(NOTE: this was previously posted on the ESangha Nithska blog)
Science. if you go to Google and type in this word and then click on the definition link this is what you will read:
1. The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.
2. Such activities restricted to a class of natural phenomena.
3. Such activities applied to an object of inquiry or study.
2. Methodological activity, discipline, or study: I've got packing a suitcase down to a science.
3. An activity that appears to require study and method: the science of purchasing.
4. Knowledge, especially that gained through experience.
5. Science Christian Science.
[Middle English, knowledge, learning, from Old French, from Latin scientia, from sciēns, scient-, present participle of scīre, to know.]
I think it is interesting that the word derives from the Middle English word meaning 'to know'. More on that in a bit.
November 8th, 2005 is the day that the Dallas Texas electorate passed a proposition to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
What this means in simple language is that we have decided to remove the possibility of rights from one group of our constituents that other groups enjoy based on historical normalcy and bias against homosexuals, either on the basis that they are immoral or that homosexuality is a lifestyle and not a biological gender.
The Right, certain conservatives, and Fundamentalist Christians have framed this issue by stating that we are 'Protecting the traditional family'. Some will go so far as to say that we are protecting the sacred nature of marriage.
I grew up here in the south where my uncles regulary refered to blacks as n****** and where the word gay is still used by kids to mean something akin to 'totally bad'. Back when I was young, something inside me told me that that 'N word' was a bad thing. I'm not sure how I came to that conclusion as a child when the men I looked up to and who were otherwise very good to me displayed such prejudice. As a Buddhist, I might say that my Buddha Nature ached at such an utterance, but I was a kid and just knew it was wrong. I feel the same way about how we are treating gays.
I watched the move Amistad last night, and in it are graphic scenes of people kidnapped from their homes and kept chained naked in the holds of ships: beaten and raped and murdered. The movie is to some extent about the struggle to do away with slavery in the face of resistance from a society and an economy that was built upon slavery. So ingrained in that culture was the slave/master dichotomy that slaveholders felt they were not only justified by the annals of history (every culture back to that of Adam and Eve was one of master and servant, one of the characters proclaims, and we are no different nor should be.) but that they were infact acting morally in the keeping of slaves. It was, in fact, for the slaves own good, and for the good of society at large.
It is said that they who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.
Is that what is happening here?
However metaphorical, I don't want to stand as a free master or as a free man in a society of masters with slaves chained at my feet. I don't want to walk free among the shackled. And I have no intentions of surrendering my freedoms.
The human race has two sexes, male and female. Easy enough. The hard part for many people to accept, usually based on some verse from a holy text that is either being interpreted literally or outside of its historical context, is that we have four genders (for lack of a better term): heterosex male, heterosex female, homosex male, and homosex female. And while I am free as a hetero male to court and marry --as I have-- the female that I am emotionally, physically, spiritually and in every other way drawn to (as is, obviously, the hetero female of my wife) the two remaining genders are apparently less human and less entitled than us.
This is simply wrong. Will gay marriage change the face of America and our society? Maybe, probably. What will be the effects? More foster kids in homes? More families to take in babies that would otherwise be aborted? A gay community that is encouraged to embrace concepts of monogamy and commitment and family rather than the idea that they are unnatural or sinful or generally bad?
I suggest that if you look at the gay community and see something that you consider vile, what you are really seeing is a projection of what is worst about yourself.
Earlier I said that 'we' passed this proposition and I meant exactly that. I passed it too, through my inaction. I did not vote and I must bear the weight of that fact. As Buddhists, and as other ethnic or social minorities, if we do not get out and become active, learn how to frame the debate and stand proud for our values, and get out and vote.... if we do not do that we are fools. I have been a fool, and will be a fool no more.
The question is not, do I believe in this, do I like this, do I personally find it to be valuable. The question is one of equal rights, bottom line.
And that is our rallying call:
Equal Rights, Bottom Line.
I am a white Irish-American, native to Texas, Rissho Kosei-kai Buddhist who wears slacks and a tie to work every day, drives a pickup, lives in Texas, has a wife and kids, and looks and acts so much in line with what Fundamentalists expect a good Christian man to be that I am often mistaken for one of their own...
Here's the wakeup call: to be Liberal is not to be a traitor, it means we believe in Liberty. We look just like you and think that a beer during the big game is right as rain, Michael Moore can be annoying and Senator McCain is a pretty decent human being. We like to take our kids to the park and would give our lives in a heartbeat to keep them from danger. We like to see the stars at night, and the sun growing fat and red a dusk. We read comics and cry during Miracle on 43rd Street. Most of us eat Turkey on Thanksgiving (with stuffing so dry you could choke on it), and many of us Celebrate Christmas among other December holidays.
To the choir, I have to say that I realize as should you, that the true believers will never understand. They are right and you are wrong. In a word, they are deluded and for this reason we can't rely on our abilities of persuasion to sway them. We must come to outnumber them and conduct ourselves in a thoughtful and reasonable manner so that the undecided majority can make an informed choice: a choice that is informed by the reality we help create.
Equal Rights, bottom line.
Nov. 8th, 2005 is the day that Kansas changed the definition of science and Fundamentalist Christianity rolled its trojan horse into the public school class room.
Kids should know about the debate.... there is no debate. Science is a method, not a belief. You are ignorant, lacking understanding.
We should present both sides: that's democractic and reasonable, right?... No, it is not. Your worldview is not the only one that exists, so in order to change science into a 'world view comparision class' we would have to draw from disparate traditions to present a full view of religious thought on things like the origin of the universe. Oh, wait, that sounds like a comparative religion class. Now there's an idea. Science is not a world view except inso far as it suggests that we may be able to gain some understanding about the natural world. If that seems reasonble to you, then recognize that science has no way to prove or disprove your faith and if it did it would be a detriment to that faith. At best our faiths can exist within the context of the reality that science describes. If my religion expounds in some way beyond the pale of what science can address in the natural world, no problem, that's my right, and at that point I AM dealing with faith and it is necessarily separate from the science class.
Darwin's deathbed confessional... this is a myth along with many other derogative statements about the man. Do some research before you believe the trash talk.
Behe and his ilk say... Yeah, if what they are saying is cogent scientific research then they should submit their findings to mainstream science journals for peer review. If they cannot do that then they are peddling you psuedo-scientific mumbo jumbo to further their ideology and to convince you that they are right. It is insulting to you: because you are not an expert these men are using your lack of understanding to portray the scientific establishment as evil atheists (atheist=bad (maybe I should say 'gay')] who are terribly misled and hence misleading you. Behe and his ilk are not stupid men... they are ideologs and no amount of logic, reason, or proof will convince them of anything (because their *interpretation* of the Bible says otherwise)... but they are not stupid and they are very good at framing the argument in ways that seem reasonable at first glance. They will also recognize the labels that they are likely to earn from their activities and beat any critical voice to the punch (get them before they get you) by using words like fundamentalist, dogmatic, and so on to describe anyone that hold to a scientific view.
Science is just another religion and our kids are being indoctrinated... No, you are wrong. You are framing the argument so that as I respond I am entering into an agreement that your religion and science are of the same cloth. They are not. Science is a method of discovery, not a belief. That's that.
Evolution is just a Theory... And so is gravity. 'Just' a theory. You need to learn more about what this word means in science.
It's either science or religion: they both address what is true, and there can only be one truth... This is a philosophical fallacy: insisting on a black or white answer when you are faced with shades of gray. Science describes the world in a way that can be tested and verified. That some religious doctrine exists tends to be a matter of either personal practice or faith and can be born out mostly through subjective experience. I am a religious person, so that subjective experience holds great meaning for me. And it ain't science. And that's fine. Science addresses the physical universe. Anything that we suppose to be transcendant to this universe it cannot by definition (at least per the one we all had prior to 11/08) address. So keep religion out of the science class.
I started out by saying that it is interesting that the word from which science is derives means 'to know'. If you wish to know about our world, do not try to change science to fit into a philosophical mold that you feel bound to.
We are still who we are and still able to determine how we live and what values we perpetuate. Your philosophy exists within the world that science describes.
It is to your own woe that you ignore or falsely alter science to be what you want, because if you do your foundation for everything else is no longer stable, and the day will come when your religion ceases to be applicable, expedient, or in any way true except perhaps as a fable.
My religion is strong enough to keep it out of science's way.
I hope yours is as well.
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