Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

June 26, 2012

WE THE PEOPLE: A bird, a plane or hallucination?

CROSSVILLE — I saw several UFOs one November night many years ago while flying in a plane load of fellow paratroopers over the Yukon Territory on the way to Alaska. Half a dozen lights appeared and followed on the port side of our troop carrier at a steady but respectable distance and then disappeared. We checked our parachutes. There was nothing around us or below us except snow, mountains, forests and an occasional frozen lake in the dim arctic night. We had no idea what the lights were except that they were UFOs (which was hardly an explanation).

Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, says: “In all fields of science there is a residue of anomalies unexplained by the dominant theory. That does not mean the prevailing theory is wrong or that alternative theories are right. It just means that more work needs to be done to bring those anomalies into the accepted paradigm. In the meantime, it is okay to live with the uncertainty that not everything has an explanation.”

Some UFOs and other strange things people believe or think they see are a part of the “residue problem.” The problem is not restricted to scientific theories. The problem appears in politics, religion, and other aspects of human behavior. It often waxes large in the preoccupations of persons with too little reliable information or too little to think with.

Humans tend to need explanations. If there are none, then we often create simplistic ones. Creationism, for example, is an unscientific religious belief. “God did it” is creationism’s only theorem. Whether or not you believe in creationism does not make you a good or bad person.

Reactionary pundits, however, writing about the wonders of conservatism quite often use personal attacks and distorted world views to complain about everything. Close examination reveals they spread invalid information, not real ideas, and want us to see them as being under assault from everyone, including most family dogs.

Much of the residue problem rampant in the country is caused by people who are not in circles that deliberate with logic and reason. The far right often promotes faith-based arguments. These political radicals comb through the Internet like bears in a dumpster feeding on fetid morsels of garbage. They threaten anyone who tries to herd them toward more substantial fare. Yet, they want to control the world because they claim to know the hearts and minds of the Founding Fathers.

Yes, there are lots of new UFOs out there. Not all come from the right, either. The far left knows that capitalism is designed for profit, not for compassion, but capitalism also helps make things run. There is a land between the two extremes.

We are facing a new era. How shall we preserve democracy? Both sides claim to love this country and our freedom. A big UFO problem today is Unexpected Funding Obstacles. We know we must spend less, but how? The choice facing voters is to choose a leader who will lead us to the right balance. Will less taxation and more guns fix things or is it time to rebuild the U.S.A. and our economic machine on the Golden Rule and not the rule of gold?

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

  • Tidbits: Make the best of your road trip

    I didn’t care for road trips when I was young. It was so confining to have to sit in the back seat, staring out the window for hour after hour, hayfield after hayfield. And when you’re a kid, time doesn’t pass like it does when you get a little older. Just the trip from Jamestown, TN, to Crossville, roughly 30 miles, felt like an eternity!

    July 14, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Biased climate agenda will cost trillions

    For anyone who has been educated in the history of science and scientific method, this whole issue of “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” is an embarrassing and painful exercise.

    July 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Time for an oil change

    The land of Iraq, earlier known as Mesopotamia, has a long history going back to Neanderthal times some 60,000 years ago. Later, around 10,000 years ago, it became the site for some of the most important developments in human history: the invention of the wheel, planting of cereal crops, the development of cursive script, mathematics, astronomy and agriculture. Today it is recognized as one of the cradles of civilization.

    July 8, 2014

  • We the People: American women, be informed and vote

    Voting for today’s Republican Party and its Tea Party members, means you are voting against more than most realize.  This is especially true for women.

    July 8, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014