Sunday, December 21, 2014

More Liberal Bigotry


Liberals are bigots. It's a symptom of their ideology - an inevitable consequence of their political agenda. Bigotry is as fundamental to liberalism as swimming is to fish. You cannot be a liberal without being a bigot. Liberals, for example, see every black face as a victim. They don't believe blacks are able to take care of themselves so they must be subsidized with tax payer dollars. Liberals stereotypically believe every black person is the same – they think the same, they struggle the same, and they are all equally victims of whites. Never mind Dr. King's dream that men should be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin, if a black man wants a job, or to go to college, or to start a business, liberals automatically think he needs special consideration because he's black. The color of his skin is the first criterion liberals consider. It's called, “affirmative action.” To liberals, blacks are “disadvantaged” as though being black is like being handicapped.

Because they are bigots in their very core, liberals are blind to they own bigotry. It's kind of like that stinky person who can't smell his own body odor. If a conservative should disagree with a black person about anything, then liberals assume the conservative is only disagreeing with the person because he's black. They just can't understand the concept of judging a person (even a black person) by his actions or words. Likewise, if conservatives talk about “welfare reform,” liberals accuse them of racism because the liberals think most people on welfare are black. And heaven forbid if a black person dares to believe he's not a victim and works hard to improve himself because then that person is accused of trying to “act white” and labeled an “Uncle Tom.”

I moved to Kentucky in the summer of 1970, when I was only 4 years old. Even though I was a more than a decade removed from Segregation, I remember some of the racial tensions that still lingered in the South. Being white myself, I can't say I can entirely empathize with the struggles blacks faced in the 50's but I can at least say I'm sympathetic to it. I can imagine, at least a little, the smoldering defiance Rosa Parks must have felt when she refused to give up her seat to a white man and move to the back of the bus.

Certainly there was racism then. For the record, I'm against racism but I'm still for liberty. If a person wants to be racist, I think it's his right to be a racist. However, the real problem wasn't necessarily the racist attitudes that were prevalent at the time but rather it was the segregation laws that put teeth in racism. For example, it would be sad if a black man wouldn't marry a white woman for fear they might be shunned by a racist society. It's a far worse thing, though, to make laws against interracial marriage. It was the laws allowing segregation that truly made blacks the victims of racists.

Democrats back then were all for institutional racism. For example, it was Democrat governor, George Wallace, who stood blocking the steps to a segregated school in Alabama and said, segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” Since then, Democrats may have officially denounced segregation, but they are still not able to divorce themselves from the racism inherent in the liberal wing of the Democrat party.

So where am I going with all this? I mention this now because here in my own beloved state of Kentucky, liberal Democrats have abused the power of their office to impose their racism on another class of people – Bible believing Christians. Just recently, our Democrat Secretary of State, Bob Stewart, advised Ark Encounter, LLC, the group building the Noah's ark themed attraction in KY, that the state has changed its mind on the group's application for a tax incentive KY makes available to tourist attractions. The Ark Encounter will not be receiving the incentive after all.

When I first wrote about the Ark Encounter project 4 years ago, it had already been approved to receive a special tax incentive the state of KY makes available to lure tourist attractions here. It's not really a subsidy, per se. Instead, new tourist attractions can receive a partial rebate of the amount of sales tax they generate for the state. In other words, for every sales tax dollar the state receives from Ark Encounter visitors, they would give a few cents back to the park. So it doesn't cost the state any money – the state is making money from the park. What's more, it's only paying the incentive out of funds received by people visiting the park! No money is being taken from property taxes, income taxes, etc.

Some other attractions in KY that have received this same incentive are the Newport Aquarium and the Kentucky Speedway.

When the park originally applied for the incentive, it was clear this was a for-profit endeavor but was still overtly religious in nature. From the get go, folks like Barry Lynn objected to a religious organization receiving “tax payer funding” but the incentives were approved notwithstanding. With that approval in hand, the group raised the necessary funds, purchased the land, got the permits, and began building. Now, the state has changed its mind and told the group they will not receive the incentive after all. They claim to object on the grounds that AiG intends to use the park to proselytize (AiG has always been very clear about this) and that workers are required to sign a faith statement – which is a federal right for religious organizations. So the objections sound rather shallow since very little has changed about the park's stated goals since the state approved the original application.

I'm not sure how much the group relied on this incentive to make its decision on where to build but I know it was at least a factor. Its location is only a few miles away from OH and IN so the group had other options on where it could build and still be reasonably close to the Creation Museum. It's a rather dirty trick to lure the business in with the incentive and then take it away after it's too late to change its mind.

But besides that, what annoys me the most about all this is how the state is hurting Christians with its racist policies. We saw the same thing when the Boston Mayor wanted to ban Chick-fil-A because its president supported traditional marriage or the confiscatory fines levied against Hobby Lobby because they did not want to pay for employees' abortion inducing drug prescriptions. Time after time, the government treats religious people and businesses as second class citizens. Sec. Stewart said in his letter that the Ark Encounter, “will generate jobs and visitor spending that will be welcomed in the local economy.” I'm sure it will and he is happy to accept it; he just won't offer the same incentive KY has given to non-religious attractions. It's sort of like the bus driver who didn't mind receiving a fare from Rosa Parks but still didn't want her to sit in the white people's section.

If this were a black owned business, Democrats would be falling all over themselves to give away subsidies because they believe blacks can't run a business without help from white liberals. But this is a Christian owned business and they treat Christians differently. They can't see how refusing to give a religious business the same incentive available to anyone else is discrimination.

I'll say it again. Liberals are bigots.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Was Jesus Born in a Stable?

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
(Luke 2:6-7)

The Nativity is an icon that appears everywhere this time of year. I've written before about some of the misconceptions people hold about Christmas traditions and many involve our picture of the Nativity. The wise men (magi) were certainly not there the night Jesus was born, for example, yet they appear regularly in nativities.

Another possible misconception is over where Jesus was born. Luke tells us that Mary laid the baby, Jesus, in a “manger.” A manger is a trough used for feeding animals. In this case, it probably was filled with straw and so would have been adequate as a make-shift bed. It's because Jesus was laid in a manger that people imagine the Nativity as having been in a barn. The wording does indeed strongly suggest Jesus was born in a place where animals were being kept.

The Bible does attest to stables being used for horses but it's not likely that Jesus was born in a stable. Western style barns were not owned by poor, 1st century, Jewish families. I have read commentaries that suggest it was common for people to use caves to house animals. There is not a shortage of caves in that area of the world and archeology has shown us that they were exploited in many ways by the people of that time. It's not unreasonable to believe that Jesus could have been born in a cave being used to shelter animals.

I think the key to understanding this passage rests on the translation of the word, “inn.” I've talked before about the dangers of reverse etymology. When we hear a word, we tend to project our modern understanding of that word onto to the original meaning of the passage. In English, the word, “inn” makes us think of a hotel. Jesus wasn't turned away because all the “hotels” in Bethlehem were booked up.

The word translated as “inn” in the King James is the Greek word, κατάλυμα (kataluma, Strong's word 2646). It is the same word later used to describe the room where Jesus had the last supper with His disciples (translated as “guestchamber” in Luke 22:11 KJV or “guest room” NASB) and is often referred to as “the upper room” in most commentaries of the Last Supper.

First century, Jewish homes were built for function. They had a small courtyard in front, an open first floor, and a second story. During the day, animals were kept in the courtyard and the family lived on the first floor where they prepared meals and ate. At night, the animals were brought into the first floor and the family would sleep in the upper area.

Here, then, is my theory:

When Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem, it would be reasonable to assume they also had their families with them. This was a census, after all, and since Joseph and Mary were both of the lineage of David, then so too were their parents, brothers and sisters, their parents' siblings, their first cousins, etc. Once they arrived at Bethlehem, they likely would have stayed with any family they had there. Because the small home was packed with people, there was not enough room for all of them to sleep in the upper area. Some of them, including Mary and Joseph, had to sleep in the lower area where the animals usually stayed at night. The animals may have been brought in but, due to the circumstances, they could have been left in the courtyard. Note that Luke's account does not mention any animals being present – it only mentions the manger.


So Jesus could quite possibly have been born in a house. A simple home, certainly – not a palace or mansion – but a home nonetheless. When Jesus was delivered, Mary laid Him in a manger, an animal trough, in the part of the home where the animals were usually kept, because there was no room for them in the guest chamber.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Evolution: A Trivial Pursuit

In the first post I made about Bill Nye, I talked about his zealot-like mission to proselytize young people into evolutionism. In the next post, I discussed his fallacious claim that creationists can't be good scientists. A frequent visitor to my blog, Steven J, took issue with some examples and spent quite a bit of time trying to build the case that there is a “broad acceptance” of evolution within the scientific community. He later said, The broad shape of the tree of life is clear from fossils, comparative anatomy, and comparative genomics, even if the exact detail of the branchings is fuzzy in many cases.

It's the “fuzzy details” that was kind of my point in my second post. Of course there is a “broad acceptance” of evolution. Scientists will all swear that everything has evolved even though they are a little “fuzzy” about the details of how, where, and when. Please tell me how practical any theory is to science when many of the details are still “fuzzy.” Nye said, “There are just things about evolution that we should all be aware of, the way we’re aware of where electricity comes from.” Really, Nye? You want us to think we can understand evolution the way we understand electricity? “Science” isn't settled over how, where, and when things evolved. If we had that same lack of precision in how we understand electricity, we'd still be reading by candlelight.

But even if there were complete harmony among all scientists about every point in evolution, it has still not been demonstrated how that contributes to inventing life improving technologies. What would happen if everyone was in agreement about evolution, then suddenly a new fossil – like a rabbit found in the Cambrian – overturned it all? Would airplanes start falling from the sky? Would buildings collapse? Would bridges crumble? These are the kinds of things that could happen if we were dead wrong in a real science like physics. But what about evolution? What would happen if evolutionists were shown to be 100% wrong on some point in their theory. I'll tell you what would happen – a bunch of biologists would drop everything and start running around, redrawing their cherished, nested hierarchy. In the meantime, the rest of science might pause for a moment in healthy curiosity but then would resume its work improving people's lives. The average person wouldn't even notice. Evolution is just that unimportant.

If you ask me, I think it's a shame that we waste resources studying evolution. If I were a philanthropist who gave millions of dollars for research, I would demand the “scientist” provide me a detailed explanation of how his research would contribute to society. I don't want platitudes. I wouldn't accept a vague claim about how such and such a find would help us understand how marine animals transitioned to land. I want to know how that knowledge might improve our lives. What can we do with it? All of evolution research now just ends up in text books and published papers with no real application in science. It's more like trivial pursuit than research.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Some people think there are XXX IMAGES FOUND HERE!

I've mentioned before that I use stat counters to see how many people visit my blog, what posts they read, and how they found it. A couple of years ago, I was a little surprised to see that someone found my blog while searching for porn. The visitor had done a Google search on phrase “humiliation porn pictures” which turned up my post, “Photo Gaffe or Major Porn Humiliation?

I got a little chuckle and thought about how disappointed the visitor might have been when he realized he'd landed on a Christian blog. On the other hand, I also realized that these are people I want to have reading my blog. In half jest, I mused if I should start including choice key words in the titles of some of my posts with the hope it would turn up in more Google searches. I discussed this in a short post which I intentionally titled, “No XXX IMAGES found here!” Sure enough, over the next couple of weeks, I began receiving hits on that post from people searching for “XXX images.”

After a while, the traffic to that post died off and it was business as usual. All of a sudden, though, I've started having a lot of traffic to that post again. My stat counter shows again that it's from people searching the term “XXX images.” Last week, it was the second most read post on my blog.  
By the way, the most searched for term was on the origin of life which I intend to talk in an upcoming post.

I'm not sure what has happened to cause traffic to that post to spike. I do know that Google tends to rank sites found in a search by their relevance and popularity. This means that each time someone clicks on my blog while looking for “XXX images”, the more likely it is to be ranked higher in the next search. You will notice that I've also included the term “XXX images” in the title of this post. I've also used the term “XXX images” several times in this text which makes this post seem even more relevant in a search for “XXX images.” For the next few weeks at least, my blog should see even more visitors looking for “XXX images” than did visit the last couple of weeks.

Getting people to visit my blog hasn't been a real problem. There are typically between 3,500 – 5,000 page views here each month. I just wish I could figure out a way to get these new visitors to stay a while.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Fear Tactics

In my last post, I cited Bill Nye who said,

[T]here are more people in the world — another billion people all trying to use the world’s resources. And the threat and consequences of climate change are more serious than ever, so we need as many people engaged in how we’re going to deal with that as possible. And we have an increasingly technologically sophisticated society. We are able to feed these 7.2 billion people because of our extraordinary agricultural technology. If we have a society that’s increasingly dependent on these technologies, with a smaller and smaller fraction of that society who actually understands how any of it works, that is a formula for disaster.... My biggest concern about creationist kids is that they’re compelled to suppress their common sense, to suppress their critical thinking skills at a time in human history when we need them more than ever.... There are just things about evolution that we should all be aware of, the way we’re aware of where electricity comes from, or that you have cells with mitochondria.

Nye certainly paints a bleak picture. We live a world, supposedly becoming over crowded, where billions of people have to compete for limited resources. We need new technologies. We need alternative sources of fuel – cleaner burning fuel. We need new medicines. We need science! But if kids are being taught creation, they won't be able to contribute anything to science. We're loosing our best resource – the potential of the next generation – at a time “when we need them more than ever!”

Huh?

First, let me point something out. There is a logically fallacious argument known as an appeal to consequences (argumentum ad consequentiam) which basically argues that a hypothesis is either true or false based on whether the premise leads to a desirable or undesirable consequence. Even if Nye were entirely accurate in his assessment, it doesn't make evolution true or creation false.

But regardless of that, implicit in Nye's comments is the idea that one cannot understand science unless he believes evolution. His concern, as stated overtly here, is that kids who believe creation, will not be able to contribute to any advances in technology or help solve any of the world's problems. It's a flawed premise which likely stems from his seeming inability to distinguish between the terms “evolution” and “science.” I know he's a somewhat intelligent person so he must be intentionally conflating the terms.

As I said in my last post, there is no relationship between a belief in evolution and the ability to engage in science. Nye's point is entirely non sequitor. I asked before for a single example of any life improving technology made in last 20 years whose invention hinged upon a belief in evolution. I don't care – make it any example from any time for the last century. I will say again, I don't think such a thing exists. However, even if someone should surprise me with an example, I won't be phased. Think about all the other incredible new inventions we've seen in just the last few decades: computers, phones, satellites, etc. Even if some small token of technology was inspired by evolution, it is dwarfed by all the other advances that we have made which have nothing to do with it.

To this point, one visitor to my blog said,

I think [Nye's] point is not so much "you can't believe the Earth is only 6000 years old and design perfectly good aircraft engines or solar panels." Rather, his point is that if you reject evidence,... you can dismiss any scientific conclusion you find objectionable.

Curiously absent from this response is an example like I had asked for. Instead, it's merely more of the same appeal to consequence. In this case, it's a slippery slope argument that since a creationist rejects “evidence” (I assume he means “rejects the evidence for evolution”), he's prone to arbitrarily reject any evidence so ultimately wouldn't make a good scientist. Besides mere bald assertions, I'd like to see any scientific study or survey that suggests people who believe creation understand science any less than the average evolutionist? Again, I don't believe such a thing exists. Most scientific disciplines were founded not only by Christians but by creationists. Their beliefs did not hinder their scientific inquiry in any way.

Let me make one final point. There is virtually nothing within the theory of evolution that is agreed on by all evolutionists. Not every biologist, for example, believes dinosaurs evolved into birds. Some believe in gradual evolution like Darwin described; others believe in long periods of stasis interrupted by rapid bursts of evolution. Most evolutionary scientists believe life began in the sea then evolved onto land but a few believe the opposite occurred. There is constant reassignment of where certain animals belong on the tree of life. Sometimes, scientists are “certain” about when some particular species lived only to find fossils dated much older than they originally believed. The entire theory of evolution is plastic and is reshaped every day as new discoveries overturn previously held notions. In other words, you can be wrong about

how something evolved or
where something evolved or
when something evolved

but in order to be a “real” scientist, you still must believe that it evolved.

Nye said we need to understand evolution just like we need to understand electricity! What a joke. At best, evolution would only be ancillary to science but I don't think it's even that. Let me be clear – molecules-to-man evolution isn't even real. How then could it be fundamental to science? To suggest that accepting creation threatens progress is a cheap scare tactic.