Friday, November 30, 2007

Catholic Convert SF Writer Gives Phillip Pullman What For

A great read.

Serious Old School

This. H/T Peeve Farm.

Standard Operating Procedure

Ours is a Republican nation. This is obvious from the fact that our elections are about 50-50 despite non-stop subterfuge of this nature:

JOHN FUND EMAILS THIS on the CNN debacle. From's Political Diary:

Last week, CNN's Anderson Cooper quipped in an interview with that “campaign operatives are people too” and that CNN wasn’t worried if political partisans posed questions at the upcoming GOP debate he was moderating. “We don’t investigate the background of people asking questions (by submitting video clips). It’s not our job,” is how he put it.

But now CNN’s logo has egg splattered all over it, as it scrambles to explain how a co-chair of Hillary Clinton’s veterans’ committee was allowed to ask a video question on gays in the military at Wednesday’s debate and was also flown by the network from California to the debate site in Florida so he could repeat his question to the candidates in person. CNN claims it verified retired Brig. Gen. Ketih Kerr’s military status and checked his campaign contribution records, contradicting Mr. Cooper’s blasé attitudes. Still, they somehow missed his obvious connection to the Hillary campaign which any Google search would have turned up. CNN later airbrushed Mr. Kerr’s question out of its rebroadcast of the debate, indicating that it apparently doesn’t think “campaign operatives” are legitimate questioners at the network’s debates.

Now it appears that an amazing number of partisan figures posed many of the 30 questions at the GOP debate all the while pretending to be CNN’s advertised “undecided voters.” Yasmin from Huntsville, Alabama turns out to be a former intern with the Council on American Islamic Relations, a group highly critical of Republicans. Blogger Michelle Malkin has identified other plants, including declared Obama supporter David Cercone, who asked a question about the pro-gay Log Cabin Republicans. A questioner who asked a hostile question about the pro-life views of GOP candidates turned out to be a diehard John Edwards supporter (and a slobbering online fan of Mr. Cooper). Yet another “plant” was LeeAnn Anderson, an activist with a union that has endorsed Mr. Edwards.

It seems more “plants” are being uprooted with each passing day. Almost a third of the questioners seem to have some ties to Democratic causes or candidates. Another questioner worked with Democratic Senator Dick Durbin’s staff. A former intern with Democratic Rep. Jane Harman asked a question about farm subsidies. A questioner who purported to be a Ron Paul supporter turns out to be a Bill Richardson volunteer. David McMillan, a TV writer from Los Angeles, turns out to have several paens to John Edwards on his YouTube page and has attended Barack Obama fundraisers.

Given CNN’s professed goal to have “ordinary Americans” ask questions at their GOP debate, how likely is that it was purely by accident that so many of the videos CNN selected for use were not just from partisans, but people actively hostile to the GOP’s messages and candidates?

(Emphasis added). It makes it kind of hard to trust CNN.

More rounded up here, including this comment:

So let me get this straight... in the Democrat YouTube debates, the "undecided questioners" are Democratic activists and in the Republican YouTube debates, the "undecided questioners" are Democratic activists.

Well, at least they're consistent.


Typical religion of peace foolishness.

Perhaps It Is Because They Don't View Politics As Therapy

Article: "Republicans Report Much Better Mental Health Than Others".

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Other Than That, Mr. Hewittt, How Did You Like The Debate?

Hugh Hewitt:

I took to calling CNN "the most busted name in news" during the Eason Jordan meltdown in early 2005. Since then it has grown addicted to Lou Dobbs' pseudopopulism while maintaining an hilariously lefty attitude towards most news. The networks two best talents, Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper, are surrounded by a cast of agenda-journalists who, like Penelope unweaving her tapestry each night, undo each day all the good work that Blitzer and Cooper attempt to accomplish. CNN isn't a cartoon network, but a network of cartoon figures like Jack Cafferty and Dobbs pretending to be objective journalists. Now we have proof positive that the backroom producers are as biased as Cafferty and Dobbs.

Last night's fiasco was so thorough that it will take a while to settle in just how damaging it was to CNN's reputation as a news organization. From the awful judgment displayed with the opening guitar serenade through the preposterous selection of topics and questions right to the stark reality that CNN either was easily and completely manipulated by the Dems with planted question after planted question or were totally complicit in the hijacking of a Republican debate designed to serve Republican primary voters about who ought to be the Republican nominee. The network is either incompetent in a way no serious news organization should be, or wholly captured by agenda journalists of the left.

No serious anchor would want to be where Cooper is today, at the center of a vast train wreck which cannot be explained away as the inevitable result of the sudden appearance of big news in a difficult setting, as with hysterical Katrina coverage of bodies stacked in freezers and gun fights in the Superdome, or the result of the input of bad data, as with the early call of Florida for Gore in 2000.

No, this premeditated mediocrity. The network had months to prepare and consider and execute. But even with all that time, it lacked the minimal talent necessary to produce a serious debate about important issues using new technology. All it could deliver was a carnival of bad taste, trick questions, and full frontal left wing bias.


Take a look-see at this Vista error message.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Guardrails Do Not Limit Freedom Of Motion

Very good Gagdad Bob post prompted by a Chesterton quote.

Maybe It Does Make A Difference

The Anchoress highlights some very interesting reflections from a liberal priest upon presiding at his first Tridentine Mass.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I'll be posting again on Monday, 11/26.

Monday, November 19, 2007

If They Are Right, I Don't See How I Could Know It, Just Listening To Them

I'm in agreement with this guy (at least about the credibility of Behe's critics):

Talk.reason essay on Behe,, and Panda’s Thumb, here.

The problem with all this material is that I don’t trust it, and demand an independent arbiter. Once these people start bashing Behe, their credibility falls. The question of Behe’s book is complex, and I hold no brief for the misuse of ID in what is essentially an argument stretching back to Michael Denton. But Behe’s argument can easily survive its undoubted mistakes, especially mistakes generated from his manner of going too far with design thinking. It needs to be properly critiqued, and this the Darwin group is incapable of doing, because their own prior mistakes are far greater.

The fact of the matter is that Darwin defenders are completely untrustworthy in their Behe bashing tactics, and it is not just Behe. We cannot take anything they say at face value, the more so as the sophmoric ad hominem abuse comes forth. These tactics are under suspicion of being intimidation tactics from those whose position has a basic weakness [that] its proponents are compelled to hide behind shouting tactics and ridicule. And if this ridicule is effective, who will risk their career fighting this club of dogmatists?

Behe is commended for admitting to mistakes. Can we ever suspect the same from Darwinists? Clearly not. They are entrenched establishment, and no one can challenge their lies without suffering the fate of Behe.

Darwinism is not science because it is not falsifiable. It is not falsifiable, because there will be hell to pay for anyone who even dares to attempt a falsification. Nothing could be more obvious.


From comments here:

“The logician seeks to make everything lucid, and succeeds in making everything mysterious. The mystic allows one thing to be mysterious, and everything else becomes lucid.”

--G.K. Chesterton

I'm Glad It's Not Me

Ask Dr. Helen quotes a commenter:

My sister and brother-in-law are D.C. area residents and wear their politics on their sleeves. I quit arguing with them some 20 years ago when they stated that Reagan was responsible for the Yellowstone Park forest fires. I realized then I could not have a rational discussion with them.

The problem I have with this stuff is that my brother-in-law starts yelling. Who wants to converse with someone who’s attracting attention from all the other diners in a restaurant. I finally decided that he doesn’t really want a reasoned conversation. He just wants to shout down anyone who disagrees with him, so why bother?

My dad is as mean as a snake. All 8 of his kids bear the scars and deal with them in different ways. The last time I saw him was 5 years ago at the rehearsal dinner for my younger brother’s wedding. He was picking on my niece, and she not being used to that treatment slapped him in the face. I told my Dad to knock it the f—k off. He took exception and we started a fistfight in the restaurant. My dad was so bent out of shape that somebody stood up to him that he didn’t show up for the wedding, and I gladly stood in for him, next to my Mom, in all of the wedding pics.

I cherish Christmas with my family: A day with the estrogen poisoned females of my clan; children yelling and grubbing for the bounty that comes with the crass commercialism of the holiday; the ever present fear that my brother, four Christmases banished from the family for alcohol related lunacy, will crash his drunken, six foot, four inch body through the front door and spray the room with lead. Ah, Christmas! I strap an Officer’s Compact Colt .45 into a pancake holster on my hip in case the door comes off its hinges at the party, pack up my hastily purchased gifts, and I wade into this thing called Christmas. Ho, ho, ho, who wouldn’t go?

Through the years of Republican bashing followed by Kumbaya sing alongs (I kid you not), I have found the best strategy is to simply keep my mouth shut.

The Numbers Tell The Story

Some very interesting metrics.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

She Who Outlasted Rome Needs To Accept Gracefully The Advice Of The LA Times

American Thinker scrutinizes an LA Times editorial which attempts to instruct the Pope about the true path of wisdom.

News Flash: Naziism Not A Product Of Christianity

Excellent essay about how Christianity had already radically declined in Germany, allowing the Nazis to come to power. The piece has plenty of telling quotes from contemporary sources. It'll hopefully be awhile before somebody declares that the decline of atheism is what allowed Stalin to take power.

10 Crashes That Changed Aviation

Interesting roundup.


Flying in a jetliner is extraordinarily safe: There has been only one fatal crash in the United States in the past five years, an astounding record considering that more than 30,000 flights take off every day. How did flying get so reliable? In part, because of accidents that triggered crucial safety improvements. Here are eight crashes and two emergency landings whose influence is felt—for the good—each time you step on a plane.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Which Part Of "I'm Paying $900,000 To Live In Vacaville" Did You Not Get?

Highlighted in this housing bubble blog post:

The San Francisco Chronicle. “Vacaville, in eastern Solano County, was long an affordable alternative for home buyers who didn’t mind a long commute to the inner Bay Area. But that market has changed substantially within months.”

“Larry St. John bought a home for more than $900,000 early this year in a new development on the city’s northwest side. This weekend, St. John said the builder - DeNova Homes - is planning an auction of more than a dozen similar homes, with starting bids about $300,000 less than what recent buyers paid.”

“‘This is huge, this is our biggest investment,’ said St. John. ‘I can understand a corporation taking losses to stay in business, but an individual taking a $300,000 hit is not something I have the capacity to do.’”

“As a homeowner in the Bay Area, ‘every couple of years you have an opportunity to refinance and do some improvements and still have equity,’ St. John added. ‘If you’re starting off from a position of negative $300,000, that takes more than a few years to rectify.’”

Craptastic Suckitude

Vista. Good Brian Tiemann post. Also take a look at these amusing Mac vs PC ads.

"Tell The Christians To Come Home To Their Country Iraq"

An excellent, hope filled post by Michal Yon (with plenty of photos).

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Since All Religions Are The Same, You Definitely Don't Want To Be A Christian

Is there anything that Washington post reporters don't know?

Sound As A Pound

Take a look at this. What was the catastrophe that started in 1914? That's when the Federal Reserve began operations. And it's still going strong!

Which Way Do You Roll?

A visual test to see if you are right-brained or left-brained. Make sure you've enabled GIF animation in your browser.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Don't Recall God Consulting With The Democratic Party

Those the most afraid of theology seem to be the ones who practice it the most. This post examines an interesting quote from Howard Dean:

"This country is not a theocracy," Dean said. "There are fundamental differences between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party believes that everybody in this room ought to be comfortable being an American Jew, not just an American; that there are no bars to heaven for anybody; that we are not a one-religion nation; and that no child or member of a football team ought to be able to cringe at the last line of a prayer before going onto the field."

Any Club Will Do

When it comes to trashing the US military. The latest is a "statistic" that WoT veterans are committing suicide at an alarming rate. But wait:

Danger Room links to a CBS story on an allegedly disproportional number of suicides by veterans. Supporting an anecdotal piece on veterans of the current war, CBS pulls up statistics showing that veterans committed suicide at twice the rate of the average population.

Shock! Horror!


In the US, male veterans outnumber female veterans 13:1. Since four times as many males as women commit suicide in the general population, you'd expect the rate among veterans to be close to the rate among males - 17.6/100,000 per year in 2002 - and indeed it is, if the CBS raw numbers are correct.

CBS also makes an issue of the fact that suicide rates among younger veterans exceed that of the general population by an even bigger margin - but again, that's what you'd expect, because in that age group, the male-to-female imbalance in suicide rates is greatest, almost six to one.

Suicide is tragedy. What it does not seem to be, among veterans, is an epidemic.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Exceptions Prove The Rule

The Belmont Club tries to apply some principles consistently, with curious results.


Good list of pet peeves. H/T Wittingshire.

The Future Lies Ahead

Interesting analysis of probable changes in the overall entertainment industry, perhaps to be spurred along by the writer's strike.

"Hicks Nix Peacenik Pix"

Roger L. Simon on why people are shunning Hollywood's Iraq war movies.

A quote from the piece:

[T]here is another benefit. (Here is where I am really going to make enemies.) Making movies like these or making extreme liberal public pronouncements make you seem like a good guy to yourself, when in your private life you are a miserable, self-serving bastard.

In order to understand how important that is you must never forget that Hollywood is a brutal place. It is just as vicious and competitive as dramatized in TV shows like Entourage, only nowhere near as entertaining. Only the most ambitious and determined survive and, to do that, the chances are you will not come out of the process a nice person. You will step on the backs of your colleagues, mistreat your staff and have generally erratic personal relationships based much more on status and connections than love or genuine affection.

Of course I am overstating to make a point, but I have noticed, in the years I have worked in Hollywood, that, with rare exceptions, the more successful people are, the more wretched they are to others. And those with the most obvious public liberal credentials are often the ones who are the most despicable in their private behavior. You could almost graph it.

Much of this public liberalism of the excessive knee-jerk variety stems from a form of self-loathing. These same people do not want to be bastards – life just put them in that position. But, at the same time, they do not want anyone to take away what they have – the vast acclaim and fortune – even if deep down they wonder if they are worthy. What to do? What to do?

The solution is to create another self, a kind of mini-me, who goes out and loudly proclaims what a fine liberal humanistic person he or she is- a public projection to obfuscate the private self. Sometimes this results in actual good works, but usually it is basically blather (see Streisand’s website) or dopey showing off like Sean Penn putting in an appearance with Hugo Chavez.

Other times, distorted work emerges like the current group of films no one wants to see.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Real Flat-Earthers Are Those Who Think That Those Who Didn't Believe In A Flat Earth Did

David Warren as quoted by Denyse O'Leary:

One of the constants in the long clash between Scientism & Christianity has been the repetition & elaboration by the Scienticists of quite incredible myths & lies, that are still used in our public schools, media, &c, to mock & slander Christians & Christianity. I know about the potency of these myths & lies, for I myself was taught many of them, in school, saw them endlessly repeated in the press, heard them repeated by all liberal adults, & actually believed several of them until I came to riper years, & began to realize that public atheism requires the defence of a "bodyguard of lies." (And you will find them all repeated uncritically in Dawkins, Hitchens, Sam Harris, & all the current bestselling atheist tracts.)

Many of the specific lies descend from old Protestant broadsides against Catholics -- for instance, the lie that the mediaeval scholastics debated how many angels on the head of a pin, lurid & untruthful accounts of proceedings of the Spanish Inquisition, various folk myths about what Catholics do in Mass, the misrepresentation of the trial of Galileo, &c. All except this last were products of virulent anti-Catholic pamphleteering, in the 17th century. (The Galileo myth was invented later, for in the 17th-C the Protestants themselves were opposing the heliocentric theory, & often trying to suppress it as a popish "heresy" -- on grounds that the people propagating it were all Catholics & often monks & were well-received in the Vatican.)

But while Scientism has taken aboard all the old Protestant smears, & turned them into smears against Christians in general, it has also been industriously manufacturing its own myths, lies, & vitriolic sneers, from the philosophes of the Enlightenment, forward. (The Darwinists of the 19th century were even more inventive, in their determination to associate Christian belief with idiocy.)

Among the most universally taught & least subtle, lies taught to this day, is that Christians throughout the Middle Ages believed the world was flat; & that the Church taught this, & defended it as religious doctrine against Copernicus, Kepler, & Galileo. Yet the Church never taught the earth was flat, nor did any educated person, Christian or otherwise, ever believe it.

Indeed, the old Ptolemaic system -- universally accepted by intelligent Christians, Heretics, Atheists, Jews, Muslims, & even Hindus until the age of Copernicus -- was very clear on the fact that the earth was a sphere.

The American scholar Jeffrey Burton Russell wrote an excellent history of the foundation & propagation of the "flat earth myth" in the 19th century, of which I've just become aware. (His earlier series of books on the historical development of doctrine & beliefs about the monotheist personification of the Devil may be familiar to some of you.) Russell is pedestrian in the best sense: a very thorough scholar who walks patiently through a broad range of evidence, insists on consulting original sources, & writes very clearly.

Choose Your Enemies Carefully

Dalrymple on the New Atheism.

How Perplexing

Hollywood discovers the obvious:

Anti-war movies tank at the box office
posted 11/10/07

One of the more satisfying, under-reported barometers of cultural trends is the dismal box office take of recent movies attacking U.S. foreign policy and the war in Iraq.

Read that article in its entirety, and observe that, in all the reasons offered for why these films have met with public indifference and scorn, the 800-pound gorilla in the room is ignored:

These films are all anti-U.S.

In each of them, America is portrayed as the Bad Guy, the Great Satan, the source of all Evil on earth.

Tell me: How does Hollywood expect general American audiences to ratify, with their entertainment dollars, movies that essentially spit in their own faces, blaming them for being a malignant force in the world?

The lameness of the excuses put forth in the article by various industry "analysts" and "insiders" is wondrous to behold.

The films haven't been "entertaining enough," says one. Well, sure: Would you find entertaining a film whose proposition is that you and your country are guilty of nothing but war crimes?

Another declares that people want "escape" from the news headlines; they don't want to be reminded of the war headlines when they go to the movie. Oh yeah? Tell it to the people who made all those patriotic John Wayne flicks during World War II. Filmgoers ate up the black-and-white, good-guys-versus-bad-guys messages of those war films of yesteryear...when Americans were the heroes.

Only veteran TV producer Steven Bochco comes remotely close to this point, when he observes that "World War II was hugely romanticized in terms of its fiction. There were unambiguous villains, and the feeling we were fighting the right people over the right issues, as opposed to this war, which many people feel is misguided."

But observe that he blames the box office failure on controversy over the rectitude of this war -- and not on these movies' unrelenting anti-American messages. In these films, there is no controversy: They all take a side, and that side is that America is wrong, and its soldiers a bunch of rapists, torturers, and murderers.

No, ye card-carrying members of the Hollywood left: All your "explanations" are dead wrong. You just don't want to come to grips with the fact that you hate America but your audience doesn't.

And they aren't willing to pay you to insult them.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Very Few Get The Argument

Because they don't want to get it. But this guy does:


Just two comments:

1) Although you are right that a strict sequence comparison between actual parasite and the parasite as it was at the moment of the introduction of chloroquine is not possible, because the sequencing of the genome has only been completed now, still there is probably no evidence that any significant phenotypic difference has been observed to emerge in the parasite during those years.

2) But that is really not the point. The point is that, after the introduction of chloroquine, the main selective pressure in the so called “fitness landscape” has become the drug. So, we have a model where a very strong environmental challenge has emerged, which is exactly what is supposed to be a very strong motivation to evolution in a darwinian scenario. So, the point is not if the parasite in those years has started to evolve some occult difference, but rather why it has not evolved any complex and non trivial adaptation to chloroquine, in the presence of such a strong selective force, and with so many reproductive cycles available. Why not a “cloroquinase”, or some equivalent mechanism, for instance? Why not a complex new pathway, let’s say 3 or 4 proteins in cascade whose purpose could be to metabolize the drug, or to couple it to some molecule to make it ineffective. Why not new cellular functions which may allow the parasite’s survival in the presence of choroquine? Why not a deeply renovated parasite, much more dangerous and resistant than its ancestor?

There are many possible ways to adapt, exactly as darwinian theory postulates, in the presence of a very strong environmental selective pressure. According to the theory, that’s why new species arise, new body plans are formed, new brains and functions arise, and often in less reproductive cycles than the parasite has experienced in the few years fron the introduction of the drug.

So, Behe’s argument stays perfectly valid: why can’t we see any creative evolution in the parasite, when all the necessary ingredients are there? Why only few trivial single point mutations?

The answer is simple: because that’s all random variation can accomplish, in absence of a design implementation.

Great Cartoon

Highlighted here.

Not In Your Name

Some great highlights from an interview with Michael Yon on the Hugh Hewitt show. The piece begins:

Michael Yon called the Hugh Hewitt Show today at 3:15 in the morning, Baghdad time. Michael has always been cautious in his reportage of events in the Iraqi front of the war on terror, even referring to Iraq as being in a civil war months before the Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media seized on the term, turning it into a rhetorical political weapon in the 2006 election, and promising to cut and run as soon as they ascended to power.

But today we heard a different side of Michael Yon. He was as upbeat and optimistic as we've ever heard him. He's been all over Iraq during the last several months, and reported that even in Baghdad, hope, peace, reconstruction, support and even appreciation for what our military has done for the Iraqi populace is breaking out all over.

You know it must be true, because Iraq disaster and failure news has fallen off the big three's nightly newscasts, and elected Democrats are changing the subject whenever Iraq is raised. You can read the whole transcript here, but below are some of the highlights...

Any Post Which Contains The Phrase, "The Empty Bone-Holes Are Your First Clue," Is Worth Reading

Some 1940's cookbook commentary from Lileks.

Fantasy Debate

Some amusing stuff from David Brooks.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

For Our StruggIe Is Not Against The Principalities Or The Spritual Powers Of Wickedness In The Heavenly Places, But Against Flesh And Blood

Gagdad Bob:

Although my visiting father-in-law thinks he knows the reasons for his devout atheism, he has no idea that he is actually immersed in a discredited metaphysic that he simply "assumes," and therefore requires no defense. It's just "common sense." In his view, it is incumbent upon believers to prove to him the existence of God -- even though he is the one making the extraordinary claim, given the relatively tiny number of doctrinaire atheists who exist and who, for whatever reason, are unable to apprehend the spiritual dimension. The average person obviously doesn't have this difficulty, even if he cannot articulate why with reasons that could satisfy the pneumacognitive idiosyncracies of atheist.

Polanyi felt that the contemporary madness of postmodernity began with the idea of a complete and perfect objectivism, which is supposed to be the ideal of science and of all reliable knowledge in general: "All personal and subjective elements came to be regarded as disturbances to the attainment of this perfect objectivity. Every effort therefore had to be made to eliminate them." It was as if Nature spoke directly and unamibuously to us, and that all we had to do was disinterestedly listen to her without any preconceptions.

This ideal, which may at times be appropriate for certain limited, very simple domains, eventually insinuated itself into most fields of knowledge. But this epistemological revolution had anthropological consequences, as it served to undermine traditional authority and create a kind of hyper-individualism operating outside the domain of any legitimate authority.

As Hoarhey mentioned in a comment yesterday, this irrational-rational revolt reached a kind of peak in the late 1960s. In other words, the "rational" rejection of religion in particular and tradition in general facilitated an absurd leap into what amounts to romantic irrationalism. Since there is no legitimate authority, each person become a law unto himself: do your own thing, and all that.

For example, marriage is better then living together? Prove it. A fetus is a human being? Prove it. Beethoven is better than rap? Prove it. Heterosexuality is preferable to homosexuality? Prove it. Men and women are fundamentally different? Prove it. One is obligated to tell the truth? Prove it. Etc., etc. In each case, the moral truth is accessible to human beings, but not through the application of mere reason.


This dichotomy is still present today in the vast differences between conservatism (i.e., real liberalism) and liberalism (i.e., leftism). Leftism continues to be riddled with contradictions that are rooted in its initial philosophical error. For example, one of their rock-bottom beliefs is that there is no rational or universal way to arbitrate between the values of one culture or nation and another. Therefore, it is wrong to stand in the way of any nation that wishes to realize its powers, say Iran. But when America exercises its power, there is universal condemnation from the left. How can this be?

Once again it has to do with the unhinged morality of the left. Being that their skepticism bars them from the spiritual dimension, they are unable to reliably distinguish between good and evil -- i.e., these are simply arbitrary categories. Reduced to flatland materialism, they instead divide the world into visible, empirical categories such as have and have-nots. As such, they conceive a material explanation onto which they graft their unhinged moral passion. They do the same thing with other material categories, such as race, gender and "sexual orientation." As such, all of the moral energy which, in a spiritually normal person, is reserved for distinguishing between good and evil, decent and indecent, is ruthlessly, even sadistically, applied to these meaningless substitute categories.

This explains the grotesque and perverse moral passion of the left, for example, the condemnation of the Duke lacrosse team by dozens of leftist professors who do not see good and evil, only "white and black" (and they still haven't apologized, since the "narrative" or template they imposed on the situation cannot be falsified). Likewise, in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the left obviously cannot see the moral gulf between Israel and her barbarous enemies. Rather, they only see "whiteness and indigenous-ness," or something along those lines.

In old Europe, "the replacement of moral ideals by philosophically less vulnerable, because more basically animal, objectives was carried out in all seriousness. Human appetites and human passions were actually substituted for reason and for the ideals of man in this framework of thought." "Begun in the name of reason, they ended by reducing reason to a caricature of itself: to a mere rationalization of conclusions predetermined by desire and eventually to be secured and held by force.... If thought and reason are nothing by themselves, if they are only the effects of social causes, then it is meaningless to demand that they be set free."

Slavery is freedom, lies are truth, amorality is morality. Memo to old Europe: a civilization not in contact with the Real will eventually perish. As it should. To put it another way, dying on the vine is a possibility, but dying off of it is a certainty.

We Should Bring Nuke Plants Closer Than 93 Million Miles Out In Space Or Three Miles Underground

The American Spectator looks at the utter economic inefficiency of all the "alternative" energy ideas floated to avoid the dreaded "N" idea.

A Litany Of Disastrous Failure

There's a reason "liberalism" is a radioactive word in American politics. Actually there are many reasons.

The piece begins:

It's a long list.

Add Hillary Clinton's endorsement of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants ("it makes sense") to a very long list.

The list? A seemingly unending series of bad policy proposals and loopy values that liberals have championed during the course of decades. What all of these subjects have in common is that they upended common sense in favor of a fit of moral superiority and emotional feel-goodism. They are a history of liberal disasters. All backfired or were proved dead wrong. Sometimes they were outright lethal. Collectively they are part and parcel of the real reason the once honorable term "liberal" has won such disdain from so many Americans when it isn't being hooted out of a serious policy discussion with laughter. And lying just under the surface of all the current crop of polls that predict a Democrat victory in the race for the White House is the lurking reality that any candidate who makes a point of flying the liberal flag stands a serious chance of being defeated outright. Why, after all, do you think Senator Clinton hemmed and hawed her way through the driver's license issue in last week's debate?

Here's just a handful of my personal favorites:

Read the rest. And shudder.

Is It Ever The Wrong Time To Bloviate About Politics?

James Taranto:

Wannabe Pundits

OK, see if you can guess the topic of a column by Lee Benson of Salt Lake City's Deseret Morning News. It begins as follows:

The financial news from the front--the president wants another $196 billion for wars that have already cost $600 billion--is bleak.

The financial news from the campaign trail--where candidates are going to spend $1 billion trying to become president--is depressing.

Here in Utah, the financial news from the private school voucher fight--where people on both sides have already spent $9 million (how about settling it with a coin-flip and give the money to the kids?)--is astonishing.

Give up? Here's the next sentence:

But if you want financial news you can really grind your teeth over you have to move into the world of Alex Rodriguez, also known as A-Rod, who just this week told the New York Yankees he doesn't want the $25 million they're offering him to play baseball for them next season.

Dan Neil of the Los Angeles Times injects politics into a car column:

I spent a week in an up-spec Impreza WRX five-door ($29,833) and came away wondering why Subaru would dilute one of its core products in hopes of attracting a mainstream audience that will never, ever materialize. Come on, Subaru, follow the GOP model: Pander to your base.

This analogy doesn't even make sense. The GOP often attracts a "mainstream audience," as in the presidential elections of 1980, 1984, 1988, 2000 and 2004. Stick to cars, Dan.

And then there's this, from Tony Long of Wired News. Long remembers the 69th anniversary of Orson Welles's radio dramatization of H.G. Wells's "War of the Worlds." Many listeners didn't realize it was fiction and thought Martians actually had landed in New Jersey. (It apparently never occurred to ask anyone why they would go to New Jersey of all places.) Long opines:

The resulting hysteria--people fleeing in their cars, barricading themselves inside their homes--led to calls for stricter regulation of radio broadcasting to prevent this sort of thing from occurring again. Fortunately, it was the Roosevelt administration and not the Bush administration that steered the ship of state in those days, and the furor eventually died down.

Right, because FDR would never do anything hysterical like lock up tens of thousands of innocent American citizens.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Great Steyn Column

It's the 20 year anniversary of the publishing of Allan Bloom's book The Closing Of The American Mind. Steyn has an excellent reflection.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Discovering The Obvious

An investigative breakthrough:

Journalism: The debate is over. A consensus has been reached. On global warming? No, on how Democrats are favored on television, radio and in the newspapers.

Related Topics: Media & Culture

Just like so many reports before it, a joint survey by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy — hardly a bastion of conservative orthodoxy — found that in covering the current presidential race, the media are sympathetic to Democrats and hostile to Republicans.

Democrats are not only favored in the tone of the coverage. They get more coverage period. This is particularly evident on morning news shows, which "produced almost twice as many stories (51% to 27%) focused on Democratic candidates than on Republicans."

The most flagrant bias, however, was found in newspapers. In reviewing front-page coverage in 11 newspapers, the study found the tone positive in nearly six times as many stories about Democrats as it was negative...

Good News Is No News

The Times Of London, quoted here:

Is no news good news or bad news? In Iraq, it seems good news is deemed no news. There has been striking success in the past few months in the attempt to improve security, defeat al-Qaeda sympathisers and create the political conditions in which a settlement between the Shia and the Sunni communities can be reached. This has not been an accident but the consequence of a strategy overseen by General David Petraeus in the past several months …

Indeed, on every relevant measure, the shape of the Petraeus curve is profoundly encouraging …

None of this means that all the past difficulties have become history. A weakened al-Qaeda will be tempted to attempt more spectacular attacks to inflict substantial loss of life in an effort to prove that it remains in business. Although the tally of car bombings and improvised explosive devices has fallen back sharply, it would only take one blast directed at an especially large crowd or a holy site of unusual reverence for the headlines about impending civil war to be allowed another outing …

The current achievements, and they are achievements, are being treated as almost an embarrassment in certain quarters. The entire context of the contest for the Democratic nomination for president has been based on the conclusion that Iraq is an absolute disaster and the first task of the next president is to extricate the United States at maximum speed. Democrats who voted for the war have either repudiated their past support completely (John Edwards) or engaged in a convoluted partial retraction (Hillary Clinton). Congressional Democrats have spent most of this year trying (and failing) to impose a timetable for an outright exit…

All of these attitudes have become outdated. There are many valid complaints about the manner in which the Bush Administration and Donald Rumsfeld, in particular, managed Iraq after the 2003 military victory. But not to recognise that matters have improved vastly in the year since Mr Rumsfeld’s resignation from the Pentagon was announced and General Petraeus was liberated would be ridiculous.
Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic have to appreciate that Iraq is no longer, as they thought, an exercise in damage limitation but one of making the most of an opportunity. The instinct of too many people is that if Iraq is going badly we should get out because it is going badly and if it is getting better we should get out because it is getting better. This is a catastrophic miscalculation. Iraq is getting better. That is good, not bad, news.

Another Good Quote

At Instapundit:

"YOUNG STRIVERS" IN WASHINGTON find that being a "professional world-saver" doesn't pay as well as they'd hoped.

And they're not getting much sympathy.

UPDATE: A reader emails:

Geez, we’ve been dealing with this in academic science for decades now.

I wish these people would do the math: Doing something that’s stimulating and fun, sounds great at a cocktail party, and is supported by charity or tax money means that you will probably be making peanuts. (In my field, there are usually about 200 applicants/permanent position, all with Ph.D.s.)

Don’t like being broke? Do something that makes you a profit center instead of a cost center.

See original for links.


Well said:

TONY SNOW ON the news industry's decline: "There's an old boast in the business -- that the job of a journalist is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. The thing is, we never realized that we were becoming The Comfortable."

posted at 02:07 PM by Glenn Reynolds

Friday, November 02, 2007

You Can Bloviate About Atheism All You Want Under The Cover Of Science, But Cast Thee Out!! If You Think Anything Looks Designed

The usual double standards, in flagrant display:

Principled (not Rhetorical) Reasons Why ID Doesn’t Identify the Designer (Part 2)

In Part 1 I discussed the principled reasons that ID proponents offer to explain why ID does not identify the designer: “while biological structures may be scientifically explained via intelligent design, the structures themselves have no way of directly telling us whether the designer is Yahweh, Buddha, Yoda, or some other type of intelligent agency.” Unfortunately, some critics have misunderstood this point as implying that ID proponents are completely silent about who they believe the designer is, or that ID proponents deny the possibility that the designer could be God. This very misconception was printed in an article co-authored by Barbara Forrest that was published in a legal journal:

First- and second-generation creationists were quite willing to acknowledge who they believe designed the world. Proponents of intelligent design creationism, on the other hand, vociferously deny that the intelligent designer they postulate is equivalent to God, and in their statements to the general public they often deny taking any position at all on the nature of the world’s designer. … [P]roponents of intelligent design cannot acknowledge to the general public (much less to courts) the true identity of their intelligent designer.

(Matthew J. Brauer, Barbara Forrest, Steven G. Gey, "Is It Science Yet?: Intelligent Design Creationism and the Constitution," Washington University Law Quarterly, Vol. 83(1) (2005).)

Brauer, Forrest and Gey seem to miss the fact that ID proponents have been extremely open to the general public about their views on the identity of the designer. Incredibly, the subsequent sections in Forrest et al.’s article include citations to sources where ID proponents make public statements on their views on the identity of the designer:

# In a public source cited by Forrest et al., Phillip Johnson writes in a very public book, Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds, that he sees “God as our true Creator.” (pg. 92)
# In a public source cited by Forrest et al., Paul Nelson (as well as theistic evolutionist paleontologist Keith Miller) signed a public statement agreeing that “God is the creator of all things.”
# In a public source cited by Forrest et al., William Dembski publicly stated, “As a Christian, I am a theist and believe that God created the world.”
# Forrest et al. admit that Michael Behe's “Darwin’s Black Box [was] written for a general audience” and cite it multiple times in their article, yet it is in this very book Behe specifically states that he is “a Roman Catholic.” (pg. 239)

Behe elsewhere gives some of the principled reasons I previously discussed why ID does not identify the designer:

most people (including myself) will attribute the design to God--based in part on other, non-scientific judgments they have made--I did not claim that the biochemical evidence leads ineluctably to a conclusion about who the designer is. In fact, I directly said that, from a scientific point of view, the question remains open. … I did not claim that the biochemical evidence leads ineluctably to a conclusion about who the designer is. The biochemical evidence strongly indicates design, but does not show who the designer was.

Thus, when ID proponents state that ID does not identify the designer, they are, in Behe’s words, “not being coy, but only limiting ... claims to what ... the evidence will support.” Indeed, contrary to Forrest et al.’s assertion, Behe volunteered his views on this matter in court during the Kitzmiller trial at the very beginning of his direct examination:

Q. So is it accurate for people to claim or to represent that intelligent design holds that the designer was God?
A. No, that is completely inaccurate.
Q. Well, people have asked you your opinion as to who you believe the designer is, is that correct?
A. That is right.
Q. Has science answered that question?
A. No, science has not done so.
Q. And I believe you have answered on occasion that you believe the designer is God, is that correct?
A. Yes, that's correct.
Q. Are you making a scientific claim with that answer?
A. No, I conclude that based on theological and philosophical and historical factors.

(Michael Behe, October 17 Testimony, AM Session.)

It’s worth noting that not all ID proponents identify the designer as God. For example, in 2004 UCLA neuroscientist Jeffrey Schwartz spoke in favor of intelligent design, and he identified himself as a “Buddhist Jew.” The philosopher Antony Flew provides another notable example of an ID-proponent who is not a traditional theist. And I have other colleagues in the ID movement who are entirely agnostic about the identity of the designer. But for ID proponents who are traditional theists, like Behe, Nelson, Dembski, or Johnson, science is a way of knowing, and as a scientific theory, ID informs us that life was designed. Their view that the designer is God is something they wholeheartedly believe, but it comes from a knowledge source other than science; it comes from other ways of knowing -- from non-scientific sources of knowledge outside of intelligent design. Their views about the identity of the designer are their own personal religious beliefs and do not come from the scientific theory of ID. Phillip Johnson makes this distinction perfectly clear:

“[M]y personal view is that I identify the designer of life with the God of the Bible, although intelligent design theory as such does not entail that."

(Phillip E. Johnson, “Intelligent Design in Biology: the Current Situation and Future Prospects,” Think (The Royal Institute of Philosophy), 2007)

In fact, I too believe the designer is the God of the Bible, but this is not a conclusion of ID; it is my personal religious view that stems from factors outside of intelligent design.

Blinded by Scientism

How could Forrest, Gey and Brauer miss such obvious refutations of their claim that ID proponents “vociferously deny that the intelligent designer they postulate is equivalent to God”? I’ll try to give a charitable explanation.

Forrest et al. may make this mistake because they adhere to scientism, the view that science is the only valid source of knowledge. In fact Forrest is a secular humanist who strongly supports scientism, writing that that the greater the naturalistic account, the less likely supernaturalism becomes and that "the relationship between methodological and philosophical naturalism, while not one of logical entailment, is the only reasonable metaphysical conclusion." So basically, Forrest believes that science is the only way to gain real knowledge. Perhaps her scientism is so deeply ingrained that she mistakenly thought that everything ID proponents believe about the designer must be a conclusion of intelligent design. Perhaps Forrest et al. cannot consciously make the distinction between knowledge that comes from scientific sources and knowledge that comes from non-scientific sources because they believe that all real knowledge must come from science. In other words, perhaps they forgot, as Ken Miller rightly stated during the Dover trial, that “everything that a scientist writes or says is not necessarily a scientific statement or a scientific publication.” (Kitzmiller Testimony of Kenneth Miller, Sept. 26 AM, pgs. 55-56.)

Regardless of whether my hypothesis explaining Forrest et al.’s mistake is correct, they have promoted a false conspiracy that ID proponents are trying to hide their views on the identity of the designer. Ironically, Forrest et al. use the public statements where ID proponents state their belief in God as a misplaced attempt to prove that ID is religion. They want you to simultaneously believe that ID is religion because ID proponents have publicly stated they believe the designer is God, and that ID proponents dishonestly deny that the designer is God. Their argument contradicts itself, and they cannot have it both ways. But after these two posts on this topic, perhaps the third way—the correct way—is clear:

# ID does not address religious questions about the identity of the designer, and in fact ID proponents have diverse views about the identity of the designer;
# ID proponents give principled reasons why ID does not identify the designer, stemming from ID’s intent to respect the limits of science and not attempt to address religious questions that go beyond what can be scientifically inferred from the empirical data;
# Whether traditional theists or not, ID proponents are entirely open about their views on the identity of the designer;
# ID proponents make it clear that their views about the identity of the designer are their personal religious views, and not conclusions of ID.

It's very simple. Anything with atheistic impications counts as science. Anything with theistic implications doesn't. QED.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Obviously, He Was Once A Man Of Great Intelligence But Is No Longer

It's the only possible explanation:

Why lifelong atheist Antony Flew decided there must be a God ...

In this interview with Ben Wiker, Flew, once the world's best-known academic atheist (not village atheist), says,

Anthony Flew: There were two factors in particular that were decisive. One was my growing empathy with the insight of Einstein and other noted scientists that there had to be an Intelligence behind the integrated complexity of the physical Universe. The second was my own insight that the integrated complexity of life itself – which is far more complex than the physical Universe – can only be explained in terms of an Intelligent Source. I believe that the origin of life and reproduction simply cannot be explained from a biological standpoint despite numerous efforts to do so. With every passing year, the more that was discovered about the richness and inherent intelligence of life, the less it seemed likely that a chemical soup could magically generate the genetic code. The difference between life and non-life, it became apparent to me, was ontological and not chemical. The best confirmation of this radical gulf is Richard Dawkins' comical effort to argue in The God Delusion that the origin of life can be attributed to a "lucky chance." If that's the best argument you have, then the game is over. No, I did not hear a Voice. It was the evidence itself that led me to this conclusion...

Flew may be safely discounted. He is just the typical creationist who understands neither atheism nor science.

We Are Serfs

Good summation:

In 1913 Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act, establishing a central bank for the third time in American history. It had been almost 80 years since the charter for the Second Bank of the United States had been allowed to expire in 1836. The issues surrounding the establishment of the Fed were not new. The same issues had surrounded the establishment and termination of both previous central banks, especially the Second Bank of the United States.

The First Bank of the United States had been chartered in 1791, when little was known or understood about the inflationary effects of a central bank. The Jeffersonian Republicans prevailed in 1811 to thwart the renewal of its charter. But Federalist President James Madison's party chartered the Second Bank of the United States just five years later. The Republicans' worst predictions came true about the inflationary effects of the new bank and the regional animosities that would ensue.

The bank had been capitalized with only $2 million in specie (gold). At the end of its first year in operation, it had issued $43 million in notes. Even worse, it had allowed state-chartered banks to use its notes as reserves - that is, as if its notes were gold. The state banks then issued notes of their own supposedly back by "good as gold" federal notes but actually backed only fractionally by these federal notes, which themselves were backed only fractionally by gold. Proponents of the national bank had argued that the national bank's regulatory authority would restrain state banks from this practice, but the national bank soon became an even more profligate issuer of paper money not backed by specie. This pyramiding credit expansion caused wild speculation in Western lands, the 19th century equivalent of a stock market or housing bubble.

But the early founders of the country better understood the relationship between a nation's currency and government power. They knew that the United States would not remain a free country if the government were allowed to control the currency. Republican (the forerunner of today's Democratic Party) President Andrew Jackson led a heroic battle against the Federalists to kill the bank, citing as his main argument that a central bank would destroy our hard-won freedoms from centralized government, the only real threat to American liberty. So, in 1832 President Jackson vetoed a bill to extend the bank's charter. When the charter expired in 1836, Mr. Jackson killed the inflationary land boom by passing the Species Circular, which stipulated that Western land sales must be paid for in specie. It would be 80 years until the next central bank act. In the meantime, the U.S. prospered as no country on earth ever has, despite a civil war that cost a half million American lives - and the lack of a central bank.

A nation - even a modern nation - does not need a central bank. Our nation's first two central banks were organized along the same lines as commercial banks of the time. So one must ask why a national government needs a bank of its own. After all, a government is similar to a business enterprise. It has revenue (taxes and fees) and expenses.

With a central bank, a government need not tax or borrow honestly at all; it can print the money that it wants. In the first years after 1913, the government attempted to maintain some semblance of a gold standard. But as the Progressive Movement elite attacked the gold standard as an obstacle to the government's ability to fund massive programs for social betterment, the people lost its understanding of a gold-backed currency as a protection of their freedoms. Eventually gold ceased to play any role in limiting the quantity of money that government may print. Thus, today there is nothing to prevent the government from spending what it does not first tax from us or borrowing honestly in the credit markets.

This is why I say that 1913 was the date of the American Counter-Revolution. For in that year the relationship between government and the people changed in a fundamental way. The people ceased being the masters of government in the sense that the government had to come to them in order to increase spending. When the government was placed on the road to controlling and monopolizing our money, it obtained the ability to confiscate our wealth without our permission. Over the decades people have grown to acquiesce in this new relationship and now actively lobby government to increase spending on behalf of special interest groups. Since our taxes stay the same and the government manipulates the interest rate, we foolishly think that these programs cost us nothing. But government has wasted real resources by showering the world with paper money to pay for its profligacy. We look in horror at the skyrocketing price of oil and the falling value of the dollar and fail to see that the Federal Reserve Bank makes it all possible. Like a drug lord to an addict, it pushes more of the same paper poison to forestall the inevitable crash.

Oh, The Horror

Saw this on Yahoo under the heading "Study: California fires spewed eight tons of global-warming gas".


WASHINGTON - In one week, Southern California's wildfires spewed the same amount of carbon dioxide — the primary global warming gas — as the state's power plants and vehicles did, scientists figure [shudder--that means if wildfires of that scale burned for one year, then California's annual emissions would double. We'd also all be dead].

A new study by two Colorado researchers shows that U.S. wildfires pump a significant amount of the greenhouse gas into the air each year, more than the state of Pennsylvania does. It raises questions about how useful it is to plant trees to offset rising carbon dioxide emissions and soothe environmental consciences.

Because the California wildfires occurred just as the study was about to be published, the researchers calculated how much carbon dioxide was likely to come from the devastating blazes Oct. 19-26. It's a lot: 8.7 million tons.

That's more than the state of Vermont produces in a year. And it's also more than the 6 million tons estimated by California's air control agency, which used a different calculation method.

On average, wildfires in the United States each year pump 322 million tons of carbon dioxide. That's about 5 percent of what the country emits by burning fossil fuels, such as gasoline and coal, according to the new research published online Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal Carbon Balance and Management.

5%?!? NIGHTMARE!!!