Thursday, January 31, 2008


Matt tagged me.

The Rules:-
Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. (No cheating!)
Find Page 123.
Find the first 5 sentences.
Post the next 3 sentences.
Tag 5 people.

Title: The Design Matrix by Mike Gene

Sentences 6, 7,& 8 of page 123: "The picture is drawn such that either animal can be see and is inherently ambiguous. Perhaps the duck/rabbit image can assist us in expanding our thinking about the concepts of both design and evolution. Evolution is supported by a vast amount of evidence."

Interesting that page 123 happens to be the introduction of the central metaphor for the whole book, which is one of the best I've read on the ID/Darwinism controversy. In this book the author in many ways transcends the current debate.

I'm supposed to now tag 5 people, but I'm not really on "blog-buddy" terms with anyone else (besides the Matt who tagged me) such that I could...

Transparent Sophistry

I appreciate his sincerity, but still...

Scientists, by and large, are extreme lunkheads when it comes to philosophy. Here is how the article ends:

I may shock you by what may seem the naivety of my conclusion (I've shocked myself): I think the plain and simple fact is that consciousness—on various levels—makes life more worth living.

We like being phenomenally conscious. We like the world in which we're phenomenally conscious. We like ourselves for being phenomenally conscious. And the resulting joie de vivre, the enchantment with the world we live in, and the enhanced sense of our own metaphysical importance have, in the course of evolutionary history, turned our lives around.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the question of whether life is more worth living only pertinent to beings that are already conscious? To say that adding consciousness makes life more worth living is akin to saying "Playing tennis just makes playing tennis a lot more fun!" Well yes. I suppose it would. Profound.

I'd Never Want To Be In This Position

A gripping description of decision making "against the crowd". Death is quite often chosen over humiliation.

A Different Movie

A good anti-BDS piece by Brian Tiemann.

The Current Nightmare Is Of Fairly Modern Origin

An excellent reflection on Fred Thompson, who refused to participate in the modern pathological campaign style. Some interesting historical background is also highlighted: until fairly recent times the very idea that a man running for President should go all over the country talking about himself and begging for votes and money was seen as utterly degrading and undignified. The piece begins with one of the few sensible things Greenspan has ever said:

In his recent memoir, Alan Greenspan says he's been pushing a constitutional amendment of his own devising. It reads: "Anyone willing to do what is required to become president of the United States is thereby barred from taking that office." If the Greenspan amendment is ever enacted, it will at last clear the field for Fred Thompson, who might then become president. But not until then.

Get Your Spaceship Ready

Via the excellent "Et-tu?" blog (I've been going through the archives), some good stuff from the "I have to sit down" blog (see the links under "Simcha vs the environmentalists"). I also find the graphic at the top of Simcha's blog to be hilarious.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tour de Force

John C. Wright on the whole idea of eugenics. Amazing writing.


Discovering the freakin' obvious. A Business Week story called "How Real Was The Prosperity?" Figuring it out five years after the fact is better late than never.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Live By 'Diversity', Die By 'Diversity'

A tragic irony noted.

Snack Time

Some great action photos.

A Good Start

Check out these "revaluations". Also, it is not just the banks that are capable of making "just shaft 'em" business decisions.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Since They Can't All Be The Best None Of Them Are

Are you a logician? What gives you the right to judge these?

I'd Rather Live In Tanstaaflia

John C. Wright eviscerates the philosophy of libertarian hedonism.

Friday, January 25, 2008

We Should Have Separation Of School And State In This Country

Except for the assumption that Darwinism stands on solid ground, I have little to disagree with here.

Here's one part I liked:

As for debates over the content of classes in an education marketplace: actually, there would be nothing resembling the culture wars that have wracked government monopoly schooling since their inception (just ask me about the public school “Philadelphia Bible Riots” of 1844 or so). I wrote a book comparing school systems from classical Greece to the modern United States (Market Education: The Unknown History, Transaction Books, 1999), and the key source of the school wars we and others have experienced has always been compulsion: forcing people to either send their children to or pay for schooling that violates their convictions. When there is no compulsion, conflict is relatively insignificant. Consider other marketplaces, such as the one for religion. Do Protestants picket outside synagogues saying, “No, Jesus wasn’t just some guy, he was God!!!!” Nope. Despite the fact that people often feel very strongly about their religious views, it’s live and let live, because there is no compulsion in the religious marketplace.

Jilted For A Younger Man

Interesting take on why Dems are waking up to the awfulness that is the Clintons.


Well said:

The most frustrating aspect of all of this is that Bill and Hillary Clinton should have been relegated to the ash heap of history a long time ago. Their behavior while in the White House was nothing short of disgraceful. Forget Monica for a minute. How about the White House coffee fundraisers, pimping out the Lincoln bedroom, savagely attacking women who credibly accused the president of harassment, all the while complaining about the politics of personal destruction. I voted for Bill Clinton in 1992. When nobody, and I mean nobody, in the Democratic Party stood up to these two, before, during and after his impeachment, I knew I could never again support a Democrat. Some things are bigger than holding on to power at all costs. The Democrat establishment chose to not just support, but hero worship the Clinton’s, especially Bill. How many “good government” types had to look the other way? How many alleged feminists turned their backs on everything they believed to support these two? The Clinton’s represent the complete intellectual and moral collapse of the Democratic Party. I will never understand why some party leaders didn’t tell him it was time to leave when they had the chance. Al Gore would have taken over, and been able to run in 2000 as the president, and not the VP who was too embarrassed to have the POTUS campaign for him. Could President Al Gore beat George W. Bush? We’ll never know.

What is it going to take for Democrats to learn that the Clinton’s and their win at all costs mentality have damaged the party immensely?

An editorial in today’s WSJ titled The Education of Barack Obama (subs req’d) gets to the heart of who the Clinton’s are, and it isn’t pretty,

The Illinois Senator is still a young man, but not so young as to have missed the 1990s. He nonetheless seems to be awakening slowly to what everyone else already knows about the Clintons, which is that they will say and do whatever they “gotta” say or do to win. Listen closely to Mr. Obama, and you can almost hear the echoes of Bob Dole at the end of the 1996 campaign asking, “Where’s the outrage?”

Barack Obama is still learning who the Clinton’s are and what they value most. It is not country, or even party, but power. If the Clinton’s are allowed to cynically use race to destroy the first legitimate black candidate for president, will the Democrat Party continue to say “thank you sir, may I have another”?

Earth to Democrats: the Clinton’s are poison. When are you going to wake up?

Also, a roundup of growing liberal disgust of Clinton.

It's A Two For One Deal

Simply disturbing.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Conversion Story Through Books

Great post re:the books that led to a recent conversion from atheism to Catholicism.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


From comments here:

"Neo-pagans have sometimes forgotten, when they set out to do everything the old pagans did, that the final thing the old pagans did was to get christened."

-- G.K.Chesteron, Illustrated London News, 3/20/1926

Hail To Our Omnipotent God

I saw this nespaper headline today (I got the image from

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This has to be one of the most inane financial headlines I've ever seen. There can be no such thing as bad debt, foolish financial decisions, or grotesque misallocation of financial resources! The Fed guarantees endless prosperity for all!!! The Piper has been sent packing!!!! Consequence has been abolished!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Doing The Math

Some interesting back of the envelope global warming calculations.

What's In A Slogan?

Steve Rhodes took a lot of great photos at the Walk For Life. I feel moved to comment on some of the pro-abortion signs:

And make every unwanted child a dead child?

Actually the contraceptive mentality says that there is an absolute right to sex without resulting babies. Such an attitude leads directly to abortion. Duh.

How about I get back to you in 60 years and see how well you're doing at ruling/upholding your own body?

"If you don't like slavery, don't own one! If you don't like vehicular manslaughter don't run anyone over! If you don't like killing Jews, leave Germany! If you don't like invasions of foreign countries, don't join the Army! If you don't like George W. Bush, don't vote for him!"

"We oppose Free Exercise, and hence the First Amendment! No social policies should ever have any basis in religion! So cancel MLK day, reinstitute segregation and slavery, decriminalize rape and theft! It's a well known historical fact: left-wingers would never dream of imposing anything on anybody anywhere! If you think our sign is ugly, you should see what we can do with society!"

Your child is not your body.

"Democracy is when we win! Fascism is when we lose!"

Again: Your child is not your body, and hence, should not be subject to your "choice".

If you are against the death penalty, why don't you fight to abolish abortion?

So what are you doing on that side of the barricade?

And that's a fact! Case closed!

"Let's kill the homeless!"

Unclear on the concept.

Well. There it is then.

"Why drive safely? Cars have airbags!"

Now you're talking sense!

Real men don't treat women as sex toys. Your baby's rights are not determined by your selfishness.

"Where there is no God, all is permitted." - Dostoevsky

Don't like back-alley coat hanger abortions? Don't have one!

Amidst all the noise, someone scribbles the only remotely cogent counter-argument...

No doubt. However. Your child is not your uterus.

Also, would the argument: "This is my house...not my father's...not my brother's...not the governor's...not the congressman's...not George Bush's...MINE!" be a valid justification for abandoning an inconvenient toddler?

Women deserve better than being treated as toys by men unwilling to raise a child with them.

Now there's an argument with a long shelf life.

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"Homosexuality is a curse I wish on your family! Unborn gay babies are supposed to be killed!"

Your child's body is sacred, too. Sex *was* the choice.

UPDATE: Before the comments to this post are swarmed with the delightful repartee of abortion enthusiasts, let me make a clarification. My whole point is that these slogans are woefully ineffectual at convincing, or even slightly swaying, those who believe for religious, philosophical, or prudential reasons that the unborn are people with rights (I'm assuming, of course, that your goal is to convince and not merely mock). If you hate the idea that someone would base these assessments on religious reasons, you should be arguing for the invalidity of the religion (note: merely ridiculing something you don't remotely understand, for example, Catholic orthodoxy, does not constitute an argument). If you think the philosophical arguments for the personhood of the unborn are invalid, you should be stating why. If you think principles of prudence (i.e. would you fire your rifle in target practice if you thought there was even a 1% chance that kids were playing in the barn behind the target?) aren't in play, then please present your locktight, inescapable, unrebuttable, irrefutable argument that the unborn are not persons.

If your answer to this is that "hey, you guys are guilty of the same thing," my answer to you is that you are the ones who are supposed to be so much smarter and nobler than all of us mind-numbed right-wing religious fascist robots. You are our intellectual superiors and should therefore have no problem educating us using legitimate arguments. Yes?

In any case, all of the knee-jerk emotional appeals on your signs merely assume what you have not bothered to address. Why is it that your side is not holding signs that simply say "You are mistaken. The unborn are not persons." That is the only truly legitimate basis for your position. Everything else is a disingenuous smokescreen. But maybe that's all you really have to offer.

And please do not forget: as purported champions of "democracy", you must realize that all arguments end at the ballot box. It is not necessary to convince every last person in this country of the rightness of either side's cause. That's why we have elections. Should your side lose, don't start screaming "fascism!" Doing so only confirms suspicions that you really don't believe in democracy in the slightest. And buck up: if Roe v Wade were overturned, nothing whatsoever would change in the jurisdictions lived in by 95% or more of the population. Our Walk for Life is primarily a spiritual, religious, and a "giving of witness", movement, not a political scheme. It may be difficult for you to comprehend, but politics is not our god.

Outstanding Walk For Life Essays

Here and here, by a participant and convert away from pro-abortion leftism, who knows both sides inside and out.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Turnabout Is Fair Play

A frightening epidemic of violence.

Technorati Descending Into Uselessness

The last couple of weeks searches on have resulted in 90% spam returns. Maybe it's time I switch to I found another lament about this here.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

2008 Walk For Life

I went on the 4th annual West Coast Walk For Life yesterday in San Francisco. The turnout last year was pretty big, and this year had to be at least 50% bigger. The usual small band of left-wing crazies added their noise to the festivities, and the SF Police did their usual fine job of protecting us all from the peace-lovin', carin' progressives. I've got lots of good photos from the day here.

A sample image:

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At the event I recognized Gerald Augustinus, of "The Cafeteria Is Closed" fame. He was taking lots of pictures himself with his professional gear. I enjoyed talking with him and his new bride briefly at the end of the walk (incidentally, I met my wife of ten months for the first time at the first annual Walk For Life 3 years ago). Gerald has his own photos from the walk on display here, here, here, and here.

See also this neutralish report.

And this fun set of snapshots taken by a young lady who attended.

Here's another nice set of photos, apparently from someone on the other side, but a very complete view of both sides, with some of the photos quite lovely. Well done!

A PipelineNews photo essay.

A pair of great essays here and here, by a participant and convert away from pro-abortion leftism, who knows both sides inside and out.

Friday, January 18, 2008

John C. Wright

A diagnosis:

That central image of God being stabbed and vanishing into dust is a paramount one to the emotional nature of atheists. The atheist (I speak from personal experience) feels like someone fighting a ghost. An atheist utters a simple and logical argument to show why no one should believe in God, and yet, for some reason, the belief in God persists. No matter how often you clobber the ghost, not matter how frail and insubstantial it seems, the damned thing just won't die.

It does not make sense. Reasonable people cannot believe such nonsense, yet, for some reason, everyone does, everyone you admire, all the great figures of history, all your ancestors. The stress of facing the impossible warps the mind: something has to give.

What gives is your sense of humility. Something snaps in the atheist mind, and he becomes an Illuminati, an Enlightened One. The atheist realizes, with breath-taking, awe-inspiring, wondrous awe, what the answer is. The reason why he does not believe in God and everyone else does is that He Is Smarter Than Everyone Else. He is enlightened; they are benighted. He is rational; they are superstitious. He is the Man of the Future; they are apish men of the past. He is brave; they are craven.

Some atheists stop at this point and go no further. They are reasonable men, and they stay reasonable men. They have, either on an emotional level a sense of decency, or on an intellectual level a stoic philosophy, that enables them to carry on in a rational way, and they do their work and don't cheat at cards.

Other atheists cannot stand the strain of being the Lone superhuman in a world of ape-men, and the stress causes a second rupture: they think that they are above moral rules. The temptation whispers in their ear: if God is dead, everything is permitted. If the belief in God is irrational, who is to say the belief in social mores, traditions, laws, honesty or chastity is not equally superstitious? The atheist remembers the day he stopped believing in God, or the day he realized he was smarter than everyone else: every time he swings the hammer of the iconoclast, and breaks another long-held ancient rule, every time he shocks the world, a sense of liberation, of enlightenment, comes once again.

They get drunk on iconoclastic shock. They want to smash ideas. They want a revolution.

They become followers of Nietzsche, or something equally as depraved. They say they stand beyond good and evil; they say that notions of right and wrong are control mechanisms, and that a brave man casts aside normal notions of right and wrong. They say that sex is natural and marriage is unnatural, and that unnatural sex is the most natural of all. The atheist ceases to be a real atheist at this point, and becomes a member of a cult, in psychology, but in in actuality. Their new beliefs have all the earmarks of religious dogma, but merely leave out a personal or conscious God. The atheist-turned-cultist becomes a partisan of some causes or some mystical concept, the Life-Force or the March of History or Evolution or Transhumanism. Those with less lofty ambitions turn their devotion and energy into political causes, like environmentalism, or socialism.

The one strangely recurring theme in their various different philosophies, and I cannot explain why this pattern shows up again and again, is a hatred of innocence. These atheist-turned-cultists never seem to like marriage, families, children, babies. If they like one, they tend not to like the other. (Robert Heinlein, for example, liked babies, and had definitive opinions on child-rearing. But he hated marriage: he regarded monogamy as a trap and fornication as liberation. If you believe my theme given above, you can see in Mr. Heinlein's writing career when he suffered iconoclasm addiction and went from a reasonable, decent atheist into an atheist-turned-cultist. I will give you a hint: STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND.)

This dislike of family life takes several forms. In AMBER SPYGLASS, the sexual neurosis of Mr. Pullman are sufficiently clear that they need little comment from me: Mr. Pullman is trying to make the argument point that Christianity discourages and demeans the sex act, which is the central life-creating and liberating act of all time, the very thing that saves the universe. It is just not sex withing marriage that has this magical and uplifting power. When he talks of the liberating and creative power of sex, Mr. Pullman means "unchaste sex" only. No one in the end of his novels ends up married to anyone else. No one even ends up together.

In atheist-turned-cultists of the Leftist political persuasion, the sexual neurosis takes the shape of a ghastly desire to kill babies in the womb. They want sex without real-world consequences, and since one of those consequences is Junior, Junior has to be depicted as a mere mass of cells, a Nigger, and subhuman, and subjected to abortion.

But it is innocence itself that these iconoclasts dislike, the simplicity and purity of innocence

It looks like there is also some good discussion going on in the comments to the post.

Well Explained


This story made my eyebrows hoist. A "conservationist, columnist for the Daily Telegraph, and the chairman of the Countryside Restoration Trust” named Robin Page won 2K pounds in a court award for false arrest. It took five years to do so. From the article:

He claims that in order to gain the attention of listeners at the gathering in Frampton-upon-Severn, Glos, he started in a "light-hearted fashion".
His opening remark was: "If you are a black, vegetarian, Muslim, asylum-seeking, one-legged lesbian lorry driver, I want the same rights as you."

Naturally, he was arrested for committing a hate crime. It made me think of a Jay Leno remark I heard excerpted on the Hewitt show; Chris Matthews was describing the GOP contenders in terms of the Iraqi political players – these guys are Sunnis, these guys are Shiites, Romney’s the Kurd. Leno responded that "Larry Craig was the guy with the sheep." If you wanted to be offended, you could note that this equated homosexuality with bestiality, and cast Arabs as dispositionally zoophilic. Should he be arrested? Charged with inciting the easily incitable, with equating the newly-minted right to play jiggery-pokery in a lav with an aberrant behavior? If it's abberant, that is. We’re probably ten years away from bestiality japes entering the no-go zone. Within five years they’ll probably remake “Flipper,” and it’ll be a hard R. Critics of the movie, if they’re on the right, will be subjected to the usual eye-rolling, because they can’t possibly be objecting to sex with animals; it’s part-and-parcel of their desire to return to the 50s, when Donna Reed was chained to a stove, deprived of footwear, perpetually pregnant and forced to vote for Ike at knifepoint. Oh, sure, you disapprove of sex-positive dolphin movies. Your kind didn't want the nation to see Elvis from the waist down. Doesn't mean the critics will be comfy with Flipper-gets-busy movies, but they have a dread of making common cause with the trogs. So the movie will be criticized on aesthetic grounds. If nothing else, its poor script and pedestrian direction will be a lost opportunity to advance a controversial topic.

If It's Extremely Urgent, Ignore It Immediately

This struck a chord with me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Good Quip

Highlighted at Instapundit:

JEFF SOYER transcribed the gun-control part of the Democratic debate. None of the Dems look very good.

UPDATE: From the comments:

They’re not “illegal guns.” They’re “undocumented firearms.”

Heh. No gun is illegal!

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Speaking truth to dhimmi power. This is a must see, especially the opening statement.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It Could Happen

From the comments here:

I like Phillip Johnson’s comment about the claim that large improbabilities can be overcome by breaking them down into many smaller, manageable improbabilities (the central claim in support of the Darwinian macroevolutionary mechanism). Johnson observes that this claim amounts to suggesting that although it might be highly improbable that you will win the million-dollar lottery, this can be overcome by winning the thousand-dollar lottery a thousand times.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Finally got a tripod and some macro filters. Here's a shot of a bouquet of flowers taken using natural light (just a couple of lamps at night in the living room). Exposure is 9 seconds at f/22, ISO 200. Actual flowers are about 1.5 inches across.

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Only this view does it full justice.


In the comments here:

“The main points of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which he carefully laid out in The Origin of Species 149 years ago, have stood the test of time.”

Time seems to be the only test it has withstood.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Good Quip

I don't claim to endorse this entire post, but I do like the quip at the end (see the post for the context):

OK, that’s; it. Darwinists, give up! How many times does the evidence have to falsify your theory before you admit that this little worldview experiment was a bad trip? We are no longer going to allow you to believe in free lunches (08/07/2007).

For an experience in complete bewilderment at the propensity for the human mind to cling to a false belief, read the Science Daily article in its entirety. This team of scientists has just seen a very non-evolutionary picture staring them in the face, and all they can see is evolution. “Well, what do you know – evolution proceeds explosively instead of gradually!” It’s enough to make one despair of the human condition. To despair even more, ponder the fact that these falsifications of Darwinism keep appearing at the very time the Darwinists and all the leading scientific societies are on the warpath to stamp out all opposition to evolutionary teaching (see 01/02/2008 entry and a story on Evolution News). The inmates are running the asylum.

Cryptographers look at noise for evidence of a message. Archaeologists look at markings to look for evidence of an intelligent culture. Intelligent design scientists look at patterns in improbable structures for evidence of purposeful intent. SETI scientists look at stellar noise for evidence of a signal. Darwinists look at signal for evidence of noise.

Winningest Cute

Top ten cute pet videos of 2007 rounded up here.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Taste The Meat, Not The Heat

Fascinating cooking article in the NYT. It's all about heat management.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


With John C. Wright (scroll down the page or search for his name). Accompanying blog post here.

interview excerpt:

If you ran Hollywood, what changes would you make? What would stay the same?

There are two answers, the political and the artistic.

Politically, Hollywood needs drastic change if it is not to continue loosing money on films that drastically alienate and provoke its main audience, the backbone of its revenue.

Bollywood, movies from India, are more wholesome, more family-friendly, have better song and dance numbers, and notably more attractive actresses. The weft of the Culture of Death hangs over our Hollywood films, which I do not scent from these overseas films. It has been many a year since I have seen a Hollywood film that does not use "philosophical product placement" to thrust one or another particularly annoying little ad for their materialistic, mildly pinko, morally relative, or anti-American world view in my face. We see such things as would make Cicero or Marcus Aurelius blush with anger, not to mention John Adams and Tom Jefferson.

I am not talking about deliberately politicized films whose anti-American bias is bold and clear, like V for Vendetta or Starship Troopers. I am talking about a universal atmosphere. Even lighthearted kiddie fare like Happy Feet or space opera like Revenge of the Sith or epics like Beowulf cannot be told in a straightforward and honest fashion, a story for the sake of a story, but some little message has to be inserted either mocking religion, or sneering at George Bush, or belittling Christianity. I call it "product placement" because it is the intrusion, never where needed, of one extraneous line or extra quip that allows the film-maker to display his political correctness. And we all know that moral relativism and multiculturalism are good right? Because only a Sith would speak in absolutes.

I should not go into what politically I would change in Hollywood if I were the benevolent dictator, because, alas, my benevolence would not last long: I approve of America, and in time of war I approve of censorship, and in my darker moods I approve of the guillotine, the auto-de-fe, and sacrifices to Cthulhu by hooded and masked High Priests not to be described on bloodstained stepped pyramids towering obscenely over the frozen plateau of Leng... and my mood has been dark indeed of late, provoked by a steady stream of pro-enemy propaganda pieces.

So let us draw a kindly veil over the terrors of the political reign of Wright the First, Hammer of the Paynims. I will say only that I am unimpressed with the patriotism of Hollywood, or even their story-telling ability. They hate the things I love and love the things I hate. I wish they would shut up about politics and religion (which your average sci fi guy has thought more about than your average film mogul anyway -- our imaginations not being trapped in the here and now), and stick to art...

Also, a good quote that John C. Wright made in his own comment section:

If 9/11 had been a nuke instead of an airliner, the reaction from the Left would have been the same, only louder.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Latest Bill Whittle Column

Has arrived. Astonishingly good, as always. He only publishes once or twice a year these days, but is still the best writer in the blogosphere. Be sure to follow the link at the bottom of his page to part two.

Mark Shea

Has a couple of great blog posts, one on the topic of Mary and one on the topic of Calvinism.