Let’s get this settled

The Supreme Court finally threatens to show its cards:

The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will decide whether the District of Columbia can ban handguns, a case that could produce the most in-depth examination of the constitutional right to “keep and bear arms” in nearly 70 years.

The justices’ decision to hear the case could make the divisive debate over guns an issue in the 2008 presidential and congressional elections.

The government of Washington, D.C., is asking the court to uphold its 31-year ban on handgun ownership in the face of a federal appeals court ruling that struck down the ban as incompatible with the Second Amendment. Tuesday’s announcement was widely expected, especially after both the District and the man who challenged the handgun ban asked for the high court review.

I don’t really care which way they decide. If the individual rights are confirmed, as they obviously should be, then let the legal rollback begin. And if they are denied, then at least everyone will know what the score is….

However, I suspect they’ve already got a weaselly solution in mind that lets them strike down the ban without providing a substantive justification for overturning the 20,000 gun laws around the country. That’s all I expect to come of it, anyhow.

Darwin and the dead eohippus

I can’t help but wonder if a recent exchange of emails with Mr. Derbyshire might have had a little bit to do with this post:

I’ve been predicting for a while now that the champions of human exceptionalism will give up on bashing poor old Chuck Darwin and migrate to neuroscience and “Consciousness Studies,” where the pickings are richer, and there are real mysteries defying our present understanding…. My prediction is coming true, though: For folk who want to rail against materialism, beating up on Darwin will soon be old hat—flogging a dead eohippus, so to speak. Neuroscience is where the action is, for human-exceptionalism affirmers and deniers both.

My publisher and I have pretty much reached an agreement upon what my next book is going to be, and it’s not going to be anything related to dating or the media. I finally decided that I’m really not interested enough in either issue to do the level of research I require of myself; I may despise the various media whores but they’ll be gone soon enough and ten years from now we won’t even remember who half of them were.

I can’t announce a title as yet, but I can say that the subject will be anthropeschatology. I’m interested on that area where science, religion, technology and philosophy all intersect, and the book is based in part upon my experience with artificial intelligence.

It’s kind of strange being at that point when you’re not only done with the book but have largely put it mentally behind you, while almost no one knows anything about it. I have been pleased, however, to learn that those few who have read TIA appear to think rather well of it, theists and atheists alike. I’ll try to post some of the comments here when we’re coordinating the surge around the release date.

UPDATE – speaking of TIA, this is rather nice. In the book, I wrote critically of Sam Harris’s position on stem cells and pointed out that a significant portion of his Letter to a Christian Nation was already outdated and irrelevant based upon new developments in stem cell-related research. This confirms that I was correct to do so:

Two prominent scientific journals—Science and Cell—are each today publishing papers that demonstrate extraordinary success with a technique called “somatic cell reprogramming.” Working separately, and using slightly different methods, these two teams (one of which is led by James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin, the original innovator of human embryonic stem cells) have each successfully taken a regular human skin cell and transformed it into what appears to be the equivalent of an embryonic stem cell—all without the need for embryos, or eggs, or any other ethically controversial methods.

VPFL Week 10

104 Black Mouth Curs
64 Cranberry Bogs

83 Masonville Marauders
61 East Mesa White Trash

79 Greenfield Grizzlies
50 Winston Reverends

65 W.C. Silver Spooners
40 Burns ICU

59 Mounds View Meerkats
58 Village Valkyries

Yikes! I thought I had the game well in hand when TO suddenly exploded for four touchdowns. Fortunately, the New England defense and Wes Welker bailed me out, no thanks to Tom Brady who insisted on throwing to Randy Moss. Masonville is showing itself to be the class of the league, pounding the defending champions, but speaking as last season’s regular season leader, that means little in the playoffs.

Cranberry’s got less to complain about, as at least their VPFL-leading point total has them in playoff position. I’m only two games out now, however, so I have a very remote shot if I can win out over the next four weeks. Burns, on the other hand, would be well-suited for the draft next year; if only they hadn’t traded their first-round pick to Bill Belicheat in return for the Titans DEF.

Paul 2x Thompson

CNN New Hampshire poll:

Romney 33%

McCain 18

Giuliani 16

Paul 8

Huckabee 5

Thompson 4

He’s got more money than McCain, looks to pound Thompson in one of the first actual votes, but still isn’t supposed to be an “electable” candidate? This says far more about the mainstream media and its conservative hangers-on than it does about Ron Paul.

Now, I think polls are inherently worthless. Did Bush really make up a 17-point deficit to Dukakis in 1988 or was that ephemeral lead just dukaka in the first place? I believe the latter. But Republicans who have been trying very, very hard to ignore Paul on the sole basis of what the polls say are really showing themselves to be completely unprincipled hypocrites as Paul continues to gain ground and raise money.

Notice how some of them who said they loved Paul’s ideas, but considered him to be unelectable are suddenly finding faults with him now that he’s proving to be more competitive than their previously favored candidates.