The FORTHUYSE Homepage

Letters from San Francisco: my views on people, things and events

Due to changes in Google, I was not able to edit my web page at this address-- some time. I continued my nefarious activities on google sites, so for future references to my forthuyse web page--go to:


I have reorganized my Home Page by placing the complete list of all my journal entries at the top: first entry first, last entry last. To see the text of my first entry--just scroll all the way down. - Homepage'stitle!!!! (this 2 was supposed to be iv)

Note: at this point Google made me change from Google pages to Google sites:


To go to external links, for my other websites, click on:


Hereunder follows the text of my first entry:
Over the past few decades we have seen in America a disastrous regression to pre-enlightenment religious and political thinking. The hard-won freedom of religion (from interference by any particular state or any particular church) has been in danger of being rolled back by the kind of mediaeval ideas exemplified by the dictum: "cuius regio eius religio" or the idea that whoever rules the state may determine what religion may be practiced in that state--and everyone else be damned. 

In Sweden the Lutheran State Church decided last month to accept gender neutrality in marriage--they had little choice in the matter, for as a branch of the state, they could not have continued gender discrimination after gender neutral marriage legislation was adopted.

Same-sex partnerships in Sweden


Since 1995, Sweden has recognized same-sex relationships by permitting loving committed couples to enter into civil unions. That granted them the same legal status as married couples, including the right to adopt children. Since 2007-JAN, Sweden's the principal church -- the Lutheran Church of Sweden -- has blessed these civil unions. However, government registration and church blessing as as a marriage was not permitted.

The government plans to introduce a new "gender neutral" marriage act that would provide marriage equality by 2008-JAN. Both same-sex and opposite-sex couples could then marry.

This law would make Sweden the seventh jurisdiction to legalize SSM within its borders. The Netherlands were first. Belgium, Spain, Canada, the state of Massachusetts, and South Africa were next. Israel also registers same-sex marriages performed out of the country; however that is expected to be terminated soon.

Church of Sweden Backs Gay Marriage / Queerty
The Church of Sweden found itself conflicted yesterday. Religious leaders gathered to discuss whether or not to support a parliamentary bill neutering marriage. That is, making the legal language gender neutral to allow same-sex marriage. Had the Church of Sweden rejected the move, they would be forced to stop legally-sanctioned marriages all together.

Rather than give up those blessings, officials voted 161-74 to back the gay-inclusive laws. 

The above is a crystal clear example of how the issue of separation between church and state is indeed a two-sided sword: When there is no separation and the state decides to adopt legislation that runs counter to the  church's religious views, then the state prevails and the church has no power to prevent implementation of any laws it might find objectionable. On the other hand, when churches intervene in  the political processes as has recently become more and more frequent in the U.S. then those who do not belong to the majoritarian religions loose their freedom to believe and act on what is in their own heart and mind.

The right-wing halo-folk who have seen (or thought they saw) their stock rise sky high in the past decades will now find out that the sword indeed cuts both ways. That's why so many evangelicals are having second thoughts on the neo-con and theo-con artists that promised them the promised land. When it comes to religious freedom, there is no promised land--only a land free from oppression for all who dwell in it--which we human beings may either chose or reject for ourselves.  

In his 1911 work on Creative Evolution, Henri Bergson observed the following in his chapter on Duration:

"...a slight effort of attention would reveal to me that there is no feeling, no idea, no volition which is not undergoing change every moment: if a mental state ceased to vary, its duration would cease to flow. Let us take the most stable of internal states, the visual perception of a motionless external object. The object may remain the same, I may look at it from the same side, at the same angle, in the same light; nevertheless the vision I now have of it differs from that which I have just had, even if only because the one is an instant older than the other. My memory is there, which conveys something of the past into the present. My mental state, as it advances on the road of time, is continually swelling with duration which it accumulates: it goes on increasing--rolling upon itself, as a snowball in the snow. 

He might have been more succinct and said that there is nothing permanent in the manifest world, that everything changes constantly, i.e. everything changes over time, or duration. That's why the difference between events and entities (or things) is as illusory as the distinction between waves and particles. That's why the scientists coined the term "wavicles" and I coined the term "eventities."

Change over time is also known as evolution. Last night I saw the NOVA documentary on the Dover School District case against the socalled "Intelligent Design" theory, which the court found to be just another name for creationism:

Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District - Wikipedia, the free ...

Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al., Case No. 04cv2688, was the first direct challenge brought in the United States federal courts against a public school district that required the presentation of "Intelligent Design" as an alternative to evolution as an "explanation of the origin of life." The plaintiffs successfully argued that intelligent design is a form of creationism, and that the school board policy thus violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The judge's decision has sparked considerable response from both supporters and critics.

Eleven parents of students in Dover, Pennsylvania, near York, sued the Dover Area School District over a statement that the school board required be read aloud in ninth-grade science classes when evolution was taught. The plaintiffs were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) and Pepper Hamilton LLP. The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) acted as consultants for the plaintiffs. The defendants were represented by the Thomas More Law Center. The Foundation for Thought and Ethics, publisher of a textbook advocating intelligent design titled Of Pandas and People, tried to join the lawsuit as a defendant but was denied.[1]

The suit was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania seeking injunctive relief. Since it sought an equitable remedy there was no right to a jury trial; the Seventh Amendment did not apply. It was tried in a bench trial from September 26, 2005 to November 4, 2005 before Judge John E. Jones III. On December 20, 2005 Judge Jones issued his 139-page findings of fact and decision, ruling that the Dover mandate was unconstitutional, and barring intelligent design from being taught in Pennsylvania's Middle District public school science classrooms. The eight Dover school board members who voted for the intelligent design requirement were all defeated in a November 8, 2005 election by challengers who opposed the teaching of intelligent design in a science class, and the current school board president stated that the board does not intend to appeal the ruling.[2]

One of the most convincing points made by the (pro-evolution) plaintifs can be read in the following website, which refers to the fact that we humans are the only primate species that has 23 chromosomes, as opposed to the 24 chromosomes in all other primate species:

Human and Ape Chromosomes

There are two potential naturalistic explanations for the difference in chromosome numbers - either a fusion of two separate chromosomes occurred in the human line, or a fission of a chromosome occurred among the apes.  The evidence favors a fusion event in the human line. One could imagine that the fusion is only an apparent artifact of the work of a designer or the work of nature (due to common ancestry). The common ancestry scenario presents two predictions. Since the chromosomes were apparently joined end to end, and the ends of chromosomes (called the telomere ) have a distinctive structure from the rest of the chromosome, there may be evidence of this structure in the middle of human chromosome 2 where the fusion apparently occurred. Also, since both of the chromosomes that hypothetically were fused had a centromere (the distinctive central part of the chromosome), we should see some evidence of two centromeres.

Human Chromosome 2 and its analogs in the apes - from Yunis, J. J., Prakash, O., The origin of man: a chromosomal pictorial legacy. Science, Vol 215, 19 March 1982, pp. 1525 - 1530

The first prediction (evidence of a telomere at the fusion point) is shown to be true in reference  3 . Telomeres in humans have been shown to consist of head to tail repeats of the bases 5'TTAGGG running toward the end of the chromosome.  Furthermore, there is a characteristic pattern of the base pairs in what is called the pre-telomeric region, the region just before the telomere. When the vicinity of chromosome 2 where the fusion is expected to occur (based on comparison to chimp chromosomes 2p and 2q) is examined, we see first sequences that are characteristic of the pre-telomeric region, then a section of telomeric sequences, and then another section of pre-telomeric sequences. Furthermore, in the telomeric section, it is observed that there is a point where instead of being arranged head to tail, the telomeric repeats suddenly reverse direction - becoming (CCCTAA)3' instead of 5'(TTAGGG), and the second pre-telomeric section is also the reverse of the first telomeric section. This pattern is precisely as predicted by a telomere to telomere fusion of the chimpanzee (ancestor) 2p and 2q chromosomes, and in precisely the expected location.  Note that the CCCTAA sequence is the reversed complement of TTAGGG (C pairs with G, and T pairs with A).

The second prediction - remnants of the 2p and 2q centromeres is documented in reference 4. The normal centromere found on human chromosome 2 lines up with the 2p chimp chromosome, and the remnants of the 2q chromosome is found at the expected location based upon the banding pattern.

Since the fact that there were only 23 chromosomes in our species while all other primates had 24, the argument was that this tended to prove that there was no evolutionary connection between man and ape. But these are the kinds of challenges that prove the mettle of a scientific theory: the more such objections are eventually refuted by new evidence, as in this case rather spectacularly, the stronger the theory becomes. Of course no theory is ever full-proof. But the basics of many scientific theories are so well established by now that the claims that they are merely theories are beginning to sound very hollow indeed. And the theory of intelligent design is not even a theory, it is merely the absence of a theory.

What I cannot fathom is this: isn't the theory of evolution the most intelligent of all intelligent designs--if you accept a theory of intelligent design at all? So what's up? 

Is it not more intelligent to design a system that does evolve--far more intelligent than one that imposes a design that doesn't include some process for adaptation to changing circumstances?

And as Bergson and many others have implied: there is nothing static in this world, change is all there is in the manifest world. If you can stop time (through meditation) than the manifest world ceases to manifest and you are one with the unmanifest--which is the great mystery beyond all comprehension.