Sunday, December 31, 2006

In With The New, Out With The Old

I was just thinking about the traditional image of the old year as a wizened old man passing the hourglass to the new year as a baby in diapers.

This Yahoo video cartoon entitled "run a life" or "your life in 30 seconds" kind of reminded me of the same idea:

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Relativist Declaration Of Independence...Or Maybe Not So Much A Declaration As A Suggestion? I Mean, If That's All Right.

Good Gagdad Bob post ends with this:

[T]he rejection of absolutes -- which flow from the Absolute -- is steeped in hypocrisy, since leftists “aren’t offended by conviction per se, but by convictions they do not hold.” “Certainty” has simply “become code among the intellectual priesthood for people and ideas that can be dismissed out of hand. That’s what is so offensive about this fashionable nonsense: It breeds the very closed-mindedness it pretends to fight.”

Imagine if this country were actually founded upon a wimpy rejection of metaphysical certainty and the leftist embrace of relativism?

We hold these preliminary findings to be more or less accurate, at least for now, that all cultures have equal validity, and that each culture has its own ideas about rights and duties and so forth and so on and blah blah blah. In our case, we have hit upon this idea -- no offense, but we have this tentative idea -- subject to further studies, of course -- that we would like the government -- that would be your government -- to cut us some slack so that we can do what we want to do -- basically acquire property and be happy, but not limiting ourselves to that. Anyhoo, it is our culturally conditioned idea that Governments -- not all of them, of course, but ours -- should actually derive their power from the people, although we have respect and tolerance for the contrary view that you folks hold. Nevertheless, some of our more headstrong citizens think that we should be able to form a government based upon these vague hunches of ours, which, after all, are as good as your hunches. No, that was rude -- let's just say that our hunches are different than yours, and leave it at that.... No one can presume to be a judge of whose hunches are best.... At any rate, since, as the saying goes, "different strokes for different folks"....

BTW, the new computer kicks serious ass!

It's a Gateway GT 5228:

I got it at Best Buy which has really good in store tech support provided by Geek Squad.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Please Bear With Me...

My 5-year-old Windows ME-running Sony Vaio failed to start yesterday (wouldn't even power up), so I've been running around working on recovering the disk from that old machine (successfully), and getting a brand spanking new dual core 250GB hard drive, 2GB RAM XP machine going (700 bucks buys a lot nowadays). I've finally gotten successfully on line. Will be blogging again before too long, but right now I'm going to focus on getting things shipshape. Perhaps a bit of blogging over the weekend, but I'll definitely be going full tilt again by Jan 2...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

There Is Only One Theological Argument That's Worthy Of Serious Consideration. Mine!

Seems to be the attitude of Richard Dawkins, whom H. Allen Orr takes to the woodshed:

As you may have noticed, Dawkins when discussing religion is, in effect, a blunt instrument, one that has a hard time distinguishing Unitarians from abortion clinic bombers. What may be less obvious is that, on questions of God, Dawkins cannot abide much dissent, especially from fellow scientists (and especially from fellow evolutionary biologists). Indeed Dawkins is fond of imputing ulterior motives to those "Neville Chamberlain School" scientists not willing to go as far as he in his war on religion: he suggests that they're guilty of disingenuousness, playing politics, and lusting after the large prizes awarded by the Templeton Foundation to scientists sympathetic to religion.[2] The only motive Dawkins doesn't seem to take seriously is that some scientists genuinely disagree with him.

Despite my admiration for much of Dawkins's work, I'm afraid that I'm among those scientists who must part company with him here. Indeed, The God Delusion seems to me badly flawed. Though I once labeled Dawkins a professional atheist, I'm forced, after reading his new book, to conclude he's actually more an amateur. I don't pretend to know whether there's more to the world than meets the eye and, for all I know, Dawkins's general conclusion is right. But his book makes a far from convincing case.

The most disappointing feature of The God Delusion is Dawkins's failure to engage religious thought in any serious way. This is, obviously, an odd thing to say about a book-length investigation into God. But the problem reflects Dawkins's cavalier attitude about the quality of religious thinking. Dawkins tends to dismiss simple expressions of belief as base superstition. Having no patience with the faith of fundamentalists, he also tends to dismiss more sophisticated expressions of belief as sophistry (he cannot, for instance, tolerate the meticulous reasoning of theologians). But if simple religion is barbaric (and thus unworthy of serious thought) and sophisticated religion is logic-chopping (and thus equally unworthy of serious thought), the ineluctable conclusion is that all religion is unworthy of serious thought.

The result is The God Delusion, a book that never squarely faces its opponents. You will find no serious examination of Christian or Jewish theology in Dawkins's book (does he know Augustine rejected biblical literalism in the early fifth century?), no attempt to follow philosophical debates about the nature of religious propositions (are they like ordinary claims about everyday matters?), no effort to appreciate the complex history of interaction between the Church and science (does he know the Church had an important part in the rise of non-Aristotelian science?), and no attempt to understand even the simplest of religious attitudes (does Dawkins really believe, as he says, that Christians should be thrilled to learn they're terminally ill?).

Instead, Dawkins has written a book that's distinctly, even defiantly, middlebrow. Dawkins's intellectual universe appears populated by the likes of Douglas Adams, the author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Carl Sagan, the science popularizer,[3] both of whom he cites repeatedly. This is a different group from thinkers like William James and Ludwig Wittgenstein—both of whom lived after Darwin, both of whom struggled with the question of belief, and both of whom had more to say about religion than Adams and Sagan. Dawkins spends much time on what can only be described as intellectual banalities: "Did Jesus have a human father, or was his mother a virgin at the time of his birth? Whether or not there is enough surviving evidence to decide it, this is still a strictly scientific question."[4]

The vacuum created by Dawkins's failure to engage religious thought must be filled by something, and in The God Delusion, it gets filled by extraneous quotation, letters from correspondents, and, most of all, anecdote after anecdote. Dawkins's discussion of religion's power to console, for example, is interrupted by the story of the Abbott of Ampleforth's joy at learning of a friend's impending death; speculation about why countries, such as the Netherlands, that allow euthanasia are so rare (presumably because of religious prejudice); a nurse who told Dawkins that believers fear death more than nonbelievers do; and the number of days of remission from Purgatory that Pope Pius X allowed cardinals and bishops (two hundred, and fifty, respectively). All this and more in four pages. Gone, it seems, is the Dawkins of The Selfish Gene, a writer who could lead readers through dauntingly difficult arguments and who used anecdotes to illustrate those arguments, not to substitute for them.

One reason for the lack of extended argument in The God Delusion is clear: Dawkins doesn't seem very good at it. Indeed he suffers from several problems when attempting to reason philosophically. The most obvious is that he has a preordained set of conclusions at which he's determined to arrive. Consequently, Dawkins uses any argument, however feeble, that seems to get him there and the merit of various arguments appears judged largely by where they lead.

The most important example involves Dawkins's discussion of philosophical arguments for the existence of God as opposed to his own argument against God, which he presents as the intellectual heart of his book. Considering arguments for God, Dawkins is care-ful to recite the many standard objections to them and writes that the traditional proofs are "vacuous," "dubious," "infantile," and "perniciously misleading." But turning to his own Ultimate Boeing 747 argument against God, Dawkins is suddenly uninterested in criticism and writes that his argument is "unanswerable." So why, you might wonder, is a clever philosophical argument for God subject to withering criticism while one against God gets a free pass and is deemed devastating?

The reason seems clear. The first argument leads to a conclusion Dawkins despises, while the second leads to one he loves. Dawkins, so far as I can tell, is unconcerned that the central argument of his book bears more than a passing resemblance to those clever philosophical proofs for the existence of God that he dismisses. This is unfortunate. He could have used a healthy dose of his usual skepticism when deciding how much to invest in his own Ultimate Boeing 747 argument. Indeed, one needn't be a creationist to note that Dawkins's argument suffers at least two potential problems. First, as others have pointed out, if he is right, the design hypothesis essentially must be wrong and the alternative naturalistic hypothesis essentially must be right. But since when is a scientific hypothesis confirmed by philosophical gymnastics, not data? Second, the fact that we as scientists find a hypothesis question-begging—as when Dawkins asks "who designed the designer?"— cannot, in itself, settle its truth value. It could, after all, be a brute fact of the universe that it derives from some transcendent mind, however question-begging this may seem. What explanations we find satisfying might say more about us than about the explanations. Why, for example, is Dawkins so untroubled by his own (large) assumption that both matter and the laws of nature can be viewed as given? Why isn't that question-begging?

Exercises in double standards also plague Dawkins's discussion of the idea that religion encourages good behavior. Dawkins cites a litany of statistics revealing that red states (with many conservative Christians) suffer higher rates of crime, including murder, burglary, and theft, than do blue states. But now consider his response to the suggestion that the atheist Stalin and his comrades committed crimes of breathtaking magnitude: "We are not in the business," he says, "of counting evils heads, compiling two rival roll calls of iniquity." We're not? We were forty-five pages ago.

Dawkins's problems with philosophy might be related to a failure of metaphysical imagination. When thinking of those vast matters that make up religion—matters of ultimate meaning that stand at the edge of intelligibility and that are among the most difficult to articulate—he sees only black and white. Despite some attempts at subtlety, Dawkins almost reflexively identifies religion with right-wing fundamentalism and biblical literalism. Other, more nuanced possibilities— varieties of deism, mysticism, or nondenominational spirituality—have a harder time holding his attention. It may be that Dawkins can't imagine these possibilities vividly enough to worry over them in a serious way.

There's an irony here. Dawkins's main criticism of those who doubt Darwin—and it's a good one—is that they suffer a similar failure of imagination. Those, for example, who argue that evolution could never make an eye because anything less than a fully formed eye can't see simply can't imagine the surprising routes taken by evolution. In any case, part of what it means to suffer a failure of imagination may be that one can't conceive that one's imagination is impoverished. It's hard to resist the conclusion that people like James and Wittgenstein struggled personally with religion, while Dawkins shrugs his shoulders, at least in part because they conceived possibilities—mistaken ones perhaps, but certainly more interesting ones— that escape Dawkins.

Why Should Bees Get Most Of The Honey?

Thomas Sowell:

The media and academic obsessions with economic "disparities" have gone international. Recent news stories proclaim that most of "the world's wealth" belongs to a small fraction of the world's people.

Let's go back to square one. Just what is "the world's wealth"?

You can check in your local phone book, surf the Internet or do genealogical research: There is no one named "The World." How can a non-existent being own wealth?

Human beings own wealth. Once we put aside lofty poetic nonsense about "the world's wealth," we at least have a fighting chance of talking sense about realities.

Who are these minority of the world's population who own a majority of the world's wealth?

They are the population of the United States, Western Europe, Japan and a few other affluent countries. How did these particular people come to possess so much more wealth than other people?

They did it the old-fashioned way. They produced the wealth that they own. You might as well ask why bees have so much more honey than other creatures.

The rhetoric of clever people can verbally collectivize all the wealth that was produced individually, and then they become aghast at the "disparities" that are magically turned into "inequities" in the distribution of "the world's wealth."


Update: Gagdad Bob has an outstanding reflection inspired by Sowell's article.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Feliz Navidad

I'll be back on the third day of Christmas (Wednesday).

Quality Writing, Day After Day

Gagdad Bob, with another great post.

A small snippet:

“The aim of critical analysis is not to pass judgment on religious beliefs and practices... but to consider the many functions they serve.”

Oh, I doubt that. I think the purpose of critical analysis is to undermine the sacred covenant between words and things and therefore thought and reality. Said another way, its purpose is to cement the bond between nonsense and tenure, so that third rate minds can have a lifetime job metastasizing their sophistry.

Mark Shea On Atheism

Two great posts today.

from the second link:

[S]ince I don't hang in agnostic/atheist circle I haven't studied the various denominations and schools of anti-theology. For instance, some people are agnostic or atheist because they actively don't believe the question can be answered. Others are agnostic because (to be blunt) things like making money and getting laid occupy their attention (I knew a lot of these guys in college). Still others have agonized about the question and lost their faith due to various life experiences or trains of thought. And, of course, some are just furious at God and/or his people. And that is not an exhaustive catalog of reasons.

My comments about atheism tend to be shaped by my experience of atheists on the web. In real life, atheists seldom buttonhole you on park benches to begin spit-flecked lectures on how much they loathe faithheads. But the Internet tends to bring those people out and give them a place where they can spew. So vocal, evangelical atheists tend to become the face of atheism. Happily, Adrienne does not seem to be of this ilk, which makes for an interesting conversation.

Adrienne assures me there are lots of theories of morality that don't need a God to work. I suppose there are, or at least seem to be. One of the great linguistic mixups of these discussions seems to me to be Christians who say that atheists "can't be moral if there is no God." Obviously, this is false. I think it more accurate to say that atheism cannot account for morality in an intellectually satisfying way (at least to my mind). It seems to me to be constantly smuggling in mystical doctrines from the Judeo-Christian tradition that sometimes flatly contradict its own committments to materialism and empiricism.

So, for instance, we find materialist attempts to account for the human mind stymied by the fact that we are quite obviously free to make moral choices, yet materialists like William Provine are committed (by their a priori materialists dogmas) to the faith that freedom is an illusion since Mind is entirely the product of matter and energy acting in slavish obedience to physical laws. Atheist sneers at the concept of a "rational soul" are part and parcel of the package. In the end, human acts are entirely the result of natural forces, just like the acts of a dog.

And yet, atheism has a long tradition of ignoring its own premisses and speaking as though Reason transcends Nature, even though its whole argument is that *nothing* transcends Nature because Nature is all there is. This is either sleight of hand or, as I suspect, muddled thinking.

And not only does the supposition of the use of Reason as a free, nature-transcending act seem to me to be an exercise in self-contradiction, even more the constant appeals of atheism to morality seem to compound the blunder and borrow even more from the Judeo-Christian tradition. Because atheists are constantly moralizing, not least about the sin of theists. In short, they posit a nature-transending reason that not only can be used, but misused. But what is the sense of saying that a purely natural act is "wrong"?

The normal dodge here is to say "We don't mean 'sinful'. We mean 'unbeneficial to the community'." However, this is just to push the borrowing a little further back. Because you have to still be holding that "the survival of the community" is a Good. But good and evil make no sense in a purely natural world. The arrival of an asteroid 65 million years ago was highly unbeneficial to the dinosaur community. But nobody thinks the extinction of the dinosaurs was a sin in the way the Holocaust was a sin. And yet, in a materialist world, both were ultimately simply the results of matter and energy going through their motions.

Some may press on and say, "Yes, that's right! They were! We attach moral significance to the Holocaust because it helps us survive as a species. But that is ultimately an illusion." However, if they do, they had better contact that atheist community's polemic department, because yer average anti-theist polemics sound very distinctly like they believe theists are genuinely wicked and damnable and not merely like their geno-environment programming makes them prefer margarine while atheists prefer butter.

It is this constant borrowing from the Judeo-Christian tradition which, to me, gives the game away. From the presumption of a mystical doctrine of freedom (and, it's corrollary, sin) to the purely mystical belief in human equality (try proving that to pure empiricists like Aristotle) to constant appeals to teleology to its conviction that the Self is a good thing, atheism seems to me to continually borrow from the Judeo-Christian tradition, either consciously or unconsciously.

The Seinfeld Horror

Good video remix. H/T HotAir.

Don't Misuse A Cool Phrase

A lot of folks completely misuse the phrase "begging the question". The Anchoress has been admonished about this, which begs the question: How could she not have known?

Seriously, it's worth knowing what the phrase is supposed to mean. Knowing what the true meaning is also motivates you more to notice when people are begging the question. Which is surprisingly often.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


This Denyse O'Leary post is interesting for other reasons, but it contains this:

Right now, the ASA is making much of genome mapper Francis Collins, whom I regard as an intellectual lightweight. I tried to say that in as nice a way as possible in my recent review of his book because he sounds like a really nice guy. If nice is all you need, he's your man.

Why I think Collins is an intellectual lightweight: Well, how about this: He composed a folk song about his worthy goal of making cystic fibrosis history, but what his research has most significantly led to is prenatal detection, which is a way of making CF children history. I know, I know, other good may come of it and some people will be mad at me for even bringing this up.

But we live in a world where, when mommy whispers in your ear "I specially loved and wanted you!", what she means is, you passed a battery of quality control tests, and if you hadn't, you had a first class ticket to the Medical Waste bucket. Today's glitzy mommies don't love loser kids. To the extent that Collins' research has contributed, I would have more respect for him if he openly acknowledged and dealt with that in his book.

The Ever Ancient And Ever New Idee Fixe

Good Gagdad Bob post.

Great Science Fiction Idea

From the comments to this Mark Shea post:

How amusing it would be, if someone were to create a true thinking machine/android/robot, and, after it decides to study theology and philosophy, it concluded that God exists.

A Kindler, Gentler Way Of War

Probably doesn't work. Excellent Varifrank piece from several weeks ago spells out why (with good use of quotes by General Sherman).


We have created a culture that can not accept the idea that death and destruction are the natural wages of warfare. We no longer penalize those countries that engage in warfare by destroying their infrastructure and killing large numbers of their armed forces or their civilian populations. Almost from the start, our armed forces are more interested in the humanitarian aspects of the battlefield than we are in inflicting the horror of war as a way of incenting the enemy into "bending to our will". The result is that we have forced our enemies into a strategy of using civilians as shields and cities as fortresses against retaliation.

In World War II, it was common practice for Allied ground forces who found themselves under sniper attack in small european villages to back off and call in an artillery barrage. The result of this action was not that "the sniper was brought to justice..." but that the general civilian populace were taught that their quiet tolerance of the "insurgent" or sniper would probably result in their own destruction. The result of this sort of practice was that the civilians would find their way through enemy lines to let the allied forces know where the snipers were in their town, not because the necessarily liked the allies but because it was the only way of avioding the horror of their artillery.

Imagine the battlefield commander of today who doesnt give three days notice of an impending attack on a town, a full press briefing of who and what will be used in the attack. Heaven forbid if during the attack someone manages to get video of the enemy being killed in the streets during the attack.

You dont have to imagine it. Thats Falluja.

Now try to imagine your grandfather standing on the outskirts of Caen saying "Hey, someone get the New York Times up here, we need to make sure that the French civilians get out of Caen before we can send in the artillery in three days..." Chances are more likely that after a week of watching his men get killed from sniper fire from the beautiful church spire in the middle of town that "the old man" simply cranked the field telephone a few turns and gave the map coordinates to HQ and let fly with an artillery barrage, all while he and his men cheered each shell as it went overhead into the town as they ate dinner in their foxholes.

"Thats war" is what he would have said if you were silly enough to ask him how he could have done such a thing. But what I wonder about is why we even have to ask. We in the modern age are too far gone from the age of horror to understand that sometimes horror is exactly what is called for, if only to stop a greater horror from occuring.

"War is cruelty and it cannot be refined" The man said, and we in our foolishness have tried to do just that.

We have predictibly failed.

Our modern age has provided a plethora of "wonder weapons" which can destroy precise targets with great regularity at low cost to ourselves and the civilians in the area. We feel better because as basically humane people, we desire to see that only the guilty are punished and the innocent are not effected, but in war and in war zones, this is a perversion of reality. The unintended result of our desire to be humane is that the civilian populace in war zones do not fear our weapons,because they are known to be precise and guided not just by electronics but by squads of lawyers and analysts who will do a great deal of work to ensure that the target is legitimate long before the word is given to launch.

Unfortuantely, the civilians do fear the insurgents who now find the only place to hide and receive cover is within the civilian populace itself. In our desire to be nice, we drove them there and our desire to be nice has given them no penalty for doing so.

With no threat of retaliation by our armed forces, they have no choice but to work with the insurgents, to provide them cover, either by quietly turning a blind eye or by overt acts of support. This is the direct opposite of the effect that we need in order to be effective on the battlefield.


The best way to lower our losses and the losses of civilians everywhere is to ensure that our military is so universally feared that just the threat of its being used causes those who would be our enemy to come to the table and talk. What I fear is that our desire to be nice and loved in the world has caused just the opposite to be true.

Too Squeamish To Win

The traitors in the MSM are probably gleefully licking their chops. John Podhoretz:

PRESIDENT Bush will take to the nation's airwaves the first week in January with a speech announcing his new strategy in Iraq. His decision to delay the speech is, I suspect, a signal that his announcement will be dramatic - a second public declaration of war in Iraq.

I think he wants to get all the machinery moving and all the pieces in place, at which point he can declare with a flourish that "Operation Victory" has begun. That could mean the "surge" being discussed in Washington - the commitment of up to 50,000 more U.S. troops to secure Baghdad.


This is a "heavy footprint." If we do this, we will be saying we will engage and roust the enemy and then stay put for a while. Show our presence. Make it clear to the Iraqis that we're not bugging out.

Ironically, it's only with this kind of time that the "train, train, train" option becomes a viable security measure for Iraq's future - because training takes time, too.

Can it work?

That may be the wrong question. The right question may be: Will America allow it to work?

When you use an army to "establish security," you are not engaging a police force. You are assigning the task to highly armed men who aren't trained as police officers. You are talking about sending soldiers door to door, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood.

They're going to shoot people. They're going to blow up buildings, as they did in Fallujah.

They're going to be engaged in firefights by insurgents, and they're going to return fire. That will result in civilian casualties on the streets of Baghdad (or, as we saw in Lebanon last summer, in insurgent and militia casualties that we will be told falsely are civilian casualties).

What happens when these horrible tragedies of war occur? Will America's leading centrists - the politicians, anchorpersons, editorialists, writers and speakers who haven't quite given up on the mission in Iraq - discuss these events as part and parcel of an effort to save the people of Baghdad from chaos and carnage as we attempt to act decisively to win the war?

Or will they, instead, retreat in horror from the images on their TV sets and denounce the barbarous nature of the new U.S. mission? Will they see the battle for Baghdad as a heroic and dangerous task or as the new Abu Ghraib on a larger scale?

The toxic nature of the discussion on Iraq guarantees there will be Abu Ghraib-like talk from some quarters. If it becomes the dominant talking point, there's no way we will be able to sustain the mission, for it will be derailed by war-crime accusations and congressional hearings.

I'm trying to find a way to conclude these thoughts on a hopeful note.

And . . . nope. Sorry.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Good Back And Forth

A debate about ID in the University of Virginia alumni magazine letters section. Jumpoff point at Uncommon Descent here. Original article here. First round of letters here. Latest here.

And Latin Will Be Making A Big Comeback

American Digest is thinking about our "goin' Roman" future:

None of these types, these cheap 25-cents and two Wheaties box-tops cereal premium brains has the wit or the wisdom or the vision to see that their snug little liberal world faded on the falling of the towers, and the only question waiting for America to decide at this moment is whether it is ready to step forward and assume the burdens and gather the rewards of a global empire.

For this is where, at last, the rag-tag haters of America from the Arabian peninsula have led us, and it is a road that now must be traveled. We can travel it weakly and with trepidation -and be killed and crippled as a people and a nation - or we can travel it in strength and with a terrible purpose that brooks no terrorist response without a terrible price being enacted immediately and without reservation.

But will we do this? I do not believe, looking about the landscape of America today, that we have yet reached a consensus to proceed as a nation down that path. If anything, we are resisting the reality and are demanding to be dragged to this destiny. But soon, with I fear, another brutal and perhaps most costly attack on American soil, we will find within ourselves the commitment to go forward. But we will go as the most reluctant imperialists in history.

We are, after all, Americans.

We like to have out little pleasant lives in our little pleasant neighborhoods, villages, towns and cities.

We like to have our families happy and our jobs secure and our leisure abundant.

We like to have enough money to spend and enough to put away for our old age.

We like vacations, and Little League, and puppies and kittens and cute kids.

What we don't like is running about the world, putting out other people's brushfires.

We also dislike giving people a democracy which, since they didn't have the metal to fight for it, they cannot appreciate.

We detest sitting around handing out fat checks and getting our soldiers shot as thanks.

If they could 'include us out' we'd just as soon sit at home and let the rest of the world get sucked down the drain of history which, without the support of the United States in treasure and in lives, would be its fate.

We'll have our empire by and by, but what we'd really like is just to be able to have a really nice 4th of July cookout, a day at the beach, about $500,000 worth of fireworks and then early to bed every day of the year. That's what we'd prefer to have.

What we're going to get instead is an Empire.

And we'd better start getting good at it.

Instead of nothing but aid going out, we'd better start to see a little tribute coming back in.

Time to start to insist on some of those "loans" to the wretched of the Earth getting paid back instead of written off.

Time to think about imposing a 30% fee of all oil profits from Iraq for the next 20 years as a way of showing some gratitude for being saved from having nothing for the next 20 years except a few more mass grave subdivisions in the desert.

Instead of having our troops getting picked off by scum overseas and picked on by traitors here at home in pursuit of office, we'd better start picking off scum in large numbers by land, sea and air assault overseas, and stop electing those who would put them at greater risk once in office here.

It is said that we can't kill all the terrorists in the world, but I have a great faith in the ability of the ammunition factories of this democracy's arsenals to tool up to the task.

I think it is about time that, as Empires do, we start to push the general concept towards various belligerent nations with more testosterone than sense that if they don't like our Stealth bombers, they'll really hate our ballistic missile submarines. I hope we will not have to arrange a live demonstration of their nuclear missile delivery systems, but considering the mentality we are dealing with it would not surprise me if we did.

I have had conversations with various acquaintances about this need to become as Romans and they always caution "Remember what happened to Rome."

I remember well what happened to Rome, but it took a few centuries to build and many more to burn. These days I'd settle for a few centuries of Empire.

By that time the rest of the world might just have enough time, especially the infantalized cultures of Europe and the ossified cultures of the Middle East, to grow up into decent, civilized places where all the citizens on God's green earth could have a nice 4th of July cookout without worrying that some mullah's demented second-cousin is going to turn up with a couple of pounds of TNT strapped to his chest on a red-hot mission from God.

A decent goal for a decent Empire. For once.

Remember A Couple Of Years Back When The Earth ... Exploded?

Great Mark Shea article.


[T]he conversation turns to the matter of the worldwide "census" that Luke reports in his gospel:

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. (Luke 2:1-2)

One of the first people out of the gate to render a verdict on this particular passage is John Dominic Crossan, a biblical scholar and former priest at DePaul University who also gets trotted out by the MSM during that other joyous season, Easter, to assure us that the body of Jesus was eaten by wild dogs. Crossan, who is, like Buzz Lightyear, always sure, declares emphatically: "Luke tells us the story that at the time Jesus was born Augustus had to create a census of the whole earth. Now every scholar can tell you there was no such census ever."


I drum my fingers on the table top and reminisce. Comedian Steve Martin used to do a routine in which he smiled broadly with that distinct smile of his and said, "Remember a couple of years back when the earth (wry pause)... exploded? Remember how they built that giant space ark and loaded all of humanity into it, but the government decided not to tell the stupid people what was going on so that they wouldn't panic....." The light of understanding would then break across his face as he surveyed the faces of the audience and he would quickly backtrack saying, "Oooooooh! Uh..... Never mind!"

I can't help but think of that as I read Crossan's take on Luke. We are being asked to believe that the gospels are works of cunning fiction by people laboring under some huge need to bring others under the spell of their delusion of a Risen Christ. Part of their messianic delusion requires them to link the Nazarene carpenter with King David by portraying him as born in "the city of David", Bethlehem. And so they do what to get Jesus there in time for his birth and debut as the Son of David?

Well, a lot of options are open to the creative gospel writer whose only goal is to write a tall tale. You could just say that Mary's grandmother took sick and she went to visit her. You could claim that Joseph bought a plot of land and didn't want to leave Mary behind while he went to inspect it. You could cook up an angelic visitation commanding the Holy Family to go to Bethlehem and wait for their son to be born. Any of these stories have the tremendous advantage of being extremely hard to refute decades after the event. And since you've already stuffed your gospel full of miracles, what's one more angel?

But no, according to Crossan, Luke tells the equivalent of Martin's space ark story: "Remember, a few decades back when the entire world was enrolled for taxation?" He invites, not just somebody to refute it, but everybody in his entire audience. That's an awfully strange thing to do if the enrollment never happened and an awfully odd way to establish the bona fides of your main character.

But, of course, when Crossan tells you that "there was no such census ever", what he really means is "We have no solid evidence of the census that survives outside the New Testament." Likewise, we also have no solid evidence of a great deal of the conquest of Gaul outside of one book by Julius Caesar. Yet nobody says that means the Conquest never happened. And so the amazing possibility arises that Luke is actually reporting something that happened, which he and his audience both know of, but which is poorly attested outside the New Testament.

Memo to the Media: Consider the possibility that biblical authors are not as preposterous as some biblical scholars.

A Very Special Christmas Message

Currently a satire, but for God, nothing is impossible:

Background here.

The Shame. The Shame.

Racial self-criticism at the Daily Kos highlighted at Right Wing News.

Making The Perfect The Enemy Of The Outstanding

Much to my chagrin, some folks are foolishly staying away from The Nativity Story because it is not a fully realized catechism of only the purest Catholic doctrine. There is nothing charitable I can say about such an attitude.

The Paragraph Farmer has some thoughts about this.

excerpt (but do read it all):

Hardwicke and her ecumenically-minded crew probably didn't spend much time arguing with each other over whether Mary suffered labor pains, or whether her virginity was (is) perpetual. Unwilling or unable to confront the theological implications of Mary as "the new Eve," they answer the first question affirmatively, but with a short labor, and ignore the second question as beyond the scope of their project. Meanwhile, Castle-Hughes portrays Mary as a devout teenager whose own mother has confidence enough to assure her anxious betrothed that she has never broken a promise. I'd call that a good start. Director Hardwicke also understands that holiness need not be (indeed, most often is not) ethereal, which means she gets that, too (and whether she meant to doesn't matter).

Fr. Geiger apparently wants the young Queen of Heaven to be more obviously set apart from other women (perhaps with some of the regal self-possession that Cate Blanchett used so effectively as Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings), but that's because he knows how the story ends. This is a film about beginnings.

Moreover, it's a thoughtful big-budget effort that deserves better than to be lumped with Touched by an Angel episodes or the TV-grade drama made famous by Hallmark Hall of Fame specials (Emmett of the Unblinking Eye dissed the new film that way, but he's entirely too smug. Hallmark specials aren't known for authenticity, and The Nativity Story is lovingly packed with details of first-century Jewish life. Hardwicke also handles Persian stargazing technology with several shots that even a legendary cinematographer like Caleb Deschanel would have been proud to call his own. As a bonus, the Magi explain the significance of their gifts for Jesus).


So go see the movie, if you haven't already. You won't be sorry. Hollywood has never done a better job of telling the original Christmas story.

One thing I think is silly is this: if the young Mary glowed with such Galadrielesque supernatural light that it would be obvious to us as moviegoers, then why don't we have a New Testament in which her Nazarene neighbors are "worshiping" her before Jesus is even conceived? It's sort of hubristic to think of yourself as so spiritually pure as a spectator that the transcendent sanctity of the Mother of God is supposed to hit you over the head with its obviousness. In the movie, Mary is played in a humble and subtle understated way which does not in any way go against her true sanctity, which flows from this very humility. The words of the Magnificat are: "He looks on His servant in her lowliness", not "He has come to His glowing Galadriel". In some of the comments I've seen about the way Mary was played in the movie, is there some degree of contempt for this very lowliness?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

When The Legions Withdraw

Interesting Orson Scott Card essay. The first half is about the history of the fall of Rome. The second half is about the risks today if the Pax Americana is lost. I don't buy everything he says in the second half, especially about us just rolling over as oil supplies are disrupted. But it is still a good read.

Also, he reviews The Nativity Story:

The Nativity Story is a very good movie; it's also a very good presentation of one of the core stories of Christianity. I heartily recommend it to all Christians -- adults and children (though adults will experience it quite differently from children).

As we left the Carousel Theater, my twelve-year-old said, "This movie made all the people seem real to me." That's what it was trying to do, and it succeeded -- tenderly sometimes, powerfully other times.

All the publicity has been about the talented (but personally rather foolish) young actress Keisha Castle-Hughes, but the movie absolutely belongs to Oscar Isaac in the role of Joseph. This is primarily because the script gives him so much more to do.

Because of the worshipful respect that some branches of Christianity have for the Holy Virgin, the filmmakers had no choice but to make her, after the Annunciation, more beatific than human. Thus she is given very little emotional range -- as if someone told her, "Think of yourself as the Mona Lisa." Thus she seems more observer than participant in the events of the film.

Joseph, though, is wonderfully envisioned, so that Isaac has something to do in every scene. Though there is no scriptural reason to suppose they had not packed enough food for the journey, it's still quite affecting to see him giving up his food, not just to feed his wife, but also to feed the donkey so it will have the strength to bear her.

So when the Child is born, I found myself more emotionally connected to Joseph than to Mary, who, after all, had to look as much as possible like everybody's favorite Creche.

In fact, that's the one drawback of this film: They followed the popular conception of the Nativity scene rather than the scriptural account. In the scriptures, the Wise Men come only after the baby has been circumcised and presented at the temple -- at least eight days after his birth.

Thus they would not have been present on the same night as the shepherds, and would undoubtedly have found Joseph and Mary and the baby at a house in Bethlehem, or an inn.

But that would have bothered a lot of people who have rich guys with camels in their manger scenes. What do you do, stop the movie and have a priest, minister, or scholar explain why the Wise Men couldn't have arrived until later? So they went with the popular conception and, as with A Christmas Carol, made it all happen in one night.

The real loss is that we don't get the scene at the temple, where Simeon and Anna recognize and bless the baby. The writer, Marty Bowen, tried to make up for this by giving Simeon's role to an old shepherd -- and it was a good strategy, because the old shepherd became a memorable character.

I also wish they could have been a bit more realistic when everybody shows up to worship the child. Even with their awe, somebody would have talked. Joseph would have conversed with people. There would have been human connection.

But, again, I can't argue with the filmmakers' decision: What dialogue could they possibly come up with that wouldn't feel anticlimactic? In fact, as a writer, I would use the dialogue precisely to be anticlimactic, to bring my audience to realize that life goes on, that worship comes in the midst of day-to-day concerns.

You'll notice, though, that nobody hired me to write this film. They made their choices and the film works -- superbly.

I'm especially pleased at how they handled the Innocents of Bethlehem. The film begins with that cruelty, so it remains in our minds as we then watch the story leading up to that terrible moment. Then, at the end, we are merely reminded that it happened, not forced to experience it in grim and terrifying detail; we can keep the mood of exaltation that the nativity itself inspired.

There have been a lot of lousy, over-mystical treatments of Christ in films over the decades, and a lot of even lousier de-mythologizing treatments. It is refreshing to have one that makes everyone human, without being disrespectful to or doubtful of the divine mission of the Savior. The baby is a baby, born in flesh and blood to a woman who passes, as the scripture says, through the shadow of death to give birth. That is as much as we can ask for.

This movie opened relatively small, so let me talk about money for a moment. The Christian audience that showed up for Passion of the Christ did so in part because of the controversy surrounding the film and the curiosity it raised. There has been no such controversy about The Nativity Story, so there hasn't been the same kind of buzz and urgency to see the film.

But let me lay it on the line for you, folks. In Hollywood, the only votes that count are ticket purchases. If Christians don't come out in droves to see this movie, then the Hollywood decision-makers will conclude that Passion of the Christ was, indeed, a fluke, and you will find that nobody makes any more of these films -- not with enough of a budget to make them so real, anyway.

The Christmas season is busy. You may be planning to spend your entertainment dollars on Deck the Halls or some other bit of fluff. Nothing wrong with that. But if, as a Christian, you want to see more films that treat Christian beliefs and Christian values with artistic and moral respect, then now is the time to invest some of your Christmas entertainment money on an excellent film that brings to life the story of the birth of Christ.

I Dig Civilization

I'm glad I don't have to deal with this.

This Is What Seriousness Would Look Like

Ralph Peters:

Iraq isn't hopeless - but it's harder every day to maintain hope. The number of troops certainly matters, but, as this column long has argued, the vital issue is how our troops are used. If we're serious about defeating our enemies this time, more troops could help. But there's no excuse for simply deploying more IED targets in uniform.

Which brings us to the one approach that could make Baghdad a secure, livable city: Zero tolerance.

Rudy Giuliani had that one right, as New Yorkers know. Crack down on petty violators, and violent crime drops, too. Of course, fixing Baghdad would require a lot more than taking on turnstile jumpers - but the principle is the same, if the scale is different.

We've never been willing to do all it takes to win. Now the clock's running out. Without a comprehensive crackdown, Baghdad (and Iraq) will be lost irrevocably in 2007. If we stayed on for a decade, we'd only be keeping the patient on life-support.

Suppose we do ask our under-strength, under-funded Army to send 40,000 more troops to secure Baghdad. Below are just a few examples of the kind of hard-to-swallow and hard-to-do measures President Bush would need to back, if the deployment were meant as more than a forlorn hope:

* Zero tolerance for weapons possession in the streets or in vehicles. The authorities must have a monopoly on force.

* Foot patrols - soldiers must get out of their vehicles and "walk the beats." Initially, this could cause a spurt in casualties - but there's no alternative to knowing the turf. Once average citizens as well as our enemies know we're serious and that we're staying on the block, attacks will drop. Presence rules. We have to occupy neighborhoods.

* Automatic, no-early-release prison terms for the possession, transfer or transport of military weapons and related paraphernalia.

* Rigid enforcement of all public-space laws, from shutting down black markets in gasoline to enforcing traffic codes.

* Temporary movement restrictions, with passes required for any person desiring to leave his neighborhood and enter another. Identify who belongs where.

* Simultaneous crackdowns on Shia militia and Sunni insurgent strongholds. Establish the principle that we go where we want, when we want - and stay as long as we want.

* Thorough searches of every building in Baghdad. No safe havens - not even mosques (trusted Iraqis can help). Structures used as weapons-storage facilities or safe houses for armed factions to be leveled.

* Disarmament of all private security elements in Baghdad not vetted by U.S. authorities. Foreign security contractors subject to Iraqi law.

If we're unwilling to take such stern measures, we won't make durable progress, no matter how many troops we send.

Who would resist such a program? There's the problem. The partisan Maliki government would refuse to go along with a crackdown on Shia militias. Unless we're willing to overrule the regime we recently celebrated, none of this can happen.

And, of course, the media would accuse us of a war crime every five minutes. The global media want Iraq to fail and revel in the current level of suffering. If we're unwilling to defy the media, Iraq is finished.

Oh, and that increase in troop strength would have to last two years.

It all comes back to President Bush. If he won't lay out clear goals, then approve a serious plan to achieve them, sending more soldiers to Iraq would only worsen our problems in the long term. If a troop boost failed to produce results, it would further encourage our enemies while crippling our worked-to-the-bone ground forces.

Send more troops? Only if we mean it.

Nice Turn Of Phrase

Extracted from a fairly run of the mill column:

Western Europe is the first secular society in human history and consequently believes in very little beyond having a secure and comfortable life untroubled by war, work or children.


This is good:

To the ACLU lawyers, and such like, trying to muzzle Christian expression at Christmas, there is just one thing to say: Get a life.

Now, I know that's not the way many a serious Christian would talk about the perpetual toil involved in defending public Nativity scenes and pushing for general restoration of "Merry Christmas."

On the other hand, consider: You're at a choral service where sits, front and center, the Human Plight, our inability to get anything right for very long, if at all, due to an ancestral encounter with a talking snake in a pleasant garden. Scriptures and choral music escort the listener through the journey from despair to … to a stable in Bethlehem, where "in the bleak midwinter" (as Christina Rossetti put it) lies none other than the Son of God. I know, it hardly sounds like what you'd find on YouTube, but consider that the narrative of redemption through this miraculous birth has made the rounds for many a moon now, and continues to comfort and inspire. Here is affirmation. You want to ring bells, sound trumpets and weep for joy? By all means, do so.

Now, against this let us set the narrative of the politically correct, which is: Stop it! Stop those carols. Out with that Nativity scene. Why would that be? For the sake of a higher narrative? Not as it turns out. About as high as that narrative ever climbs is the shelf on which lies the mummified claim that religion, being "dangerous," is to be kept generally out of sight.

That's a claim the Constitution enables, as it enables all manner of assertions, asseverations, declarations and avowals. But when you hear the summons to public secularism, do you want to ring bells, sound trumpets, prepare a feast? A few may; not many, I would guess. When you've pushed the Nativity figures out of sight and told the Christmas carolers from P.S. 121 to drop the angels and keep it to red-nosed reindeer, you've said, essentially … what? As much as Christina Rossetti said (in the Festival of Lessons and Carols)? "What can I give him, poor as I am/If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb/ If I were a wise man, I would do my part/ Yet what can I give him? Give my heart."

We are at a different level here. Minds swim with the wonder of it all. This is the real stuff. No judges or advocates can take away from it with glances or snarls of disapproval. It is . Thirsty ears know as much; and, knowing, return for it, century after century.

The contest is gravely unequal: Christmas against legal documents and editorials warning of constitutional transgression; shepherds against judges; angels against editors.

O little town of Washington ... or Austin, Boston, Moscow, Cannes. How would any of that sound? Half as inspiring as the name of grubby, down-at-the-sandal-heels Bethlehem -- where in the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed?

There's a reason bells ring out at Christmas and not on the opening day of Congress. Nor can secularism, the creeping creed of a creepy age, drive that reason from the hearts and minds of men. In the secular doctrine of man alone, bereft of God, there is neither warmth nor richness nor comfort -- just terrible coldness beneath a star that fails, perversely, to sputter out.

Update: American Digest also has a reflection along these lines, somewhat deeper.



Doomsday Is Upon Us


Another Gem From David Zucker


Monday, December 18, 2006

Interesting Exchange

As much as I admire William Dembski's work on ID, he does have the tendency to occasionally do something geeky that lands him in hot water (viz: his "Waterloo" e-mail that caused all kinds of trouble at Baylor). His latest dorky act has led him to publish an e-mail exchange he had six years ago with Richard Dawkins. Although I don't think that Dawkins' publishing of Dembski's recent e-mail warrants this, largely since Dembski's recent e-mail was merely calling attention to a dorky prank in a dorky way, the exchange from 2000 is very interesting, in that it shows direct intellectual sparring between two of the most important figures on either side of the ID/Darwinist divide.

Anyway, all of this dorkiness reminds me of a recent thought: When you look at all the chest beating of atheist scientists who want religion stamped out so that people can be ruled by their intellectual scientific betters, just remember. You are merely witnessing the attempted revenge of the "chess club poindexters" from high school. They'll show everyone!

But sometimes there can be infighting between the poindexters...

Profound Essay

In the Washington Post entitled "My Father Was an Anonymous Sperm Donor". Guess what? It's not a happy way to have a father.


I really wasn't expecting anything the day, earlier this year, when I sent an e-mail to a man whose name I had found on the Internet. I was looking for my father, and in some ways this man fit the bill. But I never thought I'd hit pay dirt on my first try. Then I got a reply -- with a picture attached.

From my computer screen, my own face seemed to stare back at me. And just like that, after 17 years, the missing piece of the puzzle snapped into place.

The puzzle of who I am.

I'm 18, and for most of my life, I haven't known half my origins. I didn't know where my nose or jaw came from, or my interest in foreign cultures. I obviously got my teeth and my penchant for corny jokes from my mother, along with my feminist perspective. But a whole other part of me was a mystery.

That part came from my father. The only thing was, I had never met him, never heard any stories about him, never seen a picture of him. I didn't know his name. My mother never talked about him -- because she didn't have a clue who he was.

When she was 32, my mother -- single, and worried that she might never marry and have a family -- allowed a doctor wearing rubber gloves to inject a syringe of sperm from an unknown man into her uterus so that she could have a baby. I am the result: a donor-conceived child.

And for a while, I was pretty angry about it.

I was angry at the idea that where donor conception is concerned, everyone focuses on the "parents" -- the adults who can make choices about their own lives. The recipient gets sympathy for wanting to have a child. The donor gets a guarantee of anonymity and absolution from any responsibility for the offspring of his "donation." As long as these adults are happy, then donor conception is a success, right?

Keep Your Filthy Quotes Away From My Research, You Damned, Dirty Christian!

Great Gagdad Bob post.

Folks Who Think Medievals Believed In A Flat Earth Resemble The Flat Earthers They Think The Medievals Were, But Actually Weren't

Mark Shea:

Everybody Knows that Medievals Believed in a Flat Earth

Guess what?

Everybody is wrong.

One of the most marvelous things about Modernity is it's simultaneous ability to laugh at the small-mindedness of our ignorant medieval forbears combined with its utter inability to conceive of the possibility that it is almost preternaturally small-minded and ignorant about medievals.

Dante Alighieri was a medieval Italian poet who lived 1265-1321. Here's a map of the earth as portrayed in Dante's Divine Comedy:


Quick quiz: Is the shape of the earth

1. Flat?
2. Round?

Moral: A huge amount of what moderns "know" about medieval Catholicism is what various Enlightenment era types tell them and they believe with perfect, childlike faith. That's the only explanation for why an allegedly educated modern population could think of the period that gave us the hospital, the university, the foundations of Western democratic rule, the nation-state, the birth of the scientific era, and an unprecedented outburst of theological and artistic creativity the "Dark Ages".

Keep The Mass In Christmas

This is good. H/T Mark Shea.

Anti-Jihad Rapcore Video

Pretty good. Naturally, YouTube, who doesn't seem to have too much trouble with pro-Jihad videos, is doing what it can to suppress it. Video and details here.

Also, if you didn't see it before, this one is good.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Danny Partridge Gives 'Em What For

Some bleeped profanity, but this is amusing.

The Nativity Story

Just got back from seeing this movie. I thought it was absolutely splendid and very moving, and found nothing at all to complain about. It's a happy sign of our times that a movie like this can get made. Do go see it before Christmas!

Friday, December 15, 2006


Saw it, liked it. It was about as violent as it needed to be, and no worse than many other movies. Quite a stunning piece of cinematography and imagination, especially depicting the hell on earth of the human sacrifices. But, thankfully, our society is more advanced than that, since Roe v Wade, and all. We wouldn't kill the innocent just so things will go well for us. That's a Mayan and Aztec thing.

Some Catholic reviews here and here, and more via this search.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I've Got A Better Idea: How About Not Raping Us All With Inflation In The First Place?

The U.S. Mint is worried that people will start melting down pennies and nickels because the metal has become worth more than the coins. Frankly I'm surprised that pennies and nickels contain anything valuable in them at all. I've noticed that quarters feel just about like compressed and spraypainted sawdust these days. The poor government. It must suck to be ripped off like this.

Is True Tolerance Intolerable?

Greg Koukl:

The Tolerance Trick

As it turns out, by the modern definition of tolerance no one is tolerant, or ever can be. It's what my friend Francis Beckwith calls the "passive-aggressive tolerance trick." Returning to the classic understanding of tolerance is the only way to restore any useful meaning to the word. Let me give you a real life example.

Earlier this year I spoke to a class of seniors at a Christian high school in Des Moines, Iowa. I wanted to alert them to this "tolerance trick," but I also wanted to learn how much they had already been taken in by it. I began by writing two sentences on the board. The first expressed the current understanding of tolerance:

"All views have equal merit and none should be considered better than another."

All heads nodded in agreement. Nothing controversial here. Then I wrote the second sentence:

"Jesus is the Messiah and Judaism is wrong for rejecting Him."

Immediately hands flew up. "You can't say that," a coed challenged, clearly annoyed. "That's disrespectful. How would you like it if someone said you were wrong?"

"In fact, that happens to me all the time," I pointed out, "including right now with you. But why should it bother me that someone thinks I'm wrong?"

"It's intolerant," she said, noting that the second statement violated the first statement. What she didn't see was that the first statement also violated itself.

I pointed to the first statement and asked, "Is this a view, the idea that all views have equal merit and none should be considered better than another?" They all agreed.

Then I pointed to the second statement—the "intolerant" one—and asked the same question: "Is this a view?" They studied the sentence for a moment. Slowly my point began to dawn on them. They'd been taken in by the tolerance trick.

If all views have equal merit, then the view that Christians have a better view on Jesus than the Jews have is just as true as the idea that Jews have a better view on Jesus than the Christians do. But this is hopelessly contradictory. If the first statement is what tolerance amounts to, then no one can be tolerant because "tolerance" turns out to be gibberish.

Escaping the Trap

"Would you like to know how to get out of this dilemma?" I asked. They nodded. "You must reject this modern distortion of tolerance and return to the classic view." Then I wrote these two principles on the board:

Be egalitarian regarding persons.
Be elitist regarding ideas.

"Egalitarian" was a new word for them. Think "equal," I said. Treat others as having equal standing in value or worth. They knew what an elitist was, though, someone who thought he was better than others. "Right," I said. "When you are elitist regarding ideas, you are acknowledging that some ideas are better than others. And they are. We don't treat all ideas as if they have the same merit, lest we run into contradiction. Some ideas are good, some are bad. Some are true, some are false. Some are brilliant, others are just plain foolish."

The first principle, what might be called "civility," is at the heart of the classical view of tolerance. It can be loosely equated with the word "respect." Tolerance applies to how we treat people we disagree with, not how we treat ideas we think false.

We respect those who hold different beliefs than our own by treating them courteously and allowing their views a place in the public discourse. We may strongly disagree with their ideas and vigorously contend against them in the public square, but we still show respect for the persons in spite of our differences.

Classic tolerance requires that every person be treated courteously with the freedom to express his ideas without fear of reprisal no matter what the view, not that all views have equal worth, merit, or truth.

These two categories are frequently conflated in the muddled thinking created by the myth of tolerance. The view that one person's ideas are no better or truer than another's is simply absurd and contradictory. To argue that some views are false, immoral, or just plain silly does not violate any meaningful definition or standard of tolerance.



The modern definition of tolerance turns the classical formula for tolerance on its head:

Be egalitarian regarding ideas.
Be elitist regarding persons.

If you reject another's ideas, you're automatically accused of disrespecting the person (as the coed did with me). On this new view of tolerance no idea or behavior can be opposed—even if done graciously—without inviting the charge of incivility.

To say I'm intolerant of the person because I disagree with his ideas is confused. Ironically, it results in elitism regarding persons. If I think my ideas are better than another's, I can be ill-treated as a person, publicly marginalized and verbally abused as bigoted, disrespectful, ignorant, indecent and—can you believe it—intolerant. Sometimes I can even be sued, punished by law, or forced to attend re-education programs.

Tolerance has thus gone topsy-turvy: Tolerate most beliefs, but don't tolerate (show respect for) those who take exception with those beliefs. Contrary opinions are labeled as "imposing your view on others" and quickly silenced.



Classical tolerance involves three elements: (1) permitting or allowing (2) a conduct or point of view one disagrees with (3) while respecting the person in the process.

Notice that we can't truly tolerate someone unless we disagree with him. This is critical. We don't "tolerate" people who share our views. They're on our side. There's nothing to put up with. Tolerance is reserved for those we think are wrong, yet we still choose to treat decently and with respect.

This essential element of classical tolerance—disagreement (elitism regarding ideas)—has been completely lost in the modern distortion of the concept. Nowadays if you think someone is wrong, you're called intolerant no matter how you treat him.

This presents a curious problem. One must first think another is wrong in order to exercise true tolerance, yet saying so brings the accusation of intolerance. It's a "Catch-22." According to this approach, true tolerance becomes impossible.

Intellectual Cowardice

Most of what passes for tolerance today is nothing more than intellectual cowardice, a fear of intelligent engagement. Those who brandish the word "intolerant" are unwilling to be challenged by other views or grapple with contrary opinions, or even to consider them. It's easier to hurl an insult—"you intolerant bigot"—than to confront an idea and either refute it or be changed by it. In the modern era, "tolerance" has become intolerance.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Scarlet 'R'

Good post by Dr. Helen. Also, a good comment to the post:

Dear Dr. Helen:

Bravo! The "Scarlet R" is real, and it is a big deal in many places. Rather than simply accept that good people can have different philosophies, we demonize our opponents. And in academia, anyway, there is little to no tolerance for anything other than leftwing groupthink.

Yes, many academics pooh-pooh this, claiming that it never happens (and at the same time, actually writing editorials claiming that Republicans are "less intelligent" than Democrats).

So I have a thought experiment in mind, for left of center academics who think I am wrong.

Professor #1: this person wears a button that says "SEND BUSH PACKING" on his label. On his office door is a bumper sticker stating "NO BLOOD FOR OIL."

Professor #2: this person wears a button that says "I SUPPORT THE TROOPS." On his or her office door is a bumper sticker that says "WHY DO BELIEVERS IN THE RELIGION OF PEACE WANT TO BEHEAD THOSE WHO DON'T?"

Friends, you know that no one will say a word about Professor #1. Even if this person had a bumper sticker on his or her door that read "BUCK FUSH," it would be called freedom of expression (which it is).

But what about Professor #2? Committee assignments? Progress toward tenure or promotion? I hate to tell you what would happen to this professor.

Oh, I have heard from many, many leftist academics that nothing bad would happen to such a professor.

I know better.

And if any leftist academic reading this disagrees, why not try my experiment yourself? Since freedom of expression is paramount, and so common among the tolerant Left?

Go ahead and do the experiment: tell your academic friends you are a born again active Republican, sponsor the student Republican club, speak out in favor of conservative causes. As an experiment, just to prove that academics support all points of view.

No fair telling anyone that you *really* are a progressive leftist. Nope: you need to prove how accepting the academic Left truly is of different points of view, of intellectual diversity.

After you do this for one year, and everyone on campus treats you exactly the same as they did before, that nothing negative happens to you career wise...well, then you get to tell everyone about your experiment. Heck, write it up for Slate. You will have proven that the academic environment is tolerant and welcoming of different ideas.

But it ain't going to happen that way.

So prove me wrong! Put on the Scarlet R and show everyone how tolerant the progressive Left can be.

Just make sure your unemployment insurance is up to date.

Check out this case, just to prove my point:

I look around campus, and I see plenty of anti-Republican cartoons on office doors. I don't see any cartoons that oppose the progressive Left "talking points."

Again, Dr Helen: Bravo! One's personal politics should never matter in the workplace.

Also this one:

Tired of the constant harping from a close friend I've known for ten years about those 'evil Repugs especially the theocrat Christers' I ended up saying that I was Republican and a Christian (even though I haven't been in a church for almost 30 years) just to see what would happen.

It has been two months now and haven't hear nary a peep from him. For the last five years I tolerated some of the most hateful and vile words and actions (I'm in NYC theater) ever uttered or acted yet the most horrifying thing a person can say in my neck of the woods is either the word Republican or Christian.

It's this bad and the intolerance exhibited by those who believe themselves to be the perfect example of tolerance is appalling.

If you ever wish to rid your life of intolerant and vile bigots simply tell them you are a Republican. Tack on the word Christians and you will insure success.

Hanukah Celebrates A Culture War In Which The "Open Minded Leftists" Lost To A Bunch Of "Armed Fundamentalist Hillbillies"

Just in case you didn't know. Michael Medved has the details.


Most Jews (and certainly most Christians) dismiss the winter holiday as a trivial, feel-good festival about candles, potato pancakes, spinning tops (dreidls),and eight nights of gifts, without coming to terms with its serious, relevant and distinctly uncomfortable messages. While frequently (and fatuously) described as a “celebration of tolerance,” Hanukah is more properly designated as an annual re-dedication to the values of the Religious Right.

No wonder that so many American Jews (with their reflexive, often ignorant liberal instincts) refuse to acknowledge the real Hanukah and its politically incorrect messages. In last week’s Washington Post, a householder from Potomac, Maryland named Kenneth Nechin proudly explained that his home attempts to honor the “deeper meaning” of the holiday: “Religious tolerance, the freedom to practice religion, minorities overcoming majorities who are trying to take your rights away.”

Actually, far from celebrating “diversity” or “tolerance” or “respect for every faith,” Hanukah (the name means “dedication” in Hebrew) marks a singular display of intolerance-- when religious zealots, exalting the values of “that old time religion,” came into the Temple in Jerusalem and drove out all alternate, “creative” forms of worship. In the “For the Miracles” (Al HaNissim) prayer recited at least three times a day by religious Jews during the eight days of the festival, we salute this uncompromising assertion of absolute truth: “Your children came to the Holy of Holies of Your House, cleansed Your Temple, purified the site of your Holiness and kindled lights in the Courtyards of Your Sanctuary.” No, the fervently faithful rebels did not assign a special area for other religious impulses as part of some ancient commitment to multiculturalism...

The rest of the column recounts the interesting story.


A fun little audiovisual presentation about disguised West Palm Beach cops busting red light runners. This is actually a better way of telling some stories than text alone or video alone.

Here's a bonus photo.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Start Making Cents

Has to be heard to be believed. Put it on as background and be glad it isn't you. H/T Ace of Spades.

I suppose to some people, all small-sounding numbers are equal. So no harm done.

The poor guy finally did achieve victory, as recounted in this blog post.

Unusual Conversion Essay



Why I am not a Deist.

I was asked a good question:

"I suppose I still don't really understand why you flipped from fervent atheist to Christian. Not Deist, but *Christian*. Meaning you went from not even believing in God - and I assume all supernatural elements - to believing in a very specific story about Jesus."

Well, I don't like talking about this, but it would be dishonorable if I avoided answering. I am Christian because I had a religious experience with specifically Christian elements in it, albeit the mystical unity of other religions was not absent. What I saw was as simple as Love itself, and as mysterious. It was not some vague light or misty sensation I met, but people to whom I spoke, a ghost, an apostle, the Madonna, the Paraclete, the Messiah, and the Father. The Holy Spirit entered my soul, I felt it happen, and something changed inside me: grace was poured into my like wine into a tin cup, alchemic wine that turns tin into gold.
I was taken on a journey outside of time, and saw the fine structure of the universe, encountered a mind infinitely superior to my own, as well as infinitely loving, and also was shown the secret roots of thought, the somewhat Platonic place ideas live before they pop into human awareness as ideas. I have had prayers answered. I saw millions of spirits, a choir as large as a galaxy and as intricate as a formal dance, bending all their efforts to save just one soul. The list just goes on and on. I should say experiences. Plural. Not one, but six, over a period of months, and continuing to the present day. I have seen visions and experienced miracles, seen prayers answered, and had things even stranger happen. One supernatural event would be enough to convince an honest atheist that there was something in the universe which could not fit into the materialistic, scientific model. I have had half a dozen such experiences, each one different in nature, duration, and kind from the other: An embarassment of evidence; overwhelming; overkill.

You might think I am exaggerating or that I am very much out of my mind: I do not blame you.

All I can report is that to myself I seem oriented as to time, place, and person. I am not aware of any failure of my reasoning faculty, nor do I see other evidence of hallucination or psychosis in my thought or action. If anything, I seem better equipped to deal with life than before, more human, more charitable. I actually try to be nice to people, and, once in a blue moon, I am.

Also, if this is an hallucination, it more useful than sanity. For one thing, this 'hallucination' resolves certain philosophical conundrums that have haunted me for years, such as the mind-body problem or the determinism-freewill paradox.


Speaking as a philosopher, one who has sworn upon Truth itself never to turn aside from where Reason leads, all I can say it that Christianity makes for better philosophy than philosophy itself. It is a rational and self-consistent meaningful view of the world, one which promotes virtue and honesty, as well as a philosophical attitude toward suffering.

Pagan philosophy, like that of Aristotle and Plato, urge men to live and die like great-souled men, like Stoics, and to live honestly and honorably, without fear: but their world is one where even Achilles is a shade in Hades, their universe is one where fear is rational, for the Unmoved Mover will not move itself to save you. Stoicism, the doctrine of Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and Cicero, shows logically why it is better to live a life in accordance with Nature, but it does not arm the soul with the tools needed to do so.

Modern philosophy, the speculations and screeds of Rousseau, Nietzsche, Sartre, Marx, Russell, Wittgenstein, is rubbish, and a sophomore can detect the self-inconsistencies, inhumanity, and outright absurdity in their work. Christianity does all that these thinkers set out to do, plus you get Cathedrals and the St. John's Passion, Christmas and John Milton.

[M]y philosophical soul tells me that that the saints are more sagacious than the sages, the martyrs more stoic than the Stoics, the schoolmen more rational than the Rationalists, the ghostly catechism a good deal more human than the Humanists, not to mention more humane. If this is illusion, why is it the only thing that gives deep meaning to an otherwise dull, dead, paradoxical and futile reality?

But the question of it being a dream is unreasonable. At some level, I am aware of Christ living in me, the way you might be aware of your own heartbeat. You do not really hear it, except in moments of excitement, but you know it is there, in the background.

Is that hallucination? Or it is merely an assumption, an axiom of the empirical epistemology, to place no credit on the testimony of eyewitnesses credible in all other respects.

If you ask me to prove to you God exists, I will ask you to prove to me that your conscience exists. If you cannot prove it, why should I waste my time and effort presenting evidence before a jury which very well might have no conscience? How will I know your verdict will be honest?

And yet surely, surely your conscience is real! If you do have a conscience, tell me by what means you are aware of it: not through the senses, surely. Do you admit immediate perception of a nonphysical reality is possible? If so, perception of other real things, even perception of divine things, is not impossible. It then merely becomes a question of prudence whether all those who claim to have had religious experiences have perceived something by this means. Since this seems to be the only point that all cultures of all the history of mankind has in common, that some sort of spiritual reality exists, it is not prudent to begin the discussion with the assumption that spiritual reality does not exist.
You might think all this was some great privilege or awesome experience.

It was totally humiliating.

So much evidence of the Christian religion was given to me so abundantly that it is an embarrassment to me. Other Christians, who have faith, do not need to be hit over the head with the blunt instrument of obvious supernatural events, one after another after another. I was visited not because I was wise or smart, but because I was foolish and stupid.

You might wonder why, if God can convince atheists to worship Him merely by dropping by for a visit, He does not do it more often. The reason is that it does not help, not at all, not a bit. When I suffer doubts, when my faith gets weak, my faith in my memory gets weak too. Faith and faithlessness have NOTHING TO DO with evidence presented to reason or senses. It has to do with a humble will and an upright heart. If God presented evidence to skeptics, all that would happen is that skeptics would doubt their evidence. If God gave a logical argument to prove His own existence, all that would happen is that skeptics would doubt the power of logic to prove anything.

Skepticism pretends it is all about open-mindedness and evidence. Not so. Skepticism is about suspicion and pride and self-will. It is about pretending you are smarter than people who, if you only knew, are actually wiser than you and your sneering questions and foolish word-tricks. The only place we ever see a humble skeptic is in the physical sciences, because scientists are willing to let their conclusions be ruled on by nature.

Once I was touched by the Spirit (I, who did not until that moment even believe the word 'spirit' had any meaning) everything else fell into place.
The Christian religion places an emphasis on Reason that other religions, with the exception of the Jewish, do not share, or not to the same degree. None of them mention LOGOS, the rational account, the word, issuing directly from the Father. The Incarnation makes the Christian God more human and humane than the God we see in the Old Testament or the Koran. The God of the Trinity is not alone.

Christianity seems to fit better with the way human life actually is than other religions, at least in my humble estimation. There is a concern and a love for children I have not noticed in other religions, a sanctity toward marriage, a concern for human life, a concern for monogamy, for individual worth, more central to Christian tradition than to the traditions of other faiths. Christendom wiped out slavery world wide; Christendom invented science. If Christianity were the foe of science, the West would be the most backward of technological powers, and the Chinese, following the pragmatic and this-worldly Confucius, would be the leader.


The Christian world-view is not only NOT incompatible with the scientific and logical one, they reinforce each other. You must imagine my befuddlement when I see science presented as somehow being the enemy of religion. Science is the enemy of Taoism or Buddhism, perhaps, but not the enemy of a religion that combines the rationalism of Athens with the mysticism of Jerusalem. We invented the University, for God's sake.

Science without philosophy simply makes no sense: it leads to Behaviorism and Nihilism. Philosophy without religion is abstract and bloodless, unable to perform, at least in my limited experience. I could not live as a Stoic back when I was a Stoic: as a Christian, a spirit allowed me to do endure what Stoics are supposed to be able to endure. As a theist, I can live as rationally as, back when I was an atheist, I thought atheists were supposed to live.

The absence of reincarnation, the horrible doctrine of hell, places a certain urgency beneath the question which Eastern religions, for all their manifest glories and good works, do not share. Christianity seems, to me at least, to possess the good points of other religions but also to have a clearer insight into the human condition they do not share. I believe the other major religions, and certain forms of paganism, to be on the right track, children of light, but simply not go far enough.

The Image On The Tilma

Cool description of the symbolism in the Virgin Of Guadalupe image. H/T Anchoress.

Step Right Up

And watch this circus:

The Great Sea-Tac Holiday Tree Seige of '06 is over!

The whole thing makes for great comedy in my book. You've got the wimpy "Holiday Trees" reminding us that Christmas is, for Blue Staters, the Holiday that Dare Not Say it's Name. You've got the rabbi who goes to the Port with his Big Gun lawyer demanding an instant menorah or else it's lawsuit city (and then acting surprised that the Port felt threatened). You've got the cowardly Port guys who were too timid to even defend "Holiday Trees" and too thick to say, "Sure, stick a menorah over there by Baggage Claim." You've got the wincing Jewish community in Seattle going to the Rabbi and saying, "Way to go. Now you've pissed off a bunch of people for no good reason other than your need for Insensitivity Training." You've the got the Big Gun lawyer with the chutzpah to say, "We are not going to be the instrument by which the port holds Christmas hostage" (as though the Port has somehow been plotting to remove Holiday trees and was happy to see the well-intended lawyer come in the door with his threats, the better to implement their nefarious plan). You've got the angry and bitter Christians who are demonstrating the love of Christ by sending the rabbi hate mail. You've got the hilarity of Seattle's Leftist Orwellian Newspeak about "the holidays" and the tortured attempts to simultaneously "celebrate diversity" while making a desert and calling it peace. You've got the Plucky Rebel Alliance of airport workers who stage a revolt and put more trees up anyway, political correctness be damned.

Now comes the next phase in the comedy, when the "make a desert and call it peace" agenda and the Celebrate Diversity guys try to haggle things out. In a sane world, we'd allow Christmas (not Holiday) trees, menorahs, whatever the Muslims do this time of year, as well as Kwanzaa disco balls or whatever it is they use. It would be pretty. Then it would be over. But in this insane world, we have to pretend that Christmas trees are not Christmas trees. And when some rabbi says, "Yeah, but everybody knows it's really a Christmas tree anyway, so I want a menorah too!" We can't say, "You're right. It *is* really a Christmas tree" or else we've taken the first step toward a new Dark Ages of Theocratic Christianist Fascism. On the other hand, if we *do* celebrate diversity, acknowledge the Christmasness of the tree and include the menorah, we have taken a step toward transforming the United States into a vast Davidic Kingdom of compulsory circumcision for all, because while the tree is not particularly religious, the menorah certainly is, and the Port's acknowledgment of it can only constitute an establishment of religion by the state. It couldn't be that the state just, like, acknowledge that a couple of important religious traditions in the US are having an annual celebration and we get to reap the benefits of that in the form of some beautiful lights and glass balls. Nope. Anything other than the complete denuding of the Public Square means that the 30 Years War is just around the corner.

The Worldview Is Simply Incoherent

Mark Shea tells why in this short post.

A Bit Of The Ol' Cut And Paste

Regarding the Dover v Kitzmiller decision of Judge Jones:

“Masterful” Federal Ruling on Intelligent Design Was Copied from ACLU

Seattle — The key section of the widely-noted court decision on intelligent design issued a year ago on December 20 was copied nearly verbatim from a document written by ACLU lawyers, according to a study released today by scholars affiliated with the Discovery Institute.

“Judge John Jones copied verbatim or virtually verbatim 90.9% of his 6,004-word section on whether intelligent design is science from the ACLU’s proposed ‘Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law’ submitted to him nearly a month before his ruling,” said Dr. John West, Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.

“Ironically, Judge Jones has been hailed as ‘an outstanding thinker’ for his ‘masterful’ ruling, and even honored by Time magazine as one of the world’s ‘most influential people’ in the category of ’scientists and thinkers,’” said West. “But Jones’ analysis of the scientific status of intelligent design contains virtually nothing written by Jones himself. This finding seriously undercuts the credibility of a central part of the ruling.”

The study notes that, while judges routinely make use of proposed findings of fact, “the extent to which Judge Jones simply copied the language submitted to him by the ACLU is stunning. For all practical purposes, Jones allowed ACLU attorneys to write nearly the entire section of his opinion analyzing whether intelligent design is science. As a result, this central part of Judge Jones’ ruling reflected essentially no original deliberative activity or independent examination of the record on Jones’ part.”

Jones’ copying was so uncritical that he even reprinted a number of factual errors originally made by ACLU attorneys...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Ones Who Complain Loudest That Their Critics Know Precisely Jack About Science Yammer On Against Religion Knowing Precisely Jack About Theology

Good post.

Good Questions

Kevin McCullough:

According to Fox News Mary Cheney, the 37 year old daughter of Vice President Cheney is pregnant. She and the woman she lives with and engages in sexual behavior with - Heather Poe - are ecstatic at the news.

This development prompted some important questions...

1. How did the exclusive sexual union of these two women bring about this conception?

2. What does it mean, from a biological nature to realize that a man WAS in fact necessary for this conception to take place?

3. What does it mean to the supposed "intimacy" that "two people share" which was intended by the Creator to be a function that creates life, to be forced to include a third party?

4. Doesn't it make a rather strong statement that biologically speaking, the sexual union these two women share - is in fact, scientifically speaking - inadequate?

5. Is it healthy for a society to celebrate inadequate sexual unions that lead to everything except what it was designed to be?

6. Knowing from scientific data that children excel best when given the full and natural parental structure of one mother and one father, is it moral to bring a child into such a scenario - purposefully, simply to stroke one's own desire to have a child - sort of like a new handbag, or pair of shoes?

Would love to know your responses to these five in that order in the comment section below... (Most likely I will report your responses on my show.)

And in a followup column:

Is there a more obvious product of heterosexual behavior than the creation of children? If so then isn't it somewhat peculiar that those who shun the behavior of heterosexuality so deeply crave the product that it brings?

This week as I read the news that Mary Cheney, the 37 year old daughter of the Vice-President, was pregnant, I had many such questions running through my head.

I'm not supposed to mind you.

I'm not supposed to be allowed to think such things.

I'm not supposed to openly wonder what such conclusions might mean. Such wondering might bash the belief structure that men and women are completely interchangeable with one another. Yet I wonder them nonetheless. (Call it an ever growing desire to know the truth of the matter.)

Let's face it in America today if we bring up such obvious inconsistencies we are immediately branded and labeled a bigot. I was repeatedly labeled such this week for asking six additional questions arising from the fake act of two women supposedly "becoming parents." Argue with me all you like - the truth is Mary Cheney's baby will share DNA with Mary and the male DNA donor. Genetically he/she will share nothing with Cheney's partner Heather Poe.

So here's the next item I'm not allowed to bring up... Two women who desire children can not achieve satisfaction, because their sexual union is incapable of producing it. And this is fully true - even if all parties involved have healthy, fully functional reproductive biology.

When I mentioned this earlier in the week homosexual bloggers like Andrew Sullivan took exception with the notion and accused me of being hypocritical of the issue when it comes to infertile couples. Yet it is the critics who are being inconsistent.

If a man and wife struggle with infertility, it is because of biological breakdown. What God designed to work a certain way short circuited. He has low sperm count. She doesn't produce eggs as she should. They have trouble getting the two together. The biological dysfunction is not voluntary, they attempt sexual intercourse, time and time again but because of the faulty genetics in the machinery they are unable to complete the conception. And should medicine ever develop a cure for whatever that specific breakdown might be - there will be no problem for the couple, through natural sexual engagement to have another child.

Not so with Cheney and her partner. If they were to choose to engage in sex acts a thousand times over, their biological machinery would never produce what is needed - but for a different reason. There is no dysfunction in this case. Instead the reason the sexual engagement does not work is because the necessary parts are not even present. It is the equivalent of screwing a nut onto a bolt, by using a hammer. They just don't fit.

So after a cacophony of naughty e-mails being sent to me describing thousands of positions a male participant or a turkey baster can be used to impregnate a woman who only has had sex with women, I'm supposed to be intimidated so as to no longer ask these questions.

But they're good questions.

And doesn't the sick attempt at humor reveal what the purpose of my questions was from the very beginning?

In normal relationships the privacy and intimacy of the act of procreation is a spiritual and beautiful thing. In the sexual acts of women who sleep together that adequacy will be something they always long for and never have the satisfaction of knowing, thus undermining the fidelity of what they believe their relationship to be.

In our culture we don't think about our actions from the viewpoint of the One who created us. Rather we obsess about our rights to do what we want, how we want, and as often as we want.

But children are never about what we want. Raising them is about supplying what they need. Britney Spears does no one a service when she gets pregnant on the cheap in a marriage that doesn't last only to end up not providing a father for her children while flashing her nether region for paparazzi. Like wise how moral is it for Mary Cheney to bring a child into society who from the outcome is told that her second mommy is the equivalent of a true father?

There is a reason for homosexual activists to have kids; it is part of the great deception that no one is to question. By having children in the picture the attempt to complete the circle and to convince the world that such a family unit is normal is all important.

Since we do not live in a theocracy it is unreasonable to maintain that Americans will not all make the same choice when it comes to morality and sexual behavior. However that reality has nothing whatsoever to do with whether sexual behavior should be considered moral that extends beyond moral boundaries.

And since homosexuals insist upon desiring limitless sexual activity, not governed by provincial rules and traditions, why would they want children?

Children are the undeniable product of the superiority of heterosexual engagement. And since homosexual behavior in large terms wishes to throw off the weight of conventional sexuality, I am curious as to why they would desire to reinforce the inferiority of their sexual behavior.

And no amount of hate-mail from small minded radical activists will stifle the curiosity from which I seek to learn.

It's a good question. Is inherently sterile union really union at all?