Here follows an email exchange occasioned by my article Obama’s Vain Beginning . I thought it might be of interest.
January 24, 2009
Dear Dr. Keyes,
just read your commentary, Obama’s vain beginning. No wonder you can’t get elected to ANYTHING. Please do keep speaking on behalf of right wing and Republican causes.
PS: How are you doing with your latest birth certificate court case? With your sore record of failure, I’m not surprised you want a piece of this highly unlikely action. Oh, I know, suddenly defense of the Constitution is the morally correct position to take. . . (I don’t recall any outrage from you during the 8 years that Mr. Bush trampled upon the Constitution)
January 24, 2009
My thanks for your carefully thought out and reasoned response to my article. It has much in common with the speeches of the man you admire and obviously seek to imitate. By the way, long before I ever heard of Obama I was speaking out against the dangers of a cavalier attitude toward the Constitution. (see, for instance the WND article “The dangers of Physical Safety”, June 17 2002 http://www.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=14266, and on the same theme the article entitled Taking Advantage, December 1, 2001 http://www.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=11860) Your information is clearly on a par with your careful consideration of the arguments I made in Obama’s Vain Beginning. It may come as a shock, but some of us care more for truth than for party or political success.
January 25, 2009
Yes Dr. Keyes, the truth is so important to you. Is that why you are willing to accept as true anything Christianity or Catholicism proclaim as “the truth” without offering one single shred of evidence? This is why people cannot take you seriously. As rightfully reasoned and logical as you are on many issues, your insistence that your religious views are true, providing neither empirical evidence nor sound logical footing leaves you sounding, well, kinda crazy. But, as I’ve requested in my earlier e-mail, please do continue to speak out for right wing, Republican AND evangelical causes. Thanking you in advance, XXXXXX
January 25, 2009
Dear Mr. XXXXX,
Do you mean to say that the mere fact that I am a Christian and a Catholic allows you to conclude that I believe things that are untrue? Is truth confined to what can be empirically proven? What is the empirical basis for the assertion of human equality? What is the empirical evidence for the notion that it is unjust to enslave others, or to kill them in order to take their property? Science cannot, on its own terms, establish the truth of any moral precepts, yet without them decent human life cannot be sustained. Is it crazy to believe there is a difference beyond right and wrong, though science cannot empirically establish what it is? What is unreasonable is the notion that we must limit the claim of truth to what science can establish, when science cannot establish the basis even for the simple assertion that every human life has intrinsic worth, a fact that few if any human beings deny when their own life is threatened with extinction.
Moreover, from a scientific point of view, nothing we say about the past can be established with scientific certainty. Did Julius Caesar actually exist? All we have as proof is human testimony, and what this testimony says is the residue of his existence (coins, statues, etc.) But similar testimony, and similar residue would prove the existence of the goddess Venus. In the strict sense, science deals only with data gathered under rigorously controlled conditions, and recorded with scrupulous integrity. But until very recently (in historical terms) people had very little conception of such data, much less the instruments needed to record and report it with integrity. Is it unreasonable and crazy, therefore, to form convictions based on historical evidence?
Even in what some people regard as the scientific realm, conclusions owe more to imaginative speculation than to scientifically established facts. Did dinosaurs walk the earth? What we have as proof is a residue that imagination works upon in order to reconstruct the form, shape and likely composition of creatures no one has actually observed. Is the belief in dinosaurs crazy, or is it a reasonable conviction? But if the existence of dinosaurs can be accepted as somehow rational despite the imaginative reasoning involved in asserting that fossils are evidence of their existence, then it is reasonable to look at the world around us and reach conclusions based on the fact that we can reasonably assume that objects as we observe them now are related to objects in the past by a structure that relates cause and effect, form and substance in some way that corresponds to the rules that govern our perception and understanding. We can assume, for instance , that the size, shape and material strength of a bone indicate and limit its probable function in the body of a creature we know only from its fossilized remains.
If such rational inference is reasonable in the context of fossils, of archaeological and geological evidence, what then of the evidence we see all around us in structures more complex than any humanly fashioned constructions. The archaeologist unearths what appear to be artificial constructions. Based on the assumption that they were produced by beings with a level of intelligence that corresponds to their complexity, and the harmony of form and function he observes in them, he posits the existence of an ancient civilization, inhabited by intelligent beings with a certain level of knowledge.
If what the archaeologist does is not crazy, but falls somewhere in the realm of acceptable scientific activity, why is it crazy to observe a world filled with objects of unfathomed complexity, where form and function are in harmony to a degree that each advance of our strictly scientific knowledge consistently confirms, and reach the conclusion that a being exists whose intelligence corresponds to the nature of the world we thus experience? If this is crazy, then the whole endeavor of science itself is also crazy, with nothing more to justify its truth than the perishable little benefits we may momentarily derive from the gadgets that are the side effects of its discoveries.
In the end it is unscientific to believe that science explains everything, or even the most important things.
By the way, I haven’t been a Republican for some time, ever since the Party’s leadership proved beyond doubt that they have no respect for the principles they claim to uphold. I belong now to America’s Independent Party. You can check it out at www.AIPnews.com.