Grey Thoughts
Life - Designer babies and thought experimnets
Joe over at evangelical outpost has a thought experiment in which embryo's are in high demand to be consumed for cures.

In somewhat ironic timing, the UK has just released the findings of 5 Lords reviewing the creation of designer babies for the purpose of curing people.
CREATING so-called "designer babies" to help parents treat sick children is lawful and should not be banned, Britain's highest court ruled today, rejecting an appeal against an earlier ruling.

Proponents say the technology, which involves harvesting stem cells - or master cells - for transplantation to an ill child, is ultimately about saving lives

I have to agree with the British Pro-Life charity, LIFE, who say "Today's decision from the House of Lords takes us further down the slippery slope in creating human beings to provide 'spare parts' for another"

We are closer to Joe's thought experiment than he probably realized when he wrote it.
Law - Victorian Judges sense of morality
Tim Blair highlights double standards in the Victorian Legal system.

Case one
The offense: Man rams speed camera vehicle after being snapped speeding. The officer inside suffered knee injuries and had to have a shoulder reconstructed.

The penalty: "County Court Judge Irene Lawson sentenced Sean Thomas Coffey, 29, to a two-year, three-month jail term with a one year non-parole period."

The Judges comment: "Your offending behaviour in this case was outrageous. It involved you using the vehicle as a weapon for an unprovoked attack on an innocent victim who was performing his work duties."

Case Two
The Offense: Lauren Jayne Curnow, 18, pleaded guilty to one count of infanticide after punching her newborn son to death in the family's home in the Ballarat suburb of Wendouree on August 17 last year. She was 17 at the time."

The Penalty: Laura was sentenced to a three-year good behaviour bond.

The Judges comment: "I am not going to send you to jail" and "Infanticide was a very serious offence "which strikes at the sanctity of human life, Society must protect those weakest of its members."

The age article continues
But Justice Bongiorno said - while some misguided people in the community might think Curnow had escaped punishment - he was satisfied both the community's and Curnow's interests were best served by a non-custodial sentence.

I Can't imagine why any 'misguided' people would think that a good behaviour bond for someone intentionally beating to death her newborn child would be escaping punishment. *roll*

It is rather odd, considering some of Justice Bongiorno's other decisions in murder trials. 7 years for hiring a hitman (No death happened). 3 years in a youth training center for a pre-meditated stabbing murder. 6 Years for two boys (15 and 16) murdering and sexually assaulting an old woman. 21 Years each for a Man and Woman (36 and 38 years old) who murdered the woman's husband.

Is justice Bongiorno soft on young women? I can't really discern much of a pattern otherwise. Maybe we just don't have enough information to completely understand the apparent differences in sentences.
Life - Abortion laws tightening in US
Lifesite News links to a New York Times article on a new law in the US making it illegal to take a child interstate for the purpose circumventing parental notification laws in having an abortion.

Here is the actual legislation that was passed. It is important to note the text used
xcept as provided in subsection (b), whoever knowingly transports a minor across a State line, with the intent that such minor obtain an abortion, and thereby in fact abridges the right of a parent under a law requiring parental involvement in a minor's abortion decision, in force in the State where the minor resides, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

Essentially, if a state makes parental notification mandatory, OR a state makes it the decision of the parent, this law would make it illegal to take the minor to a different state.

The law is narrow, in that if Roe vs Wade was over-turned, and many states had pro-life legislation enacted, then this law would not make it illegal for an adult woman to cross state lines to get an abortion.
Life - IVF and irony
The courier mail has an article on backlash over Tony Abbott's plans to limit public IVF funding.

In true logical style the response given is
Nationwide infertility support group Access has demanded the Government "get out of the bedrooms" and ditch plans to limit publicly funded IVF treatments.
Do they even realise that the government is 'getting out of the bedroom' by funding LESS IVF treatements?

Some interesting facts in the article
$79 Million dollars from medicate for a year of IVF funding (up 50% due to safety net).
So, previously it was $52Million a year.
IVF treatments cost $7500 a pop, which medicare pays for half (before safety net).
That would be a little under 14,000 treatments every year.
Abortion - Push continues in UN to pedal abortion pill
Repeat after me...The UN is not your friend
Ideology - When Left becomes right
It is worth reading some of this e-book by Michael Lopez-Calderon on his move s away from the leftist ideology. He certainly makes some good points
However, there was one troubling, recurring weakness about the Left that kept reappearing like termites, eating away at my wooden edifice of arguments and premises: The Left offered no solutions. The Leftist critics of America and the West sit in the most comfortable seat known to all – the seat of the critical critic, the cynic who destroys all but from the rubble offers no constructive alternatives. The Left tears but never builds.

(HT: Tim Blair)
Evolution - The power of a prediction or Just so stories
Just so you know, I am not trying to pick on Michael Sprague, but ecause I don't get many readers, his comments are all I have to work off. Such is life.

Michael challenges that my previous examples are not just-so stories,
I don't see how any of your examples are examples of this. After all, you haven't discussed the evidence at all in any of your examples.
so I guess I will just have to quote an expert evolutionist, Bruce R. Levin of Emory University, who says
"It is easy to concoct just-so stories to explain the evolution of a mechanism that, like the SOS response, produces quiescent cells that are refractory to lethal agents. Yet it seems unlikely that ampicillin was the original selective force [sic] responsible for the evolution [sic] of the induction mechanism observed by Miller and colleagues. A bigger challenge to those in the evolution business is to account for the generation of lower fitness cell types when they do not provide an advantage to the collective, like the persisters of Balaban et al. in the absence of antibiotics. Then again, just like people, bacteria do some seemingly perverse things that are not easy to account for by simple stories of adaptive evolution."
(Bruce R. Levin, “Microbiology: Noninherited Resistance to Antibiotics,” Science, Vol 305, Issue 5690, 1578-1579, 10 September 2004)

It seems evolutionists think just-so stories are still being used, certainly within the last few decades....

Notice also how Michael shifts the burden of proof in these discussions. Somehow, ID is a just-so story, without him addressing the issues of Irreducible complexity or specified complexity and the creation of information. Yet, if I do not discuss the evidence in the cases put forward, he will not accept that they are just-so stories. Clearly, his presuppositional bias is guiding his results.

Michael also made a couple of comments that echo comments I hear time and time again. In Michael's own words
For one thing, evolution can be and has been tested. Now, it can't be tested in the naive way you creationists like to focus on; that is, we can't predict that a horse will evolve into a unicorn and then go see if it does. But we can make predictions of the form, "if evolution has happened, we should find X when we look at Y." Make enough of these and it starts to add up to a pretty damn good body of evidence.
Ignoring the ad Hominem, he makes the claim that evolutionists can make predictions that if evolution as happened we should 'find X when we look at Y' and that when enough of these predictions are made and fulfilled, then it is considered a good body of evidence.

I would agree completely, if every prediction they made was shown to be accurate. The problem is, they look more like Nostradamus than Isaiah. That is, their predictions are vague and generalistic, rather than precise and tight. Whats more, if their predictions are not fulfilled should this not count against evolution? Instead what happens is that other ad hoc explanations are thrown into the mix to explain the failed prediction. Doesn't fit the phylogenic tree? Must be convergent evolution. Still can't find all those finely graded transitions in the fossils? Must be puntuated equilibria. Can't find any fossil evidence of a species for the last 70 million years, but it turns up alive today? Must be the imperfect fossil record. Vestigial structures and Junk DNA turn out to have a purpose? That's okay, only recently lost abilities would be vestigial and it would be inefficient to conserve DNA and features that did nothing, so they would be selected against. Ultra-conserved DNA appears to be not necessary for survival? Well, that just something we haven't worked out yet.

When anyone tells you evolutionary predictions support evolution, ask them why they should support evolution when all the failed predictions do not count against it? That sounds more like pseudo-science to me.

Michael also pulls out another great fallacy
A second reason for accepting evolution is its power of conscilience; its ability to unify so many observations under one theory. The theory of evolution explains myriad phenomena in such previously-independent fields as phylogeny, geology, biogeography, anatomy and paleontology, as well as later discoveries in genetics and molecular biology. The fact that so many otherwise-unexplained facts can be explained by a single theory is strong evidence for the theory's truth - at least if the "hard" sciences are any model.

Here we go again. Its an appeal to authority, much like when Dobzhansky says, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” Evolution does not unify much at all. Currently the geneticists (classifying by genetic structure) and the cladists (classifying by shape) are having a battle to see whose 'evidence' counts. Paleontology is essentially hostile to gradual evolution. Biogeography is dubious when species can be absent for 70million years and suddenly appear alive, and platypus teeth appear in south america (The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 January 1993 (p. 5)) and then we have pouched mammal fossils from the late cretacious exclusively being in north america and eurasia (Cifelli, R.L. and Davis, B.M., Marsupial origins, Science 302:1899–2, 2003). Geology is about rocks, not life, so it cannot even be unified with biology (They do share the same assumption of billions of years though). This huge generalization by Michael is nothing but an attempt to shut up opposition with a grand sweeping authorative sounding statement. If you take time to look at the statement, you will find that Emperor Charlie has no clothes on.
Media - BBC bias showing
The BBC (British broadcasting co, not the school in toowong, brisbane) has been caught completely red-handed. With the upcoming elections in the UK, it seems the BBC has been providing radio mikes to hecklers and sending them into a conservative party (The Tories) speech. Apparently it was all for a documentary, and not about partisan politics. Not suprisingly, the liberal party (labor in the UK) did not receive any visits from mic'ed hecklers from the BBC.
Law - Victorian Villification Act continues
The victorian Racial and religious villification act is continuing to cause concerns for free speech and freedom of religion. The latest instance is of a convicted pedophile who defended his pedophilia on the grounds that it was part of his religion (witchcraft) has brought legal action against the Salvation army and CMC Australasia (Australian distributers of the ALPHA course) to stop use of the ALPHA course because it negatively portrays Witchcraft (by using bible verses).

So now we have a person trying to claim the pedophilia is not illegal because it is part of his religion, but any course negatively portraying his religion from their holy book is illegal? Cognitive dissonance seems to be a friend of the 21st century
Communism - Is not dead
Many news articles are talking about Putin's latest address to his fellow Russians. Mr Putin makes some interesting statements such as
The Russian nation's mission to bring further civilisation to the Euro-Asian continent must be continued." He said this would involve "enriching and reinforcing our historical links through democratic values, multiplied by national interests".
Further civilizing?? He obviously still thinks the communist influence is 'civilizing' and wants to continue that 'progress'
He insisted such a transition was only possible through legal means. "Any unlawful methods of struggle ... for ethnic, religious and other interests contradict the principles of democracy,"
Yep. This is a standard communist concept. They want to control the power until they can put socialism back into place.

This is also why Russia has also recently removed democratically elected local governors with Putin's hand picked appointees.

Marxist/leninist Communism is all about idealistic dialectical materialism. Idealistic means that have an idealistic notions about human nature and behaviour. (Shown to have been wrong throughout history). Materialism means that communism is atheistic in nature. Dialectic means that communism is meant to 'progress' through a series of advances and withdrawals, much like a hammer hammering in a nail strikes and withdraws until the nail is in place. The end goal is always the same, however in looking at where communist controlled countries are heading at the moment (Both China and Russia have returned to capitalism - Called a 'negation') you cannot say that communism has failed, merely that it is going through a withdrawal (negation) before a new advance can occur.

So, whilst there was a victory against communism in the cold war, the fight against communism is far from over. Of course, the various communist causes that the USSR supported have been struggling since the USSR/Russia can no longer afford that support (It had been proping up Castro in cuba to the tune of around 12 million dollars a day). This is why cuba is in such a poor state today
Science - great new inventions
Pen State scientists have discovered a very efficient way to get hydrogen using bacteria. This should provide a great way to clean up biomatter waste as well as providing hydrogen for fuel cells.

Dr Gershenfeld from MIT has created a personal fabricator. This allows people to create most manufactured items bigger than a cpu. At $20,000 it should be useful for those in non-industrialized countries as well as for small companies.
Religion - Islam, Christianity and the sword
American Thinker has a good article exegeting Koran and bible verses referring to the sword. Coming to the conclusion, in line with the historical actions of both Jesus and Mohammad that
To sum up our interpretation of Sura 8:12, then, this verse is one of many that are found in the context of physical warfare and bloodshed. Muhammad is promised the help of angels who put terror in the hearts of the Meccans. But it is unclear from the Muslim sources and commentators whether the angels or the Muslims strike above the necks and cut off the fingers. Historically and in reality, this was done by the Muslims. Either way, though, Sura 8:12, as we will see, diametrically opposes Luke 22:36. History demonstrates that Jesus never waged jihad on sinners or unbelievers—he did not even swing a sword.

Its worth reading for the studious minded.
Life - Japan's population problem
Boundless has a good article discussing Japan's growing crisis to do with low reproductive rates (1.29 per woman is very very low. 2.1 is considered the required level to maintain the population size) and makes the important point
These beliefs say that children, instead of being the reason that we work hard to get ahead, are an impediment to getting ahead. Children and their needs are an obstacle to be overcome, or at least managed, in our quest for the “good life.” We may not say this in so many words but our actions shout it. We increasingly plan on having children in a way that differs only in degree, not in kind, from the way we plan for retirement or a sabbatical. All three are contingent on having enough time and money to pull them off in a way that is consistent with what we consider the good life.

Read the whole thing.
Iraq - Disaster Anti-Capitalists Getting it wrong
Read Ko emails a link to an article from Sept 2004 by Naomi Klein who failed to find much reconstruction going on in Iraq.

For those who don't know, Naomi Klein is an anti-globalisation protestor and journalist who espouses the evils of capitalism and corporations. She gives all the communist talking points without actually promoting communism.

What she really is though, is a clear example of how ideological bias can lead you to be wrong time and time again.
Some of her comments on Iraq

I think I will echo anothers view on Naomi Klein. I think she should grow up and move into reality with the rest of us.
Blogging - Recycling Good posts
Joe Carter has a roundup of some of his more whimsical posts. Lets just say I like Joe's sense of humour. Check it out
Life - Putting 2 and 2 together
Tim blair has a post on the Sydney Morning Herald crew being unable to put two and two together.
Where have all the babies gone?—The Sydney Morning Herald, April 9

Abortion rate hits 91,000 a year—The Sydney Morning Herald, April 20
Unfortunately, the number of abortions is only a significant part of the problem not the entire problem.

I recently posted on contraception and how this has also led to the reproduction rate decline.

The Sydney morning herald article has a few interesting observations that are worth highlighting though.
a post-feminist generation - one that has had more contraceptive and reproductive choice than before; a group that has revelled in, not reviled, singledom, and has embraced education, career and work. Child-bearing is delayed, and when it is chosen, it is often juggled with the demands of work.
The changes in culture and the feminist lie that mothering is not a worthy way to live you life (Mothering is probably one of the noblest of all careers) coupled with contraception and abortions (Note how the SMH doesn't use the word abortion) is a big part of the decline. Suddenly life is all about money and materialistic wants.

The article continues
But there are other views, too, expressed by experts such as the University of Tasmania's Natalie Jackson. She believes the nation is in the throes of a profound social evolution, which may well mean that in the long term Australians do not want to return to the birth rates, beliefs or life choices of the past. "Maybe we have to go with it, rather than trying to stop it...."
Expert? Her answer is to not try and stop the impending disaster? Brilliant. See what years of university education can produce!

SMH does the math and poor reproductive rates
HERE is some simple maths to clarify the long-term effects of low fertility: a stable population with a birth rate of 1.3 children per woman loses 1.5 per cent of its population each year. Within a century, it will fall in size by 75 per cent. That means that in 100 years, just as an example, the Italians, Spaniards and Greeks will number about 23 per cent of their present-day forebears.
So unless something is done now, Australia will have a population of 4 or 5 million within the century. (Btw: The real math puts this decline within 50 years) And we have "experts" who don't think we should try and stop it. Fantastic!
Update: My math putting Australia down to a population of 4 or 5 million is based on the birth rate continuing its trend to drop each year.

Another part of the problem of declining birth rates is alluded to in the article
Malcolm Turnbull, the businessman- turned-federal MP for Wentworth, has been a vocal commentator on the nation's dwindling fertility rate for more than two years. He, too, is adamant we need to reverse the trend urgently: "Countries like this [southern Europe] are not ageing; they are dying. Will Europe be allowed to shrink in size or will other more fertile societies and cultures take the place of current inhabitants? It has happened before."

Turnbull argues that those who are not worried by these figures should ponder that in Australia, as an example, those aged over 85 now number about 300,000, representing 1.4 per cent of the population. "By 2050, this age bracket will increase to 1.6million, a cohort of aged citizens as big as Brisbane and bigger than Adelaide.
. So why is it a problem having an aging population? Simply because of things like Medicare and 'Social Security'. You get too many old dependent peope (who need a lot more medical attention) being supported by too few young workers. The welfare state, coupled with declining reproductive rates (caused by abortion, contraception and devaluing of parenthood) is heading us, and western civilization, towards disaster.

The article conitnues
McDonald and an ANU colleague, Rebecca Kippen, say research suggests two main reasons for Australians putting off having children - or not having them at all. One is the clash of high economic aspirations with declining job security, a conflict that leads young people to delay family plans while they accumulate capital (risk-aversion theory). The other explanation lies in the reality that while women have equality of opportunity in education and work, these freedoms are dramatically impaired once they have children (gender-equity theory).
Notice how it only materialistic concerns that are given as the causes. Not materialism itself.

One final comment by our "expert" from Tasmania
The University of Tasmania's Dr Jackson insists that Australia should not try to stop these trends, but manage them better. She says people will have to engage with what she calls the ABC of population ageing: "Accept that this future has already happened ... Buffer and ameliorate the forthcoming problems and maximise opportunities ... and celebrate that while the future will be one of slower, even negative, population growth, it will not necessarily be one of stagnant economic and social growth. Instead, future populations will almost certainly be wealthier, healthier and wiser. It will just depend on how well we manage the change."
Talk about putting your head in the sand (I would use more colorful language about the placement of her head, but this is a PG blog). Somehow, despite all economic logic we "will almost certainly be wealthier, healthier and wiser". There is of course one possible way to ensure that, which is to euthenase anyone who is eldery and dependent. I wonder if that is what she has in mind when you says "It will just depend on how well we manage the change."
Church - Pope election responses
Gee. I thought I had a good few links yesterday, but of course, Tim Blair has outdone me by an order of magnitude.
Life - Pushing the abortion pill
Whilst listening to ABC News radio this morning a news item came on about a push for making the day after abortion pill more available. There were the usual reproductive rights type groups pushing it. And what was the logic for this push?

They wanted it available to reduce the number of abortions....

Just think about that for a second. A pill that causes an abortion is meant to reduce the number of abortions??? Thats logic for ya!!!

This article from the Sydney morning herald has released figures from the Government study started at Senator Boswell's request, and the study came out with over 90,000 abortions a year in 2002/2003. The article on ABC news radio had the Reproductive rights people putting the number at 73,000. They said the decrease from 80,000 in previous years was due to sex education and contraceptive availability. So now that we know the number of abortions has increased, does this mean they will agree that contraceptive availability and sex education actually increase the number of abortions? I doubt it. It certainly shows their pseudo-scientific approach though nicely. I.e. If abortons go down it is because of Contraceptive availability and sex education. If they go up, then it is because of other factors (or not enough sex education and contraceptives). Either way, it is clear that they are assuming that sex education and contraceptive availability decrease abortions and merely interpreting whatever results happen around that assumption. Pseudoscience personified! (HT: Tim Blair)

Then a woman named Christine Richardson came on and told us that it really works!!!! Really! Just look at the Netherlands! Look at how their teenage abortion rates are down.

Far be it from me to be sarcastic, but, like, Hello!!!!!? The netherlands is one of the worst places to model yourself after....Reading a few of the links gotten from this search and you see.

Yep. That certainly is a model we want to follow right here in Australia. It certainly shows where some people want to head though.
Church - There is a new pope
Cardinal Ratzinger is now the new pope. Pope Benedict XVI

Responses to this is predictable. Those Catholics who think the bible does anything but condemn homosexual acts are devestated

Those who support sound biblical interpretation (Where the text means what it was meant to say, not what some want it to say) are more happy

Positive Liberty has some info on the previous pope's named Benedict.

Update: Professor Bainbridge responds to Andrew Sullivan's hissy fit
UK - Religious vilification law dropped
Great news for free speech
Abortion - "Bishop" Gene Robinson backs Planned Parenthood
The Washington times has an article on Episcopallean Homosexual Bishop Gene Robinson support for abortion and planned parenthood.

Gene spoke at a Planned parenthood leadership conference, which in itself tells you alot about his beliefs. But, he specifically suggested Planned Parenthood target religious people saying
Our defense against religious people has to be a religious defense. ... We must use people of faith to counter the faith-based arguments against us,

What i find amazing is Gene's complete lack of logical consistency, as he says
We have to take back those Scriptures,...You know, those stories are our stories. I tell this to lesbian folk all the time: The story of freedom in Exodus is our story. ... That's my story, and they can't have it.
but continues later with
What an unimaginative God it would be if God only put one meaning in any verse of Scripture,

So, they, the religious conservatives can't have the stories, but we should be able to interpret them several ways?? But then surely the conservatives are allowed to interpret them in their own way as well?

It seems this only applies to people who agree with Gene.

His cognitive dissonance continues when talking about abortion, saying
not just a matter between a woman and her body. This is not like removing a mole. On the other hand, no one should interfere with a woman's right to choose.
Is the baby a human life? it certainly seems that Gene is implying this is the case. So essentially he is saying that it is okay for the women to choose to murder that life. And in fact, that it is her right. It is obvious Gene is not getting his morality from the Bible.

More comments to the Planned Parenthood leaders raise the question as to whether he gets his view of salvation from the bible either
I know, in the end, that I'm going to heaven, and so are you, You and I can do this work no matter how hard it gets, because we know we're going home.

The washington Times finishes up with a couple of sobering paragraphs
The Rev. Ignacio Castuera, a Methodist and Planned Parenthood's national chaplain, said he is trying to increase the size of their clergy network, which currently has 1,400 pastors and clergy.
Working with clergy on the West and East coasts is easy, Mr. Castuera said, "but when you move further into the country it gets harder. ... In the center of the country we have a lot more conservative perspectives on the Bible and sex."
So not only do planned parenthood have 1400 pastors and clergy supporting them, but we also see the clear divide in morality in america. With the liberal coasts versus the center of the country.

Another way to look at is that the 'conservative' perspectives actually think the bible means what it says, whether it is about protecting innocent life, abstaining from sex outside of marriage, divorce and not engaging in homosexual acts.

Anyone who doubts the validity of the slippery slope argument needs to go no further. "Bishop" Gene shows quite clearly how his misinterpretation of biblical values extends into every area.

(HT: Life site news)
Evolution - No more just-so stories?
Michael Sprague, from Philosophy of biology, has responded in the comments of my last post, ID - "Causing" problems

Apparently, I did not understand his original comments and he makes a bold claim
Evolutionists, professionals that is, realized the worthlessness of just-so adaptationism decades ago. You will not find it in contemporary evolutionary biology.

Well, that sounds like a challenge I guess.... Can I find any instances of just-so stories in contemporary evolutionary biology? Apparently, there hasn't been that sort of thing for decades according to Michael.

I didn't have far to go it seems Science Now has an article by Bill Hannson describing the evolution of the Robber Crab's nose
When the ancestors of robber crabs first walked out of their watery environment to live on land, their sensory equipment needed a makeover. The olfactory receptors on the antennae of marine crabs detect soluble, water-loving molecules. A landlubbing crab must zero in on molecules that waft through the air
Hannson called this "a great example of convergent evolution" and continued with "The robber crabs have reinvented their smell for land so remarkably that they can even smell water"

Priceless and within the last few months.

But then again, maybe it is all a fluke? Maybe there was just one article?

Nature has another article from may last year on Sharks and Tuna
Adam P. Summers, “Fast Fish,” Nature 429, 31 - 33 (06 May 2004); doi:10.1038/429031a.
Swift-swimming, open-ocean hunters such as mako sharks and tunas need a big engine. Despite their long separation in evolutionary terms [sic], the internal drive systems adopted [sic] by these fishes are much the same.... after 400 million years [sic] of separate evolutionary trajectories, these two high-speed predators have converged on solutions to the problem of swimming fast that go from skin to skeleton
Yup. They went and got those big engines because they needed to swim fast.
Strike two...

Nature advance online has an article on the evolution of feathers
These results suggest that the barbs form first and later fuse to form a rachis, much like downy feathers are formed before flight feathers when a chicken grows up. Under the general rule of ontogeny repeating phylogeny, downy feather made only of barbs probably appeared before the evolution of feathers with rachides and capable of flight. However, pinning down the exact moment at which dinosaur scales become chicken feathers is non-realistic. Just like Rome, feathers are not made in one process. It took 50 million years for Nature to refine the process, to transform a scale into a flight machine. There were many, many intermediate stages. While Darwin’s theory has explained the “why” of evolution, much of the “how” remains to be learned. Evo-Devo research promises a new level of understanding.
Strike three, you are out.

Evolutionists almost always use just so stories. And you would think that someone who runs a blog called Philosophy of biology would understand that As we were not there when features "evolved" we can only put forward plausible explanations. We cannot experimentally show how it happened as we did not observe it happening. Thats the crux of the problem with Historically based sciences. You can only deal with "might have's".

So much is predicated on the belief that common descent evolution explains every creature feature out there. But this is just an assumption. Thats why we get rubbish explanations like 'convergent evolution' or it 'solved the problem of how to swim fast'.

Michael then complains that he did not introduce a straw man, but then, he has missed the point. He discusses who and what the designer is and yet the arguments for intelligent design are about detecting design, not about the nature of the designing. This is made abundantly clear, time and again.

So for the cheap seats at the back. ID is about detecting design. Deal with that argument and forget talking about the identity of who might have designed it. That is a different question and one that is not being dealt with.

Michael continues
Nor did I introduce a straw man. To do so would be to assume that the designer's god, argue that god doesn't exist, and thereby conclude that ID is false. I did not do so.

Actually, he did something similar. He introduced the concept of God (or aliens) into the discussion. Now as this was not part of the original discussion, was it put there to take a cheap shot? Create the impression that it was a religiously based argument perhaps?

Perhaps 'straw man' is not the most accurate term, it is more an attempted guilt by association type fallacy. So I apologize for the misappellation.

The original quote from Michael "But let's suppose for a second that Nelson can tell a story about how god (or aliens or whatever the designer is) could have made RNA. I take it this is supposed to give us reason to think that god in fact made RNA."
does seem to highlight the double standards he is using. He is assuming that evolutionary biology and evolutionists in general, have shown that common descent evolution as something more than a possibility. That is, they are assuming that to state that evolution "could have made " strongly supports the idea that evolution DID make that feature. Yet when an ID person claims that design can create (and not only can create, but also is more likely from what we know), the evolutionist, such as Michael scoffs at the very progression they themselves used.
Pot. Kettle. Black.
ID - "Causing" problems
ID the Future has a post on Evidence for Intelligent Design

Paul Nelson describes a question asked to him about the evidence for design and he responds with an analogy to the SETI program. This highlights 2 points
1) There are scientists out there who think they can detect design
2) The real dispute is a philosophical one. If one makes random, or physically deterministic causes the default, then you can never be sure that something had an intelligent cause.

What is more interesting is the trackbacks to the post, which like to think they have refuted this particular point of view simply because, in the words of the first trackback submitter
We do not need to invoke entities very different from ourselves (some type of intelligent life, with a technological civilization) to explain the received signal. We would indeed be at an impasse, if one of us required that ET be unphysical.

A major problem with this line of reasoning is that implies that science cannot hypothesis the existence of an entity (inteligent or not) that is different to what we know exists on the basis of our observations. So, for instance, dark matter and dark energy would be considered invalid. They are, after all, "entities very different" from what we know.
The second problem with this line of reasoning is that is attacking a straw man. The ID movement specifically rejects any conclusions about the nature of the designer. It could for instance, be an alien. The responder is basically adding something to the argument that was not there and then refutes the argument based on that addition.

A second trackback has, probably the funniest comment I have ever seen. Beware, extreme irony can be hazzardous to your health.
Wondering why just-so stories count as evidence in ID, while they don't in biology? Me too. Evidence is a funny thing.

An evolutionist chiding and ID'er 'Just-so stories'. Priceless.

Of course, earlier in that piece, our trackbacker tries to make some sort of point
Wondering how intelligent design solves this problem? Me too.

But let's suppose for a second that Nelson can tell a story about how god (or aliens or whatever the designer is) could have made RNA. I take it this is supposed to give us reason to think that god in fact made RNA.

So once again, a straw man is created by adding in the concept of 'God' to the ID claims. I have to wonder why these people can't just refute the argument as put. Are they incapable of doing so?

What always seems to be ignored is that there is a limited number of types of causes. That is, every event/action is caused by one of 3 possible causitive agents, either deterministic, random or intelligent. If deterministic and random causes are unable to explain a particular event or action, then by process of elimination, and intelligent cause is a better explanation. This concept is used over and over again in science, be it forensic science, SETI, archaeology or many other fields.
History - Hitler was not democratically elected
I had always believed those who said he was. Apparently they were wrong.

It just goes to show how easy it can be to revise history.
Quick Links
Barking moonbat has a informative post on US Spending. Beware the welfare state

Fake blogs being used to install spyware. I'm real. I swear!

Convicts paid for starting a fire. Now there is a lucrative business opportunity. Oops...I meant ludicrous, not lucrative

ID The future has details of a recent debate between PZ Meyers and Paul Nelson that is worth looking at. It is great to see someone who can debate and argue and be civil to those you disagree with ...then there's the evolutionist

The conservative philospher has a great article on the Pope and consevatism. It is well worth the read.

The Wittenberg gate has a great article on Dogs and lessons of God's grace. It reminds me of an alternate study I have used in a home group to teach about how the gift of Christ's grace can be free and still give us responsibilities.
UN - Peacekeepings kill civilians
You can be sure that if this was the US, it would be getting a lot more coverage in the Main Stream Media.
From the artcle
Human rights activists charged Tuesday that U.N. peacekeepers knowingly gunned down civilians in a raid that targeted a marketplace, pinning down dozens of people down during the biggest gunbattle in the U.N.'s six-year mission in Congo.
The United Nations said its troops fired only when they were attacked, and that women and children were among those who fired weapons.

Of course, that is okay, because it is only the US that tries to act as 'world police'....hey wait a sec...*roll*
Life - 60 Minutes and Abortion
60 Minutes will have an item on the Abortion issue, and a pro life group's rescue efforts this sunday night. I'm hoping it will not be horribly biased, but I have always been an optimist.

Will comment on the show next week.
UN - Stopping nuclear terrorists
Yup. its illegal to use nuclear weapons for terrorism now...that'll stop em!
How much time and money went into this waste?
Christian Morality and ethical plurality
The Evangelical Outpost has a new symposium. Here is my comment on the topic.

To properly discuss the issue, we need to clarify just what we mean by ethical pluralism as there are many definitions floating around. Ethical pluralism is the view that as different people have different beliefs about the purpose of life and morality, that we should facilitate them living according to their own ethics insomuch as it does not infringe on someone else’s right to the same.

We live in a society that is pluralistic. That is, many different beliefs are tolerated and even expected to be respected and affirmed. A recent example of this in Australia is where 2 pastors have been convicted for "religious vilification" for talking about the negatives of Islam by quoting the Koran.

In terms of a Christian morality however, this view of ethical pluralism is not biblical. As Christians we are not allowed to lead another man to stumble (1Cor 8:13). We are in a society where we can influence laws, and as such we need to encourage laws to help others avoid the negative consequences of bad choices. We are expected to use whatever opportunities and abilities we are given (Matt 25:14-30), and in a democratic country, this includes voting and encouraging laws that produce righteousness (Prov 14:34). To do otherwise will lead our nations (and therefore all the people in it) towards collapse.

As Christian’s, we need to let our morality inform the sorts of laws we want to govern our nation. To do this, it is important to distinguish between laws that protect others from actions of individuals, such as Murder, Abortion, Theft and Slander; and laws that are their to encourage righteousness, such as encouraging the family unit, making divorce more difficult, removing the welfare state mentality, forcing fathers to pay welfare.

For one example, by making Abortion illegal we protect the innocent unborn, but we also provide an encouragement not to engage in sex outside of marriage. We stop people from avoiding the short-term consequences of their bad choices (albeit by stopping them murdering someone) and so encourage responsibility in that area. By modifying social security and forcing fathers to be accountable, we encourage the fathers to also be responsible for their choices.

To summarize, the simple response that “I think ‘X’ is immoral so I would never do it, but I won’t discourage anyone else from doing it” (I.e. Ethical pluralism) is not biblical. It does not show compassion and love for others and as we are in a position to influence the laws of our society, we need to take advantage of that God-given opportunity to help others.
Tech - Anime Robot Suits from Japan
Heh. This had to come from Japan. They have been obsessed with Giant robots and exoskeleton type stuff for years...
(HT: Evangelical Outpost
Environment - Dandruff and Skin pollute
Heh...and you thought they were just being funning in the movie Evolution when they saved the world with Head and Shoulders anti-dandruff shampoo.
Health - Marburg Beneath the radar
No. I don't mean the Marburg radar station near Brisbane or Marburg, Germany, although what I am referring to was first discovered in that German town (hence then name), thought to be contracted by research on african monkeys.

I mean the Marburg virus variant that is not making a lot of headlines.
A quick primer on the Marburg virus can be found on the CDC Website which also has another page on the Current outbreak in Angola.

Basically, 194 out of 214 cases have been fatal. Weapons of mass distraction has further links to a doctor claiming that WHO (World Health Organisation) is downplaying just how nasty this virus really is. The normal fatality rate is around 25%, but this outbreak is up around 90%.

However, looking into the last time Marburg reared its head, in Orientale, Congo, the fatality rate was 123 out of 149, roughly 82%. It looks like this latest outbreak could be a similar strain to that one.

Weapons of mass distraction puts on its Tin Foil hat for a minute and points out a number of disconcerting data points surrounding the issue
  • Marburg normally has a fatality rate of 25%-30%, while this outbreak so far is killing 85%-90% of its victims;
  • The virus previously killed children under five, but it is now proving to be deadly to adults;
  • After 40 years, scientists still haven’t identified the natural “reservoir” of the disease;
  • The Russians were known to have worked on a weaponized version of Marburg;
  • The New York Times reported an accident with the Ebola virus at the US Army’s biological weapons lab at Fort Detrick, Maryland early last year; and,
  • African doctors have accused the WHO of spiking vaccines in Africa with other substances for quite some time;

As already mentioned, this is not the first high fatality rate version of the virus, but the rest of the points are still worth keeping in mind.

In further developments, the WHO has removed Aid Workers because the locals were throwing rocks at them. The locals thought the aid workers were responsible for the outbreak.

The only really odd thing that stands out it how so many babies got infected? I can understand medical staff being more prone to getting infected, but how did the babies get infected if this is supposedly only contracted by close contact, and is most contagious in the acute stage of the virus, when it is obvious you are sick.

Hopefully, this will not spread, however this is the first time a densely populated urban area has been involved in any Marburg outbreak.
Euthenasia - UK Reaches new lows
The UK Telegraph has an article on 11 Eldery people who were starved to death
These 11 elderly people suffered from dementia and several of the staff at the hospice were implicated in the withdrawing of their food.

What is even scarier however is the comments by the chairman of the inquest, retired High Court judge Sir Richard Rougier. He said that if..
food and fluid was withdrawn at a time when they were perfectly capable of accepting it all because it was arbitrarily decided that it was time for them to die... [it would amount to a policy that had been] totally unacceptable since the dark ages

But then goes on to say
If it should transpire that food and fluids were withdrawn in good faith and in the not unreasonable belief that it was in their best interests as the lesser of two evils, committing them to die in as much comfort and dignity as possible. . . it would be grossly unfair to record a verdict other than that of death by natural causes.

Err, hello???
Lets see, arbitrary decision in the first case makes it wrong. Subjective decision of the 'best interests' of the patient in the second case makes it 'death by natural cause'?

And this is the logic by a retired supreme court judge?

I also have to wonder how any educated person can think that starving someone to death is letting them die in as much comfort and dignity as possible?

Welcome to the culture of death.

To add to this, in Australia, there are many hospital staff that have been talking about how eldery infirm are given almost no food, so they will die sooner. It saves money you know.... It is mind boggling that something that would be regarded as a cruel and inhumane punishment for a mass murderer, is completely acceptable to do to a defenseless person in need.
Cosmology - Changing Fine Structure Constant
Eureka Alert has an article on the possibility that the Fine Structure Constant may not be constant
If this is true, it will have huge implications for all of cosmology.

Of course, one phrase in the article sticks out to me
Murphy has used quasars as incredibly distant light sources, whose light encounters gas clouds on its way to Earth. The light takes time to reach Earth, so he sees the fingerprints as they were billions of years ago. By comparing these fingerprints with those obtained in experiments on Earth, he concludes that alpha has changed by about one part in two-hundred-thousand during the last 10 billion years

Quasars are not the most well-known phenomena. There is certainly debate in science circles about how far away they really are, or even what they are exactly. Halton Arp has done a fair amount of work documenting connections between quasars and galaxies that seem to indicate it isn't accurate using the red-shift of a quasar to determine its distance. You can read about it at Electric Cosmos or over at Halton Arp's website

If this is the case, then assuming the light travels 10 billion light years to get to earth may have some effect on Murphy's research.

Add to this the fact that the difference is only 1 part in 200,000, which may not even be statistically significant would lead me to believe there is no cause for concern just yet...

(HT: Creation Safaris
Communism - Why do they protest
Many of the protests against the war in iraq were headed up by ANSWER
Lt Smash has documented many of their activities Here and here in photographic goodness.
Matt Margolis has a few comments here too.

Many of ANSWER's ruling class are communist types which leads me into the question.

Why do they protest? Surely the removal of the bourgeois class of saddam hussein and his cronies, the installation of a more democratic government and more freedom of religion (or even from religion) is a step towards communism rather than away from it? So why do they protest?

I have some ideas, but I will let it stew for a while. If you have any thoughts, feel free to share
Life - The Culture of death spreads
Bad ideas have bad consequences and we are seeing the consequences of abortion for convenience, especially in belgium, as this article shows
(HT: Weapons of mass distraction

Update: Another case of feeding tube removal has also been noted over at Life site news
Church - Were the catholics right
My parents raised me in the Catholic church. It never meant a lot to me, and as soon as I was no longer forced to go, I stopped going. You see, I have always dealt with reality by trying to understand it, and what that Catholic Church taught me, did not make sense. A prime example was that I learnt that Salvation was achieved by works in the Catholic Church. This made absolutely no sense, as being good to get to heaven is doing it for the wrong reason. One other thing that didn't make sense at the time, was the churches stand on contraception.

But after doing some serious study into the abortion issue, I am seriously considering the possibility that the Catholics were right. Shocking I know, but bear with me as I try and explain my logic.

One line of reasoning draws from the US progression in law. The Supreme court, in the 1965 Griswold case, decided there was a constitutionally guaranteed 'Right to privacy' in the bedroom and overturned a ban on contraceptives because this right entailled letting married people to decide whether and when to have children. This 'right to privacy' was then extended to single people in Eisenstadt v. Baird in 1972. Notice that it was no longer about married people planning their family, and was now a right to 'sexual privacy' in general (and later the right was extended to minors). Then, in 1973 in Roe vs Wade, this right was relied upon heavily in reaching their decision.

I think it is illuminating to look at the progression of thought in terms of sex.
1) Contraceptives are useful for family planning, and so should be readily available to married couples and so Sex does not have to be for reproduction and what people do in their bedrooms is their own business.
2) Contraceptives are useful to prevent pregnancy, so all people should have access and What people do in their own bedrooms is their business, so this should apply to everyone. Sex becomes an activity of pleasure for everyone.
3) The right to plan families and choose when you have children implies a right to reproductive control and Abortion becomes a right, so even sex without contraceptives does not stop a person from planning when they want to have children.

Now whilst I understand that Abortion does seem to necessarily follow from allowing contraception, it does however alter the meaning of sex away from reproduction and expression of love towards self satisfaction. Of moving people away from their responsibilities and towards their 'rights'. Abortion may be a natural progression from this change.

As the vatican put it in the Evangelium vitae
But despite their differences of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree. It is true that in many cases contraception and even abortion are practised under the pressure of real- life difficulties, which nonetheless can never exonerate from striving to observe God's law fully. Still, in very many other instances such practices are rooted in a hedonistic mentality unwilling to accept responsibility in matters of sexuality, and they imply a self-centered concept of freedom, which regards procreation as an obstacle to personal fulfilment. The life which could result from a sexual encounter thus becomes an enemy to be avoided at all costs, and abortion becomes the only possible decisive response to failed contraception.

The close connection which exists, in mentality, between the practice of contraception and that of abortion is becoming increasingly obvious. It is being demonstrated in an alarming way by the development of chemical products, intrauterine devices and vaccines which, distributed with the same ease as contraceptives, really act as abortifacients in the very early stages of the development of the life of the new human being.

The more I look the more I agree.

But I would also like to look at the other consequences of contraception. You only need to briefly look at the many different reports that have come out in the last year that indicate Europe is heading for economic disaster by 2050. The reason... the ratio of eldery dependents to younger productive workers reaching a terminal level. The productive workers will essentially be unable to support the dependent elderly. The reasons are illuminating. Abortion, Medical Advances letting people live longer, high unemployment, welfare states and a very low BIRTH RATE. In some european countries, the birthrate (per female) is only a fraction over 1.

Abortion does not account for all of this low birthrate. But guess what does... contraceptives. By letting people plan their pregnancies, it seems that we shoot our country in the foot, because people have a lot less kids. Even down under in Australia, we see this trend happening as our birthrate is 1.7, still well below replacement levels. In a time when medical advances are enabling are higher proportion of the population to have babies, our birthrate is plummetting.

Contraception, rather than merely letting us choose when to have babies, is making us less inclined to have children. Career and money and 'the easy life' is being put first.

So what is the solution? I don't know. but it certainly seems that we would have been a lot better off if we had heeded the Pope's advice and avoided contraceptives...
ID - New Intelligent Design Blog
Dembski, Behe, Meyers, and more..... Check it out here
Apologetics - Evangelical Outpost Symposium
Joe Carter, as Evangelical Outpost is running another Symposium. The topic in his own words is
I’ve decided to broaden the topic around the theme of Judeo-Christian morality in an ethically pluralistic society. Entries can explore the history of the concept, the applications toward public policy, the best means of arguing for it in the public square, or anything else that you choose.

Joe is offering prizes for the best 3 entries.
Life - Leslie Cannold's irrational bias
Dr. Leslie Cannold, seemingly incapable of showing sensitivity to someone else’s suffering when instead she can try and push her agenda, has given us an article on Tony Abbot titled “Humanised or hypocrite - does Abbott have clay feet?” with the synopsis being “Leslie Cannold argues that Tony Abbott is not in a position to judge the reproductive mistakes of others.” Over at Online Opinion.

Quite simply, the whole article deserves a serious fisking.
The message from Health Minister Tony Abbott remains unequivocal: Kathleen Donnelly, the mother of his wrongly assumed son, Daniel O'Connor, is a "nice" girl.
As the latest twist in the ongoing adoption reunion story broke, Abbott made his continuing fondness for his old girlfriend clear, despite his newfound awareness that she was sexually involved with other men during the years he believed they were having an exclusive affair.
While reporters repeatedly invited him to dump on Donnelly, Abbott refused to pass judgement about what he described as “hot-blooded young people”.
“We were all pretty wild back then so I am not in the business of making critical judgements. She is a great girl and this doesn’t change any of that”.
Yep. Leslie starts off brilliantly, Tony Abbott will not publicly condemn a women he loved for something she did nearly 3 decades ago. Obviously, we need to highlight this great defect in his character.

Indeed, in his interviews with the press, Abbott has suggested that his “callow” decision to go overseas during Donnelly’s pregnancy must also be understood in the context of his youthful immaturity.
It may be hard for someone to understand, but people can grow and change and learn from their mistakes. This does not change the fact that it was wrong, just that he has moved on and dealt with the past. Obviously Leslie will only be happy if he continuously self-flagellates himself for his entire life.
Presumably, a similar explanation accounts for the couple’s failure to use contraception throughout their years of intimate involvement.
Actually, there is no need to presume anything, as Tony Abbott has personally given his explanation regarding Catholic Law. Of course, that does not fit as nicely with Leslie’s theme, so I guess she feels free to ‘presume’ away. As a side note, many people seem unable to grasp the simple concept that just because you break one law, does not mean it is hypocritical to not want to break all of them.

Leslie of course, now tries to make a tenuous connection to her pet topic.
Such sentiments should be music to the ears of the vast majority of Australians who support a woman’s right to choose. They imply that having recently tried to give parents access to their teenager’s medical records in order to stop their “open-slather sexual activity”, and to restrict the access of women and couples to safe and affordable abortion, Tony Abbott has seen the error of his ways.
The logic is staggering. Tony Abbott was sexually active before he was married, and he refusing to publicly condemn someone he cared for deeply for an act she did nearly 30 years ago, so obviously, this failure to condemn implies Tony Abbott has changed his mind about the evil of abortion.
So, by this twisted logic, Tony can change his mind about a moral issue in a couple of months, but cannot do so in 30 years. Nowhere has Tony suggested that cheating on a partner is moral, nor does he think abandoning a pregnant partner is moral either. He does indicate however, that after nearly 30 years of suffering the consequences of wrong acts, he feels he is a different person to back then.
Having refused to judge or condemn Donnelly for past mistakes, or behaviour inconsistent with his moral values,
Actually, he has refused to publicly condemn her, but nowhere does he say that what she, or he did back then was the right thing to do. Leslie seems unable to grasp the simple Christian teaching of hating the sin, but loving the sinner or even that Tony may have forgiven her (another Christian concept that doesn’t seem to occur to Leslie) and has no desire to publicly condemn her (Does she realize that when you forgive someone, that you do not want to keep harping on about it??)
is Abbott finally prepared to recognise the arrogance of his past judgement of other woman and couples who - like he and Donnelly - had sex and unintentionally wound up pregnant?
I wonder if Leslie really understands what she is writing. Tony and Kathleen did not have sex and unintentionally wind up pregnant. His comments on Kathleen have to do with her cheating on him, and his abandoning her in her pregnancy. This jump of logic to extend comments on those topics, in that context, to mean that he is not allowed to say that something is wrong is absurd. And Leslie is a fellow at the center for Applied Philosophy and Public ethics???

To realise that like he and Donnelly, we are all nice people doing our best to live what we see as moral lives but at times we get waylaid by cloudy judgement, immaturity or sheer bad luck? That everyone deserves to have their behaviour and decisions interpreted in the context of their limits, and the framework of their lives?
Clearly, Leslie’s logic and ethics here leads to accepting EVERY behavior and not judging anyone. Why, even a mass murderer should not be judged because he did it in a context of his limits, and the framework of his life according to what HE SAW as a MORAL LIFE.
Leslie is missing the point in that Tony Abbott has judged actions as wrong or right. And it is not inconsistent to do so. As Leslie seems to indicate, all people still fail to live up to their own standard of morals.
If Donnelly can violate Abbott’s code of sexual morality but still be judged a nice girl, then why not the rest of us? If the definition of a nice girl (and boy, for that matter) is a person who does their best to live well in a complex world where things don’t always go to plan, don’t we all qualify?
Sure, lets redefine nice girl based on a gross misunderstanding of Tony Abbott’s position, and the fact that NEARLY 30 YEARS HAVE PASSED.
Get a grip Leslie and stop pushing this biased drivel.
What remains unclear is whether Abbott’s complex personal situation will lead him to question his rigid and long-held views of female sexuality and reproductive obligation. Remember, he comes from a family that Donnelly says froze her out the moment they discovered she was pregnant. Will Tony Abbott’s intimate engagement with the real world, with all its shades of grey, collapse the nice girl-slut distinction that has driven his agenda on sexuality and reproduction for so long?

The real question is whether Leslie’s lack of reason lead her to question her own uncontrolled bias and help her to view the world in a more balanced and objective way without trying to use the tragic circumstances of another man’s life to push her own agenda for exterminating whatever humans she does not see as worthy of protection.
According to psychologist Dr Susie Allanson, a counsellor of 15 years at the East Melbourne Fertility Control Clinic, the odds are regrettably slim. Over the years Allanson has counselled a number of women who are not just morally opposed to abortion but have actively campaigned against it being safe and legal. Yet, when they have found themselves unhappily pregnant, they decide in favour of abortion.
Leslie’s choice of an expert shows even more how unbalanced, irrational and biased her comments really are. Dr Susie Allanson, a clinical physchologist is a pro-abortion speaker and promulgator of myths on abortion..
Leslie also contradicts herself. She has previously said that “doing our best to live what we see as moral lives but at times we get waylaid by cloudy judgement, immaturity or sheer bad luck” yet here she raises the issue that people who where strongly opposed to abortion still had them occasionally. Well duh Leslie. You just said people get waylaid. Do the wrong thing. Stuff up. So really, any point about women opposing abortions having them is moot.
The problem, says Allanson, is that while such women sympathise with their own situation and feel confident their case justifies an abortion, most refuse to allow their experience to translate to compassion for other women facing the same dilemma. Instead, these women prefer to see their experience as unique and so no challenge to their abortion politics or their uncompromising judgement of all aborting women - except themselves, of course - as murderers.
With no real explanation of what reasons were given to justify abortion, Leslie is conflating many possible reasons, each with differing levels of justification into a single issue. This is incredibly poor logic, but as Leslie has been consistently showing her lack of balanced reason, it is not unsurprising. She further goes on to conflate any occurrence of hypocrisy to be equal and representative, a somewhat hasty generalization.
I would also hesitate to listen to much of what Dr Allanson says, as her bias also causes her to have a distinct lack of care for the facts. Dr Allanson is still pushing the backyard abortion myth. Lets make it very simple. There were some ‘backyard abortions’, there are still some today. But in neither case are these unsafe abortions very common. Mostly because most women are not stupid enough to take a coat hanger to themselves. Dr Allanson obviously thinks otherwise….
Hypocrisy? You bet.
Leslie once again misses her own points. According to Leslie people do things that are against their own morals. I.e. They are hypocrites. So, according to Leslie we shouldn’t judge anyone or an action because of this. Except of course for any action that Leslie finds objectionable. She seems to make a nice exception for herself as she judges Tony Abbott. I guess that makes her a hypocrite too.
And the worry is that Abbott will fall victim to this most universally despised moral failing too. That instead of recognising that the personal limits and situational complexity characterising his case precisely mirror the dilemmas others face on the sexual, contraceptive and unplanned pregnancy front, he’ll insist on seeing them as one-off and one-of-a-kind. That rather than preserve the freedom he and Kathleen had to make their own decisions - even mistakes - and to take responsibility for them, he’ll continue to do all in his power to deny those caught in a similar bind the freedom to choose with dignity, according to their own needs and values.
The chief failing of Leslie here is that she fails to even remotely consider what the other side (the pro-life) people say. She is assuming the unborn is not a life. Ultimately, this means she is taking Tony Abbott’s comments out of their proper context. You see, If the unborn is a life, then the freedom to ‘choose with dignity according to their own needs and values’ which she so zealously supports, is a freedom to ‘kill according to their own needs and values’. Should we all have that freedom Leslie?
According to Dr Allanson, imposing one’s rigid views on others relieves the stress of those who find the contemporary world chaotic. “Must-abating about others,” says Allanson, “gives such people a sense of control”.
Of course! It all makes sense now. Bring on the psychobabble, from biased experts who can tell us exactly why someone, who the psychologist has never treated, does something. It’s just a incredibly convenient coincidence how the psychobabblic conclusions always seem to show the target in just the light the writer wants. Just a coincidence I tell you!
Please Leslie, do you really think all your readers are that stupid?
Tony Abbott has had control of his sexual and reproductive world and now, as Health Minister in a government about to take control of both houses of parliament, he is about to assume unprecedented control of ours. The question is whether he will finally allow the evidence of his own experience to collapse his rigid views about how others should behave when it comes to sex, contraception and decisions about unplanned pregnancies. Or will his rigid views about nice girls and sluts live to see - and to guide the nation’s health policy - another day?
The question is whether Leslie will ever consider the possibility that killing unborn humans for the convenience of the mother is wrong, or will her irrational views about the unborn as a nuisance and not alive continue to guide her writing towards further depths of illogic and malice.
Life - Personhood, Death by popular decision
Wesley Smith provides a chilling article on where using a metaphysical concept such as personhood logically leads.
Personhood theory would reduce some of us into killable and harvestable people. Harris wrote explicitly that killing human non-persons would be fine because “Non-persons or potential persons cannot be wronged” by being killed “because death does not deprive them of something they can value. If they cannot wish to live, they cannot have that wish frustrated by being killed.”

Essentially, using 'personhood' enables a group of influential 'people' to decide which other 'people' don't meet their standard of living. Essentially, creating a popular decision to decide whose life is worth living and whose life is valuable enough to protect.

If this sounds familiar, just consider Slavery. In the US in 1857 in the Dredd Scott case, the court ruled that blacks (African-Americans) were not people and so with a wave of the metaphysical 'personhood' criteria, slavery became legal, and moral.

You would think we would learn from all the past oppressions that define their own criteria for the value of groups of humans, but here we go again. What is especially sad, is that this is happening again in a country who so boldly claimed the self-evidence truth that ALL men (humans) are created equal.

Read the whole artile
Life - Damages given for being born
The netherlands sink to a new low....
The Dutch Supreme Court has agreed to the award of damages to a severely disabled child for the fact that she was born—a so called wrongful life.

There aint much I can add to that....
Iraq - Commision Report On WMD Intelligence
The Presidential Commission investigating the WMD intelligence has released its 600+ page report here

Lt Smash has a few good points of note.

I have to admit though, that when I read this
[The failure’s] principal causes were the Intelligence Community's inability to collect good information about Iraq's WMD programs, serious errors in analyzing what information it could gather, and a failure to make clear just how much of its analysis was based on assumptions, rather than good evidence.

I couldn't help but think...maybe they are evolutionary scientists?
Lack of good information, failure to make clear just how much of its analysis is based on assumption, serious errors in analyzing what info it could gather....
That about covers it....
Abortion - Planned Parenthood and Government
Life Site News has an article on the recent comments by Planned Parenthood on Terri Schaivo's case.
In a Wednesday, March 30, phone conversation with Bereit, the Planned Parenthood executive admitted to sending the e-mail and said, "We just felt that it was pretty courageous of them (the six senators) to do what they did, and it's always a good idea to thank legislators when they do something you like."
More validation that the slippery slope argument against abortion was justified. The baby killing business Planned Parenthood obviously feels that Terri didn't deserve to live based on the same reasoning they use to decide the unborn don't deserve it....

she sent out the e-mail because, "I think probably the majority of our supporters feel that there should not be government intrusion, that the court should be the ones handling this issue, as it has, and so that's why I did it."

What is truly amazing is that she does not understand that the courts ARE the government.
Abortion - The UN Forces its View
Life Site News has an article on the recent UN push to give universal access to "sexual and reproductive health programs and services" Aka Abortion.

And some Christians still think the UN is a force for Good?

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