- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 11, 2010

The other Sanford

“Calm and cool, there is no sense of a scorned woman trapped in a political scandal that has torpedoed her 20-year marriage. No hint exists either of the ambitious Wall Street vice president with the political savvy that helped catapult her husband into Congress and, later, into South Carolina’s Governor’s Mansion.

“She is a regular mom doing her daily chores. Her house is surprisingly modest in its furnishings considering it sits on a prime oceanfront lot. Out front, an aluminum baseball bat lies in the yard. A basketball hoop stands near a garage crowded with bikes. And two dogs impatiently wait for four boys, ages 11-17, to come home from school.

“At home is the same Jenny Sanford, mother and wife, portrayed in her new book, ‘Staying True,’ which is just out and billed by Ballantine Books as an inspirational memoir about holding to one’s faith in life’s trying times.

“Jenny Sanford, 47, said she wrote it for two groups women also struggling with life’s unexpected twists and her sons so that they could hear her side of the story and know she has always put them and her Christian faith first.”

Gina Smith, writing on “Jenny Sanford has ‘no regrets,’ ‘no fear’ of future,” on Feb. 7 at the Columbia, S.C., newspaper, the State

Bad for religion

“The [Intelligent Design] movement has … rubbed a very raw wound in the relation between science and religion. For decades scientists have had to fend off the attempts by Young Earth creationists to promote their ideas as a valid alternative science. The scientific world’s exasperation with creationists is understandable.

“Imagine yourself a serious historian in a country where half the population believed in Afrocentric history, say, or a serious political scientist in a country where half the people believed that the world is run by the Bilderberg Group or the Rockefellers. It would get to you after a while, especially if there were constant attempts to insert these alternative theories into textbooks. So, when the ID movement came along and suggested that its ideas be taught in science classrooms, it touched a nerve. This is one reason that the New Atheists attracted such a huge audience.

“None of this is to say that the conclusions the ID movement draws about how life came to be and how it evolves are intrinsically unreasonable or necessarily wrong. Nor is it to deny that the ID movement has been treated atrociously and that it has been lied about by many scientists. The question I am raising is whether this quixotic attempt by a small and lightly armed band to overthrow ‘Darwinism’ and bring about a new scientific revolution has accomplished anything good. It has had no effect on scientific thought. Its main consequence has been to strengthen the general perception that science and religion are at war.”

Stephen Barr, writing on “The End of Intelligent Design,” on Feb. 9 at the First Things blog On the Square

Muslim opinion

“The good news is that Muslims in the Middle East tend not to like the Islamists in their own countries. The bad news is that they tend to like the Islamists in other countries.

“Hamas has a 37 percent approval rating in the Gaza Strip, but Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, enjoys 65 percent and 71 percent approval in Gaza and the West Bank, respectively.

“Question for the peace processors: Is peace likely when two-thirds of Palestinians think that Hassan Nasrallah is a great guy?

“Other interesting tidbits: Nigeria appears to have the highest rate of cognitive dissonance among the countries surveyed, with 81 percent approving of President Obama while 54 percent approve of Osama bin Laden. Where does bin Laden earn his second-highest approval rating, at 51 percent? From the Palestinians. I know that the politically correct, “know hope” thing to say is that the Palestinians overwhelmingly want peace; but as we see again from Pew, the public-opinion data simply do not show this to be true.”

Noah Pollak, writing on “New Pew Poll on Muslim Opinion,” on Feb. 10 at the Commentary blog Contentions

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