I've been watching the US presidential doings with some interest. Purely academic interest because I'm on the other side of the planet and so nobody over there cares what I think about it, nor should they.
It's interesting to us Brits because we don't get the option you have. Our political parties choose the leader themselves. We only get to vote for the party. The current Head Buffoon, Gordon Brown (a name just begging for a parody of the old Stranglers' song, Golden Brown) took over from the Prince of Lies, Tony (I smile because I have no idea what's happening) Blair even though the Brown one was not voted as Prime Minibrain by the public. There is much resentment about this as well as about the lunatic ideas he keeps coming up with. He has proved to be as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle and has a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp. We really don't want the world to think we all look like that.
It seems you US folk get to decide who's going to be presidential candidate for each party first, then have an election to see who gets into the White House. I think that's a good idea. I also have the impression (not sure if it's right) that your President can't just hand over to anyone he likes if he gets a better offer.
Anyway, we get to hear about your candidates over here too.
Barack Obama looks like the leading contender at the moment. I like him. He gives the impression of honesty, which is good for a politician. I don't believe any politician in the world could possibly be really honest, but one who at least makes the effort is worth backing. There is contention in the press that he might have converted to Christianity for political ends. Well, he might have, he might not have. Who can tell, and does it matter really? Every politician knows that America would elect a syphylitic blue gay toothless gibbering basilisk before they would elect an atheist. Whether he's honest, whether he's Christian, doesn't matter. He looks the part. In politics that's most of the battle right there. Politics is a game of bluff. If he's bluffing, he's good at it and therefore good at politics.
The Press love to say he's running as 'the first black President'. From what I've seen, he's not. He's not pushing his skin colour (well, I only have filtered coverage over here. I don't know for sure).
Hilary Clinton is running as the 'first woman President'. It's not working for her because she whines too much. We had a woman Prime Minister once and she had more balls than the entire current government put together. There was none of this 'tears will get me my way' crap with Mrs. Thatcher. Stand in her way and she won't go around or over you. She'll go through. Politics is not for the tearful. Crying won't sway the UN or the Russians and everyone knows it. If Hilary wants to win she should have spent some time with the Iron Lady. There would then be no begging, and definitely no tears.
The only one that worries me is Mike Huckabee. He's running as 'the first President to sound rather like a Mark Twain character' or something and as far as I can tell, his only policy is to get creation taught as science.
Creationism is not science. It's belief. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, it's perfectly reasonable to believe in whatever religious doctrine you choose (except Scientology which is just mad). But it's not science. That's a different thing altogether and whether you think it's right or wrong, it's science. Huckleberry wants to impose Christian dogma on the science class but isn't likely to force the church to teach evolution as a potential alternative to creation. That's beyond unfair. It's silly.
If science, which holds evolution as a central tenet of geology, biology, history etc has to compromise, why doesn't religion?
I see no objection to teaching religious matters in schools. In a class labelled 'Religious Studies', all these things are legitimate. I recall my own experience of such a class at school, where the diminutive but determined catholic teacher taught us the Bible, over and over and over. We had only one immigrant at the time, a Pole who cared less about the subject than we did. We pointed out, often, that there were other religions to learn about such as Druidism (we were British children after all) but really we did this just to watch her face change colour. In fact, her class worked rather well because some of us spent a fair bit of time researching other religions to annoy her with.
Teaching religious beliefs in a science class is like teaching Spanish in a Latin class. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with the material, it's just in the wrong place. The Latin teacher would be well within his/her rights to demand equal time in the Spanish class. Try that with the creationists. They believe the Earth is 6000 years old. Science believes it's older. Why is science's viewpoint less valid on this matter? Why do churches not present evolution as a valid alternative to creation? Evolution doesn't even preclude creation as far as I can tell. It could have been built in by a creator who recognised that things would change. Still, it's not science, and has no place in a science class.
Huckleberry is a fundamentalist and any fundamentalist is dangerous. Fortunately he's not doing too well as far as we in the UK can tell.