Reagan’s Goal to End the Department of Education Is Finally Gaining Momentum

Ending the Department of Education may seem like a radical idea, but it’s not as crazy as it sounds.


The debate over the federal role in education has been going on for decades. Some say the feds should have a relatively large role while others say it should be relatively small. But while most people believe there should be at least some federal oversight, some believe there should be none at all.

Rep. Thomas Massie is one of those who believes there should be no federal involvement in education, and he is actively working to make that a reality. In February 2021, he introduced H.R. 899, a bill that perfectly encapsulates his views on this issue. It consists of one sentence:

“This bill terminates the Department of Education on December 31, 2022.”

This position may seem radical, but Massie is not alone. The bill had 8 cosponsors when it was introduced and has been gaining support ever since. On Monday, Massie announced that Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) decided to cosponsor the bill, bringing the total number of cosponsors to 18.

Though it may be tempting to think Massie and his supporters just don’t care about education, this is certainly not the case. If anything, they are pushing to end the federal Department of Education precisely because they care about educational outcomes. In their view, the Department is at best not helping and, at worst, may actually be part of the problem.

“Unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. should not be in charge of our children’s intellectual and moral development,” said Massie when he initially introduced the bill. “States and local communities are best positioned to shape curricula that meet the needs of their students.”

Massie is echoing sentiments expressed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, who advocated dismantling the Department of Education even though it had just begun operating in 1980.

“By eliminating the Department of Education less than 2 years after it was created,” said Reagan, “we cannot only reduce the budget but ensure that local needs and preferences, rather than the wishes of Washington, determine the education of our children.”

Before we rush into a decision like this, however, it’s important to consider the consequences. As G. K. Chesterton famously said, “don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.”

So, why was the federal Department of Education set up in the first place? What do they do with their $68 billion budget? Well, when it was initially established it was given 4 main roles, and these are the same roles it fulfills to this day. They are:

  • Establishing policies on federal financial aid for education, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds (which comprise roughly 8 percent of elementary and secondary education spending).
  • Collecting data on America’s schools and disseminating research.
  • Focusing national attention on key educational issues.
  • Prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.

Now, some of these functions arguably shouldn’t exist at all. For instance, if you are opposed to federal funding or federal interference in education on principle, then there is no need for the first and fourth roles. As for the middle two roles, it’s clear that we need people collecting data, disseminating research, and pointing out educational issues. But the question here is not whether these initiatives should exist. The question is whether the federal government should pursue them.

On that question, there’s a good case to be made that leaving these tasks to the state and local level is far more appropriate. Education needs vary from student to student, so educational decisions need to be made as close to the individual student as possible. Federal organizations simply can’t account for the diverse array of educational contexts, which means their one-size-fits-all findings and recommendations will be poorly suited for many classrooms.

Teachers don’t need national administrators telling them how to do their job. They need the freedom and flexibility to tailor their approach to meet the needs of students. It is the local teachers, schools, and districts that know their students’ needs best, which is why they are best positioned to gather data, assess their options, and make decisions about how to meet those needs. Imposing top-down national ideas only gets in the way of these adaptive, customized, local processes.

The federal Department of Education has lofty goals when it comes to student success, but it is simply not the right institution for achieving them. If we really want to improve education, it’s going to require a bottom-up, decentralized approach. So rather than continuing to fund yet another federal bureaucracy, perhaps it’s time to let taxpayers keep their money, and let educators and parents pursue a better avenue for change.

This article was adapted from an issue of the FEE Daily email newsletter. Click here to sign up and get free-market news and analysis like this in your inbox every weekday.

AUTHOR

Patrick Carroll

Patrick Carroll has a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo and is an Editorial Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Joe and Hunter Biden Selling U.S. Natural Gas and Drilling Assets to China

UPDATE: Nord Stream Pipeline Breached


Rep. Comer recently obtained new documents that show Hunter and Joe Biden were working to sell American natural gas and drilling assets to Communist China.Rep. James Comer (R-KY) went on with John Solomon from Just the News on RAV on Thursday.

The Biden regime has banned energy for Americans. But plenty for their paymasters

Treason as policy.

From the Committee on  Oversight and Reform:

House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) today is pressing Department of the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for information about the Biden family selling American natural gas to China in 2017 and Joe Biden’s involvement. Documents and communications obtained by Committee Republicans reveal Joe Biden was involved in the arrangement as a business partner, had office space, and may have benefitted financially from his family’s transaction selling American energy to a Chinese business closely affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party. Ranking Member Comer is calling on Secretary Yellen to provide all suspicious activity reports for the Biden family’s transactions with Chinese entities.

“Documents obtained by Committee Republicans show that the Biden family received millions of dollars from a Chinese business closely affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party, and therefore the Chinese government, to ship American natural gas to China. According to additional information provided by a whistleblower, Joe Biden was involved with this arrangement as a business partner, and documents reveal he even had office space to work on the deal. This comes to light at a time when the cost of natural gas is at a 14-year high and Americans struggle to pay their energy bills. The President has not only misled the American public about his past foreign business transactions, but he also failed to disclose that he played a critical role in arranging a business deal to sell American natural resources to the Chinese while planning to run for President,” wrote Ranking Member Comer. “We are concerned that the President may have compromised national security in his dealings with the country most adverse to U.S. interests—China.”

Under the Biden Administration, the Treasury Department changed its policy for releasing Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs)—a tool provided in the Bank Secrecy Act—to Congress. According to media reports, Hunter Biden and other Biden family members have racked up at least 150 SARs related to their foreign business deals. On May 25, 2022, Ranking Member Comer wrote to Secretary Yellen requesting all SARs generated for Hunter Biden and other Biden associates and family members’ financial transactions. He reiterated his request on July 6, 2022. In the Treasury Department’s September 2, 2022, letter to Committee Republicans, Treasury stated that SARs may be provided “upon a written request stating the particular information desired, the criminal, tax or regulatory purpose for which the information is sought, and the official need for the information.”

“Multiple whistleblowers have confirmed to Committee Republicans that from 2017 to 2021, the Biden family made promises to business associates that: (1) Joe Biden would run for President in 2020 and, (2) those who worked with the Bidens in 2017 onward would reap the rewards in a future Biden Administration. As America now struggles in an energy crisis, it is critical to understand why the Biden family was selling American energy reserves to the Chinese, if that is affecting President Biden’s decision making today, and why President Biden has never disclosed his relationship with the Chinese to the American public,” continued Ranking Member Comer. “If President Biden has worked to enrich not only himself but his family by promising, in exchange for millions of dollars, access or policy influence in a future Biden Administration, Congress and the American people are entitled to that information. Particularly since the Biden family promised business partners similar access to a future Biden Administration in other business deals, all while President Biden continues to deny any knowledge of Hunter Biden’s business dealings.”

The letter to Secretary Yellen and associated documents can be found here.

AUTHOR

RELATED TWEET:

RELATED ARTICLES:

Ron DeSantis Shows Biden How It’s Done, Blocks China From Buying Land Near US Military Bases In Florida

GOP reps seek Treasury reports on ‘millions’ paid to Biden family by Chinese company

Biden Regime Pushing For NUCLEAR WAR

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Help Wanted, ‘Candidate must CARRY A FIREARM AND BE WILLING TO USE DEADLY FORCE.’ New ad for police? NO! for the IRS!

Until we recognize that the Globalists are our enemy, that they are in both parties, and unless we call them our enemy, we lose. These people are NOT American. They want the destruction of America and for the past 60 years they have been teaching our kids that Americans and America is the enemy.  Slowly these globalists have turned America’s bureaucratic agencies into the private military Obama wanted. Who will IRS agents, Agricultural agents, Educational agents etc. shoot? Why Americans of course. After all Americans, MAGA, are the enemy.

What do they think of us? “The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”Club of Rome, premier environmental think-tank, consultants to the United Nations.     Where are these kids today? In government, media and Wall St. Who is their enemy? Americans

What do Globalists believe: “Global Sustainability requires the deliberate quest of poverty, reduced resource consumption and set levels of mortality control.” – Professor Maurice King, Agenda 21

Americans  are the enemy. They are too rich, have to many luxuries and must be cut down to the rest of the world. They want us controlled, impoverished, enslaved or dead. They will stop at nothing to maintain power. So they merged agencies and armed them while taking away Americans means of protection.  When I say that I am constantly asked , “what American will fire on another American to collect delinquent taxes?  Do you think any illegal with Obiden papers, who has no allegiance to America and Americans, working for the government will just follow directions and shoot? What if these illegals become police or soldiers or the private army Obama kept calling for.

All policies in the Green Broke Deal can be found in UN Agenda 21 here.

This document is over 300 pages, 40 chapters of total control over the means of production and distribution of all means of human activity. Today this document goes by many names i.e: Great Reset, Green New Deal, Build Back Better, Agenda 2030, Sustainable Development, Resilient Cities. But remember a name change is not a content change. They all lead to one place, the destruction of America and the western freedom.

Who are these Globalists? Where did they get their ideas? Remember as I said before, these people are not Americans. They want the destruction of America and will make it happen. Globalists follow their leaders. The original elite were educated in the Frankfort School, today the Aspen Institute, UN, and WEF are carrying the agenda.  Sadly Globalists take the worst from each ideology, merge them together into an illogical, incoherent overly expensive policy designed to destroy American values and culture.  The next time Tucker of anyone else says, seems like the DNC is getting dumber, why? The answer is school and Affirmative Action.

Here are a few of Founders of the Marxist DNC and RINOS and what they promote:

John Maynard KeynesKeynesian economics 1883-1946

Keynes stated that if Investment exceeds Saving, there will be inflation. If Saving exceeds Investment there will be recession.  “For the engine which drives Enterprise is not Thrift, but Profit.” businesses and people tighten their belts and spend less money. Lower spending results in demand falling further and a vicious circle ensues of job losses and further falls in spending. Keynes’s solution to the problem was that governments should borrow money and boost demand by pushing the money into the economy. Once the economy recovered, and was expanding again, governments should pay back the loans. Keynes’s view that governments should play a major role in economic management marked

Karl Marx – 1883  Communism, Das Kapital 

While many equate Karl Marx with socialism, his work on understanding capitalism as a social and economic system remains a valid critique in the modern era. In Das Kapital (Capital in English), Marx argues that society is composed of two main classes: Capitalists are the business owners who organize the process of production and who own the means of production such as factories, tools, and raw material, and who are also entitled to any and all profits.

The other, much larger class is composed of labor (which Marx termed the “proletariat”). Laborers do not own or have any claim to the means of production, the finished products they work on, or any of the profits generated from sales of those products. Rather, labor works only in return for a money wage. Marx argued that because of this uneven arrangement, capitalists exploit workers.

Fabian – 1884  Fabianism became prominent in British socialist theory in the 1880s. The early Fabians rejected the revolutionary doctrines of Marxism, recommending instead a gradual transition to a socialist society. When Fabianism emerged in the United Kingdom during the 1880s, collectivism was widely considered necessary for human flourishing. believed that substantial state intervention would be necessary if ordinary individuals were to prosper. That dominant position also involved collective responsibility for children’s education and nutrition, housing, and employment, along with support for care of the sick and aged.  https://www.britannica.com/event/Fabianism

Thomas Robert Malthues – 1766-1834 best known for his theory that population growth will always tend to outrun the food supply and that betterment of humankind is impossible without stern limits on reproduction. This thinking is commonly referred to as Malthusianism.  Population will always expand to the limit of subsistence. Only “vice” (including “the commission of war”), “misery” (including famine or want of food and ill health), and “moral restraint” (i.e., abstinence) could check this excessive growth.

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Thomas-Malthus

Machiavellianism : named after the political philosophy of Niccolò Machiavelli,  In the field of personality psychology, Machiavellianism is a personality trait centered on manipulativeness, callousness, and indifference to morality. The political philosophy that, “the ends justify the means.” Those who follow this political concept are more likely to have a high level of deceitfulness and an unempathetic temperament.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Machiavellianism

Hegelian Dialectic: The ruling elite create the crisis. They let the crisis fester until it become normalized. Something other than the real cause is blamed. Once the crisis escalates, the people demand a solution. The solution is offered by the same elite who created the problem.  This process is repeated over and over and simultaneously until the desired elite agenda is achieved. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hegel-dialectics/

World Economic Forum WEF – Klaus Schwab “You will own nothing and be happy.”  The first thing to go is your private car.

https://citizenfreepress.com/breaking/wef-calls-for-end-of-private-car-ownership/

WEF Dr. Harari:  Just give the humans drugs and video games and they will be happy.

FBI terror list: https://republicbrief.com/fbis-cheat-sheet-for-dangerous-militia-symbols-includes-betsy-ross-flag/

‘Extremist’ symbols on the leaked FBI list include the so-called ‘Betsy Ross’ flag from 1777, The ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ Gadsden flag, the ‘2A’ abbreviation for the Second Amendment, and the ‘Tree of Liberty.’

Globalist believe that humans are nothing more than animals and should be corralled into cities where they will be easier to control. Electricity, energy, food, healthcare  mobility, housing, employment, education will be controlled by the government. They do not care about the damage they do to the people, because the people are the enemy. After they have destroyed MAGA, they will find another group to vilify. As the late, great George Carlin said, “They have a club and we ain’t in it.” As long as the Globalists are living la vida loca they do not care. We can rot. You can see their indifference and distain for the  illegals sent to Martha’s Vineyard.  Thanks to Obama’s parting gift of Exec order 12333, Expanding Surveillance Powers to spy on Americans all agencies are merging information and  are now armed to fight who, Americans?

How do they want us to live?

Sustainable Development: Sustainable Development means control. Humans will be forced off rural lands and forced into cities so rural land can go back to the animals and humans can be controlled.  They can’t get me you say. Have a smart meter? The globalists control the power in your house.

https://karenbracken.substack.com//tuesday-07-26-22-truth-bomb

The Globalists know:

  1. Everything in America today is connected.
  2. There are no coincidences or random acts
  3. Everything has a plan
  4. All plans are based on lies.

Money Power, Control is their mantra.

The Next time you hear about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), switch the words around and say Diversity, Inclusion, Equity to DIE. That is what they want us to do and you will make them nuts.

Is America worth saving?

©Karen Schoen. All rights reserved.

RELATED VIDEO: Defeating The Great Reset

DOJ Tramples on the Constitution

The United States under the Biden administration is using the force of government to harass the late Phyllis Schlafly’s group in Alabama.

In recent months, the Eagle Forum of Alabama has helped write legislation in that state to protect children with gender confusion from receiving “treatment” that could permanently damage them.

In his End of Day Report (9/9/22), Gary Bauer writes, “After Alabama banned transgender surgeries on children, the Biden Administration sued the state in federal court to block the law. But they’re not just arguing against the constitutionality of the law. They are also going after a conservative public policy group that lobbied on behalf of the law.” Of course, that group is the Eagle Forum of Alabama.

The United States’ Department of Justice issued a subpoena in August demanding records from the Eagle Forum of Alabama, stating: “Several public statements suggest that Eagle Forum of Alabama staff may have had some involvement in drafting the legislation or its predecessor bills. As a result, the United States is issuing the enclosed subpoena for certain records in the Eagle Forum of Alabama’s possession from January 1, 2017 through the present.”

The official subpoena demands: “any draft legislation, proposed legislations, or model legislation.” This included all their communiques on the subject, e.g., “any social media postings.”

Eagle Forum of Alabama responded to this “unprecedented request”: “This should cause every single advocacy group or individual in America engaged in the legislative process to pause and consider the potential ramifications if any part of this subpoena is allowed to stand.” Becky Garritson, the executive director of the organization, explained more to me on a radio segment.

Kristen Ullman, president of Eagle Forum (nationally), comments on the wider issue here: “If the Department of Justice doesn’t like your viewpoint it may target you next.”

What is the government alleging was illegal? Certainly it’s not illegal for an organization to be involved with crafting legislation?

The Biden Administration’s action is particularly astounding because we do not yet fully grasp the long-term deleterious effects of the puberty blockers and body-part-removal surgeries to “cure” gender dysphoria.

In her eye-opening book, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters (2020), Abigail Shrier chronicles the incredible harm being foisted on so many children in our society today, especially girls, because of this current fad of transgender mania.

Shrier, a writer for The Wall Street Journal, notes, “In 2016, natal females accounted for 46 percent of all sex reassignment surgeries in the United States. A year later it was 70 percent.”

She adds, “Some small proportion of the population will always be transgender. But perhaps the current craze will not always lure troubled young girls with no history of gender dysphoria, enlisting them in a lifetime of hormone dependency and disfiguring surgeries….No adolescent should pay this high a price for having been, briefly, a follower.”

The left is imposing on this country a form of mental insanity. Both God and science teach us that we are either male or female. God said He has created us male or female in His image. Science teaches us that we have trillions of cells in the human body, and virtually every one of them provides a marker that you are either male or female.

No one denies gender dysphoria, where some children feel confused. “Am I a girl trapped in a boy’s body?” they wonder. But experts say that about 95% of these children with gender dysphoria will grow out of this by around puberty—if the process is not interrupted along the way.

Tragically, there are many people in high places that are interrupting this process all too often.

And then when children go through with some form of transition, very often deep depression follows, as documented at www.sexchangeregret.com, a ministry to help the hurting.

Dr. Ryan T. Anderson, author of When Harry Became Sally, writes: “The most thorough follow-up of sex-reassigned people—extending over 30 years and conducted in Sweden, where the culture is strongly supportive of the transgendered—documents their lifelong mental unrest. Ten to 15 years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery rose to 20 times that of comparable peers.”

The founders gave us the First Amendment to enshrine in the Constitution the right to freely practice religion and by extension, the right of conscience. We also have free speech rights and the right to petition our government in case of grievances. That would include lobbying for legislation for the good of society.

But the Biden administration is steam rolling over conscience rights, despite the Constitution.

Phyllis Schlafly herself once told me in a 2004 television interview: “The Constitution is not out of date.  It’s just as good today as when it was written.” Would that it was being followed today by the Biden administration.

©Jerry Newcombe. All rights reserved.

RELATED TWEET:

‘Shame And Horror’: Tucker Carlson Doesn’t Mince Words Blasting Doctors Who Perform Sex Changes On Kids

Fox News host Tucker Carlson blasted doctors and universities involved in performing sex changes on children Wednesday evening.

“Never has American medicine been more transparently a racket than it is right now. With the most basic ethical guidelines gone, completely ignored, we should not be surprised to learn that some hospitals have decided to monetize the mental anguish of children,” Carlson said in reference to recent news stories on hospitals providing sex change treatments to children. “Consider the University of California at San Francisco hospital. Supposedly it’s one of the best in the world, UCSF, despite its august reputation, is not even trying to behave responsibly when it comes to children who have been convinced by TikTok they should change their sex.”

Carlson claimed that this meant that groups like the Human Rights Campaign and other activists supported such procedures, while hospitals viewed the procedures as moneymakers, playing a video from one administrator at Vanderbilt University shared by Daily Wire columnist Matt Walsh that reportedly outlined how one procedure brought in $40,000.

Walsh posted a thread on Twitter featuring videos of officials at Vanderbilt University Tuesday. Walsh later tweeted that Vanderbilt took the page down after his initial thread on the social media site.

WATCH:

Republican Gov. Bill Lee and Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee called for an investigation into the practices at Vanderbilt in response to the reports. The university denied wrongdoing in a statement, according to Fox News.

“The truth is people who are horrified for this are not the bad actors. Vanderbilt is a bad actor. They just admitted on camera to castrating children as young as 13 years old,” Carlson said.

“Five years from now, we’re going to look back at this, like a lot of things we’ve done recently, like destroying public art and statues, and the Covid vaccine, so many of the things we done without thinking about it in an environment where no one is allowed to protest and we’re going to look back at shame and horror,” Carlson said.

AUTHOR

HAROLD HUTCHISON

Reporter.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Stacey Abrams Claims Six-Week Fetal Heartbeats ‘Manufactured’ To Help Men Control Women

Chicago Children’s Hospital Promotes Sex Toys And Gender Affirming Tools For Schools

Hospital Assigned ‘Trans Buddies’ To Pressure Doctors Into Affirming Children’s Gender Identity

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

VIDEO: ‘Climate Emergency’ Is a Hoax, International Study Finds

Only a monumentally absurd hoax like ‘climate change’ could accommodate the irrational, destructive, obscenely costly policies the Democrats have unleashed on the besieged American people.

One commenter remarked, “I remember in early 70’s elementary school it was industrial pollution and the end of clean water. Then it was the ozone layer because of hairspray and refrigeration. After that I believe it became methane gas from cow flatulency in huge beef operations.”

‘Climate Emergency’ Is a Hoax, International Study Finds

By: Frank Bergman, Slay News, September 21, 2022:

Claims of a looming “climate change emergency” are a fearmongering hoax, according to a new international study.

Researchers in Italy concluded that there is “no evidence” to support warnings of a “climate emergency.”

The study’s authors reached the conclusion after analyzing data from heat waves, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and ecosystem productivity.

The results of the study were reported by Sky News Australia.

“While every fear-mongering greenie is saying we’ve never seen flooding like we have in recent years… the report found the opposite,” Sky News host Chris Smith reported.

Smith explains that the politically correct conversations in recent years have stated, without basis, that “whatever disaster” is happening, “we’ve never seen anything like this before.”

It’s always “unprecedented,” he said.

However, the research concluded that there’s “no evidence of a climate emergency in the record to date. No evidence,” he said.

He noted that none of the authors involved in the study are so-called “climate deniers.”

Rather, their recommendations are to prepare to make adjustments and changes.

altering the framework of priorities with negative effects that could prove deleterious to our ability to face the challenges of the future, squandering natural and human resources in an economically difficult context.”

Smith cited the billions of dollars that climate-change devotees are planning to spend on electric vehicles and projects, windmills, and more.

The study continues: “Although evidence of an increase in total annual precipitation is observed on a global level, corresponding evidence for increases in flooding remains elusive and a long list of studies shows little or no evidence of increased flood magnitudes with some studies finding more evidence of decreases than increases.”

AUTHOR

RELATED TWEET:

RELATED ARTICLE: On Behalf Of Environmentalists, I Apologize For The Climate Scare

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Air Force Academy Diversity Training Tells Cadets: ‘Don’t Say Terrorist,’ ‘Include All Genders​’ & Drop ‘Mom and Dad’

When our military is forced by a Democratic administration to concern itself with the most atrocious woke nonsense, something which the Chinese and Russian military don’t even acknowledge as being relevant to their mission, it is a sure sign that when the next great conflict comes America will not emerge as the victor.

Defeat, once thought impossible, can now be foreseen. Disgrace is one thing but treachery is something else. Read on:

Don’t Say Terrorist: Air Force Academy Teaches Cadets ‘Inclusive Language’

The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) is training its cadets to “use inclusive language” that bars them from calling people “terrorists” or using male and female identifiers, according to an official presentation being used by the elite military school and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The presentation, titled, “Diversity & Inclusion: What It Is, Why We Care, & What We Can Do,” takes cadets through a series of exercises meant to eradicate their use of gender pronouns and reinforce the need for inclusive language that avoids “stereotypes, bias, and microaggressions.” One portion of the presentation tells cadets to avoid language such as “you guys,” “terrorists,” and “colorblind.”

Air Force Academy diversity training tells cadets to use words that ‘include all genders​,’ drop ‘mom and dad’

Air Force Academy also tells cadets to be ‘Color Conscious’ instead of ‘Colorblind’

By Jessica Chasmar | Fox News

EXCLUSIVE: A diversity and inclusion training by the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado instructs cadets to use words that “include all genders” and to refrain from saying things like “mom” and “dad.”

The slide presentation titled, “Diversity & Inclusion: What it is, why we care, & what we can do,” obtained by Fox News Digital, advises cadets to use “person-centered” and gender-neutral language when describing individuals.

“Some families are headed by single parents, grandparents, foster parents, two moms, two dads, etc.: consider ‘parent or caregiver’ instead of ‘mom and dad,’” the presentation states. “Use words that include all genders​: ‘Folks’ or ‘Y’all’ instead of ‘guys’; ‘partner’ vs. ‘boyfriend or girlfriend.’”

“Not ‘Colorblind’ or ‘I don’t see color,’ but Color Conscious,” it adds. “We see Color/Patterns AND VALUE people for their uniqueness.”

Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., a Green Beret and Afghan War veteran, pointed out during an interview with Fox News Digital that “it’s been a tradition in the military to get letters from mom and dad or your boyfriend and girlfriend for as long as there’s been a military.”

“Now we’re instructing every cadet entering the Air Force to not say ‘mom’ and ‘dad,’ to not say ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend,’ and this kind of drive towards gender neutrality,” he said. “I think the Air Force should be worried about the macro aggressions against America that are happening all over the world.”

The diversity and inclusion (D&I) training also includes an exercise asking cadets to separate into small groups and write down as many “G-Animals,” or animals that start with the letter “G,” that they can think of in one minute’s time.

“What does this activity show us about the power of combining our diverse perspectives?​” the activity asks. “If this were an operational USAF/USSF [United States Space Force] challenge (think COA [course of action] development) what risks might be present if we did not fully leverage the diversity of our group?”
One slide in the presentation claims that D&I training is critical for “developing warfighters” to be “prepared to lead the USAF/USSF with character.”

“How can we Lift Others (motivate our teams) if we don’t know our people?” it asks. “How can we Elevate Performance if we don’t include people during planning and execution?​”

“Today we are preparing to face challenges that may not exist today,” the training says. “For example, Information Warfare only became a career field 7 years ago, and we stood up the Space Force in 2019. This makes our need to innovate critical. Thus, our leaders have deemed D&I a warfighting imperative.”
A slide presentation by the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado titled, “Diversity and Inclusion: What it is, why we care, and what we can do.”……

AUTHOR

RELATED ARTICLE: Air Force wokeism: Awarding purple ribbons for dropping ‘mom’ and ‘dad’

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on CRT: ‘We Will Not Allow Schools to Twist History’

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) vowed on Tuesday, after being asked about legal efforts to end the “Stop W.O.K.E Act” in Florida, that his state will not allow schools to “twist history” to back the false narrative of the left.

Asked about woke teachers who are worried the measure will “lead to a whitewashing of teaching of slavery and other issues,” DeSantis told them to read Florida statues, as they are “required to teach slavery, the post reconstruction and segregation, [and] Civil Rights,” he said. “Those are core parts of American history that should be taught” — but “taught accurately.”

“For example, the 1619 Project is a CRT [Critical Race Theory] version of history. It’s supported by the New York Times. They want to teach our kids that the American revolution was fought to protect slavery, and that’s false,” DeSantis said. “We know why the American Revolution was fought.”

“They wrote pamphlets. We saw them dump tea into the Boston Harbor. We saw meet in Philadelphia and we have the records of why they revolted against king George III. And so it was the American Revolution that caused people to question slavery,” DeSantis said, emphasizing that Americans collectively agreed that we are “endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights and that we are all created equal.”

“You can’t teach history that’s being used to pursue an ideological agenda. You can’t teach that the foundations of our country were somehow evil. Our founders pledged their lives, fortunes, sacred honor, and they put a marker in the sand,” he said, explaining that it did not live up to all the ideals right away, but “every major movement in our country’s history has gone right back to those core principles.”

DeSantis added that Florida, under his leadership, will not allow this radical movement to de-legitimize founders such as George Washington.


Critical Race Theory

14 Known Connections

Founded by the late Derrick Bell, critical race theory is an academic discipline which maintains that society is divided along racial lines into (white) oppressors and (black) victims, similar to the way Marxism frames the oppressor/victim dichotomy along class lines. Critical race theory contends that America is permanently racist to its core, and that consequently the nation’s legal structures are, by definition, racist and invalid. As Emory University professor Dorothy Brown puts it, critical race theory “seeks to highlight the ways in which the law is not neutral and objective but designed to support white supremacy and the subordination of people of color.” A logical derivative of this premise, according to critical race theory, is that the members of “oppressed” racial groups are entitled—in fact obligated—to determine for themselves which laws and traditions have merit and are worth observing…

To learn more about Critical Race Theory, click here.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Abbott Takes Commanding Lead over Beto in TX Governor’s Race

Jayapal: GOP Saying Border’s Open is ‘Big Part of the Problem’

Jean-Pierre Doesn’t Deny DHS Pitched Flying Migrants to L.A.

EDITORS NOTE: This Discover the Networks column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Two Commentaries on Bishops “Blessing” Same-Sex “Unions”

Blessing or a Curse?

Stephen P. White

The Flemish bishops of Belgium published a document this week on pastoral care for homosexual persons. The most notable aspect of the document is its inclusion of a text for blessing same-sex couples. The bishops plan to present the text to Pope Francis when they travel to Rome for their ad limina visit later this year.

One of the more exasperating particulars in this case is that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a response to questions about the blessing of same-sex unions just last year. That document, published with the express approval of Pope Francis, makes clear that, “the Church does not have, and cannot have, the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex.”

If one were to read the CDF’s document and the Flemish bishops’ side by side, not knowing which was published first, it would be very easy to assume that the former was a direct response and rebuttal of the latter. That the Flemish bishops felt they could contradict the CDF and Pope Francis so openly, and with impunity, is as telling as it is troubling.

It’s not just that the Flemish bishops ignored the CDF’s clear directive; it’s as though they went out of their way to explicitly contradict it. The Belgian bishops are borrowing a page out of the playbook of their German confreres: Craft a proposal that upends or twists Church teaching (usually taking sides with the spirit of the age against the Church on matters dealing with sex), wrap it up with cherry-picked quotations from Pope Francis, and then, over Rome’s objections, present it as a fait accompli.

For his part, the Holy Father has made it clear, repeatedly, that he has reservations about the direction being taken by the German Synodal Way. He may do the same with the Flemish bishops. But it is also clear that the more progressive bishops conferences in Europe feel no qualms about blowing through every yellow caution light Rome flashes their way.

The Flemish bishops, for their part, have gone out of their way to insist that the blessing of homosexual unions must not be mistaken for the sacrament of marriage. Fair enough. But this emphasis, if anything, only underscores how far off its moorings the Belgian pastoral approach has drifted in its attempt to condone and bless such unions.

It is as if the Flemish bishops are saying, “No, see, this is okay because we’re only blessing couples who engage in sexual activity outside of the sacrament of marriage.”

(A spokesman for the Flemish bishops, somewhat comically, tried to suggest that the text for a blessing included in the bishops’ document wasn’t really a “blessing,” but no one is buying that line. As Fr. James Martin pointed out to the Washington Post, the text is clearly “asking God to be with same-sex partners not only in the home they share, but in what the prayer calls their ‘commitment.’”)

Of course, the Church’s fundamental objection to homosexual unions is not that they “look like marriage” (that objection is secondary); it is precisely that such unions are premised on sexual acts outside of marriage. And sexual acts outside of marriage are objectively wrong. For everyone.

And that, it seems, is the sticking point. The only way to make any sense of the Belgian bishops’ position is to hold – as they suggest that they do – that sexual unions outside of marriage (homosexual or otherwise), while not marriages, constitute some other neutral or even positive good.

Here the Flemish bishops run head-on into the position laid out so well by the CDF last spring:

[I]n order to conform with the nature of sacramentals, when a blessing is invoked on particular human relationships, in addition to the right intention of those who participate, it is necessary that what is blessed be objectively and positively ordered to receive and express grace, according to the designs of God inscribed in creation, and fully revealed by Christ the Lord. Therefore, only those realities which are in themselves ordered to serve those ends are congruent with the essence of the blessing imparted by the Church.

For this reason, it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex. The presence in such relationships of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated, cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing, since the positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan.

As I said, it is difficult to comprehend the position of the Flemish bishops except as an attempt to circumvent the Church’s teaching, based in Divine Revelation, that sexual acts belong only within marriage. As always, a failure in truth leads by a short path to failure in genuine charity. As the CDF wrote last year:

[T]he Church recalls that God Himself never ceases to bless each of His pilgrim children in this world, because for Him “we are more important to God than all of the sins that we can commit.” But he does not and cannot bless sin: he blesses sinful man, so that he may recognize that he is part of his plan of love and allow himself to be changed by him. He in fact “takes us as we are, but never leaves us as we are.”

Accompanying people with same-sex attraction – each one a son or daughter of God – requires a confidence in the gift of God’s revealed plan for human sexuality. Wavering on the meaning of that gift, indulging confusion about the beauty and significance of that gift, helps no one.

To do so is to risk transforming a great blessing into a curse.

AUTHOR

Stephen P. White is executive director of The Catholic Project at The Catholic University of America and a fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.


False Shepherds Leading the Sheep Astray

Fr. Gerald E. Murray

The Flemish-speaking bishops of Belgium have issued a so-called blessing service for the union of homosexual couples. This imposture is obviously in complete contradiction to the Catholic Faith – an unholy parody of the blessing given within a Catholic marriage ceremony. It represents a manifest loss of faith on the part of these shepherds, who swore to uphold the Catholic Faith at the time of their episcopal consecration and have now publicly rejected that Faith by embracing what is offensive to God.

He created man and woman with complementary sexual faculties and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply. He also forbade them to misuse their sexual faculties by engaging in sodomy.

When a priest blesses a man and a woman who pledge their vows in marriage, he is calling upon God to favor them with His grace and strength to fulfill those vows. God’s favor does not, and cannot, rest upon two men or two women who pledge to violate His law by promising to sodomize each other.

Sodomy is a mortal sin that violates the natural order created by God through a grave misuse of the sexual faculty – a plain violation of the natural law, condemned in the Sacred Scriptures as a sin of grave moral turpitude.

The embrace of sodomy by these bishops is disgraceful. The prayer they suggest for the conclusion of the “blessing” ceremony runs: “God. . . .You know their hearts and the path they will take together from now on. Make their commitment to each other strong and faithful.”

God has already told us that He condemns the path that these two have embarked upon. Mortal sin is a path to Hell. A commitment to engage in mortal sin is a deadly pact that spiritually harms each person involved. Asking God to make this deadly pact “strong and faithful” is a diabolical perversion of the duty of the Church’s ministers to lead the sheep away from sin with the help of God’s grace.

Do these bishops think that God wants people to ask His help in violating His law?

What the bishops have done is stupefying. They’re false shepherds, leading their sheep astray into grave sin. They are confirming people in behavior that destroys souls.

The suggested “vows” include this incredible prayer: “We thank you that we could find each other. We want to be there for each other in all circumstances of life. We confidently express here that we want to work on each other’s happiness, day by day.”

No thanks should be offered to God for finding an accomplice in mortal sin. God condemns mortal sin. He wants us to avoid both it and the near occasion of sin, which means we should shun unholy friendships that may lead to sin. Leading someone to commit sodomy will never produce happiness, but rather plunges the soul into the darkness and disorientation of separation from God.

The bishops attempt to justify their departure from the Faith by making the specious claim that homosexuals who “choose to live as a couple” have entered into a relationship that “can be a source of peace and shared happiness for those involved.”

Do the bishops really believe that violating God’s law brings peace and happiness? If they do, then they need to recognize their spiritual blindness and repent. They cannot pledge that they are faithful to Christ and his Gospel, and at the same time reject the Divine Law on sexual morality. If they will not repent, they should resign.

But we all know that they will not do that. They view themselves not as willful subversives working to overthrow Christian morality, but rather as bold prophets of a new, reworked Christianity in which sodomy is no longer sinful, but is rather part of God’s plan for Creation.

They describe homosexual unions as “life situations that do not fully live up to the objective ideal of marriage.” But sodomite unions are not “life situations” that happen outside of one’s control. They are a freely chosen way of life that in no way resembles marriage, but rather is a complete counterfeit. Marriage is not an “objective ideal,” in the sense of something one can strive for but which, in fact, only a few attain. Marriage is God’s plan for man and woman.

For these wayward shepherds, homosexual unions can be “the generous response one can give to God. . .the self-giving that God asks for amid the complexity of concrete restraints, even when the full objective ideal is not achieved.” This is nonsense, plain and simple. There is no “generous response to God” in violating God’s law and seeking to justify that violation by claiming that it is something that God allows and looks upon favorably.

The Flemish hierarchy has decided to launch a full-scale attack on the Catholic Faith under the guise of creating “a climate of respect, recognition and integration.” Their infidelity is in fact a clear example of disrespect to God and his law, and a refusal to recognize that law as being normative. Rather than promote the integration into Christ of those who are troubled with homosexual temptations, the wayward shepherds confirm them in a gravely sinful lifestyle by telling them that God approves of what they are doing.

Pope Francis is duty-bound to protect the flock from wolves, especially those who teach error with the authority given them by the Church when they were named bishops. The Catholic faithful need to hear from him that preaching error and immorality will not be tolerated.

The Catholics of Belgium need to be protected from their own bishops who are attempting to destroy Catholicism and replace it with a monstrosity of their own creation, a vicious system that promotes sin and thus separates man from God.

AUTHOR

The Rev. Gerald E. Murray, J.C.D. is a canon lawyer and the pastor of Holy Family Church in New York City. His new book (with Diane Montagna), Calming the Storm: Navigating the Crises Facing the Catholic Church and Society, is now available.


You may also enjoy

Robert Royal’s The Sciences and Homophiliac Synodality

Ines A. Murzaku’s Shifting Models of Synodality


Remember What Renowned Author of ‘Jurassic Park’ Michael Crichton Really Thought About Climate Change?

“Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists.” — Michael Crichton


In a speech he delivered to the Commonwealth Club of California, author, screenwriter, and director Michael Crichton lamented the removal of science from environmentalism. The speech given in September 2003 remains highly relevant as climate change and the impact of humans on their environment continues to be a highly politicized subject.

Crichton felt that environmentalism had become a religion and is now predominated by fundamentalists—individuals who are not open to reason or opposing ideas.

Best known for his works of fiction, including State of Fear, which tells the story of eco-terrorists creating seemingly “natural” disasters to mimic climate change.

Below is the full transcript of Crichton’s remarks.

Environmentalism Is a Religion: Speech to the Commonwealth Club, September 15th, 2003

I have been asked to talk about what I consider the most important challenge facing mankind, and I have a fundamental answer.

The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda.

Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.

We must daily decide whether the threats we face are real, whether the solutions we are offered will do any good, whether the problems we’re told exist are in fact real problems or non-problems.

Every one of us has a sense of the world, and we all know that this sense is in part given to us by what other people and society tell us; in part generated by our emotional state, which we project outward; and in part by our genuine perceptions of reality. In short, our struggle to determine what is true is the struggle to decide which of our perceptions are genuine, and which are false because they are handed down, or sold to us, or generated by our own hopes and fears.

As an example of this challenge, I want to talk today about environmentalism.

And in order not to be misunderstood, I want it perfectly clear that I believe it is incumbent on us to conduct our lives in a way that takes into account all the consequences of our actions, including the consequences to other people, and the consequences to the environment.

I believe it is important to act in ways that are sympathetic to the environment, and I believe this will always be a need, carrying into the future. I believe the world has genuine problems and I believe it can and should be improved. But I also think that deciding what constitutes responsible action is immensely difficult, and the consequences of our actions are often difficult to know in advance.

I think our past record of environmental action is discouraging, to put it mildly, because even our best-intended efforts often go awry. But I think we do not recognize our past failures and face them squarely. And I think I know why.

I studied anthropology in college, and one of the things I learned was that certain human social structures always reappear. They can’t be eliminated from society. One of those structures is religion.

Today it is said we live in a secular society in which many people—the best people, the most enlightened people—do not believe in any religion. But I think that you cannot eliminate religion from the psyche of mankind. If you suppress it in one form, it merely re-emerges in another form.

You can not believe in God, but you still have to believe in something that gives meaning to your life, and shapes your sense of the world. Such a belief is religious.

Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism.

Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists.

Why do I say it’s a religion?

Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.

There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all.

We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability.

Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.

Eden, the fall of man, the loss of grace, the coming doomsday—these are deeply held mythic structures. They are profoundly conservative beliefs. They may even be hard-wired in the brain, for all I know. I certainly don’t want to talk anybody out of them, as I don’t want to talk anybody out of a belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God who rose from the dead. But the reason I don’t want to talk anybody out of these beliefs is that I know that I can’t talk anybody out of them.

These are not facts that can be argued. These are issues of faith.

And so it is, sadly, with environmentalism.

For more of Crichton’s thoughts on environmentalism as a new religion see his comments in this C-SPAN clip.

Increasingly it seems facts aren’t necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief.

It’s about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved. Whether you are going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of us, or one of them.

Am I exaggerating to make a point?

I am afraid not.

Because we know a lot more about the world than we did forty or fifty years ago. And what we know now is not so supportive of certain core environmental myths, yet the myths do not die.

Let’s examine some of those beliefs.

There is no Eden. There never was.

What was that Eden of the wonderful mythic past? Is it the time when infant mortality was 80%, when four children in five died of disease before the age of five? When one woman in six died in childbirth? When the average lifespan was 40, as it was in America a century ago. When plagues swept across the planet, killing millions in a stroke. Was it when millions starved to death? Is that when it was Eden?

And what about indigenous peoples, living in a state of harmony with the Eden-like environment? Well, they never did. On this continent, the newly arrived people who crossed the land bridge almost immediately set about wiping out hundreds of species of large animals, and they did this several thousand years before the white man showed up, to accelerate the process.

And what was the condition of life? Loving, peaceful, harmonious? Hardly: the early peoples of the New World lived in a state of constant warfare. Generations of hatred, tribal hatreds, constant battles. The warlike tribes of this continent are famous: the Comanche, Sioux, Apache, Mohawk, Aztecs, Toltec, Incas. Some of them practiced infanticide, and human sacrifice. And those tribes that were not fiercely warlike were exterminated, or learned to build their villages high in the cliffs to attain some measure of safety.

How about the human condition in the rest of the world? The Maori of New Zealand committed massacres regularly. The dyaks of Borneo were headhunters. The Polynesians, living in an environment as close to paradise as one can imagine, fought constantly, and created a society so hideously restrictive that you could lose your life if you stepped in the footprint of a chief. It was the Polynesians who gave us the very concept of taboo, as well as the word itself. The noble savage is a fantasy, and it was never true. That anyone still believes it, 200 years after Rousseau, shows the tenacity of religious myths, their ability to hang on in the face of centuries of factual contradiction.

There was even an academic movement, during the latter 20th century, that claimed that cannibalism was a white man’s invention to demonize the indigenous peoples—only academics could fight such a battle. It was some thirty years before professors finally agreed that yes, cannibalism does indeed occur among human beings.

Meanwhile, all during this time New Guinea highlanders in the 20th century continued to eat the brains of their enemies until they were finally made to understand that they risked kuru, a fatal neurological disease, when they did so.

More recently still the gentle Tasaday of the Philippines turned out to be a publicity stunt, a nonexistent tribe. And African pygmies have one of the highest murder rates on the planet.

In short, the romantic view of the natural world as a blissful Eden is only held by people who have no actual experience of nature.

People who live in nature are not romantic about it at all. They may hold spiritual beliefs about the world around them, they may have a sense of the unity of nature or the aliveness of all things, but they still kill the animals and uproot the plants in order to eat, to live. If they don’t, they will die.

And if you, even now, put yourself in nature even for a matter of days, you will quickly be disabused of all your romantic fantasies.

Take a trek through the jungles of Borneo, and in short order you will have festering sores on your skin, you’ll have bugs all over your body, biting in your hair, crawling up your nose and into your ears, you’ll have infections and sickness and if you’re not with somebody who knows what they’re doing, you’ll quickly starve to death. But chances are that even in the jungles of Borneo you won’t experience nature so directly, because you will have covered your entire body with DEET and you will be doing everything you can to keep those bugs off you.

The truth is, almost nobody wants to experience real nature. What people want is to spend a week or two in a cabin in the woods, with screens on the windows.

They want a simplified life for a while, without all their stuff, or a nice river rafting trip for a few days, with somebody else doing the cooking.

Nobody wants to go back to nature in any real way, and nobody does.

It’s all talk-and as the years go on, and the world population grows increasingly urban, it’s uninformed talk. Farmers know what they’re talking about. City people don’t. It’s all fantasy.

One way to measure the prevalence of fantasy is to note the number of people who die because they haven’t the least knowledge of how nature really is. They stand beside wild animals, like buffalo, for a picture and get trampled to death; they climb a mountain in dicey weather without proper gear, and freeze to death. They drown in the surf on holiday because they can’t conceive the real power of what we blithely call “the force of nature.” They have seen the ocean. But they haven’t been in it.

The television generation expects nature to act the way they want it to be. They think all life experiences can be Tivo-ed.

The notion that the natural world obeys its own rules and doesn’t give a damn about your expectations comes as a massive shock.

Well-to-do, educated people in an urban environment experience the ability to fashion their daily lives as they wish. They buy clothes that suit their taste, and decorate their apartments as they wish. Within limits, they can contrive a daily urban world that pleases them.

But the natural world is not so malleable. On the contrary, it will demand that you adapt to it-and if you don’t, you die. It is a harsh, powerful, and unforgiving world, that most urban westerners have never experienced.

Many years ago I was trekking in the Karakorum mountains of northern Pakistan, when my group came to a river that we had to cross. It was a glacial river, freezing cold, and it was running very fast, but it wasn’t deep—maybe three feet at most.

My guide set out ropes for people to hold as they crossed the river, and everybody proceeded, one at a time, with extreme care.

I asked the guide what was the big deal about crossing a three-foot river.

He said, “Well, supposing you fell and suffered a compound fracture. We were now four days trek from the last big town, where there was a radio. Even if the guide went back double time to get help, it’d still be at least three days before he could return with a helicopter. If a helicopter were available at all. And in three days, I’d probably be dead from my injuries. So that was why everybody was crossing carefully. Because out in nature a little slip could be deadly.”

But let’s return to religion.

If Eden is a fantasy that never existed, and mankind wasn’t ever noble and kind and loving, if we didn’t fall from grace, then what about the rest of the religious tenets?

What about salvation, sustainability, and judgment day?

What about the coming environmental doom from fossil fuels and global warming, if we all don’t get down on our knees and conserve every day?

Well, it’s interesting.

You may have noticed that something has been left off the doomsday list, lately. Although the preachers of environmentalism have been yelling about population for fifty years, over the last decade world population seems to be taking an unexpected turn. Fertility rates are falling almost everywhere. As a result, over the course of my lifetime the thoughtful predictions for total world population have gone from a high of 20 billion, to 15 billion, to 11 billion (which was the UN estimate around 1990) to now 9 billion, and soon, perhaps less.

There are some who think that world population will peak in 2050 and then start to decline. There are some who predict we will have fewer people in 2100 than we do today. Is this a reason to rejoice, to say halleluiah? Certainly not.

Without a pause, we now hear about the coming crisis of world economy from a shrinking population. We hear about the impending crisis of an aging population. Nobody anywhere will say that the core fears expressed for most of my life have turned out not to be true. As we have moved into the future, these doomsday visions vanished, like a mirage in the desert. They were never there—though they still appear, in the future, as mirages do.

Okay, so, the preachers made a mistake. They got one prediction wrong; they’re human. So what?

Unfortunately, it’s not just one prediction. It’s a whole slew of them.

We are running out of oil.

We are running out of all natural resources, Paul Ehrlich, 60 million Americans will die of starvation in the 1980s, forty thousand species become extinct every year, half of all species on the planet will be extinct by 2000. And on and on and on.

With so many past failures, you might think that environmental predictions would become more cautious.

But not if it’s a religion.

Remember, the nut on the sidewalk carrying the placard that predicts the end of the world doesn’t quit when the world doesn’t end on the day he expects. He just changes his placard, sets a new doomsday date, and goes back to walking the streets.

One of the defining features of religion is that your beliefs are not troubled by facts, because they have nothing to do with facts.

So I can tell you some facts.

I know you haven’t read any of what I am about to tell you in the newspaper, because newspapers literally don’t report them.

I can tell you that DDT is not a carcinogen and did not cause birds to die and should never have been banned. I can tell you that the people who banned it knew that it wasn’t carcinogenic and banned it anyway. I can tell you that the DDT ban has caused the deaths of tens of millions of poor people, mostly children, whose deaths are directly attributable to a callous, technologically advanced western society that promoted the new cause of environmentalism by pushing a fantasy about a pesticide, and thus irrevocably harmed the third world. Banning DDT is one of the most disgraceful episodes in the twentieth century history of America. We knew better, and we did it anyway, and we let people around the world die and didn’t give a damn.

I can tell you that second hand smoke is not a health hazard to anyone and never was, and the EPA has always known it.

I can tell you that the evidence for global warming is far weaker than its proponents would ever admit.

I can tell you the percentage the US land area that is taken by urbanization, including cities and roads, is 5%.

I can tell you that the Sahara desert is shrinking, and the total ice of Antarctica is increasing.

I can tell you that a blue-ribbon panel in Science magazine concluded that there is no known technology that will enable us to halt the rise of carbon dioxide in the 21st century. Not wind, not solar, not even nuclear. The panel concluded a totally new technology-like nuclear fusion-was necessary, otherwise nothing could be done and in the meantime all efforts would be a waste of time. They said that when the UN IPCC reports stated alternative technologies existed that could control greenhouse gases, the UN was wrong.

I can, with a lot of time, give you the factual basis for these views, and I can cite the appropriate journal articles not in whacko magazines, but in the most prestigious science journals, such as Science and Nature. But such references probably won’t impact more than a handful of you, because the beliefs of a religion are not dependent on facts, but rather are matters of faith—unshakeable belief.

Most of us have had some experience interacting with religious fundamentalists, and we understand that one of the problems with fundamentalists is that they have no perspective on themselves. They never recognize that their way of thinking is just one of many other possible ways of thinking, which may be equally useful or good. On the contrary, they believe their way is the right way, everyone else is wrong; they are in the business of salvation, and they want to help you to see things the right way. They want to help you be saved. They are totally rigid and totally uninterested in opposing points of view.

In our modern complex world, fundamentalism is dangerous because of its rigidity and its imperviousness to other ideas.

I want to argue that it is now time for us to make a major shift in our thinking about the environment, similar to the shift that occurred around the first Earth Day in 1970, when this awareness was first heightened.

But this time around, we need to get environmentalism out of the sphere of religion. We need to stop the mythic fantasies, and we need to stop the doomsday predictions. We need to start doing hard science instead.

There are two reasons why I think we all need to get rid of the religion of environmentalism.

First, we need an environmental movement, and such a movement is not very effective if it is conducted as a religion. We know from history that religions tend to kill people, and environmentalism has already killed somewhere between 10 to 30 million people since the 1970s. It’s not a good record.

Environmentalism needs to be absolutely based in objective and verifiable science, it needs to be rational, and it needs to be flexible. And it needs to be apolitical.

To mix environmental concerns with the frantic fantasies that people have about one political party or another is to miss the cold truth—that there is very little difference between the parties, except a difference in pandering rhetoric.

The effort to promote effective legislation for the environment is not helped by thinking that the Democrats will save us and the Republicans won’t. Political history is more complicated than that.

Never forget which president started the EPA. Richard Nixon. And never forget which president sold federal oil leases, allowing oil drilling in Santa Barbara. Lyndon Johnson.

So get politics out of your thinking about the environment.

The second reason to abandon environmental religion is more pressing.

Religions think they know it all, but the unhappy truth of the environment is that we are dealing with incredibly complex, evolving systems, and we usually are not certain how best to proceed. Those who are certain are demonstrating their personality type, or their belief system, not the state of their knowledge.

Our record in the past, for example managing national parks, is humiliating. Our fifty-year effort at forest-fire suppression is a well-intentioned disaster from which our forests will never recover.

We need to be humble, deeply humble, in the face of what we are trying to accomplish.

We need to be trying various methods of accomplishing things.

We need to be open-minded about assessing results of our efforts, and we need to be flexible about balancing needs. Religions are good at none of these things.

How will we manage to get environmentalism out of the clutches of religion, and back to a scientific discipline?

There’s a simple answer. We must institute far more stringent requirements for what constitutes knowledge in the environmental realm.

I am thoroughly sick of politicized so-called facts that simply aren’t true. It isn’t that these “facts” are exaggerations of an underlying truth. Nor is it that certain organizations are spinning their case to present it in the strongest way. Not at all—what more and more groups are doing is putting out is lies, pure and simple. Falsehoods that they know to be false.

This trend began with the DDT campaign, and it persists to this day.

At this moment, the EPA is hopelessly politicized.

In the wake of Carol Browner, it is probably better to shut it down and start over.

What we need is a new organization much closer to the FDA.

We need an organization that will be ruthless about acquiring verifiable results, that will fund identical research projects to more than one group, and that will make everybody in this field get honest fast.

Because in the end, science offers us the only way out of politics. And if we allow science to become politicized, then we are lost. We will enter the Internet version of the dark ages, an era of shifting fears and wild prejudices, transmitted to people who don’t know any better.

That’s not a good future for the human race. That’s our past. So it’s time to abandon the religion of environmentalism, and return to the science of environmentalism, and base our public policy decisions firmly on that.

Thank you very much.

©Spread Great Ideas. All rights reserved.

Not a Single U.S. State Is Requiring Kids to Get Vaccinated to Attend Public School. Why?

Economics may offer a clue as to why not one state is mandating vaccination to attend school in the 2022-2023 school year, even though many government officials support coercive vaccination policies.


September has arrived and many children are back in public schools (though fewer than previous years).

At a recent event, one parent joked to me we’re now officially in “vaccine season.” The comment made me laugh, but there’s at least a kernel of truth to it. It’s not unusual for states to require that children receive an array of vaccinations—from polio, diphtheria, and chickenpox to measles, mumps, and meningitis—to be enrolled in a public school system.

One vaccine that parents will not find on any state’s required list in 2022 are the Covid-19 shots, which have been a source of great debate in the US and other countries.

While a few US cities continue to push vaccine mandates to attend, Pew Charitable Trusts pointed out earlier this year that states have been surprisingly wary of mandating Covid shots for children.

“[Only] two states—California and Louisiana—have added COVID-19 vaccines to the list of immunizations mandated for schoolchildren,” Michael Ollove pointed out in January. “Both requirements would be enforced next school year, and then only if the vaccines receive full authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”

Things have changed since then.

In May, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the Louisiana Department of Health would not require children attending the state’s daycares or K-12 schools to provide proof of vaccination. California, which in October 2021 became the first state to announce Covid vaccine requirements for school, announced in April that it would not require vaccination, noting the vaccines had not at that time been approved by the FDA for all school-age children. (They are now.)

The fact that not a single US state is requiring students to be vaccinated against Covid to attend K-12 school is probably a bit surprising to readers. (It was to this author.)

I’d like to think that policymakers and politicians finally woke up to the fact that vaccine mandates are immoral, inhumane, and a clear violation of bodily integrity. But that seems unlikely considering that many vaccine mandates remain in place, particularly at the federal and municipal levels.

It’s also possible that lawmakers have realized vaccinated individuals can still get sick and spread the virus, and therefore concluded vaccinations are a matter of personal health, not public health. Yet once again this theory is undermined by the presence of other vaccine mandates that remain in place. Some may contend that we’ve simply beaten the virus and mandates are no longer necessary, but official statistics show Covid deaths and cases remain stubbornly high.

So what’s the answer?

What’s most likely is that political considerations are at play. Yet this thesis too, at first blush, appears to be undermined by the reality that polls show Americans support Covid vaccine mandates in schools.

Some basic economics, however, can help us see that the politics are more complicated than that.

Public Choice Theory is a field of economics pioneered by the Nobel Prize-winning economist James M. Buchanan and economist Gordon Tullock. It rests on a simple assumption: politicians and bureaucrats make decisions primarily based on self-interest and incentives just like everyone else, not out of an altruistic goal of serving “the public good.” (This is why public choice economists have dubbed it “politics without romance.”)

I’ve previously pointed out that politicians were incentivized during the pandemic to embrace Covid restrictions even if they didn’t work because of the political climate in 2020. The absence of government regulations was viewed as actual violence by some public health experts, and those who didn’t embrace strict interventions were accused of genocide.

Moreover, the costs of these regulations tended to be dispersed, delayed, and hidden from view. Depression, drug overdoses, lost learning, and speech impediments were among the consequences of NPIs (Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions) imposed by governments. But the results of these policies were relatively “unseen” (to use a term from the 19th century economist Frederic Bastiat), at least compared to Covid deaths, which public health officials, the media, and even ordinary citizens tracked obsessively.

The costs of NPIs were quite serious, but they were quite low politically for the reasons stated above. The political costs of keeping a state open were much higher. No politician wants to explain why Mrs. Jackson, the 60-year-old math teacher, died from Covid while schools in your state remained open. (It would be just as tragic if Mrs. Jackson had died at home when schools were closed, but at least no politician would be blamed for her death in this case.)

In other words, the incentive structure early in the pandemic encouraged interventions, even if those interventions were ineffective and ultimately ended up doing more harm than good.

The incentive structure for vaccines is very different, particularly for young people.

Children can and do die from Covid, of course, but their risk is extremely low compared to other age groups. Even more important, perhaps, is that the costs of mandatory vaccination are not delayed, dispersed, or hidden from view. They are immediate, concentrated, and highly visible.

The sad reality is that vaccine injuries, though rare, do occur, as the CDC notes. And when they occur, they are the opposite of “unseen,” which means the political repercussions have the potential to be swift—and severe.

After all, when a young person dies after taking a vaccine designed to protect him, it’s a tragedy. When a young person dies of myocarditis after taking a vaccine he was forced to take to attend school, it’s a tragic event and a political disaster with a wide radius, even if some studies show the risk of myocarditis is greater after Covid infection than after Covid vaccination.

All of this analysis is dark and a bit troubling, of course. Now you see why they call public choice theory “politics without romance.”

But it might help explain why even state leaders comfortable with mandatory vaccination and vaccine passports have been reluctant to compel children to get the shot, even if they truly believe it could save lives.

Whether mandatory vaccination would have done more harm than good is a question we’ll never know, though it’s a debate that will likely continue for years to come. But because vaccines have the power to both save lives and claim lives, the decision to accept or refuse them can only morally be made by one person: the individual (or parents, if the decision concerns a child).

So at least state leaders are getting it right this time, even if they are doing so for the wrong reasons.

AUTHOR

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune. Bylines: Newsweek, The Washington Times, MSN.com, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, the Epoch Times.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

What’s the Matter with Kids These Days?

Today I free my inner crank and tell you to get off my lawn.  I’m an attorney by training and had to pass three bar exams to be licensed to practice in three jurisdictions.  It wasn’t easy, but my clients were assured I knew my stuff.  That would no longer be the case if a proposal to do away with the bar exam carries the day.  The Delaware Supreme Court diversity committee recommended that prospective lawyers be licensed to practice by gathering personal recommendations and working in clerkships instead of taking the bar exam.  The committee said the exam is a “barrier” to blacks and Hispanics.  But in a congressional hearing, Senator Ted Cruz pointed out the obvious racism in this approach, the notion that blacks and Hispanics are too stupid to pass the test.  “Do you believe that there’s something about Hispanics and African-Americans that prevents them from taking the bar exam and doing well on it?” Cruz, who is Hispanic, asked a judicial nominee who is black.  Both took and passed bar exams.  Cruz went on to argue cases at the Supreme Court, reaching a pinnacle of the profession.

If lower standards for lawyers don’t bother you, how about your doctor?  Minorities in some circumstances can now gain admission to the University of Pennsylvania’s med school without taking the MCAT admissions test.  All they have to do is complete college-level science courses.  One doctor noted that doctors are called upon to make life and death decisions.  “The stakes are too high to start lowering standards or taking shortcuts with basic fundamental scientific knowledge necessary for developing critical thinking skills to diagnose and properly treat diseases,” the doctor says.

Lower standards are not just a growing problem at professional schools.  A college instructor at the University of Cincinnati says rules against plagiarism and cheating on tests unfairly affect minority students more than whites.  “[T]he idea of academic integrity is racialized through and through,” he says.  Minority students are more often accused of cheating, so his solution is to relax the rules and not be too “punitive” when cheating is found.  So let me get this straight: minority students will never measure up no matter what, they need crutches to succeed and, on top of that, they need the intercession of a priestly class of professorial fixers if they’re going to make it through life.  How is that not racist?  How is that not ‘learned helplessness’?  How does that not create resentment among anyone who worked hard to meet all the requirements without cheating?

Also in colleges, faculty hiring and tenure decisions in some places now depend in part on adherence to diversity, equity, and inclusion orthodoxy.  This reduces the importance of academic merit and achievement in deciding who gets hired and who gets to stay.  Tuition keeps going up while academic standards keep going down.  At some point, people will figure out it’s no longer worth the money.

Academic standards are declining before college.  I know a philosophy professor who says many students showing up in his classes now are not ready or able to learn.  They haven’t done the work necessary to understand advanced material.  To see how this might have come about, consider a place like Baltimore where a big report on grade-fixing last summer found thousands of grades were changed from ‘fail’ to ‘pass’.  It’s a whole lot easier to pass kids through than it is to meet their learning challenges.

The future of all this is not good – elementary school students who never learn to read, professors whose heads are full of diversity theory instead of real knowledge, less competent professionals, and an adult population half of which is functionally illiterate.  It leads to a society where it is perfectly acceptable to urinate and defecate on the street – ugh!  Encouraging others to achieve less is the wrong way to go, no matter how good the reasons might sound.  The best thing you can do for people is insist they meet high standards.  If you don’t want to meet high standards, get off my lawn.

©Christopher Wright. All rights reserved.

Visit The Daily Skirmish and Watch Eagle Headline News – 7:30am ET Weekdays

Understanding How Binge Drinking Damages Organs

Alcohol can damage the body in various ways, not only in one’s physical health and fitness but also in how the body’s organs function. However, alcohol use takes place in many ways, and each comes with its risks for the health of our organs. Here’s a look at binge drinking, what it is, and how it causes damage to our organs.

What Is Binge Drinking?

In order to understand how and why binge drinking damages the organs, we first need to understand what it is. Binge drinking is a pattern of frequent alcohol use that raises blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) levels in a short time. Binge drinking occurs when someone reaches a BAC of at least 0.08% within two hours of drinking alcohol. This BAC matches what most states consider intoxication, although intoxication can occur below 0.08%, such as in Utah.

However, this does not mean binge drinking is the practice of getting drunk within two hours. While a BAC of 0.08% will most likely involve around five alcoholic drinks for males and four alcoholic drinks for females, a wide range of factors can affect how intoxicated someone is by the time their BAC is 0.08%. These include boy weight, age, and metabolism, just to name a few.

It’s important to note that people who binge drink may not develop alcohol use disorder (AUD). The context of binge drinking is surprisingly widespread, with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism citing data that about 24% of people age 12 and older in the United States participate in binge drinking on a monthly basis. The context of binge drinking typically takes place at parties, a night out with friends, and of course, a celebration of someone’s 21st birthday.

However, binge drinking is especially dangerous because those who do it do not always have AUD. The special occasion of parties or outings means we treat binge drinking as something we can indulge in from time to time. But this perspective means we aren’t paying attention to (or we aren’t aware of) the damage binge drinking can cause.

Expected and Unexpected Damage

Binge drinking is one of the most common factors that contribute to alcohol overdose, meaning that our bodies have an excess amount of alcohol in our bloodstream, and we cannot process all of it. Once alcohol cripples our central nervous system, we start to experience an inability to control things like heart rate, body temperature, breathing, and response to choking. It is vital not to downplay someone who has passed out after binge drinking as hitting their limit. They might be unconscious because their body can’t stay awake, but the excess alcohol is still spreading throughout the body. Far from being safe, people who pass out from binge drinking are at a much higher risk of dying because of not getting enough oxygen, either from their reduced heart and lung function or from choking on vomit while unconscious.

We probably expect these examples of organ damage because they can occur to anyone who experiences an alcohol overdose or uses alcohol long term. But it’s important to remember that binge drinking is not exempt from these dangers. However, there are other unexpected damages that can occur when binge drinking. Alcohol affects the body’s tissues, and excessive alcohol use can lead to chronic diseases, including acute pancreatitis, and an increased risk of cancer, such as colorectal, breast, and esophageal. In adolescents, binge drinking can greatly damage brain development, leading to deficits in attention, memory, and cognitive functions.

Heart disease is another unsuspecting side effect of binge drinking. The reason is that drinking too much alcohol raises blood pressure. This puts a strain on the heart and creates an environment for an increased risk of developing dangerous heart conditions, such as atrial fibrillation, blood clots, stroke, and heart failure.

Is Binge Drinking Damage Reversible?

Once we learn how harmful binging on alcohol is, the big question we should ask is whether the damage caused to our organs is reversible. In this case, time is of the essence. The first thing to do to maintain our organs’ health is to avoid binge drinking altogether. The risks associated with binge drinking are simply not worth the fleeting reward of the moment. However, if we find we cannot avoid binge drinking on our own, it is a high likelihood that we have developed an addiction to alcohol. If this is the case, then avoiding binge drinking will also involve completing a professional detox treatment plan with medical professionals committed to helping you each step of the way.

Sources

Delphi Health Group. (n.d.). Alcohol Abuse and Addiction Treatment Guide. Retrieved https://delphihealthgroup.com/alcohol/

Delphi Health Group. (n.d.). How to Quickly Recover After an Alcohol Binge. Retrieved https://delphihealthgroup.com/alcohol/recover-from-binge/

Duke University. (n.d.). The Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Estimates the Degree of Intoxication. Retrieved https://sites.duke.edu/apep/module-2-the-abcs-of-intoxication/content-the-blood-alcohol-concentration-bac-estimates-the-degree-of-intoxication/#:~:text=The%20BAC%20is%20calculated%20from,to%20a%20BAC%20of%200.05%25.

Delphi Health Group. (n.d.). Is Alcoholism Hereditary? What the Research Shows. Retrieved https://delphihealthgroup.com/alcohol/hereditary/

NIH. (2021 Dec). Understanding Binge Drinking. Retrieved https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/binge-drinking

CDC. (2022 Jan 6). Binge Drinking. Retrieved https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm#:~:text=Binge%20drinking%20is%20most%20common,or%20live%20in%20the%20Midwest.

Delphi Health Group. (n.d.). Alcohol Overdose- Symptoms, Effects on the Body, and Risk of Death. Retrieved https://delphihealthgroup.com/alcohol/overdose/

NIH. (2021 Jul 14). Alcohol and Cancer Risk. Retrieved https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/alcohol/alcohol-fact-sheet#:~:text=Even%20those%20who%20have%20no,cancers%20(3%E2%80%937).

NIH. (2018 Jan). Effects of Binge Drinking on the Developing Brain. Retrieved https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6104956/

Delphi Health Group. (n.d.). Alcohol Poisoning: How to Tell, What to Do, and the Health Risks. Retrieved https://delphihealthgroup.com/alcohol/alcohol-poisoning/

Delphi Health Group. (n.d.). Guide to Alcohol Detox: Severity, Dangers, and Timeline. Retrieved https://delphihealthgroup.com/alcohol/detox/

American Heart Association. (2016, Oct. 31). Limiting Alcohol to Manage High Blood Pressure. Retrieved https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/limiting-alcohol-to-manage-high-blood-pressure

American Heart Association. (2019, Dec. 30). Is drinking alcohol part of a healthy lifestyle? Retrieved https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/alcohol-and-heart-health

Delphi Health Group. (n.d.). Guide to Drug Addiction: Symptoms, Signs, and Treatment. Retrieved https://delphihealthgroup.com/addiction/

Will Artificial Intelligence Make Humanity Irrelevant?

Nope. All computers only execute algorithms.


Technology leaders from Bill Gates to Elon Musk and others have warned us in recent years that one of the biggest threats to humanity is uncontrolled domination by artificial intelligence (AI). In 2017, Musk said at a conference, “I have exposure to the most cutting edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it.”

And in 2019, Bill Gates stated that while we will see mainly advantages from AI initially, “. . . a few decades after that, though, the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern.” And the transhumanist camp, led by such zealots as Ray Kurzweil, seems to think that the future takeover of the universe by AI is not only inevitable, but a good thing, because it will leave our old-fashioned mortal meat computers (otherwise known as brains) in the junkpile where they belong.

So in a way, it’s refreshing to see a book come out whose author stands up and, in effect, says “Baloney” to all that. The book is Non-Computable You: What You Do that Artificial Intelligence Never Will, and the author is Robert J. Marks II.

Marks is a practicing electrical engineer who has made fundamental contributions in the areas of signal processing and computational intelligence. After spending most of his career at the University of Washington, he moved to Baylor University in 2003, where he now directs the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence. His book was published by the Discovery Institute, which is an organization that has historically promoted the concept of intelligent design.

That is neither here nor there, at least to judge by the book’s contents. Those looking for a philosophically nuanced and extended argument in favor of the uniqueness of the human mind as compared to present or future computational realizations of what might be called intelligence, had best look elsewhere.  In Marks’s view, the question of whether AI will ever match or supersede the general-intelligence abilities of the human mind has a simple answer: it won’t.

He bases his claim on the fact that all computers do nothing more than execute algorithms. Simply put, algorithms are step-by-step instructions that tell a machine what to do. Any activity that can be expressed as an algorithm can in principle be performed by a computer. Just as important, any activity or function that cannot be put into the form of an algorithm cannot be done by a computer, whether it’s a pile of vacuum tubes, a bunch of transistors on chips, quantum “qubits,” or any conceivable future form of computing machine.

Some examples Marks gives of things that can’t be done algorithmically are feeling pain, writing a poem that you and other people truly understand, and inventing a new technology. These are things that human beings do, but according to Marks, AI will never do.

What about the software we have right now behind conveniences such as Alexa, which gives the fairly strong impression of being intelligent? Alexa certainly seems to “know” a lot more facts than any particular human being does.

Marks dismisses this claim to intelligence by saying that extensive memory and recall doesn’t make something intelligent any more than a well-organized library is intelligent. Sure, there are lots of facts that Alexa has access to. But it’s what you do with the facts that counts, and AI doesn’t understand anything. It just imitates what it’s been told to imitate without knowing what it’s doing.

The heart of Marks’s book is really the first chapter entitled “The Non-Computable Human.” Once he gets clear the difference between algorithmic tasks and non-algorithmic tasks, it’s just a matter of sorting. Yes, computers can do this better than humans, but computers will never do that.

There are lots of other interesting things in the book: a short history of AI, an extensive critique of the different kinds of AI hype and how not to be fooled by them, and numerous war stories from Marks’s work in fields as different as medical care and the stabilization of power grids. But these other matters are mostly a lot of icing on a rather small cake, because Marks is not inclined to delve into the deeper philosophical waters of what intelligence is and whether we understand it quite as well as Marks thinks we do.

As a Christian, Marks is well aware of the dangers posed to both Christians and non-Christians by a thing called idolatry. Worshipping idols—things made by one’s own hands and substituted for the true God—was what got the Hebrews into trouble time and again in the Old Testament, and it continues to be a problem today. The problem with an idol is not so much what the idol itself can do—carved wooden images tend not to do much of anything on their own—but what it does to the idol-worshipper. And here is where Marks could have done more of a service in showing how human beings can turn AI into an idol, and effectively worship it.

While an idol-worshipping pagan might burn incense to a wooden image and figure he’d done everything needed to ensure a good crop, a bureaucracy of the future might take a task formerly done at considerable trouble and expense by humans—deciding on how long a prison sentence should be, for example—and turn it over to an AI program. Actually, that example is not futuristic at all. Numerous court systems have resorted to AI algorithms (there’s that word again) to predict the risk of recidivism for different individuals, and basing the length of their sentences and parole status on the result.

Needless to say, this particular application has come in for criticism, and not only by the defendants and their lawyers. Many AI systems are famously opaque, meaning even their designers can’t give a good reason for why the results are the way they are. So I’d say in at least that regard, we have already gone pretty far down the road toward turning AI into an idol.

No, Marks is right in the sense that machines are, after all, only machines. But if we make any machine our god, we are simply asking for trouble. And that’s the real risk we face in the future from AI: making it our god, putting it in charge, and abandoning our regard for the real God.

This article has been republished from the author’s blog, Engineering Ethics, with permission.

AUTHOR

Karl D. Stephan received the B. S. in Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1976. Following a year of graduate study at Cornell, he received the Master of Engineering degree in 1977… More by Karl D. Stephan

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Scientists and Doctors are Talking Through Their Hats on Abortion

Many of the world’s leading journals are condemning the US Supreme Court’s decision to scrap Roe v. Wade.


On June 24 the US Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade and declared that there was no right to abortion in the American Constitution. Ever since, the world’s leading scientific and medical journals have been campaigning not just against the ruling, but against the Supreme Court itself.

How have scientists and doctors suddenly become experts on ethics, law, politics, and philosophy? These are fields in which the scientific method is irrelevant. A doctor may declare that the Supreme Court’s decision is immoral. How can such a statement be proved with an experiment? How could such an experiment be replicated?

The core issue in the debate over abortion was not settled by Dobbs: it is whether the foetus in the womb of the mother is a human being or not. No scientist can settle the question one way or another.

This obvious rejoinder to the rivers of anti-Dobbs and pro-abortion sentiment flowing through these learned journals, however, is simply being ignored – that the foetus is a human being and that abortion destroys a human life. As an article in MercatorNet pointed out last week, 1,000,000,000 (one billion) human lives are aborted every 20 years or so (according to a study in The Lancet). A doctor who does not think that this is a burning ethical issue should have his registration revoked.

The latest contribution to the flood of pro-abortion propaganda comes in The New England Journal of Medicine, which may be most influential medical journal in the world. In an opinion article yesterday, Matthew K. Wynia, of the University of Colorado, argued that doctors should engage in a campaign of civil disobedience as a protest against Dobbs.

Incredibly, Dr Wynia enlists the civil rights icon, Dr Martin Luther King Jr, and the Christian philosopher and theologian, St Augustine, to support his argument. “An unjust law is no law at all,” said Augustine. True enough, but what special insight qualifies doctors to determine whether an abortion ban is unjust?

Indeed, history suggests doctors have often been on the wrong side on ethical matters – as Dr Wynia acknowledges:

“Historically, physicians have rarely been radical, and most have conformed with bad laws and policies, even horrific ones — such as those authorizing forced-sterilization programs in the United States and Nazi Germany, the use of psychiatric hospitals as political prisons in the Soviet Union, and police brutality under apartheid in South Africa. Too often, organized medicine has failed to fulfill its duty to protect patients when doing so required acting against state authority.”

Why is the opposition of the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – all of whom Dr Wynia cites – any different? If doctors have normally supported the status quo, shouldn’t we expect them to support the status quo on abortion – especially when they profit from it?

At the moment, science is experiencing a crisis of credibility. Peer review is under attack almost as much as Dobbs; so many experiments are never corroborated that talk of a “reproducibility crisis” is common in science journals. And most astonishing of all is the claim by an eminent scholar, John P. Ioannides, that “There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false.” Most! His dramatic assertion has yet to be refuted.

This is not to say that Science, with a capital S, is false. Research papers which have been were submitted to rigorous peer review and have been replicated are science. How often does that happen with “reproductive health services”? Not as often as the public thinks. And it is certainly not the case with self-interested complaints about the constitutional reasoning of Dobbs and the morality of abortion.

The arguments put forward by the best medical journals are very similar to those marshalled by every interest group which has been defeated in court – my cause is a positive good; my cause is a social good; my cause is supported by the Establishment; and Armageddon looms if my cause is ignored.

They were precisely the arguments used by the South – and Southern doctors – to justify slavery in the 19th century.

In 1836 a representative from South Carolina, James Henry Hammond, rose in Congress to defend slavery. He said:

“Slavery is said to be an evil… But it is no evil. On the contrary, I believe it to be the greatest of all the great blessings which a kind Providence has bestowed upon our glorious region… As a class, I say it boldly; there is not a happier, more contented race upon the face of the earth… Lightly tasked, well clothed, well fed—far better than the free laborers of any country in the world … their lives and persons protected by the law, all their sufferings alleviated by the kindest and most interested care…. Sir, I do firmly believe that domestic slavery regulated as ours is produces the highest toned, the purest, best organization of society that has ever existed on the face of the earth.”

Today, we can only read such words with horror. They are evidence of the moral blindness which strikes men who defend their own interests with every weapon they can lay their hands on. Two hundred years ago, the issue was defending slavery; today, it is defending abortion.

AUTHOR

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet. He lives in Sydney, Australia. More by Michael Cook

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.