Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christians Love Climate Gate

Why is it that Christians are a disproportionately high number of global warming skeptics? The apologetic minded Christians love this hole email conspiracy thing. They love it at Triablogue. They love it at Uncommon Descent. They love it at Evolution News and Views. A friend asked me recently why that would be. Why does it seem that the people that latch on to any type of global warming denial evidence are always Christians?

I believe it is because Christians trust Jesus to take care of everything and expect him to come again and fix all problems. So why sacrifice now and reduce carbon emissions when the Lord will come again soon and none of this will matter? Secularists on the other hand think that if we destroy our planet we really will be screwed. No magic man will come to save us.

If you're a Christian that thinks that the email scandal reveals some sort of massive conspiracy and cover up to get politicians to run your lives, depriving you of Hummer's, etc, watch the video below. Then maybe ask yourself why your conservative sources are always leading you astray. I'm coming to learn that if it's coming out or Rush Limbaugh's mouth and it's remotely debatable it's probably false. Learn that lesson or continue to lose debates with informed people. Or worse.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

When Stumped Call Names

Here's a clip where Ron Paul considers the motivations of the terrorist action in Detroit recently. It's pretty hard to deny as far as I'm concerned. He tells us what motivated him. U.S. bombings in Yemen which killed innocent people. This is not that hard. It's an obvious truth, but a truth that kind of can't be acknowledged anyway according to present orthodoxy. So in the linked clip after Ron Paul makes this obvious point that needs to be denied despite the transparent truth of it, Ben Stein is asked to reply. Notice the long pause. He's stumped. How to deny this obvious truth which can't be acknowledged. In the end he resorts to name calling. Paul is using an "anti-Semitic" argument. Pathetic, but what else can you do?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Thoughts on Free Markets

What I like about having a blog is that I can simply capture my thoughts, along with links that form the basis of my thinking at the time. It allows me to think out loud and perhaps get some feedback in case my views are off base.

With that in mind I want to say a few things about free markets and capitalism. Maybe later I'll think I was completely wrong, but I just want to capture my thinking anyway.

I've always fancied myself as a liberterian, but lately I'm having some misgivings about some of it and wondering if government regulation sometimes isn't as awful as is often portrayed. I know I've lambasted government generally, arguing that it's the root cause of major problems in the world, and I still think that's true, but lately I'm wondering if that's more due to the fact that the public is in a major way isolated from government and government itself is more under the control of private interests. What this would imply is that government itself is not inherently as villainous as is sometimes thought and in fact can be a means of correcting gross imbalances and dangerous actions that can come about in free markets.

Here's a good area where the government should get involved. Bum Fights. These kids apparently offer homeless people something like $50 to beat each other senseless. The first to go unconscious loses. A true liberterian would have to say there's nothing wrong with it. These are free people that own their own bodies and if they decide it's worth it to them why shouldn't they be allowed to chose?

Because it's awful and harmful to them even if they're not smart enough to realize it. Like any liberterian I don't want a government nanny state. But I think in this case the liberals have a point. Maybe the government should be used to protect people from themselves.

We do this for children. An adult can choose to go to school or not, but a child can easily be convinced that he doesn't need school if, for instance, his parents decide they don't want to make the effort to see that he goes to school. This is why have have laws that mandate that kids have to go to school. These homeless people are like children in the sense that for whatever reason they don't have the mental faculties needed to make wise choices and I think it is right for the government to step in.

Maybe these are easy cases, but let's get into something a little more blurry. Take the UFC. It's almost like a perfect example of the famous the Pyramid of Capitalism caricature. Fat cats at the top making millions while dedicated fighters slave away beating their bodies for pennies.

Take Karo Parisyan. This guy is an amazing fighter. Not a champ, but championship caliber. He's a huge draw. And yet he's having panic attacks that result from financial problems. He's trying to simply provide for his family. He's a superstar athlete that has put millions in the pockets of the owners, but he's just scraping by. Or take Hermes Franca. He got a title shot against Sean Sherk but suffered an injury in training. He took steroids to help himself recover and avoid canceling the fight because he just couldn't afford it. He needed the fight to put food on the table. See his statement here. He made $14K in that fight, but had to forfeit $2500 in penalties due to his positive test for steroids. His earnings are listed here. His opponent, the champ, Sean Sherk, made a whopping $25K.

Take Anthony Johnson. He basically had his eye gouged out and managed to earn $9K for it. This guy is not a poser. He's a serious, top tier fighter. Anybody in the UFC is tougher than anyone that most of us have met and Johnson is among the best of these. He made $17K in his recent bout, taking multiple gouges to the eye once again and basically lost probably in large part because of these possibly intentional gouges. I'm sorry, but $17K and you're among the best in the world, getting destroyed both in the gym and in the ring. And you can only do this a few times a year. Meanwhile the President and owners are making millions sitting behind their comfortable desks, destroying all competing fight organizations ensuring that there is no competition available to drive up fighter's salaries.

But then these are grown men. These are people that are competent to make their own choices. These are not children.

Well, aren't they? Aren't we all in a sense? Here's what I'm thinking. We protect children because they can be so easily manipulated into making choices that are not in their own best interest? Is that not also true of adults?

The marketing industry is huge multi-billion dollar industry that has one goal. Convince people of their need to purchase things or take actions that are for the benefit of the corporations that finance them. Do you think you can stand up to that? Do you think you are not motivated by that to buy crap that you don't really even want and certainly don't need? Are you smarter than they are?

Marketing techniques are designed not just to persuade you of your need to purchase a product but also to do so in a way that leads you to believe that you came to that conclusion independent of their influence. It's an extremely sophisticated and almost frightening thing. Watch in this video as master illusionist Derren Brown uses subliminal marketing techniques to cause two marketing experts to come up with an advertising campaign for a new product. What's amazing is that the experts imagine themselves to be coming up with ideas independently when in reality they've been manipulated to do what they do.

So how does this play out in the UFC? In Season 1 of the Ultimate Fighter some fighters express concern about the fact that they aren't paid to fight at all. They can go out and suffer serious injury and have absolutely nothing to show for it. This prompts the President of the UFC to come in and give a supposedly rousing and impressive speech, which is now referred to as the "Do You Want to be an Effing Fighter" speech. This speech is kind of embarrassing to watch as White tries to act like a tough guy and the fighters basically get no answers, but it's played up on the show like it's some sort of impressive thing. The UFC would go on to make a show about the 25 Tuffest Moments of The Ultimate Fighter. White is so impressed with himself that he saw to it that his very speech clocked in at #2. See here. The marketing message is this. Sacrifice your bodies for our business. Forget about the fact that you may end up permanently damaged and have nothing to show for it. This creates big pressure to sacrifice, and these fighters do, while the UFC rakes in the cash and the fighters for the most part leave with nothing but broken bodies. Except for the select few champions, who can make decent money at the top.

Some have speculated that former UFC champion Evan Tanner committed suicide. Past his prime and with little to show for his efforts that helped make the UFC as profitable as it is John Koppenhaver wonders if in fact this motivated behavior in Tanner that lead to his own death. That could be completely false. I have no idea. But it is the shabby treatment that fighters receive that prompts this kind of speculation. Koppenhaver says the UFC cut him due to these comments.

Free markets are great if informed people are making decisions that are in their own best interest without subliminal outside influence. Also if their choices are not being reduced through manipulation and regulation (for instance if the UFC is destroying competition through underhanded ways, which reduces a fighters options). But is this the world we live in?

And I have been wondering lately if what is maybe a little more obvious with the UFC isn't also true in other sectors of the economy where perhaps it isn't quite as obvious.

Take me as an example. I'm a mechanical engineer. When I was growing up engineers were rich people. Today it's considered pretty much middle class. But look at the gains in productivity that have been made? Today a mechanical engineer has wonderful tools available that have dramatically increased his productivity. I design with solid modeling tools. I analyze vibration and structural performance with finite element analysis. I perform thermal simulations using computational fluid dynamics. I correct potential problems before the parts are ever built. All with tools unavailable to my predecessors. I do it all and do it quickly. I can do three to four times the amount of work an engineer did in 1980. How is it that mechanical engineers have gone from being upper middle class to merely middle class? If markets are free wouldn't we expect gains in wages along with the gains in productivity? But this is not what we are seeing. We're seeing wages flat while productivity rises, and this trend seems to have begun around 1980.

So I'm having a mild shift in my thinking on wealth redistribution. People are entitled to the fruits of their own labor. But when that labor involves manipulating others to sacrifice for you in moves that are not in their own best interest, or when that labor involves bribing the government into passing laws that funnel money from the poor to the rich (see the health insurance industry and the recent changes to health care laws) then the consequence is redistribution of wealth already. It's wealth from the poor to the rich. So when there is some talk of reversing that to some degree I'm wondering if that's really so bad.

And I could be totally wrong here. This is thinking out loud.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Great Source for Biblical Diagrams

Here's a great source for biblical diagrams/timelines, etc for those that are interested.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Why Did Jesus Descend to Hell?

Some skeptics claim that the death of Jesus is not sufficient to pay the enormous price of the sins of all of humanity. After all he was only dead three days and then came back to life. What kind of punishment is that? It's pretty small in a sense. Doesn't that simply grant someone else a three day reprieve from death?

The apologist will respond and say that the three days is not the issue. It was the act of dying that redeemed mankind.

I could buy off on that as an evangelical, but then why would Jesus go to Sheol for a few days? Why not just rise and be done with it? Well apparently he had to go preach to those that had already died. Seems kind of odd. God can do whatever he wants, right? It's not like he has to play games to get himself into Sheol and communicate with the dead right? Yet it sort of seems like God can't get through to Sheol without dying like a human in kind of a Trojan Horse move.

God has his ways I guess. If that's the way he wants to do it then what can you say?

On the other hand let's consider this through a different paradigm. Let's just suppose that C.S. Lewis kind of has the right idea in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. God is sort of stuck with these weird rules and he has to trick his opponents into making mistakes. Here's a way to look at it. And I'm not arguing for it. I'm just saying consider this paradigm and see how it illuminates early Christian texts.

Let's suppose that the goal is to defeat death. Death resides in hell. But who goes to hell? Only dead people. So how can God make his way into hell? He has to take the Christ and give him a human form and likeness. The Christ is not human. He only has a human likeness. But if God can trick the demons into thinking that the Christ is human maybe they'll kill him, which will translate him into hell where he can basically plunder hell and crush death. How do some early Christian texts look in light of this paradigm?

Who does Paul think is responsible for the death of Jesus. Is it the Romans? When did Jesus die for Paul? Was it a few years back in Palestine? Or was it before the creation of the world? Was Jesus fleshly or is flesh inherently sinful and corruptible? I'll look at these in subsequent posts, but for now consider how the above paradigm makes sense of the following texts. Two are from The Ascension of Isaiah, which is an early Christian text, and one is from I Corinthians.

Chapter 9

13The Lord will indeed descend into the world in the last days, (he) who is to be called Christ after he has descended and become like you in form, and they will think that he is flesh and a man. 14And the god of that world will stretch out [his hand against the Son], and they will lay their hands upon him and hang him upon a tree, not knowing who he is. 15And thus his descent, as you will see, will be concealed even from the heavens so that it will not be known who he is. 16And when he has plundered the angel of death, he will rise on the third day and will remain in that world for five hundred and forty-five days. 17And then many of the righteous will ascend with him, whose spirits do not receive (their) robes until the Lord Christ ascends and they ascend with him.

Chapter 10

8"Go out and descend through all the heavens. You shall descend through the firmament and through that world as far as the angel who (is) in Sheol, but you shall not go as far as Perdition. 9And you shall make your likeness like that of all who (are) in the five heavens, 10and you shall take care to make your form like that of the angels of the firmament and also (like that) of the angels who (are) in Sheol. 11And none of the angels of that world shall know that you (are) Lord with me of the seven heavens and of their angels. And they shall not know that you (are) with me

I Corinthians 2

6We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The "Coming" of Jesus

As mentioned in my previous post, if Jesus was a historical person then we would expect the authors of the epistles to refer to the future appearance of Jesus as a return, a second coming, or a re-appearance. If however Jesus was regarded by these authors as a person that didn't walk the earth as a real physical human we would expect them to refer to the future appearance as a "coming", and "appearance", or perhaps a "revealing". Remember that you can't "reveal" things twice. The word "revelation" connotes something that is understood for the first time.

In light of this, consider the following biblical texts. Did these writers regard the coming appearance of Jesus as something that was about to happen for the first time or as something that would be understood to be a return of Jesus?

1 Thessalonians 2:19

19For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?

1 Thessalonians 3:13

13so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.

James 5:7

7Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.

James 5:8

8You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.

2 Thessalonians 1:10

10when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed--for our testimony to you was believed.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-2

1Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,

2that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

2 Thessalonians 2:8

8Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;

Hebrews 10:37


Revelation 1:4

4John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,

Revelation 2:16

16'Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.

Revelation 2:25

25'Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.

Revelation 3:3

3'So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.

Revelation 22:20

20He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly " Amen Come, Lord Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 1:10

10and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.

Philippians 1:6

6For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:10

10so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;

1 John 2:28

28Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.

Colossians 3:4

4When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

1 Peter 5:4

4And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

1 Timothy 6:14-16

14that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,

15which He will bring about at the proper time--He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,

16who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.

2 Timothy 4:1

1I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:

Titus 2:13

13looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,

1 Peter 4:13

13but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.

1 Peter 5:1

1Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,

2 Thessalonians 1:7

7and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,

2 Thessalonians 2:6

6And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.

1 Peter 1:13

13Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:7

7so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,

All of this is compilation of work done by Truthsurge.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

TruthSurge on Jesus as Myth

There's a great series of youtube videos put out by someone that calls themselves "TruthSurge" that's really great. The first is here. Nothing flashy. Just a straightforward case for why the data makes more sense on the mythical paradigm.

His approach is the right one. The question is not about which view can be conclusively proved. Neither can. The question is about which view makes better sense of the data.

Consider for instance his initial point. If the earliest biblical writers (reflected in the epistles) did not believe Jesus was a historical person then we would expect them to talk about his "second" coming as if it were just his first appearance. So it would be a "coming" an "appearance" a "revealing" etc. On the other hand if Jesus was a historical person we would expect the writers to talk about a "return" or a "second coming", etc. So what do we find in the earliest texts? 41 instances that refer to the coming as if it were a first time event, one (at Hebrews) that on the surface might appear to be referring to a return (though of course the mythicist case argues that it doesn't mean that). Assuming that Hebrews is referring to a second coming though, which view makes the best sense of the majority of the data?

Or consider the following. If the earliest writers believed Jesus was not a historical person that died a couple of decades before they wrote you would expect them to not place his death in Palestine just a few years back. It would make perfect sense for instance if they thought he died before the creation of the world. On the other hand if they thought Jesus was a historical person they wouldn't think he was the first to be raised from the dead. Lazarus and others preceded him, though they probably died later. What do the texts indicate that the writers believed?

I Cor 15

20But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

1Clem 24:1

Let us understand, dearly beloved, how the Master continually showeth unto us the resurrection that shall be hereafter; whereof He made the Lord Jesus Christ the firstfruit, when He raised Him from the dead.

Colossians 1

18He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

Note the reasoning here. Christ had to be the first raised from the dead in order for him to have pre-eminence in all things. One way in which he is in the first place is in that he's the first to be raised from the dead.

Hebrews 9

25Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world.

This is quite surprising. Why would Christ have to suffer continually since the creation of the world unless he was in fact first sacrificed at the beginning of creation?

Again, the historicist can force these texts within their own paradigm but the question is which view makes the best sense of all of the data with the least amount of forcing? In my view it's the mythicists case.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Richard Carrier on the Historicity of Jesus

Richard Carrier has been doing extensive research on the historicity of Jesus. Generally he seems to reluctantly but tentatively lean in favor of the supposedly "extremist, wacky, clownish" view that perhaps Jesus wasn't a historical figure at all. I'm very interested to read the results of his research. For now, via AIG Busted, you can watch a talk he gave on the subject via youtube starting here and in 6 additional segments. I'm just now starting to listen. He mentions an anonymous psychologist friend that had this to say about the information Paul provides regarding the historicity of Jesus:
Imagine for a moment that one of your friends writes you a 20 page letter passionately wanting to share his excitement about a new teacher. This letter has only one topic; your friend's new teacher. Yet by the end of his letter, after all 20 pages of it, you still don't know one thing about his teacher. Paul presents the central figure of his theology in just this way. For those of us not lost in delusional worlds it might seem impossible to imagine how Paul could avoid telling even one story or parable or fail to note one physical trait or personal quality of Jesus. But Paul's lack of interest in or even curiousity about the life of this Jesus does fit a characteristic pattern of paranoid delusions.

On a totally unrelated note I want to mention one thing that I've always paid attention to. Swearing. I have a theory. Some people got it. Some don't. These guys can swear. So can this guy (yes, the link is right. Give it 20 seconds. Listen a couple of times to fully appreciate). Others sound totally unnatural. I was raised in a very evangelical family and never developed my swearing capacity. Now as an adult that doesn't feel like there's a huge moral problem with it I still find that it's difficult for me to do it without sounding like a nerd. Seems to me Richard has the same problem. He seems to swear occasionally perhaps to elicit laughter but to me it's seems unnatural for him.

Anyway, he's done some great work and I've learned a lot from him.

Friday, December 11, 2009

100K people to fight 100 people

Jon Stewart interviews Dan Rather here and asks how many Al Qaeda are left in Afghanistan, since this is kind of why we went there in the first place, right? You know how many? 100 freaking people. This is why Obama has ordered another one of his troop surges? 60,000 troops isn't enough? We need more like 100,000, not to mention the already 100,000 contractors?

I suppose the aims have change. But what are they? Replacing the Taliban? Why? Next they'll tell us this is about the danger of communism.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Read Kent Hovind's Doctoral Dissertation

It's available at Wikileaks. Read an informed critical review here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Callous Disregard for Elementary Moral Principles

Here's something that bothers me a lot. There are a lot of atrocities that go on in the world, but this one strikes me for some reason. Part of it I think is just the realization that I was so oblivious to it while it was occurring and supported the aggressive U.S. foreign policies at the time, genuinely believing they were for the betterment of the world.

I was an ignorant fool though, not really engaged in the issues. Had I been I would think that the obvious truth of Article 50 of the Hague Convention and Regulations of 1907 (No general penalty, pecuniary or otherwise shall be inflicted on the population on account of the acts of individuals for which they cannot be regarded as jointly or severally responsible) would have mattered to me. Why didn't others see it? How can someone like Bill Clinton defend these murderous sanctions?

The sanctions in Iraq killed at least hundreds of thousands of people, if not over a million. The people were deprived of medicines, water pumps needed to grow crops, chemicals needed to make water potable. What had brought this on? Saddam had invaded Kuwait and was thus a danger. He had killed 1000 people in Kuwait according to the British Foreign Office (Saddam Hussein - Crimes and Human Rights Abuses, London, November 2000, p. 22 quoted via Hans Von Sponek "A Different Kind of War - The UN Sanctions Regime in Iraq.") That's pretty bad. But how does it justify killing a million people with sanctions and another million with a subsequent invasion in 2003 when the population had nothing to do with it and couldn't prevent it?

Contrast the 1000 dead in Kuwait with another invasion that happened 8 months earlier. In this case it was the United States invading Panama. There is dispute about the numbers killed apparently, with the U.S. government claiming a mere 200 civilians were killed verses multiple human rights organizations that claim that it was several thousand. If you watch the academy award winning documentary The Panama Deception and take a look at the blocks and blocks of flattened homes, random corpses, and evidence that media was entirely restricted, and in the case of one journalist even executed, it's hard to find the U.S. claims to be believable, but regardless it was an atrocity of at least a similar order of magnitude as that of Saddam Hussein.

So would it be right to respond to this invasion by starving the American people? Is it right to deprive the American people of water pumps needed to grow crops and medicine for fear that they have potential dual uses? Should the American population suffer until the American government disarms? These are questions that people just don't seem to ask. Yet they are fair questions for those that adhere to elementary moral principles, such as the belief that we should demand that we are held to the same standards we require of others.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Random Stuff

I find this Twilight and New Moon movie series to be annoying. God agrees. See here and here.

A great clip from Sam Harris here. His final line was the kicker. "We have Sathya Sai Baba's miracles stories attested to by thousands upon thousands of living eyewitnesses and they don't even merit an hour on cable television, and yet you put a few miracle stories in an ancient book and half the people on earth think it a legitamate project to organize their lives around them. Does anyone else see a problem with that?"

Apparently a mother nearly let her children starve as she waited for God to provide food. See here.

Here's a fun article on what it's like to be an atheist from the very beginning of your life. I find it hard to relate honestly, but what he says makes a lot of sense.

Audio of the recent Intelligent Design/Evolution debate can be found here.

William Lane Craig debated Francisco Ayala. Once again Apologetics 315 has the audio. Craig technically scores a victory, but to do it he basically grants (at least for the sake of argument) common descent of all living things and that they eye is not irreducibly complex and can come about by natural processes. For Craig it's about whether the mechanism of random mutation and natural selection can account for everything. So Craig improves his own win/loss record while Biblically based Christianity suffers another defeat. When you're conceding that humans and chimps share a common ancestor you're giving away the evangelical farm.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sounds Like the Evolution Debate Was Entertaining

I haven't heard the audio yet, but last night Michael Shermer and Donald Prothero debated ID advocates Stephen Meyer and Richard Sternberg. Prothero has written the best book I'm aware of laying out the evidence for evolution. Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters. Coyne's book is good but Prothero's book has more detail.

Here's Prothero's account of the events and here is an account from a fan of the ID'ers. Sounds like Prothero is getting under their skin. I bet I'll like what I hear from him when the audio becomes available.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Obama Change Watch

Nice try, Michael Moore, but it looks like more war has won today. Many more dead Afghans on the horizon. I remain hopeful though that this can be changed eventually.