Texas claim on Thanksgiving

November 22, 2006

Patricia Burroughs has the story — you New Englanders are way, way behind.

Palo Duro Canyon in a winter inversion

Palo Duro Canyon during inversion, Winter 2001, site of the first Thanksgiving celebration in what would become the United States, in 1541. Go here: www.visitamarillotx.com/Gallery/index3.html, and here: www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/paloduro/

Update, 11/27/2006:  Great post here, “Top 10 Myths About Thanksgiving.”

Voodoo historian: Harun Yahya and anti-evolution in Turkey

November 22, 2006

Voodoo historian and crank scientist “Harun Yahya” (it’s a pseudonym) has done the Rev. D. James Kennedy one better — he’s sending books to school libraries in Turkey claiming that Darwin is responsible for terrorism.

For years U.S. creationists have bragged about their reach into Turkey and Islam. Whether Moslems regard it as a toe-hold for Christianity, or whether American creationists have any compunction about working to stir up religious strife in Moslem nations, sane people who work for peace, justice and knowledge should be concerned.

In a chutzpa-filled claim that would take away the breath of Baron Munchausen, Yahya claims that Darwin is reponsible for fascism, communism and terrorism — never mind that fascists, communists and terrorists generally denounce Darwin and espouse the views of Yahya on evolution.

Read the rest of this entry »

So many good books, so little time

November 22, 2006

Scouring sources for good history books for the list of all-time great history books, I was looking at the New York Times reviews, of course.

The list from the Times of “notable” history books just for 2006 is lengthy, and impressive. (The paper thoughtfully includes similar lists back to 1997.)

What do you think, Dear Reader? Are some of them worthy of the All-time list? (Notice that The Worst Hard Time is included in the list.)

History books listed below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

From the Archives: For Thanksgiving, the Mayflower Compact

November 22, 2006

It is the day before Thanksgiving, a holiday generally associated with the English colonists of New England. What better time to re-run a piece on the Mayflower Compact and its religious implications? Originally, this desultory ran here, on July 26, 2006.

Dispatches from the Culture Wars features a set of comments on an interview right-right-wing pundit John Lofton did with Roy Moore, the former chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court who lost his job when he illegally tried to force his religion on the court and on Alabama. This year Moore ran for governor of Alabama, losing in the primary election.

One of the grandest canards in current thought about U.S. history is that the Mayflower Compact set up a theocracy in Massachusetts. Lofton and Moore banter about it as if it were well established fact — or as if, as I suspect, neither of them has looked at the thing in a long time, and that neither of them has ever diagrammed the operative sentence in the thing.

The Mayflower Compact was an agreement between the people in two religiously disparate groups, that among them they would fairly establish a governing body to fairly make laws, and that they would abide by those laws. Quite the opposite of a theocracy, this was the first time Europeans set up in the New World a government by consent of the governed.

That is something quite different from a theocracy. Read the rest of this entry »

Carnival of Education #94

November 22, 2006

Week 94 of the Carnival of Education, up at EduWonks.  Nearly two years ago, who foresaw so much good stuff on education?

Tip of the scrub brush to The Reflective Teacher.

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