Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Hasta la vista...

While I enjoy writing posts for my New Covenant blog, I find that the time factor involved continues to be a problem. I've attempted to cut back on the frequency and length of my posts, but it continues to be a drain on my limited resources. Compounding the situation are issues pertaining to family, career, lifestyle, home location and the like, all of which I need to ponder on and, eventually, act. Hence, I have decided to shut down New Covenant until further notice. I will, however, continue to post images at Imago Articulus. Drop by and leave a comment or two on any image that strikes your fancy (or strikes a nerve). Thanks to all who have engaged in fruitful discussion while visiting this site. Thanks especially to Paul who, despite disagreeing with just about everything I've written, has done so in a civil and thoughtful manner. Until time and circumstances permit...

Saturday, October 29, 2005

On what is evil...

Three 16 year-old Christian schoolgirls were attacked and beheaded (per FoxNews) in Indonesia on Saturday. There was not a mention of the viscious incident anywhere to be found on CNN's front page. Ditto for MSNBC. The Los Angeles Times' website did not have a link to the story on its home page. The bomb blasts in New Dehli, a caped killer in California, or the fact that Bush is suffering from the Plame affair all seem to be more newsworthy stories. The same can be said for a good chunk of the blogosphere. Michelle Malkin carried the story here. But are there any other heavy-hitting bloggers carrying this story? I haven't found any. For the most part we just continue to see commentary after boring commentary on:
  • Harriet Miers (and the effects her resignation will have on the future of the Republican party, much less the world as we now know it), or
  • the earth-shattering Plame affair (and how Libby was involved with Cheney who interfaced with Rove while under the direction of Bush blah blah blah blah), or
  • just what 2,000 U.S. dead in Iraq means, or
  • how we should react to a gay Sulu.
Life, for some, goes on.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Setting out a fleece?...

When faced with the task of making major life decisions, many Christians reverently perform a liturgy known as setting out a fleece. Whether it be for choosing a career or choosing a spouse, the idea we seem to have grown up with is that, in following the supposed example of Gideon, we should request a sign from God which can then be taken as a positive indicator of the direction He wants us go. Are these Christians, while well intentioned, aware that the incident of Gideon's fleece was indicative of his lack of faith? And do they, in their misplaced zeal for adherence to Biblical principles, lay out a fleece in which the sign they request has supernatural qualities? HT: Stand to Reason

Friday, October 21, 2005

Yes we have no water...

Two streaks of light blazed across the Martian sky, in January of 2004, as the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity each approached their respective landing sites. One of the mission’s goals was to search for evidence of past water activity on a Mars that, it is hoped, had a warm and wet past. Inherent in this search for water activity is the search for evidence of life on the surface of Mars, and the implications that such a discovery would have for the naturalistic origin of life on Earth. Interestingly enough, it now appears that the temperature on Mars has been below 0ยบ C for the last 4 billion years (link here, scroll down to the 9/25 entry). The idea of Mars having a warm and wet past seems to have just had ice thrown all over it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I like to be in America...

In the Los Angeles Times' article (registration required), U.S. Labor Is in Retreat as Global Forces Squeeze Pay and Benefits, David Streitfeld provides a possible glimpse of the future as he outlines the impact of offshoring jobs, that were once firmly planted on American soil, to countries such as China and India. From the article, regarding the recent problems at Delphi Corp.:
"How do U.S. firms compete in the global economy?" asked UC Berkeley economist Harley Shaiken. "If the only way to compete is with $10 wages, we have a problem that is much larger than just Delphi. We're looking at a society where people exit rather than enter the middle class."
Are we facing a future in which our technological prowess will establish, once and for all, an era of worldwide prosperity; or will our children find themselves thrust into a world in which they will truly have to trust in God for their daily bread?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Nature, Humans, and procreative strategies...

On October 11th Michelle Duggar, of Rogers, Arkansas, not only delivered her 16th child but indicated that she and her husband Jim would like to have more. Also last week, Peggy Jo Conner is alleged to have used a baseball bat to beat her neighbor Valerie Oskin, who happens to be eight months pregnant, and then attempt to cut out Oskin’s unborn child to take as her own. If Nature is all there is, as the tenets of atheistic naturalism seem to mandate, then we are at a loss to declare a couple that chooses to intentionally burden themselves with 16 children as any better than a pragmatic nihilist who happens to minimize the burden of her gestation period by stealing another person’s unborn child.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Digitized Relationships...

God bloggers from across the country converged at GodBlogCon 2005, in southern California, this past week to establish a sense of community, discuss the many facets of blogging from a Christian worldview, and ponder the implications of this burgeoning medium. Much ado was made regarding the power of blogging, as it flexes its technological muscle, and sculpts the very way information will be disseminated in the future. However, much ado was also made about how utterly refreshing it was to actually sit down and chat, face to face, with many of the people we had previously only known by means of the phosphorous glow of our computer screens.

GodBlogCon '05, Final Thoughts...

I attended the two final breakout sessions today at GodBlogCon '05. The conference is now history. Some closing comments:
  • All in all, a wonderful conference. Yes, it was heavily represented by conservative Christians (theologically and politically). My question to those who raised this as an issue: What did you expect?
  • Kudos to the Biola students and graduates who volunteered their time to serve those attending the conference. You ladies and gentlemen were absolutely fantastic! After witnessing the genuine and deep love that Dr. John Mark Reynolds (JMR) has for all of you, though, it really isn't surprising that you would step up to the plate for him.
  • A great session on Thursday night by Dr. JMR. Is there anyone else who could so deftly intertwine Plato, the Titanic, the APA, and the Greek Orthodox church into a talk on blogging?
  • While I'm thrilled that Melinda "The Enforcer" Penner attended the conference, I wish that there had been more of a participatory presence from the Stand to Reason organization. For instance, perhaps we could have addressed the question: How can an apologetics organization better utilize the blog format? (BTW, be on the lookout for a new and completely revamped website from STR - coming very soon)
  • Thanks to Jollyblogger (David Wayne) for his insightful talk on Blogging Theology today. I really appreciate your point that theology is a way of life. It brings to mind the quote from either Lewis or Kreeft regarding the fact that whether or not people like philosophy, they all hold to some sort of philosophy - either good or bad. Likewise, whether or not one likes theology does not dismiss the fact that they will hold to some form of theology. Thanks for helping us hold on to good theology, David.
  • Does Hugh ever sleep?
  • Great roundtable discussion from some very heavy hitters in the blog and academic world.
  • Joe Carter is a very special person. I, for one, greatly appreciate you Joe!
  • Can you get over the cafeteria that Biola now has?
  • I'm scared of Stacy.
  • I don't feel quite so intimidated after finding out that I knew the definition of the word penultimate long before Hugh did.
  • A little known (or little publicized) fact from the GodBlogCon is that many a tiny blogger found themselves being encouraged by the community they met.
  • An enjoyable session by James Scott Bell regarding how blogging can bolster a writing career. I also got the chance to meet a few new bloggers including Lores, from Just a Woman, who will have a talkradio program in the southern California area beginning in January.
  • Most important statement made at the conference? "God is not a Republican or a Democrat. He's a monarchist." - Dr. JMR
  • Thank you Matt!
Here are a few pics I shot on Friday, October 14th: A panorama of Hugh's radio broadcast. Here he's interviewing David Wayne and Joe Carter. With the ever present Coke at his side, we immediately know that this is Dr. JMR. And while it may appear that he is praying over his ailing laptop... we know that there must be some Platonic reason for his posture. I believe that is Jason Janz behind JMR, intently listening to Hugh's show. The first of several photos I had taken with bloggers whom I had previously only known electronically. Here I'm with David Wayne, from Jollyblogger. Here I am with Joe Carter from Evangelical Outpost. You 'da man, Joe! Here I am with Bonnie from Off the Top and Intellectuelle. I'm not really that tall, and she's not really that short... we were on a slope. Finally, here are Suzanna, from Salvation Walls, and Bonnie (referenced above).

GodBlogCon '05...

I've been attending the GodBlogCon at Biola University. It has been simply wonderful to meet many people I've previously only communicated with over the web. While many bloggers are live-blogging the event I, without a laptop or wi-fi, am left to post during the few minutes I'm home at the beginning or end of the day. Hugh Hewitt broadcast his Friday show from Biola and interviewed several of the headline bloggers from the event. It's too bad that Hugh seemed to spend more time with the poli-bloggers than with the theological / culture bloggers... but that's Hugh (I guess). As Hugh's event was winding down several bloggers got together to chat in the Library patio. Initially it was a small group of four or five bloggers, but grew as people wandered by. Eventually Dr. John Mark Reynolds came and joined us, sitting down right next to me. Not being a particularly gifted speaker I was a bit intimidated by his presence, a feeling which he compounded when he turned to me and asked, "So, what profound thing do you have to say?" After a few moments of awkward mumbling I then ask him a question about homeschooling. All kidding aside, it was a very enjoyable roundtable discussion. Mike' Noise caught a picture of the event. Bonnie is the lady in the red top, I'm sitting to her right, and John Mark Reynolds is to my right. Okay John Mark!... here's my belated profound statement: "I'm so glad we're all here, together again for the first time."

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Singularity, and becoming God

The Belmont Club and Instapundit have recently written about the concept of "singularity," not with reference to black holes, but to a supposedly inevitable, and soon to occur, point in human evolutionary expansion, the likes of which no eye has seen, nor ear heard. Ray Kurzweil, who has authored The Singularity Is Near : When Humans Transcend Biology, is quoted as saying, "the implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light." Forever transcending, humans still fall for the original temptation, in which the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (ESV)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Thursday night...

Per CNN, New Orleans to lay off 3,000 workers:
New Orleans will lay off 3,000 city workers -- about half the workforce -- because of financial constraints caused by Hurricane Katrina, Mayor Ray Nagin said Tuesday. ...Nagin said it was "with great sadness" that New Orleans was "unable to hold on to some of our dedicated city workers." (emphasis added)
How about he start with the moron who told Oprah Winfrey that hundreds of armed gang members were killing and raping people inside the Superdome? (hint: it's the same moron who predicted that 10,000 people would be found dead in New Orleans)

What about those who have heard?...

Nobody's fault but mine, nobody's fault but mine If I don't read it my soul be lost Nobody's fault but mine I have a bible in my home, I have a bible in my home If I don't read it my soul be lost Nobody's fault but mine Father he taught me how to read, Father he taught me how to read If I don't read it my soul be lost, Nobody's fault but mine I have a bible of my own, I have a bible of my own If I don't read it my soul be lost Nobody's fault but mine Oh, Mother she taught me how to read, Mother she taught me how to read If I don't read it my soul be lost, Nobody's fault but mine And sister she taught me how to read, sister she taught me how to read If I don't read it my soul be lost, Nobody's fault but mine - Blind Willie Johnson

Friday, September 30, 2005

My Photo-blog...

Check my Imago Articulus site for continuing and regular updates (unlike this blog).

What about those who haven't heard?...

In my previous post I described the non-Biblical notion that a Christian can, and should, seek direction from God in day-to-day decision making. Such a practice can essentially be reduced to hearing a word from God. One of my points, in refuting such a practice, was to note that God does not try to speak to us. If God intends to speak to you, you will hear Him; if God does not intend to speak to you, you will not hear Him (due to the important little fact that there is nothing to hear). Note very carefully the context here: that of special individual revelation from God. In the comments of the previous post Paul brought up the following,
...It's not much of a trick to say that God will make sure I hear his message when I live in a Christian country, having been born in another Christian country, and spent all but a few weeks of my life in a Judeo-Christian culture. I had assumed you meant something deeper than that. Nonetheless, it troubles me that there are billions of people who, because of their society or culture, don't get to hear that message. Does that mean God doesn't want them to hear it?
While Paul raises a very important question, it is way off-topic from my previous post. Again, the issue of my previous post had to do with Christians receiving extra-Biblical direction from God. However, since it is a very important question, I would like to briefly address it here on this post. There are, actually, several issues that such a question addresses. How does Christianity view the human condition? Who is God and what is His responsibility to us? What is justice? What is grace? How has God revealed Himself to all of humanity? What influence, if any, does culture have in one's decision to accept the God of the Bible? Has God chosen an elect group? With regards to a culture's influence on an individual's belief system, one must first understand that the primary issue is whether or not the belief system is correct, and not why someone believes it. In other words, even though it may be true that one believes in a particular religious system because of the culture he was raised in, that tells us nothing about whether or not the religious system he believes in is actually true. In the Christian Worldview, God is creator of all, and God is Holy. Mankind is separated from God by sin. God, being Holy, is also just. The just course of action for those who are guilty is condemnation. The Christian Worldview states that all mankind is guilty of sin against God and, as such, is due condemnation from God. It is only through grace, granted by God, that mankind can enter into communion with God. God is not obligated to issue such grace, or else it wouldn't be grace. So... what about those who haven't heard God's Gospel message in specific terms? The Christian Worldview understands that God is just and that God has revealed Himself to all mankind in a manner that leaves all mankind "without excuse." How does God do this? I don't know, and He isn't telling us. What He does tell us is that we are to be about making disciples into His name. Thus, to question the manner in which He reveals Himself to all of mankind potentially ignores at least the following points:
  • Who God is.
  • Because of who God is, what He is owed.
  • What mankind's condition is.
  • Because of mankind's condition, what mankind is owed.
  • What mankind is not owed (e.g., God's grace).
  • God is just.
  • God has revealed Himself to all of mankind.
How He works out His will with regards to His creation is His business.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A word from God...

I once had a disagreement with a pastor regarding the direction he was taking the church he shepherded. In short, I thought he was over-emphasizing the experiential aspect of Christian worship to the point of excluding serious teaching about God. It was my opinion that such an unhealthy emphasis on the experiential would result in a breakdown of the very fabric of the church. Thus, it was not surprising to eventually see key families and members of leadership leave the church as they tired of having to continually wade through the shallow waters of "experience." While the details of that disagreement are important (and will eventually be told) I would like to focus on the justification that this pastor had for continuing in the direction he so fervently believed in. A word from God. Not the Word of God, mind you, but a word from God – a still small voice, the leading of the Spirit or, quite frankly, what God was telling him to do. You see, with regards to his approach to ministry he acknowledged that he and I had differing viewpoints. Yet he justified the direction he was going as valid because, according to him, it was the direction God was telling him to go. When you stop and think about it, though, that really is a good tactic. I mean, who can argue with him? If he really is getting direct messages from God, then anyone who disagrees with him is, in effect, disagreeing with God. Game. Set. Match. Never mind that I was using the Word of God as the basis for my arguments. Never mind that God has already spoken to me, and to him, and to all Christians, through the Word of God. No, never mind all of that because, in those circles, a word from God seems to always trump the Word of God. A few words of caution*, though, for those who so casually invoke the reception of a word from God:
  • Is your "word from God" infallible? If the following syllogism is true: "God cannot err. The Bible is God’s Word. Therefore, the Bible cannot err."; then it goes to follow: "God cannot err. I’ve received a Word from God. Therefore, the Word I’ve received cannot err."
  • In the past, those who claimed to speak for God staked their lives upon the claim. Do you truly understand the seriousness of what you are advocating?
  • Those who claim to hear from God cannot claim to have honed or, to be honing, their ability to hear from God without implying that God is trying to speak to them. God cannot try, for trying implies the possibility of failing, and God cannot fail at something He intends to do. The conclusion is that you cannot try to hear what God is telling you – for if God isn’t telling you anything, you won’t hear it; and if God is telling you something, you can’t help but hear it.
  • God certainly has the power to speak extra-biblically through prophets in the past, present, and future, but we know that He has spoken objectively through His Word. Therefore, while it is possible for someone to receive a word from God, the burden of proof rests on that person to demonstrate that it is, in fact, a word from God.
* These words of caution are paraphrases of points made by Greg Koukl, of Stand to Reason. Many thanks to him for providing two very important resources on this topic: Decision Making & the Will of God, and From Truth to Experience. Update: Now that I post much less frequently, I also avoid extending a post's debate or discussion via the comments section. People are certainly welcome to leave their own comments but, due to my own time constraints, I am not likely to respond directly. However, Anon, left a comment on this post that I would like to address. Anon said,
...how does this relate to leading of the Spirit? I was asked once whether God was leading me to do this or that and I wasn't sure how to respond. And if God does lead, how do I know it's God and not my own guilt or feelings.
I would strongly recommend dropping about $20 on Greg Koukl's Decision Making and the Will of God CD set. Look up the verses in which the leading of the Spirit is referenced. You will find that, based on the context of the passages, the issue being discussed is how we are to live - not how we are to make specific decisions. In Romans 8, Paul is contrasting the differences between those who live by the flesh and those who live by the Spirit:
So then, brothers and sisters, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh (for if you live according to the flesh, you will die), but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.
The idea that, as a matter of normative practice, the Spirit leads us in our decision making process is simply not found in the Bible. The second part of your question implies that you are attempting to discern whether or not God is leading you in a particular matter. To reitierate one of the cautionary notes I learned from Greg Koukl - you cannot learn to hear from God. Put quite simply, if God intends for you to hear something, you will hear it. This is Biblically based. Read the book of Acts and note how many times God intervened and re-directed courses of action. There was no indication that the people involved were seeking for direction or that they were developing a sense of hearing from God. Yet, despite the many accounts of supernatural intervention, there are also many accounts of the apostles making decisions based purely on wisdom, desires, and opportunities, all grounded in the understanding that God's Sovereign Will was in control.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Yo!, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton...

Judge: School Pledge Is Unconstitutional,
A federal judge declared the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools unconstitutional Wednesday in a case brought by the same atheist whose previous battle against the words "under God" was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court on procedural grounds.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled that the pledge's reference to one nation "under God" violates school children's right to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God."

Yet another reason, in a littany of reasons, why we homeschool.

Yo!, Judge Karlton? Stop by my home around 9 a.m. to get a glimpse - actually, an education - in how coercive it is to have children recite the pledge of allegiance and engage in prayer (shudder!).

Perhaps our public schools should just follow the advice of a local radio personality who said that if someone objects to reciting the words "under God," then they should just replace them with "under no one in particular."

Thursday, September 15, 2005

From the Belmont Club...

Per Gaza looters settle old scores: As the last Israeli tanks depart the settlements are ravaged, from the Times of London,
Pillars of fire lit up the night sky even before the last Israeli tanks rolled out before dawn yesterday, as thousands of Palestinians swarmed into the forsaken settlements and youths set fire to synagogues and other symbols of the hated occupation. ...The Palestinian Authority accused Israel of cynically leaving the synagogues standing to make Palestinians look bad for demolishing them.
Wretchard, at the Belmont Club, states,
Ariel Sharon forgot the single most important fact of the media age, a fact that generations of Israelis had heretofore always remembered: that the mantle of victimhood belongs, not to the aggrieved, but to whoever can point the finger of accusation most vigorously. One of the most powerful properties of representation is that it transforms perception. It can make a city Mayor with hundreds of buses at his disposal into a supplicant wholly dependent on outside help to evacuate his constituents; it can transform Todd Beamer's heroic stand against Islamic hijackers into a Crescent of Embrace facing Mecca. It can transform reality so completely that, in the case of Gaza, it is the Jews who are ultimately responsible for the destruction of the synagogues because they left them standing. Were it not for the Internet, which has made it possible to revive the classic military memoir in the form of milblogs, the public would have no more idea of the battle against terror than they do of the whys and wherefores of synagogue burnings in Gaza.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

From Truth to Experience...

I just purchased a 2 CD set from Stand to Reason titled, From Truth to Experience: Why the Church Is Losing Its Vitality in the 21st Century. In it, Greg Koukl explains that he is,
deeply concerned about the church'’s ability to fulfill Jude'’s admonition to "“contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints"” because of a trend in the church that'’s getting worse.
He believes that the church (especially in America) is becoming increasingly ineffective, primarily because
...there is an unhealthy hunger for ...an experience of personal revelation that has replaced our hunger for truth.
And that,
We desperately want God to communicate with us directly. [and] ...We are taught more and more from pulpits all around the country that this is what every Christian can expect to have happen.
He further states that such an unhealthy hunger is evidenced by three traditions in modern evangelicalism,
1. we go to our Bibles not to study the text for its truth, but to look for private, personal, individualized messages from God to us. 2. we think that God has put His will in code and we must decipher in order to find "“God'’s will."” 3. we think that a vital part of a real relationship with God is learning how to receive private, personal, special revelations from God.
The problem, as Koukl sees it, is that we've placed too much importance on the aspect of experiencing God. In our culture, feelings seem to be so much more relevant, and valid, than mere academic knowledge. That which entertains, or titillates the most, is deemed that which is most important. Is it no wonder, then, that many of our evangelical churches emphasize the fact that one can experience God when one enters into a personal relationship with Jesus? Is it any wonder that such an experience is considered to be the cornerstone for our Christian faith and the means through which our maturity occurs? Instead of hearing and learning about God, we end up hearing catch phrases such as, lives are being transformed, or, people are experiencing God's Spirit. Instead of hearing and learning about God, we are told that we, as a congregation, must be about connecting at deeper and deeper levels. The idea, so it goes, is that if people could just experience God, then they'd not only connect at deeper and deeper levels, but they'd also yearn to learn more about God. But is that what really happens? Do we see those people that have experienced God (supposedly) striving to learn more about Him? Or do we simply see them striving to get more of the experience? Yet, Koukl's concerns run much deeper than that of experiential, illiterate Christians. You see, when we elevate experience over revealed truth (i.e., the personal revelation of experience over the general revelation of Scripture), then we run into the problem of relativism. For example, if one person reads a verse and receives a personal, individualized message, then that verse has a different meaning for that person than it does for either you or I. When a static passage of text can mean one thing to you, another thing to me, and yet another thing to someone else, then that text is being viewed in a relativistic manner. And that is no way to view the revealed truth of God. Update: Joe Carter links us to Signs: I'm Weary of Weird Christians, by The Internet Monk. An excerpt,
I am tired of hearing people I work with say that God is talking to them like He talked to Moses at the burning bush or like He talked to Abraham. I'm weary of people saying God speaks directly to them about mundane matters of reasonable human choice, so that their choices of toothpaste and wallpaper are actually God's choices, and therefore I need to just shut up and keep all my opinions to myself until I can appreciate spiritual things. I'm tired of people acting as if the normal Christian life is hearing a voice in your head telling you things other people can't possible know, thus allowing you a decided advantage.
Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A Letter to Gilligan...

Dear Gilligan, I heard you finally left the island... your island... and that you won't be coming back. Was it really over 40 years ago when you were first shipwrecked? Black and white. That's how I like to remember you - fishing from shore, while The Wellingtons sang in the background. But it was the '60s, after all, and color TV was the "in" thing. And with color TV came - color TV shows. Color TV shows that seemed to demand that the hue and saturation controls of the television set be turned up full blast. And amidst this psychedelic potpourri we kids would watch, anxiously hoping that you'd be rescued, but pleasantly relieved when you weren't. You know what? Even after we knew you weren't going to be rescued, we'd still watch, over and over and over again. You know why? It was fun. Thanks Gilligan. Thanks for the fun.

Liberals and the art of politicizing disaster...

Check the timeline, with regards to how governments (yes, plural, as in local, state, and federal), responded to the threat, and impact of, Hurricane Katrina. Then read what Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D), from California had to say,
"The people of the Gulf region were struck by two disasters. First was the hurricane and then the failure of the federal government in time of great need," she said. "The buck stops at the president's desk. The president said he's going to lead the investigation into what went wrong. He needs to look only in the mirror." (emphasis added)
Pelosi's attempt to score political points, at the expense of hurricane ravaged Americans, is yet another fine example of liberal crassness. She's a moron. UPDATE: Check Hugh Hewitt's post on Pelosi. A choice excerpt,
Not only have Senator Reid and Congresswoman Pelosi apparently not caught up with the growing recognition that Governor Blanco's ineptitude is the ground zero for the chaos in New Orleans, they haven't even figured out that if you want to control committees, you have to win elections. ...Now they want to blame Bush for Blanco, fire Brown instead of demanding answers from Nagin, and generally want to try and politicize a disaster that most Americans just want addressed as speedily and humanely as possible. You have to hand it to the Dems, they are nothing if not consistent -- consistently hysterical, and consistently wrong.
Maybe moron wasn't the right word... how about buffoon? UPDATE 2: Also check Instapundit's posts, here and here. Or listen to Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D), from Georgia, speaking in the House,
As the mostly black people were herded into what looked like concentration camps , Barbara Bush suggested that they were really better off now than they were before. Well, maybe she has got something there, because it took losing an entire city for the "compassionate conservatives'' in Washington, D.C., to finally get some compassion in the laws they pass, in the policies they enact, in what they do around here. (emphasis added)
Update 3: For those who think this post is an attempt to gloss over the mismanaged response to Hurricane Katrina please re-read it (and the Katrina Scenario was known post immediately preceding it). You can also go read how Instapundit and others are pointing out that Bush appointed FEMA managers lack, in a now blatantly obvious way, pertinent experience. But as for this post, the title should give you a clue as to its point - Liberals and the art of politicizing disaster.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Katrina scenario was known...

Per Chertoff: Katrina scenario did not exist,
Defending the U.S. government's response to Hurricane Katrina, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff argued Saturday that government planners did not predict such a disaster ever could occur. But in fact, government officials, scientists and journalists have warned of such a scenario for years. Chertoff, fielding questions from reporters, said government officials did not expect both a powerful hurricane and a breach of levees that would flood the city of New Orleans. "That 'perfect storm' of a combination of catastrophes exceeded the foresight of the planners, and maybe anybody's foresight," Chertoff said.
But in Sinking City of Venice, a NOVA program, which aired in November of 2002,
NARRATOR: Storms push water into the city, forcing pedestrians to use impromptu high-rise sidewalks until the water drains back out to sea. But as spectacular and destructive as Venice's high waters can be, some experts fear New Orleans geography may invite larger floods. Joseph Suhayda, Coastal Engineer: The flooding that threatens Venice is of a more chronic nature. New Orleans would be subject to a high level of threat associated with a hurricane storm surge that could in fact devastate or destroy the city. NARRATOR: That's because 70 percent of New Orleans is below sea level. In the event of a very severe hurricane—category 4 or 5—the city's levee system would not be able to keep massive surges out. The possible result of this nightmare scenario: a city drowned under more than 20 feet of water in places. A worrying prospect for New Orleans, which, like Venice, is engaged in a constant struggle with nature. (emphasis added)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina Relief orgs...

You can donate online to hurricane relief funds through the following organizations: Assemblies of God World Vision Home School Legal Defense Association

Friday, August 26, 2005

Naturalism Nonsense...

New exhibit at London Zoo - humans, per Yahoo! News.
"We have set up this exhibit to highlight the spread of man as a plague species and to communicate the importance of man's place in the planet's ecosystem," London Zoo said. The scantily-clad volunteers will be treated as animals and kept amused at the central London zoo with games and music. ...Brendan Carr, 25, from Aylesbury, southern England, wrote a poem in his bid to get on the mountain.
Mankind as a plague species, communicating importance, kept amused with games and music, the use of poetry? It continues to amaze me how believers in naturalism ignore the implications of the reality of the abstract. Sometimes I wonder why I should take the time to develop arguments against naturalism when all one needs to do is let the naturalists do it themselves.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

On detecting bad design...

The process employed in an oil refinery is, essentially, a very simple one. Crude oil is placed into large vessels which heat the crude and cook the various products out of it (be it jet fuel, diesel, etc.). Of course, the quality of the crude, plays a major role in determining just how it is cooked.

Connecting the many vessels and tanks in an oil refinery is a labyrinth of piping. This piping is not, as you might imagine, of the type you would find at your local Home Depot. It is specialized piping made of specialized materials, depending on the particular application in the refinery. While many of the components of a refinery are similar, their configuration is typically unique. As such, the piping required is designed specifically for the refinery. These pipe pieces are referred to as spools because they have flanges at both ends and, consequently, resemble a common spool.

A cross-section of a typical pipe spool.

Certainly, the complexities found in a refinery will result in pipe spools of various lengths and sizes. It is also not unusual to find pipe spools with bends in them, such as shown below.

Now, due to the nature of unique design, as found in virtually all refinery construction, one would expect that a methodology that employed a common template to be a better design, as compared with a methodology that designed many, if not all, of the spools individually. For example, if one were confronted with several design problems in which the solution turned out to be a common pipe spool of the size and configuration shown above, wouldn't it make sense to keep that configuration? After all, it would save money in terms of design and fabrication time.

Conversely, if one found out that, instead of employing a common template, a unique configuration was used for certain spools, would that be cause to infer bad design?

No. It would not. And the reason why is that one may not have complete access to the design parameters at hand.

Recently there was an explosion at a BP plant in Texas City, Texas. In BP: Wrong type of pipe caused plant explosion, we read,

The installation of the wrong type of pipe spool is believed to have caused last week’s explosion and fire at the same BP plant where 15 people were killed in March, company officials said Monday.

An 8-inch section of heavy steel pipe, located between a compressor and heat exchanger on the Resid Hydrotreater Unit, failed on Thursday. No one was injured during the resulting blast and blaze. The section failed because workers installed the wrong type of steel pipe spool on the outlet of the heat exchanger, BP spokesman Ronnie Chappell said. The elbow-shaped pipe spool, believed to have been mistakenly installed when the unit underwent routine maintenance in February, is not designed to withstand higher temperatures.

Carbon steel pipe is used for lower temperature operations, while stainless steel pipe is used for higher temperature operations. Installing a carbon steel pipe spool in place of a stainless steel pipe spool will result in pipe failure.

Installation procedures should have prevented the installation of the wrong pipe spool. But human error is a tricky thing. So tricky, in fact, that one would expect a better design to be one that takes into account the possibility that a pipe spool of the wrong material type might be inadvertently installed due to its identical configuration with the correct spool.

The lesson here is not that it's difficult to detect design. No, that's the easy part. What's difficult is to conclusively determine that the design detected is truly a bad design.

Keep that in mind whenever you hear evolutionists make claims that certain biological systems or organisms exhibit inherently bad design.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Imago Articulus has moved...

I've moved my Photo-blog, Imago Articulus, over to Typepad. Posts are now categorized, for easier navigation.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Intelligent Confusion...

It's amazing that normally intelligent people, when presented with the prospect of the teaching of Intelligent Design, lose the use of their cognitive faculties. Consider the incident related to by Instapundit in which George Bush was asked about the teaching of Intelligent Design.
Bush wants to teach Intelligent Design in schools. That's just pathetic.

It's not going over well in some places on the right, either. Rick Moran at Right-Wing Nuthouse writes:

Alright then, I’ve got a few more “ideas” that students should probably be exposed to as long as we’re talking about filling their heads with a bunch of nonsense like ID:.

1. The earth is actually a bowl sitting on the back of elephants. Hey! If its good enough for the Hindus, why not us?

2. The God Manitou took pity on a mother bear who had lost her cubs while swimming across Lake Michigan and turned the cubs into islands (the Manitou islands) and the mother into a sand dune (Sleeping Bear Sand Dune).
...Now if I were a White House spinmeister I'd say this was just about teaching children the shape of the debate. But I feel sure that Bush wouldn't be satisfied by a curriculum that exposed the many fallacies of Intelligent Design (the biggest being that its proponents start with a particular Designer in mind and then try to marshal the evidence). And certainly the constituency that he's trying to satisfy wouldn't be. Nor would various other hypotheses (e.g., that our universe is actually a computer model itself, being run by unknown others for unknown purposes) satisfy, I suspect, even though there's more evidence for them -- we see computer models every day -- than for creation by a deity.
At once we have comparisons to various creation myths - has the concept of a "strawman" ever been explained to these people? Or we have claims that a particular Designer is chosen first and then the evidence patterned around said Designer. Such claims only expose the ignorance of the writer to the actual claims of ID proponents. And is it really beyond the horizon line of these people to see that a computer model was generated by a designer? Has it ever occurred to these individuals that the issue should be what is the correct explanation and not what is science? You know - whether or not something is true should trump whether or not it fits within a particular category. You see, the issue really isn't whether or not we should also teach various culture's creation myths or whether or not ID is really science. No, the issue is an a priori assumption that only determinism and chance can explain the reality of our world (including the reality of the abstract). Hence the super-natural, by their imposed definition, is not now, and can never be allowed to be, a possible explanation. Indeed.

Back again...

Well the last 3+ weeks have been hectic, to say the least. Included in one of those weeks was a trip to northern New Mexico, which was very beautiful. I hope to post pics at Imago Articulus soon.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Artist, and the Ego...

Joe Carter, over at Evangelical Outpost, has a regular series titled The Gallery, in which he features
a different work by a Christian artist. The work will "hang" on my blog so that viewers may have an opportunity to reflect, comment, and discuss the work.
For July 9th he featured the work of photographer Krystyna Sanderson along with the following image: Now, I think that the image, in and of itself, is quite interesting. However, the title of the image is given as Who Do You Say I Am? For those unaware, this is a direct quote from Matthew 16:15 in which Jesus first asks his disciples, Who do people say that the Son of Man is? After telling Jesus that people are referring to him as either John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the other prophets, Jesus then asks them directly - But who do you say that I am? The response they give is a pivotal indication of the claim that Jesus has to his identity as the Messiah - the Christ - the Son of the Living God. And Jesus makes it clear to his disciples their knowledge of his identity did not come about through their own intuition, but was revealed to them by God. But, back to our image above. I was, quite frankly, a bit offended at the title of the image. The use of Jesus' words regarding his identity, in the context of a photographic portrait of another human being, seems to me to be inappropriate. Rather than leave a comment at Joe's blog, criticizing the work, I chose to leave a flippant remark, taking the question at a secular level only. I wrote, to answer the question, Who Do You Say I Am?
Santa Claus, in July, after being informed that his elves are two months behind schedule.
Afterwards, another person left a comment in which he indicated he was a bit taken aback by the title used. He said,
Why are the words of Christ which evoked Peter's confession "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God" used as the title of this photo of a querulous old man? It seems incongruous. Better to say nothing than think mistakenly that you've said something.
Venturing over to the artist's website, another commenter attempted an explanation at why the title was used. He said,
Look at the quote I took from Krystyna's gallery of photos on her website: I see each face I photograph as revealing the image of God in which we are all made. It's the old Christian idea that you never know where you'll find Jesus. Whenever you reach out to the least of your brothers in this world (or the greatest), you are reaching out to Jesus himself.
While I'll be the first to agree that God bestowed on the human race His Image - the Imago Dei - one should be very careful in ascribing finding Jesus in the physical features we interpret as a human face. Jesus is the second person of the Trinity. He is not the least of my brothers that I help. The Image of God transcends a mere facial portrait. The essence of the soul, the spirit, and the body, intertwined with one another, created anew as God breathed the life into Adam - this essence - gives us value precisely because it is imparted by God. Grabbing a quote from Jesus regarding his identity to use as a portrait title is simply very bad theology. Yet there may something more going on here than just bad theology. Indeed, the whole idea of the artist having the duty, the obligation, or the need, to enlighten us non-artists seems to be extremely big-headed. I enjoy photography and I enjoy visiting other photo-blogs, but one of the things that truly irritates me is how obtuse work often gets passed off as high-minded art. Investigate some of the photo-blogs for yourself and you'll easily find an eclectic mix of depressing and self-indulgent art. And it certainly isn't limited to photography. Remember Christo's umbrellas? Or how about music? For a few years, back in the '80s, I listened to Bruce Cockburn mainly because every art-minded Christian I knew was recommending him. With but a few exceptions, I found his lyrics to be painfully incoherent (that is, when you could get around his liberal preaching). One thing that did seem clear, though, was his high view of the artist (or, his perception of the artist). Consider his song, Maybe the Poet, from the mid '80s,
Maybe the poet is gay But he'll be heard anyway Maybe the poet is drugged But he won't stay under the rug Maybe the voice of the spirit In which case you'd better hear it Maybe he's a woman Who can touch you where you're human Male female slave or free Peaceful or disorderly Maybe you and he will not agree But you need him to show you new ways to see
Visiting his website today, he doesn't seem to have changed much. How about Bono? Whoa, no way! Let's not even go there. Dylan? Nuh-uh. Well... there's T-Bone Burnett - another critically acclaimed, but virtually unknown, singer-songwriter who supposedly pushed the envelope to who knows where. Or how about his wife Sam Phillips who once said, in a local TV interview, that the inspiration for recent song of hers came after she had gotten lost in a local mall and couldn't find her way out. Oh yeah, no ego issues there. So... what's the whole point of this rant of mine? Why am I venting? To tell you the truth, I don't know. You see... I'm an artist, and you're only obligation is to listen to me.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Eclipse of God...

For those concerned about the all too frequent over-emphasis on experiential worship that we find in the evangelical community, there are some excellent lectures, by R. C. Sproul, J. Ligon Duncan, and Mark Dever, over at Ligonier Ministries. They are based on a seventeen-part series from a pastor's conference titled Overcoming the Eclipse of God. Also addressed is the aspect of evangelism and whether or not there is a dichotomy between our responsibility to evangelize and our responsibility to make disciples. In other words, should our focus on Sunday morning worship be that of evangelizing and catering to the needs of the non-Christians in our midst, or should our call to worship be centered on the worship of God and the building up of the saints? Consider these comments from R. C. Sproul in his message, The Eclipse of God (part 1 & part 2):

One can’t be brought into the presence of the living God and be bored; one can’t be brought into the presence of the living God and walk away convinced that it was irrelevant. …And what I plead, with my comrades in the ministry, is to resist the seduction of entertainment. All of us are judged in our job for how much the church is growing (in numbers). We know there’s a formula out there by which we can build the church and get people there.

But what we have to ask is: What is it that pleases God?

When you have the solemn assembly of the saints, are we designing worship for the lost? Evangelism is at the heart of the Great Commission, but it’s not at the heart of corporate worship on the Sabbath Day. The purpose of worship on the Sabbath Day, is the edification of the saints, and that they may bring their sacrifice of praise into the House of God.

It’s for them to worship.

Or take the lecture Target Audience (part 1 & part 2), from J. Ligon Duncan:

If we're the assembly of the living God. If we're the household, the family of God... the place where discipleship is going to occur... then what is our goal in preaching? What is our target audience?

In our day and time... the idea is so often proposed that worship and preaching need to be aimed at unbelievers. That what you do in the church's services, if we are going to be effective in drawing people in, is not to use the language of Zion, which is unknown to those who are not members of Zion; and not to use the weighty substance and content of Christian truth and theology because that would offend those who are not party to that code language; and not to preach to the choir, as it were, but to reach out to those who don't know the Gospel. And thus the whole of the service and the whole of the preaching is to be crafted for those who are not members of God's people.

And of course, that's utterly upside down from the standpoint of the New Testament.

...Preaching evangelistically and expositionally are not options that are mutually exclusive to one another. That's what we ought to be doing every Lord's Day!

...Let's reject this dichotomy between evangelistic and edificational preaching. Those two things are always to go together... And so as we think of our target audience, surely we want unbelievers to come to faith in Christ, but we do not want to starve the sheep as we do that, nor do we want to bring unbelievers into the kingdom under misapprehensions about what life in the kingdom is really like.

And, finally, take a listen to Expository Preaching (part 1 & part 2), by Mark Dever:

Expositional preaching is exposing God's Word to God's people, and exposing God's people to God's Word. ...Expositional preaching is making the point of a particular passage of scripture the point of your message. ...At its best, in doing so, showing people how this is so, that is, how the point you've taken from it is in fact the point of that passage, so that you're training them in reading and understanding the Bible; and applying its truths to their lives individually, and corporately as a congregation.

And brethren, we should want people to grasp God's Word. ...We should want people to know the Word of God, not so that they can pass theology exams, but so that they can follow Christ!

...We get to teach people the wonderful truths of God's Word. And we should want them to know the truths of those different books of scripture. ...Do they know what Ruth is really about? Do they understand the point of Ezekiel? When there are troubles in the church and people are falling into factions, do they know to turn to the book of James? Do they know what the books of the Bible are about?

...we are the front-line of teaching God's people God's Word. ...that is our calling when we enter the pulpit. It is to instruct God's people in God's Word, to feed them by God's Word. We should want people to grasp God's Word, and we should want people to be grasped by God's Word.

The Recurring Raptor...

Back in September of 2004 I related the incident in which a bird of prey accidentally invaded our screened in "playroom." Yesterday, while working about the house, I heard the unmistakable call of a bird of prey in our yard. Moving to the nearest window I spied the following...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

7/7, The Prime Minister & the Brits...

From Tony Blair's news conference, per CNN,
It is through terrorism that the people that have committed this terrible act express their values, and it is right at this moment that we demonstrate ours. I think we all know what they are trying to do -- they are trying to use the slaughter of innocent people to cower us, to frighten us out of doing the things that we want to do, of trying to stop us going about our business as normal, as we are entitled to do, and they should not, and they must not, succeed.

When they try to intimidate us, we will not be intimidated. When they seek to change our country or our way of life by these methods, we will not be changed. When they try to divide our people or weaken our resolve, we will not be divided and our resolve will hold firm.

We will show, by our spirit and dignity, and by our quiet but true strength that there is in the British people, that our values will long outlast theirs. The purpose of terrorism is just that, it is to terrorize people, and we will not be terrorized.

Stand firm, Tony.

From FoxNews,

Taxi driver Steve Green said that despite the carnage, "people are getting on with it. It's marvelous that they're showing their backbone."

"The thing is, with us Londoners, we're used to the IRA. We don't know anything else. You don't like it, but you learn to deal with it."

I get the impression that the Brits are not about to cave in.

Patriots at work in London...

From CNN,
Blair blames Islamic terrorists An intense police hunt is under way in Britain for terrorists behind a string of bombings on London's transport system that killed at least 37 people and wounded 700 early today. Investigators have not yet said whether they believe the bombers left explosives on three trains and a bus or mounted suicide attacks.
Considering Brian Williams' comparison of American Patriots to Islamic Terrorists, and judging by some of the comments my post on the matter has received, would it be fair to submit the following CNN rewrite?
Blair blames Islamic Freedom Fighters An intense police hunt is under way in Britain for the patriots behind a string of bombings on London's transport system that killed at least 37 infidels and wounded 700 early today. Investigators have not yet said whether they believe the fighters of freedom left explosives on three trains and a bus or mounted suicide attacks.
After all, surely someone must think of the incident in those terms and shouldn't we be, at the very least, more tolerant of other moral views? There are many problems with the moral relativist's point of view. Keep in mind that I have never disputed the fact that someone, somewhere, may see (or may yet see) these malevolent terrorists as freedom fighters. What I've been saying is such a person is flat-out wrong. The issue is not, and has never been, how the opposing side views the matter. Such a position leaves one in the self-defeating realm of moral relativism in which no particular viewpoint can be considered true. This is patently absurd. It's not a matter of "the one who wins get to write the history" as if we can never really trust whatever history we've been handed. While I'll be the first to acknowledge the inherent tendency of man to bring his bias to the table, I would much more readily trust the historical accounts written by men of honor than by men of dishonor. One need only look to our recent past for examples: the reality of the horror of the Civil War (and its causes); the journals of Lewis & Clark; racial segregation in the military during WWII; the wanton disregard for the environment during California's Gold Rush; etc., etc., etc. Intentionally dismembering innocent men, women, and children, through coordinated bomb attacks, is morally wrong. And it doesn't matter that someone may consider it otherwise.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Independence Day...

Have a great Independence Day!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Durbinization byproduct...

Via Instapundit we have a link to a column by a former North Vietnamese POW describing his five years and five months in a prisoner of war camp. Read it.

Moral Relativists gone wild...

When we view morality as ultimately relative, it is not surprising to find the following moronic nonsense spoken with complete seriousness:
Many Americans woke up to a curious story this morning: several of the former Iran Hostages have decided there is a strong resemblance between Iran's new president and one of their captors more than 25 years ago. The White House and most official branches of government are ducking any substantive comment on this story, and photo analysis is going on at this and other news organizations. It is a story that will be at or near the top of our broadcast and certainly made for a robust debate in our afternoon editorial meeting, when several of us raised the point (I'll leave it to others to decide germaneness) that several U.S. presidents were at minimum revolutionaries, and probably were considered terrorists of their time by the Crown in England. (emphasis added)
The piece is from NBC anchor Brian Williams' blog. Later, on NBC nightly news, he continued with,
What would it all matter if proven true? Someone brought up today the first several U.S. presidents were certainly revolutionaries and might have been called 'terrorists' by the British crown, after all.
It seems that the someone was him (referencing his own blog entry). That's it. One man's ceiling is another man's floor. Hence, we must be honest with ourselves and admit that one country's terrorist is another country's patriot. Lest we impose our own morality on another culture we also should refrain from using the term "terrorist" altogether and, considering our ceiling / floor logic, admit that the term "freedom fighter" is more appropriate. After all, what is important is not whether the person's actions are truly wrong (for there is nothing really wrong), but whether the person is sincere in their belief. A Brian Williams' History lesson: Terrorists, circa 2000 Terrorists, circa 1776 HT: Michelle Malkin

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Rusty Nails 6/29/05...

Intellectuelle is launched The 7 woman group blog, Intellectuelle, has been launched, and is hosted over at Evangelical Outpost. This week is mainly reserved for each of the women to introduce themselves. Thanks go to Bonnie for her mention of my influence on her venture into the blogosphere.
Bush's Speech - Why did we go to Iraq? Hugh Hewitt reminds us, despite the claims of the Left, that they have understood all along why we went to war in Iraq. Classic quote from Nicholas Lemann:
In his State of the Union address, President Bush offered at least four justifications, none of them overlapping: the cruelty of Saddam against his own people; his flouting of treaties and United Nations Security Council resolutions; the military threat that he poses to his neighbors; and his ties to terrorists in general and to Al Qaeda in particular.
Pinkie Rage From Sports Illustrated, Ragin' Rogers: Rangers pitcher goes off on TV cameramen.
Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers shoved two cameramen Wednesday, sending one to the hospital in a videotaped tirade that included throwing a camera to the ground and threatening to break more.
It seems that Rogers was hurting from a broken pinkie, which had caused him to miss his last start, and he just couldn't stand having those cameras around. Does the phrase "complete butthead" apply here? Actually, maybe it's not complete butthead because he broke his right pinkie and, if you'll notice in the pic, he's doin' his shovin' with his left hand.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Rusty Nails, 6/24/05...

To Public School or Not to Public School? Jollyblogger has a couple of posts titled, Christians and Public Schooling and, Christians and Public Schooling, II, in which he addresses the PCA's recent resolution (which was voted down) which would have encouraged congregants to remove their children from the public school system. David also lists several related links, including that of Russell Moore (Mere Comments) and Al Mohler.
A Dangerous Business A history professor is murdered in broad daylight with robbery not the apparent motive.
Dumbing Down the Bible or Readable Accuracy?
Nightmare The alarm clock went off and it's time to wake up... The American Dream is over.
MSM bias? No way.
A Gitmo primer.
Election Fraud Are Carter's Election Fraud police investigating this?
Dave Roberts, the infrequent blogger at Welcome to the Planet, has started a photo blog. Check it out over at 1000 Words.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

And yet another Home School energizer...

Again from Instapundit we're linked to Give This 'Attic' A Story To Tell, by Anne Applebaum, and We Are Our History - Don't Forget It, by David Gelernter. Applebaum laments on how the Smithsonian Musuem of American History has become a pop culture stop vs. an education stop for American History. She writes,
When the museum was built in 1964, this sort of thing probably wasn't necessary. But judging from a group of teenagers whom I recently heard lapse into silence when asked if they could identify Lewis and Clark, I suspect it's now very necessary indeed. Opinion polls bear out my suspicions. According to one poll, more U.S. teenagers can name the Three Stooges than the three branches of government. Even fewer can state the first three words of the Constitution. A San Francisco reporter once did an informal survey of teenagers watching Fourth of July fireworks in a park and found that only half could name the country from which the United States had won its independence. ("Japan or something, China," said one seventh-grader. "Somewhere out there on the other side of the world.") We're not talking about ignorance of semi-obscure facts here: We're talking about ignorance of basic information.
Gelernter writes,
To forget your own history is (literally) to forget your identity. By teaching ideology instead of facts, our schools are erasing the nation's collective memory. As a result, some "expert" can go on TV and announce (20 minutes into the fighting) that Afghanistan, Iraq or wherever "is the new Vietnam" — and young people can't tell he is talking drivel.
Indeed. While Home Schooling is not the only avenue in which parents can rightfully inform their children about American History, it certainly provides a wonderful opportunity to steer young minds away from apathetic ignorance and towards responsible knowledge.

Bear it away...

A bit late, but the CNN headline, Former Klansman found guilty of manslaughter, reminded me of this Kate Campbell song.
Bear It Away Four little girls dressed up nice Singing about Jesus, red and yellow, black and white Dreaming of freedom across the land And all God’s children walking hand in hand One deadly blast shattered the peace Making for a dark Sunday morning on Sixteenth Street Who can explain such ignorant hate When the violent bear it away Bear it away, bear it away Merciful Jesus, lift up our sorrow Upon your shoulder and bear it away It hurts my heart to think of them Four little girls and what they could have been But we never know about these things When the violent bear it away

Another Home School Energizer...

From Instapundit, a link to Shooting Down the Breakfast Club, in which the author argues that the reason kids who eat breakfast do better in school is because they're "morning people" by nature. If the kids who skip breakfast, presumably because they're "night owls," would be given the opportunity to sleep longer, then they'd do well in school also. From the article,
Parents often think that children need less sleep as they grow up. The research, on the other hand, shows that adolescents still require a solid nine and a quarter hours of sleep a night—at least as much as their younger counterparts.
It doesn't mention whether or not laziness is also a factor. I've always been suspicious of that all too easy excuse, "Well I'm just not a morning person!". Regardless, Suzanne Venker, in her book, 7 Myths of Working Mothers, also writes about the very real sleep needs of children - needs that are often circumvented through the requirement to arrive at institutionalized daycare by 6 or 7 a.m. One of the beauties of home schooling is that, while you should definitely have a school schedule, you have the freedom to adjust that schedule depending on the particular needs of your children. If they stayed up late the night before, as often happens after mid-week activities at church, then school starts a bit later the next morning.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Gitmo <> Gulag...

Check On a serious note, Guantanamo is No Gulag, by Professor Bainbridge. Also, Michelle Malkin serves up a short history lesson with links to examples of atrocities committed by regimes such as the Nazis. Finally, Ilona has an interesting perspective in, Democrats are the Epitome of Evil. I completely disagree with her... but it's an interesting perspective nonetheless.

Daycare Redux...

In The Trouble with Day Care -- A Surprising Source, by Al Mohler, we read,
Concern about day care now comes from a rather unexpected source. The May-June 2005 issue of Psychology Today features an article entitled, "The Trouble With Day Care,"...
"The raging debates around maternal guilt, work/family balance, money and childrearing often drown out scientific insights into the developmental impactof day care," Lang warns. "But the latest findings, from a huge, long-term government study, are worrisome. They show that kids who spend long hours in day care have behavior problems that persist well into elementary school."
Even more troubling, from the Psychology Today article,
Consider this: "Developmental psychologists are sweeping this information under the rug, hoping studies will churn out better data soon, argues Jay Belsky, a child development researcher at London's Birbeck College and a longtime critic of his fellow scientists. He contends that the field of developmental psychology is monopolized by women with a 'liberal progressive feminist' bias. 'Their concern is to not make mothers feel bad,' he says."
Also reference my post, Mothers and careers, as well as Suzanne Venker's book, 7 Myths of Working Mothers.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Rusty Nails, 6/16/05...

Whale Evolution: Looks are everything Instapundit links to the latest Tangled Bank offerings promoting evolutionary scenarios, and our old friend DarkSyde is included in a post on the so-called evolution of whales. Despite the fact that whales are notoriously prone to going extinct, evolutionists continue to cling on to whale fossils, which span across millions of years, as being the long lost transitional fossils so readily absent from the fossil record. The basis for such a claim rests mainly on how whale fossils apparently look like they transition from one form to another. Despite admissions that the proposed evolutionary lineages are sketchy at best, despite the fact that the proposed time of transition is woefully short to encompass the necessary changes, and despite the lack of any clear despcription of a mechanism that could produce such changes*, we still see blatant examples of Berra's Blunder. The bottom-line is that the examples presented as transitional fossils are nothing more than intermediate forms. Evolutionary "lensing," that is, viewing the data through strictly evolutionary spectacles, results in strictly evolutionary explanations. The notion that, transitional in nature is not the same as intermediate in form, never seems to occur to the evolutionist. For a classic look at how major changes* in proposed whale evolution are glossed over, view the QT video from the PBS series Evolution (especially note the animation towards the end of the clip).
The Left is Lost Per FoxNews, regarding an FBI report on the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Senator Dick said,
If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others — that had no concern for human beings
Utterly Disgraceful Let him know at dick@durbin.senate.gov
A New Blog lurking in the shadows Longtime commenter Bonnie, from Off the Top, will be teaming up with Marla Swoffer (who probably owns a few Swiffers), on a new seven-woman blog to be titled Intellectuelle. A seven-woman blog? Sigh. Should I get the ACLUnatics to sue for gender discrimination?
You won't see this on the boob tube Per Michell Malkin
Comedienne Rosie O'Donnell banned her partner Kelli Carpenter from breastfeeding their daughter Vivienne just a few weeks after she was born--because she was jealous of their bonding sessions. Kelli gave birth to Vivienne in 2002, and the lesbian couple have been raising her along with their three other adopted children. But O'Donnell admits she felt left out of the motherhood process whenever she observed her partner nursing their child.
Sounds like Rosie needs just a bit more Left Leaning Tolerance.
* There are a variety of changes that must take place for a wolf-like land based mammal to transition first into a fresh-water and then salt-water based whale. In Michael Denton's book, Evolution: a Theory in Crisis, we find that the wolf-like mammal must,
cease using its hind legs for locomotion and to keep them permanently stretched out backwards on either side of the tail and to drag itself about by using its fore-legs. During its excursions in the water, it must have retained the hind legs in their rigid position and swim by moving them and the tail from side to side. As a result of this act of self denial we must assume that the hind legs eventually became pinned to the tail by the growth of membrane. Thus the hind part of the body would have become like that of a seal. Having reached this stage, the creature, in anticipation of a time when it will give birth to its young under water, gradually develop apparatus by means of which the milk is forced into the mouth of the young one, and meanwhile a cap has to be formed round the nipple into which the snout of the young one fits tightly, the epiglottis and laryngeal cartilage become prolonged downwards so as tightly to embrace this tube, in order that the adult will be able to breath while taking water into the mouth and the young while taking in milk. Be it noted that there is no stage intermediate between being born and suckled under water and being born and suckled in the air. At the same time various other anatomical changes have to take place, the most important of which is the complete transformation of the tail region. The hind part of the body must have begun to twist on the fore part, and this twisting must have continued until the sideways movement of the tail developed into an up-and-down movement. While this twisting went on the hind limbs and pelvis must have diminished in size, until the latter ceased to exist as external limbs at all, and completely disappeared in most, whales.
But none of this is a problem as long as you keep repeating to yourself that the fossils look so similar that the only possible explanation is that they must have transitioned into the forms we see through tiny changes over long periods of time.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Homeschool energizers...

Every so often my wife and I get a reminder of why we home school our children. Recently, after a dinner at my parent's house, we sat around the dining table and chatted. I commented on how the same amount of time has passed, since 9/11, as between the attack on Pearl Harbor and the end of WWII. My mother then recalled how, at the end of WWII, her elementary school teacher, the wife of a Baptist preacher, led their class in a prayer. She paused for a moment, and then reiterated, "and this was in school!" Our four year-old looked up and proudly said,
We do that every day in school!
Yeah, that's it. For an idea of what so-called freethinkers think about the issue of prayer in school (or prayer in general), check out Infidels.com, EvolveFish.com, or Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
At our Home School Open House this week we were treated to a short-sermon by a ninth-grader in our group. It was refreshing to see that he has grasped the basic fundamentals in Biblical understanding what with his comments regarding a certain verse in the Bible. Which verse? You guessed it - Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know what I have planned for you," says the Lord. "I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope." Questioning why this verse seems to be quoted so much by Christians, he wondered why Christians didn't quote other verses of the Bible so vigorously - verses such as Matthew 5:30, "If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into hell." If one is to read the Bible, then one should read the entire Bible, and not simply the passages that happen to make one feel good. How wonderful to see that a ninth grader has a better understanding of Biblical interpretation than many adults!

Another Heard song...

All Is Not Lost - by Mark Heard When civilization takes a nasty turn And concepts are hushed when books are burned All is not lost All is not lost When swine are the ones who steal the pearls From the human oysters of the western world All is not lost All is not lost TRUTH LIVES ON TRUTH LIVES ON TRUTH LIVES ON When beauty seems beaten by the callous beasts And it looks like it will be 'cause history repeats All is not lost All is not lost You can still see grace in the children's eyes And this planet's face still gladdens the wise All is not lost All is not lost TRUTH LIVES ON TRUTH LIVES ON TRUTH LIVES ON When the hand of man becomes inept And sketches the truth in silhouette All is not lost All is not lost The hand of God has not worked in vain And this globe is fodder for the feeblest brain All is not lost All is not lost TRUTH LIVES ON TRUTH LIVES ON TRUTH LIVES ON

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Stay Tuned...

Well I'm back. It was a hectic week away from home, and tomorrow night (Monday) we have an Open House with our Home School ISP. Thanks for the kind words in the comment section (and for confirming that I've got at least 7 readers). I've got a lot of things I'd like to write about... but I've still only been able to squeeze 24 hours out of a day. In the meantime, to stir up your thinking juices, here are the lyrics from a song by the late great Mark Heard.
The Golden Age They say this is the Golden Age Video millennium Tidings from the self-made media sage Tickings of the bio-bomb Jet-set etiquette consciousness Monosyllabic goodbyes No one cares about no one else We're so used to the capital "I" THE GOLDEN AGE (Electric Neanderthal) THE GOLDEN AGE (With digital morality) THE GOLDEN AGE NOTHING REALLY CHANGES IN THE GOLDEN AGE They say this is the Golden Age In which both virtue and flaw And the entire human element Are effects of the quantum laws Deep in the wells of the centrifuge The spectrum of the soul is mined It seems we know ourselves too well And we don't like what we find THE GOLDEN AGE (Electric Neanderthal) THE GOLDEN AGE (With digital morality) THE GOLDEN AGE NOTHING REALLY CHANGES IN THE GOLDEN AGE They say this is the Golden Age We've got the tapes of the truth in drag We've got thermographs of the fires of hell And renderings of the cosmic bang If this is the Golden Age Are we no longer human beings Are we civilization's afterbirth Some kind of flesh and blood machines THE GOLDEN AGE (Electric Neanderthal) THE GOLDEN AGE (With digital morality) THE GOLDEN AGE NOTHING REALLY CHANGES IN THE GOLDEN AGE

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Out of town...

For my 5 readers... I'll be out of town until Friday, June 10th. Happy blogging!

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

See no evil...

Sometimes we only see what we want to see. In a recent post, Instapundit claims that
there's not much support for the idea that more-available porn (or pro-sex material generally) is doing any harm to America's children.
Only a few posts earlier, though, he praises a new children's book by Buzz Aldrin because, as per the NY Times,
Thanks to video games, TV shows and movies such as ''Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith'' that are loaded with special effects, today's children don't have a realistic impression of space or space travel...
Thus, on the one hand, more-available porn is not adversely affecting America's children; but on the other hand, more-available sci-fi is. How about a re-write? Consider,
there's not much support for the idea that video games, TV shows and movies such as "Star Wars: Episode III --- Revenge of the Sith" are giving today's children an unrealistic impression of space or space travel...
Thanks to more-available porn, today's children don't have a realistic impression of sex.
Yeah, that's it.