Friday, October 12, 2007

Odds and ends for today

Intelligent Design: What’s the Big Deal?

I subscribe to Wikipedia’s Featured Article of the Day by mail, and today’s article is Intelligent Design. This is basically a way for religious-minded individuals to frame “creation” in a way to hopefully get around the objections of those who reject creation accounts on “scientific” grounds.

Personally, I don’t see the supposed disconnect between religion and science. After all, the root meaning of the English word “science” is “knowledge.” Wikipedia’s article on science defines it as follows:

“Science (from the Latin scientia, 'knowledge'), in the broadest sense, refers to any systematic knowledge or practice.[1] In a more restricted sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, as well as to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research.”

In other words, science is what is known. The fact that a particular group of scientists don’t know, for example, how the earth was created, doesn’t make the method used any less scientific. It just means that they don’t know or cannot reproduce the method. Many times arguments against creation accounts are no more than the egos of the objectors acting out.

World Trade Bomber has a change of faith

According to reports in today’s edition of the New York Daily News, convicted terrorist Ramzi Yousef, who detonated the truck bomb that destroyed a basement garage in the World Trade Center in 1993, has abandoned Islam and is now a Christian convert.

The report states that he has stopped reading the Koran, shaved his beard, and even eats pork.

I’m sure that there are conspiracy theorists claiming that he’s putting on a show in hopes of getting some kind of early release from prison (which could never happen in a post 9/11 world, especially since he’s serving a life sentence). But, in fact, even a discussion of changing religions could get someone killed by fundamentalist Muslims, to say nothing of eating pork. So I’d have to say this is real. And if it is real, he’d best hope that he never gets out of prison. Because if he did, he could never be at ease – besides those who would be willing to hunt him down over the bombing, there would be people who consider his “conversion” as blasphemy.

Kid Singers in NYC? OK. But Baby Races?

A ten-month-old baby was just crowned “fastest crawler” at a “Baby Derby” in Union Square, in New York City. He competed against seven other babies in crawling along a ten-foot-long course, sponsored by Babies “R” Us as a trial run for races to be held this weekend at the American Baby Faire (?!) in Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum.

Maybe I’m overreacting, but this seems just a little bit exploitive… but then somebody thought the same thing about 17-year-old American Idol winner Jordin Sparks and fellow contestant Sanjaya Malakar, who turned 18 just after the performing the New York shows on this years American Idol tour. The organizers got hit with fines after a clerk at the NYS Labor Department took note of the fact that Jordin and Sanjaya, both featured performers, were under 18. She did some digging, and turned the info over to investigators who then found that the company that organized the tour didn’t have the correct permits filed for using underage performers.

I know that laws and standards exist for a reason, but there is a huge difference between teen performers who have parents, managers, and so on with them to monitor them and make sure they’re not being exploited or overworked, and kids enslaved in some sweatshop making sneakers or pocketbooks for pennies an hour. It was “only” a $5,000 fine, though, so they didn’t get too carried away, but I still think it probably should have been let go.

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