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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Life as if truth matters: An independent journalist in Cuba

Columnist Val Prieto provides a glimpse into the difficult life of an independent journalist in Cuba, comparing it with the swank life of the legacy media.

He works by candlelight not because of the frequent "apagones" – power outages – but because any light shining though his window late at night is but a beacon to those who want to silence him. It would serve as proof that he’s up to no good by the standards of his government and an excuse to be picked up and taken into custody for "dangerousness."


Right now there remain at least two dozen independent journalists incarcerated in Cuba simply because they dared speak the truth. Some have been locked away since 2003, still in the infancy of their 15 or 20 year sentences. Truth has made them suffer beatings, torture and malnutrition. Truth has mocked, ridiculed, and subjected them to abject horrors and indignity.

By contrast, the legacy mainstream North American media:
There are many journalists from around the world in Havana. CNN is there. Reuters, the AP. They live comfortably in hotel rooms and work in comfortable in air-conditioned offices full of amenities. They have the copy machine. They have the faxes and computers and printers and scanners. They have staff and editors. What they don’t have is the security to report the truth. They trade that truth away, to keep a bureau and a staff. They walk on eggshells when they should be stomping the ground beneath them with integrity and zeal.

So there's the price tag. You sell out, and therefore you cannot report the things that really matter. Who, hearing this, should ever again care what Mr. Big Hair has to say about Cuba - or anything else?

I imagine that, after the apocalypse, there will be a lone j somewhere, typing on a hillside, hoping he can still find a working phone booth to contact his editor, assuming the paper will still go to press.

The celebrity news anchors will be buried under tonnes of boxes of top hair cosmetics in their favorite spas.

Yes, there is indeed intelligent design.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

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Shrill screeds best evidence for Darwinism?: I guess so ...

Apparently, a shrill screed has been accepted for the science journal Gene on "Intelligent design and biological complexity", announcing that

Europe so far blissfully seems to have remained relatively immune to the intellectual virus named “intelligent design”. This virus certainly is a problem in the country in which I have lived over the last thirty years, the United States, where about 40% of the people are said to believe that evolution never took place, that evolution is just a theory, not a fact, and a wrong theory at that. To give themselves an edge, the “creationists” – the dominant stripe of anti-evolutionists in the United States -- have decided some years ago (Pennock, 2003) to dress up in academic gear and to present themselves as scholars who rise in defense of a legitimate alternative scientific theory, intelligent design. Clearly, in the US it is not sufficient to laugh off this disguise. Creationists have proven to exert a sometimes decisive influence on the American political process and thereby on world history. Their educational and political militancy, linked to erroneous beliefs, are weighty reasons to keep them in check.

It goes on. And on. Well, if this is their idea of science, Darwinism is clearly in a steep decline. If I did not know that already, I sure would now.

If you want to know what intelligent design theory is really about read tech guru George Gilder. Why be ignorant, when information is free?

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Thinkquote of the day 1: Key origin of life researcher doubts that there was a single common ancestor

In 1998, Woese wrote: “No consistent organismal phylogeny has emerged from the many individual protein phylogenies so far produced.” He concluded that primitive organisms acquired many of their genes and proteins, not by Darwinian descent with modification, but by “lateral gene transfer” from other organisms. “The universal ancestor,”
he wrote,” is not an entity, a thing,” but a community of complex molecules—a sort of primordial soup—from which different kinds of cells emerged independently.

- from Jonathan Wells' The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design , p. 44, (Carl Woese quoted from "The universal ancestor," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 95 (1998): 6854-59.)

That, of course, creates an interesting question: If the origin of life is as immensely improbable as Fred Hoyle and Francis Crick thought, how would it happen more than once, as Woese's comments imply?

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Thinkquote of the day 2: Jonathan Wells on arguments for universal common ancestry

Whatever merits these hypotheses might have, one thing is clear: molecular phylogeny has failed, utterly and completely, to establish that universal common ancestry is true. The molecular evidence, like the fossil and embryo evidence, is plagued with inconsistencies, and Darwinism must be assumed in order to explain it; or, as is often the case, explain it away.

- from Jonathan Wells' The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design , p. 46.

My own reaction to the universal common ancestry claim at this point is similar to what I once heard a Canadian police officer say politely but firmly to a possible suspect. Not "I KNOW da Troof and it be in da BIBLE!! Canadians don't typically talk that way. He merely said, "I'm afraid you are going to have to come up with something better."

If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

A summary of tech guru George Gilder's arguments for ID and against Darwinism

A critical look at why March of the Penguins was thought to be an ID film.

A summary of recent opinion columns on the ID controversy

A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

A summary of the Catholic Church's entry into the controversy, essentially on the side of ID.

O'Leary's intro to non-Darwinian agnostic philosopher David Stove’s critique of Darwinism.

An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

O’Leary’s comments on Francis Beckwith, a Dembski associate, being denied tenure at Baylor.

Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.
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