Sunday, February 17, 2008

Evolution a majority - Creation, even more so!

An aquaintance provided me with the results of a July 2007 Gallup poll that gave the following results:

Evolution, that is, the idea that human beings developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life

Definitely true

Probably true

Probably false

Definitely false

No opinion

Total true

Total false








Creationism, that is, the idea that God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years

Definitely true

Probably true

Probably false

Definitely false

No opinion

Total true

Total false








What are we to make of these results? The positions staked out in these two questions are worded in a way as to make them mutually contradictory. Yet we have 53% of those polled favoring evolution on the one hand - and then 66% polled favoring creation on the other!

I suspect there must be some kind of polling bias that causes interviewees to disproportionately agree with statements that are posed to them. I haven't heard of such an effect, but how else to make sense of this data?

A second observation is that the ratio of 66% recent-creation, to 53% evolution, is consistent with the other poll data I've discussed. One mystery would be how old-earth creationists would answer this question. Indeed, old-earth creationists might be inclined to agree with each of these questions, which might explain the discrepancy noted above. But this would only explain it if the proportion of young-earth creationists has grown even more rapidly in recent years, which is an unsupported assumption at this point.

Another finding of the Gallup poll, oddly enough, was that 15% of those polled would be more likely to vote for a candidate who rejects evolution, versus 30% who would be less likely. Apparently the average creationist does not value the foundational importance of creationary belief as much as evolutionists, for whom this issue is more of a litmus test. This is consistent with observations that modern Christians and other creationary communities have become very shallow and superficial in their understanding of their theistic worldview.

Another possibility would be that voters perceive belief in evolution as being more 'sophisticated' or something along those lines, and are concerned that those who reject evolution might lack the skills/knowledge/experience to be a good political candidate. This would be a surprise to the Founding Fathers!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Florida Creation/Evolution Poll

The St. Petersburg times released a poll yesterday that I should comment on, given my posting the same day on the same topic. Their article ( reports the following results in a survey of Florida residents:

- 43% said human beings evolved over millions of years, while 45% said humans were created directly by God.

- 54% of men said humans evolved over millions of years compared with 35% of women.

- 52% of college graduates said humans evolved compared with 33% of those with four years of high school or less.

- 31% of white respondents said only evolution should be taught in schools compared with 7% of nonwhites.


1. This is a Florida poll only, not for the nation as a whole.

2. The undecided/no response level on the first point is 13%, higher than other polls.

3. Thus, the 45% of belief in a direct creation is not far out of line with the 51-55% I mentioned yesterday. The 43% figure is more consistent with the 40-45% combined total for evolutionists from the CBS data. Still, the Florida results show a slightly low tally for direct creation of man, compared to the evolutionary beliefs.

4. The article points out that belief in evolution is higher among college grads. I don't have the figures, but it appears the difference is declining over time. That is, college grads are still more likely than non-grads to believe in evolution, but the difference is not nearly so severe as it once was.

5. We can infer from the last point that creation is favored by minorities, more than by whites. This suggests growth in the creationist perspectives as minorities become a greater proportion of the population and the white population declines.

6. Florida has a large retiree community. This might explain why the poll shows results comparable to 10-15 years ago for the nation as a whole. That is, if older people tend to be settled in their beliefs, and since belief in evolution was more prevalent a generation ago, we would expect Florida to be disproportionately evolutionist.

If I get a chance I'll look up the minority/white proportion of the Florida population, as that would also shed light on the overall findings compared to national polls. Overall it appears this polls is a reasonably good fit with what I outlined yesterday, assuming I'm on the right track with #6.

And as for poor Dr. Ruse in the article, the poll data just doesn't support his optimism. Creation is not going away - it appears, rather, that his Darwinian fundamentalism is on the ropes instead.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Trends in Creation/Evolution Belief in America

Back in October 2006, the National Science Teachers Association published a report listing the proportion of people in various countries who believed man has evolved from animals.

Turkey - 25%

United States - 40% (down from 45% twenty years ago)

England - 75%

Japan - 80%

France - 80%

The U.S. results are consistent with trends I’ve noticed in polls since the early 1980’s. At that time 44% agreed with the position that God created mankind around 10,000 years ago. The remainder were theistic evolutionists (man evolved under the direction and influence of God) at 40%, and 9% were naturalistic evolutionists (man has evolved either in a universe with no God, or He was uninvolved in our appearance.)

The number of recent-creationists had risen to 47% by 1993, and in CBS polls in 2004-2005, the number who said God created man in his present form was 51-55% ( CBS specifically commented that the results were similar when a ‘10,000 year’ timeframe question was asked as in the earlier polls. In the CBS polls, theistic evolution managed 27-30% and naturalistic evolution 13-15%.

Allowing for the inherent uncertainties in polling, we can make the following conclusions:

  1. The proportion of recent-creationists is increasing (44% to as high as 55%) over the past generation.
  2. The number of naturalistic evolutionists is also rising, at a more modest rate, from 9% to as high as 15%.
  3. These increases have come at the expense of theistic evolutionism, which has declined over the same time period from 40% to as low as 27%.
  4. All told, the results indicate a sharpening of the creation-evolution conflict with a decline in the proportion of those advocating a compromise position.
  5. Believers in a recent creation of man are now in a position of outright dominance in the general population.

One question not addressed in these polls is the proportion of ‘young-earth’ creationists. That is, some people who believe in a recent creation of man, nonetheless adhere to the traditional evolutionary dating scheme of billions of years for the earth. This may explain why biblical creationism continues to be almost completely excluded from the public sphere.

Piecemeal data and interpolation of other results as well as that given above gives me the following estimation for the proportion of Americans in each category as of 2008:

  1. Atheistic evolutionists 10% (The earth/universe is billions of years old, there is no God, and man has evolved.)
  2. Deistic evolutionists 5% (The earth/universe is billions of years old, God is impersonal, and man has evolved without divine involvement.)
  3. Theistic evolutionists 28% (The earth/universe is billions of years old; God directs the evolution of man and other life.)
  4. Progressive creationists 12% (The earth/universe is billions of years old; God has created man and other life without common ancestors.)
  5. Young earth creationists 45% (The earth is thousands of years old; God has created man and other life without common ancestors.)

Future trends are dependent on many factors, and it would be rash to simply extrapolate the trend of the past generation. Major factors would include:

  1. The presumably higher birthrate of American creationist communities (evangelical Christians/homeschool community, Hispanic and Muslim immigrants, African-Americans, etc.) compared to evolutionists (white liberals, Asian immigrants, secularists, Jews, etc.)
  2. Widespread media attention and creationary outreach efforts such as the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum.
  3. Continued public policy, taxpayer funding and enforced academic orthodoxy for only naturalistic evolutionism.
  4. The rise of homeschooling, pulling students out of evolution-based public and private schools.
  5. The rise of charter schools, school vouchers, and free-market based education, that introduces students to a wider range of the available viewpoints on origins.
  6. The rise of the internet, both as a tool to communicate and rally communities to a common standard (on the one hand), and make information from a wide variety of sources easily available (on the other).
  7. The general collapse of the secular humanist worldview in Western society worldvide (as reflected by societal malaise and low birthrates, and a disinterest in pursuing more than strictly hedonistic personal goals), following the collapse of the Communist worldview in the past generation. Islam is partly exploiting the vacuum, as is Environmentalism (which I do not believe to have staying power as a worldview), but a large gap remains.
  8. The weakening of teaching and application of a distinctively biblical worldview (that is, how the Bible should apply to everyday life and culture) in mainstream American Christianity, to the point of virtual non-existence.

These trends lead me to make the following predictions:

  1. A hardened core of American Christian homeschoolers will provide a backbone for the young-earth creationist position for at least another generation.
  2. General population trends favor the growth of the young-earth and progressive creation positions over the next generation. It remains to be seen if either gains at the expense of the other.
  3. Academic orthodoxy for naturalistic evolution will deteriorate modestly, with competing schools (theistic/New Age evolution, Intelligent Design) operating increasingly within the academic arena. Still, naturalistic evolutionists will hold the reigns of power for the foreseeable future.
  4. Atheistic and deistic evolution will hit a high water mark and decline due to the challenges of collapsed supporting worldviews (Marxism and Secular Humanism), competition on the internet, and poor birthrates. It will continue to garner converts from the other positions through academic channels only to lose people once they complete their education in a controlled environment and are again exposed to the marketplace of ideas.
  5. Theistic evolution will continue to see modest decline, but it will be alleviated by cross-traffic from atheistic evolutionists seeking meaning in life, and creationists who are poorly schooled or grounded in their beliefs by passive parents and church/educational institutions.

The Implications of Genetic Entropy

In previous posts I’ve explained that humans have a mutation rate many times higher than once thought. Some documentation for this point from the standard scientific literature:

Crow, J.F. 1997. The high spontaneous mutation rate: a health risk? PNAS 94:8380-8386.

Kondrashov, A.S. 1995. Contamination of the genome by very slightly deleterious mutations: why have we not died 100 times over? J. Theor. Biol. 175:583-594.

Loewe, L. 2006. Quantifying the genomic decay paradox due to Muller’s ratchet in human mitochondrial DNA. Genetical Research 87:133-159.

The best discussion of these implications to date is found in John Sanford’s book Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome (Elim Publications, 2005). Another prescient book that recognizes the devolutionary pattern of decay over time is Not by Chance, by Dr. Lee Spetner (Judaica Press, 1997).

The latter book approached the subject by examining known cases of beneficial mutations, discovering that even beneficial mutations tended to be beneficial only because of fluke side effects; the mutations themselves generally causing a breakdown in the overall efficiency and health of the cell. For example, some antibiotics can be blocked by mutations that alter the porin channels that antibiotics use to enter a cell. But such mutations also reduce or destroy the effectiveness of the porin channels as transport paths for useful cellular materials (after all, the porin channels didn’t exist solely so antibiotics could enter and kill the cell!)

Using a model with 100 mutations/child, Dr. Sanford used Mendel’s Accountant ( to generate a genetic fitness curve. Starting with a fitness of 1, the result is a logarithmically declining curve that drops below 0.5 by the 150th generation and 0.2 by 500 generations. In other words, genomic decay is catastrophic within historical timescales.

This explains why humans suffer extensively from genetic maladies and diseases on a widespread, and apparently increasing, scale. Such suffering is difficult to explain in a traditional Darwinian framework. If evolution by natural selection is so powerful as to be able to craft hypertechnological systems such as the human eye, blood clotting mechanisms, photosynthesis, etc., then it is hard to understand why genetic flaws that can be so easily rectified by comparison, persist widely in the population.

John Woodmorappe, in his book Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study, documented the fact that the vast majority of diseases are believed to be of recent origin within the past few thousand years, even in traditional evolutionary timescales. (This was a refutation to the claim that Noah’s family would have to bear a host of parasites and disease-causing organisms through the Cataclysm.) The recent appearance of diseases corresponds well with the evidence for rapid genomic decay.

Given the pace of decay over even a few hundred generations, there are a few reasonably safe conclusions that can be drawn:

  1. The human genome originated within the fairly recent past (thousands to tens of thousands of years ago).
  2. The genetic health of the human genome as originally constituted was much higher than at present.

It has been truly said that science cannot prove the Bible. On the other hand, it can be shown to be consistent with it, and inconsistent with competing worldviews. In this case, the idea of ‘upwards’ evolution from simple to complex is plainly falsified; modern mutation evidence is consistent instead with the Book of Genesis in its description of a perfect beginning followed by a Fall and decay (the Curse). It is also consistent with a timescale reflecting a recent origin for the human race, and inconsistent with a traditional evolutionary timescale of several million years for the history of man.

Mendel’s Accountant – Population Genetics Software

Yesterday I pointed out that real-world mutation rates were a fatal flaw for Darwinian evolution. Natural selection is incapable of overcoming or even significantly slowing the flood of devolutionary mutations cropping up in the human genome. The question now for geneticists is to understand the devolutionary patterns that must exist in the history of life.

To help with this effort, Cornell biologist Dr. John Sanford led the development of Mendel’s Accountant, which is available free at This state of the art tool gives users a chance to play with population genetics models themselves, altering various parameters to understand the pace of decline in genetic fitness on various populations.

In a paper describing the software, Sanford concludes:

“All our findings using numerical simulation strongly support previous theoretical and mathematical analyses [Muller, 1950], [Kondrashov, 1995], [Muller, 1964], [Loewe, 2006], which have consistently suggested fundamental and irreconcilable problems with neo-Darwinian theory. All of these previous analyses, when taken at face value, clearly show that neo-Darwinian theory should not work. Numerical simulation now independently and conclusively affirms this.”
(John Sanford, “Falsifying Neo-Darwinian Theory” manuscript, undated.)

Students of genetics and biology generally are urged to carefully (not dismissively) consider the implications of professor Sanford’s work. There is no point in continuing to interpret biological data within a failed theoretical context (Darwinism). No matter how neatly such data may seem to fit the framework, the fact that the framework has fundamentally failed renders such an exercise pointless.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Beyond Darwinian Fundamentalism

The problem with evolution is not that it is false, but that it is not completely true. That is, the claim that all life has evolved from a common ancestor, itself formed by chance from primordial slime, is false. But the idea that life is genetically static from generation to generation is also false. This allows evolutionists to point accurately to many instances of genetic change as if they "prove" evolution, an approach that is as methodically accurate as pointing to your front lawn to prove that the earth is flat.

The problem is not what natural laws and chance events can explain, but what they, by themselves, cannot explain. A man who insists that any given random rock on a mountainside was placed there by aliens is an idiot, but so is a man who insists that the clothes on his back are the products of natural law and chance alone, without the involvement of intelligent agents.

This is not a trivial point. The academic community is overflowing with Ph.D.'s, even Nobel laureates, who insist with a straight face that an unknown intelligent designer must never be considered as a potential cause for anything. Which means that if you have never visited the Chinese factory or met the factory workers who produced your shirt, they consider you a loon for believing it to be designed (or they should, if they were consistent). Some evolutionists try to claim this is only true for biology, but this is an absolutely arbitrary distinction; why should we be allowed to postulate intelligent designers for a shirt made of cotton, but not the cotton material itself?

Besides, it is still unreasonable. Suppose unknown rogue scientists in the employ of Al Quaida genetically modified a bacteria to become a new disease. To be consistent evolutionists would all have to deny that such genetic engineering can be considered as a possibility, even if the rogue scientists left the message "MOHAMMED WAS HERE YOU STINKING INFIDELS" embedded in Arabic right in the DNA strands in morse code. That is the absurdity that unflinching methodological naturalism comes to when it refuses to intelligently consider non-naturalistic causes. We can be sloppy about considering such causes, but even a sloppy approach will get us nearer the truth than a fanatical refusal to even consider possibilities.

After all, it's not as if evolution in the sense of innovative-change-over-time is still a plausible concept in the relevant branches of science. Evolutionism today is as much a fairy tale as the concept of a flat earth, for all the authoritative pronouncements defending it. Consider for a moment the implications of the rates of mutations measured in the human genome.


Imagine a village with 100 adults living in it. Every generation the parents produce 200 children, half of whom die before adulthood. Let us assume that 50% of the children have one hereditable mutation, and that half of these are beneficial and half harmful. Let us further assume that natural selection is perfectly rigorous.

As a result, all the 50 children with harmful mutations die, and half of those with no mutations. The survivors are 50 children with beneficial mutations and 50 with no mutations. As a result the next generation is genetically superior to their parents. This is how evolution is supposed to work.

Of course, this is an oversimplification. In the real world natural selection is not very rigorous - empirical studies and population genetics theory agree that it is a very subtle, weak force in practical terms. In sexually reproducing organisms the best mutation in the world will not be carried in 50% of offspring just by virtue of the random mixing of DNA from each parent.

Just having a beneficial mutation does not guarantee survival, it only enhances it compared to those lacking the mutation. The formula for 'fixing' new beneficial mutations boils down to X = 2A, where A is the percentage increase in offspring, and X is the chance the mutation will spread through a population. Thus, let's say 1% of a population was dying from AIDS without reproducing. A mutation that produced total immunity to AIDS would thus have only a 2% chance of surviving and spreading through a population. So most beneficial mutations will die out on their own just by random chance. And note that most beneficial mutations have a much, much smaller impact than a 1% increase in reproduction.

But all this sidesteps the real problem with the illustration above. In the real world the mutation rate is not .5 mutations/child. The human genome has been the subject of much study in recent decades, and estimates of the mutation rate/child now run much, much higher - 100 is considered an absolute bare minimum, and the real rate is probably several times higher, at least.

Moreover, no serious biologist believes that half of all mutations could be beneficial. Biological systems are extraordinarily complex, and the more complex a system the more likely that a random change will disrupt it rather than enhancing it.
Some optimistically speak of 0.1% of all mutations being beneficial. Some might be neutral, but the vast majority are going to be harmful. There was some dispute about the ratio of neutral to harmful mutations in the past with the concept of 'junk DNA' (after all, randomly changing a gene that is 'junk' can't make it worse, can it?) But with the discoveries of the ENCODE project (cf. Alex Williams, "Astonishing DNA Complexity Demolishes Neo-Darwinism," Journal of Creation 21(3):111-117), it is now clear that virtually all DNA is functional. That means mutations will either enhance their functions or disrupt them, but are very unlikely to have zero effect.

Moreover, truly novel beneficial mutations are even more unlikely because of the way information is layered within DNA in overlapping patterns, something that was known but not fully appreciated before the ENCODE project findings. This means a single point mutation that enhances lung capacity, for example, might also stunt the growth of your eyes and cause your bladder to grow in your kneecap. It is much more difficult to envision beneficial mutations in such a complicated environment. Indeed, known beneficial mutations may have to be re-evaluated as back mutations (mutations that simply reverse or undo a mutation in the past).

This leaves us with a village scenario more like this:

Imagine if the 100 parents gave birth to 200 children. Each of the children has numerous mutations - let's say from 80 to 120 per child in a bell curve pattern. Of the 20,000 mutations in this generation of children, let us say optimistically that 20 of them are beneficial. This means 90% of the children are carrying around a hundred harmful mutations each, while the other 10% have a single beneficial mutation each, along with around a hundred harmful mutations.

Do you see the problem? If you are trying to get a generation that is more fit than the past generation, which children do you allow to live such that they are more fit than their parents? The answer is that none of them are more fit than their parents. The large number of mutations per child guarantees that each individual will be less fit than their parents. True, must of the mutatations have negligible effect. But they are still disruptive to existing metabolic pathways and complex biochemical systems and structures. The trend is inescapable. No matter how rigorous we propose that natural selection can be, there are simply no healthy individuals to select that will maintain or improve the fitness of the population.

This is the situation the human race, and indeed the entire biological world, is facing. It is plainly and powerfully demonstrated in the book Genetic Entropy by Dr. John Sanford, a semi-retired Cornell University biologist with worldwide fame as the inventor of 'gene-gun' technology used for genetic engineering. (He was named 2001 Scientist of the Year by Progressive Farmer, for example.)

Sanford documents the problem so clearly that the only responses to it have been 'crank' responses (such as claiming the mutations in question are all non-hereditable ones). Even a mutation rate of about 1/child would be enough to overpower natural selection and drive inevitable decay of the genome, so a rate in the hundreds makes it astonishingly clear: the human race is on a rapid path of unstoppable genetic decay (short of massive genetic engineering).

In my next posts, I'll outline some of the implications for these discoveries and point readers to Mendel's Accountant, a software simulation tool developed by Dr. Sanford and his co-workers to study the impact of real-world mutation rates on the health of genomes.

Free Republic - a Secular, Socialist Website

Random Thoughts.... has a long history as, ostensibly, a champion of conservatism. Certainly it would think of itself as a 'right-wing' website. But for a consistent conservative (that is, one grounded in the Judeo-Christian worldview, understanding how it works out in both social and economic spheres), it is clear that FreeRepublic is more left-wing now than right. It is a testimony to the fracturing and disintegration of the conservative movement that FR is even perceived as a conservative website.

FR was born as a reactionary website that gained fame as it rallied conservatives seeking the impeachment of Bill Clinton, but despite the efforts of many conservatives on the site (including myself, under the pseudonym Marathon), a consistent conservatism was never reflected on the site. For someone schooled on classics like The Theme is Freedom by M. Stanton Evans and Idols for Destruction by Herbert Schlossberg, the piecemeal conservatism and reactionary anti-liberalism of FR is a troubling phenomenom. People today call themselves conservatives not so much because they know what they are *for* as because they see something in liberalism that they are *against*. No wonder conservatism is all but dead in the 2008 presidential primaries of the Republican party.

To be a conservative is to find value in the conservation of Judeo-Christian values. It does not mean hanging on to the past, for many things in the past WERE bad. Liberals try to caricature conservatives with such a definition, and in the eyes of many (including many who call themselves conservatives), they have succeeded. But if conservatism just means maintaining the status quo and fighting change, it is really a pointless exercise that block (true) progress as well as decline.

No, real conservatism is about change just as much as liberalism; the difference is that conservatism aspires to values in a manner that is consistent and moral. For example, even liberal professors have found that conservatives give several times as much money to charities (including for causes like helping the poor), as do liberals. Yet liberals are widely perceived as being more "caring" towards poor people, not because they personally contribute to help them, but because they vote to force other people to pay money to the poor.

Thus the conservative pursues the goal of helping the poor within a moral context and a context of freedom (thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not seek to control other people's use of their own money) that is lacking in the totalitarian worldview of the liberal, where the hoped-for ends always justify the means.

This makes the conservative less utopian - we know we will always have the poor with us, for the ingredients that create poverty cannot be eliminated by brute force by any human institution. But it means consistent, REAL, conservatives will never victimize society in the way that liberals and their spin-offs (i.e., "neo-conservatives") invariably do.

Let us return to Free Republic. Let us mention a few values that I would consider basic elements of conservatism:
1. Because we are created by God, we are accountable to Him. Those who deny a creator cannot be "conservatives" because they have no objective moral framework or values to aspire to. They can selfishly create and pledge their allegiance to a set of values, but they will be arbitary. An atheist can say he loves Jews and try to save them from Nazis, or he can join the Nazis and try to eradicate Jews - either can be easily justified from an atheistic standpoint.
2. Because we are created by God, everyone around us deserves respect. Civility is vanishing in this age as conservatism vanishes, and for the same reason. Civility is hard work, and the need to cultivate it is connected to the value we place in the feelings of others. An atheist can choose to value others, but again, they can just as easily say that the chance products of mud+chance+natural selection that we call our fellow humans are perfectly worthless in their eyes.
3. Power comes from the people, not from central government. This principal was central to the founding of the American government. It means, for example, that people elect legislators to legislate (enact laws) - not judges. If a law is bad it is the duty of the legislators to fix it, not judges. If the legislators fail to do so it is the privilege, responsibility and duty of the people - not judges - to elect new legislators to fix the law. To saw judges should be able make and break laws is to make a mockery of representative government.

On FR today I just discovered that yet another of my pseudonyms had been banned (presumably for a perfectly mild comment that revealed me to be a Ron Paul supporter). I discovered this when attempting to respond on a thread reporting that a judge had tossed out a Texas law against the sale of 'sex toys.'

My concern here is not whether such a law is good or bad. That is a matter for Texas legislators and citizens. My concern is this: In the dozens of responses there was ONLY anti-conservative sentiment and expression posted. "Libertarian" (that is, licensarian) Freepers replied with delight, agreeing with the court that the legislation violated our "right to privacy."

Never mind that the "right to privacy" is an arbitrary fiction originally used to justify abortion, and as such is directly contrary to conservative principles. The idea that our bedroom or anything else is a "no-fly zone" for legislation is arbitrary nonsense. What we do in the bedroom probably has more profound effects on the world around us than virtually anything else we do (think about it), so sane societies have always sought reasonable legislation and customs/regulations in this area.

No one was outraged that the court was striking down a law - since they liked the judicial activism, they gave it a free pass. Opponents were vilified in terms that were, shall we say, disrespectful and uncivil. And they call this conservatism?

This is not an isolated case but the overwhelming norm. Occasionally amidst the sea of liberal thought and sentiment one sees a conservative opinion. Someone posts a vanity opining that having the government borrow money to give us so we can spend it, thus increasing inflation and national debt for a short-term stimulus - is nothing but a blatant attempt by current politicians to buy votes. A few people concur, pointing out that the stimulus package will also transfer money (a nice way of saying stealing, using the government as the thug), to many people who have not worked to earn that money. But such incidents are increasingly isolated.

Consider, for example, the case of Iraq. As far as I can tell, Marathon was first banned for voicing opposition to the Iraq war. But since when did invading a country that had never attacked us (except for one accident in the 80's when they were an ally), and had no reasonable means to do so, become a plank of conservatism? Republicans have for the past 5 years tried to endlessly confuse and obfuscate this simple issue, conflating the 9/11 attacks and bin Laden in Afghanistan with Hussein and Iraq. But Bin Laden and Hussein are two very different people, and Afghanistan and Iraq are two totally different places. And it seems very difficult for many Republican "conservatives" to understand this.

To say that those who believe the obvious about Iraq have been endlessly demonized on FR would be putting it mildly. (By "obvious" I mean: that the Iraq war has been a tremendously expensive boondoggle that has destabilized the region, inflamed hatred of us in the Mid-East and dislike worldwide, killed tens of thousands of Iraqi innocents and sent hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians and others fleeing, and sent the price of oil soaring, while Iraq's new democratic institutions quite naturally elect leaders who will be no friendlier in the long run to America than Hussein was.)

Never mind whether the surge "works." Is the end result worth the damage and effort? And please, spare me the conspiracy theories about WMD's. If a country invades you, you don't bury your most deadly weapons or ship them to your neighbor. You use them.

The Neo-conservatism that brought on the war is not conservatism, it is just a faction of liberalism that applies liberal tendencies to micro-manage and control lives to other countries rather than just ourselves. In the meantime, Bush and his Neo-Con allies have acted quite predictably, growing government like good liberals aways do, increasing entitlements and spreading bureaucracy as quickly as Clinton ever did. And we are supposed to be thankful because we strong-armed Bush into appointing two reasonably conservative justices to a Supreme Court that still refuses to actually take decisive steps to squash judicial activism.

McCain will not be worse than Bush, but he will certainly not be any better. And his track record of working with liberals makes him no better than Hillary or Obama when it comes to a Democrat-controlled congress. It would be folly to expect him to stand and fight them as president, when he has so often made a point of trampling conservatives and their ideals while a senator. He will not fight for conservative programs, and he will stand aside and let the Democrat majority have their way in implementing many liberal programs. The net effect will be the advance of the leftist agenda and power regardless of which party controls the presidency.