All posts by Alvin Plummer

About Alvin Plummer

I'm working to build a better world, a world that blesses Christ and is blessed by Him. I hope that you're doing the same!

Legal Animism

From EvolutionNews For Rivers, a “Right to Flow?”

I have an extended cover story in the current issue of the Acton Institute’s journal, Religion and Liberty, about the existential threat to rationality and human exceptionalism posed by the “nature rights” movement. I hope you will take the time to read it.

Most media with which I interact on this issue assume that advocating personhood for nature must be a fringe meme. It certainly should be, but increasingly it isn’t. Four rivers and two glaciers have been granted “rights.” More than 30 U.S. municipalities have adopted such statutes, and it is law in Ecuador and Bolivia.

Stamp of Approval by Yale

Here’s more evidence that “nature rights” are increasingly accepted by the intellectual mainstream. An environmental journal, Yale Environment 360 — published by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies — has just published an accepting story reporting about how far that movement has already come.

Moreover, it seems to advocate this approach, or at the very least, certainly accepts it — no critical voices are presented throughout the extended article — and concludes on a complimentary note. From, “Should Rivers Have Rights? A Growing Movement Says It’s About Time”:

Despite the promise held by establishing legal rights for rivers, difficult questions remain. What does it mean for a river to have the rights of a person?

Does a river have the right to flow freely, and does this mean its waters can’t be dammed or diverted? Is compensation to affected communities permissible in lieu of court orders requiring removal of large obstructions like dams?

What can we do to move beyond merely acknowledging humanity’s connection to rivers to actually saving them? And, finally, and perhaps most important, how should a legal regime determine who will advocate on behalf of a river, which lacks a voice of its own? In the future, these are questions policymakers will have to address.

A “Right to Flow”?

Considering that “the right to flow” is the first of many purported “rights” of rivers, these questions are not only very germane, but clearly materially threaten human thriving.

I agree that policymakers should address this issue — throttling it while it remains embryonic. One easy way would be to enact statutes and promulgate regulations unequivocally stating that non-human animals and all aspects of “nature” have no legal standing in any court and cannot be the subject of enforceable rights.

But to do that, people will have to start taking the threat of “nature rights” seriously, and alas, that doesn’t seem to be happening. Such “It can’t happen here” complacency could have far-reaching adverse consequences in the years to come.

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“Since Evil Exists, There is no God”

From Uncommon Descent’s The Argument From Evil Explained

Many times we hear about the “argument from evil” as a knock-down argument for the non-existence of God. For those of you who are not familiar with the argument, I will explain it. It goes like this:

All good arguments depend on the precise, clear and unambiguous use of language. The argument from evil is no exception. It obviously demands an exacting definition of the word “evil.” Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous atheist, says the universe has “no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” If he is right and there is no evil, that might seem like a problem for an argument from, well, evil. But it is not. Dawkins means there is no objective transcendent morality. Stuff just happens for no reason and it is neither good nor evil in the sense of “conforming to an objective moral code” since there is no objective moral code. But that does not mean we cannot nevertheless employ the word “evil” in a way that is useful for our argument. We just have to define the word to mean “that which I do not subjectively prefer” or more loosely “icky stuff I don’t like.”

Now that we have the definitional issue out of the way, we can go on to the argument. It is a simple augment really. It amounts to the following syllogism that any child can understand:

Major Premise: If God exists, he would prevent evil (remember our definition “icky stuff I don’t like) from happening.

Minor Premise: Icky stuff I don’t like happens all the time.

Conclusion: Therefore, God does not exist.

QED

God Gets Back His Rainbow

It is pleasing to see God’s enemies gut themselves.

It’s about time that God got His rainbow back.

It is unfortunate that God’s supposed friends are far too cowed and craven and cowardly to do the job, so He must use other tools instead. As usual.

But no matter, so long as His will be done.


From Bojidar Marinov’s
The Church’s Forgotten History of Sodomite Marriage

What about sodomy?

By the end of the 15thcentury, sodomy had almost disappeared from public life. As opposed to the abundant evidence of widespread sodomy in the previous century, the second half of the 15thcentury and the 16thcentury give very little evidence of it. Erasmus, who, in his satire,In Praise of Folly, wrote against the clergy of his time, only mentions it in passim. (Compare this to the literature of the previous ages.) Luther, when asked about his view on sodomy, declared that he would prefer to leave the subject untouched, his fellow Germans were so blissfully unlearned about this horrible vice that he didn’t want to give them a chance to get educated in perversion, even if through a sermon. Calvin, in the gigantic volumes of his sermons and commentaries, never tackles directly the issue of sodomy: apparently, neither France nor Switzerland in his time had any widespread sodomy. John Knox also didn’t elaborate on that sin in his letters or sermons; he must have not considered it an issue in Scotland or England. Compared to Europe of just a generation or two before, in the 1300s and the early 1400s, sodomy seemed to have disappeared in Europe. Only a few cases are known of that time, and certainly none of them brazenly public display of perversion by the elites.

What happened? To what can we ascribe such abrupt change? Certainly not to any church revival. There wasn’t any, in that period. There was no major drive towards reformation by any established church figure. The change in the society happened independently of the church; the seeds grew without any institutional help. How did that transformation happen? And what made sodomy disappear so abruptly within just a generation?

The answer can be found when we consider the nature of the sodomite culture, and the nature of the godly, family-based culture.

A sodomite culture is, by default and by its very definition, devoid of the ability to produce fruit. As long as that culture hasn’t developed to its practical maturity, it still has mixed practices: many of the early sodomites in Rome, and later in medieval Europe, had families and wives and children, while practicing their sodomy. The perversion, therefore, continued by example and imitation in the families and in the culture. But such mixture is not a matured sodomite culture. When a sodomite culture develops to its maturity, it completely rejects the concept of procreation and view of the future. (That’s why modern sodomites are the main supporters of the abortion industry.) To put it simply, a sodomite culture that has come to fruition has come to fruitlessness. It can’t develop anymore. It can’t procreate. It can’t produce offspring for the future. It can’t even think of the future. All it can do is destroy itself. It may bring some destruction on the culture around itself, but even there, a sodomite culture get so powerless the closer it gets to its fruition that even its attempts at destruction are powerless.

And eventually, it disintegrates of itself. Even where there is no organized resistance against it.

And it gets replaced with a culture of future-oriented families whose purpose is conquering the world. Even if that culture starts very small and very weak, and even if it looks like it won’t have any chance to survive against the odds.

And you all make the conclusions for yourself, in our culture today.

Supposed Shepherds, Real Wolves

From Review: Heretic Takes Aim at Science’s Third Rail

Over a long career, which included serving as dean (now emeritus) of Chemistry and Material Sciences at Helsinki University of Technology and as research director for Cultor, a global biotech company, Leisola faced off against nonsense from both science and religion. For an example of scientific nonsense, there was this claim from a Finnish university professor: “There is no qualitative difference between life and non-life.”

Tell that to your doorstop.

Leisola faced muddle-headedness on the religious front, too. As a Christian, he was troubled by the fact that the Finnish Lutheran Church sensed no problem with the materialism inherent in Darwinism (i.e., the belief that nature is all there is).

If all the people who despise Go actually left the church — or even the clergy! — we Christians would have much better leadership, and gain far more victories.

Which is why the God-haters in clerical robes are going nowhere.

Unless and until we decide to kick them out on their hineys.

Let them go beg for a university position in the nearest secularist hive.

“Oh, I’m so persecuted by unreasoning, bigoted Christians, and kicked out of church because I insist on placing the Word of Men above the Word of God!
The nerve!

Unintelligent Design: Mouths and Speech

From Oral Cavity’s Supposedly “Lousy” Design Is a Key to Human Speech

In a conversation with Edge on “Unintelligent Design,” anthropologist Scott Atran complains, “Humans are more liable than other animals to choke, as they attempt to simultaneously coordinate eating, breathing and speaking.” RationalWiki adds, “Drinking and laughing at the same time — makes the drink come out of the person’s nose. Or potentially choke the victim of such a lousy design.” And so on.

The design does come with an increased chance of choking, but it’s also something that allows us to speak as we do. An interesting new article at The Scientist goes into some detail. From “Why Human Speech Is Special,” by Philip Lieberman:

In On the Origin of Species, Darwin noted “the strange fact that every particle of food and drink which we swallow has to pass over the orifice of the trachea, with some risk of falling into the lungs.” Because of this odd anatomy, which differs from that of all other mammals, choking on food remains the fourth leading cause of accidental death in the United States. This species-specific problem is a consequence of the mutations that crafted the human face, pharynx, and tongue so as to make it easier to speak and to correctly interpret the acoustic speech signals that we hear.

At birth, the human tongue is flat in the mouth, as is the case for other mammals. The larynx, which rests atop the trachea, is anchored to the root of the tongue. As infants suckle, they raise the larynx to form a sealed passage from the nose to the lungs, allowing them to breathe while liquid flows around the larynx. Most mammalian species retain this morphology throughout life, which explains why cats or dogs can lap up water while breathing. In humans, however, a developmental process that spans the first 8 to 10 years of life forms the adult version of the SVT [supra-laryngeal vocal tract]. First, the skull is reshaped, shortening the relative length of the oral cavity. The tongue begins to descend down into the pharynx, while the neck increases in length and becomes rounded in the back. Following these changes, half the tongue is positioned horizontally in the oral cavity (and thus called the SVTh), while the other half (SVTv) is positioned vertically in the pharynx. The two halves meet at an approximate right angle at the back of the throat. The tongue’s extrinsic muscles, anchored in various bones of the head, can move the tongue to create an abrupt 10-fold change in the SVT’s cross-sectional area….

As it turns out, the configuration of the adult human tongue’s oral and pharyngeal proportions and shape allow mature human vocal tracts to produce the vowels [i], [u], and [a] (as in the word ma). These quantal vowels produce frequency peaks analogous to saturated colors, are more distinct than other vowels, and are resistant to small errors in tongue placement. Thus, while not required for language, these vowel sounds buffer speech against misinterpretation. This may explain why all human languages use these vowels. [Emphasis added.]

So Darwin and his latter-day followers may complain about the design of the oral cavity but they’d have a harder time doing so (and being understood) if it weren’t for this instance of “poor design.” Note that “all human languages use these vowels,” an indication that this is no negligible feature for clear communication. And speech, of course, is arguably the keystone of humanity’s exceptional status in the world of life.

[…snip…]

…the design of the human oral cavity looks more like a trade-off than a botch. As Evolution News has put it, “Trade-offs are compromises made to optimize the highest design goal.” They are not errors but necessary features of design in a material world.

I bet evolutionists wish that Christians had ‘practical, safe, rationally designed’ mouths: mouths that would not allow us to speak.

They wish the same of God, too.

I’ll take the mouth that God gave me, thank you very much. I’ll leave the evolutionists with the optimally-designed mouths  they so passionately long for.

New Bureaucratic Man

From Mises.com

Unlucky Ducks

I once worked as a software contractor for a state agency (forgive me). The building where I worked was not your typical government building. It had a modern feel, with a decorative moat detailing the front entrance. The front door — guarded, of course — was accessible via a walkway bridge of sorts.

It’s not what you may be thinking; it was all very subtle and nice. However, the drop from the bridge to the mulch-covered, bush-laden moat was a good three feet.

One year, at the beginning of spring, a duck built a nest in the moat, under one of the many bushes. As her ducklings hatched and grew, it came time for them to search for water. However, despite their repeated attempts, the ducklings could not jump from the moat to the walkway bridge.

One of the employees in the building asked the building manager if he (the employee) could place a wooden ramp to allow the ducklings to waddle out of the moat. Being a good state employee himself, the building manager called the state department of natural resources for guidance. The answer: since ducks are migratory birds, no one could do anything.

The next morning, someone plastered official signs around the entrance, stating that any attempt to help the ducks was a violation of law. No ramp, no water, no food. And violators — you know this already — would be prosecuted to the fullest extent.

Soon we had a real scene. The mother duck would leave the moat and encourage her ducklings to follow. They couldn’t, of course. She would march back and forth on the walkway bridge and quack in desperation. All the while, the guard at the entrance stood watch, stopping any attempt to help.

Repeated calls to the bureaucrats at the department of natural resources were answered by a repetition of laws and fines. And not one of the department employees was going to go against the rules, or even ask for an exemption, for any reason.

The ducklings died days later.

There you have it: upon joining the state, the department of resource folks — folks who likely dreamed of careers helping wildlife — became staunch bureaucrats enforcing rules over reason.

Don’t trust the bureaucracy, and the Government isn’t hear to help you.

China and Russia: A Preference to Live

China may reward families with a second child or more next year to arrest its dropping fertility rate, and the family planning policy will undergo fundamental changes, Chinese demographers said.

Their remarks came after reports that China’s National Health Commission (NHC) is studying the possibility of rewarding families with more children.

The NHC has put together a group of experts to calculate the effect of incentives to improving fertility, with the study likely to be completed by the end of the year, news site thepaper.cn reported Wednesday.
They call it a ‘pro-natal’ policy, but I won’t take that seriously until abortion is banned, and divorces without cause are made significantly difficult.
If the Russians and the Chinese decide to formally ban abortions — Russia within the next ten years, and China following soon thereafter — then God is going to shift His blessings, from those who hate the innocent to those who (at least) forbid the ripping apart/acid burning/flat-out wilful murder of the innocent before they are even born.
In the meantime, the West will continue along its road of State-enforced sexual confusion, complete with punishment for those who insist on speaking the truth, who refuse to kneel to Baal.
Those who hate God hate their own lives;
those who love God love to live;
those who increase their functional obedience to God strengthen their ties to life… and to victory over their enemies.
Just ask all those Muslims, moving in to Europe. They will all go to hell, so long as they despise Christ. But they love their children, and so are well on their way to disinheriting the Western Europeans from their own soil.
And five hundred years from now, their children – who by then have long dominated Europe – can decide to bend the knee to Christ.
As for the long-crumbled medical waste bins, where White Europe chose to dump their future?
Who cares?
After all, Christ is the Saviour of the living, not the dead!
(Something that Black Americans, with their declining birthrate — now unable to reproduce themselves — would do well to remember. Time to dump the death-worshiping Democrats, I say, and get your head screwed on straight!)

Yes, I know that if Russia and China decides to end abortion in their land, it will be due to Reasons of State — the need for loyal taxpayers, workers, and soldiers — and not due to the fear of the Lord, at least not indirectly.
No matter: obedience will be rewarded, even among unbelievers.