Jul 31 2008

Challenge lies, or ignore them?

Category: Hamas,Hizbullah,Israel,media,middle east,terrorismharmonicminer @ 9:00 am

A writer in the Jerusalem Post observes that US newspapers constantly attack Israel in editorial pages and with slanted, distorted coverage and wonders what the appropriate response is. To defend, or to ignore? It’s hard to know what will be most effective:

Verbal attacks on Israel in US papers and other media outlets are ceaseless, and can be demoralizing. But how do we measure their impact on the average American? Should we simply assume that a pro-Hamas op-ed in The New York Times is far more damaging to Israel’s cause than a local activist’s letter in a minor paper? Perhaps we should assume that Times’ readers are less likely to fall for obvious spin because they are more sophisticated than local media consumers? It’s impossible to be sure.

My inclination, which the writer eventually seems to share, is that if you want to affect public opinion, you have to fight unfair assertions, every single time.

The Bush administration learned, too late, that when you don’t answer outrageous assertions, and those assertions are constantly repeated, they have a way of becoming received wisdom in the relatively uncritical public mind. By the time the Bush administration wised up a bit and began to try to counter the main stream media’s narrative that Bush had lied about weapons of mass destruction, and that the presence of those weapons was the only reason for going into Iraq, it was just too late to affect the public understanding with facts.

People in sympathy with Israel, and Israel itself, need to learn this lesson: absolutely no good comes from “taking the high road” and not responding to outrageous claims. Lies need to be countered, period.

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Jul 30 2008

The next great awakening, part 2: the limitations of evidence in creating or challenging faith

Category: Intelligent Design,science,theologyharmonicminer @ 9:28 am

The first post in this series is here.

Thought experiment: imagine that over the next five years, paleontologists find dozens of new intermediate life forms between fish and amphibians. Also, they discover several intermediates between homo sapiens sapiens’ current presumed immediate ancestor (you pick it; the scientists don’t really agree on this) and us.

Would committed young Earth creationists, for whom the universe is no more than 6000-7000 years old, be persuaded that the case of evolution was proved?

Continue reading “The next great awakening, part 2: the limitations of evidence in creating or challenging faith”

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Jul 29 2008

Colonel Leo Thorsness, hero

Category: election 2008,McCain,military,politicsharmonicminer @ 9:34 am

Here’s a short excerpt, but you really need to read the whole thing to understand.
Power Line: Who is Leo Thorsness and why is he supporting John McCain?

Colonel Thorsness is one of the most remarkable men I have ever met. He is one of the few (fewer than 150) living Medal of Honor recipients. His name should be known and his story should be told. He may be one of the “great-souled” men at the summit of human excellence of whom Aristotle speaks in the Ethics. He deserves to be heard out.

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Jul 28 2008

Respect to our soldiers

Category: Afghanistan,election 2008,McCain,middle east,military,politics,terrorismharmonicminer @ 9:20 am

Soldiers recount deadly attack on Afghanistan outpost | Stars and Stripes

Walker and two other wounded soldiers distributed their ammo and grenades and passed messages.

The whole FOB was covered in dust and smoke, looking like something out of an old Western movie.

“I’ve never seen the enemy do anything like that,” said Walker, who was medically evacuated off the FOB in one of the first helicopters to arrive. “It’s usually three RPGs, some sporadic fire and then they’re gone … I don’t where they got all those RPGs. That was crazy.”

Two hours after the first shots were fired, Stafford made his way, with help, to the medevac helicopter that arrived.

“It was some of the bravest stuff I’ve ever seen in my life, and I will never see it again because those guys,” Stafford said, then paused. “Normal humans wouldn’t do that. You’re not supposed to do that, getting up and firing back when everything around you is popping and whizzing and trees, branches coming down and sandbags exploding and RPGs coming in over your head … It was a fistfight then, and those guys held ‘ em off.”

Stafford offered a guess as to why his fellow soldiers fought so hard.

“Just hardcoreness I guess,” he said. “Just guys kicking ass, basically. Just making sure that we look scary enough that you don’t want to come in and try to get us.”

You need to click the link at the top, and read this whole thing. And you need to show respect to our fighting men. These men are not victims, they are heroes who choose to serve us, and they deserve the best we can give them, including the leadership we elect for them.

hat tip: blackfive

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Jul 27 2008

A man’s home: no longer his castle in Britain

Category: Europe,freedom,liberty,politicsharmonicminer @ 8:59 am

Oh please, can I please move to Britain? I just love their sense of civil liberty. And I do so want the bobbies to know that they’re always welcome in my home, at any hour of the day or night, for pretty much any of a thousand trivial reasons:

The march of the Big Brother state under Labour was highlighted last night as it was revealed that there are now 1,043 laws that give the authorities the power to enter a home or business.

Continue reading “A man’s home: no longer his castle in Britain”

Jul 26 2008

The next great awakening? Part 1

Category: Intelligent Design,science,theologyharmonicminer @ 9:49 am

I’m planning to do a few posts on the convergence of science and theism. This is the first. I’m thinking out loud a bit here, and hoping to get some input from other folks as we go. This one is just about the general background. I’ll give more specifics about things I think are important in upcoming posts.

I have the sense that what is happening now in the sciences will have as much impact on future theological developments as the invention of writing had on accuracy of cultural transmission of revelation (the preservation of scripture, what made the redactors able to do their work), or the printing press (the dissemination of scripture, which basically fired the Reformation).

We tend to think of science as having arrived at some advanced point, with just a few details remaining to be filled in. (This same conceit was common in the late 19th century.) What if we are barely at the beginning, with just a glimmer of where it can lead us?

And especially, what if we learn more and more that points to a Creator, and Design, in very powerful ways, something more than just an anthropic principle (not knocking it), something that is so clear that no rational person can really deny it, and would be embarrassed to be seen trying to? If you cannot imagine any possible fact or set of facts that would lead in that direction, you need to get out more…

Continue reading “The next great awakening? Part 1”

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Jul 25 2008

Obama can run from the facts: McCain won’t let him hide

Category: election 2008,Iraq,McCain,media,politics,terrorismharmonicminer @ 4:27 pm

Power Line: McCain Hits Hard

Before a military audience in Denver today, John McCain launched his strongest attack yet against Barack Obama. The attack was devastating because it is true. Here are some excerpts; McCain began by recalling the beginning of the surge:

Senator Obama and I also faced a decision, which amounted to a real-time test for a future commander-in-chief. America passed that test. I believe my judgment passed that test. And I believe Senator Obama’s failed.

We both knew the politically safe choice was to support some form of retreat. All the polls said the “surge” was unpopular. Many pundits, experts and policymakers opposed it and advocated withdrawing our troops and accepting the consequences. I chose to support the new counterinsurgency strategy backed by additional troops — which I had advocated since 2003, after my first trip to Iraq. Many observers said my position would end my hopes of becoming president. I said I would rather lose a campaign than see America lose a war. My choice was not smart politics. It didn’t test well in focus groups. It ignored all the polls. It also didn’t matter. The country I love had one final chance to succeed in Iraq. The new strategy was it. So I supported it. Today, the effects of the new strategy are obvious. The surge has succeeded, and we are, at long last, finally winning this war.

Continue reading “Obama can run from the facts: McCain won’t let him hide”

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Jul 25 2008

The Communist Agenda: vote Democrat

Category: election 2008,politicsharmonicminer @ 3:58 pm

The Communist Party USA online urges vote for Democrats in November. –

Autoworkers are fighting two enemies at once: the companies themselves who are closing plants and slashing wages and benefits, and a far right Republican government whose anti-worker and free trade agenda greases the wheel for companies to move production out of the country.

“We have the flexibility to source all of our business to other locations around the world and we have the right to do so” said American Axle CEO Dick Dauch. Work for what I say or I’ll give your job to someone else he said. He did just that forcing huge concessions on the union.

Labor needs a Democratic landslide in the November elections, a landslide that sends a message to the next President and Congress that relief for working people is needed and a landslide that will give working people the leverage to stop and reverse the corporate attack.

And if the auto companies won’t operate the plants, let’s nationalize them! Couldn’t these skilled, disciplined, highly productive workers build trains, buses, fuel efficient cars, or in some way greatly contribute to the rebuilding of our country’s infrastructure?

Yep, the Left always begins with theft. But the Communists are really refreshing, being so upfront about it.

It sort of reminds me of this:

Sometimes it’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry.

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Jul 25 2008

Global warming and tree rings in Finland

Category: Al Gore,global warming,Group-thinkharmonicminer @ 9:06 am

An interesting article on Finnish tree ring studies which have been reconstructed to provide a 7000 year baseline of temperature changes, given the sensitivity of tree growth to temperature variation. The whole article is worth scanning, but the money quote is:

…a case for recent warming can be made based on the tree-ring record, but the recent warming is paled by many past events including many red-hot summers in Finland 7,000 years ago. If nothing else comes from their figure, be keenly aware that climate always changes, flat line periods simply do not exist!

In other words, sure, the climate is changing… again. It always has. But those changes have had nothing to do with human inputs, and current changes (which are overblown according to many experts) probably don’t have much to do with humans, either.

hat tip: chaos manor


Jul 23 2008

Barack’s extended family is SO proud he’s on tour

Category: Afghanistan,election 2008,Europe,humor,Iraq,media,Obama,politics,White Househarmonicminer @ 11:40 pm

to; george@sorosenterprises.com

Dear George,

Barack’s school theater troup is on a field trip. Isn’t he cute? Don’t you just LOVE the way he delivers speeches? Doesn’t he look GREAT up there? He sounds just like one of the grown-ups when he talks, as long as he stays on script.

He looked so adorable playing with the real soldiers. He could so totally play the role of president in a movie.

It’s pretty clear that improvisational theater will never be his thing, but hey, lots of fine actors just learn their lines and deliver them well, with suitable feeling and gesture.

Uncle Charlie, Uncle Brian and Aunt Katie are SO good with the video cameras: we’re all going to have some great home movies. Wasn’t it sweet of them to come along and video Barack’s trip for the rest of the family, and provide helpful narration of his better work? They’re so good at just getting his best performances on tape, and shooting from the best angles, and downplaying the awkward spots, or even just editing them out. We’ll have to have them over for dinner soon. It’s wonderful to have such fine people in the family.

Continue reading “Barack’s extended family is SO proud he’s on tour”

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