Louisiana Moves To Make The Bible The State Book

220px-Rembrandt_-_Moses_with_the_Ten_Commandments_-_Google_Art_Projectrep6Usually the selection of a state bird or state song is not particularly divisive or even notable. The same goes for a state book (though it seems a bit odd to select a single book for a state unless it is written by a native son or daughter). Louisiana however could find itself in court as it moves to make the Bible the state book. Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, proposed the official adoption but insisted that it should not be viewed as any type of state endorsement. It is simply the selection of one faith’s religious book as the official book for the entire state. Who could possibly view that as a state endorsement?

It does seem at times that religious legislators look for any opportunity to entangle government with religion. This seems particularly gratuitous. Indeed, the best defense for the state may be that the selection is really quite meaningless. However, there are presumably some government action — and clearly endorsement — associated with the selection.

A House committee has approved the selection by an 8-5 vote so it will now go to the full House for debate. The concern is that few members want to be seen voting against the Bible. In the meantime, a state that has long been denounced for its lack of funding of key programs, particularly educational programs, would be triggering another costly court fight in its effort to endorse a religious faith.

Carmody insisted that the adoption of the religious book for one faith is “not to the exclusion of anyone else’s sacred literature.” Of course, their books would be excluded from the list of official state books but that is not exclusion from . . . well its just not exclusion.

He received bipartisan support for his measure with favorable votes from Reps. Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia; Johnny Berthelot, R-Gonzales; Robert Billiot, D-Westwego; Terry Brown, I-Colfax; Mike Danahay, D-Sulphur; Dalton Honore, D-Baton Rouge; Stephen Ortego, D-Carencro; and Tom Willmott, R-Kenner.
The greatest irony is that some opposition has come not in the adoption of the Bible but what version of the Bible would be adopted — potentially triggering an intra-sectarian fight. Will it be the King James version or some other version?

If the Bible is the official state book, there may be demands that it be featured more prominently in Louisiana schools, incorporated into lessons, and even promoted on state sites or campaigns. Then citizens can be exalted to read such passages as John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Carmody in the meantime has continued to express disbelief that anyone would see a constitutional issue or be insulted in any way. After all, he insisted “It’s not meant to be offensive. There’s no requirement that they would have to follow this particular text.” Of course note, he is not seeking to bar you from reading other books. However, if he is successful, there can be only one state book and that is the Bible.

Carmody is a real estate broker and a founding member of the Louisiana Legislative Conservative Coalition.

booksBy the way, if the state were to honor a great Louisiana book (one of my favorites), an obvious choice would be A Confederacy of Dunces by American novelist John Kennedy Toole. It seems as relevant today as in 1980. After all, Carmody may find the views of the main character, Ignatius, rather attractive. Ignatius insisted that “with the breakdown of the medieval system, the gods of chaos, lunacy, and bad taste gained ascendancy.” and warned that “[a] firm rule must be imposed upon our nation before it destroys itself. The United States needs some theology and geometry, some taste and decency. I suspect that we are teetering on the edge of the abyss.”

Source: NOLA

117 thoughts on “Louisiana Moves To Make The Bible The State Book

  1. Why would a god have inspired only a very small number of all the billions of great narratives that have been written by humans over time? What evidence is there that Shakespeare, Mark Twain, the Koran, Bertrand Russell, Howard Zinn were not equally divinely inspired or perhaps the latter were divinely inspired rather than the bible? How can a thinking person with a normal brain believe that a few writers in ancient times were divinely inspired and billions of other writers since then were not? Or even that perhaps none were divinely inspired.

  2. Speaking of which version. One evening I was listening to All Things Considered on public radio. One of the guests was a professor of theology from a university in North Carolina. He told of an incident where he was invited to preach a sermon at a local church. The welcoming committee told him when he was first contacted, they were a church that believed in the bible as it was originally written, and wanted him to preach from that. He said fine, he could do that.

    He appeared at the church at the appointed time and began his sermon. After just a couple of minutes, the chief deacon came to the pulpit and interrupted him. Whispering in his ear, the deacon wanted to know what in the world he was preaching. The professor said he was preaching in a combination of Greek and Aramaic, the languages the bible was written in originally, because that is what he was asked to do.

    “No, no, no,” came the reply, “We meant the King James version.”

  3. Gays, guns and God are the three fall back positions when certain Politicians have nothing to offer except hate and fear.

  4. All The King’s Men should be the state movie. The Broderick Crawford original, not the Sean Penn travesty.

  5. Without repealing the Fourteenth Amendment, I don’t see what chance he has. The Fourteenth Amendment ended States rights to be sovereign in their administration. Laws that previously applied only to the Federal Government now apply to all States. The Beast that is Federal Government rules the States, and there is nothing anyone can do about it without changing the Constitution.

  6. Charlton S. Stanley, PhD, ABPP

    Speaking of which version. One evening I was listening to All Things Considered on public radio. One of the guests was a professor of theology from a university in North Carolina. He told of an incident where he was invited to preach a sermon at a local church. The welcoming committee told him when he was first contacted, they were a church that believed in the bible as it was originally written, and wanted him to preach from that. He said fine, he could do that.

    He appeared at the church at the appointed time and began his sermon. After just a couple of minutes, the chief deacon came to the pulpit and interrupted him. Whispering in his ear, the deacon wanted to know what in the world he was preaching. The professor said he was preaching in a combination of Greek and Aramaic, the languages the bible was written in originally, because that is what he was asked to do.

    “No, no, no,” came the reply, “We meant the King James version.”
    That also begs the question “which Bible, the Christian or the Hebrew Bible.”

    The Hebrew Bible (a.k.a. old testament) is mostly written in Hebrew, with some Aramaic.

    The Christian Bible (a.k.a. new testament) is Greek.

    The King James is a kings version.

    Kings grab things that are not their own sometimes, so he grabbed the Hebrew Bible as his own.

    But kings are closer to God (“God save the King”) so they can do no wrong (“with God on their side”).

    The empire of the king’s bible now wants to destroy those who use the Mohammad Bible (a.k.a. koran).

    This Louisiana nut government is on to something or on something.

  7. Oh, good…. the next time ‘Katrina’ shows up, they can all float out to sea on their ‘buy-bulls’

  8. King James I authorized an English version of the Bible and so it is named after him. This is the version taught in literature classes since major English writers, including Shakespeare, were involved. It is the first authorized Protestant version in English.

    However, Louisiana is Roman Catholic country so they are probably using the Douay-Rheims which is the first Catholic version in English. This is a word-for-word translation of the Latin vulgate version which was used by the clergy.

    Per the dikes, they were built mostly by the Army Corps of Engineers and are each separately run and controlled. Depending on the corruption in the dike organization depended on the security of the dam. Dike building and repair is a local problem, not a state problem.

  9. The act of choosing the Bible vs A Confederacy of Dunces would require a reading of “A Confereracy…” which could cause at least 8 state representatives’ head’s to explode.

    BTW, Toole’s turn of phase throughout ACOD is masterful.

  10. I am a huge fan of ACOD. Recommend it all the time. My stupid local library only has one copy in the system so we cannot use it for a book club discussion.

    If it helps, it took Arizona 5 years to select the official state tie. That tie is…wait for it….wait for it…The Bolo Tie.

  11. “The greatest irony is that some opposition has come not in the adoption of the Bible but what version of the Bible would be adopted …. Will it be the King James version or some other version?”

    This is the point when some people actually start understanding the problems with sectarian pushes for a presence in government. They don’t understand the problem with promoting Christianity over other religions, but they do understand the promotion of one sect over another.

    Which book will appear next to the brown pelican?

  12. Just awful. Gonna be a big waste of taxpayer money and judicial resources just to be told that the First Amendment has not been repealed.

  13. Waldo wrote: “Gonna be a big waste of taxpayer money and judicial resources just to be told that the First Amendment has not been repealed.”

    I don’t see much problem with the First Amendment at all. At the time the First Amendment was passed, several States had State sanctioned religions. The First Amendment’s purpose was written to prevent Congress from favoring one religious establishment over another. Massachusetts actually required every citizen to belong to a church and permitted the church to tax its members.

    The problem is with the Fourteenth Amendment, mainly because of the course of modern jurisprudence since 1940 (Cantwell v. Connecticut), 1963 (Abington School District v. Schempp), 1971 (Lemon v. Kurtzman) and others which have established precedence of reinterpreting the First Amendment to apply to all the States. The controversial Lemon Test forces all civil governments to be neutral in regards to all religion, which is an impossibility as cases like this current one keep illustrating. The precedence results from a sloppy reading of the First Amendment establishment clause which specifically refers to no law respecting AN ESTABLISHMENT of religion. Modern readers gloss over this phrase and read it as having respect toward establishing religion rather than having respect toward a particular establishment of religion.

  14. Paul that’s a joke right…… Something about adoption of a religion or some goofy stuff like that…..

  15. AY – they select the book, not force anyone to read it. For example, the bolo tie is the state tie of Arizona, I have never worn one since I lived here and do not own one. Rarely see them, as a matter of fact.

    If this does go to court, the arguments are going to be interesting.

  16. Lrobby99 – you know that both states can have the same book? It is not mutually exclusive, although they could claim first adoption rights. :)

  17. State Symbols of Arizona

    State Motto: Ditat Deus (“God Enriches”)
    State Nickname: Grand Canyon State
    State Songs: “Arizona March Song” and “Arizona”
    State Flower: Saguaro Cactus Blossom
    State Gem: Turquoise
    State Tree: Palo Verde
    State Bird: Cactus Wren
    State Fossil: Petrified Wood
    State Mammal: Ringtail
    State Reptile: Arizona Ridge-Nosed Rattlesnake
    State Fish: Apache Trout
    State Amphibian: Arizona Tree Frog
    Official Neckwear: Bola Tie

    If Arizona adopts a book it will probably be titled “Fun Facts about the Skin Cancer Capitol of the US”
    Fun fact – Arizona has more coastline than the US Pacific coast.

  18. Paul, your list jogged my memory a bit for my own State. The State motto of Florida is the same as our National motto: “In God We Trust.” Florida has these words written on the State Seal and also on the State Flag. They also are written on the bottom of standard automobile license plates, but tag holders can opt for a license plate which shows the county name instead of the motto, “In God We Trust.”

    To my knowledge, we do not have a “State Book.” :-)

  19. First question should be “WHICH BIBLE?”. It should be fun to see how the various denominations defend their version of the one and only true version.

    Once they settle that question to everyone’s satisfaction I’m OK with it. It will just be one more in a very long list of books people in LA have never read.

  20. And his claim this is not preferential probably makes good sense to a guy who considers other religions False Religions anyway….

  21. AY, your question does not make sense, but if you mean what should be the State book if the Fourteenth Amendment were repealed, it would be whatever book the State legislature votes it to be.

    Most of the religions present in Louisiana embrace the Bible as a good book, so there probably would not be much objection to it. If they wanted to get clever, perhaps they should vote in Jerome’s Latin Vulgate version because of its antiquity and because it has served as a basis in most versions of the Bible that have ever been developed.

  22. Here’s some interesting facts from the 1994 (the latest data we have) Louisiana Survey of Adult Literacy:

    “Twenty-four to 26 percent of the adults in Louisiana demonstrated skills in the lowest level of prose, document, and quantitative proficiencies (Level 1). Though all adults in this level displayed limited skills, their characteristics are diverse …”

    “The average literacy proficiencies of adults in Louisiana (257 to 263 across the scales) were comparable to those of adults living in the South.”

    “There are no significant differences in literacy proficiency between foreign-born adults nationwide who have lived in the United States for one to five years and those who have lived here for six to ten years.”

    “Eight percent of the Louisiana residents were enrolled in school or college at the time of the survey, and these individuals had higher literacy proficiencies, on average, than adults who were not enrolled in an academic program.”


    As Jefferson said,”if a nation expects to be ignorant & free, in a state of civilisation [sic], it expects what never was & never will be.” (letter to Charles Yancey, 6 January 1816)

  23. Frankly:

    “First question should be “WHICH BIBLE?”. ”


    I vote the Gnostic “bible”. From the The Infancy Gospel of Thomas:

    3 And a certain Jew when he saw what Jesus did, playing upon the Sabbath day, departed straightway and told his father Joseph: Lo, thy child is at the brook, and he hath taken clay and fashioned twelve little birds, and hath polluted the Sabbath day. 4 And Joseph came to the place and saw: and cried out to him, saying: Wherefore doest thou these things on the Sabbath, which it is not lawful to do? But Jesus clapped his hands together and cried out to the sparrows and said to them: Go! and the sparrows took their flight and went away chirping. 5 And when the Jews saw it they were amazed, and departed and told their chief men that which they had seen Jesus do.

    III. 1 But the son of Annas the scribe was standing there with Joseph; and he took a branch of a willow and dispersed the waters which Jesus had gathered together. 2 And when Jesus saw what was done, he was wroth and said unto him: O evil, ungodly, and foolish one, what hurt did the pools and the waters do thee? behold, now also thou shalt be withered like a tree, and shalt not bear leaves, neither root, nor fruit. 3 And straightway that lad withered up wholly, but Jesus departed and went unto Joseph’s house. But the parents of him that was withered took him up, bewailing his youth, and brought him to Joseph, and accused him ‘for that thou hast such a child which doeth such deeds.’

    IV. 1 After that again he went through the village, and a child ran and dashed against his shoulder. And Jesus was provoked and said unto him: Thou shalt not finish thy course (lit. go all thy way). And immediately he fell down and died. But certain when they saw what was done said: Whence was this young child born, for that every word of his is an accomplished work? And the parents of him that was dead came unto Joseph, and blamed him, saying: Thou that hast such a child canst not dwell with us in the village: or do thou teach him to bless and not to curse: for he slayeth our children.

  24. Well played mespo….

    Annie…. Since Dearborn area of Michigan has one of the highest concentration of Muslims outside the Middle East….. You have a very excellent point….

  25. Why didn’t my post make sense David….. No wriggle room….

    Ok…. Now that you’ve said the vulgate why ? Why not the gnostic gospels as written…,

    Third part…. What kind of oath of office did the legislators in Louisiana take…..to uphold the laws of the land…… Both the state and federal….. Would not entertaining a law such as this be in the class of treason…..

  26. AY wrote: “Why didn’t my post make sense David….. No wriggle room….”

    Seriously? You wrote: “Which religion should be the predominate bible of the state of Louisiana ?”

    Religion does not equal bible. Religion cannot be the bible. Religion cannot be the predominate bible. It makes no sense to ask which religion should be the predominate bible. It is like saying, “which car should be the predominate gasoline.”

  27. Seriously David?

    Ok David…. I vote for the Koran……. This is one of those hollow points…. Like if you vote against the bible you’re not a Christian….. Or if you vote against more more for the LEO budget you are soft on crime…. It’s all a smoke screen….

  28. AY – there are three major religions who accept the Old Testament, which makes up part of the Bible. The Koran is not the Bible, but rather the collected saying of Mohammad and printed by length of verse. Islam, Christianity and Judaism all accept the Old Testament, they are the People of the Book.

  29. AY – no one and I mean no one, accepts the Gnostic gospels or Lost Gospels as they are known as something that should be part of the Bible. They are interesting to read, but have no validity for Christianity.

  30. Meso – there are over 40 generally recognized versions of the Bible. If the legislature takes a middle road and just selects “The Bible” everyone gets to choose for themselves.

  31. Ok… How about the fishermans bible….. After all fishing is a major industry in Louisiana….

    Doesn’t bible really mean book…. Archaic it may be…. Just a bunch of gay folks trying to light up the faggots….. Oh those words have different meanings today……

  32. AY – the Bible, when capitalized refers to the OId Testament and with Christians the New Testament. And yes, you are correct, bible does mean book. Much as you stretch it, I do not think they are talking about the Fisherman’s Bible (which I am not sure is an actual book, but certainly could be). Would you like to source your comment to Mespo regarding the KJV?

  33. Mespo… Just so you know… One version of the KJV states that that thou shalt commit adultery… I think 5 are still out there….

  34. The first compiled Bible came from The Catholic Church in about 325AD. It has books than the KJV, and the KJV wasn’t written in the English Language until the 1600’s.
    The Islamic religion did not begin until Mohammad began to have revelations about 610 AD. the Quran came much later. Therefore, using the Koran would not be feasible.
    There is no Constitutional rule that would keep the people of LA from having a Bible as their state book (Read davidm2575, above).
    The people of Louisiana would have to vote to decide if they want a Bible and which version they would want to consider as their state Bible.

  35. Anonymously Yours

    Mespo… Just so you know… One version of the KJV states that that thou shalt commit adultery… I think 5 are still out there….
    If Paul, david2575, or other bible thumpoids want a copy, the holier than thou Vance McAllister has one of those 5 Louisiana copies (Rep. Vance McAllister (R-Bullshitistan) Caught With Five Foot Tongue-Tying Married Staffer).

  36. Brings back memory’s of being sworn in to testify

    US: Do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

    Scotland: I swear by Almighty God that I will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    UK: I swear by Almighty God that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    South Africa: I swear that the evidence that I shall give, shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

  37. Paul, thank you for the lesson on AZ state this and that. Y-a-w-n. BTW, the reason the bolo tie is the state tie is because of all the southwest cowboys wore them to go to church mettin’s and for any dress-up occasion, with a silver or turquoise designed fastener to hold it in place. Bolo’s are seldom worn anymore (except for a few cow hands. Now Arizonian’s wear shorts and cool shirts in the summer and light jackets in the winter. Gorgeous weather and beautiful state!!

  38. Giovanna – the bolos are both silver AND turquise, and it became the state tie because a very popular newscaster always wore them and pushed for the bill. I do wear short sleeve shirts year round and sandals. Today because I had to go to a meeting I wore jeans. Except in downtown Phoenix, jeans are considered business casual.

  39. Mike,
    Brings back memory’s of being sworn in to testify

    Did you forget:

    James 5:12 – But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and [your] nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

    Matthew 5:33-37 – Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:

    35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.

    36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.

    37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

  40. See how tangled things become when religion enters a discussion? The lesson here is to keep all things relating to religion out of the government regardless how trivial they may seem.

  41. Paulette wrote: “See how tangled things become when religion enters a discussion? The lesson here is to keep all things relating to religion out of the government regardless how trivial they may seem.”

    There is an old saying about how one should never bring up religion or politics in polite company. I hope you are not going to argue that one must also keep politics out of government. :-)

    Some quotes from Mark Twain:
    In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.
    – Autobiography of Mark Twain

    I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.
    – Mark Twain in Eruption

    I think every government must acknowledge God to have any power or authority to operate. We need a Constitutional Amendment to that effect, which simply reiterates what has been established in our Declaration of Independence, the document upon which our Constitution was founded.

    Working out the details about God does not belong to the realm of civil government. Government deals with actions, while religion and philosophy deals with the mind. Government should respect and encourage religion and philosophy in its societal purpose, but it should not entangle itself in taking sides. This is why the First Amendment was written, forbidding Congress from interfering in the free exercise of religion and speech, but also prohibiting it from respecting any particular establishment of religion.

  42. Dredd – I do not understand the reasoning behind your comment at 6:55 pm. Could you please expand on it?

  43. A Constittutional Amendment to acknowledge God. Well you can guess what I’m about to ask…. whose God? I kind of love Thor, God of Thunder. <3

  44. Annie, that is the nice thing about the word God. It is a generic term that does not carry a lot of semantic baggage. You can apply it to your God Thor, Christians can understand it to refer to their God, Jews apply it to their God, Muslims apply it to their God, etc. Leave it to the religions to work out opinions about the nature of God. Government should acknowledge God and not pretend that it is blind and ignorant about God. The authority of government is diminished if government does not acknowledge God yet presumes to have authority to use force over people who do believe in God. At some point, people who believe in God will rise up against such governments. Most religions teach that the right of government to punish the lawless is derived from God.

  45. Dredd,


    Add this

    1Ti 6:3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
    1Ti 6:4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
    1Ti 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

  46. Let’s cut through the political fog. Rep. Carmody’s proposal is a reactionary effort to give preferential recognition to Christianity as the “official” religion of Louisiana. Rep. Carmody is a Roman Catholic educated by the Jesuits. So am I. That order has been suppressed enough times over the past five centuries to have a special appreciation for the dangers of state sponsored orthodoxy. Clearly Rep. Carmody didn’t run this mind-numblingly stupid idea past any of his former teachers at Shreveport Jesuit.

    The bill is motivated by that favorite of right-wing fantasies, the secular “war on religion.” But masquerading religious endorsement by a seemingly innocuous legislative selection of a state book won’t get by the Establishment Clause. Nor should it. And when Louisiana Pentecostals realize that the bible read by Rep. Carmody wasn’t commissioned by King James, it will make for an interesting canonical debate.

  47. Mike, the idea of having an official State book is silly, but these kinds of proposals will keep happening when government infringes upon religious liberty. The ACLU has championed bad laws, which result in knee jerk reactions like this one. Expect more bad ideas to follow as the ACLU continues to trample upon the civil liberties of students and teachers.

  48. Annie – I am agnostic and I recognize a war against religion in this country, especially Christianity. BTW, you still haven’t told us which Thor you love.
    Mike – the Jesuits were only suppressed once, as a group, and the current Pope is a Jesuit. As a group, the Jesuits have more martyrs than any other order.

  49. davidm2575 ~ Seriously, a Constitutional Amendment? I concur with the words of James Madison who said: “Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”

  50. Paulette wrote: “Seriously, a Constitutional Amendment? I concur with the words of James Madison who said: “Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”

    If you concur with Madison, then you would concur with my words also. James Madison also said, “Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe.” Madison also wrote, “The belief in a God All Powerful wise & good, is … essential to the moral order of the World & to the happiness of man.”

    In the very letter from which you quote, Madison points out how as President he appointed religious days of worship and fasting for the entire country, but he did it as recommendation and without penal sanction enforcing the worship.

    The reason I say a Constitutional Amendment is warranted is because of the fight against religious expression by public officials. Such an Amendment was not necessary in Madison’s time because champions for the liberty of conscience like James Madison never imagined the culture war that exists today. The Declaration of Independence was still fresh in their minds, even mentioned by Madison in the letter from which you quote.

  51. David said…
    “Government should acknowledge God and not pretend that it is blind and ignorant about God. The authority of government is diminished if government does not acknowledge God yet presumes to have authority to use force over people who do believe in God. At some point, people who believe in God will rise up against such governments. Most religions teach that the right of government to punish the lawless is derived from God.”
    Ah yes David, you are describing Dominionism. “Rise up”, huh? Thanks for the heads up, the secularists will no doubt fight back. Would that ‘Godful’ government also have the right to punish the ‘sinful’ ? If so I wonder, will there be a Sharia court of sorts? What if the religionists can’t decide on whose God should be in the list of acceptable Gods? Pesky details your Theocracy will need to iron out .

  52. Annie, what I describe has nothing to do with Dominionism or Sharia or any Theocracy. What I have described are the basic principles of separation of church and state which Christians established in this country. A government that is hostile toward religion is a bad government. History has proven this concept many times over. Your vision of a secular government devoid of a belief in God is patterned after the communist Soviet Union under Lenin, or China under Mao Zedong. The bottomline is that embracing theism in government is not the same as advocacy for Dominionism or any other form of Theocracy.

    I encourage you to read history and philosophy to understand that the concept of separation of church and state is a theistic concept, not a secular one. It is derived from Christian theology based in the Bible. The secularists have hijacked the concept and bent it for their own irreligious purposes.

  53. There is no need for a Constitutional Amendment acknowledging “God”. It won’t happen. There is no war against the religious, unless they start one.

  54. Annie wrote: “There is no war against the religious, unless they start one.”

    What planet do you live on? Try to sell that baloney to Frank Lay and Robert Freeman.

    Principal faces possible jail time for praying

  55. Cheese and rice, it never stops does it, this need to insist bronze-age parables trump any original thought which followed?

    There does not seem to be any appeal for those under aged 45 or so. Not even the bible belt can withstand that readjustment, and it really cannot get here soon enough.

  56. “Government should acknowledge God and not pretend that it is blind and ignorant about God.”

    Replace god with “sponge bob square pants.” The meaning remains the same.

    Fewer and fewer buy the cartoonish parodies of faith others seem to need to cram down our throats. And adult conversation about faith has no need of a angry deity, or the childish empty threats it implies.

    It’s the busy-body strain that is the most pernicious, the need to insert one’s big nosey beak — using religion via government in this case — into the private affairs of others.

    The recent marriage equality decisions suggest the country is choosing a different path.

  57. AY – the funniest one is when Hitler realizes he has lost his health insurance and has to get a new doctor. :)

  58. I share the predicament of which particular version of the Bible would correctly be the Louisiana State Book.

    How about The Interpreter’s Bible, which I quite naturally have in my professional library, all twelve volumes of it, accompanied by the four volumes of The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible.

    Right now, I am partial to one particular version over all others, though I expect that to change soon. For right now, I favor the Fourth Edition of The Macintosh Bible, published by Peachpit Press, though the Sixth Edition, also published by Peachpit Press, is almost as favored by me for now.

    Alas, the Fourth Edition of The Macintosh Bible cannot be accurately deemed to be an authoritative source regarding Macintosh System 7.5, as System 7.5 had not become available when the Fourth Edition of The Macintosh Bible was published.

    Given that The Macintosh Bible has evolved through several editions, Is The Macintosh Bible an authoritative source for Biblical proof of evolution?

  59. Dr. Harris,

    ……”Given that The Macintosh Bible has evolved through several editions, Is The Macintosh Bible an authoritative source for Biblical proof of evolution?”

    Given that evolution is nothing more nothing less than the process of change then the answer to your question is yes.

    [Note to grammaticians: I’ve always had difficulty with then/than, it has been a continuous effort in frustration.]

  60. Wayne – if it makes you feel better only grammar nazis know the difference between then and than. :)

  61. Thanks Paul…I can now rest must easier ;) My aunt was an English Teacher in High School and I could always count on her to answer my questions. Once she passed I was lost…

  62. As I have stated previously, they should just vote The Bible the state book and then everyone can pick the version they feel most comfortable with. :)

  63. Well, davidm, as you are wont to do, you gave us about half the truth in your analysis of Madison’s theological views with some cherry-picked quotes. While it’s true that Madison surely loved the deity to keep citizens in line, he showed disgust at those claiming to work for Him and who sought to inject themselves into the politics of the day:

    Ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects. [James Madison, letter to William Bradford, Jr., January 1774]

    That’s why he was such a fervent opponent of meddlesome religion and religionists who spent their time whining about how victimized they had become.

    What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not. [Pres. James Madison, A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 1785]

    Every American should read ” A Memorial and Remonstrance” with the same fervor and awe that we read “We The People ….”

  64. Mespo wrote: “Well, davidm, as you are wont to do, you gave us about half the truth in your analysis of Madison’s theological views with some cherry-picked quotes.”

    You are being a little generous here. I would say that I gave much less than half the truth about Madison’s theological views. My limited comments were offered simply to counterbalance what someone else had posted.

    Madison’s views were similar to mine in the sense that he rejected the “legal establishment” of religion. When religion is institutionalized, it becomes corrupted. This is why I often repeat that I am not religious but I am a theist. Like Madison, I reject religious establishments while embracing a faith in God.

    I will say that your view that Madison used religion to keep people in line might be taken by some to ascribe evil to Madison. It implies that he was manipulator of citizens and used religion to do it. In contrast, my judgment is that Madison was sincere in his principles. While he argued on the basis of principle against using taxes to pay Congressional clergy, when it came down to it, he did not feel so strongly as to veto the bill to establish them. Instead he signed it into law knowing that it would likely never be repealed. Some might argue him to be an unprincipled man for this, but I see it rather as humility. He recognized that his perspective was not shared by everyone. He had an ability to compromise when there were competing considerations about an issue.

    Madison’s overriding principle was liberty of conscience. It started when he observed Baptists being imprisoned in Virginia for doing nothing more than publishing their viewpoints. Madison writes about six Baptists in particular that he visited in jail and defended publicly. There is little doubt in my mind that Madison would have just as quickly visited rushed to the defense of men like Frank Lay and Robert Freeman who faced criminal prosecution for praying over lunch.

    I agree strongly with Madison’s “A Memorial and Remonstrance” as well as Jefferson’s “Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.” Unfortunately, many people gloss over how both works embrace theism while rejecting the governmental institutionalization of religion. In “A Memorial and Remonstrance,” Madison speaks of our duty to our Creator and as quoted before, says that “before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe.” In like manner, Jefferson appeals to the Almighty God because the theistic right of men being discussed is considered a natural right, an unalienable right. This foundational thesis for both works should not be glossed over. There is no doubt from these writings that both James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were creationists, and that makes their philosophy closer to my own than to yours.

  65. mespo727272,

    My personal favorite translation of the so-called “Christian Bible” happens to be the translation used in my childhood home and the translation given to me by my parents on my eleventh birthday, so given to keep me from wearing out the family copy.

    That translation is, The Bible: An American Translation,, The University of Chicago Press, 1935. It is sometimes called, “The Chicago Bible,” and sometimes called, “The Smith-Goodspeed Bible.”

    It is the first translation of “The Christian Bible” that I ever read that, in some specific ways, made any intelligible sort of sense to me.

    For example, I can make no intelligible, scientifically useful sense of the beginning words of the Book of Genesis as found in the King James Version, to wit, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

    However, the words that begin the Book of Genesis in The Bible: An American Translation do make intelligible, scientifically useful sense to me, those words being, “When God began to create the heavens and the earth,…”

    The contrast, for me, is profound. In the KJV, creation is a past event, long over and done with, and my life experience disallows my ignoring the blatantly obvious ongoing creativity that thoroughly permeates my actually-lived life.

    For me, if for no one else, the word, “God” is a semiotic symbol for that which is important to me in my life which I do not completely understand and which has made life, as I can observe it, possible, and which has also made my observing live as I observe it possible.

    Furthermore, for me, “religion” is a perhaps-useful and perhaps-not-useful name for human brain activity regarding that which is important in human life which humans as yet only incompletely understand. Therefore, “religion” is a proper aspect of human biology for scientific scrutiny and study by biological scientists whose science includes humans and humanity.

    For me, if for no one else, authoritarianism is a property of human confusion when human scientific hypotheses become regarded as facts and not as mere guesses worthy of rejection to such extent as they are false and/or mistaken.

    Methinks that the only way to maintain false beliefs in the presence of clear falsification evidence is through some form or other of authoritarian coercive tyranny, as in a parent is asked,”Why?” enough times that all that the parent can finally say is, “Because I said so!”

    My parents never got to what it would have taken for them to have said to me, “Because I said so!”

    What my parents did instead of some form of, “Because I said so!” was some form of, “That is a good question. Let’s see what we can learn together about it.”

    At home and at church (my dad was always the minister of the church my family regularly attended during my childhood era), I was never told what to believe; rather, my parents only asked me what I had learned and shared with me what they could of what they had learned, always telling me that, for me, my own beliefs might be better for me to use than any beliefs someone else told me to believe, their beliefs included.

    Accordingly, on the Turley Blog and elsewhere, I never intend to persuade anyone to believe what I believe, and I never believe anyone else could have had life experiences which allowed their beliefs to be other than as they are.

    I have never been taught to believe any religious creed or any religious dogma, or any religious doctrine.

    So, being alive, being something approximating infinitely ignorant, and being aware of my knowledge being very small in relation to my ignorance, I am necessarily religious by default and I, therefore, have a religious creed, a religious dogma, and a religious doctrine, and I do not believe in any of them.

    My religious creed: “There shall be no other creed.”
    My religious dogma: “There shall be no other dogma.”
    My religious doctrine: “There shall be no other doctrine.”

    Those religious aspects of my life have sometimes resulted in my having a sometimey frighteningly freaky relationship with the rule of law. For me, the rule of law is a religion to which I do not subscribe and which my conscience precludes my being a member thereof.

    Also, the Anglo-American Adversarial System of Law and Jurisprudence, in its present form and function, is, for me, inescapably an unconstitutional established religious cartel the dicta, dogma, doctrines and holdings of which almost always violate my conscience.

    Consider Article I, Section 18, of the Wisconsin Constitution, as found a while ago via the Internet:

    Freedom of worship; liberty of conscience; state
    religion; public funds. SECTION 18. [As amended Nov. 1982]
    The right of every person to worship Almighty God according
    to the dictates of conscience shall never be infringed; nor shall
    any person be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of
    worship, or to maintain any ministry, without consent; nor shall
    any control of, or interference with, the rights of conscience be
    permitted, or any preference be given by law to any religious
    establishments or modes of worship; nor shall any money be
    drawn from the treasury for the benefit of religious societies, or
    religious or theological seminaries. [1979 J.R. 36, 1981 J.R. 29,
    vote Nov. 1982]

    The Courts, in the United States of America, as I experience them, assert the right to violently infringe my right “to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of my conscience,” as my conscience has only one dictate, that dictate being that my conscience has no other dictates.

    My conscience precludes, without dictate or dictating, my abiding by any religion which denies itself through deception and dishonesty, as I experience deception and dishonesty. The adversarial system, merely by being adversarial, denies itself through deception and dishonesty.

    Given that what I find to be the foundational premise of adversarial law and jurisprudence, that actually avoidable offenses actually occur, is easily demonstrated, through the null-hypothesis/alternate-hypothesis pure-dichotomy scientific methodology, the false belief that people commit actually avoidable offenses for which a forfeit is justified is a scientifically-falsified religious doctrine/dogma/dicta/holding/whatever.

    In accord with my conscience, I choose to exclude from my life any and every religious teaching which I find is scientifically false, doing so in accord with Article I, Section 18, of the Wisconsin Constitution.

    There is a simple remedy, one which I have quite exhaustively tested during my life of more than seventy years so far; that remedy is removing from the interpretation of the laws all recognized forms of corruption.

    The commonplace belief to the effect that people actually make actually avoidable mistakes or actually commit actually avoidable offenses is false, and is the result of what has been named, in the science of neurology, “time-corrupted learning” which has also been named “trauma” which has also been named “moral injury.”

    Remove time-corrupted learning from the interpretation of the laws, and the interpretation of the laws will cease to be corrupt in the time-corrupted sense.

    Remove trauma from the interpretation of the laws, and the interpretation of the laws will cease to be corrupted by trauma.

    Remove moral injury from the interpretation of the laws, and the interpretation of the laws will cease to be corrupted by moral injury.

    Neonates are free of socially-learned time-corruption, as they have yet to become time-corrupted by trauma and trauma-generated moral injuries.

    Who, among us, was not once a neonate? All we need to accomplish is remembering how we lived before we were corrupted by human socialization norms?

    Scientific falsification of the above writing is welcome.

  66. @Mespo: I am so glad to find your comments on this; thanks! I was made to read a few stories in the Bible in Catholic school and they bored me to tears. I was much more fond of the books my mother read, esp. the ones with step-by-step photographs of surgeries. I didn’t mind the New Testament as much but studying for an exam in religion was pure torture. Living among the self-righteous in our neighborhood, especially after my parents divorced, was another form of torture. My mother expected excellent grades in all subjects at school except for religion and German. Her family made sure to cure her of these expectations and I’m proud of continuing that tradition.

  67. This is not a lauded source but it describes my feelings regarding all religion.

    I put no stock in religion. By the word religion I have seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of god. I have seen too much religion in the eyes of too many murderers. Holiness is in right action, and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What god desires is here [points to head] and here {points to heart] and what you decide to do every day, you will be a good man – or not. – from the movie Kingdom of Heaven

  68. davidm:

    Mr. Lay and Mr. Freeman are hardly examples of people oppressed for their religious beliefs. Mr. Lay is the principal at Pace High School in Pensacola and a deacon at his evangelical Baptist church. The litigation originated with a series of complaints, many from Catholic parents, that Mr. Lay and his subordinates actively proselytized students. Evangelicals are so-called because they evangelize. The suit was not a little dustup over an innocuous prayer before lunch. (I would add that there were also suggestions that some Catholic students at Pace were made to feel unwelcome by their Baptist classmates. As you probably know, there are prominent conservative evangelicals who are staunchly anti-Catholic). The case resulted in an admission of liability by the school board and entry of a consent decree.

    The video you chose to cite related to a subsequent contempt motion. The motion was denied, but Mr. Lay was admonished by the court for his rather casual treatment of the decree.

    I suspect you also know that Pensacola is the virtual capital of fundamentalist Christianity in Florida. It is the home of Pensacola Christian, a college of questionable academic merit best known for developing the Abeka curriculum, a model of rote fundamentalist indoctrination to which thousands of young minds are daily exposed with the generous assistance of our tax dollars.

  69. Mike Appleton wrote: “The case resulted in an admission of liability by the school board and entry of a consent decree.”

    I attended the trial of these men in Pensacola, so I know a lot of the details. The school board was terrified by the ACLU and mishandled the legal challenge mounted by the ACLU. Seeking to avoid the legal expense to the taxpayer of fighting the ACLU in court based upon constitutional grounds, they entered into a consent agreement with the ACLU prior to this transgression of praying. The consent agreement is what made it a crime for them to pray or exercise other forms of religious freedom. IMO, it is wrong for anyone to face jail time and fines for praying over lunch at the dedication of a field house among mostly adults and a handful of culinary students who had helped prepare the lunch. You allude to Baptists trying to evangelize Catholics, but none of that was alleged at trial. The charge concerned a principal asking the athletic director to pray before the meal which was contrary to a court injunction.

  70. Mike, growing up in the Assemblies of God church (Pensacola Seminary trained ministers) we were taught that the Catholics were idolaters. Not only do fundamentalist evangelicals reject Catholicism, they also reject most other Protestants, unless they are of the variety that believes in being “saved”. I know full well that the prosthelatising that these people do invades every aspect of life, weddings, funerals, picnics, social gatherings of any kind, are subject to “witnessing for the Lord”. It’s an obnoxious and in your face type activity that adherents are told to engage in as true “Christians”.

  71. When I was in public grade school there was a daily prayer. The Roman Catholic kids went outside the classroom while this occurred. We felt we were the lucky ones. :) We were never looked on differently by the teachers or other students, it was just what went on.
    Every year I am required to go to a banquet where a Protestant minister gives an opening prayer, usually at some length, before we start eating. I have never felt offended by the prayer
    Saying some religions are annoying is like saying some humans are annoying. We cannot get rid of all humans just because some are annoying. I have learned over the years to tolerate everyone’s religion or lack thereof. And I have learned how to gently turn people down who come to the door or accost me in public places.
    The only time I have come unglued is when the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles wanted to interfere in the politics of Arizona. I called his office and left a scathing message on his phone. Unlike my Congressmen, who have people answer their phones, the Archbishop answers his own. Sadly, I only got his message machine. :(

  72. mespo – have you actually read the Tynsdale version? Since it was burned a lot, there are few copies available. Wondering where you got your hands on one.

  73. Annie:
    Your comment strikes a chord with me. My family moved to Huntsville, Alabama in 1963 when my father took a job there as an instructor with NASA. I worked in a supermarket there that summer and met the most insular, narrow-
    minded people I have ever encountered before or since. I recall being startled and amused at some of the myths about Catholicism I heard that summer. A few were vicious, but most were merely ignorant. And I did meet some very fine people as well. But overall it was a trip back in time. That summer also meant King in Birmingham and George Wallace’s segregation forever rant opposing integration of the University of Alabama. That’s one town I didn’t regret leaving.

  74. Paul Schulte:
    Your comment illustrates a truth many people fail to grasp: religious accommodation is and always has been primarily a function of religious political power rather than reasoned, coherent jurisprudence.

  75. Mike – the judiciary often give us tortured, made up out of wholecloth decisions which show that they made up their mind and then tried to find the legal reasoning behind it. When they couldn’t find it, they made it up. Roe v. Wade is a perfect example.
    The ACLU is another bag of worms. They make big bucks suing school districts, municipalities, etc. We, the tax payers, end up paying both sides of those cases. When they win, they demand attorneys fees and often get them. So we taxpayers pay for the defendant’s legal costs and then we have to pay the plaintiff’s, too.
    Consent decrees are a section of the legal system that should be abolished. It allows plaintiffs (usually the govt) to financially twist the arm of the defendant, who agree to stop doing something they really weren’t doing before, just to stop the financial pain. It is the plea bargain of the civil division.

    When I become Emperor of the United States I am going to get rid of both plea bargaining and consent decrees. I will also require the government to pay the legal fees and costs of any person found not guilty in criminal cases and if the defendant wins in a civil action the government will also pay their costs and fees. I will also change the our legal system for criminal prosecution and defense to the same the British have. Studies have shown that the longer an attorney works either prosecution or defense, the more their mindset locks into that. Nancy Grace is a perfect example of this. That woman could not see the defense side of a case if it bit her in the nose. As Emperor, all that will change.

  76. J Brian – thanks for not making that point. Still, at some point one needs, as my father was wont to say, “To shoot, shit, or get off the pot.” ;)

  77. Carlton – if you spent your formative years in LA then you know it is largely Roman Catholic. Why would they want a Bible in Scots?

  78. I seem to have done many foolish things during my short life so far. The most foolish of all, perhaps, was my becoming a zygote. That seemingly set off a cascade of yet more foolery.

    I was a fool to study communication theory and information theory as a bioengineering graduate student.

    I was a fool to learn enough of information and communication theory as enabled my learning that any communication symbol may symbolize any amount of information.

    The word, “bible” is, for me, a communication symbol,, so, the word, “bible” can symbolize any number of books. Hence, for me, and, I may offer to suggest, perchance for no one else in all of eternity and all of infinity and all that is beyond all of eternity and all of infinity and all of beyond all of that, ad infinitum, the word, “bible” is a symbol for every book ever written and every book ever not written.

    Where can I buy, at an affordable cost, accurate replicas of every book that was in the “ancient” Library of Alexandria before it was combusted? Please advise, lest the “bible” as the State Book of Louisiana, be incomplete…

    Count, without error, all the points in a line of infinite length. Now take four such lines connected by right angles at their end points to form a square. Now count, without error, all the points in that square. Now take eight more lines of infinite length and connect them with right angles to form a cube. Now count all the points, without error, in that cube. Now construct an infinite number of such cubes, and count, without error, all the points in that cube. Now construct an infinite number of such cubes and count all the points in all those cubes, doing so without error.

    Is the capacity of humans to encounter human error any less than the number of points in an infinity-transcending number of such infinitely infinite infinities of infinitudes?

    How can the limit boundary of human foolishness be measured without error?

    I can, methinks, only tell of my own experiences. I have never come upon the limit boundary of my foolishness. Am I an ordinary fool, not knowing of my foolishness because I am beyond immensely too foolish to know how foolish I am?

    To what measurably inerrant extent am I more, or less, foolish than is anyone else?

  79. J Brian – your thoughts seem to be scattered in all directions. I am sure you are trying to make a point, but if you remember from your communication theory, get to the point. :) Brevity is always better than an extended epistle here.

  80. Brevity is incapable of containing an infinitude of infinities; therefore, brevity excludes me and my life and my life work.

    Had there been a point to my prior posted comment on this thread, it would have been of the inescapable falsehood of communicating complexity without complexity, hence, what I write is always pointless.

    Does that convey the point that I am not making?

  81. Paul,
    You are relatively new to the blog, so don’t know the history. Dr. Harris tells us he is a high functioning autistic, probably Asperger’s. He is also clearly OCD, which often goes hand in hand with Asperger’s. Just have to take his rambling in stride. I don’t think he can say, “Good morning,” in less than three paragraphs, and I don’t mean that in a snide way, because the condition is certainly not something he wished on himself.

  82. Charlton – I try to read each submission to each thread I am subscribed to. Dr. Harris makes it difficult for me to get through his, both because of length and convolution. I am sure that somewhere in there is something worth saying, but he does not make it easy to ferret out. It is akin to reading James Joyce. Thanks for the heads up.

  83. Paul,
    I know that, but that is my personal preference based on my Gaelic speaking family heritage. After all, the legislators who are pushing this are favoring their own personal preferences, so methinks that puts us on an equal footing. Mike S., as a Jew, may have some different preferences too.

    I will take the LA legislature seriously when they start taking the First Amendment seriously. Until then, I plan to make fun of them in the name of the FSM, who will hopefully slap them upside the head with His noodly appendage. rAmen.

  84. SWM – thanks for the census record.
    Charlton – I think if LA is going to get this through, they just have to select “The Bible” as the state book, without selecting a version. Then everybody is covered

  85. “Like other Southern states, the population of Louisiana is made up of numerous Protestant denominations, comprising 60% of the state’s adult population. Protestants are concentrated in the northern and central parts of the state and in the northern tier of the Florida Parishes. Because of French and Spanish heritage, whose descendants are Cajun and French Creole, and later Irish, Italian, Portuguese and German immigrants, there is also a large Roman Catholic population, particularly in the southern part of the state.” Wikipedia

  86. Paul, and Charlton, and others,

    I find that I am not an Aspie, and am actually a form of Autie (pre-DSM-5™ lingo) in that i have a profound, and apparently intractable form of language delay; I have never learned to experience thoughts in the form of words. I never developed word-consciousness. What I have instead of declarative brain conscious is procedural brain consciousness, which I find to be the form of consciousness of prenatal life wherein no words have yet been learned.

    I experience thought in concrete form, not in abstract form, and my only access to what seems to me to commonly be deemed abstract thought is as a proper subset of concrete thought.

    Whereas I make an effort to communicate accurately with other people, my communication capability is, for me, as though limited severely by aspects of human language which function as though to make my communicating accurately almost totally impossible. This, I take to be the mere result of human language having been developed during a phase of human evolution wherein genuine honesty in human intra-personal and inter-personal communication is a societal taboo deemed through inadvertent consensus to be absolutely inviolable.

    For me, the result of that is my finding that I can almost never find words that successfully convey much of anything of my intended meaning. So, for want of else, I use variations on the theme of successive approximations as my main communication resource. That, alas, leads some folks, so I observe, to overlook the fine details of the often-subtle changes I make in using words, and takes many people into mistakenly thinking that I am repeating myself when I am actually avoiding doing that.

    A fairly close relative of mine completed law school and passed the bar examination, and was admitted to the bar. That relative, so I have come to understand, was somewhat concerned about the way adversarial practice of law seems to require deception for its effectiveness in serving a client’s purported best interests.

    In 1957, I graduated from high school and matriculated at Carleton College, with the notion in mind of being a physics major. For my birthday in 1957, one of my mother’s uncles, Hjalmar Lundquist, an engineer working at National Vulcanized Fiber, gave me a copy of Standard Handbook for Electrical Engineers, Ninth Edition, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1957.

    My family had visited Hjalmar and his wife a few years earlier, and he had indicated to me that he thought I would wisely become an engineer. So, to encourage me to consider engineering as a life-work, he gave me that handbook. I would like to fair-use quote from the Preface in that book, on page v:

    “Competence as an engineer seems to depend on ability to appraise new problems, break them into significant ingredients, and then analyze each by itself and with its companions until the conclusions can be translated into a solution.”

    I have a way to paraphrase that, using words of my own choosing:

    “Competent ethical engineering requires accurate understanding of the nature of an engineering problem, accurate analysis of the engineering problem, and accurate synthesis of an efficient, economical, and effective solution to the engineering problem.”

    When I began studying and learning engineering, using a college level radio engineering textbook that I had borrowed from the local public library, during the first week after I had completed fourth grade, the thought came to me that the one scientific problem that most intrigued me might only be solved using the accuracy of thought that is essential to accurate engineering work.

    The engineering problem that most intrigued in my age of traditional infancy, as also intrigued me when I began studying engineering at college level was, and yet remains, the one partly addressed by my bioengineering doctorate:

    How to use engineering to accurately synthesize a viable solution to the problem of human destructive violence; meaning, for me, destructive violence such as was demonstrated by the events of World War II that came to my attention during the first six or so years of my life.

    As it was vividly obvious to me that conventional engineering education of the 1950s did not include the social and biological education I would need for accurate analysis of the engineering problem that intrigued me, I set out to collect enough of a liberal arts college education as essential background for an engineering approach to solving the problem of human destructive violence. Three years of liberal arts at Carleton College gave me enough of philosophy, zoology, contemporary religious thought, sociology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and English liberal arts college classes to allow me to commence my effort to learn enough engineering methods to have a chance to proceed with engineering studies.

    While yet in grade school, I recognized that the a-priori probability of my developing an engineering solution to the problem of human destructive violence was, at best, nearly infinitesimal, or less. I also recognized that the plausible benefit to humanity, if an engineering solution to the problem of human violence were developed and found valid, would be so a-posteriori immense as to make the a-priori infinitesimal probability of success totally unimportant. Yeah, I did understand Bayesian probability theory while a grade school student.

    While taking a break while writing this #$^%, I happened upon a book in my library, put out by “European Medical Research Councils, a Standing Committee of the European Science Foundation, The long-term treatment of functional psychoses: needed areas of research: Proceedings of a Workshop held in Villa Lante, Bagnia, 9-11 May 1983, Cambridge University Press, 1985. From the Introduction, by T. Helgason, page 4, “The aim of all our efforts is to prevent or cure mental illness and, failing that, to improve the quality of our patients’ lives as much as possible. Quality of life for the chronic patient has always been a major concern of health personnel. Society at large, however, has always been reluctant to put aside sufficient resources for this purpose.”

    In my work, the beliefs which necessarily underlie belief in adversarial law and jurisprudence are, from a bioengineering perspective, of the nature, in both form and function, of a long term (many millenia) functional psychosis that is the essence of the social construction of reality in its contemporary structure.

    Therefore, I anticipate that my work may be regarded as a variation on some theme of social heretical apostasy by anyone and everyone whose psychological defenses are well-adjusted to the foibles of the structure of contemporary society and its inextricable destructive violence.

    Or, am I an unwitting moth, attracted to the light of a candle flame, the heat of which will burn me to death, harboring the tragic delusion that I am somehow human?

  87. Dr. Harris, keep writing, I enjoy reading your comments and I’m pretty sure I understand your meaning… Eventually. You force me to exercise my brain and that’s a good thing. :) You are indeed human, isn’t it grand that we humans come in so many varieties?

  88. Perhaps my fair-use quoting the last few sentences from Franz Kafka, TheTrial, Breon Mitchell, tr., Schocken Books, 1998, will illumine my sense of my encounter with human society:

    Logic is no doubt unshakable, but it can’t withstand a person who wants to live. Where was the judge he’d never seen? Where was the high court he’d never reached? He raised his hands and spread out his fingers.

    But the hands of one man were right at K.’s throat, while the other thrust the knife into his heart and turned it there twice. With failing sight, K. saw how men drew near his face, leaning cheek-to-cheek to observe the verdict. “Like a dog!” he said; it seems as though the shame was to outlive him.

    I was born more than five decades after Kafka was born, and had access to aspects of science not available to Kafka.

    As I am a seemingly a human person who is willing to live as living becomes possible for me, my will to live vastly exceeds mere wanting to live. Perhaps that is why the logic of the social construction of reality is such that I have been able to withstand it for almost three-quarters of a century to date?

    In my life, there is no judge to be seen. There is no high court to be reached. There is no man who can thrust a knife into my heart, as my real heart is outside the reach of all humans, myself included.

    There is no shame to outlive me, and there is no shame for me to outlive.

    And there is no castle.

    There is only life; life learning to love itself.

  89. Perhaps I can begin to explain why I write as I do. Perhaps not, or not yet.

    During my life experiences, I have had quite a few encounters with people whose adaptation to life took the form of what I experience as those who develop authoritarian personalities. Such folks consistently seem to me as though intent on bullying me into joining them by my adopting an authoritarian personality. This, my conscience precludes my doing.

    Perhaps reading T. W. Adorno, et al., The Authoritarian Personality,, in the original 1950 edition or in the Abridged 1982 edition, would provide a useful sense of the nature of the puzzlement of authoritarian personality.

    It is my lifelong observation that people who have adapted to lived life experiences with some form of authoritarian personality are people who have encountered one or more experiences which were so vastly more than of unbearable pain that such experiences become fragmented in memory, with the unbearable pain of the memory becoming functionally unconscious and the fact of the event, absent conscious awareness of the pain, becoming a cherished life event.

    Such may be of the neurological mechanism of the “Stockholm Effect” of social psychology.

    I write as I do as a strategy for minimizing the probability of triggering an unintended psychotic break in someone who has an authoritarian personality and who may be vulnerable to being triggered into overt violence as an aspect of a flashback to some shatteringly painful (and therefore, neurologically abusive) past event, the memory if which has been fragmented into consciously accessible and consciously inaccessible memories.

    When someone (a handicapped male athlete?) is put into an unpreventable flashback into unbearable terror, has a handgun available, and the athlete’s female friend (fiance?) makes a sound behind a door, a psychotic flashback may lead to bullets going through a door and into the female friend’s body, with fatal consequences.

    And people who are themselves comparably shattered may mistakenly adjudge the acting out of immense terror as though it was a consciously willful act and criminally culpable.

    And the catastrophic dance of the insanely psychotic human comedy of actually false, albeit sincerely held, beliefs and their consequences dances on, and on, and on, until? ???

  90. Dr. Harris,

    I do enjoy your writing and entertain similar feelings as those expressed by Annie. I ‘think’ I understand the conceptual ideas you are expressing and without doubt your style expands my thinking into new arenas.

    Your discussions remind me of an excellent course in Semantics I once took at California State University, San Francisco taught by Dr. S.I. Hayakawa. It is interesting how changing one word, even in a subtle manner, can lead to dramatic differences in understanding and human reactions.

    Thank you,

Comments are closed.