Grey Thoughts
Asteroid Still Didn't Kill Dinosaurs
The Asteroid Impact theory of dinosaur extinction continues to become less accepted in the scientific community. Major problems include that it was 300,000 years to early (according to the uniformitarians) and that other sun loving creatures survived it okay.

Chalk this one up to the creation scientists were right board.
Early Day Care is Bad for Babies
From the 'I told you so' department, new research continues to show that the best place for a baby is with his or her family, with one on one care. The idea that you could put a baby in day care is just plain mean, selfish, lazy.
IT'S A tough call and one that no working parent will want to hear: child care used "too much, too early, too long" damages babies' brain chemistry and affects their social and emotional development....
In a new book, Raising Babies - Should under 3s go to Nursery?, he argues that this growing international body of work combined with neurobiological research clearly suggests that at least during the first two years of life, brain development unfolds at its optimum with one-to-one care. This care could be from mother, father, a loving relative or, if necessary, a single, attentive paid carer.
Yep. We told you so. Yet the secular humanist sexual revolution and their attempt to destroy the traditional family was louder and more influential. Appeals to peoples selfish nature often are.

: I forgot to link to this article. It is a somewhat hysterical response, the author would rather live in denial of the facts and give themselves an excuse to continue the child abuse.

In other unsuprising baby news, using high tech gadgets to amuse your babies is also counter-productive. Spend time with them instead.

And finally, in a country where selfishness has gone over the line, babies are killed for "Compassion". What a sick joke. At least someone in Europe is calling the Netherlands on their Nazi-like Eugenics. The Weekly Standard has the scoop.

Islam Update
News of interest on Islam.
I am going to try and make this a regular post.

They say insanity is doing the same thing again and expecting a different result (Sounds like most windows users). Well, the US is trying to get Russia to come around on the Iran nuclear issue. But, just as Russia was working against the US with Iraq, why should we expect any different in this case.

In a wierd twist, a Vatican bishop endorses the teaching of Islam at Italian public schools. The justification?
"Europe and Italy have reached a high level of democracy and respect and cannot backtrack on this," said Martino. "If there are therefore people of different religions in Italy, we must accept their cultural and religious identity."

The bishop also noted that "if we are waiting for reciprocity in countries with a Christian minority then we are putting ourselves on the same level as those denying this possibility [to minorities]."
Reciprocity would be not having muslims killing christian converts. How about we go for that first? Or perhaps the bishop thinks we should all disarm and then the militant islamists will surely follow.

In other reciprocal news, Turkey is magnanimously deciding to restore non-muslim places of worship. So what is the catch? It seems that the courts ruled in 1974 that non-muslim communities cannot own property, including any property acquired since 1936.

And in An announcement I never expected, 50 Female imams are about to preaching in Morocco. It is a bit suprising considering the status of women in Islamic societies.

The 3 christian peace activists continue to bite the hand that rescued them. It seems they don't want to cooperate fully with the US intelligence. I guess they have no concern for other hostages.

The Age continues its slanted coverage with an article titled Iraqi leaders meet as 20 more die. It seems any talk of possible progress must be carefully concealed behind as much bad news as possible. Never mind the murder rate in Baghdad is only a little bit worse than many US cities, the Age thinks it must still be a civil war.

Ibrahim al-Jafari, the Prime Minister of Iraq has made an inspiring speech that brings hope that at least some Iraqis are trying to move towards a free democracy.
The road ahead will be tough, but the Iraqi people have demonstrated their bravery, determination and resolve. The world should not falter at such a crucial stage in history.
Let us hope the coalition doesn't let them down.

Moqtada al-Sadr continues to express his desire to be taken out. He has apparently formed a 'shadow' government, although not in the usual term. His government is trying to turn Sadr city into his own sovereign district.

Tony Blair has given a speech which touches upon Iraq and Afghanistan that shows his continuing support for the actions there. From the speech
The immediate threat is from Islamist extremism. You mourn your victims from Bali as we do ours and those from July 7 last year in London. We can add to them victims from Madrid, or September 11 in the US. But, this terrorism did not begin on the streets of New York. It simply came to our notice then. Its victims are to be found in the recent history of many lands from Russia and India, but also Algeria, Pakistan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Indonesia, Kenya and countless more.

And though its active cadres of terrorists are relatively small, it is exploiting a far wider sense of alienation in the Arab and Muslim world.

We will not defeat this terror until we face up to the fact that its roots are deep, and that it is not a passing spasm of anger, but a global ideology at war with us and our way of life.

Their case is that democracy is a western concept we are forcing on an unwilling culture of Islam. The problem we have is that a part of opinion in our own countries agrees with them.

We are in danger of completely misunderstanding the importance of what is happening as we speak in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our troops, British and Australian are along side each other; and I know whatever our views on either conflict, we are all deeply proud of the commitment, dedication and bravery of our armed forces.

But in each case, we have nations engaged in a titanic struggle to be free of a legacy of oppression, stagnation and servitude. In each case, its people have, for the first time, been offered a choice to vote. In each case, they have seized it, despite obstacles we can scarcely imagine. What better symbol of hope, and of belief in the values, we too hold dear.

But in each case also, the forces of reaction are at work, trying through the most evil of means, terrorism - the slaughter of the innocent because they are innocent - to destroy this hope.

I know the Iraq war split this nation as it did mine. And I have never disrespected those who disagreed with me over it.

But for almost 3 years now we have been in Iraq with full UN support. From the outset our forces in Afghanistan have been there with UN authority. In both cases, there is the full support of democratically elected governments.

Every reactionary element is lined up to fight us. They know if they lose, a message is sent out across the Muslim world, that strikes at the heart of their ideology. So they are fighting hard.

We must not hesitate in the face of a battle utterly decisive in whether the values we believe in, triumph or fail. Here are Iraqi and Afghan Muslims saying clearly: democracy is as much our right as yours; and in embracing it, showing that they too want a society in which people of different cultures and faith can live together in peace. This struggle is our struggle.

If the going is tough - we tough it out. This is not a time to walk away. This is a time for the courage to see it through.

But though it is where military action has been taken that the battle is most fierce, it will not be won by victory there alone.

Wherever people live in fear, with no prospect of advance, we should be on their side; in solidarity with them, whether in Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma, North Korea; and where countries, and there are many in the Middle East today, are in the process of democratic development, we should extend a helping hand.
Well said.
French Students
Light posting at the moment sorry. I am doing a Philosphy paper currently that is taking up my almost non-existent free time.

It's worth checking out this article on France and the student riots over at the american spectator. The money point is this
What appears to be insufficiently taught in French universities is the historical fact that no nation has ever regulated, litigated, or taxed itself into prosperity.

It's too bad that socialism breeds a 'i deserve everything' attitude as opposed to personal responsibility. Hopefully France will wake up to this before too long. Of course, some people continue to paint a rosy picture of the French economy. Probably just another one of those 'reality-based' community members.
The Homosexual Lobby Continues Its Work
I think I am going to get more cynical the more I read. From the American Psychological Association (APA) releasing biased pro-homosexual propaganda to 'scientific' studies performed by homosexual activists to support Gay adoption, it really seems like there aint much you can trust these days. It is a pity that freedom of speech doesn't include a truth clause.
Latest Zogby Abortion Views Poll
A recent huge poll by Zogby shows America is becoming pro-life. This is not suprising really, considering that the pro-abortion left is helping to kill themselves off by having abortions. The poll is positive though, as the trend is moving along nicely with 50% of respondents believing life begins at conception (Yay for science education) and 59% think that abortion ends a human life. Hopefully this trend will continue and more and more pro-life politicians will get elected until the supreme court is excised of its activist judges.
Stupid Scientific Explanations for the Spiritual
Just remember, these guys are highly educated scientists. They must have spent many years at university studying to get their qualifications. Of course, they throw out any semblence of objectivity or honest research in their efforts to promote their atheistic religion.
here could be a straightforward medical explanation for at least three of the world's major religions.
Moses, Mohammed, and Jesus all experienced revelations on mountains, but they were probably just suffering a form of altitude sickness, say a group of Swiss and Israeli neurologists, casting doubt in the process on the very existence of God.
Leaving aside the blatant logical fallacies and the bleedingly obvious naturalism of the gaps special pleading, the simple fact is that Jesus didn't get some revelation on the mountain to kick off his ministry and the only mountains he did go up were not high enough. The Sermon on the mount, and his transfiguration were not high enough to cause altitude sickness (maybe 1100m for the transfiguration). You have to wonder whether the authors feel that altitude sickness helps you rise from the dead also?
Saddams Iraq Latest
As more and more of the documents captured with the fall of Iraq become available through translated, the left's case against the invasion becomes shakier and shakier.

How often was the cry of 'unilateral' heard as if the blessing of communist China was necessary for something to legitimate. Well, it seems yet another countries opposition to the war was less than nobel. This time it is Russia, providing military intelligence and other support to Saddam's evil regime. Gateway Pundit has a big roundup.

It seems the operational ties between Iraq and Al Qeada are also becoming clearer the more that gets translated.
A newly released prewar Iraqi document indicates that an official representative of Saddam Hussein's government met with Osama bin Laden in Sudan on February 19, 1995, after receiving approval from Saddam Hussein. Bin Laden asked that Iraq broadcast the lectures of Suleiman al Ouda, a radical Saudi preacher, and suggested "carrying out joint operations against foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia. According to the document, Saddam's presidency was informed of the details of the meeting on March 4, 1995, and Saddam agreed to dedicate a program for them on the radio. The document states that further "development of the relationship and cooperation between the two parties to be left according to what's open [in the future] based on dialogue and agreement on other ways of cooperation."
Assuming the document is genuine, it has to be considered a rough day for lefties.

The final news item to give those on the left some nightmares (The ones where they and there media friends hide under the blankets and pretend not to notice the evidence) is continued evidence of Saddam' WMD including documents on his nuclear program andanother document possibly indicating Saddam's regime had WMD and were prepared to share them with terrorists. Although those on the left are disputing what the document says on the issue. Consider however Ray's credentials in this issue which he listed in response to a detractor.
<"Why, exactly, should someone take the word of a blogger poring over documents of "no further intelligence value" over the word of the actual weapons inspectors?"

1. This document is not NIV.
2. Because I am a former army officer with Gulf War and Kosovo experience and worked with ISG for a year with THESE documents.
3. The weapons inspectors can tell you what they found, not what Saddam was hiding. These documents indicate what Saddam really had.

Even though I supported the invasion on strictly 'getting rid of an evil murdering loon' grounds, it is good to see evidence coming out that will help those who took part.
Allies Are Made From Common Values
Indonesia is unhappy that Australia granted asylum to 42 Papuan's. Sure, we've given them billions in aid and helped them out time and time again, but now they are screaming blue murder.

This just goes to show that being nice and giving aid do not make people allies. It only generates fair-weather shallow friendships. Just think of the kid at school who always gave out candy and goodies to try and make friends. No-one really respected them and as soon as anything like conflict came up they were the first be to discarded.
Quick Comment
LTI Blog points to a comment that illuminates how the pro-choice left really feels about constitutional democracy and the will of the people. In this case, the Tennessee Constitution may be amended to specifically state that abortion is not a right granted within it.
Legislators should not be allowed to overturn a Tennessee Supreme Court ruling by doing an end-run around it, using the state constitution to eliminate womens' rights.
Yep. We should listen to the unelected and unaccountable judges and not the elected legislature or the will of the people.

Creation Safaris reminds us once again that media hype about scientific findings (this time that 'inflation' is now scientifically observed, should be taken with many large grains of salt.

Verum Serum has a post on how scarily inept the FBI was in allowing 9-11. One of their agents tried over 70 times to alert his superiors about the coming plane hijacking.

Dennis Praeger at Real Clear Politics outlines why socialism is such a socially destructive idea. Essentially, it trains people to expect the state to help them and others and so they can be self-centered. This is why there have been massive riots of students in France over letting employers fire new recruits for the first 2 years without cause. Suffice to say, France has a youth unemployment rate of around 23% and this can be attributed to employers not wanting to take on immature workers who they cannot fire unless they do something incredibly drastic like burning down the office.

Also making news is a longnitudal study of 95 people (yes, only 95) that the researchers feel shows that whiny kids grow up to be conservatives (as they want authoritarian security) and self-confident kids grow up to be liberals (as they don't feel the need to be shackled by outdated ideas to feel safe). Considering this study comes from UC Berkeley, I have to wonder how they identified 'whiny' and 'self-confident'. Perhaps it had something more to do with the whiny kids being the ones fighting their excessively liberal environment? Or maybe it was because they were less well off and so had to ask for things as opposed to having everything handed to them on a silver platter? And the real kicker, someone paid money for this worthless study. That another university social psychologist called "I found it to be biased, shoddy work, poor science at best". No suprise for the liberal heartland I guess.
Persistent Vegative States
Prolife Blogs has a great overview of the recent recovery of Haleigh Poutre, whom the state had decided to euthanise because we have in a persistent (or permanent) vegative state (PVS).

It isn't just this case however that should give us a terminal pause when thinking about whether we should euthanise people who we don't think should recover. Prolife blogs has more statistics that
* Out of 40 patients diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state, 17 (43%) were later found to be alert, aware, and often able to express a simple wish. The study is one of the largest, most sustained analyses of severely disabled people presumed to be incapable of conscious thinking, communication, or awareness of their surroundings. The author, London neurologist Dr. Keith Andrews, said, "It is disturbing to think that some patients who were aware had for several years been treated as being vegetative.

* Studies show PVS patients feel pain — indeed, a Univ. of Mich. neurologist, in one of the most complete studies, concluded that, when food and fluids are withdrawn [to impose death], the patient should be sedated.

* A study of 84 patients with a "firm diagnosis" of PVS found that 41% regained consciousness by six months, 52% by three years. These statistics certainly discredit the terms "persistent" and "permanent".
When will people stop trying to play God and deciding when a persons life is not worthy of living. When will they stop pretending they know enough to know when they will not recover?

The answer is it will not stop. This is why we need to idea that all human life is worthy of protection, not just life that some doctor or nureaucrat thinks is worthy.

Red America (Ben Domenech) also has a related case of a boy in the UK. His parents wanted him to live, but a group of doctors felt it was 'in the boys best interest' to die and so a court had to decide based on his 'quality of life' whether he should live. As Ben says
(Please note: it is the official blog advice of Red America that if your own physician ever tells you that it's in your "best interest" to hurry up and die, you ought to at least get a second opinion
What is a recurring problem is that the court didn't simply say "No, he is alive and should be treated", instead the boys parents had to argue that his 'quality of life' was sufficient to keep him alive. Because what this means is that if enough doctors or enough judges decide that someone's 'quality of life' is not worth keeping, they can simple decide to kill that person. And that is the unfortunate and inescapable end when a barbaric and cancerous idea is allowed into a 'civilized' society.
The Abortion Decision
With countries the world over giving women the sole decision making ability in whether to get an abortion or not, the whole idea of paternal support is going to become more and more of an issue.

You see, if a father has no say in the decision of whether to have a child or not, there is very little logic in demanding he pay child support. This is just what a father in the US is arguing.
His lawsuit, filed in a federal court, says that men who face fatherhood without their consent should be able to opt out of their responsibilities. While it does not seek to force women to have an abortion or give up their babies for adoption, it claims that women have the right to pursue either option if they do not want to bring up a child on their own.
Ironically, the father uses many of the same arguments that pro-abortionists have used...that an unwilling parent is not good for the child, that it would be a huge disruption in his life.

Sooner or later, abortion or child support is going to give. I just hope it is abortion that disappears.

In related news, Steve from Stand To Reason has a post about how an abortion forum continued for 4 hours and provided great opportunity to engage people in the issue. Of course, it seems some people are finding it hard to find a pro-abortionist to debate. This is an encouraging sign that pro-life arguments, especially the secular scientific ones, are becoming a significant force. The key is to keep bring it back to those same secular arguments when the pro-abortionists try to bring in their own religious beliefs or use an ad hominem attack about the prolifers religiious beliefs to avoid the secular argument.
A True Activist Judge
Opinion Journal has a good piece on US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsberg (About halfway down). What I find amazing is that ANY supreme court justice could object to the legislature passing motions. Especially when those motions are to do with using only the american legal system to make judgements. Clearly Justice Ginsberg is pushing her own agenda as opposed to the legislated law (to which she objects apparently).

Opinion Journal and the National Review also point out the justice can't tell the difference between criticism and murder, not properly form a legal argument about how the GOP is responsible for internet threats. Yep. This is definitely a person to sit on the most powerful court in the US. Egads!
Rape, Pregnancy and Abortion
A friend has asked me to post my thoughts to a post by Lindsay Beyerstein on Rape and Abortion. Lindsay is confused by those pro-life people who feel that rape is a reason to allow abortion. From the post
Anti-abortionists who support rape exemptions confuse me. They say fetuses have full human rights. Yet, clearly, in their minds, the life of the rape-fetus is less important than the emotional well-being of its mother. The unspoken assumption is that rape victim is innocent. According to the REs, the raped woman is entitled to kill that baby because she didn't put it there.
Lindsay then talks about Thompson's violinist argument which has been dealt with at length in other places, but it seems her complaint is mostly that allowing abortion in cases of rape is inconsistent for those who feel the fetus has the same right to life as the rest of us.

I would agree with her in this. It is inconsistent to argue in that way. What isn't inconsistent however is to move in a step-wise fashion on the issue. As Lindsay mentions, many people think that rape is a justification for allowing an abortion, and so there will obviously be more support for pushing for getting rid of abortion in cases which do not relate to rape. Ironically, this is going to get the pro-abortionists talking about slippery slopes, but I can live with that.

What is really curious however, is the study Lindsey mentions. Something doesn't fit with my statistical brain.
The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5.0% per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45); among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. … A total 32.4% of these victims did not discover they were pregnant until they had already entered the second trimester; 32.2% opted to keep the infant whereas 50% underwent abortion and 5.9% placed the infant for adoption; an additional 11.8% had spontaneous abortion. [Holmes M, et al. 1996]
I did a bit more digging abd found this article about the study which adds the following figures.
The authors used data from the National Women's Study, a national sample of over 4,000 women. Twelve percent of these women had experienced at least one rape in their lifetime. The mean age for the sample was 44.9 years. Of the 3,031 women completing the study, 413 experienced a total of 616 completed rape incidents. The rape-related pregnancy rate among women of reproductive age was 5 percent per rape or 6 percent per victim. From these data, it can be estimated that 32,101 rape-related pregnancies may occur each year among American women over the age of 18 years.
Only 24 percent of women who were assaulted sought medical assistance. In cases in which medical attention was not given, only one-half of the women reported being counseled about the possibility of a pregnancy resulting from the rape. Subsequently, 32.4 percent of the pregnancies were not discovered until the second trimester
The majority of rape-related pregnancies were inflicted by a known perpetrator. Of these cases, 41.2 percent involved repetitive assaults and 55.9 percent involved use of alcohol or drugs by the perpetrator.
(this agrees with a South Australian survey which found that "about 50% of sexual assault occurs within a domestic relationship and so it is likely that there are a significant number of unplanned pregnancies from rape within this group of women."

The final bit from the article muddies things for me even more
Less than 20 percent of victims ever report the sexual assault,

So, If only 20ish% of women report rape or seek medical attention, then how can they be sure the rape is responsible for the pregnancy? How many are otherwise sexually active (or active in their domestic relationship)? For such a high figure of 5%, I would like to see another survey with this important ommission included.
Dealing With The Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown's Da Vinci code is coming soon to a screen near you. And what a great opportunity it will be if christian's are prepared to give reasoned answers to the issues it raises. Not only will the church be able to deal with the book, but they can use it to catapult conversation into authentic christian ideas and living.

Mark D Roberts has a great series on this opportunity if you are wanting to learn more about dealing with the story and why this is so important. Mark has studied many of the extra biblical Nag Hamadi that are mentioned in the story and it is well worth listening to what he says about it. From his series (which is still growing)
But," you might want to respond, "it's just fiction! It's a novel, for God's sake. It's going to be a fictional movie. Why get so worked up about fiction? Why refute fiction as if it were fact? Why get so worried about apparently factual elements of a fictional story?"

I can't tell you how much I wish every reader of The Da Vinci Code, and every viewer of the upcoming film, had this perspective. If everybody who was exposed to Dan Brown's story concluded, "Well, that was a great ride, but his stuff on Jesus was a lot of hooey!" then I could start blogging on something else, rather than exercising myself on this topic for the next several weeks. But, I'm sad to say, millions upon millions of readers and viewers of The Da Vinci Code will not reject its treatment of Jesus and early Christianity as wildly creative fiction. In fact, they will believe that Dan Brown has revealed the truth about Jesus. And they'll believe this passionately.
Everyone loves a good consipiracy, especially now they are almost indoctrinated from birth to distrust authorities as they supposedly are more interested in power than truth or justice.

Middlebrow also has a post on why Dan Brown has no real clue about the relationship between Jesus and John. This is one of the books main ideas in the painting of the last supper. Dan's idea is that 'john' in this painting is really mary magdelene and that is why she is so close. Perhaps Dan never read the gospel of John, where John is 'the disciple whom Jesus loved'.

Christianity Today also has articles responding to the Da Vinci Code, dealing with the formation of the canon of the bible and Jesus' divinity and the founding fathers.

LeaderU, the fountain of huge amounts of resources, has a rather large section dealing with the Da Vinci Code as well. You should especially check out a couple of great articles 'Crash Goes the Da Vinci Code' by Dr Ron Rhodes and 'Dismantling the Da Vinci Code' by Sandra Miesel.
Blogger Problems
Sorry for the lack of posting, blogger is having a bad week I think.
Who is Esther Kaplan
In reading a response to a recent article on Time Online entitled "Junk Medicine: Creationism" (which contains all the usual falsehoods), I ended up looking at the 'Defend Science' Website, which contains a more broad assault against christian influence and President Bush in particular. Apparently, according to this site, Bush is faulted for saying that the origin of humans is still undecided, ie. evolution is not a fact. To which the author of this statement screams
No one bothered to tell this guy about the huge number of assumptions, ad hoc explanations, and unexplained contrary observations involved I guess. But enough about evolution.

What I did notice on this site, is that much of it's pronouncements come from an author "Esther Kaplan" with some really poor referencing about a 'Wierd Science' Chapter where she bashes all things christian and right (including bush) as bad. That's the first clue I guess that she is a secular humanist or marxist.

So I did a quick search or 2 and found she wrote a book that is referred to by many socialist, communist and anti-religious groups called "With God On Their Side" bashing the fact that the christian's of democratic USA are having influence on how their country is being run through George Bush. Apparently she feels that only secular humanists and marxists are allowed to let their religious beliefs influence politics and society.

A little more digging and I found her site and bio and she was an editor for The Nation, a socialist type magazine. Hardly a suprise there after her stances. It seems she is also pro-abortion, another no brainer. And she also signed on the the 'World Can't Wait' campaign, which was started by communists to get rid of Bush.

Reading a little of her book that is available online, I am not going to bother with the rest. Her rhetoric and spin about "by flouting international treaties on global warming", a treaty they never joined, or that Bush ignored the National Council of Churches (a leftist/communist infested organisation) is enough for me to know this aint gonna be a fact based book.

No surprises really, but expect to see more and more about her book from the secular left. She seems to be a bit of a poster child at the moment.
China Moving Towards Euthenasia
Scarily enough, the night before this came out, I was talking to a friend and explaining how China's one child policy would lead them to have an aging population and would probably force them to start euthenising the elderly. It seems they are starting to think that way too.
The Pill Side-Effects
In the greatest untested human drug trial ever, the Pill continues to come up with new and fun side-effects. This weeks side effect is migraine's and head-aches.
Science Journal Prints Religious Article
Yep. You heard right. The journal Science has done a complete backflip over it's stance not to print anything religious like work on Intelligent Design, and has now included an article in the search for intelligent design in the latest journal. The article, by Michael Shermer, reviews a book titled 'Civilized Life in the Universe: Scientists on Intelligent Extraterrestrials' by George Basalla. Curiously, the title of the review is "Deities for Atheists". I guess we now know which religion Science is a fan of.
More Creationist Definitions
David Heddle continues to discuss what a 'creationist' really is, responding to Theistic Evolutionist JM O'Donnell and Krauze at Telic Thoughts also makes a few good points about Mr O'Donnell's convenient equivocation on the term 'creationist' when he bashes creationists in this post on the immune system. (Amazingly, Mr O'Donnell doesn't understand the Young Earth Creationist (YEC) position on things and so thinks the immune system is a problem?).

Mr O'Donnell takes little time in accusing David of creating a 'conspiracy theory' and so rather than starting off on rational discussion insteads tries to poison the well. His grasp of logic is also somewhat questionable by his inability to understand that allies cannot go around insulting and degrading each other. To Mr O'Donnell this is too much to grasp. All this is his first paragraph.

Ironically, Mr O'Donnell later goes on to say that the term 'Theistic Evolution' is
Calling it "theistic evolution" is IMO, simply a bait and switch to simply avoid the rather distastful association with creationists like AiG and Hovind.
thus he agree's with David's original point, that there is a reason for Panda's Thumb people to avoid calling him a creationist.

It gets even better though as Mr O'Donnell continues with this little gem
The key difference between theistic evolution compared to standard creationism is that I do not view signs of that creation are directly and empirically visible in nature.
He obviously doesn't believe in the God of the bible who says in Roman's 1:20 that God's "invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made." So what sort of god does Mr O'Donnell believe in? A god whose creative actions can NEVER be seen in nature. Mr O'Donnell goes on to say that he even doesn't accept the fine-tuning of the universe. Clearly Mr O'Donnell's god is no different from mother nature as it seems the natural world is all he can see, with even the creation of the universe and all it's laws not counting as evidence of his gods actions. It seems he is not really a theistic evolution but even less than a deistic evolutionist. Perhaps we need a new category called a pantheistic evolutionist?

Mr O'Donnell goes on to say that he doesn't want his 'metaphysical beliefs taught in schools'. Obviously, he prefers that the materialistic metaphysical belief is taught in schools. Perhaps he feels that belief in God is not an important thing for our children to learn? What a strange position for someone who claims to believe in God. If God exists (as I believe he does), then surely the MOST important thing to teach our children is that he exists. Obviously Mr O'Donnell doesn't feel that belief in God is really that important.

I'm sure he has made some good points in his posts, but they seem to have gotten lost in the ad hominems and inconsistent statements.

All his beliefs really do provoke an interesting question however. If his god's actions are not directly or emprically visible in nature, then would he bother praying to his god? His god obviously can't change anything that would happen in the natural world (as this would be detectable, which would leave him simple in a mechanical universe which completely determines his fate.
Victorian Texts on Crusaders and Terrorists
There has been a bit of a stink about what an 8th grade history text book is being used to teach children at around 100 schools in Victoria. The text book, with it's section on 9-11, says that the Crusaders, like Muslim terrorists,
believed they were giving their lives for a religious cause...
Like the Crusaders ... they were told they would go straight to heaven when they died, Those who destroyed the World Trade Center (sic) are regarded as terrorists. Might it be fair to say that Crusaders who attacked the Muslim inhabitants of Jerusalem were also terrorists?
The official line for this section is to "provoke debate". *cough*.

Kevin Donnelley, author of 'Why our schools are failing' has a different theory. The text is simply mirroring the trend of post-modernists in their attempt to define all such violent actions as morally equivalant and promote a secular humanist view of history. Kevin also notes the text's section on monks and priests portrays them as
"corrupt church men" who lie in order "to attract pilgrims to get money for their monastery" and who are more interested in "drinking and gambling".
Yeah sure. This text is just designed to 'provioke debate'.

A post on Crikey has another poor attempt to defend this text claiming that
Leaving aside the fact that the book does this only in a question (just the sort of thought-provocation that students need)
How about we leave aside that in the framing of that question, the text stated certain incorrect generalisations as 'fact', Crikey goes on to say that
If we've learned anything at all from the last few years, it should be the destructive power of fundamentalism, and the need to combat religious dogmatism of every sort. Just the same message, in fact, that a proper study of the Crusades would teach.
Yep. Pushing the secular humanist line. No wonder they rushed to the defense of the book. Perhaps the lesson for crikey should be that secular humanist drivel continues to do nothing but bring our children's educational standards lower and lower.
Hamas not Softening It's Stance
Unfortunately for optimists like Scott Adams, it seems very clear by now that Hamas has no intention of becoming more moderate now that they have been elected. Between their leader vowing to continue their armed struggle, calling any pressure to moderate 'blackmail' (ignore the lack of balance in this woeful article), and creating a new Hamas website for kids calling on them to fight zionists and commit suicide for God it is more than clear that moderation is not on the menu. I don't expect Scott Adams to write a post admitting that though.
Offensive Thoughts of a Pro-lifer
So often in the abortion debate we hear things like "Don't tell me what to do with my own body", and "Men shouldn't have a say as this is strictly a woman's reproductive choice issue".

It occured to me the other day that in many moral discussions in society, religious people are automatically dismissed because they are 'not objective' and 'not rational'. We see this quite strongly in the abortion debate. Yet if being 'not objective' or 'not rational' is the criteria for automatic exclusion from the discussion, why are pro-abortion women allowed in the debate at all? Surely they are the least objective in deciding this moral issue as they have the most emotional investment in whether they have to allow an unborn child come to term if they are pregnant. Some pro-abortionists are even coming out now saying how abortion is all about letting them have sex without fear of becoming pregnant. So maybe when someone tries the "men shouldn't have a say " line we should respond with the "you aren't objective in this issue" line?

Why is their objectiveness in this moral debate never questioned? As a quick answer, I will say because moral debates aren't about rationality or objectivity, they are about people trying allow themselves to do whatever they want to do. It's about letting them give into temptation. It certainly isn't about rationality.

If it was all about rationality, then why are abortion clinics not held to the same standards of care as other operative facilities? Why has the contraceptive pill never really been through a proper trial (of course, now we know it is a carcenogenic). Why do people continue to promote "sex-education" when it clearly has failed to prevent teenage pregnancy and STD's. Because it isn't about rationality, but freedom to sin.
What is a Creationist
David Heddle from He Lives has continually asked posters at the Panda's Thumb what they define a creationist as. He finally got one response and he discusses it here. The definition given was
Here’s my understanding of “creationist”: someone who rejects the conclusive evidence of common descent, and/or someone who believes that supernatural intervention is necessary to explain the current state of the natural world, particularly that part of the natural world we call biology. Now, I’m sure you can construe that to include “theistic evolutionists” - indeed, I know some who proudly lay claim to the label “creationist”. But as long as they recognize that their understanding of divine intervention can never fall under the purview of science, they’re not “creationists” in my understanding of the word.
David makes some good points about the definition, including the following.
While I applaud the attempt, this is a bizarre definition indeed. Whether one is a creationist should not be tied to the notion of common descent—otherwise it would have been impossible to label anyone a creationist or a non-creationist prior to the advent of the theory of common descent.
One thing that I think he should have discussed more however was this one part of the definition
someone who believes that supernatural intervention is necessary to explain the current state of the natural world
I have a real problem with this. My problem probably relates a little to what Joe Carter was talking about yesterday. The whole idea that the natural world is some default explanation. The whole crux of this part of the definition is that if we can explain that it could have happened naturally, then God didn't do it. It just doesn't follow logically.

Also, the whole bit about 'conclusive evidence' in the definition is a laugh. If it was conclusive, then people wouldn't be able to disagree with it would they....

I'll probably post more later on this topic, although I am not sure how much later that will be.
Billions of years news
Sometimes I wonder at the automatic derision and sneering by the media and the 'skeptics' at the young earth creationists. You would think they had worked it all out. That they had all the big answers.

Of course, if you do a bit of reading, you will know that this is very far from the case. For instance, lets take the big bang. It is supposedly the leading scientific theory of how the universe began, but what can it really tell us?
1) The universe started at a singularity.

Problem is, singularities are thermodynamic dead ends. So from the start, big bang theory has no explanation as to how a singularity suddenly 'exploded'.

2) Cosmic Inflation. The universe experienced a period of incredibly rapid expansion very early on.

Problem is, the cosmic inflationary period was invented to explain why the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) was so uniform. It was an ad hoc explanation and there is evidence that seems to argue against it. And this is after the theory has been modified multiple times to explain other problems with it.

But it isn't just big bang. The whole idea of long ages seems to be fixed within their minds, but why? There is still no movement in this idea, yet we continue to have no answers to how soft tissue could last 65 million years. The evolutionists continue to blunder around trying to find some remarkable but unknown mechanism that would defy all they know about the degredation rates of organic substances.

It doesn't stop there either. Geological formations continue to be redating to younger dates, such as the Little Colorado Grand Falls. And if you read about it, you notice the scientists makes some very troubling statements such as "Dating Quaternary mafic volcanic materials has proven to be challenging in many cases,” they said. “K-Ar and 40Ar/39Ar are the most common dating methods, but results may be difficult to interpret because so little potassium is present in these rocks and because the rocks may also contain excess Ar from mantle or crustal sources." and "The question remains of how to decide what relative weight to apportion to each dating technique in trying to accurately define when the lava dam formed. Each technique includes its own set of assumptions and uncertainties.". Yep, we know these dating methods are problematic and they give different dates, so we need to work out the relative value of each to come up to the number we first thought of before dividing by our age.

Spiral galaxies are also giving long aged seems that observational evidence indicates the inner sections should have wound up if they really had been there for billions of years.

And just as a bonus, continuing problems with moon dating are getting worse by the day (and I mean a literal 24 hour day). Scientists still can't work out how a cold moon still has geological activity after billions of years.

Yep. It doesn't matter what the observation. The continued clinging to billions of years is the one part of their model they will not fiddle with. It seems they have decided it must be true and therefore interpret all their data to try and reach that conclusion.
Article of the day
Cathy Seipp has a great article on the support for Islam that comes from the very people that Islam would execute. The real issue is the people such as this have been brought in the university anti-western environment, so they see western culture as the bad guys, not Islam. Check it out
Abortion News and Comment
55 Democrats in the US have come out and stated they are pro-abortion catholics. I assume, after the recent RU486 vote in Australia, most of our Labor party would class themselves as pro-abortion christians too.

Joe Carter has also commented on pro-life exceptions to a ban on abortions such as rape and incest (The post was on the value of acting even if defeat is currently expected). Joe makes this interesting point in the comments.
Obviously, pregnancies caused by rape provide a unique circumstance and it is understandable that some people may think it warrants an exemption. While I personally don’t believe a child should be killed simply because of the actions of a rapist, I am willing to agree to a political compromise based on the principle of lex talionis. How about we add this exemption: When a child is aborted because a rape-induced pregnancy, the rapist must also be killed. If the situation warrants the taking of an innocent life, then justice demands that we also take the life of the guilty. Would you agree to such a compromise?
I wonder how many people would agree? Jeremy Pierce also has a timely piece on the same exceptions. Jeremy is as always, well worth reading for his insightful thoughts.

In Australia a woman has won a $100,000 lawsuit against a doctor who failed in his attempt to abort her unborn child. This is even though she says she loves her child. Wow. This of course means that someone who obviously didn't want the child whilst pregnant ended up wanting the child afterwards. You won't here that from the pro-abortion people.
Muslim Double Standard
In reading a debate between a muslim and non-muslim (Mansoor Ijak and Andrew McCarthy) over Can Islam Reform Itself I noticed something interesting. A double standard in what is rational. Let me quote the Muslim's comments in two different sections.
The words of Allah in the Koran, as promulgated through the Angel Gabriel and uttered and written down in words by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), are unalterable. On this point, we agree. You may not know this, but we Muslims are taught that God brought Islam to mankind in this way because in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, once the book had been given, man changed the literal words of God through interpretation, interpolation and in some cases, just outright made stuff up, that did not reflect what God had intended. To avoid this problem with Islam, it was given through an illiterate man, Muhammad, in a language, Arabic, that did not at the time exist. This way there could be no doubt it was the word of God and that those words were unalterable. They have remained so throughout time.

Your argument about Islam the message being the problem vs. Islam the body of believers makes exactly the point bin Laden would have us all believe--that in today's world, Muslims have prostituted the original words of God and he is here to save us all from that folly. Nonsense. I will never accept that as a premise for rational debate.

Notice the problems? God worked through Muhammad to fix corruption of his original inspired message, yet the idea that Bin Laden is being used by God to bring Muslim's back to God's original message is considered nonsense and irrational. Clearly, Mansoor is letting his own beliefs trump rationality at some point

Yet the real question I have is that if Allah's word in the Koran is unalterable and unable to be corrupted by man's intepretation (Like they assert the old and new testament were), then how is Bin Laden able to interpret Muslim doctrine differently? It shouldn't be possible. Indeed, there should be next to zero, if not zero doctrinal differences amongst the Mulsim community.
Censorship or Ownership
The latest rash of whinings from the internet have to do with what they are calling disdainfully 'censorship'. Strangely enough, in this country and plenty of other places, censorship is legal, and indeed a responsibility. Movies are censored, language is censored, pictures are censored.

Suddenly however, bloggers and websites are shocked, SHOCKED to find that businesses and countries are blocking their websites! Wonkette is all in a tissy, Boing Boing is telling you how to get around it, and many others, including instapundit are jumping on the same bandwagon.

It seems obvious to me, but apparently some people don't understand. If you are using an internet connection at work, the business has the right and responsibility to decide what is appropriate use of that connection. Unlike wonkette's hissyfit where the blocking of personal pages was obviously blocking 'people who disagreed with the government', a business is supplying the internet connection and if their usage policy and security policies exclude personal use, they have every right to exclude personal use websites. Going against this policy is essentially stealing the business's internet connection, much the same as the person who takes reams of paper home for their own use is stealing stationary.

So why are such luminaries as Glenn Reynolds, Wonkette and Boing Boing encouraging and facilitating such theft? I guess they feel people have the right to steal.

Boing Boing seems suprised that their site is classed as containing nudity, when they post things that contain nudity. Shocking I know. Yet Boing Boing has to whinge about 99.5% false positives. Bzzt, sorry. This is wrong. The software blocks sites that contain nudity. Boing Boing's site contains nudity. It's a no brainer really... zero percent false positive there.

Suck it up guys
Muslims and Depicting Reality
Michelle Malkin is keeping a tally. It seems that muslims are against depicting just about anything in pictorial form. From Mohammed, Mosques, and ordinary people and things, to even depictions poking fun at depictions. Now a new one has been added...depicting mecca on playing cards.

For a religion of peace, they seem awfully thin skinned about people with different ideas from their own.
Those Wacky Democrats
It seems that Senator Allison is not content with getting the abortion drug RU-486 out of the clutches of the evil conservatives. Now, all those who are religious need to be looking out for the knives. Senator Allison has attempted to push Australia further down the secular humanist path by trying to remove tax exemptions for religious organisations and ban prayer from government. The notice said
calls on the Government, if it is serious about a secular state, to take steps to:
(i) remove religious references from statutory oaths and pledges,
(ii) abolish official parliamentary prayers,
(iii) remove tax advantages that solely apply for religious purposes…

I can't believe I used to vote for these guys....

Thankfully, the senate floor squashed this little item quicker than you'd squash a cockroach.

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