Evidence and the Evolution of a Closed Mind

Scientific evidence is always – always – interpreted. What happens when it’s only interpreted according to previously accepted dictums? A rigamarole of self-supporting science that really isn’t suspended from anything at all.

Remember geo-centrism? It accurately (although complicatedly) described the observed phenomena. Same with helio-centrism, although it accomplished the same functions more elegantly. The point is, identical observations were available to both theories.

When people seized upon evolution, it was rooted not in the scientific rigor of the theory, but the fact that it offered intellectual credibility to the secular mind: finally, a theory that didn’t need God. Ever since then, there has been a self-fulfilling system of
1. predetermined bias against any cosmology compatible with a deity, followed by
2. Only interpreting available evidence in terms of this secular cosmology, which becomes
3. a system where only one theory has “evidence,” due to an unwillingness to examine the evidence in any other way, rooted in #1.

So there are indeed “shreds of evidence” for theories besides evolution: the exact same shreds that exist for evolution. Evidence is observation: when you conflate evidence and the interpretation of evidence, you’ve already gone a good way towards making your science unfalsifiable, which I’ve been told is a bad thing. The evidence is there: all that’s lacking is a willingness to examine the old observations in a new light.

Now, I’m not saying this is unfair. Far from it. Everyone has their biases, and everyone has fundamental axioms which they will inevitably interpret the world by. The sticky part is when scientists claim neutrality as their demesne. No, they are human like the rest of us: and until they realize that their actions, including interpretation of evidence, spring from preconceived ideologies, their science will be fatally close-minded.

The biggest mistake a scientist can make is taking his own worldview for granted – and that includes evolution.

Remember

When Roland fought his victory
On the field of Roncevaux,
And Don John of Austria
Achieved his mighty blow,
And Martel’s iron hammer
Smote the Paynim horde,
The vanguards of a Christian Church,
They knew for what they warred.

But though the land and sea they swept
With chivalry’s dying breaths
The sky unblemished yet remained:
The air had not seen death.
But in Our Lord’s remembrance,
A thousand years had fled
Before the Paynim hosts would strike,
A second dragon’s head.

No knights, no Christendom saw they,
Only the West, corrupt.
They swore a bloody vow and bond
To meet where Mahound supped.
And in the sky at last they seized
The swords they lusted for,
To wield against the West’s strong towers;
The Paynims flew to war.

Strange thing! That in their flight,
Three of four would strike,
Flying but not fleeing,
Victory and death alike.
Three modern churches soared in flame:
Our country’s five-side shield,
Two monuments to commerce fell,
And then the fourth: a field.

For Roland’s spirit rose again
And held the common heart,
Again Don John of Austria
Would fight his valiant part.
For common men, uncommon souls
Their heritage reborn
Unarmed, unyielding, undismayed
They answered Roland’s horn.

And they the martyrs, for they took
That sword in their own breast.
They fought and died for others lives,
And joined in Roland’s geste.
The wailing of a stricken siren sounds
Flight 93 is mourned.
And yet we pause, in silent praise,
On this September morn.

Bowl

All I have is this day
And no bowl to put it in.
Not even a camera or
Pencil.
And I am definitely not good enough
At origami. Not even close.
Sculpting is out too.
The earth has just the right amount
Of dirt,
But only because the thing
I want to sculpt is the world
Today,
And I’m fairly certain sculpting everything the way it already is
Is redundant.
Face paint would help,
Though.
No way
You could ever interpret my dance
As I go hopscotching down the sidewalk
Like someone with nothing to lose. But
For now
This tablespoon
Will have to do.

Pardon Me

There were no signs inviting me to Paradise Creek.
Maybe that was my problem.
It was true that the cold smoothness of the stream,
And the secret stillness of the shade under the sunstirred trees,
Were pretty exclusive,
Not even the man-made concrete trail
Five feet away
Could boast the same refinement
As the shag-carpet weed of the creek-stones.
The cattail brown-paper mat
Whispered under the retreat of a garter snake,
A stream of scaled fugitive silence.
The frogs submarined in embarrasment.
Even the leeches politely backed away, yellow
And quietly insisting on their mudbound privacy.
Furtive is the best word: as if I did not belong there,
As if this very experience was a theft.
Imagine a burglar in a museum wondering where everyone’s at,
That’s how I felt.
Or maybe I was just a visitor in a room some curator forgot to lock.
Either way, I expected to
Be kicked out
Soon, but scenelessly.
Maybe I’m the oblivious celebrity
Trying to hug the Queen of England.
“What a nice lady,”
I tell myself,
While the Queen continues to smile patiently
From behind my enthusiastic,
Unwelcome arms.

Running, Rowing

A sonnet. The rhythm breaks are deliberate.

I will not row my boat as though asleep,
Or gently drift with man’s unconscious tide.
My life is no dream, nor held so cheap:
I never had a dream in which I died.
Say rather: life is but a game, one played
Against the world, and pain, and dark, and death.
A victory is only a loss delayed:
A drowner’s lungs still hold a single breath.
I know I’ll lose one day. But laughter hides
Behind my teeth, prepared against defeat.
I do not cling. Death will not break my stride,
For home comes after game, and rest is sweet.
I will not grudge the match when death has won:
The race is ended soon, and then it’s run.

Apostate

Today is a grey day,
A grey and unborn day.
It is a Wednesday, a tired mother,
A day when movement seems meaningless.
Today is a weary and joyless repentance day.
Today we wear down our knees a little more,
Praying the prayer again
That went unanswered on a bleak yesterday.
Today is a day I need forgiveness for.
I break my grey brain against the sky,
Hoping to hatch something besides my thoughts of myself.
Today I hate myself for resenting someone’s happiness.
Today is grey like a mirror-back,
A useless fog-reflection.
The old-man-age of midwinter fumbles at my mind
And coughs on my doorstep.
Today is a day of ash on a forehead.
I return to prayer,
Waiting and soul-sick,
For joy to come of the mourning.

Please remember as you read this: this poem does not necessarily reflect my character or temperament. It is an attempt to capture a certain mood, a certain mind. This is not a good poem, in that it offers nothing for imitation. Think of it as an apostate person remembering the joy of faith. Think of Dostoevsky’s underground man, yearning for peace that he cannot have.

The Economy of Learning, Part 3: A Log on a Deep and Mighty Tide of Incompetence

Any discussion of economics and education would be incomplete without Scripture to back up our thoughts and intuitions. All of Proverbs is written from a father to a son, delivering the wisdom necessary to live a godly, prosperous, long life. “Train up your child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” According to Scripture, it is the responsibility of the parent to educate their children. They are to be ready to answer children’s questions (Ex. 12:26, Josh. 4:6-7). Primarily, our children must be taught the fear of the Lord, as evidenced in love and obedience. Or, as Dewey would crudely put it, a “system of morality.” But listen to what Dewey subsitutes for “traditional” morality. “All education which develops power to share effectively in social life is moral.” Recall that social life, although the standard for education, is itself ultimately rootless in its walk “up the future’s endless stair/…Groping, guessing, yet progressing,/ lead us nobody knows where,” as Lewis had it. Other stanzas of the poem are remarkably applicable. In the last examination, Dewey makes education an end unto itself: “…there is nothing to which education is subordinate save more education….the purpose of school education is to insure the continuance of education by organizing the powers that insure growth.” In other words, what we desire is a cancer. Unrestrained growth for its own sake is both rootless, and still deadly in its own inevitable collapse. Dewey sees clearly that education will touch the moral side of a child, shape his character, and even affect his mental disposition and desires. Again, I don’t argue the inevitability of this happening. What I do argue is that when this power of education is surrendered to a decentralized, fascistic state, it will inevitably be both abused by the majority and broken by socialistic egalitarianism.

What does this mean for parents who find themselves unable, insufficiently prepared, or too time-restricted to teach their children? It is then their duty to find themselves some representative who will stand in their stead and deliver a good education to their child. This representative is a teacher. A parent will of course want to hand their child over to someone they trust absolutely to be a good influence on their children: a teacher whose goals are in line with their own. Now, given the sheer volume of diverse goals that parents have for their children (and taking into account the inevitable overlap of basic skills such as reading and writing), is it likely that any one school will match every parent’s desired academic emphases for their children? Not in the least. Thus, a diverse array of schools, teachers, and curricula are necessary to satisfy the public need for education.

But when we flip the picture to see it from the liberal standpoint, we find the teacher is a representative of society. When he is a representative of the individual leaders of families, then it becomes a capitalistic education system, where the individuality and identity of groups within society is maintained, and where the best educators last. Education would no longer be a funnel for public opinion regardless of the individual’s beliefs. But in a socialist state, and the inevitable move towards fascism, education has a duty to fit the child into society, whatever that society is. Dewey worships society by making it the ultimate standard: public education is the bangle on the idol’s wrist. They stand and fall together. From this connection we find ourselves in the schools today teaching against and preventing obesity, teaching our children how the sexual revolution was a good thing, how all religions and cultures are equal (except Christianity and Western culture), and how the world was populated by the savage and beneficent goddess of Evolution. These are not optional: given a view of education where the teacher is a finger of society, preaching the latest fad-gospel is good, righteous, and required. Freedom, as it exists in an independent system of capitalistic education, cannot exist in public education. Dewey’s well-placed and ironic fears have come true.

But not everyone will buy a product completely blind. So how does the Federal government sell their trinket? First, the federal government, since the “No Child Left Behind Act,” has involved itself in setting standards for education that receives funding. The standards have not worked, for they float along with the capabilities of the students like a log on a deep and mighty tide of incompetence. This only makes sense when we take into account that most parents do not necessarily know what it is best for their children to learn, or even have their own goals for their child’s education. We then end up with teachers and schools themselves avowing the benefits of their programs and curricula. But their avowals to the efficacy of their programs depends entirely on their goals for the program, since good intentions cover all. “If we’re teaching the right things and we mean well, then performance matters little,” they think. Our society god accepts our efforts to throw the pinch of incense, however much we stumble. But even the public school system seems to be lacking the power to fulfil their own goals. According to current reviews, America is either at or below the national average in most subjects. Given that our education spending is larger than many countries’ GDP, the results are not worth the spending.

In a capitalistic society, (the only true support for diversity and a heterodonic [a word I made to mean “many-giftedness,” based on 1 Cor. 12] society), we will develop not only better education, but diverse education suited to the desires, capabilities, and opportunities of the individual. On the other hand, a socialist or democratic society, without an ultimate authority, will deliver a stagnant, fruitless education, guaranteed to badly disappoint the needs of most students. It neither fulfils the duties of a suitable representative of Christian parents, nor understands a family-based society. In most of the important ways I can think of, public education, as it has come to look since the early twentieth century, is simply a broken, doomed idea.