OUT OF THIS WORLD
Re: Peter Suderman's Spaceships and Small Governments:
I really think that Peter Suderman is on to something here with his article on Serenity versus Star Trek. I am a life-long Trekker and newly minted "browncoat" who buys the multi-ethnic message of the Trek franchise whilst rejecting it's big government/post-money economics. Yet I had not seriously considered the political message of Serenity (and Firefly).
Serenity resonates with me on several levels -- I don't suppose that Suderman has ever read any of Jerry Pournelle's "CoDominium" stories, has he? And oddly enough, the best-selling geostrategic book The Pentagon's New Map talks about a rich and prosperous "Core" and a cruder outside world that the author calls "The Gap." And in Joss Whedon's "verse," the Alliance dominates from The Core against the Rim. Hmmmm.
-- D. Grant Greffey
Re: Doug Bandow's Pumping Prices:
Interesting piece by Mr. Bandow. I agree with much of his analysis concerning the factors responsible for increases in the end cost of a commodity and for his argument against price controls. I would caution against rushing to the defense of the oil companies, however.
The Windfall Profits Act was passed for a reason. During the Oil Crisis of the late 1970's some oil companies posted net profit percentages two to three times as high as those posted just prior to the oil shortage. It may be helpful to remember that the Oil Crisis, at that time, was caused by OPEC restricting oil production. This would increase costs to the industry at all levels that would be passed along to the end user. Following a classic economic model, the profit margin of any level of the distribution system should not increase significantly. In this case, though, it did for the refining companies (i.e. Exxon, Amoco etc.). Hence, the passage of the WPA.
Now, it is unknown if oil companies are reaping windfall profits from the current disasters, at least at the present time. We will know the answer to that when quarterly profit and loss statements are published. Then we will know if the prices paid by consumers at the pump were simply increased business costs passed on or an attempt to gouge the end consumer for greater profit. Depending upon what information is revealed in time, it may be necessary to revisit the WPA.
-- Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
When my friends start complaining about the gas prices, I tell them to go thank a liberal environmental nut.
-- Elaine Kyle
Re: Reid Collins's Michelle MaBelle:
George Bamberger and the LPGA official need to get lives. The time to make a ruling like that was when it occurred, not some 28 hours later on a deserted golf course. That's like the NFL still conducting replays and overruling officials' calls at 2:45 a.m. on Tuesday. There has to be a time when the game is over, warts and all.
-- Gilbert R. Ohlson
St. Joseph, Missouri
Re: Christopher Orlet's Martial Stupidity:
The left has discovered that the primary difference between Vietnam and the Gulf war is that the military is voluntary military service. With a voluntary military you are not dragging people who don't want to be in the military to fight in a war, and thus have eliminated a whole group of probable anti-war supporters.
The encouragement of the left to "draft" people is an attempt to reinstate the unpopular practice on those who are not anti-war.
-- B.W. Peek
Ft Lauderdale, Florida
Perhaps a different focus. The Founding Fathers were too old to serve in the military when the time came. But what's wrong with the logic that the most important matters of politics concern our defense against real enemies, and that such matters are best understood by those who have been trained for war.
Therefore, we need to have universal military training made available, though optional. Every young man and woman should have the opportunity to sign for a year of intense physical training and weapons training in their youth. After a year the motivated could be selected for the military branches, or for ROTC at college. The rest would form a sort of back up militia, subject to call in extreme circumstances. No one would have to take the training. But only those who completed it would vote. Age cohorts above the age of, oh, say, 22 when the plan was initiated would continue to vote despite their lack of training, but eventually those who bandy about the "chickenhawk" label would realize their dream. Only those with military experience would make choices about military action -- or anything else important. It seems as though liberals are behind the idea, and I think conservatives can be persuaded. Let's roll.
-- Michael J. Lynch
Reagan was a soldier.
-- Walter E. Wallis
Palo Alto, California
If our political leaders must have the "proper" military experience before committing the troops, why stop there? Shouldn't appeasers be required to bear the responsibility for the consequences of appeasing an aggressor? How about requiring them to live under an oppressive regime before condemning others to that fate? Another consideration: Are they arguing against Hillary for president?
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Penn Kemble, RIP:
As a recovering editor, I never let a piece of copy go unfussed. But your piece on Penn is just right, every word of it. Penn was a helluva guy who was still there after the false of spirit and faint of heart had departed. Thanks!
-- Neal Freeman
What a fine obituary for your friend. As I never heard of this man before, you make me feel like I really missed somebody special. I'm very sorry for your loss.
-- Jessica O'Connor
Bayonne, New Jersey
Re: George Neumayr's Kangaroo Court:
Why do you think conservative minded people MUST be creationists? Intelligent design has nothing to do with science. That is a matter of FAITH. Evolution is happening before our very eyes. It may or may not be guided by a grand Creator. What does that matter? Do you really imagine a being powerful enough to create an entire universe would really care if you got on you knees daily and prayed before every meal or practiced ritual hand washing or performed certain duties with a particular hand? I have an absolute faith that there is a god. I KNOW this god is at least as logical as the best of us and considerably more broadminded. There is no giant human being in the sky. The Omnipotent and Omniscient Lord of Life would not have human goals and we would not necessarily like those goals. The world was not created FOR humans. If you believe that, I suggest you take a reading of Genesis one more time. That book explains fairly clearly why human beings are here. Have you ever done something of which you are truly proud but were alone? You look around to share it. You want someone to appreciate the beauty of your creation. Shazaam! Here we are! Human beings will pass away either by extinction or transformation. Some think we will be snatched up. That would be nice. Some have FAITH this is true but I wouldn't teach it in science class.
-- Earl Burns
Thanks to Mr. Neumayr for his excellent article. He's brave to write on that topic because just as you can insult a man but not his hunting dog so can you disagree with liberals but not with their precious Theory of Evolution.
What the proponents of the Theory of Evolution do not want the public to realize is that those who question its validity are doing so on the basis of science. The Theory of Evolution violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that the Universe is going from a state of higher order to a state of lower order. A theory that so blatantly ignores this fundamental scientific law does not deserve to be taken any more seriously than a theory based on the presumption that gravity does not exist.
Furthermore there is another elephant in the Evolutionists' living room, of which one may not speak: the absolute lack of fossil evidence supporting their theory. The missing link remains missing. And this is no small thing, for if their theory were correct it would be an epoch-setting event to find a fossil that was not of a species in transition. Just as a journey of a thousand steps involves one starting step and one ending step, with 998 intermediary steps, so should the transition from one species to another - a process purported to take millions of years - leave very few starting and ending fossils but millions of intermediary ones.
Yet this is counter to the facts at hand. We have millions of "starting" and "ending" fossils but not one transition-state fossil. At what point do we quit treating evolutionists like honest scientists and start asking them which brand of snake oil they think will best cure our consumption or whooping cough? And at what point do we start with the whooping laughs…and tar and feather them and ride them out of town on a rail? None too soon for my tastes.
-- R. Trotter, PE
I wish to thank Mr. Neumayr for the service he provides people like me. Whenever I am feeling especially down on myself for voting Democrat all those years, I read one of his rants and I'm reminded why I was so reluctant to embrace "common-sense conservatism," tied up as it so often is with theo-cons.
I'm not up to a full argument on the subject of ID right now, and anyway, I'm sure others will pick up the gauntlet. I would like to address two points, however:
First, Mr. Neumayr chastises Ms. Goodstein for confusedly using the phrase "random natural selection." Good catch sir, but the confusion you sneer at is one that creationists have done more to foster than any ignorant reporter over the years.
Second, Mr. Neumayr seems to harbor a great deal of respect for the expressions of Aristotle. Aristotle was not a scientist, however, but a philosopher. He is notable for being exceptionally disinclined to get his hands dirty with verification, even for his time.
Off the top of my head, I recall he was associated with geocentrism, the statement that heavy bodies fall more rapidly than light ones, the statement that objects float as a consequence of their shape, and the statement that a thrown object moves in a straight path until its momentum is gone, then falls to the ground. Perhaps we will hear an equally pugnacious defense of these scientific theories from Mr. Neumayr in the near future.
-- Rick Skeean
Nevertheless, she is sure Behe's wrong, and adduces herself as evidence that intelligent design is impossible, "I need look no further than myself for counter-evidence: weak ankles, diabetes, high probability of future death. If there is a designer, she doesn't seem so intelligent."
Love that "she." So arch, so subtle. And I sympathize with Rosin, I really do. There are days when looking at Slate makes me half wonder about the intelligence of the designer. But then, unlike Rosin, I'm conversant with the doctrine of The Fall, and aware that this world is not the perfect one God designed but the imperfect one that we have helped create through our own sins.
Not that I'd expect Rosin to understand such subtleties: Anyone who thinks that "future death" is merely a "high probability" obviously hasn't managed to absorb the most fundamental concepts of biology and would be quite out of her depth if she tried to tackle philosophy or theology.
-- Joseph DeMartino
West Palm Beach, Florida
The Galen theory of medicine was the "consensus" for nearly 1,800 years while the critics of it hardly ever issued their own "positive arguments or proofs of their theory." The theory (e.g., bleeding to reduce fever) made some superficial sense and was based not on inductive experimentation but on deductive philosophy based on observable phenomena. Some theories, such as the theory of relativity, come to closure as science progresses (i.e., the correct and clear prediction of such unlikely phenomena as the red shift), while others, such as the Galen theory, fall to pieces for all but the faithful as science progresses and the theory becomes muddled with special cases and rewrites. As the Galen theory became a mere historical curiosity that resulted in people doing silly things, so too will the theory of human evolution. It would surprise many that Darwin did not suggest gene mutations; that was a posthumous addition from his followers when it became apparent that his concept of adaptations being a matter of simple selective breeding was nonsense. (That is why a discussion on domestic pigeon breeding is a large part of Origin of the Species) Now gene mutations are nonsense; but just wait and keep the faith, someone will think of something.
However, the good article fails in one point. This is not the rematch of Dayton. The rematch of Dayton occurred in 1931 when Clarence Darrow made the mistake of debating G.K. Chesterton on the subject. Although a transcript of the debate is not known to exist, printed accounts from the time clearly state that Clarence was made a fool of and lost the vote by worse than 2 to 1, not in the "Coca Cola belt" but in New York City. Apparently Mr. Darrow was a good debater when his debate partner was on the wittiness stand and could only answer questions, but could not ask them (recall that the trial was ended before the prosecution could cross-examine Mr. Bryan, let alone examine Mr. Darrow). As usual, asking the militant secularists questions draws a cry of "no fair," which should be no surprise when the only "free thoughts" allowed are their own.
-- D. Lewis
George Neumayr is ignorant of the most basic facts of the Kitzmiller v. Dover case. The ACLU isn't 'prosecuting teachers,' it's suing a school district that required a statement about intelligent design to be read to students, over the objections of science teachers. Two Dover teachers are in fact plaintiffs in the case.
But if one can't grasp biological facts, legal facts are probably beyond one as well.
-- Gerard S. Harbison
Professor of Chemistry, University of Nebraska
I only need to glance at an article on this subject to know that I need read no further. Anybody who claims that they have proved that either 1) evolution is fact and there is no "divine" guidance in the formation and evolution of life on planet earth, or 2) life is too complicated to have evolved "naturally" without intelligent design, has passed over from the scientific method and into the realm of faith (yes, even the pro-evolution, anti-God advocates). No human on this earth can "know" either statement to be a fact. We cannot prove or disprove that God had a hand in everything or anything. In fact, we cannot prove God exists at all. That is where faith comes in.
Science is a wonderful thing that has lead mankind into a world of technical wonders that can greatly increase our lifespan and our enjoyment of life, but it will never answer questions like, "Why do we exist?" or "How did the universe spring out of nothing?" or "What happened before the Big Bang?" or "Does God exist?" I use science every day in an enjoyable career which pays my bills, but I do not confuse the scientific method with belief. I can have scientific opinions, but I can never be 100% sure that my opinions are correct. No doubt my co-workers will tell you that I have very strong opinions, but I like to think that I am not arrogant and can admit that I might be wrong.
To answer the aforementioned questions, one must leap out of the scientific method and into one's faith. Faith is a belief in something that one cannot prove or disprove, and it is not part of a continuum inside the scientific method. Faith is in a whole other "universe," completely separated from the scientific method. This is why I believe that one can be a scientist, and yet have strong religious convictions. When one confuses faith and science as part of the same universe, and thinks that God's existence or intervention on earth can be proved or disproved, we get these chaotic debates in which nobody can win. I would rather spend my time pursuing science during the work week, and pondering life's mysteries on the weekends. Life is too wonderful and short to waste time in debates in which nobody wins, but everybody loses - loses precious time of which we do not have enough of in our mortal existence here on earth.
However, I know that both factions of the debate are trying to either influence the rest of us with their opinions, or prevent the other side from influencing others, and using the government for both goals. I am just glad that I can ignore this mess, and concentrate on raising my family so that it has strong beliefs and convictions which public debate and propaganda cannot change.
-- Mike Spencer
Dr. Behe sees irreducible complexity which must have been put there. I see our irreducible ignorance which renders us incapable of perceiving the simple.
The irreducible complexity was indeed put there -- by the observer. It otherwise does not exist.
Who is right and wrong? It does not matter. Both views are possible and real food for thought. Neither is provable. Present them both and let each child argue them out in their own mind. Merely let them think it through. Or can they not be trusted?
The journalist-advocates seem proud of their ability to remain ignorant of their primary fields of inquiry. (And they railed against Barbie's saying, "Math is hard.") Alas, this relieves them of the need to break a mental sweat while it impugns their critics as elitists.
As for me, I assert no more than my own existence. Whatever that is.
-- Mark Banach
Boy these people take the cake. It's like they're getting their cues from the council in the Planet of the Apes movies: upholding the Great Lie for the good of mankind. I guess the Lord wasn't just whistling Dixie when He said "Your thoughts are not my thoughts. Neither are your ways my ways." Hanna Rosin using herself as an argument against intelligent design? Then why, pray, should we listen to her? Her "arguments" had less to do with trial testimony than with her own shallow predilection for logical fallacy. The fact she got there in the first place to cover the trial is an indictment of society's massive failure of critical thinking. I guess on that level, she's right! She is evidence of unintelligent product if not design.
-- Laurey Boyd
Maximilien Robespierre must be proud his zealous disciples, the ACLU and its MSM sycophants. C'est la vie, human nature never changes. Hope ol' Max is reserving plenty of space in hell for his fellow jihadists.
-- Joe Weldon
Juno Beach, Florida
Re: George Neumayr's The Exorcism of Europe:
"Europe, according to Newsweek, is too enlightened for the Vatican's exorcisms. But it is not too enlightened to host a growing number of demonic cults. The Devil's greatest triumph, it is said, was to convince man that he doesn't exist. But this saying needs revision. Europe displays an even greater triumph for the Devil -- not ignorance of his designs but respect for them."
I am always misunderstood when stating, but will again, that my faith in God is weak, but my belief in Satan is absolute. God help us all, especially the aforementioned enlightened and ignorant.
-- Dan Martin