Animals filmed for television wildlife documentary series are denied their right to privacy, a leading U.K. academic claimed in a report that emerged Friday.
Dr. Brett Mills of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, southeastern England, analyzed the behind-the-scenes footage of the BBC documentary series “Nature’s Great Events.”
The series followed animals such as polar bears, African elephants and humpback whales during epic annual environmental events. Mills examined the way in which the animals were filmed and concluded that animals, like humans, have a basic right to privacy that the documentary filmmakers ignored by filming their most intimate moments.
He said that the show’s producers only considered the mechanics of filming, using the latest equipment to capture previously unseen natural events, and did not take into account the ethics of broadcasting an animal mating, giving birth and dying…
In politics, apples are always compared to oranges because the outcome is usually what a politician is looking for. I will give two examples of this comparison and correct them.
The Glass Ceiling
President Clinton said that women make .73 cents on every man’s dollar. He used this as a campaign issue to try and smear Republicans. Kerry said that women make .76 cents on every man’s dollar, and likewise used this stat as a political smear. The question then is this, are these two persons correct?
YES! If you compare all men to all women, then yes, there is a disparage. This stat doesn’t take into account a few things. It doesn’t consider the fact that women tend to choose the humanities when entering college and men seem to choose the hard sciences. So by choice women tend to choose professions that pay less. Not only that, when you compare Oranges to Oranges, you get something much different than expected, or that we would expect from the liberal side of things. If a woman and a man have had the same level of education and have been on the same job for an equal amount of time, the woman makes $1,005 while a man makes $1,000, a difference of $5 dollars every thousand dollars a man earns.
During Bush’s last run, I heard a lot of politikal talk about Bush cutting veteran benefits by 2-million dollars. “Bush is putting these vets in the poor house, “ or, “Bush doesn’t care about the military veterans.” What is a person suppose to think if Bush is cutting 2-billion dollars out of veteran benefits? Well, as you can see from the graph below, this is merely a play on words/deeds. Bush was originally going to raise the benefits by almost 5-billion, but decided to trim the proposed increase for the next fiscal year by 2-billion. The opposing side took this decrease and used it as if Bush was actually cutting benefits, when in fact he was increasing them by 3-billion. In fact, as shown, Bush seems more compassionate about the veterans than do the opposing sides “cigar aficionado.”
Very similar to the above examples of comparing apples and oranges, many make the same mistake with the deficit. Mind you, I do not support Bush’s spending habits, they are reminiscent of what Democrats always do when in office. Besides spending on the war on terror, I would take issue with much of Bush’s increases of spending on education, farm-subsidies, Medical spending, and the like. He’s a drunken sailor!
Take note that while the Democrats will take issue with Bush’s spending habits, they would spend more… this is a tactic to try and dissuade Bush’s fiscally conservative supporters from voting for him again (last election cycle) or to cause panic in our fiscally conservative base to vote for another “Ross Perot” so another “Clinton” can make it into office. Politics is about winning.
Even my critique of Bush is somewhat apples and oranges, what’s the truth? I will quote from an article that will explain the situation in a more apple vs. apple friendly manner (*as I am not an economist):
Over the next few weeks, the unveiling of new budget forecasts, as well as President Bushs budget proposal, will be followed by predictable, sky-is-falling coverage of the "record budget deficits" that threaten to force up interest rates and devastate the economy. Many people will say that only tax increases can avert this calamity.
Don't believe them.
America's debt burden is actually below the post-World War II average. In fact, its lower than at any time during the high-flying 1990s.....
The misunderstanding flows from the obsessive focus on the budget deficit, which is not the proper measure of the debt burden. Here's why: Suppose a family borrows $5, 000 this year. Are they carrying too much debt? Answering that question requires knowing how much debt the family is already carrying. If they owe $95, 000 from previous borrowing, then the additional $5, 000 is less affordable than if the family had no prior debt.
The family's income also needs to be known. A debt of $100, 000 is easily manageable for Bill Gates, but not for many lower-income families.
The proper way to measure the impact of borrowing is to consider the total debt as a percentage of income. Banks use this "debt ratio" to determine how large of a loan families and business can afford. The same common sense applies to measuring the federal government's finances. Last year's $413 billion budget deficit says no more about Washington's debt burden than the $5, 000 loan says about a family's debt burden.
A better measure is the federal government's debt ratio, calculated as the total federal publicly held debt as a percentage of Americas annual income (the gross domestic product). The current debt ratio -- 38 percent -- is actually below the post-World War II average of 43 percent. America's debt burden is low by historical standards.
Heavy borrowing during World War II pushed the debt ratio up from 40 percent to 109 percent. Since then, it has typically ranged between 25 percent and 50 percent. The plummeting post-war debt ratio is no mystery: Economic growth has dwarfed the amount of new debt. Since 1946, inflation-adjusted federal debt has grown by 84 percent, while the economy has surged 429 percent. Just like a family with rising income can afford to buy a more expensive home and take on more mortgage debt, the growing American economy has been able to easily absorb its modest new debt.
This is especially true since 1994, a period in which the economy has grown six-times as fast as the federal debt. This kept the 2004 debt ratio lower than it was at any point in the 1990s.
So when we compare apples with apples, Bush comes out looking better than even his predecessor, Clinton. I always say: context, context, context! Whether in religious statements, or political, context is always key.
My Main Premise: Science, with a philosophical naturalist presupposition isn’t science, it is faith.
I will elucidate: The following interview was held with Dean Kenyon, the professor of biology at the University of San Francisco, who was for many years a staunch evolutionist, wrote the book Biochemical Predestination (McGraw-Hill, 1969), which was the best-selling advanced level university textbook on chemical evolution during the decade of the 70s. One of Dean Kenyon’s students gave him a copy of a book written by Dr. A. E. Wilder-Smith (who holds three earned doctorates) entitled The Creation of Life: A Cybernetic Approach to Evolution. In this book by Dr. Wilder, Dr. Kenyon’s book is critiqued.
Instead of Kenyon saying Well, Dr. Wilder is just a creationist, who would listen to him? Dr. Kenyon read the book and tried to answer the arguments in it against his own book. When he couldn’t, he began to investigate where the evidence led to. It ended up leading outside of his previously held naturalistic presuppositions commonly known as evolution.
One of the questions asked of Dr. Kenyon in the before mentioned interview was: “What are the general presuppositions that scientists make who study the origin of life?” Dr. Kenyon responded:
Well, I think there are two general kinds of presuppositions that people can make, one is that life, in fact, did arise naturalistically on the primitive earth by some kind of chemical evolutionary process.
The second presupposition would be that life may or may not have arisen by a naturalistic, chemical process.
Now, if you have the first presupposition, then the goal of your research is to work out plausible pathways of chemical development to go to the bio-polymers, then to the protocells; and what would be likely pathways that you could demonstrate in the laboratory by simulation experiment.
If you have the second presupposition, your still going to be doing experiments, but your going to be more open to the possibility that the data, as they [or, it] come[s] in from those studies may actually be suggesting a different explanation of origins altogether.
(The logically rational, and hence scientific way to look at origins is to say what Kenyon just did life may or may not have arisen by a naturalistic, chemical process.) This is what the fervor was over in Kansas a few years back. The Kansas School Board, while leaving microevolutionary teaching mandatory, did – however – make the teaching of macroevolution optional for the local districts discretion (e.g., let the elected officials represent what the parents want… this is called choice folks!); the part that caused the biggest stir was changing one word in a definition. The original drafting commission defined science as:
Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us.
The Kansas Board defined science as:
Science is the human activity of seeking logical explanations for what we observe in the world around us.
This simple word change, and the subsequent fervor it caused, illustrates the embedded philosophy in current science (i.e., scientism, materialism, empiricism, existentialism, naturalism, and humanism whatever you want to call it it is still a metaphysical position as it assumes or presumes certain things about the entire universe).
This is what caused Richard Lewontin to plainly state (Dr. Lewontin is a geneticist and professor of biology at Harvard University):
We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories;because we have a priori commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.
Plain and simple, this is not science, but a philosophical/metaphysical paradigm. I will illustrate with another example. The Miller experiment which was proposed on the basis of a hypothetical atmosphere has been disproved by the evidence that the early atmosphere was not reducing. Unfortunately, like many other doctrines, it too still graces our universities and textbooks as being experimentally sound. This study is still cited not for empirical (evidential) reasons; but rather, for methodological necessity. In other words:
If molecular oxygen had been present (even a tenth-of-one-percent of today’s percentage), then chemical evolution could not have happened. Therefore, molecular oxygen must have been absent; because we know that chemical evolution happened.
Another way to explain this obvious philosophical outlook that dresses itself in drag/science is that of a conversation between a professor and his student:
Professor: Miracles are impossible Papa_Giorgio, dont you know science has disproven them, how could you believe in them [i.e., answered prayer, a man being raised from the dead, Noah's Ark, and the like].
Student: for clarity purposes I wish to get some definitions straight. Would it be fair to say that science is generally defined as the human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us?
Professor: Beautifully put, that is the basic definition of science in every text-book I read through my Doctoral journey.
Student: Wouldn’t you also say that a good definition of a miracle would be and event in nature caused by something outside of nature?
Professor: Yes, that would be an acceptable definition of miracle.
Student: But since you do not believe that anything outside of nature exists [materialism, dialectical materialism, empiricism, existentialism, naturalism, and humanism whatever you wish to call it], you are forced to conclude that miracles are impossible
Norman L. Geisler and Peter Bocchino, Unshakeable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions About the Christian Faith (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House 2001), pp. 63-64.
So an honest atheist [or, philosophical naturalist] would realize that his position is philosophical and/or presuppositional (presuppose: to suppose or assume beforehand; take for granted in advance) and not rationally or logically defensible. Plato was right when he said atheism is a disease of the soul before [a priori] it is an error of the mind.
Another example, in syllogistic form, is in order. The atheist can be shown that his starting point presupposition interferes with how he views evidence; much like the above example, biased philosophy is the guiding force rather than systematic investigation:
Premise: Since there is no God,
Conclusion: all theistic proofs are invalid.
Premise: Since the theistic proofs are invalid,
Conclusion: there is no God.
Robert A. Morey, The New Atheism: And the Erosion of Freedom (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P & R , p. 57.)
It is quite comical that people ask for evidence, and I give them many, however they still (a priori) reject it because they are committed to a philosophy of life (e.g., a worldview) that states that this evidence is invalid. I wish to end with a quote I often use; it is from Scott Todd, a Kansas State University immunologist:
Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.
(Correspondence to Nature, 410 , 30 September, 1999)
(As usual you can enlarge the article by clicking on it.) I enjoyed this weeks Concepts by John Van Huizum. While he showed the usual lack of deep study and merely expresses opinion as such, he is right about one thing… reality is perception. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1996), the 9th District Appeals Court wrote:
“At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.”
I have a feeling that John would agree with the following statement:
“If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth… From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own reality…”
The right eyeglasses can put the world into clearer focus, and the correct worldview can function in much the same way. When someone looks at the world from the perspective of the wrong worldview, the world won’t make much sense to him. Or what he thinks makes sense will, in fact, be wrong in important respects. Putting on the right conceptual scheme, that is, viewing the world through the correct worldview, can have important repercussions for the rest of the person’s understanding of events and ideas… Raising one’s self-consciousness [awareness] about worldviews is an essential part of intellectual maturity.
Ronald H. Nash, Worldviews in Conflict: Choosing Christianity in a World of Ideas (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992), 17-18, 9.
After this mentioning of “perceptions,” or, really one’s worldview, John starts down his normal rabbit trail of ideas stuck together, his straw-men “set-ups,” and the like. For instance, perceptions are often changed… usually when an unprepared youth of faith goes off to college and finds a university teaming with…
➲ evolutionary psychology (for instance, atheist defender Sam Harris makes the Darwinian psychological statement that “…there’s nothing more natural than rape. Human beings rape, chimpanzees rape, orangutans rape, rape clearly is part of an evolutionary strategy to get your genes into the next generation if you’re a male.”); ⚛ science (often put forward in the classroom as “scientism“); Ⓐ and militant skepticism.
…they will typically reject their childhood faith, and not set foot into a church till their thirties/forties. It is said that men stop going to church at 18 when their mom stops dragging them, and start back up when their wife drags em’ back (why men hate church).
People first became aware of the problem after hearing the results of a Barna Research Group study that said that between 67% and 94% of Christian students (depending on denomination), within 18 months of graduating high school, are no longer at church. This report was given in 2002 and showed that the largest protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, was losing an average of 88% of their students while in college. (Why Apologetics)
Typically though, later in life the person in question will start reading some scholarly Christian works, or family harkens them to their childhood faith, someone close dies, life hits em’ hard, something happens that draws them back into their faith. Even within someone’s faith there are levels of trust in believing. Professor Stokes points out that such doubt is natural to a person,
Often, however, the cause of our doubt isn’t what you might think. It isn’t necessarily the strength of the arguments that rattles us, but the way they resonate with the unbeliever in each of us (what the Bible calls the “old self”). We hear Tokyo Rose’s voice and she seems to make pretty good sense sometimes. Yet more often than not, if we look closely at the atheist’s arguments, we find that there is little substance. Seeing this can change the argument’s frequency and therefore break its spell. Believers often worry that their doubts signify the rapid approach of full-blown unbelief. But as pastor and author Tim Keller puts it,
Faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic.
All thoughtful believers—even those whose faith is mature—encounter doubt. Not a single person has had unadulterated faith. In any case, it certainly won’t do to ignore your doubts, and defusing them will only strengthen your faith. To be sure, doubts can be strong enough to become a trial in your life; but like all trials, they’re meant to refine faith, not stifle it.
Mitch Stokes, A Shot of Faith: To the Head (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012), xvii. (Emphasis added!)
So people are a bit more complicated than space could allow John to state, or that he cares to ponder. I will also agree with him that this conversation has been going on a very long time.* Cicero is a great example, he was born in 106 BC and died in 43 BC, and said the following in response to the skeptics of his day:
But if the structure of the world in all its parts is such that it could not have been better whether in point of utility or beauty, let us consider whether this is the result of chance, or whether on the contrary the parts of the world are in such a condition that they could not possibly have cohered together if they were not controlled by intelligence and by divine providence. If then the products of nature are better than those of art, and if art produces nothing without reason, nature too cannot be deemed to be without reason. When you see a statue or a painting, you recognize the exercise of art; when you observe from a distance the course of a ship, you do not hesitate to assume that its motion is guided by reason and by art; when you look at a sun-dial or a water-clock, you infer that it tells the time by art and not by chance; how then can it be consistent to suppose that the world, which includes both the works of art in question, the craftsmen who made them, and everything else besides, can be devoid of purpose and of reason? Suppose a traveller to carry into Scythia or Britain the orrery recently constructed by our friend Posidonius, which at each revolution reproduces the same motions of the sun, the moon and the five planets that take place in the heavens every twenty-four hours, would any single native doubt that this orrery was the work of a rational being? These thinkers however raise doubts about the world itself from which all things arise and have their being, and debate whether it is the product of chance or necessity of some sort, or of divine reason and intelligence;
Cicero, Nature of the Gods, Translated by H. Rackam, pp. 207-209
So yes, important topics and questions are new to every generation, but these queries have been asked for a very long time, and should continue to be. Believing that mankind will outgrow their “superstitious” faith is merely someone displaying their metaphysical naturalist presuppositions. Now on to another aspect of a statement by John. He said,
❂ “Atheism has been aided by scientific discoveries and rigorous questioning.”
I think this is true if one looks at the situation wrongly. When people do not try on other pairs of glasses, become skeptical of their skepticism, do not use self-refuting propositions (similar to Vincent Bugliosi), or study to see which worldview offers a better explanation, they can become ideologues (religious or secular):
… a “coherent worldview must be able to satisfactorily answer four questions: that of origin, meaning, morality, and destiny.” He says that while every major religion makes exclusive claims about truth, “the Christian faith is unique in its ability to answer all four of these questions.” These questions are the bedrock of any worldview… that holds any weight at least.
Ravi Zacharias, Deliver Us From Evil (Nashville, TN: Word Publishers, 1997), 219–220; taken from the first chapter of my book.
For example, apologist Lee Strobel talks to a philosopher about the evidence that culminated in many atheists rejecting (or wanting to reject) science because of its implications FOR God, or origins:
When Albert Einstein developed his general theory of relativity in 1915 and started applying it to the universe as a whole, he was shocked to discover it didn’t allow for a static universe. According to his equations, the universe should either be exploding or imploding. In order to make the universe static, he had to fudge his equations by putting in a facto that would hold the universe steady.
In the 1920′s, the Russian mathematician Alexander Friedman and the Belgium astronomer George Lemaitre were able to develop models based on Einstein’s theory. They predicted the universe was expanding. Of course, this meant that if you went backward in time, the universe would go back to a single origin before which it didn’t exist. Astronomer Fred Hoyle derisively called this the Big Bang — and the name stuck!
Starting in the 1920′s, scientists began to find empirical evidence that supported these purely mathematical models. For instance, in 1929, the American astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered that the light coming to us from distant galaxies appears redder than it should be, and this is a universal feature of galaxies in all parts of the sky. Hubble explained this red shift as being due to the fact that the galaxies are moving away from us. He concluded that the universe is literally flying apart at enormous velocities. Hubble’s astronomical observations were the first empirical confirmation of the predictions by Friedman and Lemaitre.
Then in the 1940′s, George Gamow predicted that if the Big Bang really happened, then the background temperature of the universe should be just a few degrees above absolute zero. He said this would be a relic from a very early stage of the universe. Sure enough, in 1965, two scientists accidentally discovered the universe’s background radiation — and it was only about 3.7 degrees above absolute zero. There’s no explanation for this apart from the fact that it is a vestige of a very early and a very dense state of the universe, which was predicted by the Big Bang model.
The third main piece of the evidence for the Big Bang is the origin of light elements. Heavy elements, like carbon and iron, are synthesized in the interior of stars and then exploded through supernova into space. But the very, very light elements, like deuterium and helium, cannot have been synthesized in the interior of the stars, because you would need an even more powerful furnace to create them. These elements must have been forged in the furnace of the Big Bang itself at temperatures that were billions of degrees. There’s no other explanation.
So predictions about the Big Bang have been consistently verified by the scientific data. Moreover, they have been corroborated by the failure of every attempt to falsify them by alternative models. Unquestionably, the Big Bang model has impressive scientific credentials . . . . Up to this time, it was taken for granted that the universe as a whole was a static, eternally existing object . . . . At the time an agnostic, American astronomer Robert Jastrow was forced to concede that although details may differ, “the essential element in the astronomical and Biblical accounts of Genesis is the same; the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy”…. Einstein admitted the idea of the expanding universe “irritates me” (presumably, said one prominent scientist, “because of its theological implications”).
Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence that Points Towards God (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004), 105-106, 112.
Here are just two (of the many examples I can provide) of an atheist and an agnostic commenting on the above evidence:
✪“The essential element in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis is the same; the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy…. The Hubble Law is one of the great discoveries in science; it is one of the main supports of the scientific story of Genesis.” ~ Robert Jastrow: American astronomer and physicist. Founding director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, he is the director of the Mount Wilson Institute and Hale Solar Laboratory. He is also the author of Red Giants and White Dwarfs (1967) and God and the Astronomers (2nd ed., 2000).
✪“Certainly there was something that set it all off. Certainly, if you are religious, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match with Genesis.” ~ Robert Wilson: is an American astronomer, 1978 Nobel laureate in physics, who with Arno Allan Penzias discovered in 1964 the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB)…. While working on a new type of antenna at Bell Labs in Holmdel Township, New Jersey, they found a source of noise in the atmosphere that they could not explain. After removing all potential sources of noise, including pigeon droppings on the antenna, the noise was finally identified as CMB, which served as important corroboration of the Big Bang theory.
So, far from atheism being supported by science, the theistic worldview has been exemplified above all other models of interpretation (perceptions) of reality. Mind you this isn’t “proof” how the naturalist wrongly interprets the empirical method (scientific positivism), but it is a probability that exceeds others. (I suggest taking time, about an hour, and listen to this presentation by William Lane Craig on the evidences for theism over other worldviews.) Here John makes one of his signature jumps from one topic to a completely different one. I sometimes feel — shot in the dark again — he does this with the idea that he is saying something “scientific” and that everyone should credit his knowledge in on this particular topic (which is not the case), and then he brings that “trust” into a completely different topic.
Odd, to say the least. At any rate, freedom is something atheism does not account for, determinismis (enjoy the John Cleese video to the right). But that is a subject left for another day.
At this pivot point regarding freedom in one sentence to abortion in the following deserves some attention. Mr. Van Huizum seems to think that those who stand against abortion are doing so because God says. There are many atheists who are pro-life. How do they make their argument then? Science! Oooooh DRAT! Foiled by his own premise. If John had a grave to roll over in, he would. Here, for example, is model Kathy Ireland using the scientific laws to make her point:
Kathy Ireland, many years ago, was on Bill Mahers Politically Incorrectand the discussion that ensued shows the frailty of the liberal/relativistic position:
Bill Maher: Kathy, why do you oppose a women’s right to choose
Kathy Ireland: Bill, when my husband was going to medical school I underwent a transformation. Because I used to be in favor of abortion. But I noticed when I was reading through some of his medical teaching books, that according to a law in science known as the law of biogenesis, every living thing reproduces after it own kind. That means dog produce dogs, cats produce cats, humans produce humans. If we want to know what something is we simply ask what are its parents. If we know what the parents are, we know what the thing in question is. And I reasoned from that because human parents can only produce human offspring, unborn human fetuses could be nothing but human beings, because the law of biogenesis rules out every other alternative. And I concluded therefore that because human fetuses were part of our family, we should not harm them without justification.
Bill Maher: Well Kathy, that’s just your opinion!
In October 2002, Kathy Ireland made a compelling argument against abortion on the Fox News Channel’s Hannity and Colmes political debate show. Alan Colmes described Ireland’s opinions as religious, but Ireland said that her views on abortion do not stem from faith. She asserted that even atheists could realize that abortion is wrong. Kathy told Alan that her belief is founded in science and technology, which she says, “has come a long way since Roe vs. Wade.”
Ireland also defended her values as being pro-women, stating, “We need to support these women who are in crisis pregnancy situations.” She claimed that because scientific evidence proves that abortion is murder, “I have no choice but to defend the most vulnerable among us.”
Here is one the best presentations detailing some of the above by Scott Klusendorf, a guy who’s specialty is the pro-life position in contradistinction to the pro-choice one. [Actually, since one position is "pro-life," the other one is rightfully the "pro-death" position.] (Audio presentation to the right, 30-minutes.) So John Van Huizum’s statement that the pro-life position is merely based on “God says so” seems to be — either out of ignorance or bias — a straw-man argument of what the other side truly believes. Again, John seems to cheapen these important issues, not giving the other side its proper due.
Right when you think Mr. Huizum is staying on one topic, he switches again in his last paragraph by quoting a verse about taxes, as if this verse has something to do with a letter from Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists. I dissect this position quite a bit in my paper found here, but this quote from a seminary level text that touches on the idea (separating the religious realm from the secular) John expresses:
Such “exclude religion” arguments are wrong because marriage is not a religion! When voters define marriage, they are not establishing a religion. In the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” the word “religion” refers to the church that people attend and support. “Religion” means being a Baptist or Catholic or Presbyterian or Jew. It does not mean being married. These arguments try to make the word “religion” in the Constitution mean something different from what it has always meant.
These arguments also make the logical mistake of failing to distinguish the reasons for a law from the content of the law. There were religious reasons behind many of our laws, but these laws do not “establish” a religion. All major religions have teachings against stealing, but laws against stealing do not “establish a religion.” All religions have laws against murder, but laws against murder do not “establish a religion.” The campaign to abolish slavery in the United States and England was led by many Christians, based on their religious convictions, but laws abolishing slavery do not “establish a religion.” The campaign to end racial discrimination and segregation was led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist pastor, who preached against racial injustice from the Bible. But laws against discrimination and segregation do not “establish a religion.”
If these “exclude religion” arguments succeed in court, they could soon be applied against evangelicals and Catholics who make “religious” arguments against abortion. Majority votes to protect unborn children could then be invalidated by saying these voters are “establishing a religion.” And, by such reasoning, all the votes of religious citizens for almost any issue could be found invalid by court decree! This would be the direct opposite of the kind of country the Founding Fathers established, and the direct opposite of what they meant by “free exercise” of religion in the First Amendment.
So you see that — again — John’s understating of theology, culture, philosophy and science is one that is the culmination (I suspect) of a life lived rejecting the other side of the issue as mere opinion… or worse yet, as delusional, without really taking into consideration the best of the opposing views scholarly arguments. All this evidence being shown I suspect that john rejects faith, God, conservative ideals for psychological reasons more than evidential. I will begin to end this critique with a presentation by Dr. Paul C. Vitz, Professor of Psychology at New York University (emeritus?).
Now, I promised to end with more on a quote I used from the 9th District Court that I thought John would agree with. Let’s compare a portion from both statements:
1) “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and of the mystery of human life…”
2) “…the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own reality…”
Whether you’re an Atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian or Muslim, agnostic, [Democrat, Republican, Libertarian], it doesn’t matter. Your reality is just that… your reality, or opinion, or personal dogma. I want to now complete one of the quotes that I left somewhat edited, not only that, but I want to ask you if you still agree with it after you find out who wrote it.
“Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition…. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth… then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity…. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable.”
Mussolini, Diuturna pp. 374-77, quoted in A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist (Ignatius Press; 1999), by Peter Kreeft, p. 18.
*As the link points out, intelligent design is not a recent invention of creationists and their response to “lost” court case. Here is more:
Is intelligent design based on the Bible?
No. The idea that human beings can observe signs of intelligent design in nature reaches back to the foundations of both science and civilization. In the Greco-Roman tradition, Plato and Cicero both espoused early versions of intelligent design. In the history of science, most scientists until the latter part of the nineteenth century accepted some form of intelligent design, including Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-discoverer with Charles Darwin of the theory of evolution by natural selection. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, meanwhile, the idea that design can be discerned in nature can be found not only in the Bible but among Jewish philosophers such as Philo and in the writings of the Early Church Fathers. The scientific community largely rejected design in the early twentieth century after neo-Darwinism claimed to be able to explain the emergence of biological complexity through the unintelligent process of natural selection acting on random mutations. In recent decades, however, new research and discoveries in such fields as physics, cosmology, biochemistry, genetics, and paleontology have caused a growing number of scientists and science theorists to question neo-Darwinism and propose intelligent design as the best explanation for the existence of specified complexity throughout the natural world.
John “Jack” Agnew, one of the original members of an Army unit that operated behind enemy lines in World War II and is often credited with having loosely inspired the movie “The Dirty Dozen”, has died at age 88.
Agnew belonged to the Filthy Thirteen, an unofficial unit within the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. He was pronounced dead last Thursday at Abington Memorial Hospital after becoming ill at his home in the Maple Village retirement community in Hatboro, where he and his wife moved about a year ago, his daughter Barbara Agnew Maloney said.