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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Monday, January 31, 2005


Tolerant Liberals

That's right folks. Once again an academic institution of higher learning has proven that it does not stand for academic openness. What a surprise.


Terror --> Chertoff --> President Bush

Could someone please tell me either what the NYT is getting at with this article or why it was written in the first place? Seriously, I don't get it. The first half of the article repeats, ad nauseum, that Michael Chertoff is 1) President Bush's nominee for the Director of Homeland Security and 2) he advised the CIA on what would legally amount to torture and what would not. Amazingly, they manage to squeeze these two facts to fill around dozen paragraphs...with absolutely no useful information. Their only discernable purpose appears to be to associate President Bush with torture through the intermediary, Michael Chertoff. Then, once again proving that you must read an article all the way to the end, they come out with this:

As head of the criminal division, Mr. Chertoff was known in legal circles as an aggressive prosecutor who advocated the use of the civilian court system to handle many terrorism cases, which put him at odds with those in the administration who advocated a system of military tribunals. He successfully argued that Zacarias Moussaoui, charged as an operative of Al Qaeda, should be tried in a civilian court. That case has been bogged down in court by legal challenges, including objections to the use of classified evidence.

In November 2003, Mr. Chertoff, then a federal judge, delivered a widely noted speech in which he said the policy of open-ended detentions for terror suspects needed to be changed.

"We need to debate a long-term and sustainable architecture for the process of determining when, why and for how long someone may be detained as an enemy combatant, and what judicial review should be available," he said at a judicial conference in Philadelphia.
So, if anything this guy is more on the Clintonian side in terms of wanting to treat Terrorists as criminals rather than as enemies of the country. If that's the case and Bush wants him, fine. The merits of each side can be fairly debated by intelligent and honest people while articles like this one (are) only (intended to) muddy the waters of fair and open discourse.


Homespun Bloggers Radio

The 4th show of Homespun Bloggers Radio is up and streaming. Check it out!

Thanks again goes out to all the contributers and especially to Doug for putting it all together.


Million Dollar Baby (Warning: Spoilers)

Warning: I am going to discuss the movie Million Dollar Baby below and I will give away the ending. So if you want to see it and be surprised, come on back later.

I went to see Million Dollar Baby this weekend ACA (against conservative advice). Before going I had read a little online about how the advertising has been misleading. Essentially, Clint as been accused of purposefully holding back and making it appear that the movie is about "Rocky in a sports bra" while it is about nothing of the sort. Well first off, to be fair, I think that every moviemaker is in the business of keeping plot twists quiet since it makes for a -gasp- more interesting movie. The only reason he's under fire here is because of the content of the plot.

If you are reading this and have no interest in seeing the movie, I'll put the plot in a nutshell for you. Girl (Swank) wants to be a boxer. Girl enlists the help of Trainer (Eastwood). Girl kicks serious butt and eventually gets a shot at Champ. Champ is getting her butt kicked by Girl and is not a nice person. Champ takes a cheap shot at Girl after the round ends. Girl breaks her neck by falling on her stool and ends up a quadriplegic. Girl toughs it out for a while but eventually asks Trainer to help her die. Trainer refuses because he's Catholic. Girl takes matters into her own mouth and bites her tongue, almost succeeding in killing herself. Doctors save Girl and Trainer eventually decides to help her die.

So, what's the issue here? The people who have a problem with the unexpected plot twist are out of luck. Sorry, but if every movie was held to such a standard we would only need to watch the trailer to get the whole story. I have also seen some opinions expressed that accuse the movie of devaluing human life by endorsing euthanasia and even some comparing the situation to that of Terry Schiavo. This is an unfair comparison. Terry's case is truly tragic but does not apply here since the boxer in the movie is conscious and of an apparently sound mind.

The major problem that people seem to be having with the movie involves the ethics of euthanasia. Let me just state at the outset that I am against euthanasia for the simple reason that one person should not be involved in the death of another, innocent, human being. However (and here I am going to split with the teachings of the Catholic Church), I do believe that an individual has the right to end his or her own life...so long has s/he is of sound mind. For the most part, people who want to commit suicide are sick and can be helped with counseling and/or medication. However, there are times when someone who is completely rational and sane might want to end his or her own life. Now I know what strict adherents to Christianity will say. They'll tell me that suffering is God's way of testing us and that we must accept it as such and live our lives as best we can. In all honesty, that argument holds many gallons of water with respect to MDB.

One of the most poignant scenes of the movie involves the boxer laying in bed with a machine breathing for her while she tells her trainer that she wants to die (and I paraphrase), 'before I stop hearing them (her fans) chant my name.' This statement can be seen to imply at least one of two things. Either she is so full of pride that she cannot bear to forget her fame or that her success gave her so much joy that she cannot bear to forget it. Either way, one could argue that the mishap that landed her in that bed was God's way of humbling her and that she should accept it and live out her life as best she can. In theory, that's a perfect fine argument. After all, you might say, look at Christopher Reeves. While I agree that misfortune often offers us a chance to become amazing examples of perseverance, it can also break you. In the end, I choose to respect a person's right to end his or her life because I want the same respect of my own right to do just that. Do I plan to ever exercise that right? Of course not. But one of the scariest things I can imagine is being in a situation, like the boxer, where I want to die but am unable to do it myself. For that reason I found great respect for the somewhat disturbing scene where the boxer bites her tongue in an attempt to kill herself. When no one would help her, she did the one thing she was able to do, and she would have succeeded if not for the desperate efforts of the doctors at the hospital.

So, does this movie endorse euthanizing the disabled? Not at all. The trainer is Catholic and attends Mass every day. Of course, he also needles the priest with purposefully blasphemous questions just to get under his skin. However, I do think that we are meant to understand that the character is devoutly faithful and that he is fundamentally conflicted by the choice with which he is presented. In the end he decides to kill her and he does so by unhooking the ventilator and injecting here with adrenaline. Afterwards, the trainer is not seen around the gym again and the last scene is shot through a streaked window so that you can just make him out sitting in a diner (one assumes) eating lemon meringue pie.

Far from endorsing euthanasia, I see the movie as portraying a wizened old boxing trainer who comes to love a young woman has a daughter and is then thrust into a terrible moral dilemma. In the end he decides to grant her request by ending her life...which is something she would have done herself if she could. As for the charges that the advertising was misleading, of course it was in the sense that they didn't give away the ending. However, the first part of the movie is absolutely necessary to establish the deep bond between Trainer and Boxer which then allows us to, in the end, understand the former's decision.


Good (Voting) News From Iraq

Arthur has posted his 20th edition of Good News From Iraq and, as always, he has comprehensively covered just about everything. Give it a read and remember, sometimes it takes a private citizen of Australia to see through the smoke, mirrors and bad news of the Media.


Americans May Be Stupid...

...but at least our government doesn't force women to become prostitutes.

Once again...Yeah, let's try to be more like the Europeans. Great idea.


Friday, January 28, 2005


Global Warming...Honesty

With all the media hype for nearly every study that claims we're about to spontaneously combust as a direct result of my driving an SUV, you'd think NYC would be underwater as we speak. So, it was actually quite refreshing to hear some honesty from a researcher who just completed the most sophisticated computer atmospheric modeling experiment to date. But, before we get to the honesty, the unfortunate part is that the title for the article in the journal Science is Climate Modelers See Scorching Future as a Real Possibility. Where do they get that idea? Well, the computer model's output was summarized as:

None of the simulations had a climate sensitivity less than 2ºC, in line with expectations. And most simulations did not fall far from the model's sensitivity of 3.4ºC when run with no parameters perturbed. But the inevitable long tail of results on the high-sensitivity side ran out to 11ºC, 2ºC farther than any kind of study before it.
So, we're headed for some serious heat, huh? Well, may not. Remember the honesty I mentioned? Here's what one of the scientists involved in the study had to say:

"We can't yet give a probability for our results," says Stainforth. "Our [high-end] results are very sensitive to our prior assumptions," such as which parameters are perturbed and by how much. Previous studies suffer from the same limitations, he says.
Let's go over that first part one more time. "We can't yet give a probability for our results." Really. What, then, is the importance of your study, Doctor? And more to the point: What, then, is the reason for the headline "Climate Modelers See Scorching Future as a Real Possibility", editors of Science? Shouldn't you have also included, ...But Then Again, They Also See Mild Temperature Increases, Or Even Decreases, As Equally Possible, Considering That The "results are very sensitive to our prior assumptions".

But hey, I'm sure that nobody's got an axe to grind.

Yeah. Right.


Thursday, January 27, 2005


The Most Open Country On Earth

That's right, even when we make mistakes we are the most open and honest country around. Do you think you'd see pictures of these from China if such an unfortunate event were to occur? I doubt it.


Moral Equivalency

Oh....there are some many things wrong with this guy, not the least of which is his equating our moral standing with that of Saddam's Iraq. I just couldn't resist linking, and here's a bit to get you started (here is the actual essay...or part of it anyway):

Churchill's essay argues that the Sept. 11 attacks were in retaliation for the Iraqi children killed in a 1991 U.S. bombing raid and by economic sanctions imposed on Iraq by the United Nations following the Persian Gulf War.

The essay contends the hijackers who crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11 were "combat teams," not terrorists.
The essay maintains that the people killed inside the Pentagon were "military targets."

"As for those in the World Trade Center," the essay said, "well, really, let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break."
Although the essay appears to be incomplete here, reading even the first few paragraphs tells you all you need to know about Ward L. Churchill. In a nutshell, he is the poster child for Ultra-Left, American-Hating, Dictator-Loving, Smuck. I hope the people at Hamilton College give him an ear full (of good ol' 'Merican boot, that is).


Arthur Doesn't Sleep

That's all I can figure considering the huge amount of research his various "Good News" segments must require. Either that or he's got some super-advanced edition of Google =). In any case, go check out the 4th edition of Good news from the Muslim World


Wednesday, January 26, 2005


New On The Blogroll

I am adding individ to my blogroll because 1) he was kind enough to do the same for me and (most importantly) 2) I like his blog. So, go check him out...gotta love the slogan.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Self Defense Bill

A bill has been introduced into the US House of Representatives entitled: Citizen's Self Defense Act of 2005 (H.R. 47 (ih)). Here are links to the html, the pdf versions and to the summary. The purpose of this Bill is to:

To protect the right to obtain firearms for security, and to use firearms in defense of self, family, or home, and to provide for the enforcement of such right.
I obviously agree with the content of this Bill. However, the very existence of this piece of legislation provides yet another example of just how disturbingly distorted we have allowed our understanding of the 2nd Amendment to become. For those who don't recall the exact wording:

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
There are lots of arguments from both sides on the meaning of this somewhat complicated sentence. I have shared my own opinion previously, so I won't go into a huge rant here.

Instead, I would like to ask a question. It was suggested in the comments of this discussion board that this bill, as currently worded, would violate the 11th Amendment because of this section:

(c) Enforcement of Right.--
(1) In general.--A person whose right under subsection (a)
is violated in any manner may bring an action in any United
States district court against the United States, any State, or
any person for damages, injunctive relief, and such other
relief as the court deems appropriate.
Being less than a legal scholar, I don't know the underlying issues, but from my understanding of the 11th Amendment it would appear that a State cannot be sued by a nonresident. Is that true? Am I unable to name as a defendant a State of which I'm not a resident? What if I am on vacation and I am wrongly imprisoned by the State Police? In that case, am I restricted to only naming the State Police in a suit, or can I also directly sue the state that employs those police? And, if I am so restricted, would this Bill be in danger of being declared unconstitutional?

The Constitutionality of this Bill is, I think, a very important issue. The Bill essentially reaffirms the intent of the Second Amendment and so, if the Bill were found to be unconstitutional that decision would be used as fodder by the anti-2nd Amendment crowd. In all honesty, such a decision would likely not be relevant to the intent of the Bill (i.e., to ensure that all law-abiding citizens of the USA have the legal right to obtain and use a gun as a defensive tool) but rather would be aimed at a specific portion of the Bill. However, the PR of such a decision would be huge for the anti-2A side.

So, what do you think?


Monday, January 24, 2005


2nd Amendment

Let's not follow the example of the British:

Restrictive "gun control" in Britain is a recent experiment, in which the progressive "toughening" of the regulation of legal gun ownership has been followed by an increasingly dramatic rise in violent armed crime. Eighty-four years after the legal availability of pistols was restricted to Firearm Certificate holders, and seven years after their private possession was generally prohibited, they still figure in 58 per cent of armed crimes. Home Office evidence to the Dunblane Inquiry prior to the handgun ban indicated that there was an annual average of just two incidents in which licensed pistols appeared in crime. If, as the Home Office still asserts, "there are links between firearms licensing and armed crime", the past century of Britain's experience has shown the link to be a sharply negative one.
And my favorite quote of the article:

As the 19th-century jurist James Paterson remarked in his Commentaries on the Liberty of the Subject and the Laws of England Relating to the Security of the Person: "In all countries where personal freedom is valued, however much each individual may rely on legal redress, the right of each to carry arms – and these the best and the sharpest – for his own protection in case of extremity, is a right of nature indelible and irrepressible, and the more it is sought to be repressed the more it will recur."

(Link via Packing.org)


The Sky Is Falling (Again)!

What was that Chicken Little?

More ominously still, it assesses the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere after which the two-degree rise will become inevitable, and says it will be 400 parts per million by volume (ppm) of CO2.

The current level is 379ppm, and rising by more than 2ppm annually - so it is likely that the vital 400ppm threshold will be crossed in just 10 years' time, or even less (although the two-degree temperature rise might take longer to come into effect).
Hold on...........................................................

Ok, I'm back now. Sorry about that, I had to run outside to make sure the sky was still up. I'm happy to report that it is, in fact, where it belongs.

Aside from that I'm not sure it's worth commenting on this fine article. The report that it's, well, reporting is yet another in a long line of pseudoscientific BS. The weather guys can't tell me when its going to rain much better than my trusty coin flip, but this "task force of senior politicians, business leaders and academics from around the world" can tell me, definitively, that an increase of 21ppm CO2 in the atmosphere is going to cause massive global meltdown? You know what? I've got a certain bridge that I'd just love to sell these people. Does anyone have the address of their fallout shelter?


Good News On WoT

Some good news from The Australian (via The Command Post) regarding the War on Terror:

Iraq said today the arrest of two lieutenants of Islamic extremist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, one of whom was said to be plotting election day attacks and was implicated in the 2003 bombing of the UN Baghdad headquarters.
I haven't seen this trumpeted in the American media...but then maybe they just missed it.


Great, now we've got the AP reporting on this with an article that doesn't get to the good news until the 12th paragraph! Beautiful, objective, reporting.


Nail On The Head

This article from the Times (UK) is actually quite good. Mr. Baker presents an opinion of America rarely seen from the Continent these days. I think that he really hits the nail on the head with this line:

The principal obstacle to American goals there [Iraq], and in the broader Middle East, is not the brittleness of US power, but the willingness of the American people to shoulder its burden.
This has always been the case. Rarely in the history of this country have we been in true, dire, danger of being defeated in battle. Although there have been close calls, they have generally been brought about by our inaction rather than by any action from abroad. Why is this the case? How come America always seems able to pull it together? On this point Mr. Baker again cuts to the heart of the issue:

But more important even than America’s dynamism and economic resilience is the durability of its central ethos: the power of freedom. The genius of the founding fathers, which was celebrated again yesterday, has created the world ’s most stable, successful, and, for all the current phobias, still the most appealing model of society for humankind. The world may grow and change around it, but I would not bet on America’s eclipse just yet.
It does my heart good to know that there are still people in the world who recognize this country for what it is.


Thursday, January 20, 2005


Hypocrite!!! [Well...Maybe Not]

[Update: It appears that this story is inaccurate. Moorewatch has the details.]

Never, never, never again do I want to hear a single utterance about Michael Moore unless it begins with Hypocrite.

NEW YORK — Filmmaker Michael Moore's (search) bodyguard was arrested for carrying an unlicensed weapon in New York's JFK airport Wednesday night.

Police took Patrick Burke, who says Moore employs him, into custody after he declared he was carrying a firearm at a ticket counter. Burke is licensed to carry a firearm in Florida and California, but not in New York. Burke was taken to Queens central booking and could potentially be charged with a felony for the incident.

Moore's 2003 Oscar-winning film "Bowling for Columbine" criticizes what Moore calls America's "culture of fear" and its obsession with guns.
Of course, he's not alone...is he, Rosie?


Warm, Fuzzy Feeling

From Drudge:

MON, JAN. 17, 2005

FNC SHEP SMITH 1,626,000
FNC GRETA 1,470,000
FNC BRIT HUME 1,445,000
CNN LARRY KING 1,442,000
CNN ZAHN 535,000
CNN COOPER 363,000
FoxNews: "Hehe"
CNN: "Ouch"
MSNBC: "Zzzzz"


Wednesday, January 19, 2005


Reemergence Of Inhumanity

More statues to a dirtbag who was a plague on his own people? Brilliant!


Evolution And Scripture

David continues his series with Part III of Evolution and Scripture. I don't have time to comment right now so I'll either get to it later or wait until the next edition.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Fun With Guns

A while back I posted some stats illustrating just how much more dangerous doctors are than guns. For anyone out there who might have thought I was serious I'm sure that the misunderstanding was due to you being unable to physically see the protrusion of my cheek caused by my tongue. Although I have no idea how widespread this particular misperception is, I do know for a fact that one person thinks I was serious and took me (indirectly) to task for it. Ken (being a verb, apparently) replied to all of this with a mathematical tour de force proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that gun nuts are, in fact, nuts (and stupid too). The reason I'm dedicating valuable* electronic space to this issue is that Ken not only accused gun lovers of using questionable mathematics, but he also employed them himself.

Ken points out that some bad assumptions were made to come up with the stats I quoted. I agree completely. Of course, I still firmly believe that the Natural Right of all Americans to "keep and bear arms" is rightly recognized by the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. Regardless, here's how Ken goes to show that guns are literally 11.6 times as dangerous as doctors:

Of course, if we want to figure out which is more likely to kill you, we don't need to do all this dividing by the number of people crap.

Guns deaths 2002 (all intents): 30,242
Medical care deaths 2002 (all intents): 2596

30242 / 2596 = 11.6

So if you're an average American, you're about 11 times more likely to die from a gun than from receiving health care.
I responded to him in his comments, but I'll reiterate here. First of all, who is this mythical "average American" of whom you speak? I have yet to meet him (or her?). Does anyone out there believe that any particular person is 11.6 times more likely to be killed by a gun than by a medical mistake? Just to illustrate the absurdity of such an assertion, consider two people: a south central LA gang member vs. someone with multiple medical problems. Which of them is more likely to be killed by a gun? A medical mistake?

Ok, so obviously those are extreme examples...but at least there are real people fitting those descriptions, in stark contrast to the aforementioned mythical "average American". Even this side of extreme-example-land, it seems painfully obvious that some of us are more likely to be killed by one or the other having very little to do with the 11.6-fold figure.

In any case, I hope that I've cleared up any (possibly intentional) misunderstandings that might have arisen from my wanton, tongue-in-cheek and unregulated use of a gun...statistic.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled gun nut activities...

Wooooooo!!! [Bang! Bang!]


*cough-yeah right-cough


The Verb has just written yet another mathematical tour de force in response to the above humble post. Judging from his post, I apparently attacked the very validity of probability itself. You be the judge, jury and executioner.



Blackfive informs us that the HEROS Act is going to be up for a vote shortly. The Act aims to increase benefits paid to the next of kin of Armed Service members killed in the line of duty:

The Senators would like to raise the SGLI from .$250,000 to $400,000 and the death gratuity from $12,000 to $100,000. The SBP would remain the same at 55%.

The bill, Honoring Every Requirement of Exemplary Service (HEROES) Act, would be retroactive for those killed during OEF, and all iterations of OIF.
Check out Blackfive's post or (better yet) contact your representatives in Congress.

Here's the text of the letter I sent to my state Senators, my Representative in the House and both President Bush and Vice President Cheney:


I am contacting my representatives in Congress to express my sincere hope that the HEROS Act will receive your full support. The level of financial support currently provided to the spouses of members of the Armed Forces killed in action is pitifully inadequate. Even in the best of circumstances our warriors sacrifice a great deal and their loved ones should be adequately compensated if they are killed in the line of duty.

The next time that a the members of Congress consider whether or not to oppose an amendment prohibiting an automatic cost-of-living adjustment for yourselves, I hope that you consider the plight of military families left behind.



Monday, January 17, 2005


Homespun Best Of

This week's Homespun Bloggers Best Of is up. Check it out.


Chrenkoff's Good News

Good news from Iraq, Part 19 is up and ready to go. So check it out, you won't be disappointed.


Friday, January 14, 2005



Try this. Somewhat disturbing. Am I really that easy to read? So much for that professional poker career.


All right, all right. I figured it out. Can you? =)


HBR Getting Noticed

Homespun Bloggers Radio is getting some notice from blogosphere bigwigs! JunkYardBlog (one of the first blogs I ever discovered way back when) hooked us up with a link here as did another great blog, Q&O.


Evolution And Scripture

David has decided to take on a question (that I asked here) in a short series of posts (so far: Parts 1 and 2). There is no doubt that David has a far stronger command of Scripture than I do, so I will not try to counter his arguments point by point by citing conflicting passages (if they exist at all). Rather, I will offer a few thoughts that occurred to me while reading his posts. My purpose is only gain better understanding of his position and of my own.

With respect to David's first post:

In his first point, David writes:

If God created by using something like evolution, it was a directed evolution, with a goal in mind, and this is quite incompatible with what most people mean by evolution. Gen. 1:24 says, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." In other words, God created intentionally. Even if something like evolution took place, it was not randomness driving the process, because God already had a plan for what the end result would be.
To address the first part of this statement. "Directed evolution" is only necessary if you do assume that Life is unique to Earth. If, on the other hand, life exists in other places around the universe, then probability might allow for intelligent life arising somewhere. In that case, why would God care where intelligent life came to be, so long as it exists. As for the second part, I'm not sure that I agree with David's conclusion . "Let the earth bring forth" is not, in my mind, the same as "He brought forth". To me, the text actually implies that the "earth" is the immediate cause of the "bring[ing] forth" of "living creatures" while God is the ultimate Cause. David concludes this point with:

Even if something like evolution took place, it was not randomness driving the process, because God already had a plan for what the end result would be.
I agree with the second part of this statement. God may very well have had a plan for the "end result", namely: intelligent beings capable of recognizing Him. What I do not see from this passage is that God particularly cared what the intermediate steps where that lead to the final outcome.

The second point included this passage:

Scripture talks about God's creative word happening immediately when he speaks. See Psalm 33:6 and 9, "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth ... For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood forth."
My only question here is: What is 'time' to God? Does the concept of 'time' have any meaning when speaking of God's works? I suppose that for us to speak of such things we need some sort of reference to time...but I do not see how the literal "word of the Lord" can be constrained by our concept of time.

(I will skip point 3 because I dealt with that issue above) Point 4 again deals with the directness of God's actions. Yet again, I do not see how any of this excludes the possibility that the passages are speaking of God as the Ultimate Cause acting through proximate (comprehendible) causes.

The final point (#5) of the first post deals with Adam and Eve:

Genesis clearly teaches that God created Adam and Eve in a special way -- in the image of God -- far different from the rest of creation.
Some have attempted to do away with this problem by saying that Adam and Eve are not meant to be understood as literal individuals -- but in Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Cor. 15:21-22 and 45-49, we learn that Adam was a real historical individual who represented mankind. (There are many other passages affirming that Adam and Eve really lived, as well: Luke 3:38, Acts 17:26, 1 Cor. 11, 2 Cor. 11, 1 Tim. 2, etc.)
Let's say that Adam is a true historical figure (ignoring for now the discrepancies between archeology and Biblical generation-counting), I still do not necessarily see a problem. Assuming that some natural process lead to the development of humans from a non-human ancestor, there still must have been a 'first' human. Obviously the veracity of this 'scientific' explanation is dependent on our understanding of speciation...which is quite lacking. However, from my point of view the important thing about human beings is that we can form the conception of God. That ability is what separates us from animals and, in my view, lead to God endowing us with a soul.

On to Part 2 of David's series. This post is divided into two parts entitled: "The Fall" and "Theistic evolution is deistic". Here we go...

In this first section, he basically affirms that Scripture establishes that Adam was a true historical person. David posits that this eliminates evolution as a possibility since there would never have been a 'first' person. As I mentioned above, I am not sure this is true. However, there would be some serious disagreements between the naturalistic and Biblical accounts if we considered Adam's lifespan (and those of his descendents). David doesn't mention that and I don't have a great explanation for it except to suggest that the Bible is the inspired Word of God...written by human beings. I readily admit that this is a suspiciously convenient universal fallback position...but there may very well be something to it. The problem is that such an assertion goes to the very nature of the Bible and Christian faith themselves...a topic I am not going to get into here.

The second section deals with David's assertion that "Theistic evolution is deistic".

Theistic evolution is deistic. Deism is the view of God as the great clock-winder, as I mentioned above. He set creation up in a certain way, and he let it go. In countless places, Scripture rejects this view of God: We see God working many miracles (just read the gospels), and intervening in spectacular ways in history numerous times. There are so many occasions I won't present a list, but just consider some of them:
I suppose you could argue that God does intervene in his creation as I've just described -- but that he CREATED using evolution directed according to the laws he established. But why? Some have argued that it's unscientific to admit the possibility of supernatural intervention in the origin of life, and we should not do it when a scientific explanation would do just as well. But if God can create as he sees fit, he is not limited by whether or not something seems "scientific" to us. As I mentioned above (in referring to Grudem), there are a number of passages which affirm God's direct activity in creation. It seems to me that Scripture is quite clear that God in fact actively participated in creation -- not just of physical laws, but of life. I guess the question is this: Is it more important for you to have an explanation which seems "scientific" because it rejects the active involvement of God in creation, or to believe the Bible when it teaches that God does as he sees fit -- including actively intervening in his creation and being actively involved in creating?
I completely agree that God is free to "create as he sees fit" and it is entirely possible that he did so just as David claims. I do, however, have a reason for taking the opposite stance. Simply put, to assert that God created life as David describes is to destroy science as we know it. While it is entirely possible that we've simply gotten all this 'science' stuff wrong, doing so would (in my opinion) destroy our ability to understand the world in any way, shape or form. If David is correct then we cannot trust that observable event --> observable event. Where does that leave us? Am I missing something? (Yes, that's a serious question...I'm not being a smart-arse.) It seems to me that if we go down that road we might as well go back to the Dark Ages.

In the end I guess that's my basic problem in this whole discussion. If we abandon the concept that we can understand natural phenomena, then we are completely in the dark. Sure, we could still make small molecules that effect the body in this way or that...but I think that something very fundament would be lost. Taken to its logical conclusion, the idea of Intelligent Design removes on of the most potent scientific questions: Where do we come from? The purpose of scientific research into that question is to answer it so wouldn't the answer, once found, leave us in the same place? To me, the answer is 'no'. Discovering a scientifically sound answer to the question Where do we come from would shed light on a long-unanswered question while leaving the validity of the scientific endeavor intact.


Homespun Bloggers Radio

The third edition of Homespun Bloggers Radio is now up and running with contributions from Doug (Considerettes), Paulie (The Commons at Paulie World) and Mike (Bunker Mulligan).

Check it out, you won't be disappointed.


Thursday, January 13, 2005


Abortion --> Euthanasia --> Eugenics?


UTRECHT, January 11, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Royal Dutch Medical Association has concluded, after a three-year investigation, that Dutch doctors ought to be able to kill patients who are not ill but who are judged to be "suffering through living."
That's just a little discomforting...if true. However, as I have mentioned previously, there most certainly is a slippery slope here. The scary thing is that if I'm reading this right the vast majority of that slope is well uphill of Netherlands law.

(Link via Weapon of Mass Distraction)


Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Debate At Blog Spectrum

I've just posted a response to a fellow Blog Spectrum contributor’s post. I can only assume he's a tuff guy considering the general and varied insults he's lobbed my way. Always fun =).


More Evolution vs. ID

David has a good post on some objections to ID from John Derbyshire. Give it a read.


Satanist Beaten...

...and the beaters might be charged with a hate crime. Ok, so we're going to make up this thing called 'hate crime' to protect those that PCism demands we pay special attention to. Well, were does it end?

"If the accusation was that he was black or Asian or Latino or Jewish, it's one thing," he said. "They see this as a religious practice. It's a dispute between kids, the same way you have the nerds, the jocks, the artsy kids and the teacher's pets. What's next? Someone being accused of attacking a preppie, or a nerd?"
The second part of that question is great, it asks where does this stop?. However, the first part simply takes as a matter of course that attacking a "black or Asian or Latino or Jewish" individual is somehow more hateful than attacking, oh I don't know, ME. Calling any attack a 'hate crime' implies that other crime is less hateful. This is not something that a fair and open-minded society does.


A True American Hero

If you read nothing else today, read this story about Sgt. Rafael Peralta. It will bring a tear to your eye and renew your faith in our boys.

Remember always the sacrifices made by the young men and women of our Armed Forces.


Marines Unarmed

It's one thing to deploy our Marines to serve as 'humanitarian' aid when a disaster strikes half a whole away, but to disarm them?! This is absolutely outrageous:

ABOARD THE USS BONHOMME RICHARD (AP) -- Cpl. Sean Foley looks around the ship's main armory and takes a quick inventory. The room is overflowing with guns. Pistols, sniper rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers.


But Indonesian officials have also been reluctant to let the Marines come ashore with their weapons because of the image that might project.

"We are very concerned about force protection,'' Greenwood said. "But if you go in there and look like an invading force instead of a humanitarian force, that could be just as detrimental as having no security whatsoever. So you have to balance it.''
"...as detrimental as having no security whatsoever"?! I do not have words to describe my absolute disgust for this decision. You don't like armed Marines helping your dying citizens, Indonesia? Fine, starve and die. If you want our help you'll just have to put up with Marines wearing sidearms and being protected by heavily armed Marine guards.

Invading army, you say? You'll know we've invaded when your capital is a pile of warm mud, your former leader is found in a stinking hole and you see Americans feeding your people.

Well, I guess that makes sense considering all the other countries we have invaded and ruled by force for decades...oh, wait. There isn't a single example to suggest that the US invades countries to stick around and rule them.

This is absolute drivel and I am unspeakably disgusted with everyone who has put our boys in harms way. Force protection or image protection? Who the hell is making the decisions around here?!


Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Marine Kills Police Officers

This is a terribly sad and bizarre story:

CERES — It started as a seemingly simple and somewhat routine call Sunday night: a man was acting strangely at a liquor store.

Moments later, a burst of gunfire echoed through the normally quiet neighborhood. One Ceres police officer lay dying, another was critically wounded, and law enforcement was storming the scene by land and air.

Helicopters hovered above as police ordered people to go inside, lock their doors and turn off the lights.

Three hours later, another gun battle erupted, this one ending in the death of a 19-year-old Marine from Modesto,suspected of shooting the two officers.
The thing that bothers me about the reporting is the assumption that this conclusion is drawn with very little apparent evidence:

Andres Raya, who police say seemed determined to die rather than return to Iraq, was dead.
...Raya, a Marine who had served seven months in Iraq, was concerned about the possibility of going back into combat.
While stating:

Officers were still struggling to figure out what drove Raya to fire on officers.
De Werk said investigators are not ruling out other motives or accomplices...
Raya told family members he did not want to return to Iraq. But his father said the family believed by the end of his holiday visit, Raya had decided to make the best of the 2½ years he had left in the Marines.
I don't think that not wanting to return to a war zone is all that abnormal. From the actual facts presented in this article to not support the conclusions drawn, apparently by the reporter. I could be reading this wrong but regardless, I hope that the truth comes out.

The families of these police officers are in my prayers. They died in the line of duty and deserve to be remembered for fulfilling their oaths at the cost of their own lives.


Evolution Taken Too Far

One of the great tragedies of the Theory of Evolution has been its overextension. If we believe that there is something special about being human, then there is absolutely no reason to apply evolution to society in general nor to any individual's place therein. Read this article to see what happens when a scientific Theory is taken out of context and used for evil purposes.

(via Weapon of Mass Distraction)


Blog Spectrum

I just posted my first contribution to Blog Spectrum. This week's topic is about education reform. Check it out and let me know what you think.


Homespun Symposium VIII

This week's Symposium question is:

What, in your opinion, are the moral responsibilities of the individual citizen in the United States (or your own country) today and how do you believe people should act upon (or react to) those perceived responsibilities?

I'll get around to answering it later. In the meantime head over there to see what other Homespuners have to say.


Doctors vs. Guns

Interesting Stats from Say Anything:

(A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000.
(B) Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are 120,000.
(C) Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171.
Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of Health Human Services.

Now Guns:
(A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000. Yes, that is 80 million.
(B) The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups, is 1,500.
(C) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .000188.
Statistics courtesy of F.B.I.
I (in the relatively near future) I will be both a doctor and a gun owner, where does that put me as a risk to society =).


View From The Bedside

One of my favorite bloggers has a great post about a night in the hospital (as a medical student). Remember things like this when you hear people say that doctors make too much money.


Monday, January 10, 2005



Think of this the next time so miserable excuse for a human being starts complaining about evil America.


Separation of Church and Science

I recently ran into a set of articles discussing the Naturalistic worldview and how it is diametrically opposed to Christianity. Here are the first and second posts over at Challies.com.

These two pieces address the underlying issues that constantly set off debate between adherents of religion and those of science on a number of topics (see the sidebar for my own ramblings on Evolution vs. Intelligent Design). Essentially, the ardently religious accuse the unbendingly scientific of, alternatively, ignoring the teachings of the Bible, practicing bad science and (most interestingly and amusingly) of blindly following a religion of their own: namely, the Religion of Science. The unbendingly scientific, on the other hand, accuse the ardently religious of being stupid, ignorant and illogical. While these are not by any means complete lists, you get the idea.

At the outset, I would like to state that I am not planning to apply any of these derisive terms to either side. I am a budding scientist/medical doctor as well as a deeply religious person. If you think that sets up one heck of an internal struggle and contradiction, you'd be partly right. Allow me to explain.

Before we get started, however, there are three things that we all need to keep in mind during this discussion.
1) All human institutions are imperfect.
2) Science is a human institution.
3) Religion is a human institution.

So, my explanation. My own spiritual/intellectual journey started on the very religious side (and yes, I realize that mine is not a unique story so I'll keep it short). During high school I didn't see any huge problems learning about science (including evolution) and being 100% Catholic. That changed with I got to college. At some point I figured that I was so smart that I could get by without God or religion in general. The nonexistence of God seemed to be the logical outcome of various lines of reasoning and so I became somewhat of an atheist. That didn't last long as I soon realized the error of my reasoning. It came to me that the positive statement "There is no God" was just as unsupported as the converse, and so I converted to agnosticism. Much like its immediate predecessor, that didn't last long either. During this time there was always a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that, although the logic seemed sound, something just wasn't right. That's when I ran into Robert Miller's book Finding Darwin's God (which I have discussed previously). This led me to finally find a way to reconcile my deeply ingrained belief in God with my growing understanding of science. And so here we are at the present, which deserves its own paragraph.

My current state of belief in God and in science can be summarized as follows: God created the Universe and set certain laws (which we approximate as the Laws of physics). These laws were set such that they would lead to the eventual formation of the cosmic bodies we observe today as well as Life. The purpose of the process allowed/determined by God's Laws was to give rise to living beings with the mental capabilities to recognize that God exists. From that point, these beings would have the freedom to believe in God or not, and He will decide whether or not we deserve to join him in Heaven after death.

Now, there are plenty who would jump in at this point and disagree with me. Since some have done so in the past, read these comments to see what associated issues have already been addressed. While some people's interpretation of the Bible's teachings may very well imply that evolution is 'unBiblical,' I disagree. Regardless, let's get to the point of all this.

I find it terribly unfortunate that the situation has reached a point where so many religious people think that scientists are generally amoralistic jerks who don't care about anything that cannot be 'proven'. While I can see why some might get this impression with people like Richard Dawkins and Michael Newdow running around claiming that all we need is reason and science to complete our existence, the generalization (as most of them are) is really unfair. But let me tell you, I know many successful scientists who are deeply religious. And...as a scientist, I am deeply offended when my colleagues step over the line and pontificate, as scientists, on topics outside of Science.

On the other hand, I am saddened that too many scientists see the religious as ignorant fools who believe blindly in something and are, therefore, intellectually inconsequential. However, I can see where they might get that idea when so many people seem to believe that they understand the Theory of Evolution and have rationally concluded that it is wrong. I would submit to you that 99% of those people don't really understand the scientific issues involved (and let me also add that 99% of scientists have likely never sat down and read the primary literature on evolution and, for their part, believe in it blindly). On the other hand, I am also deeply offended when otherwise fine TV stations run programs aimed at 'explaining' mysteries of the Bible using science.

I mentioned at the outset that my own beliefs might be seen as contradictory, but they are not so. Those (such as the blogger at Challies) take the view that the naturalistic worldview is in direct opposition to a religious one. Certainly, he has a point when it comes to the opinions of some naturalists. There are, however, a number of definitions of 'naturalism.' Challies defines it as:

Naturalism is the belief that the natural world as we know and experience it is all that exists. To put this in religious terms, we could say that Naturalism teaches that ultimate truth does not depend on supernatural experiences, supernatural beings or divine revelation; instead it can be derived from the natural world.
That's one definition and certainly it is the worldview of some. However, if we restrict ourselves to the aspects of naturalism that flow directly from the process of science, I think this definition works better:

[n] the doctrine that the world can be understood in scientific terms without recourse to spiritual or supernatural explanations
So, who among you thinks that the world is not understandable by our mortal faculties? If you believe that we cannot understand the world by asking and answering questions, then you're beyond reach of any argument and you might have found a certain period in history to be heart-warming. If, however, you think that we can understand natural processes (i.e., the world/universe) then you must admit the power of science, which is no more than the organized questioning of our world.

On the other hand, if you're more on the scientific side of things and think that everything can be explained by science, than you sadly misunderstand the nature of science. There is nothing about the process of science that excludes miracles for the simple reason that they are not reproducible and, therefore, cannot be systematically tested.

So the answer I have come to for myself is that I believe God exists and that he Created everything. Further, He set the rules at the Beginning and then let things go as (He knew) they would. Since He set rules it makes perfect sense to me that we humans can try to understand them and our efforts will not be in vain. While it is possible that we cannot ever fully comprehend God's rules, you cannot prove to me that it is impossible.

The question I have for both sides is: What's wrong with this worldview? Which tenant of faith on either side does this insult? What does either side have to fear from the other? Religion address ultimate Truth through Devine Revelation or what process you believe in but you will never be capable of fully understanding God. Science addresses physical Truth and can say nothing intelligent beyond our ability to observe our surroundings. Both, however, can be understood derive from the same unknowable and unfathomable source: God.


Thursday, January 06, 2005


Great Stray Thought

From JYB:

About the tsunami's aftermath. I don't mean to be glib or crass, but if the West weren't rich, and especially if the United States and Australia didn't have robust and well-equipped militaries, and if Japan weren't a rich and solid ally of ours--

How many more innocent people would die?
Read the rest. It's a short post, but it's a keeper.


New Venture

Although today was spent exclusively in front of my computer, I did so in a place where I could not possibly connect to the internet. No Bloglines notifer, no email. Just me an my well-oiled, humming instrument of scientific communication.

So, it was a nice surprise when I got home to see a relatively empty inbox. And, one of the few messages was from a blogger who started a blogging venture not to long ago called Blog Spectrum. The purpose of this little project is to bring a wide variety of political thinking machines into one venue to have at it over weekly questions. (I would like to thank David, of A Physicist's Perspective fame, for suggesting me to the head of the Spectrum, The Casual Observer.) I accpeted the offer and so I will be posting once/week over at Blog Spectrum.


Wednesday, January 05, 2005


My Thoughts Exactly

All this time I thought I was the only one who knew this!


Ah, The French

Wizbang has a post I just couldn't resist linking to. Every now and then I get to feeling sort of bad about my visceral hatred for the French. Mostly this is based on the humanizing assumption that there must be at least a few good Frenchmen. While I'm sure there are, Jay Tea has done me a great service by disemboweling that nagging feeling of guilt. Thanks, Jay.

I also couldn't resist excerpting this one quote from Jed Babbin:

Jed Babbin, who had served as an undersecretary of defense during the late 80's, put it back in 2003: "going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion. You just leave a lot of useless noisy baggage behind."



I just ran into two great posts today on the ever-touchy topic of torture. Here they are:

Belmont Club
The Grand Inquisitor


Both do a great job of tackling this topic using calm and reasonable arguments. Give them a read.

My previous posts on this topic are here and here.


Tuesday, January 04, 2005


Who Should Help?

USS Neverdock has some good comments on a true POS from the Guardian. I think that this particular piece reveals, yet again, the backward mindset of liberals. George Monbiot asks why it is that so little has been done to help the victims of the Tsunami and then writes:

The obvious answer is that governments have other priorities. And the one that leaps to mind is war. If the money they have promised to the victims of the tsunami still falls far short of the amounts required, it is partly because the contingency fund upon which they draw in times of crisis has been spent on blowing people to bits in Iraq.

The US government has so far pledged $350m to the victims of the tsunami, and the UK government £50m ($96m). The US has spent $148 billion on the Iraq war and the UK £6bn ($11.5bn). The war has been running for 656 days. This means that the money pledged for the tsunami disaster by the United States is the equivalent of one and a half day's spending in Iraq. The money the UK has given equates to five and a half days of our involvement in the war.
Why is it that Mr. Monbiot (too close to Moonbat for comfort, I think =)) takes for granted that it is the job of the American and British governments to provide help to these people? Where in the Constitution of the United States of America is there a provision authorizing Congress or the President to designate funds to provide monetary assistance to anyone, let along foreigners?

Now don't get me wrong. I am 100% for helping these people. They need it because they live in countries that cannot help themselves. However, there is still no requirement, legal or moral, necessitating the involvement of the US (or British) Government. Already private donations to help the people affected by this disaster have soared well into the hundreds of millions of dollars. And consider how much more would be given privately if 1) we did not see governments helping and 2) had more money in our pockets due to lower taxes.

There are certainly logistical arguments for using US and other militaries for the delivery of relief supplies. After all, there is not a private organization in the world with the capacity to move people and material like the US Armed Forces. And although the use of military forces for this purpose, strictly speaking, falls into the same category as cold hard cash, the fact that they're the only game in town does make a difference.

So, Mr. Monbiot, why does the US government exist? Oh, that's right. To protect the citizens of the United States of America. And yes, that includes waging war on bad guys who want to hurt us.


I'm apparently not alone. Say Anything provides an interesting solution to this problem and presents some of the objections being raised.



It's always nice to see things like this. It's just too bad that it won't be leading the Evening News:

Ignorance shrouds capitalism's profound impact on reducing poverty

Jim Klauder
Sunday, January 2, 2005

It should come as heartening news that 2004 was one of the most prosperous years in history. Not because the U.S. economy grew by a solid 4.3 percent, but because developing countries experienced an explosive 6.1 percent economic growth.

According to a recent study by the World Bank, 2004's growth reflected "an expansion without precedent over the past 30 years." Equally encouraging, the report notes that "the rapid growth of developing economies ... has produced a spectacular, if not historic, fall in poverty."

Amazingly, the World Bank report did not get much coverage in our mainstream media. It seems the press was more interested in covering the evils of globalization than in taking notice of how world trade -- which grew by an astounding 10.2 percent this year -- is driving economic growth.
Amazing. Whoda thunk it.

(via USS Neverdock)


al-Zarqawi Captured?

Drudge seems to think so:

URGENT: 'TARGET #1': al-Zarqawi reportedly arrested in Iraq
Tue Jan 04 2005 09:49:47 ET

DUBAI, January 4 (Itar-Tass) - Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, whom the US occupation authorities declared to be the "target number one" in Iraq, has been arrested in the city of Baakuba, the Emirate newspaper al-Bayane reported on Tuesday referring to Kurdish sources. Al-Zarqawi, leader of the terrorist group Al-Tawhid Wa'al-Jihad, was recently appointed the director of the Al-Qaeda organisation in Iraq.


Sunday, January 02, 2005


The Year In Review

Since I am generally loath to engage in any Year-in-Review sort of crap I was going to avoid it all together. However, Ann's roundup would not be denied so here's the link. As always, she does a great job of applying biting wit and heartfelt respect, each to their own subject.


Tsunami And God

Let me start by saying that none of the following discussion means a thing compared to what happened to those people who were unfortunate enough to be caught in the path of the tsunami. It's all too easy to forget individual lives that were destroyed by that huge wall of water. My thoughts and prayers go out to each and everyone effected by this disaster.

[For anyone wanting to help out, go to The Command Post and do what you can.]

That being said, I am going to add my two cents.

As with any natural disaster, there has been plenty of discussion of the theological implications of last week's Tsunami. As usual, David does a good job taking on the Biblical implications here. However...

All of this seems to take for granted the idea that God takes a very active and interested role in the world and in our existence in particular. While I suppose this is the view of most major religions, isn't it also possible that God set natural laws at the beginning of Time that would lead to natural disasters in the future and that he didn't really care when (and yes, I would say the same for the existence of Earth and humans as well)? It also seems possible that God knew, at the very beginning of Time exactly when all natural disasters (and everything else for that matter) would happen (although that might pose some problems with Free Will).

Either way, why does everyone seem so intent on finding immediate causes, reasons and purposes for everything? Could it be that God's purpose takes a somewhat larger view than any particular event? Perhaps disasters, violence and Evil are simply the means by which God tests us. It seems reasonable to me to think that the end (testing us) is more important than the means (disasters, Evil, etc.).

Suffering on Earth is often assumed to be Bad and therefore Evil. Why? I’m far from a Biblical scholar, but my impression has always been that God’s ultimate goal is to see us all live life well and in doing so earn admission to Heaven when we die. Heaven is eternal, so why should temporary suffering on Earth matter to God? I think that it only matters in the context of how we deal with it. Specifically:

If I am suffering, do I do so with dignity? If others are suffering, do I ease their pain?

I suppose that I take this view because I find it both intellectually satisfying and, perhaps more importantly, comforting. I have a hard time accepting a vengeful God who would visit suffering on Man collectively due to individual transgressions. I have a harder time accepting a whimsical God who would actively cause suffering for no other reason than to remind us that He is in charge. I would much rather place my faith in a God who does not care whether we suffer or enjoy a lifetime of comfort but who is only interested in how well we live our lives.


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