- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 5, 2005

Atheism Lite?

“American philosopher of science Michael Ruse, [in his] new book, ‘he Evolution-Creation Struggle,’ lays much of the blame for the growth of creationism in America … at the door of the scientists who have tried to compete with, and even supplant, religion.

“A staunch evolutionist himself, he is nevertheless highly critical of such modern giants as Dawkins and Edward O. Wilson.

“It is among the truths believed to be self-evident by the followers of all religions that godlessness is equivalent to amorality and that ethics requires the underpinning presence of some sort of ultimate arbiter … without which secularism, humanism, relativism, hedonism, liberalism and all manner of permissive improprieties will inevitably seduce the unbeliever down immoral ways.”

Salman Rushdie, writing on ?Just give me that old-time atheism,? May 23 in the Toronto Star


“Most of our national institutions and organizations that deal with children remain fixated on self-esteem.

“The Girl Scouts of America recently launched a major campaign ‘to address the problem of low self-esteem among 8- to 14-year-old girls.’ … Girls are invited to make collages celebrating themselves. They can play a getting-to-know-me game called a ‘Me-O-Meter.’ …

“One normally thinks of the Girl Scouts as an organization that fosters self-reliance and good citizenship. Me-O-Meters? How does that promote self-reliance? And is self-absorption necessarily good for young people? …

“The good intentions or dedication of the self-esteem educators and Scout leaders are not in question. But their common sense is.”

Christina Hoff Sommers, writing on “Enough Already With Kid Gloves,” May 31 in USA Today

Zeitgeist in space

“[The original ‘Star Trek’ series] was a perfect ‘60s show — New Frontier optimism, Klingons as Commie analogues, go-go boots, undiluted [William] Shatner in his prime, pointy-sideburn manliness. Zeitgeist giveaway: the first interracial kiss, the TV equivalent of a lunch counter sit-in. …

“[In] ‘The Next Generation’ … the Enterprise was no longer a lone vanguard making its way through realms unknown; now it was like a grand Hilton in space, complete with spa, psychiatric counselor, accommodations for kids, and a French captain who could sometimes be mistaken for a cranky sommelier.

“Whoopi Goldberg was the ship’s bartender, which, in retrospect, really tells you all you need to know.”

James Lileks, writing on ‘Star Trek Warps to an End,’ in the June issue of the American Enterprise

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