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News - A frigid refuge

On the bottom of the world, profs and penguins peacefully coexist

MCMURDO STATION, ANTARCTICA — Last week, I visited the "Penguin Ranch," a site near the U.S. Antarctic Station at McMurdo Sound where American scientists study diving behavior of emperor penguins. Nestled beneath the steaming 12,000-foot Mount Erebus volcano on the ice-covered Ross Sea, it is picture perfect at 78 degrees south latitude — and the stamp to send a postcard home is only 23 cents.

Yes, this is the United States in Antarctica. And since Creative Loafing covers the American South like the dew (or ice, in this case), its editors asked me to report back on Really Deep South during my six-week stay here on a federally funded research trip.

Penguin Ranch is one of more than 150 science projects supported by the U.S. government this year in Antarctica. Most are based out of McMurdo Station, whose population swells to about 1,000 persons in the Antarctic summer (our winter) to provide logistical support for all that science. It owes its location to being the southernmost place on earth that can be supplied by sea — at least for a few late-summer months when the ice melts. The U.S. maintains two smaller year-round stations, at the South Pole and on the Antarctic peninsula, that northerly pencil of land where the tour boats go. Remember there is no sunlight here in the Antarctic winter, and nothing but sun here now. But it is still cold.

In 1959, every country with an interest in Antarctica signed a treaty freezing all territorial claims to the continent and setting the place aside for the peaceful pursuit of science. That was during the Cold War, and it took Antarctica out of the direct line of fire. Countries responded by sending scientists instead of soldiers to stake their national claims in the frozen continent, and no country did it better than the U.S. The Soviet Union valiantly tried to keep pace with three smaller stations, but when the U.S.S.R. collapsed, so did its programs here.

Several other countries have stations scattered around the continent, including New Zealand with a kiwi-colored base just over the hill from McMurdo Station. But all are dwarfed by the American presence. One staff member advised me: "Occupation means ownership, and we own Antarctica."

That brings us back to those much-studied birds at Penguin Ranch. They don't seem to mind all the attention. Paul Ponganis, the principal investigator at the Ranch, has been studying penguins in these parts on and off for 15 years. The rest of the time, he is a practicing cardiological anesthesiologist in San Diego.

Through his research, Ponganis found that emperor penguins dive to depths of over a quarter-mile in search of food, and they don't suffer any ill effects due to changes in pressure. This has something to do with management of blood oxygen — which interests this particular anesthesiologist more than playing golf in California. His work has attracted widespread attention. National Geographic even fitted Ponganis' penguins with critter cams much like those worn by the University of Georgia mascot, Uga, during Bulldog football games. The penguins are more active than Uga, though, and just as cute.

Funds for Ponganis' research come largely through the National Science Foundation, as does most of the money for the 150-odd other American science projects here. On average, the NSF spends in excess of $200 million each year to "occupy" the continent for American science, which is a bargain compared to what we're spending to try to occupy Iraq. And the penguins seem happy with American rule.

Antarctica today stands as a shining testimony to America's strengths. Our investment in Antarctic science was driven in part by national interest. We won here without firing a shot, and continue to reap benefits from our victory through an increased scientific understanding of the world and its creatures. In the process, we successfully implanted such democratic values here as freedom of inquiry in science.

The scientists seem to like the current regime too. Most are university professors here on research leave or between semesters (as I am). They get copious logistical support, from a fleet of aircraft and snow vehicles for transport to creature comforts that would stun Robert Falcon Scott, Ernest Shackleton and other early Antarctic explorers. First-time researchers are simply amazed by the support; repeaters (and there are many) grow accustomed to it. They inevitably find it easier to do science in Antarctica than virtually anywhere else.

Weather conditions are extreme, to be sure, but the adventuresome mind is attracted to science. Here is the promised land for field-based scientific research, so long as you can find an excuse to do it on the ice. There are no conscripts in America's army of Antarctic scientists and support personnel. We're all volunteers culled from a long waiting list.

All our wars should be fought this way, peacefully through penguins.

Edward J. Larson is Richard B. Russell Professor of History and Law at the University of Georgia. He's the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Summer of the Gods.



More By This Writer

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  string(9055) "Character matters,” they said. “How can you lead America if you are having sex with an intern?” And not only “that woman,” but others before her. “Character matters!” Teaching at the University of Georgia during the depths of the Clinton Administration in the late 1990s, I heard those words often from my evangelical students, colleagues, and friends in Athens and Atlanta. As a Christian myself, I thought the phrase had some resonance. Character should matter. How much slack should we grant Bill Clinton, John Kennedy, or any other philandering president?

Then along comes Donald Trump, who is at least as much a sexual philanderer as Bill Clinton and has many more allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Further,
he uses racial and ethnic code words as dog whistles to an extent not heard from the White House since the openly racist Woodrow Wilson. Beyond that, Trump publicly berates and belittles political opponents and demeans his own cabinet members and staff in ways that we would not accept from a child.

If character matters, as evangelical Christians said with such force against Clinton, why shouldn’t it matter as it concerns Trump? Two Southerners speak to this. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, a former GOP member of Congress from Louisiana, says we should give Trump a “mulligan” for adultery. North Carolinian Franklin Graham, heir to the Billy Graham evangelical legacy, gives us the reason why. After Trump’s adultery with porn stars and Playboy bunnies became common knowledge, Graham defended the President by vouching not for his character but for his “concern for Christian values.”

Presidential character doesn’t matter to these Southern evangelical leaders. Results matter, and for them, it is results in line with their self-proclaimed Christian values. Rolling back policies supporting family planning, gay rights, and insurance coverage for contraceptives were simply the most immediate such results from the Trump administration. The weakening of environmental-protection restrictions, campus sexual- assault rules, and consumer protection policies are somehow cast as pro-Christian too, along with a border wall, nativist assaults on immigration, and a repudiation of foreign-trade deals.

Of course, Trump’s policies split Christians in the South. Many mainline Southern Protestants vehemently oppose several of his signature policy initiatives — just think of Jimmy Carter — as do many African-American and Hispanic evangelicals, such as Mississippi civil rights leader John Perkins and Georgia’s Jubilee Partners. Nevertheless, exit polls found that over 95 percent of Southern white evangelical voters favored Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Public opinion surveys suggest that nine out of 10 Southern white evangelicals still support him. They represent a critical core of his Southern base and a powerful element of the Republican electorate.

In his recent cover article in the Atlantic Monthly, the Virginia-based, never-Trump white evangelical commentator Michael Gerson attributes this high level of support to a misguided quest for power and influence by evangelical leaders. “It is utter corruption,” Gerson writes of his fellow evangelicals. “Blinded by political tribalism and hatred for their political opponents, these leaders can’t see how they are undermining the causes to which they once dedicated
their lives.” To Gerson, character should matter.

I hear a quite different explanation when I talk to my evangelical students, colleagues, and friends in the South and elsewhere. Most of them still support Trump even if they acknowledge his personal moral failings. Looking for biblical justification for sticking with a narcissistic adulterer who behaves in a manner they would never accept from their own teenagers, some compare Trump to Cyrus the Great, the Persian king who freed the Jews from their Babylonian captivity in the sixth century BC, and rebuilt Jerusalem.

Cyrus was not a believer in the Jewish or Christian God. There is no evidence that he lived a moral or religious life. In the biblical book of Ezra, however, he is hailed as the liberator of God’s people and an extraordinary instrument of God’s will. God’s use of Cyrus to advance God’s purposes, some argue, testified to God’s dominion over all people, even nonbelievers.

Some Southern evangelicals say similar things about Trump. He is their Cyrus. God is using Trump to make America great again, restore Christian values, and defend religious liberty. Some add that Trump’s broken character and personal failings testify to God’s authority and dominion. God achieves his purposes, they say, even through a wretch like Trump. Using Trump as his vehicle makes it clear to all that God controls America’s destiny.

This outlook conforms to key features of modern evangelical thought. Over the past half century, public-opinion surveys show a growing adherence to so-called Christian nationalism among Southern white evangelical Protestants. Eschewing support for the separation of church and state traditionally associated with the Southern Baptist Convention and other conservative Protestant groups in the South, modern Southern evangelicals increasingly believe that the federal government should promote Christian values, allow the public display of Christian symbols, defend the religious liberty of individual Christians, and proclaim the United States as a Christian nation. They see America’s success as part of God’s plan.

Much as Cyrus promoted Jewish nationalism even though he was not a Jew, evangelicals see Trump as promoting Christian nationalism regardless of his character and even if he does not act or sound like a Christian. Giving voice to policies in line with the tenants of Christian nationalism — such as restricting immigration by Muslims, protecting religious liberty, and limiting access to abortion — serves to maintain Trump’s base. Indeed, it was by getting out in front on such issues during the GOP primaries (starting with charges that President Obama was a Kenyan-born Muslim) that Trump weaned evangelicals away from more openly evangelical candidates with demonstrably better Christian character. Evangelicals view themselves as an embattled minority in secular America and welcome Trump’s promise to defend them against a hostile culture that has substituted “Happy Holidays” for “Merry Christmas,” and forces Christian bakers to make cakes for same-sex weddings.

If results matter more than character, however, a failure to deliver results should weaken the president’s support among evangelicals. Indeed, if his brash words don’t lead to the changes they seek — and it is hard to see those changes happening given all the institutional and popular resistance to Christian nationalism in America — then evangelicals’ ardor will fade. Trump’s Administration will simply become another
disappointment for evangelicals akin to Reagan’s failure to deliver on his promises to overturn Roe v. Wade and restore school prayer. To be effective, Trump’s critics should focus more on his policy failings rather than on his failed character. Pointing to the impact that his trade war with China is having on commodity prices has undercut support for Trump in farm states, for example. The huge budget deficits projected from GOP tax cuts and spending increases have similar effects on fiscal conservatives. Even if this does not turn Southern Trump voters into Democrats, it may dispirit them enough not to turn out in the coming midterm elections much as happened during last year’s Virginia state elections and Alabama’s special Senate election.

Far worse for evangelicals, linking their religion to an unpopular president who does not exhibit the sort of moral character they extol shows signs of driving people from the church, particularly those young people least willing to tolerate hypocrisy. Surveys suggest that this so-called Trump effect on religious belief, while lower in absolute terms, is as marked percentage-wise in the South as elsewhere. Southern evangelicals typically care more about the faith of their children than about virtually anything else — perhaps even more than the success of their college football team. Pointing out the Trump effect on religious belief may prove the best argument against Trump in evangelical churches — at least it may help to keep their ministers from openly promoting Trumpism from the pulpit.

Cyrus is remembered as “the Great” because of the results he delivered. Time will tell if, for Southern evangelicals, it is Donald the Great or Disappointing Donny.

Ed Larson is a law and history professor at Pepperdine University, after many years at the University of Georgia, where he chaired the History Department. Larson is a Pulitzer Prize recipient in History. His new book from HarperCollins, “To the Edges of the Earth,” is about the race to explore the arctic."
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Then along comes Donald Trump, who is at least as much a sexual philanderer as Bill Clinton and has many more allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Further,
he uses racial and ethnic code words as dog whistles to an extent not heard from the White House since the openly racist Woodrow Wilson. Beyond that, Trump publicly berates and belittles political opponents and demeans his own cabinet members and staff in ways that we would not accept from a child.

If character matters, as evangelical Christians said with such force against Clinton, why shouldn’t it matter as it concerns Trump? Two Southerners speak to this. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, a former GOP member of Congress from Louisiana, says we should give Trump a “mulligan” for adultery. North Carolinian Franklin Graham, heir to the Billy Graham evangelical legacy, gives us the reason why. After Trump’s adultery with porn stars and Playboy bunnies became common knowledge, Graham defended the President by vouching not for his character but for his “concern for Christian values.”

Presidential character doesn’t matter to these Southern evangelical leaders. Results matter, and for them, it is results in line with their self-proclaimed Christian values. Rolling back policies supporting family planning, gay rights, and insurance coverage for contraceptives were simply the most immediate such results from the Trump administration. The weakening of environmental-protection restrictions, campus sexual- assault rules, and consumer protection policies are somehow cast as pro-Christian too, along with a border wall, nativist assaults on immigration, and a repudiation of foreign-trade deals.

Of course, Trump’s policies split Christians in the South. Many mainline Southern Protestants vehemently oppose several of his signature policy initiatives — just think of Jimmy Carter — as do many African-American and Hispanic evangelicals, such as Mississippi civil rights leader John Perkins and Georgia’s Jubilee Partners. Nevertheless, exit polls found that over 95 percent of Southern white evangelical voters favored Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Public opinion surveys suggest that nine out of 10 Southern white evangelicals still support him. They represent a critical core of his Southern base and a powerful element of the Republican electorate.

In his recent cover article in the Atlantic Monthly, the Virginia-based, never-Trump white evangelical commentator Michael Gerson attributes this high level of support to a misguided quest for power and influence by evangelical leaders. “It is utter corruption,” Gerson writes of his fellow evangelicals. “Blinded by political tribalism and hatred for their political opponents, these leaders can’t see how they are undermining the causes to which they once dedicated
their lives.” To Gerson, character should matter.

I hear a quite different explanation when I talk to my evangelical students, colleagues, and friends in the South and elsewhere. Most of them still support Trump even if they acknowledge his personal moral failings. Looking for biblical justification for sticking with a narcissistic adulterer who behaves in a manner they would never accept from their own teenagers, some compare Trump to Cyrus the Great, the Persian king who freed the Jews from their Babylonian captivity in the sixth century BC, and rebuilt Jerusalem.

Cyrus was not a believer in the Jewish or Christian God. There is no evidence that he lived a moral or religious life. In the biblical book of Ezra, however, he is hailed as the liberator of God’s people and an extraordinary instrument of God’s will. God’s use of Cyrus to advance God’s purposes, some argue, testified to God’s dominion over all people, even nonbelievers.

Some Southern evangelicals say similar things about Trump. He is their Cyrus. God is using Trump to make America great again, restore Christian values, and defend religious liberty. Some add that Trump’s broken character and personal failings testify to God’s authority and dominion. God achieves his purposes, they say, even through a wretch like Trump. Using Trump as his vehicle makes it clear to all that God controls America’s destiny.

This outlook conforms to key features of modern evangelical thought. Over the past half century, public-opinion surveys show a growing adherence to so-called Christian nationalism among Southern white evangelical Protestants. Eschewing support for the separation of church and state traditionally associated with the Southern Baptist Convention and other conservative Protestant groups in the South, modern Southern evangelicals increasingly believe that the federal government should promote Christian values, allow the public display of Christian symbols, defend the religious liberty of individual Christians, and proclaim the United States as a Christian nation. They see America’s success as part of God’s plan.

Much as Cyrus promoted Jewish nationalism even though he was not a Jew, evangelicals see Trump as promoting Christian nationalism regardless of his character and even if he does not act or sound like a Christian. Giving voice to policies in line with the tenants of Christian nationalism — such as restricting immigration by Muslims, protecting religious liberty, and limiting access to abortion — serves to maintain Trump’s base. Indeed, it was by getting out in front on such issues during the GOP primaries (starting with charges that President Obama was a Kenyan-born Muslim) that Trump weaned evangelicals away from more openly evangelical candidates with demonstrably better Christian character. Evangelicals view themselves as an embattled minority in secular America and welcome Trump’s promise to defend them against a hostile culture that has substituted “Happy Holidays” for “Merry Christmas,” and forces Christian bakers to make cakes for same-sex weddings.

If results matter more than character, however, a failure to deliver results should weaken the president’s support among evangelicals. Indeed, if his brash words don’t lead to the changes they seek — and it is hard to see those changes happening given all the institutional and popular resistance to Christian nationalism in America — then evangelicals’ ardor will fade. Trump’s Administration will simply become another
disappointment for evangelicals akin to Reagan’s failure to deliver on his promises to overturn Roe v. Wade and restore school prayer. To be effective, Trump’s critics should focus more on his policy failings rather than on his failed character. Pointing to the impact that his trade war with China is having on commodity prices has undercut support for Trump in farm states, for example. The huge budget deficits projected from GOP tax cuts and spending increases have similar effects on fiscal conservatives. Even if this does not turn Southern Trump voters into Democrats, it may dispirit them enough not to turn out in the coming midterm elections much as happened during last year’s Virginia state elections and Alabama’s special Senate election.

Far worse for evangelicals, linking their religion to an unpopular president who does not exhibit the sort of moral character they extol shows signs of driving people from the church, particularly those young people least willing to tolerate hypocrisy. Surveys suggest that this so-called Trump effect on religious belief, while lower in absolute terms, is as marked percentage-wise in the South as elsewhere. Southern evangelicals typically care more about the faith of their children than about virtually anything else — perhaps even more than the success of their college football team. Pointing out the Trump effect on religious belief may prove the best argument against Trump in evangelical churches — at least it may help to keep their ministers from openly promoting Trumpism from the pulpit.

Cyrus is remembered as “the Great” because of the results he delivered. Time will tell if, for Southern evangelicals, it is Donald the Great or Disappointing Donny.

Ed Larson is a law and history professor at Pepperdine University, after many years at the University of Georgia, where he chaired the History Department. Larson is a Pulitzer Prize recipient in History. His new book from HarperCollins, “[https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062564474/to-the-edges-of-the-earth|To the Edges of the Earth],” is about the race to explore the arctic."
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  string(10302) " Trump Make America Great  2018-05-07T13:34:29+00:00 Trump-Make-America-Great.jpg   "Tenets," not "tenants, please. Tenets. Thanks Frank. Good catch. Hate to set myself up as the Humorless Spelling-and-Definition Police, when I obviously need the Punctuation Police to chase after me. Thanks for Larsen's, oops, Larson's article. This is easily turned around. Libs lectured everyone during Clinton's trouble that it didn't matter, it was consenting adults, etc. Now, all of a sudden, it does matter to them. Except that it really doesn't. The outrage over Stormy and grabbing crotcehes is 100% phony. Uhhh no we Libs did NOT lecture everyone like your ignorant blanket statement says... and Clinton, while morally repugnant was a mere child compared to cadet bone spurs in his morally bankrupt regime.  Defend the moron-in-chief all you want, he won't be in office much longer anyway lol.  Does 'character' still matter? 5221  2018-05-07T13:05:10+00:00 Donald the Great and Christian Nationalism ben.eason@creativeloafing.com Ben Eason Edward J. Larson  2018-05-07T13:05:10+00:00  Character matters,” they said. “How can you lead America if you are having sex with an intern?” And not only “that woman,” but others before her. “Character matters!” Teaching at the University of Georgia during the depths of the Clinton Administration in the late 1990s, I heard those words often from my evangelical students, colleagues, and friends in Athens and Atlanta. As a Christian myself, I thought the phrase had some resonance. Character should matter. How much slack should we grant Bill Clinton, John Kennedy, or any other philandering president?

Then along comes Donald Trump, who is at least as much a sexual philanderer as Bill Clinton and has many more allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Further,
he uses racial and ethnic code words as dog whistles to an extent not heard from the White House since the openly racist Woodrow Wilson. Beyond that, Trump publicly berates and belittles political opponents and demeans his own cabinet members and staff in ways that we would not accept from a child.

If character matters, as evangelical Christians said with such force against Clinton, why shouldn’t it matter as it concerns Trump? Two Southerners speak to this. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, a former GOP member of Congress from Louisiana, says we should give Trump a “mulligan” for adultery. North Carolinian Franklin Graham, heir to the Billy Graham evangelical legacy, gives us the reason why. After Trump’s adultery with porn stars and Playboy bunnies became common knowledge, Graham defended the President by vouching not for his character but for his “concern for Christian values.”

Presidential character doesn’t matter to these Southern evangelical leaders. Results matter, and for them, it is results in line with their self-proclaimed Christian values. Rolling back policies supporting family planning, gay rights, and insurance coverage for contraceptives were simply the most immediate such results from the Trump administration. The weakening of environmental-protection restrictions, campus sexual- assault rules, and consumer protection policies are somehow cast as pro-Christian too, along with a border wall, nativist assaults on immigration, and a repudiation of foreign-trade deals.

Of course, Trump’s policies split Christians in the South. Many mainline Southern Protestants vehemently oppose several of his signature policy initiatives — just think of Jimmy Carter — as do many African-American and Hispanic evangelicals, such as Mississippi civil rights leader John Perkins and Georgia’s Jubilee Partners. Nevertheless, exit polls found that over 95 percent of Southern white evangelical voters favored Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Public opinion surveys suggest that nine out of 10 Southern white evangelicals still support him. They represent a critical core of his Southern base and a powerful element of the Republican electorate.

In his recent cover article in the Atlantic Monthly, the Virginia-based, never-Trump white evangelical commentator Michael Gerson attributes this high level of support to a misguided quest for power and influence by evangelical leaders. “It is utter corruption,” Gerson writes of his fellow evangelicals. “Blinded by political tribalism and hatred for their political opponents, these leaders can’t see how they are undermining the causes to which they once dedicated
their lives.” To Gerson, character should matter.

I hear a quite different explanation when I talk to my evangelical students, colleagues, and friends in the South and elsewhere. Most of them still support Trump even if they acknowledge his personal moral failings. Looking for biblical justification for sticking with a narcissistic adulterer who behaves in a manner they would never accept from their own teenagers, some compare Trump to Cyrus the Great, the Persian king who freed the Jews from their Babylonian captivity in the sixth century BC, and rebuilt Jerusalem.

Cyrus was not a believer in the Jewish or Christian God. There is no evidence that he lived a moral or religious life. In the biblical book of Ezra, however, he is hailed as the liberator of God’s people and an extraordinary instrument of God’s will. God’s use of Cyrus to advance God’s purposes, some argue, testified to God’s dominion over all people, even nonbelievers.

Some Southern evangelicals say similar things about Trump. He is their Cyrus. God is using Trump to make America great again, restore Christian values, and defend religious liberty. Some add that Trump’s broken character and personal failings testify to God’s authority and dominion. God achieves his purposes, they say, even through a wretch like Trump. Using Trump as his vehicle makes it clear to all that God controls America’s destiny.

This outlook conforms to key features of modern evangelical thought. Over the past half century, public-opinion surveys show a growing adherence to so-called Christian nationalism among Southern white evangelical Protestants. Eschewing support for the separation of church and state traditionally associated with the Southern Baptist Convention and other conservative Protestant groups in the South, modern Southern evangelicals increasingly believe that the federal government should promote Christian values, allow the public display of Christian symbols, defend the religious liberty of individual Christians, and proclaim the United States as a Christian nation. They see America’s success as part of God’s plan.

Much as Cyrus promoted Jewish nationalism even though he was not a Jew, evangelicals see Trump as promoting Christian nationalism regardless of his character and even if he does not act or sound like a Christian. Giving voice to policies in line with the tenants of Christian nationalism — such as restricting immigration by Muslims, protecting religious liberty, and limiting access to abortion — serves to maintain Trump’s base. Indeed, it was by getting out in front on such issues during the GOP primaries (starting with charges that President Obama was a Kenyan-born Muslim) that Trump weaned evangelicals away from more openly evangelical candidates with demonstrably better Christian character. Evangelicals view themselves as an embattled minority in secular America and welcome Trump’s promise to defend them against a hostile culture that has substituted “Happy Holidays” for “Merry Christmas,” and forces Christian bakers to make cakes for same-sex weddings.

If results matter more than character, however, a failure to deliver results should weaken the president’s support among evangelicals. Indeed, if his brash words don’t lead to the changes they seek — and it is hard to see those changes happening given all the institutional and popular resistance to Christian nationalism in America — then evangelicals’ ardor will fade. Trump’s Administration will simply become another
disappointment for evangelicals akin to Reagan’s failure to deliver on his promises to overturn Roe v. Wade and restore school prayer. To be effective, Trump’s critics should focus more on his policy failings rather than on his failed character. Pointing to the impact that his trade war with China is having on commodity prices has undercut support for Trump in farm states, for example. The huge budget deficits projected from GOP tax cuts and spending increases have similar effects on fiscal conservatives. Even if this does not turn Southern Trump voters into Democrats, it may dispirit them enough not to turn out in the coming midterm elections much as happened during last year’s Virginia state elections and Alabama’s special Senate election.

Far worse for evangelicals, linking their religion to an unpopular president who does not exhibit the sort of moral character they extol shows signs of driving people from the church, particularly those young people least willing to tolerate hypocrisy. Surveys suggest that this so-called Trump effect on religious belief, while lower in absolute terms, is as marked percentage-wise in the South as elsewhere. Southern evangelicals typically care more about the faith of their children than about virtually anything else — perhaps even more than the success of their college football team. Pointing out the Trump effect on religious belief may prove the best argument against Trump in evangelical churches — at least it may help to keep their ministers from openly promoting Trumpism from the pulpit.

Cyrus is remembered as “the Great” because of the results he delivered. Time will tell if, for Southern evangelicals, it is Donald the Great or Disappointing Donny.

Ed Larson is a law and history professor at Pepperdine University, after many years at the University of Georgia, where he chaired the History Department. Larson is a Pulitzer Prize recipient in History. His new book from HarperCollins, “To the Edges of the Earth,” is about the race to explore the arctic.    Joeff Davis CL Archives Trump Supporter from the Republican National Convention 2016                                   Donald the Great and Christian Nationalism "
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Does 'character' still matter? | more...
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  string(5971) "Despite its analytical power to explain what scientists see in nature, the modern neo-Darwinian theory of evolution has taken it on the chin recently.

Public opinion surveys suggest that only about 1 in 10 Americans believe that life developed through purely natural processes, without divine assistance. And over the past year, state and local school boards from Kansas to Pennsylvania have voted to open their biology classes to supernatural explanations for life.

Last month, Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, one of new pope's closest advisers, decreed that an "unguided evolutionary process — one that falls outside the bounds of divine providence — simply cannot exist." This month, President Bush added his voice to the chorus saying that schools should teach intelligent design, or "ID," alongside the theory of evolution. And in suburban Cobb County, the school board continues its legal fight for textbook stickers that stress the supposed tentative status of evolutionary science.

One problem is that most Americans don't find Darwinism appealing. According to modern Darwinists, random genetic variations chosen by a dog-eat-dog struggle for existence created all living kinds, even humans — with nothing guaranteeing our survival at the top of the heap. At any time, any one of a host of horribles, from a nuclear holocaust to a mutant virus, could replace us with cockroaches (or even bacteria) as the dominant species on Earth. Darwinism is not a comforting worldview for conscious, egotistical beings like us.

Humans are mammals with a sense of purpose. That is our nature. Many theories of modern science have challenged our sense of purpose. Astronomy has moved us from the center of a finite universe to the periphery of a minor galaxy in a vast and expanding universe that may itself be only one of many universes and merely a blip in time that came from and will return to nothingness. Geology and paleontology have pushed back our origins beyond any meaningful comprehension. Darwinism leaves life itself to chance. No wonder people rebel against such ideas.

Notwithstanding protests by its proponents to the contrary, the intelligent design movement is a rebellion against modern science. Scientists look for natural explanations for natural phenomena. Their best explanations, if they survive rigorous testing, become scientific theories.

The argument for intelligent design, in contrast, stands or falls as a critique of science. Its proponents may challenge the sufficiency of evolutionary explanations for the origin of species, but they have not — and cannot — offer testable alternative explanations. The best they can offer is the premise that, if no natural explanation suffices, then God must have done it. Maybe God did do it, but if so, it's beyond science.

This is where lots of people would like to be: beyond science. There is little solace in science for members of a species that seek meaning above all. We arose from the muck by chance and through a struggle for existence. We will return to the dust knowing that everything that can remember us or be influenced by our efforts ultimately will end. Life passes from darkness to darkness with fleeting patches of light along the way.

The intelligent design hypothesis posits that we came from a designer who transcends nature's limits and offers us hope that we will live beyond those limits someday. We pass from light to light with bits of darkness only in this world.

If given only these two alternatives, then it should come as little surprise which of them many Americans choose to believe and want to teach to their children — especially now that credentialed academics associated with the ID movement have given them some reasons to doubt Darwinism.

Twenty-five years ago, President Reagan offered voters morning for America in place of President Carter's vision of a national malaise. Voters chose Reagan in a landslide. Now President Bush wants schools to offer morning for eternity alongside Darwinism. If we took a popular vote, I suspect that ID would win in many places.

America's decentralized system of elected local school boards facilitates the challenge to Darwinian instruction. Highly motivated groups of concerned voters can have a major impact on what is taught in their local schools. When popular challenges to Darwinism surface, such as the current ID movement, they are bound to take root somewhere. It may be Cobb County one month and Dover, Pa., the next.

The media then focuses the nation's attention on those few places where the pot is boiling rather than the many places where it is not, creating the impression of exploding support for ID everywhere. Add to that the continuing appeal of evangelical Protestantism, with its tradition of looking for evidence of God in nature, and the result is a fertile field for challenging Darwinism.

It is different in Europe, where there are few evangelical Christians and a long tradition of cultural deference to established authority. National experts set the school curriculum throughout Europe. Even if Europeans were inclined to challenge Darwinism, they simply would not have the opportunity to put the question to a popular vote as Americans do through local school boards.

And when Americans vote, they vote with their hearts as well as their minds. Given the options, I'm sure that most Americans would prefer to be the product of a purposeful designer than purposeless evolution. Not surprisingly, that is what many of them see when they look at nature: design and purpose. To some, it simply does not seem fair to exclude that perspective from the classroom. But that does not make it science.

Edward J. Larson is the Russell Professor of History and Talmadge Professor of Law at the University of Georgia. His 1997 book, Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate over Science and Religion won the Pulitzer Prize in History."
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  string(5945) "Despite its analytical power to explain what scientists see in nature, the modern neo-Darwinian theory of evolution has taken it on the chin recently.

Public opinion surveys suggest that only about 1 in 10 Americans believe that life developed through purely natural processes, without divine assistance. And over the past year, state and local school boards from Kansas to Pennsylvania have voted to open their biology classes to supernatural explanations for life.

Last month, Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, one of new pope's closest advisers, decreed that an "unguided evolutionary process -- one that falls outside the bounds of divine providence -- simply cannot exist." This month, President Bush added his voice to the chorus saying that schools should teach intelligent design, or "ID," alongside the theory of evolution. And in suburban Cobb County, the school board continues its legal fight for textbook stickers that stress the supposed tentative status of evolutionary science.

One problem is that most Americans don't find Darwinism appealing. According to modern Darwinists, random genetic variations chosen by a dog-eat-dog struggle for existence created all living kinds, even humans -- with nothing guaranteeing our survival at the top of the heap. At any time, any one of a host of horribles, from a nuclear holocaust to a mutant virus, could replace us with cockroaches (or even bacteria) as the dominant species on Earth. Darwinism is not a comforting worldview for conscious, egotistical beings like us.

Humans are mammals with a sense of purpose. That is our nature. Many theories of modern science have challenged our sense of purpose. Astronomy has moved us from the center of a finite universe to the periphery of a minor galaxy in a vast and expanding universe that may itself be only one of many universes and merely a blip in time that came from and will return to nothingness. Geology and paleontology have pushed back our origins beyond any meaningful comprehension. Darwinism leaves life itself to chance. No wonder people rebel against such ideas.

Notwithstanding protests by its proponents to the contrary, the intelligent design movement is a rebellion against modern science. Scientists look for natural explanations for natural phenomena. Their best explanations, if they survive rigorous testing, become scientific theories.

The argument for intelligent design, in contrast, stands or falls as a critique of science. Its proponents may challenge the sufficiency of evolutionary explanations for the origin of species, but they have not -- and cannot -- offer testable alternative explanations. The best they can offer is the premise that, if no natural explanation suffices, then God must have done it. Maybe God did do it, but if so, it's beyond science.

This is where lots of people would like to be: beyond science. There is little solace in science for members of a species that seek meaning above all. We arose from the muck by chance and through a struggle for existence. We will return to the dust knowing that everything that can remember us or be influenced by our efforts ultimately will end. Life passes from darkness to darkness with fleeting patches of light along the way.

The intelligent design hypothesis posits that we came from a designer who transcends nature's limits and offers us hope that we will live beyond those limits someday. We pass from light to light with bits of darkness only in this world.

If given only these two alternatives, then it should come as little surprise which of them many Americans choose to believe and want to teach to their children -- especially now that credentialed academics associated with the ID movement have given them some reasons to doubt Darwinism.

Twenty-five years ago, President Reagan offered voters morning for America in place of President Carter's vision of a national malaise. Voters chose Reagan in a landslide. Now President Bush wants schools to offer morning for eternity alongside Darwinism. If we took a popular vote, I suspect that ID would win in many places.

America's decentralized system of elected local school boards facilitates the challenge to Darwinian instruction. Highly motivated groups of concerned voters can have a major impact on what is taught in their local schools. When popular challenges to Darwinism surface, such as the current ID movement, they are bound to take root somewhere. It may be Cobb County one month and Dover, Pa., the next.

The media then focuses the nation's attention on those few places where the pot is boiling rather than the many places where it is not, creating the impression of exploding support for ID everywhere. Add to that the continuing appeal of evangelical Protestantism, with its tradition of looking for evidence of God in nature, and the result is a fertile field for challenging Darwinism.

It is different in Europe, where there are few evangelical Christians and a long tradition of cultural deference to established authority. National experts set the school curriculum throughout Europe. Even if Europeans were inclined to challenge Darwinism, they simply would not have the opportunity to put the question to a popular vote as Americans do through local school boards.

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''Edward J. Larson is the Russell Professor of History and Talmadge Professor of Law at the University of Georgia. His 1997 book, Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate over Science and Religion won the Pulitzer Prize in History.''"
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Public opinion surveys suggest that only about 1 in 10 Americans believe that life developed through purely natural processes, without divine assistance. And over the past year, state and local school boards from Kansas to Pennsylvania have voted to open their biology classes to supernatural explanations for life.

Last month, Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, one of new pope's closest advisers, decreed that an "unguided evolutionary process — one that falls outside the bounds of divine providence — simply cannot exist." This month, President Bush added his voice to the chorus saying that schools should teach intelligent design, or "ID," alongside the theory of evolution. And in suburban Cobb County, the school board continues its legal fight for textbook stickers that stress the supposed tentative status of evolutionary science.

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Notwithstanding protests by its proponents to the contrary, the intelligent design movement is a rebellion against modern science. Scientists look for natural explanations for natural phenomena. Their best explanations, if they survive rigorous testing, become scientific theories.

The argument for intelligent design, in contrast, stands or falls as a critique of science. Its proponents may challenge the sufficiency of evolutionary explanations for the origin of species, but they have not — and cannot — offer testable alternative explanations. The best they can offer is the premise that, if no natural explanation suffices, then God must have done it. Maybe God did do it, but if so, it's beyond science.

This is where lots of people would like to be: beyond science. There is little solace in science for members of a species that seek meaning above all. We arose from the muck by chance and through a struggle for existence. We will return to the dust knowing that everything that can remember us or be influenced by our efforts ultimately will end. Life passes from darkness to darkness with fleeting patches of light along the way.

The intelligent design hypothesis posits that we came from a designer who transcends nature's limits and offers us hope that we will live beyond those limits someday. We pass from light to light with bits of darkness only in this world.

If given only these two alternatives, then it should come as little surprise which of them many Americans choose to believe and want to teach to their children — especially now that credentialed academics associated with the ID movement have given them some reasons to doubt Darwinism.

Twenty-five years ago, President Reagan offered voters morning for America in place of President Carter's vision of a national malaise. Voters chose Reagan in a landslide. Now President Bush wants schools to offer morning for eternity alongside Darwinism. If we took a popular vote, I suspect that ID would win in many places.

America's decentralized system of elected local school boards facilitates the challenge to Darwinian instruction. Highly motivated groups of concerned voters can have a major impact on what is taught in their local schools. When popular challenges to Darwinism surface, such as the current ID movement, they are bound to take root somewhere. It may be Cobb County one month and Dover, Pa., the next.

The media then focuses the nation's attention on those few places where the pot is boiling rather than the many places where it is not, creating the impression of exploding support for ID everywhere. Add to that the continuing appeal of evangelical Protestantism, with its tradition of looking for evidence of God in nature, and the result is a fertile field for challenging Darwinism.

It is different in Europe, where there are few evangelical Christians and a long tradition of cultural deference to established authority. National experts set the school curriculum throughout Europe. Even if Europeans were inclined to challenge Darwinism, they simply would not have the opportunity to put the question to a popular vote as Americans do through local school boards.

And when Americans vote, they vote with their hearts as well as their minds. Given the options, I'm sure that most Americans would prefer to be the product of a purposeful designer than purposeless evolution. Not surprisingly, that is what many of them see when they look at nature: design and purpose. To some, it simply does not seem fair to exclude that perspective from the classroom. But that does not make it science.

Edward J. Larson is the Russell Professor of History and Talmadge Professor of Law at the University of Georgia. His 1997 book, Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate over Science and Religion won the Pulitzer Prize in History.             13022323 1262322                          Darwin's new struggle for survival "
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Article

Wednesday August 24, 2005 12:04 am EDT
It's just more uplifting to pick against natural selection | more...
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