Thursday, December 29, 2011

Imagine if China were US

Ron Paul is often attacked for his "wacky" foreign policy views.

I ask you to watch this ad and tell me what's "wacky" about it.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Little Mermaid, our Hero

My brother-in-law's three-year-old fell in the pool at our family Christmas party yesterday and drowned. 

My oldest daughter, Ariel, age 10, found her floating face down and motionless in the 48-degree water.

Ariel (who plays water polo) instinctively dove in and retrieved the girl. My wife's brother, who is a Christian pastor, revived his daughter with CPR before the ambulance arrived. She's doing fine.

Our Christmas miracle.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Condescension of God

Daniel Peterson synthesizes the central message of the scriptures: Christ left His station of glory to live among us, to minister to us, to love us, to die for us. The words of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine of Covenants, and elsewhere bear a fitting witness of Him.

"For behold," declared King Benjamin in roughly 124 B.C., "the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.

"And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.
"And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people."

Why? Because, remarkably, he loves us.

"And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him" (Mosiah 3:5-7, 9).

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ignoring the Truth

I recently got an email from Ron Paul's campaign soliciting more money:
90 seconds
That's how much of the first hour of tonight's GOP debate was given to Ron Paul.  90 measly seconds out of 3,600 seconds.
The remaining 3,510 seconds were spent with the other major candidates:
** Declaring their desire to start wars in Iran, Pakistan, and Syria;
** Rehashing their support for torture;
** Agreeing that President Obama has the right to unilaterally assassinate an American citizen without a court conviction;
** Explaining their plans to continue nation-building, policing, and occupying countries across the globe.
It literally made me sick watching the mainstream media once again silence the one sane voice in this election.  The one dissenter to a decade of unchecked war.  The one candidate who stands for true defense and actual constitutional government.
Ron Paul was silenced, in perhaps the most important debate of the cycle.
You have to ask yourself why.
I think I know the answer.  Both parties have perpetuated the foreign policy that is bankrupting our nation and tearing apart the world.
Both parties have started wars without proper congressional authorization.
Both parties have fabricated reasons for war.
Both parties’ outrageous spending has taken us to the brink of disaster.
And if the other candidates on the stage tonight are to be believed, then there is only one candidate who would break the globalists’ stranglehold over our foreign policy, our Treasury, and the lives of our family, friends, and neighbors in the armed forces.
Ron Paul could change history.  He could save our great nation from its own devastating policies of the past 10 years.
If his voice could be heard.
The media has once again BLACKED OUT Ron Paul.
Will you let it stand??
After almost two days, our Veterans Day Weekend Money Bomb has raised $758,977.
No doubt, that is a powerful total.
But it is not enough.  I have met with our accountants and media team, and we have determined we must raise an additional $500,000 in the next 24 hours to be able to run the ads and mail the letters we need in the next 10 days.
It doesn't take that much money to send out an email. Who gives a rat's patoot if it costs millions to pay for advertizing on the Lame Stream Media? Stop feeding the Beast! 

Those who want to know, will know. Those who don't, won't. And TV is all about image. Watching Rick Perry on David Letterman's "Top 10" shows just what a puppet/charlatan these political clowns are. It's all about "image". It's all "fluff" and "blather". They don't believe what they say. Sometimes they don't even think about what they say. (Rick Perry proved that!)

Ron Paul is right about so many things. But he's not the answer. If Paul were POTUS -- and could put into place all his policies -- America would experience excruciating pain. She would suffer like she has never suffered since her founding.

But it would be the pain of rebirth. It would be a bone marrow transplant. It would restore the primal American DNA that has been lost or corrupted. It would be the revolution necessary for a complete recovery.

That's why it won't happen.

Ron Paul is a modern Jeremiah thrown into the pit, his words ignored, because they are not pleasing to the Powers That Be. We The People will not acknowledge his righteousness until we are overthrown, until he is gone.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

From the Mouths of Two or Three Witnesses

My favorite talk of this October's LDS Conference was by Tad R. Callister. His testimony of the Book of Mormon (and, by extension, the Church) was was Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's testimony two years ago. The latter's was highlighted in Mormon Messages.

I know Elder Holland. I believe he has communed with angels. I believe he has lived a virtuous life. I believe he is telling the truth.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Red is the new Black

Joseph Farah explains how the American federal government has become a criminal enterprise: Politicians lie to U.S. and steal from future generations to get re-elected and maintain the perks of power. No matter how loudly We The People shout, or how clearly we make our case to cut back federal borrowing and spending to live within our means, the liberal media establishment successfully parrots lies, pushing U.S. toward greater Marxist socialism and more intrusive, over-weening government.

The Ruling Class in Washington, D.C. has found its way around the 13th amendment.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Science Is Not Our Omnipotent God

The irrational atheist says that science "argues against the existence of God" and that "science can account for everything". Dr. William Lane Craig destroys that argument in 2 minutes and 58 seconds.

You can begin watching the full debate of evidence for/against God by clicking on this (and subsequent) links. I've summarized the debate below (and added my comments) for those who don't have time to listen. (But you'd be missing a real treat!)

Craig opens the debate by claiming that the following evidences indicate the existence of God:
1. The origin of the universe (requires a "cause")
2. The complex order in the universe (defies the "astronomical" improbability of life)
3. Objective moral values (cannot be defined without God and are self-evident)
4. The historical facts concerning the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus
5. The immediate experience of God (personal revelation)

Dr. Peter W. Atkins attempts to rebut Craig's arguments with a seemingly self-deprecating introduction. He ironically reveals that his college (Oxford) was founded to defend true Christian theology, but -- because of his intellectual prowess and "enlightenment" -- he now endeavors to destroy that same theology in the interest of "glorify[ing] the human spirit". He invites all to accompany him on the "strenuous journey" from darkness to light, to rise to "the highest altitudes of current thought" and "human understanding" (all very flattering and self-congratulatory to his adherents, no doubt).

Before embarking, however, Atkins asks that his listeners "shed the shackles of prejudice and conditioning" of the type imparted by religious upbringing. One must be reborn, he says, by becoming "intellectually naked" in order to understand his words, that he might bring "enlightenment to your brains and a bit of joy to your lives."

It seems Atkins' "scientific" philosophy takes on an air of religion itself.

Christ said: "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10). "Ye must be born again." (John 3:7) "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32) Atkins uses the imagery of Christ to destroy Christ. One speculates who is the thief referred to.

Akins argues that belief in God is not reasonable because:
1. God is a "complex" explanation (and "simple" explanations are usually best)
2. The universe really is made of "nothing"
3. We cannot calculate the improbability of life
4. Myriad universes theoretically exist
5. There is no evidence of "cosmic purpose"
6. Morality is organically evolved, not divinely imposed

Three minutes into his remarks, Atkins states "The challenge in this debate, therefore, is for me to show that everything in and of the world -- of the body and of the spirit -- can be understood without needing to invoke the action, or mere presence, of a God."

Before undertaking so great a cause, however, Atkins first derides "the warm, sentimental feelings that suffuse us in the presence of the Almighty" as "the apotheosis [the elevation or exaltation of a person to the rank of a god] of laziness...well-suited to arm-chair brains who prefer to indulge in adipose arguments", essentially calling those who believe in Deity intellectually lazy and fat, whose sensations of divine revelation are nonsense. "You're not here, I trust, because you're one of those", he sniffs. Not finished with his preliminary name-calling and put-downs, he asserts that "the invocation of God as an explanation of anything is an admission of defeat and ignorance, disguised as a pretense of understanding." Arguments opposing his own are thus preemptively tainted with failure, stupidity and dishonesty. Later, he claims that the atheist alone can see clearly, while "the the issue...on a cosmic scale".

Well, having laid that groundwork for understanding...

Atkins gallantly proposes that the atheist's argument fails it can be shown that:
1. The universe had to be designed.
2. Any aspect of the universe had to be made.
3. There had to be a seed.
4. The world has a purpose.
5. There is an after-life.
6. Miracles occur.
7. A god is necessary to maintain the workings of physical law.

Furthermore, he claims, the atheist's argument "begins to corrode" if:
8. There are aspects of the human condition that science cannot touch, such as the supreme joy of artistic creation.

Of course, disproving a theory requires only one dispositive. One need establish only one of the evidences above, according to Atkins, to debunk atheism entirely. His "challenge", he states, therefore, is "nothing less than complete explanation".

But then Atkins commits the very heresy with which he paints his opponents. He admits defeat and confesses ignorance, portraying his non-awareness as "enlightenment". In a truly "duh!" moment, Atkins explains that "Science cannot yet explain everything".

This is an understatement. In fact, it can be shown that "science" cannot now -- nor will it ever be able to -- explain most of anything! 

Science is best suited for elucidating what we don't know rather than what we do. More often it tells us what is not true rather than what is. By a process of elimination of falsehoods, we "scientifically" arrive at the truth (in contrast to direct revelation, which by-passes "trial and error").

For example, the speed of light is "scientifically" observed and understood to be universally constant...unless (and until) it is shown not to be. Then our understanding would change. By science, we learn what isn't true. We "whittle away" at what isn't until we uncover what is. (Edison is said to have "scientifically" conducted over 2000 experiments on what doesn't make a light bulb until he found what does.) 

Moreover, the vast majority of what has occurred -- and much of what is now occurring -- remains utterly inaccessible to "scientific" investigation. Furthermore, most of that which is to come will never again occur, rendering it unavailable for testing, peer review, and re-examination, components of the classic "scientific method". 

Some things can never be understood except on God's terms. Brigham Young taught (having learned from Joseph Smith) that "The Lord must reveal Himself, or remain unrevealed." The limit of divine understanding has been delineated: The atheist will search in vain for God -- not until he finds Him, but -- until God reveals Himself. With metaphysical dexterity, God doesn't just reveal Himself to His children; He reveals Himself in His children! They become like Him, inasmuch as they keep His commandments. This divine transformation into deity -- not the mere observation of Deity -- is the only "revelation" that matters, the only "testament" of Deity that endures. (For what good is seeing God...and remaining unchanged, or being destroyed?)

Oblivious to the "scientific method" of divine discovery, Atkins confesses that science cannot yet:
1. Explain everything.
2. Tell us what went on at the event we call "the creation".
3. Provide a theory or simulation of consciousness.

As if that covers all the topics of which science cannot inform us. What science can do, Atkins asserts, is "elucidate the great questions that have, for centuries, been regarded as religion's own."


Science cannot answer "Where do I come from?" "Why am I here?" or "What happens after this life is over?" except in the chemical and physical sense -- ignoring the "reality" of consciousness and the soul.

Atkins intones: "And with your newly cleansed, de-prejudiced minds, you should be able to accept that science provides a richer, more comprehensible, more reliable, more deeply satisfying account of the cosmos than the primitive, pseudo-explanations peddled by well-meaning, but scientifically under-informed apologists." (One notes that Atkins' language positively drips with intellectual arrogance...and it sure is fun to listen to!)

How does the "gospel" of Atkins hold up? How does he (and "science") explain the existence of everything ex-nihilo [out of nothing]? In what has become an established habit, before answering the question, he first loquatiously berates believers as simple-minded, lazy drunkards sipping an elixir of credulity mingled with mental torpitude. When he finally gets around to it, his stunning rebuttal to the "God" argument -- his "simplistic" solution -- is that "nothing separated into opposites".

That's it. 

Using the analogy of electrical "charge", Atkins describes how positive and negative charges combine to "cancel out", creating no charge; therefore, no charge, he concludes, can be expected to separate into positive and negative charges. 

See! Everything out of nothing!

By this same reasoning, we may expect no money (nothing) to decompose into credit (gold coins) and debt (credit card statements). Nothing becomes something.

Atkins obviously conflates matter with mathematics, astrophysics with accounting. (Perhaps he can dig up the quantity "7". How much would that weigh?) 

Scientific investigation reveals that combining polar opposites of matter and anti-mater liberates pure energy in the form of high-energy photons (gamma rays); in other words, light. Light isn't "nothing". Just as matter (and anti-matter) are "something". Therefore, combining substantial opposites to make something cannot be used as a logical argument for everything arising from nothing -- or for the non-existence of God. Einstein's famous equation isn't "E = mc2 = nothing". It appears that Atkins peddles "primitive, pseudo-explanations" that are "scientifically under-informed".

According to his "nothing-came-from-nothing" cosmic view, we do not, in reality, exist except as subsets of "nothing". Not "from dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return" but "from nothing thou art and unto nothing thou shalt return." The exalting, enlightening, ennobling, liberating gospel of Atkins is that we are, in fact, nothing. Our lives mean nothing. We become nothing.

I can see why Atkins suggests that embracing his arguments brings only "a bit of joy", for, after all, when all is said and done, there's nothing left! 

In his great treatise on universal opposites, Lehi explains that "a bit of joy" is not merely a by-product of the human condition; personal joy is man's purpose for existence: "[M]en are, that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25). Moses informs us that God's great work and glory is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39). What could be more joyful than that?

Which "gospel" really is more satisfying and inspiring? Atkins' or Christ's?

Must Atkins really destroy everything in order to dismiss the existence of God? Apparently. Perhaps this explains why great atheists of the past century -- Stalin, Hitler, Mao -- have had no compunction about killing tens of millions. (It was "nothing", after all.)

Atkins argues against our collective reason and human experience -- even "unscientifically" -- that anything can happen without a cause. Identifying a "cause" of that great "acausal" event of creation would be "pure speculation", he insists. So he doesn't. He refuses to ascribe any cause to our existence. Silence, he supposes, is superior to the "false" (or at least "unprovable") explanations offered by priests, prophets and pedants.

He merely begs the question and utterly declines to explain by what, by whom, or how the universe came into being. He suggests without a shred of evidence that the universe could have "created" itself! In so doing, he pronounces that his (non)argument "diminishes the role of a Creator-God to zero," as if his saying so makes it so. Only in his high-flying imagination -- in "the highest altitudes of current thought" -- is God necessarily unnecessary.

In fairness, by the end of the debate, Atkins contends that discussions of "creation" prior to the existence of space and time are irrational. We simply cannot grasp or entertain such ideas because they are not of this world. Any description of a "causal" effect (even God) would be fatuous in Atkins' purely materialistic/humanistic view. It negates the possibility that any entity, force, or influence outside of the material realm may have influence upon that realm -- a very unimaginative, parochial, and arrogant supposition. Furthermore, it is entirely irrational to say -- not just that God might not be real, but emphatically that "God is absolutely not real...unless you prove me wrong, and you can't, so I'm right." (My failure to prove you wrong doesn't make you right; just as my failure to prove me right doesn't make me wrong.)

Perhaps Atkins' strongest "argument" against the existence of God is his refutation of the credibility of various statistics attesting to the "improbability" of a life-sustaining cosmos "as it tumbled into existence." Atkins is right. Man cannot compute with any certitude the "probability" of life arising from non-life. We can only speculate, given the so-far-unbroken chain of billions of "experiments" performed each day, by countless billions of people, wherein life fails to arise from non-life (despite our best efforts -- or non-efforts -- to make it happen). Several orders of magnitude of repeated failures to create life, undertaken under the best of circumstances, provide some indication of how truly remarkable (even "miraculous") life is. 

I think Atkins' weak attack on the purported "probability" of autobiogenesis distracts from the glaring, universally-observed fact that all life, thus far, has only been observed to arise from life, never on its own. Wasn't the whole "a seed is necessary" argument the very one Atkin's claims would destroy atheism? 

And yet the necessity of a seed is the only conclusion, thus far, that has been universally scientifically established.

Aktins' "explanation" for the origin of a complex cosmos is that it did so autonomously and by chance. The scientific work of Francesco Redi (in 1668) and Louis Pasteur (in 1864) showed that omne vivum ex vivo ("all life [is] from life"). Atkins unscientifically begs the question by stating "If something can happen, it may happen."

Atkins theorizes the existence of infinite universes, with equally infinite origins and outcomes.
Since the cosmos is, he asserts (no matter how remote the possibility of such happening on its own, by chance), then it could happen autonomously and fortuitously favoring life, and thus probably did happen that way. This circular reasoning, in Atkins' mind, passes for "the highest altitudes of...human understanding" and "scientific thought". Plus it's "simple" (if not simple-minded).

Atkins theorizes it is possible -- given an infinite number of worlds -- for a pile of bricks to be exploded with TNT and come down, by itself, re-organized as a house! Or, again, that a house made of bricks can be blown up...and fall back to earth as a house! Does this sound "scientific" to anyone? Where has this "experiment" been observed and replicated?

Were a billion worlds to be blown up, would we ever suppose anything approaching an organized house happening on its own? No. The rational mind recoils at the thought. But this outcome seems perfectly reasonable to Atkins.

Since Atkins allows for no outside "super-natural" influences to explain the organization and formation of this world (only materialistic/humanistic ones), our origin must be the product of automaticity and random chance at work on a cosmic scale, utterly untestable and irrepeatable.

In Atkins' view, this explanation passes for "good science".

But it's not good science; it's buffoonery. (Sweet-sounding buffoonery, I'll admit!) "Someone wins the lottery," Atkins rationalizes, fantastically grasping at straws, as if "one in a million", or even "one in a billion" approximates the inconceivably improbable possibility of a life-sustaining earth, solar system and galaxy all arising spontaneously and autonomously. "Well, it happens," he begs the question. That's his argument, in a nut shell. Without a shred of evidence, we are to believe, even as he urges us to disbelieve all that we have understood, observed, or learned before. 

No matter what, in Atkins' mind, anything goes -- any imaginable universe -- so long as it is not a universe inhabited by a living God (and a resurrected Christ).

 2 And it came to pass that he began to preach among the people, and to declare unto them that there should be no Christ. And he preached many things which were flattering unto the people; and this he did that he might overthrow the doctrine of Christ.
 3 And he labored diligently that he might lead away the hearts of the people...
 4 And he was learned, that he had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people; wherefore, he could use much flattery, and much power of speech, according to the power of the devil. (Jacob 7:2-4)

In describing Bertrand Russell's purported "teapot orbiting Mars" analogy, we can easily laugh with Atkins as he mocks those who persist in believing -- despite the apparent lack of objective evidence -- in an equally inscrutable Deity. Likewise, his explication of morality as a natural by-product of evolution and intellect, not God, seems, at least, plausible.

I assume all of Atkins' humanistic explanations and rhetorical epicycles make perfect sense to those who do not understand -- not the sun-centered but -- the Son-centered nature of our cosmos.

Even a "non-scientist" like Lehi (or Joseph Smith, if you prefer) proposed a more "scientific" and readily observable explanation for the origin of everything than does Atkins:

 11...there is an opposition in all things. If not so...righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
 12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.
 13 And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.
 14 And now...there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.
 15 And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man..." (2 Nephi 2:11-15).

2600 years ago Lehi succintly summarized the substance of this debate: that morality, opposition, and physical reality are self-evident and require the existence of God; that our own existence is irrefutable proof of the same -- as verifiable and irrefutable as the metaphysical verities of consciousness and reality.

In truth, the capstone of intellectual confirmation comes with the revelation of God Himself to the individual. We may not be able to deduce, with scientific certitude and direct observation, the origins of the universe. But we can know the Origin and that His word can be trusted.

The unbeliever, however, is forever precluded from obtaining that knowledge:

 1 Now it came to pass that there were many of the rising generation that...did not believe the tradition of their fathers. [check]
 2 They did not believe what had been said concerning the resurrection of the dead [check], neither did they believe concerning the coming of Christ [check].
 3 And now because of their unbelief they could not understand the word of God [check]; and their hearts were hardened. [check]
 4 And they would not be baptizedneither would they join the church [check]. And they were a separate people as to their faith [check]; and remained so ever after [check], even in their carnal and sinful state [check]; for they would not call upon the Lord their God. [check]
 5 And now [in the past] they were not half so numerous as the people of God; but because of the dissensions among the brethren they became more numerous.
 6For it came to pass that they did deceive many with their flattering words [check].... (Mosiah 26:1-6)

Whereas Christ preaches, "...lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Mathew 28:20), Atkins preaches we are "gloriously alone" in this world. Atkins is no different from other Christ-deniers who have sown doubt and dissension among believers, who, themselves, have become detached from a knowledge of -- and personal experience with -- their Creator.

Atkins may never call upon the Lord his God. He may never allow himself to be "suffused" by "warm, sentimental the presence of the Almighty", for his heart is hardened!  To acknowledge God's existence, Atkins would be compelled to acknowledge the reality of sin, the justice of God, and his own need to repent.

Clearly, Atkins is having far too much fun to do that.

In his rebuttal to Atkins' opening argument, Craig asserts that Atkins has neglected to provide any evidence that God does not exist.

Atkins' response, again, is to substantially ignore the arguments -- the premises that, by deduction, lead to the conclusion that there is a God -- using pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo to propose alternative explanations for evident realities, including the proposition that everything is, in fact, nothing. Atkins actually demands that the believer prove that no other explanation for the universe except one involving God is possible -- a universe, Atkins insists, in which almost anything is possible.

That's impossible. How can "impossibility" be proven under conditions in which virtually anything is possible?

In the end, Atkins insists that Craig doesn't know God because Craig can't know God. Even the "knowledge" of God, Atkins insists, is "self-delusion". Because Craig can't show God to Atkins, Atkins insists that God doesn't exist and that Craig can't know that God exists. 

The similarities between Atkins and Korihor are astonishing:

 12 And this Anti-Christ, whose name was Korihor...began to preach unto the people that there should be no Christ [or if there were a Christ, He was not divine]. And after this manner did he preach, saying:
 13 O ye that are bound down under a foolish and a vain hope [religion], why do ye yoke yourselves with such foolish ["unscientific"] things? Why do ye look for [believe in] a Christ [Creator-God]? For no man can know of anything which is to come [except by science].
 14 Behold, these things which ye call prophecies [scriptures], which ye say are handed down by holy prophets, behold, they are foolish traditions of your fathers [lies, hallucinations and indoctrination].
 15 How do ye know of their surety? Behold, ye cannot know of things which ye do not see [that would be "unscientific"]; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ [you can't produce any "proof"].
 16 Ye look forward [back] and say that ye see [received] a remission of your sins. But behold, it is the effect of a frenzied mind [self-delusion]; and this derangement of your minds [intellectual laziness and adipose arguments] comes because of the traditions [religious influence] of your fathers, which lead you away into a belief of things which are not so ["unscientific" world view, not based in reality].
 17 And many more such things did he say unto them, telling them that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men [there is no God], but every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius [his brain], and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime [no objective morality].
 18 And thus he did preach unto them, leading away the hearts of many, causing them to lift up their heads in their wickedness [arrogance, high-mindedness], yea, leading away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms—telling them that when a man was dead, that was the end thereof [from nothing to nothing]. (Alma 30:12-18)
Indeed, the entire chapter describing Korihor (Atkins) is instructive.

The crux of Atkins' argument (and his disbelief) is exposed in this statement: "If you want to believe in God and the arguments Dr. Craig has presented this evening, you can only be confident about them after you are dead." This isn't true. Dr. Craig is "confident" about them and he isn't dead! Many have had interactions with God, they claim, confirming His reality to them, and they are not dead. Atkins' statement is a lie, or, at the very least, a claim, based on his opinion.

Could Atkins be speaking from ignorance, not knowledge, from darkness of disbelief, not "enlightenment"? Magnanimously, if not open-mindedly, Atkins concludes "If science fails to deliver, this side of the grave...then, by all means, turn to religion".

It is, in fact, the appalling arrogance and "high-mindedness" of Atkins that prevents him from doing just that. He sees himself as a "scientific" know-it-all, or, rather, a scientific can-know-it-all. In so doing, he seriously over-estimates the capabilities of the (secularly-speaking) "scientific method". 

Alma has explained for us how one may "scientifically" come to know God (Alma 32). It begins with believing, which evolves into faith, then transforms into works -- or substance -- that which is real and verifiable and evident. It ends with the manifestation of God and godliness. However, disbelief precludes all such progress and manifestations. Therefore, the unbeliever is forever cut off from the presence (and essence) of God.

In debating atheism (the assertion there is no God) vs. agnosticism (open-mindedness about the existence of God), William F. Buckley calls Atkins on the carpet, as it were, for his emphatic assertion that there is no God:

Buckley: "The fact that we will never know does not mean that that which is not known can't in fact exist."

Craig: "Exactly! It just leaves you with agnosticism. That's no proof that there is no such Being."

Atkins: "Okay, but I think you can prove that there is no God. I mean, it's not a mathematical proof, I would cannot possibly give a mathematical proof..."

C: "Give me any kind of proof."

A: "Here's an 'any-kind' of argument: Everything that religion claims a God can do can be accounted for by science. So that's, if you like, one branch of the argument. So that there's no need, there's no 'necessity' for a God because science can account for everything." (Atkins' argument closely parallels the claims of Pharoah's priests, whose rods produced snakes like unto that of Moses.) "On the other side of the argument is the reasons why people do believe in God. One can understand why people believe in God. It's a sense of being alone, it's a sense of bewilderment, it's a sense of wishing for power over other people (that's the worst of the reasons) -- it's simply a sense of bewilderment, it's a sense of being alone...and, er, you [pointing to Craig] would know these feelings far better than I because you obviously believe in them." [Laughter from the audience.]

Clearly, Atkins' arrogance, projection of motives, and ignorance regarding the basis of Christian belief is revealed in this conversation leading up to the moment of the video first highlighted above. Atkins is absolutely astonished when Craig destroys his assertion that science is not "all-knowing".

A: "The fact that science is omnipotent and the fact that I can understand why people like you desperately want to believe in God, that is an argument against the existence of God."

C: "But two fallacious arguments put together don't make a sound argument, right?" [laughter]

After some back and forth:

C: "The first argument only...if granted, which I don't grant, I don't grant the premises but...the first argument would only prove that it's not necessary to believe in God in order to explain certain things. That doesn't prove God doesn't exist. The second argument commits a genetic fallacy of saying that because you can explain how people come to believe in God, therefore God doesn't exist. Neither of those warrant the conclusion: "Therefore God doesn't exist."

A: "I did not say it was going to be a mathematical proof."

C: "No, no, but it has to be valid...."

A: "It is valid in the sense that there is no need for a God and that everything in the world can be understood without needing to invoke a God. You have to accept that that is one possible view to take about the world."

C: "Sure, that's possible but...."

A: "Do you deny that science cannot [sic] account for everything?"

C: "Yes, I do deny that science...."

A: "So what can't it account for?"

C: "Well, I...had you brought that up in the debate I had a number of examples that I was going to give...I think there are a good number of things that cannot be scientifically proven but that we're all rational to accept..."

A: "Such as...?"

C: "Let me list five: [1] Logic and mathematical truths cannot be proven by science. Science presupposes logic and math so that to try to prove them by science would be arguing in a circle; [2] Metaphysical truths -- like there are other minds other than my own, or that the external world is real, or that the past was not created five minutes ago with an appearance of age -- are rational beliefs that cannot be scientifically proven; [3] Ethical beliefs about statements of value are not accessible by the scientific method. You can't show by science whether the Nazi scientists in the camps did anything "evil" as opposed to scientists in Western democracies; [4] Aesthetic judgments...cannot be accessed by the scientific method because the "beautiful", like the "good", cannot be scientifically proven; [5] and finally, most remarkably, would be science itself: Science cannot be justified by the scientific method. Science is permeated with unprovable assumptions. For example, the Special Theory of Relativity, the whole theory hinges on the assumption that the speed of light is constant in a one-way direction between any two points, A and B. But that strictly cannot be proven. We simply have to assume that in order to hold to the theory."

It must be noted that the look on Atkins' face as Craig rattles off these "truths" is simply priceless. Atkins is dumbfounded.

B: "So put that in your pipe and smoke it." [big laughter]

Monday, July 11, 2011

A little bit of "sugar" helps the medicine go down

I hate how Sarah Palin sounds. But I love what she says! (As opposed to Barack Obama: I love how he sounds...but I hate what he says!)

Sarah's latest post to her Facebook page is one of the best speeches I have ever read.

We may not like listening to Sarah Palin. (She's screechy and irritating.) But she's hitting all the right notes.
This debt ceiling debate is the perfect time to do what must be done. We must cut. Yes, I’m for a balanced budget amendment and for enforceable spending caps. But first and foremost we must cut spending, not “strike a deal” that allows politicians to raise more debt! See, Washington is addicted to OPM – Other People’s Money. And like any junkie, they will lie, steal, and cheat to fund their addiction. We must cut them off and cut government down to size.
Read Sarah's words -- for a little dose of reassuring sanity. 

We ought not let our politicians act as stupidly as they think we are.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ending the Drug War

Money from selling illegal drugs inevitably flows to the halls of power, where laws continuing the "war on drugs" are made, thus ensuring astronomical profits for criminals that incentivize even more illegal drug sales.

Is 40 murdered in a single day a smaller price to pay than simply allowing people to do what they want with their own bodies?

Here are my steps for legalizing drugs while making (almost) everyone happy:

1. Establish FDA-approved and non-FDA-approved drugs, foods, etc.

2. Bestow 100% immunity from liability (except in cases of fraud or criminal negligence) for manufacturers, marketers, distributors, and sellers of FDA-approved substances. (Non-FDA-approved substances -- like tobacco, alcohol, etc. -- shall receive no immunity.)

3. Manufacturers, marketers, distributors, and sellers of non-FDA-approved substances shall be held 10% responsible for any and all harm or damage arising from said substance's use, regardless. (That should deter indiscriminate promotion and drive wanton killers out of business.)

4. Users of FDA-approved substances will be held 100% responsible for all damages; users of non-FDA substances, 90%.

5. Laws prohibiting the sale of "regulated" or dangerous (non-FDA-approved) substances (like alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, etc.) to minors shall be maintained. Otherwise, the purchase, sale, use, or distribution of substances shall not be constrained.

6. Those who harm or defraud will be hunted down by trial lawyers and punished. (Finally, lawyers will be good for something!)

7. Peace on earth.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Another note to Mary

Inspired by Vox Day, I sent the following to U.S. Congresswoman Mary Mack, representing our 45th District:

No Republican who votes to raise the debt ceiling, for any reason, merits a vote in November.

The Republican members of the House ALREADY have the power to END the budget "crisis" by simply NOT spending more than the Treasury currently takes in -- and paying the interest on the debt FIRST. Let EVERYTHING else be cut appropriately.

It's time to LEAD, Mary. Any Republican who votes to increase the debt and/or taxes is voting for the economic slavery of the American people and deserves to be thrown out of office.

Of course, I thoroughly expect her to vote to raise the debt ceiling.

EDIT: Wow! A post of actually 200 words or less! Click here for a concise reprise of Obama's on-going tyranny.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fast and Furious

For those not paying attention, the Obama administration knowingly allowed criminals to purchase U.S. weapons and ship them to Mexico. Why? Noah B. summarizes the situation nicely:

The only plausible explanation is that they wanted more guns from the United States to turn up at crime scenes in Mexico. Now the Obama regime has been caught red-handed in a conspiracy to illegally smuggle weapons to criminals and terrorists, aid and abet the killing of Mexican citizens and anyone else who happened to get in the way, and use the bloodshed as a further excuse to violate the 2nd Amendment rights of US citizens.

We live in an age of "black-flag" operations, where our own government perpetrates crimes against our own people, to be solved by *surprise!* bigger, badder, stronger, costlier, freedom-robbing government!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Greatest Heist

This blog is mostly derivative. In fact, without the influence of great thinkers like Vox Day, Simon Black (both pseudonyms), Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, and others, I wouldn't know what to think! I'd be in the dark about economics...history...women....

As Vox recently pointed out, the greatest theft in human history is currently under way. Government's principal function has become transferring wealth from the productive class (mostly men) to the unproductive class (mostly women).

One of the great, unexpected, and "unseen" mechanisms of this wealth transfer is government borrowing. When government incurs debt on "the people's" behalf, the monies rarely benefit everyone. Rather, they go to privileged interests who aren't expected to repay much, if any, of the debt: jobless females who are heads of households, dependent children, government workers, Social Security and other welfare recipients, illegal aliens, criminals, etc.

Meanwhile, the American productive class (those making and building things, mostly men) are expected to keep paying the bills, taxes, and interest (while maintaining themselves and their families).

The poor, needy, unproductive, and greedy now outnumber those who work and produce. Thanks to our "one (wo)man, one vote" democracy, the latter have become "slaves" to the former and, by law, are kept in perpetual servitude. Their children and grandchildren, likewise, are born into debt and slavery.

Just as a former government which kept blacks unjustly enchained was overthrown, the productive will reassert their freedoms and topple the forces that now enslave them: by force, if necessary.

Those who handsomely profit from the labor of slaves can hardly be expected to let them easily go free.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

American Serfdom

I read another email from Simon Black that has transformed my opinion regarding "illegal immigration" and "accidents of birth".

Date: June 8, 2011
Reporting From: Panama City, Panama

This morning I enjoyed a sumptuous buffet breakfast at the Hotel RIU with my longtime friend and Panamanian attorney, Augusto. He's just had a new baby, and from the way he was pounding the coffee, Augusto's not getting much sleep.

He's also swamped at the office; Augusto is a key figure in a rapidly growing practice area for his Panamanian law firm -- tax compliance. Funny thing, though, it's not Panamanian tax compliance, it's US tax compliance.

That's right.

There are a lot of Panamanians who, for one reason or another, have US citizenship. During Latin America's tumultuous times several decades ago, many families with means temporarily moved to the United States so that they could watch the turmoil from their television sets instead of their living room windows.

Most of these families popped out a child or two while living in the US, and, per US law, those children were automatically US citizens.

A few years later, they moved back. The kids grew up in Panama, became adults in Panama, went on to take over the family business, etc.  Along they way they had a number of bank accounts in Panama, owned Panamanian companies, formed Panamanian foundations, and definitely earned healthy profits.

As it turns out, however, those Panamanians who were born in the US were required to file tax returns and disclosure forms annually with the IRS, as well pay the US government its "fair share" of their income. And now, with so much stink being raised about offshore tax compliance for US citizens, these dual nationals find themselves caught in a tough situation.

Most were completely unaware and were recently tipped off by their local banker here in Panama, a conversation that went something like:

"Hey don't you have US nationality as well as Panamanian? The US government is breathing down our necks to make sure customers are in compliance. You should see these stupid regulations they expect us to follow."

"Um... compliance for what?"

After a few uncomfortable phone calls, they find out that they're obliged to file 10+ years' worth of 1040's, 5471's, and FBARs, as well as pay steep tax bills with penalties and interest.

I have no doubt that a great many of these dual nationals are going to march down to the US embassy to renounce their citizenship. Unfortunately for them, they won't even be 'allowed' to do so until they become tax compliant.

It's amazing -- many of these folks have never lived in the US, have never earned a penny of US-source income, and have never even heard of an FBAR... yet literally by accident of birth, they are now obligated under penalty of imprisonment to pay a huge portion of their assets to another government despite never having been made aware of such obligations.

What's more, they can't get out of it. They can't even renounce this obligation without first paying off the debts that they never signed up for.

In 1762, Genevan philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau argued in Du Contrat Social that while people are born free, they surrender a bit of sovereignty in exchange for the benefits of living in a society. For Rousseau, who is commonly held with John Locke as an important influence on US constitutional principles, this social contract has two willing counterparties.

In other words, the individual must volunteer to accept the obligations of society, as well as be free to leave at a time of his or her own choosing. Furthermore, the contract cannot be unilaterally altered without overt acceptance of the other party-- if they decide to put their hands down our pants... to impose a draft... to triple tax rates, we should be free to leave.

Yet the system we have today is one in which people are simply born into obligations beyond their control, whether they like it or not, whether they even know it or not. Despite all of our plasma screen TVs, SUVs, and McMansion mortgages, this is nothing more than dressed-up serfdom, a system in which people exist to serve the state, not the other way around.

Americans today -- white, black, and brown -- are involuntarily born into indentured servitude every bit as real as the slavery of the Deep South 150 years ago. Each taxpayer (as of today) is liable for $1,023,686.

Why (many) teachers are over-paid

I had lunch yesterday with several teachers. We discussed economics. It did not go well.
Dear Mr. Paz,

I was taken aback by our conversation yesterday. Not by the fact that we disagreed, but because you abruptly ended the discussion with the argument that “Neither of us is going to change the other’s mind.” Quite frankly, I find that “blind allegiance” to whatever dogma one espouses to be rather silly. Either it’s true, or it’s not. And if one (or both) of us embraces ignorance and error – and sticks with it – well, that type of misinformation is nothing less than damning. For how can one progress under the delusion of error and misinformation?

I’m taking the time to address this issue again because I like you. I also find your ideology to be rather dangerous – particularly as it applies to macroeconomics – inasmuch as the forced “redistribution of wealth” (by other than market forces) always leads to penury, misery or death. Every government system founded upon this misguided economic principle invariably experiences tyranny and/or ruin simply because it defies human nature.

Case in point:

You may one day choose to pay each of your children a “living wage” (allowance) for chores done that may sustain them under their own roof, with their own chef, chauffer, etc. (What “wage” would that be? $10? $20? $100 per hour?) However, I think you would go bankrupt in short order, or your children would find themselves unemployed. Either that or, perhaps, in return for your patronage and obligation to support them, you would compel them to work, but you wouldn’t pay them.

That is precisely the danger inherent in (what I called) your “utopian” vision of economics, where everyone receives a “living wage” and a “guaranteed” job, regardless of the value of their services rendered.

There are no “sacred cows” here. If older, more experienced, more talented (and expensive) teachers can be replaced by younger, less experienced, less talented (and cheaper) teachers – or no teachers at all! – then they should be!

You don’t drive a Rolls-Royce, do you? Why not? Shouldn’t your family ride in (what has historically been considered to be) the “best” car?

Rolls-Royce has been around for 105 years. (Almost as long as public schools!) With so much experience and capital invested, shouldn’t Rolls-Royce deserve your business now? In fact, shouldn’t you be forced to buy a Rolls-Royce, regardless of how expensive it is?

Otherwise, Rolls-Royce might go out of business! And all those wonderful people building Rolls-Royces might be thrown out of work. They’d lose their homes, together with their livelihoods! Think of the children!

As much as you care about the children, I’m sure, you won’t be buying a Rolls-Royce any time soon. Why? Because so many “better” alternatives exist for you.

Forcing you to buy a Rolls-Royce (and no “cheaper” option) compels you to reallocate resources that might have been used for other purchases (clothes, food, housing, entertainment). Oh, sure, you’d have an expensive car. But you’d be poorer for it! And because you weren’t buying those other things, other people wouldn’t have jobs making them. And everybody would be poorer and less employed.

You could simply not buy a Rolls-Royce. But then how would you get around?

In the same way, minimum wage laws (tenure, unions, etc.), requiring employers to pay “above-market” wages to those who lack “marketable” skills, force employers to misallocate resources. Rather than do so, employers simply refuse to hire under-skilled workers.

How, then, are individuals to gain experience (and skills) if they cannot get a job? How are they to (eventually) support themselves?

Minimum wage laws effectively lock out millions of unskilled (and under-skilled) laborers from the working pool, making them certainly poorer and dependent upon others for their support. This support requires taxing the wealth or labor of others, making them poorer. Hence, everyone is made poorer by “minimum wage” laws.

A “free market”, conversely, inspires innovation and better allocation of resources. If we over-pay one person for a job – because “it’s their livelihood” or because “they’re tenured” or because “they belong to a union” or because “they deserve a living wage” – then we must under-pay (or not pay at all!) others who, perhaps, could do the same job (or another job) more efficiently. What about them? Do you not care about others who are under-paid (or unemployed) because someone else is being over-paid, contrary to market forces?

Communist / socialist / Marxist economies are wonderful at putting people to work, “giving” them jobs. (I recall seeing hundreds of Chinese digging a canal by hand, doing the work of one mechanized earth-mover.) Frequently those types of authoritarian, top-down, market-controlling governments shift from “giving” people jobs to “forcing” them to work, even directing which job each person will do. (“It’s all for the greater good! Don’t be selfish!” they say.) And, invariably, those economies are stifled. The people suffer.

What would just be a ludicrous misallocation of funds were you to over-pay your kids for doing menial, perhaps even unnecessary, chores becomes a disaster on a municipal or national scale. At some point it becomes theft and, taken too far, tyranny.

Before our discussion was cut short, you argued that, historically, people generally worked at the same job, in the same line of work, for their entire lives and that this is no longer the case. Ruthless “capitalism”, you suggested, is to blame for this cruel “instability”. Unions, minimum wage laws, tenure and other employment protections are all necessary to keep people (like us!) from being savagely unemployed by “market forces”.

However, “capitalism”, “instability” and “market forces” are the very things that have spurred the present innovation, progress, and wealth creation we now enjoy! Because of innovation, people are no longer required to work at the same job all their lives. Without the ability to hire and fire or pay “true value” as needed, people in factories would still be making buggy whips – even though buggy whips are no longer used.

When people don’t have to compete, innovate, or improve to keep their jobs, not surprisingly, they don’t! They work at a slower pace. They put less effort into it. They lose incentive. They even take on an air of “entitlement”. They begin to believe they “deserve” their jobs.

None of this is good.

In fact, only in places where unions, tenure and employment protections are in place is innovation stifled and cost excessive. Think government-run, “protected” operations like AmTrak, the postal service, DMV, and public schools. They’re all mired in inefficiency and ineffectiveness.

It’s never “comfortable” or “nice” to lose one’s job. Competition is fierce! But the struggle for survival is a necessary evil, both in our nature and in our economy. It “weeds out” inefficiency and lesser utility. It spurs innovation, health and improvement.

Tenure, union wages, employment protections – they’re all largely to blame for the current morass in which government schools find themselves. Millions of kids today receive equivalent – or better! –  educations in private schools, home schools, even no schools! Teachers are ill advised to ignore these “market forces”. Technology is rendering the classroom superfluous. Children are now learning their “3 Rs”, together with history, science and the other subjects, by computer, without a teacher present.

Sure, someone needs to produce and provide all that software. But one person, or a relative few, can now replace the labors of millions.

Should we keep employing millions in the labor of education, at higher-than-market salaries, simply because teachers need jobs and few have other marketable skills? Do we need a million more buggy whips? Or millions of buggy whip makers?