Thursday, August 31, 2006

Pinocchio and friends converted to Islam

Talk about revisionist history, this is so over the top I did a double take. It's hard to believe all of these characters have been seduced by the dark side of the force.

Pinocchio, Tom Sawyer and other characters have been
converted to Islam in new versions of 100 classic stories on the
Turkish school curriculum.

"Give me some bread,
for Allah's sake," Pinocchio says to Geppetto, his maker, in a book
stamped with the crest of the ministry of education.

"Thanks be to Allah," the puppet says later.

In The Three Musketeers, D'Artagnan is told that he cannot visit Aramis. The reason would surprise the author, Alexandre Dumas.
An old woman explains: "He is surrounded by men of religion. He converted to Islam after his illness." Read More.


powered by performancing firefox

Arnold Must Veto AB 523

Incredible, only in California can they be so intolerant in their tolerance.

There's a little PBS station in Orange County, California --KOCE. For years it has been run by the Orange Coast Community College District, but the burden became to great, and the Trustees of the District resolved to sell it. Bids arrived, and a religious broadcaster, Daystar, bid far and away the most money.

The Trustees chose to accept a significantly smaller bid, and that one mostly paper, not cash. Not surprisingly, a court overturned the ridiculous deal.

So did the Trustees do the right thing and gain the most cash for the district? No, they tromped off to Sacramento to get special legislation allowing them to sell the station for far less than it was worth to their pals. Read More.

Tags: , ,

Born in the U.S.A.? Rethinking Birthright Citizenship in the Wake of 9/11

This is sure to cause a stink with many, especially illegal immigrant advocates. It is a difficult question and does need to be looked at in light of 911. Will this make an impact on illegal immigration, or posibly terrorism? Difficult to quantify, however it is known that many cross into this country when they are pregnant.


Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives, Judiciary
Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims
(Sept. 29, 2005) contends that the Citizenship Clause of the 14th
Amendment has been misconstrued as mandating birthright citizenship.
Rather, the clause was a codification of the 1866 Civil Rights Act,
which quite clearly exempted from the automatic citizenship provisions
children of parents who owed allegiance to a foreign power - i.e.,
those who were in the U.S. only temporarily (and particularly those who
were in the U.S. illegally). This was the understanding of those who
drafted and those who ratified the 14th Amendment, and was confirmed by
the Supreme Court in the first two cases to address the clause. In
1898, the Court reversed course, though, holding that the Clause
mandated birthright citizenship, resulting in a repudiation of the
principle of bilateral consent as the foundation for citizenship. Read More.

Scroll down to download the entire article.

HT: Hugh Hewitt

powered by performancing firefox


This video is really interesting of Isreali soldiers attacking terrorists in Lebanon. The thing I find amazing is how they seem to get anything accomplished in what seems like absolute chaos in the battlefield. The video is 25 minutes long.

Cut and paste the URL the link doesn't seem to work.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Reason to Believe

Very thought provoking:

The battles in Lebanon against the Hezbollah have been described as Israel’s first non-Arab war. Andrew Sullivan calls it a religious war, driven by ” the divine mandate that the Islamists believe they are following … where the Jews must be destroyed as a people and as

a sovereign state in order for the Apocalypse to occur.” But for Sullivan, it’s not just Nasrallah’s particular brand of religious motivation that is suspect, but religion in general. On the subject of the Apocalypse Sullivan writes ” Pat Robertson and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are in complete agreement”, the sole difference being that Robertson is merely ” a corrupt kook” while ” Ahmadinejad has some serious weaponry and a state under his control.” Thus Sullivan sees only a difference in degree and not of essence.

Perhaps, but with the Jihad advancing under a religious banner and all religions doubtful, under what banner should those who oppose it fight? Read More.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Rumsfeld: Bush Critics Trying to Appease 'New Type of Fascism'

Though you may not like him, he does understand the danger of islamofascism.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday accused critics of the Bush administration's Iraq and counterterrorism policies of trying to appease "a new type of fascism."

In unusually explicit terms, Rumsfeld portrayed the administration's critics as suffering from "moral or intellectual confusion" about what threatens the nation's security and accused them of lacking the courage to fight back.

In remarks to several thousand veterans at the American Legion's national convention, Rumsfeld recited what he called the lessons of history, including the failed efforts to appease the Adolf Hitler regime in the 1930s.

"I recount this history because once again we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism," he said. Read More.

Five Years Later: 9/11 Attacks Show No Lasting Influence on Americans’ Faith

This is sad but not surprising. People have a tendency to seek God in times of trouble, when that crisis ends so does their searching. It will be interesting to know if this return to the status quo is indicative of resiency or resistence to the gospel.

As the United States nears the fifth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Americans are looking back at how their lives have changed in the half decade since that tumultuous day. How have their spiritual lives been affected? A new study by The Barna Group examined data from nine national surveys, involving interviews with more than 8,600 adults, conducted right before the attacks and at regular intervals since then.

The study shows that despite an intense surge in religious activity and expression in the weeks immediately following 9/11 the faith of Americans is virtually indistinguishable today compared to pre-attack conditions. Barna’s tracking surveys looked at 19 dimensions of spirituality and beliefs. Remarkably, none of those 19 indicators are statistically different from the summer before the attacks! Read More.

It’s the Internet, do you know where your children are?

Posted over at Ruminating Pilgrim.

Children as young as nine are using internet chatrooms to talk about their sexual encounters, and, in most cases, their parents have no idea what they are up to, a study of pre-teen girls shows.

There is growing concern about sexualisation of “tweenies” - youngsters between childhood and the teenage years - via the internet, magazines, clothes, music, TV and cosmetic products.

The five-year study, the first of its kind, looked into the sexual behaviour of 1,300 pre-teens, and revealed that, on the internet at least, young girls’ lives are “filled with sexual behaviour of one sort or another”. It concludes that almost all parents are “virtually clueless” about what their daughters are up to. Read More.


Monday, August 28, 2006

How not to sell handbags to Republicans by Kenneth Cole

Last week Michelle Malkin exposed an M.A.C. lipstick ad as being anti-Republican. About six weeks ago, I bought a Kenneth Cole handbag and loved it. Last week, however, I bought the September 2006 issue of Vogue magazine. On pages 210-211 of the magazine, there is an ad for Kenneth Cole handbags and shoes that states, With the government recording personal phone calls, our rights aren't the only thing on the line. Are you putting us on? - Kenneth Cole

Carrying the handbag now makes me feel a little sick as in nauseous. Before I saw the ad, I was extremely happy with the quality of the handbag and would definately have bought more Kenneth Cole handbags in the future.

Mr. Cole, I will never again be putting on one of your products. The way the ad is worded makes me feel that if I put on one of your products, I am also carrying a political statement for you. Sorry, no can do. I agree with Michelle Malkin; my money is the same color as Democrats' money - green. However, your company will not being seeing a penny of my money ever again. I am posting this on my husband's blog. I will get my husband to blog onto Red-Blue Christian, a site to which he has posting rights. In short, I am hopping mad. I want as many women from the conservative side of the political spectrum know about this ad just as Michelle Malkin exposed M.A.C. By the way, there were no other ads in the Vogue doing anything other than trying to sell a brand. I thought that's all ads were supposed to sell.


Georgetown Rejects Evangelical Groups

In the case of Intervarsity it is broad based with both Catholic and Protestant. The issue here seems to be that Evangelicals are not wanted. The more liberal branches of Protestanism are perfectly acceptable.

Georgetown University was the first Roman Catholic college to have a full-time rabbi as a chaplain to serve Jewish students. It also has a full-time imam to serve Muslim students, and has historically been praised for promoting Catholic teachings while welcoming people of many faiths.

As the academic year starts, however, Georgetown is the site of Protestant religious strife. The university’s Protestant ministry has told six evangelical groups that the university’s relationships with them have been “terminated.” The groups will not be allowed to organize worship services, retreats or Bible study, or to participate in the annual open house designed to introduce Georgetown students to various groups. The evangelical groups were also told that they must revise their Web sites so that no Georgetown relationship is implied, and avoid any public statement that they have a ministry at the university.

In a letter to the evangelical groups, Rev. Constance C. Wheeler, the Protestant chaplain at Georgetown, did not offer any reason for the decision, but said that it came “only after much dialogue with the Lord.” University officials characterized the decision as an administrative one, designed largely to ensure better coordination of services for Protestant students. Read More.

The Bible in 1,000 Words

Good summary of the bible and our relationship to God.


Hat Tip: Brian Mavis

What Your Freshmen Don’t Know

This makes me feel old:

Beloit College has released its latest “Mindset List,” to help academics understand what freshmen know — and what they don’t have a clue about. This list has been prepared each August since 1998 and past lists are available online.

Here is this year’s list, for the Class of 2010:

1. The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.
2. They have known only two presidents.
3. For most of their lives, major U.S. airlines have been bankrupt.
4. Manuel Noriega has always been in jail in the U.S.
5. They have grown up getting lost in “big boxes”.
6. There has always been only one Germany.
7. They have never heard anyone actually “ring it up” on a cash register.
8. They are wireless, yet always connected.
9. A stained blue dress is as famous to their generation as a third-rate burglary was to their parents’.
10. Thanks to pervasive head phones in the back seat, parents have always been able to speak freely in the front.
11. A coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake.
12. Smoking has never been permitted on U.S. airlines.
13. Faux fur has always been a necessary element of style.
14. The Moral Majority has never needed an organization.
15. They have never had to distinguish between the St. Louis Cardinals baseball and football teams.
16. DNA fingerprinting has always been admissible evidence in court.
17. They grew up pushing their own miniature shopping carts in the supermarket.
18. They grew up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication.
19. “Google” has always been a verb. Read More.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Study Shows Teacher's Gender Affects Students' Performance

The most important aspect of this study is that it shows gender matters. Women and men are different and this also impacts how we learn. Notice I said different, not better or worse, just different. More study needs to be done.

For all the differences between the sexes, here's one that might stir up debate in the teacher's lounge: Boys learn more from men and girls learn more from women.

That's the upshot of a provocative study by Thomas Dee, an associate professor of economics at Swarthmore College and visiting scholar at Stanford University. His study was to appear Monday in Education Next, a quarterly journal published by the Hoover Institution.

Vetted and approved by peer reviewers, Dee's research faces a fight for acceptance. Some leading education advocates dispute his conclusions and the way in which he reached them.

But Dee says his research supports his point, that gender matters when it comes to learning. Specifically, as he describes it, having a teacher of the opposite sex hurts a student's academic progress. Read More.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Interesting that this has happened. Because of the limitations in research money for stem cells scientists seem to have overcome the ethical dilemma. Could this be because they had to find a new way to harvest stem cells without killing embryos?

A stem cell breakthrough by American scientists is set to overturn ethical objections to potentially live-saving research.

They have found how to make stem cells from embryos without destroying the embryo in the process - an advance that could open the door to billions of dollars in research funding.

Stem-cell research, which specialists believe holds the key to treating many diseases, has been crippled in the US by the religious Right, backed by the Bush Administration. Federal support for such research has been banned because it involves the destruction of embryos.

Now a team at Advanced Cell Technology - a private company - has found that it is possible to create human stem cells using one or two cells from an early embryo, without doing any damage to the embryo. Read More.

Isn't it amazing what science can do when money is involved!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


N.T. Wright gives a balanced assesment on how christianity needs to impact our politics and not allowing politics to shape our faith.

Bishop N.T. Wright spends a good deal of time explaining to admirers that they misunderstand him.

To those impressed by his rigorous, evangelically-inclined biblical scholarship, he must explain that “conservative” convictions regarding the interpretation of Scripture do not, in his case, translate into support for the foreign policy of President George W. Bush.

“I often meet people in this country who tell me, ‘I love your books on Jesus. I really enjoy your work on Paul. But how can you criticize our president because God has raised him up to bring justice to the world?’” says Wright, the prolific author who is also the Bishop of Durham.

To liberal Christians who cheer his opposition to the war in Iraq and his advocacy of greenhouse gas restrictions, he must break the news that he parts company with them on issues such as gay marriage, and wonders whether their politics shapes their faith, rather than their faith shaping their politics. Read More.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What the Devil? Prince of Darkness Is Misunderstood, Says UCLA Professor

After having lived in South Africa and witnessing many things, I can say Satan is real and evil. The interpretive hoops that Kelly uses are substantial and he fails to talk about any sort of demonic forces that Satan is head of. In short this article is very uninspiring.

"There's little or no evidence in the Bible for most of the characteristics and deeds commonly attributed to Satan," insists a UCLA professor with four decades in what he describes as "the devil business."

In "Satan: A Biography" (Cambridge Press), Henry Ansgar Kelly puts forth the most comprehensive case ever made for sympathy for the devil, arguing that the Bible actually provides a kinder, gentler version of the infamous antagonist than typically thought. Read More.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Interesting interview with Robert Spencer from Jihad Watch

Excellent interview, gives alot of information on Islam.


Friday, August 18, 2006

August 22: Does Iran have something in store?

Food for thought. The Iranian worldview is radically different from the west.

What is the significance of Aug. 22? This year, Aug. 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to "the farthest mosque," usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (c.f., Koran XVII.1). This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world. It is far from certain that Mr. Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind. Read More.

High suicide rate for older white males

It would be interesting to have more information:

Older white males have the highest suicide rate in the United States, said the Population Reference Bureau in Washington.

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States with 11 suicide deaths per 100,000 Americans.

For white males over the age of 65, the rate is almost triple that figure.

White males are more than eight times as likely to kill themselves as women of the same age and the risk increases as they get older, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Suicide experts are unable to pinpoint an exact cause for the higher rate but some believe white males lack the resilience and coping mechanisms that women and other ethnic groups have.

They also point to the fact that males are socialized to be in control and are less apt to seek help for depression which leads to suicide.


Thursday, August 17, 2006


This is an interesting issue concerning the church. What do we think of the concept of sanctuary? Many red christians are very much against illegal immigration. But what happens when we put a face to it?

This is definetely a quandary for the government, do we arrest her in a church, or let her stay, setting a precedent for others to follow. There is no legal basis for sanctuary in the US, but what about a religious basis? The subject for the church is, how do we respond? My personal leanings are for restricted immigration.

I believe the church however, must be open for illegal immigrants. Evangelism knows no status. If I take seriously the concept of the imago Dei than I as a christian must welcome all into the church I pastor. Do I condone this behaviour? No, but I must still love, and show Christ to all. Am I being simplistic? Probably, but for me the basic understanding of who I am in Christ is simple (and complex!) and it is my hope this carries over into how I view others.

Immigration activists around the country are taking up the cause of a single mother who invoked the ancient principle of sanctuary and took refuge in a Chicago church rather than submit to deportation to Mexico.

Elvira Arellano, 31, was holed up for a second day Wednesday at Aldalberto United Methodist Church with the support of the congregation’s pastor. With her was her 7-year-old son, Saul, an American citizen…Activists said her desire to come here to work and provide a better life for herself and her son illustrates why they believe the nation’s immigration laws must be changed.

“She is a leader in the movement who has made the issue of family unity the key issue in the question of the undocumented,” her pastor said. “That is the most sympathetic issue there is.”

Others are not so sure.

“I don’t think the immigration debate should be focused on a woman who … disregards an order,” said Carlina Tapia-Ruano, a Chicago lawyer and president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Tapia-Ruano said she worries that Arellano’s story will be used by extremists on both sides of the issue and cited as an example “of how illegals come here to be in flagrant disregard of our laws, and I don’t think that’s true.” Read More.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Should the Church Steer Clear of Politics?

My answer is yes and no. Yes, if we equate conservative politics with christianity. No, if we believe our christianity can have no bearing on our politics. Being a christian should impact every aspect of who we are, including who we vote for.

...The Church must become very wary of power plays because power, as Lord Acton has reminded, has a corrupting influence. But, in truth, so does powerlessness insomuch that it can make us complacent. And that complacency, on all issues of import, is dangerous to the Church as well.

The "emerging church" movement promotes a term we could learn from -- sacralization. It is, in the words of authors Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger (Emerging Churches), "the process of making all of life sacred" and "represents the interaction of kingdom and culture." Christians should indeed have the goal of making all of life His, and that would include the issues facing contemporary culture and political solutions. Read More.


I never new Hitler had tampered with scripture:

A BIBLE featuring Adolf Hitler's version of the Ten Commandments has been discovered.

The dictator ordered the book rewritten to remove all references to Jews.

In the Nazi bible, found in a German church, the regime who stole, murdered and plundered their way across Europe scrapped the likes of Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal and Thou shalt not covet your neighbour's wife.

And Hitler got his theorists to alter the Commandments - and add two more - in a bid to further the Aryan ideal for the book Germans With God.

New "Commandments" included Honour your Fuhrer and your master, Avoid all hypocrisy, and Keep the blood pure and your honour holy.

The book, printed in 1941 and sent thousands of churches, was meant to be essential reading in every home in Nazi Germany alongside Hitler's autobiography, Mein Kampf. Read More.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Landmark Study on Global Evangelism Released

Sounds like the Church still has alot to do:

An important new study focuses on remaining barriers to global evangelism and offers a strategic roadmap to accomplish the Great Commission among unreached people groups.

“Research shows that despite the extraordinary missions efforts of the Church, three out of four people alive on the earth today still have not heard the Gospel,” said Kevin Swanson, president of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF). MAF is an aviation, communications and technology ministry serving more than 600 Christian and non-governmental organizations worldwide.

The landmark five-year global research project by MAF called “Operation ACCESS!” provides critical information that will shape international evangelism, ministry and humanitarian strategies for the next 20 years.

The study spotlights pockets of people considered heretofore unreachable, and identifies areas where transportation, communications and technology barriers prevent or impede access to the Gospel. It assesses the significance of the barriers, the degree of any ministry taking place, and suggests how the barriers can be overcome. Read More.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Stop the US-Israeli War Rally, San Francisco, August 12, 2006

What tolerance, what love!


Damascus knife

I love damascus steel knives. This is a beautiful folder with mammoth tooth handle.



Interesting take on religious conservatives as opposed to secular conservatives.

Upon leaving office in November 2004, Attorney General John Ashcroft thanked his staff for keeping the country safe since 9/11. But the real credit, he added, belonged to God. Ultimately, it was God’s solicitude for America that had prevented another attack on the homeland.

Many conservatives hear such statements with a soothing sense of approbation. But others—count me among them—feel bewilderment, among much else. If God deserves thanks for fending off assaults on the United States after 9/11, why is he not also responsible for allowing the 2001 hijackings to happen in the first place?

Skeptical conservatives—one of the Right’s less celebrated subcultures—are conservatives because of their skepticism, not in spite of it. They ground their ideas in rational thinking and (nonreligious) moral argument. And the conservative movement is crippling itself by leaning too heavily on religion to the exclusion of these temperamentally compatible allies. Read More.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


So says Cornell University. Their study shows that co-habitating couples are in an intense form of dating that is not necessarily a stepping stone for marriage.

Research as part of a Cornell University study revealed that the average time couples spend “living together” is less than two years and that only 4 percent of cohabiting couples stay together for more than ten years. Half of all cohabiting “unions” end within a year, and 90 percent within five years. As ever, it is the children who suffer from this laissez-faire approach to relationships. Within five years of the birth of a child, 52 percent of cohabitants split up. This compares to 25 percent of those cohabiting couples who marry after the birth of the child, and only 8 percent of those couples who were already married when the child was born. Thus the experts have finally come to the earth-shattering (and earth-shatteringly obvious) conclusion that marriage is good for the stability of relationships and crucial to the well-being of children. Read More.

Of course these are things that many of us already new, but now Cornell can tell us from an academic perspective.

Gore isn't quite as green as he's led the world to believe

If we say and expect others to follow our lead, is it important to do what we say?

Al Gore has spoken: The world must embrace a "carbon-neutral lifestyle." To do otherwise, he says, will result in a cataclysmic catastrophe. "Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb," warns the website for his film, An Inconvenient Truth. "We have just 10 years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tailspin."

Graciously, Gore tells consumers how to change their lives to curb their carbon-gobbling ways: Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, use a clothesline, drive a hybrid, use renewable energy, dramatically cut back on consumption. Better still, responsible global citizens can follow Gore's example, because, as he readily points out in his speeches, he lives a "carbon-neutral lifestyle." But if Al Gore is the world's role model for ecology, the planet is doomed.

For someone who says the sky is falling, he does very little. He says he recycles and drives a hybrid. And he claims he uses renewable energy credits to offset the pollution he produces when using a private jet to promote his film. (In reality, Paramount Classics, the film's distributor, pays this.)

Public records reveal that as Gore lectures Americans on excessive consumption, he and his wife Tipper live in two properties: a 10,000-square-foot, 20-room, eight-bathroom home in Nashville, and a 4,000-square-foot home in Arlington, Va. (He also has a third home in Carthage, Tenn.) For someone rallying the planet to pursue a path of extreme personal sacrifice, Gore requires little from himself. Read More.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

10 Ways Darwinists Help Intelligent Design (Part III)

#8 By separating origins of life science from evolutionary explanations. – Nature is too complex to be encompassed in any one field. That is why it’s necessary for scientific disciplines (physics, biology, chemistry) to be broken down into sub-disciplines (cosmology, zoology, biochemistry, etc.). But while most scientists may not have no problems thinking in unconnected categories, the average person expects the various parts to be stitched back into a seamless whole.

That is why when looking for an explanation for the origins of mankind, most people naturally start at the beginning. The neo-Darwinists, on the other hand, prefer to jump ahead to the middle and begin the argument with “specifies evolve.” If you ask them how “life” (a necessary feature for any evolving species) began in the first place they will claim that the issue is outside the theory.

Perhaps. But since naturalistic theories rise or fall based on the plausibility of this issue, it would probably be a good idea to make sure that this one is nailed down.

Unfortunately for these advocates, modern science doesn’t have a clue how DNA, much less a living organism, could have been produced from non-living matter. If you ask most anti-ID critics about abiogenesis they will either be under the (false) impression that this problem has already been solved or will claim that it is only a matter of time before the process is understood. (See #3)

Some scientists, such as Nobel-prize winner Francis Crick, have at least attempted to come up with an alternative explanation. Crick, realizing the impossibility of abiogenesis occurring on earth, published a paper in which he suggested that life on earth was “seeded” from another planet. (That’s something to keep in mind the next time someone mentions that real science (as opposed to something like ID theory) is submitted through “peer-reviewed science journals”.)

An adequate theory of speciation must begin at the beginning. Before there can be species there must first be living organisms. How did these organisms evolve from inanimate matter? No one knows. But until the theory can be rooted in a firm explanation for how this occurs, explanations for an “intelligent designer” will appear quite plausible.

#9 By resorting to ad hominems instead of arguments (e.g., claiming that advocates of ID are “ignorant”). Read More.

Lieberman, Lamont Debacle

Great commentary on the Lieberman, Lamont debacle:

Let's see if I've got this right. Conventional wisdom says that the country has gone progressively to the center/right. The last two Democratic presidents were centrists. The Democrats desparately want to regain control of Congress in 2006, and the White House in 2008. Joe Lieberman was the Democratic standard-bearer just six years ago, along with Al Gore. the DSCC and the Democratic establishment [aside from President Clinton] provided little or no help to Lieberman in his campaign, which is the same as opposing him. And many left-leaning Democrats are now gleeful over his defeat by a "trust fund baby" in the Connecticut primary, which makes the party as a whole look like total freaking disloyal idiots to the rest of the country. Read More.

The biggest building site on earth

This is a building project.

Those looking for tranquil, unspoilt beaches, rustic charm and authentic maritime culture will probably choose to look elsewhere. But for the world's permatanned classes with bling to display and money to burn this extraordinary construction project in the Persian Gulf is an irresistible draw.

Begun in 2001, the Palm Islands are a 12-square-mile group off the shores of Dubai. With 14,000 labourers toiling day and night, the first of three unfeasibly large, palm

shaped artificial islands, Palm Jumeirah, is nearing completion, and about to receive its first residents. Read More.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sugary Soda Identified As Obesity Culprit, Scientists Say

This actually explains alot:

Americans have sipped and slurped their way to fatness by drinking far more soda and other sugary drinks over the last four decades, a new scientific review concludes.

An extra can of soda a day can pile on 15 pounds in a single year, and the "weight of evidence" strongly suggests that this sort of increased consumption is a key reason that more people have gained weight, the researchers say. Read More.


It seems that there is consternation about the percieved political philosophy of educators. They have taken a pro-gay marriage position, pro-immigration position among others. The question then is whether it is appropriate for this union to take positions on such overtly political issues?

An endorsement of same-sex “marriage” was not the only political statement that angered conservative members of the National Education Association (NEA) at the teachers union’s convention last month in Orlando, Florida.

At that meeting, 50 NEA delegates submitted a legislative amendment (7) calling for an immigration policy that “rejects the criminalization of undocumented immigrants and those who work with them, especially educators.” Amendment 7, which is now in the hands of the NEA’s Legislative Committee, also advocates “a path to citizenship” or “permanent residency” for illegal aliens.

Ohio teacher Judy Bruns, an eight-year delegate to the national NEA convention, calls the proposed amendment “embarrassingly presumptuous.” She believes this measure and others like it overstep the organization’s proper scope and purpose. Read More.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Reuters withdraws all photos by Lebanese freelance photographer

Well, this is causing a little consternation. Seems some of the more provocative photos to come out of reuters have possibly been photoshopped (manipulated with software). Nothing new, photos have been staged for a long time. It's just that reuters has gotten caught. They now admit that editorial oversight is not what it should have been. Propaganda anyone?


10 Ways Darwinists Help Intelligent Design (Part II)

Continued from Joe Carter and Evangelical Outpost:

#6 By invoking design in non-design explanations. Anyone who wonders why so many people find intelligent design explanations plausible need only to listen to scientific community discuss the evolutionary process. Scientists have a complete inability to talk about and explain processes like natural selection without using the terms, analogies, and metaphors of design and teleology.

Take, for instance, the recent finding that leads researchers to believe they have found a second code in DNA in addition to the genetic code. On The New York Times science page we find an explanation by Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute in Israel:

A curious feature of the code is that it is redundant, meaning that a given amino acid can be defined by any of several different triplets. Biologists have long speculated that the redundancy may have been designed so as to coexist with some other kind of code, and this, Dr. Segal said, could be the nucleosome code. [emphasis added]

Or consider this, my favorite example, taken from a primer on evolutionary psychology:

Design evidence. Adaptations are problem-solving machines, and can be identified using the same standards of evidence that one would use to recognize a human-made machine: design evidence….. Complex functional design is the hallmark of adaptive machines as well. One can identify an aspect of the phenotype as an adaptation by showing that (1) it has many design features that are complexly specialized for solving an adaptive problem, (2) these phenotypic properties are unlikely to have arisen by chance alone, and (3) they are not better explained as the by-product of mechanisms designed to solve some alternative adaptive problem. Finding that an architectural element solves an adaptive problem with "reliability, efficiency, and economy" is prima facie evidence that one has located an adaptation (Williams, 1966).

Design evidence is important not only for explaining why a known mechanism exists, but also for discovering new mechanisms, ones that no one had thought to look for. [Proponents of this theory] also use theories of adaptive function heuristically, to guide their investigations of phenotypic design.

After reading that passage you might wonder if I had copied the wrong passage, providing a selection from a primer on ID rather than on evolutionary psychology. It seems improbable that a paper on evolutionary processes would use the word design 85 times(!), often in conjunction with explaining how natural selection “designed” a certain function (i.e., “Principle 2. Our neural circuits were designed by natural selection to solve problems that our ancestors faced during our species' evolutionary history.”)

Such uses of design, however, are not uncommon. In fact, some neo-Darwinists, such as Richard Dawkins, admit that while certain biological forms may have the appearance of design, they are only designoids. (As Dave Barry would say, I’m not making this stuff up.)

The world is divided into things that look designed (like birds and airliners) and things that don't (rocks and mountains).Things that look designed are divided into those that really are designed (submarines and tin openers) and those that aren't (sharks and hedgehogs). The diagnostic of things that look (or are) designed is that their parts are assembled in ways that are statistically improbable in a functional direction. They do something well: for instance, fly. Darwinian natural selection can produce an uncanny illusion of design. An engineer would be hard put to decide whether a bird or a plane was the more aerodynamically elegant.

So what is the “explanatory filter” (to borrow a phrase from the ID’ers) that naturalism uses in order to distinguish between what is “designed” by an intelligence and what are, in the words of Richard Dawkins, “designoids”, phenomena that only have the appearance of being designed? Since ID theory claims to have a method for differentiating one from the other, we might presume that naturalism does as well.

Evidence for design that requires an intelligent designer? Unscientific nonsense. Evidence for design that requires only undirected, unintelligent processes? An important mechanism for explaining known mechanisms. Even people who have never taken a course in logic can spot the special pleading required to make this argument.

Whether intelligent design will ever become the primary explanation in evolutionary biology remains to be seen. But the use of design language in explaining the process will ensure that ID remains the most plausible explanation in the minds of the public.

#7 By claiming that the criticism of ID has nothing to do with a prejudice against theism – and then having the most vocal critics of ID be anti-religious atheists. – Let’s first dispell the ridiculous notion that most evolutionary biologists believe in God. Somehow this has become a dominant theme in these discussions, even though it remains patently false. In 1998, the journal Nature polled the members of the National Academy of Sciences on their belief in God. Of all those questioned, biological scientists had the lowest rate of belief -- only 5.5 percent were theists.

When 94.5 percent of the "scientific elite" has a plausibility structure that rejects the possibility of a Supreme Intelligent Being, it is not surprising that they would reject the very concept of an “intelligent designer.”

But even among the disbelievers, the most prominent critics are not the agnostics but the evangelical atheists. Take, for instance, zoologist Richard Dawkins' interview with

Salon: Those who embrace "intelligent design" -- the idea that living cells are too complex to have been created by nature alone -- say evolution isn't incompatible with the existence of God.

Dawkins: There is just no evidence for the existence of God. Evolution by natural selection is a process that works up from simple beginnings, and simple beginnings are easy to explain. The engineer or any other living thing is difficult to explain -- but it is explicable by evolution by natural selection. So the relevance of evolutionary biology to atheism is that evolutionary biology gives us the only known mechanism whereby the illusion of design, or apparent design, could ever come into the universe anywhere.

Some of the most vocal critics of ID are also vocal critics against religion in general. Dawkins, P.Z. Myers, E.O. Wilson, Daniel Dennett, and Michael Shermer are a few examples of prominent ID critics who spend an inordinate amount of time railing about the ignorance of religious beliefs.

Even fellow ID critic Michael Ruse thinks that Dawkins and Dennett are hurting their own case. As he wrote in a letter to Dennett, “I think that you and Richard are absolute disasters in the fight against intelligent design … what we need is not knee-jerk atheism but serious grappling with the issues …more than this, we are in a fight, and we need to make allies in the fight, not simply alienate everyone of good will.”

Sunday, August 06, 2006


US News and World Report has an interesting article on the backlash to the homosexual agenda when they tried to get legalized marriage rights through the courts. People don’t like laws to be formulated through the courts, I believe this is the reason so many states are revising their constitutions to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

After the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court legalized gay marriage in 2003, and gay and lesbian couples began to wed in San Francisco and Portland, Ore., soon after, it seemed to Lisa Stone that a new era was sweeping the country. In 2004, Stone, a Seattle gay-rights advocate, sued to overturn Washington’s 1998 gay-marriage ban. “There was a youthful optimism about what was ahead of us,” she says.

Now, though, “nobody’s swept up anymore,” says Stone. For advocates of same-sex marriage, the outlook is dark, that early enthusiasm tempered by a wave of anti-gay-marriage voter initiatives and a string of courtroom losses. And more court decisions and initiatives expected this year could result in devastating setbacks. “We may face a reality by the end of this year that is so radically different … that we may have to completely rethink and rework how we’re going to move forward,” says Ed Murray, a gay Washington State representative. Jordan Lorence of the conservative Alliance Defense Fund is more blunt: “One side is clearly prevailing, and one is losing.” Read More.

HT: Captains Quarters

Saturday, August 05, 2006

10 Ways Darwinists Help Intelligent Design (Part I)

This is excellent from Joe Carter at the Evangelical Outpost:

Eighty years after the Scopes “Monkey” Trial, the public still refuses to accept the idea that Darwin’s theory of natural selection is a sufficient explanation for complex biological phenomena. In fact, opinion polls show that fewer people are willing to accept the idea that human beings developed from earlier species than they were just ten years ago.

In Britain—a country that is not exactly known for fundamentalist Christianity—fewer than half accept the theory of evolution as the best description for the development of life. (And more than 40% of those polled believe that creationism or intelligent design (ID) should be taught in school science lessons.) Even doctors, who are more informed about biology than the general public, overwhelmingly (60%) reject the claim that humans evolved through natural processes alone.

Why do so many people have such difficulty accepting the theory? Is it due to a resurgence of religious-based creationism? Or is it that the Discovery Institute and other advocates of Intelligent Design are more persuasive? I believe the credit belongs not to the advocates of ID but to the theory’s critics.

Had the critics remained silent, ID might possibly have moldered in obscurity. But instead they launched a counter-offensive, forcing people into choosing sides. The problem is that the more the public learns about modern evolutionary theory, the more skeptical they become.

I won’t argue that critics of ID are always wrong or that ID is always—or even mostly—right in its claims. But I do think a compelling case can be made that the anti-IDers are losing the rhetorical battle. Here is the first five in a list of ten reasons ways in which they are helping to promote the theory of intelligent design:

#1 By remaining completely ignorant about ID while knocking down strawman versions of the theory. – Whether due to intellectual snobbery or intellectual laziness, too many critics of ID never bother to understand what the term means, much less learn the general tenets of the theory. Instead, they knock down a strawman version of ID that they have gleaned from other, equally ill-informed, critics. The belligerent or paranoid advocates of ID will assume that the misrepresentation is due to dishonesty or a conspiracy by “Darwinists.” But even those who are more charitable will agree that when a critic misrepresents the theory, it undermines their own credibility. Read More.

The Immoral Intentionality of 'Teen' Movies

Barna Research in 2002 revealed that less than 10 percent of teens believe that there are such things as moral absolutes to guide their actions. These teens were initiated into this "value-free" environment by their parents -- adults who believed in moral absolutes made up only 22 percent of the research sample. So perhaps it is fitting that My Super Ex-Girlfriend and John Tucker Must Die were released as this summer's one-two PG-13 punch. If we are going to encourage a new generation of morally ambivalent teens, after all, we need to make sure they can attend the instruction.

The stated purpose of the "R" rating for films is to shield youngsters from material that is unsuitable for their age. Neil Postman, in The Disappearance of Childhood, notes that unrestricted access to sexuality by children and adolescents blurs the line between kids and adults, and may irreparably damage children in the process. Some may argue that what is on the screen is no different than the material these kids are exposed to on cable television -- but that begs the question: Should children be exposed to a mechanistic view of sex before they are of an age to discern its moral quality? Read More.

Good point, it does seem that there is an intentionality in what the movies are showing. If a directors worldview is based on a value less model they will try to propogate there viewpoint. Movies are like most forms of communication, influenced by the worldview of it's creator.

An Allegory for Today

Joseph Pearce writes:

Those visiting England between now and October 15 will have the opportunity to visit an exhibition, at the Royal Academy, of works by the Italian-born artist Amedeo Modigliani. One of the prodigies of Eliot’s Wasteland generation, Modigliani died, as he had lived, in sordid squalor. Having wrecked himself on the rocks of sex, drugs, and alcohol, his final days were spent in a bed strewn with bottles of booze and empty sardine tins. He died, in Paris, in January 1920 at the age of thirty-five. Two days after his death, his mistress threw herself from a fifth-floor window. She was nine months’ pregnant with their second child.

As a horror story, the life and death of Modigliani and his mistress are distressingly real enough. But as an allegory of the times in which we live, the tragedy takes on even deeper symbolic significance. Reckless self-abuse, the abandonment of one child, the killing of the abandoned child’s unborn sibling, and the suicide of the mother: a catastrophic catalog of nihilistic destruction. As a representative of the philosophy he served, Modigliani is more than merely an example—he is a metaphor.


Episcopal Church USA

Update on Charlotte Allen's op ed piece that had appeared in the LA Times.

Back in early July, right after the Episcopal Church USA finished its general convention, declining to “repent”—as requested by the Archbishop of Canterbury—of its confirmation of the openly gay, openly cohabitating V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire, I wrote an op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times. The gist of my article was that the Episcopalians’ capitulation to secular liberal culture hadn’t simply catapulted their church into severe demographic decline”—a drop of nearly one million members since 1965, and a median number of eighty worshippers per church on any given Sunday—but its literal disintegration. Read More.


It seems that pacifism often leads to warfare. The classic example is Neville Chamberlain the British Prime Minister leading up to German aggression in WWII. ‘Peace’ movements and pacifism only work if both sides are willing to abide by the rules. It seems to me that many in the peace movement sphere today are deluded into thinking that their vision for peace is shared by all sides. As Sowell points out we need to be aware of what is rhetoric, and what is reality. Peace at any cost is not peace, just ignorance.
Thomas Sowell writes:

One of the many failings of our educational system is that it sends out into the world people who cannot tell rhetoric from reality. They have learned no systematic way to analyze ideas, derive their implications and test those implications against hard facts.

“Peace” movements are among those who take advantage of this widespread inability to see beyond rhetoric to realities. Few people even seem interested in the actual track record of so-called “peace” movements — that is, whether such movements actually produce peace or war. Read More.

HT: Powerline

Friday, August 04, 2006

Schizophrenia, Nations and Clans

Insightful article on what happens when your worldview comes unhinged:


See also:

The “Left” Takes on the Qana Affair: Fisking the Daily Kos


This would change the character of these lawsuits. Take away the monetary incentive and they will begin to dry up.

Some U.S. senators this week have heard testimony from both sides on a piece of legislation that would strip legal fees from church-state lawsuits. Such legal victories, often described as “Establishment Clause” cases, have provided the American Civil Liberties Union with millions of dollars in profits as it pursues numerous cases challenging public displays of religious belief in America.

Senator Sam Brownback (Rep.-KS) says public officials who fear costly litigation often cave in to the mere threat of lawsuits alleging violation of the separation of church and state. That is why he is sponsoring a Senate bill that would block plaintiffs from collecting attorneys fees for lawsuits alleging “establishment of religion.”

The Public Expressions of Religion Act (PERA) (S. 3696) was the topic of discussion at hearings on Wednesday (August 2) before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights. The U.S. House is considering similar legislation (H.R. 2679) that is sponsored by Indiana Congressman John Hostettler. Brownback has made it clear in recent weeks that if groups like the ACLU want to sue city after city for displays of religious images, it should be on their own dime — not at taxpayers’ expense. Read More.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Decline and fall of the Roman myth


We were ‘barbarians’, but early British civilisation outshone the Roman version, says ex-Python Terry Jones. We just lost the propaganda war Nobody ever called themselves barbarians. It’s not that sort of word. It’s a word used about other people. It was used by the ancient Greeks to describe non-Greek people whose language they could not understand and who therefore seemed to babble unintelligibly: “ba ba ba”. The Romans adopted the Greek word and used it to label (and usually libel) the peoples who surrounded their own world.

The Roman interpretation became the only one that counted, and the peoples whom they called Barbarians became for ever branded — be they Spaniards, Britons, Gauls, Germans, Scythians, Persians or Syrians. And, of course, “barbarian” has become a byword for the very opposite of everything that we consider civilised. Read More.


Several conservatives on the state board of education have been defeated. This means that there will be a re-think (and re-vote) on the issue of intelligent design being taught in the classroom. There is a phrase I found interesting …favored a return to traditional science standards. Interesting how traditional science standards excludes any concept of an intelligent designer.

The results seem likely to give the moderates a 6-4 edge on the 10-member board when it takes over in January. Half the members of the board are elected every two years. The election results are not final until certified by the Kansas Secretary of State, Ron Thornburgh, following an official canvas.

Both moderate Republican winners face Democratic opponents in November, but the Democrats are moderates as well, favoring a return to the traditional science standards that prevailed before a conservative majority elected in 2004 passed new rules for teaching science. Those rules, enacted last November, called for classroom critiques of Darwin’s theory. Ms. Waugh, the Democrat, does not face a Republican opponent in the general election.

Nice to know that theories can no longer be scrutinized.


Would an immediate ceasefire be just? Or will it allow injustice to prevail? These are the difficult questions that need to be looked it. The Pope has called for hostilities to cease at once. While this is admirable I am not sure that is the best thing for the middle east. To call for a ceasefire will not end the hostilities, it may even exacerbate it. If Hezzbolah is able to claim a victory (even though defeated militarily) they will be able to gain significant strength and stature. This article concerns the problems with an immdiate ceasefire.
But there’s another problem… It may seem unobjectionable, from a moral point of view, to say that parties involved in an armed conflict ought to stop fighting immediately, but in fact there are cases in which this solution would be wrong. An immediate ceasefire between the warring parties in France on, say, June 13, 1944, would have worked to Hitler’s advantage admirably. Whether, in any particular conflict, an immediate ceasefire ultimately promotes justice and peace is, in important part, an empirical question on which popes are not well-qualified to pronounce.

Worse, the immediate ceasefire Benedict favors fits squarely within the definition of victory that Hezbollah has set for the current conflict. Here’s Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Hezbollah, in an interview (transcribed and translated by Memri) with Al-Jazeera last week:

Victory in this case does not mean that I will enter and conquer the north of Palestine…. The victory that we are talking about–If the resistance survives, this will be a victory. If its determination is not broken, this will be a victory. If Lebanon is not humiliated, if its honor and dignity remain intact, if Lebanon continues to face all alone the strongest military force in the region, and if it perseveres and refuses to accept any humiliating terms in the settlement of this issue–this will be a victory. If we are not militarily defeated, this will be a victory. As long as a single missile is launched from Lebanon to target the Zionists, as long as a single fighter fires his gun, as long as someone plants an explosive device for the Israelis, this means that the resistance still exists.

So, although this is not Benedict’s intention, if he gets the ceasefire he wants, he will have contributed to what Hezbollah sees as a military victory over Israel. Link.


There has been the argument that the legalization of same sex marriage would open the way for polygamy. It seems that these fears have been justified. John P. George writes concerning the movement:

For years, critics of the idea of same-sex “marriage” have made the point that accepting the proposition that two persons of the same sex can marry each other entails abandoning any principled basis for understanding marriage as the union of two and only two persons. So far as I am aware, our opponents have made no serious effort to answer or rebut this point. Their strategy has been to dismiss it as a mere slippery-slope argument (although the truth is that it is a more fundamental type of argument than that) and to accuse us of engaging in “scare tactics.” Some have even denounced us as “bigots” for suggesting that same-sex relations are on a par with polygamy and “polyamory”—the union of three or more persons in a sexual partnership.

That was then; this is now.

A group of self-identified “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and allied activists, scholars, educators, writers, artists, lawyers, journalists, and community organizers” has released a statement explicitly endorsing “committed, loving households in which there is more than one conjugal partner.” Got that? More than one conjugal partner. Read More.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Jewish Federation Shooter Recently Baptized

Well this puts a new twist on things:

The (take your pick) mentally ill individual/evil Muslim terrorist who shot six at the Seattle Jewish Federation, killing one, recently converted to Christianity, according to a Seattle Post-Intelligencer report.

Naveed Haq, now widely portrayed as a Muslim American so angry at Israel that he shot up a Jewish charity in Seattle, had recently converted to Christianity. His conversion is perhaps the most startling contradiction in a puzzling life.

Clearly, this proves that Christians hate America and that there is an organized effort to kill Jews among Christians and that Haq was part of it. Sure, sure–most Christians don’t murder Jews. But many do. There’s a long history of Jew-hating Christians going way back, from the earliest days of the church right up to Mel Gibson. And now this.

Either that, or this is just a tragic crime committed by a mentally ill person. That was my original take on this but, the more I read on the conservative blogs, the more wrong I knew I must be.

Of course, the SPI story could be wrong, in which case it would prove that the press is aligned with the terrorists and confirm that Haq was indeed a Muslim terrorist–probably very high in the al Qaeda hierarchy. Perhaps even the 13th 9/11 hijacker. Link.