How is it that a journalist can get within aiming distance of insurgents? Sources: Cheney curses senator over Halliburton criticism Now that's really surprising... Moore defends 'Fahrenheit': Filmmaker presses points in CNN interview(CNN) -- The Bush administration "made a half-hearted effort" in pursuing Osama bin Laden immediately after the September 11 attacks, and devoted resources to invading Iraq instead, Michael Moore said in an interview, defending points he's made in his new film, "Fahrenheit 9/11." Let's see, 9/11 happened on... 9/11/2001, and we invaded Iraq in early 2003 only after pursuing OBL and taking care of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Yeah Michael, a very objective, if not half-hearted, assessment. Lewinsky: Clinton lied about relationship You're kidding?!
Updated content of this post on 6/24 p.m. In the comments section of my post The obvious nature of evolution, I've been discussing with DarkSyde my misgivings with how evolutionists presuppose their theory on the data. In one of his responses he stated,Here's a good example Rusty. You're a cop and you get called to the scene of a car wreck. A single car is upsidedown off the road, the driver is dead. He tests at .25 for blood alcohol... Do you assume the driver lost control for an 'unknown' reason or do you assume he was drunk? Do you view the accident through the biased lens of naturalistic explanations? Isn't that an unsupported assumption? Why would you dismiss supernatural influences? Would you be willing to explain to a judge, jury, and insurance company, that there may have been a supernatural event which caused this wreck and since no one 'saw' the wreck, no one can be 'certain' that drinking played a role, so it could have just as plausibly have been demons? Why is 'naturalistic' assumption not an issue for you in accident investigation or weather forecasting, but it is in evolution? First off, I think we should clarify how events may occur in the natural realm simply given the laws of physics. In their book The Privileged Planet, Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards write, This unstated presupposition against design is apparent in the definition often given to the notion of "contingency." Properly speaking, a contingency is simply something that happens but doesn't have to happen. Philosophers, therefore, contrast contingent events and necessary events, the latter being events that for some or another reason have to happen. Most scientists see an event as "necessary" if it determined by the laws of physics. In either the philosophical or the scientific setting, an event can be contingent because it is the result of chance or because it is the result of a free choice. Contingency is the arena of both freedom and accident. The naturalist collapses all contingencies in the natural world into the category of "chance." But it's not the only option, it's just the BODY:
On Larry King Live, Ron Reagan expressed surprise that people considered some of the comments in his eulogy at his father's funeral to be a slam on President Bush. Yeah, right. Here's the excerpt:KING: You said, dad was also a deeply unabashedly religious man, but he never made the mistake of wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage. Were you referring to the president? REAGAN: You know, it's interesting. KING: Everyone thought that. REAGAN: I know. I wasn't watching TV much after I delivered the eulogy for a few days. But after a couple of days I started getting calls from people saying, boy you really stirred something up, didn't you? I thought, well, what? Well, you know, the stuff you said about Bush. I said, I didn't say anything about Bush, why would I mention George W. Bush in my father's eulogy? No, no, no, no, the stuff about the religion. I thought, ha, funny, you then everybody thought I was talking about George W. Bush. And then I heard -- everybody thought I was talking about George -- but people connected with George W. Bush thought I was talking about George W. Bush. And then I began to think, maybe I was, I just didn't know it. KING: Do you think he wears his religion on his sleeve? He certainly refers to it more than your father ever did. REAGAN: Well, you know, there was that answer he gave to the question about, did you talk to your father about going into Iraq? No, I talked to a higher father, you know, the almighty. When you hear somebody justifying a war by citing the almighty, God, I get a little worried, frankly. The other guys do that a lot. Osama bin Laden's always talking about Allah, what Allah wants, that he's on his side. I think that's uncomfortable. KING: Do you have thoughts on the war? REAGAN: Sure, I have thoughts on the war. KING: And what do you think? REAGAN: And I think we lied our way into the war. KING: You think it's a mistake? REAGAN: Absolutely, a terrible mistake. Terrible foreign policy error. We didn't have to do it. It was optional. And we were lied to. The American public was lied to about WMD, the connection between Osama bin Laden and Saddam, which is virtually nonexistent except for fleeting contacts. But they're still trying to pull that one off now, Cheney and all are out there flogging that. KING: Can I gather from that, that you will not support this president? REAGAN: No, I won't. KING: Will you support his opponent? REAGAN: I will vote for whoever the viable candidate is who can defeat George W. Bush, yes. (emphasis added) Okay Ron, from now on we'll just make sure to note that when you're talking, you might be saying something... you just won't know it.
My recent evolution-related posts The world goes round and round, and On the one hand highlighted how evolutionary dogma can sometimes drive scientists to make certain assumptions regarding the data they are analyzing. A recent example can be found at the Panda's Thumb in a post titled, Thalassocnus on The Loom, in which we read of an aquatic sloth that adapted to an aquatic lifestyle over the course of several million years. The post links to a more detailed explanation at corante.com in a post titled, Taking the Plunge. Carl Zimmer writes about the myriad of so-called transitional fossils we now have for whales or whale-like animals. He states,All these discoveries have apparently made whales unsuitable for creationist rhetoric. Yes, you can still find some pseudo-attacks on the fossils, but you have to look hard. The more visible creationists, the ones who testify at school board meetings and write op-eds for the Wall Street Journal, don't bring up whales these days. The animals apparently no longer serve the cause. It's hard to distract people from evidence when it can kick them in the face. Whales, moreover, were not the only mammals that moved into the water. Seals, sea lions, manatees, and other lineages evolved into swimmers as well, and paleontologists are also filling in their fossil record. It's fascinating to compare their invasions, to see how they converged on some of the same strategies for living in the water, and how they wound up with unique adaptations... Notice how the reason we know that seals, sea lions, manatees, etc., all evolved into swimmers is simply because we find fossils that the evolutionist takes to be transitional. Of course, how the transition took place is glossed over (as you'll see). Never mind that large mammals, such as whales, are extremely sensitive to environmental changes and that the chance of species extinction are probably higher than species evolution. Never mind that although whales and seals are both mammals, they have very different morphological qualities - like how they breathe, for one example. Never mind that the changes proposed to go from a land-based mammal to a saltwater-based whale have to occur in an incredibly short amount of time - incredibly short, that is, for chance evolution. Zimmer continues, In 1995 Christian de Muizon of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris and his colleagues announced the discovery of sloth fossils in Peru dating back somewhere between three and seven million years. The rocks in which they found the bones had formed in the sea; the same rocks have yielded other ocean-going creatures including fish, sea lions, and weird dolphins with walrus-like tusks. The sloths, de Muizon concluded, were aquatic as well. Terrestrial sloths have much longer lower leg bones than upper ones, but the Peruvian sloths had reversed proportions. Manatees and otters also have reversed legs, which suggests that the sloths' limbs were adapted for powerful swimming strokes. The front of their skull was manatee-like as well: its jaws extended out well beyond its front teeth, with a rich supply of blood vessels. Like manatees, de Muizon argued, the sloths had powerful muscular snouts they used to root out sea grass. (emphasis added) He goes on to detail evolutionary adaptations that supposedly show how the sloths transitioned from land to sea. This is all so obvious isn't it? Yet notice how the theory drives the conclusion: De Muizon's group have yet to sort out all the differences throughout the entire skeletons of all five species. We'll have to wait for those papers. But there's enough in print now to raise some interesting questions. In whales, seals, and manatees alike, their arms and hands became flippers--stubby, webbed, fin-like limbs. Thalassocnus still had big, long-clawed fingers on its hands. De Muizon proposes that they would have enabled the sloths to hold onto rocks to stay submerged as they fed on sea grass. Manatees don't need to do this because their bones are especially dense; the sloths had not yet acquired this adaptation. It seems that Thalassocnus only traveled part of the way down the road to a marine life before they became extinct. Why they became extinct (as opposed to manatees, for example), is also intriguing. Did something happen 1.5 million to 3 years ago that ruined their home? Perhaps the coastal waters off Peru became too cold. If the sloths had spread further along the coast, they might not have been so vulnerable. Other mammals moved into the water at very restricted sites as well. For their first few million years or so, whales could only be found off the coast of Pakistan. If some Indian volcano had blanketed the neighborhood in ash, we might never have known what a whale looks like. (emphasis added) That the sloth fossils are transitional is assumed. Therefore, any anamolies in the data is viewed only through an evolutionary lens. Long-clawed fingers, as opposed to arms that turned into flippers, must have a Darwinian explanation. They obviously had not yet acquired that adaptation. Therefore, they only traveled part way down the evolutionary road before time ran out for them. How they traveled down that road is a question that, well... it's obvious, isn't it?
Dozens Killed in Attacks Near Chechnya, per FoxNews.Many Chechen fighters trained and fought with the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Russia says many Arabs and other foreigners fight side-by-side with the Chechen rebels. The Chechen militants also are said to receive support from Al Qaeda and have strong contacts with the Wahhabi Muslim sect of Saudi Arabia, birthplace of Al Qaeda chief Usama bin Laden. The deeply fundamental beliefs of Wahhabism are believed to be bin Laden's spiritual foundation. South Korea: Hostage killed, per CNN. Why are so many people under the impression that if we acquiese to the demands of terrorists, we will be left alone? A series of bombings in Spain, just prior to national elections, seems to result in Spain pulling its troops out of Iraq. Cause, and effect. Yet where is the sympathy that's extended towards Russia for staying out of, and voicing opposition to, the war in Iraq? What happened to the phenomenon of cause and effect? Of course, it's still there. The terrorists, far from being completely illogical, understand how the West reacts to their version of cause and effect. If you don't leave, we'll murder the innocent! It's because of your past deeds that we murder the innocent! With fanatics, there can be no appeasement. It is incredible, given the history of heinous acts committed by terrorists, that so many people in the West continue to believe that these cowards will play fair. And yet, the peace protests continue...
Check Thomas Buchanan's EVOLUTION OF HOMO CANADIANUS, on Mere Comments. He has a good summary of how scientists sometimes let their theories drive their data, thereby ignoring alternative explanations.
Kerry advisers tell hopeful to 'keep cool' on religion, per the Washington Times.Sen. John Kerry's advisers are telling the presidential candidate to steer clear of talking about religion after running afoul of several Catholic bishops and after the campaign's new director of religious outreach was criticized this week for espousing left-wing causes. The Rev. Robert Drinan, a Jesuit priest who served in Congress during the 1970s, says he has advised the campaign to clamp down on religious rhetoric and "keep cool on the Communion thing" after four Catholic bishops either barred Mr. Kerry by name from taking Communion in their dioceses or said pro-choice Catholics should be denied the sacrament. "The mood now is to shut up about it," said Father Drinan, who teaches at Georgetown University Law Center. He said the Communion debate "is a nonissue" in the Kerry campaign and simply a tool of the Republican Party. (emphasis added) The real problem here is that the Kerry campaign (and liberals in general?) are under the notion that the issue of religion is a campaign tool. "Every time something with religious language got sent up the flagpole, it got sent back down, stripped of religious language," a Kerry campaign source said of Miss Vanderslice's ideas on overcoming Mr. Kerry's secular image. The campaign source also said former Clinton aides Paul Begala, John Podesta and Mike McCurry have tutored campaign operatives on more aggressively using religion to appeal to voters. "Why the campaign is not listening to any of them, I don't know," the source said. "Conservatives are about 20 years ahead of us on this stuff." They really don't get it do they? In their quest to achieve freedom from religion they are at a loss to understand why people actually take them at their word. Kerry privatizes his religion by stating his comfort in holding to views that are in direct opposition to church teachings. Fine. But why doesn't his campaign understand that he's made his bed? Now, when it's time to sleep in it, his campaign is surprised that people actually see an inconsistency in claiming to hold to one worldview while sitting on a pew, and to another for the rest of the time. Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt
9/11 panel sees no link between Iraq, al-Qaida, per MSNBC.The commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks reported Wednesday that Osama bin Laden met with a top Iraqi official in 1994 but found “no credible evidence” of a link between Iraq and al-Qaida in attacks against the United States. Putin: Russia warned U.S. of Iraq terror, Leader says intelligence did not change Moscow's opposition to war, per CNN. Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country warned the United States several times that Saddam Hussein's regime was planning terror attacks on the United States and its overseas interests. One can't help but wonder what the evidence was, that Putin had, which he found to be credible. Why didn't the 9/11 commission, if they had access to the same evidence, find it to be credible? The 9/11 panel stated they found "no credible evidence," and that meetings between al-Qaida and Iraq “do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship.” (emphasis added) Are we looking at a judgment call here?
From Lileks,I’m quite surprised: the evening news is playing 9/11 footage. Fox local is covering the commission’s latest release, and – get this – we were unprepared on 9/11. What’s more, we now know how “unprepared the military was to deal with the hijackings.” Yes, because we all know that the job of the military is to deal with hijacked airplanes. Let us imagine that the jets were scrambled, and they shot down all four planes before they reached their targets, and splashed two other commercial airliners for the wrong reason. We’d be talking about the reelection chances for President Cheney. Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt
One of my concerns regarding the Emerging Church movement has been an apparent lack of regard for doctrinal principles as well as a relativistic approach towards theological issues. My only friend from the Emerging Church movement, Dave over at Welcome to the Planet, has a reassuring post titled, Emerging Church or Emerging False Teachers?, in which he tackles the same issues. Dave writes,Every spring a bunch of emerging church leaders put on a conference in conjunction with Youth Specialties, to teach and talk about the emerging church. ...I did not attend the EC04 this year for various reasons, but I have been following this years conventions in San Diego through Desertpastor and recently through pomomusings Both bloggers did a great job of portraying the conventions... As I was reading Cleve's experience, there was something that was said at the most recent EC that made me say "back the truck up" Cleave was sharing his notes from a church planting course taught by doug pagitt and tim keel. When giving a definition that the emerging church is not just an asthetic change, Cleave writes: "But it is clear that this is NOT all that emergent is. Emergent is very much a rethinking of not only church, but theology…the message. The message doesn’t in fact stay the same. And…THAT is what is scary. THAT is what causes people in the seminars (and not just the ones wearing the NPC nametags) to squirm in their seats. When Doug talked about how the doctrine of the Trinity may not necessarily be needed in today’s 21st century, people squirmed" At what point are people going to cry "foul" on something like that? Maybe he was saying it to be reactionary, which makes him irresponsible at best. If pagitt believes that the doctrine of the Trinity isn't needed in today's 21st century, then what other doctrines are not needed? Do I get to pick and choose what I like and dislike? What fits and what doesn't fit?... I've turned off a lot of PoMos with the opinions I've shared in some of my past posts. While they probably won't listen to me anymore, I'm confident that the Emerging Church still has many people like Dave to help keep them in line.
Per FoxNews, Winnebago Profit Nearly Doubles as Consumers Snap Up RVs.Winnebago Industries Inc. quarterly earnings nearly doubled on brisk sales of its recreational vehicles as consumers shrugged off high fuel prices, the company said Thursday, sending its shares up more than 13 percent. Yet over at ABCNews we see an article titled, High Gas Prices Tarnish SUV's Appeal: Sales Dropping for Large Models This Year. Reports of falling sales for the behemoths of the road — those Excursions, Suburbans, and Yukons that regularly take up two parking spots at the mall and incur the wrath of the Honda Civic drivers who trail in their wake — have fueled speculation that Americans may finally be shifting away from the biggest-is-best mentality that has long been their car-buying mantra. Economic analysis can be so confusing. Maybe Joe Carter is right (re: The New, New, News: How the News Makes Us Dumb).
In Kerry: Bush's Vatican appeal 'inappropriate', per CNN, John Kerry states,President Bush was out of line to ask the Vatican to get U.S. bishops more involved in promoting his conservative social agenda It seems that Kerry would like to have his cake and eat it too. He further stated, ...we have a separation of church and state in the United States. There are many things that are of concern and taught by the church with respect to war, with respect to the environment, with respect to poor people, our responsibilities to each other, and I am very comfortable with where I am with respect to those. But I am not a spokesperson for the church, and the church is not a spokesperson for the United States of America. So, he's comfortable that his stance on, say, abortion is completely contrary to where the church stands? What difference does it make that he's comfortable? If he is in direct opposition to the teachings of the church, regarding abortion, then what is the basis for his arrogant statement that he is not a spokesperson for the church and that the church is not a spokesperson for the United States of America? The killing of innocent unborn human life, Mr. Kerry, is not a political issue... it is a moral one.
Over at the Panda’s Thumb there is a recent post by P. Z. Myers titled, Pre-Cambrian coelomate! One point I should make here is that it is refreshing to see that the post is not simply another diatribe against maniacal creationists. Here’s an excerpt (beginning with a quote from a Science article):
Ten phosphatized specimens of a small (<180 µm) animal displaying clear bilaterian features have been recovered from the Doushantuo Formation, China, 40 to 55 million years before the Cambrian. Seen in sections, this animal (Vernanimalcula guizhouena gen. et sp. nov.) had paired coeloms extending the length of the gut; paired external pits that could be sense organs; bilateral, anterior-posterior organization; a ventrally directed anterior mouth with thick walled pharynx; and a triploblastic structure. The structural complexity is that of an adult rather than larval form. These fossils provide the first evidence confirming the phylogenetic inference that Bilateria arose well before the Cambrian.This is exciting news, not because it revolutionizes our understanding of evolutionary history, but precisely because it is nothing surprising at all—we expect, from molecular/phylogenetic evidence, that complex animal life arose long before the Cambrian 'explosion', and what these fossils represent is a satisfying confirmation of that expectation (and they neatly fit predictions about bilaterian evolution that Erwin and Davidson made in 2002). It is actually expected, though, that bilaterian coelomates are even older than the 570 million years of the Doushantuo Formation; the last common ancestor of protostomes (arthropods and others) and deuterostomes (vertebrates and others) is estimated to have lived somewhere between 600 and 1200 million years ago. This is a cross-section of the coelomate. Continuing the thread over at Pharyngula, Myers writes, The important point is that this animal possesses the rudiments of morphological characters that are going to erupt into a wide range of diverse specializations in the Cambrian, and it has them roughly 50 million years before the Cambrian 'explosion'. The phyletic innovations we have first seen so clearly in the Cambrian did not come out of nowhere, but have a solid evolutionary foundation in simpler animals. For those who don’t know what the Cambrian Explosion was, here is a brief explanation. About 540 million years ago, in a span of time only a few million years wide (with some estimates at 2-3 million years), between approximately 45% and 85% of the body plans we see in the animal world today, appeared. Between 19 and 35 phyla were introduced. What is enigmatic about this event is that there is no known reason as to why it should have occurred the way it did. Why should simple life suddenly burst forth (evolve?) into scores of complex phyla in so short a duration? Now, a few million years is a long time if you’re waiting for a table at a local restaurant, but in terms of morphological change, it is but a tick of the clock. Some creationists, such as Hugh Ross, argue that the empirical evidence supports the idea that God has a grand plan in which humans are the ultimate goal. Given the laws of physics, instituted by God, it takes billions of years to prepare a suitable environment for our solar system and, consequently, it takes millions of years to prepare a suitable environment on Earth for complex, advanced life. That such an explosion of diversity takes place at such an opportune time in Earth’s history is a hallmark of a purposeful plan. Consider the comments of Dr. Paul Chien, chairman and professor of biology at the University of San Francisco, in an interview he had with Reasons to Believe: RTB – So, are you saying that the Cambrian explosion shows evolution “going the wrong way?” Chien – Yes. In fact, one of the most respected scientists in the West, James Valentine at the University of California-Berkeley, is writing a book on this by the title of Origin of Animal Phyla, instead of The Origin of Species. I think when the book is finished it will greatly help people understand what’s going on. Creation is going on. - “Exploding” with Life!, Facts for Faith, Quarter 2, 2000 (emphasis added) This brings us to how evolutionists tend to view the Cambrian Explosion event. One mistake you will typically see is that of circular reasoning. The very fact of finding older, fossilized life forms that are simpler than those found at the time of the Cambrian Explosion is sometimes seen as “money in the bank” for evolution. This is one reason why a ruckus is raised whenever fossils are found that pre-date the Cambrian Explosion. Notice the inherent evolutionary assumptions, with regards to pre-Cambrian fossils, in the following excerpt from Donald Brownlee and Peter Ward’s book, Rare Earth: The answer to this seeming conundrum is that the animals were indeed present, but they were so small as to be essentially invisible to the fossil record. A recent and spectacular discovery of microscopic fossil animal embryos seems to confirm this view. Using newly developed techniques of searching for tiny (but complex) animals in minerals called phosphates, paleontologist Andy Knoll and his colleagues have uncovered a suite of tiny but beautifully preserved fossils interpreted to be the embryos of 570-million-year-old triploblasts – animals with three body layers, like most of those found today. These fossils tell us that the ancestors of the modern phyla were indeed present at least 50 million years before we find any conventional fossil record of them. The combination of genetic information and new discoveries from the fossil record now give us a robust view of the rise of animals: They did not exist 1 billion years ago, and perhaps not 750 million years ago. Animals are indeed very late arrivals on the stage of life on Earth. Thanks to these new discoveries and interpretations, the question of “when” has been answered to most people’s satisfaction: The emergence of animals was a two-stage event. The initial stage seems to have occurred less (and perhaps much less) than the billion years ago proposed by Wray and his colleagues. But even recalibrated, the Wray group’s finding has given us yet another tantalizing insight into the potential incidence of animal life in the Universe. The Wray work confirms that there were indeed two “explosions.” The first was the actual differentiation of the various body plans; the second was the differentiation and evolution, in these various phyla, of species large and abundant enough to enter the fossil record. This leads us to ask a crucial question: Even if the evolve, do animals necessarily, or inherently, go on to diversify, enlarge, and survive? Does the second flowering of animal life – the Cambrian Explosion event so long known to geologists – inevitably follow the first diversification, or is it yet another threshold of possibility that may be (but is not necessarily) attained? (emphasis in original) Since they already accept naturalistic evolutionary transformation as a given, they see finding fossils prior to 540 million years ago as evidence in favor of the evolutionary paradigm. Of course simply finding fossils does not tell us that those particular ancient creatures actually evolved into the diversity of complex phyla we find at the Cambrian event. To be fair to Brownlee and Ward, I doubt that they are thinking in such a limited manner. If pressed, they would probably state that earlier fossils should exhibit morphological characteristics that would appear as predecessors to the more complex Cambrian fossils. Additionally, they might say that one should expect to find earlier fossil forms that are molecularly related to later forms. Enter the recent find where evidence is shown of pre-Cambrian coelomates. Yes! Here is additional evidence required to substantiate the evolutionary paradigm! But is it really? Again we see a bit too much eagerness on the part of the evolutionist. To repeat, finding a simpler form of an animal that existed prior to an advanced form of an animal does not tell us that the one evolved into the other. At most it tells us that one existed prior to the other. From Brownlee and Ward, Whether the Cambrian event included the diversification of body plans or consisted simply of the first evolution, by these various body plans, of skeletons and large size is a moot point. Something stimulated the evolution of many large animals with skeletons in a brief period of geological time. (emphasis in original) Notice how the question of whether evolution was capable of performing the event is ignored. Something stimulated the event… we must simply assume that it was evolution. From The Cambrian Explosion Biology's Big Bang, by Stephen C. Meyer, Marcus Ross, Paul Nelson and Paul Chien, …even on the most optimistic interpretation of these remains, Precambrian strata account for no more than four animal body plans (including some of largely unknown characteristics). Thus, neither the peculiar Ediacaran fauna nor the Precambrian fossil record taken as a whole establishes the existence of the wide variety of transitional intermediates that neo-Darwinism and punctuated equilibrium require. The Cambrian explosion attests to the first appearance of organisms representing at least nineteen phyla. Yet, Vendian organisms represent ancestral forms for, at most, four Cambrian phyla (granting ancestral status to a worm phylum and Kimberella as a mollusk). This leaves between 80 and 90 percent of the Cambrian phyla with no ancestors in the Precambrian rocks. Further, even if one grants that representatives of four phyla existed in the Precambrian, it does not follow that these forms were actually transitional intermediates. Some were, or may have been, representatives of known Cambrian phyla such as sponges (phylum Porifera), thus demonstrating not a gradual transformation but instead only the earlier appearance of a previously known phyla. Evolutionists will sometimes respond to this line of reasoning by asking something along the lines of, “well then why does it look like evolution?” Unfortunately, a question such as that assumes that the mechanism of evolution is in place and operational. This is tantamount to committing Berra’s Blunder, in which the theory is being forced onto the data, as opposed to letting the data support the theory. Since the evolutionary mechanism is assumed to be operational, the fossil evidence is interpreted as supporting the mechanism. Also, note how the discussion will typically move into the subjective, for the words that need to be added to the previous question are “to me” (i.e., Why does it look like evolution [to me]?). Along those lines, one could justifiably ask, “Why does it look like Design [to me]?” Venturing even further into the realm of subjectivity the evolutionist may ask, “Why would a mythical designer do such and such (as opposed to so and so)?” Yet even they should understand that, apart from completely knowing the intentions of a designer, one cannot completely know the reasons why a designer acted as he did. Again, they stumble over the Blunder. However, the objective arguments about supposed ancestors to the Cambrian fossils ignore the critical characteristic regarding the Cambrian Explosion’s eruption of diversity – that of time. In their paradigm there simply isn’t enough of it. Recall that the Cambrian Explosion evidence indicates that a diversity of complex phyla burst onto the scene in a matter of only a few million years. Life forms that were large and advanced entered the scene within fully functional ecosystems. The best that an evolutionist can offer is to acknowledge that the explosion occurred, and that the diversity recorded in the fossil record really did appear in a brief geologic instant (ref. Brownlee and Ward’s quote above). That such high speed activity runs completely contrary to the paradigm is conveniently ignored or, in a classic example of circular reasoning, it is sometimes posited that such an event must be part of the evolutionary process itself! I guess since evolution is considered to be fact, and since the simpler fossils predate the Cambrian fossils, then it only follows that the simpler life forms evolved into the Cambrian life forms? The most that an evolutionist can hope for is that fossil evidence will eventually be uncovered that will not only refute the current Cambrian evidence, but that will conclusively demonstrate how simple, teeny-weeny creatures such as the one shown above transformed so quickly into the complex, large life forms shown below. It’s difficult to see past a notion that is entrenched within your paradigm. In The Privileged Planet, Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards describe the lack of acceptance with which the astronomical community gave to the idea of a finite age for the universe, despite the findings of astronomers such as Edwin Hubble: Like Einstein, most astronomers of the early twentieth century, including the young Hubble, believed in a static and eternal universe. Even after Einstein conceded his error in the late 1920s, many scientists would not accept the implications of an expanding universe – namely, that it came into existence sometime in the finite past. …For example, consider the account C. F. von Weizacker gives of a discussion he had with the physical chemist Walther Nernst in 1938: He said, the view that there might be an age of the universe was not science. At first I did not understand him. He explained that the infinite duration of time was a basic element of all scientific thought, and to deny this would mean to betray the very foundations of science. I was quite surprised by this idea and I ventured the objection that it was scientific to form hypotheses according to the hints given by experience, and that the idea of an age of the universe was such a hypothesis. He retorted that we could not form a scientific hypothesis which contradicted the very foundations of science. He was just angry, and thus the discussion, which was continued in his private library, could not lead to any result. Old habits die hard. At the core of the debate, though, is the notion that the evolutionary paradigm is based on the scientific method and uses methodological naturalism as its mode of operation with which to discover the truth about the natural realm. Yet how committed are adherents of naturalism to discovering the truth? I’ll discuss that in an upcoming post… Additional resources: Hominid Jewelry? (RealPlayer) – Creation Update webcast, Reasons to Believe, April 27, 2004 The Cambrian Explosion Biology's Big Bang (PDF), by Stephen C. Meyer, Marcus Ross, Paul Nelson and Paul Chien
A former president, out of office for over 15 years and out of the public's eye for 10 years, draws over 200,000 to pass by his coffin. The public outpouring of emotion and support has surprised many, including the Reagan family. Why should it? This was a president who held on strongly to a set of core beliefs that formed the foundation of leadership. This was a president that was married for over 50 years to the same woman who, by the way, has stood by her man through both the good times and the bad. Critics have complained that he was simplistic, naive, and inept, but the Cold War was won through his vision. Did he usher in an era of world peace? No, that's left for divine intervention. Despite his failings, despite the fact that he couldn't fix everything, and despite the power he wielded, he always managed to display the most important quality - his humanity. A strong leader will know the importance of connecting with the people, while making difficult, and sometimes unpopular, decisions. A strong leader will get the job done, knowing that the people understand the concept of progress. Consider Hugh Hewitt's analysis,Reagan, like Bush, used the term evil during his presidency. Bush, like Reagan, was hammered by the sophisticates for doing so. Both were mocked for their lack of subtlety, for their hopeless naivete. Except that the American people like victory. The knew that the Soviet Union was indeed an "evil empire," and that Saddam's Iraq, Iran and North Korea were an "axis of evil." They wanted the wall torn down, and they want a new Iraq to be a genuine democracy, not a strongman who tilts the U.S. way. They want a president who believes that the country he leads is uniquely good and great. That's why the memorials to Reagan will have an impact far deeper than Democratic spinners are admitting. In the midst of difficult times, the legacy of Ronald Reagan reminds America that America can and has won difficult battles in the past against powerful adversaries, but only when its leadership was committed to winning. Indeed. Liberals, take note, what do the people want to see?
In Baby imaging centers under attack, over at World Magazine's blog, we read about the popularity of Imaging Centers that can give future parents vivid photos and DVDs of their unborn child. Evidently these imaging centers are under some heat from the FDA due to the fact that these "medical procedures" are being performed by people who are not doctors. At least that's their cover story. Why the fuss? Why the sudden concern over what the woman wants to do with her body? Could it have something to do with the effect of an image? A picture is worth a thousand words. The cliche slips off our tongues so easily that we sometimes forget how powerful it truly is. A notion, a false notion like that espoused by the so-called pro-choice movement, takes hold only after many years and many words of argument. Although such baseless ideas can be successfully debunked with logical pro-life arguments, the power of common-sense and raw emotion can never be ignored. The achilles heel of the pro-abortion movement has always been the humanity of the unborn child. Yet the scientific technology that has given them easy access to so-called safe abortions is asking for further payment. They didn't read the fine print in their contract with technology. God, the Author of the universe, will not be mocked. I believe it was Gloria Steinem who once said,If men got pregnant, they'd make abortion a sacrament. Yet the pro-life response, regarding the unborn, has been, If his mother’s womb had a window, you could watch your spiritually adopted baby squint, swallow, and move his tongue. I don't know what the current status is regarding the scientific possibility of men getting pregnant. But as for a window on the womb...