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Books Education Government United States News Politics

California Moves To Block Texas' Textbook Changes 857

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the wurds-our-hard dept.
eldavojohn writes "Yesterday the Texas textbook controversy was reported internationally but the news today heats up the debate as California, a state on the other side of the political spectrum, introduces legislation that would block these textbook changes inside California. Democrat Senator Leland Yee (you may know him as a senator often tackling ESRB ratings on video games) introduced SB1451, which would require California's school board to review books for any of Texas' changes and block the material if any such are found. The bill's text alleges that said changes would be 'a sharp departure from widely accepted historical teachings' and 'a threat to the apolitical nature of public school governance and academic content standards in California.'"
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California Moves To Block Texas' Textbook Changes

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  • by ThePlague (30616) * on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:44AM (#32237054)

    Texas pays more to the feds than it gets back (http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/266.html).

  • Re:Fight them (Score:5, Informative)

    by ArcherB (796902) on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:45AM (#32237082) Journal

    If I were the POTUS I would offer them back to Mexico. Mind you if I were the Mexican president I'd turn the offer down.

    The US did not acquire Texas from Mexico. Texas won its independence from Mexico and then joined the US many years later as an independent nation.

  • Re:Fight them (Score:5, Informative)

    by lwsimon (724555) <lyndsy@lyndsysimon.com> on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:52AM (#32237186) Homepage Journal
    To deny Christianity's role in the founding of America would be an outright lie. Likewise, to say that America is founded solely on the Christian religion would be untrue.

    America was founded on the concepts of individual rights, self-governance, and the idea that man has certain rights that the government as no authority to interject themselves into. While, to my knowledge, all of the Founders themselves were monotheistic or Agnostic, it would be one hell of a stretch to say they shared a common religion.

    Truth be told, a Christian of just about any sort would be at home in early America. Pagans and Athiests, less so, but they would probably be at little risk. Luciferians, Wiccans (who call themselves witches), etc? Ha!
  • Re:Fight them (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:54AM (#32237232)

    So?

    Was there or was there not an independent nation called Texas from 1836 to 1846?

    Louisiana Territory was full of Americans. That doesn't mean we didn't get it from France.

  • by MRe_nl (306212) on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:58AM (#32237300)

    "It's an urban myth, especially in this digital age we live in, when content can be tailored and customized for individual states and school districts," said Jay Diskey, executive director of the schools division of the Association of American Publishers.
    --
    Three companies are responsible for about 75 percent of the country's K-12 textbooks, Diskey estimated. Representatives for two of them--Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and McGraw-Hill--on Friday referred inquiries from The Associated Press to Diskey. The third, Pearson Education Inc., did not respond to a request for comment.
    --
    For now, California's curriculum will not be subject to any modifications, Texas-influenced or otherwise. Last July, the Legislature suspended until 2013 the statewide adoption of new educational materials to give cash-strapped districts a break from buying new textbooks.

  • Re:Fight them (Score:3, Informative)

    by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp @ G m a il.com> on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:00AM (#32237332) Homepage Journal

    ...another fine bit of "historical spin".

    It was American settlers that were doing the original settling and subsequent rebelling.

    If you're arguing against the facts, then the spin is yours. There was a Republic of Texas before there was a State of Texas.

  • Re:Fight them (Score:5, Informative)

    by russotto (537200) on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:01AM (#32237336) Journal

    Thomas Jefferson, as president, signed his documents: "on this date 180x, in the year of our lord, Jesus Christ".

    I love this one. Shows one of two things -- either the speaker is an idiot parroting others, or the speaker is trying to put one over us. A.D. 1776 = Anno Domini 1776 = The year of our lord 1776. The "lord" meant was indeed Jesus Christ, the one old Pope Gregory XIII (of Gregorian Calendar fame) would have recognized. It's just traditional formula.

  • by sribe (304414) on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:03AM (#32237372)

    What information he had and what was going on at the time.

    And what we now know was going on in the Japanese dictatorship at the time, which completely contradicts the notion that Japan was ready to surrender. They were not. Not even after the first bomb. After the second bomb, leadership was divided on the issue of surrender. What pushed Hirohito over the edge, was Stalin's threat of invasion from the north being added to the US threat of invasion.

  • Re:Fight them (Score:5, Informative)

    by DebianDog (472284) <dan@d a n s l a g l e . com> on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:21AM (#32237664) Homepage

    Yes, Jefferson was go religious he re-wrote the new testament of the Bible taking all the "magic" out of it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Bible [wikipedia.org]

  • Is it hyperbole? (Score:5, Informative)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:36AM (#32237964) Journal

    Gotta love the evil conservative hyperbole there.

    No one is implying that all conservatives are evil. That's why it said this:

    The alterations and fallacies made by these extremist conservatives are offensive to our communities and inaccurate of our nation's diverse history.

    Frankly, if you've looked at the changes suggested, anyone in favor of these is an extremist. The best you could say is that they're not truly a conservative, as they're advocating wholesale revision to the point of making shit up. Here, TFA sums it up neatly:

    The Texas recommendations... include adding language saying the country's Founding Fathers were guided by Christian principles and a new section on "the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s." That would include positive references to the Moral Majority, the National Rifle Association and the Contract with America, the congressional GOP manifesto from the 1990s.

    The amendments to the state's curriculum standards also minimize Thomas Jefferson's role in world and U.S. history because he advocated the separation of church and state, and require that students learn about "the unintended consequences" of affirmative action and Title IX, the landmark federal law that bans gender discrimination in education programs and activities.

    If you don't already see that for the steaming pile of bullshit it is, let me break it down for you:

    the country's Founding Fathers were guided by Christian principles

    "Lighthouses are more useful than churches." -- Ben Franklin.

    Thomas Jefferson had some stronger words about the Christian faith in particular, but I couldn't find them offhand. No, these men were largely deists, making this an outright lie. The most charitable interpretation you could make is that they were guided by Christian principles, even if they weren't Christian, but that's obviously mistaken at best -- the Bible itself is clear about submitting to authority, that any Earthly authority (like, say, the British King) was placed there by God. No, they were guided largely by ideas floating around the world at the time, many dating back to the Greeks -- books like Plato's Republic, not the Holy Bible.

    ...a new section on "the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s." That would include positive references to the Moral Majority, the National Rifle Association and the Contract with America, the congressional GOP manifesto from the 1990s.

    Hardly nonpartisan. I suppose you're going to tell me that the books are currently favorable to modern liberals? I'd say that this is pretty damning evidence of these being not just extremists, but conservative extremists.

    The amendments to the state's curriculum standards also minimize Thomas Jefferson's role in world and U.S. history because he advocated the separation of church and state...

    Can't have that, can we? It's only one of the pillars of the Great American Experiment, a prerequisite for religious freedom and expression. I very much doubt anyone writing this is a current member of the Church of England, are they? Then they owe their freedom to practice their current religion to Thomas Jefferson.

    ...and require that students learn about "the unintended consequences" of affirmative action and Title IX, the landmark federal law that bans gender discrimination in education programs and activities.

    Are they really suggesting that banning gender discrimination was a bad idea? If you needed an example of why Yee said, "some Texas politicians may want to set their educational standards back 50 years," this is it.

    I have to imagine that most conservatives would be ashamed to be associated with drivel like this. In light of that, I think the sentence you quoted is entirely true and warranted, as written:

    The alterations and fallacies made by these extremist conservatives are offensive to our communities and inaccurate of our nation's diverse history.

  • Re:Fight them (Score:2, Informative)

    by Lt Wuff (319298) on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:46AM (#32238150) Homepage Journal

    I think I know some of the things that the ACTUAL founding fathers thought about the value of religion in politics.....because they actually said them..
    And while they were Christian, they certainly give me them impression that the role of god in government was ziltch.

    "While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian."

    --The Writings of Washington,

    "The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God."

    --Adams wrote this on June 28, 1813, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson.

    "God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God?"

    --Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, p. 237.

    "Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ."

    --James Madison, America's Providential History, p. 93.

    "When we view the blessings with which our country has been favored, those which we now enjoy, and the means which we possess of handing them down unimpaired to our latest posterity, our attention is irresistibly drawn to the source from whence they flow. Let us then, unite in offering our most grateful acknowledgements for these blessings to the Divine Author of All Good."

    --James Monroe made this statement in his 2nd Annual Message to Congress, November 16, 1818.

    "The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth."

    --Life of John Quincy Adams, p. 248.

    "I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor. I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man."

    --Alexander Hamilton, Famous American Statesmen, p. 126.

  • Re:Fight them (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:47AM (#32238154)

    The silly thing is, you are both correct, to a point
    .
          Mexico, if I recall my history classes correctly, offered the area that is now Texas to fairly generous settlement terms to any and all takers, provided they could meet some basic requirements needed for Mexican citizenship at that time. It was later, when they decided to actually enforce those requirements, that several inhabitants of Texas, mostly immigrants from non-Spanish speaking countries, (such as the U.S.) rebelled, and subsequently declared an independent republic. Soon thereafter, the governing parties of this new republic petitioned to join the U.S., but the U.S. Congress balked at the idea, partly on the basis of a reluctance to assume Texas' war debt with Mexico, and partly to avoid unneccessarily antagonizing their neighbors/ international peers. Eventually, and with considerable reluctance, Congress had a change of heart on the matter, partly due to public sentiment, partly due to questions regarding domestic policy (disposition of slavery, transport logistics to regions further West, there are certainly other reasons) and Texas was brought into the Union.

          The concept of Texas secession later became of increasing importance around the time of the Civil War, and a token permission had been allowed for that provided that if such occurred, the state of Texas would do so not as a single bloc, but as at least 5 seperate entities, supposedly as a consequence for their participation in the Civil War? I may not be remembering that right, though. In any case, it is now, to the best of my knowledge NOT allowed due to a relatively recent legal decision, but as IANAL, someone may wish to further verify (or correct) my recollection.

  • Re:Fight them (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dhalka226 (559740) on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:50AM (#32238238)

    To pretend the Founders were not Christians is anti-truth and makes you no better than the Texan book-writers.

    With all due respect, you have an extremely simplistic view of history and you're using that as the basis of a diatribe.

    Some of the founders were Christians; there is no doubt of that. Many of them were not. Most of them were theists; it takes a special kind of arrogance that only Christians seems to hold to equate theism with Christianity. Jefferson is generally considered a Deist, as was Franklin and Thomas Paine, probably the most influential of our founders aside from Jefferson. A handful more (perhaps Jefferson here as well) were considered Unitarians. The reality is that it is hard to tell, not only because of the passage of time but because of how people--quite on the topic actually--all want to claim great people. It's much the same as both parties claiming that Thomas Jefferson would belong with them if he were alive today. It's hard to separate the truth from the fiction. Suffice it to say that there were many different religious leanings among our founding fathers.

    However, it is also undeniable that whatever their personal beliefs, most wanted to keep them away from government. They put it in the first damn amendment, without which the Constitution would not have passed. When one claims a "Christian backing," even insofar as many of them were personally Christians, it paints a different picture than history seems to support.

    It is also worth noting two things: One, that people wrangle over the very definition of Christian such that it may include everybody under the sun or not--usually those pushing Christianity as the great truth, I suppose. To me the definition is simple; it's what separates the major religions of the planet: Was Jesus Christ the son of God and God himself? It is called Christianity after all. Under that definition you can throw aside the Deists and the vast majority of Unitarians (those who believe he was a supernatural power is a gray area to me) out from under the umbrella. And the second thing to note is the claim of many Christians that, essentially, everything good comes from them. Many Christians even claim that morality comes from Christianity, as if it never existed for the first several thousand years of human history or those of us (myself included) who do not believe are barbarians answerable to no one. I mention this because many people claim the country was founded on a "Christian morality" despite the idea that so many of the most influential founders were not, themselves, Christian.

    So no, even acknowledging that many of the founders were Christians and most were theists, I don't think it is "anti-truth" to say the country was not founded on a Christian base. It was founded primarily on the belief in reason and free thought, on the backs of Jefferson and Paine who were probably among history's biggest advocates of both. Jefferson, for example, is famously quoted as entreating us* to "question with boldness even the existence of a God." Regardless of his personal conclusions, it's pretty clear he valued thought above them. (As a personal aside, I find religion--not belief--to be the antithesis of that, which I could pull another Jefferson quote about but I'm sure you know it.)

    * "Us" through the lens of history. I think the quote actually comes from a letter written to his nephew, but I cannot recall for certain.

  • Re:Fight them (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:51AM (#32238258)

    If I were the POTUS I would offer them back to Mexico. Mind you if I were the Mexican president I'd turn the offer down.

    The US did not acquire Texas from Mexico. Texas won its independence from Mexico and then joined the US many years later as an independent nation.

    He never said we took Texas from Mexico. Now that it is a part of the US we could offer it back to Mexico. Just to keep it legal we should ask for a dollar then it'd be a straight forward land sale. The catch-22 is there's nothing wrong with the land and the problem would still have US citizenship. Simply giving the land and people to Mexico is probably unconstitutional. Then again we have 49 other states that could change the Constitution making the transfer of all things Texas to Mexico legal.

  • by SuperCharlie (1068072) on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:53AM (#32238296)
    I live in rural Texas. What you have here is a buncha people who are independent and are tired of government encroaching on civil liberty and forcing "help" on us. Personally, I am an atheist (actually Buddhist) but yes, I am a minority as most people still go to church on Sunday, help their neighbors and actually wave at you as you drive by. For the most part we believe in personal responsibility and feel that you should reap the benefits of your work as well as the consequences for your actions. To paint the generalization of all Texans as nutjobs is a slap in the face to these hard working people who for the most part just want to be left the hell alone.
  • by blueg3 (192743) on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:57AM (#32238382)

    The areas covered by that legislation has better-than-average foreclosure rates now -- as in, fewer foreclosures. Not to mention that the legislation did not actually require banks to lend money to people without the ability to pay it back.

  • Re:Fight them (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rantastic (583764) on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:58AM (#32238396) Journal

    To pretend the Founders were not Christians is anti-truth and makes you no better than the Texan book-writers.

    That's a straw man argument.

    This issue is not whether or not some or all of the Founding Fathers were Christians. The issue is the claim that the United States was founded according to Christian biblical precepts and thus its laws should reflect these beliefs. This claim is an outright history denying lie perpetrated by Christian Nationalists. This lie is easily revealed by reading what our Founding Fathers had to say about religion and government.

    Some examples:

    Benjamin Franklin: "When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, ‘tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one."

    John Adams: "It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses."

    James Maddison: "Because Religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body. The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former. Their jurisdiction is both derivative and limited: it is limited with regard to the co-ordinate departments, more necessarily is it limited with regard to the constituents. The preservation of a free Government requires not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained; but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves."

    Do some research and you'll find more of the same. Thomas Jefferson had a lot to say about the subject as well.

    Here is another way to look back. In 1797 the Treaty of Tripoli was signed and unanimously ratified by the Senate. It contains the words "As the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion..." and you would think that a "Christian Nation" would be upset by this clear statement. The complete text of this treaty and the news of its signing was published in several newspapers of the day and yet there is no evidence of any public outcry or backlash.

    This nonsense about America being a Christian nation is revisionist history perpetrated by Christian Nationalists in an attempt to subvert the constitution and the clearly articulated intentions of the Founders of the United States. Of course, don't take my word for it, do some research of your own.

  • don't forget slavery (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:18PM (#32238794)

    The Spanish/Mexican upper class enslaved native population of their conquered territory. But to be fair - the French and English in Canada and the US also took Native American slaves, as did many Native American tribes. That's the problem with history, if you care to look at all of it, there is always something that taken out of context can be used to support or demean someone's opinion. History, like science should be viewed critically not politically, if you wish to learn. Those who scrub the data are seeking to obtain an advantage over you to restrict your liberty for their own gain.

  • Re:Fight them (Score:4, Informative)

    by butalearner (1235200) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:23PM (#32238874)

    You have to consider the context. They were practically still burning heretics at the stake at that point in history. I imagine people worked a whole lot harder to reconcile their worldview with religion back then, especially the leader of a country that is overwhelmingly religious.

    Also, this "Jesus Bible" you refer to takes everything supernatural out of the Bible, extracting Jesus' view on morals. In case that's not clear, he is flat out telling you that Jesus was not the son of God. There were no angels, no miracles, no resurrection. If you think that doesn't fly directly in the face of Christianity then I don't know what to tell you.

  • Re:seriously (Score:3, Informative)

    by SpeZek (970136) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:26PM (#32238942) Journal
    Speak for yourself.
    If I'd been born in the USA, right now I'd be in bed. I would have been in bed yesterday too, unable to open my eyes, having some trouble breathing, unable to sleep because of the constant drip of my nose into my throat.
    I wouldn't qualify for any insurance covered treatment in the USA because my allergies are a pre-existing condition, dontcha know. I'd maybe get some cough medicine, which would do nothing more but get me a little high and keep me in bed longer.

    As it turns out, I was born in Canada. When my allergies suddenly struck me at age 6, I was put on a strict immunotherapy regimen and stayed on it for 7 years.
    How much did this cost me? $0.
    How much would it have cost in the USA? More than I want to think about.

    The one thing most people complain about is wait times. They think that their broken finger deserves faster attention than someone who was impaled on a spike. I'll gladly wait, rather than have a system where the amount of money you have dictates the quality, speed, or presence of care.
  • Re:Fight them (Score:5, Informative)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... m ['aho' in gap]> on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:49PM (#32239440) Journal

    Again, there is no such thing as 'devolution,' as evolution does not have a direction, it can't go backward. You also can't disable selection. All you can do is change the selection criteria. You should really stop listening to Social Darwinists, who have bent the theory of evolution into a twisted funhouse mirror version of the real theory, just to excuse their own sick and selfish ideals.

  • by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Monday May 17, 2010 @01:00PM (#32239678) Homepage

    What information he had and what was going on at the time.

    And what we now know was going on in the Japanese dictatorship at the time, which completely contradicts the notion that Japan was ready to surrender. They were not. Not even after the first bomb. After the second bomb, leadership was divided on the issue of surrender. What pushed Hirohito over the edge, was Stalin's threat of invasion from the north being added to the US threat of invasion.

    State it like it's fact, and it is, I guess. But there is room for argument.

    The Japanese leadership, which was in flux, especially with the ousting of Tojo and the "Control Faction," had been discussing surrender long before the dropping of the bombs. The invasion of Okinawa really sealed the fate of the country. True the propaganda talked about arming every last citizen with a pitchfork to fight off the invasion, but that was just that, propaganda. Tokyo was already firebombed into oblivion. B-29s were flying overhead without any resistance. The war was over, and the Japanese leaders knew it.

    What was happening behind the scenes was pretty chaotic. There was at least one and probably more coups planned and staged as various military officers tried to take power. Sure there were some fanatics who wanted to fight to the last man, but they were luckily few by that point. The seppuku blades had gotten a lot of use.

    Surrender did not happen in one shot. Diplomats from different sides were already talking in various foreign embassies. These sorts of prenegotiations usually happen through third party diplomats that both sides see as neutral. The sticking point as usual in WWII was the unconditional part of the surrender that the allies insisted on.

    Russia was sitting on the border of Manchuria refusing to move. Stalin and Churchill in particular enjoyed making life difficult for each other. Relations were already breaking down between the US/British and USSR halves of the allies. Churchill in particular was already talking about Stalin as the real enemy now that Hitler was gone and Germany defeated. Roosevelt was more trusting of Stalin, but at this point he was dead, and Truman had taken office. Truman did not trust Stalin, and when he looked at the post war world, realized that Stalin was the biggest threat to America and Europe, not Japan. Russian tanks had rolled into many Eastern European capitals with a heavy hand.

    Truman had 3 atomic bombs (I know, we say 2, but we probably lost the third to a japanese submarine on its secret delivery to Iwo Jima), and wanted to use them. Yes, they would help push Japan to have a propaganda excuse to finally sign the surrender, but more importantly, they made a big statement to Stalin. As to allowing the emperor to live. That seems to go against the unconditional part of the surrender. The reason was that the US wanted Japan built back up as quickly as possible as a buffer against Stalin (just like his eastern european "allies"), and it helped keep the stability in post war Japan.

    So did we drop the bombs to end the war with Japan, or to start a cold war with the USSR? The answer is yes to both. And anyone who argues exclusively one side or the other is dramatically oversimplifying the situation.

  • Re:Fight them (Score:3, Informative)

    by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Monday May 17, 2010 @01:01PM (#32239692) Homepage Journal

    That *is* laughable, because the only reference to Christianity you quote is from many years after the founding of the country, from such a minor player you felt the need to qualify him as a "founding father" and provide an individual link to Wikipedia.

    You're grasping at straws.

  • Re:Fight them (Score:5, Informative)

    by ericrost (1049312) on Monday May 17, 2010 @01:19PM (#32240076) Homepage Journal

    And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors.

    -Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

    I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent.

    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Hopkinson, March 13, 1789

    Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.

    -Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

    I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved -- the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!

    -John Adams (letter to Thomas Jefferson, Sept. 3, 1816)

    Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifiying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory to itself than this thing called Christianity.

    -Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)

    I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my church.

    -Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)

  • Re:Fight them (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @02:24PM (#32241302)

    Jefferson was a deist. He was able to find some things in the teachings attributed of Jesus that appealed to him, but he had nothing but disdain for the church at large, and he regarded Christians as silly and superstitious. The following quotes (from his letters, which you claim to have read), along with many others like them, make this point clear enough that there should be no debate.

    And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors. (Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823)

    Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him [Jesus] by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being. (Letter to William Short, April 13, 1820)

    And while we're on the subject of America being a Christian nation:

    Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination. (Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom)

    How convenient that your professors were all strawmen. It must have been weird for you.

  • Re:Fight them (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tumbleweed (3706) on Monday May 17, 2010 @02:27PM (#32241370)

    About equivalent to deeming someone a Norse pagan for signing something "on this Thursday, 2010".

    Thor's Day, that is. :)

    Sun Day
    Moon Day
    Tiw's Day
    Woden's Day
    Thor's Day
    Freya's Day
    Satyr's Day

    I wish I could figure out how to get my computer to display the days of the week that way. *sigh*

  • by Anomylous Howard (666178) on Monday May 17, 2010 @02:40PM (#32241630) Homepage

    Democrat Senator Leland Yee...

    "Democrat" is a noun, not an adjective.

  • Re:Fight them (Score:3, Informative)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... m ['aho' in gap]> on Monday May 17, 2010 @02:59PM (#32242052) Journal

    Here it is again, in case you missed it: http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/sci_cult/evolit/s05/web1/mheeney.html [brynmawr.edu]

    What you forget in your analysis is local scarcity and surplus. Pure competition is only the optimal strategy when resources are universally scarce or universally abundant. When you may face localized scarcity or surplus of resources, then cooperation becomes the dominant strategy.

    This has been shown in games theory experiments. You may want to look up the results of such experiments as the dictator game, [wikipedia.org] the public goods game, [wikipedia.org] the prisoner's dilemma game, [wikipedia.org] and, well, any of the games described in games theory. [wikipedia.org] The fact is, human beings are more motivated by notions of fairness and reciprocity than self interest. People will harm themselves in order to punish unfairness. We are not rational, self interested actors. Cooperation is what evolution lead to in humans, because that strategy is more efficient.

    There are many reasons for individuals to cooperate, and not all of them benefit the individual, because evolution does not just work on the individual level. If you can help three or four close relatives succeed and breed, then you have passed on your genes (statistically speaking) to the next generation, even if you don't breed. Also, there is cooperation of the form, "I scratch your back, you scratch mine," or mutual benefit. Then there is the handicap principle: giving away resources proves your fitness to potential mates. It works like the peacock's tail, a decided handicap to survival, but a useful marker for fitness. Obviously, if a peacock can survive and thrive with such a gaudy tail, he must be pretty fit.

    Fortunately for us as a species, we are not wired the way you think we are.

  • Re:Fight them (Score:4, Informative)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday May 17, 2010 @03:21PM (#32242510) Homepage

    They make us weak, if you 'believe' in evolution.

    Maybe if you believe, but not if you understand.

  • by Animats (122034) on Monday May 17, 2010 @03:28PM (#32242644) Homepage

    slap in the face to these hard working people who for the most part just want to be left the hell alone.

    And collect checks from the Federal Government.

    Most of the states from which you hear the most noise about "government encroachment" and "getting rid of Government" get more in Federal expenditures than they pay in taxes. [taxfoundation.org] Montana, from which you hear lots of whining, gets $1.47 back for every $1 they pay in taxes. Alaska gets $1.84; they're pigging out on Federal tax money. New Mexico is the biggest pig of all, at $2.03. And those "liberal" states? They pull their own weight. New York only gets back $0.79 for every dollar they pay in taxes. California gets even less, $0.78. Massachusetts gets $0.82.

    Texas gets $0.94, so they're paying their way, but not by much.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @03:35PM (#32242804)

    Texas does state-wide purchasing of textbooks. I don't think any of the other large states does this, letting localities (or possibly counties) set their own standards. This is where the difference comes in, and it gives the Texas state Board of Education purchasing much more leverage.

  • Re:Fight them (Score:3, Informative)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... m ['aho' in gap]> on Monday May 17, 2010 @04:31PM (#32243926) Journal

    Wrong, and the wiki page you link to shows it. God damn it, man, you should at least read the pages you link to. Evolution does not increase the total information available in the genome. Holding on to all that information comes at a cost, and so, when it is advantageous to let go of useless information, that is what happens. Evolution does not have a direction, sorry.

  • Re:Fight them (Score:3, Informative)

    by jbengt (874751) on Monday May 17, 2010 @05:08PM (#32244622)

    So you're here seriously arguing that birthrate and evolutionary advantage are unrelated ?

    High "birthrate" is one way some species (usually the smaller ones, like insects and fish) ensure the next generation. Humans rely more on a high level of investment in the few offspring they have.
    That's not to say birthrate is totally unimportant (you've gotta have at least some surviving offspring), but that some species have managed to thrive because of relatively low birthrates.

  • by Anomylous Howard (666178) on Monday May 17, 2010 @06:45PM (#32246066) Homepage
    Yep, My Nazi-ism is required again. "Democratic" with a capital D is the correct word. "democratic" with a small "d" is what what you say means something totally different.
  • Re:Fight them (Score:3, Informative)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:05PM (#32248456) Journal

    >>>He was very firmly anti-slavery... except for, you know, owning slaves.

    False. Jefferson no more owned slaves than you own your house. The bankers own your house, and the bankers owned his slaves. Jefferson considered doing as Washington had done, and freeing his slaves, but his lenders would not allow him to do it. Nevertheless Jefferson did free SOME of the slaves as time went on. And when he died, the bankers took everything - house, land, and slaves.

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