Friday, November 2, 2012

A Big Link In The Chain

As a follow-up to my post on the Penn State travesty and the "Chain of Perverts" that led from Alfred Kinsey to Hugh Hefner to Graham Spanier to Jerry Sandusky, it does my heart good to read that Spanier, the former President of Penn State, has been charged with perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected abuse and conspiracy. [His assistants] Curley and Schultz face new charges of endangering the welfare of children, obstruction and conspiracy.

ESPN reports:
Spanier has said he had no memory of email traffic concerning the 1998 complaint made by a mother after Sandusky showered with her son, and only slight recollections about the 2001 complaint by a team assistant who said he stumbled onto Sandusky sexually abusing a boy inside a campus shower ...  
The grand jury report indicates Curley, Schultz and Spanier told the university's lawyer they had no documents that addressed Sandusky having inappropriate contact with boys.
But Schultz did retain a Sandusky file in his office, the jury concluded, and he told his administrative assistant Joan Coble never to look at it. 
"She said it was a very unusual request and was made in a `tone of voice' she had never heard him use before," according to the jury report. 
Another Schultz assistant took the file from his office at the time of Schultz's arrest, made a copy and gave the file to him, the grand jury said. Kelly said it was eventually obtained by the grand jury ... 
Freeh's investigators uncovered emails in which the administrators discussed the 1998 complaint, including a May 5 email from Curley to Schultz and Spanier, with "Joe Paterno" in the subject line. It read: "I have touched bases with the coach. Keep us posted. Thanks." 
Spanier told Freeh's team that he believed in 2001 that the encounter witnessed by graduate assistant Mike McQueary amounted to "horseplay," although an email sent by him to Curley at that time reflected a much more somber tone. 
In that email, Spanier was reacting to a proposal by Curley in which they would not report Sandusky to authorities but instead tell him he needed help and that he could no longer bring children into Penn State facilities. 
"The only downside for us is if the message isn't 'heard' and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it," Spanier wrote in 2001. "The approach you outline is humane and a reasonable way to proceed."
Humane and reasonable indeed.

This sad and sordid story just keeps getting worse. But one thing that has not changed is the chain of perverts and the far-reaching and disgusting fallout from the work of the demented and dangerous Alfred Kinsey. When you hear about SIECUS in your public school, remember his name and the trail of destruction that leads from him, through the likes of Graham Spanier and Jerry Sandusky, right to your front door.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Time To Vote: Abortion

Maybe it is jaded and cynical to say it, and maybe it is not even fair, but it seems to be safe to assume that "all politicians are liars" is as good a starting point as any to work from when assessing the candidates for whom we must choose to vote. I hate to say that because I'm sure there are non-lying politicians out there. But if there are, they are definitely in the minority -- and they certainly don't include our current choices for President of the United States. Still, the fact is that we have an obligation to vote whether we like our choices or not. So, given that dual reality, I'd like to make the case -- based on my wish to advance a rational, God-honoring view of the world -- for which liar would do the most to move this country in the right direction morally.

It may seem oxymoronic (or maybe just moronic) to attempt to make a moral argument for how to decide between liars, but I'm not trying to be funny, or witty, or sarcastic. I'm dead serious ... and I think the consequences of this choice are deadly serious too, especially when it comes to the moral repercussions of two of the most consequential moral issues of our time: abortion and same-sex "marriage."

Mitt Romney

Mr. Romney's stance on abortion seems to have changed considerably (Click HERE for a timeline series of videos showing the positions he has held since 1994):
  • 1994 -- In a debate during his race against Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy, Romney said, "I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country." Referring to the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in every state, Romney added, "I believe that since Roe-v-Wade has been the law for 20 years, it should be sustained and supported. And I sustain and support that law and support the right of a woman to make that choice.
  • 2002 -- In a debate during his campaign for governor of Massachusetts, Romney said, "I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard."
  • 2005 -- Romney endorses the standard postmodern "my personal view aside ... we should maintain the status quo" claim to be pro-life but not mess with abortion laws.
  • 2007 -- Romney would be thrilled to sign a bill overturning Roe-v-Wade.
  • 2012 -- Romney claims that he is "firmly pro-life" and thinks the abortion issue should be returned to the states.
While his opponents and the media characterize this timeline as a "flip flop," and while there is no doubt that he has changed his public position on abortion, it seems to me that Mr. Romney has "evolved" more than flipped. And consider this: Mr. Romney is a devout Mormon. Mormons in general are unwaveringly pro-family and pro-life. For that reason, I find it extremely doubtful that Mr. Romney was ever really in favor of abortion. He just didn't want to admit it because he was trying to get elected in an extremely liberal state (Massachusetts).

While I find that to be cowardly, dishonest, sad, and opportunistic, I believe the fact is that he lied about being pro-choice. But even if he didn't, his "evolution" has been toward the correct moral position on the issue.

Barack Obama

Mr. Obama's history with the abortion issue shows a far different story. You can get a detailed compilation of it here: Obama's Record on Abortion ... but suffice it to say it is abysmal:

  • 1997 - 2004 -- While a member of the Illinois State Senate, Barack Obama opposed the proposed “Born-Alive Infants Protection Act” (BAIPA) for three straight legislative sessions and twice spoke against the bill on the Senate floor. He voted against the bill twice in committee and once on the Senate floor. Both laws were intended to provide protection for babies who survived abortions equal to protection received by babies who are spontaneously born prematurely.
  • 2004 - 2009 -- Obama compiled a 0% voting record on pro-life issues scored by the National Right to Life Committee and a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America.
  • 2007 -- Obama sharply criticized the Supreme Court for its 2007 Gonzales v. Carhart decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.  He said, "I strongly disagree with today’s Supreme Court ruling...I am extremely concerned that this ruling will embolden state legislatures to enact further measures to restrict a woman’s right to choose, and that the conservative Supreme Court justices will look for other opportunities to erode Roe v. Wade, which is established federal law and a matter of equal rights for women."
  • 2008 -- At a campaign stop while running for president, Obama said: "I’ve got two daughters. Nine years old and six years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby."
  • 2009 -- Obama not only invoked an Executive Order removing all barriers from embryonic stem cell research (ESCR), he simultaneously revoked President Bush’s Executive Order which funded alternate stem cell research that does not destroy human embryos. You can read the sad history of this story here: Stem Cell Obfuscation
  • 2010 -- Obama courted "pro-life" Democrats during the congressional fight against ObamaCare by promising to invoke an Executive Order that would prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion. This effort was successful in obtaining a key vote from Michigan congressman Bart Stupak that allowed the bill to pass. Since then we have found not only that the ObamaCare Law includes surreptitious language that would allow taxpayer funding of abortion, but we have seen an outright assault on religious liberty by the Obama administration that would force religious institutions and their insurance programs to fund services contrary to their religious convictions.

As Greg Koukl has put it, this president doesn't just think there is a right to abortion, he believes there is an inalienable right to a corpse. Barack Obama may not accept that description of his view on abortion, but his record tells otherwise. The president is among the most radical abortion rights politicians we have ever seen ... and he is proud of it.

On top of all the rest, and as it stands today, putting any Republican in office ensures that pro-abortion legislation will never see the light of day. It is a sad statement about the president's party and I pray it will change. But for now Romney wins on this issue hands down.
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Friday, September 28, 2012

Don't Impose Your Views ... Only We Can Do That!

Worldviews Passing in the Night
Following the last post, I want to finish with the most important issue that I believe was exposed with Bill Nye's ridiculous video by devoting a separate post to my interlocutor's (tildeb) final comment, the gist of which is as follows:
I suspect we would agree on almost everything - like family and friends and jobs and the cost of living and health concerns and so on... right up until you tried to have your religious beliefs privileged or their intentions imposed on others or if I argued to keep true to the secular ideals of personal autonomy! … All religious claims for historical creationism are equivalently based solely on belief. At best - like abiogenesis - we should agree that neither of us knows and hold that opinion until such a time that reality offers us compelling evidence to adduce a change. Belief of the religious kind does not produce knowledge and certainly doesn't fill in gaps where we currently have none. Yet far too often, this is exactly where religious belief stakes out its ground. As if this weren't bad enough, too often the conclusions deduced from these beliefs are then imposed on the rest of us by influencing public institutions, public practices, public policies, public law, public education, and so on. Nowhere is this more problematic than over issues claimed by the religious to be about morality... but that's for another day.
I don't want to cut and paste the whole thing but I believe this gives proper context to tildeb's point. What I want to concentrate on is the idea that he brings in the emphasized phrases of his quote -- because this is where the real crux of the issue resides. Like Bill Nye (on the video in the original post), tildeb does not want to allow people who think like me to "have their beliefs privileged or their intentions imposed on others ... by influencing public institutions, public practices, public policies, public law, [or] public education."

The mind-numbing arrogance and irony contained in this way of thinking is breathtaking. Notice that tildeb will not only mock the beliefs of others, he will fight to keep them from ever having them "imposed" on those with whom he agrees. How does he believe this should be handled?

By imposing his beliefs on those who disagree with him.

Notice that those who take Intelligent Design seriously and understand what it claims (as well as what it does not claim), are perfectly content to "teach the controversy." This means that they want to teach everything about Darwinism -- including its presuppositions, missing evidence, process flaws, and catastrophic inability to explain the origin of anything, let alone life itself. They have no desire to ban the teaching of Darwinism or to avoid it in any way. In fact, they have argued passionately for the opposite.

It is not "Creationists" who are imposing their beliefs on anyone. It is the materialist priesthood of Darwinist believers who are imposing their metaphysical worldview on others and enforcing it in every public institution that tildeb mentioned. You can read my thoughts on that subject here: "Defrocking The Priests of Scientism".

The final irony in tildeb's way of thinking is that he claims that this issue is "nowhere more problematic than over issues claimed by the religious to be about morality."

Apparently those who think this way believe that it would be immoral for religious believers to impose their views on them. This charge is brought to us by subscribers to a worldview in which "morality" has no basis ... and pontificated on by those who are perfectly happy to impose their religious views on us.

Ironic is a nice word for that ...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

None So Blind As Those Who Will Not See

Recently, I posted a rebuttal to a recent video by Bill Nye, "The Science Guy" that generated more hits on my blog than any other single post I've ever put up. What followed (at least with one respectful commenter, tildeb) was an ongoing conversation about the differing views that Christian and secular folks have with regard to the role and implications of science and what we can infer from it about the real world. I have to say that though "tildeb" (I don't know his name but this is a link to his blog) and I see the world through completely different lenses, the conversation that was generated was pretty informative. I don't want to rehash it here (you can go to the comments section of the Bill Nye post if you're interested), but I did think the following exchange (which occurred near the end of the conversation) is telling about how two people can look at the exact same data and draw completely different conclusions. I'll let readers draw their own conclusions. Here's the beginning of tildeb's argument ...
There really are compelling reasons why nearly 97% of university tenured biologists reject all forms of creationism; the assumption of supernatural causation is not borne out by information we adduce from this natural universe. In fact, the overwhelming mutually supporting evidence from independent lines of research all point in one direction: common ancestry by natural selection. 
The important aspect here is often ignored by those who cling to creationist beliefs: the evidence did not have to be this way, yet it is! Genetics could have pointed to a single founding couple. Yet it does not. Geology could have pointed to a single creation event. Yet it does not. Topography could have pointed to a global flood. Yet it does not. Radioactive dating could have shown a uniform age of sedimentation. Yet it does not. Physiology could have shown distinct and separate ancestry. Yet it does not. Astronomy could have shown our solar uniqueness. Yet it does not. Physics could have shown exemptions were possible from natural laws. Yet it does not. Chemistry could have shown us cellular rejuvenation through intercessory prayer. Yet it does not. Biodiversity could have shown us stable population dispersal. Yet it does not. Over and over again, opportunities to adduce creation events are plentiful. What's strikingly absent from all this evidence is any indication for a creationist event.
There really are compelling reasons why nearly 97% of university tenured biologists reject all forms of creationism...

Correct. It’s called groupthink. There really were compelling reasons why nearly 100% of university tenured scientists rejected all forms of heliocentrism before Copernicus/Galileo proved their geocentric view was false. There really were compelling reasons why Einstein (and many others) rejected the notion of an expanding universe because they "knew" the universe was static and eternal.

Your appeal to authority does nothing to change the fact that the sudden appearance and expansion of the universe implies an external cause.

...the assumption of supernatural causation is not borne out by information we adduce from this natural universe. In fact, the overwhelming mutually supporting evidence from independent lines of research all point in one direction: common ancestry by natural selection.

And while you continue to pretend the origin of life is irrelevant to the worldview you are defending, I will continue to insist that you have to explain it too. Even if universal common ancestry is true, it does nothing to explain the origin of complex, specified information in DNA. Nothing.

Genetics could have pointed to a single founding couple. Yet it does not.

Well, actually it might seem far-fetched to think we could find “proof” of the first couple, but you also might be interested to know that research indicates that modern humans can be traced back to a single location while mitochondrial DNA analysis points to a single woman as its source. I guess the fact that the science community nicknamed her “mitochondrial Eve” is just coincidence. {Sources: Linda Vigilant et al, “African Populations and the Evolution of Human Mitochondrial DNA,” Science 253 (1991); M. Hasegawa and S. Horai, “Time of the Deepest Root for Polymorphism in Human Mitochondrial DNAs,” Journal of Molecular Evolution …There are more but I’m running out of space.}

Geology could have pointed to a single creation event. Yet it does not.

Well, actually that is kind of silly. Scientists who are looking at the “single creation event” are astronomers and cosmologists, not geologists. While geology might show traces of evidence for how the Earth formed and for what has happened to it since, it won’t really tell us much about the “single creation event.” For that, see Einstein, Hubble etc. Or, are you suggesting (like many young earth creationists) that the Earth was created before the Sun and the galaxy in which we reside? :-)

Topography could have pointed to a global flood. Yet it does not.

I agree. That’s why I don’t accept the idea of a global flood (defined as one that covered the entire earth). Go here for my explanation: The Extent of Noah’s Flood

Radioactive dating could have shown a uniform age of sedimentation. Yet it does not.

Once again, I agree! See how similar we are?! But that does nothing to undermine the case for a Creator. It only goes to undermine the case for young earth creationism which, I think you would agree, is nonsense.

Physiology could have shown distinct and separate ancestry. Yet it does not.

Well, actually that is not true either. Recent studies of human DNA distribution (2002) compared 377 DNA regions for 1,056 individuals from 52 different population groups and found 93-95% of all genetic variation occurs within all populations and only 3-5% of genetic variability occurs between populations. In other words the human genetic unity is very unusual. {Source: Noah A. Rosenberg et al., “Genetic Structure of Human Populations,” Science 298 (2002)

Astronomy could have shown our solar uniqueness. Yet it does not.

Apparently you unfamiliar with (non-Christians) Ward and Brownlee’s, Rare Earth. No time to go into it here but you can read the book which makes exactly the opposite point of your assertion here. Though you probably reject it without consideration, there is also Richards and Gonzalez's, The Privileged Planet, which deals with similar information and also shows how that information is perfectly consistent with the Christian view of reality.

Physics could have shown exemptions were possible from natural laws. Yet it does not. Chemistry could have shown us cellular rejuvenation through intercessory prayer. Yet it does not.

So, like many materialists, you seem to believe that science can disprove miracles. The glaring problem in that assumption is that it makes a colossal and inappropriate category error. In what alternate universe do you think science (the study of the material world) could prove or disprove miracles (which are, by definition, not material)?

Over and over again, your attempt to deny reality comes back to bite you. Over and over again you fail to see the myopic view you (along with Bill Nye, “The Science Guy”) are attempting to defend has glaring holes in it that you refuse to acknowledge. Hopefully, you have something to think about now ...  if you're honest with yourself that is ...


As you can see, there are perfectly valid, reasonable and rational explanations for each of the phenomenon tildeb claims are non-existent. He doesn't have to accept them, but that does nothing to undermine their validity. Tildeb (and others like him) can continue to ignore these explanations and thereby remain intellectually dishonest in their claims that they don't exist.

I prefer to engage the best arguments of my opponents, not ignore them and I will let the reader decide if their blindness is of the willful or ignorant persuasion.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Don't Buy "The Science Guy"

I have nothing personal against Bill Nye, "The Science Guy". I remember watching parts of his program when our kids were younger and I found them enjoyable and informative. However, if you have any interest whatsoever in knowing the truth about the world and/or speaking coherently, consistently, and intelligently about seeking the truth about that world, please watch this 2:32 minute video and think about what he is saying. It really is beyond me how someone who is sold as such a scientific sage and articulator of the the truth could deliver such a bumbling, nonsensical connection of incoherent platitudes ... and then finish them off by admonishing the morons (defined as a parent who does not agree with Bill Nye, "The Science Guy") to shut up and leave the education of their children to the real scientists -- like him.

There are a few facts about Mr. Nye that I find directly applicable to the list of assertions (definitely not an argument) he brings us. For starters, one would think that someone who is touted in the media as a "science guy" -- especially a guy who would challenge your parenting skills if you don't buy into the widely accepted "fact" of evolution -- would, at a minimum be -- Oh, I don't know -- an actual scientist. Given the topic of this video in fact, we might assume that our "science guy" would have some kind of background or advanced degree in the life/biological sciences.

Well, Bill Nye, "the science guy," actually has nothing of the kind. Mr. Nye's education consists of a Bachelor of Science ... in Mechanical Engineering. His expertise consists of: developing a hydraulic pressure resonance suppressor for Boeing; being a student of Carl Sagan (a shocking revelation in light of the content of this video); receiving two Honorary Doctorate Degrees because he gave a couple of commencement addresses (long after his popularity on being "the science guy" had been established); and (probably the most relevant fact in relation to this discussion) a career that began as a stand-up comedian in Seattle.

I couldn't make this up.

With this as his background, "the science guy" wants to lecture the rest of us about how ridiculous we are to not believe in evolution but he makes absolutely no distinction about what he means by "evolution." Does he mean that we ridiculous people deny that species change and adapt to the environment? If so, he is just plain wrong. However, since it is the case that most who defend "evolution" are referring to a specific theory that all life is the result of a purposeless, materialistic process that began by a random accident and can account for all variations of life from that first self-replicating, single-celled organism (I refer to this as Big 'E' Evolution), I will assume that is what he means.

As we examine his case, it is important to recognize a couple of things. First, just because Mr. Nye's credentials as a "science guy" are lacking, that doesn't mean we should dismiss him out of hand. We should give him the benefit of the doubt until he gives us reason not to. Second, we need to recognize the difference between an assertion and an argument. Anyone can make assertions but no one should be compelled to accept them unless they are supported by evidence, logic and good reasoning. Mr. Nye gives none of these. He simply offers a rambling set of assertions that completely collapse when you take the time to think about what they are. So, in the interest of deciding who is actually being ridiculous, let me break down the case Mr. Nye makes.

"Denial of evolution is unique to the United States ... we are the world's most advanced technological society ... people move to the United States because of our general understanding of science."

Beside the fact that this a baseless and demonstrably false assertion (I know of plenty of folks who live all over the world who do not accept Evolution because they have not seen any credible evidence to support it), let's just say Mr. Nye is correct; the only people who don't believe in Evolution are Americans. What does this prove? Does the geographical location of those persons who believe in an idea determine the truth content of the idea itself? To ask the question is to answer it. As a side note, does Mr. Nye really believe that the reason people immigrate to the United States is because of our general understanding of science? The utter inanity of these assertions defies all logic.

"When you have a portion of the population that doesn't believe in Evolution it holds everybody back."

How, exactly, did Mr. Nye come to this conclusion? My undergraduate education is in aerospace engineering. I learned how to design airplanes and then how to fly them. I don't accept Evolution. So I would like Mr. Nye to explain to me exactly how I am "holding everybody back." I don't think he can. And let's turn this one around. Suppose I claimed that those who do accept Evolution are holding everybody back. Would Mr. Nye accept this as a valid argument against Evolution? It would be ridiculous if he did.

"Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science ... [Not believing in it] is analogous to doing geology and not believing in tectonic plates ... you're just not gonna get the right answer. Your whole world is just gonna be a mystery instead of an exciting place."

Before he said this, Mr. Nye had only demonstrated a lack of logic and reasoning. But here he completely invalidates his claim to be a "science guy." Whatever one thinks of the concept of Evolution, it can only be understood as a process that explains the emergence and diversity of life on the Earth. It is a noble attempt to explain the nuts and bolts of just how chemical elements that existed on the early Earth combined and interacted with one another to produce complex biological systems that live and grow and reproduce. It is the process that is at the heart of Evolution, not the parts that are used by the process. Yet Mr. Nye believes that tectonic plates -- which are nothing but giant hunks of rock that get pushed around by geological processes -- are analogous to the process of Evolution. He fails to understand the very basic concept that he is comparing completely non-analogous categories of things. If he can't distinguish such a fundamental concept as this I'm not sure why anyone thinks we should take him seriously as a "science guy."

"Once in a while I get people who don't really -- who claim -- they don't believe in evolution. My response is, 'Why not?' Your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don't believe in evolution."

Notice that Mr. Nye believes that no one could really disbelieve in Evolution; they only "claim" to do so. He also fails to offer the responses he receives to his "Why not?" question. Who is he asking? Why does he dismiss them? We can't really know how to evaluate their answers unless we know what evidence they are citing and the actual reasons they are giving. The fact that Mr. Nye doesn't accept their responses is hardly a reason for us to reject them, especially having established that his reasoning is demonstrably lacking in support of Evolution. I also fail to see any connection between my denial of Evolution and the complicatedness of the world I am living in as a result. This assertion comes completely out of left field as an irrelevant non sequitur.

"Here are these ancient dinosaur bones ... radioactivity ... distant stars ... the idea of deep time ... billions of years ... if you try to ignore that your worldview just becomes crazy"

Just like most "young earth creationists," Mr. Nye is equating non-acceptance of Evolution with belief in a young universe (or, conversely, acceptance of an old universe as an equivalent acceptance of Evolution). Once again he is confusing categories. How in the world does Mr. Nye equate non-acceptance of Evolution with a belief in a young universe? These two topics are completely separate. One is about biology and the other is about cosmology. All one would have to do to show that this assertion by Mr. Nye is false is declare themselves to be an "old universe, non-Evolutionist." How would he respond to that? By failing to recognize this difference, he not only demonstrates his lack of a basic understanding of science, but also shows the failure of the argument most young Earth creationists use against those of us who believe the universe is old. I wonder how Mr. Nye would react when someone pointed out to him that his thinking is exactly equivalent to the young Earth creationists he so abhors.

"I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world that is completely inconsistent with the universe, that's fine ... but don't make your kids do it ... because we need them ... we need engineers who can build things and solve problems ..."

Now Mr. Nye has stepped out of a scientific critique (if you could consider to him to have ever been inside one) and into the arrogance of supposing he has the right to tell anyone what they should be allowed to teach their children. This is the impulse of a statist mindset that thinks it can determine what people should be allowed to think. Those of us who honor scientific objectivity, free thought, and academic tolerance need to recognize this kind of talk when we hear it. People who think like this are the most intolerant kinds of people and they are destroying the concept of free thought in the academy. It is intellectually dishonest and it can become dangerous for those who don't think the "right way."

I would also like to point out that Mr. Nye (once again) demonstrates his failure to understand basic logic when he ties belief in Evolution to our ability to produce "engineers who can build things and solve problems." It seems fairly obvious that one can be a perfectly competent airplane or bridge designer/builder not only without holding an opinion about Evolution, but with being completely ignorant about the very concept of Evolution. Mr. Nye proved that himself when he designed a hydraulic pressure resonance suppressor for Boeing.

Finally, Mr, Nye insists that we must overcome those who disbelieve in Evolution because "... we need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers." By examining the case he makes in this video, I think it should be fairly obvious that, if scientific literacy became a prerequisite for voting and paying taxes, "the science guy" would have to stay home on election day.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Chiffon Delusion

If you're as old as me, you may remember the annoyingly catchy commercials for Chiffon Margarine that assured us that "If you think it's butter, but it's not ... it's Chiffon!" The gist of the ad was that the synthetic Chiffon margarine was even better than nature's butter. In fact, Chiffon was so good that the commercials also carried a tongue-in-cheek warning: "It's not nice to fool mother nature!" Cute. Catchy. Comical.

Well, if fooling with "mother nature" isn't "nice" when you're talking about margarine, what kind of adjective should we use to describe our growing propensity to fool with human nature?

A friend of mine pointed out that she recently set up a new Gmail account. In doing so she was surprised to find that one of the inputs that is required (and that comes with the warning that you "may not leave this blank") is Gender. The input field comes with the following choices: "Male," "Female," and "Other."


Though this is trumpeted as a way to show respect and tolerance to our "transgendered community," the truth is that this is really one of the most disrespectful and potentially harmful things that any of us could do to anyone. It is not loving to deny the reality of human nature. It is not loving to enable destructive behavior. It is hateful. It invites further destruction. It is no different than building a city below sea level, or excavating a basement under your beach house, or moving your family onto the rim of an active volcano, or building your house on a geological fault line.

Speaking of fault lines, our culture is teetering on one right now, and the way we respond may have ramifications far beyond anything we can imagine. We, as a culture, are not just fooling with Mother Nature, we are fooling with the most basic of foundations of our existence. We are fooling with what it means to be human.
Tommy Lobel

Since Google brought up transgendered-ness here, consider the case of a pre-teen guinea pig who is being abused in the most fundamental way by the "tolerance" and "respect" of a warped and deluded view of human nature. Eleven year-old Thomas Lobel is undergoing hormone therapy to block the release of testosterone in his pre-pubescent body so as to "allow him more time to consider living life as a female." Tommy, they say, seems confused about his gender identity and needs time to work it out. But, considering that Tommy -- whose parents say he wants to be Tammy -- was born with male reproductive organs, it seems difficult to understand why that might be.
Tammy Lobel

Unless one considers that Tommy's parents, Moreno and Lobel are, in a completely unrelated coincidence, two lesbian women who support the wishes they claim Tommy has been exhibiting since age 3.

If there is a more dastardly form of child abuse than this, I certainly cannot think of what it might be.

Those with Christian convictions are quick to recognize the problem here: Human beings are made in the image of God; male and female He created them. And He did so for a reason. Human beings are the pinnacle of God's creative work because it was through a divinely conceived plan that free will human beings would bring forth His goal to conquer evil once and for all. That's the way I see it -- but you don't need to share my Christian convictions to recognize the design and value that is intrinsic to being human.

We are each issued a set of parts that are designed to be used for a certain purpose. We are also endowed with moral intuitions that, even if confused by our environment or upbringing, can be verified by a quick inspection of said parts. Denying these simple facts is simply a delusion -- a delusion that is based in the wrongheaded notion that our humanity is the flexible and subjective result of decisions we are free to make for ourselves. Our culture abuses this idea all the time. It is the same denial of reality we see:
  • In the defense of all methods of abortion that, by their very nature, can only be found acceptable through denying the objective humanity of the unborn
  • In the "personhood" defense of abortion choice that claims that we are not fully human until we achieve some status, level of development, location, or other extrinsic feature that they feel free to define for ourselves
  • In the support for embryonic stem cell research that uses "therapeutic" cloning techniques to create embryos and then destroy them for research
  • In various end-of-life scenarios that justify euthanasia for an assortment of reasons that rely on some subjective standard to deny the continued humanness of the sick or dying
  • In the "transgendered" movement (of which Thomas Lobel is a victim) which insists that gender is a social construction that we are free to change for ourselves
  • In the gay agenda -- most notably the same-sex marriage movement -- which tries to redefine "marriage" in a corrupted image of homosexuality
Each of these aberrations denies the most basic and important thing about us all -- the uniqueness and foundational reality of our humanness. Our human nature is not up for redefinition. It is the reason for our existence and what sets us apart from the rest of nature. It is what gives us purpose and it is what allows us to recognize that we have a purpose. It is the most basic truth about us and, for that reason, any attempt to alter or redirect it is not only an exercise in futility, it is an invitation to catastrophe. The repercussions of that ongoing catastrophe can be seen everywhere we look.

We need to think of human nature in the same way we understand any other law of nature. Those who think they are "fooling" mother nature in these various ways need to imagine the ludicrousness of treating gravity in the same way. Would they take a stroll off the railing of the Empire State Building's observation deck by claiming they hadn't yet decided if they accepted the mandates of gravity? Good luck with that.

Denying the reality of our humanity is just as ridiculous. To believe otherwise is to be deluded. We are not "fooling" mother nature. We are only fooling ourselves.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The End of Moral Relativism: A Chain of Perverts

If you are not familiar with the name Alfred Kinsey, you might want to look him up, and you might want to start with Judith Reisman's, Sexual Sabotage: How One Mad Scientist Unleashed a Plague of Corruption and Contagion on America.

In it, Reisman chronicles Kinsey's recognition as the America's expert on "sex education" whose studies have influenced our cultural institutions since 1948 when his book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, along with his 1953 follow-up, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female hit the higher education marketplace. In these books Kinsey pronounced untold "facts" about human sexuality that many in the culture and education have used as the standard by which the topic is addressed in academia to this day.

Here's the problem. Kinsey's studies were conducted on test cases made up of:
"... draft dodgers, violent felons, homosexuals and other aberrants ... By 1946 Kinsey added '1400 convicted sex offenders in penal institutions,' 'two hundred sexual psychopath patients' and well over 600 sexually abused boys. In sum, 86% of deviant 'subjects' [were used to define] the Libido of The Greatest Generation ... [As for women], Kinsey selected -- and paid -- prostitutes to represent American womanhood. He loosely defined a 'wife' as someone who had lived 'at least a year' with a man."*
And what about Kinsey himself? In perversions that are unrepeatable here, Kinsey began "sexual experimentation" at age 7 in the basement of his Hoboken, New Jersey home. I'll spare the details but suffice it to say that by the time he conducted the studies that became his books, Kinsey had assembled a staff where "everyone was a bisexual, homosexual, pedophile, pederast, or just wholly amoral ... [and whose studies involved] 214 children ranging in age from 1 to 14 years."**

That's not a typo. Age ONE to FOURTEEN. And, yes, that means that Kinsey's "research" involved a staff who arranged and observed "sex play" in children age 4 to 15. As Reisman puts it:
"Kinsey fed America a pack of lies, starting with his claim that sexual behavior widely accepted as wrong was, in fact, commonplace. From there, he pushed the lie that such behavior was normal, and finally, he advanced the lie that it was good, healthy, and to be encouraged. Thus, by degrees, Kinsey and his minions turned America's moral compass upside down ..."***
On Kinsey's cue, Hugh Hefner began to mainstream pornography. Segelstein:
"Hugh Hefner’s work was also kindled by Kinsey’s work, according to biographer Russell Miller. The first Playboy magazine was published in 1953, five years after Kinsey unleashed Human Male on America. In Playboy’s inaugural issue, Hefner paid tribute to Kinsey, writing that, ‘we are filling a publishing need only slightly less important that the one just taken care of by the Kinsey Report.’ … funding from Hugh Hefner, Wardell Pomeroy and other Kinsey devotees founded SIECUS."
So, it was Hugh Hefner and other Kinsey disciples who helped fund and found the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). If that acronym sounds familiar it is because SIECUS is the foremost provider of sex education in American public schools.

So what am I getting at?
Spanier and Sandusky

In 1972, a man named Graham Spanier endorsed Kinsey's research to the Midwest Sociological Society and, in 1976, under a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Development, he also validated Kinsey's data on "childhood sex play" for similar "scholars." In 2002, Spanier also approved Pat Califia, a "transgendered advocate of sado-masochism and pedophilia" as the keynote speaker for a women's health conference at his place of employment. The year before he allowed the group, Womyn's Concerns to hold a "Sex Faire" at the same location which featured activities like "orgasm bingo" and "the tent of consent." When asked if the "fair" was morally wrong, Spanier replied, "It depends on what your definition of immoral is."****

That location was a college campus. Spanier was the President of Penn State University -- the leader of the gang of cowards who knew about, covered for, and lied about the activities the child rapist, Jerry Sandusky.

There has been a lot written about the disgusting story of the Penn State football program. One of my favorites comes from Rick Reilly's self-confessed failure to not see the hagiography that was going on at PSU for so many years that allowed such a thing to occur. Many have commented on the deceit and perversion, but I haven't seen any attempt to expose the chain of perverts that leads from Kinsey to Spanier to Sandusky. Nor have I seen anyone try to explain why someone like Joe Paterno, who had no apparent fondness for the despicable actions of his defensive coach, would be willing to stay quiet about it. I believe this goes beyond his being embarrassed for, and trying to protect, the school or his football program. At its core, this is one of the many fruits of moral relativism -- the unwillingness to acknowledge that something is objectively wrong in and of itself.

In 1993, the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan put forward the thesis that:
"...over the past generation, the amount of deviant behavior in American society has increased beyond the levels the community can 'afford to recognize' and that, accordingly, we have been redefining deviancy so as to exempt much conduct previously stigmatized, and also quietly raising the 'normal' level in categories where behavior is now abnormal by any earlier standard. This redefining has evoked fierce resistance from defenders of 'old' standards, and accounts for much of the present 'cultural war' ...
The American Scholar, (Winter 1993)
Our culture has surely been "defining deviancy down" for quite some time. We are willing to "exempt conduct previously stigmatized" because it has become more unacceptable to be thought an arrogant or oppressive defender of objective moral truth, than it has to become complicit in the rape of little boys.

* Marcia Segelstein, "Lie Charts," Salvo (Autumn 2011, p. 36)
** Ibid, 40-41.
*** Ibid, 36.
**** Judith Reisman, "It's Academic," Salvo (Spring 2012, p. 40-41)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

We're In The Batter's Box

Way back when Congress passed the 2400-page monstrosity known as the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. "ObamaCare") so that we could all find out what was in it, there was a raging controversy about whether or not the "individual mandate" to buy health insurance constituted a tax. The President insisted it was not one -- that it was a "fee" -- and defended that notion publicly and boldly. See for yourself (slide to the 2:30 timeframe or so if you are only interested in the salient part of this interview with George Stephanopoulos):

On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled on the constitutionality of the law. Most Americans, even those who supported the passage of ObamaCare, were shocked when Chief Justice Judge John Roberts turned out to be the swing vote that served to uphold the law. His ruling seemed to come out of left field.

But did it?

As someone who is conservative because my worldview seems to me to demand it, I despise the very notion of ObamaCare. I oppose the political view of those (including the president) who pushed the law on us. I detest the spineless political maneuvering of "pro-life" politicians who allowed the law to pass by placing their political ideology above their supposed moral opposition to abortion. I think the politicians who defend ObamaCare and the mandate it imposes on the American people are misguided at best, but more probably disingenuous frauds. All that said, it probably seems bizarre for me to admit it but ...

I'm glad Judge Roberts voted the way he did.

Let's remember that during his confirmation hearings before the Senate, Roberts was opposed by political liberals because they believed him to be a conservative who threatened to overturn rulings like Roe-v-Wade. Conservatives defended him as being a non-activist who would interpret the law based on the real meaning of the Constitution -- that he would act the way judges should act -- and not be beholden to the latest fad or the grossly relativistic, post-modern view that the Constitution means whatever some black-robed tyrant in Washington D.C. decides it meant "to him/her." Roberts himself described his view of judicial restraint by insisting that:*
Judges and justices are servants of the law, not the other way around. Judges are like umpires. Umpires don't make the rules; they apply them ...
The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ball game to see the umpire.
I have no agenda, but I do have a commitment. If I am confirmed, I will confront every case with an open mind. I will fully and fairly analyze the legal arguments that are presented. I will be open to the considered views of my colleagues on the bench. And I will decide every case based on the record, according to the rule of law, without fear or favor, to the best of my ability. And I will remember that it's my job to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat.
When he said that, I applauded him. So did most conservatives who respect the Constitution and the rule of law. We were sick and tired of the activist liberal judges who were happy to twist the law and the Constitution any way they pleased as long as they were able to achieve the outcome their political allies approved of. If all judges approached their responsibilities in the way Roberts claimed he would, we would never have ended up with the disgusting and indefensible travesty of Roe-v-Wade, for instance. And this is why I still support Roberts' decision even as I oppose the law his vote upheld.

When the president denied the individual mandate was a tax, everyone who was paying attention knew it was a joke. Now that Judge Roberts insists it really is a tax, conservatives are up in arms, not because they disagree with Roberts, but because they don't like the outcome his vote has brought. Many have written scathing articles about Roberts, including Frank Turek whom I greatly respect. Frank's article, "John Roberts: The Umpire Who Homered For The Wrong Team," is a case in point.

Have we forgotten that umpires aren't supposed to be on one of the teams ... even if it's the team we're rooting for?

I don't like the outcome that we face with the prospect of ObamaCare, but I do like the idea that judges don't have any right to make up nonsense to defend the point of view they prefer. Roberts said the ObamaCare mandate is a tax, just like I and other conservatives like me have been saying since its inception. That's because it is one.

The fact is that the blame for the travesty of ObamaCare does not lie with John Roberts -- it lies in the Congress who voted it into law. Which means that ultimately it lies with you and me.

So, since we're doing baseball analogies here, it's time to step up to the plate. We can whine and complain or we can motivate those who really do believe in the American Experiment to get off their apathetic backsides and do something about it. We can elect a Congress and a president that share a love of liberty, justice and the Judeo-Christian underpinnings of our nation. We can demand our religious liberty not be ignored. We can demand that the collectivism and tyranny of an out-of-control government bureaucracy be rolled back. We can condemn the immorality of the imposing tsunami of debt that is being unleashed on our children and grandchildren, and demand that it be dammed up.

We can let John Roberts be an umpire ... and we can hit the homerun.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

How NOT To Have A Disagreement

This past March, I was involved in a debate with Tim Chaffey of Answers In Genesis about the age of the Earth. At one point in a discussion with my wife and I after the debate, Mr. Chaffey was making a point about the evidence for Christianity and ended a sentence with the phrase, "we have a lot of reasons to be -" At this point he stopped himself and re-phrased his statement to something like, "we have plenty of evidence for our faith."

Who cares?

Well, if you know the history of Mr. Chaffey's organization and its leader, Ken Ham, you would understand that Mr. Chaffey has probably been instructed not to use the phrase, "Reasons to Believe" for one reason and one reason only -- because it is the name of a "rival" (their characterization) ministry named Reasons To Believe that is headed by Dr. Hugh Ross ... Ken Ham cannot allow his counterparts to even utter the name of Mr. Ross's organization and thereby unwittingly lend that organization credibility. That is the attitude Mr. Ham presents and I think it is sad -- for Mr. Ham, for his followers, and for those who are watching all of us and evaluating the Christian faith by our actions.

I am an Old Earth (OE) Creationist. Mr. Chaffey is a Young Earth (YE) Creationist. What is notable is that we are both creationists. I think that means something. For one thing, it means that we share common ground -- and I have written publicly about that (in The Lookout) here: "Creation's Common Ground." Secondly, it means that we are on the same team. I made that point in my closing statement on the night of our debate. Here is a transcript of exactly what I said:
If you walked in here as a YE enthusiast, I am under no delusion that you have been wildly transformed by the case I have tried to present and that you will jump up after we’re done here proclaiming your new-found realization that OE is true. Please, feel free to do that … but I will understand if you don’t. 
Actually, my goal here has been more modest than that. I hope you will leave here with an invigorated appreciation for this topic and two primary takeaways: 
First, that OE supporters are not the godless, Bible-denying, science-worshipping Evolutionists you may have thought they were when you walked in this room. We are not people who just want to fit in with a secular culture so we can get along. We do accept the authority of Scripture. I hope you’ve noticed that every argument for the OE view I have given begins with what the Bible says. We do believe in the special creation of Adam & Eve just a few thousand years ago; we just disagree about how much time transpired before that. 
Second, Tim Chaffey and I are on the same team. We may not agree about when God created the heavens and the earth but we do agree that He did. I greatly respect and admire Mr. Chaffey for his diligence and faithfulness in defending the biblical worldview unashamedly. That is not an easy thing to do in the culture we live in yet he does it faithfully and he does it well. 
Tim Chaffey and I are brothers in Christ who can engage these ideas in a respectful, civil way and we should do so by seriously considering the views of those with whom we disagree by … 
Challenging their assumptions instead of their motives ... and ... Questioning their conclusions instead of their character. 
Then we can shake hands with one another and get back to the work of defending the truth of Christianity to a world that desperately needs it.
I did not say those things because I was just trying to be nice. I meant them. And so it actually saddens me to write about another debate I witnessed on iTBN that featured: Hugh Ross, Ken Ham, Sean McDowell, Ray Comfort, Eric Hovind, and John Bloom. It is long (almost 2 hours) but it is a great example of the disingenuousness, rudeness and arrogance that is usually displayed by the leadership of Answers In Genesis in general, and Ken Ham in particular. Mr. Ham interrupts, manufactures points that Old Earth (OE) proponents never make, and completely ignores the plain claims that OE proponents do make by inserting words and interchanging ideas that clearly misrepresent the OE position. Don't take my word for it. Watch it for yourself.

In contrast, note the demeanor and respectfulness of Hugh Ross and Sean McDowell as they disagree with Ken Ham. Also, note the kind respectfulness of Ray Comfort who also disagrees with Ross and McDowell on exactly the same issues as Ken Ham, but does so with a polite and courteous disposition. This is a striking juxtaposition of the attitudes that apologists can and should display.

To follow up on that debate, Mr. Ham is now touting an interview (available here) he conducted with Pastor Don Landis afterward. Mr. Ham believes this interview provides a "powerful" demonstration for how to defend the authority of Scripture against those who would deny it. Notice that in saying this, Ham and Landis infer that Hugh Ross and those who would agree with him do not believe in the authority of Scripture. In fact, they go further than that.

At one point, they replay a clip of Hugh Ross from the debate in which Mr. Ross makes a point about the scientific evidence for an old universe by challenging listeners to "remove evolution" from the question for a minute so as to just concentrate on issues of cosmology. Ross does this because Ham and Lewis repeatedly accuse OEs of believing in "evolution and millions of years" as if these are one in the same thing. Ross is simply trying to show that the question of age and evolution are two different issues that should be considered separately. He does not, and has never, defended the idea of evolution. In fact, the positions of Reasons to Believe (Mr. Ross's organization) is specifically anti-evolution.

Yet, Mr. Landis implies that Ross's comment to "remove evolution" is a tacit admission that he accepts it. Landis is appalled by this and wrongly uses it to show that to deal with the likes of Hugh Ross is to deal with a "different creature," which "creature" opposes the character of God by accepting a heresy of "millions of years [that] is an attack on the nature of God." Landis goes on to say that he doesn't "know the hearts" of OE folks but does know that by their actions, they are "enabling an anti-Christ motivation" that "credits evolution and denies God's power." They preach a "different gospel." In summary, Landis charges that "once Genesis is allegorized, spiritualized or handled figuratively, we lose the basis for a New Testament hermeneutic ... and by extension promote the idea that there is no hell, and no literal Adam and Eve."

There is a minor problem with each of Landis's charges here. Every one of them is invalid. In fact, Hugh Ross and Fuz Rana (of RTB), have written extensively in their books and papers in defense of every single view Landis/Ham accuses them of denying. Ham and Landis's analysis is a sickeningly disingenuous conglomeration of disingenuous insinuations that have no business in a debate between fellow defenders of the Christian faith.

This is not what our apologetic discourse should be about. It is not helpful to the debate or to the example we are meant to be to the world.

It is just plain sad.

I am not going to rehash the points with which I disagree with Mr. Ham and his YE point of view. If you are interested in seeing them please read a series of my posts that begins (here) and runs for the entire month of February - March, 2012. Suffice it to say that there is not a shred of evidence beyond Mr. Ham's interpretation of Genesis 1 that supports the idea of a 6000 year-old Earth. Mr. Ham seems incapable of understanding that his view is just that -- an interpretation -- and that all of our interpretations could be wrong.

However, there are two points I would like to make with regard to this situation. They both relate to the main thrust of Mr. Ham's argument -- that the world is fallen and therefore man's capacity to understand God through nature (the study of science) is untrustworthy, but that his interpretation alone represents the true guardianship of Scriptural Authority. Those who disagree with him about this are creating a generation of young people who deny Scriptural authority and are therefore exiting the church in record numbers. In short, it is their acceptance of an OE view that is driving them out of the church.

While I agree with Mr. Ham's unwavering defense of biblical authority (even though he insists that people like me do not), may I suggest an alternate explanation for the youth exodus from the church?

I wonder if Ken Ham would admit even the slightest possibility that his ability to interpret Scripture suffers from the same fallenness as the OE's ability to interpret nature? Apparently, Mr. Ham cannot fathom that to be the case. But let's just go out on a limb and assume that there does exist the possibility that Ken Ham could be wrong. If that is possible, then it would mean that we have a generation of young people who have been taught that to disagree with Ken Ham's young earth view is to deny Christianity itself (notice that Landis refers to the OE view as a "heresy"). They go off to college, find that there is absolutely no evidence to support the YE in the real world, and therefore conclude that the YE Christianity on which Mr. Ham insists they believe is simply not true -- it doesn't match the way the world actually is. Mr. Ham has told them that true belief depends on being YE. Since YE seems to be obviously false, they conclude that Christianity itself must also be false -- and that is the reason they are walking away from the faith in droves.

Wouldn't the possibility that Ken Ham's fallen nature allows the further possibility that his interpretation of a YE could be false? And if there is even the slightest possibility of that, wouldn't it be wise and prudent to treat those on both sides of the argument respectfully -- like actual brothers in Christ -- instead of playing the childish, small games he plays? Wouldn't it be wise to demonstrate some humility and respectfulness in debates such as the one we see above instead of resorting to the condescending, interrupting, bullying tactics he prefers? Wouldn't it be better to "challenge their assumptions instead of their motives and question their conclusions instead of their character."

If that were the case, we all would actually be on the same team. We would encourage every Christian and every seeker to feel free to look for answers in Genesis -- to find that those answers really do give us good reasons to believe -- and to have no fear of being able to say so because we might accidentally legitimize someone else's view.

Now that would be a breath of fresh air ...

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Go-To Guy In Christian Apologetics

An informative interview that is worth taking the time to listen to. Greg Koukl, in my humble opinion, is the best, most down-to-earth, practical and effective Christian apologist in the world. If you are interested in apologetics of any kind, watch his videos on YouTube and read his books and web-based material at


Thursday, June 21, 2012

No Longer A Testbed (pun intended)

Way back in the dark ages (May of 2011), I wrote about the disturbing trend that was developing within the military elite of turning the most vital institutions into "testbeds for cultural experimentation." Little did I know that only 13 months later we would be celebrating "Gay Pride Month" at the Pentagon.

In related news that hits me close to home, here is what is going on at our nation's service academies (one of which is my alma mater):
At West Point, the alumni gay advocacy group Knights Out was able to hold the first installment in March of what is intended to be an annual dinner in recognition of gay and lesbian graduates and Army cadets. Gay students at the U.S. Naval Academy were able to take same-sex dates to the academy's Ring Dance for third-year midshipmen.
Now, isn't that sweet?!

As one Marine put it:
"When I volunteered for the Marine Corps, the military expelled homosexuals. A decade later, Bill Clinton ordered that we ignore homosexuals as long as they kept their sexual preferences a private matter (Don't Ask, Don't Tell). That was OK because few if any of them were in combat units. Last year, Obama and his Leftist congressional cadres obliged the military to endorse open homosexuality (Do Ask, Do Tell). This decision had nothing to do with military readiness and everything to do with political pandering to a loud special interest group. This week, Barack Obama decreed that my Marine Corps would officially 'celebrate Gay Pride Month.' The next step will be to set quotas for homosexuals in the ranks, and to offer marriages and same-sex benefits. I'm preparing for retirement after more than 30 years of service to my country, and more than a few scars to prove it. It grieves me to leave my beloved Corps in such a state ..."
As Francis Shaeffer used to say, "what was unthinkable in one generation becomes thinkable in our generation ... and commonplace in the next." This Marine's point is well-taken. It took 13 months to go from debating the wisdom of allowing open homosexuality in the military to publicly promoting it. How long does anyone think it will be before we have quotas for homosexual promotions and leadership positions?

Without our sovereignty and security we will soon be unrecognizable as a nation. The Constitution is very specific in setting out how our government will defend that sovereignty in Article I, Section 8:
Clause 10: To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
Clause 11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
Clause 12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
Clause 13: To provide and maintain a Navy;
Clause 14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
Clause 15: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
Clause 16: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
I know it is not currently fashionable to cite the Constitution when trying to make a point about how the our government should work but, nevertheless, it seems quite obvious that our military is supposed to have only one charge -- to provide for the national defense in the ways outlined above. This means that for every minute and/or dollar that is spent planning and encouraging nonsense like "Gay Pride Month," the military's ability to carry out it's actual mission is degraded and we are therefore more at risk ... and that is before we ever get to discuss the amoral and unnatural environment the military is creating for itself in the process.

If you would like to read a detailed analysis of the impact this is having, check out Mark Alexander's article on PatriotPost (here). But let's suffice it to say that I was absolutely mistaken last May when I suggested the military was becoming a "testbed for cultural experimentation." It's not a testbed. It's a venue for cultural celebration. Thank you Mr. Panetta, and Mr. Obama for uncovering the deficiencies in my previous claim.

I stand corrected.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Darwinism's Leakey Bucket

"Can you not hear me?! I said, 'the debate is OVER!'"
It would be comical if it wasn't so farcical but, in case you hadn't heard, the debate about evolution is, or soon will be, over.

Richard Leakey said so.

This is no doubt news to the 1000 or so scientists (listed here) who have taken the public risk, and therefore encountered the public wrath, of defying folks like Richard Leakey who will do their best to destroy the career of anyone who happens to disagree with them.

If you doubt it, consider the case of Dr. Ben Carson, as an example of what happens when you dare to doubt Darwin. Even though he holds some of the most impressive medical and scientific credentials, Carson was targeted with the outrage of the Darwimafia family leaders because they could not stomach the fact that "he's not impressed by the evidence on offer for Darwinian theory and why a materialist philosophy is at odds with the idea of free will and therefore makes it tough to offer a coherent account of moral principles." The fact that Carson is one of the top neurosurgeons on the planet was irrelevant to the Leakey-like Darwinist Priesthood.

In academic circles, you see, joining the growing list of those who "Dissent From Darwin," is tantamount to performing career hare-kari ... but people are doing it anyway. Why do you think that might be?

It seems just a little self-serving to claim that a debate in which you are supposed to be engaged is "over" simply because the evidence in opposition to your position is getting stronger by the day. But beyond that, let's consider why Leakey demands that "evolution" is true:
"If you don't like the word evolution, I don't care what you call it, but life has changed. You can lay out all the fossils that have been collected and establish lineages that even a fool could work up. So the question is why, how does this happen? It's not covered by Genesis. There's no explanation for this change going back 500 million years in any book I've read from the lips of any God."
For starters, Leakey points out that "life has changed" whether we want to call it evolution or not. But no one that I know of -- even the most ardent young earth Creationist -- doubts that "life has changed." So what? The fact that "life has changed" says exactly nothing about whether life was designed, and that is the real question. PhD philosopher of science, Stephen Meyer addresses this point by noting that there three different definitions of "evolution" in play these days:
  1. Change over time (a.k.a. micro-evolution or adaptation)
  2. Common Descent (the history of life shows a continuous pattern of relatedness)
  3. The cause or mechanism for change in life forms that creates an appearance of design
Leakey doesn't identify which of these he is talking about and that is a problem considering the fact that definitions 1) and 2) are perfectly compatible with the work of an intelligent Creator. Definition 3) is an attempt to claim that the design we all recognize in nature is not the work of an intelligent Designer at all, but just an appearance of design brought about by the work of natural selection acting on random variations in the genome.

Ask Dr. Leakey how that mechanism works and he will be stuck for an answer. Ask Dr. Leakey how life began and he will be stuck for an answer. Ask Dr. Leakey why all those fossils he claims have "established lineages" always seem to be found to be out of chronological order, or genetically unrelated, and he will be stuck for an answer -- beyond the unsubstantiated claim that you are a fool to doubt him. Ask Dr. Leakey why all the completely formed, complex creatures of the Cambrian Explosion show no evidence of their predecessors in his "established lineages" and he will be stuck for an answer. Ask Dr. Leakey why his Darwinist assumption that so-called "junk DNA" was nothing but the useless leftovers of eons of failed evolutionary mutations has proved to be a complete and utter predictive failure and he will be stuck for an answer. Ask Dr. Leakey what theist claims that Genesis can, or should, explain how all this happens and he will be stuck for an answer. Ask Dr. Leakey which proponent of intelligent design relies on that belief based on what he/she has "read from the lips of any God" and he will be stuck for an answer.

In other words, ask Dr. Leakey what evidence he has for any of the claims he is making and you will be met with deafening silence. And that is why Dr. Leakey wants to force an unnatural and unsubstantiated end to the debate. It is not because the debate is really over -- it is because he is losing.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Evolving" On The Slippery Slope

A few months ago, in a discussion about the issue of same-sex "marriage," a commenter chastised me for saying that the same logic being used to justify the practice could be used to justify any number of variations of the moving target this new definition of marriage would allow. My opponent mocked me for my "old guard" position and promised that the younger generations would eventually overcome the current resistance to same sex "marriage" by pointing out that "laws and culture both change ... Polygamy is also something illegal/intolerable now."

I responded that he had made my point when he used the word "now," and warned him that the basic building block of society never changes, while the definitions of terms can change any time at the whim of what some group of people "like." If someone decides they want to define a "marriage" as the union of a boy and his dog at some later time, the logic of their argument would be exactly the same one we hear being used now to allow same sex "marriage" because once you decide that there is no objective definition of a term, you have no logical way to limit the point where it ends.

His response was telling:
"... I think that if a guy wants to marry his dog, while personally repulsive to me, I don't see why he can't. It would be important though for the dog to provide informed consent. Additionally, you should know better than to resort to 'slippery slope' arguments."
This is the enlightened tolerance of the "young guard" I guess.

It is common to mock the use of the "slippery slope" argument because it has been so illegitimately abused in the past. But there is a difference between the old: "next-thing-you-know-they'll-be-saying-it's-OK-to-marry-your-dog" argument (I mean, seriously, who would ever say that?!), and invoking the exact same logic to make the case for one thing that can be used to make the case for another. This is called a "logical slippery slope" and it is a completely legitimate argument to make.

You might think it would require a robust philosophical explanation to prove that last statement, but since I'm not the most robust philosophical guy in the world, I will make it easier ... I'll just report some news.

On the day after New York legalized same-sex "marriage" last June, Moein Khawaja, executive director of the Philadelphia branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a radical Islamist propaganda unit, Tweeted the following:
"Easy to support gay marriage today b/c it's mainstream. Lets see same people go to bat for polygamy, its the same argument. *crickets*"
Now, you might think Khawaja is just a goofball. But what about the October, 2011 article titled: "Polygamy: Tis the Season?" in the Muslim Link, a newspaper serving the Baltimore-Washington area.*
There are murmurs among the polygamist community as the country moves toward the legalization of gay marriage ... As citizens of the United States, they argue, they should have the right to legally marry whoever they please, or however many they please ... As states move toward legalizing gay marriage, the criminalization of polygamy is a seemingly striking inconsistency in constitutional law ... Be it gay marriage or polygamous marriage, the rights of the people should not be based on their popularity but rather on the constitutional laws that are meant to protect them.
Same argument, different definition of marriage. This is a textbook case of the logical slippery slope.

And this is why the recent "evolution" of our President on same-sex "marriage" is so dangerous. His support of same-sex "marriage," when applied to any other kind of mutually amorous relationship, offers no reason to deny any kind definition someone may dream up.

So while I'm at it, let's check the "evolution" of Barack Obama on the same-sex "marriage" issue:**

  • 1996 - Running for Illinois state senate in a trendy Chicago district: Barack Obama was for same sex "marriage"
  • 2004 - Running for U.S. Senate and needing statewide support: Barack Obama favored "civil unions" but opposed homosexual "marriage."
  • 2008 - Running for President of the United States and needing the elusive swing voters to win the presidency: Barack Obama said, "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I'm not in favor of gay marriage."
  • 2012 - Facing a re-election in which he needs to appeal to his party's base: Barack Obama supports same-sex "marriage."

See how the "evolution" works? Or is this just a demonstration of what we might call the "opportunistic misrepresentation of the truth"?

If the stakes weren't so high for the moral character of our nation, these could be considered the comical machinations of a spineless political hack. But the stakes are high for the future us old guard folks leave our children. I pray that there are enough of us left to stop the slide.

* Source: National Review, April 16, 2012, p. 24
** Source: Elliott Abrams, The Weekly Standard