Privacy Please

This is with thanks to Damon

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.Privacy Please

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…

:cuckoo: …(read more)…


(Originally posted Nov 8th, 2006)

Okay, a few things and then the point.

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.


  • Draconian Cuts

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.”

  • Deficit

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.

(NRO Article)


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.

Papa Giorgio (class dismissed)

Two Ways to Look At Origins: Biased or a Little Less Biased

Secular Church

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 [1986], 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 [6752], 30 September, 1999)

“Dirty Dozen” Member, John “Jack” Agnew, Dies at 88

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.