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Showing posts from February, 2004

Gay rights and the civil rights movement

This has been bothering me for a while, since this whole San Francisco gay marriage fiasco started. I'm certain that there are people who really believe that the gay rights struggle is the same as the civil rights struggle of blacks in the 1950s and 1960s. This article articulates some of the issues with that view, Rosa Parks -- not by Debra J. Saunders.
IT'S FUNNY that, in a city that prides itself on its nonconformity, so many people make the exact same argument exactly the same way. To wit, after I write that Mayor Gavin Newsom was wrong to flout state law by authorizing same-sex marriages, a legion of readers write comparing gay and lesbian newlyweds with civil-rights legend Rosa Parks. To say that Newsom should have more respect for the law, they argue, is like saying Rosa Parks should not have engaged in her landmark act of "civil disobedience."

I think the term Delusions of Grandeur fits here.

How can anyone compare Parks' experience with that of San Fr…

ADD/ADHD and autism spectrum disorders

Joe at Evangelical Outpost had some interesting posts about the use of ritalin and ADD. Part one Taming Tom Sawyer: Ritalin as a Substitute for Character ; part two, Do You Have Adult ADD?: Ritalin as a Substitute for Character; and part three, Clarifications and Criticisms: Ritalin as a Substitute for Character. I'm of the inclination that ADD and ADHD are over diagnosed and ritalin is certainly over prescribed. Most of the symptoms of ADD/ADHD are also symptoms of autism spectrum disorders. Below is a quote from a description of the traits of one such disorder.

"Asperger Syndrome, which is often abbreviated AS, is a sociological disorder classified as a very unique and misunderstood syndrome in the autism spectrum, which defines all disorders and syndromes related to autism. In the past, people with this syndrome were thought of as having a schizoid personality, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder, or autistic psychopathy, and it…

Flawed research into causes of Autism

Here's a post about the supposed connection between a preservative in vaccines and autism spectrum disorders. It turns out that the 1998 study that had parents agonizing over whether childhood vaccinations gave their children autism was wrong. I wonder how much progress could have been made into understanding the causes of and best treatment for austism spectrum disorders if the scientific world hadn't been side tracked by this flawed research?

Time for repentance concerning World Magazine

I feel obligated to mention that World Magazine blog seems to have instituted some standards for posting comments. I don't know what I expected when I sent World Magazine this email but this looks pretty good:
We yearn for a forum in which participants will be tough-minded in their analysis but respectful toward each other. Debate is a contact sport, so we don't discourage intellectual blocking and tackling within free and open encounters. But obscene, profane, or racist rhetoric - to cite only some obvious examples - shuts down debate. WORLD reserves the right to delete or edit any posting as its editors determine. I'm looking forward to getting back to the interesting discussions on their blog.

Recovering

Well the kids are pretty much recovered from their colds. The grown-ups are lagging a bit in recovery but we're getting there. Now I have tons of housework to catch up on. The kids have pretty much had their way with the house for nearly a week. And so much has been going on in the blogosphere that just screams for my comments, not. Lots and lots of work to do in any case.

Reaction to Mel Gibson interview

Blogs4God round up of reaction to Mel Gibson's interview with Diane Sawyer on Monday. Personally, I was impressed that it wasn't just another hack job like this one. Gibson did a marvelous job of presenting an intelligent Christian world view. Certainly there were things that one could nit pick about, the "Everyone can get into the Kingdom of Heaven, it's just easier if you're a Christian" remark made me cringe. There are better ways to handle a question about if you believe non-Christians are going to hell.

Blackface incident

Parableman is blogging about a blackface incident at his university. A student was caught trying to break into a rival sorority while wearing black face paint (presumably to reduce her chances of being caught). The student is now being investigated by the Team Against Bias. This is the height of stupidity. So are ROTC students racist because they wear dark camouflage paint when they practice their maneuvers? How many real incidents of racial bias will go unaddressed because time and energy are wasted on this kind of foolishness?

My first quizz

It's hard to laugh and hack up a lung at the same time but I managed to pull it off while I took this quizz. Am I David in a good way or a bad way?

Which Old Testament Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tax time

I'm trying to get my nerve up to start doing our taxes this year. I have all of the paper work I'll need but I'm just not looking forward to it. I did our taxes for the first time last year and while it wasn't as bad as I had been led to believe it wasn't my cup of tea. Ever since that fateful tax encounter last year I've been stewing over a few things in my mind.

First, I felt really sorry for the poor souls who have to write the convoluted instructions that accompany the tax forms that get mailed to us regular people every year. Then I started day dreaming about how nice it would be to have a flat tax in this country. Just think about it for a minute. No more filling out numerous forms in duplicate, no complicated worksheets, no loop holes, no freaky formulas that give even math majors the creeps, no credits, deductions, exemptions, nothing. You set a minimum level of income and everyone who makes over that amount pays X% in income tax. See how easy t…

That's life

Eek! World Mag blog has gone and put me in their blogroll. What do I do now? What did I do to deserve that? Now there might be more people paying attention to me complaining, yikes!

Anyway, everyone in the household is sick. I'm even too sick to be a web surfing couch potato. I'll be blogging light or not at all until we start to recover.

Spending in Iraq

This doesn't sound good.

"It has become clear that the guys in Washington are not good at spending money properly. I see all these ICDC and other Iraqis and US military driving around in $50,000 dollar SUVs and $70,000 cars. This really really irritates me. This is probably the reason why it is so hard to get new parts for broken equipment."

I hope you government types are paying attention.

White student scholarship

I wonder what people will have to say about this.

For whites only
Bake sales with race-based prices were just the beginning. Affirmative action protests are escalating. Now a student group at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island is offering a $250 scholarship for a white student who writes on "why you are proud of your white heritage" and submits a recent picture to "confirm whiteness."Joanne Jacobs

Here's the story she links to. Will people get it? Or will the red haze that seems to over come people whenever race based preferences are challenged rule the day?

Yeah, what she said.

Baldilocks has a good post about the homosexual marriage fiasco developing in Massachusetts and California, Beyond the Yuck Factor.
How will government-sanctioned homosexual marriage cause the downfall of American society as we know it? Who really knows if it will? Hey, it might not. Are you surprised reading that output from the keyboard of a professed Christian? I can’t see why you would be. From a Christian perspective, the mainstreaming of homosexuality into society(ies) isn’t exactly a big surpise.

Another affirmative action bake sale.

Instapudit calls it "more crushing of dissent". I call it silly people fighting to hold onto a now useless relic of the civil rights era that is dragging black people down.

A cold day and a hot exchange
"The College Republicans are having a bake sale because they think it's funny," said Nicole Houston, President of the Black Student Alliance, at the UMC rally. "It's not...we need to make sure we don't have these racist cookies on our campus."

These kids are so invested in affirmative action that they can't fathom someone would seriously take issue with it. They must either be making a bad joke or racist. When did cookies become capable of being racist by the way? These kids can't even think straight about affirmative action!

One step closer to the edge

Researchers Successfully Clone Human Embryo
WASHINGTON — Researchers in South Korea have become the first to successfully clone a human embryo, and then cull from it master stem cells that many doctors consider key to one day creating customized cures for diabetes, Parkinson's and other diseases.

This is not cloning to make babies, but to create medicine. This sucks. I feel compelled to mention that this is not cloning in the classical sense. This is really taking a perfectly good egg removing all of the genetic material inside of it and replacing it with genetic material from a desired source. The scientists then tinker with the resulting cells as they like. This is so wrong! Every time someone starts carrying on about how much good could come from embryonic stem cell research I look at my children. All of the great advances that people are hoping for will come at the expense of our children. The problem with human "cloning" as we know it is that it completely d…

Response to "Bye Bye World Magazine Blog"

My email to World Magazine concerning the troll troubles on their blog caught someone's attention. Now there's a raging debate going on there about what to do about the troll problem. Thanks to La Shawn Barber for letting me know what was up.

I understand the desire to let other Christians be a good influence on this Badonicus character but it should be clear by now that this guy is likely beyond the help of mere human beings. It's a poor reflection on the followers of Christ to have someone like this running amok on the blog of a well known Christian publication. I'll continue to keep my distance.

What do you think about "The Passion"?

Someone emailed me some questions that a student is asking as part of a survey for a class project about Mel Gibson's "The Passion". Here are my answers. Feel free to add your own answers.

1. Have you actually seen a sneak preview of the film?
All I've seen are short clips from movie trailers.

2. a)First off, some general opinions about the movie - from what you've read/seen, do you think the film is necessary/accurate?
I think the film is as accurate as you can expect a movie to be. There's probably some artistic license taken but probably not to the point that anyone familiar with Christianity wouldn't be able to recognize the key elements of the story. Since when did films have to be necessary?

b) What do you think the motivation for making such a possibly controversial movie be?
I would hope that the motivation was to tell a story that has shaped so much of the world and display excellence in the craft of movie making.

3. Do you agree with many…

Being honest and up front can get you in trouble

This is rather disturbing:

Philosophy Professor Punished for Expressing Religious BeliefsKIRTLAND, OH—Lakeland Community College near Cleveland, Ohio, has removed a professor of moral philosophy from his classes as punishment for refusing to hide his religious identity from students. The college threatened Dr. James Tuttle, who espouses traditional Catholic beliefs, with dismissal because he made statements on his syllabi and in class that disclosed his religious faith and how that shaped his personal philosophy.

"Asking a philosophy professor to divorce his deepest philosophic views from his teaching is both outrageous and absurd," said Greg Lukianoff, director of legal and public advocacy for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). "To say that a philosophy professor cannot discuss religious ideas is to render him incapable of meaningful discussion of some of the greatest minds in the history of his field. Feminists are not forced to veil their femi…

Bye bye to the World Magazine blog

The World Magazine blog has attracted a rather obnoxious and abusive troll. My first encounter with this individual was in the comments section of this post. He's been posting his hateful comments there for some time now. I enjoy reading World Magazine's blog but I'm really starting to get tired of all of the hateful comments made by this troll. I've been wondering how I should deal with this situation since World doesn't seem to think that banning this person is an appropriate action to take. So no more World Magazine for me. I've got better things to do with my time than wade through all of the tripe that the troll is allowed to post to their blog.

I sent them this email to let them know of my decision:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I have mostly enjoyed reading and commenting on this blog since December. However, the presence to the individual who calls himself Badonicus has become a real impediment to my enjoyment of this blog. His obnoxious and hateful comments …

Chickens are our brothers in the struggle

You have got to be kidding me! PETA says urging African Americans to boycott KFC
"African Americans know oppression and have a natural empathy for others who are oppressed," Bruce Friedrich, director of vegan outreach for PETA, said in an interview. "And the fact is that what happens to chickens for KFC is the worst cruelty that anybody can possibly imagine." Now I'm not much into the victimology culture that seems to be popular in black America these days. But comparing what black folk have suffered in this country (and what some are still suffering) to the "plight" of those "oppressed" chickens that KFC serves up for us by the millions is just plain insensitive and foolish. Unless of course you see no difference between a chicken and your neighbour.

This campaign has nothing to do with "oppressed" chickens and everything to do with corporate America. If PETA had any real interest in improving the conditions of food animals they…

Was Iraq's freedom worth it?

By Ali at Iraq the Model.
Five gallons of gasoline
And more and more, the long lines at the gas stations, the high prices for kerosiune are all gone and back to normal, and the only things that were left to remind of the (good old days) were the ruins and garbage here and there. But they were also(sadly) being, although slowely, removed and rebuilt . But then I heard an explosion and gave a sigh of relief and thanked my Muslim brothers “ at last, a sound from the past”

What an ignorant I was to think that it was OK and again thank you CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, Mr. Dean, Mr. Cherac and our dear Arab and Muslim leaders for showing me the truth, and I’m not talking about the silly things I have mentioned. I’m talking about the most important fact:

You made me realize that freedom doesn’t worth waiting for hours to get 5 gallons of gasoline, and 10 hours of power shortage a day (even if it was temporarily). in fact you showed me that freedom means NOTHING to me. Thank you for showing me that I…

Animals can be racist too

Did you know that animals can be racist? I didn't but it appears that there is a racist police dog terrorizing the good black folk in McKees Rock, Pennsylvania. No this is not a joke. See Police dog again accused of racial profiling and Cop dog cleared of racial profiling.

Now granted there are some important details missing, such as what the children were doing when they were attacked, what the adults were doing when the "racist" dog attacked, and what the cops were doing prior to the attacks (during the first incident the dog's human pattner was wrestling with a suspect). Having said that, this is still a pretty silly thing to say about a dog, "'I blame the training,' said Bobby Kirkland [father of the victim]. 'I still say that that dog ... is a racist dog.'" I can't believe that any self respecting human being would say somehting like this out loud in public.

Macroevolutionary theory

Joe at Evangelical Outpost tackles evolutionary theory.
Gross Theoretical Inadequacy: The Explanatory Problems of Macroevolutionary Theory
A mature theory should not only have adequate explanatory and predictive ability but should also correspond with established scientific fact. Macroevolution survives not because it is an air-tight theory but because a large enough contingent of scientists is willing to believe that the “gaps” in the theory will be understood…not today, of course…and maybe not this decade…but…someday…we just have to wait. (cue sounds of crickets chirping)

Forgive me if I refuse to drink the neo-Darwinian Kool-Aid but my commitment to logic keeps getting in the way. In a discussion on bacterial flagellum, William Dembski refers to the theory’s inability to explain even this basic feature as a “gross theoretical inadequacy.” Dembski is being generous. That phrase could be liberally applied to almost every area of the “evolution-only” explanation. I don't usually …

CNS (formerly INS) fee hikes

Homeland Security Proposes Immigration Fee Hike
"WASHINGTON — Because of higher security and administrative costs, Homeland Security (search) officials want to raise the fees that immigrants pay to become legal residents or U.S. citizens or get other benefits.

"The department's Citizenship and Immigration Services (search) bureau proposed the increase in documents filed for publication in the Federal Register (search). The documents were on display at the Federal Register office Friday."

What ever happened to being frugal and doing more with less?

"The General Accounting Office (search) reported this month that the backlog of immigrants waiting for applications to be processed had grown 59 percent to 6.2 million during the past three years."

And this is the agency that people what to give even more responsibilities to.

What's behind all of the "Passion" bashing?

I'm starting to get tired of this stuff. Gibson Detractors Plan Campaign to Counter 'Passion'
NEW YORK -- Jews and Christians who fear Mel Gibson's (search) epic on the crucifixion of Jesus will fuel anti-Semitism are planning lecture series, interfaith talks and other programs to try to mute the film's impact. Somebody finally makes a movie about Jesus that isn't so cheesy that it makes even the non-lactose intolerant run for the lactaid and people flip out. It's really disturbing to see so many "Christians" buy into the notion that a movie based on the gospels is a bad thing. As usual at the heart of this business is what you believe about God. If you actually believe the claims made about Jesus Christ in the Bible and that the Bible is the inspired Word of God then you probably think "The Passion of Christ" is going to be a good movie. If, however, you are say of the Jesus Seminar crowd you will have lots of problems with this m…