googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: March 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Mob is on the Move

I blogged before that I was reading Ann Coulter's book, Demonic. I said then how Coulter is one of my favorite authors and that her books always nail their subjects so I won't rehash all that here. However, I will say that I believe I have learned more from reading her last book than any of her others. Liberals aren't able to reason. OK, I knew that already but now I see how liberals are driven by a mob mentality. They actually think in sound bites: “Bush lied – people died” or “No justice – no peace.” These short slogans are usually all they know about some particular issue. Liberals are led by emotion and liberal leaders spout these slogans to whip the mobs into a frenzy. Liberals don't reason – they riot.

Here's a case in point: Some people have compared the Occupy movement with the Tea Party. I guess if you overlook the fact that the Occupy movement was accompanied by defecating outdoors, mountains of trash, vandalism, rapes, assaults, and arrests, then one might see a similarity between the two groups. Frankly, I don't see any similarity between a peaceful, political rally and a riotous crowd taking over a park and engaging in lawlessness for weeks on end. One is an assembly of protestors and the other is a mob.

We're seeing another mob uprising in Florida after the fatal shooting of 17-year-old, Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman. When I first heard about the story, it was reported that Zimmerman, a white man, saw a young, black teenager in a hoodie and thought it was suspicious. Zimmerman called 911, then followed Martin and confronted him. A scuffle ensued and Martin was shot. At first hearing, it sounded like a case of an over-zealous, right-wing, gun-toting white vigilante profiling a young man who's only “crime” was shopping while being black.

Fortunately, I am able to think rationally. Over the last few days, some other details have emerged that paint a different picture. Zimmerman's father gave us this account (as told to him by Zimmerman):

George was going to the store, and he saw someone in his community that he did not recognize as living there. Because there had been a lot of break-ins in the area, he thought that was suspicious that someone would not be walking on the street or the sidewalk, but they'd be walking right behind the townhomes.” ¶Robert Zimmerman said that his son, George Zimmerman, 28, then called a non-emergency number to report this stranger. He lost sight of the teen as he looked for an address to report to police. ¶“It’s my understanding that at that point Trayvon Martin walked up to him, asked him, ‘Do you have a – beep – problem?’ George said ‘No, I don’t have a problem’.” ¶The elder Zimmerman said that as his son started to reach for his cell phone, Martin, 17, punched him in the nose, knocking the larger man to the pavement. ¶“Trayvon Martin got on top of him and just started beating him, in the face, in his nose, hitting his head on the concrete,” Robert Zimmerman said. ¶That’s when Martin spotted George Zimmerman’s gun, Robert Zimmerman said. ¶Trayvon Martin said something to the effect of, ‘You're gonna die now,’ or ‘You're gonna die tonight,’ something to that effect.” ¶Zimmerman, a self-declared neighborhood watch volunteer, fatally shot Martin on Feb. 26 in what he called an act of self-defense.1

Certainly the encounter as described by the father gives a different impression of how the events transpired. The funny thing is, Zimmerman doesn't even match the portrayal of him given by the alternative media: He's not white, he's Hispanic. He's not right-wing but is a registered Democrat who even volunteered tutoring black kids on the weekend.

Now, I'm not saying the father's account is necessarily the true version but I know that we shouldn't rush to judgment. There's needs to be an investigation and hopefully the truth will come out. Of course, liberals have rushed to judgment.

All liberals can hear is that a white man shot an unarmed, black teenager. I keep hearing the “pithy” description that Martin was “armed only with a box of Skittles.” The outraged Al Sharpton is shouting, “Arrest Zimmerman now!” The New Black Panthers have issued a bounty on Zimmerman, “Dead or Alive.” And yes, the “No justice – no peace” mantra is starting to echo.

The mob is on the move. Liberal leaders are doing nothing about it. No, I take that back; they're doing plenty about it. They're fanning the flames. Rep. Bobby Rush wore a hoodie on the House floor saying that “racial profiling has got to stop.” I don't know that racial profiling has even occurred. President Obama, who, after the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords, asked that we tone down hateful rhetoric, has not said one word about the Black Panthers' bounty. However, he did lament that, if he had a son, he would “look like” Trayvon Martin. There are no calls from any Democrat, that I've heard, saying that we need to let the investigation take its course. Actually, I haven't heard too many Republicans speaking out about this either. I suspect many are kowtowing out of fear of the mob.

Liberal leaders like the mob. They use the mob to advance their agenda. They'll sit on their hands while the mob stews or even invent new slogans to feed to the mob. If a Rodney-King-like riot occurs (which is a real possibility), they'll feign condemnation in one breath, and in the next, will excuse the rioters by saying it's the result of their victimization. They won't seek justice against the rioters but will call for more sensitivity for the plight of blacks.

I hope I'm wrong and it doesn't go that far but I fear that it might. That's how the mob gets things done.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Are Christians or Creationists Less Intelligent?

Once in a while, liberal professors publish studies that suggest people who are religious or believe in creation (or simply believe in God) are less intelligent and less educated. Conversely, people who are more intelligent or better educated are more likely to be atheists and believe in evolution. Such studies are usually trumpeted with an “in your face” flourish and are accompanied by an endless litany of “here's proof that Christians/creationists are stupid” claims. Needless to say, this has been a constant source of frustration for me but not for the reason you might think. I'm frustrated that, while I'm willing to discuss these studies, my opponents who cite them often don't understand the issue beyond the headline of the article they are citing.

One commonly cited study states, “Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations” [2008]. From the study, we find the following statistics: “At this interview they [young adults] were asked: “To what extent are you a religious person?” The responses were coded “not religious at all”, “slightly religious”, “moderately religious”, and “very religious”. The results showed that the “not religious at all” group had the highest IQ (103.09), followed in descending order by the other three groups (IQs = 99.34, 98.28, 97.14).”

Here are some other statistics published by the reputable group, Gallup. In a 2010 survey, 47% of people with only a high school education or less believe “God created man in his present form within the last 10,000 years.” Only 22% of people with a postgraduate degree believed the same thing.

First, in spite of what critics say about me, I tend to take scientific research at face value. Of course, I may not always agree with the conclusions but the data is what it is. If Gallup conducted its survey appropriately, then people with more education are more likely to believe in evolution. If the 2008 study shows a slightly higher intelligence among people who claim to have “no religion at all,” then so be it. The first question I would ask is “why?” It's easy to arrive at a statistic. For example, I might survey 1,000 US families and discover that 99% of kids born to English speaking parents also speak English themselves. Therefore, speaking English is obviously an inherited trait! You can see how that doesn't quite work. Even though my statistic might be accurate, I'm still wrong with the “why” part. Likewise, the statistics surrounding intelligence and faith might be accurate but they don't establish a definitive “why?”

Why then might people who are better educated tend to believe in evolution? One very obvious reason is that most colleges teach evolution. This is kind of a, “duh!” solution. Also considering that many, practicing scientists hold postgraduate degrees, we can be certain these people were told that an understanding of evolution was essential to their discipline. It's no wonder then that people with advanced degrees tend to believe evolution is true. And consider this: how many people who graduate from, say, Liberty University believe in creation? I would predict it's much higher than the percentage of people believing in creation who graduated from secular colleges.

But what about the idea that atheists tend to be more intelligent than believers? First, the study above didn't exactly examine the IQ of atheists but rather of people who identified themselves as “not religious.” These aren't the same things. Even so, the difference of 103 for “not religious” compared to 97 for “very religious” doesn't alarm me. I haven't put a pencil to it but, from what I remember from my business stats class in college, I suspect it's less than one standard deviation from mean (100). Given also that the Gallup poll shows only 7% of the population doesn't believe in God, the sampling of atheists might be too small to be representative of the whole. Besides, the study itself shows that IQ is not an absolute indicator anyway. According to the Appendix A, the average IQ in the US is 98 where 10.5% of people do not believe in God. In the Czech Republic, 61% of the people don't believe in God yet their average IQ is the same as ours. In China, 12% of the population say there's no God (only slightly higher than our 10.5%) yet their average IQ is 105. Atheism is much higher in Cuba (40%) yet their average IQ (85) is markedly less than ours.

There's another interesting stat from the Gallup survey that I seldom hear cited. The percentage of postgraduates who believe “humans evolved, God had no part in the process” is only slightly higher than postgraduates who believe in special creation (25% v. 22%). 49% of postgraduates believe “humans evolved, God guided process.” So, postgraduates are far more likely to believe in some type of creation (special creation or theistic evolution) than believe in atheistic evolution.

Concerning a belief in God, another Gallup poll says that 92% of people with a high school education or less believe in God. Of those with a postgraduate degree, almost as many (87%) said they also believe in God.  Only 7% of the general population does not believe in God (with 1% having no opinion). Therefore, even the most educated people are far more likely to believe in God than be atheists.  Atheism can at best be described as a fringe belief.

In comparing intelligence and religion, there are a lot of other factors at work.  For example, I suspect that intelligent people are also more likely to go to college and thus become indoctrinated in evolution and liberal ideology.  Wouldn't that skew the stats toward higher intelligence among atheists?  Also, there's possibly an increased skepticism that also comes with higher intelligence meaning that more intelligent people are also more likely to doubt anything supernatural. Finally, there may be a vanity thing going on where intelligent people simply put more faith in human understanding than dependency on any god.

In conclusion, there are a few logical fallacies involved in raising arguments like this but it is sufficient to say that it's a classic example of dicto simpliciter (sweeping generalization). Just to be clear, I haven't cited these statistics in order to show that atheism isn't true on the grounds that it's a fringe philosophy. Rather, I raise them to rebut the sweeping generalization that any person who believes in God or creation is necessarily less intelligent and less educated. I would say that people who make that claim are, in reality, demonstrating their own ignorance!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's Now A Crime to Tease Someone

I was a little surprised to hear the verdict in the “webcam spying” case. Actually, I wasn't surprised; it's more like concerned. According to, Former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi was found guilty of invasion of privacy and bias intimidation Friday in a webcam spying case that focused national attention on the harassment of gay teenagers.” [bold added]  It's the “bias intimidation” part that really scares me.

From what I understand about the case, the 20-year-old defendant had witnessed, via his webcam, his gay roommate kissing another man. He tweeted about it and jokingly said he would invite others to view the next encounter. In spite of some early rumors surrounding the case, no videos of the act were made and certainly nothing was posted on YouTube. The gay roommate, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide, allegedly out of humiliation over the incident.

From the article, a gay-activist attorney said of the verdict, “The verdict today demonstrates that the jurors understood that bias crimes do not require physical weapons like a knife in one's hands.” Really? I don't think the jurors understood very much at all. The article cites one law professor as saying, “The jury appeared to find that Ravi's intentions were not out of hatred or bias but the jurors believed Tyler Clementi perceived them as such.”

Let's set aside the “invasion of privacy” charge for a moment. What exactly is bias intimidation? From this verdict, it doesn't need to be a threat or even need to be intended to intimidate. It simply has to be perceived as intimidating. Remember, we're not talking about the KKK burning a cross in the front yard of a black family. In a case like that, there is overt intimidation and the possibility of violence is very real. In this case, no one threatened the gay student. They merely teased him. More precisely, they didn't even tease him – some people joked about him online. There was never any threat of violence. The “victim” wasn't scared; he was humiliated.

Is this really the precedent we want to set? If you make a joke about someone – never intending to harm him – you could still go to jail? Are gay people so thin skinned that we need to arrest people who are perceived as “insensitive”?

Let's apply this same standard to another demographic. Should we arrest people who make jokes about blacks? Some liberals would say yes so that doesn't work. Let me think... what other group might we use? What about... oh, I don't know... let's say, Christians. If someone makes insensitive remarks about Christians, is it a hate crime?

Let's suppose for a moment, that some atheist blogger wrote a scathing piece about Ken Ham and said hateful things like, Millions of people, including some of the most knowledgeable biologists in the world, think just about every day that you are an airhead, an ass, a birdbrain, a blockhead, a bonehead, a boob, a bozo, a charlatan, a cheat, a chowderhead, a chump, a clod, a con artist, a crackpot, a crank, a crazy, a cretin, a dimwit, a dingbat, a dingleberry, a dipstick, a ditz, a dolt, a doofus, a dork, a dum-dum, a dumb-ass, a dumbo, a dummy, a dunce, a dunderhead, a fake, a fathead, a fraud, a fruitcake, a gonif, a halfwit, an idiot, an ignoramus, an imbecile, a jackass, a jerk, a jughead, a knucklehead, a kook, a lamebrain, a loon, a loony, a lummox, a meatball, a meathead, a moron, a mountebank, a nincompoop, a ninny, a nitwit, a numbnuts, a numbskull, a nut, a nutcase, a peabrain, a pinhead, a racketeer, a sap, a scam artist, a screwball, a sham, a simpleton, a snake oil salesman, a thickhead, a turkey, a twerp, a twit, a wacko, a woodenhead, and much, much worse.”

Oh, wait a minute, PZ Myers did write that about Ken Ham on his blog. So, is this “bias intimidation”? Isn't Ken Ham being ridiculed because of his religious beliefs? Myers may not be intending to intimidate Ham but, according to this new standard, there need not be any threat of violence. Mr. Ham only needs to feel humiliated. If Mr. Ham, in a fit of depression and humiliation, should jump off the Brent Spence bridge, PZ Myers would probably cheer. No liberal would think for a minute that Myers should face 10 years in jail for his blatant assault on Ham's religious beliefs.

Isn't a person's religious views protected from hate speech or is protection only reserved for a person's sexual orientation? For the record, though, I believe the whole notion of “hate speech” or “hate crimes” is misguided. We already have laws protecting people against violence. What need is there to protect them against ridicule? Sticks and stones, as they say. If I cried “hate speech” every time someone tried to shame me for my religious beliefs, half the cyber-world would be under arrest.

Once again there is a glaring, double-standard in the liberals' application of “rights.” They're not interested in equal treatment of everyone. Tease a gay, go to jail. Ridicule a Christian day after day for years, win the adoration of millions of liberals everywhere. Have I mentioned before that liberals are hypocrites?

Friday, March 16, 2012

What's Not Being Said About Rush Limbaugh's Comments

We've all heard about Rush's remarks concerning law student, Sandra Fluke, who testified before congress. We've all heard about Obama's call to Ms. Fluke, offering his condolences for Rush's remarks. We've all heard Nancy Pelosi's seeming outrage and her comment that Rush should be “advertiseless.” We've all heard Sean Hannity and other conservatives correctly identify the double standard of Democrats who condemn Rush's remarks but have no comment about the hateful things liberals say about conservative women. Well, here's something you probably haven't heard:

I'm a firm believer in free speech. Rush's remarks, though they may be offensive, are his opinions and he has the liberty to speak them. Of course, since Rush broadcasts over publicly licensed radio signals, there are certain words he's not allowed to use. Beyond that, he can speak his mind no matter how extreme his views may be.

Like Rush, Bill Maher is free to speak his mind. Unlike Rush, however, Bill Maher broadcasts over cable television so he can even use 4-letter words which Rush can't (and he uses them frequently). Compared to Maher's comments about women, Rush's use of words like “slut” and “prostitute” are somewhat tame. Even so, Rush Limbaugh's and Bill Maher's comments are both protected by the First Amendment.

Not only are Rush and Bill free to speak their views, but we who listen to them are also free to condemn them. Some people have called for a boycott of Rush. Some people are canceling their HBO subscriptions because of Bill. The people who are upset with Rush or Bill and are reaching out to sponsors are simply exercising their free speech. When someone like Rush or Bill speaks his mind, he might persuade or repulse others. Listeners will either affirm or condemn their remarks. This is the marketplace of ideas. This is liberty.

What I see wrong in this whole affair is the condemnation of Rush made by elected, public officials. The First Amendment specifically protects the political speech of private individuals from the government! If President Obama uses the bully-pulpit of his office to shame Rush, he is using the power of the Presidency to infringe on the Rush's free speech. When Nancy Pelosi suggests that advertisers should drop Rush, she too is infringing on his First Amendment rights.

The left in notorious for their war on liberty. They don't care that Rush has free speech; they want to silence him. Neither do they care that their radical views on contraception (which inspired Rush's comments) violates people's freedom of religion. And while we're at it, what about their continuous maligning of FOX News? Have they noticed the First Amendment also protects the freedom of the press?

And let's be clear about something: these liberals aren't really offended by Rush's remarks; we know this because they say not one word about Maher's much worse misogynistic remarks. They are specifically interested in squelching Rush's political speech.

So let's sum up: private individuals are free to make offensive remarks. Other private individuals are free to embrace or reject those remarks. We can call on other people to boycott talk shows when the host says something we don't like. We can even boycott companies that decide to drop advertising on talk shows that we do like. We can say and do all these things and elected officials should not be able to use the sway of their office to influence our private discourse because our rights are protected by the First Amendment.

They do use their political sway, though. Fortunately, I have a blog and intend to exercise my right to speak out about the shameful tactics of these enemies of liberty.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Oil and Obama's Bad Math

My economics teacher in college once said, “The lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math.” I'm fairly sure he was quoting someone else but the point was well made and I've used the same quote many times myself. Lately, however, I sometimes I wonder if liberals count on people being bad in math when they spout their rhetoric. Democrats use figures that are so misleading they have to be relying on their audience not being sophisticated enough to figure it out. Alternatively, maybe they themselves don't understand the bad math and are simply repeating an argument they don't understand.

Last week, Obama made the following remarks in a speech at the Daimler Truck Manufacturing Plant in Mt. Holly, NC:

As a country that has 2 percent of the world's oil reserves, but uses 20 percent of the world's oil -- I'm going to repeat that -- we've got 2 percent of the world oil reserves; we use 20 percent. What that means is, as much as we're doing to increase oil production, we're not going to be able to just drill our way out of the problem of high gas prices. Anybody who tells you otherwise either doesn’t know what they’re talking about or they aren’t telling you the truth.”

He has since quoted the same statistic many times in various venues. Occasionally, he includes ridicule of Sarah Palin's slogan, “Drill, baby, drill” from the last Presidential election and each time he repeats the lie, he is usually met with frenzied approval. The obvious, intended impression is that our consumption far outstrips the puny amount of oil we have so drilling more won't decrease our dependence on foreign supplies.

Here's the truth: According to an extensive geological survey conducted in 2000, there are approximately 3 trillion barrels of oil underground all around the world. If President Obama is correct that 2% of that is located in the US, that means there are 60,000,000,000 (60 billion) barrels of oil that is ours for the drilling.

The President also said the US consumes 20% of all the oil produced each year. In 2009, the US oil consumption was just under 19,000 barrels of oil per day (source). Now, I'm not a math wizard but I do have a calculator on my computer. At our current rate of consumption, the US has enough oil underground to meet our demand for the next 8,600 years!! Even if we were to double or triple our consumption of oil, we shouldn't have to worry about running out. There's plenty.

Here's another thing I learned in economics, where there is a greater supply of something, prices go down. If we increase oil production here, prices will drop. I guarantee it. Obama, on the other hand, doesn't seem concerned with increased domestic oil production. No doubt this is due to his affinities toward environmentalism. His strategy thus far to reduce our dependence on foreign oil seems to be 1) don't drill in Alaska, 2) ban off shore drilling, 3) kill the Keystone pipeline from Canada, and 4) suck up to oil producing despots in the Middle East. The result of his 4 pronged approach is that gas prices have doubled during his term in office.

Now, I don't want to over simply this. Even though there's a lot of oil in the ground, there's a lot involved with getting it out of ground and getting it refined. That costs money and companies have to be sure there will be a profit in it for them before spending billions of dollars. They need to be certain of the President's and Congress's commitment to a several-years-long undertaking.

Obama claims to not want higher gas prices, but every move he has made during his presidency seems geared toward doing just that. We feel the effect of his failed (successful?) strategy in our wallets every time we gas up.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Agnostic Owns Atheist

I came across this video while browsing YouTube. An atheist, radio talk show host is interviewing agnostic, liberal scholar, Bart Ehrman when the subject of the existence of Jesus comes up. The host (who's name I don't have but his subtitle calls him, “the Infidel Guy”) makes a usual atheist claim that we really have no evidence that Jesus ever lived. He doesn't get the response he expected.

Ehrman answers, “I don't think there's any serious historian who doubts the existence of Jesus.” You can tell the Infidel Guy is taken aback and begins to challenge Ehrman but we quickly see he is way out of his league.

Infidel Guy first tries to say that there were many people identified as Jesus. Ehrman explained that there was only one Jesus but it was his belief that different “portraits” of Jesus rose in different parts of the Roman Empire. Hence, we have different gospels that emphasize different things. Infidel Guy next asserts that we don't really have any “hardcore” evidence for Jesus. Ehrman disagreed and rebutted by asking, “What hardcore evidence is there that Julius Caesar existed?”

The Infidel Guy entire argument consisted only of bald assertion after bald assertion. Each point he made was struck down by the historian. At one point, Erhman said to him, “If you say that historical evidence doesn't count, then I think you get into huge trouble because then how do you... I mean, why not just deny the holocaust. Or why not deny that Abraham Lincoln lived?” At another point, he makes the bold claim that “We have more evidence for Jesus than we have for almost anybody from his time period.”

Ehrman later goes on to affirm the historicity of Paul's writings – specifically his letter to the Galatians. He comments that he doesn't know a single historian who doubts Paul's authorship of Galatians. It's funny to hear. Ehrman, who reminds the host on at least 3 occasions that he's not a believer, sounds like a Christian apologist. He remains civil the entire time but I can detect a certain amount of frustration Ehrman has with Infidel Guy's empty assertions. I certainly can empathize with him.

The video is 7:19 long but I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Christians have been saying many of these same things for years. The historical writings handed down by contemporaries of Jesus are EVIDENCE about the things He said and did. Critics, though, are very arbitrary about which evidence they'll consider.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pragmatism is No Substitute for the Truth

The failed philosophical assumptions behind atheism and secular science, I believe, will be its undoing. The irrational worldview of naturalism cannot stand up to scrutiny as I've discussed many times on my blog before. The more I discuss it with critics, the more irrational they become. I can't say I'm surprised at the lengths people go to justify a position that makes no sense because that's what irrational people do; but I am impressed by their persistence. They just won't let their failed argument go – even when they see the absurdity of their beliefs.

Several months back, I was speaking in another forum about the fundamental “tenet” behind science – methodological naturalism. As usual, I was asking for scientific evidence to support the belief that every phenomenon must have a natural explanation and was hearing the usual non-responses. In frustration, one poster (who seems to post under his real name so I won't give it here) replied with the following quote:

I'll be brief. Science works. That's all the justification it needs. ¶Oh, and it's a great shame to see an obviously intelligent man going to such torturous lengths to try and support the unsupportable.

By “intelligent man” I assume he meant me but I couldn't be sure because his statement seems to work equally well when applied to himself. I'm also a little confused about his comment that “science works.” My question wasn't about science but about the naturalistic presuppositions that underlie science. I believe he meant to say, “[the methodological naturalism that underlies] science works. That's all the justification it needs.”

Anyway, this has become a typical response to my criticism of methodological naturalism. “Naturalism works so it's fine.” The technical term for this attitude is “pragmatism.” Basically, in pragmatism, practicality is used to measure the “rightness” of something. If something works, it is accepted as “correct.” The danger is that, even if something seems to work, it can still be very wrong.

When my son was younger, he was a little afraid of the dark. He would always sleep with the lights on. Perhaps in his young mind, turning on the lights kept the monsters away. Since no monster ever came into his room when the lights were on, then keeping the lights on to scare away the monsters worked. What other justification do we need?!

That was basically the reply I made to the evo critic. In typical, irrational fashion, he replied with the following remark:

You're a bright enough guy. Can you think of a way of testing the truth or otherwise of the idea that turning on the lights keeps the monsters away?

I thought it was rather amusing that this critic, on the one hand, says science (that is methodological naturalism) works and so doesn't need to be justified but, on the other hand, he immediately seeks a way to test my claim about lights keeping away the monsters. The fact that it seems to work isn't enough for him. It's a blatant case of special pleading. He doesn't see the need to justify his assumptions but asks me to provide evidence for mine.

Another funny thing about a natural-only approach to science is the circular nature of it. Many evolutionists have said the evidence does not support a super natural creation. In other words, if one starts with the assumption that every phenomenon has a natural explanation, then he will see that every phenomenon has a natural explanation.

This critic could see how pragmatism is a flawed test for discerning truth. The sad reality is that he couldn't see the similarity between my example and his own worldview. Circular reasoning, special pleading, and a self-refuting premise – it's all there. Evolutionists always fail to disappoint. I expect bad arguments and they deliver bad arguments. It would be nice, though, if they could see how silly they're being just a little more often.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

David and Goliath Like You Haven't Seen It

I was turned on to the band, Apologetix, when Cowboy Bob posted one of their videos on his blog, Stormbringer's Thunder. I've since watched several of their videos on YouTube. Their schtick is to parody popular songs with Biblical lyrics. Here are some examples of their clever songs:

A parody of an Eagle's song that talks about Mary and Joseph being turned away at the inn: “The Hotel Can't Afford Ya.”

A parody of a Boston song that talks about the redeeming power of Jesus' sacrifice: “More than a Healing.”

A parody of a Simon and Garfunkle song that talks about the missionary works of Paul in the book of Acts: “The Sound of Silas.”

One video has been especially popular On YouTube. Many people have posted dramatizations of their parody of Queen's song, “The Bohemian Rhapsody” that talks about the shepherd boy, David, fighting the giant, Goliath. David, of course, was from Bethlehem and the song is “The Bethlehemian Rhapsody.”

All of the videos are a little campy but here's one that I found entertaining.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Marco Polo Describes a Dinosaur

The standard evolutionary argument is that dinosaurs are spearated from modern humans by a span of about 60 million years. If that were true, we could predict that no modern human has ever seen a dinosaur. Opponents of Christianity have even used this as a criticism of the Bible; you may have heard critics say something like, “If people and dinosaurs lived together, why doesn't the Bible mention dinosaurs?” The fact of the matter is the Bible does describe animals that resemble dinosaurs – though it doesn't use the word “dinosaur,” which is a term coined relatively recently. The Bible, for example, frequently uses the term, “dragons,” which some have proposed is a reference to dinosaurs.

Besides the Bible, other books of antiquity have made references to dragons. Pliny the Elder was a naturalist who wrote about many animals, most of which are rather mundane. However, in several places, he refers to “dragons” and describes them as enormous creatures who can actually fight (and usually kill) elephants! From Pliny's description of dragons though, I suspect he is actually describing very large snakes – perhaps as long as 120' in length (which is still very impressive).

There are many other historical references which I've read over the years. However, I came across still another account that was very interesting. It is from The Travels of Marco Polo the Venetian:

Leaving the city of Yacho, and travelling ten days in a westerly direction, you reach the province of Karazan, which is also the name of its chief city.... Here are seen huge serpents, ten paces in length, and ten spans in the girt of its body. At the fore part, near the head, they have two short legs, having three claws like those of a tiger, with eyes larger than a fourpenny loaf (pane da quattro denari) and very glaring. The jaws are wide enough to swallow a man, the teeth are large and sharp, and their whole appearance is so formidable, that neither man, nor any kind of animal, can approach them without terror.

I was struck by the great care with which the author describes this creature: It is “10 paces in length” (30 feet) and “10 spans in the girt of the body” (about 7 feet thick, assuming a “span” is 8 inches). Though it doesn't say specifically that the creature has four legs, it does describe the forelimbs as being “short” and having “three claws.” When you throw in jaws “wide enough to swallow a man,” it sure sounds to me like a good description of a large, bipedal dinosaur.

Of course, others will reject my opinion. I would direct your attention to the editor's footnotes where he says, “This distorted account of an alligator or crocodile is less creditable to our author's fidelity than any other of his natural history descriptions.” In other words, “Polo is usually pretty good at describing animals but he really blew it when describing this alligator.” Maybe the account isn't distorted at all. Maybe it's a good description of a dinosaur. Given the fact that the animal is further described as lurking in caverns during the day, hunting terrestrial animals, and then having to go to the river to drink, it's certainly not a crocodile. It's also rather silly to suppose that Marco Polo, an ocean voyager and naturalist extraordinaire, wasn't familiar enough with crocodiles to describe them accurately.

Another interesting item gleaned from this account is how Polo describes the way these terrifying beasts were hunted.

By their motion in this way along the shore, and their vast weight, they make a deep depression, as if a heavy beam had been drawn along the sands. Those whose employment is to hunt them observe the track by which they are most frequently accustomed to go, and fix into the ground several pieces of wood armed with sharp iron spikes, which they cover with the sand in such a manner as not to be perceptible. When therefore the animals make their way towards the places they usually haunt, they are wounded by these instruments, and speedily killed.

Another criticism often used against creation is that if men and dinos lived together, then dinosaurs would eat the people. That's a laugh. Humans are the top predators on the planet and I have said before that, when humans and dinos interact, it's the dinos who get killed. Here we seen another example of human cunning. A 30 foot long animal with sharp teeth and jaws big enough to swallow a man is still no match for human intelligence.

Now, in all fairness, if modern humans saw a dinosaur, it's not “proof” against evolution. Even if a living dinosaur were found today, it wouldn't necessarily disprove evolution. But it doesn't help it either. The world is what it is and theories are attempts to describe it. The Bible says land animals (which would include dinosaurs) and man are contemporaries. The theory of evolution says dinosaurs became extinct millions of years before humans appeared. When we have accounts that seem to describe dinosaurs and people living together, it comports much better with the Bible.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rights Belong to Individuals

In my last post, I talked about how Obama-care has mandated employers to provide things like contraceptives and other services which might conflict with the employers' religious beliefs. In an effort to defend this dangerous idea, liberals have raised many weak arguments. One example of a weak argument is the idea that, since pregnancies and babies are expensive, paying for contraceptives actually reduces the overall cost of health care.

The wisdom of this argument (if any) rests on the premise that it's better to sacrifice individual liberties for the betterment of society as a whole. In this case, by forcing employers to pay for contraceptives, everyone enjoys lower health care costs. This same argument has been used for years regarding seat belt laws: since seat belts saves lives and reduce injuries, forcing individuals to wear seat belts reduces health care costs to society.

First, let me ask: Is this really the precedent liberals want to set? Do they really want the benefit to society to be greater than the rights of the individual? In this case, they probably do which is why they raise the argument. However, this opens the door to tyranny. According to this logic, what would stop congress from passing a law mandating that everyone use contraceptives? Some might say, “Well, congress wouldn't do that” but the question still remains if congress has the power to do it. If we buy into the argument that congress can decide what's best for society – even at the cost of individual liberty – then yes, we've given them the power to do it!

In case there are liberals who still don't see the danger, let me ask this: what happens if next year, congress decides there aren't enough babies being born?  For the good of society, congress decides that no women may use contraceptives.  If the benefit to society is the objective, then what argument will liberals use then?

Second, there's a glaring flaw in the liberals' arguments: You see, the very notion that society incurs a cost for individuals' health care decisions stems from the liberal idea that society should pay the costs individuals' health care. Here's a suggestion: if someone makes a poor decision, let him suffer the consequences of it. When people don't have any consequences for bad decisions, it's a license to sin.

Since we've been talking about contraceptives, let's talk about a related issue – out of wedlock births. Today, more than half of all births to women under 30 are out of wedlock. In almost every area examined, children born to unwed mothers suffer for it. They are more likely to live in poverty, to drop out of school, and to commit crimes. What is the liberal solution to the problem? It's to give money to women who have children out of wedlock! Unmarried mothers often get food stamps, free health care (Medicaid), rent subsidies, daycare subsidies, etc. What if they have still another child? Why, they get more money, of course! Here's the weirdest part – if the women consider marrying the fathers of their children, they understand they will likely loose their government benefits. So women have babies and get benefits – they marry and loose benefits. By the way, with contraceptives so readily available, why is the illegitimacy rate so high anyway? Given the fact that illegitimacy rates are so high, do you think that at least some women might have an incentive to make bad decisions?

Consider the alternative. What if women who have children don't receive more government benefits but are simply burdened with another mouth to feed? What if they knew they would be saddled with higher and higher daycare costs for every child they have (while they have to work two or three jobs to pay for it)? If a woman knew how much of a burden a child would be, might she make better decisions about birth control or premarital sex?

Compelling all people to share the burden of those few who make bad decisions is another road to tyranny. When individuals have no consequence for making bad decisions, they have no incentive to make better decisions. This leads to higher and higher costs for the rest of us. It's the exact opposite of what liberals are trying to argue now. There is no savings. If something seems “free,” then more people will abuse it which leads to higher costs. If women believe they can have children with no consequence, then the overall cost to society is greater: higher poverty, higher taxes, higher crime, higher dropout rates, and higher everything.

Rights belong to individuals. So do responsibilities. When the government tries to protect the rights of society at the expense of the rights of the individual, it's not liberty. It's despotism.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Who Has the Biggest Right?

It's not unusual for liberals to lie but the lies... I mean “political spin”... surrounding the contraception controversy are getting a little more whopping than usual. On the DHHS website, Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, This proposal [the Blunt Amendment] isn't limited to contraception nor is it limited to any preventive service. Any employer could restrict access to any service they say they object to. This is dangerous and wrong” (bold added for emphasis). Nancy Pelosi has said the Blunt Amendment is, “part of the Republican agenda of disrespecting women’s health issues [by] allowing employers to cut … basic health services for women, like contraception, mammograms, prenatal and cervical-cancer screenings and preventive health reform benefiting 20 million women” (bold added for emphasis).

Lie, lie, lie. The impression given by these statements is that Republicans want to take away women's access to birth control or any other “health care” service they might want to deny on a whim. It's a bold misrepresentation. No one is denying or even discussing denying women access to any health service. The only question being raised is, “who has to pay for it?”

The controversy was raised when Catholics began to publicly and strongly object to the DHHS guidelines that mandated Catholic employers like churches, hospitals, charities, and colleges, to provide contraception to their female employees as part of their employer-provided health insurance plans. The Catholic church objects to the use of contraceptives and said forcing them to pay for contraception for its female employees violates their freedom of religion.

What part of the First Amendment is ambiguous? Let me remind everyone what the Bill of Rights says: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The Catholic Church has long objected to the use of contraceptives. To suddenly mandate the Church to pay for contraceptives for its female employees clearly places a prohibition on their free exercise of this long standing belief.

But liberals see it differently. They believe other rights exists – like a right to “health care.” Now, I've read the Constitution but I can't quote it from memory so I've done a word search on the Constitution. Curiously, the words, “right to health care” aren't found anywhere. By the way, neither could I find a “right to privacy.” If these rights exist, they aren't enumerated the way our freedom to religion is. At best, they are implied.

Let's assume, for a moment, that there is a right to health care. Who has the bigger right? Does the implied right to healthcare somehow trump my enumerated right to exercise my religion? Why must it?

Of course, that's not good enough for liberals. If someone has a right to health care, they believe that means they're guaranteed health care. OK, let's apply that same logic to the right to bear arms. Consider this analogy: The right to own a gun is enumerated in the Constitution. Have you ever bought a gun? A nice gun isn't cheap. A 9mm handgun could set you back about $400.00. Are only rich people allowed to exercise the right to own a gun? How can poor people like me afford $400 to buy a gun? Since I have the right to own a gun, what I need is for my employer to buy me one.

Here's a twist: what if I worked for Rosie O'Donnell? From what I've heard, Rosie O'Donnell doesn't believe people should have the right to carry guns (except for her bodyguards). That doesn't matter, though. I have the right to own a gun and, according to liberal logic, Rosie must buy me one no matter what her own conscientious objection might be.

Somehow I don't think liberals would go for the idea of compelling employers to buy guns for their employees. But they can't see the similarity in that and forcing employers to provide contraceptives for their employees.

Rights” are not entitlements nor guarantees. The idea that the government can compel one person to act against his conscience in order to guarantee the right of another is anathema to liberty. The dangers that surround this issue are many and I intend to spend a couple of more posts talking about them. For now though, let me just say that a woman's “right” to birth control is no more sacred than my right to exercise my faith. Here's an idea: I will practice my religion and you buy your own contraceptives!