googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: October 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015

Can Darwinian evolution produce a healthy society?

Evolution is amoral. If nature is all there is, then there is really no such things as good or evil. One man killing another is really no different than a lion hunting a zebra or an apple falling from a tree. They are all just descriptions of things that happen without an interest if they're right or wrong. Of course, we recoil at comparing murder to an apple falling from a tree. We know, almost instinctively, that murder is “wrong.”

It's this built-in sense of knowing some things are always wrong which suggests that maybe nature really isn't all there is. Maybe there's an absolute standard of what is right – a transcendent truth that trumps any individual's opinion. Where might this universal standard be? Some might suggest that our sense of morality comes from community. It's a collective agreement on what works best for society as a whole. Everyone is better off if people don't kill, steal, and cheat.

When we start looking to societal norms as “right,” we still cannot find solid grounds to identify any particular behavior as wrong. Most people consider slavery to be wrong. However, slavery was allowed in the US for 400 years – from the time of the early settlers to the time it was a flourishing, world power. How can we objectively say that we're right now and they were wrong then? When the Nazis were being tried after WWII, most of them claimed that their war “crimes” were legal in their society. Again, who are we to say that another people in another place are wrong and we're right? The bottom line is that if there is no immutable law that transcends human opinion, then might makes right. There are no, inalienable, God-given rights. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are only privileges the state lets us have.

I was on YouTube the other day and I was watching a debate between an evolutionist (David Silverman) and a creationist (John Rankin). Most debates of this kind focus on the evidence for or against the respective theories. However, this particular debate discussed the question, “Can Darwinian evolution produce a healthy society?” As usual, Silverman, the evolutionist argued that our moral values are basically evolved instincts to do what is best for the community. Blah, blah, blah. I've blogged about these types of comments before.

To his credit, though, Silverman was a little more candid about the idea that there is no ultimate right or wrong according to evolution. His opinion was basically, “whatever works is right.” But the most intriguing thing he said was that it is the very idea of “absolute truth” that is harmful to society! According to him, it's the religious zealots, the ones who think they know God's truth, who will strap bombs to themselves or fly planes into buildings. His is a clever tactic. Well, maybe not clever but certainly novel. He says on one hand that whatever provides the most benefit to the most people is “good” but believing there is a such thing as objective good is “bad.” Incredible!

I see a couple of flaws in his approach. Obviously, it contradicts itself. After all, how can he seriously say in one breath that there is ultimately no objective right or wrong, then in the next breath say that believing in an objective moral standard is “wrong”?

But the thing that really struck me is a point that seems to have completely escaped Silverman. His claim is that our sense of morality is an evolved trait that instinctively drives us to act in a way that's best for society overall. He further claims that religious dogmatism works against the best interest of society. What Silverman completely overlooks is that, if evolution were true, then our seeming irresistible urge to believe in a divine being is also an evolved trait. The overwhelming majority of people in the world today – indeed, the majority of people who have ever lived – all believe in some deity. So then, if evolution is true, there must be some sort of survival benefit to believing in God (or at least a god or gods)!

Once again we see the case of a flawed world view unable to measure up to its own standards. If our sense of right and wrong is an evolved trait, then our belief in God, another evolved trait, is instinctively right. Since the majority of people believe, then belief seems to be the preferred trait. Therefore, unbelief – aka, atheism – is morally “wrong.”

What we have is a paradox; if Silverman is right, then he's wrong.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Why are there gun free zones?

An Oregon college campus was the site of another mass shooting. Nine innocent victims were killed before the deranged shooter took his own life. Before nearly any facts behind the shooting were known, the President was already on the air calling for more gun control laws. Since we knew hardly anything about the shooting, how could the President know that any gun law he was suggesting would have done anything to prevent the shooting? He couldn't have known, obviously. He was merely exploiting the tragedy to push his agenda. Shame on him. However, we did know one thing about the shooting almost immediately – it happened in a “gun free zone.”

I saw this meme on FaceBook the other day. We defend the President with guns. Celebrities defend themselves with guns. When money is delivered to my office, I've noticed the armored car courier carries a gun. Why then do we “protect” our most precious treasure, our children, with signs that say, “This is a Gun Free Zone”? It seems counter intuitive that if guns can help protect the President from harm, that they couldn't also help protect children. Why then do some people still want gun free zones – especially in the case of protecting the children?

Not being able to completely understand the insane logic known as, “liberalism,” I did an internet search, trying to find out why people think gun free zones are a good idea and found a lot of rhetoric rebutting criticisms of the concept. Here are some of the “facts” being presented by defenders of gun free zones: I took these quotes from one source, but I've found the same points being made by many people so I'm considering them to be representative.

Mass shooters are completely unconcerned about whether or not an area is a “Gun-Free Zone.” A study conducted by Mother Jones found that, in 62 mass shootings over 32 years, there were exactly zero instances of a killer targeting a place because of a gun ban.

OK, that's interesting. I've read some criticisms of the Mother Jones study but let's assume this point is true. Even if mass shooters never target any place because he thinks unarmed people are softer targets, how is that an argument for gun free zones?

Furthermore, thirty-six mass shooters in the Mother Jones study committed suicide at or near the crime-scene, and 7 more committed ‘suicide-by-cop’ by engaging in a knowingly unwinnable shootout with police. This is not the sort of behavior that suggests that mass shooters are deterred by the prospect of gun-imposed security.

Hmmm. It also shows the shooter is not deterred by a sign that says, “this is a gun free zone.

Instead of guns deterring crime, not one of the 62 mass shootings surveyed was ended by an armed civilian

I'd laugh if it weren't so tragic. If law abiding citizens are observing the “gun free zone” restriction, it's not surprising that there weren't any around to prevent or stop the shooting once it started.

Also, does this study take into account those times when guns are used to stop crimes? There is the case, for example, where an armed, “resource officer,” Carolyn Gudger, confronted a gunman at Sullivan High school, Blountville, TN, and held him at bay until deputies arrived. The gunman was killed in a shootout with the police. Since no students were harmed, this incident didn't qualify as a mass shooting. However, it is certainly a case where an armed civilian very possibly stopped a massacre. I might post some videos sometime of showing guns being used by civilians to stop criminals. It happens all the time.

Despite the fact that one-third of our nation’s schools have armed guards or officers, there is no evidence that these measures have deterred or de-escalated mass shootings.

I believe the Gudger incident I cited above is one example where an armed guard deterred a mass shooting. Maybe there are more. But let's again assume armed guards do not deter mass shootings. We can still see clearly that neither are mass shooters deterred by gun free zones! At least if there are armed guards present, there is someone on hand to stop a shooting spree once it's started. That's not the case in a gun free zone.

As I read article after article defending gun free zones, what I mostly saw were weak rebuttals to the criticisms of them. I found very little arguments as to why we should have them in the first place. The article where I found the quotes above only had this to say in favor of gun free zones:

While there is little evidence to validate the efficacy of armed guards or officers, there is a plethora of research showing that a large armed presence on school grounds institutionalizes the early criminalization of Black and Latino males. Armed officers at schools are quick to make arrests and write tickets, fast-tracking these students into the criminal justice system, rather than college, having an overall negative effect on net educational outcomes.

Am I reading that right? Does it really say that if we have armed guards in schools then blacks and Latinos are more likely to become criminals? But then again, liberals are racists so it shouldn't surprise me that they would think if a security guard arrests a student, it must be a black student.

The more common argument made in defense of gun free zones is the possibility of accidental shootings. The cartoon I reprinted from the Armed With Reason article paints a straw man image of students walking around with rifles and lunch boxes. You do realize we're not talking about having students carrying guns, right? Now, I concede that it is a reality that the mere presence of a gun comes with the risk of accidental injury. After all, it's impossible to accidentally discharge a gun if there is no gun present. But apparently the President isn't so worried about that possibility that he won't protect himself with armed guards.  And by the way, how is it that celebrities and the President think they should protected with armed guards but don't think “the masses” have the same right?  We as parents in local school districts should be the ones to weigh the risks and make the final decision on how to protect our children.  If Rosie O'Donnell wants to protect herself with armed, security guards, I demand we have the right to make that same choice to protect our children.

So what's left then? Why are liberals so bent on imposing gun free zones? I have a theory: I think liberals would really like to have all of the US become a gun free zone where only the aristocracy (liberal politicians, celebrities, and the mega-wealthy like Warren Buffet) have guns and “the people” are unarmed. I believe that they think if students are raised in a gun free environment, they will be less likely to protest tighter gun restrictions in the future. I sincerely believe that gun free zones aren't intended to make kids safer but are all about controlling us. It's always about control with liberals.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Liberals are also lazy

One of the reasons more people don't turn away from liberalism is that they're just plain lazy. They're too lazy to expend any effort looking into an issue beyond a 30 second sound bite they hear on the radio between pop tunes. I'll give you a case in point.

Liberals have run for cover in light of the damning videos taken of Planned Parenthood executives and employees brokering deals to sell aborted baby parts. Their first response was a blanket denial but that turned out to be fruitless since people could watch the videos for themselves and see Planned Parenthood officials, like Dr. Mary Gatter, literally haggling over the price per “specimen.” The most recent tactic is to dismiss the videos as “doctored” and “heavily edited.”

A YouTube channel by a group called, The Young Turks, posted its own video “debunking” the controversial videos. Here's an excerpt I've transcribed from the Young Turk's rebuttal:

The NY Times has done its due diligence and has investigated the two videos that were released by the Center for Medical Progress.... Now, I'm glad a member of the mainstream media has delved into this and is actually telling people the truth about those videos – how many of the statements were taken out of context or how the statements were misrepresented.... No one else in the media is saying that. Everyone else in the media is saying, 'Oh look, here's what the Center for Medical Progress is saying they experienced. Judge for yourself.' No, no, no! Don't judge for yourself. Be a journalist and actually investigate this and figure out whether or not the claims are true. And thankfully, the NY times did do this.”

The video continues by quoting the findings of the NY Times investigation. It's rather hilarious that these young liberals, who stage their video like it's a news program, exhort people to be journalists and investigate the claims of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) while they themselves seem to have not done any investigation beyond reading the NY Times article. Have they bothered to investigate the CMP? Oh, and have they bothered to investigate the NY Times? It sounds to me like theirs is a case of simply believing those with whom they agree. Their channel isn't journalism – it's propaganda.

Listen to me, all ye who are liberal: The entire, unedited videos taken by the CMP are available on YouTube. You can watch them for yourselves here. They're not doctored. They're not edited. They are the raw footage of Planned Parenthood employees and partners discussing the selling baby parts. If you think the 8:25 version of Dr. Gatter haggling like a used car salesman is taken out of context, you can watch the entire 1:13:38 and see if she made any other comments that might paint an entirely different picture of her intentions. Go ahead and watch it. I dare you.

So my question is, why didn't the Young Turks bother to watch the unedited videos for themselves? Instead of posting quotes from the NY Times claiming the edited parts of video were exculpatory, they could have included the relevant parts in their phony news show. I sincerely believe that even at the time the Turks posted their own video, they had not bothered to watch the unedited videos provided by the CMP. It wouldn't surprise me if they haven't watched them even to this day.

I think the liberal elite is counting on the fact that the peasant class they call their base is too lazy to sit through an hour long video. People like Nancy Pelosi repeatedly call the videos “heavily edited” knowing that none of their base will ever learn that the unedited versions show the same things as the shorter versions. By the way, neither has Pelosi watched the unedited videos.

The liberal aristocracy can throw around works like “doctored,” “edited,” and “fake” and your run of the mill liberal will believe without question – all the while, the truth can be found with the click of a mouse and a small investment of time. But a small investment of time is too much to ask. Most liberals are too lazy.