Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ars Against Rationalism

A quick post over at Ars, showing how susceptible the human mind is to being fooled.
"Prior to asking the actual number, Mlodinow had asked a question that subtly primed each group. For one half of the audience, he asked if they thought there were more than 180 countries in Africa; this group ended up with a much higher mean. The second half was asked if there were more than five. Their answers were, on average, too low. Although this was a case of conscious manipulation, it's easy to see how a similar effect could be generated accidentally, simply based on (for example) the order of questions in a survey."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Is Marriage Good for Society?

Digging way back into my queue, I found this from Team Pyro:
"The disappearance of marriage in low-income communities is the predominant cause of child poverty in the U.S. today."
Although it seems the battle is lost, there's lots more good data and Biblical arguments.  It's a must read.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Defenders of the Atheistic Faith

It always gives me a chuckle to see atheists arguing that only religion can make people irrational and confrontational (of course, while denying atheism is a religion).

Michael Flynn (who is a Catholic, and an evolutionist) takes a certain pleasure out of ribbing these guys.

He also has excellent depth in philosophy and reasoning.  I can't do justice in summarizing it.  You really must read it.

The really remarkable part is down a ways:
"There is no distance at all between grasshoppers and locusts. The latter are just grasshoppers that have 'gone Hulk.'  If we didn't know up front that they were the self-same critters, we'd be tempted to classify them as separate species.  The same genome is used by both. The difference is that what the genome does depends on environmental cues within which it does it."

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Christianity in the Public Square

If you doubt there are some who will try to eliminate Christianity from being expressed in public, check out this article by Al Mohler.

First, the most chilling statement:
"If a commercial photography business believes that the [New Mexico Human Rights Act] stifles its creativity, it can remain in business, but it can cease to offer its services to the public at large."
So, the ruling here is that if you feel that the government is forcing you to act against your conscience, you only choice is to stop doing business.

This is not an unusual opinion of one, radical judge.  This is a unanimous opinion from a group of judges.

Indeed one of the judges wrote:
"are now compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives. Though the rule of law requires it, the result is sobering. "

Thursday, July 3, 2014

CNN and Christianity

My CNN feed is often populated by "Fast Facts".  These range all over the place, and are usually of little interest to me.

When I saw "Fast Facts on Christianity", I knew I'd need to check it out :)
"His death made salvation and forgiveness of sins possible for all."
That's a very Arminian (or semi-Pelagian) view, but I can accept that is probably the majority view among Christians...
"Salvation can only be obtained by believing that Jesus was sent by God to forgive the sins of every human, and to confess those sins to him."
That's actually not a bad summary of the Gospel.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Don't Take My Word For It

If you don't know who Bruce Schneier is, I recommend looking him up.  He's very smart, and has dedicated his life to the study of security.

He has written an excellent opinion piece for CNN, describing the state of privacy today, and how we got here.
"The result of all this is we're now living in a world where both corporations and governments have us all under pretty much constant surveillance."
"Now we need to figure out what to do about it. This is more than reining in the NSA or fining a corporation for the occasional data abuse. We need to decide whether our data is a shared societal resource, a part of us that is inherently ours by right, or a private good to be bought and sold."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

NSA Spying and COINTELPRO

For those who aren't aware, from the Wiki article on COINTELPRO:
"COINTELPRO (an acronym for COunter INTELligence PROgram) was a series of covert, and at times illegal, projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveying, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting domestic political organizations. National Security Agency operation Project MINARET targeted the personal communications of leading Americans, including Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker, civil rights leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King, journalists and athletes who criticized the Vietnam War."
This is a real program, which really happened (not hypothetical, not fiction).

In light of this, consider recent revelations:
"Some of the vulnerabilities, if exposed, would likely call into question a radicalizer's devotion to the jihadist cause, leading to the degradation or loss of his authority."
This is not a program to discover real, imminent threats to the safety of Americans.  It is a program to gather information to use against anyone the government considers a threat (whether a threat to American lives, or a threat to government interests).

Again, the argument is not that the program has been misused, or that there are no safeguards to prevent misuse.

This capability should not exist - it is a threat to the freedom of Americans.  Do not look at how it is currently being used, imagine how it could be used by your political enemies.