Thursday, June 27, 2013

Quote of the Week: Allan Bloom on the role of the family

The family requires a certain authority and wisdom about the ways of the heavens and of men. The parents must have knowledge of what has happened in the past, and prescriptions for what ought to be, in order to resist the philistinism or the wickedness of the present. The family...has to be a sacred unity believing in the permanence of what it teaches. … When that belief disappears, as it has, the family has, at best, a transitory togetherness. People sup together, play together, travel together, but they do not think together. Hardly any homes have any intellectual life whatsoever, let alone one that informs the vital interests of life. Fathers and mothers have lost the idea that the highest aspiration they might have for their children is for them to be wise—as priests, prophets or philosophers are wise. Specialized competence and success are all that they can imagine.

-Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind, p. 57, 58

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Global Warming since 1978? A debate!

The full debate can be found over at Forbes. I'm only posting the first statement from each person.

John Nielsen-Gammon:
What would it mean to say that global temperatures are rising?  Global temperature anomaly measures how much global temperatures differ relative to a reference period, and the anomoly here often changes erratically from year to year.  Some years are warmer than the previous one, some are colder.  Underneath that year-to-year variation, though, is a longer-term time-varying trend.  Standard global time series show an upward trend from about 1910 to about 1940, a weak positive or negative trend from about 1940 to about 1975, and an upward trend since then.
It’s conventional to define the trend by the slope of the trend line, a best-fit straight line through a segment of the data.  There’s no reason to expect that the Earth is actually warming at a perfectly steady rate, but the slope of the trend line is a convenient measure of the average rate of warming.
With those preliminaries out of the way, here are the global temperature trends in the two most well-known global analyses, from 1978 to the most recent time available:
  • NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (NASA-GISS) : +0.3 F/decade.
  • Hadley Centre/University of East Anglia: +0.3 F/decade.
These numbers are not perfect, and they come from observations that are definitely not perfect.  For example, there are concerns about urban heat islands and about siting issues, concerns which I share and have helped publicize.  So these trends need to be double-checked and confirmed in some way.
One good way is to look just at ocean surface temperature trends.  That’s 70% of the Earth’s surface, with no urban heat islands! According to the Hadley Centre, this increased warming amounts to +0.2 F/decade. So yes, it’s still rising, but not as much.  What does that mean for the trends just over land? It indicates that that increasing land temperatures must be larger…and according to the University of East Anglia, that trend is +0.5 F/decade.  Since most of us live on land, we experience the land surface temperature trend.
Are land temperatures really rising that rapidly?  Let’s take a look at what some independent experts from UC Berkeley came up with. Their “BEST” project calculated that land temperatures are rising at a rate of +0.5 F/decade.  Really, no matter how you slice and dice the actual temperature observations, you get roughly the same answer.
So how can we check this independently ourselves?  We could use microwave satellite retrievals of temperature from the lowest few miles of the atmosphere. That’s not exactly surface data, but the two are strongly connected.  Most computer models indicate that the trend in the lower atmosphere ought to be just a little bit larger than the surface temperature trend.
On this basis, two different research groups have independently done their own merging and intercalibration of the data from various satellites which have been in orbit at various times since 1979:
  • The University of Alabama-Huntsville (UAH) Land-only TLT trend is +0.3 F/decade.
  • The Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) Land-only TLT trend is +0.3 F/decade.
Those also aren’t as large as the surface data would indicate, but TLT represents the average temperature in the lowest three miles or so of the atmosphere, not at ground level.  Still, climate models predict that the TLT values ought to have a slightly higher warming trend than the surface temperatures, not the lower trend that the data indicates.
In this case, it’s hard to know which is wrong: the models, the surface data, or the satellite data. Most likely, they’re all wrong to some degree: no data are perfect, and no models are perfect. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.
These are not the only data sets that point to unambiguous warming. Night time marine air temperatures (NMAT) measured on ships show warming.  Also, a recent study analyzed the weather using only sea surface temperature and sea level pressure observations.  The resulting temperatures over land produced a trend of +0.4 F/decade.
We also see an unambiguous response to warming in the environment: glaciers, combined Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, ocean heat storage, the ranges of species and so on. On a multi-decade time scale, there’s no global indicator that presently shows cooling.
In summary, the reported land surface temperature trends over the land portions of the globe since 1978 are about +0.5 F/decade if measured directly, and they are around +0.3 to +0.4 F/decade if we use independent methods immune to urban heat islands.  Ocean-only and land+ocean temperatures are rising, too, but at a somewhat lower rate.
Sure, there are corners of the Earth that have gotten colder, and some that haven’t changed much.    There are also some places that have warmed much more than the global average.  Overall, though, all lines of evidence point in the same direction: warming.

Fred Singer:
First, there would be very little public interest in funding climate science, were it not for an assertion by alarmists in the political and environmental communities that a human-caused (“anthropogenic”) global warming crisis exists, which can be mostly attributed to carbon-dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels to generate energy.
Debates about those claims revolve around several contentious issues.  Key among these are: whether there is, in fact, reason for alarm; what reliable evidence supports that supposition; i.e., what degrees of impact do human have versus natural influences on global temperature changes (both warming and cooling); and what trends can be observed and projected to guide prudent responses? It is not my intent to argue that the global climate has been cooling since the late 1970s, but merely to present a case that there is no convincing evidence that it has been warming.

John, With regard to the matter of species migration you raised, I believe that this topic is entirely too speculative to discuss here. There are too many variables, too many special circumstances, too many uncertainties. Likewise, ocean heat content data is very poor, requiring numerous “adjustments”. Vertical temperature profiles are most surely controlled by currents that vary with depth. They are not one-dimensional as implied by the data.
Since I am primarily a data guy, I’ll confine my comments here to discussing recent climate trends but note that the global climate has warmed since the Little Ice Age (about 1400-1700 AD), and it will likely continue to warm for another 200-300 years, in fits and starts, towards a max temp roughly matching that of the Medieval Warm Period. In this context, “recent” refers to the decades since 1978 when satellites became available to measure atmospheric temperatures globally to supplement global radiosonde (balloon) records that reach back to about 1958.
We also get temperature information from (non-thermometer) ”proxy” data. And while all of these methods present specific problems and have limitations, let’s review what we can learn.
John opened his discussion with a statement that there has been a (reported) rising global temperature trend since 1975, while in fact broad agreement exists that there has been no warming for at least a decade. Phil Jones has stated that global temperatures have been flat for 17 years.
John also provided earlier surface data compiled by NASA-GISS and the Hadley Centre/University of East Anglia (Hadley-CRU).  The close agreement between those trend results does not indicate independent confirmation. This shouldn’t be at all surprising when we consider that they use mostly the same raw data.
Problems with surface measurements are notorious.  Recording stations are sparse, even nonexistent in vital global locations, most particularly throughout the Southern Hemisphere and in remote polar regions.  After 1970 the number of reporting stations dropped suddenly and drastically.  (Stations at airports have seemed to be unaffected, and may even have increased in number.)  And as John noted, urban heat islands have developed over time, not to mention problems resulting from faulty placements of temperature recording instruments which have to be “corrected” by applying subjective ‘homogenizing’ (tuning) procedures.
Even then, according to U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) figures, the reported global temperature increase between 1942 and 1995 was approximately +0.5C, while U.S. and Western European data showed approximately zero.
While the IPCC claims that a large temperature increase occurred between 1977 and the turn of the century (presumably based mainly on sea surface temperatures (SST), recent SST data published by Viktor Gouretski and John Kennedy in Geophysical Research Letters (2012) and the latest Ocean Heat Content (OHC) data from the National Oceanic Data Center (NODC) show only a minor warming between 1975 and 2000, Hadley NMAT data show nearly the same results.  In short, SST and NMAT show a ~zero difference between 1942 and 1995, while OHC showed a difference of less than 0.1 C.  These comparisons are summarized below.
  • Global land-based surface temperature differences (UN-IPCC)=  approx. 0.5C
  • However, U.S. land-based surface temp. differences (NASA-GISS) = approx. zero
  • Sea surface temperature differences (Victor Gouretski-GRL, 2012)=  approx. zero
  • Nighttime marine air temp (NMAT) differences (Hadley Center)=   approx. zero
  • Ocean heat content differences, 1979-1997… average (NODC)=  less than 0.1C
  • Atmospheric satellite temp. differences, 1979-1997  (MSU-LT)=  approx. zero
  • Atmospheric radiosonde temperature differences, 1979-1997= approx. zero
  • Proxy sample temperature differences (mostly land surface)=  approx. zero
Despite some discrepancies between various data sets, the global temperature differences between 1942 and 1997 are small to none – except for land-based thermometer data outside the U.S. This disparity with your warming premise demands an explanation – as do the much larger in trends of the Northern Hemisphere compared to the Southern Hemisphere.
Further, satellites show atmospheric trends that are smaller than surface trends – even though atmospheric theory (and the models incorporating that theory), show the opposite.  Instead, models predict that there should be an “amplification” of the surface warming trend to produce a “hot spot” in the tropical troposphere.  Instead, both satellite data and independent balloon data show a near-zero trend from 1979 to 1997, followed by a well-known 1998 temp “spike” which is universally attributed to a Super-El- NiƱo.  This absence of an observed hot spot suggests that the land-surface temperature warming trend (1979-1997) is greatly over-estimated, and should be close to zero in the Tropics.
Various scientists attach different interpretations to this disparity between models and direct atmospheric observations. Some suspect the fault lies with the quality of the atmospheric temperature data; some blame the models; while others merely note that the disparity exists and do not attempt to reconcile it at all.
John also mentioned sea surface temperatures (SST), which avoid urban heat island influences. These measurements, covering (imperfectly) 71% of the planet’s surface, are taken by four different methods, each introducing unique problems and uncertainties as well as referring to different depths of the ocean:
  • The bucket method has been used since earliest times. The samples come from near the surface (about 1 meter), and temperatures are recorded manually. They should show a pronounced max after noon due to direct solar heating.
  • The ship-engine cooling-water intake method collects and records ocean temperatures at depths of several meters.
  • Floating surface buoys (“drifters”), record temperatures within a meter below the actual sea surface.   The temperature data is collected by satellite, and should show a post-noon maximum.
  • Nighttime marine air temperature (NMAT) is taken by thermometers at the decks of ships, well above the sea surface
The relatively minor warming of the ocean surface (71% of the Earth surface), stands in contrast to the reported global warming between 1970 and 2000.  It suggests that land surface warming has been greatly over-estimated.
A similar conclusion is indicated from atmospheric temperature measurements. Although they use two independent methods, and as with other tools, each is imperfect, satellite and radiosonde data confirm each other’s trend results quite well. Satellite temperature records, which have only been in existence since 1978, cover the whole globe, but are subject to problems associated with various drifts which must be accounted for and corrected. Balloon-borne radiosondes are best used for data at detailed altitudes, but have problems with instrument calibration and interference from direct solar radiation.
Still, taken together, the data reveals a consistent and convincing picture of near-zero warming trends in the tropical troposphere –i.e., absence of an observed “hot spot”.   Coupled with a modeled trend “amplification”’ of about 2, this suggests an extremely low value for the land surface trend – hence low values of climate sensitivity to increases in CO2.

Read the rest: Any Global Warming Since 1978? Two Climate Experts Debate This - Forbes

Quote of the Week: J.P. Moreland on God and freedom

“If you were to force people to do something against their free choice, you would be dehumanizing them. The option of forcing everyone to go to heaven is immoral, because it's dehumanizing; it strips them of the dignity of making their own decision; it denies them their freedom of choice; and it treats them as a means to an end. When God allows people to say 'no' to him, he actually respects and dignifies them.”
― J.P. Moreland, Love your God with all your mind: the role of reason in the life of the soul

Monday, June 10, 2013

Homosexual activists or homosexual sloths?

DISCLAIMER: The following viewpoints are not those of the blogger, but a friend of his. If this point of view upsets you, you may vent, but don’t yell at the person who posted them. Start a discussion, express and opinion, but don’t yell at the person who didn’t write it, that is just senseless… These writings are the intellectual property of me, the Author, with permission granted to the blogger who is positing them. They may not be reposted or used in any form without express written consent by either myself or the blogger of Reformed Seth.

Activists or sloths?

Recently, in the past few days, there was a story about two homosexuals suing a baker in Colorado, because he wouldn’t bake them a wedding cake. It was against the beliefs of the owners, so of course, instead of finding another baker, they decided to get a lawyer and sue the owner of the bakery. Because it seems that even though smoking pot is legal in Colorado, freedom of expression isn’t.

So, when it is brought up on the internet, Facebook, chat rooms, that kind of thing; when someone mentions that there is an homosexual agenda, well, they get laughed at, because there has been no big meetings where homosexuals all gather together and decide what to do, and who to sue, for what they consider discrimination. However, I have to ask, doesn’t it seem like there is an agenda? Being from California, I remember when churches were in an uproar over new work guidelines, which would make it impossible for churches NOT to hire someone who was openly homosexual. (Admittedly with a tad of hypocrisy, as they will allow adulteress to work there) So, why do I stop and think, there just might be something to the thought of an agenda? Well, how about the forcing of a religious organization, the Boy Scouts, to accept openly homosexual members. Now let’s face it, children have no idea as to their sexuality at that age. If a boy or girl gets their heart broken by a member of the opposite sex, in today’s society, they may think, well, I must be gay, and they go off the deep end. Gender confusion has got to be hard, probably harder than when I was a kid. Now the Boy Scouts of America are being challenged by atheists about the use of God in their pledge, and to me that is what really shows an attack being made against the Christians of our country. Let’s look at another instance. Who remembers a few years ago when a homosexual sued eHarmony for not allowing homosexuals to use their service? What does the Dr. who started eHarmony know about the homosexual brain, the dating thoughts, they lifestyle most chose to lead? NOTHING, because when he was in college, and learning human behavior, he learned and observed straight people, not homosexuals. So, why is it fair that he gets sued, loses, has to change his site to cater to the homosexuals who want to use his site, AND pay out legal fees and 50,000.00 to the person who felt slighted???

So, after listing the above thoughts, I have to ask, are the majority of homosexuals lazy? Ignorant? Stupid? Do they not go to college? Why sue companies and organizations to meet their specific needs, instead of starting their own companies? Sure, they can sue a baker in Colorado, but how about OPENING YOUR OWN BAKERY? Imagine the money you would make, if you are any good, by catering to your own specific clientele! Same with a dating service, unless they want to admit, the homosexual brain is so far different, they can’t come up with their own algorithms, and questioners. Why force a Christian owned Bed and Breakfast to cater to their wants and needs, instead of opening your own B&B? And therein lies the thought that twist my shorts, chaps my hide, and pisses me off. Why are people being FORCED to accept a lifestyle they do not agree with? It isn’t about dragging people into the 21st century, it is about making people accept someone who wants to force their choices on someone else, and that right there takes away the very freedom that we have been fighting for. For over 200 years. Freedom of choice is meant to be for more than just a woman’s choice for an abortion. Freedom of Expression, and Religious Freedom. When those freedoms are attacked, because a group wants special consideration, then again, we find the liberties that our country was founded on, being beaten and taken hostage by political correctness, because it isn’t right unless you accept everything you don’t agree with, but they don’t have to do the same.

Sadly, this makes me change a previous stance I had taken on homosexual marriage. I believe I have to go back to the previous stance, that since marriage is considered a religious construct, and more disbelieve than believe, then why have a wedding in a church, unless it is to force a belief or agenda, that most don’t agree with.

When the A.I.D.S. crisis hit, there was a prevailing cry that ‘partners’ wouldn’t be able to see the love of their lives pass away. So, it was pointed out that a will would resolve that issue, that a person could chose which person could, or couldn’t be allowed to be with them at the end. Then it was about being accepted as being normal, and being allowed to be married, which in and of itself, points to an admission of abnormality. So, civil ceremonies were allowed to be legal, it was a justice of the peace, and move on with life. And they could be as manly, frilly or butch as you wanted it to be. But that suddenly wasn’t good enough, now it is forcing churches to marry. Again, that also has some hypocrisy in it, as they will allow adulteress to get married, after going to counseling, to admit what you did was wrong.

So, dear reader, is it a conspiracy? Is there an agenda? G.L.A.A.D., which is always pissed off and MAD, seems to be pushing a nationwide agenda, and so I would say yes, there is an agenda, and it has brought us to a slippery slope, as the group, NAMBLA is starting to speak out about allowing them to have sex with eight year olds, and let’s not forget the case in Florida when an 18 year old girl was caught having sex with a 14 year old girl on school grounds, and her family and friends, and the radical homosexual element and agenda, are saying, it is just because she is a female homosexual, that she is being charged, that is it just true love, and her parents are pushing the case because they don’t like their 14 year old daughter being gay. WHAT A LOAD OF HORSE CRAP! It has been shown that children cannot make appropriate choices about love until they are at least 16 to 17, as they don’t have the maturity or understanding as to what romantic love is. Just as honest psychiatrists will tell you that a brain scan can tell you what part of the brain isn’t working properly at birth, and can predict those who will be gay.

Or at least, that is how Mark C’s it.

Quote of the Week: Ron Nash on Apologetics

"It is helpful to distinguish between negative and positive apologetics. In negative apologetics, the major objective is producing answers to challenges to religious faith. The proper tack of negative apologetics is removing obstacles to belief... In negative apologetics, the apologist is playing defense. In positive apologetics, the apologist begins to play offense. It is one thing to show (or attempt to show) that assorted arguments against religious faith are weak or unsound; it is a rather different task to offer people reasons why they should believe. The latter is the task of positive apologetics."

- Ron Nash (Faith and Reason, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988: 14-15.)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Does a new Christian have to understand the OT to be a Christian?

Sometimes I hear skeptics/non-Christians/atheists poke fun at new Christians for not knowing the Old Testament or completely understanding the New Testament. I think it's fair to say that the insults or questions are getting at this: your belief is on this very minimal god that doesn't lineup with the god explained in the Old Testament or even in all of the New Testament; your belief is a fraud, it is fake, simply not justified. What I want to ask is: does a person have to understand the entire bible before he can justifiably claim to trust in the life, work, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?

I don't think a person has to understand the entire bible before she can trust in the gospel. Why? Because the person is responding to the gospel that's why. What is the gospel? The Apostles describe the gospel, as I understand it, as the good news of Jesus Christ. What is the good news of Jesus Christ? One, that people by default are in rebellion against God. Two, that people cannot by themselves be good enough to stand before God in a not-guilty position (or put another way they cannot by themselves not be in rebellion against God). Three, that Jesus Christ paid the debt to God on account of his rebellious people. Fourth, now because of Jesus Christ his people can access God, i.e. worship him in spirit and truth. That is the gospel. Put another way that gospel is that God saves sinners. A person can hear the gospel and justifiably believe it without ever opening a bible. Why? Because that is what is required to be a Christian: hear the gospel, then repent, and then trust in Christ to do what he said he will do. That's it. A person doesn't have to respond to an entire reading of the bible in order to be a Christian. Think about this. The Apostles gave the gospel to people for salvation. That is what their audience had to respond to. The Apostles didn't approach a group of people or even one person, get out their old testament scrolls then start reading word for word the entire old testament then ask their audience (if the audience was still awake or even present) what they thought about that reading. Instead, they delivered the gospel. They didn't even deliver the gospel in the same way every time, e.g. Paul's address in Acts 17 is different from his other gospel messages (in style - the basic theme is the same). Well then, why have a bible? Hey, that's a good question.

Why do we have the bible? The bible is a collection of copied manuscripts from the ancient world. People of that time wanted a written record of the oral tradition. I understand that. Let's write it down to have a copy of this oral religion. I think that is why we have a bible. "Stuff" was going on at that time and it was worthy of being written down. Let's remember: back then, things to write on weren't easy to come by. If it was written down, then it was super important to the person or group of persons who wanted a written copy. The Israelites wanted a written history of their people, their theocratic society, to pass on to their children. Even the prophetic books are historical accounts of what was going on in that time of Israelite history. There are very few, if any, straight-up doctrinal books like in the new testament. This same kind of thinking can carry on into the new testament as well although the genre of written record is different in that the new testament is made up mostly of letters written to churches in doctrinal style. The bible is a copy of what was going on orally at that time and place. The bible is an excellent resource for the new and old Christian alike to learn, read, and hopefully apply the instructions written by the Prophets and Apostles. Do we blindly apply them? Not at all. The Christian is called upon by the Apostles to know why you believe what you believe. So, while the new Christian is justified in his belief in the gospel, he needs to go further. He won't find that the bible and the gospel contradict each other. Will he find some things in the bible that aren't tidy? Sure, for example, what does it mean to "live by the Spirit?" What did Paul mean by that? Obviously there are some different answers to that all through history. It's not tidy. However, just because it's not tidy doesn't mean there isn't stronger evidence for some positions over others. What is tidy is the broad them of Christianity. The essentials are super tidy. The non-essentials aren't and I wouldn't expect them to be tidy because they're non-essentials (like what kind of music do Christians play for worship?).

Wrapping this post up, I want to say that the new Christian is justified in his basic belief in the gospel. The gospel has nothing to do with ancient Israel's form of government. The gospel has nothing to do with ancient Israel's dress code, dietary laws, arranged marriages, polygamy, or other recorded historical acts of an ancient people that wasn't necessarily condoned by God. The gospel is that God saves sinners. If the person who responds positively to the gospel then that person is justified in that belief. It is wise for that person to read about the problems and solutions the new testament has in its collection as well as in the old testament just as it is very important for him to read about the author of the gospel: Jesus Christ. The new Christian should read John's historical account of Jesus Christ to further his knowledge of the Hero described in the entire bible that he heard about in the gospel. The new Christian begins on a road she has never been on before. The road is bumpy, but it has a beautiful destination.

Related posts
Theism as a properly basic belief - highly recommend
What about the OT? It's unethical
OT laws on relations between adults
Can we trust the bible?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Water Cooler Wednesday: Marriage and Government

Brian: Hey Andy, how is everything going?

Andy: Oh, you know, plugging along with these reports.

*both sip water*

Andy: Hey, did you read where Rand Paul talked about government getting out of marriage? What are your thoughts on government getting out of the marriage business? You're all for "small government" so you probably think it's a good move I bet.

The government "getting out of" the marriage business is a very libertarian viewpoint. There are, I suppose, some attractive things about that, but "getting the government out of" what are euphemistically called "social issues" is usually where libertarians and I part company. John Stossel, for example, has long been one of my favorite commentators, but he's too liberal on the social issues for me. I really feel like it's important for us as a society to say "This is OK, and this is not." Sadly, our society seems to think homosexual marriage is OK, when it is clearly unnatural. I know it's been said before, but it is a slippery slope. When you accept homosexual marriage, there is a clear path to acceptance of polygamy, beastiality, and even necrophilia. The other side will try to dismiss that as extreme, but think how extreme homosexual marriage seemed as little as a decade ago. It's coming; hide and watch.

Well, what do you think of marriage licenses and the like not coming around until the 1920s? I understand that marriage wasn't a government thing until that time.

I've never looked into it, but I'm sure that's true. Problem is, prior to the 1920s (and for a good while afterward), nobody considered homosexual "marriage" legitimate. Same with polygamy, which was actively condemned from the time of the Mormons. If we went back to that lax standard today, you could get five wacko witnesses to say they saw you marry a ham sandwich, and that would have to be legal. The cat is out of the bag, now. Unfortunately, I think Rush Limbaugh is right. This is a lost issue. It's just a matter of how long it takes. Once that happens, we begin the descent toward recognizing other deviant relationships as "marriage". Eventually, we end up where the Roman Empire did, with flagrant, open promiscuity of all kinds displayed everywhere.

Andy: I guess I'm
on the fence with this issue. I see and understand both sides. On the one hand, I want the State out of the marriage business because, quite frankly, I don't like being married to my wife and the state right? The state has a part in my private life and my future children, etc. I don't like that. Since that didn't come around until the 1920's why do it today? Especially since men I admire, from what I've read about them anyway, didn't have marriage licenses! (Abe Lincoln and George Washington). I guess the character of our citizens was quite different back then. People focused more on their actions and such when "no one was looking" instead of, remarkably, around the 1920's and 30's people focused more on their public image and their public character, caring less about their private character. What you did when no one was looking or just when a few people were looking no longer mattered. So, the moral climate changed a lot. I see that as a decent blow to the "get the state out of the marriage business" position.

I also see the good points of the state being in the marriage business. This positions says society can't survive without the family unit. The state wants the society to survive and prosper so it can survive and prosper. They say the family unit is the blood of the country and without it, America will fall. So, the state has an interest in making strong families by rewarding strong, monogamous, traditional families that will raise children to raise children to raise children and keep America strong. I understand this position also says that since no-fault divorce came along, the state really had to promote the traditional family. Is it too much intervention on the personal lives of Americans? Well, it doesn't help. If more intervention was done away with, then this intervention would be minimal I guess. I think the state can still promote and reward strong traditional families without such intervention like child services and family court. 

Yes, I too am a bit on the fence about just how much state intervention there should be. There are lots of whack jobs out there who abuse spouses and children, and without legal (i.e. the state's) authority, there's very little intervention that can happen short of vigilante justice, which is a bad thing. Problem is, the state too often makes bad decisions or is ineffective in enforcing the laws aimed at protecting the vulnerable. Unfortunately, that's usually the case any time the state gets involved - they have a noble idea, but they are horribly ineffective in their execution. Hence, libertarianism. I get that, even when I don't agree with it.

The promotion of a strong family unit should be the goal of the state, but clearly it isn't. Welfare benefits that promote single-parent households, free distribution of condoms and sex education classes (both of which promote promiscuity "without consequences"), recognition of homosexual marriage and homosexual adoption, relaxation of indecency standards to allow relentless promotion of deviant and dangerous sexual behavior in the media, no-fault divorce, legalization of abortion on demand... all of these things - and no doubt many more - actively work against the formation of strong families. So government has not only made ineffective use of the mechanisms at its disposal to promote strong families; more and more, it has actively abused those mechanisms to weaken the family.

Andy: *looks at wall clock* Well, break is over.

Brian: Yep. Time to get back at it.

*both sip water then throw cups away*

IRS: I got the power!

That power is from Obamacare boi-boi. I read the following "by the numbers" from the Morning Bell about the powers granted to the IRS as a result of Obamacare.
18New taxes in Obamacare, including 12 that directly violate then-Senator Barack Obama’s “firm pledge” to those making under $250,000 per year that he would not “raise any of your taxes.”
47—New provisions Obamacare charges the IRS with implementing, according to the Government Accountability Office.
$695Tax for not buying “government-approved” health insurance the IRS will be charged with enforcing on all Americans.
1,954—Full-time bureaucrats the IRS wants to devote to Obamacare implementation and enforcement in the upcoming fiscal year.
60,000,000—Medical records the IRS has been charged with improperly seizing, raising concerns about whether the agency can handle the personal health insurance information all Americans will be required to submit to the IRS.
$439,584,000—The IRS’s request for new spending on Obamacare implementation in the upcoming fiscal year; the request did not specify how much of those funds the IRS will spend on the “Cupid shuffle.”
6,100,000,000—Man-hours Americans already devote to tax compliance, according to the National Taxpayer Advocate, a burden that will rise significantly thanks to Obamacare.
$1,000,000,000,000—New revenue raised by Obamacare in its first 10 years alone, according to the Congressional Budget Office, sums that will only rise in future decades.
Awesome huh? Read the whole post here.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Quote of the Week: Luther on Apologetics

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point. 

-Martin Luther