Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jake displays openly aggressive behavior on Rand Paul

Jake, a member of the species homo petulans (in more ways than one), has raised his tail and lowered his head over my comments about the reaction to Rand Paul's refusal to address a question about creationism in a speech to a home school audience last Friday.

I simply observed that the creationists in the audience responded in a more civilized and humanoid manner than the Darwinists, who, despite purporting to be members of a higher species, reacted with the aggressiveness that has come to characterize their behavior when faced with opinions differing from their own.

You would have thought I had poked a stick at them through the bars or something, their reaction was so frenzied.

Now I have been observing various liberal Darwinist societies for some time now, and can say with some authority that the subspecies inhabiting the Page One blog are among the loudest and most openly aggressive. This could possibly be the result of a vegetarian diet and their penchant for brie cheese and multi-grained bread.

The individual whom we call "Jake" seems to be the dominant male in the troop (although I am willing to listen to other theories as to gender), and he has taken the most aggressively hostile posture. When my comments were thrown into their cage, it was Jake who howled the loudest. I have taken the liberty, using various linguistic devices, to interpret his vocalizations and gestures and determined that he thinks we "hate" Darwinists "with great passion."

Now part of the problem with Page One society is the tendency of its members to jump to conclusions--conclusions which seldom logically follow. This provides additional evidence that their subspecies was an early deviation from the main human branch. This, of course, poses insurmountable difficulties when a group of them form together and try to run a blog.

I do not hate Darwinists. On the contrary, there are many of them of whom I am quite fond. In many cases they can be tamed and even housebroken, and make fine companions if they can be discouraged from their natural arrogance and dogmatism through stimulus and response training.

In Jake's case, that might involve the use of electric shock. But the benefits could be substantial.

Rand Paul opposed to dead people

Rand Paul may now finally have stepped over the line. He is now opposed to dead people.

According to Al Cross at the Rural Blog, Paul told WHAS's Mandy Connell that he is opposed to dead farmers receiving agriculture subsidies.

Oh, the insensitivity! Oh the callousness!

Where is the outrage, liberals?!

Darwinists chatter excitedly over Rand Paul's refusal to answer creationism question

The Darwinian fundamentalists suddenly ceased grooming each other and started chattering excitedly about a video of Rand Paul addressing Kentucky home schoolers and declining to say where he stood on the issue of creationism.

While the creationist home school crowd continued to listen politely and attentively to Rand Paul after his remarks, the Darwinists started wildly throwing coconuts at the candidate for U. S. Senate.

The creationist crowd took Paul's refusal to answer their question with measured aplomb, and sat there politely while he finished his talk. But social dynamics in Darwinist communities often include threatening displays by their more dominant members when there is any deviation from accepted group opinions. In fact, despite the common belief that they are intellectually tolerant, this characteristic is hard to find among them, and is often punished when found among their members.

Experts continue to believe that Darwinists are capable of rational thought and other traits characteristic of humans, but research into the question continues.

The test of success for charter schools: popularity with parents

Richard Day's continued attacks on charter schools are indicative of the wider public school establishment's disdain for them. Day and other fixtures of the education establishment want the same kind of accountability that has failed the public school system for years: that is to say, no accountability other than to themselves.

Charter schools are less accountable to the teachers unions and the state education bureaucracies that have occupied the driver's seat as our natures schools continue to worsen.

There is only one measure by which charter schools should be judged: their popularity with parents. This criterion, of course, is anathema to the crowd William Bennett once referred to as "the blob."

Day criticizes charters for failing the children of poor families. And the public school system has served them well?

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Quick and Easy Test For Worship Music in Church

Here's my test to determine whether the music in a worship service is appropriate: move those performing the music to the back. If it changes the character of the worship experience, it is not appropriate for a church service.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Could all humans be eliminated through overpopulation?

As if we really needed more evidence that the End is Near, now comes the prediction by another member of the Ministry of Fear: Australian scientist Frank Fenner, who predicts that human beings will become extinct in 100 years. The culprit? Well, the first is Global Warming, because everyone knows that Global Warming is going to kill all of us, and we have to say that.

But the other cause of the extinction of the human race is more interesting: overpopulation. That's right: having too many humans could result in not having enough of them.
Fenner, who is emeritus professor of microbiology at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, said homo sapiens will not be able to survive the population explosion and “unbridled consumption,” and will become extinct, perhaps within a century, along with many other species. United Nations official figures from last year estimate the human population is 6.8 billion, and is predicted to pass seven billion next year.

Fenner said that is only at its beginning, but is likely to be the cause of our extinction. “We’ll undergo the same fate as the people on Easter Island,” he said. More people means fewer resources, and Fenner predicts “there will be a lot more wars over food.”
Isn't the solution clear? If overpopulation will bring about human extinction, then the only way to prevent human extinction is to depopulate them. We can head off the elimination of human beings by eliminating human beings.

You gotta love science.

What is it that is beautiful, howls like a Banshee, and is a complete nuisance

The street I grew up on made today's Wall Street Journal, for a very interesting reason: peacocks. The place has been infested with them since I was a kid. They are a nuisance: they get in your garden, roost on your roof and leave droppings--and then there is that unearthly howl.

But all in all you get used to it. My mother still keeps peacocks on her farm in Kansas. And, of course, Flannery O'Connor kept them.

Can't be all bad.

Harvard as diploma mill

In a post in my Google Reader about the fact that Harvard University graduates basically everybody, there is an ad for the University of Phoenix.

A serendipitous moment.

Making sense on Adam and Eve

My post on the Adam and Eve controversy has my detractors chattering in the comment box. Nothing less than total submission to their dogmas will do. Even skepticism is unacceptable. Here is James Chastek, making sense again, with his own very sensible comments on the Biologos discussion that started the dust up.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Evolution: A syllogism

Jay Wile's recent post on the falsifiability of evolution reminds me of the penchant that Darwinists have for quoting Karl Popper, who enjoys somewhat of a canonical status among them. He is their go to man on the demarcation question (the question in philosophy of science having to do with the determination of what is and isn't science), and his appeal to the falsifiability criterion is something of a refrain among Darwinists.

Popper believed that a scientific theory could never be proven, but only disproven. The scientist sets forth his theory and then makes attempts to find falsifying instances. This is, according to Popper, the appropriate activity of the scientist, much more so that finding confirming instances. Because of this, you find Darwinists readily saying (as they have on this blog) that you can't prove anything (scientifically).

The problem is, they will just as readily say, in other contexts, that evolution has been "proven." Put these two propositions together, and you get the following syllogism:
No scientific theory can be proven
Evolution is a scientific theory
Therefore, Evolution cannot be proven
Just thought I'd mention it.

John David Dyche doing the KY media's job for them

John David Dyche asks some questions that the media don't seem all to inclined to ask Rand Paul's opponent. And, by the way, what does it say about Jack Conway's candidacy that more people know who we are talking about if we refer to him as Rand Paul's opponent than by his real name?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

P. Z. Myers does not exist. Done

In a post titled "Adam and Eve did not exist. Done," P. Z. Myers has announced that Adam and Eve did not exist:
There was no Adam. There was no Eve. We are the product of populations
and pools of genes that are briefly instantiated in individuals, and
it's a great conceptual error to even fuss over finding "the"
many-times-great grandparents of us all.
So, Myers, a self-described product of populations and pools of genes that has briefly instantiated himself as an individual, in pressing his case that we shouldn't identify our particular antecedents, identifies our particular antecedents, namely, populations and pools of genes. In the Darwinian Myth that replaces the Theistic Myth, the rational beings called Adam and Eve have been replaced by the irrational processes called Populations and Pools of Genes.

You can say at least this for the Adam and Eve theory: it at least allows for the possibility that their descendants are the kind of beings who could rationally reject the Adam and Eve theory, whereas under the Populations and Pools of Genes Myth the beings that are its products cannot possibly rationally accept the Populations and Pools of Genes Myth--or anything else for that matter, since its materialist undergirding cannot account for rationality in the first place.

And what's even more odd is that these products of populations and pools of genes who cannot account for rationality at all are the very ones who go around giving lectures to the descendants of Adam and Eve who can account for it about the importance of rationality.

Go figure.

Handing out educations, not condoms

Marc Carey blogs about a Fox News report about a New England school that has instituted a policy to hand out condoms whether parents want them to or not:
A New England school district has approved a measure that will provide free condoms to elementary school students and direct teachers not to comply with parental wishes to the contrary.
We could, of course, comment on the sheer silliness of these attempts by the educational establishment to direct the sexual lives of their students. I have commented before that if our public educational institutions do the same thing for sex as they have done for reading and writing, the very survival of the race may be in jeopardy.

But perhaps the better comment is the one made by some wag that schools shouldn't be handing out condoms; they should be handing out educations. And until they figure out how to do that, it would probably be a service to everyone else if they just laid off the stupid education tricks.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The barbarians among us

From The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30), by Mark Bauerlein:
According to recent reports from government agencies, foundations, survey firms, and scholarly institutions, most young people in the United States neither read literature (or fully know how), work reliably (just ask employers), visit cultural institutions (of any sort), nor vote (most can’t even understand a simple ballot). They cannot explain basic scientific methods, recount foundations of American history, or name any of their local political representatives. What do they happen to excel at is – each other. They spend unbelievable amounts of time electronically passing stories, pictures, tunes, and texts back and forth, savoring the thrill of peer attention and dwelling in a world of puerile banter and coarse images.
When you add to this situation the fact that schools have largely given up on passing on our culture (and, in fact, spend a good deal of their time undermining it), you get modern American culture--and a situation that, short of things like classical Christian education, will not likely correct itself.

HT: Beyond Necessity

Friday, June 18, 2010

What we know and what we don't know about "laws of nature"

Sean Carroll, a physics professor and blogger who hangs intellectually with Jerry Coyne and P. Z. Myers, is calling it quits over at his blog, and he writes one last post, which is apparently meant to summarize what his blog has been about. It exemplifies many of the things that are wrong with the modern scientistic mindset.

One of the characteristics of this mindset is the belief that certain things are known which are really not known. These are the "well, of course everyone knows" things that we are all just supposed to assume, like good little secularists.

Here is Carroll explaining one of the things that, of course, everyone knows:
Over the last four hundred or so years, human beings have achieved something truly amazing: we understand the basic rules governing the operation of the world around us. Everything we see in our everyday lives is simply a combination of three particles — protons, neutrons, and electrons — interacting through three forces — gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong nuclear force. That is it; there are no other forms of matter needed to describe what we see, and no other forces that affect how they interact in any noticeable way. And we know what those interactions are, and how they work. Of course there are plenty of things we don’t know — there are additional elementary particles, dark matter and dark energy, mysteries of quantum gravity, and so on. But none of those is relevant to our everyday lives (unless you happen to be a professional physicist). As far as our immediate world is concerned, we know what the rules are. A staggeringly impressive accomplishment, that somehow remains uncommunicated to the overwhelming majority of educated human beings.
Carroll thinks he knows "what the rules are." And by "rules," we assume (given what he says later in the post) he is referring to what are popularly known as the "Laws of Nature." But there is a serious question whether he actually does. In fact, it's a live question whether anyone does.

Carroll seems to be confusing the idea of knowing that something is with the idea of knowing what something is. It would indeed be a staggeringly impressive accomplishment if he did know what they were, but, in fact, he doesn't. He can show us the effects of these Laws of Nature, but he cannot tell us what they are. Are they prescriptive entities of some kind that issue commands? If so, then what exactly is the ontological status of these "laws"? And how is his view effectively different from a belief in some kind of god?

Or are they simply a collection of descriptive observations of the past behavior of certain things under certain circumstances. If so, then can anything worthy of the name "law" really be said to exist at all? And what logical force can they possibly exercise (as David Hume pointed out) for predicting the future?

People like Carroll want to be able to rid themselves of any metaphysical baggage, but as soon as they try to explain their own position, they are faced with either engaging in metaphysics or repudiating the rational foundations of their own position.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rand Paul and what's wrong with libertarianism

Whether you think they are good in themselves or not, there are some events which become teaching moments. Rand Paul's candidacy is surely one of them. His candidacy is an opportunity to make a clearer distinction between libertarianism and traditional conservatism.

I have said before that libertarianism is conservatism without a soul. But this definition is a little too general (and certainly too cheeky) to be useful. Here is, I think, the central problem with libertarianism and what makes it different than traditional conservatism: libertarianism sees freedom as an end rather than a means.

For the libertarian, any restriction on freedom is, by nature a bad thing. This is why someone like Paul gets in trouble when sharing his thoughts on civil rights laws. Civil rights laws impinge on the freedom of business owners, no question about it. And if this is you're only criterion for judging the justice of a law, then this is how it will look to you.

However, if freedom is only a means, rather than an end, then you are not driven inevitably to this conclusion. To the traditionalist conservative, freedom is not an end, it is a means--a means to the end of the common good. Furthermore, it is only one of several means toward that end. If this is true, therefore, the worth of civil rights laws cannot solely be decided on the criterion of whether they interfere with the freedom of private business owners, but whether the benefits they have toward the common good outweigh the interference with that freedom. The libertarian's philosophy disallows him from even asking this question, since it introduces a criterion he doesn't even recognize.

This is the whole problem with the Tea Party Movement--and any other neoconservative movement: it doesn't recognize or understand the distinction between freedom as a means and freedom as an end.

The position of his critics, mostly liberals, however, is hardly any better. They have even less justification for supporting civil rights laws. If we are to take their criticism of abortion laws as an example--that they "impose morality"--then how can they justify the support of civil rights laws, which clearly impose morality? But there is much more to be said on this that I don't have time to say here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The New Intolerance: The Bullying of the Boy Scouts in the Bastion of Brotherly Love

If there was any doubt about the intolerance of the gay rights agenda (and, just so you know, there wasn't any), just check out the treatment the Boy Scouts are receiving in Philadelphia at the hands of the city, which wants to end its $1 per year lease of a building to the Scouts because the group insists on having its own beliefs on such things.

The Boy Scout's Scout Oath ...
***We interrupt this blog message with an important poem by Phylis McGinley:***
The Angry Man

The other day I chanced to meet
An angry man upon the street —
A man of wrath, a man of war,
A man who truculently bore
Over his shoulder, like a lance,
A banner labeled “Tolerance.”

And when I asked him why he strode
Thus scowling down the human road,
Scowling, he answered, “I am he
Who champions total liberty —
Intolerance being, ma’am, a state
No tolerant man can tolerate.

“When I meet rogues,” he cried, “who choose
To cherish oppositional views,
Lady, like this, and in this manner,
I lay about me with my banner
Till they cry mercy, ma’am.” His blows
Rained proudly on prospective foes.

Fearful, I turned and left him there
Still muttering, as he thrashed the air,
“Let the Intolerant beware!”

***Now, back to your regularly scheduled blogging.***
... calls on scouts to be "morally straight," by which its means, strangely, morally straight. But the champions of tolerance in city government in Philadelphia are having none of it and are intent on forcing the group to accept its definition of tolerance, whether it wants to or not.

Intolerance being, ma’am, a state/No tolerant man can tolerate.

By the way, if we pass anti-bullying legislation, will it apply to city governments that intimidate groups that don't tow the official government morality?

Oh, and did we mention that Philadelphia is the cradle of liberty?

On top of everything else, Rand Paul guilty of bad taste

The Rand Paul campaign is being enthusiastically pounced on by the media for a number of indiscretions, some general, and some that amount to simply not towing the line on political fashion.

But I am surprised that no one has commented on a matter of simple aesthetic taste that I find quite disturbing.  According to news reports, the Canadian band "Rush" has announced that it doesn't want Paul using its music at campaign events. 


Why would anyone use Rush's music for campaign events, much less listen to them at all?  Rush has to be the most pretentious rock band in the known world.  I can just hear it now: all those culturally illiterate music critics with absolutely no literary sensibility gushing about how profound their lyrics are.

As we used to say in California, gag me with a spoon.

The only reason anyone would say this is that they are completely unfamiliar with profundity.  Of course, when it comes to the poetic, the world of rock and roll could well be described as a kingdom of the blind where the one-eyed man finds it easy to be king.

Not to mention the fact that Rush's lead singer and bassist, Geddy Lee, has a voice that former L. A. Times rock critic Robert Hilburn once described as "like a rat whose tail is being run through the ringer." 

I saw Rush live in the late 70's (along with a much better opening band, UFO).  I had their very first album when it came out. I know what I'm talking about. 

It is one thing to be a cultural barbarian, tearing down Western civilization, which is what most rock bands do for a living.  But it's another to try to convince your listeners that they are being culturally uplifted in the very process of being culturally debased.

Paul campaign, trust me on this. Announce you are dumping Rush in favor of some mindless rock band that at least doesn't pretend to be engaging in art.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Is there really a need for more women editorialists?

A group out of Stanford University does not like the fact that men dominate the nation's editorial pages, and they're going to do something about it--namely, train women to write op-eds:
The mission of the OpEd Project at Stanford University is to bring about a sea change in our national conversation, which is currently overwhelmingly dominated (85%) by men.
But one wonders why the increase in the percentage of op-ed writers would "bring about a sea chance in our national conversation" if women's concerns were basically the same as men's. What does this group think we should be talking about on the op-ed pages? Baking cookies?

These women are obviously not hip on the fact that men and women are equal in every way and therefore there is no need to equalize the number of male and female voices.

Maybe some members of the peanut gallery on this blog could give these people a lecture on this.

What is analytic philosophy

A nice overview of the nature and history of modern analytic philosophy. I was educated by analytics at the University of California. Thankfully, I am over it now.

HT: 3 Quarks Daily

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Physicist Stephen Hawking shouldn't quit is day job

It is always dangerous for someone to speak outside their field. This is particularly true when it comes to scientists who try to engage in philosophy. Here is renowned physicist Stephen Hawking in an ABC interview with Diane Sawyer on the issue of God:
"What could define God [is thinking of God] as the embodiment of the laws of nature. However, this is not what most people would think of that God,” Hawking told Sawyer. “They made a human-like being with whom one can have a personal relationship. When you look at the vast size of the universe and how insignificant an accidental human life is in it, that seems most impossible.”
Well, let's hope he's not going to give up his day job. This is a classic example of a confusion of philosophical categories. What in the world does the physical size of the universe have to do with the metaphysical significance of human beings?

We go now to G. K. Chesterton, in his book Orthodoxy, refuting this silly bit of reasoning over 100 years ago:
Why should a man surrender his dignity to the solar system any more than to a whale? If mere size proves that man is not the image of God, then a whale may be the image of God; a somewhat formless image; what one might call an impressionist portrait. It is quite futile to argue that man is small compared to the cosmos; for man was always small compared to the nearest tree.
The idea that the sheer physical size of a thing philosophically dwarfs anything physically smaller Chesterton addresses again in his short story, "The Blue Cross." Father Brown is conversing with the famous criminal Flambaeu, who is posing as a priest:

The first he heard was the tail of one of Father Brown's sentences, which ended: "... what they really meant in the Middle Ages by the heavens being incorruptible."

The taller priest nodded his bowed head and said:

"Ah, yes, these modern infidels appeal to their reason; but who can look at those millions of worlds and not feel that there may well be wonderful universes above us where reason is utterly unreasonable?"

"No," said the other priest; "reason is always reasonable, even in the last limbo, in the lost borderland of things. I know that people charge the Church with lowering reason, but it is just the other way. Alone on earth, the Church makes reason really supreme. Alone on earth, the Church affirms that God himself is bound by reason."

The other priest raised his austere face to the spangled sky and said:

"Yet who knows if in that infinite universe--?"

"Only infinite physically," said the little priest, turning sharply in his seat, "not infinite in the sense of escaping from the laws of truth."

Valentin behind his tree was tearing his fingernails with silent fury. He seemed almost to hear the sniggers of the English detectives whom he had brought so far on a fantastic guess only to listen to the metaphysical gossip of two mild old parsons. In his impatience he lost the equally elaborate answer of the tall cleric, and when he listened again it was again Father Brown who was speaking:

"Reason and justice grip the remotest and the loneliest star. Look at those stars. Don't they look as if they were single diamonds and sapphires? Well, you can imagine any mad botany or geology you please. Think of forests of adamant with leaves of brilliants. Think the moon is a blue moon, a single elephantine sapphire. But don't fancy that all that frantic astronomy would make the smallest difference to the reason and justice of conduct. On plains of opal, under cliffs cut out of pearl, you would still find a notice-board, `Thou shalt not steal.'"

Now that universities like Middlesex are canceling their philosophy programs, look for more sloppy philosophical thinking like Hawking's.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

More evidence on gender difference that we should ignore

From Mark Perry at Carpe Diem:
"Among the 19 students who got a perfect score on the ACT science test in the past two decades, 18 were boys." -- The New York Times
It's just a coincidence that the best science minds are male, of course. It has nothing to do with gender differences, which we all know to be culturally conditioned and to have nothing to do with . There is no difference between boys and girls.

Just keep repeating it.

Monday, June 07, 2010

I am P. Z. Myers, Hear Me Roar

Call it GDD: Gender Difference Denial. It's everywhere, but particularly concentrated among those who fashion themselves as "scientific." P. Z. Myers, noted atheist biology professor, expresses his objection to the idea that men make better scientists than women, but he does it by invoking GDD:
This naive imposition of unscientific modes of thought on women
specifically leads to the state we have now. Assume a fundamental difference in
attitude: women feel, while men think.

To infer any difference in attitude between men and women is the closest thing to a sin in the system of secularist dogma. Marketers, of course, know different, which is why they have to pitch things differently to attract that much valued young male viewer--as opposed to the female audience, which apparently requires a different kind of programming.

This example occurs to me primarily because, as I sit here composing this, the female viewers in the room with me, in control of the remote, are watching Lifetime Television. Why are females attracted to Lifetime, while at least two of the males in the room would much rather be watching, say, mixed martial arts on Spike?

Could it be that women are attracted to the emotionalism so prevalant on Lifetime?

We could speculate on this, but we must not allow ourselves to think that it is because men and women are actually different. So if you ever wonder why you have to battle so often with someone of the opposite sex over the remote, go ahead and spin your theories--just don't resort to the obvious one.

Esolen on television (sort of)

Anthony Esolen (is he on our list of Modern Wise Men yet, I'll have to check) discusses the "Top Eleven Christian Television Shows." It's a peculiar list in places, but his comments on each show are well worth reading.