Monday, December 31, 2007

washington's culture of corruption

6 democrats, 1 rino, 2 republicans, and 1 of unknown party.

via the right place


the year in review: serious, and... not so much

link revamp

once again, i'm not satisfied with the arrangement of my blogroll, so i'll be rearranging it soon. hopefully the categories will be broadened to imply more equality and less hierarchy. also, some links that had 'fallen through the cracks' should be returning (no offense was intended if you happened to be de-linked), and the overall list will likely expand.

mo'HAM-mad in the Bible

Oddly, the fakir pig is mentioned in both Old and New Testament.

...and a thought-filled new year

though i would try to not use this blog's title in everyday conversation, this article raises some very good points (italics and bolds mine):
Christians are often scoffed at for their "fideistic" approach to origins. We are told we rely on Sunday School faith spoon-fed to us down through the generations. We argue for the existence of God based on our own misappropriation of biology and neuroscience, to name a couple of examples. We supplant "viable evidence" with our own ignorance that "such and such can't be the case without God", so we simply fill those "gaps" of ignorance with our magical formula: "God did it!"... or so that's what we're told.

Apparently we don't measure up to Atheistic Materialism's standard (a standard taken for granted and accepted as "self-evident"). They rely on the scientific method, logic, and sensory experience. "Clearly, all we are able to know is accessed through the physical world, therefore there is no reason to believe in the supernatural, right?

Sunday School's over, time to turn our brains on and evaluate our beliefs... and let's not get bamboozled in the process. Agreed?

"'Reason' is simply an intellectual tool, rather than an ultimate standard of knowledge, and as such will be affected by the regenerate or unregenerate condition of the man using it" -Greg Bahnsen, Van Til's Apologetic, pg 146

How many times have you been told by an unbeliever in the midst of an apologetic debate: "Let's be neutral"? As though taking a step back, breathing deeply, then exhaling will suddenly make things "neutral" and the unbeliever and Christian can get along epistemologically. The truth of the matter is that "neutrality" in the mind of an Atheistic Materialist is an assumed autonomy that is never argued for, merely accepted. Atheistic Materialists berate Christians for being irrational and demand we meet the standard of Rationality... as if Logic was supreme, above us and above God (if there is a God).

Reason is a method, not the standard of truth
. A way of identifying valid or invalid arguments or thinking processes. In the sense that it is a way of measuring, you can say it is "neutral" if you simply mean "objective"... but our use of it certainly is not neutral...

So when you run into an Atheistic Materialist who tells you that you're irrational, and that the impetus is on you to meet the standard of rationality, you need to recognize he means "you need to meet my standards of autonomy". He has certain beliefs about logic, about reasoning, and he utilizes his faculties in such a way that is controlled by other assumptions. No belief is held independent of another. Each belief is a principle networked among a web of others. We need to evaluate that "web". It should be a bit clearer now that our Atheistic Materialists are not being neutral. They are, in fact, demanding you follow their bias, so we can't simply argue brute facts (there's no such thing), and we can't discuss evidence as though everyone agrees about what constitutes evidence: We must evaluate the measure. Atheists don't go by evidence and Christian by faith (that is the so-called faith of irrationality we're accused of)... rather, Atheists reject a certain kind of evidence and adopt a different kind... whether or not their evidence is valid is determined by the validity of their measure for what constitutes evidence.

Yes, this is where we are talking at the presuppositional level.

Atheistic Materialists will appeal to science and logic. Do they have the foundation that makes their atheistic structure stable? What we need to ask is this: "Based on your assumptions about the world (origin of the universe by chance, life by chance) how is the scientific method intelligible?" We also need ask "If all there is is matter in motion, and we exist as a result of random chance, what makes logic intelligible?"

It is here that most Atheistic Materialists will start scratching their heads...

The scientific method also relies on the trustworthiness of our senses. I would like an explanation from an Atheistic Materialist on how it is that random collisions of chemicals produce "trustworthy" sense experience. Yet more often than not, something as basic as this is taken as a "given". When you get an Atheistic Materialist against the ropes on these issues (uniformity and the trustworthiness of our senses), he will say we can trust these things because we have always trusted them in the past... which is a major fallacy of begging the question. Perhaps our senses have "always worked in the past" because our faulty senses are telling us so. Atheistic Materialists don't have a foundation for making predictability intelligible, yet they use it... and then they project from past experience into the future and will take particular experiences and generalize that experience as though there is a connectedness with others... a connectedness that is inexplicable when you consider everything in the universe is a product of random collisions and chemical reactions... yet the Atheistic Materialist will trust that there is a connectedness, that there is predictability and all of this by relying on their senses during the whole process. It should be apparent that their underlying presupposition of chance doesn't provide them any reason for trusting their sensory experience. Likewise, the presupposition of chance doesn't afford them the blessing of uniformity and predictability.

How about logic? If we are simply matter in motion, what of logic? What determines rationality?

There are many Atheistic Materialists that will bemoan the Christian's belief in the immaterial, or spiritual. "To say something is immaterial", says the Atheistic Materialist, "is to say that thing is not anything. If it is something", he asks, "by what mechanism does the immaterial interact with our material brains?"

If reason is a byproduct of biological processes, is reason material? Some Atheistic Materialists would say "no" and others "yes". I would say on the one hand the Atheistic Materialist has a problem if logic is an immaterial byproduct because his worldview makes interaction between the material and the immaterial impossible. He might say that "supervenience" is the way in which logic and our brains interact, but that still leaves you with an amorphous non-substance that cannot *show* you how they interact. If it is a byproduct of biology, then logic ought not be generalized (i.e. universalized) by particular laws. Differing biology would produce different reactions, meaning logic isn't uniform, necessary, or universal. To apply a standard solely dependent on the individual's biology to the external world would be arbitrary...

It should be clear that Atheistic Materialism requires an illogical leap of faith for its zealots to conclude from chance, and matter in motion, that science and logic are intelligible consequents.

The Emperor is truly naked and his boisterous antics should make his nakedness all the more amusing. He makes great demands on others and parades himself about but we're too concerned about what nasty things he'll say to point out the obvious. His strong belief and, by God's common grace, ability to reason do not give credibility to his claims. Christians, stop giving Atheistic Materialists a pass on "neutral" items such as logic, evidence, and ethics. There are no gimmes here. If an atheist wants to prove his claims, he must make his claims intelligible.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Spatula City BBS tells how the military might celebrate the holiday:
Re: General Claus' Visit

To: All Personnel

1. An official visit by MG Santa (NMI) Claus is expected at this headquarters 25 December 20xx. The following instructions will be in effect and govern the activities of all personnel during the visit:

a. Not a creature will stir without official permission. This will include indigenous mice. Special stirring permits for necessary administrative actions will be obtained through normal command channels. Mice stirring permits will be obtained through the office of OSURG, Veterinary Services.

b. Personnel will settle their brains for a long winter nap prior to 2200 hours, 24 December 20xx. Uniform for the nap will be: Pajamas, cotton, light, drowsing, with kerchief, general purpose, camouflage; and Cap, camouflage w/ear flaps. Equipment will be drawn from CIF prior to 1900 hours, 24 December 20xx.

c. Personnel will utilize standard ration sugar plums for visions to dance through their heads. This item will be drawn from the servicing dining facility.

d. Stockings, wool, cushion sole, will be hung by the chimney with care. Necessary safety precautions will be taken to avoid fire hazards caused by carelessly hung stockings. Unit Safety Officers will submit stocking hanging plans to this headquarters prior to 0800 hours, 24 December 20xx, ATTN: AEAGA-S, for approval.

e. At the first sign of clatter from the lawn, all troops will spring from their beds to evaluate noise and cause. Immediate action will be taken to tear open the shutters and throw open the window sashes. ODCSOPS Plan (Saint Nick), Reference LO No. 3, paragraph 6c, this headquarters, 2 February 20xx, will be in effect to facilitate shutter tearing and sash throwing. Division chiefs will familiarize all personnel with procedures and are responsible for ensuring that no shutters are torn open nor window sashes thrown prior to start of official clatter.

f. Prior to 2400, 24 December 20xx, all personnel will be assigned "Wondering Eye" stations. After shutters are thrown and sashes are torn, these stations will be manned.

g. ODCSLOG will assign one each Sleigh, miniature, M-66, and eight (8) deer, rein, tiny, for use of MG Claus' driver who, in accordance with current directives and other applicable regulations, must have a valid SF-56 properly annotated by Driver Testing; be authorized rooftop parking and be able to shout "On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen, on Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen."

2. MG Claus will enter quarters through standard chimneys. All units without chimneys will draw Chimney Simulator, M-6, for use during ceremonies. Chimney simulator units will be requested on Engineer Job Order Request Form submitted to the Furniture Warehouse prior to 19 December 20xx, and issued on DA Form 3161, Request for Issue or Turn-In.

3. Personnel will be rehearsed on shouting "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night." This shout will be given on termination of General Claus' visit. Uniformity of shouting is the responsibility of division chiefs.

Colonel, US
OIC, Special Services
(slightly edited)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas To All!

...and to all, tidings of a holiday blog slowdown. travelling will probably limit my internet access until new year's eve. so, to (yule)tide you over:

Excerpts from John 1:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 He was in the beginning with God.

3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it...

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name...

14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 John testified about Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'"

16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.

17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

don't forget *tags* for your presents!

When I started blogging, I didn't like the idea of tagging, but House of Eratosthenes has a nice seasonal one going and I'm feeling much less Scrooge-ish this year. Besides, who am I to resist another Rovian conspiracy?


1. Wrapping or gift bags?
Wrapping if at all possible. See also "it's the thought that counts."

2. Real or artificial tree?
Real in theory, artificial in practice. Grandmother had always put up what I though must have been one of the first artificial trees ever made. It was probably from the late 40's - early 50's, and by the mid 90's it had started to shed "needles" half as bad as a real one.

3. When do you put up the tree?
No particular schedule. Never before Thanksgiving, at least once on Christmas eve.

4. When do you take the tree down?
Again no schedule. I think once it was down by Dec 23 because of travel plans, to as late as mid-January.

5. Do you like eggnog?
Taste is ok. There's no alcohol in the family households though.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Though I loved that dirt bike (think this 30 years ago) at the time, in retrospect it's a tie between the TS1000 and the TS2068 the following year.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
No. We used to have one of those open-one-tiny-window-each-day-of-december-thingys, but we can't find it now.

8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
I've never ever liked sweaters, but despite being quite vocal on that point as a child, I was still given a couple of them - which were probably never worn.

9. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards?
Oops, that reminds me...

10. Favorite Christmas movie?
The Grinch (the animated 1966 version, NOT that jim carrey abomination).

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
As soon as I notice something suitable for someone on the list. I've bought something as early as March intended to be given away the next Christmas. But most of it kicks in about late November. This year I finished on Dec 21st.

12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
That's hard to narrow down. It's easy to say anything home-cooked, including Grandmama's -> Dad's dressing, turkey, pumpkin pie, Dad's chili or enchiladas,... the list goes on. Also, I'm a huge fan of macaroni & cheese (Skinner & Velveeta, not any of that boxed junk), and everybody who cooks for me for the holiday knows that.

13. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Seems like red was the preferred color.

14. Favorite Christmas song?
Silent Night

(update: just for fun i started tracking back through the tags, and someone along the line edited down the list. here's the additional questions as found at newscoma, with my answers)

15. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
some part of the family will be travelling. when i lived with my parents we usually traveled to either of the grandparents' homes. now the celebrations tend to center at my sister's house - since it's easier for me to drive solo than for her to pack up with her kids.

16. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
umm, hmm... oh, i can now

17. Angel on the tree top or a star?
usually a star, or some non-angelic shape.

18. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?
"Santa" on Christmas morning, but usually open gifts whenever travel plans permit - usually on the eve evening, but it has been as early as Dec 9 and late as Jan 5.

19. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Crowded malls, and the traffic around them.

20. Do you decorate your tree in any specific theme or color?

21. What do you leave for Santa?
For once, a traditional answer: milk & cookies

22. Least favorite holiday song?
That blasted chipmunk who wants a hula hoop. (Chipmunks are just rats with a good hairstylist.)

23. Favorite ornament?
a set of frosty glass ornaments with glitter glued on them that I remember from my second Christmas.


Paying it forward, I tag:

Flying Space Monkey
Local Malcontent
Mish Mash
Mountaineer Musings

Rules are:
1. Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share Christmas facts about yourself.
3. Tag random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Best wishes for a joyous holiday season, good health to you & all close to you, and long life to everybody who loves it and respects it in others.


update 2: following up on this thread on new year's eve, i saw that some bloggers had added a couple of questions. if i use this next year, i'll fold them into the main list.

24. Favorite family tradition?

25. Do you go to a midnight mass or church service?

26. Most memorable good deed you witnessed or participated in during the holidays?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas to All

this year with 17% less litigation!
The seasonally litigious rest their fanatical devotion to the deChristification of Christmas on the separation of church and state. America's founders were opposed to the "establishment" of religion, whose meaning is clear enough to any Englishman: the new republic did not want President Washington serving simultaneously as Supreme Governor of the Church of America, or the Bishop of Virginia sitting in the US Senate. Two centuries on, these possibilities are so remote that the "separation" of church and state has dwindled down to threats of legal action over red-and-green party napkins. But every time some sensitive flower pulls off a legal victory over the school board, who really wins?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

on physics and miracles

Viewpoint has an interesting... view... of how miracles may not automatically contradict the "laws of nature". Using a computer programming analogy:
...perhaps the implied claim that miracles violate or supercede the laws of nature is not necessarily correct. Miracles like those recorded in the Gospels could actually be an expression of the laws of nature and still be miraculous all the same.

Imagine an engineer who designs and builds a computer (the universe). Along the way he programs that computer to produce certain images (living things) on the screen. Suppose that upon some of these images the engineer bestows the gift of consciousness. The software program is information (laws of nature) that governs how everything in the computer functions. When the computer is booted up the software causes the computer to produce screen images which behave in accord with the constraints imposed by the information contained in the software program.

Now suppose that integrated into that program are certain if/then commands which only express themselves under certain highly specific conditions. They might have the form: If P then Q unless R. If R never occurs, P > Q would seem to all observers in the screen to be the algorithm that governs the functioning of the computer. If R never occurs then whenever P happens Q happens.

If, however, R does on one occasion occur then in that instance Q would not follow upon P and everyone who witnessed the "breakdown" would be astonished. It would appear to the conscious screen images that the program had spontaneously been altered or violated even though it was not. It would appear to them that a miracle had occurred...

It could well be that the laws of nature are like information or software that the Cosmic Engineer has designed to run the universe in the fashion described above. If so, it could also be that at least some miracles would not be exceptions to physical laws, but rather expressions of the way the laws manifest themselves in certain very extraordinary circumstances.
I would add one... point... though: A programmer could also easily allow "user input" to the program.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

even more inconvenient truth

"Global warming has long since passed from scientific hypothesis to the realm of pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo."

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tocqueville the Seer

Roger Kimball has a point and a quote from Tocqueville:
The state's near monopoly on instruments of violence is merely one token of a much broader and deeper calculus of control. Tocqueville got to the nub of the issue in his famous paragraphs, in Democoracy in America, on "Democratic Despotism" Where old-fashioned despotism tyrannizes over men, democratic despotism infantilizes them. Such despotism would, Tocqueville writes
resemble paternal power if, like that, it had for its object to prepare men for manhood; but on the contrary, it seeks only to keep them fixed irrevocably in childhood; it likes citizens to enjoy themselves provided that they think only of enjoying themselves... It willingly works for their happiness; but it wants to be the unique agent and sole arbiter of that; it provides for their security, foresees and secures their needs, facilitates their pleasures, conducts their principal affairs, directs their industry, regulates their estates, divides their inheritances; can it not take away from them entirely the trouble of thinking and the pain of living? … [This power] extends its arms over society as a whole; it covers its surface with a network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules through which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot clear a way to surpass the crowd; … it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd.
Food for thought, no?
Yes! Welcome to Brave New World! You can grind people under the heel of a jack boot, but eventually they tire of that and will shrug it off. But the possibilities of distraction are endless. Environmentalism = Social Justice = Fordism. Religion may be the opiate of the masses, put the members of some congregations do not even know they are in church.

The Leftist says, "I am good, you are not coming up to the standard of good, but I am exempt from that standard."

The Christian says, "I am bad, I am forgiven for being bad because of the sacrifice of Jesus, with His help I am trying to come up to the standard of good, and this is what the standard is."
via Wilson Fu

Thursday, December 13, 2007

no news is good news

and the converse is true


update: true lies, continued.

more inconvenient truth

Once again, don't believe Algore:
The scare over global warming, and our politicians’ response to it, is becoming ever more bizarre. On the one hand we have the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change coming up with yet another of its notoriously politicised reports, hyping up the scare by claiming that world surface temperatures have been higher in 11 of the past 12 years (1995-2006) than ever previously recorded.

This carefully ignores the latest US satellite figures showing temperatures having fallen since 1998, declining in 2007 to a 1983 level - not to mention the newly revised figures for US surface temperatures showing that the 1930s had four of the 10 warmest years of the past century, with the hottest year of all being not 1998, as was previously claimed, but 1934.
via CrosSwords

Thursday, December 06, 2007

immigration plan

spacemonkey has an idea so crazy, it just might work!
Step 1: The path starts where the illegal immigrant currently is. It will vary from individual to individual. This is an obvious step because if it started somewhere else there would be no way for these hard working, well intentioned people to begin.

Step 2: Next the path to citizenship leads to a country where they hold legal citizenship. This part of the path should be simple for the illegal immigrant to identify and follow as it can involve the same means of transportation that brought them to the Step 1 location. Answers to questions such as "where was I born" and "where do I send my checks?" will be clues to locating a suitable country. This is an important step as it removes their illegal status as well as their immigrant status. What if they are very far from a land where they have citizenship? Good news! The path also does not discriminate on the basis of distance to the illegal immigrant's home country. The path to citizenship did not drag them here, the path will however drag them out of here.

Step 3: The path proceeds to a US consulate or embassy in the nation they end up at (see step 2). On arrival there, the intended emigrees should be escorted directly to the back of the line. This is the traditional and time honored place in line that they have earned. There is no skipping down the path or in the line! The work begins here and it's paperwork. A process has been designed to enable them to petition for legal entry into the U.S. The document created by this process is called a VISA. Until a VISA is obtained the path ends, as it is the ticket for the rest of the path.

Step 4: Now that a VISA has been obtained, the path leads back to the U.S. through a legal border crossing or port of entry. There are several kinds of VISA but they will all allow foreign nationals to enter the U.S. 100% sneak-free! It is the document that an undocumented person doesn't have. Some VISAs also permit non citizens to reside in the US legally for a set period of time limited by certain conditions such as law abidance, student status, employment and a few others.

Step 5: The path now doesn't have a particular direction other than from a place of residence to a place of employment. But as long as they reside in the US for the period of time required by law, learn the native language, take and pass the citizenship test and swear the oath of citizenship, then they will have followed this novel path to citizenship.

It isn't a perfect path but for over 231 years not uncounted and not untold thousands upon thousands of their former and our current countrymen and countrywomen have been using it successfully. We truly are a nation of immigrants. But if it were a nation of illegal immigrants we would not be one nation.