what was cheney doing on my birthday this year

I guess we might have to wait for a day or two before we know for sure, but, so far, there’s no sign that the Vice President celebrated my birthday this year the way he did last year — by getting drunk and shooting a friend in the face with a shotgun. (Maybe he was able to get it out of his system this year by blowing apart a few dozen caged birds.)

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  1. t.d. glass
    Posted February 16, 2007 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I hear he paid then thousand dollars to strangle a bald eagle.

  2. It's Skinner Again
    Posted February 16, 2007 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    The 12th was also Darwin’s birthday; I was cheered to see that many churches marked the occasion with “Evolution Sunday.” I’ve been reading “The Origin of Species”: the best way to find out what Darwin thought is to read his books.

    The 15th was also John Frum Day. Happy John Frum day to us all!

  3. egpenet
    Posted February 16, 2007 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Each edition of Darwin’s treatise is a little different in that he had to accommodate to the going theology of the time … when, in fact, his science led him to believe quite the opposite: 1)Evolution not creation is fact; 2) Mutation is accidental, haphazard, often an apparent folly; 3) “Nature” is raw, relentless, and blind (cruel); 4) Man is a critter like any other … albeit a “higher” species (apes, elephants, whales, dolphins) … social, self-conscious, self-absorbed, with a consistent self-interested bent; 5) There is no other apparent ultimate purpose for survival in life than replication.

    Do you wish it weren’t so? Many do. Most come to accept this as fact.

    In the meantime, the search for a greater … more tastefully acceptable … even spiritual purpose for life continues.

    Happy birthday, Dear Charlie, happy birthday to you.

  4. It's Skinner Again
    Posted February 17, 2007 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Have you read Darwin? I get something different from him.

    1. His book is about the origin of species, not the origin of life. He routinely refers to God or a Creator, but is concerned with the mechanics of genetic activity, not with a first cause.

    2. Mutation plays a very small part. Organisms are variable, and respond to a changing and complex environment. He repeatedly stresses that nothing occurs by chance, but according to natural laws.

    3. He continually affirms his love of the richness and complexity of nature. Yes, he does acknowledge that existence can be a struggle, particularly in harsher climates.

    4. This sounds more like the “Social Darwinism” proposed by Spencer and others, and now largely discredited. It has nothing to do with Darwin, or with his ideas, as any evolutionary biologist will tell you. Sociology and genetics are not the same thing.

    5. Darwin didn’t write about the purpose of life, only about how organisms adapt and change. He was a biologist, not a theologian.
    You wouldn’t search for the purpose of life in a chemistry textbook, or a linguistics manual; why expect it from Darwin?

    One philosophical idea can be inferred from Darwin: it’s virtually imposssible to define what a species is, or where to draw the line between species and sub-species, sub-species and variation, variation and individual difference. Nature is fluid and complex, and we have a long way to go before we understand it!

  5. egpenet
    Posted February 17, 2007 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    OK. OK. OK.

    I cannot blame Charlie for everything his scuccessors have concluded these many years since the Beagle dropped anchor.

    However, scientists and those who speak for sciencee today are widly regarded as clearly saying: 1) nature is cruel, 2) life is without meaning and purpose, aside from replication, and, most probably, 3) there is no God.

    Your buddy Charlie would never had gotten published without references to God and creation, plus other subsequent revisions. Given his time and the philosophy of the day … he certainly would and did avoid painting himself as a philosopher or a theologian.

    “Just the facts, ma’am.”

  6. It's Skinner Again
    Posted February 19, 2007 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure who you mean by “scientists,” and who’s doing this “widely regarding.” I suspect that most scientists don’t believe that “nature is cruel,” because cruelty is a human emotion, and nature is not human; that they don’t believe life is only about replication, because they devote their lives to painstaking research rather than to non-stop copulation; and that some believe in God and others don’t, just like the rest of humanity. And what’s wrong with being an atheist, anyway? Do you object to someone holding a different opinion than you about something which is, after all, unknowable?

    What evidence are you hiding there that indicates Darwin was disingenuous whan he mentions God? As I understand it, he was conventionally religious in early years, to the point of considering a career in the clergy; and became more agnostic as he got older. And he avoided painting himself as a theologian or philosopher for the same reason he didn’t paint himself as a playwright: he wasn’t one; he was a biologist.

    If you haven’t read him, you might enjoy him: he’s scrupulous and intelligent, and his love for accurate observation and his wonder for nature are inspiring. Those aren’t bad things!

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