Friday, March 03, 2006

News Swamp: March 3, 2006

Once again, the news has crept up on me. There are two big items I'm following, but won't comment on here. One is the issue of the recording made by 16-year-old Sean Allen of his teacher, Jay Bennish, turning his geography class into a political liberal indoctrination class. The other is the visit of George Bush to Pakistan. I just don't have anything to add to the commentaries that are already out there. I wanted to mention them, because they may become source material for analysis of current events later on.


Science and Technology in the News:

Recently, Honda announced that they will produce an automobile that runs on hydrogen fuel cells for mass production in three to four years. This is earlier than any of the other major automobile producers. The big requirement for the success of this endeavor will be the availability of mass-produced hydrogen. Probably, the key market will not be the US. I see this as a viable alternative to petroleum. I see this as eventually having an impact on the level of carbon in the atmosphere. I do NOT see any evidence that this will have any impact on global warming.

The gadgets proliferate with microchip implants. I predicted the viability and marketability of microchip implants for humans years ago - long before I started this blog. I'm wary of this for eschatological reasons - but only just wary: I make no predictions. But I'm also wary of the technology. There is a readable code in the chip available through some sort of RF interaction with an active reader. I suspect that this code can be easily pirated, rendering the implant useless. Apparently, there are some who are willing to take this risk.

How about the biggest, costliest gadget of all: the International Space Station? This is to be the platform from which to launch the most high-tech golf ball ever, using the most unnecessarily high-tech golf club, into orbit for the "longest drive". The argument against it is that it will produce yet more space junk in orbit around the earth. Whatever... I'm not impressed. I would be impressed if the golfing astronaut could drive the ball out of orbit.

Then there's the case of the shrinking Antarctic ice sheet. If there is a mass of ice so large that it sits on the bottom of the ocean and has a mass that significantly exceeds its displacement, then melting it could raise the sea level. A sheet of ice, however large it is, floating on the water will not raise the sea level by its melting because its mass equals its displacement. The "science" in this article is simply wrong.


Sexual Immorality in the News:

Homosexual advocates are decrying a lack of legalized same-sex marriage. Their latest claim is that it is harmful to their mental health. I suppose these homosexuals are saving themselves for legal marriage? The argument has been that they need legal marriage for shared ownership and insurance issues. These are people who are already involved with each other. The metal health issue is like saying that their mental health has nothing to do with their partners, but it has everything to do with mere law. If a homosexual has psychological issues with the law that they have no trouble breaking when they committed sodomy when it was illegal, then they are not mentally stable enough to commit to a marital relationship.

Every day it seems that there is yet another student-teacher sex crime that is being reported. Why are there more and more of these things being reported? Is it because it is suddenly happening more and more? I know of teachers who were fired and sent to court for statutory rape violations for having sex with students. They were not widely reported cases, but they were before the press started reporting them as national news. Why now start reporting them? It seems like the change in reporting started not too long after the Roman Catholic priest child sexual abuse scandal. The scandal was debated as to whether or not it was indicative of homosexuality since the abuse was homosexual by nature. The debate wasn’t widely reported. I suspect that more people than the press would like to admit correctly attribute the abuse to the latent homosexuality of the priests. The new run on student-teacher sex crime is not new at all, and people local to individual cases seem to realize this. However, I suspect that it is only now nationally reported in an effort to take the heat off the insidious nature of homosexuality by balancing the homosexual nature of the Catholic scandal with heterosexual examples.

There is a Fire Captain in Knoxville, Tennessee, who has undertaken to transform himself into a female. He is upset because people still refer to him as a “he” despite the fact that he has legally changed into a “she”. I don’t care how much one changes one’s appearance – and hormonal and gynecological status fits into this category – one will always be according to one’s genetic structure. He is still a "he" because he has an X and a Y chromosome. Therefore, the only people who can decide their gender are people who are genetically hermaphroditic. Frankly, this Fire Captain should have expected this kind of treatment unless his purpose was to push the issue.

If he doesn't have thick enough skin to handle it, how does he expect to have the tenacity to fight fires?

Homosexuals and “Transgender” types complain about the emotional pain, but children suffer the most. I remember seeing my first set of transgender types in the news in the seventies. This couple had swapped genders with each other. Mom was now Dad and Dad was now Mom. I was mystified and horrified at my young age that people would go under the knife in an effort to become something they are not. Even then, I was concerned for the children who I knew from my own experience that they needed to relate to Mom differently than they relate to Dad. I knew that in this case they were losing their parents as they know them and effectively being forced to live with a new family. The need to agree with their parents for the sake of emotional security, especially under the national microscope, would cause them to deny the pain they would have to live with. The internalization of the conflict would cause intellectual and emotional problems for years to come, and could even follow them to the grave.

The undue strain and disadvantage on children in single parent homes has long been statistically established. Good psychologists have long known the need of children for healthy interaction with both a father and a mother. This is why I’m baffled that people would choose to be single parents. There are women who have no desire to commit to a husband but want to have a child. They seek sperm donors, get pregnant, and have their babies. In the news recently is a group of these moms who want to have a reunion with other moms of the same sperm donor. These poor children don’t have a clue in the world what it means to sacrificially commit to someone else. In fact, the example for them is that they can do whatever they want without commitment. A civilized world turns on self-sacrificial commitment to others. A civilized world is destroyed by a commitment only to self-justification. This is why the nuclear family is so important.


Christian News:

The University of Wisconsin has reversed a policy preventing RAs from holding Bible studies in their rooms. Why did they have this policy to begin with? Representative Rob Kriebich, who attended hearings on the issue, says “it's a policy that's based on common sense that recognizes RAs are students and that they too have First Amendment rights to do as they please, voluntarily in their dorm rooms.” So, the University of Wisconsin had no common sense prior to this? Neither did they recognize basic rights granted by the constitution of the United States? It took a lawsuit to make them see the light? Or perhaps they intentionally sought to defy the Constitution of the United States.

There are many who laud the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling as fitting for enticing young minds toward excellence. There have been falsified claims against the books rightly exposed by snopes.com. Unfortunately, snopes.com, normally thorough and reasonable, use their argument to fallaciously conclude that a more general claim linking the Harry Potter books to Satanism is also false. Most recently, the Vatican's top exorcist, Rev. Gabriele Amorth, has spoken against the Harry Potter series. I'm not a big fan of the Vatican, but Rev. Amorth's assessment of Harry Potter is not off base. To give evidence that something has been started with this, A real Hogwarth's is opening in Canada. A thoughtful and well-written critique of Harry Potter from a Christian perspective can be found at ChristianAnswers.net.

There are brothers and sisters in Christ who are Palestinians. They are exposed now to rule by the Hamas, who threaten an extreme form of Shari'ah law. This places these Christians in mortal danger for their faith. They have been prevented from peace with Israel because their leadership will not rest until Israel is destroyed. Now safety within their own borders is in jeopardy. May God grant them strength, boldness and protection. May He use them mightily to foster peace and teach their hate-filled kin the truth about Christ. What is my analysis of this news? Perhaps God has placed them here for such a time as this.

7 Comments:

Blogger iAmerican said...

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5137581991288263801&q=loos

Any true American who watches the above, free video will recognize the fact that Bush committed 9/11 the same as his grandfather's client, Adolf Hitler(Google "Prescott Thyssen Auschwitz"), committed the Reichstag Fire.

Inarguably, Bush is Hitler-redux.

Schoolteacher Jay Bennish is simply putting forward thoughts that any who claim spiritual descent from the Jeffersonian Whig Founders of the United States of America should have been realizing right after they heard GHW Bush's public statement confirming his "inability" to recall his whereabouts upon hearing of President Kennedy's assassination: W's only "qualification" for office.

Death for Treason

Fri Mar 03, 09:47:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Jim Pemberton said...

I'm sure the conspiracy theory video is as true as Farenheit 911. If you analyze the actual philosophies behind Hitler and Bush, you'll find that they are very different. Hitler's National Socialism, rooted in Neitzsche's existentialism, is directly mirrored in modern liberalism. Granted, Bush isn't the poster boy of conservatism, but he's doing with terrorism what we've needed to do for a decades.

Furthermore, it's fallacious to argue that Bush's memory of his loction when he heard of JFK's assassination has anything to do with his capacity to lead the nation. This sort of nonsense is why I homeschool my children.

Sat Mar 04, 12:33:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger sarva said...

You write: "I don’t care how much one changes one’s appearance – and hormonal and gynecological status fits into this category – one will always be according to one’s genetic structure. He is still a "he" because he has an X and a Y chromosome."

Why fixate upon chromosomes as being the definition of gender? If human DNA was organised differently, then we could still have male & female (with the same physical appearance & reproductive functions) but without any X or Y. In fact, several species in nature (birds, reptiles) either don't use the XY sex-determination system but instead use a different system (such as the WZ system), or don't use chromosomal sex-determination at all (e.g. many reptiles, in which the chromosomes don't determine gender, but rather the incubation temperature of the egg.) God (or evolution or whatever) has made XY chrosomes determine human gender (with a few exceptions); but that is not part of the definition of gender, just a contingent choice of how gender could be established. God could have still made anatomical male/female without any chromosomal gender or with a different system of chromosomal gender -- this I think proves that the definition of gender does not lie in the chromosomes, but in anatomy.

Sat Mar 04, 08:03:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Jim Pemberton said...

Sarva wrote: "If human DNA was organised differently..."

It's not. And you recognize this according to another statement you made:

Sarva wrote: "God (or evolution or whatever) has made XY chrosomes determine human gender (with a few exceptions)"

You also wrote that "God could have" done something different. The thing is, He didn't. Whether other species are different or God could have done something different does not alter the fact that XY chromosomes determine human gender. Even your reptile example is genetically based. The information in the genes causes the reptile to be a different gender because of the amount of energy absorbed during incubation.

(Bunny trail alert - I suspect this is related to the reptillians' cold-blooded design that lacks the capacity to produce enough energy to maintain normal bioligical function requiring the absorbtion of energy from the environment. Meanwhile, back on topic...)

Gender assignment and procreational methodology differs for different species. Therefore, "definition of gender" differs from species to species.

Sat Mar 04, 10:24:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger sarva said...

Jim: I suppose my point is that until recent times no one has worried much about the definition of gender because they did not have the ability to alter hormone levels or physical anatomy in the way we can today. Obviously their definition of gender (insofar as they had one at all) was based on the anatomical and physical characteristics they could observe. (The traditional definiton of gender cannot be based on hormones or DNA, since traditionally we didn't know those things existed.)

The question is, if we need to define gender, how do we do so? You have chosen the chromosomes; other people have chosen other factors, or combinations of factors, that are broader than just the chromosomes. The question is -- how do we decide which proposed definition is the right one? I tried an approach common to (academic) philosophy: considering hypothetical situations (other ways the world might have been) in order to separate the necessary from the contingent. But even if you reject that line of thought, the question still remains: how do we decide which definition is the right one?

My feeling is that appeals to tradition or religious beliefs are going to have problems, simply because the traditional thinkers of Christianity and other traditional religions never addressed this issue -- it didn't exist back then. And I don't think science will help either -- science can list the factors involved, and the different combinations that have been observed, but it can't tell us which ones count.

Then again, the definition I think sometimes is blown up into a bigger issue than it really is: whether someone's attempt to change their gender is successful is independent from moral issues. (E.g., someone might believe that yes they have changed their gender, but that they were wrong to have done so.) I might add that, I don't know what laws you have in the US, but where I live (NSW, Australia), gender changes are recognised by the law; so whether or not they "really" have changed their gender, they are now legally of a different gender.

Also, I suppose as a matter of politeness, shouldn't we call people by the pronouns they prefer? That doesn't mean you necessarily agree with what they have done or with who they claim to be; it just expresses a desire to maintain an environment of peacefulness and civility in social and collegial interactions. In modern society we need to be able to get along civilly with all manner of different people -- but that doesn't mean we have to agree with their lifechoices.

Wed Mar 08, 02:41:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger sarva said...

On another note -- Hitler did not follow Nietzsche, but a corrupted distortion of Nietzsche's thought put out by Nietzsche's antisemitic sister Elisabeth (who gained control of his writings when he went insane.) Among other things, Nietzsche was opposed to antisemitism and German nationalism -- on the contrary, Nietzsche believed that the Jews were a superior race to the Germans; Nietzsche was also a strong proponent of miscegnation (believing that mixed-race offspring would be superior to their parents) -- again a viewpoint diametrically opposed to Hitler's vision of racial purity. And Hitler entirely failed to comprehend the depth of Nietzsche's thought -- which in its latter period had evolved out of atheistic nihilism into what was in many ways a rehash of Protestant Christianity (esp. Lutheran Pietism), although he continued to reject the Christian religion. That's not to say Nietzsche & Hitler have nothing in common -- they share a devotion to the notion of the hero, a rejection of traditional values, a belief that the end justifies the means, a belief that the weak should serve the strong, a celebration of militarism, strong misogyny, etc. But having a few things in common doesn't erase their immense differences.

And frankly I don't think most modern liberals have been much influenced by Nietzsche -- indeed, Nietzsche believed some people were more valuable than others (the Great Men and the herd) -- an idea very few modern liberals would subscribe to.

Wed Mar 08, 02:42:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Jim Pemberton said...

Sarva wrote: "...how do we decide which definition [of gender] is the right one?"

Sarva, your question reminds me of a college literature professor I once had who asked, "Whose truth is right?" A later analysis, after a synthesis of logic and philosophy courses, made me understand that the proposition, framed as a question, begs the question that substance is contingent on existence. The problem with this hidden presupposition is that it is borne out of the desire of people towards self-justification, not because it has any discernable basis in fact. The fact remains that human gender is determined genetically. Even before people knew about genetics, it was easy enough to look between one's legs and see the results of genetic development. It is true also that people have practiced castration and genital mutilation throughout recorded history. It has nearly always been understood in the various cultures that have practiced it that any such procedure never reassigned one's gender per se, although one's behavior and abilities could be changed if the procedure was done early enough in an individual's formative years. But the term "definition" could be misleading. When I use it, I refer specifically to factual cognitive relationships. In the case of gender, this is the relationship between observable anatomical construction and the natural causes of that anatomical construction. When you refer to the definition of gender you seem to connote a sense of identity.

This leads to a second observation I have. For one to seek gender "reassignment" in today's world is to acknowledge that one sees gender as central to one's identity. I am a Christian; therefore my identity is in Christ. I see my gender as a part of a role that was given to me to play in this life, but it is not central to my identity. In the next life, I believe the significance of gender will be muted if not nullified. I don't expect others to hold to this view. I don't expect people whose identity is not in Christ to conform to my understanding and I don't believe anyone should be forced. That doesn't mean that I can't try to persuade people. By the same token, I would expect that someone who undertakes to change the physical appearance and function of their gender should not try to force me to accept it. What the fire chief is doing is offensive to some and he should understand this. If it is offensive to him to be called "him" then he should understand that his appearance is offensive to some others who know what he has done to himself. In the interest of living peaceably with each other, catering to each other's bents, while noble at times, is not the solution. Peace happens when we have a thick enough skin to understand that we're not going to agree on everything and to pick our battles wisely. This means that our identity should not be contingent on what others think and do, but we expect to be able to have the capacity to buffer ourselves against it.

As for Hitler, whether it was Nietzsche or his sister, the fact remains that the resulting ideology that Hitler used is quite similar to modern liberalism. The contention that liberals are not much influenced by the ideology is difficult to measure. I know that there are some direct connections. In the US, Planned Parenthood, which is active today in pro-abortion legislation, was founded by Margaret Sanger, a contemporary of and sympathizer with Hitler. Her express purpose for pushing abortion was to reduce the populations of Blacks, Hispanics, Jews and Southern Europeans. Whether the full import of her ideology was passed on to her administrative descendants is unclear. I speculate that most liberals are liberal not because they want to destroy anyone, but because they want to do things which are wrong and they don't want other people saying that they’re wrong. Incidentally, I suspect that this is the case for many libertarians as well.

Wed Mar 08, 01:06:00 PM GMT-5  

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