A Darwin Day Scientific Treasury

Reading Darwin's booksAnyone who has followed my writings for awhile knows that I have a thing for men of science. I adored Sir Isaac Newton at an early age, I wrote a screenplay about Chief Chemist Harvey Wiley as a teenage girl (I think it needs a second revision), I’ve dissected Charles Darwin’s mind in college, and I interviewed Professor John Lennox a couple of years ago. I’m actually working on a new script that involves a fictional scientist, but that is a story for another day.

American President Abraham Lincoln and British naturalist Charles Darwin would have both turned 204 today. As of late, I’ve seen more Americans obsessing over Darwin. Some Democrats in Congress wanted to officially designate February 12th, 2013 as “Darwin Day” to recognize “the importance of science in the betterment of humanity.” (Hmmm, as long as science has a moral check and balance, if they had the nerve to specify…)

Since I never want my academic work to go to waste, I’ve recycled some papers that readers might enjoy.

DARWIN: DEFINING THE ORIGINS DEBATE

Written for an English literature class in 2010, this essay of mine dissects the rhetorical strategies of Darwin.

FIT TO SURVIVE: DARWIN’S ACADEMIC LEGACY

Written last year for a history class on Victorian England, this term paper of mine investigates the factors behind the acceptance of Darwinism.

MY VERY OWN CHICKEN GENETICS EXPERIMENT!

“Together with Marx’s materialistic theory of history and society and Freud’s attribution of human behavior to influences over which we have little control, Darwin’s theory of evolution was a crucial plank in the platform of mechanism and materialism – of much of science, in short – that has been the stage of most Western thought.”
- Douglas Futuyma

Armin Cifuentes/Ronald Martinez (Getty Images)

DARWINOCRACY: THE EVOLUTION QUESTION IN AMERICAN POLITICS

Does Darwin rule the electorate? Why does a stigma surround those who are skeptical of Darwinism, and how should candidates respond?

Jan Ingenhousz

Jan Ingenhousz, Dutch physician (1730-1799)

“We might conceive a little more of the deep designs of the Supreme Wisdom in the different arrangement of sublunary beings. The stubborn atheist would, perhaps, find reason to humiliate himself before that Almighty Being, whose existence he denies because his limited senses represent to him nothing but a confused chaos of miseries and disorders in this world.” - Jan Ingenhousz, in a piece of writing I discovered in the antique book, The Beginnings of Modern Science: Scientific Writings of the 16th, 17th, and 18th Centuries.

Angelina Jolie thinks Thanksgiving celebrates a “story of murder”

Thanksgiving painting; Angelina Jolie

In its origins, Thanksgiving is no celebration of human prowess and cultural domination – and certainly not murder.

American actress Angelina Jolie deliberately avoided being in the United States this Thanksgiving. As Rob Shuter of Popeater.com reported,

“‘Angelina Jolie hates this holiday and wants no part in rewriting history like so many other Americans,” a friend of the actress tells me. ‘To celebrate what the white settlers did to the native Indians, the domination of one culture over another, just isn’t her style. She definitely doesn’t want to teach her multi-cultural family how to celebrate a story of murder.’”

I am not certain how commemorating a harvest celebration initiated by Pilgrims and Native Americans can be convincingly dismissed as “rewriting history”. Labeling the relationship between the Pilgrims and Indians as simply “the domination of one culture over another” is not only unconvincing – it’s quite disrespectful to both cultures. Although every century in history has its fair share of corrupt commercialists and unscrupulous jerks, Jolie et al apparently have the Pilgrims of Plymouth confused with a different group of people.

The Separatists who ventured to start a new government in the New World endured an awfully rude voyage across the Atlantic and had managed to survive a year in a strange land. But when a successful harvest took place in 1621, did they praise themselves and their superior culture? Did they thank themselves for all their hard work?

No. They thanked God…

Click here to continue reading at The Washington Times Communities.

The Tea Party: An Independent 3rd Party In The Works?

Tea Party Storms WashingtonSome readers of Sincerely Amanda might remember the satirical literary lashing I gave to third-party candidates, their supporters and any who refused to vote in the 2008 Presidential Election.  Well, I called it like I saw it regarding any who turned their noses up at McCain-Palin and consented to letting Obama-Biden stroll into the Executive Branch without a fight, and who said that both tickets were equally liberal.  I was so beyond unimpressed, in fact, that I said I would never marry a man who acted that way in the critical 2008 Election (hahaha).  I said the rejection of the Two-Party system was contrary to American Government and History.  After two semesters of college-level American history and some Government, there is a lot I understand now that I wish I had articulated then.  It turns out that I was more accurate than I realized.

Because of the majority-minority structure in the House and Senate, we will probably always have the Republican and Democrat platforms.  It is necessary for orderly function.  But how did it come to that?  Wasn’t the Republican party once an Independent Third Party that jumped out of nowhere and changed the political scene?  Not exactly.

As I mentioned in my article over a year ago, the dynamic of the young nation was quite different.  There were indeed two established parties, the Whig party and the Democratic party.  But the Whig party was disintegrating, and the Democratic party was sharply divided.  The rifts had begun at least eight years before 1860, and with Senator Douglas’s introduction of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 (which, on a basis of popular sovereignty, disregarded the anti-slavery boundaries established by the Missouri Compromise), the second-party system flew into a tizzy.  Both parties practically split in half over the new bill.

So, some coalitions opposing the bill thought they saw an opening for a new party.  The Republicans?  No, think again.  Can’t think of anybody?  It’s because it was a group of anti-immigration, anti-Catholic conspiracy theorists that tried to start an independent third-party to change the country and didn’t get very far.  The Know-Nothing party, as it was called, held parties promoting American nativism and included members of the secret fraternal organization, the Order of the Star-Spangled Banner.  Members of that organization were instructed to respond, “I know nothing” whenever they were asked about it, hence the funny party label.  They later tried to call themselves the American party instead, but for the most part they remained a bunch of nobodies that just couldn’t make the vision work.

Meanwhile, some experienced and prominent political leaders put their support behind a movement that was forming within the dissolving Whig party.  Since former Democrats who were interested in joining refused to “march under the Whig banner or even support any candidate for high office who called himself a Whig,” as my history textbook says, the members of the new Free-Soil movement chose the title of Republican.  In retrospect, it has since become a very fitting label.  It is resurrected from the days of Thomas Jefferson, when the Jeffersonian Republicans supported conservative ideals such as federalism, small government, State’s rights, and investing in America’s natural resources (Jefferson was an agricultural man who loved living off the land!).

By the time of the 1860 Presidential Election, the political establishment was so wacky that there were essentially two different two-party races taking place in the country – one between Lincoln and Douglas in the North, and another between Breckinridge and Bell in the South (Lincoln wasn’t even on the ballot in the Southern States).  That bizarrely fractured party-politics scenario allowed the Republican movement to mature into a fully developed political party with a leader already in the White House.

What can we learn from this American history?  Well, I don’t believe in trying to water everything down into a man-made formula, because as soon as we think we have everything figured out, we have a tendency to forget to rely on GOD for immediate divine answers and intervention.  But it does appear to me that there is a reputable indicator:

In order for a third-party movement to rise to power in a nation whose political core is a second-party system, the third-party must supplant one established party that is dissolving while the other established party is sharply divided, and both established parties are looking increasingly similar.

That was the case with the Republicans taking over the Whig party in the days when the establishment consisted of Whigs and Democrats.  The Republican label will probably still have to exist for a good long while for the sake of orderliness, but we can modify it.  We’re Conservative Republicans, Constitutional Republicans, and Tea Party Republicans (maybe even Jeffersonian Republicans after all!).  Right now, the Republicans are realizing that they will dissolve if they become anymore like the Democrats, and the Democrats are likely to become sharply divided over the Obamacare issue (depending on how low they can go).  Though most of us conservatives already knew, it is becoming increasingly obvious that President Obama’s ideology barely even touches the fringe of mainstream American political culture, including that of those who lean to the left.  He might have the potential to lead some other country, but America just doesn’t fit him.  As the Owenites and followers of Fourier lamented in the 1820s and 1840s, Americans are just too individualistic and independent to adapt to socialism!

So fellow Americans who are Taxed Enough Already, let’s not be a bunch of Know-Nothings.  We don’t need to try to build our own independent little fort out in the wilderness with sticks and stones and conspiracy glue.  Especially not when there is a Republican mansion being emptied and disordered that we might as well seize.

Ready.  Set.  Go for it!

Taxed Enough Already

“Is it a third-party we need, or a revitalized Republican party?”

- Ronald Reagan

~Amanda~