Saturday, 29 September 2012

A Captain in the Armies of the Lord of Hosts

Battle Lines Being Drawn

It is always encouraging when Christian leaders and Christians face up to the Great Antithesis between belief and unbelief and build their lives and ministries accordingly. Here is a clip of Bishop E. W. Jackson calling for black Christians to leave the Democratic party because of its persistent and virulent anti-Christian positions.  He has started a movement called Exodus Now!, evoking the biblical injunction to "come out from among them and be ye separate."

According to some media reports, the call is being heeded--to the consternation of the Democratic Party.  Before you read those reports, listen to the challenge and appeal Jackson makes to fellow black Christians.  It will be heart warming and encouraging to all Christians.

Here to Help

Jabba the Hut Gives us Nightmares

Ronald Reagan famously quipped that the most dangerous sentence in the English language was, "We're from the government and we're here to help."  Authoritarian rulers who believe they know what is in your best interests (better than you do) and who have pompously convinced themselves that they are kindly, considerate, and thoughtful--that is, they have noble motives--are the most dangerous of all.  After all Judas believed he was doing his people a great service, having their best interests at heart, when he betrayed our Lord for thirty pieces of silver.  In reality, he had fallen under the control of the Devil (Luke 22:3). 

Consequently, since the price of liberty is perpetual vigilance, we have to scrutinise very closely "well-meaning" governments.  The more well-meaning they are, the more dangerous they become.  At the very least it evidences a mode of thinking which considers citizens to be infantile children.  Such arrogance is both demeaning and minatory.

New Zealand's privacy laws are an example.  Conceived by civil righters and faceless bureaucrats and NGO-bureaucrats, privacy has become a classic example of the genre of authorities knowing what is best for you even if you don't.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

If Obama Wins . . .

Culture and Politics - Obama Nation Building
Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, 25 September 2012

If Obama wins -- which is a real possibility -- certain things follow. I mean certain things will follow other than the zombie apocalypse which will tragically end with a horde of them eating the republic's brains.
One of the results will be the chortling comments pointing out that I predicted this wouldn't happen, which is true, and that I ought therewith to shut up with the punditry, which is false, and that my observations on the subject have been nothing but glorified wish fulfillment, which is false again.

My conviction that Obama is going to lose, and that Romney is going to take it walking away, is my considered opinion. If I were a betting man, which I am not, I would be willing to put a $25 steak dinner on it. That is, a steak dinner for one of you out there, probably the noisiest one, not a steak dinner for all of you. That would work out to five Starbucks for 5 of you. That is the level of my conviction on this. Here I stand.
So let me state a few observations about an Obama win -- which is a real possibility -- and then state again why I think he is going to lose.

If Obama wins, look for certain things to follow.

Orwellian Newspeak in France

 "Father" and "Mother" To Be Expunged

We have published comment recently on the wider, deeper implications of homosexual "marriage".  The argument was that when a society recognises two things follow: the state intrudes into and regulates more and more of human activity, trying to make it conform to its degenerate, regressive, secular religion; and secondly, the family and its structural relationships face a full frontal assault. 

Now, as if  to illustrate the point, France has announced that it is moving to "Orwellise" the national language and discourse about families--all as a result of legalising homosexual "marriage".  This from The Telegraph:

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Media Defalcation

Not How the Press Works

The media in the US (and the West generally for that matter) is largely in the tank for Obama.  He appears to have an unlimited, never-ending supply of "free passes".  Most recently he and his administration made a huge mistake over the assault upon the US consulate in Benghazi.  Obama and Hillary Clinton and the US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice rushed to the microphones to declare that the violence was a reaction to an anti-Islamic video produced in America.  The sub-text was "the US is to blame; one of us caused the violence; mea culpa, mea maxima culpa". 

Unfortunately for that particular spin, it is now abundantly clear that the attack upon the embassy was planned long in advance: it was a military operation, and had nothing to do with provocation from an amateur DVD.  More alarming is the administration's ignoring of warnings which were delivered to the US about an imminent attack.

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

7 Rules for Reformers 

Political Dualism - Dualism Is Bad JuJu
Written by Douglas Wilson
Monday, 24 September 2012

A generation ago "community organizer" Saul Alinsky famously penned his Rules for Radicals, and it is my conviction that those interested in reformation should match his craft and self-awareness without trying to compete with the speed and depth of his revolutionary destructo-vision.

Some revolutionaries are patient and some are not. Gramsci argued for the "long march through the institutions" and Lenin wanted the massive meltdown all at once. Most revolutionaries have what Billingsly described as a "fire in the minds of men," but some are willing to go for the slow burn. So more than just simple patience is required to distinguish a revolutionary from a reformer.

So what are the basic rules for reformers?

Willing Little Helpers

Our Feckless Defence Policies

There is much to disturb in the Dotcom fiasco.  We are troubled by the appearance of an over-compliance with US demands.  When the New Zealand police force and spy agency appear to act like extensions of the FBI we are very uneasy. 

It appears that laws were broken by the authorities.  Fortunately we have courts.  We have Parliament.  We have independent officials charged with reviewing the activities of the Security Intelligence Service.  We expect that more and more will come out.  We also expect that what will emerge will be not a sinister intent to subvert law or justice, but ineptitude due to being in awe of the FBI and the demands of the US government. 

Is it too much to suggest that our government is a bit giddy over the thawing of relationships with the United States?  One would hope so.  But we expect to be disappointed.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The "Gospel" of Jesus Wife

Passing Off . . . A Deceit By Other Means

So, Jesus was married.  Ah . . . . no.  Just about every main stream media last week reported in high relief on an alleged fourth century Coptic manuscript fragment which purported to have Jesus speaking referring to His wife. 

When the fragment was released it was with accompanying caveats and qualifications.  Few of those made it through the MSM filters.  The New York Times did provide some of the qualifications:

Bigger is Better?

Exploding a Simplistic Myth

We are all familiar with the fallacy of  false causes.  Just because a five year old drummer boy beat his drum every evening it was not the cause of the sun's decline below the Western horizon.  The co-incidence of factors does not make one the cause of the other--necessarily.

For years we have been told that when it comes to schools, smaller class sizes mean a better, higher quality education.  The argument is that a lower teacher pupil ratio causes better learning.  Superficially this conclusion is compelling.  It seems commonsensical to believe that were a single teacher to teach (say) five hundred pupils in one huge classroom the educational outcomes would be far below one teacher teaching one pupil.

Not so fast, say the sceptics.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Selective Editing

It's Too Silly for Words

By the "playbook" of global warming alarmists, we are on very sound scientific ground to conclude that a devastating Ice Age is pending.  It will destroy life as we know it on planet earth. 

OK, so let's open the global warming playbook to Page One:
This, from the Christian "Science" Monitor


The One Indispensable Nation

The Commentariat is reported to be deeply disappointed by the Arab Spring.  Those poor Arab people have misunderstood our good intentions and our help in throwing out the bad guys.  But since this is just a misunderstanding, we will work harder at clarifying our intentions and good motives.  We will win them over in the end. 

But the Arab Spring has come and gone.  We are now in a fierce hot summer storm of riots protesting against the West in general and the US in particular all across the Muslim world. 

Firstly, let's just note the naive foolishness of the "useful idiots" in the West who actually believed that the Arab Spring would produce Muslims who would think like Western secular post-Christian human rights idealists.  This from the Reuters wire:

Monday, 24 September 2012


Carl Trueman Finds the World to be Upside Down

Pleased to meet you. Hope you guessed my name.

Posted by

Every now and then I find myself reminded of just how much the world has changed.  One such moment came for me on Saturday.  I was up in Boston to preach for my friend and fellow member of a certain parachurch blacklist, Mike Abendroth. On Saturday afternoon, he offered to take me to Northampton, location of the early ministry of Jonathan Edwards.   As I always try to travel light, I ditched my jacket but had no choice but to wear my chinos and a button down shirt for the trip.  In short, I had the humiliation, as an OPC man, of walking around Northampton looking like some newly-minted associate pastor at your typical PCA church.

We went to Starbucks.  There I saw a lady who was, as we would say back in Blighty, clearly a 'bloke' dressed as a 'bird.'  Now I have seen transgendered people before.

Scandalous Racism

Above the Pay Grade

Recently the NZ Herald moved from broadsheet to tabloid format.  It did not take the venerable rag long to lower its journalistic standards to reflect its new format. 

A storm-in-a-teacup scandal hit the headlines over the weekend.  Raaaaacism!  But worse, fundamentalist Christian raaaaaacism.   Still worse, fundamentalist creationist Christian raaaaacism.  Yup.  That's the worst kind there is. 

Apparently a self-promoting violet of the non-shrinking kind was grossly offended by pamphlets circulated in the South Waikato which apparently had the temerity to argue that people who believe in evolution are flirting with racism.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Obama's Red Rubber Nose 

Political Dualism - Mere Christendom
Written by Douglas Wilson
Monday, 17 September 2012

I want to begin by acknowledging what all right-minded observers ought to know by now, which is that Obama's foreign policy approach is a clownfest. And if that is the case, and it is, his Middle East bureau would be the red rubber nose.

It is as if somebody decided to take a mash-up of a Tom Wolfe novel and a Walker Percy novel, get a gifted cartoonist from Marvel or DC, get him on drugs, and then ask him to draw a riveting story of a celebrity president who goes to Vegas in the middle of a Mediterranean meltdown.

In other words, if someone wanted to convince me that the Obama administration is right at the apex of a clueless wickedness, it wouldn't take much convincing. I am pretty much there.

Vast Power Grab

Homosexual Marriage Would Exponentially Increase State Power Over Citizens

We are engaged in a debate over homosexual "marriage".  The protagonists have framed the issue as one of human rights and desire.  What people desire to do they have an implicit right to.  But there is another necessary but eclipsed issue that trundles along in behind.  The protagonists necessarily demand our acceptance of another principle: the prior authority and rights of the State to define and constitute marriage itself. 

We acknowledge freely that most Pagans in New Zealand would not consider this an issue at all.  Who would ever dispute anything so self-evident?  Of course the State has rights--pre-emptive rights, prior rights, higher rights.  Thus, naturally the protagonists of homosexual "marriage" look to the State as their protector and vindicator and great redeemer in the matter.  For the modern Pagan, there is no other entity that can fill this void or perform this role.

The shift has tectonic dimensions.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Letter From New Zealand (About NZ)

FranO'Sullivan Writes a Speech for the PM

Who owns what: for an answer, start here

By Fran O'Sullivan
NZ Herald
Saturday Sep 15, 2012

Mr Speaker, I rise today in this House to introduce legislation to vest all natural resources - water, geothermal steam, airwaves, aquifers and, for the avoidance of doubt, all minerals, ironsands, magma, rare earth deposits, coal, lignite, methane and uranium in this country and the exclusive economic zone that surrounds our shores - in a new Crown entity representing the combined interests of all the people of New Zealand.

Mr Speaker, my Government considers natural resources like water, geothermal steam, and the aquifers that underpin our rich agricultural plains to be public goods that are part of the common wealth of all New Zealanders.

Let's Be Realistic

Why Some Believe in God, and Some Don't

People who are self-conscious are likely to be relatively more objective than those naive folk who believe that the facts are the facts are the facts.

In reality man is a finite creature and all reasoning is conditioned to some extent by his limitations and experiences.  This is as true for scientists as for musicians and other artists.  Old beliefs control new beliefs.  What one already believes to be true conditions all hypotheses from that point onward.

As Stokes puts it:

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Nation State Democracies are the Enemy

Nigel Farrar Confronts the Creeping Despotism of Europe

Unbelief's Best Shot

The Mother of Invention

We recently began perusing The God Particle by Leon Lederman.  The author is a Nobel winning particle physicist with a gift for whimsical prose.  The intent of the author is to provide the lay person with a rough  general knowledge of arcane particle physics.  The book consists of a journey through the history of physics in general and particle physics in particular.

Lederman is a materialist.  All that exists is atomic particles and space.  So far, so good.  Below is his description for the layman of how it all began.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

The Chocolate Milk Test 

Culture and Politics - Sex and Culture
Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, 11 September 2012

In talking about gay rights, we have to distinguish between different kinds of rights. If someone tries to ramp up the stakes by saying that he is talking about human rights, then we have go on to distinguish between different kinds of human rights.

The first kind of right is a liberty right -- the right to be left alone in certain specified areas. These are rights we have over against an officious government or a meddling neighbor. I have, for example, the right to keep and bear arms. This right was given to me by God, not James Madison. I also have a right to free speech. I have a right to free assembly together with others exercising the same right. I have the right to worship God as He requires in His Word.

Now in this sense, I absolutely believe in gay rights. Homosexuals are people and habeus corpus applies to them as much as to anybody else.


The Significance of AD 70

. . . the destruction of Jerusalem and of the Temple was not only a symbol, but in an initial sense the very coming of Christ into His Kingdom.  That coming of Christ into His Kingdom, which had been denied in explicit words, and negtived by public deed, when by wicked hands they slew Him, was vindicated, and, so to speak, publicly enacted when the Roman solider threw the torch into the Temple, and when afterwards Jerusalem was laid level with the dust.  As regard the men of that land and generation, it was the public proclamation, the evidence, that the Christ Whom they had rejected had come into His Kingdom.  By the lurid light of those flames no other words could be read than those on the Cross: "This is the King of the Jews".

I say, then, the burning of Jerusalem was to that generation--and  whatever kindred events successively came within the focus of the telescopic vision of following generations, were to them, the fulfilment of that prophecy, of which the final completion will be the Personal reappearance of Christ at the end of the Aeon.

Alfred Edersheim, Prophecy and History in Relation to the Messiah (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, [1901] 1980), pp.132--133. (Alfred Edersheim (1825--1889) was born and educated in a Jewish home but later converted to Christianity. His perspective therefore is unusually keen and comprehensive on the subject of Jewish history and Old Testament prophecy and its fulfilment.)

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

A Silent God Would Be Silent on Rights 

Culture and Politics - Sex and Culture
Written by Douglas Wilson
Thursday, 13 September 2012

So I have made a distinction between certain negative rights (leave me alone in these specified areas) and positive rights (free chocolate milk for everybody). But surely it is more than how it is stated, whether negatively or positively. Couldn't a master of circumlocution cast gay rights as a "leave me alone" issue? The answer to that is "certainly," and so it is not simply a matter of abstract individual rights, negatively stated.

We have no right to be left alone across the board, in every area. We have the God-given right to be left alone in specified areas -- gun purchases, for example. Free speech for another. Free assembly for another. But you don't have the right to be "left alone" in the production of child porn. You don't have the right to be left alone with that abortion decision. The child is present, which means that you are not alone.

Beneficiary Bashing, or Not . . .

 Some Debates are Just Plain Tiresome

The furore over "beneficiary bashing" is making its seasonal reappearance.  We have grown somewhat bored with the whole thing.  Same old, same old.  Whenever a government moves to put terms and conditions around state payments to some the furore reappears.  It's boring because there is absolutely no way to resolve the issue and move forward.

The reason for the issue's intractability is state welfare benefits are universally regarded as a human right.  The type of right in question can only be regarded as a demand right--although most people use the term "right" crudely without that nuance.   A demand right functions as follows: I have a need (for food, clothing, heating, recreation, etc.) and my need constitutes a right to demand of others that my needs be met.  The enforcer of the demand is the State.

Virtually everyone in New Zealand believes that demand rights are intrinsic to justice itself.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Letter From America (About China)

Shock Move: China Calls for End to Forced Abortions After International Outcry

Horrific stories about forced abortion are common in China. The nation’s controversial one-child policy has traditionally been upheld by savagely forcing women to abort their babies if, indeed, they become pregnant after already having a child.

With the rest of the world learning more about the horror, international pressure has mounted for the country’s leaders to abandon the controversial policy. Now, in a surprising move, Chinese officials are finally calling for an end to the practice.

The Eye of the Beholder

 Loving Father or Corrupt Cop

A "just so" story peddled by Unbelief is that the yellow brick road to the Wizard of truth is paved with objectivity.  One who seeks after truth successfully, the one who finds truth, will be marked by objectivity--the discipline of stepping outside of oneself and seeing things as they really are, in themselves. 

Of course absolute objectivity is non-existent in creatures, finite creatures.  The limitations of being a finite creature intrude upon all our attempts to be objective.  Our objectivity can always, ever, only be, of the relative kind. Relative objectivity proceeds by disclosing to self and others our limitations, cant, and biases--that is, our lack of objectivity. 

That being said every so often Unbelievers are remarkably honest about God and their subjective prejudices against Him.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Not With a Bang, But a Whimper

Human Rights Go Phhhht in Europe

When a culture or society rejects the Living God they do not continue in a vacuum.  Rather, the culture moves to replace God with gods of its own making.  In our modern secular world this inevitably means gods of power--state power.

We have seen an example most recently in the extension of powers claimed by the European Central Bank and the European Stability Mechanism.  Consider the following:

Something Much More Comprehensive

National Standards are So Nineteenth Century

Commentators are chortling gleefully over David Shearer, the NZ Labour Party leader appearing to do an about face on education.  His party, always in abject submission to its controlling unions--of which the teacher unions are dominant--has been taking great umbrage at any suggestion that the government education system is failing.  Apoplectic tirades have poured forth insisting that there is nothing wrong with government schools: they are the best in the world, etc. etc.

But Shearer knows that parents and the public in general really like the idea of National Standards in government schools, testing for age competence in reading, writing, and maths.  So, he has done the next best thing: he has promised that his government would spend more money for underachieving schools (which hitherto did not appear on Labour's radar screen).  He has also promised that he would keep National Standards. 

His critics are mocking the about turn.  But not so fast.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Homosexual Hypocrisy

Libertines and Their Fellow Travellers

In the propaganda that is swirling around the push to institute homosexual "marriage" in New Zealand, the proponents are amongst other things are engaged in special pleading.  They want homosexual "marriage" to be put in a special category, deserving (in their minds) special treatment which they are unwilling to grant to other human beings.  To this point, their argument is nestled amongst a putrid swamp of hypocrisy.  

The Wall bill to institute homosexual marriage is replete with restrictions and definitions which prohibit marriage for certain types and classes of adults.  Yet at the same time it claims that homosexuals must be allowed to enter homosexual "marriage" because it is a fundamental human right.  Why is homosexual marriage a fundamental human right while other forms of marriage are not?  Why is homosexual "marriage" so privileged?  Why is it in a special category?

Consider the Preamble to the Bill:

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Letter From Canada (About Organic Food)

Marni Soupcoff: Stanford study shows organic food no safer or healthier than conventional food

Marni Soupcoff  

Sep 5, 2012 12:16 PM ET 
Last Updated: Sep 5, 2012
National Post

When a new study by doctors at Stanford University found that organic foods are not any healthier than conventional foods, Canada’s organic growers must have been at a loss.

What could they possibly say to the dreary news that paying big bucks for organic products actually provides no positive physical or nutritional benefits? Would the growers be humbled or embarrassed? Would they graciously admit the evidence that their products are no better for consumers than the less pricey non-organic varieties?

Well, what do you think?

Neglecting Duties

Subtle Disobedience

An abiding temptation to Christians and the Church is to distort the truth by emphasis.  It is a subtle form of disobedience.  If the landowner gave his stewards a list of ten responsibilities and they focused on one only, neglecting the other nine. the unfaithfulness and disobedience of the stewards would be apparent to all. But not to the stewards, we suspect.  Their uber-faithfulness to one duty would be used to justify the neglect of their other duties. 

When Christians overemphasise a responsibility clearly taught in Scripture to the neglect of other commandments their defalcation is usually not immediately apparent to them.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Hey, This Knife Cuts in Two Directions! 

Political Dualism - Mere Christendom
Written by Douglas Wilson
Friday, 07 September 2012

Suppose the point were to be made -- and it is a worthy point to make -- that being a Christian trumps being an American. This is a point with which I am in whole-hearted agreement, and which I have made in this place numerous times. A conservative Republican believer in Jesus has far more in common with a Palestinian Christian than he does with a secular representative of the state of Israel. A thousand amens. Jesus makes all the difference.

But there is a way of agreeing with this that shows one is growing up into the fundamental tenets of "mere Christendom," and there is another way of agreeing with it that shows one is just becoming a liberal. There is a way of appealing to Jesus because you find Jesus appealing, and there is a way of appealing to Jesus because you find American hegemony unappealing.

Supercilious Schtick

Hegemonic Liberals

The New Zealand Labour leader, David Shearer has been getting a lot of schtick.  He has confirmed his belief that New Zealand needs to take taniwha seriously.  For our non-Kiwi readers, taniwha are, according to Maori, mythical spirit monster which dwell in the lands, seas, and rivers.  They need to be placated at appropriate times and places, lest they become angry and do damage. 

This from Patrick Gower at TV3 News:

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Letter from the UK

Nicholas Stern: The Most Dangerous Man You've Never Heard Of 

James Delingpole
The Telegraph

Ask almost anyone who Nicholas Stern is and you'd surely draw a blank. But as Andrew Montford suggests at his Bishop Hill blog, there are few men who have had quite such a deleterious effect on our lives as this dreary ex-civil servant now known – to those few who do know of him – as Lord Stern and doing very nicely thank you at his extremely well-paid job fomenting climate alarmist drivel at the Grantham Institute.
Says Montford (and gosh how it does the heart good to see this mild-mannered fellow getting so righteously, viciously angry!)

Nothing New Under the Sun

The Primitivism of Moderns

Idolatry--the elevation of  some aspect of creation into the status of a demi-god--is as natural to the fallen heart as breathing.  Instinctively Unbelief will seek the One--an organising principle, or a precept, or an imagined being, or a ruler--and will devote their loyalty, devotion, and commitment to whatever  manufactured idol is at hand.   Sometimes the idol will be Me--with self being the centre of one's devotion and loyalty.  Sometimes it will be a nation--America the Exceptional, for example.  Sometimes it will be an ideology: socialism or libertarianism, for example. 

Whatever replaces the Living God as the centre and apex of human loyalty, devotion, and service is a manufactured idol.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Pro-Life Records

Where US Pollie Parties  Stand on Abortion

Kevin de Young presents a useful survey on the respective positions of the Republican and Democratic parties on abortion from 1976 to the present day.  Here are the summary points:

First, on the Republicans:
  • Initially, the party was much more hesitant to take a firm stance on abortion.
  • The pro-life statements have generally gotten more expansive over the years.
  • The position has not really changed since 1980. The last three platform statements (2004, 2008, 2012) have been very similar.
  • I could not find language on abortion in 1984. It’s probably in there and I just didn’t see it. Curiously, though, 1984 was the only year for which I couldn’t find a Democratic statement on abortion. If the statements were in there and I missed them, they must not have been a big deal.

And here are some observations on the Democrats:

It's A Small Matter--Or So We Are Told

Music And Worship

Music is a contentious issue in the Church.  This is not surprising.  It has been contentious for a long, long time.  One of the issues abroad today is whether church music and song should reflect the currently prevailing musical idioms of our culture. 

On any given Sunday, up and down the country churches listen to (and sing) songs which imitate trite "love songs" playing on just about every radio station, 24/7.  With one difference: the love songs are sung about Jesus.  It is banal and disrespectful.  It breaches the third commandment--being nothing more than the using of God's holy Name in a vain and empty manner.

T. David Gordon, in his Why Johnny Can't Sing Hymns puts the matter in a wider perspective. 

Saturday, 8 September 2012

No Dissent Permitted

The New Heretics

This will be an interesting case to watch.  Four UK Christians are taking a case to the European Court of Human Rights, claiming they were discriminated against in the workplace because of their religious beliefs.  This from The Telegraph:

Christian Public Worship and Popular Culture

Worship is Neither Relaxing Nor Soporific

Music use in churches has increasingly become a descent to the lowest common denominator.  The intentions may be good: the overriding goal is to make public worship accessible to "outsiders" or non-Christian visitors.  The consequence has been a turning to "pop music" as the appropriate musical idiom for the public worship of the Living God.  This is a short-sighted mistake.   

Pop music is like pop psychology--superficial, bland, inconsequential.  Music which is popular is that which can be played as background music in shopping malls.  It is soporific, calming, pleasing, entertaining--without demanding concentration, work, or undivided attention.  As T. David Gordon puts it:

Friday, 7 September 2012

Letter From America (About Crony Capitalism)

Palliative Care

Pressie Obama is making a big deal about his government's huge bailout of near-bankrupt General Motors in 2008.  He offers it as indisputable evidence that using tax payers to save a failing company works: jobs are protected, industry is buoyed, and everybody benefits.

The reality is very different from the political spin.  And commercial reality is eventually brutal: it does not fool itself or others forever, unlike politicians.  You can dress mutton up as lamb in politics every day, because you can fool all of the people most of the time.  But markets--that's another story.  While markets may fool themselves and you for a good long time, in the end the truth comes out; reality actually does eventually intrude into the specious narratives, and a cleansing enema takes effect.  Governments, however, think and acts as if they can keep spinning the fairy tale forever. 

So GM is a great example of what big government and big industry can do when yoked together in partnership.  Not according to the share market.

More Time Please . . .

Irreducibly Complex

How often have we heard the refrain, "It's more complex than we thought."  We have heard it in evolutionary biology, sotto voce of course.  The narrative of evolutionists is that primitive life forms are simple; if they are simple, it is an evidence of their age and early positioning on the evolutionary tree.  Man is the most complex  creature: therefore, a late development on the evolutionary tree--at least, that's what the "just-so" story of evolutionism would have us believe.

A problem in the narrative arises when it becomes evident that some of the allegedly oldest and most primitive creatures on the planet are also incredibly complex.  Take, for example, the "most primitive" deep sea dwellers.  Their large compound eyes are far, far more complexly constructed than initially assumed.

Another evolutionist narrative is that due to evolutionary forces human beings have a lot of "junk" in their systems.  This is "stuff" which once was useful, but as evolution took place, became redundant or superseded and so was made inert.  The appendix and tonsils are organs which evolutionists in days gone by have interpreted in that way.

So with research into human genetics.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Son of Bork 

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, 04 September 2012

Yesterday I tweeted that Obama's big challenge is this:

"The chief tactical challenge for Obama is this: arguing for a second term without looking like he is arguing for a second chance. #please"

My friend Frank Turk responded with a challenge.
"@douglaswils well, as someone on-record as not being willing to vote for Romney, you should admit O will get his 2nd chance. At everything."

Since it is plain that I have not convinced everybody of the wisdom of what I am doing, perhaps another post is in order. Shoot, I haven't convinced everybody of the sanity of what I am doing. So let me do it a little bit more.

Presidential elections are a chess game, not a series of discrete events. They are part of a story, and chapters follow. We are nowhere near the end of the book. There is lots of chess left.

Now I have no problem whatever granting that Romney, considered in isolation, is far, far better than Obama. Dubya was far, far better than Gore or Kerry. Herbert Walker was far better than whoever it was he ran against the first time. But is that the only comparison, the names on the ballot at a given point in time?
No, the story is bigger than that. I grant that Obama is terrible, and another round of him would be double terrible. But how did we ever wind up with Obama anyway? We got Obama because of the big government conservatism, the compassionate conservatism of Bush.

Hollow Men

Blind Faith and Vicious Circles

Myopic new atheism reasons something like this:  science and Unbelief is reasonable because it is evidence based, which then becomes subject to human reason.  Religion has no evidence, and employs no reason.  Believing something for which there is no evidence is childish at best, madly delusional at worst. 

Poor old Sam Harris jumps into the trap showing that he has not considered the fatal weakness of his own position:
We have names for people who have many beliefs for which there is no rational justification.  When their beliefs are extremely common we call them "religious"; otherwise, they are likely to be called "mad", "psychotic", or "delusional".  [Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (New York: W.W.Norton & Company, 2004), p. 72.]
Hold on a minute there, Sam.  Just a mild challenge: without presupposing the authority of reason, and without employing it, please establish and warrant its authority and veracity.  You cannot?  No.  So your arguments are merrily swirling around in a vicious circle?  Now, let's just revisit the meaning of "mad", "psychotic" and "delusional" again, shall we.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Evolutionist Humbug

Creationist Response 

This Is the Creationists‘ Response to Scientist Bill Nye’s Viral Pro-Evolution Video Claiming They Harm Children

The Blaze

Scientist Bill Nye captured headlines last week after he lambasted creationists and proclaimed that teaching evolution is damaging to both children and society. Now, just days after Nye’s controversial Big Think video making these proclamations reached millions, Answers in Genesis (AiG), the Christian ministry behind the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, has responded with a clip of its own.

In an article entitled, ”Time is Nye for a Rebuttal,” Ken Ham, CEO of AiG, tackled Nye’s claims and announced the publication of the counter-video. Of particular note, the Christian ministry leader took offense at the scientist’s purported claim that those who teach creationism are, in a sense, “abusing” children.
“A recent tactic by evolutionists in their battle against creationists, one that is especially used by Richard Dawkins, is to employ an ad hominem argument—that creationists are committing a form of ‘child abuse’ when they teach creation to children,” Ham contended.

Here is the Answers in Genesis video rebuttal to Nye's absurd allegations of creationist child-abuse:

CMI Creation Station in Canada also put out a vid rebutting Nye's ridiculous anti-free speech position:

The Curse of Suicide

Why Our Young People Kill Themselves

Youth suicide has again hit the headlines in New Zealand--as it likely will for years to come.  The coronial service now releases figures along with a commentary regularly, so it is kept front and centre. 

Speculation swirls around the causes.  Why does New Zealand have such a high youth suicide rate?  No-one really knows.  There is not enough causal evidence one way or the other, we are told.  This vacuum allows folk to trot out the usual line-up of suspects: poverty, alcohol, drugs, no jobs, etc.  Plenty more could be added. 

It seems reasonable to hold that the causes are multi-valent.  But since everyone is reduced to speculation on the causes, we will add ours.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Kuhn's Revolution

Fifty Years On

Several decades ago during post-grad studies we were introduced to Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  Kuhn was working as an academic physicist and was asked to teach a course on science for humanities students.  Very cleverly, Kuhn decided to teach the course looking at the history of science--that is, science from a humanities perspective.

His research led him to the discoveries he summarises in The Structure.  He demonstrated that in the history of science, knowledge has been communal, not objective.  It is socially conditioned.  These ideas are now accepted by all but the most purblind.  Kuhn, of course, was not researching and writing in a vacuum.  Wittgenstein had already laid the philosophical foundations for this thesis.  Michael Polanyi had already articulated the idea that all scientific knowledge was personal knowledge.  Kuhn was building upon these notions.

Fifty years have not passed since The Structure first appeared.  John Naughton, writing in the Observer, chronicles the origins and influence of the work that reverberates to this day.

Beware Guilt-Ridden White Liberals

Lunacy on a National Scale

New Zealand has shot itself in the head.  This is not some trifling wound to an extremity such as the foot.  This is a wound which makes the whole nation comatose, zombie like.

The received wisdom--promulgated by guilt-ridden whites--is that this country was stolen from Maori--the indigenous people at the time when European settlement began.  Every failing and inadequacy of the Maori race has been attributed to the grievance of that alleged injustice foisted upon them.  White elites have tormented themselves over this and resolved to put matters right.  Consequently, successive governments have agreed to a process whereby Maori can approach a tribunal, funded by the government, to investigate Maori grievance claims and make rulings in favour of Maori.

The socially liberal guilty conscience has been assuaged by this ingenious device.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Doug Wilson's Letter From America

Stop Squabbling 

Book of the Month/September 2012 

Engaging the Culture - Book Review
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, 01 September 2012

This is a book for everyone who has been in a conflict, is now in a conflict, or will be in a conflict. Which is to say, everybody.

I appreciate Alexander Strauch very much. This is because he sticks close to the text, which means that you are bound to learn a great deal, even if at the end of the day you differ with some aspect or other. In this book, he assembles numerous passages from the Scriptures on handling conflict -- and there are a lot of them -- and walks us through them.

Hoot of the Day

Winston's Advisers

On the matter of asset sales, Winston Peters has been a xenophobe.  But it's not surprising.  He has acknowledged he takes advice from intellectually impaired economists.  
NZ First leader Winston Peters also believed the Government should delay (the sale of assets). “Every economist with half a brain says it's a bad idea," he said. (Stuff)

The New Model Man

Trying Harder

Over recent months we have discovered the corpus of C J Sanson, a writer of tight, illuminating historical novels.  His premier character is a hunchback lawyer, Matthew Shardlake practising amidst the turbulent times of Henry VIII.  It has often been observed that superior historical novels are one of the best ways to access particular historical periods and times: Dr Sanson's work perfectly illustrates the point.  His historical knowledge is both comprehensive and compelling. 

He has also set novels in the twentieth century.  We have recently read Winter in Madrid, a novel set in Franco's Spain in the early 40's.  In this novel Sanson portrays (in passing) the fantastical notion held by many communists and socialists of the day: when the revolution comes, human nature will be transformed.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Letter From France (About Homosexual Marriage)

Bruce Logan: Same-sex marriage threatens civil liberty

NZ Herald
Wednesday Aug 29, 2012
Bruce Logan is a former Auckland schoolteacher now living in France.

Same sex marriage is not an issue of equality nor the success of any couple's marriage. It is not about the value or validity of homosexuality. The issue is about the link between the state and marriage in civil society. Who decides what marriage is and what it's for?

Marriage is neither essentially religious nor a product of tradition. It is not the child of the state. Neither is marriage what Lynne Featherstone the British Equalities Minister claims. "Marriage is a right of passage for couples who want to show they are in a committed relationship, for people who want to show they have found love and wish to remain together until death do them part." Her historical vision is limited; her logic is deficient and her fusion of the Anglican Prayer Book with modern idiom disingenuous.

Marriage is the consequence of who we are.

Fly, You Fools!

 Unbelief's Dirty Little Secrets

The Bible says that the fool is one who denies God's existence: "the fool says in his heart, 'there is no God'."  (Psalm 14:1).  At first glance this statement on its own does not allow us to declare with certainty that all Unbelievers are therefore fools.  To draw that conclusion would entail us falling into the fourth form logical fallacy of affirming the consequent.  The subsequent declarations in Psalm 14, however, put the matter beyond dispute: all Unbelievers are indeed fools.
1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
    there is none who does good.
The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
    to see if there are any who understand,
    who seek after God.
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
    there is none who does good,
    not even one. (Psalm 14: 1-3)
On the other hand, Unbelief confronts us with an array of arguments to the opposite: it is the Believer who is foolish and ignorant. Is Belief and Unbelief destined, then, to pass like ships in the night.  Not really.  Unbelief at its most honest candidly acknowledges its own foolishness.