An Ugly Head Rises in Lenin’s Land

first_imgAccording to Andy Coghlan, reporter for New Scientist, the spectre of an “ugly head” is rising in Russia.  What is it?  It’s not atheism, because Coghlan admits that Russia once made that the state religion.  It’s not communism, because Coghlan admits “Godless communism” once prevailed in the Soviet Union.  No, it is an ugly head Coghlan believes Russian dissidents, scientists and liberals must band together to fight before it invades the schools of the vast country.    What is it, you ask?  Creationism.  “Yes, creationism has now reared its ugly and evolving head in Russia, the heart of the ‘Godless communism’ that prevailed in the Soviet Union,” Andy Coghlan wrote.  In a strange twist of fate, American creationists have taken on the role of the Comintern and are propagandizing Russian schools with the subversive doctrine that “Darwin’s theory remains a theory… This means it should be taught to children as one of several theories, but children should know of other theories too.”    How could this ever happen in a land that once imprisoned pastors and closed churches, turning them into museums of atheism?  Coghlan referenced “a superb blog by Michael Zimmerman in the Huffington Post” as a source.  (Zimmerman, head of the “Clergy Letter Project,” seeks to get American pastors to sign a statement that Darwinism is not such a bad idea.)  Coghlan also referenced the Dover, Pennsylvania court case as “momentous” in combatting American attempts to allow creationism and intelligent design to get a foothold in schools.    The irony rises to a fever pitch at the end of the article.  Coghlan quotes a Russian dissident who conflates fighting alternatives to Darwinism with fighting communist propaganda: “It’s a dangerous idea and we will do all we can to stop it.  We overcame communism as the state ideology and certain forces want to replace it with Orthodox Christianity.”  It appears nobody – not even the Archbishop of the Russian Orthodox Church whom Coghlan quoted – was even suggesting making the Russian Orthodox Church a state ideology; even so, it begs the question how teaching creationism in science classes would lead to that, if such a suggestion were even on the table.  But visions of moral equivalency like booting Darwin out of science class, sending biology teachers to Siberia, or turning science centers into museums of Russian Orthodoxy are surely absurd.  Yet Coghlan ended with this shocker: With pressure from evangelicals for the US to abandon the division between church and state insisted upon by Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers, and the growing influence of the Orthodox church within Russia, we could see an unlikely alliance forged between former enemies.  Jefferson and Lenin would be spinning in their tombs.For some clarity on what Jefferson meant by the oft-quoted “wall of separation between church and state” (not a part of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, or Bill of Rights, but part of a letter he wrote to Baptists worried about the Federal governments power to infringe on their rights), readers are encouraged to see this explanation on Wallbuilders.org that shows it has been turned to mean the exact opposite of what Jefferson meant and believed.Is there any reader not left breathless with disbelief at such a statement like what Coghlan just said?  Any reporter who can put Lenin and Jefferson in the same sentence as allies against creationists has just reached a new low, both in historical ineptitude and calumny.  This guy needs a serious remedial education.  We suggest some Teaching Company courses in the Rise of Soviet Communism and Utopia and Terror in the 20th Century for starters, and some good books on the horrors perpetrated by the communist dictators.  Remember the unforgettable 11/30/2005 entry?  How on earth can one compare such polar opposites as Jefferson, lover of liberty, with a murderous totalitarian dictator like Lenin, whose first acts were to shut down freedom of the press, freedom of education, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, institute one-party rule, and start murdering everyone who opposed him?  We need a category not just for Dumb Ideas, but for Evil Ideas.    If you are a Darwinist reading this, welcome.  See?  This is part of the open marketplace of ideas.  (Notice: This is part of the open marketplace that American students don’t get.)  One thing you can be assured of is that creationists, as much as you may despise their beliefs, are not bad people.  Take any one of the famous ones: Henry Morris (see Scientist of the Month) or Duane Gish, say; even pro-Darwin historians will be among the first to state openly that they are (or were, in the case of Henry) nice, pleasant people (as well as qualified and informed scientists).  They didn’t go around ordering purges of their enemies (with real guns and real bullets) and sending people to Siberia, OK?  The same is true of all the leaders of the Intelligent Design movement.  You would be hard put to find a more pleasant group of people to share a stage or a lunch with.  Even Michael Ruse knows that.  Take Paul Nelson to lunch sometime as a scientific experiment and you’ll see.  If you had a chance to live in a country ruled by creationists or by communist dictators of the likes of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Kim Il Sung, Castro or the rest of those murderous incarnations of evil, you can be sure that 100 times out of 100, you would flee the Iron Curtain at every chance for the freedom that coincides with those who embrace ID or creation or both.    Please notice also that no mainline creationist or ID organization has ever advocating banning Darwin.  In fact, ICR and some ID organizations have stated clearly that they want to teach “more Darwin” than the Darwinists allow the schools to teach.  One reason is to include both the strengths and weaknesses of the theory, but another is the reality that students cannot understand the 20th century without an understanding of Darwinism.  The only dogmatists who want to teach one side are the DODOs (Darwin-only, Darwin-only).  It’s the Darwin-olators that would have Jefferson spinning in his grave.  As for Lenin, well; most people who know their history would be grinning with satisfaction to see the RPMs turned up on his tomb.(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

South African struggle heroes honoured in Mozambique

first_img14 September 2015The Matola Monument and Interpretative Centre was unveiled in Maputo on Friday in a tribute to the anti-apartheid activists killed by security police in a raid on 30 January 1981.The South African Defence Force of the apartheid government raided the African National Congress (ANC) safe houses in Matola, Maputo and killed 13 members of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) and one Mozambican national.The Mozambican and South African presidents, Filipe Nyusi and Jacob Zuma, both attended the inauguration of the centre. The monument is an effort to redress the historical imbalances in heritage sites, as well as aid social cohesion and nation building.“The unveiling of the memorial will enable South Africa to pay homage to the fallen soldiers and also acknowledge the sacrifices and contributions made by the Mozambicans towards a free, non-racial and democratic South Africa,” the Presidency said.Three red pillars in the centre of the monument are inscribed with the names of those who lost their lives in the raid. The multimedia information centre contains photographs and documents chronicling the anti-apartheid journey, and the joint effort of Mozambique and South African freedom fighters to end apartheid.Nyusi said that through the raid, “the apartheid regime once again showed its true cruel and inhuman face”. He described the attack as “a clear affront against our territorial integrity and sovereignty, our peace and all forms of human rights”.Zuma added: “The opening of this monument stands as a witness of freedom and it also stands as a testament to the resilience of our people. This monument is our testimony to the world that we have conquered in trying times.”Ties that bindThe monument was also a symbol of the strong bonds of friendship between South Africa and Mozambique, Zuma said. “We must together grapple with the strategic questions facing our peoples, such as unemployment, inequality and poverty. We must work together as we face these challenges.”Earlier in the day, the two presidents laid wreaths in Llhanguene Cemetery, at the graves of the victims of the raid. They also unveiled a large collective gravestone for the South African freedom fighters who died at Matola.Source: SAnews.govlast_img read more

Being an ordinary farmer is what made Grandpa extraordinary

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest As I write this, there is a greasy DeKalb hat and a pair of Liberty overalls hanging on the wall of my office. Yellow work gloves are tucked into the back pocket of those overalls and a big pair of pliers is nestled in the side pocket. The front pocket of those bibs is filled with a blue handkerchief, a pouch of Half & Half tobacco and a corn cob pipe that has been charred by a thousand matches and smells like most of my childhood memories.These items and those memories are what I have left from my Grandpa “Popeye” Thompson, who recently passed away, leaving a gaping void in the Licking County agriculture community.Some of my greatest childhood moments happened when someone would connect the dots and figure out that I was Popeye’s grandson. The smiles on their faces made me realize that they had, in one way or another, been impacted by knowing my Grandpa. It made me feel so proud because you could tell that, because they thought so much of him, they thought I must be pretty special too.The reality of his passing hasn’t completely set in because he is always in my head, so to speak, even when he was living. I always hear him telling me to work smart, not hard and that if you always tell the truth, you’ll never have trouble remembering what you might have said. As I made my last few visits to Grandpa’s, I remembered the lessons that he taught me. Most of them were learned by just simply watching how Grandpa lived, how he treated others and how others treated him in return.As with most farmers, Grandpa was all about taking victories in stride and losses with grace. One of the prime examples of the latter was when he and Grandma lost their house in a fire. Before they were even allowed to search what was left of their home after the embers burned out, neighbors from every direction came together and built what is still affectionately known as “The Barndo” — a 500 square foot make-shift condominium that was nothing more than walls and a ceiling made of plywood in the back of the barn. This simplistic suite was complete with a firewood stove, running water and an outhouse. As usual over their 60 year marriage, Grandpa and Grandma made it work just fine as the new house was being built. That show of support from the whole community was proof enough for me that my Grandpa was a good man.Who wouldn’t want to learn from a man that like?As he approached his 70s he was looking for a way to leave what he had left, about 200 acres of land, to his 5 kids. His land is pretty nicely placed on a main state route and he was contacted multiple times to turn his corn and bean fields into housing developments…and he turned down every offer. Seeing more blacktop than green grass was not what he wanted. He wanted just the opposite and that is exactly what he was able to do when he made a business deal to turn his land into a golf course. After two years of construction, The Legends of Locust Lane was opened for play. The course was made up of 18 challenging holes with undulating hills, perfectly placed bunkers and lush greens.That golf course was exactly what Grandpa wanted. A viable business that would be able to give all five of his kids a cash flow for years to come and something that could even be passed down to my cousins and me to continue on down the line.Tee times were filling up and business was pretty good in a short period of time. Then, seven years into the venture, the Ohio Department of Transportation decided that a new state route 161 was going right through his property and taking out half of the 18 holes. The Legends at Locust Lane was no more and after 40 years of farming that ground and turning it into something viable, everything Grandpa knew…was gone.For many this would make the blood boil, but I learned a valuable lesson by watching how Grandpa handled such a difficult situation. As the surveyors were placing markers on the piece of Grandpa’s land that was soon going to be a four lane highway, they had some difficulty getting to some parts of the property. To help them get their job done, Grandpa lent them his tractor. You could tell the workers were a bit uncomfortable with how nice Grandpa was to them, considering the circumstances. That’s just the kind of man he was.After death, we talk a lot about legacies. And leaving a legacy can mean many different things to many different people. For Grandpa, a legacy wasn’t weighed by how much money he left behind, how much land he farmed or what kind of tractors he had (okay, it might have been a little about the tractors). His prized possessions were two Eagle Cs that were one serial number apart. One was his father’s and the other one he found for sale in a tractor magazine, inspiring him to drive to Wisconsin to reunite the “Long Lost Brothers.”For him, legacy was about family. And not just family, but how he raised his family. Over the final days of Grandpa’s life, I witnessed his five children and Grandma come together with the purpose of giving him comfort and strength. Through that process, they also gave him the certainty that everything would be alright after he left.Legacy is also measured by a man’s character, and not only by his character but by his characteristics as well. All of his grandkids have some of Grandpa’s characteristics. The curiosity and willingness to learn and his respect of livestock and nature as a whole, his tender heart that loves unconditionally, as well as his laughter, love of the outdoors, determination and the discipline to see every project through and the ability to tell a good story, all live on through the generations.Legacy for Grandpa wasn’t about being a farmer, but about the way he farmed. Grandpa loved the land and left it better than he found it. Grandpa believed in helping others and he always took others’ concerns and put them before his own. He believed in helping the next guy down the line and giving the younger farmers a hand. I know a few Licking County farmers who will tell you that some of the best advice and some much needed help in a difficult time came from Popeye Thompson.I know that what is left of him here on Earth is nothing but the shell that Grandpa used for his 79 years, but what remains of him can tell a story just about as good as he could. I will always remember the well-worn, grease stained hands that bled at one point or another from working the ground or rigging up some implement to make it just right for his uses of it and the wrinkled forehead from concerns of too much rain or not enough, depending on the year.The lines around his eyes formed from the smiles when a new Grandchild made their first visit to Sunday dinner or when grain or cattle prices made farming more fun than usual. His thought-filled eyes looked right into yours when what he was telling you was most important, waiting for you to acknowledge, “Yep Grandpa, I got it.”As a farmer, Grandpa planted many seeds. Millions upon millions on his Locust Lane Farm in Alexandria, and many more seeds that grew in the form of other farmers who needed a hand, friends that needed an ear and strangers that didn’t know they needed anything until they met Grandpa (and he was happy to oblige).Over the next few weeks I am sure I will hear about the many seeds that Grandpa had sown in the stories that I will hear when I proudly introduce myself, as I always will, as Popeye Thompson’s grandson.Thank you, Grandpa. We’ll see you down the road!last_img read more

Google Announces “Big Algorithmic Improvement” to Search

first_imgRelated Posts Google has been under increasing pressure in recent months to improve its search results. From accusations of SEO gaming by big sites to a search results page dominated by the likes of Demand Media and other content farms, the search engine has repeatedly heard the cry that it was becoming less and less relevant. Most recently, the company launched an extension to allow users to block results from certain domains.Today, Google announced that it had made a “big algorithmic improvement” that, unlike other changes, could be noticeable to its users.Google Fellow Amit Singhal and Principal Engineer Matt Cutts announced the changes this evening, noting that the improvement happened without the help of last week’s toolbar release:Many of the changes we make are so subtle that very few people notice them. But in the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking–a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries–and we wanted to let people know what’s going on. This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites–sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites–sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.We can’t make a major improvement without affecting rankings for many sites. It has to be that some sites will go up and some will go down. Google depends on the high-quality content created by wonderful websites around the world, and we do have a responsibility to encourage a healthy web ecosystem. Therefore, it is important for high-quality sites to be rewarded, and that’s exactly what this change does.While the changes may have been made without input from the extension, Google notes that “this algorithmic change addresses 84% of them, which is strong independent confirmation of the user benefits.”The changes will take place initially in the U.S. and roll out in other locations over time. Tags:#Google#news#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketcenter_img mike melanson A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

Microsoft Office 365 Is Not A Good Deal For Singles

first_imgMicrosoft’s new subscription-based model for its Office productivity suite has a price tag that initially seems appealing for home and small business users… but is the bottom line cost really a savings for everyone?It’s no secret that over the years, the real cash cow for Microsoft hasn’t been its venerable Windows operating system, but rather the bountiful profit margins it enjoys every time it sells a box full of Microsoft Office.Running The NumbersOne reason is the steep retail prices for the package. Indeed, even with Office 2013, the retail price for the top-level edition, Office Professional, goes for a hefty $399.99. Office Professional gets you Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and the yes-it’s-still-alive database known as Access.At $400 a pop, that’s a chunk of serious change for small businesses that might not be big enough to qualify for multi-seat license discounts. The next-highest offering, Office Home and Business, which drops Publisher and Access, runs for $219.99, a bit more reasonable.Drop Outlook and the pricing gets even friendlier: $139.99 for Office Home and Student. Frankly, if I were going to buy Office for my home, this would be the one I would get, because my mail and calendaring is handled by Google and there are better desktop publishing tools and databases out there than Publisher and Access, respectively.The Subscription AlternativeInto this pricing mix comes Office 365 Home Premium, which will set you back for $99.99/year. For a low, low $8.25 a month, you can get online access to the all of the tools in the jam-packed Office Professional, plus a 20GB SkyDrive cloud-storage account and 60 minutes of Skype calling a month. Oh, and that’s for up to five PCs/Macs.That seems like too good a deal to be true. What’s the catch?Well, let’s remember the reason Microsoft is getting in the subscription business in the first place: its prized Office revenue has been drying up lately as fewer users are upgrading to new versions of Office, or are turning to alternatives like LibreOffice or Google Documents. Switching to a subscription model helps keep the revenue stream steadier in times of declining Office purchases.With that in mind, it seems like there is going to be a catch. But analyzing the costs alone, there seems to be a real deal going on here. Breaking out a hypothetical situation for five PCs using each flavor of the Office releases for three years, the costs break down to:Office 365 Home Premium: $299.97 Office Home and Student: $699.95 Office Home and Business: $1,099.95 Office Professional: $1,999.95One Is The Most Expensive NumberSo, if you’re working with multiple PCs, the subscription plan is definitely a better deal. Care should be taken, though, for users with only one PC. Over the same hypothetical three years, those costs break down this way:Office 365 Home Premium: $299.97 Office Home and Student: $139.99 Office Home and Business: $219.99 Office Professional: $399.99Unless single-PC users truly covet the desktop publisher, database and other gimcracks tossed into Office 365, then Home and Student or Home and Business are better deals over three years. Heck, even over just two years, Office 365 is still more expensive than the offering most Office users really need, Office Home and Student.The Inevitable CaveatsThere is, as one might expect, quite a bit of comparing apples and oranges here. Office 365 will update as time goes on, while the boxed sets will stay the same for as long as you own them (allowing for service pack releases, of course).That might be balanced by the fact that the Skype account just offers an hour of calls per month – bust that limit, and suddenly your monthly bill is not static anymore. And Mac users are out of luck if they want to use OneNote, Publisher or Access on Office 365.Plus, there are still lots of questions on how closely Microsoft will be monitoring the usage of the Office 365 subscriptions. As ReadWrite’s Mark Hachman revealed last week, the answers are still not clear.Based on price alone and assuming the most vanilla interpretation of Microsoft’s pricing model, if you are really set on using Microsoft Office and have multiple PCs in your home or business, it makes sense to try the Office 365 option, as long as you can manage Skype calls and assure your Internet connection is rock-solid.But if you’re a single PC/Mac user, you could stay with the old-fashioned install-the-application options and save yourself quite a bit of money over time.Image courtesy of Microsoft. Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for … Related Posts brian proffitt Tags:#Microsoft Office center_img How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloud Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo…last_img read more