Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My brain is turning to mush

Yes that's right, my brain is slowly starting to turn into a big ball of mush. 

I woke up today with a singular purpose:  to get my research for my annotated bibliography done for my Composition II class that's due on the 20th. 

The nice part is that Doc T gave us a nice road map to work with in the form of Michael Moore's infamous "Bowling for Columbine".  Now if you look beyond the Michael Moore shock tactics, the film has a discernible outline of an argumentative paper.  As we watched the film, I started taking notes as to the outline of Michael Moore's argument about gun control and that the United States is a country bound up by fear. 

So, I started to tailor my thoughts about my paper according to the outline notes I took about "Bowling for Columbine".  First off the bat, I need to show my readers why I can be judged as an authority to talk about Intelligent Design versus Evolution in schools.

Let's set it up.

First, I was raised in Texas.  Now for those who don't know, Texas sits at the bottom of the Bible Belt.  Now given that, you can give a stretch to the question I asked my father tonight at dinner. "Dad, as a lifelong Texan, what do you find is more important to Texans in general, religion or science?"  Dad answered without hesitation, "Religion."  I inquired as to why that was, and he said, "Science you have to think about, religion you just have faith in."  My jaw sat wide open on that one.  My mind literally locked up.  How could anyone be so shallow as to not question the universe?  But, that's what he said, so I'll just let you percolate on that for a while.

This afternoon, I sat in front of my computer digging up statistics for my paper as well.  According to the U.S. Census, in 2008 the town I grew up in, New Braunfels, has a population of roughly over 53,000 people.  Then I took time to look at the census numbers for 2008 for where I live now, Las Vegas, and inside the city of Las Vegas itself, not including all of the suburbs and so forth, there are 533,000 people living here.  Ok, so now I've got a nice set of cold, hard numbers.  Vegas is ten times the size of New Braunfels.

I dug some more to find the ratios of churches to people.  In New Braunfels, there is roughly 1 church to every 900 people and in Vegas, you've got roughly 1 church for every 1500 people. 

I dug some more!  I dug into the curriculum for Comal County and for the New Braunfels Independant School District to see whether or not they taught Evolution.  Not a mention of it.  They don't teach it.  Digging into Clark County, there it was, larger than life...Evolution is taught in the life sciences section.

But then came the cherry on the cake.  As I was digging for the number of churches in New Braunfels, what do you think I found?  A church that claims its address is my high school.  I'm not kidding.  There is a church in my high school.  I nearly hit the roof.  I sat there pointing at the screen going "Uh uhhhh!!!!" "No way!!!!"  OMFG!!!!  My mind reeled for a while on that, in fact still is.  But to make sure that I wasn't just going off half cocked, I dug into the budget for the New Braunfels ISD, and guess what I found...federal funding.

Now, for those of you who haven't been sitting with me through Doc McC's Nevada School Law class...well, here ya go.  In the first amendment of the US constitution, it basically says that the US government can not endorse a religion OR prohibit anyone from a religious belief.  So they basically covered their ass and said, "Look, as a government, we're not going to tell you what to believe, but we're also not going to get in the way of you worshiping the flying spaghetti monster either."  But!  (And you'll have to forgive me because my brains are mush between having to take my mid-term this week and all this research)  There's a nice little thing that says that if a school takes federal funding, they can't teach religion in school.  It's a no-no to mix schools and religion...but there it is in black and white, a church showing my high school's address as their own.  Somehow, I just don't think that's kosher.  But, under the Equal Access Act, the school can be used outside of instructional hours for different purposes.  Just as long as the religion isn't being taught in a classroom and the teachers aren't involved, the people renting out the space can do as they wish (well, not ANYTHING, but within reason.  There's tons of legal precedent and so forth for it, but I'm not going to explain it now).

So between all of this stuff, my head is going for a serious swim.  Then over dinner, my mom absolutely made my head swim further when she said "Religion has nothing to do with politics".  OMFG, I think I have eye-strain from her saying that because my eyes rolled clear into the back of my head.  There is nothing more political than religion.  When I went to rebut her, well, she quickly changed the subject.

So, here I am trying to write a paper that says science deals in cold, hard facts, that religion, like Emerson once said, "The religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next" but we have to make sure that we respect everyone's opinion on the subject (1st Amendment).  But the only way we're ever going to stop dropping bombs on each other and having wars of ideology is to make sure that we understand everyone's viewpoint, we don't have to agree with it, but we have to respect the person that believes as they do.  Maybe then we'll have a society of enlightened individuals that will embrace the differences instead of rejecting them, and finally giving world peace a fair chance to happen.

But then again, my brain has turned to mush and I'm just trying to make sense of the total brain overload I'm experiencing right now.

By the way, the mid-term went well.  I am not going to be arrogant and say "I aced it" because that wouldn't be the truth.  I boned a couple of questions pretty hard, and I know I frigged up one of the essay questions.  So I'm expecting a low A or a high B.  Not great, but not epic fail either.

I'm going to go play WoW...maybe that will help my brain gel into a consistency that will actually allow me to think.

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