Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Gay marriage and the Future of Marriage

George Weigel:

In public policy terms, the Catholic critique of “gay marriage” reflects the Catholic idea of the just state. Rightly understood, marriage is one of those social institutions that exist “prior” to the state: prior in terms of time (marriage existed before the state), and prior in terms of the deep truths embedded in the human condition. A just state thus recognizes the givenness of marriage and seeks to protect and nurture this basic social institution.

By contrast, a state that asserts the authority to redefine “marriage” has stepped beyond the boundaries of its competence. And if that boundary-crossing is set in constitutional or legal concrete, it opens up a Pandora's box of undesirable results. For if the state can decree that two men or two women can make a “marriage,” why not one man and two women? Two women and two men? These are not paranoid fantasies; the case for polyandry and polygamy is now being mounted in prestigious law journals.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

The Fed is Sailing Deeper Into Uncharted Waters

We Are Sailing Deeper Into Uncharted Waters | RealClearPolitics:
I believe that with each program we undertake to venture further in that direction, we are sailing deeper into uncharted waters. We are blessed at the Fed with sophisticated econometric models and superb analysts. We can easily conjure up plausible theories as to what we will do when it comes to our next tack or eventually reversing course. The truth, however, is that nobody on the committee, nor on our staffs at the Board of Governors and the 12 Banks, really knows what is holding back the economy. Nobody really knows what will work to get the economy back on course. And nobody—in fact, no central bank anywhere on the planet—has the experience of successfully navigating a return home from the place in which we now find ourselves. No central bank—not, at least, the Federal Reserve—has ever been on this cruise before.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Philosopher Defends Religion | New York Review of Books

A Philosopher Defends Religion by Thomas Nagel | The New York Review of Books:

The gulf in outlook between atheists and adherents of the monotheistic religions is profound. We are fortunate to live under a constitutional system and a code of manners that by and large keep it from disturbing the social peace; usually the parties ignore each other. But sometimes the conflict surfaces and heats up into a public debate. The present is such a time. 
One of the things atheists tend to believe is that modern science is on their side, whereas theism is in conflict with science: that, for example, belief in miracles is inconsistent with the scientific conception of natural law; faith as a basis of belief is inconsistent with the scientific conception of knowledge; belief that God created man in his own image is inconsistent with scientific explanations provided by the theory of evolution. In his absorbing new book, Where the Conflict Really Lies, Alvin Plantinga, a distinguished analytic philosopher known for his contributions to metaphysics and theory of knowledge as well as to the philosophy of religion, turns this alleged opposition on its head. His overall claim is that “there is superficial conflict but deep concord between science and theistic religion, but superficial concord and deep conflict between science and naturalism.” By naturalism he means the view that the world describable by the natural sciences is all that exists, and that there is no such person as God, or anything like God.
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Will science make atheism untenable?

Natalie Wolchover: Will science one day rule out the possibility of atheism?

It's amazing how many people think that science has shown there is no God. This is the stringent claim of the New Atheists. But to the contrary, more and more research and experimental science is yielding results that cannot be reconciled with the main tenets of scientific materialism (scientism), and these results are being gained by scientists who are not much concerned with theism/atheism in the first place.

Also relevant: 6 Reasons Why Evolution Isn't A Sure Thing and "Lawrence Krauss debates “A Universe From Nothing” with an astrophysicist"

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Perils of the Hookup Culture

Perils of the Hookup Culture:
As Sax specifies, the hookup mentality -- prevalent among even some very young people but especially among university students -- dictates that casual sexual encounters involving absolutely no expectation of relationship, or even psychological engagement, are perfectly acceptable. Sax, a psychiatrist specializing in family therapy, learned of the hookup world from the veritable army of young women suffering from depression and anxiety who were streaming to his office. And through the figure of Charlotte Simmons -- an innocent girl from North Carolina who utterly lost her way morally and psychologically at a prestigious university where casual sex and drugs were far more important than learning -- Wolfe showed the debilitating effects of this self-absorbed and hedonistic culture.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Science and Christianity are essential to one another

The Rev Dr John Ogden, former Head of Computer Science, University of Reading (UK), has a curiously-headlined essay: Science and Christianity are incompatible.

That is certainly not what he concludes. I preached on this topic last Sunday and will again this Sunday. Ogden's piece is good. Read the whole thing.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Human DNA isn't junk after all

New peer-reviewed paper in Nature falsifies Darwinian junk DNA prediction
Here’s biologist John Timmer to explain the orthodox Darwinian view of DNA from 2007:
Personally, I fall into the “it’s all junk” end of the spectrum. If almost all of these sequences are not conserved by evolution, and we haven’t found a function for any of them yet, it’s hard to see how the “none of it’s junk” view can be maintained. There’s also an absence of support for the intervening view, again because of a lack of evidence for actual utility. The genomes of closely related species have revealed very few genes added from non-coding DNA, and all of the structural RNA we’ve found has very specific sequence requirements. The all-junk view, in contrast, is consistent with current data.
Problem is, a study reported in Nature, one of the most highly respected scientific journals in the world, is that at least 80 percent of the human genome is active and the other 20 percent probably is to a very high proportion.

One of the planks of the evolution platform is that
... because the genome of an organism has been cobbled together through a long, undirected evolutionary process, the genome is a patchwork of which only limited portions are essential to the organism. Thus on an evolutionary view we expect a lot of useless DNA.
But there is very little "useless DNA." So to preserve this plank of evolution theory, biologists are going to have to figure how evolutionary processes managed both to preserve functional DNA while shedding "junk" DNA, and what were the gene-pool survival advantages of doing so.

Good luck with that.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The racist history of the Democrat party

Democrats are ruthless at concealing their party's long, sordid history of racism. But facts are facts.

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Monday, September 3, 2012 Social Security system's ocean of red ink : Democrats Deny Social Security’s Red Ink:
But the fact is that Social Security has now passed a tipping point, beyond which the Congressional Budget Office projects that it will permanently pay out more in benefits than it gathers from Social Security taxes. The imbalance is made even larger this year by a one-year "payroll tax holiday" that was enacted as part of last year’s compromise on extending the Bush tax cuts. The lost Social Security tax revenues are being made up with billions from general revenues that must all be borrowed. The combined effect is to add $130 billion to the deficit in the current fiscal year.
What will end Social Security as we know it? The answer is, "Social Security as we know it."

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Secular religion explained

Bookworm Room » President Obama’s church is the Chapel of (Progressive) Democracy:

Transcript at the link.

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