Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I'll Take My Science Materialistically, Thanks

In my post about the Glendive (Montana) Dinosaur Museum, Doorman-Priest made this interesting comment:

I always find these discussions interesting from the perspective of a European vantage-point. We just don't tend to have this problem to the extent you folk do.

I recently did a four-post series on science and religion. It caused barely a ripple.

Yes, we have a lunatic fringe of evango-fundies, but no-one takes them seriously and they wield no significant influence.

I teach Religious Studies. It is a core element of our national curriculum and it is non-confessional: I don't teach religion, I teach about religions.

I teach a form of I.D. because it has a long standing tradition going back to Newton and Paley. I also look at the Big Bang Theory and Evolution together with the traditional creation myth and Aquinas's First Cause Theory.

My science colleagues would not dream of slipping I.D. into the science curriculum and the government would have industrial action on their hands if they tried to have it introduced.

What is it about the American and European experiences that the outcomes are so different?
D-P is too polite to say it but the Brits are laughing at us. And they may a bit concerned for us. I can't say why Americans and Europeans are different on this. Perhaps others can help with that.

Then I took a quick peek at an ID site, Uncommon Descent. It is a handsome website with smart looking folks. Here is the first sentence of what they hold:

Materialistic ideology has subverted the study of biological and cosmological origins so that the actual content of these sciences has become corrupted.

I am not sure what that means. What is the opposite of materialistic ideology? Immaterialistic ideology? Wouldn't that be some form of theology? Yes, science is materialistic. What else could it be?

When you visit a museum of natural history that is what you get, natural history, not supernatural history. For that, I suppose, you could go to a church and ask a theologian. The corruption of science occurs when it is confused with the supernatural.

Why does a ball roll down an incline plane?


A supernatural, immaterialistic explanation could be this: Because God wills it. That is a perfectly fine explanation. But it is not science. Why is it not science? Because you cannot disprove it. A scientist cannot say whether or not God (or the Devil) wills balls to roll down incline planes. A scientist would look for a materialistic explanation that would make sense of that phenomenon.

Let's say that one day a ball rolled up an incline plane. A supernatural explanation could be that the ball was disobedient to the will of God. Or perhaps on this one occasion, God changed her mind. Either could be a valid supernaturalistic explanation. You couldn't disprove either.

The scientist would look for a materialistic explanation that would make sense of this phenomenon. It could be that the scientist would have to say, "I don't know." Yet if she searched hard enough, perhaps with collaboration with colleagues, eventually, she would find a theory (that could be disproven or modified) without resorting to a supernatural explanation.


This principle of searching for materialistic explanations is the same for special relativity, quantum mechanics, cosmological theory, evolution or what have you. Theologians, supernaturalists, and immaterialists can find supernatural explanations for anything they want. That's fine. It's fun. It's poetic. It makes some people feel secure.

It simply isn't science.

32 comments:

  1. IMO, using "materialism" as a slur is a strange play to dualism. It's part of the greater strategy to make science (read: evolution) sound like a religion so that if We the People ban the teaching of Christian religion in science classrooms, then we have to forbid Scientific "religion" as well. This is the flip side of the "Intelligent Design" pseudo-God concept. "ID" says "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em"; calling science "materialistic ideology" says "if you can't join 'em, beat 'em".

    It appeals to those strands of dualism found in Augustine, Luther and Wesley (and magnified immensely by the modern fundamentalists) that imagine the things that are worldly and corporeal as inherently unclean and evil, and the things that are otherworldly and spiritual as holy and good. "Materialistic ideology" is supposed to short-circuit our understanding of science as a means of comprehending the physical universe by bringing to mind images of alchemists and sorcerers.

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  2. Actually I would think that a good alternative to materialistic ideology
    would not be immaterial ideology, but rather no ideology at all.

    When one adapts an interpretive filter through which they view the world, their opinions will invariably be colored by that filter. The ideal is to simply let Nature speak for itself...though actually adopting such a dispassionate view may be impossible for human beings to achieve.

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  3. Science deals with the material, observable world. It can't be anything but materialistic.

    This gets back to the point of "magisteria" that Stephen Jay Gould described (and that I referenced in my blog). I would argue that science and religion deal with different magisteria.

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  4. This posting goes all the way back to Plato and Aristotle: is truth within or does it exist independent of the human mind. I think Aristotle got it wrong when he rejected Plato's notion that truth is within the person and instead argued that matter is real.

    The problem I have with materialism is that it is given precedence in a world driven by mass economic consumption. School systems, media, and society are still teaching 1940’s science. Modern science supports idealism (and the notion that truth **does not** exist independent of our mind) by providing evidence that we do not live in a physical, material universe. Matter does not exist; it is a word that has been concocted by science to describe a phenomenon that is not truly understood. Matter at the sub-atomic level appears to be spiritual in form or living energy. Therefore I think it is high time that society and school systems in particularly adjust more towards this worldview and the information age.

    My opinion on creationism being taught in public schools is that it should be referenced and students should be allowed to weigh the evidence. I hold this belief because as you know public schooling is forced upon our kids. Parents should not be forced to send their kids to a place that teaches principles they disagree with. Furthermore, by allowing students to see different points of view you will enable them to develop better critical thinking skills.

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  5. "Modern science supports idealism (and the notion that truth **does not** exist independent of our mind) by providing evidence that we do not live in a physical, material universe. Matter does not exist; it is a word that has been concocted by science to describe a phenomenon that is not truly understood. Matter at the sub-atomic level appears to be spiritual in form or living energy."

    An interesting assertion. Where may I find modern scientific studies that support idealism? Also, what resources can educate me on the living, spiritual nature of matter? Is there a particular university that has pursued research int these matters? Thank you in advance for your help with these questions.

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  6. A good introduction book to modern science and the quantum world is Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed by Jim Al Khalili, a good movie that can be checked out at Blockbuster is "What the Bleep: Down the Rabbit Hole" and one website among thousands on the WWW can be found at The Illusion of Materialism.
    The movie makes references to several universities and studies on the living spiritual nature of matter, and the book goes into detail of all the peculiar ways of nature such as entanglement and the dual nature of light.

    Like you said my statements are only assertions. It is simply the way that I interpret modern science as a student of advanced physics. The majority of practicing scientists have learned to use the theories without understanding why it works. Essentially everything we do with supercomputers and advanced technology can be done without having a true understanding of nature. I'm not sure if God or spirituality or whatever you call it will ever completely reveal itself in a form where everyone agrees on the same interpretation. Like I said TRUTH IS WITHIN. I just wish society were set up with more of this view and not the notion that materialsim is real and it brings happiness.

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  7. "What is it about the American and European experiences that the outcomes are so different? D-P is too polite to say it but the Brits are laughing at us. And they may a bit concerned for us. I can't say why Americans and Europeans are different on this. Perhaps others can help with that. "

    Off the top of my head, I would say the European experience is different because they are more secularized than America. That is, religious beliefs, symbols, and institutions have become less influential and significant in society. Studies show that more Americans believe in God and attend church more than Europeans.

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  8. I've been waiting to see what would be invented when Christianity finally encountered modern physics. "What the Bleep" is an example. But the fact is, quantum physics is incomprehensible even to those of us who understand it. Mixing it with religion will just make a huge and unintelligible mess.

    What I don't get is why some groups of people need science to endorse their faith? They need it so badly they are willing to go to the mat to redefine the very nature of science. Why? It has something to do with cognitive dissonance I am sure, but what exactly I don't know. Something to do with the ideology of inerrancy. Science is antithetical to inerrancy. The Fundamentalists have painted themselves into a corner where to leave science alone is to admit their own ideology is wrong, that the scriptures are wrong, therefore their faith is wrong, therefore God is either wrong and maybe doesn't even exist, and this is not acceptable. There is too much vested in their own religious constructs to just let them go. So they attack. The best defense, they say, is a good offense.

    But I think true faith embraces the uncertainty. True faith needs no defense. We can admit that we can be wrong about everything and that is OK. Whoever and whatever God is, it's going to be OK.

    Really!

    In the mean time, isn't science wonderful? I mean think of it. There is a mechanism out there that turns what would seem to be inanimate atoms that are mostly nothing into self reflecting sentient beings that study seemingly inanimate atoms that are mostly nothing, and wonder how the heck, and by what mechanism, do they become sentient beings.

    What is up with that?

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  9. There is a growing consensus among many physicists that reality isn't ultimately material at all. For example, the new issue of Discover has an interview with a scientist who seriously contends that the Universe is made of mathematics.

    Yes, that's right. He says the universe is literally made of math. Here is a link to the article:

    ttp://discovermagazine.com/2008/jul/
    16-is-the-universe-actually-made-of-math/
    article_print

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  10. These are guys who spend too much time in front of their computers.

    When they bang their heads against the wall they just run a simulation of the pain - based on a math model - and take a simulated aspirin, also based on a math model.

    Then again, they don't even bang their heads, they just run a simulation of that too.

    Just like the holodeck on the Enterprise.

    Seriously though, that is what I mean when I say that quantum physics is incomprehensible even to those who completely understand it. We understand the math, but what does it mean???

    Can't answer that. Maybe it means the universe is just one big math problem and creation is just God's computer simulation to try to figure it out.

    Oh wait, that's Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

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  11. That's the beauty of the whole life experience. It's left up to our own interpretation and the uncertainity of it all.

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  12. Rachel, I like the fact that you freely admit when you are stating your opinions about a matter and don't try to turn beliefs into ironclad facts. There are many who could learn from your example.

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  13. "Off the top of my head, I would say the European experience is different because they are more secularized than America. That is, religious beliefs, symbols, and institutions have become less influential and significant in society. Studies show that more Americans believe in God and

    Thank you Rachel. I think you are probably right. Your comment does raise the intriguing question, though, as to what extent American and European Christians believe the same things. I sense some significant divergence.

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  14. I appreciate all of these very thoughtful comments. My problem is that I don't know what these words mean (ie. materialism or materialistic ideology) and how these words are used.

    So what is my beef with all of this? I guess the bottom line for me is this move toward special revelation in regards to human knowledge, whether it be in science or religion.

    What I mean by that is that the search for knowledge under special revelation is not subject to public inquiry and investigation. How can you disprove that God does something?

    Special revelation is ok for theology. I don't think much of it there either, but I can at least tolerate it and dismiss it in my own mind. Special revelation means that we need "faith" or spiritual transformation or be "one of the elect" to get something (ie. that Jesus is Divine).

    Again, I tolerate it in theology (even though I disagree with it) since that's the game folks play there.

    I don't tolerate it in matters that affect the broader public.

    I don't know what materialism means to you, but to me it is about how we approach knowledge. It does not allow for special pleading (ie. "insert miracle here").

    Everyone if they learn to the tools can learn science. It isn't secret and it doesn't elevate some text to be of God (ie. the Bible).

    This is the danger I see with concepts like the spirituality of matter.

    If science were to allow spirituality into its discussion, would those who are not spiritual be able to participate?

    It was this spirituality, this favoring of scriptural texts as authoritative for how the universe works, this religious dogma, that scientists left behind so that the knowledge they were seeking could be available to anyone.

    Does that mean there is no spiritual realm? No. It could be that some sort of spiritual thing is the real real thing and that only the elect can experience and know it. It could be.

    It could be that science is miserly and tells us very little in the great scope of things. I have no argument with that.

    Leave science be. It is that one approach we have left in this world that is democratic. It is a process whose methodology is available to anyone.

    That is my beef. I am concerned that dogma will take over once again and send is into the dark ages if we are not vigilant on keeping science separate from all forms of religion.

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  15. I think of materialism as more of a philosophy or ideology, and science as the method we use to create new knowledge. Why can't we keep science and exchange the ideology. Why not give the ID's a chance to prove their theory? And why not let school students be made aware that there is controversy in evolutionary theory? If ID ever actually makes good on its claims then religion and spirituality might be able to escape from the ghetto that it has been assigned by the dominant 19th and 20th century materialists.

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  16. Hey Rachel,

    I appreciate your comments! In response to this question:

    "Why not give the ID's a chance to prove their theory?"

    I would say they have the chance. If it were worth anything scientists would embrace it. They do not.

    It is superstition. It has a place in a college philosophy course but not in science curriculum, particularly in a public school setting.

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  17. Hey Rachel and all,

    Thinking more about this especially in light of all your thoughtful comments, maybe I should make another post on this.

    I do think there is a crucial important role for value, meaning, ethics and so forth that philosophy and religion can and should play.

    Science does its thing. But the technology that results should be addressed from a value, meaning, ethical, spiritual point of view.

    Maybe that is the subtext, or at least part of it, of our conversation.

    We definitely do need conversation about value and meaning. What does it mean to be human? How can we live sustainably with one another and with Earth?

    Much of the meaning of our society is really dumped into consumption and technology for sure, if not the scientific research we tend to fund fosters consumption and the interests of corporations.

    It is this conversation that perhaps the ID folks want to have as well--that to me is most worthwhile.

    I think the ID solution to value and meaning is misplaced.

    Thoughts?

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  18. Honestly, I've never read into ID, so I can't say whether it is superstition or not. I should read into it before I continue making any more arguments about it.

    I say I'm probably on the same page as you, because you say "It could be that science is miserly and tells us very little in the great scope of things. I have no argument with that."

    I agree. It is impossible to verify scientifically that science is indeed the way of truth, and science can't tell us anything about evil and good. I do believe that science is the closest we can get to truth about the physical universe and earth that we inhabit, but I do not believe science tells us anything about a transcendent 'spiritual' or non-physical reality, which may be the only truth. So I also see a problem with theologians and metaphysicists trying to use science and the process of doing science to support their claim about God. Maybe I will have more to say on your next posting. If not it has been good.

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  19. The problem that we debated in the thread on the fake dino museum was that we shouldn't make theological statements within the realm of science.

    Materialist ideology is indeed a theological statement. What we observe is guided by changes in the surrounding environment and not by some intelligence that produced it. Why? Because no intelligence is involved. That's a theological statement, being deistic or atheistic. Considering that it is guided or "foresighted" also treads on theological ground.

    The real problem arises when one looks at the evidence and it doesn't perform to their ideological precepts, and they try to influence the evidence. Einstein did that with his cosmological quotient and later had to retract it when the physical evidence revealed by Hubble showed the universe to have had a beginning. Astronomer Fred Hoyle wasted most of his talent in my opinion trying to find a cosmological model that could give matter an eternal quality.

    Bad science doesn't just belong to the Dark Ages. When we try to stifle or subvert the evidence we are indeed doing bad science.

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  20. My opinion on creationism being taught in public schools is that it should be referenced and students should be allowed to weigh the evidence. I hold this belief because as you know public schooling is forced upon our kids. Parents should not be forced to send their kids to a place that teaches principles they disagree with. Furthermore, by allowing students to see different points of view you will enable them to develop better critical thinking skills.

    I do have to comment on this statement.

    First, in the United States of America, one is not "forced" to send one's children to public school. We have compulsory primary education because we as a small-d democratic society have determined that it is essential as part of "promot[ing] the General Welfare" that we have an educated electorate. This being America, however, one is free to either send one's children to a parochial school (the Catholics have had this down pat for centuries) or to school them oneself. That having been said, medical schools (por ejemplo) are free to deny entrance to those students who have been taught that the universe was sneezed out of the nose of the Great Green Arkelseizure one Vroonday afternoon (and live in fear of a time they call "the Coming of the Great White Handkerchief").

    The fact is that most students ARE exposed to creation myths--in literature and history classes where they ought to be.

    Similarly, we don't expose students to "theories" such as the ability to use sulfur and mercury to turn lead into gold, or that the Earth is a flat surface with a dome over it containing the sky, or that the "Aryan race" is somehow superior to all other groups of human beings in a science class where they (who are NOT trained scientists but rather a bunch of 9th graders) are to "weigh the evidence" and come up with definitive conclusions. We may teach these as cautionary tales either in humanities or even science classes, but we do not hesitate to emphasize that they are NOT scientific or may even be morally wrong.

    "What the Bleep Do We Know" was nearly universally panned by scientists and movie critics alike as a paean to New Age philosophy (such as the idea that water molecules can be altered by directing emotions at them). It deliberately confuses quantum physics with metaphysics--both mysterious things, but in entirely different ways.

    "Modern Science" (or more accurately Postmodern Science) does not postulate "that truth does not exist independent of our mind [or] provide evidence that we do not live in a physical, material universe". It simply says that the universe is a hell of a lot more complicated than we originally thought, and that we as human beings are inherently unable to completely understand it (Schrödinger) or keep from screwing up the experiment by trying to measure it (Heisenberg). It says that, unlike what Our Jim says, our senses CAN and DO lie to us because they are organic and susceptible to false information that they transmit to brain cells that are also organic and susceptible to false information.

    In other words, science does not say that there isn't a Big Picture, it says that we as humans are inherently incapable of completely understanding said Picture. This is not a new idea, as some dude who used to hang around Geneva could tell you.

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  21. "First, in the United States of America, one is not "forced" to send one's children to public school. "

    I disagree, what about families, such as myself, where both parents have to work to make ends meet and who cannot afford to send their kids to a private school. You call this freedom of conscience? I feel like my human right to shape my child's understanding of the world has been taken from me.

    "We have compulsory primary education because we as a small-d democratic society have determined that it is essential as part of "promot[ing] the General Welfare" that we have an educated electorate. "

    Maybe it staryed out this way, but now it has become nothing more than an establishment ideology that serves a bureaucratized, monoploistic system that is increasingly unresponsive to what parents want for their children.

    I am going into public education and I have been out in the field, so I have many many opinions if you would like to hear more.

    On the quantum metaphysics. I just referenced that movie because it presents introductory quantum in an easy to understand form. Plus my personal ideology is that QM does show that there is something more than the materialistic BS society we inhabit. It makes me happy knowing/believing this since I'll never have the mansion or the jet or the million dollar wardrobe. Plus it's what I have always believed deep down anyway, but I got lost many times because of pressure from our materialistic society. I'm glad modern science is telling us there is something more.

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  22. Well, Rachel, thank you for making my point for me.

    Plus my personal ideology is that QM does show that there is something more than the materialistic BS society we inhabit. It makes me happy knowing/believing this since I'll never have the mansion or the jet or the million dollar wardrobe. Plus it's what I have always believed deep down anyway, but I got lost many times because of pressure from our materialistic society.

    You're talking about two completely different things and using the negative associations with the latter to tarnish the former, even though it has nothing to do with it.

    Science has nothing to do with the "mansion or the jet or the wardrobe", aside from the physical properties each and its component parts may have. You're talking about a human psychological phenomenon best summed up by the maxim "he who has the most toys wins" that we call "materialism".

    This is completely unrelated to the idea that on a subatomic level, things exist and do so in (potentially) mathematically predictable ways. The question is not whether reality exists, but in how closely, if at all, we as human beings can measure and comprehend it. The "material" sciences are concerned with this question.

    If anything, the confusion amongst the public about what science is (and particularly the difference between quantum mechanics and New Age bull) and the ability of "Intelligent Design" advocates to muddy the waters with a legal construct masquerading as both God and science points to one thing: we desperately need MORE education about the hard sciences in America, not less.

    I disagree, what about families, such as myself, where both parents have to work to make ends meet and who cannot afford to send their kids to a private school. You call this freedom of conscience? I feel like my human right to shape my child's understanding of the world has been taken from me.

    The easy answer is that if you would like to propagandize your child for cheap, ask the churches why they aren't helping you and parents like you fulfill your "human right to shape your child's understanding" for free? Ain't it funny that fundamentalist Protestant private schools tend to be the most expensive?

    The more nuanced, more American answer is this: you have more political power in your little finger than 99% of all people who have ever lived on this planet. You are guaranteed the right to express your opinions, to worship as you please, and to petition your government for a redress of grievances. You complain about the public education system, but you apparently don't mind using it (or it would seem even making money off of it). You can petition the school board or run for it. You can lobby your state legislators. You can let the Education Secretary know your views and how strongly you feel about them. You can home school you child (it may mean you can't get a paycheck AND what amounts to taxpayer-funded day care, but at least your child's mind won't be opened against your will).

    Quite frankly, in a small-d, small-r democratic republic, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

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  23. Okay, I only have time to say a little. Actually materialism is much more fundamental a concept. It means that the source of all things is matter. Symptoms of materialism include "wanting things, valuing things, studying things, producing things, exchanging things, working for things, dieing for things, killing for things, and dominating things,"(Tobias Churton, 04'). My whole argument was that if we changed are materialistic outlook on the world then maybe these symptoms would go away. My personal opinion is that the Copenhagen theory of QM provides an opportunity for one to change their outlook on life if they have this materialistic worldview.

    With that said, I agree we do need more education about the hard sciences in America, not less. But my way of getting at it is different from yours. I believe public education has done a lousy job in America and that it is time for something new, like handing it over to the market.

    Why should I expect churches or any other private enterprise to offer my kid free education. Public education is not free. It costs taxpayers over $6,000 per kid every year.

    I think you got me totally wrong anyways, especially when you accuse of not wanting to open my son's mind. Where did that come from? Furthermore, I love teaching, and I have always wanted to be a teacher. They don't really let you do that in public education, you know.

    Okay, I got to cut this quick. I'm a libertarian, and I am just developing my political viewpoints so I can't sit here and argue my points with you even though I would love to. There are many good websites on libertarian principles on the www. For example, here is a libertarian solution to teaching evolution. Here are some links to articles about letting the free maket take over education.

    The reason I don't by into the liberal left is because they are inexcusably naive in their confidence in government. Most of their arguments are based on civics-textbook platitudes that bare zero resemblance to reality.

    Well, my kid is calling. It's been real.

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  24. The reason I don't by [sic] into the liberal left is because they are inexcusably naive in their confidence in government. Most of their arguments are based on civics-textbook platitudes that bare [sic] zero resemblance to reality.

    Fine. I can name a whole bunch of social democracies that function quite well, thank you very much. Can you name one time in human history where a Libertarian state has functioned at all?

    You complain about materialism. So you think the best way to solve the "problems" of parents having no choice in how their children are schooled (which is a false starting point anyway) because of the flaws in a system whereby the school boards and legislators who fund them are directly answerable to the voters is to shift it to a system whereby the schools are controlled by a private corporation whose sole legal and social responsibility is to provide the maximum return on investment to its shareholders? I don't think the answer to "materialism in the schools" is to hand it over to entities that are by definition materialistic.

    And no, quantum mechanics is not a religion. It is in fact a branch of the "material" sciences as it attempts to describe in mathematical terms how the physical universe works.

    Again, if you think that Newtonian physics has anything to do with consumerism, then again we need to define our terms.

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  25. The United States was the most successful nation ever because it started out as a free nation. The grandest experiment ever. The libertarians of today are the liberals of Jefferson's time. It is true that we are still the freest nation, and I hope we keep it that way.

    I think that an education system where the teachers, etc. are directly answerable to the parents is better than the top-down systm we have now where you have to move mountains just to make your voice heard. Education would get better because of basic principles of capitalism. If you don't like the product you recieve you don't buy it. If I'm not happy with my kids art lessons, I'll take him to another teacher. It's as simple as that. I know you want to back fire with something like it will make it uneven for inner city schools, but there have already been studies that show that inner-city black kids score higher when they received vouchers to attend private schools.

    Anyways, I don't have all the answers. I'm just trying to figure it out. And as of now I am leaning more towards the views held by libertarians. I wonder what is it about by wiring that attracts me to their ideas and principles. Maybe I was a revolutionary in my past life.

    I never said QM was a religion. If I did I misspoke.

    Good talking to you my friend. I will have to end our conversations, but they have been enlightening as usual. I'll come back when I'm a little wiser.

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  26. You mean the Thomas Jefferson who invented public education in Virginia? The guy who didn't want the fact that he was President on his headstone but insisted on it describing him as

    AUTHOR OF THE DECLARATION OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE
    THE STATUTE OF VIRGINIA FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
    AND FATHER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

    I'll ask again--how is capitalism a solution to materialism? Capitalism IS materialism. A corporation is legally bound to maximize the return on investment of its stockholders. If it fails to do so, it can be sued by the stockholders and even have its charter revoked. Having a bunch of corporations compete to provide public schooling does not result in their competing to provide the best education. It results in them competing to have the lowest cost and highest revenue.

    The solution to the problems in public education may be complex, but it certainly isn't starving the schools that need the most help of resources, and it isn't simply testing over and over until the only thing the kids are learning is how to play high-speed guessing games (and making a buttload of cash for the testing companies).

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  27. flycandler, you are confusing me for a neo conservative republican or a republicrat. I am not advocating to completely do away with public education: the department of education, state departments, school boards, and the whole smorgy-board. True, I totally believe that NCLB and testing has ruined public education. And I sit here and wonder why you supported Clinton and Obama when they want to keep NCLB. If you don't believe me I can provide you documents and video. The Democrats keep what ever programs the Neo Cons create and say that more money is the solution. I don't care how much money you throw into public education it ain't going to fix the problem.

    I don't associtate corporations with capitalism. Corporations are a recent phenomenon and the major ones have only been able to stay in business because of our sociaized government giving them corporate welfare. I say do away with stockholders and change the whole money system. Let's return to the gold stanard. Or at least allow another money system so America won't go down when ever our dollar completely crashes.

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  28. Opps I meant to say that I am advocating to completely do away with etc.....

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  29. Alot of people in America, at least a million are ready for some real CHANGE. We know that the change Obama flaunts is really the same old, same old. If you are interested in learning about revolutionary ideas, (which aren't really revolutionary, unless you live in times of Universal deceit) then check out the Campaign for Liberty .

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  30. No, Rachel, bubbe, I understand fully that you consider yourself a libertarian. The problem is that you cannot govern a nation based on a philosophy that says government shouldn't exist. The whole Ayn Rand objectivist mindset is intellectually and (especially) spiritually bankrupt. Rand had some thoughts on Christianity that would make most American conservatives' hair curl.

    And yes, Alan Greenspan was famously one of Rand's acolytes (including a weird initiation into her Collective at her New York apartment), he who brought us to what Thom Hartmann calls "the cancer stage of capitalism".

    I'm still puzzled why you in the same breath trash materialism (the psychological phenomenon) for its fixation on acquiring more and more, then praise capitalism (which is institutionalized materialism) as the solution to materialism.

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  31. Maybe it's because I don't believe that capitalism is institutionalized materialism. And just to get one thing clear, I'm not a complete gnostic. I don't have a problem with having things, especially things that make us more comfortable. I just don't like the love of things. And, just because I don't like it, doesn't mean that I am willing to force anyone to abide by my beliefs, i.e. socialism.

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  32. hi flycandler, I just wanted to let you know it was good conversing with you and that I have to turn my computer off. I'm spending too much time thinking and not enough time studying. I'll take into consideration things that you wrote as I continue to form my worldview throughout the rest of my life. And if I sounded like I contradicted myself in any of my earlier comments, I probably did, but not on purpose;~)

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