The first contains a very curious understanding of the Constitution.
Now whatever your view of Blagojevich or Burris, there is one thing that we know without a doubt: the Constitution leaves it up to the states. Reid has no business telling Illinois what to do. Blagojevich is still governor (even though most of the rest of us wish he weren't), and has perfect right to make the appointment.
Whether Burris serves as Senator from Illinois is a matter for the people of Illinois to decide, not the U. S. Senate.
However, the people who actually wrote the Constitution seem to have a different opinion on the matter. Quoting from Article 1, Section 5:
Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.
Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.
So, there is certainly an argument that the Senate does indeed reserve the right to decide if a particular appointee has been too tainted by virtue of the person doing the appointing, and is therefore unqualified. The Senate is not able to decide who gets nominated for membership, but it does seem to have the right to turn people away. Strike one for Cothran.
In the second post, we have a vague attempt to define a word that means nothing to people who accept the Theory of Evolution, and something different to each different type of creationist, "Darwinism" (typically, it means whatever parts of the Theory of Evolution the creationist in question does not accept). Cothran's take on the word:
As a prelude to some more posts on the issue of Intelligent Design, I thought I might address a question that has come up on this blog several times, which I have answered in bits and pieces, but never, I think, directly. It is the question of why I use the term 'Darwinism' rather than using the term many Darwinists prefer that I use: 'evolution.'
I use the term 'Darwinism' simply because it is more accurate. By Darwinism I mean the belief, not simply that the complex organic world as we know it evolved from simpler life forms (the definition of 'evolution'), but that that process can sufficiently be explained by completely natural processes--the two reigning explanations, as I understand it, being natural selection and modern genetic theory.
Darwinists themselves seem to use this term when they think the rest of us aren't looking, but they don't seem to want the term to be used publicly because it has acquired a somewhat pejorative sense. To that, all I can say is that that's not my problem.
The distinction is important because there are some of us who don't have any particular problem with evolution, but have their doubts about Darwinism.
Cothran manages to make several mischaracterizations in a very short post. The first is that there is no such thing as a Darwinist, because no one (that I have read, at least) treats the writings of Darwin as being the the final or ultimate authority on biological development and history. Darwin was the not the first to note the history of biological development, and certainly not the first to note that selection can cause morphological change even within a person's lifetime. He took these ideas and put them together, but his works, like many works at the beginning of a scientific revolution, contain their fair share of errors, incorrect hypotheses, and discarded notions. Scientists don't believe anything because Darwin wrote it, they believe what the evidence of the 120+ years since Darwin has confirmed.
Second, knowledge that the natural process involved in evolution are sufficient to have fueled the world's biodiversity is not a belief, it is a fact. We know from decades of experience that the mechanisms of evolution are capable of doing astounding things. Of course, a careless person might confuse being sufficient with being actual, a problem that Cothran seems to have (as will be shown below). If I see a pile of rocks at the face of a cliff, it is a sufficient explanation that they fell of the cliff face due to erosion. This does not rule out the possibility of a person rearranging the rocks after they fell, causing them to fall, etc. It is sufficient, not conclusive.
Third is the common Creationist tactic of taking the 17+ mechanisms of evolution and ignoring at least 11 of them, referring only to natural selection and modern genetic theory
Fourth, the term Darwinism only comes up when discussing ID/Creationism. The reason it has any pejorative sense at all is because it was created to be a pejorative term.
It was nice of Cothran to confirm for us, in the last paragraph, that "Darwinism" is defined by what is rejected. Strike two for Cothran.
Finally, I will quote from the third piece of dreck put out in a four-day span.
This has been said before in different ways, but, put very simply, if you say that the assertion that the universe as a whole or any particular part of it are intelligently designed is by necessity a non-scientific assertion, then have you not also committed yourself to saying that the opposite assertion--that the world or the things in it are not intelligently designed--is equally non-scientific?
If so, then what are the ramifications for Darwinism, since Darwinism necessarily involves the denial of the assertion of Intelligent Design?
Cothran's rhetorical question in the first paragraph is absolutely correct: it is as equally non-scientific to make a positive denial of design (as opposed to an affirmation of the lack of evidence for design) as it is to make an affirmation of design. Going back to my pile of rocks under the cliff: to claim it is a design, all a person has to do is move one rock by any measurable amount, he has then a proper claim to design in the final result. If I come by six hours later, how am I supposed to make a positive claim that no one has designed the rock positions? They could have been designed on one side of the road,not designed on the other side, and there is no way for me to distinguish the two.
Cothran's second paragraph reveals the confusion to which I referred earlier. His very own definition of "Darwinism"refers to the notion that natural mechanisms are are sufficient, but again there is a difference between sufficiency and conclusiveness. The denial of ID has absolutely no ramifications at all for Darwinism under the very definition he provides!
And if so, then what does that say, not only about the anti-Intelligent Design proclamations of some in the scientific community, but about the scientific status of Darwinism insofar as it is a denial of the Intelligent Design assertion?
In his haste, Cothran seems to have forgotten to mention which of the many ID assertions that he's referring to. However, there is a blanket answer: any particular ID assertion that says merely that the mechanisms of the Theory of Evolution are insufficient to explain a particular biological phenomenon has made a scientific statement. It just happens to be a false one. Strike three for Cothran, he is again out of touch with reality.