Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Free Propaganda

I thought I'd add my half-cent's-worth on Columbia University's invitation of Mudmood Ahmuddungjihad to a speaking engagement on campus. I keep hearing talk of free speech. I think I'll engage in a little free speech, myself, in labeling this cop-out as a steaming pile of horse hockey. Free speech has absolutely nothing to do with it; moral relativism, on the other hand, is an integral facet of the decision. Foreign despots have no right whatsoever to speak at a podium on an American university campus. Having free speech means having the right to speak unimpeded, not having the forum of your choice provided on a silver platter. Not even American citizens have this right. Heck, even illegal aliens don't retain this privilege; and we all know that they are a special class of faultless individuals superior to the common citizenry. Just ask el segundo Bush. The issue of free speech is hilarious for another reason, as well: the speaker's religious beliefs demand the squelching of free speech at every conceivable opportunity, and the government of his home country practices this as an art form. I wonder if Columbia U.'s administrators would be screeching about unhampered expression if the guest speaker were Ann Coulter, or the dean of Bob Jones University?

Other than a trumpet for propagandizing the world on Iran's behalf, what possible value could be derived from a speech by Ahmuddungjihad? He hates Israel, hates America, and denies the Holocaust ever took place. What a peach he is. As I suggested over at Vox's, that someone would actually invite this swine to appear says far more about the moral perversity of the school's administrators than anything else. Would they request that Uncle Joe Stalin take a few moments out of his busy schedule of purging imaginary enemies and bleeding the proletariat and spare them a word or two, were he still kicking around, today? I'm sure they'd bask in his lecturing tone about the excesses of capitalism, and the philosophical purity of communism.

Arguments of freedom of association hold no water with me on this particular matter. We're talking about a self-described enemy of the United States. If that's not a disqualifying factor, I don't know what is.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Championing the Wrong Cause

Scott Hatfield writes on his blog:

Consider the following claim: "Genesis is a literal account of how the world was created by a supernatural being, Yahweh." This turns out to be really difficult for science to directly investigate. The clause ‘supernatural being’ is, in essence, a conceptual ‘poison pill’ for the scientist who defines the natural world as the subject of scientific investigation. No matter what evidence the scientist adduces that contradicts the first part of the claim (‘Genesis is a literal account of how the world was created’), the believer has an ‘out’: Yahweh’s supernatural, and so Yahweh’s actions don’t have to follow natural law, and so evidence from the natural world can’t be used to ‘disprove’ either Yahweh’s existence or action. The claim has the curious property of being immune to disproof based on any evidence a scientist could present!

I think this is a strange characterization. The concept of a supernatural being shouldn't pose a problem for scientists; the notion offered no dilemma for Isaac Newton or a veritable host of other past scientists. Interesting that it stirs up so much concern, these days. Where current scientists see an obstacle to be overcome, others not bogged down in a secular or evolutionary mindset find a doorway that leads them into inquiries about the creation.

As for the natural world being the subject of scientific investigation, well, no kidding. Science is unequipped for the investigation of anything else. Science deals in observation, experimentation, and drawing conclusions from the former. Since the supernatural cannot be observed in a test tube or on a slide under a microscope, since it's not subject to repetition, it falls outside science's purview.

I would love seeing the supposed cornucopia of evidence against a literal six-day creation emptied of its contents, so that we might sift through these proofs and gain understanding. Instead, I see castles of speculation erected upon mounds of presumption, and opinion paraded about as a seige tower of impregnable facts. I don't suggest that I have all knowledge at my disposal, but what I have seen repeatedly are statements of fact that, when delved into with a fine-toothed comb, turn out to be something other than facts, or even convincing fiction. Of course, this doesn't deter "scientists" from demanding that we, the poor benighted masses, accept their judgment as final; those who demur are fools or flat-earthers. Alas, if we'd only attend university for eight or ten years of natural humanistic indoctrination, why, then we'd come into the light.

Why is it that scientists go out of their way in excavating unbridgeable gulfs between religion and science, while demanding that religion be held to scientific standards? As we have been assured so many times from on high by the brights of our age, religion is not science. If we accept this, then why subject religion to scientific criteria? Atheists and those who embrace Man's explanations of reality as loftier than God's can't have their cake and eat it, too. If religion isn't science, then the devout have no obligation to provide falsifiable theories in a neat little gift-wrapped package.

Speaking of falsifiability, we're tsk-tsked that religion presents a non-falsifiable face to the world. But a thought always pops into my mind, when I hear this talking point regurgitated by contemporary illuminists: perhaps a belief in God is non-falsifiable because it is not false. We may not have the power or knowledge to demonstrate God's existence beyond doubt; but disproving Him is impossible, if He empirically exists.

But what about the alleged consequences of that claim? If the Genesis account is held to be literally true, then a host of consequences should follow, consequences in the natural world that are subject to scientific inquiry. And the fact is, a host of alleged consequences of this particular claim have been falsified.

Given that scripture speaks of the pre-Flood world's annihilation and obscuration, the completeness of our evidentiary puzzle is debatable. That said, we have evidence--admittedly inconclusive--of a young Earth. Observed rapid fossilization, a fossil record that speaks of catastrophe befitting the biblical Deluge, not accumulation over eons, etc.; plus scriptural evidences, such as meticulous geneologies and Jesus' interpretation of Genesis as describing literal events. This subject requires a whole series of posts, to do it justice, so I'll not go further.

Plants didn’t appear on the third day, and then the stars on the fourth day.

See, Mr. Hatfield was present, at the time, so his word is law. I hope he'll allow me a pleasure jaunt in his time machine.

Seriously, this is a specious argument, if, indeed, it can be called an argument. Mr. Hatfield dubs himself a Christian. Apparently, he takes no issue with God creating the heavens and Earth. However, temporary preservation of plants without the sun's presence was beyond His creative powers. How else can we characterize this, except as forcing scripture into harmony with a particular worldview?

Most importantly, overwhelming evidence contradicts the claim of a 6-day creation.

Evidence which remains unprovided in the post. Why is it that six-day creationists must provide footnoted documentation of every aspect of their beliefs, while evolutionists give themselves a pass on meeting the same criterion?

Now, does this demonstrate that there is no supernatural being, Yahweh? Not at all, but it does demonstrate that the world revealed by scientific investigation is not consistent with the consequences of the claim of Genesis being ‘a literal account of how the world was created.’ Given sufficient evidence contra the consequences, an intelligent person is free to reject the claim on the absence of any positive evidence in behalf of the claim.

This is falsehood. Ignored evidence is not the same as nonexistent evidence. Again, we have demands for Genesis 1 to meet scientific rules; ignored is the inconvenient fact that those selfsame rules have inherent biases and foundational assumptions.

Besides, science can verify that the realm in which it operates actually exists: religion can hardly do the same.

What a bizarre claim from a believer. It's accurate, so long as religion is judged within scientific parameters. Utilizing its own metric, religion most certainly can demonstrate that the supernatural exists. As a professing Christian who presumably experienced a salvational transformation at some point in his life, Mr. Hatfield should know this well.


Just to clarify, if you reject a literal six-day creation event for reasons of non-falsifiability, you also should disclaim religion itself, for the same reason. God's existence isn't subject to falsifiability any more than a face-value reading of Genesis 1, assuming that you hold a similar view as that of Mr. Hatfield.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Temporary Separation

Much scripture offers comfort in times of suffering or sadness, but some of my favorite verses are found in I Thessalonians 4. Verses 13 through 18 say:

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

This is an important passage because it reminds us that our loved ones who passed away in Christ haven't ceased to exist, or winked out like candles and faded into oblivion. They are with the Lord, all suffering removed, and they will see resurrection and restoration, some day, as will all who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. I have many loved ones who have gone on to be with the Lord, so I need this reminder, now and again. It makes me feel much better knowing that our separation is a temporary one.


Because of a shortage of maids, the minister's wife advertised for a manservant. The next morning a nicely dressed young man came to the front door. "Can you start the breakfast by seven o'clock?" asked the minister.

"I guess so," answered the man.

"Can you polish all the silver, wash all the dishes, do the laundry, take care of the lawn, wash windows, iron clothes and keep the house neat and tidy?"

"Say, preacher," said the young fellow rather meekly, "I came here to see about getting married but if it's going to be as much work as all that, you can count me out right now."

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Dire Straits

"They come here to work."

How many times have you heard someone say this, in defense of illegal aliens sneaking into our country? I don't use the word "defense" lightly, but I see no better way to characterize the observation. It's a bizarre notion that we should allow an invasion's continuance because the invaders want a job.

If someone breaks into your house, helps himself to the contents of your fridge, your children's piggy-bank, and your wallet, then beds down in the living room and demands that you make him part of the family, determining his reasons for doing so won't appear high on your priority list. When he insists on free medical care and education, your response most likely will be: "Just a sec, while I get my gun."

Interesting how people ignore problems on a national level that they'd find intolerable on an individual scale. The man who shrugs and laughs at illegal aliens running amok about the countryside would bodily remove a home invader--piece by piece, if necessary. The person who says, "They just want a job," is like the man who sees the intruder in his home and tells himself, "He just wants a snack." It's a stupid comment that reveals more about the person uttering it than the actual dilemma at hand.

When I hear, "They just want to find work," my initial response is: "So what? How is this relevant?"

The reasons for their presence interest me far less than the time and method of their speedy departure. If a stranger enters your house uninvited, which is uppermost in your mind: the "why?" of his "visit," or his prompt and efficient removal?

I dispute the assertion that they all come here seeking work. It's a simpleminded half-truth. But even if one concedes this dubious claim, the point has less value than chopsticks in a soup-kettle. These people are criminals. They respect neither U.S. sovereignty, nor U.S. law. Good impressions aren't formed in violating the law of the land as one's first act upon entering a country's borders.

Worse, the problem isn't a handful of people. It's double-digit millions. The U.S. government estimates that over a million illegal aliens enter our country annually. So we're not fumbling around a static or sporadic issue, but an ongoing and growing one.

We've entered dire straits as a nation. We're facing a problem more massive than at any other time in our history. It looms over the silly sideshow in Iraq, or the antics of al-Killya and other Islamic murder, inc. groups. We're facing a choice: the preservation of America and our way of life, or the transformation of this great country into something far different--and far inferior--to what we've retained in the past and present. With a rejection of Christianity and government's ever-reaching grasp, it rounds out the top three American issues of our time.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Making Mistakes

My wife sent me this in an email:

A minister and lawyer were chatting at a party.

"What do you do if you make a mistake on a case?" the minister asked.

"Try to fix it if it's big; ignore it if it's insignificant," replied the lawyer. "What do you do?"

The minister replied "Oh, more or less the same. Let me give you an example. The other day I meant to say 'the devil is the father of liars,' but instead I said 'the devil is the father of lawyers,' so I let it go."

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Not exactly PC

While publicizing the 1974 film, Deathwish, Charles Bronson was questioned by Johnny Carson on how a magazine could quote him saying he would commit murder to avenge his family.

Bronson looked at him and said: "Because the quote is accurate. I really could, and would."

Now I remember why I liked him so much.

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Value of Reading

Having blogged about the large number of people who read little or not at all, I thought I'd elaborate on the importance of reading.

Reading fires one's imagination; it expands and strengthens a person's vocabulary; it opens the mind to possibilities, and facilitates an educational process. It's one of our primary ways of obtaining knowledge. Illiterates still have the guiding hand of experience, yes, and the efforts of others to help them along. But a person who reads has a much higher potential for the acquisition of knowledge than someone who doesn't. It's that simple. Scrutinize your stored knowledge. How much of it came from reading on your own? I'm betting a significant portion.

As for the value of nonfiction versus fiction, I'm of the opinion that nonfiction is more important. But that's not to suggest that fiction is unimportant--especially if one sticks to serious literature, like the classics. Fiction opens a window into cultures and times and places, creating an added dimension that goes hand-in-hand with nonfiction. For example, suppose you read Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, or Xenophon's Anabasis. OK. Now suppose you read Ben-Hur and The Illiad, or some other novel about the ancient Greeks. If these latter works pay careful attention to historical detail, you not only can learn from them, but you can look through a window into these worlds, as it were. I see nonfiction as essential, with fiction playing an important supplementary role.

As worthwhile fiction, I'm not including the filth that often passes for literature in today's market. "Her heaving bosoms split the seams of her brassiere as his swollen member bored into her with all the force of a jackhammer" might make for interesting reading, given the proper mood and combination of drugs, but it's not lasting literature, nor will it elevate your mind above gutter-level. I also include material that subverts traditional values or denies God with the rest of the trash. With these few exceptions, I think reading has far more of benefit than detriment about it.

I don't think it's coincidental that the most learned people I've ever known were also voracious readers.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

"Do Unto Others. . ."

I've been watching the lying and distortions of viewpoints that goes on over at Vox's on a regular basis. Someone will sniff the air for signs of an opportunity to attack Vox, then go straight for the jugular. Invariably, these people fail, and end up looking like idiots, as a special bonus. With few exceptions, the "brights" who engage in this sort of debating tactic are secular-minded individuals. In my admittedly limited experience, the more secular someone is, the less problematic he finds outright dishonesty. I've dealt with it first-hand in the blogosphere, and I've witnessed others enduring the same nonsense.

My blogging philosophy is pretty simple: allow people freedom to express their views, even if they diverge widely from my own. I don't ban people or censor their ideas for the atrocity of disagreeing with me.

If you come here and behave in a respectful manner, and at least make an attempt at understanding what I'm saying, we'll have no trouble getting along. On the other hand, my pet peeve is when someone lies or deliberately misrepresents my viewpoint. I've been cursed at, lied to, called names, had my views twisted beyond recognition, and mocked; somehow, I've yet to banish anyone. However, I also don't treat people who sink this low with kid gloves.

In the end, it's all about common courtesy. How you treat people in the "real" world is how you should behave online. Those words typed in little comment boxes that pop up on your screen came from flesh-and-blood people, not ghosts in the machine.

My belief is that those who carry the biggest chip on their shoulders online are the most docile creatures in person. Either that, or they're the ones who sport the most scars.