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"Zathura: A Space Adventure"
 by Mike Smith

Chiller Thriller
 by Andy Lalino

"The Fog"...."Doom"
 by John Lewis

Cover Up....Eid Mubaruk....I Was Wrong....Speaking of Being Crazy and Out of Touch....Senseless....Coming Soon....Jaws: The Story, Part 41
 by Mike Smith
Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2005!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our sixth calendar year!
Number 294  (Vol. 6, No. 45). This edition is for the week of November 7--13, 2005.

Revisits and Updates

  • Evolution Revisited
  • Samuel Alito Nomination
    • Hillsborough County Schools' Religious Holiday Calendar Restored
    • Tampa's Coffeehouse Film Series Returns!
    Believe it or not, until just a few days ago, I was still getting emails on my article from PCR #292, "Evolution Takes Another Hit".  This took on a new urgency this week when the Kansas School Board of Education, once again, voted to only accept science textbooks that encouraged casting extreme doubt on evolution, and Darwinism in particular, as "just a theory".

    I have participated in many heated debates through email correspondence over the years (and some in person) regarding Evolution vs Creationism and I enjoyed every one. In all cases I learned something important about why a person believes what he or she believes, mostly relating to religious points of view.

    As to this latest controversy, although I did receive some supportive emails regarding evolution, I woefully underestimated how many of you out there are still proponents of some sort of Intelligent Design involved in our origins, particularly the "I'll-meet-you-half-way" business that says God works with or through evolution; a concept that, in my opinion, dilutes both ideas into worthlessness, and, in fact, I said was a "cop-out" stance. I still feel that way. It is usually proposed by well-meaning people nervous they'll look unhip about science, but not able to stomach the totally Godless approach to evolution, afraid they'll come off looking like atheists. So to keep the peace, they invoke both. Which means they believe neither. Back to square one.

    As to my original article, in the interests of brevity there were some clarifications omitted that I now regret not sticking in there. More on that in a minute...

    Deadguy vs Nolan
    The most vocal opponent of my dogmatic defense of evolution during this most recent bru-ha-ha was former PCR staff writer (and occasional columnist) Mike "Deadguy" Scott, who took me to task over this very argument. Deadguy's nickname is derived from his near obsession with dead things, artifacts thereof (e.g., human skulls used as decorations), and the afterlife. For some reason I found his arguing with me over evolution ironic, yet, with a deep interest in the afterlife, an atheistic approach to Genesis isn't consistent, I suppose. (For the record, in my opinion, the existence of an afterlife is an independent issue from the existence of God.) We wound up writing volumes to each other on this, most of which repeat the same themes, so, again in the interest of brevity, I'll try to summarize his main points and my responses.

    #1. Darwin's theory has never been proven 100%. Here comes clarification number one. Most people assume that if the "theory" of evolution encounters problems, the logical alternative is Intelligent Design. As I said in my original piece (but not very clearly), the word "theory" has been mangled by religious pressure groups to mean a "wild guess" or "hunch" (like a TV detective). In the case of science, however, it is incredibly important to clarify that the word "theory" means "working solution". Like The Theory of Gravity---if, for some reason, Einstein was wrong about why there is gravity, it doesn't mean suddenly there will be no gravity! Only that we're still working out the kinks in the theory of it. Reputable scientists will tell you some kind of evolution is a fact---it's Darwinism that is the "theory" (i.e., working solution). And yes, it has problems, but none that will ever render it entirely obsolete. (For openers, "natural selection" has been partially replaced with, and bolstered by, "punctuated equilibrium", but that's another subject.)

    #2. No matter which way you go, you're forcing one viewpoint over another. No, I'm saying then and now, we are talking about science class. Science is not religion. Science never depends on the supernatural to explain the natural. When the kids go to Sunday school, the preacher is free to "push" the Creationist view. Which brings us to...

    #3. Evolution creates a conflict in kids' minds over their religious upbringing. Well, small grade-school children are a little younger demographic than I intended to address here. It is not my aim to ruin the magic for them. By the time most kids get to middle and high school they're questioning lots of things anyway. Funnily, when I was growing up in Catholic schools during the '60s and '70s, it was routine for religion periods (which taught Creation) to be scheduled next to biology periods (which taught Evolution). I had to pass both tests to graduate. The resolution for most of my colleagues was the tried-and-true "I'll meet you halfway on evolution" angle, as it will no doubt be for another generation.

    #4. Since we'll never truly know our origins, or what first caused the Universe to come into being, it will always be theoretical, so both Evolution and Intelligent Design should be taught together. Well, yes, and it's what I said at the closing of my original article. It is my hope when inquisitive students visit museums, see dinosaur skeletons and handle some fossils, then return to class and hear about two naked people in a garden cavorting with a talking snake about forbidden fruit, the right students will get it.

    Postscript #1. I believe it is "Deism" that believes God first created the universe, then either died or abandoned it. While this is the most watered-down half-way scenario, and solves "first cause", it is invalid in this context because it ignores the God of the Bible who directly guided human affairs. The Bible version is what I'm discussing here.

    Postscript #2. About 5 or 6 years ago, the Vatican came out in favor of evolution as a legitimate science.

    Note: Just as this week's PCR was being "put to bed", word came in that the perennially insane televangelist Pat Robertson has condemned the town of Dover, Pennsylvania for "rejecting God" for voting to exclude Intelligent Design from the school curriculum. He went on to say if disaster ever struck Dover "don't look to God for help". I'll have more to say about this is next week's PCR!

    Due to the Halloween madness and covering all the season's events, I got WAY behind in tracking the Supreme Court nominee issue, so this is old news already, but I wanted to mark the occasion anyway since I previously made a pretty big production of Harriet Miers' withdrawl. Bush's next nominee, Samuel A. Alito, Jr., has already met with both opponents and supporters of abortion rights with careful remarks about legal precedent. Judging by senators' reactions, he managed to make headway with both sides. After a series of five back-to-back meetings, senators as diverse as Sam Brownback, the conservative Kansas Republican and staunch opponent of abortion rights, and Joseph I. Lieberman, the centrist Connecticut Democrat who backs a woman's right to abortion, said they were encouraged by what they had heard from Judge Alito. Roe v Wade was not explicity discussed.

    About a year ago some Muslims in the Tampa Bay area lobbied the local school board to allow their sacred day of Eid Mubarak to be recognized as a religious holiday. Rather than capitulate to the request, the board voted to eliminate all religious holidays for the school year starting in fall of 2006, and replace them (or consolidate them) with or into secular holidays (e.g., "winter break" instead of "Christmas"). The school board was actually quite proud of this move, commenting they had accomodated everyone as best it could.

    This resulted in outrage against both the board and indirectly against the Muslim community who did not ask for such a thing but were being blamed for it anyway.

    After a storm of protest, the board reconsidered and just recently reinstituted the traditional Judeo-Christian holidays, but did not include, nor remark upon, Eid Mubarak.

    We are happy to announce a decision on a new location and day for the Coffeehouse Film Review.

    Beginning in January 2006, the CFR will be held every second Friday of the month at the International Bazaar, 1600 E. 8th Avenue in the Centro Ybor Complex in Ybor City.

    International Bazaar is very excited about hosting the event and is going out of their way to promote it like it has never been promoted before. They offer an amazing sound system and seating for up to 400 people!

    If you have never been to the International Bazaar ... well, it's just an amazing place to be and is the perfect fit for our film event.

    SO, the first event at our new location will be on Friday, January 13 at 8 p.m. We need films for the event, so get back to me ASAP to make sure your film is part of our kickoff event!

    I can't tell you how excited we are to have this location. It's simply amazing!

    Please consider making a donation to help support Crazed Fanboy! Click on the "donate" link below and give whatever you can. I sincerely thank you for any and all consideration.---Nolan
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    "Mike's Rant" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2005 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "La Floridiana" is ©2005 by William Moriaty     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith    "The Audio Philes" is ©2005 by Terence Nuzum    "Creature's Corner" is ©2005 by John Lewis    "Couch Potato Confessions" is ©2005 by Vinnie Blesi    "Oddservations" is ©2005 by Andy Lalino      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova    
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