Weekly roundup

Testifying to God’s sovereignity – This gentleman has a profound understanding of God and his control over all things.  What a witness.

Vance offers some thoughtful ideas on Caring for the Elderly.

Predefined orders such as these have the potential to save thousands of dollars while simultaneously giving people the dignified care they say they want when they are healthy and thinking clearly. The orders will allow the system to let people pass in peace in a manner more to their choosing. 

20 Timeless Money Rules – these are easy to understand and wise investment tips.  Here’s a sample.

Average is the new best

The best way to own common stocks is through an index fund.
Warren Buffett

Here’s the logic behind index funds, which aim simply to match the return of a market index: The average fund in any market will always earn that market’s return (because in aggregate investors are the market) minus expenses. Since index funds match the market but have much smaller expenses than other funds, they will always beat the average fund in the long run. It’s hard to argue with the math, and history bears it out (see the performance stat at right). Besides, if the Greatest Investor of Our Time believes that index funds are superior for most investors, shouldn’t you?

The resurrection of the Peppered Moth – this debunked “proof” of Darwinian evolution is back, even after the textbooks finally took the pictures out due to embarrassment.  It is still a flawed example, and would be irrelevant even if it wasn’t flawed.  Some excerpts from the article:

Soon after 2000, however, the peppered myth succumbed to mounting scientific criticisms. The most embarrassing was that peppered moths in the wild don’t normally rest on tree trunks, and the textbook photos had been staged – as The New York Times pointed out in an article on scientific fakery in 2002.3 Darwinists trying to save the peppered myth turned what should have been a quick and merciful death into a long and painful demise, but it expired anyway. Most biology textbooks have now dropped it entirely.

Then, on August 23, 2007, Cambridge University biologist Michael Majerus disinterred the corpse. In a lecture in Sweden, Majerus announced he had found new evidence that peppered moths are “proof of Darwinian evolution.” The “fact of Darwinian evolution,” in turn, shows that humans invented God and that there will be “no second coming; no helping hand from on high.”

Note how he giddy he was in taking a faulty and misinterpreted experiment to jump to the conclusion that there is no God – and more specifically, no Christian God (e.g., the “no second coming” comment).  But really, I’m sure he is just after scientific truths and isn’t trying to make religious statements.

The question is not whether natural selection happens (it obviously does), but how much it can accomplish. The available evidence indicates that natural selection is no more powerful than artificial selection. In centuries of domestic breeding and decades of laboratory experiments, artificial selection has never been observed to produce a new species, much less the new organs and body plans required by Darwin’s theory. If Darwin had written a book titled How Existing Species Change Over Time, evidence of artificial and natural selection would be relevant – but Darwin’s ideas would also be utterly uncontroversial.

Even if the classic peppered moth story were 100% true, it would demonstrate only a reversible shift in the proportions of two varieties in a preexisting species. It would tell us nothing about the origin of those varieties, much less of Biston betularia, moths, insects, or animals in the first place.

17 thoughts on “Weekly roundup”

  1. FIRST COMMENT….YES!

    Heck, mind if I start a debate on your blog. I am curious about the point of view of your readers on this issue. This issue came up while I was posting a comment on someone else’s blog. So let me just repost my comment with a bit of explanation.

    BTW if you like you can turn this into a new post on your blog. Or for that matter you can delete it.

    —————————————–
    Tell me about it, I am about as radical right wing Christian fundamentalist as they come.

    HOWEVER, I also believe in legalizing many forms of currently illegal drugs and legalizing prostitution within a very strict frame work. It shocks even my liberal friends. But then again, their shock doesn’t surprise me, since I learned along ago that today’s liberals don’t really believe in personal freedom- unless you define freedom as killing your unborn child or engaging in sodomy. I happen to have a VERY broad definition of personal freedom.
    —————————————————

    So my question is simple, can a Christian vote for a candidate who supports legalized drugs and prostitution despite their own feelings against such sinful activity? My own view is that I don’t think that human laws should stand as a barrier to men choosing to accept or reject God’s laws. Man’s laws should only deal with issues that cause injury to others.

    I see a whole slew of pragmatic reasons to legalize both of the above issues. But I don’t wish to debate that so much though, as whether a Christian can support the legalization of both or either.

    Hope you don’t mind me asking Neil.

    Neil said: No problem, TotalT. I don’t mind the roundups being more of a free-for-all (within reason).

    The drug topic is interesting – I’ve heard conservatives hold views that one wouldn’t expect them to have. I’m open to insights on either side about the pros and cons.

    I think you bring up a couple broad points – Who should Christians vote for, given that Jesus isn’t a candidate? (I.e., there will never be anyone with perfect views). What does it mean to “injure” others? There are some crimes that will land you in prison that will harm fewer people and to a lesser degree than people who commit adultery and destroy their families.

    P.S. Congrats on being first – you are back to your winning ways!

    Like

  2. “There are some crimes that will land you in prison that will harm fewer people and to a lesser degree than people who commit adultery and destroy their families.”

    But then you must balance that against the interest of keeping the spread of venereal disease in check, keeping underage prostitutes off the street, and being able to accumulate tax money (a real SIN tax if you will) from an industry currently entirely underground.

    So while I understand that adultery can destroy families, one doesn’t need to visit a prostitute to commit adultery, the law allows them to commit adultery- but only with women willing to engage in the act for free OR in exchange for expensive presents (a distinction that boggles me).

    I see the points you are making, but for the record I wasn’t thinking of prostitution when I mentioned adultery. I was just reflecting on my prison ministry visit this morning and had that thought before I saw your comment.

    Like

  3. “Note how he giddy he was in taking a faulty and misinterpreted experiment to jump to the conclusion that there is no God – and more specifically, no Christian God”

    He is just trying to convince himself that he has nothing to worry about. 😉

    Like

  4. Okay, okay, TotalT. First post is one thing, but first three…calm down.

    Jokes aside, I’m curious to your reasoning for legalizing such things as prostitution and drug use. I know of many people who support similar ideas under the belief that it will reduce the inherent dangers associated with the acts currently being illegal. Is your reasoning along these lines, or something similar (like your above mentioned “sin” tax)?
    As for your broader question of whether or not a Christian can support the legalization of either…I would say supporting the legalization of sinful actions is a somewhat shady proposition (I’m thinking mainly along the lines of legalized prostitution). I am not saying that there should be laws in place to prevent all manners of sin, but I’m not sold on taking something in direct conflict with Biblical Word and saying it’s okay (I know legalization isn’t condonement, but many people equate the two concepts).

    Like

  5. “Jokes aside, I’m curious to your reasoning for legalizing such things as prostitution and drug use”

    I will keep this response as short as possible.

    Drug legalization:

    1. Many drugs currently illegal are much less dangerous than currently legal drugs like alcohol and available products like cigarettes.

    2. Said drugs are sold in the underground which makes them both (a) outside of our ability to collect taxes on, and (b) prone to be filled with all kinds of horrible chemicals that cause even more long term damage in users than the drugs themselves.

    3. Drug laws are often used to either imprison first time offenders OR as a way to increase the penalty on other offenders (the guy caught with a load of illegal guns in his car AND some cocaine). The first group of offenders don’t deserve to sit in jail for their drug use, and cost use taxpayers significant sums of money. This compounds the problem of our inability to collect taxes on drugs- taxes which could be used to support rehab programs.

    4. Enforcing our war against drugs cost us BILLIONS of dollars AND lots of goodwill in South America. That money spent on suppressing the drug trade would be better spent on securing our southern AND northern borders. Also, that goodwill, would go along way in gaining us the ability to oppose Chavez and socialists like him. Think about it. We prop up governments (Columbia is the chief example) for no other reason than their willingness to harass and punish the poor farmers who would otherwise grow these crops.

    5. I think that black males would constitute less than 43% of the prison population if we legalized drugs. Why? (A) Because there would be no more need to glamorize drug dealers in the hip-hop culture. (B) Drugs would be cheap enough that you could afford them without having to rob or steal from others to obtain your fix. (C) Obtaining drugs wouldn’t involve hanging out with shady characters who deal in other manner of crimes- dragging many into crime who otherwise wouldn’t have been involved. And (D) The major source of funding for street gangs would be yanked out from under their feet- same way we yanked much of the funding out from under the feet of prohibition gangsters and drastically decreased their powers when we ended prohibition.

    6. The prohibition of alcohol serves as an object lesson, one we should have learned from.

    And as for Prostitution:

    1. It provides against the spread of venereal disease by ensuring frequent and regular drug testing of prostitutes.

    2. It helps to keep underage prostitutes off the streets (and out of brothels for that matter).

    3. It allows the government a new stream of revenue heretofore untapped (no pun intended)- a real SIN tax if you will.

    4. Furthermore, it cleans up the streets of night walkers and the dangerous men they attract and focuses them in places of business which can be kept outside of cities and residential areas.

    And yes, the fact that something is legal doesn’t mean that it is condoned. Yet I return to an earlier point, why is it illegal to give a woman money for sex, but giving her non-monetary gifts (a diamond bracelet) for sex is entirely legal?

    I saw this site on Montel and I almost peed my pants.

    http://www.sugardaddyforme.com/

    And the above site is ENTIRELY legal. What separates it from prostitution? The only difference I can think of is that working stiffs (once again, no pun intended) frequent most prostitutes, whereas sugar daddies are powerful and influential rich men.

    Those are provocative thoughts. And by “provocative” I mean “provocative” (as opposed to, “Wow, TotalT has lost it!”). Hopefully others will weigh in or one of us can do a whole post on it.

    Like

  6. While I see your point, and don’t disagree with your line of thinking, I still think it holds some of the idealistic views many people hold when they mention legalizing anything. I agree we spend entirely too many resources in our “war on everything” policies, but I’m not sure many people take reality into account when they talk about their reasonings for legalization (I’m not speaking of you, of course, I know where your head is) There is no doubt, from a strictly financial standpoint, it would be of great benefit to legalize both of these “industries” (about as loose a use of this term you will ever see me put forth). The issue for Christians, however, is the moral dilema it presents. If you support legalization of prostitution, how do you witness to a prostitute? It gives her justification (in the eyes of the masses, at any rate) to continue in her sin because it’s her “profession” (an argument used by some already, so imagine if it were legal). Again, I’m not debating the benefits of legalization, just not sold on if it’s a good idea for Christians to stand behind it.

    “why is it illegal to give a woman money for sex, but giving her non-monetary gifts (a diamond bracelet) for sex is entirely legal? ‘

    While many jokes are running through the ol’ noggin, I’ll just say that a direct solicitation for sex is quite different (at least in legal terms) than implied solicitation. Although, I do get better insight into your life from that…just kidding buddy.

    Like

  7. “If you support legalization of prostitution, how do you witness to a prostitute?”

    The same way I witness to an alcoholic. The analogy is apt since both are examples of men and women who have taken something which done in moderation and inside of God’s law would be perfectly acceptable. If sex is conducted within the bonds of marriage it is permissible, outside of those bonds (whether in the form of prostitution or adultery) it is sinful. Much in the same way, limited and moderate consumption of alcohol is perfectly acceptable morally, but being a drunkard is abhorred.

    What, no one other than PJ is going to bite on this? I thought it was controversial enough to generate some serious discussion.

    Like

  8. “What, no one other than PJ is going to bite on this? I thought it was controversial enough to generate some serious discussion.”

    Well, I tried buddy. I’m done playing devil’s advocate and am off to bed!

    Neil said: I think everyone is watching football except the 3 of us. Maybe tom’w or Monday others will fire up and chime in! I’m wrestling with the “if legal then moral” message that has worked so well for the abortion mills. Will it encourage more bad behavior? Prohibition had lots of problems and I’m not recommending we reinstate it. But I understand that alcohol related illnesses went down dramatically.

    Like

  9. “But I understand that alcohol related illnesses went down dramatically.”

    Yes, one benefit, but at what price? Almost any action has positive benefits. After all if all half of all unborn children were aborted, there would be some benefits- to quote the author’s of Freakonomics, there would be a reduction in crime and the environmentalists would claim that the enviroment would be better off. But we must always ask, at what cost?

    In the case of prohibition you had less alcohol related diseases and presumably less drunk driving fatalities, but you also had drastically more crime, no more tax revenue form alcohol sales, the way the law turned otherwise law abiding citizens into criminals, etc.

    Like

  10. TT, as to your first point:

    Many drugs currently illegal are much less dangerous than currently legal drugs like alcohol and available products like cigarettes.

    Just because a certain bad thing is legal doesn’t mean we should make other less bad things legal. We should make more bad things illegal.

    Like

  11. “Just because a certain bad thing is legal doesn’t mean we should make other less bad things legal. We should make more bad things illegal.”

    So does this you you favor a return to prohibition W&F? I would further ask how we define something as bad? After all a significant number of liberals are on a crusade to shut down McDonalds and rid our grocery store shelves of Twinkies because they are bad for our health. So we might benefit from first defining what is bad.

    I would also begin with the premise that just because something is bad doesn’t mean it should be illegal. Often making certain products illegal results in more harm to society than simply tolerating the harmful effects of that product as a lesser evil.

    But then again I would also turn back to the original intent of this question. Can a Christian support laws that legalize sinful activity with an understanding that our society is secular and that our government must serve the needs of the whole community- not simply Christians? For example, I personally detest the consumption of alcohol and haven’t ingested a drop since ten or so years ago, but I certainly don’t favor a return to prohibition because many people over indulge and as a result engage in LOTS of sinful activities- especially on college campuses and the surrounding bars. If you could only know the things I saw as a fireman conducting night club inspections at midnight and the indecent proposals I received. 😉

    BTW thanks for jumping in W&F. I appreciate the comment.

    Like

  12. Wow! Still pushing forward, TT? I’ll try to hep jumpstart…

    You said:
    “The same way I witness to an alcoholic. The analogy is apt since both are examples of men and women who have taken something which done in moderation and inside of God’s law would be perfectly acceptable.”

    I think you missed the point of what I said earlier. Yes, both are sins of excess, but the point is by supporting legalization, you would be presumed to be supporting the act (again, in the eyes of the masses). Comparing prostitution to alcoholism is a very loose comparison. I think we tend to oversimplify things. My concern, isn’t with logistics, but with perception. Unfortunately, we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard, sometimes at the price of logic. I had a pastor tell me once that you sometimes have to sacrifice, even if not by Biblical direction, to bear witness to the unsaved.
    For example, my parents have questioned my faith (in a loving, “we just care for you,” unsaved way, that only parents are capable of) because I have had a few beers in front of them, watching football or whatever. Now, I have yet to find biblical support for completely abstaining from alcohol, but their concern was “anything more than one, must be a sin.” So, now I don’t drink beer. If that meaningless change in my habits (although, I would’t call about 2-3 beers a year a habit) is the difference in them making a decision for Christ, then it’s worth it. The point is that it may be a stumbling block for some to see a Christian openly supporting legalized sin. Again, I’m not speaking against your thought process. I’m just not sold on the benefits outwaying the moral costs.

    Like

  13. “For example, my parents have questioned my faith ”

    As well they should. After all you are a Red Sox fan, and that alone brings up many questions. 😉 Like, have you ever heard of a team known as the Yankees? And don’t you realize how much better they are than the Boston Red Sox?

    Now watch those comments generate more discussion. HA!

    Like

  14. “As well they should. After all you are a Red Sox fan, and that alone brings up many questions. Like, have you ever heard of a team known as the Yankees? And don’t you realize how much better they are than the Boston Red Sox?”

    Yes, I have heard of the Yankees. I believe they are that team currently looking up to the Red Sox from about 5 games back in the standings. I have yet to realize the Yankees superiority, since they are the authors of the biggest choke job in sports history. Oh, and the Red Sox have actually won a World Series this decade. So, TAKE THAT!!!

    Like

  15. TT – I have long been a supporter of legalizing drugs and spending the money now spent on enforcement on drug education. My principle reason is the violence of the current drug trade. In fact I have often jokingly suggest letting USDA regulate the industry, drugs would be cheap and plentiful but nobody would be making any money.

    As for prostutution, that I will have to think about, but I see your point that it is not much differient from adultery.

    I also agree with PJ that supporting such legistlation would need to be done while making it clear that you are not condoning the act.

    On the other hand, if someone avoids a sin because they fear human law, that does not make them virtuous or bring them any closer to God.

    Like

  16. TT,

    I agree with most of your points regarding legalizing drugs. I would add that if drugs were legal then treatment for drug related consequences should not be paid for with tax dollars. (medicaid, medicare, SSI, county medical centers, etc)

    Craig

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s