach, I do most of the stuff everybody else does. Only, I rarely rely on theory that isn't tested. I gave a lecture on the sun today as a break from the tedium of Newtonian mechanics. Lots of pictures from GOES satellites on the emission of radiation and protons measured from the beast. Maps of maximum useable frequency of radio wave propagation and how it relates to solar activity. All measured. Is the sun real? I know that it is electromagnetically from measurements. Is it real gravitationally? Same thing. Do we know everything about the sun. Hardly. Are there aspects of the sun that puzzle us? Yes, and I generally left those out of the lecture to a bunch of 17 year-olds. Just Dunno. All I have to tell them is that there are things about the sun that we have sketchy info about. One student asked if the sun's output power is stable. I said that for the last 250 years we have sunspot data that indicates that there is an 11 year cycle. Are there other periodicities? I said that geoscientists have indirect data that could be interpreted to mean that it is not all that stable. "Inferences, not data", I said. He was wondering about global warming and the solar flux. "I dunno, and no one does", I said. So, I understand it, we're in an interglacial warm period between glaciations, and actually in a larger period called an ice age. Do we need to sweat the global warming if the return to glaciation is just around the corner? Maybe what we're doing to the atmosphere is actually prolonging the interglacial time? BIg questions. Dunno is my answer. Is it boring to dunno? Not for me it isn't I'm old enough to know how much to bite off, how much I can chew.

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Kodiac 8 years, 6 months ago

Hey Devo,

You can be a biologist and dismiss Darwin as nonsense. It is done even now as we speak. You may not get a lot of support from the mainstream scientist but those are what revolutions are made out of. The key is of course is to find something that is better at explaining our origins than evolution and provides better predictive value than evolution. Such an explanation will eventually supplant evolution in science. This is the way science works.

As far as your alternative, if you want to crawl down into a hole and shut your mind off from the natural world, that is your choice, just don't expect us to do the same. You must live in a very boring world Devo. To ask the question, to search for answers that is what makes us human.

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devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

Kodiak, It's imposition when it must be learned to engage in biological science. Is this true, or can I be a biologist and dismiss Darwin as nonsense?

I consider Nova to be the highest level program regarding science in mass media. I never read Time or Newsweek or any of them. I do however, read the AP wire and Reuter's as well. Thus, I get news releases from various institutes announcing findings. Yes, these are all public forum science. But, I can't seem to find a description of evolution that doesn't sound like a fairy tale. I look forward to visiting the evo exhibit on campus. Maybe there will be a treatment of evo that does somethin' for me?

Alternative? It's easy Kodiak. Try it on, work with it, own it, spend some time with it. It's called "I really don't know, I'm probably not gonna". Humility in one's work is actually quite liberating.

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Kodiac 8 years, 6 months ago

Hey Devo,

So you are getting your ideas of what modern science is from PBS and Nova? That sure is reassuring. Now that I think about it, many of the things you have been going on about sound like sound bites out of Newsweek or our popular media outlets. You might consider doing a little more than just watching TV or reading newspapers, Devo.

I think it is hilarious that you insist that ideas that occurred a long time ago are "outdated" or "not progressive". Does that mean we have abandon any old ideas and get new ones. You don't think an old idea can actually progress. When Copernicus published his findings for a heliocentric solar system, has that idea become "outdated". How about atomic theory? Do you really think that the theory of evolution proposed by Darwin has not progressed or evolved or changed over the last 130 years? Come on Devo comparing Marx with Darwin. Are you trying to compare socialism with biology? You know you really need to go back and look at the historical context of when Darwin and Wallace came out with their ideas. They were persecuted for them and they had no support among the majority of the scientists or the public for that matter. Yet here is an idea that has evolved to a basic underlying principle in biology and is supported through evidence from many other areas of science.

If there is another idea for how we came to be here Devo, lets hear it. As Dawkins says, right now we have evolution and then something we haven't thought of yet. You can't have imposition if there is no other alternative.

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devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

Kodiak, Just finished watching NOVA on PBS. Ancient creature of the deep...the caelacanth. Complete with missing links, magic, mystery, dramatic music, human interest, high-tech machines, local fishermen, exotic islands, fish anatomy tetrapod anatomy, nuance........modern science at its best.

I enjoyed this just as I enjoyed Lord of the Rings. Thanks for the entertainment biology.

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devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

When I used the word oppressive, I was thinking about a book by C.C. Gillispie, entitled "The edge of Objectivity". He treats two forms of reality: objective and subjective. Science is our attempt to make objective that which begins in our hearts and mind as subjective. We see apparent reality (like putting an oar into the water and seeing that it bends) and doing science to explain why the apparent and the real are different. So what constitutes scientific reality? According to Gillispie, it is any notion that is currently accepted as a basis of application and of further research and speculation. It is that which is generally agreed upon as the best there is, up to now. This view is adaptable, historical, rational and sensible, even obvious. But it ignores that one component that also exists. It is the component that is imposed upon the young researcher.

That's right, there is a component of scientific belief and and practice that is imposed on all who want to be scientists. The massive cultural component of science today is oppressive. That's what I mean. That's why I went off on the old hippies who rebelled 40 years ago and now manage their lives (including their science) as if it is new and rebellious. Marx was 150 years ago, Darwin 130 years ago. It ain't progressive anymore guys. The proliferation of subatomic particles, the accelerating universe, the gaia is good people are bad attitude is getting out of hand. Our science is diverging not converging. Physisists know this. Do biologists?

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Kodiac 8 years, 6 months ago

You know Devo, I don't think I am actually ever looking for the big answer. I know that sounds so much unlike me but I guess I am more bothered by the idea that people cover things up, try to obscure what is being said, what is being represented, what we actually see in the natural world because it violates some dogma or belief system. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the arguments between creationists and evolutionsists.

I do agree with you that what you are doing is a copout. I have seen and been a part of the world you dismiss as being "the establishment". Maybe some people are like that but I can tell you that many are not. In fact many of the people that I have known and have been associated with approach much of what they see and seek to understand as a search for more complete explanations. Most of them do not make value judgements or ascribe to some kind of ultimate answer for everything in the universe. I can tell you, it is not about finding the big answer, but rather it is more about learning how to think, how to evaluate evidence, how to look at reality.

You used the word rationalization like it was a bad thing, like it was tyrannical, authoritarian, something that uses force of will. But rationalization is what really saves us from that kind of dictatorship, from a reliance on law and force, from ignorance and superstition, from a fear of the unknown. Rationalism draws its strength from its faith in the human mind. Rationalization and science has made it possible for us to use physics, chemistry, and biology to our benefit. It is inherent in rationalization that tradition and authority must give way to new worlds of thought.

In some ways I do agree with you concerning the rush to find the ultimate answer to everything. I am and always have been in awe of the universe we live in and find myself lost in the possibility of what is beyond our world, our universe, beyond ourselves. But that is different than seeking knowledge from reality. I love to explore and seek to learn more about our natural world. I think it is important to encourage skepticism and free inquiry. I think the creationist/ID arguments against evolution are an assault on those ideals and have been for the last 150 years. Even if you can't find a reason to back either evolution or creationism, I think you should at least look at the larger context. It is very clear where ID has come from and why it has (for the lack of a better term) evolved to the theory it is now. It is not dangerous with respect to unseating evolution from a rational standpoint, it is dangerous because of what it actually represents.

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devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

I think the cultural disconnect that I was searching for the other day is the perspective. At the risk of putting words or ideas in you mouth or head lemme see if this rings true.

You look at evolution as a theory from Darwin and others that defines the "big answer". Tests have been devised to refute the theory by many observations of nature. The theory has withstood (with possible modifications or clarifications) all of them. Thus, it is a testable and, so far, solid theory. Not much different than atomic theory here.

I look at the evidence and subsequent testing as an attempt to build up the theory of Darwin, et.al. That is, to synthesize a model that confirms the theory. If there are problems in the evidence or tests, then what? Is it really possible to question Darwin in the present biological culture? Might this "big answer" actually be a bunch of big-brained people creating reality? Are there funding, professors, attitudes, a culture out there that can really test the theory of Darwin? I'm skeptical.

In 1694 Newton showed the world the most important physics discovery ever (certainly up to that time). By 1800 questioning Newton was blasphemy. By 1870, the Victorian era was wearing thin on the populace. Think of it as similar to the 1960's. Darwin came along, non-euclidian geometry (Lobachevsky and Bolyia) was rediscovered. They had done their work in the 1830's. But the timing of their work was early. But in 1870 time was ripe for a revolution. We're still in it.

I, for one, am getting tired of science as it exists today. The proliferation of sub-atomic particles, accelerating universes, rational positivism, Darwin.......everybody has an explanation for everything. Yet something about all this just doesn't feel right. The mad dash for the theory of everything by every scientist has caused me to become a scientific agnostic. I am most uncomfortable with the attitude that Rene Descarte rules all (I think, therefore I am). Decartes believed that all intellectual matters can and should be unified by mathematization. The secret's of the world will yield to rational ideas of man. This cartesian world we live in has become oppressive. It is becoming dowright Victorian in its righteous defense of all things scientific. The hippies of the 1960's are now the "establishment". "Oh, but we can't be intolerant, dogmatic, set in our ways, we're liberal", they say. And if you are not liberal, then you are bad. Sounds like a strange inverted sort of rehash of the 1950's. I have students whose parents are hippies. These students actually seek stability and discipline......as a rebelion against their parents.
The present argument over creation/evolution is a battle over supremacy of ideas. That's all. The primacy of ideas. My approach throughout these discussions has been to reject both ideas as fruitless. Maybe it's a copout, but I sure can't find in myself a reason to back either idea.

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Kodiac 8 years, 6 months ago

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Oh Devo did you say something. Sorry I was sleeping. Guess I'm not sure what you are trying to say there Devo. Maybe that is your way of saying see the micro is different than the macro.

You do realize that you have no actual proof for testing atomic level particles. We have no way of directly observing the particles you are referring do we? In fact isn't atomic theory just a theory since we have no direct evidence for it. Hmmmm. What about DNA. We haven't really seen a DNA molecule have we?. So we have no evidence for what it actually looks like or that it exists. Remember Devo it has to be direct proof according to you. You have to be able to see it to proof it. Then why use something you can't actually prove?

How about we look at it this way Devo, if evolution is not a testable hypothesis then there should be no possible observations to refute it right? Yet I can think of many possible observations that would refute it. How about mammalian fossils in the Precambrian rocks (which is not possible in evolution). How about the majority of the fossil groups being the same or similar to living organisms (which suggests no transitional forms and no extinction). How about finding species that use a different genetic code than every other living thing in the world today or how about the use "right-handed" amino acids rather than the universally used "left-handed" amino acids (evolution predicts common ancestry so if you could find an organism that was different then you would have evidence against it). You should not be able to construct phylogenetic trees.

I guess we can go on and on and on. Yet the theory of evolution after 150 years still remains and it actually has become one of the most dominant principle in the field of biology just like atomic theory is to the field of physics and chemistry.

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devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

According to statistical (quantum) mechanics, there is a non-zero chance that you could walk thru a wall. I can certainly shoot an electron thru a brick wall and get one thru. The probability of just one electron getting thru is very small. The probability of getting all 100 trillion atoms of you thru the wall is a number so tiny that it has no meaning to me. Thus, you can't walk thru a wall. Because the concept has lost meaning. The testing of atomic level particles going thru walls is massive. The testing of particles being shot at brick walls has probably also been done. The step from one or two or several particles shot at a wall to a whole body sent at a wall is a really big step. If we lived at the atomic level, we might extrapolate from our tiny world to the100 trillion world and say that there is no way that something that big could go thru a wall. But we wouldn't be able to test it. However, we do live at the macroscale of 100 trillion atoms trying to go thru a wall. We've tried it.
We've tested it at the macroscale. It hurts.

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devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

Godd idea. OOPS, that was a typo. Devo

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Kodiac 8 years, 6 months ago

Devo,

You know it makes me laugh when I hear people say they believe in microevolution but not macroevolution. You understand the ideas in microevolution are the same as macroevolution...if you agee with one, you agree with the other, they are not mutually exclusive.

You know I just had a thought for you. All science is about is probability. We don't ever really prove anything to the point that it is an absolute truth. I know that I used the term truth earlier but that was a bad usage on my part. So we can test the heck out of something but does it mean that we've proven it? For example, can I say with absolute certainty that I will never be able to walk through a brick wall? Not really but I can sure give you a lot of data that supports that I will never be able to walk through a brick wall. So I incorporate laws of physics and all of the data concerning the brick wall to formulate a theory that I will never be able to walk through a brick wall. Can I say that theory is a fact. Technically on the grand scheme of things I really can't. From a practical standpoint though I can accept it as fact and make use of the concept by avoiding those brick walls. Evolutionary theory is doing the same thing. You can sit there and say I don't know to the big picture but you can also use the theory from a practical standpoint because it does give you a framework from which to make useful predictions.

Now my head hurts even more, I am going to have a Margarita. You are welcome to join me Devo or you may sit here and provide more entertainment. Either way just don't expect anymore coherent thoughts from me.

Your Evolutionist Friend Kodiac

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Kodiac 8 years, 6 months ago

Well Devo

At least agree on one thing. I have a headache too.

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devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

Kodiak, Of course I care about those things. But (you knew the but was coming): 1) The questions and examples you list are tested things on a small scale. I'm fine with it, no argument. It's the extrapolation that seems to be dangerous. It's the story that goes along with it that seems fanciful. 2) As far as fossil fuels is concerned, what's wrong with the 3rd law of plumbing. Hot's on the left, cold's on the right, and(3) you-know-what (can't use the term here) goes down hill. Maybe when the world formed there was a lot of methane that came along with the iron, silicon, etc. Over time it evolved (yes I used the term) into larger hydrocarbons. I dunno. All I know is that it is there and you look for it by sending sound waves thru the earth to find porous rock supported by impervious rock. Ok, it's more complicated than that, but the story in the rocks is a fanciful sideshow. Usually what happens is that oil is found in places that make sense plumbing-wise and occasionally is found in places where the story has to be refined to accomodate the odd location. 3) The only tool that will be of real use in the coming centuries is the computer, based on the history of the last 40 years or so. Society will likely be a virtual one. Experiences will be defined in terms of interaction with "the network". It will be a physical interaction as well as intellectual. Brain-computer interfaces using nanotechnology and massive processing capability will allow, or impose, or require, or demand, or define the existence of virtual people. Will they evolve on the basis of natural selection?
So there, I engaged in evolutionary extrapolation. Will it happen? I dunno. Does natural selection on a broad scale predict it? I have other scenarios (mostly doomsday). Do I care? Sure, but I really, really, really don't know, and neither do you. That's my point. We will all take it one day at a time (to coin a phrase). The blessing and curse of computers will almost certainly dominate my great-grandkids lives if we (humanity) all live that long. But just how it will play out is not found in the story of the past, in my opinion. There's a bug in the evolutionary software. It's called civilization. For example natural selection doesn't deal very well with democracy, or love. As computers manifest themselves into our lives, the social, civil, and even experiential interaction of humans with the world will become increasingly defined outside the bounds of the past. I have a headache.

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Kodiac 8 years, 6 months ago

Devo, Do you ever get sick? Do you eat food? Do you care about your health. Do you care about our earth? Do you drive a car?

Evolution explains why many human pathogens have been developing resistance to formerly effective drugs and suggests ways of confronting this increasingly serious problem. Evolutionary theory has also contributed to many important agricultural advances by explaining the relationships among wild and domesticated plants and animals and their natural enemies. An understanding of evolution has been essential in finding and using natural resources, such as fossil fuels, and it will be indispensable as human societies strive to establish sustainable relationships with the natural environment.

I care about our environment and the world we live in. Using evolution as a way of looking at our history, where we came from, what our relationships have been can only help us as we proceed toward the future. All of us live in a world where the pace of change is accelerating. Today's children will face more new experiences and different conditions than their parents have had to face in their lives. Teaching evolution to children is more than just a scientific explanation, it is a means to provide tools to be able to deal with those differnt conditions and understand their new experiences.

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devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

Kodiak, I was thinking this morning, as I drove down the road, How do I better explain my objection to evolutionist theory?. I think that there is a cultural disconnect between us. YOu see, I don't believe in anything that I don't have to. Now, there are many things that I benefit from that I don't know all the details (e.g. pharmaceuticals). But I trust the scientific method of these things which include lots of testing. I fly in airplanes and I do know a lot about how that works, from Bernoulli, to radar to communication to navigation. I live in this world and it is a physical world of stuff.
I also live in a world of feelings, emotions, ideas, and theories. They help me stay, again, real. But each idea or theory translates into an emotion or action on my part that is meaningful. Evolution just doesn't fit into my thoughts or feelings. I can't do anything with it. I can't build anything with it, it doesn't make me feel better. So I ask, What's the point?. These are ideas without fecundity. They are useless to me.

Apparently evolution is a theory that is important to you. Why? 'Cause I can't find it in myself.

Nightmare, I'm pretty sure that I have never read a self-help book. What are they good for? Maybe if I did, I could develop an attitude that would answer the question in the previous paragraph

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Kodiac 8 years, 6 months ago

Devo:

I agree with you on easy does it. I apologize for my earlier comments.

I guess I feel like you are not recognizing the value of evolutionary theory. I know you object to calling it a theory and you keep reminding us that it can't be directly tested because humans do not have access to that kind of timeframe. But the same could be said for gravity and yet you don't see people objecting to not having direct evidence for gravity. The indirect evidence for evolution is staggering Devo and it is hard for me to understand why you will not acknowledge the existence of this evidence and what it means to evolution.

I know you insist that evolution be called a hypothesis which I think is more of a semantic objection than anything else. You would be hard-pressed to deny the impact of this so-called "hypothesis" on many of our science fields that concern the environment, human health, and medicine. Evolution has made many predictions and models that have value in the history of exploring our natural world and it continues to be a useful unifying concept that guides us to a better understanding of that natural world.

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devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

So Nightmare sets me straight on the percentages, and that makes me "all wrong". There really was a race between the two. The statements in the media from each side showed a level of hype that was disconcerting. The gov't funded group wasn't hyping? I couldn't tell from the media's treatment of press releases. All the science that I was ever involved with never sent out press releases because we knew what would happen to it. Poor translations into lay terms followed by a "man bites dog" story. The "press release" science that I saw was the first indication to me that things were shady. So Nightmare's assertion is that one side was snake-oil and the other side was lauded as triumphant. Ya sure 'bout that Nightmare?

Kodiac, I know it was a long day yesterday, but "idiot, all wrong, embarass, appalled, no place teaching students on something you know nothing about"? Easy does it.

I am not in public schools. I don't consider the telling of a story as talking about actual data (maybe you do and that's the problem). No I am not actually a biology expert. However, in my discussions re evo/crea on these boards and with others, I have never seen a really good defense to my objection that evolution hypotheses are being promoted as scientific theories without sufficent testing.

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Kodiac 8 years, 6 months ago

Hey yourworstnightmare, thank-you for your info. I knew Devo had it all wrong but didn't have time to address the misconceptions. Pay attention Devo. You continue to embarass yourself everytime you start trying to talk about actual data. It is clear that you are not actually reading what is being said and are making up fantasies to placate your "reality". In fact I hope you share more of your wonderful insights on such matters so we can help dispel your little fantasies.

I guess I would have to say Devo that I am first puzzled and then appalled that you are actually teaching students. So are you in the public schools and do you teach science?

Read your last paragraph in your own post Devo. I am not going to hold back, that is an idiot talking there. You have no place in teaching students on something you know nothing about.

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 6 months ago

It is absolutely your perogative to dismiss much of science as crap and fiction. I will not argue this point, as it is your opinion. However, I think you are wrong and you are doing a disservice to your students.

Interesting that you brought up the human genome project. You have it wrong, however. One group, the publicly-funded group, took a meticulous, careful approach and were successful at determining greater than 90% of the sequence. The private venture, spearheaded by Craig Venter, a snake-oil salesman, PT Barnum-type if ever there was one, claimed to have sequenced the genome ahead of the public effort, and this was lauded as triumph of the private sector over the public effort. In fact, the Celera/Venter effort only sequenced about 50% (after receiving much capital input from investors) and derived the other 50% from the public databases into which the public effort had immediately deposited all of their raw data.

The human genome was successfully sequenced by an open, public effort, and Venter became a millionaire through his deception and hucksterism.

Be paranoid, Devo, but not of public, open science. Be paranoid of the private-sector exploitation of science for immediate profit.

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devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

Kodiac, There are three q's you ask. The answer is that statements regarding the origin of the universe and the origin and evolution of life are the "Big Questions" to which I refer.

Kodiak said: I would much rather think about the big questions which may never have any answers than to stick my head in the sand and say "it doesn't matter". Kodiak, I don't stick my head in the sand when I say that the "Big Questions" are fruitless. On the contrary, I live life here and now, without fantasy. There are many mysteries to life. I simply don't see the fecundity in idle musings about them. But most of all, guys, I see no need to refer to these speculations as science. Pre-science maybe, hypothesis maybe, but you guys use words like fact and truth and proven. Get real with this. Come back to the world that is physically testable, realizable.
Yes, I am a scientific agnostic. I don't know, and neither do you. What matters is that young students are being fed a lot of crap that resides in the world of fiction, but is being taught as science. I have to undo this every semester with my students.

The cocoon I live in sure feels like reality to me. I find sophistication, metaphor, allegory, to be coverups for one's lack of knowledge.

Nightmare, it isn't science that I reject, it's your science that I find fanciful. If you want to call it science fiction, great I'm there. If you call it proven fact truth, then whose head is in the sand? I'm all for pushing the boundaries of science, but jumping ahead from A to B to Z is a big problem your field.

For example, a couple of years ago, two competing teams of genetisists anounced that they had mapped the human genome. Then we found out that they had only 10% of it. The other 90% was junk connective stuff that wasn't important. Then a couple of weeks ago it was anounced that some of that 90% really was important. Come on biology, you can do better than that. What else aren't you being straight about?

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Kodiac 8 years, 6 months ago

I would have to agree yourworstnightmare. I would also say that the world that Devo lives in is a very boring world. How does it feel to be in that little cocoon of yours Devo. I would much rather think about the big questions which may never have any answers than to stick my head in the sand and say "it doesn't matter".

For something that doesn't matter, Devo, you sure spend a lot of time writing about it. You have to admit, having these conversations has no useful application so why do you even bother?

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 6 months ago

Obviously I agree with Kodiac on pretty much all (s)he has said. It is also obvious that Devo has a very narrow view of science, one held by many engineers and MDs. It is true that Devo's life will not change much if he ignores science; most people's won't. It is also obvious that Devo chooses to ignore science, which is his/her perogative.

Again I will invoke my comparison of self-help books versus literature. Devo is satisfied with the self-help books, which optimize the ways folks lives their lives, but the real and new understanding about life comes from literature. It is an engineer's job to optimize what is already known; it is a scientist's job to keep pushing the advance of new knowledge. Devo, as an engineer, is content with the former.

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Kodiac 8 years, 6 months ago

I asked you a question Devo and you never answered it.

Basically you have nothing to say. You could have simply said "I don't know" which would have saved you a lot of writing time and made a lot more sense.

Good luck with being in that cave.

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devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

Big statements are answers to big scientific principles. Examples include: The theory of everything (Hawking), The incompleteness theorem (Godel), 2nd law of thermodynamics (don't know the author here), Evolution (Darwin & Watson). All that is computable can be done on a Church-Turing machine (Church, Turing) Examples of big scientific questions are: Why is there something and not nothing? What is time? What is reality? Are time and space finite or infinite? What are the beginning and ending of the universe? Is there design in the universe? Can theology be deduced from (or refuted by) science? Can morality? What does it all mean? These questions and answers are forms of theism. The gods change, but the questions remain.

Please go to the web site of Karl Popper. He was an amazing man. You will find that science is a process of conjecture and refutation, not observation and proof. Your use of the terms proof, facts, truth indicate a view of science that is quite different than mine.

"I am not sure what you think you need but I can imagine that even then, you will still continue to deny..." OK, Kodiak, here's what I need. I need a reason to believe in the big answers to the big questions. Why should I care about the biggies? Who said we have to know? When you just have to know the answer to a question, you make up an answer. Sophisticate these answers until obfuscation is complete. Tout your answer to the big questions as science, but never, ever, find an application.
The reason I don't believe in all this big question stuff is that I really don't have to. My life isn't materially different no matter what I believe regarding the origin of life, species, universe. Do yerself a favor, Kodiak, simplify yer life. Throw off the excess baggage of belief in that which is not important. Come to terms with the concept of "I don't know". It frees your mind from other people's dogma. Then you can search for ultimate truths and facts on your own time, in your own way, without having to impose them on others.

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Kodiac 8 years, 6 months ago

So tell me Devo what is the big statement we can't test?

Are you talking about macroevolution?

Are you talking about origins?

You need to be more specific.

I guess I did not mean "perfect" in the sense that you thought I meant perfect. I was just refering to something that is already there. Perfect does imply some kind of judgement or faith statement so I can see why the use of the term upset you.

I can only say this Devo, science may not be a perfect world but certainly I think it comes the closest to looking at actual truths. I can't speak for everyone in science only for myself. I love searching for the truth and it doesn't scare me that something could end up knocking me on my butt. That is what it is about isn't it.

Evolutionary theory is a fact of life Devo. Just like the earth being round, the presence of a force known as gravity and being suncentric not earthcentric. I still think you are not understanding what a theory is since you are still trying to come up with some kind of big test that will prove it once and for all. I am not sure what you think you need but I can imagine that even then, you will still continue to deny the facts of evolution. If you want to close your eyes, block out all of the evidence and live in a cave then more power to you.

I am surprised by your statement of not wanting to shake people's faith. I am sure many would be offended by such a statement. To presume that you could actually shake someone else's faith. A little arrogant don't you think. Personally I would want to be shaken as hard as I could be and berated to make my faith stronger.

Oh your use of capital letters is annoying and makes you look desperate. There actually is a name for this behavior in psychology but can't remember what it is. I just know that it is indication of some sort of anti-social behavior. I suggest you stop doing it. Just a suggestion

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devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

Your explanation of theory seems to ignore the situation that we are presently in with evolution. We cannot test the big statement. And it's the big statement that everybody is arguing about. The unifying theory is a theory (meta-hypothesis) only when IT is tested. You cannot test it, so it remains a hypothesis. An educated guess.

Perfect? Gettin' close to faith here Kodiac. Dangerous territory. How many dead ends, missteps, red herrings are out there in your theory? Don't know do ya?

So, how many of your real biologists aren't funded by universities or the government? How many of these guys operate in a culture outside the mainstream of their science? Every culture gets locked into beliefs and dogma. This is why I left the university 23 years ago. I went to DOD, NASA, Calif. Irrigation Board, Pharmaceutical Ind. They all have their culture, and the major problem that I had as head of my company was to overcome NIH. NOT INVENTED HERE. The biggest hurdle that I always had to overcome when entering a new market was the built-in fear that what they had been working on for the last 10, 20, 30 years was about to be replaced by a better way. "Whatever you do, mister, don't shake my faith! This is who I am, this is what defines me!" I really am sorry to shake your faith in what goes as science these days. NOtice I don't berate the creationists on their faith, just their science. I don't like shaking other peoples faith. But when it is faith in science, and it is called science instead of faith, I get offended.

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Kodiac 8 years, 6 months ago

Ah but devobrun you seem to be stuck at the first step. Hypothesis represent a tentative explanation for a set of observations. Many experiments are devised to test the validity of the hypothesis in as many ways as possible. When you have collected a large amount of data then it is desirable to summarize the information in a concise way hence the reasons why you have laws. Laws are a concise verbal or mathematical statement of a relation between phenomena that is always the same under the same conditions. If the hypothesis survive many tests over a period of time than they become theories. A theory is a unifying principle that explains a body of facts and those laws that are based on them. Theories are also continuosly tested. If a theory is proven incorrect by experiement it must be discarded or modified so that it becomes consistent with experiemental observations.

As far as your example of comparing it to building a software package that works together in unison is interesting. What if you were already given a software package that works perfectly with no bugs. How do you go about understanding the software and what makes it work. Isn't that closer to what is happening here. The software is already there, we are just trying to figure out how it got there.

As far as your marketing analogy, I can only say it is an empty statement. I have worked alongside with many of the "real biologists" that you refer and to say they are "rolling their eyes" and "keeping their mouths shut" makes it apparent that you have no idea of what you are talking about.

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devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

It goes like this fella's. Individual tests to refute or verify hypotheses are dead-solid science. Test results are compared to the hypothesis and conclusions are drawn on each. Extrapolation or interpolation are new hypotheses that are again to be tested. Step at a time. Piecing the various results together is, again, a new hypothesis. It is dangerous to expect that the sum of the individual results is equal to proof of an overall theory. An engineer designs a computer using many hardware, firmware and software functional blocks. Each block is usually a tried and true design. Overall performance is usually different than the sum of the parts. A whole system must be tested in alpha, beta, and delivered versions. Bugs are found over and over again, at each stage. It is simply harder to build something that actually works than most people think. The junk pile is always huge.
There is always a great deal of tension between marketing and engineering because marketing charges ahead with promises that the engineers have to meet. What I see from evolutionists is a marketing mentality. They overstep the bounds of reality, causing the real biologists to try to meet expectations. S.J. Gould was a marketing guy. P.T. Barnum. Wizz-bang science. The real biologists probably roll their eyes when they hear the crap, but as long as the $$$ keeps comin' in, they'll keep their mouths shut. So long as the real biologists (eg. genetic engineers) continue to make advances, the public thinks that EVERYTHING is true. They can't sort out the crap from the good stuff. Who is gonna do it for them? Jay Leno, Bill O'Reilly, congress, or maybe you guys? Be skeptical, you two, marketers are on the prowl.

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Kodiac 8 years, 6 months ago

Actually the ID/creationists have started to abandon using the incomplete fossil record as evidence against evolution now since more transitional forms have been discovered and more continue to be discovered. Kind of curious don't you think Devobrun. Abandon actual visual evidence because it doesn't support your theory anymore. That sounds unscientific to me.

As yourworstnightmare says evolutionary theory is constantly being tested in many different areas of science. I guess it would be nice to know what you mean by not being tested or poor testing?

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 6 months ago

Devobrun,

I could have guessed you were an engineer by your test of ultimate practicality. It is a fact that understanding is also a part of science. Engineers I have known often lose sight of this (in fact many engineers and medical doctors subscribe to ID/creationism because the "practical" aspect of science, manipulation, is their only concern).

You might not be aware of it, but there is overwhelming evidence for and constant testing of evolutionary theory, not by theorhetical biologists but by experimental scientists looking at genes, genomes, and molecules. I assume you will dispute this point, so I recommend that you do some further investigations into the modern molecular aspects of evolutionary theory instead of relying on outdated information about beak sizes and the incomplete fossil record. You will find understanding in the molecules...

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Kodiac 8 years, 6 months ago

Hey smarmgluth:

"So do what you will to whom you will -

Just don't get caught!!!!"

These are statements that concern morality. Read the statement again -

Morality has no relevance here.

Don't equate your statements of having no morals to morals not being relevant to the discussion. You are attempting to assign a right and wrong to something that has nothing to do with being right or wrong.

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smarmgluth 8 years, 6 months ago

"Morality has no relevance here."

PRECISELY!!

So do what you will to whom you will -

Just don't get caught!!!!

SMG

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devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

Nightmare, my dress is jeans and a plaid shirt. I smoke cigars. I've owned two busineses over the last 23 years. I'm an engineer. The real kind with grease and electrons all over me.
It isn't nihilism, Nightmare, it's realism. I don't question knowledge, I question statements that aren't tested or are poorly tested. It's the test, Nightmare, not the evidence or theory that makes science real.

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Chocoholic 8 years, 6 months ago

As usual, it seems I'm the last to arrive on the scene. If anyone's still reading, here's my .02 worth.

Smarmgluth, science, as I've come to understand more and more, is not amoral; as Kodiac says, morality is simply irrelevant to science's exploration of things. That doesn't mean it's against God or having a purpose. It just tries to understand things from the perspective of having tested and proven them. (Thanks, Wendt, for helping me understand this through your previous correspondence! Still hoping to reply, sometime when I have enough brain bandwidth to do it.)

According to an environmental studies textbook that I happen to have for the moment, "There are two common misconceptions about evolution. One is that 'survival of the fittest' means 'survival of the strongest.' To biologists, fitness is a measure of reproductive success, not strength. Thus the fittest individuals are those that leave the most descendants."

There are many desireable human qualities that help us pass on our genes (leaving the toilet seat up is not one of them). I would daresay those include the Fruits of the Spirit.

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Kodiac 8 years, 6 months ago

Actually smarmgluth the statements of "Evolution teaches that bigger, stronger, more cunning animals take every advantage of those who are weaker." and/or "The bigger, stronger, more cunning animals get to take advantage of the weaker, more stupid ones." are not correct and have always been misleading. You are attempting to refer to part of a process known as natural selectiion and your statements that try to simplify this idea are simply wrong. It is not about the strongest, most cunning animals, it is actually about being able to survive long enough to pass along your genes. So if you have an adaptation that no one has and that adaptation becomes important for survival then they will get selected for and passed on to your offspring.

Morality has no relevance here.

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 6 months ago

Oh Devobrun, I picture you wearing a beret and smoking a clove cigarette, so cool and aloof and artsy.

"I am a nihilist. Aren't I grand. The books I have read tell me this is the way I should be."

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smarmgluth 8 years, 6 months ago

"I read your post. It's important that you not accuse people of being amoral or immoral because they don't believe what you believe.

People can be moral and simultaneously be not conservative or christian."

1) Please show where anyone was "accused" of ANYTHING.

2) Please show where I stated what MY belief system was or is.

3) Please show where I specified "Christianity" or being a "conservative".

My statements had absolutely NOTHING to do with the things you are reading in to them.

Pure science is absolutely amoral. If evolution is PURE science than it follows that those who are convinced that it (evolution)is ABSOLUTE FACT would attempt to live in accordance with what it teaches.

Evolution teaches that bigger, stronger, more cunning animals take every advantage of those who are weaker.

Therefore, those who embrace evolution as absolute fact should live their lives in accordance with what they know is fact.

It is perfectly acceptable to do whatever one wishes to do to weaker, dumber primates, provided that he/she is cunning enough to not get caught.

Morality is the realm of religion, not science. Science is absolute truth, religion is all lies.

If one does not live consistently with what one claims to believe, than one does not REALLY believe it.

SMGH

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wendt 8 years, 6 months ago

smarmgluth:

I read your post. It's important that you not accuse people of being amoral or immoral because they don't believe what you believe.

People can be moral and simultaneously be not conservative or christian.

I wouldn't fall back on the Bible on this issue. The story of Job finds the Lord God allowing Satan to make Job's life a living hell. Not very neighborly of him, now was it. One could make the case that God was an accessory to the crime.

Lot (According to God, the only man worth saving in Sodom and Gommorah due to his piety) offered his daughter to a roving band of rapists to avoid getting raped himself. Look it up.

There is more than a little bit of voting against your own self interest here but I doubt you would detect it, given your mindset.

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devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

Hooray for mikey. Beware, mike, you are arguing a line that I have followed now for a few weeks. The creationists have nothing to say about this. But, the evolutionists are VERY fearful that you will relegate their science to the status of stamp collecting. This is a personal afront to their faith. They must believe in something grand. Otherwise they find their work fruitless. And they do work hard. They try hard. They are smart. They must have a reason to do all this work, and without evolution, it just seems pointless.
Questioning the veracity of their scientific statements on the grand scheme of evolution is blasphemy. You risk excommunication from the Holy Church of Evidentiary Science.

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mikeyj 8 years, 6 months ago

Personally I don't believe that creationism, ID or evolution should be taught in a science classroom. Science (check out a dictionary) is what can be "obtained and tested through the scientific method." MACROevolution, which is what evolution-origin argue (species changing to other species) canNOT be tested by the scientific method, and neither can creationism or "ID" (whatever the hell it is).

The scientific method involves a hypothesis and then replication of your experiment. Nobody in known history has EVER changed ANYTHING from one species to another species. We owe a whole lot of our medicines nowadays to microevolution, but there should be a separate word for that because people get confused between that and macroevolution all the time.

Darwinian evolution (species changing to other species) has never been replicated, so really it shouldn't even be called a theory. Something's only a theory after a hypothesis has been proven and replicated.

Evolution, creation, ID, whatever you want to believe about origins - none of them are science! They are ALL faith-based. Evolution takes just as much faith to believe in as creation. If you take the evolutionary train farther and farther back, something had to at some time come from nothing. Something coming from nothing takes a whole lot of faith. Believing that God has existed forever and that he is above time takes a whole lot of faith.

By the way, the full title for what we now call the "Origin of Species" was actually "The Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection or, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life." Thought that was interesting.

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smarmgluth 8 years, 6 months ago

If you REALLY believe that evolution is FACT then do you live consistently with it's VALUES? Evolution (Naturalism) is all about survival of the fittest. The bigger, stronger, more cunning animals get to take advantage of the weaker, more stupid ones.

Since human beings are simply animals (primates) then those rules also apply to us. Any notion of 'morality' is NOT scientific, and therefore, does NOT APPLY.

That means that it is perfectly acceptable for the bigger, stronger, more cunning humans to take advantage of the weaker more stupid humans in whatever manner they desire. Steal, rape, kill, do whatever you like. You are a mere animal.

(pretty much what Hitler and the Nazi's believed- some races 'superior' to others, and so forth - you have to give them credit, they applied the values of evolution and lived consistently with them.)

The universe and everything in it is a completely meaningless accident. Nothing matters. When you die you just rot in the ground.

If you claim to be a REAL athiest/evolutionist then you must live in accordance with the survival of the fittest, might-makes-right principles which your 'science' adheres to.

If you are not living totally for your own pleasure and gratification at every moment, then you certainly are not living consistently with what you claim to believe as an evolutionist.

If you claim to adhere to evolution AND also go to mosque, temple, etc and try to cling to religious values as well, then you are most certainly the most feeble of the feeble minded and a true idiot indeed.

SMG

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jimincountry 8 years, 6 months ago

Pierce---------------never mind!!!!!!!!

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jimincountry 8 years, 6 months ago

Pierce-------------Why are you------------??????????????

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jimincountry 8 years, 6 months ago

Dave Ranney---are you there----why did you do this piece????????????????????

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devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

Nightmare, Ignorance can be an active endeavor. That is, you can belive in something and stand up and pronounce it to be true and hold it in high regard, all without reason.
What do you care if we evolved or if the cosmic creampuff plunked us here. What is the point?

Now, I'm not talking about genetic engineering, or soil erosion, or biochemistry. I'm talking about "where did we come from?" So, Nightmare, why do you need to know? So you can lord over someone else on a philosophical plane? I'm as inquisitive as the other guy, but I don't NEED to know the answer to the "Big Questions" like the above. I'm more modest than that.

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 6 months ago

Devo,

I appreciate your nihilist yet ultimately practical point of view. Your definition of science seems to be only that which has an immediate impact on daily life. This is comparable to stating that only writings that are non-fiction and instruct people how to live their lives are worth reading, such as self-help books (maybe you believe this, I don't know).

In fact, science is about both understanding and manipulating.

Evolution was a product of scientific investigation, has been altered and forged by 130 years of scientific investigation, and is today being actively tested by the scientific process. It has withstood 130 years of "attacks" by experimental science attempting to disprove it. Each new biological breakthrough has strengthened the theory, not weakened it, making it a very strong theory that has been tested ad nauseum.

However, if you want to insist that evolution is "just philosophy", go ahead and wallow in your willful ignorance.

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devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

Bozo, the elephant isn't in the kitchen, but his droppings are. After traveling deep into the grand canyon this past week I realized that if John Powell had been an engineer he would have named the strata alpha, beta, gamma, etc. No need for fairy tales about the coconino layer etc.
The mythology surrounding the explanations of the canyon are right outta Tolkien. One part rational, one part tall tale, one part show biz. How can you call it science?

BOE, there is really no damage, because there is no consequense. This religion/religion debate is classic. No resolution possible. It will go on forever because neither has plans for duplicating their theory. No testing, no science. The J-W is irresponsible in its continued provocation. J-W's editorials, features, and news reports are all aimed at continuing the argument. This is great fun for a journalist because there are two entrenched philosophies who are all hat, no cattle. Admit it, J-W, this argument can't end until someone actually evolves something, or creates something.
Don't you guys know when yer in a philosophical/theological argument? Maybe you've never really done science. You guys have any patents? Invented any new mathematics? Applied any science to our lives? I'm pretty sure that none of you have.

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raubinpierce 8 years, 6 months ago

Apparently my God is smarter than Mr. Krestan's god as God's power is beyond Mr. Krestan's feeble minds understanding (his ways are not our ways). He does give a great example why we don't teach faith in public schools though. Science is the pursuit of how the mechanism works; a philosophy class is where we try to understand why it works.... Share intelligent design ideas in a philosophy course along with other origin ideas and there is no argument. Teaching intelligent design along side evolution as science with no understanding of how the mechanism operates defeats the purpose of the class.

-- Raubin Pierce On the Other Hand Noon till 3pm on 580 WIBW raubin.pierce@morris.com http://www.580wibw.com

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Caccino 8 years, 6 months ago

Nightmare,

Thank you for your thoughts. Please note that your defensive input did not help me nor OE2BYD.

I hope that you can find better ways to get your point across.

Have a good night!

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 6 months ago

It is squarely in the wheelhouse of science to explain HOW we got here.

The WHY is another matter entirely to which deference must be given to those of philosphical/religious minds.

Keep your religious WHYs out of my HOWs.

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Caccino 8 years, 6 months ago

OE2BYD:

It has been quite some time since I have been in school and don't have any children to let me know what is being taught in school / textbooks nowadays.

I would agree with you that the evolution theory should be taught as a theory. However, I don't see any reason that ID theory should be taught as well.

By your words, you sound like a mature man with good years behind you. In our times, religion was a part of our upbringing at home, church, in the general society. That is what they still do in my native country. Since I have moved here, I do not see a society that is as practicing of faith as yours and my may have been (For some reason, MTV comes to mind). I do agree with the fact that the schools should have curriculums that are non-invasive in beliefs to the students and relative to all. So far, science has given us information about dinosaurs, stars and Egyptian mummification that we can "measure".

When I was 6 years old, I was told God created the Universe in 7 days (religious variation from 6). When I asked my Mum, her explanation was that "God's day is made up of thousands of human days." As a kid, this math made sense to me. But the point is that the answer I got was not at school. It was at home. If at that time science at school told me that a creator created the Universe in 6 days, I would have that believe stuck in my head. Science, by this time, would have ceased to exist because the dinosaur bones and 6 days just would not add up. Science will only teach what it can prove or theorize.

As far as the God creating the Universe in 7 days, rationally, I have no choice but to believe my mother.

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 6 months ago

OldEnuf,

Your statement that there has been no significant advancements in the theory of evolution in the past 30 years is simply wrong, and indicates that you have not the faintest idea about modern evolutionary theory. I could go into a lengthy discussion about this, but I advise you to read a modern genetics textbook (written by research scientists) and not rely on what your mullahs and anti-science publications tell you about evolution.

I am constantly appalled by the paucity of knowledge and yet the willingness to pronounce displayed by the fundamentalist christians on the subject of evolution.

Y'all need to get some knowledge.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 6 months ago

Caccino, let me briefly respond to your closing question.

I don't want the schools involved in teaching my faith (or any othger faith) to others. It's MY job to teach my faith to others. The last thing I want is for the government to be in the faith business. They'd ruin it.

So to answer you directly, I'm not saying that ID should be taught in our schools because Christianity is the predominant religion of our culture. I'm saying that the theory of evolution is a car with a shiny paint job, but a burned out engine. It's been polished up to look nice for quick sale. The theory is not "the answer" the the big question of how we got here. I want our schools to stop teaching that it IS the answer when it just isn't.

I feel like I've been monopolizing this forum. I'll quit posting for a while. Thanks for indulging me.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 6 months ago

Actually, all I expect from our school system is that science be taught. What I have a problem with is that in the past 30 years there have been no significant advancements in the theory of evolution (even though some discoveries have brought it further into question), yet it is no longer taught as a theory. I think kids today should be exposed to evolution in our schools, along with other theories according to their scientific merit; but evolution should be presented as THEORY, not as a fact. I want my kids to be aware of the theory because it is the predominant scientific theory on the subject of our origins. But, I want them to know MORE than just the parts that SUPPORT the theory. This is what is wrong, and why I'm upset. Will the scientific FACTS that shed doubt on the theory ALSO be presented when my kids are in school? NO, not if evolution is being taught as a FACT (like the earth being round is taught as a fact).

When I was taught evolution in high school, our teacher introduced the concept to us, told us why he, as a scientist, didn't believe in it, then he taught us the THEORY. No one got upset about it... it was presented as a theory, not a belief system. That line is blurred today, which is part of why this has become such a battle. A liberal agenda is all that has changed since I was in high school. I want us to bring truth and fairness back to our schools.

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Caccino 8 years, 6 months ago

OE2BYD:

Let me try to do this without any name calling or blaming Lawrence. I come from a different religion and different political background. Where I was born, religion was taught as a separate course and so was biology and history. In fact, the government of that country has the constitution backed by its majority's religion.

I believe that "liberal", or "conservatives" labels are just tools for comparison among peoples' beliefs. I do believe that God created this universe. Nightmare's version of "Taliban" seems to stem from FOX-News or CNN.com news coverage; hence, incomplete.

I have been to that part of the world and see the same debates here as there are over there -- Sunni vs. Shiite, Fred Phelps vs. Lawrence, etc. However, I believe that religions or people that are "in charge" of those religions have not done enough to teach the bottom concepts of their religions: PEACE.

When you state that "...is it still "American" to be able to think for one's self" is what the debate is about, I believe you we may all be in a misunderstanding. The debate, I believe, is simply if we should teach ID along with the evolution theory.

We use science as a tool to answer many questions to reach that higher understanding; science is a new-born methodology (in terms of our time). The basis for science is that when one conducts an experiment, the results are the same each time and the same even if done by someone else. This gives us an objective or "close enough to" an objective view of things that all can relate to. There are people of many faiths (something that we cannot and will never be able to objectively measure). That means that faith is not objective; it becomes subjective and my answer (right to me & wrong to you) will be different than your answer (right to you & wrong to me).

When the textbooks in classrooms are being created, their goal is education that is relative to all, not just to people of faith. There have been numerous evidences of some stories in the Torah, Bible, Quraan, etc. There also has been massive proofs of the evolution theory. Linking the two at this point where science has yet to be perfected and faith (by the believers) is already absolute is difficult, if not impossible, to prove.

If the majority in this country were Muslims, would you want their version of the origination be told along with yours?

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Dani Davey 8 years, 6 months ago

OldEnuf2BYurDad- It's great that you came to those conclusions on your own and that is indeed free thinking. I agree with you that it's possible to be free thinking and conservative. But if you were able to make up your own mind on origins presumably after having taken biology in high school and then had some exposure to religion outside of school, then why shouldn't other people be able to do that to? Do we really think our kids' attentions spans are so short that they won't be able to remember and critically compare what they learned at church on Sunday and what they learned at school on Monday?

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for proving my point. Once again, I'm being told that my perspective cannot be the result of free thinking.

I believed much of what is called ID before anyone called it that. I arrived at those conclusions by thinking objectively, critically and most importantly, rationally.

Did you even read what you posted before you hit "OK, submit"?

Am I on Candid Camera?

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ruskastud 8 years, 6 months ago

OldEnuf2BYurDad- How is being forced to teach/learn about ID "thinking for one's self"? True science teaches you how to think objectively, critically, and most importantly, rationally.. ID teaches you what to think, not how to apply your own knowledge and think for yourself.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 6 months ago

Nightmare,

There was a reason why I asked for a yes or no response. I wanted to see if you could see for yourself how much your way of thinking contributes to the further polarization of our communities. This "it's all their fault" attitude is dividing our country. I didn't get the Yes or the No.

You failed to call a spade a spade. You only made extreme generalizations and lumped a broad class of people into one narrow definition. I wanted you and the rest of the readers here to see how much dogma there is on all sides. You don't see it... that much is clear from your last post. But, I'm sure that many of the rest of the readers can see your attitudes for what they are. Don't leave here thinking you are part of the solution. You are not.

Caccino,

I really feel that this IS what the debate is about: whether or not it is still "Amercan" to be able to think for one's self. Far too often I read posts here that say "Liberal is free thinking, but conservative is being spoon-fed the dogma of the religious right". Like being called the Taliban. That is bigoted thinking. I shouldn't be subjected to chuckles when I say "I freely think, and I think conservatively"; but in Lawrence, that's what I get.

Lawrence is liberal, but I wonder if it is actually an intellectual community. If we were truly intellectual, people would be slower to attack the perspectives of others.

Lawrence, Kansas: As bigoted at you think.

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hottruckinmama 8 years, 6 months ago

amen donsalsbury! i too have always wonder why we can't teach science without even discussing origins! that to me seems to make the most sense.

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donsalsbury 8 years, 6 months ago

This article is fine, because it shows us where and how such things should be taught.

I still wonder why earnestly faithful Christians would force non-Christians to teach Christian doctrine to children?

I would not let Fred Phelps teach my children about forgiveness and compassion, no more than I would want a man to teach my daughter about menstruation. So why should I want card-carrying NEA members in Lawrence, of all places, to teach my children about creationism?

Even less desirable is this ID rigmarole; neither biblical nor scientific, it's the worst of both worlds. Yes, please, let's have underpaid teachers who don't believe their own curriculum teach it to the children of parents like me who don't believe it, either. sarcasm

I don't see why science can't be taught without discussing origins. Origins is a matter for religion. My child doesn't need to know millions of years--or Noah's flood, or the existence of a Creator--to understand genetics, microbiology, physics, etc.

This and other education discussions all speak to the lack of parental involvement in a child's education. And I don't mean parents in classrooms--I mean that the home should be the first and best classroom for children. We don't have children, yet, but my wife asks me if I'd be interested in home-schooling. By all means, home-school your children! Send them to Veritas or USD 497, wherever--but when they get home, please, home-school them! You don't need curricula or rubriks to impart your values, beliefs, and knowledge to your kids.

Can we in the church please reign each other in? Why must we try to be comfortable in this world? It's not our home. Yes, the Bible is true, but cramming it down people's throats has never been successful in making disciples of all nations. Indeed, the world should know what's in the Bible, but that knowledge should come from parents, churches, reading the Scripture voluntarily, and watching Christians live it out...not from unbelievers working in government-funded schools.

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Caccino 8 years, 6 months ago

Nightmare and OldEnuf2BYurDad,

I believe you two gentlemen are digressing from the main point of this debate...

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 6 months ago

You are simply conflating "conservative" with "religious fundamentalist"; they are not the same. In fact the current fundamentalists are liberals who want to change the very foundations of our political history and precedent to reflect their fundamentalist values. Christian activist liberals.

What, pray tell, do you mean by "traditional" values? We in this country have a tradition of enlightened scientific education and progressive social education that has made us the best country in the world. I suspect your "tradition" means fundamentalist christian dogma.

Sadly, fairness is not part of the equation. It is a simple truth that there is much in common with Kansas (and American) christian fundamentalists and the Taliban in Asia. Ergo, the Kansas Taliban.

I underdstand that many might be troubled by this comparison, but a spade being called a spade can hurt.

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ruskastud 8 years, 6 months ago

Not all conservatives are Christians..... So, I don't take offense to what Nightmare said about the Taliban. Some evangelicals are just as crazy..

Also, how do evangelicals teach the writting of the Bible? This is a serious question that I do not know the answer to. They teach it as the "word of God", but it was actually assmbled by a Catholic Bishop. His work was done to try and assemble a "master copy" if you will, becaue so many different "bibles" were being taught.... And, many versions of the Gospels were also left out. Mark, Matt, Luke, and John were the closest to each other, that's why they were included. Many more exist... Timothy for one.....

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Caccino 8 years, 6 months ago

Science cannot measure instint, 'gut-feelings' or faith.

We, as humans, have scientifically developed systems of measurements that assist us to compare 1 litre of milk with 1.2 litres of milk. The taste of this milk is purely subjective because we cannot measure it. I believe in God; but, I know I cannot measure God. The good deeds I do in my life can be compared to the bad deeds in my life just by their quantity - not their potency. The final judge is God.

So, what would I teach my child?

There's a litre "or so" of milk? Betsy is the creator of this milk? Is the farmer's story about Betsy and her milk tainted?

Give your children tools to develop their own minds. Don't give them what "you" think the answer ought to be. Science is a tool for us humans to reach that higher understanding.

Personally, I'd rather taste the milk and know than blindly believe what the farmer tells me...

GOD BLESS ALL!

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 6 months ago

So, Nightmare, after what you've written, those of us who are conservatives should NOT be upset about being compared to the Taliban?

Just because the Taliban was an evironment in which "religious dogma" served as a "basis for pubilc action" doesn't mean that the grass roots efforts being made by conservative Christians is the SAME THING as the abusive practices of the Taliban.

In my opinion, the public school system I grew up in was a "public action" by organized liberal religion. I think the things I experienced in the public schools regarding sex ed, evolution and moral values were reflective of a morally liberal agenda. Now that some of us are working to simply take back some traditional values in the "pubic sphere", we get to be called "Taliban".

I would like a direct "yes or no" answer from you: Is it fair to call religious conservatives the "Kansas Taliban"? No rationalizations. Just say yes, or no.

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 6 months ago

A government in which sectarian religious dogma serves as the basis for public action is precisely what occurred (occurs) under the Taliban.

We as a society should have no problem with Mr. Krestan and his educational opinions as long as they are confined to the Madrasas such as Veritas. When they trespass into the public schools is when we must begin to be concerned.

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 6 months ago

Well put. You've really changed my mind.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 6 months ago

Nightmare,

When you read your last post and take some time to think about what you wrote, is there any part of you that wonders if maybe calling Christian conservatives the "Taliban" may have been a LITTLE BIT extreme?

Maybe a guy who wants to be known as someone's worst nightmare doesn't really care about offending anyone, but calling someone "Taliban" for simply choosing to be on the right is very wrong.

Additionally, you refer to an "influence of which must be kept from the public sphere". You come across as if Joe McCarthy has been re-incarnated in some sort of freakish "alternate universe" sort of way. Will you now call for "Bible burnings" and "Christian internment camps"? If the Kansas Taliban is really THAT dangerous to "our way of life" in Lawrence, KS, then we need to get serious about dealing with "those people", don't you agree? How do you propose that we "restrict" the influence of these conservative reprobates in our schools and governments? I say we TAKE AWAY THEIR VOTE! Furthermore, since they pose such a threat to our "way of life", I think we should arrest their ringleaders and send them to a secret camp in Cuba. This is a war, and they are enemy combatants (those filthy, conservatives!), so lets just lock them up, attach wires to their 'units' and turn up the juice until they change their minds about owning their own minds! Are you with me, Nightmare?!

You are a nightmare for all free thinking people.

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 6 months ago

I respect Mr. Krestan's opinion. At least he is not hiding behind "intelligent design".

However, he is of the Kansas Taliban, the influence of which must be kept from the public sphere.

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calvin 8 years, 6 months ago

I believe the first comment Danny made this morning was right on. I'm guilty of adding my two cents worth on many of the articles on the origins of life debate. In reality it does not really matter. Those who believe in ID will do so and those who believe in other theories will do so and the truth is that no amount of argument is going to change a person's view. In order to sale papers the LJW keeps stirring the pot. Chrisitians have much more to do than argue in a debate that cannot be won. If you claim to be a Christian you are saying that you are like Christ and what He did was meet people where they were and to meet their physical needs before meeting their spiritual needs. When I see posts from people like John1945 and see the things that people like Fred Phelps and Pat Robertson do it makes me sick that they claim to be Christians. People who are not believers are always quick to point to those people, our worst examples, and try to say they are the norm, but they aren't.

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mr_h_atom 8 years, 6 months ago

Two comments:

1) Has he not seen or read "Inherit the Wind" - and the famous argument, posed to William Jenning Bryan, that says: How do you know how long one of God's days was?

The point being, of course, that a "day" can be interpreted to be longer than 24hrs.

2) Aren't these Veritas students leaving school awfully unprepared? If they want to take biology at Harvard, they better damn well know what evolution is.

What I don't get is-- political science majors STUDY Communism. It doesn't mean they're Communists. Why fear allowing the kids to STUDY evolution-- unless the scientific truth embedded within is a little too powerful an argument to resist. Its easy to teach "rhetoric" and "logic" to kids without giving them all the facts.

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Jamesaust 8 years, 6 months ago

Other than as a purely human interest, man who plays tamborine downtown with monkey sidekick type story, why is this "news?"

Mr. Krestan is free to believe what he will. What of it? The rest of us are free to believe that he is a biblidolator - one who worships the Bible rather than God - and a selective one at that! (as a glance at the published photograph evidences his sinful disregard of Leviticus 19:27)

His arrogance is displayed in his explanation that he teaches more than what God says but, more fully, why God says so. That presumes that he knows fully what God says or would say. If any inconvenient fact differs from what he believes then that fact must be wrong. Why? Well....errr....because God says so. How do we know this? (Assuming the journalist did a halfway decent job relating Mr. Krestan's opinions,) because not the slightest scientific fact or evidence is presented with the exception of out-of-context text translated from other languages spoken thousands of years ago that he apparently worships as God.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 6 months ago

I agree, in part, with some of devo's sentiments.

I believe that the creation of our world, and of life in general, was a completely supernatural occurance, courtesy of God.

But, I don't think this debate will EVER be "solved". Our great-grandchildren will be having this debate. I don't think God is at all interested in being proven or disproven in a test-tube. Scientifically, I do not think we will ever have "proof" because I believe that God wishes for His children to discover him in their hearts, not in their heads. What would we do if creationism was actually, irrefutably PROVEN? We (society as a whole) would find a way to reject the proof.

This is nothing more than a faith issue wrapped up in a psuedo-scientific debate. Both sides are shooting spitwads at each other. No one will "win", and I like it that way! I'd rather that you understand my God in the context of a relationship rather than by having someone beat you over the head with "facts" and "arguements". Facts and arguements have their place, but they will not bring anyone to faith. As the scriptures put it, "faith is the assurance of things not seen". If it can be put under a microscope and "seen", it is not faith.

Facts fill the head. Faith fills the heart. Long live faith!!

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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c_doc77 8 years, 6 months ago

In defense of the Journal-World, I think what is newsworthy is not that this Christian school teacher teaches Creationism, but that he teaches Evolution. To me, that says that he isn't trying to shelter the kids from what has become an intellectually accepted component of scientific theory. I get the opposite impression from some others.

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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wendt 8 years, 6 months ago

BOE:

No doubt, no doubt at all.

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BOE 8 years, 6 months ago

I guess I don't see anything wrong with the LJ doing a story about the Veritas school, but at any rate, I guess the "damage" is done.

I am curious though, if they teach the literal 6 day creation, is a 10,000 (or thereabouts) year old earth/Universe taught also?

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wendt 8 years, 6 months ago

Sorry about my typing....("anther" is what you reply to to someone with a lisp who demands a response.)

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wendt 8 years, 6 months ago

This seem to be anther dip into the Evolution / Intelligent Design / Creationism well.

What a teacher says at a private school is whatever the private school allows. He could teach praying to bushes and shrubbery for all we care.

At least he isn't contemplating killing his wife......(sorry, I had to)

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concerned_citizen 8 years, 6 months ago

I have to agree with ascot_and_dickie. Why is a Christian teacher in a Christian school teaching creationism noteworthy or even news? There must be a lot of people who buy papers if theres a ID vs Evolution headline somewhere on the front page. I think its time (for me anyway) to start discussing what and in what way "news" is being covered around here. All content seems to be designed to prolong controversy and elevated emotion.

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jimincountry 8 years, 6 months ago

It appears to me that the LJW is trying to MAKE news instead of just reporting it. This article wasn't the thing to do.

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c_doc77 8 years, 6 months ago

Liberty,

Your argument is flawed because it ignores proper hermeneutics. Sure, the Bible is a vast book and contains many principles that apply to many situations. But to correctly ascertain the intent of scripture, one must know which scriptures are written to, for whom and for what purpose. Some things were written for Christian admonition, but were not written directly to Christians. It isn't that they do not apply to Christians, but they do not apply in the same way they applied to the audiences in which it was intended. If you think it is a mistake to focus on the Great Commission, then you really don't understand biblical Christianity. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and has committed to us (Christians) the ministry of reconciliation - this is the real gospel. In order for God to enlighten believers, there must first be believers. And how can they believe if they have not heard? And they won't hear as long as people equate Christianity with politics.

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c_doc77 8 years, 6 months ago

Danny,

Right on. The point I was trying to make is that Jesus wasn't in the business of condemning people. He didn't come in the world to condemn the world, but he came as the world's remedy for sin. He was made to be sin for those who put faith in him. By one man sin entered into the world, so our missing the mark is relative to the situation we have been born into. Therefore people have no Christian justification for finger-pointing, "fag-bashing" or any other manifestation of self-righteousness. I agree that Jesus condemned sin, but with a view to freedom from sin. He is the mediator between God and man, taking away the sin of the world; he is the express image of the Father, demonstrating divine love to the world - not hate and alienation.

I see what you mean about the respectful disagreement with Krestan. Genesis is a hard book to categorize. It bears the markings of historical narrative and prophetic symbolism. I honestly can't say where I stand on many particular questions to genesis account of creation.

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Liberty 8 years, 6 months ago

If the principles in the Bible are not taught, you omit the full counsel and wisdom of God. It puts Christians in a box that they can only operate in this area or that and the rest is left to the world system. To focus on the "Great Commission" only is a great mistake. God didn't write the entire Bible through men to only have a small part of it taught. Christians, open your eyes and realize that there are many things that God wishes to teach us, not just a few sentences in the New Testament. Saving souls is only the start. God has much more for the believer and wishes to enlighten you in all areas; not just getting saved.

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Daniel Speicher 8 years, 6 months ago

Doc, thanks for the comment. And, I agree wholeheartedly. However, just for clarification's sake... Christ was very clear on his views on SIN and condemned SIN completely everytime He spoke of it (Sermon on the Mt. is the best example of this.) However, He was masterful in forgiving the repentant sinner (adulterous woman) and a positive presence to those who were unrepentant (dining with tax collectors... GASP!), thus showing us, as Christians, how to react to sinners (both repentant and unrepentant.)

We, too, should be strong in our message against sin, but quick in our love for the sinner. I have a feeling, however, that we are strong in our message against sinners and quick to equate political issues to sin (which, sometimes is true... Most of the time is not.)

I digress... In my previous entry I kind of started off my post by bashing Mr. Krestan. Reading back over my post, I am regretful of that. I am SURE he is a great man and a man of faith. I just, respectfully, disagree with his reasoning.

--Danny Speicher

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Solti 8 years, 6 months ago

Congratulations to Mr. Krestan! And what a lucky group of kids he has in his classes! The world needs many more wise science teachers like this, not only in private schools but also in public!

The theory of evolution definantly has many holes in it and anyone who thinks he "believes" it has questions constantly surfacing. This amazing earth, amazing human body, amazing (though not always wonderful) weather did NOT just happen!

Thanks Mr. Krestan for this inspiring interview!

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ive_got_my_ascot_n_my_dickie 8 years, 6 months ago

Why is this newsworthy? He teaches at a Christian school. I'd fully expect students to be taught about Intelligent Design there. No big deal. If he was teachings such things at a public school, then I could see the controversy.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 6 months ago

Still ignoring that elephant, eh, Devo?

But I'll give this "science" teacher some credit-- he's chosen to teach religion in a relgious, private school, not the public schools.

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devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

The J-W continues to foment the ev/crea debate by ignoring the alternative: believe in neither. Hey everybody, what do you care if we evolved or we were created? This is pure theology. Stop calling it science. There is NO application. Neither can be tested, replicated.

Stop wasting the time and resources of the state on that which has no material influence on people. You are arguing two religions, two faiths. J-W do something different, question evolution without resorting to the straw-man argument of creation. The answer sits right in front of you and you continue to have poles that don't offer it. The answer is so clear that I can only believe that the J-W wants this to continue to fill space in the paper. Neither is science of any material consequence. Why do you continue to debate faith in the newspaper?

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c_doc77 8 years, 6 months ago

Danny,

You hit the nail on the head. I don't really have a well constructed opinion on what should be taught in public schools, and how it should be taught. However, concerning the Great Commission - the actual instruction of Christ - there are far too many Christians hampering legitimate efforts throught these side issues. Jesus came to seek and to save that which is lost. He came to forgive and heal people, and destroy the works of Satan. This is actual Christianity. Christianity is not a political commodity! People are ruining the repetition of Christ in favor for their own political motivations. Do we see Christ condemning people for their shortcomings, and pointing the finger at the sexually immoral? No, actually Jesus embodied the opposite of that. He didn't condemn the woman who was caught in adultry, but spoke words with the necessary power that was able to affect a desired change in her life. The only people Jesus chided were the religious, self-righteous people whose confidence was in their own works. People like this can't be true followers of Christ because they're too caught up in their own selfish ambitions. Sadly, many so-called "Christians" are actually false brethren - wolves in sheep's clothing, Pharisees.

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Bowhunter99 8 years, 6 months ago

ohh.. the Bible.... Written by so many people 'inspired' by the word of God and/or 'by God thru them'.

Has it ever occured to you that people like Fred Phelps may have been involved writting some of it????

And we call the muslims going to 'Madrasas' crazy lunatics and terrorists... Why? Because they're completely brainwashed into believing the Q'ran is the word of God. (the only one)...

So, we decide to add Creationism (not ID) to schools and make Science a Religious based curriculum... What's next? Literature? wait.. they're already freaks in JoCo trying to pull books off the reading list because of 'violence, sex, etc'.

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Daniel Speicher 8 years, 6 months ago

((Rolls Eyes)) Again?

Well, for what it's worth... Not all Christians believe the same way this guy does. I, for one, believe that God sometimes uses symbolism to explain events to the OT and NT writers... and, concurrently, to those who read it later.

Whether or not I even believe in evolution isn't the issue, I suppose... The issue is that I worry for students (especially those students who are not as "apt" to picking up new concepts quickly) who were not taught this fundamental theory today's scientific ideologies. Furthermore I still believe that creationism/ID should be taught in public schools... But, not through the science class... But, instead through a world religions class. Because, despite whether or not I believe the Judeo-Christian God is the one true god (which I do), doesn't mean that my Hindu friend or Buddhist friend shouldn't have their views taught as well.

I still believe Christians would be better in the end by staying true to the Great Commission and NOT getting so worked up over issues in which souls are not being won or lost. These "smokescreen issues" (i.e. evolution, civil unions, ten commandments being posted, etc.) have taken up so much of our time and resources as Christians that we have stopped evangelizing and started legislating. No matter how much we try, legislation will never win souls to Christ. My best guess is that if Christ came back today, these kinds of issues would remind Him of the issues that the Pharisees and Sadducees were so worked up over back in the first century AD (i.e. taxes to Caesar, working on the Sabbath, etc.)

Christ got the point... Saving souls is about getting out there and loving people in a world full of hate... And, when they see our love they will see Christ through us and wonder why. That is what the Gospel is all about. But, it is much easier to debate over issues that have no eternal consequence than to use that time to tell others about the love of Christ... Because, after all, we have it all figured out and we want to protect what is "ours" and to hell (literally) with everyone else. As long as we can maintain our Christian status quo and the "inherited" Christian status quo of our children we can let the rest of the world burn. Get off these topics that have yet to change a heart for Christ and start doing something to show people the love of Christ!!! People are dying who don't know that love... Don't we get it?? I shutter to think about the man hours wasted on this stupid debate that could have been used to clean up a park, volunteer at a rec center, mentor a child, giving time at a nursing home, or providing a warm meal or shelter for a person in need. Where did our vision go?

--Danny Speicher

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