Observations

October 30, 2012

An atheist may not claim, as Dostoevsky intimated that, “If God does not exist, everything is permitted.”

However if an atheist did make such a claim there would be no rational basis to contradict him.


How Mitt Won the First Debate and Why the Rest Don’t Matter

October 30, 2012

There has been some time to reflect on the debates between the Presidential candidates so now is a good time to consider why they transpired as they did and where they leave the race. I contend that only the first debate mattered – and to understand why, one must not only look at how the actual debate played out but what President Obama’s strategy was leading up to the debate.

In the months and days leading up to the debate, the Obama campaign had one strategy, and that was to attempt to completely eliminate any good will the public might have for Mitt Romney. And so we got ‘he destroys jobs’. He killed people with cancer. He hadn’t paid taxes for ten years. He was conducting a war on women. He hates black people. He hates his Hispanics. He hates Gay people. He hates 47% of the people. This sort of campaigning was very effective – no one was talking about Obama’s actual performance as President and a significant number of people were convinced Romney was the Mormon anti-Christ or possibly even Shiva, destroyer of Worlds.

The Obama team adopted this strategy in part because it had no significant positives to play. They could only repeat “Osama Bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive!” so many times before people started asking questions about the economy and the current state of the Middle East, so it was necessary to divert attention to the Horror That Is Mitt Romney. And up until the debate this strategy was very effective.

The reason it was effective was because Obama had a press that was willing to oblige him when it came to communicating a narrative. Nonetheless, while this constant barrage of negativity about Romney certainly undermined Romney’s campaign it was also undermining Obama’s preparation for the debate. This was because the debate required the President to answer a competent and capable opponent, whereas Obama had been preparing for the straw man he had made Romney out to be. He had bought his own caricature of Romney.

Of course when people tuned in to one of the most widely viewed Presidential debates in thirty years they saw quite a different Mitt Romney. Rather than being aloof and arrogant, Romney was engaged, informed and personable. He eloquently criticized the President’s policies without seeming to attack the President, and he was clear if not precise with his own plans for dealing with the economy. Obama on the other hand seemed irritated, unclear, disengaged and reactionary. He was clearly caught off-guard. By all accounts, Romney dominated the debate.

But what is interesting is that Romney didn’t need to dominate the debate – he just needed to show up and not be the demonic figure the Obama campaign had made him out to be. By attempting to turn Mitt Romney into a right-wing cartoon character, Obama inadvertently set him up to easily win the debate. In common parlance this is called overplaying your hand. By not being that guy, and by performing well, Romney was able to go above and beyond expectations and this has since shifted the momentum in his favor.

Interestingly, this is one of the great failings of the secular left. For atheists, Christians aren’t just wrong – they are dumb, dangerous and delusional. To the Occupy Movement business owners don’t just have their own interests, they want to rape the planet and exploit the poor. To radical feminists social conservatives aren’t simply interested in protecting the unborn or preserving the family – they are conducting a ‘war on women’. This is why anytime conservatives are given a fair hearing before an objective audience they come across as eminently reasonable and convincing, because they are never the evil caricature the left makes them out to be. It’s also the reason the left frequently tries to shut down conservative speakers in public settings and in the media, because they can’t control the message. Secular leftism is an empty philosophy which only exists in a subsidized vacuum like a university or newspaper; it never produces useful policies or consistent worldviews that a person of reason or experience would adopt. So it relies on the denigration of its opponents, not pointing to its own successes.

This of course doesn’t amount to a guarantee that Romney will win – many factors may come into play there. But if Obama loses this election, this will be the reason why.


Friday Fun-ness

October 19, 2012

I usually reserve this spot for the whimsical, satirical, interesting or unusual. It’s election season now though, so the next few will probably lean political.

A friend posted this on Facebook with no commentary (though it certainly generated a lot) – suffice to say that this was funny when it came out, now it it hysterically funny. Or tragically comic. You decide.


Observations

October 17, 2012

It’s always amazing to me how little the objections to Christianity have changed, and how enduring the answers to those objections are – from the immensely wise mind of G.K. Chesterton:

Dear Mr. Chesterton,
A famous anthropologist has recently demonstrated quite conclusively that the physiological formation of the ape and the human, including their brains, are almost exactly alike…
Don’t you think he proved something rather devastating to your philosophy?

Signed, Dr. K.

Dear Dr. K.,
If he was trying to prove that man has a merely material origin like the ape, he was proving exactly the opposite. If there are two motorcars, which a minute examination proves to be exactly alike in every mechanical detail, then we shall be rather more and not less surprised if one of them suddenly soars into the air like an aeroplane, while the other can only trundle along the road like a cart. The only way in which we can possibly explain it is to suppose that, at some time and in some way, some other more mysterious force came into play. But the more we prove that every cog and rivet in the two machines is identical, the more we are driven to the mystical explanation when their action is different. And the difference between a man and an ape does not need discussion, it does not allow of denial or even doubt. Man has stepped into a totally different world of imagination and invention; like a man turning into a god. If this startling and stupendous difference can co-exist with exactly the same material origins, the only possible deduction is that it does not come from the material origins. In other words, the only possible deduction is that by some special spiritual act, as in the ancient record, man became a living soul.

Your friend, G.K. Chesterton

(Illustrated London News, Oct. 15, 1927)

The Ancient Brain

October 16, 2012

One of the major contentions of evolutionary theory is that it explains how organisms become more complex over time. This is a critical aspect because it is unimaginable that complex organisms would spring forth fully formed as the product of natural unguided forces. So evolutionists imagine mutations and natural selection acting in concert to ratchet organisms up the scale of complexity in a step-wise fashion. In this scenario evolution is a tinkerer, not planning, anticipating and directing change but incidentally modifying structures and occasionally stumbling upon beneficial solutions. There are many solid arguments against this idea with more gaining traction all the time, but perhaps the biggest reason to doubt the orthodox evolutionary view is that it simply don’t describe what actually happened in the history of life. There are in fact two realities (amongst others) that weigh against evolution, and they are the evident early complexity of organisms and the enduring stasis of organisms over time. Both are seen in a recent fossil discovery from the Cambrian era:

Complex brains evolved much earlier than previously thought, as evidenced by a 520-million-year-old fossilized arthropod with remarkably well-preserved brain structures.

The remarkably well-preserved fossil of an extinct arthropod shows that anatomically complex brains evolved earlier than previously thought and have changed little over the course of evolution. According to University of Arizona neurobiologist Nicholas Strausfeld, who co-authored the study describing the specimen, the fossil is the earliest known to show a brain.

The researchers call their find “a transformative discovery” that could resolve a long-standing debate about how and when complex brains evolved.

“No one expected such an advanced brain would have evolved so early in the history of multicellular animals,” said Strausfeld, a Regents Professor in the UA department of neuroscience.

Of course no who believed brains developed according to ordinary evolutionary theory expected that an advanced brain would have evolved so early in the history of life and persisted for so long, but the reality poses no problem for those who believe life was intentionally designed. Such unexpected findings are found so often now that one becomes surprised when scientists are surprised – but as long as they cling to decrepit ideas about evolution, they will continue to be surprised at how complexity made an early appearance in earth’s history and persisted through the changing eons – which is exactly what one would expect if they had been engineered to live here on earth to begin with.


Agree With Us or Else

October 15, 2012

I have written previously about repressive tendencies of the secular left with regard to the gay rights agenda. Because the arguments of the secular left are generally basedon  emotion and desire for power rather than reason and logic, they fear pressing their agendas in the marketplace of ideas where they exposed for the shams that they often are. Given this inability to make and sustain an argument for their ideas, they instead attempt to attack and vilify those who disagree with them. Thus the ongoing attempts to persecute Chik-fil-a for its pro-family stance.

The great difficulty with the left-wing position is that it has no natural limits. As with Orwell’s Animal Farm, secular leftists insist on increasingly strident positions that end up destroying the very people whom they once claimed to be fighting for. In the end nothing is left but totalitarianism, with a few power hungry people controlling everything.

There is perhaps no greater recent example of this than the case of Dr. Angela McCaskill, a Deputy to the President and the Associate Provost of Diversity and Inclusion at Gallaudet University. Dr. McCaskill was put on administrative leave for the sin of signing a petition for a referendum on the same-sex marriage law in Maryland. This was despite the fact that Dr. McCaskill was the first African-American woman to graduate with a Ph.D. at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., a school for the deaf and hard of hearing. That she is a supporter of a gay rights resource center on her campus apparently didn’t factor in at all. There is no reason to believe she even opposed gay marriage. Her unforgivable error was to indicate she supported allowing a vote by the people of Maryland on the issue. In the extremism that typifies secular leftist thought, even this slight derivation from leftist dogma is punishable by the loss of one’s job.

The greatest freedom that exists is the right to conscience. It is the basis of all our primary freedoms – free speech, free press, free association and of course freedom of religion. It is also the essence of Christian belief – because there is no other means of salvation in the gospel than a choice made by faith; a belief that is compelled by men can never lead to salvation. This is why the truest danger of the gay rights agenda is not to families themselves (though such dangers exist) but to our essential liberties that are rooted in our conscience rights. It should give every person concerned with liberty pause that while gay marriage is not yet the law of the land the secular left is using the issue as a bludgeon to silence opponents, real and imagined.

Heaven help our liberties the day it does become the law of the land and the insatiable desire for power of the secular left has no limit.


Observations

October 10, 2012

If Materialism and Naturalism are not true, then atheism certainly isn’t true. Full. Stop.