I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Views about Judge Jones' "true religion" speech





Judge Jones blowing smoke -- and hot air.







I have often been accused of "misinterpreting" the following plain statements of Judge Jones' Dickinson College commencement speech:

. . . .this much is very clear. The Founders believed that true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in a Bible, but was to be found through free, rational inquiry. At bottom then, this core set of beliefs led the Founders, who constantly engaged and questioned things, to secure their idea of religious freedom by barring any alliance between church and state.

John West, a Discovery Institute senior fellow, said,
.
In the area of religion, Judge Jones is a long-time member of a Lutheran church in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. But his views on religion seem to be of the decidedly liberal variety and rather inhospitable to the views of more traditional believers. In a graduation speech to the students of Dickinson College in 2006, for example, he praised America's Founders for supposedly believing that "true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in a Bible, but was to be found through free, rational inquiry."

This amazing statement is worthy of further analysis. First, it falsely suggests that people must choose between believing in religious authority (such as the Bible) and "free, rational inquiry." Second, the statement implies that those who believe in the Bible or the teachings of their church are somehow anti-American because they reject the ideals of America's Founders.

In reality, and contrary to Judge Jones, most of America's Founders did not believe that the teachings of the Bible or churches were in conflict with the teachings of "free, rational inquiry." Indeed, as I argue in my book, The Politics of Revelation and Reason, the Founders generally believed that revelation and reason converged on same truths, especially in the area of morality. The Founders' belief in the agreement of revelation and reason supplied the basis for all citizens to enter the public square on an equal basis, regardless of their religious beliefs. In the Founders' system, so long as religious believers could offer secular reasons for their public policy proposals in addition to whatever religious reasons they might have, they had the right to be heard.

However, by insisting that belief in religious authority and belief in (secular) "rational inquiry" are opposed to each other, Judge Jones sets the stage for depriving traditional religious believers of their equal rights as citizens. If public policies must be justified in terms of secular reason, and if religious traditionalists are by definition opposed to this sort of "free, rational inquiry," then anything religious traditionalists propose must be constitutionally suspect according to Judge Jones.

Hence, if certain intelligent design proponents happen to be traditional religious believers, their policy ideas must be disqualified no matter what the secular reasons they offer for them -- because by definition those secular reasons cannot be genuine. This false dichotomy between faith and reason owes more to the French Enlightenment than the American Founding. And it explains far more about the inspiration behind Judge Jones' faulty ruling than the fact that he is a "church-going Republican."

West actually criticized Jones' speech more harshly than I did. My interpretation of Jones' speech was more literal than West's -- for example, I did not claim that Jones implied that "those who believe in the Bible or the teachings of their church are somehow anti-American because they reject the ideals of America's Founders" (though I would not be surprised if Jones believes that).

In contrast to John West and myself, William Dembski and Fatheaded Ed Brayton appeared to be concerned only with whether Judge Jones' statements about the Founders' religious beliefs were accurate or not, and did not appear to be concerned about the obvious fact that Jones showed extreme prejudice against Intelligent Design and the Dover defendants. Dembski said,

In his 139-page decision, Judge Jones revealed his deficiencies in science. In his commencement address described below, he reveals his deficiencies in history. Note the passage in bold (i.e., “The founders believed that true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in a Bible, but was to be found through free, rational inquiry.") Who among our nation’s founding fathers believed that the essence of religion is an Enlightenment rationalism that eschews design? None of them. Even Jefferson would be on the ID side in the current debate (inalienable rights conferred on us by a creator is not the language of the French philosophes).

Fatheaded Ed Brayton said,

The more I see from this guy, the more I like him. Over the weekend, he gave the commencement address at his alma mater, Dickinson College. I like much of what he had to say (here Brayton quotes a York Daily Record news article -- the same article quoted by Dembski -- that is no longer available) --

“The founders believed that true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in a Bible, but was to be found through free, rational inquiry,” said Jones, who was thrust into the national spotlight by last year’s court fight over the teaching of evolution in the Dover school district.

The founding fathers - from school namesake John Dickinson to Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson - were products of the Enlightenment, Jones said.

“They possessed a great confidence in an individual’s ability to understand the world and its most fundamental laws through the exercise of his or her reason,” he said.

“This core set of beliefs led the founders, who constantly engaged and questioned things, to secure their idea of religious freedom by barring any alliance between church and state.”

This fits very well with the notion that Jon Rowe and I have been advocating for a couple years now, that the leading lights among the founders (the first four presidents, plus Ben Franklin, Thomas Paine and a few others) were primarily “theistic rationalists”. All believed firmly in God, of course, but rejected most claims of revelation, believing that we could ascertain the truth about God and the universe through the use of our reason alone.

Fatheaded Ed also said,

. . .whether a given founding father was a Christian or not doesn't tell us anything about his position on separation of church and state. I pointed out that many of the most outspoken advocates of strict separation were Christians, particularly Baptists, who often found themselves jailed by Puritans and Anglicans in those colonies they controlled.

Of course, two-faced Fatheaded Ed sees no conflict between his above statement and Judge Jones' "true religion" speech.
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Labels:

15 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ZZZZZ...

Once again, Larry shows himself to be a credulous mouthpiece of the Discovery Institute, simply regurgitating their PR pablum he laps up.

Friday, March 07, 2008 10:28:00 AM  
Anonymous the evilutionist said...

wow.. it's like some retarded pattern of stupidity that keeps repeating itself...

Florida-->Judge Jones-->Wikipedia
-->
Florida-->Judge Jones-->Wikipedia
-->
Florida-->Judge Jones-->Wikipedia

Ad nauseam

I put 200 quatloos on a rant about wikipedia coming up next (might I recommend Jimbo Wales' recent misappropriation of non-profit funds for his personal traveling expenses)

Friday, March 07, 2008 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> I have often been accused of "misinterpreting" the following plain statements of Judge Jones' Dickinson College commencement speech: <

And here you prove it so. Why did't you just use Buzz Corey's suggestion and simply state the number for this repetition?

Friday, March 07, 2008 4:26:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anon said,
>>>>> Larry shows himself to be a credulous mouthpiece of the Discovery Institute, simply regurgitating their PR pablum he laps up. <<<<<

Quotation is not regurgitation. Also, I arrived at my views of Jones' speech independently of John West -- the above quotation of West is a new discovery.

Plainer words were never spoken than the above words spoken by Jones.

Friday, March 07, 2008 4:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Buzz Corey said...

Chuckles, why did you wast so many keystrokes? You could have just said #3 and we would know which of your many nutty theories you were parroting.

Friday, March 07, 2008 5:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Hector said...

Where did you get the name of "Chuckles" for Bozo?

Friday, March 07, 2008 6:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

Chuckles was a failed clown from the Mary Tyler Moore show. That is probably the connection with Larry.

Friday, March 07, 2008 8:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This blog has gone dead. Can't Larry find any new material? It is the same old crap over and over.

Saturday, March 08, 2008 3:10:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>> Can't Larry find any new material? It is the same old crap over and over. <<<<<<

You think that other blogs are not repetitive to at least some extent?

The quote from West is new. The quotes from Dembski and Brayton were shown before but I showed them here again to compare with West's.

Saturday, March 08, 2008 7:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> This amazing statement is worthy of further analysis. First, it falsely suggests that people must choose between believing in religious authority (such as the Bible) and "free, rational inquiry." Second, the statement implies that those who believe in the Bible or the teachings of their church are somehow anti-American because they reject the ideals of America's Founders. <

Here is the smoking gun. Proof positive that Larry doesn't understand what he reads.

Sunday, March 09, 2008 9:00:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>> Here is the smoking gun. Proof positive that Larry doesn't understand what he reads. <<<<<<

What "smoking gun"? Those are John West's words, not mine. And I said that accusing Jones of implying that fundies are "anti-American" goes beyond my own criticisms of his speech.

Sunday, March 09, 2008 9:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> What "smoking gun"? Those are John West's words, not mine. <

So you are denouncing them?

Monday, March 10, 2008 9:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Argus said...

It looks like the troll went back into his cave.

Monday, March 10, 2008 4:02:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous said...
>>>>>> What "smoking gun"? Those are John West's words, not mine. <

So you are denouncing them? <<<<<<<

Well, I think "denouncing" is too strong a word -- I just think that John West's statement went too far.

I disagree with a lot of things that West said about Jones' speech. I just generally agree with West that Jones showed extreme prejudice against ID and the Dover defendants.

Argus driveled,
>>>>>> It looks like the troll went back into his cave. <<<<<<

You dunghill, the question is only a few hours old.

Monday, March 10, 2008 6:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> You dunghill, the question is only a few hours old. <

Cretin, to what question did you think he was referring?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 4:33:00 AM  

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