Thursday, April 05, 2007

British Sailors Released, Continued Pet Food Scare, And What Is A Christian? (Wednesday's First Hour)

Hi guys. Did you get the shakes without your review? John Roberts continues to host for us and we begin with actual good news. Wha? You can finally exhale that breath you've been holding for the past 13 days because the British sailors and marines have been released. Iranian president Ahmadinejad says the release is a gift to the Brits. A gift that doesn't explode! Yay! Now don't think Eliza is naive. That wasn't any goodwill gift. But I'm going glass half full on this one: no war with Iran (as of yet)! Woo hoo. To discuss all of this we're joined by Christiane Amanpour, who notes that quiet diplomacy was used. She points out that the Brits got what they wanted and Ahmadinejad got to look all powerful with his press conference even though he didn't get the apology he asked for. John then plays of a clip of John Bolten saying the Brits went about this the wrong way. Whatever, Colonel Sanders. Christiane tells us that most people wondered what an alternative might have been. No one wanted a war. Well, maybe Bolten wanted a war. No one sane wanted a war. John piggybacks off Boltens claim and asks if Iran might be provoking so they know what to expect next time. Christiane thinks that after all the pressure put on them, the Iranians are now pushing back. John wonders if Bolten is emboldened now and Christiane replies that he was already emboldened. Apparently he's not backing down from the nuclear program. Sigh. Oh, and that dreadful sound effect is STILL torturing us. Seriously people, you're killing me.

Next we have a Joe Johns piece on the pet food recall. This is just getting crazy. Pretty soon there will be no safe brands left. Anyway, as most people know by now, pets are dying of kidney failure because of contaminated wheat gluten in their food. What you might not know is that the wheat gulten has been traced to a Chinese company, though they claim to just be the middle man. CNN sent their cameras to China and this is apparently a "Keeping Them Honest" piece, but it doesn't really look like much investigative work was done. So who knows what's going on with that aspect? However, we do know Menu Foods is being sued. Saw that one coming. For the list of contaminated brands go here.

Transitioning now to the "What Is a Christian?" series with the focus tonight on, "God, Faith and Hard Science." And hey, it's nice they're not lying to us this time. There's been several occasions where they've advertised something for the 10:00 hour, only to have it air at 11:00. Also, very savy giving us the taped Anderson when he's on vacation. The special begins with a repeat of the Tom Foreman piece on the creation museum.

Next we're discussing school curriculum with Robert Boston of the Americans United For Separation of Church and State, and Charmaine Yoest (previous AC360 Review reader) of the Family Research Council. The battle being waged here, children, is between evolution and intelligent design, or creationism. Anderson begins by stating that polls show about half of people think we did not evolve from lower life forms and were instead created by God and he wonders if that should be taught in science class. Robert thinks we should look less at polls and more at what science actually backs up. Then Anderson flips it up and asks why science classrooms should be forced to teach things that mainstream science has found to be untrue. Charmaine replies that mainstream science is constantly being challenged and they're just looking for openess. Don't buy it, but is sounds good. Anderson points out that Bush thinks intelligent design should be taught in public schools. Yeah, there's a real good spokesman for the cause. Robert thinks that only views that have been aired through peer-reviewed jounals should be taught and the creationists haven't done that.

Then there's some interrupting from Charmaine and Robert is like, "And OMG they totally believe Adam and Eve walked with dinosaurs!" Anderson then turns that on Charmaine and asks if that's what she believes. However, Charmaine has her talking points and dang it, she ain't straying. For the record Anderson does not call her on the total non answer of the question..., but Robert does, noting that apparently the dinosaurs were too big for Noah's Ark. Bwah! Then there's a bunch of arguing with Robert continuing to ask Charmaine how old the Earth is over and over. Ah! Just answer him, so he'll shut up. Anderson, where are you?! But seriously, why could she not answer that question? Once some peace is restored Anderson asks Charmaine if she would want her children taught stuff that's disproven and she's all, "sure!" Uh, I don't think she understood what he was getting at. Yes, let's teach the kids the Earth is flat and gravity doesn't exist. There's not much point in school if we're going to treat it like a poorly put together Wikipedia page. I'm actually confused as to what Charmaine even wants. Comparative religion class in public school? Absolutely. Let's do it. Creationism taught in science classes? No. You're not going to teach evolution in Sunday School. And once again I need to point out that evolution and creationism are not mutually exclusive. I've believed in both my whole life. Oh, and 360 totally cut off that interview. Nuts to them.

Next up we have a Tom Foreman piece that is essentially a profile of Dr. Francis Collins. Dr. Collins is a scientist behind the human genome project and reports that he found God while in medical school. Well, not literally. God doesn't need to go to medical school. He already knows all that stuff. The whole schtick here is that he's a scientist and he believes in God. Okay. And? Is this kind of thing really that unusual? I'm not being snarky for once, I'm actually curious. I normally don't go around asking scientists their religion, but I find it hard to believe that basically all scientists are atheists. In the piece we get Dr. Collins playing the guitar and singing a song about evolutionl. Nope, not kidding. But it's not all singing. "To actually insist, therefore, that God might be threatened to what science is teaching us, it seems to me, that requires a lot less faith than one should have," he tell us. Thank you!

Up next we have a Gary Tuchman piece on the power of prayer. He goes to a Pentecostal church where the pastor does that thing where he puts hands on people and they fall down. That freaks me out. Gary too I guess because he notes it's startling. "Do you ever worry that people will get hurt when they fall down?" he asks. The pastor says that's why they have catchers. Bwah! Then we hear all the people claiming they're cured and stuff. Sorry, not buying it. I think prayer can work, but not like that. After the piece Sanjay Gupta joins us to talk about some prayer-related studies. Apparentlly people who pray regularly are healthier. Define regularly. Anyway, he hits on several more studies in vague terms, but I don't think he mentioned this one, which surprised me. People who knew they were being prayed for actually fared worse. You'd think that even taking religion out of it people would still feel better knowing someone was thinking about them. Weird.

Moving on to a David Mattingly piece on the Reverend Joel Hunter, once picked to head the Christian Coalition. However, lately Joel's in a bit of hot water with his fellow Christian Righties because he committed the ultimate sin of breaking from the Republican agenda. You see, Joel actually cares about this Earth that God created and he thinks we should work to protect it. Jerry Fallwell on the other hand, sees the hand of Satan here. Or maybe he sees his power diminishing in the future. Because that's all it's about for him and those like him-power and money. And they get it through manipulation. Keep trucking, Joel. The hour ends with a repeat of an old Tom Foreman piece. The show was fairly good. B.


Blogger Arachnae said...

Anderson then turns that on Charmaine and asks if that's what she believes. However, Charmaine has her talking points and dang it, she ain't straying. For the record Anderson does not call her on the total non answer of the question...

I was shouting rudely at my TV at this point. Why did he let her get away with ducking the question? Was this the same guy who asked the anti-Plan-B person four-five TIMES if she thought PlanB was an abortifacient?

WRT teaching 'alternatives' to evolution, I keep getting back to my new favorite Bill Maher quote - everyone's entitled their own opinion, but they're not entitled to their own facts.

If people want to build an alternate version of reality based on their own sets of facts, we already have cultural constructs in place that allow you to do that. It's called fiction.

If these guys want their mythos taught in school, they're going to have to allow me to get Jedism also taught in schools. Because there's at least as much hard evidence for The Force as there is for their body of beliefs.

10:00 PM  

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