Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bull Jumps Into Stands

Sunday, January 29, 2006

George Clooney and I Have Something in Common

George Clooney seems like a nice enough guy. Politically, we disagree. But he's in Hollywood. I'm sure he encounters conservative viewpoints oh so often.

I ran into one of the best quotes I've seen in a long time:
So many of your movies this year moved audiences to tears. Do you cry easily in movies?

CLOONEY: I cried at the premiere of "Batman and Robin." [Laughter] I cried for a week.

I feel your pain George. I remember him saying "I don't want to be the guy to screw this up."

Well, I always blamed Joel Schumacher.

Friday, January 27, 2006

2003 Cuts in Capital Gains Paid for Itself

Powerline on the Palestinian Situation
The fact is that a great many Palestinians, perhaps a majority, are living in a fantasy world in which the massacre of the Jews will somehow solve their problems. Holding elections won't be enough to cure this sick culture. Only when the other Arab states are reformed and stop keeping the Palestinians in a perpetual state of dependent hysteria will the Palestinians be able to start down the long road to normality. This process will take years, if it happens at all. In the meantime, the only policy open to Israel is one of self-defense.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

New Theory of Gravity Dispenses with Dark Matter
Astronomers realised in the 1970s that the gravity of visible matter alone was not enough to prevent the fast-moving stars and gas in spiral galaxies from flying out into space. They attributed the extra pull to a mysterious substance called dark matter, which is now thought to outweigh normal matter in the universe by 6 to 1.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Guns n' Roses Album Due Sometime This Year

From Chris.

I believe it when I see it in stores. I'll try to find the NY Times article from a while ago and post it.

Do We Still Have to Take Jimmy Carter Seriously?

From the Jerusalem Post:
Carter told CNN in an interview that although Hamas were "so-called terrorists," so far "there have been no complaints of corruption against [their] elected officials."

Monday, January 23, 2006

Hollywood Stars Accepting Pay Cut

Eminent Domain to be Tried in Court in Camden

Oddly enough the allegedly blighted areas are right near the Delaware River.

Developers and local governments will run roughshod over this country now that our Constitutional protections have been eroded since the Kelo decision.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey in Big Fight Over Dredging Delaware River

Friday, January 20, 2006

Wes Pruden on Iran
Not since frightened mice sat around a wheel of camembert, arguing over who would bell the cat (which every little mouse agreed would be a very good thing to do), have so many mice occupied themselves with high statecraft.

Everybody who's anybody is getting very cross with Iran. The Europeans, suddenly aware that a nuclear Iran might interrupt German reveries of sausages and raise the temperature of Islamic nightmares in France, are grumbling that somebody really ought to do something. Russia and China, who make a fine living selling exotic arms to famously bad-tempered regimes, agree with the United States and the Europeans that Iran should "fully suspend its nuclear program."

Even in Washington, where Democrats have taken a blood oath never to agree to anything the Republicans bring up first, there's growing agreement that Iran is a catastrophe-in-waiting for everyone. Chuck Schumer, fresh from stopping in a single bound the confirmation of Samuel Alito, is disturbed. Not disturbed enough to want to do anything in particular about it, but disturbed enough to put it on his to-do list of things to worry about.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

New Study Shows That Cheese Masks the Taste of Wine

Beer pairs better with cheese, but I could have told you that.

I would also suggest Janet Fletcher's article on beer and cheese.

Last Intelligent Design Post for Awhile (Hopefully)

I hope this will be my last Intelligent Design post for a while. I've posted a lot lately, since it has been in the news. I've tried to handle the issue from a meta level, examining the flaws in the logic and thinking of the anti-ID folk.

As I said before, scientists may not make the best thinkers, but they are smart. And since I haven't detected their ability to either correctly grasp either Intelligent Design theory nor the nature of evolutionary science, I want to figure out why.

In a recent post, I mentioned how a scientist believed that if she created an ariticial single-cell organism (using her own intelligence), that she would have proven you don't need God to create life, thus refuting Intelligent Design.

Now at first, I felt she just made a glaring mistake. And, yes, she made a glaring mistake. But I think I understand her problem and the mistakes others like her make.

If I may paraphrase, I heard the following: ID tells people you will never figure this out. It's too complicated. So don't try. Don't bother making a hydrogen car, etc., etc.

Now, what the theory is really saying is that we can a) detect intelligence b) there are things out there which are too complicated to arise from a step by step problem.

Some scientists just think ID proponents are saying I can't figure this out, therefore it must be God. And that makes sense why they thought discovering how bees fly refute ID.

But ID doesn't say that you can't figure out a system. But it is saying that when you figure out irreducibly complex system, it will be too complex to arise from Darwinian processes. I hope that clarifies were Intelligent Design opponents have gone awry with some of their argumentation.

Darwin himself said that if you could find an organ or something in a biological system which couldn't be produced by connsecutive steps, you would have disproven his theory. What I'm hearing from modern-day Darwinists is that you have to trust in the Darwin-of-the-gaps. In other words, the theory has become unfalsifiable. The bacterium flagelum may look like it needs more than one thing to happen at the same time, but trust Darwinian processes. It has become an article of faith for materialists as opposed to testable science.

Hopefully, I can gear up for the Da Vinci Code movie and find some good beer-related articles for my kind readers.

Bang Up Job With Iran: Why I Don't Want America to be More Like Europe

The Iranian situation is getting pretty bad. Russia and China seem to have no concern that an Islamic radical is about to get nukes. Hey, no worries.

Europe doesn't have the stomach for it either.

This needs to be a matter for prayer.

Colin Powell on Iraq, Iran

One of the huge things forgotten by the "Bush lied" crowd was that Iraq had a track record of obstruction which continued into 2003.

I guess the whole good cop (Powell) / bad cop (Bush) routine can be laid to rest, at least with Iraq.

Iran is incredibly troubling. I hope the leftists around the world will put pressure on Iran, instead of encouraging responsible countries to sweap everything under the rug.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State Flip-Flop on ID

No, they're not for it. First, they said they say they just don't want the heresy taught in science classes. Now, it is all classes, even philosophy classes.

I guess reading Aristotle will be banned in public schools.

Yes, I know I'm mocking. But they make it so easy.

Edit: On further analysis, Americans United may be saying that ID can't be promoted as officially approved. If this is what they are saying, I would agree. But I wouldn't think any philosophy class worth its salt would do that.

Monday, January 16, 2006

I Would Like to Thank the Dems for Reminding Me That Corruption Isn't Just a Republican Problem

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Declare Victory and Get Out?

By all accounts, America will be reducing the amount of its troops in Iraq, and a lot of that has to do with more and more Iraqi troops being competent.

If I had to speculate, and this is all conjecture on my part, Democrats see this coming. Calling for troop withdraws now means they can claim success to their anti-war base later. Even though that was the plan all along.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Scientists Don't Understand Intelligent Design

I wasn't really sure how to title this post. But some scientists have major misunderstandings.

I've noticed enough logical errors and faulty reasoning to get myself an A+ if I was still in my logic class in college (my professor said extra credit would be given if you could spot a logical fallacy in the press).

But one of the main things I learned in my time as philosophy student was that you need to accurately understand a position before you critique (either positively or negatively). Sadly, this is lacking in the parts of the scientific community and press.

I will give 3 examples of this.

1) Science can't prove God because the supernatural is outside the realm of science. Therefore, ID is not science. Problem: Intelligent Design proposes there are ways we detect design. One design is detected you can infer an intelligent designer. Now, a second order question is, who is that designer and what are the implications of detecting design in the expansion of the universe or in biological systems. But the implications of an answer (philosophical/theological) and the answer itself are two different things. Opponents of ID are conflating categories.

2) Scientists have recently figured out how bees fly. And they think that debunks Intelligent Design.
Proponents of intelligent design, which holds that a supreme being rather than evolution is responsible for life's complexities, have long criticized science for not being able to explain some natural phenomena, such as how bees fly.

Now scientists have put this perplexing mystery to rest.
Proponents of intelligent design, or ID, have tried in recent years to promote the idea of a supreme being by discounting science because it can't explain everything in nature.

"People in the ID community have said that we don't even know how bees fly," Altshuler said. "We were finally able to put this one to rest. We do have the tools to understand bee flight and we can use science to understand the world around us."

I'll admit I don't understand this one. If someone could point out an ID person who actually argued this, I would appreciate it.

Does the person think that ID proponents believed that bees flew by means of magic? Everytime a bee flew it was a miracle?

An ID argument would go something like this: Half of the means of flight is no ability to fly and gives an organism no Darwinian survival advantage. You need the ability to fly all at once for it to be an advantage. Darwinian mechanisms cannot explain the flight of bees. Or something like that.

3) ID proponents are pointing out things on the cellular level which are incredibly complex. Some scientists want to create single cell life in order to disprove Intelligent Design. One problem.

How does this disprove ID?

Let's go to the tape:
Some people working in synthetic biology wouldn't mind sticking a finger in Pat Robertson's eye. A leading synthetic biologists said to me recently that she is working so hard on building and animating an artificial bacterium primarily so that she can prove to advocates of intelligent design that it doesn't take a God to create life. I wish her luck, and Godspeed.

You are designing a synthetic baterium using your intelligence. ID doesn't say that it could only be created by God. It says intelligence, in general.

Now, let's grant her some of her faulty assumptions. What if I said only a genius like Jimmy Page could come up with Stairway to Heaven? And then you picked up a guitar and played Stairway to Heaven. Did that disprove anything I said. No, you were following in Jimmy Page's footsteps. And you did not randomly start playing the same thing as Jimmy Page by accident, it took intelligence.

Likewise, I wish her luck too. She's spending a lot effort to disprove something that won't be disproven even if she is successful.

I hate to inform scientists of the following: if you design something you're going to have a hard time proving something was random.

That's why I say many scientists aren't the best thinkers. Now, they may have great grasps of things within their fields, but never confuse competence in one area with competence in other areas.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

McCarthyism Is Only Bad When You Are Against Communism

It's not a problem when you are dealing with conservatives, because we all know they are bigots.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Alito Offered XM Radio Deal
The Sam Alito Show, running on the subscriber-based radio network, won’t be subject to FCC content regulations, which means that the future Supreme Court Justice could “really let loose,” the XM source said.

“On C-Span, he’s limited to giving 8th-grade civics lessons to U.S. Senators,” he said. “But on satellite radio, he could really explore the subtleties of Constitutional law with an audience that could understand and appreciate it.”

Violence Begets Peace
The historical record shows, though, that tough responses to terrorist provocation sharply reduce violence. In Striking Back, a new book about the real Israeli reaction to Munich, Aaron Klein (of Time's Jerusalem bureau) reports that pursuing terrorists after 1972 led to dramatic declines in attacks on Israelis. If nothing else, aggressive tactics against murderous plotters keep them busy trying to stay alive, making it harder to develop plots. Recently, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's resolute reply to the latest Palestinian intifada, including targeted killings and construction of an anti-terrorism barrier, served to bring that uprising to an end and to produce dramatically enhanced security in Israel. Similarly, most Americans understand that efforts to kill or capture Osama bin Laden serve to protect all of us, not just gratify a desire for revenge.

Why Microsoft Still Has Security Issues

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

No Whammie, Big Bucks!

The story of the guy who memorized the pattern on Press Your Luck. It was a really good special.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Create More Jobs By Lowering the Coporate Tax

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Please Pray for John Piper

He is a tremendous asset to the body of Christ and he has been recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Richard Dawkins, Inconsistent Atheist

Hat tip to Uncommon Descent.
Professor Richard Dawkins, the world-renowned evolutionary biologist, whose atheism has earned him the nickname of 'Darwin’s Rottweiler', takes a personal journey through the world’s three great monotheistic religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Dawkins thinks it is time for science to stop sitting on the fence. In the light of overwhelming scientific evidence that, he believes, shows a supreme being cannot exist, and in a world in which religious conflict and bigotry are increasingly centre stage, Dawkins argues that for the good of humanity, religion needs to be challenged and disproved. Never one to shy away from a debate, Dawkins meets leaders from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim religions to find out how their beliefs fit with modern science's extraordinary knowledge of our world and the wider universe.

In The Root of All Evil Dawkins accuses the religious establishment of preying on people’s desire to believe in a greater being; abusing reason and humanity in the process. Ultimately he asks how they can defend what religion has done, and is doing to us?

Atheists using objective morality to attack the existance of God just won't work. If there is no God, everything is permissible. Their conclusion (there is no God) destroys there premises and assumptions (objective morality).

Italian Court to Decide if Jesus Actually Existed

This should be a slam dunk for those defending the existance of Jesus. 1) Non-Christian historians like Tacitus and Josephus mention Jesus. 2) Yes, your honor, all those people who claimed to see Jesus alive after he died. They were just making it up. They decided to suffer and die for that message for a lark.

Saddam's Terror Training Camps

Hat tip to Powerline.
THE FORMER IRAQI REGIME OF Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq. The existence and character of these documents has been confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD by eleven U.S. government officials.

The secret training took place primarily at three camps--in Samarra, Ramadi, and Salman Pak--and was directed by elite Iraqi military units. Interviews by U.S. government interrogators with Iraqi regime officials and military leaders corroborate the documentary evidence. Many of the fighters were drawn from terrorist groups in northern Africa with close ties to al Qaeda, chief among them Algeria's GSPC and the Sudanese Islamic Army. Some 2,000 terrorists were trained at these Iraqi camps each year from 1999 to 2002, putting the total number at or above 8,000. Intelligence officials believe that some of these terrorists returned to Iraq and are responsible for attacks against Americans and Iraqis. According to three officials with knowledge of the intelligence on Iraqi training camps, White House and National Security Council officials were briefed on these findings in May 2005; senior Defense Department officials subsequently received the same briefing.

The photographs and documents on Iraqi training camps come from a collection of some 2 million "exploitable items" captured in postwar Iraq and Afghanistan. They include handwritten notes, typed documents, audiotapes, videotapes, compact discs, floppy discs, and computer hard drives.

William Kritol comments:
IT'S CONVENTIONAL WISDOM. In fact, it's more than conventional wisdom. It's an article of faith among the enlightened: There was no connection, at least no significant connection, between Saddam Hussein's regime and al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

Senate minority leader Harry Reid put it this way: "There was [sic] no terrorists in Iraq." His colleague, Carl Levin, member of both the Armed Services Committee and the Intelligence Committee, says Iraq's relationship with al Qaeda was "nonexistent."

Senators Reid and Levin are Democrats, to be sure. But few prominent Republicans have challenged these assertions. And the Bush administration has been as quiet as a mouse--and just as meek. So the conventional wisdom reigns.

We have long dissented from this conventional wisdom. We have argued in these pages that the connections between Saddam and terrorists were substantial and significant. Stephen Hayes--among others--has reported over the past three years on extensive evidence of terror ties to Saddam's regime. In our judgment, the evidence for such ties has become more convincing, not less, as more information has become available.

Can we ever really know the whole truth--or almost the whole truth? Yes. How? Let us--all of us--read the mass of documents captured after the fall of the Saddam regime. Stephen Hayes's reporting, including his article in this issue, suggests to us that these documents would confirm the argument for a terror connection. But let everyone make up his own mind, based on his own reading of the documents.

Who Pays Business Taxes?

You do.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Dear Pat, Please Stop

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Monk's (famous Belgian place in Philly) Mentioned in Newsweek

Happened a while ago but I just heard about it. How cool is that?

Cat Survived Trip Down NJ Turnpike

Dems Blocking Report Which May Implicate Clinton Administration Using IRS Audits for Political Purposes?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Who Will Pay the Political Consequences for Opposing "Star Wars"?

In 2001, many Democrats bad mouthed Bush's attempts to get a missile defense system going, after Reagan proposed one some 20 or so years earlier.

Now it appears Iran is putting together a nuclear missile.

Will they admit the need now? Will they continue to say we don't need such a program? Or will they attempt to claim they were for it since the beginning?

I think the issue is too important to score political points. Let's allow the Democrats to lie and save face.

Author's Anti-"Blink" Book Details the Decline of Critical Thinking

I've noticed for a while that people can't follow argumentation. Many don't understand the reductio ad absurdum form of argumentation doesn't equate two things. In the Intelligent Design debate (sorry, I have to go here) you had people arguing that detecting design is not scientific. They were confusing the implications of a conclusion with the conclusion itself. The judge in the Dover case relied on the genetic logical fallacy and everyone thought that was good grounds for overturning the Dover policy on 1st amendment grounds.

When you add these logical mistakes to disagreement about facts (which you will always have), you have problems. If you can't even understand the form and structure of my argument, how are we going to have a productive conversation?

NEA Gives $65 Million to Liberal Groups

I'm sure this makes moderate and conservative teachers feel all warm inside.
If we told you that an organization gave away more than $65 million last year to Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Amnesty International, AIDS Walk Washington and dozens of other such advocacy groups, you'd probably assume we were describing a liberal philanthropy. In fact, those expenditures have all turned up on the financial disclosure report of the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union.

Under new federal rules pushed through by Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, large unions must now disclose in much more detail how they spend members' dues money. Big Labor fought hard (if unsuccessfully) against the new accountability standards, and even a cursory glance at the NEA's recent filings--the first under the new rules--helps explain why. They expose the union as a honey pot for left-wing political causes that have nothing to do with teachers, much less students.

We already knew that the NEA's top brass lives large. Reg Weaver, the union's president, makes $439,000 a year. The NEA has a $58 million payroll for just over 600 employees, more than half of whom draw six-figure salaries. Last year the average teacher made only $48,000, so it seems you're better off working as a union rep than in the classroom.

Many of the organization's disbursements--$30,000 to the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, $122,000 to the Center for Teaching Quality--at least target groups that ostensibly have a direct educational mission. But many others are a stretch, to say the least. The NEA gave $15,000 to the Human Rights Campaign, which lobbies for "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights." The National Women's Law Center, whose Web site currently features a "pocket guide" to opposing Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito, received $5,000. And something called the Fund to Protect Social Security got $400,000, presumably to defeat personal investment accounts.

$58 million for 600 employees? That's an average salary of $96,666.67. I wonder what the average teacher, who makes on average considerably less, feels about that.

British Writer Advocates Giving Up Organic Food
It's self-indulgent, wasteful and frankly immoral. But you know how it is. I was swept along with the trend, and it felt good at the time. But I don't want to be a hypocrite. So I'm giving up organic food in 2006.

The incident that stiffened my resolve was a white rubber-banded wrist thrusting across me to grab organic apples. Here was someone who professed solidarity with the world's hungry. Yet they support a farming method that would starve over half the world.

Except the world already produces enough food for everyone. But I understand where the writer is going with this.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Canada Being Killed by Kindliness
But then the kindliness set in.

How harsh and condescending it was, we were told, to treat these poor incoming people with brutal demands that they earn a living.

We must help and assist them, make them feel at home, make them feel wanted.

We were kindly in other ways. We were much kindlier to school children, for instance.

In the bad old days, we actually strapped kids if they misbehaved.

We made them write really crucial exams; and we actually made them repeat the year if they failed them.

We were particularly unkind to convicted criminals. Prisons were unpleasant places.

Sensible people were somewhat frightened by the police. To most children, the huge constable, with his ramrod back, riding his bicycle and looking coldly on everything around him, was an object for terror.

Our language was unkind in other ways. People who wouldn't work were called "bums." People who drank too much were called "drunks." People who promised and didn't deliver were called "scumbags." People who shaded the truth were called "liars," and people who took things that didn't belong to them were called "thieves."

In sum, we had a pessimistic view of human nature, based upon our inborn prejudice that's the way the world is.

"Exactly," said the reformers. "And the only way to change the world is to change the way we treat people. If you're nice to people, then people will be nice to you."

Well, we knew this was often true. But it was also often untrue, and we also knew that, to depend on an unfailing reciprocal "niceness" was dangerous, because those who are prepared to exploit our "kindliness" could very soon render the whole community uninhabitable.

Anyway, the reformers prevailed, and that explains what's going on in Toronto.

Funniest Newspaper Article Intro I've Seen in a Long Time
Thousands of empty seats... a dreadful performance by the home squad... fans booing the team off the field at halftime.

Now we're talking Falcons football.

The Difference Between Being Smart and Having Wisdom

I often say you have to have a Ph.D. to be truly stupid. George W. Bush is always ridiculed for not having an incredible intellect. Read a comment he recently made about the wiretapping rules: "If al Qaeda is calling you, we want to know why. I think that's reasonable."

Now, that's wisdom.

In my recent multiverse post, I pointed out that physists (i.e., smart people) are postulating unverifiable multiple universes in order to avoid the conclusion that there is a Designer and Creator of the universe. In other words, they lack wisdom.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?