The Root Of The Problem

No matter how we educate children, the topic of religion is inescapable; government-run education does not and cannot avoid it. Why? Ravi Zacharias (an expert in Christian apologetics) says there are Four Questions To Answer In Life.

  • Origin  – Where do we come from?
  • Meaning – Why are we here?
  • Morality – What’s right and what’s wrong?
  • Destiny – What happens to a human being when I die?

These are religious questions. We are practically born wanting to know the answers. Therefore, no educational system can avoid these questions. Even a supposedly secular education (such as that provided by our public school system) must address each of these questions either directly or indirectly.

At best, what a secular education does is try to render the issue of God irrelevant. Therefore, because government-run schools are “secular” institutions, many Atheists promote public education as a way of undermining the Christian faith.

Consider this satirical cartoon as an example. When I argued that no education is complete without religious instruction (here), tildeb (apparently a militant Atheist) threw up the cartoon (here). At first, I thought the cartoon simply absurd. Then I realized the cartoonist was trying to satirize religious education as indoctrination into senseless superstitions.

What Are The Problems With Government-Run Education?

Talk to different people, and you will get different ideas about who needs an education and what kind of education is needed. In America, we generally think every child has the “right” to a basic education (whatever that is). Therefore, we have put our government in charge of the education our children.

Unfortunately, there are three big problems with the American approach to education.

  • An education is not a right. Parents have a responsibility for educating their children, but government has no business forcing anyone to pay for the education somebody else’s child, not even a needy child. That is form of stealing, and it is wrong.
  • We cannot trust politicians, and we don’t trust politicians. Nevertheless, various special interest groups have guilted the rest of us into funding public education. Over the years what these people have demonstrated is their desire for money and power, not a good education for children. That’s why our education system is costly, ineffective, and riddled with politics.  That’s why we have huge bureaucracies filled with cushy jobs for adults instead of a first rate school system.
  • Supposedly, the public education system excludes religious content. In IS MULTICULTURALISM A RELIGION?, we debunked that myth.

Who Are The Advocates For Government-Run Education?

Three basic groups promote government-run education.

  • Those seeking power.
  • Those seeking financial gain.
  • Those with philosophical objections to parental school choice.

Because it gives them considerable power, politicians seek to control how our money is spent on education. Power-hungry men and women want to control who teaches children, what children are taught, how children are taught, and where children go to school.

Because a government-run educational monopoly makes it easier for them them to unionize and demand exorbitant salaries and benefits, teachers unions oppose school choice. Various other special interests who make money off government-run education also oppose school choice.

At least three groups insist upon government-run schools for ostensibly philosophical reasons.

  • Socialists want government-run schools for the sake of equality. Unless government runs the schools, these supposedly fear the poor will not be properly educated.
  • Because Secularists equate religion with superstition, they favor a secular education. Thus, they have used public education as a backdoor method for imposing their godless worldview on our children.
  • Because politicians will sell access to our children, some groups see the public education system as a method for obtaining access to the other people’s children. These different groups use the public school system to indoctrinate children in various politically correct causes including: Socialism, Environmentalism, Moral Relativism, Sexual Liberation, Multiculturalism, feminism, immigration “reform” and so forth.

So What Is The Fix?

 Matthew: January 4, 2015 at 12:55 am

Everything is a religion. Prove to me that I am wrong. Your comment itself is religious.

Contrary to what politicians would have us believe, we cannot compartmentalize our lives. We cannot call one part Christian and another part secular. God created everything. He created us, the world in which we live, and each moment in which live and breathe. He created us for His glory, not to be secular beings.

All that may sound to some like fanaticism, but consider a secular idiom, to find yourself. The Christian version of finding yourself is seeking God’s purpose for your life.

Psalm 37:4 New King James Version (NKJV)

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

We are God’s children. He wants what is best for us. He wants us to love Him and each other. When we love God and each other, when we do what God has called us to do, we are happiest, knowing true fulfillment. Thus, secularizing the education of our children just increases the risk they will waste their lives.

If we believe in God and the life to come, then we must believe every decision we make has eternal significance. We must believe each decision we make, what we choose to learn, how we choose to spend our time, and how we choose to live, is a religious choice. When we make decisions for our children, that too must be a religious choice.

Consider what we have enshrined in the First Amendment.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Various state constitutions also protect the right to freedom of religion. Yet time and sophistry has confused our understanding. Even so the founders clearly did not want a busybody government. They wanted the right to run their lives and exercise the freedom of their own consciences.

Because of poor instruction, we have forgotten what the Bible teaches.

Ephesians 6:1-4 New King James Version (NKJV)

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

Our Creator gave parents the responsibility for the upbringing of the children they bring into this world. When parents pass that responsibility onto politicians, people no one in their right minds would trust with more power than necessary, they risk being disobedient to what the Bible teaches. When we allow our children to grow up without fully realizing their lives are a gift from our Creator, that their owe Him their worship, that they should seek to spend each moment in communion with Jesus, we fail in our duty as parents.

That means parents need to choose who teaches their children, what their children are taught, how their children are taught, and where their children go to school. That’s means we need school choice.


  1. Excellent post, Tom. Words have meaning. Opposing my deconstructionist and post-modern friends, I am a literalist and absolutist when it comes to words. I thoroughly enjoy etymology.

    Every student of logic knows that definition is a matter of importance in logical discourse. Everything is a religion. Believers and unbelievers cannot escape this fact. Everyone has religious views. The word “religion” derives from the Latin religio, which simply means belief and devout — nothing more, nothing less. For example, is evolutionism a religion? First, does evolution have a system of beliefs? Yes. Second, are evolutionists devoted to that system of beliefs? Yes. Therefore, evolutionism is a religion. Likewise, creationism is a religion. Question. If the people wish to separate religion and state, which is a religious view, then why are we teaching the religion of evolutionism in our classrooms?

    Years ago I had a self-proclaimed and outspoken communist and atheist in my class. I recall what he said after my expounding definitions of words and worldviews. “I oppose this,” he shouted. “Oppose what?” “I don’t approve your discussion about religion in class. I didn’t sign up for a religious or seminary class. I am here to learn science,” said the student. I replied, “Despite the fact that you contradicted yourself, I am sorry to hear that, sir. You entire statement was religious in nature. You merely stated your religious views.” He remained quiet because he saw my point. He was stating and defending his religion.

    1. Thank you for you comment.

      As you can see, I quoted you. I agree. “Everything is a religion.” And I quite pleased to see you elaborate further.

      I too like etymology, and I often make use of http://www.etymonline.com/. What I find frequently surprises me. What we do to words is scary.

      Evolutionism? Googled that, and I got plenty of hits. I don’t believe I have heard it phrased that way frequently, but the meaning is obvious. So I think I will start using “Evolutionism.” Thank you.

      BTW – With all our “plotting,” I think we are making scout extremely nervous.

      1. I prefer a physical book. Perhaps that old, musty smell of the library brings back memories of my undergraduate, graduate, and research days. Remember the library index cards?! The youth today have no idea how easy they have it with computers and the Internet.

        At any rate, I have used (and still use) the following: A Complete English-Latin and Latin-English Dictionary by Joseph E. Riddle, A Copious and Critical English-Latin Dictionary by William Smith and Theophilus D. Hall, and Cassell’s Latin Dictionary. Early editions of any Latin dictionary are the best because the etymology is clearer and closer to origin. I do the same with colloquial, formal, and legal English dictionaries. Indeed, what we do to words today is very frightening. The perversion of words is to suit political, social, and economic agendas. This is why I avoid modern dictionaries as much as possible. The destruction of words and language reminds me of Syme and Winston’s discussion in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

      2. I imagine that there are evolutionists: people who don’t understand the hypotheses, theories, inferences and data supporting them and accept all of that on faith. But that is not what this scientific discipline rests on.

        It’s a shame, really, because a lot of the malfeasance that “evolutionist scientists’ are accused of (by people I’ve debated for decades) is really true in the case of climate scientists.

        Most scientists, most people for that matter, who believe in a coming man-caused global warming catastrophe do so based upon trust that the work of others is reasonable, objective, honest and sound. Upon examination, however, this turns out to be too-often untrue. Nevertheless, there remain lots of catastrophists, though their numbers are decreasing as evidence amasses against them.

        In the meantime, regarding creationism, I would commend to you St. Augustine’s approach to the topic: Don’t try to read Genesis literally … that’s not the point of those stories. Relax, learn about and seek to understand how the world works and how life develops; these are no less amazing and awe-inspiring for having taken billions of years.

        ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

        1. In the meantime, regarding creationism, I would commend to you St. Augustine’s approach to the topic: Don’t try to read Genesis literally … that’s not the point of those stories. Relax, learn about and seek to understand how the world works and how life develops; these are no less amazing and awe-inspiring for having taken billions of years.

          Good afternoon, Mr. DeHavelle, and thank you for the comment. I disagree. The word “science” derives from the Latin scientia</em, which merely means knowledge. Question? How does man obtain knowledge? Does knowledge spontaneously arrive in his mind? No. Does knowledge come from scientific research? Sure, but something must precede the research. Man gains his knowledge through his five senses. Indeed, man will inquire further to know more about the newly gained knowledge through his senses. Could Galileo, who was a devout Christian scientist, have arrived at his conclusion without sight? Could Newton, who was a devout Christian scientist, have arrived at his conclusion without sight (or touch, if you follow the narrative of the apple falling on his head)? Of course not. With that said, science is literally our senses. Everyone uses science. We take it for granted.

          Now, there are two types of science (or knowledge), which still involve our senses, and they are the following: experimental (or operational) science and historical (or origins) science. We all know what is experimental science, correct? It involves the "scientific research method" (i.e., observable, testable, repeatable, and falsifiable experimentation), which is normally done in a controlled lab setting, and concerns the present time. This leads to our next type of science — historical science. Unlike experimental science, which is conducted in the present, historical science involves the past. No one can go back in time, let us say, the beginning of the universe, and conduct experimental science. Historical science is merely interpreting evidence from past events based on one's presuppositions and biases of his respective worldview.

          The battle in the debate is not experimental science, yet it is historical science. The past is not directly observable, testable, repeatable, or falsifiable; therefore, interpretations of past events present greater challenges for you, scientists, and I than interpretations involving operational science. For example. As an elder (or "old fart," if you prefer), with over 50 years of experience in criminal justice (and in higher education and in social sciences and services), both private and public sectors, I can assure you that historical science was a big problem at crime scenes. Why? Crimes are predominately historical science, namely, a crime occurred in the past and now investigators must piece the puzzle together using available facts (e.g., body of the crime, weapon of the crime, witnesses, documents, etc.). Let us image three investigators are investigating a triple homicide. I guarantee those three investigators are going to have three different theories as to what occurred. How? They observe and measure the same given evidence from the crime, but interpret that evidence differently owing to different presuppositions and biases. As a result, investigators would literally argue with each other. Frustration and anger builds over theories. I witnessed and experienced it many times.

          Neither evolutionism nor creationism is directly observable, testable, repeatable, or falsifiable. For instance. The evolutionist presupposes the universe and everything therein evolved over billions and millions of years. There is no direct evidence. Additionally, the body of scientific literature proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that dating methods are faulty, ineffective, and scientists provide a presupposed date at the beginning of the dating method, which is dishonest science. (I encourage you to read said material.) Though dating methods have been proven to be dishonest, faulty, and ineffective, scientists are still using them in climatology, archeology, geology, chemistry, etc. Pity! The creationist, on the other hand, presupposes that there was a Creator who created the universe and everything therein in literal six, 24-hour days, which, by the way, is self-evident to mankind.

          What is the difference between the two religions? Evolutionism relies on man's fallible, weak, limited, and simple faculties. Creationism relies on the divinely inspired Word of God, which, ironically, continues to be vindicated with true science, not pseudo-science. I know St. Augustine's works very well. He was (and is) incorrect regarding Genesis. If I, as a Christian, disregard Genesis as literal, then it logically follows that the entire Bible is irrelevant. The foundation of evolutionism is man's imperfect reason, whereas the foundation of creationism (and Christianity as a whole) is Genesis. Genesis is the foundation of all Christian doctrine. Christ Jesus referred to Genesis — and other books of the Old Testament — as literal, scientific, and historical events. Either Christ was right or Christ was wrong. Which is it? Christ did not teach them as "allegory" stories as modern man. Again Christ connected His teachings with past events as literal, scientific occurrences.

          In recent times — recent as in the past 150 years — there were (and still are) efforts made by Christians to appear "relevant" to his Secular neighbor. Liberal theologians of decades past took liberty to cut and paste evolutionary presuppositions into the Word of God. Owing to these efforts, these incorrect Christians developed theories such as Theistic Evolution and Gap Theory. Shame!

          If you really think about it, the crux of the debate boils down to this one question: who has authority? Is the Word of God authoritative, or is the Word of Man authoritative? Obviously, man will assume himself as authoritative owing to his arrogant nature. This has been the case since our first parents, Adam and Eve. Cheers my friend. 🙂

          1. If you really think about it, the crux of the debate boils down to this one question: who has authority? Is the Word of God authoritative, or is the Word of Man authoritative?

            The fact that there is no single Word of God but many thousands of versions often contrary to and incompatible with other versions puts a dent in your simplistic approach. Granting authority to this one or that one hardly elevates any of them to be anything more than an agreement to be both gullible and credulous.

            In contrast, what you conveniently call the ‘Word of Man’ is not what men say… the majority being aligned, after all, with some local version of an authoritative deity. What stands contrary to some claimed authority of some supposed divine agency is stuff that works. The models used for building stuff that works for everyone everywhere all the time has been painstakingly extracted from the reality we share. So it’s not some guy’s ‘word’ that stands contrary to some divine authority you just so happen to favour but reality itself. I grant reality the right to arbitrate my claims made about it. You deny reality that role and so there is no means at my disposal to differentiate your claims about some imaginary divine authority from the medical condition we call ‘delusion’. They look to be identical.

        2. Keith, you say “Most scientists, most people for that matter, who believe in a coming man-caused global warming catastrophe do so based upon trust that the work of others is reasonable, objective, honest and sound. Upon examination, however, this turns out to be too-often untrue.”

          No, they don’t base this confidence on trust. They base it on overwhelming evidence that makes sense in favour of the hypothesis. In my case, I was asked what evidence would convince me that there was a direct link between global warming and accelerated climate. I demanded a longitudinal study to show an increase in the frequency and amplitude of climate extremes (because I know a lot about climate science) linked to the supposed causal engine, namely, atmospheric CO2 levels. This was produced and so I changed my mind.

          Look, by far the most common feature of climate change deniers (denying man is responsible for a global warming that is directly causing a massively accelerated change in climate patterns) is that they use the same kinds of arguments, the same method, as creationists.

          That’s a warning sign you ignore at your peril.

          It is never wise to base contrary beliefs to good science by confirming them through cherry picking certain favourable data while maligning the character of climate scientists and supplying a nefarious global conspiracy to ‘explain’ the scientific consensus. That’s an excellent recipe for nutcrackery.

          1. (I’m going to repost the comment below on my own site, where I can fix typos. You’re welcome to participate there if you wish. If only WordPress allowed comment editing by the commenter…)

            I’ve been interested in atmospheric sciences since the 1970s, and writing about it almost as long.

            Most scientists do take the words/papers/pronouncements/media releases of a core group of climate scientists on faith. They assume, reasonably enough, that the process of science gradually stumbles toward the truth, and that the core group most noisy about the topic are like them, imperfect but reasonable and trying hard.

            The reality is rather odd, and quite disappointing to me as a lifelong science enthusiast who makes my living writing research papers and proposals. There is a shut-out process: If you think the data points in a contrary direction, you better keep it to yourself if you wish to keep your career that massive student loans have paid for. Governments and research orgs who are funded by them have tolerated little dissent. Happily, this is starting to ease up, as the evidence for scientific malfeasance is growing larger at the same time that the prattling about “extreme” weather threats is shown as increasingly hollow.

            CO2 is feeding the planet, and the increase in the past century has increased crop production on the order of a seventh or so — in other words, feeding perhaps a billion people. In the somewhat higher CO2 environment, crops are more water-efficient as well. It’s amusing to see catastrophists struggle with this. Their approaches are usually “but the ozone will increase, too, so there will be no increase in growth” — shown to be false. Or “CO2 saturation hypothesis!” — shown to be false. Or “higher temperatures will impede growth” — also false. Or “droughts are getting worse and that will kill the crops!” — once more ignoring reality, though every drought or storm or whatever is played to the hilt.

            Extreme weather was predicted during the global cooling from the 40s to the 70s, now almost erased from the records because of its inconvenience. It made sense, as storms are powered to a large extent by the differences in temperature from pole to equator, not a higher net temperature, and the catastrophist models predicted increased temperatures at the poles. (That hasn’t worked out.)

            So based upon those predictions, the re-warming from the 70s to the 2000s should have produced milder hurricanes/cyclones and fewer tornadoes. That is, of course, what we’re seeing. We are still, famously, in the longest period without a major hurricane strike on the US mainland in the history of the US (through we really only have good records since about the Civil War). Tornadoes have been at record lows, though again every single tornado that does happen is played as a Major Disaster — instead of a mention in the news as was true in decades past. This is sort of anecdotal stuff; these storms are on a cycle of about 40 years or so and I expect them to start increasing in the next years. But an increase to levels of the 60s and 70s is not “unprecedented extremes” though it will be hyped as such. In fact, you’re talking about “extreme” weather as if it were happening now!

            I have been gathering data from the various temperature data sets for years. My modeling began in the 1970s, originally in code, then on spreadsheets (remember Visicalc and SuperCalc? SuperCalc is still installed on my systems) then in code again. What annoys me most about the data is the constant changing. If you are going to run a study based on data from a given network, you must identify the vintage, as every month history changes.

            As a result, the 1930s and 40s have gotten fractionally cooler, more than a hundred times, over the past two decades, especially since 1999. It took seven years after 1999 for 1934 to drop below 1998’s temperature in the continental US, making 1998, belatedly, the new record high. Every month, you could see 1934 getting a bit cooler, and 1998 warming up a bit. Then, hey presto! The hottest year ever! Let me point you to an excellent statistician’s blog who has been pursuing these topics for years; he tracked and exposed that changing of historical temperature rankings.

            I understand TOBS adjustments and other offsets and I have the algorithms, but the repeated re-processing of historical data, over and over, can produce useful results but cannot be used for “hottest year ever” pronouncements. And yet it is, including this month once again.

            So there are key questions to ask. For example:

            Is it getting warmer?
            Yes (compared to 40 years ago, though it’s been pretty stable for the last half of this period).
            No (compared to 75 years ago in the warm 1930s and 1940s)
            Yes (compared to 100 years ago; the 1910a were fairly chilly)
            No (compared to 1000 years ago; the Medieval Climate Optimum was in play)
            No (compared to 5000 years ago; we’re a lot down from the Holocene Climate Optimum).
            Yes (compared to 20,000 years ago during the last glaciation)
            No (compared to most of the Earth’s history, particularly the last 500,000,000 years; we’ve been running on the cool side.)

            The net effect of a slight warming from the frigid 1970s (and the Little Ice Age, of course) will be benign. There is a reason that the Holocene Climate Optimum was called that: It was an optimum time for human civilizational and agricultural development. (Now the name is politically incorrect, and newer textbooks and papers no longer call it that.)

            Is Man producing CO2 and contributing to an increase?
            Yes to both. Less than half of this is related to fossil fuels, the rest is land use changes (including things like cement production) and crop effects, notably rice paddies.

            Is more CO2 a problem?
            No, and in fact it is evidently a benefit for plants with clearly little impact on temperatures. There is likely some impact on temps, but diminishing returns because of spectrum masking and so forth.

            Would warming up toward those previous optimums be a “catastrophe”?
            There is no evidence for this.

            Is sea level rise a problem?
            No; it has been maintaining the same slow rate (actually slightly slower now) since the 19th century of a few inches per year. Few even noticed this. Are the Maldives threatened. Obviously not: they’ve survived more than 300 feet of sea level rise so far this cycle, and evidence indicates that they’re expanding. This is how reefs work, of course.

            Is ocean “acidification” (actually, what is proposed is a very slight neutralization, not acidification) a problem?
            No. The studies are reluctantly admitting now that coral reefs are far more resilient that they’d been given credit for. There are issues with fishing, dredging, nutrient runoff and such, but these are clearly nothing to do with “climate change.”

            Is there any evidence of a “runaway feedback” effect?

            No, and clearly this has been true in the past as well when CO2 was ten or twenty times the current level. Catastrophists worry about a potential doubling, but land plants evolved during the time of very much higher CO2, and have been gradually storing it in the Earth (and therefore suffocating themselves) for millions of years. No wonder they’re doing better! CO2 and oxygen are not balanced in the atmosphere, of course: CO2 is at about 400ppm, oxygen at about 209,000 ppm, a gigantic difference.

            Some scientists talk about the “runaway feedback” on Venus, but not only is it much closer to the Sun, it has about 400,000 times the CO2 we have (not to mention a tremendously dense atmosphere overall, which is a major factor).

            Most people don’t realize that even argon, a “rare” and inert gas, is about 25 times as common in Earth’s atmosphere as carbon dioxide. (So the idiots at the US EPA has just banned argon. A different topic.)

            Will the proposed mitigation measures, from Kyoto Protocol to the latest Chinese deal, have any measurable effect on temperatures?
            No, and this has been readily admitted; the differences at the century scale would be, if implemented perfectly among all nations, only a tiny and unnoticeable fraction of a degree. Completely undetectable since models cannot estimate anywhere near close enough to show that there even was an effect.

            What else can affect temperature here if CO2 is not a big deal?
            In addition to various natural cycles which we do not understand well enough to model, albedo is important (and to an extent connected with those cycles.) Albedo changes, which we measure only poorly, have a much more dramatic effect upon surface insolation. This is so large that rounding errors of albedo measurement are larger than the putative effects of all CO2 increases over the past century. But we don’t track albedo over the planet multiple times per day over the entire planet on a 24 hour basis as we do temperature (and there is a reverse albedo at night, which is why it is so cold at night in a cloudless desert). We’re content to look at this imperfectly, and model it to create details to feed into other models.

            Don’t you trust the models?
            No. For one thing, climate models have been notoriously poor at out-of-sample data. In other words, you can run them over and over, tinkering with the parameters, to get a result that looks sort of like history and also sort of like the prediction you want (i.e., scary warming). (The same thing can be done in the stock markets.) But then feed this a few more years of data, and the match to reality falls apart. Is a model capable of producing something like reality? Eventually, with a much more complex system than we now use — but as long as climate scientists select and publish only the results they like, this will still be a problematic area.

            As a person who has developed scientific and technical software for more than four decades, I was flabbergasted reading the code and programmer comments released as part of the first ClimateGate batch. The “Harry_Read_Me.txt” file made it clear that a fair amount of key input parameters to models were simply fabricated (he used “made up” and “fudged”) — and at one point they decided to change the solar “constant” by 10 watts per square meter(!) just to make the output look like what they wanted. Disgusting.

            I’m going to put my turkey baster down now; it is what I am having to use to type these days but I’ve gotten pretty good at it. But as for Catastrophic Climate Change, it is not a subject I come to lightly … and thus you will need to peddle the story to someone else.

            ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          2. You – as a ‘science enthusiast, no less – must be relieved that unlike thousands of working climate scientists you’re able not to be fooled as they have been fooled… and with keen insight into the cause: a global conspiracy.

            Well done, science enthusiast. You should present your Wattsupwiththat spiel in an enthusiastic science paper and submit it for peer review in a respectable climate journal. With data like this, how can anyone – like every major scientific body in the world – find fault? I’m sure a Nobel is waiting right there in the wings with your name ready to go on it while the rest of the world can breath easier knowing that you’re on the job and all this accelerated climate change data is really just propaganda.

            Are you serious?

            Take you very first point: Most scientists do take the words/papers/pronouncements/media releases of a core group of climate scientists on faith.

            Yeah, like the US military trying to figure out in the late 60s why their air to air missiles were having difficulty tracking what they used to be able to track. Like the military turning to those faith-fueled climate scientists at Goddard… like that wingnut Hansen… and altering their electronic guidance system settings to compensate for the suspected cause: rapidly rising CO2 levels. All a matter of faith.

            Each point you raise has similar problems with misrepresentation. With no rising sea levels, it’s a mystery why Miami’s billion dollar beach hotel strip is having such difficulty getting flood insurance. They used to get it. Funny how the largest reinsurer in the world thinks rapidly accelerated climate change is the most profound risk they face. And all on faith, eh?

            This commentary you make is a scientific joke and I have no intention of going through it point by point. All I will say is that the same science that informs evolution informs climate change caused by human activity. It’s the same method. To deny one is to deny all. And that’s what you are: a climate change denialist.

          3. Well, I suppose that an ad hominem hit and run, coupled with false statements (such as your implication that I said that sea levels were not rising), is better than wondering whatever happened to you. Actual discussion would have been useful, but we each do what we can do.

            So, this is a sort of “tildeb do us part.” A pity; it was a fair amount for a moment’s amusement.

            ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          4. Not ad hominem, Keith. Pointing out that you think your recycled denialist arguments are somehow more insightful than the science that is endorsed by every major scientific body in the world. You’re smarter than NASA, smarter than the National Academy of Sciences, The Royal Society, and the list goes on and on and on. Your conclusion is that all of the scientists who make up these scientific bodies have been fooled. Think about the level of arrogance needed to assume your enthusiastic opinion is a good basis on which to dismiss the roughly 97% of all climate scientists who think AGW is the driver of rapid climate change.

            I’ve already pointed out that the factoids you select on which you supposedly base your enthusiastic opinion that almost all climate scientists are wrong are misrepresentations. You claimed faith was the basis for this near scientific consensus. That’s simply not true. There is overwhelming evidence that it is the best explanation for the kind of changes we are beginning to experience. Of course, you pretend there is no change… not really… and then misrepresent what that change is to align with your accepted beliefs about which bits of data to use to try too support your enthusiastic insight that perceives what all these climate scientists do not (or choose not to see for funding reasons or they’ll be Expelled!).

            And that’s why I point out that the method you are using to justify your denialist beliefs is the same method used by creationists. That’s a clue about their scientific value, by the way…

        3. Keith

          With respect to the science on evolution, I tend to be neutral. There has been a lot of good work done on the subject, but as Matthew says, the bias is evident, and we still have no way to demonstrate the hypothesis.

          The points you make with respect to what the climate scientists have done is illustrative. Because evolutionism is a religion with some people, they think anyone who disagrees with their precious theory is some kind of nut. Carl Sagan provided a very public example of that sort of thinking.

          The ultimate problem is government the financial support government provides science in this country. Because everything is religion, everything is also political. Hence, because government funding, science is becoming more and more politicized.

          Put it this way. If you care for the search for knowledge, then thought of putting people who think like Barack Obama in charge research spending has to horrify you.

          Anyway, thanks for posting your take on Climate Change both here and on your web site. Good stuff!


          Frankly, when I read the Genesis account, I usually end up scratching my head. Did God create Adam from the dust of the ground. Did He create Eve from a rib? I don’t know. If I were God, how would explain what He did to a bronze age people? Even with the account the Bible gives us, all I know are the bare details.

          What Moses handed the Hebrews is a scientifically correct religious account, but it is told was told to explain why we need to be redeemed, not to teach the Hebrews any science. Have you ever notice something odd about the story of Cain and Abel? Cain was the first son of Adam and Eve, not the tenth or the hundredth. Yet the Lord had to set a mark on Cain lest anyone finding him should kill him.

          How many more children had Adam and Eve had? How many had their descendants had? The Bible is amazingly brief. It tells us only what we need to know, and when we read too much into it, we err.

          Did God create us through a series of lesser beings? He could have. Would such a process satisfy the Genesis account? I don’t know. I just know the Theory of Evolution would have confounded Hebrews with facts irrelevant to their situation.


          Keith and scout have been going at each other for some time now. You ought to take a look at what they have had to say about each other. Not nice, to say the least. Yet Keith ran out of patience with you in no time at all. That’s something to think about, and it doesn’t speak well of you.

          1. With respect to the science on evolution, I tend to be neutral.

            And you feel fully qualified to be the judge on this, eh? Right there demonstrates the hubris you carry with you in that you don’t see this difference to be YOUR lack; you presume your level of knowledge is at least equivalent to a fundamental pillar of biology. And you’re not quite sure if you are willing to say one way or the other because you’re neutral. No, you’re not neutral at all. You’re deluded. You assume your lack of understanding why biology makes no sense outside of evolution is an equivalently held scientific opinion. It’s not. It’s profound ignorance inflated by astounding arrogance. Those qualities are the basis of your ‘neutrality’ and not the adjudication by reality that turns the evolutionary hypothesis into the strongest scientific theory we humans have. But your qualities impede you from understanding even this gross deficiency on your part, a deficiency of knowledge so profound that you actually presume your opinion is equivalent. And that’s why it’s deluded.

            As for your friend Keith and the high opinion you have for him, this aligns perfectly with the same basis: profound ignorance supported by astounding arrogance.

          2. tildeb

            Because I don’t believe I have any business forcing others to believe what I believe, I am Conservative.

            Do I feel qualified to judge whether the Theory of Evolution is true or not? No, and I said as much.

            Is the Theory of Evolution a fundamental pillar of biology? Not really. There is a lot written that suggests the Theory of Evolution is important, but very little practical use is made of the theory. Evolution is used to explain taxonomy, for example, but we don’t actually use Evolution to do taxonomy.

            So if the Theory of Evolution is ever proven to be seriously flawed (assuming we ever learn enough to discover said flaw), scientists will just edit some textbooks. The difficulty will be admitting the mistake, not dealing with it.

            Anyway, your accusations of arrogance are kind of weird. It is not crime to disagree with you. So you may as well stop acting like it is.

          3. I accuse you of a vast ignorance. I think you are completely unaware of just how ignorant one must be to say something so ridiculous, so clearly lacking basic requisite knowledge to write but very little practical use is made of the theory (of evolution).

            I blame arrogance. I think one must be very arrogant to presume that one’s state of knowledge is sufficient to wave away a scientific theory for crying out loud as if it’s six of one and a have dozen of the other. I mean, wow.

            Perhaps you missed the bit that NOTHING in biology makes sense without the evolutionary explanation. Nothing. But to you, this doesn’t really matter, does it? You seem perfectly comfortable to intellectually shrug as if of little consequence that this explanation works to directly inform applications, therapies, and technologies that – oh, by some strange coincidence, just so happens to work for everyone everywhere all the time. Meh. Probably some chance result.

            I don’t think you have a clue about what it means if you’re correct, that all of these areas upon which we invest and spend trillions of dollars and very often for profit works reliably and consistently. I don;t think this brute fact makes much of an impression on you. I think you intellectually shrug away genetics. You intellectually shrug away medicine. You intellectually shrug away mining and resource extraction. You just intellectually shrug away the fossil record, radioactive dating used in weaponry and medicine, shrug away animal husbandry, shrug away crop sciences, shrug away the very basis of our understanding of how your biology works and by what mechanisms. You just shrug it all away as if all of these related and mutually supportive areas of applied understanding THAT WORKS RELIABLY AND CONSISTENTLY are equivalent to the trust you place in your own contrary opinions (and you must have some to think agnosticism is a suitable reply to this mountain of overwhelming evidence in support of the theory)!

            The colossal arrogance required to presume that your uncertain opinions are of such informed quality that any differences you may have about scientific theories are just that – differences of opinion without taking into serious consideration why and how all these applications, therapies, and technologies really do work all of the time – indicates to me just how ignorant you must be to presume it’s not your lack of knowledge that informs such arrogance but a legitimate difference of informed knowledge.

            Truly, you demonstrate vast ignorance and truly astounding arrogance. But now that you’re aware of just how ignorant you have been and how arrogant you have been, you will humble your self and actually try to learn about why evolution is true and that those who deny this do so for reasons other than respect for reality and the knowledge hard-working scientists have extracted from it.

  2. We have a lot of school choice in this country. I’ve lived and travelled abroad a fair bit. I don’t think I’ve encountered any other country where there are more education options. We have enormous religious freedom in this country. Parents are pretty much free to instruct their children in religion at will (the only reason I qualify this is that I suppose there could be some bizarre vampire cult or some such violent thing that would violate civil laws, but generally speaking, there is no legal impediment to parents instructing their children in any religion I can think of). The religious among us would be appalled to have government employees teaching religion. No one in their right mind would send their children to a government school to get a religious education. So, it’s not at all clear what the “problem” is that you just spent a lot of e-ink talking about. We instruct our children at home and in our churches about religion. If we are dissatisfied for any reason (religious or non-religious) with the education available in the public schools, we find private schools that better fulfill our expectations or we home school. If we are concerned that there are people who lack means to send their children to the schools that are best for them, we organize, through churches or other charities, scholarships and other means of support to finance their access to these schools.

  3. Oh, Tom. So much is wrong with this post but I’ll address the four big questions:

    You say ‘secular’ education can’t answer them (I’d be interested to know on what basis you presume they have knowable answers… independent of your religious beliefs, of course… but I suspect you have none) but then presume that religious ‘answers’ can do exactly this. I think that’s pure bunk (see how polite I’m being?). What religious answers provide is a substitution of an honest “I don’t know” with a “But here is what I believe.” If the child is old enough to ask these questions, then the child at least deserves an honest answer from you about a lack of knowledge you honestly have but liberally replaced by a unending quantity of faith-based belief masquerading as knowledgeable answers. Confusing what this substitution actually is – in fact, it’s identical to lying to children if presented as knowledge but rationalized to be virtuous lying if religious (another handy byproduct of your religious beliefs) – is the path to religious indoctrination.

    I don’t think indoctrination in anything is justified by the supposed value (or public good so often used) of belief in the object; I think indoctrination is a failure of parental responsibilities that cause real harm to real people in real life. I know I struggled mightily as parent to provide ways and means for my kids to explore these questions and arrive at an understanding for themselves. After all, they earned it so they own it. The beliefs they have are theirs and not my predigested pablum force fed into their psyches at a vulnerable age to align with my superstitious beliefs (although, strangely enough, my beliefs are almost always correct! What are the chances?)

    The issue of teaching children about various gods and scriptures is vital to a good public education. Reading Shakespeare, for example, and understanding the biblical connections and references they contain makes no sense if one has no information about the Bible. Understanding Western history and philosophy makes no sense without understanding the role various religion has historically played. Understanding why Galileo was the giant upon whose shoulder Newton stood without understanding how religion played a central role in making this such a huge issue in the advancement of science makes no sense without a knowledge about religion And so on. That’s why teaching comparative religion courses is widely available and throughout many grade levels in the public system (even if extraordinarily poorly done across the boards.. excuse the pun). What’s absent (or, at least should be by Constitutional law in the US) is the promotion of A religious belief. And that is required if you wish to have religious freedom.. but I don’t expect you to understand why your right to religious freedom is so important to me as an atheist. (BTW, I love that you call me a ‘militant’… even though I’ve almost never done anything violent in my life other than dare to criticize poorly thought out positions justifying some faith-based belief. It makes me seem so much more burly and rigorous!)

    Before I leave, I must mention the cartoon was not about what you think it was about. The cartoon highlighted the absurdity of claiming any child comes with some religious identity. That idenity is learned and the sooner we recognize that fact, the sooner we can begin to get parents to stop trying to indoctrinate them with their religious identities and allow them to grow their own according to whatever merit the child decides.

    One final thought: I think the demise of a country’ public education directly reflects the state of its national decay. Take away this unifying factor all citizens share and what do you have left?

    1. tildeb – Thank you for your visit and for confirming your agenda.

      Since this is both a political and a Christian blog, I have written posts that address what I think about the answers to those four questions. I believe what the Bible says. You want to call that lying? So?

      You are entitled to your opinions. I am entitled to my beliefs. Freedom of religion is what it is.

      Parents have the right to decide what their children should learn, not you or I. If you cannot accept that gracefully, then I think you have a serious personal problem. However, so long as you don’t break any laws…..

      Matthew has provided a good little history here => https://citizentom.com/2015/01/04/choosing-the-field-of-battle/#comment-56376.

      Our national identity rests upon the principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence. That document predates the public education system by a good many decades. And yes, it mentions God.

      I am not going debate the meaning of the cartoon. I don’t even know why you think our interpretation differs. Anyway, folks can look at the cartoon, read what I said about it, and read what you said about it. They can form their own opinions, and that is why I linked to it.

      Thanks again for your visit.

      1. Tom, I have no problem you believing whatever you want about answering those four questions to your satisfaction. As I carefully explained in my comment, there is a very real problem if you represent those beliefs to children as if they were knowledge. That is the lie, and that lie causes harm. That lie – misrepresenting what you believe on the strength of your conviction and not the reality we share is at the heart of what we call religious indoctrination. Indoctrination is not synonymous with religious freedom. You are harming the very principle of the freedom to indoctrinate children… which I think is not a very good lesson to teach kids.

        Yes parents have a certain amount of latitude about what they teach their kids. But when harm is done to them, does the parent still have that ‘right’ to do to them what they will? I think there needs to be some legal borders on that… borders that do not infringe upon the individual right to freedom of religion. But your freedom of religion must be bordered to be about you. You do not have the freedom to harm others in the name of your religious freedom.

        And, no, your national identity does not come from the Declaration but from the Constitution. That is what defines the rights of US citizenship and as you well know, there isn’t any need for any god in such a radically new kind of country: the secular state. The US IS a secular country by law granting its citizenship to be as religious or non religious as each individual chooses to be. Indoctrinating children undermines this choice, of course, but hey… as along as it’s pious and just so happens to be in agreement with the selfish parents who do this to their children, right? It is my hope that someday more religious Americans may just come to realize why secularism is such a benefit to them protecting their religious choices. The Founders knew what they were doing separating church and state and it wasn’t to build a religious country but to protect the citizenry through law from exactly this. Without the religious neutrality of the state, you cannot enjoy religious freedom… just as indoctrinated children cannot enjoy their inherent freedom to choose.

        1. Just a thought.

          It’s to be noted that the Founders goal was to separate an established denomination with having legislative powers within our government, much like the Church of England; However, it’s goal was not to separate religious morality from the men who operated within the ‘walls’ of said government. The Supreme Court can cite the danbury letter until they’re blue in the face, but Jefferson wasn’t even present in the nation went the constitution was debated or ratified. Jefferson would even be appalled to learn that the courts used his letter to perform any sort of judicial review:

          “You seem to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps…. Their power [is] the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves.”

    2. “You say ‘secular’ education can’t answer them
      Both Christians and non-Christians can answer the above four questions; however, the answers will be contrasted owing to different worldviews. Our worldviews are shaped by presuppositions. Every worldview starts with presuppositions, that is, beliefs that one presumes to be true without supporting independent evidence from other sources or systems.

      (I’d be interested to know on what basis you presume they have knowable answers… independent of your religious beliefs, of course… but I suspect you have none)
      This is immature but let us take it on face value. If you wish a Christian provide answers independent of spiritual religious beliefs, then you shall provide answers independent of your secular religious beliefs. Can you do this? Fair is fair.

      but then presume that religious ‘answers’ can do exactly this. I think that’s pure bunk (see how polite I’m being?).
      Dress for action like a man and provide us the answers, of course, independent of your secular religious beliefs.

      What religious answers provide is a substitution of an honest “I don’t know” with a “But here is what I believe.”
      Secular religious beliefs provide the same “But here is what I believe.” An honest Secularist will say, “I do not know.” Both worldviews begin with presuppositions. For instance. Where were you at the formation of the universe? You and I shall answer, “I was not there.” Where were you at the foundation of the earth? You and I shall answer, “I was not there.” Who or what determined the measurements of the universe and earth? You and I shall answer, “I do not know. But here is what I believe. . .” Your worldview beings with evolutionary presuppositions, whereas my worldview begins with creation presuppositions. Get my drift? You and I observe and measure the same facts, but we interpret those facts differently owing to different presuppositions and biases. There never was and never will be an objective scientist, whether Christian or Secularist. Both Christian and Secular scientists go into the lab with their respective religions.

      If the child is old enough to ask these questions, then the child at least deserves an honest answer from you about a lack of knowledge you honestly have but liberally replaced by a unending quantity of faith-based belief masquerading as knowledgeable answers.
      The child at least deserves an honest answer from you about lack of knowledge you honestly have, but liberally replaced by unending quantity of secular religious beliefs masquerading as knowledgeable answers. (See point above.)

      Confusing what this substitution actually is – in fact, it’s identical to lying to children if presented as knowledge but rationalized to be virtuous lying if religious (another handy byproduct of your religious beliefs) – is the path to religious indoctrination.
      Yawn. Nothing new under the sun.

      1. Secular religious beliefs?

        Oh. You’re one of those. Too bad.

        Evidence: Your worldview beings with evolutionary presuppositions (no it doesn’t), whereas my worldview begins with creation presuppositions (parroting what you’ve been taught to believe but utterly failing to take reality’s role seriously in arbitrating claims made about it). Get my drift? (Oh yes) You and I observe and measure the same facts, but we interpret those facts differently owing to different presuppositions and biases. (no we don’t).

        I lend claims about reality – say, the explanatory model we call evolution – a very great deal of confidence not because I first believe it to be true. That’s the apologetic southern product of a northern facing bovine. I lend that confidence about a claim when the explanatory model produces applications, therapies, and technologies that seem to work for everyone everywhere all the time regardless of any contrary beliefs they may hold… compared to lending confidence to an explanatory model that produces no applications, no therapies, no technologies that work for anyone anywhere ever. The explanatory model of, say, evolution continues to consistently and reliably produce not just new knowledge but new and productive avenues of inquiry. It is a model that keeps on giving us insights into how reality operates, how life really does change over time demonstrable and falsifiable through the genetics of common ancestry. All of this has exactly NOTHING to do with my beliefs about it but work regardless. So it has nothing to do with the beliefs I bring with mewhen I consider the world’s arbitration of claims made about it.

        Now let’s compare and contrast this explanatory model with another: belief in creationism. Clearly stated, this model proposes that a mysterious agency of Oogity Boogity! used a mechanism best described as POOF!ism to create stuff like life. On this model we get no return of knowledge, no applications, no therapies, no technologies, and a fracturing between people of which name to call the agency and determine which tribe is most favoured over others. This creationist model is absolutely reliant on people believing local versions – usually identical to the ones held by the parents to be an accurate description of how life changes over time: it doesn’t. (Introduce the micro-macro mambo here.) That there is zero evidence for the model’s explanatory value. But this lack of evidence doesn’t matter to the believer because the believer imposes their beliefs on reality and expects it to conform. When it doesn’t… well, the use of a shrug is very effective because the issue really isn’t about reality; it’s supposedly about equivalent worldviews, you see. Golly, I wonder why this is so important? Well, if it is simply a different but equivalent worldview (and it not), then my worldview requires the world to have some say in claims made about it. How very militant of me. Yours doesn’t by fiat so it’s misrepresented to be about the world at all; it’s ALL about your a priori religious beliefs because without those, creationism has nothing to stand on.

        1. tildeb

          I am perfectly happy to let Matthew and phadde2 carry on the debate with you, but you did address your first post to me. Unlike Arkenaten, you do seem to make some effort to actually reply to what is said. So I will provide you a variation of what I said to Arkenaten (see https://citizentom.com/2015/01/04/choosing-the-field-of-battle/).

          Let’s begin by considering the nature of proof. Arkenaten had something to say about mathematics.

          Proofs are generally the preserve of mathematicians.

          That statement is a good indication of how badly we have educated our young for decades. Mathematics is just a modelling tool that uses simple abstractions to model what we see in the “real world.” Mathematical proofs just prove that a mathematical model is consistent with the abstract assumptions upon which it is based. What such proofs prove is that an abstract concept is “true.” Only in the abstract doe 2 + 2 = 4 (https://citizentom.com/2008/06/22/what-is-mathematical-proof-does-2-2-4/)

          Scientists use mathematics to model the “real world.” What scientists do is create models they call theories. These models exist to portray cause and effect relationships. The better the models predict what happens in the “real world” the better the theory works. Nevertheless, it is foolhardy to say we “understand” much of anything. For example, without understanding them at all, we model the effect of gravitational forces on masses. Thus, we can predict the course of a spaceship, but we have no real explanation as to why objects are attracted to each other. We just have more and more questions.

          What is the limitation? Mathematical abstractions are imaginary. Consider. If I say a line is defined by two points, what does that mean. Do perfectly straight, infinite lines exist in nature? Do indivisible points? Then what makes any proof in mathematics superior to this observation?

          Romans 1:18-23 New King James Version (NKJV)

          18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

          We live in an age when like no others before us we can see and hear the glory of God’s creation. With telescopes we can see into the heavens. With microscopes we can delve into the substance of things, and still we are not filled with the wonder of the One who made it all. Instead, we puff ourselves up with our puny accomplishments and the degree of our understanding. When we should be awed by what is self-evident, set in splendor right in front of us, we demand proof of the existence a Being far beyond any conception of our finite imaginations. When we obviously could not understand the explanation, we still posses the lunatic temerity to demand that God explain Himself. Why? The answer is pride.

          Anyway, on my blog, I provide my own reasons for believing in the salvation offered by Jesus Christ. Here are some of my favorites.

          1. Without the inspiration of God, men would not have written the Bible. No other book is like it. The Bible doesn’t flatter us; the Bible holds up a mirror and shows us as we are. The Bible also gives us hope; it explains how God redeemed us from sin. There are about 40 authors, and these tell a coherent story in a book whose writings span 1500 hundred years. Moreover, in spite of the violence and travails of human history, believers have preserved the Bible virtually unchanged for thousands of years. Again I ask, other book is like that?
          2. Without the God of Israel, the history of the Jews makes no sense. After all that has been done to destroy them, after all they have suffered, the Jews still exist as a nation. No other people has a story so strange and remarkable, not even close.
          3. Without Christ Jesus — without the man who was also the Son of God — the formation of Christianity makes no sense. After His crucifixion, hundreds saw Him — alive. Rather than deny Christ, many accepted death. That includes all but one of His apostles. Only John died of old age. Why? What for? These people had nothing material to gain. In court the testimony of a dying man holds great weight? What is the testimony of a Christian martyr? Is it not the testimony of someone who knows his death, lies just before him?
          4. Christianity makes a difference. As a way of life, loving God and ones neighbors cannot be beat. That’s why 2000 years after the birth of Christ men and women still speak of being born again. Each Christian knows that when they were born again, that birth was real and substantial, not a delusion.

          So long as each of us is allowed to follow the dictates of our own conscience, the fact you, I, or anyone else doesn’t agree with what somebody else considers proof is not especially pertinent. In particular, the fact you don’t agree with everything that other people teach their children is irrelevant. So what if you don’t agree? I don’t agree with what you said you taught your children. That still doesn’t make it child abuse. When you suggest what Christians want to teach their children is child abuse, you just exhibit the strength of your own prejudices. Although it is conceivable you understand the TRUTH better than anyone else, the rest of us have no way appreciating your monumental, gigantic, towering genius. Sorry about that.

  4. I went to public school as well as a private catholic school. I can honestly tell you, that I believe it to be a value that I received a Christian education. However, I grew up in rural area with no private high school; therefore, I was forced into the public education system. There was no indoctrination at least at that time, there may have been an overt apathy by many of the teachers, but there was great value there. In retrospect, I think this was from being in a rural setting. God, was not actively promoted, but he wasn’t barred from the building, nor was prayer. We said the pledge everyday, and no one was upset that God was in the title.

    I think the government has the constitutional right to create the funds –yes, through taxes– to promote education. I think their approach should be a more hands off approach that I received. I think it is also due to the creation of government and because the laws created within our government a natural right to be able to be educated to be able to actively engage in commerce within our government.

    1. phadde2 – Look up the definition of “indoctrinate.” You were indoctrinated. We all get indoctrinated.

      Any pedagogical system involves deciding what is to be taught, who teaches what is taught, how what is taught is taught, and where what is taught is taught. All these factors have huge implications. Because I think these decisions belong to parents, I support school choice. I don’t want politicians anywhere near these decisions. We should not be trusting them that much, and they should not have the nerve to demand such trust.

      Should the government promote or FUND public education with “other people’s money?” That is just asking politicians to stick their busybody noses where they don’t belong. If they cannot operate a public education system, then they will regulate it to get what they want. Have you looked at what the Federal Government has done to our universities? Do you really think the universities are so Liberal by accident?

      1. Another thought to end the night.

        I see that you quoted Road to Concord above; take a look at his explanation of social contracts that operate within natural law: namely the Constitution being one of them. It’s true, that society is man made, it still exists though, which was part of my point with the Iowa anecdote. Iowa is a man made creation, it merely exists within the human mind, when one gets down to it. It’s borders a figment of the imagination; However, it’s still very much real.


        Joe states:
        “The U.S. Constitution is also a social contract, though it is once removed from the People as it is a contract between the States, and not a contract directly between the People of the several States. Still, so long as the People, through their States, continue to support the U.S. Constitution, then the U.S. Constitution remains a valid contract under the terms of Natural Law.”

        The rest of the post is about replacing natural rights with other services, so you maybe able to find an answer for your assertion; but I believe that your best answer would be Jefferson’s idea that we should redo the constitution every 20 or so years. There would then be a new social contract for our government to operate within, of course, one would risk losing greatly.

        1. I enjoy debating too. I suppose it is my worse vice. When I try to debate my wife, she most certainly thinks so.

          A society is not real in the sense a society does not have rights. Thus, we agree to a social contract as individuals, but we enforce the social contract as a society. Because we have no other viable alternative, we insists that even those people who do not approve of the social contract abide by it.

          As Joe observes here (http://theroadtoconcord.com/2015/01/02/principles-of-natural-law-limits-of-the-social-contract/), the social contract may not always be in accord with Natural Law. Because our decisions are not always moral, our social contracts are imperfect.

          Is there a natural right to an education? In the sense that parents have certain obligations to their children, yes. However, when the social contract is used to redistribute the wealth (that is what the right to an education involves), that just enslaves some individuals for the sake of others. That is immoral. We don’t have the right to an education paid for somebody else.

          Will some people argue that we do have an natural right to an education paid for by somebody else? Yes. We have had sophists around for a long time. These days our most popular sophists are arguing for Socialism, and the so-called right to an education is just part of the Socialist movement.

          Joe has some posts where he defines Natural Rights.

          And no, I don’t think you intend to engage in sophistry (which is intended to deceive). I just think you are doing what we all have done, repeating a specious argument.

          1. hmmm, I will think and read on the matter.

            Now, when attempting to find a logical claim that Education is a natural right, know Tom that I’m not trying to prove that the current state of the Department of Education is constitutionally. I’m attempting to find a course in which, in fact, government can intervene within the realms of education at all.

            Remember my hands off approach explanation of my public schooling. When I say the government creates a social contract and thus must seek to educate in accordance to justice. Perhaps the government’s involvement should be merely being the purse so all children could have what you want, school choice.

            Now personally, I don’t believe all taxes are evil. I don’t like to pay them, but look at the cliche “roads argument”. Let’s ask well, “Why do we even have roads.” The greatest purpose is commerce. I honestly believe there’s a tremendous connection with education and commerce.

            “Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society..”- Oliver Wendell Holmes JR.

            Tom, I would also like to mention that every argument I’ve made has been argued either by a Republican at some time or their predecessors the Whigs and Federalists. The assertion I present is so you and I again can reexamine what is truth, I have no problem with finding the outcome to my connection wrong; however, spending many years studying the Classical thinkers and Locke I believe we must look.

        2. phadde2

          As I noted when we began, I think you quite knowledgeable. When smart people disagree with me, I am quite disappointed.

          Education is too important a matter for government involvement. Education requires a free market of ideas. When government gets involved, leaders, even good leaders, find it difficult to resist the temptation to use government power to squelch ideas and beliefs they find disagreeable.

          When government starts paying the bill for education, that gives leaders huge influence over who teaches, what is taught, how what is taught is taught, and where schools are located. Like it or not, politicians will not take a hands off approach. They will regulate how what they regard as their money is spent. Given the opportunity, politicians will convert education to propaganda, and we are most certainly seeing that now.

          Are taxes evil? Yes, but the alternative is usually worse. Because the alternative is worse, we must give up some of our rights. We need government to administer the Social Contract. Nevertheless, we should seek to limit the power of our leaders as much as possible. Otherwise, government becomes the greatest threat to our rights.

          For example, let’s consider your example. Instead of paying taxes and letting politicians decide where our roads should be built, we should pay tolls, and we should insist that the funds received from tolls be used strictly to pay for the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges where they were collected. That way drivers, not politicians would decide where roads are needed.

          1. You wrote: “Are taxes evil? Yes, but the alternative is usually worse.”

            I have a different thought here. Money paid per agreement is not evil, and is simply living up to a promise. We the people agreed to institute a limited government to do specific things, and we agreed to pay for it.

            What has become evil, it seems to me, is the massive overreach of government activity and power — and a demand, still, that we pay for these unapproved extensions of bureaucracy.

            ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          2. We don’t like to use the word “evil,” but I think the word serves a necessary purpose. On many occasions we don’t get a simple choice between good and evil. Instead, we must choose the lesser of two evils.

            What happens when they tax people and they refuse to pay? Doesn’t the government get its pound of flesh? Some of my relatives are Mennonites. Because taxes fund the Dept. of Defense, they hate paying taxes. As veteran, I wish they did not have to pay for the DoD budget, but I know there is no way we could make that work.

            Consider another example. When someone commits murder, we throw them in jail, and sometimes we execute them. Is throwing someone in jail or executing them a good thing or just the lesser of evils. Without the assurance they would be punished, would there not be more murders?

  5. Education can be argued, in my opinion, as a right in Aristotelean tradition of natural law. Liberty as argued by Lockean tradition is not for every single person do as they wish, for this, would be incompatible with justice. Therefore, liberty must also aim to create justice and order; therefore, because of our own government’s creation, the lack of education would be injustice. It would be a violation of the 14th amendment of the constitution. It would deny folks ‘equal protection of the laws’. How would it do this? Well, take a look at the commerce clause, “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” Congress has the power to regulate commerce, well there are countless studies that education is the key to the success of citizens economically. Therefore; since, Congress has passed law to regulate commerce in this nation it is their duty — and yes a right– to acknowledge the natural rights of its citizens to enact their full liberty with having the justice of being educated. Congress would thus be granted the power to create a standard for education, even the curriculum I don’t agree with… So if Barack wants to allow kids to go to community college for “free”, because being so inherently connected to regulating commerce; congress has the power to do what is ‘necessary and proper’.

    I’m a conservative, but also a Hamiltonian one.

    No I don’t trust politicians, but I believe without education, a person would be no more than a slave.

    1. phadde2 – Shame on you. Don’t blame Alexander Hamilton. You know enough to know better.

      Is education a right?

      Is education a right? Is healthcare a right? Are food, clothing, and shelter rights? Is transportation a right? Is a job? Where do these sort of rights end? To protect these rights, would you let our leaders, the great protectors of our rights enslave us? That is where this sort of logic ends.

      As parents we have personal obligations to our children. As Christians, we must obey Jesus’ command to love each other as He loved us. But government can love no one. Go back and read http://theroadtoconcord.com/2014/12/23/principles-of-natural-law-democracy-violates-natural-law-thus-democracy-is-immoral/.

      Society is an artificial construct; a man-made thing: an abstraction; a linguistic tool that makes it easier to treat individuals as a single entity. But you and I are real. We can and do exist outside of society. We do not need society to survive.

      If you or I or anyone else has a right to education, healthcare, food, clothing, shelter, and so forth, who is will provide for that right, society? Then each of us must deprive all the other individuals of their rights to receive our “rights.” We must empower government, the protector of our “rights,” with the power to deprive everyone else of their rights. That won’t work, and it hasn’t been working.

      The Federal Role

      There is a HUGE difference between regulating commerce and conducting commerce. With our education system, we have have governments conducting commerce, unfortunately. However, since that commerce is INTRASTATE, the Federal Government has absolutely no say in it. Seriously, there is no constitutional justification for the Dept. of Ed.

      Note that the 14th Amendment is aimed at the state governments, not private enterprises. Because state governments provide education services, the Federal Government can insist that the states provide those services equally to all citizens, but that is about it.

      1. Oh Tom, you know I’m here for a lively debate; it’s no secret that I’m an admirer of Alexander Hamilton.

        in·doc·tri·nate verb \in-ˈdäk-trə-ˌnāt\
        : to teach (someone) to fully accept the ideas, opinions, and beliefs of a particular group and to not consider other ideas, opinions, and beliefs

        By this definition, The Catholic church; Public School, Boy Scouts, Chicago Bears etc. all tried to indoctrinate me. Also, Tom, if you’re only allowing me to accept your beliefs are you not attempting to indoctrinate me ? 😀

        We’re attempting to establish in accordance to natural law, What are our natural rights?

        John Locke, enlightenment thinker, argued that the purpose of government was to secure and protect God-given rights. A social contract is established by government (ruler) and the ruled. In the United States we’re ruled by the people through a republican representatives elected by the people. Those people are bound by the social contract of the Constitution.

        If the GDP, which is one gauge of how well the economy is doing, is reflected by workers who must be properly skilled in the next century with credentials that required by regulation of by government, who are elected representatives by the people, then yes, the government has created a regulation that exists that could potentially displace citizens which could argued to be a violation of the 14th amendment. Now if only the wealthy can afford to be educated to do these jobs, are we not wasting the potential of a mass population of the citizenry? It doesn’t make economical sense to waste such potential.

        I agree that the curriculum has largely been controlled by progressives, who are using it to to instill the multicultural doctrine that you and I have been great allies together as we wish to throw off such ideals. As much as school choice could give parents more control as long as you’re not personally teaching your child; you risk the teacher indoctrinating her ideas into your child. I just believe we can reform this tool so that the many in our nation can reap the rewards, individually.

        All Rights are not explicit in the constitution, in fact, the document says so itself:

        Amendment IX

        The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

        My assertion was that education could be claimed to be a natural right from the principles of Aristotle, Locke, and our constitution through the commerce clause, and the necessary and proper clause– Hamilton’s same argument for the National Bank as the constitution was explicit on the Bank itself. Hamilton’s connection was due to Article 1 section: 8; mine was in connection the 14th amendment and now even the 9th. You assert that things like Education, Health Care, Shelter, and Food cannot be natural rights. My focus, was on education, so ask you how is your assertion on education, namely, not a natural right, when it clearly would violate Social Contract that operates within the realms of natural law. Ignorance is barrier of liberty, I am merely in favor of reforming a tool that has had success removing such barriers, not allowing the tool to be a right of birth.

        In regards to Health Care as a right, well it’s complicated, than simply medicine and doctor services are not rights. In practicality that’s true. However, look at it from this aspect, all people are born; they never choose to exist. Therefore, they never choose to get sick. In many ways sick people are preforming the service of getting sick for those private entities. It’s apart of life, which Jefferson acknowledged Locke’s viewpoint that was an inalienable right. So let’s say, if a German officer running a concentration camp sees that 20-60 year old’s production has become stagnant, and the amount of profit that he is producing with current human capital is not sufficient to his liking. So he notices at there is a great many of 10-19 year olds that are not current working in the current system that he’s set up. He decides to put them on the production line to increase his production and thus his profit margins. This is at the expense of the health and wellbeing of all of those generations. Any decent human being would appalled; but replace Concentration camp with healthcare/hospital and production with 24% profit with (non-profit hospitals) and its rarely acknowledged. Yet, Doctors, Hospitals, pharmaceuticals, insurance companies are getting rich based on guaranteed human capital. It’s certainly a violation of human liberty to give these masters their wealth. This is the reality of the health care system before ACA, and after it was enacted, the solution to reform isn’t an easy one, serious tort reform would be a start.

        For those wondering: I’m against common core and the ACA; however, I’m never against a good debate, compromise, and understanding of one another. I’m only asking those to consider these thoughts.

  6. Great post. Look, I can’t lie. I am a product of the public education system and like most, what you say seems almost crazy to me. But, it also makes a lot of sense. I just wanted to say thanks for always challenging my brain with the things you write.

    1. Appreciate the compliment.

      I have seen both sides. My wife was homeschooled. My children mostly went to private schools. One of my children has a child, and she is homeschooling her child. My little granddaughter knows how to read.

      My point is we don’t need what the politicians are peddling. We should not even want it.

  7. That was really, really well said.

    Not providing kids with these four things you list is actually a form of child abuse, of neglect. All people have a right to be guided towards the answers to these questions. Origin? Meaning? Morality? Destiny? Those are simply religious/spiritual questions. Even the most devout securlarist must recognize a kid’s right to pursue the answers to these questions, because to stand in the way is indoctrination, it is violating that kid’s psyche, their divine right to the Divine.

    The second part of your post, about parents having the right to choice in education is very important, because parents bear the responsibility, the moral and ethical consequences of what happens to their children. It is unconscionable to put all of the responsibility on parents without also handing them the authority, the power to make the best choices for their families and children.

    1. With your comment, I think you added a bit of clarity.
      1. That remark about the kid’s right to pursue the answers to these questions” is dead on.
      2. Similarly, “it is unconscionable to put all of the responsibility on parents without also handing them the authority” points to the fact that some people want the authority, but they still want the parents to have the responsibility.

      Thank you.

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