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Paul writes: "If I had been told to get out of the street as a teenager, there would have been a distinct possibility that I might have smarted off. But, I wouldn't have expected to be shot."

Police or army? (photo: AP)
Police or army? (photo: AP)


We Must Demilitarize the Police

By Sen. Rand Paul, TIME Magazine

15 August 14

 

Anyone who thinks race does not skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention, Sen. Rand Paul writes for TIME, amid violence in Ferguson, Mo. over the police shooting death of Michael Brown

he shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown is an awful tragedy that continues to send shockwaves through the community of Ferguson, Missouri and across the nation.

If I had been told to get out of the street as a teenager, there would have been a distinct possibility that I might have smarted off. But, I wouldn’t have expected to be shot.

The outrage in Ferguson is understandable—though there is never an excuse for rioting or looting. There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace, but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response.

The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action.

Glenn Reynolds, in Popular Mechanics, recognized the increasing militarization of the police five years ago. In 2009 he wrote:

Soldiers and police are supposed to be different. … Police look inward. They’re supposed to protect their fellow citizens from criminals, and to maintain order with a minimum of force.

It’s the difference between Audie Murphy and Andy Griffith. But nowadays, police are looking, and acting, more like soldiers than cops, with bad consequences. And those who suffer the consequences are usually innocent civilians.

The Cato Institute’s Walter Olson observed this week how the rising militarization of law enforcement is currently playing out in Ferguson:

Why armored vehicles in a Midwestern inner suburb? Why would cops wear camouflage gear against a terrain patterned by convenience stores and beauty parlors? Why are the authorities in Ferguson, Mo. so given to quasi-martial crowd control methods (such as bans on walking on the street) and, per the reporting of Riverfront Times, the firing of tear gas at people in their own yards? (“‘This my property!’ he shouted, prompting police to fire a tear gas canister directly at his face.”) Why would someone identifying himself as an 82nd Airborne Army veteran, observing the Ferguson police scene, comment that “We rolled lighter than that in an actual warzone”?

Olson added, “the dominant visual aspect of the story, however, has been the sight of overpowering police forces confronting unarmed protesters who are seen waving signs or just their hands.”

How did this happen?

Most police officers are good cops and good people. It is an unquestionably difficult job, especially in the current circumstances.

There is a systemic problem with today’s law enforcement.

Not surprisingly, big government has been at the heart of the problem. Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies—where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement.

This is usually done in the name of fighting the war on drugs or terrorism. The Heritage Foundation’s Evan Bernick wrote in 2013 that, “the Department of Homeland Security has handed out anti-terrorism grants to cities and towns across the country, enabling them to buy armored vehicles, guns, armor, aircraft, and other equipment.”

Bernick continued, “federal agencies of all stripes, as well as local police departments in towns with populations less than 14,000, come equipped with SWAT teams and heavy artillery.”

Bernick noted the cartoonish imbalance between the equipment some police departments possess and the constituents they serve, “today, Bossier Parish, Louisiana, has a .50 caliber gun mounted on an armored vehicle. The Pentagon gives away millions of pieces of military equipment to police departments across the country—tanks included.”

When you couple this militarization of law enforcement with an erosion of civil liberties and due process that allows the police to become judge and jury—national security letters, no-knock searches, broad general warrants, pre-conviction forfeiture—we begin to have a very serious problem on our hands.

Given these developments, it is almost impossible for many Americans not to feel like their government is targeting them. Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them.

This is part of the anguish we are seeing in the tragic events outside of St. Louis, Missouri. It is what the citizens of Ferguson feel when there is an unfortunate and heartbreaking shooting like the incident with Michael Brown.

Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention. Our prisons are full of black and brown men and women who are serving inappropriately long and harsh sentences for non-violent mistakes in their youth.

The militarization of our law enforcement is due to an unprecedented expansion of government power in this realm. It is one thing for federal officials to work in conjunction with local authorities to reduce or solve crime. It is quite another for them to subsidize it.

Americans must never sacrifice their liberty for an illusive and dangerous, or false, security. This has been a cause I have championed for years, and one that is at a near-crisis point in our country.

Let us continue to pray for Michael Brown’s family, the people of Ferguson, police, and citizens alike.

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+28 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-08-15 08:53
Quote, "let us continue to pray for Michael Brown's family, the people of Ferguson, police, and citizens alike." Isn't prayer coming a little late as a solution? By praying, will God make the Earth turn backwards and "make the event" not happen? Rand, you can do better. OK? "America, the greatest country in the world!" Hmm? Rather than distribute military hardware to local police, can't we just sell the stuff to Arnold Schwarenegger? A little humor. He Quotes the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute? Absolute Right Wing propaganda machines which have as a sole purpose, to exploit the public. Hmm? Sorry, Rand, but pigs do not fly.
 
 
+61 # Barbara K 2014-08-15 09:17
Last March a Democrat introduced a Bill to Demilitarize the Police Forces. Guess it is another one that the Rs in the House didn't want to bring up for a vote. Too bad. The plageurizer-in- chief now wants us to think it is all his idea.

..
 
 
+7 # lnason@umassd.edu 2014-08-15 10:38
Libertarians have been advocating this position for decades. Please take a look at the work of Radley Balko. It is this administration that is making the military kit available to local police though, admittedly, conservatives have pursued similar policies in the past.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+13 # jon 2014-08-15 12:39
Like George W. Bush, most recently?
 
 
+22 # madresabia 2014-08-15 12:41
"It is this administration that is making the military kit available to local police . . ." If you will read your history, you will find that it was Ronald Reagan (the darling of conservatives) who first approved giving to police departments equipment and ordnance that the military no longer needed.
 
 
+3 # shraeve 2014-08-15 22:50
Reagan is not the darling of this libertarian.
 
 
+8 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-08-15 14:18
I wonder about the Libertarians. That they can do much good, running an intelligent government. Recently someone who wrote an article for RSN referred to them as "cowardly anarchists." I know some Libertarians. They are very hateful toward government. They seem to be especially hateful if their own ideas are not implemented in government. .
 
 
+11 # OldLady 2014-08-15 16:52
Rep. Alan Grayson introduced such an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill in June. It was voted down on roll call 62-355. 19 Republicans voted for it and many Democrats voted against it. See;
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/D?d113:52:./temp/~bd4Dvm::
and http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll329.xml
 
 
+13 # RevOleson 2014-08-15 09:54
Exacto mundo as Fonzie would say..
 
 
+16 # Barbara K 2014-08-15 10:07
There is a petition here if you would like to sign it to stop the militarization of the police force; and show your support for the Bill.



http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/08/14/1321575/-Rep-Hank-Johnson-to-introduce-bill-to-stop-providing-military-equipment-to-local-police-forces

(just highlight and click on it)
..
 
 
+33 # timmuggs 2014-08-15 08:56
This is a very thoughtful and well written piece. Congrats to Sen. Paul for leading on this issue.
 
 
+17 # EternalTruth 2014-08-15 10:37
"This is a very thoughtful and well written piece"

Totally. I wonder who wrote it.
 
 
+7 # ericlipps 2014-08-15 17:24
Quoting EternalTruth:
"This is a very thoughtful and well written piece"

Totally. I wonder who wrote it.

That's a cheap shot. Shouldn't you instead be glad that Rand Paul is espousing a reasonable position on an important issue rather than engaging in his usual bloviations? (Though I notice he's careful to blame "big government," apparently by reflex.)

Libertarian often have worthwhile idea, though just as often they sound nuts. Their biggest problem is the way their movement has been turned into a hand puppet for the GOP's hard right.
 
 
+25 # Jaylu 2014-08-15 11:58
I'm thinking, with many of you, about the effect of this article on the reading public. Frankly, the message is more important to me than the messenger. Sen. Paul may pick a few more supporters for writing this piece; but what is more important is that some people of all stripes will be positively affected by it. We are in too much tumult in this country to spend time arguing as party members and not people. It's the message, not the medium here.
 
 
+61 # DaveM 2014-08-15 09:01
I have believed for a very long time that we are in serious need to return to the days of "the neighborhood cop"--the police officer "on the beat" who walks or bicycles through a specific neighborhood on a steady basis. When this was commonplace, the "beat cop" was the eyes and ears of the community. They noticed if ANYTHING was out of sorts, and if they heard something from someone local, they looked into it or brought in others who could. And one very important element was maintained that appears to becoming lost: the neighborhood cop never forgot there were people out there. That connection does not develop while spending a shift driving around in a cruiser.

I absolutely cannot understand why so many police departments have been provided with mine-resistant vehicles. Has there EVER been an incident in the United States where police had to deal with land mines?

Amazing to see Rand Paul taking the stance he has on this issue, but he is absolutely right. When we were children, if we did not play with our toys properly, they were taken away. I believe it is high time the federal government retrieved its military equipment from law enforcement agencies.
 
 
+3 # lnason@umassd.edu 2014-08-15 10:40
Don't be amazed -- read Radley Balko who is a libertarian at CATO. Paul's position is mainstream libertarian.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+10 # karenvista 2014-08-15 15:08
Quoting lnason@umassd.edu:
Don't be amazed -- read Radley Balko who is a libertarian at CATO. Paul's position is mainstream libertarian.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts


Unfortunately, that is not the only position that they support.
 
 
+3 # Jaylu 2014-08-15 11:48
Well said. Thank you, Dave M.
 
 
+48 # soularddave 2014-08-15 09:06
Having seen a paramilitary unit "armour up" for a predicted demonstration when fossil fuel extracting giant Peabody Coal paid to affix their corporat name to the locally restored Opera House, I was taken aback. There were more "troops" it riot gear than demonstrators, for gosh sakes!

St. Louis is corporate home to Peabody, Monsanto, and a giant war plane factory. Are local law enforcement units required or expected to be prepared to protect these private entities with military force from presumed legal protesters?

Is this what its all about?
 
 
+15 # karenvista 2014-08-15 15:11
Quoting soularddave:
Are local law enforcement units required or expected to be prepared to protect these private entities with military force from presumed legal protesters?

Is this what its all about?


The military works for our corporations abroad. Why would we be surprised that our militarized police would do the same here. Just like our judicial, congressional and administration do?
 
 
+57 # wilsonjonathan 2014-08-15 09:19
In the grand tradition that even a blind hog finds an acorn now and then, Senator Rand Paul got one half-right. He wrote a compelling article in Time magazine decrying the militarization of police forces throughout the country as exemplified by the tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri.
I say half-right because, while he does an excellent job of rehearsing the problem, he makes no meaningful suggestion about what should be done about it. He concludes by saying, “Let us continue to pray for Michael Brown’s family, the people of Ferguson, police, and citizens alike.”
Hog wash; almost anyone can recognize and restate an obvious problem. Real leadership would give us real recommendations for what to do about the problem. Praying to God for those immersed in the Ferguson debacle, while a nice sentiment, is just that -- sentiment. Not substance.
God has no hands but our hands. If Senator Paul were worthy of the access to media attention that he enjoys, he’d offer some direction about what God’s hands should be doing at this point to address the problem.
 
 
+11 # jon 2014-08-15 09:35
But, mealy-mouth does what mealy-mouth is.
 
 
+38 # moonrigger 2014-08-15 10:37
Yeah, since he likes to quote scripture, how about turning swords into ploughshares by collecting all this excessive weaponry. Burn the darn camo uniforms, or have them woven into blankets. Scrap the humvees and use the money from recycling the metal to build shelters, and pay to retrain the police to become beat cops, not gestapo-like thugs. Actions, not platitudes, please!
 
 
-9 # lnason@umassd.edu 2014-08-15 10:41
Why are you guys so ignorant. This is mainstream libertarian thought and has been for decades.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+25 # MEBrowning 2014-08-15 11:28
No ignorance here. We know a little more about the libertarian platform than you might think. Sen. Paul's comments sound great in this narrow context. He also sounds good on the subject of international conflict. But take a look at 90% of his stances on domestic affairs. He would be a frightening leader.
 
 
+2 # MidwestDick 2014-08-17 16:09
The libertarian position is clear on the right of property owners to keep and bear arms. If Cliven Bundy's people were shooting up the ghetto, that would be OK. If the coppers themselves purchased their own camo and ordnance, that would be OK. It is only because of BIG GUMMINT that the militarization of the peace keeping process is a bad thing. And that is the libertarian position. A position which should properly be called the propertarian position
Think about it. If someone happens to own someone else's liberty then it is the right and responsibility of the owner to use it as he sees fit.
That is why slave state reactionaries are the most vociferous proponents of the libertarian philosophy.
 
 
+19 # The Saint 2014-08-15 09:35
Senator Paul,
Sometimes you burst my prejudicial bubble and come out with something that I totally agree with. So glad your saner voice is heard amidst the often crazy Repubs.
 
 
+29 # DD1946 2014-08-15 09:48
What I wonder is if he really means any of it or whether he is mouthing the "right words" for his political future.
 
 
+6 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2014-08-15 12:03
Quoting DD1946:
What I wonder is if he really means any of it or whether he is mouthing the "right words" for his political future.

You mean like Obama did?
 
 
+9 # jon 2014-08-15 12:45
He is a chameleon, and is using this incident in Ferguson for playing a political game. He would be amongst the last in government to actually help the masses express their opposition to a Fascist state
 
 
+49 # riverhouse 2014-08-15 09:37
The first step should be to stop sending our local police forces to Israel for IDF training. Fergueson looked like the Israelis against the civilians of Gaza. I don't know how that outrageous program got started and why we taxpayers pay the Israelis to make militarized brutes out of American local police forces. I suppose it's just another way to get our tax dollars into Israel's pocket and how to make Israel's savage responses to civilian protests look normal by accustoming American civilians to the same outrage on our own streets. Who knows. But it needs to stop immediately.
 
 
+7 # Jaylu 2014-08-15 12:02
Riverhouse, where would one go to find out about this Israeli training program?

Question: Does anyone out there think that this super-militariz ed police force idea is growing because of lack of gun control? The bigger the other guys' weapons, the bigger ours must be to counteract? Mull that over too. See what you come up with.
 
 
+6 # Majikman 2014-08-15 13:38
Jaylu, riverhouse is spot on. Google US cop training in Israel for a gazillion hits. N.B. Veteranstoday had an excellent article back in 2011 warning of this policy. If you like the neocon establishment of a nazi government in the Ukraine, you're gonna love what's planned for the US.
 
 
+8 # karenvista 2014-08-15 15:42
Quoting Jaylu:
Riverhouse, where would one go to find out about this Israeli training program?



There are numerous articles about it but look at this doc from AIPAC:

http://www.aipac.org/~/media/Publications/Policy%20and%20Politics/AIPAC%20Analyses/Issue%20Memos/2013/03/Homeland.pdf
 
 
+5 # Jaylu 2014-08-15 17:35
Thanks. OK. I went to the site. Pretty impressive, if you like that sort of thing. Personally, I'm with you. I don't like that sort of thing at all.
 
 
+8 # Majikman 2014-08-15 16:35
Jaylu, check out this http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39423.htm
quote: "Meanwhile, the scope of Israel’s influence on US law enforcement remains virtually ignored by the media despite the troubling implications of emulating an apartheid regime actively engaged in ethnic cleansing and war crimes."
 
 
+5 # Jaylu 2014-08-15 17:36
Thanks. I'll be checking these things out and sharing them.
 
 
+10 # Anonymot 2014-08-15 09:47
Let me tell you something. Obama didn't SAY it any better nor has anyone else. The Pauls, even worse Papa Paul, have some elements of crazy, crazy Christian, crazy right. But we've had 8 years of Hope that have been totally dashed by an administration that went right from Day One. The Democrats have neither force nor leverage and the lady who would be prez will springboard from a position further right yet.

The Pauls are for diminishing government and if you don't think it's too big, you've not looked. It flops like a beached whale.

They are opposed to our large military and all wars. They want a major downsizing of the Military Industrial Complex.

They are for dismantling the NSA, revising the FED & IRS.

And they could at least conceivably control the Republican crazies.

I can put up with their preaching in the place of Obama's if they seem to be able to deliver as 2016 approaches. I've had it with hypocrisy and people like Holder, Clapper, Brennan, Rice, Kerry, Powers, Clinton, Jeh, and the entire crowd that currently run the government under the banner of a Democrat administration.

IF it looks like a Paul (or anyone else) can run a 3rd Party or even as a Republican and not be controlled by Cheney & Rove, & such fascists, they are worth mulling over.

Sure, I'd prefer a Sanders or Warren, but they would be more Obama-weak in Washington.

I'll bet this gets a lot of knee-jerk negatives. But if a few will think, what's the alternative?
 
 
+24 # moonrigger 2014-08-15 10:48
Why, oh why can't they apply their sensibility to women's health issues. But nope, they are so strictly anti-abortion that they would not allow it under any circumstance, even, say, if they had an 11 yr old daughter who got raped & impregnated by a demented criminal who killed her mother for fun. Crazy enough to be against birth control, while insisting on cutting any programs for supporting poor women (or underage mothers) who (excuse the pun) haven't got a prayer of providing for their children. That kind of sexist religulous blindness speaks volumes about some serious character flaws, so even if they are spot on about this, it's still difficult to trust anyone who believes praying will right our many wrongs. If this were true, we wouldn't be in the fix we're in today. Prayer alone won't restore our rights, or bring an end to war here or abroad.
 
 
+2 # Anonymot 2014-08-15 12:05
I know, and Ron doesn't believe in evolution and it's 2014. BUT, you are talking about a specific issue. I'm concerned with the elimination or the conversion of this country and the world as we know it into a fascist state if it's not entirely destroyed in the process, because that's where we're going. Someone with clear, opposing ideas to that process is what we need first. Then we can deal with the specifics.

If you think that women's rights or gay rights will change the world then vote Hillary and wait until you wake up in Germany in 1938 and see what our rights look like.
 
 
+9 # futhark 2014-08-15 12:34
I'm a retired biology teacher who doesn't "believe in" evolution, just as I don't "believe in" the atomic molecular theory of matter or the plate tectonic theory of geology. Theories are explanations for broad ranges of natural phenomena based on multiple observations and human reasoning. We never know if we have made all necessary observations, nor do we ever know if there is some essential flaw in our reasoning and that a better, more elegant idea may someday occur to one.

That said, established scientific theories like biological evolution can be relied upon with a high degree of confidence to explain new observations ant to make accurate predictions. All the same, it is a mistake to regard any theory, however well established, as dogma.

I personally like the position the Pauls have taken in regard to reining in the power of the state surveillance apparatus, reducing the American military presence overseas, and challenging the power of the Federal Reserve (run by big bankers) and the IRS. Their chief flaw is an apparent blindness to the necessity of addressing the problems of ecological sustainability.
 
 
+5 # NAVYVET 2014-08-16 08:47
futhark, I pity your former misled students, but am SO glad you are no longer teaching biology, since you have no idea of the scientific method! First of all, you don't have the foggiest concept of what the word "theory" means to a scientist. You are using the tabloid newspaper definition and confusing "theory" with "hypothesis." Scientific theories such as evolution, plate tectonics and molecular chemistry (which you don't believe? Are you kidding?) are former hypotheses that satisfy the tests of reasoning. They are the same as "laws" & as with Newton's, there will be refinements as new knowledge is gained. Theories need to stand up under all 3 forms of logical reasoning:
(1) Charles S. Peirce's "abduction" (a brilliant guess, intuition) is the source of the hypothesis that focuses the search for truth.
(2) Mathematicians use "deductive" reasoning to show the logical proof of the idea, sometimes while it's still a hypothesis.
(3) Through hundreds of independent experiments and observations, evidence is accumulated by "inductive" reasoning until it's overwhelming.

I too believe in sin--so serious it can lead to the utter destruction of the world. There are two lethal sins that contain all the Seven Deadly Sins: allowing criminal exploitation of any creature or vital natural system, whether from greed, envy, apathy or laziness; and blind dogmatic denial of multiply-confir med realities--like global scorching. (I wonder if you deny that? Bet you do!)
 
 
+1 # RMDC 2014-08-16 13:02
navyvet -- I have to take furthark's side on this one. A "law" or proven theory in science is still subject to the current fashions in reasoning and still subject to radical change over time.

I think Alfred Korzybski's great book "Science and Sanity" is relevant here. All truth statements are based on the first principle of logic, that A = A in the argument you are making. But A really never equals A except in abstractions like language or mathematical formulas. These languages are representations of reality and not reality itself. A would only equal A if T or time were equal to zero or stopped.

All science is hypothetical. We accept lots of it because it makes practical sense for us to do that. But it will chnage. Ideas about evolution will change. They already have. I think Darwin would be shocked it he saw the state of the theory today.
 
 
+7 # lfeuille 2014-08-15 17:04
Not knee jerk. Based on knowledge of the other side of his platform. No one on Social Security and Medicare, like me, can survive a Rand presidency.
 
 
0 # Uppity Woman 2014-08-17 14:12
[quote name="
I'll bet this gets a lot of knee-jerk negatives. But if a few will think, what's the alternative?

Green Party!
 
 
+37 # Citizen Mike 2014-08-15 10:02
Here is a point at which the Right and Left converge in defense of our personal liberties and against the encroachment of police state tactics. Would be nice to see some momentum for change emerge from this fusion.
 
 
+13 # moonrigger 2014-08-15 10:52
I agree. At least there's some common ground here. If Paul were a true statesman, he would cross the aisles in both directions to make it so. Then, who knows? Would people lay down their pitchforks and try to mend fences together? Ah, if only!
 
 
+11 # ChickenBoo 2014-08-15 11:19
Whether we like it or not, Amerika has dissolved into a police state. Yes, we can sign petitions, yes, we can write letters. THAT has been going on for some time now. Is anyone listening? Bottom line, our police are not our friends and 'protectors' anymore. It is what it is. The police are armed and dangerous and definitely irrational. If a cop tells you to stop, brother, you'd better stop cold and put your hands up and remain still. Any slight move can set them off. If they decide to beat on you, don't even try to defend yourself. Drop to the ground in a submissive, fetal position and scream for mercy. Maybe a bystander will be a witness for you. This is the world the blacks have lived in for a long time. Micheal Brown did not "stop" even after several rounds were pumped into him. Not a REASON to be killed, of course, but again, fair or unfair, it is what it is. Stop cold or you WILL die.
 
 
+4 # Paul Scott 2014-08-15 12:39
The shooting cop, of the Saint Louis police department, was just being the Saint Louis police department.
 
 
+13 # thekidde 2014-08-15 13:00
Anyone, including law enforcement, who feels the need to wear a mask in public is a bandit/crook/cr iminal - badge or not.
 
 
+16 # fredboy 2014-08-15 13:05
They should have never been 'militarized,' but that was spawned by the fake fear epidemic spawned by Bush and Company after the allowed attack of 9/11.

Remember, half these guys are local yokel cowboys just itching to bully and control others, and the other half are vets with hair-trigger PTSD issues.

Like giving enraged monkeys machine guns.
 
 
+11 # fredboy 2014-08-15 16:20
Look up the recent shooting/murder of the young black former college football player north of Charlotte, NC. Returning home at 2 a.m., he was apparently drowsy and his car drifted off a dark road and crashed. Injured, he went to a nearby home for help.
The homeowner called the cops, and when they arrived one of them literally emptied a clip of bullets--I believe he was shot 11 times--into the unarmed, injured young Black man, killing him.

Look it up. And welcome to the real, hideously psychotic police state we call America.
 
 
+1 # shraeve 2014-08-15 22:56
I will support Rand Paul when he supports a woman's absolute right to control her own body.
 
 
-10 # brux 2014-08-16 01:36
The guy was a thug ... how come all these stories always center around persecution of a thug. Sure, he should not have been killed ... we all know that.

I guess it is good that we are not losing model citizens to this type of thing, just saying', as they say.
 
 
+4 # MillValleyMaven 2014-08-16 09:33
If only local police commissioners could say (in response to offers of free military surplus equipment): "Thanks, but no tanks."
 
 
0 # NAVYVET 2014-08-16 11:09
To futhark: I pity your former misled students, but am SO glad you are no longer teaching biology, since you have no idea of the scientific method! First of all, you haven't the foggiest concept of what the word "theory" means to a scientist. You are using the tabloid newspaper definition and confusing "theory" with "hypothesis." Scientific theories such as evolution, plate tectonics and molecular chemistry (which you don't believe? Are you kidding?) are former hypotheses that satisfy the tests of reasoning. They are the same as "laws". As with Newton's laws, there will be refinements as new knowledge is gained. Theories need to stand up under all 3 forms of logical reasoning:
(1) Charles S. Peirce's "abduction" (a brilliant guess, intuition) is the source of the hypothesis that focuses the search for truth.
(2) Mathematicians use "deductive" reasoning to show the logical proof of the idea, sometimes while it's still a hypothesis.
(3) Through hundreds of independent experiments and observations, evidence is accumulated by "inductive" reason until a picture of reality is accepted.

I too believe in sin--so serious it can lead to the utter destruction of the world. There are two lethal sins that contain all the Seven Deadly Sins: allowing criminal exploitation of any creature or vital natural system, whether from greed, envy, apathy or laziness; and blind dogmatic denial of multiply-confir med realities--like global scorching. (I wonder if you deny that? Bet you do!)
 

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