Where's the birth certificate

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

An unlikely 'Avatar' of spirituality

It's the title of today's outstanding article from author and columnist, Jonah Goldberg. If you plan to see the movie in the near future and would like to enter the theater with "eyes wide shut" and completely unaware of any of the storylines, then avert your eyes as some of them will be mentioned. Me personally? I was highly suspect after viewing the trailer for the first time. I immediately got the impression that the movie would be, HUMANS=Bad, Cat People=Good, Humans are out to destroy everything and anything in the name of the almighty dollar, yadda, yadda, yadda. Some of the more interesting excerpts from Goldberg are as follows.....

"The film has been subjected to an assault from the right, notably by New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, as an "apologia for pantheism." His criticisms hit the mark, but the most relevant point was raised in The Weekly Standard by John Podhoretz. Cameron wrote "Avatar," says Podhoretz, "not to be controversial, but quite the opposite: He was making something he thought would be most pleasing to the greatest number of people." What would have been controversial is if -- somehow -- Cameron had made a movie in which the good guys accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts.

Of course, that sounds outlandish and absurd, but that's the point, isn't it? We live in an age in which it's the norm to speak glowingly of spirituality but derisively of traditional religion. If the Na'Vi were Roman Catholics, there would be boycotts and protests. Make the oversized Smurfs Rousseauian noble savages and everyone nods along, save for a few cranky right-wingers.

But what I find interesting about the film is how what is "pleasing to the most people" is so unapologetically religious.

Nicholas Wade's new book, "The Faith Instinct," lucidly compiles the scientific evidence that humans are hard-wired to believe in the transcendent. That transcendence can be divine or simply Kantian, a notion of something unknowable from mere experience. Either way, in the words of philosopher Will Herberg, "Man is homo religiosus, by 'nature' religious: as much as he needs food to eat or air to breathe, he needs a faith for living."

Goldberg again hits one out of the park (as he usually does) with his well-written, timely and precise article. I would recommend anyone reading this to click on the above link and read the article in it's entirety. Once doing so, please feel free to use the comments section on this thread to discuss the topics raised in the above cited article.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

When was Jesus Born?

I heard this on the radio the other day and just found a link to a site that has the info re: how the birth of Jesus was determined.....

"In the 6th Century, the Roman monk-mathematician-astronomer named Dionysis Exeguus (Dionysis the Little) reformed the calendar to pivot around the birth of Christ. He dated the Nativity 753 years from the founding of Rome, calculated to the date King Herod died. But Dionysis miscalculated, because Herod died only 749 years after the founding of Rome, thus 4BC.

Herod, who ordered all the babies in Bethlehem younger than 2 years killed, was, of course, alive when the Magi visited the baby Jesus. So we know that Jesus was born in or before 4BC, as astronomers point out when referring to the Star of Bethlehem.
The reference to the birth of Jesus "two thousand years ago" is wrong in two ways: a. there was no year 0, thus we have had only 1998 years since Dionysis (incorrectly) calculated the year of the Nativity. b. Dionysis's calculation was off by at least 5 years, as mentioned above.

In the year 274AD, solstice fell on 25th December, and Roman Emperor Aurelian proclaimed the date as "Natalis Solis Invicti," the festival of the birth of the invincible sun. In 320 AD, Pope Julius I specified the 25th of December as the official date of the birth of Jesus Christ. In 325AD, Constantine the Great, the first Christian Roman emperor, introduced Christmas as an immovable feast on 25 December. In 354AD, Bishop Liberius of Rome officially ordered his members to celebrate the birth of Jesus on 25 December.

In some parts of the Roman Empire (mostly the Eastern parts), solstice was celebrated on 6 January, the last festival day for those who started solstice on 25 December. (Saturnalia was held over 12 days.) The Orthodox Churches of Eastern Europe celebrate Christmas on 6 January. The most likely year that Jesus was born, is 6BC, probably in the month of March. There was no year 0 (zero) recorded, so the 2nd millennium celebration of the birth of Jesus should have been held in March 1995. But considering that Nativity was not celebrated at all for the first 300-or-so years, and that Christmas became widely popular only in the 19th Century, it remains remarkable that the birthday of Jesus Christ today is one of the biggest industries in the world. A rather apt acknowledgement."
Hope you found it interesting. Count your blessings and have a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I Can Hear the Screaming Now

This oughta make 'em scream. It's today's article by Dr. Stephen C. Meyer entitled Climategate Recalls Attack on Darwin Doubters. It seems that Rick Santorum (see below) is not the only one drawing parallels between the currently popular fairy-tale for adults, AKA Anthropogenic Global Warming Climate Change and Neo Darwinism....

"There have been parallels cases where e-mail traffic was released showing Darwinian scientists displaying the same contempt for fair play and academic openness as we see now in the climate emails. One instance involved a distinguished astrophysicist at Iowa State University, Guillermo Gonzalez, who broke ranks with colleagues in his department over the issue of intelligent design in cosmology. Released under the Iowa Open Records Act, e-mails from his fellow scientists at ISU showed how his department conspired against him, denying Dr. Gonzales tenure as retribution for his views. To me, the most poignant correspondence emerging from CRU e-mails involves discussion about punishing a particular editor at a peer-reviewed journal who was defying the orthodox establishment by publishing skeptical research. In 2004, a peer-reviewed biology journal at the Smithsonian Institution published a technical essay of mine presenting a case for intelligent design. Colleagues of the journal’s editor, an evolutionary biologist, responded by taking away his office, his keys and his access to specimens, placing him under a hostile supervisor and spreading disinformation about him. Ultimately, he was demoted, prompting an investigation of the Smithsonian by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel."

Isnt it wonderful that scientists can be held up and placed on a moral pedestal above mere mortals due to their overwhelming belief and unparalleled worship in the god of Methodological Naturalism Only? For an encore, dare we hope that they break out their pitchforks, torches and shovels to recreate their favorite scene from Frankenstein and run all of the design theorists away in the name of consensus rather than arguing each case on it's own merits?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chavez Begins to Abandon the Pretense

The competition for Who Will Become The Next Hitler Watch took an interesting turn yesterday with the following press release, dateline Caracas, in which Hugo Chavez announced the formation of his own version of Brownshirts...

"President Hugo Chavez launched a federal police force on Sunday that he hopes will change the overwhelmingly negative image most Venezuelans have of their public security forces while reducing crime in one of Latin America's most violent countries. "We are going to defeat crime," Chavez told uniformed cadets belonging to the newly formed National Bolivarian Police Force during his weekly television and radio show....Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami said the nascent police force would seek to reduce crime through preventative rather than repressive measures and embrace the socialist ideals of Chavez's "Bolivarian Revolution," a political movement named after 19th-century independence hero Simon Bolivar...."The National Police will impose a culture of peace in the barrios to eliminate the violence of the capitalist, bourgeois model that we've inherited," El Aissami said."

As someone who has traveled to Venezuela seven times over the course of the last few years, I think I have more insight concerning the actual situation on the ground there than your average internet blowhard. The majority of people who are A. sufficiently educated to the level of a Bachelors Degree or higher, or B. are entrepenuers and have an inkling as to how a small business works are against Chavez. Great numbers of the poorly educated and/or poorer classes think the guy is great or kid themselves that he is because they see no other political figure on the horizon to replace him, former Chacao Mayor Leopoldo Lopez included if for no other reason than a street smart sense of pragmatism that Chavez's goons would never permit it.

El Assami is an *ahem* interesting character. Given his alleged ties to such freedom loving organizations as Hamas and Hezbollah, continued vigilance of his activities is a little more than just prudent. This of course, is coupled with the fact that for the last several years, there have been weekly flights between Tehran and Caracas with a stop in Damascus and let's just say that I'm less than enthusiastic that the Chavez government would be vigilant in keeping out suspected bad guys.

My sources inside of Venezuela have mentioned that Chavez has the appearance of being "Chinese-eyed" in his weekly television screed broadcast in which they speculate about the possibility of recreational drug on the part of el presidente. This of course puts speculation as to why members of the elite, Hollywood left would want to "hang out" with the guy in a somewhat different light.

One other point raised in the above article that some on the left buy into is the description of Chavez's power grab reforms as "Bolivarian". Given that Simon Bolivar had a thorough command of the Spanish language, was a military man who actually experinced battle and was labeled a conservative, any description of his so called "revolution" as "Boliverian" only gives credence to the old Hitler/Goebbels saw about repeating the Big Lie often enough, then the people will actually believe it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Where is "Americans United for Seperation of Church and State" when you need them?

Back in my high school/college days, I went to church several times with close friends that were members of the United Methodist Church. It was "OK" insofar as religious experiences go. Kinda like having a hunger for the 7 ounce strip steak all week and then getting Salisbury Steak in the end. John Wesley must be positively spinning in his grave, if he wasnt already, concerning how far, the flock he help found, has strayed.....

"The United Methodist Church has never made a secret of its support for abortion as it regularly participates in a radical national pro-abortion religious group. With one of its members, Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, holding up the health care bill over abortion funding, the church is on the attack. Rev. Cynthia Abrams has written an email for the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, that made the rounds Friday. The sharply-worded email, sent to its Nebraska members, urged them to lobby Nelson to support the government-run health care bill even though it includes massive abortion funding. "The U.S. health-care system is broken. It needs to be repaired. Your U.S. senator, Ben Nelson, is the last holdout blocking an important step forward in the reform," it says. The email calls on Nelson to "set aside his personal agenda" against taxpayer funding of abortions "and think about the common good."
The email even cites Jesus Christ as a reason to back the pro-abortion health care bill, saying, "Frankly, I believe Jesus set the bar high in reaching out to the disenfranchised among us. I disagree that some ought to be able to have better health care than others -- and so does The United Methodist Church!"

With all due respect, just where does this 2nd Rate Yenta in Liturgical Garb get off saying that Jesus Christ, in any way, shape or form, would support abortion? Didnt Jesus say? "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."? As I stated earlier people, with friends like these....

The Elephant in the Room: Challenging science dogma

It's the title of yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer article by former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA). It's timely on a couple of different fronts. A short excerpt reads...
" In 2001, I offered a legislative amendment about teaching the subject of evolution. I caught more flak for this simple amendment than for almost anything else I championed in the Senate. What heresy did I propose? Here is the full text:

"Good science education should prepare students to distinguish the data or testable theories of science from philosophical or religious claims that are made in the name of science; and where biological evolution is taught, the curriculum should help students to understand why this subject generates so much continuing controversy, and should prepare the students to be informed participants in public discussions regarding the subject."

It was so radical a concept that, less than an hour after it's unveiling, liberal Democrat Ted Kennedy signed on to it. He said during the debate that my amendment's language was "completely consistent with what represents the central values of this body. We want children to be able to speak and examine various scientific theories on the basis of all of the information that is available to them." My amendment passed 91-8. The next day, the High Priests of Darwinism went berserk. How dare the Senate suggest there is any controversy surrounding evolution? The amendment, they argued, was an attempt to bring God into the classroom.

Kennedy quickly recanted and vowed to have the amendment stricken from the reported language of the final bill. It wasn't."

I find it interesting to say the least that Kennedy changed his position so quickly. It was probably something like "Sorry Ted, no free thought here. Please criticize the amendment by Santorum and submit to our perverted brand of Groupthink" or similar. The article concludes on another relevant note....

"Well, maybe because Americans don't like being told what to believe. Maybe because we have learned to be skeptical of "scientific" claims, particularly those at war with our common sense - like the Darwinists' telling us for decades that we are just a slightly higher form of life than a bacterium that is here purely by chance, or the Environmental Protection Agency's informing us last week that man-made carbon dioxide - a gas that humans exhale and plants need to live, a gas that represents less than 0.1 percent of the atmosphere - is a dangerous pollutant threatening to overheat the world.

In some respects, the case for evolution is improving: We may indeed have evolved to the point where we can detect hot air of a different kind."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Those Nasty CHICKENS...Are Coming HOME..To ROOST!

Let me start off by stating that I don't actually hate Governor Charlie Crist (R-FL). Intense dislike would more accurately convey my opinion of the guy. Imagine my suprise when I came across this article on the net.....

"Governor Charlie Crist and former state House Speaker Marco Rubio (pictured above) are now tied in the 2010 race for the Republican Senate nomination in Florida. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely GOP Primary voters finds Crist and Rubio each with 43% of the vote. Five percent (5%) prefer another candidate, and nine percent (9%) are undecided.......Crist, well known throughout the state, has seen his ratings go in the opposite direction. Just 19% now have a Very Favorable opinion of him, a figure that represents a double digit decline since August.
Crist angered many conservatives in the state when he embraced President Obama’s $787-billion economic stimulus plan. While the Republican establishment has endorsed Crist, many prominent GOP conservatives including Mike Huckabee, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint and former Bush adviser Karl Rove are backing Rubio."

It wasnt just his embrace of the Mau Mau Messiah that I didnt care for in reference to Charlie Crist. It goes back to his 11th hour endorsement of John McCain in the Florida primary. Also, his refusal to investigate ACORN didnt bolster my opinion of him either. I have to be honest and state that I really don't know enough about Marco Rubio to actually endorse him, but rest assured, I will be giving him a closer look in weeks to come. Should anyone be interested, his website is http://www.marcorubio.com/

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This explains much...

I was previously aware of a Baylor University study (in conjunction with Gallup) concerning atheism and the increased belief in such things as the ability of dreams to predict the future, the existance of Atlantis, haunted houses, the ability to communicate with the dead, and the existance of such creatures as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. A new study from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life indicates that Democrats have similar beliefs as atheists.

"The results show that Democrats are far more likely to believe in supernatural phenomena than Republicans.....Conservatives and Republicans report fewer experiences than liberals or Democrats communicating with the dead, seeing ghosts and consulting fortune-tellers or psychics," Pew reported...31 percent of Democrats say they believe in astrology, compared with 14 percent of Republicans.."

Isnt it interesting to note that those who lack God belief and those on the liberal end of the political spectrum share such common beliefs? As someone once said, 'If you don't believe in something, you'll fall for anything'. I think that applies in this case.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Copenhagen's political science

It's the article in yesterday's Washington Post by the favorite whipping-boy (or girl) of the left, Fmr. Governor Sarah Palin. You Go Girl! Me personally? I don't really have a dog in this fight when it comes to the defense of Palin as the badge to the link on the upper left corner of this page would indicate. Here are some excerpts from the article on the adult fairy-tale for adults known as Anthropogenic Global Warming. gate
""Climategate" as the emails and other documents from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia have become known, exposes a highly politicized scientific circle--the same circle whose work underlies efforts at the Copenhagen climate change conference. The agenda-driven policies being pushed in Copenhagen won't change the weather, but they would change our economies for the worst...... "
Now who could ague with that?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I Knew This was Coming

I havent seen much of this yet in the MSM but alas, there it is...

"The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to table -- and thereby kill -- an amendment that would have barred federal funds in health-care reform from paying for abortions.The 54-45 vote to table the amendment turned back an effort by Sens. Ben Nelson, D.-Neb., and Orrin Hatch, R.-Utah, to revise the Senate health-care bill to prohibit federal funding for abortions in a government-managed program and federal subsidies for private insurance plans that cover abortions.With the tabling of the Nelson-Hatch Amendment, the bill sponsored by Majority Leader Harry Reid -- the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act -- moves forward without the restrictions on federal funding of abortion that were placed in the measure by the House of Representatives. The pro-life restrictions in the House bill were promoted by Rep. Bart Stupak (D.-Mich.).Two Republicans -- Susan Collins and Olympic Snowe, each of Maine -- joined 52 Democrats in supporting the table resolution. Opposing the table resolution were 38 Republicans and seven Democrats: Evan Bayh (Ind.), Robert Casey (Pa.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Byron Dorgan (N.D.), Ted Kaufman (Del.), Nelson and Mark Pryor (Ark.)."

Link to the cited article. I never thought I would see it in my lifetime but yes folks, we here in the US are on the very cusp of having federally funded, abortion on demand. Any thoughts on the subject? Personally, I don't want the government paying for such procedures. I only wonder if this latest installment on the road towrd global governance comes as a suprise to those who supported and voted for Obama because after all, he was "for hope and change and stuff".

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

With Friends Like These,,,,,,

While surfing the net yeterday, I came across this article which gave me pause. Read this excerpt for yourself...

"While evangelical and Catholic leaders have been working tirelessly in recent weeks to make sure any health care bill does not include federal funding of abortions, leaders of the nation's mainline denominations have been doing just the opposite, even going so far as calling abortion a "God-given right."The Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church's General Board of Church and Society all are members of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a pro-abortion rights organization that took part in a Dec. 2 "Stop Stupak" rally in Washington D.C., urging the Senate not to include the pro-life Stupak amendment in its version of the health care bill.The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society -- the denomination's lobbying arm -- even sent out an alert after the health care bill passed the House, calling the bill itself a "major milestone" but lamenting passage of the Stupak amendment, which it saw as "a tremendous setback for access to comprehensive reproduction health coverage." The amendment passed the House 240-194 and prevents the government-run public option from covering elective abortion and also prohibits federal subsidies from being used to purchase private insurance plans that cover abortions.The four previously mentioned denominations all have pro-choice positions of varying degrees, but their leaders' stances on abortion in the health care bill have surprised even some seasoned observers.

And here I am, all this time wondering about opposition to the pro-life position from secular and irreligious people. how can an organization that even vaguely identifies itself as "Christian" even bother to condone such a practice, never mind aggresively lobby in favor of it? No wonder they are losing numbers in droves as this study out yesterday makes achingly clear.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Huckabee's Willie Horton?

Apparently Maurice Clemmons (above), charged with recently murdering four police officers as they sat sipping coffee in Lakewood, Washington, was one of those granted clemency by then Governor Mike Huckabee (R) while he was governor of Arkansas. Already the blogosphere is calling this the end of Huckabee's presidential aspirations. I would have to agree. I don't see how one can spin this to anything other than what it is, a disaster for the public in general and those officers in particular. Huckabee seems like a rather nice man if you ever met him in person, but many of us realize (pragmatically) that there are truly bad people in this world that are better off incarerated from the general populace than given a 2nd chance before demonstrating that they have earned one. Also, certain crimes SHOULD have a mandatory-minimum sentencing guideline.

"On Monday, Huckabee again laid the blame on others. He talked about the case on his own radio show, and on Fox News radio. "If I could have known nine years ago, looked into the future, would I have acted favorably upon the parole board's recommendation? Of course not. One of the things that is horrible and just, again, one of the realities you have to confront is the criminal justice system is far from perfect, and in this case it failed miserably on all sides."

Here's the link to the cited article. It sounds too much like Huck is attempting to shift blame here. Any registered voters out there might keep in mind that Mitt Romney (R-MA) never pardoned a criminal during the time he was governor.

UPDATE: For those outside the US who are unfamiliar with who "Willie Horton" was, you can click here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Glorious Spanking

"It was all shaping up to be a serious heavyweight bout. And then Meyer and Sternberg simply KO'd the competition in the opening round. If I were being generous I might say that Prothero tripped over his own arrogance and impaled himself on his condescension, but let's be honest; he was completely knocked out by Sternberg. I think Sternberg earned a third degree tonight, one in evolutionary bulldozing..... To call the debate a massacre would be a discredit to Sitting Bull. The only thing I can say is that Shermer needs to add a point to his booklet on how to debate "creationists" — namely, leave Donald Prothero at home in his van by the river. "

Link to the full article. Is it any wonder, given the performance of these 2 clowns, that Richard Dawkins refuses to debate Meyer? If it is so "settled" then why the massacre? Anybody?