Quote for the day

We need to take a deep breath and recognize that a country that elects Donald Trump is already in serious trouble.

Elizabeth Warren

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Self-aggrandizing tweet rant of the day

The best job in decades? Seriously? He is on the cusp of reversing 10-years of uninterrupted economic growth, his trade wars are ravaging farm country, the number of uninsured Americans has gone up for the first time in 5-years, the deficit is more than $1-Trillion dollars, he has upended traditional alliances so badly that we’ve got no friends but dictators, illegal immigration is up, every sentient adult in the universe is blinded by the incandescent hypocrisy of his evangelical base and he, personally, is a global laughingstock. I will be dead before anybody, anywhere, ever again accepts America’s promises.

There is only one good thing that can be said for Donald Trump — only one: He is the dung-beetle that rolled-up the GOP, destroying it.

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Meet my neighbors, ctd

Really, the corruption is open and brazen here. Even Donald Trump could learn a thing or two.

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Un-self-aware marketing slogan of the day

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is now “Trusted for Truth.”

Trust. It’s something that’s earned. It doesn’t come quickly. It’s the result of being time tested. When the trustworthiness of God’s Word was being challenged, we stood for truth. We place our trust on the truth that endures. We are The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and we are Trusted for Truth.

The most trusted name in theological education.

The ministry leaders of the 21st century won’t need less theological training — they’ll need more. That’s why when many seminaries offer faster, easier, simpler, we’ll embrace deeper, richer, and stronger.

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Shhh … sexuality is complicated, ctd

The American Association for the Advancement of Science made a splash a few weeks ago when it publicized an about-to-be-published study which found that sexual behavior is influenced by genes, environment, and social milieu, garnering front-page features in the New York Times and Washington Post. Unfortunately, the news was at once overtaken by that ambulatory excrescence in the White House and, so far as I can tell, there haven’t been any thoughtful second-day stories or much coverage in regional and local newspapers.

In other words, an important story relevant to some of the most fractious issues before the public has gone … POOF!

As it happens, my own issue of Science didn’t show-up until Wednesday for some reason, more than a week late. Worse, the study is introduced in the magazine, but not published there; it’s online, which is the worst way ever conceived by the mind of man for reading technical material. All of which I remark to explain why I haven’t yet kept my promise to read and digest the study and explain it here.

But maybe I’m just slow. After all, there are a lot of folks out there who haven’t had the slightest difficulty tweeting a précis:

So the look of things is that once Science proves there is no gay gene! got out, a lot of people were happy to decide that (1) science can be trusted, sometimes, after all, and (2) there is no need to know any more. So, as some of the authors feared, the publication of the study has had the result of ending the discussion for some people. Reality persists, but it’s going to seep into public consciousness more slowly than I hoped.

At least part of the problem is a metaphor that all of us were introduced to in grade school: The gene is like a blueprint, it specifies your eye-color, your height, your hair color, et cetera, et cetera. The more complicated truth is that genes have more in common with the familiar IF-THEN-ELSE statement used to program computers:

IF (condition)
    THEN (actions)
    ELSE (actions)

and the condition being queried is the chemical environment of the womb. The rest of the problem, of course, is that this leads into intellectual subtleties that are inaccessible to a lot of people and, worse, the complex truth offends the resolute ignorance demanded by Eternal Truth.

Science and technology have created a world in which a lot of people will never feel comfortable, a world with more uncertainties than simplistic certitudes. That is the engine that powers the global fundamentalist rebellion against modernity, and we’re going to be living with it for a long time to come.

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