Grey Thoughts
Eugenics - It begins
Update: This is apparently a well prepared hoax, including a full website, voicemail and even some advertising on other sites. Opinion journal's Best of the Web has the details. My apologies to everyone involved. I had a reasonable look around to try and discount it, but apparently my investigative reporter skills are not yet up to scratch.

Barking Moonbat Early Warning System has a link to an article on Sterilizing the obese.
California is the first state in the Union to offer state-funded vasectomies to men who have been diagnosed as obese.

Currently, the offer is voluntary, but continue reading the article and you are going to find some scary comments.
A major challenge for physicians when dealing with quality-of-life measures in subjects is that many patients with serious and persistent disabilities (such as obesity) report that they experience a good or excellent quality-of-life, when to external observers these individuals seem to have a diminished quality of life. Two articles examining this disability paradox critique this paradox, and it has been established that often times, the physician involved must make a determination on their own as to the best interest of the subject.

So the patient's quality of life is no longer based on the patient's happiness or their own perception of their quality of life, but on the physicians 'determination'.

Big Flashing Red Warning signal! Can you see it now?
I am sorry Mr Doe, I know you feel happy and content, but I have determined your quality of life is not up to scratch so we have decided you need to be neutered/"re-educated"/euthanaised....

And in case you think I am being irrational, The article continues
Thus far, the program has been purely voluntary, which means that people who undergo the procedure are doing so of their own free will and thus emphatically understand that they have a low quality of life. If we are to make this procedure mandatory, we must clearly draw the lines where physician judgment is concerned.

And there you have it....welcome to forced sterilization.

So where does it end? Apparently people with certain genes get addicted more easily, so lets sterilize smokers, alcholics, drug addicts or the handicapped.

And hey, why not sterilize all people with fair skin too, as they are more likely to get skin cancer.

Reading further, the justifications continue
And what of societal concerns? The medical community at large have long established that obesity has surpassed the levels of simple concern and has become an epidemic. Children born of obese parents inherit genes predisposed to physiology which supports obesity - thus, eliminating such a gene line from the overall pool would greatly benefit society in the long run.

Yep. Eugenics. Plain and simple.

The article then goes on to look at ways people might still pass on their genes (Frozen sperm banks and reversing operations). Just to make sure....

The article finishes
So the question of whether or not sterility is valid and socially responsible solution to the obesity epidemic plaguing this country no longer remains. The physicians' job, as professor M. Sullivan from the University of Washington said, is "to focus on patients' lives rather than patients' bodies" [8]. It is paramount that the overall condition of life for people be improved to the point where poor genes do not hold one back from proper development of fitness and overall well-being. The State of California has established commitment to this way of thinking - and this researcher only hopes that the rest of the nation follows suit.

Read that again....."the question of whether or not sterility is valid and socially responsible longer remains"

Bad ideas never seem to go away. I'm just glad this crap has not reached Australia yet.

Update: I just wanted to add that using such selective techniques to reduce variability in a population is a very bad idea, genetically speaking. Even from a strictly scientific point of view I think this eugenics stuff is a very bad idea.
Abortion - Mother of 14 yr old arrested for trying to stop daughters forced abortion
Weapons of Mass Distraction has a link to a recent case in the papers. Basically a mother was arrested when trying to retrieve her daughter who had been taken out of school, by a woman to an abortion clinic to abort the baby. The woman turned out to be the mother of the boy who impregnated the girl.
Life site news has more, with links to more news articles on the case and the comment that girl had decided to keep the baby

Whilst Weapons of Mass Distraction feels this is indicative of the current culture and comments
Whether it’s the unborn or the disabled, the rights of legal guardians are honored only when the end result is the death of the helpless.
I think that this is merely another case of the abortion clinics showing how little they really care about the pregnant women and how much they care about killing for money.

All the clinic needed to do is take a little time to work out the whole story and they could have avoided all this, but that would of lost them some money. Now, unless I miss my guess, they are going to be sued for a ridiculous amount of money, and hopefully criminal negligence.
Science - The Wonders of Stem Cells
Another benefit of adult stem cells? I didn't here this one in the discussions about stem cell research....
Weather - They don't make tsunami's like they used to
23cm? Must have been a slow news day.
Morality - Quality versus Sanctity of life
Joe Ford has some very insightful comments on the logic being used in the Terri Schiavo case. Disabled people are not second class citizens. We need to remember that, and call into question any argument that paints them as such.
Status - Very light posting this week
I am spending a lot of time preparing a talk on Abortion, so there will be very little in the way of comment and only a few links this week.

Regular blogging will resume next week. (is blogging ever regular?)
Evolution - Gee, Soft Tissue CAN last 70 Million Years
Well, thats what they are saying now.
Dr Mary Schweitzer has released a paper in Science(subscription required) outlining soft tissue being found in a 70 million year old dinosaur.

Reading her article and an additional article on the subject by Erik Stokstad in the same issue of Science there is scant reflection on whether or not soft tissue should be able to survive that long in ANY conditions and so the 70 Million Year age given should be questioned.

Instead we get this
Whether preservation is strictly morphological and the result of some kind of unknown geochemical replacement process or whether it extends to the subcellular and molecular levels is uncertain.
A brilliant example of begging the question...Ad Hoc explanations are not science.

Update: Something I forgot to comment on the first time is that
Since the discovery, she [Schweitzer] has found similar samples of soft tissue in two other Tyrannosaur fossils and a hadrosaur.
So the fairly remarkable conditions are not a fluke???

So will they find DNA with it? Both Stokstad and BBC report that DNA degrades over a timescale of thousands of years.

Also of note is that several years ago, Answers in Genesis (AUG) published stories of red blood cells being found in a T-Rex Fossil of at least 65 Million years age. The evolutionist community of course was highly skeptical that they were red blood cells. Mary Schweitzer did not release a paper on this, and the only discussion in a journal was in a short term popular science journal.

Now it seems AIG's claims are somewhat vindicated.
Genetics - DNA backups
Astounding stuff
These mutant parent plants apparently have hidden templates containing genetic information from the preceding generation that can be transferred to their offspring, even though the traits aren't evident in the parents, according to Purdue University researchers. This discovery flies in the face of the scientific laws of inheritance first described by Gregor Mendel in the mid-1800s and still taught in classrooms around the world today.

Essentially, it sounds like they have a backup copy of their genetic structure.
The paper appears in the march 24 Nature Journal.

Talk about well designed! It is no wonder they don't even try to explain how it evolved. Backup copies of things implies a definite anticipation of future events which implies design quite strongly
Europe - Dead Man Walking
One hand clapping has an informative post on the troubles Europe is facing in the near future.
Good point, and it illustrates the "two steps forward, three back" problem Europe faces. They need more births, but that takes women out of the work force - and for longer than it does here, because of Europe's generally very generous labor-welfare rules. But taking women from the work force also decreases the tax revenue the state needs to continue propping up its welfare system.

Read the whole thing.

The CIA also recently released a report on the same topic which is available here. A quick summary of the report is available on Scotsman news

You would think people would learn that Socialist policies don't work and that allowing abortion is only going to cause you problems...
Cosmology - Old Galaxies defy predictions
Astronomers and Cosmologists continue to be suprised by new observations. The latest is finding 'old galaxies' when the universe was only '2.5 billion' years old. Apparently, galaxies that big and well developed shouldn't have been around back then.

Of course, I doubt they will rethink their basic assumptions about the age of the universe or the creation of the universe...

In addition to the old "dead” galaxies long past star formation, there were other red, dusty galaxies still vigorously producing stars. Jiasheng Huang (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) said, "We're detecting galaxies we never expected to find, having a wide range of properties we never expected to see." Apparently, the early universe was already a wildly complex place. "It's becoming more and more clear that the young universe was a big zoo with animals of all sorts," continued Labbé. "There's as much variety in the early universe as we see around us today."

Re-read that last quote...
There is as much variety in the early universe as we see around us now....
Couldn't agree more!
Law - UK oversteps its bounds
Captain Ed has an entry on the UK and its recent court rulings that essentially give the UK jurisdiction over any material written on the internet, at least with respect to libel cases.
He notes
However, the plaintiff filed her case in Britain because defendants bear the burden of proof in the UK, not the plaintiffs, and it becomes much easier to win large judgments against media outlets.

So the UK Courts have different burdens of proof, and if you fail to respond, they can give a default judgement against you.

Just peachy. Of course, if you somehow wind up in the UK after one of these things, then they could probably grab you or any assets you have in the UK. (Of course, if Australian courts decide to honor the rulings, then things will really hit the fan)

I wonder what the EU constitution says about extradition/siezing of assets for member countries. Is travel to or investment in the EU also going to be a nono if the UK has already found you libel?
Morality - Marriage and Slippery Slopes
Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost makes some good points about how no fault divorce and the lack of common law marriage have caused the present crisis with Terri Schiavo.
Sadly, even now we fail to see what lead us to this point. Many well-meaning people mistakenly believe this issue is about the “right-to-die.” But at its core, the Schiavo case is not about bioethics, living wills, or medial choices. It’s about the failure to protect the institution of marriage.

Christians Have failed time and time again over time (Sucks to be imperfect hey), and this has lead to all sorts of consequences. This is just one more case and one more consequence.

Read the whole thing
Creation - Information Quantified
True Origins has a debate/exchange between Dr Lee Spetner (author of 'Not By Chance') and Dr. Edward E. Max on Evolution, Creation and Information.

In this exchange, Dr Spetner gives formula to quantify information change. So next time you hear an evolutionist complain that we can't quantify the information content, send em there...
(Hat Tip: Answers In Genesis)
Cosmology - Dark Energy Shock
A new paper on the reason for the accelerating expansion of the universe has come out.
From the news article
The universe is expanding at an accelerating rate because of ripples in space-time that stretch beyond the observable edges of the universe, according to a paper published in Physical Review Letters.

This is in stark contrast to the hypothesis that Dark Energy made the universe do it...

One further comment in the article stands out
Antonio Riotto at Italy's National Nuclear Physics Institute in Padova, who also worked on the research, told Reuters: "No mysterious dark energy is required. If dark energy were the size that theories predict ... it would have prevented the existence of everything we know in our cosmos."

So. let me get this straight. Scientists have to invent roughly 95% of the mass in the universe (70% dark energy, 26% Dark matter) in order to explain certain features and then it STILL doesn't add up?

You would think that as they can only find 4% of the total mass of the universe according to their model, it might be a clue that they need to fix their model. But, noooo. Instead they invent dark matter and dark energy. This stuff is treated as a veritable fact. It is assumed to exist without a second thought. Then someone comes along and points out an uncomfortable little point...even with their invention, their model still doesn't work.

I'm thinking maybe all this 'dark' stuff is simply an ironic way of leading us back into the 'dark' ages of science...
Iraq - Lancet Study and 100000 casualties
The Lancet study was done last year by a British medical journal and released a few days prior to the US election (Released 29/10/2004, Election Dat 2/11/2004).

That should be the first clue. A study released just prior to the election that looks at the number of deaths that the invasion of iraq supposedly caused. What are the odds it is going to be fair and unbiased (in either direction)?

For some bizarre reason, news outlets in the western world have once again started trumpeting out this bogus 100,00 figure. Maybe its the recent democratic shudders coming from all over the middle east. Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar,Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Palestine. Or because Iraqi Civilians are now taking on the Insurgents and terrorists. The anti-war crowd is being left with the option that maybe Bush was right and are consoling themselves by pushing this bogus study.

For those who don't know, the study found that the increase in deaths from the Iraq invasion was somewhere between 8000 and 196000 at the 95% confidence interval. News organisations and anti-war people are averaging this to be 'about 100,000'. You cannot use this 100,000 figure with any accuracy, as any statistics person will tell you.

Many other bloggers are all over this, so if you want to read more, head on over to Chicago Boyz and Brendan Nyhan and The age of unreason for a few more links and facts and problems with the Lancet Study.

Just remember, next time you hear the 100,000 figure, the person either doesn't know what they are talking about (and is just reiterating a 'fact' they heard somewhere else) or is not being very honest.

The real question is, if a journalist reports this 'fact' have they done their homework and looked into the figure and its source. If they haven't, then they are not being a good journalist. If they have...well, I'll leave you to work out the reasons....
Abortion - Links To Abuse
Life Site News links to an article on the relationshipAbortion and Abuse
Essentially, women who have been abused are more likely to have abortions.

From Life Site
1127 women completed a 65-item questionnaire at a hospital abortion facility in London, Ontario. The results showed that overall 20% had experienced physical abuse by a male partner, and 27% had a history of sexual abuse.

Similar research in the US has shown that 31% of women seeking an abortion have experienced physical or sexual abuse at some time in their lives and, of these, more than half have witnessed domestic violence as children.

The increase in child abuse that comes from allowing abortion is already well documented, but this is the other end of an apparently viscous circle.

As legal abortion has increased child abuse, and if you have been abused as a child, you are more likely to get an abortion. Just one more good reason to break the cycle of violence.

Also of note is the finding that a huge proportion (60%) of the women getting abortions were using contraceptives when they got pregnant.
Evolution - Convergent Hearing
OMFSerge at Imago Dei has an interesting post on Mammalian Middle Ears
It seems scientists now think the 3 bones of the mammalian middle ear evolved convergently, 3 times. And this whilst 1 boned middle ears do very well in some animals such as birds.

He asks several important questions
If one ear bone transmits sound well, why did a more complex arrangement of three evolve multiple times? Why do we see this arrangement in all mammals, but not in reptiles or birds? Wouldn't evolution via completely natural processes predict a more random arrangement of inner ear components?

I wonder how many examples of convergent evolution we are meant to stomach before the whole ad hoc evolutionary explanation falls down?

Read the whole thing.
Morality - Cruel and unusual Punishment for Terri Schiavo
Life Site News has a note about a judge breaking the law in order to get Terri Schiavo's feeding tube removed.
For those who don't know, Terri has been semi/comatose for 15 years. The only support she requires is a feeding tube, and there are people (her parents) wanting to look after her. Her husband however, wants her to starve to death.

The judge in the case has just ignored a congressional subpeona and had the tube removed. So now Terri Schiavo will starve to death, unless someone intervenes.

If you starve to death a criminal or prisoner of war, you would be brought up on serious charges, but apparently, if you starve to death your sick wife, it is all okay.

This is just another example of the 'slippery slope' when you start letting people decide how valuable another persons life is...

Apparently, the LA Times is trying to say that Starvation is not unpleasant
"This is not a cruel procedure," Goldstein said. "It is unlikely that [she] will feel pain in any way that we as sapient people will identify. Many family members think it is a very comforting procedure

Of course, if you read the Account of Kate Adamson who went through the same thing, perhaps you might think that the LA Times is, how do you say, full of it?
(Hat Tip:That Liberal Media)
Philosphy - Correspondence and Post Modernism
JP Moreland has an excellent, if not heavy, article on the Correspondence theory of Truth and Post Modernism posted over at Stand To Reason
Science - Making black holes
Creating the conditions for the formation of black holes is one of the aims of particle physics

Of course, scientists are so certain about how things work they are quite happy to try and create black holes?

Does anyone else think this could be a bad idea?

Not content with just black holes, now scientists are trying to make abig bang

What could possibly go wrong?
Education - Strategy for disaster
From the report
"The present legal environment undermines order in schools by enabling students and parents to threaten a lawsuit over virtually anything," said CG Chair Philip K. Howard. "The legal system must strike a better balance between the claimed rights of individuals and the legitimate interests of society as a whole."

Is anyone suprised that when you live in the litigation capital of the world that parents, who don't know how to discipline their kids (Don't want to hurt their self-esteem and all that) leads to bad discipline (not because of the teacher) and therefore poor education...

Get used to is coming to an Australian School near you!
Homosexual Marriage - Following the logic
Infanticide - Texas lets doctors overrule Mum
Captain Ed over at Captains Quarters has a post about a recent case of baby euthenasia in texas.
This case goes further than the netherlands principle, in that the states overruled the wishes of the parents and let the doctors decide....Read the whole thing

Follow the logic of abortion and you get to this....
Creation - Biblical Interpretation
Rusty over at New Covenant has a new post on Phased projects and the language of genesis one.

Whilst I very much enjoy reading Rusty's posts, I think his committment to billions of years is coloring his reasoning here. Rusty's post tries to link a manager describing a phased project to a group of people with no interest in describing the actual time taken to complete each phase, to the language used in Genesis One describing God's description of how he created, well, creation.
He Concludes...
Yet, what if my intentions were to present the schedule of this project to a group of people, not to inform them of the duration of the project, but to definitively state for them who was in charge of the project and to set up the foundation for the six phase pattern I would later use in guiding them?

I'd probably give them something like that of Genesis 1.

So I thought I would recast the text of genesis one in terms of such a meeting.
Our manager, Tom, leads into the meeting

Tom: In the beginning ACME co decided to created the Widget.
Tom: Now the widget had no specification and ACME Co brainstormed the widget project.
Tom: And R & D designed the widget. And there was evening, and there was morning-the first day.
Bob: What??? You expect us to design the Widget in a single day? What are you, insane!??
Tom: No, no no. You don't understand, when I am saying the first day, what I am really saying is the first phase of the process. Understand?
Bob: Well why didn't you say phase then? And Why the reference to evening and morning. That certainly confuses things doesn't it. How can a phase have an evening and morning?
Tom: Look! You are just going to have to understand, that when I am talking about evening and mornings and first or second or whatever days, what I am really saying is that that is just the first or second step of the project.
Bob: Oh. Okay.
Tom: And Engineering Created the purchasing requirements for the widget And there was evening, and there was morning-the second day.
Janet: Look. I don't really understand why you can't just say Second Phase instead of all this evening and morning and second day rubbish. I mean, you try taking the minutes of the meeting. It's not like I know shorthand. Besides, it is clearer to use second phase.
Bob: Yeah! Thats right! Are you trying to confuse us? Why can't you just speak plainly? How much longer is this going to take?

I'm sorry. But all this shows is how much rationalization is being put into trying to make the bible fit with man's theories about the age of the earth and universe. How could the bible be clearer?

My question for Rusty is two-fold. How could Genesis 1 be rewritten to be clearer to the reader
1) If creation actually took millions and billions of years
2) If creation took 6 days

I think you will find it is harder to make the bible clearer if (2) is true, and a lot easier to rewrite it to be clearer if (1) is true
Abortion - Michigan Birth Definition Act
Jivin Jehoshaphat has a post on a recent editorial about Michigan's attempts to define birth in law. (Editorial comments are in Red)
Michigan was scheduled to become one of the most regressive states in the union when the Legal Birth Definition Act became law March 30.

How is defining birth and protecting a child who is partially outside her mom "regressive?" Is infanticide progressive? Since when is outlawing the killing children who are half way out of their mother regressive?

Just another example of trying to paint anyone who opposes killing defenseless babies as backward, regressive anti-progressive..blah blah blah.

How anyone can talk about going back to a process of killing defenseless babies that has been done by various civilizations over the past 3 millenia as progressive is beyond me...

One final quote from the editorial
This is the third time since 1996 that it has offered up a bill that tramples upon legally sanctioned medical procedures.

I'm not sure the editorialist realises the irony of her statement. When complaining about a law trampling upon legally sanctioned things, perhaps you should realise that things are only legally sanctioned if they are covered by a law?

Have a look through Jivin Jehoshaphats stuff, there is a lot of good info on current profile happenings in the US there.
Lighter Side - Shoe used to cheat casino
From the article
With a tap of a toe, a microcomputer in the shoe transmitted a voice-synthesised message to a wireless micro-earpiece telling the user of roulette wheel's speed. This could help calculate the next number that would appear.

Gotta love technology...
Christianity and Science Show Case
Allthings 2 All has their Christianity and Science showcase up. Drop by and look at a bunch of different opinions on the relationship betwen science and Christianity.
Christianity - Gunman kills 8 in church service
In recent news, a gunmen killed 7 people and himself in a church service in wisconsin.

Before I continue, understand that I think this is a tragic event for all involved.

What I want to focus on however, is the media's coverage of this event.
I reviewed quite a number of the news articles on this event and precious few gave any real clarification to the church that was involved.

The church involved was 'The living church of god' which was a breakaway group from a breakaway group from the worldwide church of god. Many would be aware that the worldwide church of was a cult started by Herbert Armstrong, but that moved back towards being christian in the 90s. The founder of the living church of god broke away from the worldwide church of God when it started to return to christian belief, and then split with that group.

The Living church of God is not a christian church, it is a cult. Denying the existence of the holy spirit, being legalistic and many other of the features of the original worldwide church of god.

Yet only very few news organisations come even close to identifying this fact. This is one of the problems of the Mainstream media. They do not have the expertise to properly comment on these things, and so facts are often missed. (Ask any IT person about how well journalists report on IT related matters and you will find the same problem)

So why do people place so much value in reporting that is done by people who don't understand much of what they are reporting on?
Abortion - To Debate or Not To Debate
Helen Pringle, anti-life supporter, once again shows her logic and wit over at Online Opinion

The thesis of her opinion....That the abortion debate is a waste of time as it won't change anything.

I have one question to ask. If it is a waste of time, why is she wasting her own time talking about it?

Clearly, she feels that it is not a waste of her time to discuss it, as this is her second article on the topic.

Perhaps she merely seeks to shut down any discussion of the topic, and calling it a waste of time is just a pitiful attempt to do that. Stiffling free debate and discussion is not exactly what we would expect in a free, democratic country, but I guess as long as Helen is happy with the status quo, we are not allowed to question it.

Finally, one quote sticks out
Notably, even some supporters of abortion maintain that it is “technically illegal”, a meaningless category in law.

Is it really meaningless I wonder? If, for instance, in Queensland when the law seems to ban an abortion of convenience, the politcal party in power decides to direct the law enforcement people to start actually enforcing the law (Strange concept I know), then they already have a law in place to do so. If there was no law in place, one would need to be legislated (and then law enforcement would be directed to enforce it).

Clearly, there is a meaningful difference between the two. I am suprised Helen can't see it. Or maybe I am not....
Law - Lunacy in the law
Murdered goes free after judge rules Evidence too damning

Egads...The guy confessed and DNA evidence placed him at the scene of the crime.
What sort of idiotic legislation could possible lead to this lunacy?
Under Section 137 of the Evidence Act 1995 "the court must refuse to admit evidence adduced by the prosecutor if its probative value is outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice to the defendant."

What that means, is if the a single piece of evidence is so overpowering it would sway a jury from giving a fair trial, it cannot be used.

Sooo.., if the guy is obviously guilty due to a single piece of evidence, you can't use it???

Watch as our civilization crumbles...

(Hat Tip: Tim Blair)
Infanticide - Underreported and Repugnant
CNN reports that previous estimates of the number of Infant murders in the Netherlands was underreported by a factor of 5.
And also this wonderful gem
In France, 73 percent of doctors in one study reported using drugs to end a newborn's life, but those cases aren't reported to authorities. Meanwhile, 43 percent of Dutch doctors surveyed and between 2 percent and 4 percent of doctors in the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Germany and Sweden reported doing so.

Scary and very very disgraceful. I had not realised France had such a culture of death.
Creation - Sequential Convergent Evolution?
nterest quote from the article
data that cover the first and last known appearances of no fewer than 36,380 separate marine genera, including millions of species that once thrived in the world's seas, later virtually disappeared, and in many cases returned.

If they are saying that there are millions of years of gaps in the fossil records of a certain species, why don't they consider the possibility that the fossil record may not be the sequential record they believe...
Do they think things evolved to the same form more than once over time? (An Ad Hoc explanation)
or perhaps the old excuse that the fossil record is not perfect? (Why is one pattern accepted then , and not another)
Science, Christianity and Reality
Does science and Christianity clash? Is science hostile to Christianity? Is Christianity anti-science?

The answer to all these questions is yes, and no. I'll explain that later, but first I think it is important to understand the real question that underpins these questions.

The very idea that something (science) can clash with something else (Christianity) is based on the concept of non-contradiction (Something cannot be both 'A' and not 'A' at the same time). So if science says something that contradicts with something Christianity says, both cannot be right. To be able to contradict, both positions have to be speaking to the same subject. (As a simple example, I say John is 15 years old, and you say Tim is 20 years old, there can be no contradiction between our statements as we are talking about different subjects. If we both make a comment about John's age, then there is the possibility of contradiction).

So then, what is the common subject that both science and Christianity are speaking about? I would say it is reality. Science attempts to describe the way reality is (and is not), as does Christianity. Clearly, there are places where there is great opposition between science and Christianity and I think we should explore the concepts of reality each position holds.

Christianity holds to a universe based on laws, which contains both natural and supernatural causes. It holds that the supernatural causes are rare.

Science holds to a universe based on laws, which it restricts to natural causes (methological naturalism).

Clearly, if an event is regular and repeatable, then both Christianity and science can agree about a natural cause. The conflict arises however, when unique, historical events are investigated, as Christianity does not assume a naturalistic cause (or assume a supernatural cause for that matter).

Christianity claims quite a few significant supernaturally caused events based on testimony from witnesses. Science rules out the possibility of ANY event it is investigating being supernaturally caused.

This means that the problem is not one of evidence, but assumption. If science cannot allow a supernatural cause because of its assumptions, then it will never conclude that something was supernaturally caused, even if it is! This means that science in these cases is no longer attempting to describe reality, it is merely undertaking an intellectual 'what if naturalism were true' type exercise. This is an important point to remember because if anyone claims that science has proven that (the Christian) God does not exist they are wrong. Science cannot prove God does not exist because it assumes he does not exist. It is begging the question. Which in logic, is a big no-no.

Of course, Christianity has also, in the past, done a few logical no-no's. One example is the claim that 'God put the fossil's there to test us'. This is an argument from ignorance, and a science stopper. As Christians, just because we find something in the natural world that we cannot explain according to our understanding of God's creation, it NOT mean we should explain it with an Ad Hoc supernatural explanation.

IF Christianity is true, then we should have confidence that every observation, when properly interpreted, will fit within the Christian belief system. Unless we have cause to believe an event is supernaturally caused (other than merely explaining away a difficult observation), then we should refrain from making such ad hoc judgements.

Note: This post is being submited to All things to all and their Showcase on Science and Christianity.
Evolution - David Berlinski Quote
David Berlinksi, ID supporter, Philospher and Mathematician with a PHD from Princeton has a good article online. The money quote
The suggestion that Darwin’s theory of evolution is like theories in the serious sciences – quantum electrodynamics, say – is grotesque. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen unyielding decimal places. Darwin’s theory makes no tight quantitative predictions at all.

(Hat Tip Evolution news and views)
Cloing - UN approves Ban of All human cloning
LifeSite News has the scoop
The UN General Assembly adopted a Declaration today calling on nations to enact legislation to `'prohibit all forms of human cloning." By a vote of 84 to 34

I wonder when people will realise that Embryonic Stem Cell Research includes by necessity, human cloning....
Church - UK Survey on the decline of the Church
Life Site News has a great article on a recent survey on reasons for the decline in church attendance in Britain and Ireland

Although 2/3 of UK citizens believe in God, their church attendance is really low, and the survey attempted to find out why.

The survey, available as a pdf online here. is well worth reading for its findings.

Several major themes were found in the answers.
1) The need for apologetics - With the false impression amongst people that there are no strong reasons for believing the christian faith is true.. Because no apologetics are given

2) The need for better moral teaching and guidance - With the picture of God as a nice loving God who does not demand anything of us. A God that can be ignored and called upon in an emergency

3) The need for high quality church services - A balance of Traditional and contemporary styles, thought provoking sermons with life applications as well as on salvation and the good and bad in the afterlife

4) The need for Prophetic and visionary teaching - In the current times, people are scared of the future. Christian churches need to provide hope and security.

Clearly this is a survey that all churches should be mindful of. The church cannot compromise its message under pressure from the world and survive. The church cannot ignore the times, but must fight on the current fronts of conflict to be relevant.
Creation - Evolutionists not dealing with the arguments
The ABC news article contains very little science from the evolutionists side of things.
Once again, the discussion is not about the facts, science or truth, but merely trying to disqualify anything consistent with theistic religion.

An example from the article
Professor Forrest points out, however, that a 1999 Discovery fund-raising document specifically endorses the conservative Christian agenda.

"Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions," the document reads.

So once again, any sort of Christian motivation is automatically assumed to debunk a claim. Such is the religious discrimination that abounds today. As if anyone doesn't have some sort of motivation based on their worldview...

Secondly, Professor Forrest misreads the document. Certainly ID is consistent (consonant) with the Christian AND theistic worldviews. That does not necessarily imply that ID is endorsing any particular agenda. It is amazing that a professor of philosophy could make such a basic logical mistake.
Sex Education - Top Rate Discussion
Alison Campbell Rate has a great article discussing Sex Education. Definitely worth reading.

Of course, some of the comments are typically bigoted
Kelpie, from perth writes
Fair enough, some of the points she raises are valid. But at no point does she disclose her religious affiliation or the religious foundation - and purpose - of the so-called "Open Doors Counselling" service to which she defers/belongs.

So even though her points are valid, what she says is called into question because she may be religiously affiliated?

Does that sound like discrimination to anyone else?
Communism - UN defines poverty
J.F. Beck over at R W D B links to an ABC news article on a UN "poverty" report

He quotes the abc article
The report defines poverty as having an income below 50 per cent of the national median.

Apparently now, poverty is no longer meant to mean that you cannot get the necessities in life, it now means not having as much stuff as everyone else.

It occurs to me that this is a very communist way of thinking about things, as the only way to eradicate this kind of poverty would be a communistic model.
Evolution - Crocodile Non-Evolution and species
Monash Uni Researcher Lucas Buchanan has discovered a 'new species' of crocodile that resembles a current freshwater croc. Showing that little evolution has happened to the croc over the last 40 million years.

The researcher found
consisting of two nearly complete skulls, a lower jaw and bits of legs, ribs and claws.

The only difference mentioned between current crocs and this one
Its teeth were a little different to the modern day crocodile, sharper and laterally compressed so it could slice food more easily.
The crocodile also had extra muscle attachments in the jaw to give a stronger, more powerful bite with interlocking teeth.

Ignoring the fact that the crocodile is just another in the long line of living fossils that show little to no sign of evolution over tens of millions of years, I have to ask one important question.

How the heck do they know this thing is another species? I mean really? A little more muscle, a slightly laterally compressed jaw. Sharper teeth?

How does that relate to being a different species? Guess work is not science.
(Hat Tip Scrappleface)
Church - Europes beliefs about God polled
Worth looking over, but be aware the author of the article jumps around from categories in his review of the stats. For instance (and not suprisingly, he focuses on Germany)

Faith is regarded as a matter for the individual. 61 percent of all Germans say that churches do not have any decisive say in matters of faith.

Previously, the article states that 77% of east germans and 22% of west germans profess a belief that God does not exist. (Other current figures list around 26% who are not theistic)

So essentially, a little less than half of all believers feel that faith is a matter for the individual...

It seems most likely the author does not completely understand religious beliefs

. The belief in God does not necessarily mean that Germans regard him as a personal being. For 83 percent of all believers God is present in nature, 75 percent regard him as their creator and 70 percent describe him as an ever-present source in their life.

Neither of these figures mean that God is not regarded as a personal being.

All in all though, some interesting stats.
Creation - Vox Apologia
For those who don't know, the Vox Apologia's are various blogs/thinkers submitting posts on a single topic.

The one linked above is on whether the debate over Creation or Evolution matters. It is well worth reading as many good points are made.
Church - The trouble with churches
Joe, at Evangelical outpost makes the good point about The trouble with church that
Why can’t I recognize that the trouble with the church is that it accepts sinners like me?

I couldn't have put it better myself. Read the whole thing
Iraq - Middle east feeling the heat
Hindrocket over at powerline has a post about changes in the middle east that can be attributed to the US and its allies actions in Iraq.
The beneficent effects of the administration's Iraq policy continue to be felt. Municipal elections have taken place in Saudi Arabia; Lebanese citizens march for self-rule; Egypt announces a plan for competitive elections, which, the International Herald Tribune says, responds to "stepped-up pressure from the United States," but also to the fact that the Arab world is "bubbling with expectations for political reform."

Hindrocket also lists the recent Syrian hand over of Saddam's Half brother (how long did they know he was there?) and in a more recent post, the Pro-syrian lebanese government resigning

To this list I would add the further civil unrest in Iran (encouraging the already existing movement), and Libya's rolling over on its WMD plans

Standing up to bullies gives other victims courage, and makes other bullies nervous. Children in the schoolyard understand that, so why doesn't the left?

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