OV2: Target acquired

The Responsible Puppet responds exactly as expected:

There is some irony here in that Vox is slow to give his own bible verses. The passages referred to above do not in any way prove that his interpretation is true, he can only use them to show that his interpretation is possible.

I ask Vox – how many Bible passages do you want? You can find them more than a few in my “Both Ways” category and I will be giving more presently. But I send the challenge back.

Please show me the ‘outright demonstrations’ where God is not actively managing what goes on in our world…. I am interested to see which approach you will take.

But to show that I know the requirement to use Bible verses goes both ways, here is a passage that we studied in our Adult Sunday School Class yesterday: 1 Samuel 2: 6-8

6 “The LORD brings death and makes alive;
he brings down to the grave [c] and raises up.
7 The LORD sends poverty and wealth;
he humbles and he exalts.
8 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
and has them inherit a throne of honor.
“For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s;
upon them he has set the world.

This says that God has controls how much wealth individual people have.

Does it really? Because in order for this passage to say what TRP is concluding from it, we would have to observe that every single individual poor person is raised from the dust and that all of the world’s needy are seated with princes. And yet, we can observe that this is manifestly not the case, especially since Jesus Christ informed us that the poor would always be with us, not sitting with princes in what one can only imagine to be a series of extremely overcrowded court rooms.

The point is that that the quoted verses only state what God CAN do with regards to these subjects, not what He IS ALWAYS DOING. In other words, they are a statement about CAPACITY and not about ACTION. In fact, this is also a very good example of the very omniderigiste/atheist error that I mentioned in my first post on the matter:

1. Take a Bible verse
2. Assign a possible meaning to it.
3. Insist this is the ONLY possible meaning, even when the meaning doesn’t make sense. (In this case, the problem is apparent a priori, but usually it is only evident when considered in context with other, contradictory verses.)
4. Ignore all other plausible interpretations, especially more logical and Biblically supported ones.

And allow me to correct my initial statement. TRP’s response wasn’t exactly what I expected. I would have thought that he knew me well enough by now to know that it is always a mistake to confuse any slowness in showing my cards with a poor or nonexistent hand.

NRO recommends TIA

National Review offers a few suggestions for the intellectual on your list:

Every Thanksgiving, National Review Online asks some regular contributors and friends for their suggestions for gift-giving for the upcoming Christmas season. This year, as often is the case, the list is book heavy — but is not without its surprises. We aim to help and hope it does….

For argumentation on the science vs. religion front, here are two books, one from each side. For believers, WorldNetDaily columnist Vox Day offers The Irrational Atheist, in which he takes on the “unholy trinity” of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. Good polemical stuff, with tables of atheist mass-murderers, much sneering at “scientism,” and some arresting eye-stoppers like: “Jerusalem aside, the Crusades were surprisingly irreligious.” On the other side, Cornelius J. Troost’s Apes or Angels: Darwin, Dover, Human Nature, and Race is a good survey of current understandings about human nature — including the religious component — from a coolly naturalistic, “evol-con” point of view. I wish Prof. Troost were not quite so free with exclamation points, but his book fulfills the essential condition any book on the contemporary human sciences should, if it wants to be taken seriously, viz.: it will offend Leftist blank-slaters and Rightist anti-Darwinists equally.

That was certainly a delightful surprise. I don’t know if it will be possible to actually get your hands on the book before Christmas, however, since it’s impossible to say when the books will ship from the publisher to the various bookstores. Books are usually available to the public well before their official publication date, but I think it’s unlikely that one could get a copy before Christmas.

Anyhow, it’s encouraging to learn that it’s not only fellow theists who think well of the book. The only thing I should like to note is that the “arresting eyestoppers” to which John Derbyshire refers aren’t there for contrarian shock value, as could be inferred from the phrase, but are fully supported in the text. For example, that statement about the Crusades to which Derb refers isn’t a naked assertion, but rather an evidence-based conclusion that happens to concur with the conclusions of three historians who are generally considered to know a good deal about that particular epoch, Charles Oman, Steven Runciman and John Julius Norwich.

Anyhow, if you’re an atheist or science blogger who is interested in reviewing the book, just send me an email expressing your willingness to write a review and I’ll arrange to have an electronic review copy sent to you when the book comes out.

A journalist dreams of a Blogocaust

Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia News, like most journalists, is a maleducated moron who thinks he’s much more intelligent than he actually is. But he has managed to take the suicidal dead-tree journalist’s impulse for self-immolating sallies into the blogosphere to impressive new heights:

The only positive thing I can think of about Hitler’s time on earth–I’m sure he would have eliminated all bloggers. In Colonial times, bloggers were called “Pamphleteers.” They hung on street corners handing them out to passersby. Now, they hang out on electronic street corners, hoping somebody mouses on to their pretentious sites. Different medium, same MO. Shakespeare accidentally summed up the genre best with these words from a MacBeth soliloquy: “. . .a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. . .”

This is hilarious, especially considering that those “Colonial Pampleteers” were actually the immediate precursors of modern newspapers and, eventually, so-called, self-styled “professional journalists”, not bloggers. How many more journalists need to get their heads handed to them by better-educated, smarter and more knowledgeable bloggers before they begin to realize that neither the power nor the technology curve is on their side?

I particularly enjoyed Conlin’s subsequent insistence that his dead friend having been a Jew somehow insulates him from his rhetorical dreams of blogocaust. How very convenient for him that the witness for this close, antisemitism-nullifying relationship isn’t available to testify for the defense… and besides, do you know who else liked dead Jews? Hitler. It seems to escape this eminent journalist that it’s not the mere invocation of the dread H-word which is the problem here, but the fact that he’s fantasizing about the murder of literally hundreds of thousands of people. Still, the ironic truth is that he’s almost surely right about Hitler’s opinion of the blogosphere. It’s not as if the elites in either the Republican or Democratic parties, or, for that matter, the nation’s editorial boards, are particularly keen on it either.

In defense of Ron Paul

Jonah Goldberg writes an unexpected and effective defense of Ron Paul while succinctly explaining the essential problem with Mike Huckabee:

Let’s even say that Paul has the passionate support of the Legion of Doom, that his campaign lunchroom looks like the “Star Wars” cantina, and that many of his top advisors actually have hooves.

Well, I would still find him less scary than Mike Huckabee.

One is a culturally conservative libertarian. The other is a right-wing progressive. Whatever the faults of the man and his friends may or may not be, Paul’s dogma generally renders them irrelevant. He is a true ideologue in that his personal preferences are secondary to his philosophical principles. When asked what his position is, he generally responds that his position can be deduced from the text of the Constitution. Of course, that’s not as dispositive as he thinks it is. But you get the point.

As for Huckabee — as with most politicians, alas — his personal preferences matter enormously because ultimately they’re the only thing that can be relied on to constrain him. In this respect, Huckabee’s philosophy is conventionally liberal, or progressive. What he wants to do with government certainly differs in important respects from what Hillary Clinton would do, but the limits he would place on governmental do-goodery are primarily tactical or practical, not philosophical or constitutional.

This is the most important aspect of libertarian philosophy. Even if you seriously disagree with another libertarian, you can support him without reserve, since he is committed to not using the power of the state to compel you. Huckabee offers nothing more than a repeat of the George W. Bush fiasco. Jonah’s electoral analysis is inaccurate; it’s thrown off by his underlying belief that support for the occupations is somehow a vote-winner, but his reasoning here is sound.

UPDATE – Bob Novak also concludes that Huckabee is no conservative, but rather an advocate of strong, intrusive government cut from the Bush the Younger mode:

Huckabee is campaigning as a conservative, but serious Republicans know that he is a high-tax, protectionist advocate of big government and a strong hand in the Oval Office directing the lives of Americans…. Quin Hillyer, a former Arkansas journalist writing in the conservative American Spectator, called Huckabee “a guy with a thin skin, a nasty vindictive streak.” Huckabee’s retort was to attack Hillyer’s journalistic procedures, fitting a mean-spirited image when he responds to conservative criticism.

All I need to know is that the guy supports smoking bans. If you seriously advocate that sort of idiocy, you’ve obviously got an anything-goes attitude towards government rule. I wonder how long it will take Joe Carter to see through the Huckster and drop him?

A potential derailment

As I wrote in September, it’s not actually news that Hillary isn’t normally oriented. But given how tightly this has been kept under wraps and how obediently protective the media – both “conservative” and mainstream – has been of this oft-testified fact, it’s interesting to see how rumors of her and her omnipresent aide have begun to surface in the international press. It seems increasingly probable that the Hillary and Huma scandal is the one upon which the Los Angeles Times has been sitting, about which so many rumors have been flying.

It would be a very, very interesting development if it turns out that the Internet has developed to the point that not even the united efforts of the conventional media suffice to kill a politically explosive story. Because for all the inevitable protestations about how sex is no one’s business and shouldn’t be a factor, Hillary would neither be the first nor the last political candidate to be sunk by her poor judgment in these matters.

A few weeks ago, Ron Rosenbaum reflected on the media’s culpability in protecting the unnamed candidate in the same way they protected FDR and Kennedy:

Now, as I say it’s a rumor; I haven’t seen the supporting evidence. But the person who told me said it offhandedly as if everyone in his world knew about it. And if you look close enough you can find hints of something impending, something potentially derailing to this candidate in the reporting of the campaign. Which could mean that something unspoken, unwritten about is influencing what is written, what we read.

Why are well wired media elite keeping silent about it? Because they think we can’t handle the truth? Because they think it’s substantively irrelevant? What standards of judgment are they using? Are they afraid that to print it will bring on opprobrium. Are they afraid not printing it will bring on opprobrium? Or both?

But alas if it leaks out from less “responsible” sources. then all their contextual protectiveness of us will have been wasted.

From the way Rosenbaum described it, the rumor could apply to either Obama or Clinton, although there has certainly been lots of talk of late about Hillary losing both Iowa and New Hampshire. We already know it’s about a Democrat, otherwise the media wouldn’t have been keeping their lips sealed in the first place. But I still think he was probably referring to the lid finally coming off of Hillary Clinton’s Wellesleyan ways.

Discuss amongst yourselves

What do you think of the revised look? I’ve been wanting to add a second column for some time now, and finally managed to get around to it during the Bears-Broncos game. I’ll be adding one or two new sections, but in the meantime I just wanted to make sure that all of the previous functionality was preserved.

If people with narrower screens are having a problem, let me know and I can reduce the middle area somewhat.