Culture Briefs

Smart science

“Most people who believe in God … believe that God created nature. If that were so, then it should be at least theoretically possible that scientists, who investigate nature, could come upon evidence of God while doing so. When you delve deeply into something, the goal is usually to discover its source.

“Einstein, like many titans of science before him, acknowledged this in a general way in many statements, such as: ‘everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe — a spirit vastly superior to that of man,’ or his reference to ‘rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.’ …

“People who espouse a naturalistic, materialist view of reality, which Darwinism supposedly corroborated and did much to promote, realize that the posited designer of nature is a deity. A deity, as they see it, belongs to ‘religion’ — at best soft, sentimental stuff that may have a place in the church or synagogue, but not in a serious domain like science.”

— P. David Hornik, writing on “Deny the Designer, Save ‘Science,’” Monday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

Blame Rush

“Al Gore, in an overheated October speech bemoaning the purported hollowing out of the American ‘marketplace of ideas,’ blamed it in part on repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, after which ‘Rush Limbaugh and other hate-mongers began to fill the airwaves.’ And here’s current Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean, in a 2003 interview railing against Rupert Murdoch: ‘I believe we need to re-regulate the media … so we can be sure that the American people get moderate, conservative, and liberal points of view.’ …

“These aren’t marginal figures; they’re the heart of today’s Democratic Party. … What’s really happening is that the Left, having lost its media monopoly, has had trouble competing in a true ‘marketplace of ideas’ and wants to shut that marketplace down.”

— Brian C. Anderson, writing on “The Plot to Shush Rush and O’Reilly,” in the winter issue of City Journal

Changed ideal

“After Mary Richards, Murphy Brown, and Carrie Bradshaw; after Jane Roe, Sally Ride, and Hillary Rodham; after Paris … Hilton — of course Miss America is not the gal she used to be. In the 1960s, at its summit, the Miss America Pageant had a TV audience of more than 80 million viewers and a corresponding purchase on the republic’s idea of womanhood.

“Since then, the pageant’s audience and its stature have slumped to the point that ABC, having tried and failed to goose the show’s ratings with reality-TV stunts, was unwilling to air it. Saturday night’s coronation transpired on Country Music Television. …

“Only since 1997 have contestants been permitted to don bikinis for the swimsuit competition. This year, all of them did, and it still managed to be anti-erotic. The pageant might objectify women, but it certainly doesn’t turn them into sex objects. …

“Jennifer Berry of Tulsa ascended to the throne. Her tears fell like confetti as the producers piped in the voice of Bert Parks to serenade her. There she is, Miss America — not your ideal, perhaps, but indisputably the queen of a niche.”

— Troy Patterson, writing on “There She Is,” Monday in Slate at www.slate.com

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