Category Archives: Uncategorized

How Many Fingers Does a Pregnant Woman Have?

From Evolution News and Science Today: Question for Abortion Advocates: How Many Fingers Does a Pregnant Woman Have? by Michael Egnor

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I have emphasized in writing here that the biological nature of a child in the womb is not controversial. Life begins at conception, and from that moment an individual human being exists in the womb. Whether this tiny innocent human being is a person with a right to life is, sadly, a genuine matter of debate in our rotting culture. But the nature of the intrauterine life — the new human being — is established science. There is no real debate — there are merely people who tell the truth about it, and people who don’t . 

The fact that a zygote is a human being is easy to see. For example, if human life begins at some time after conception — at viability, for instance — then a natural question arises: from a scientific viewpoint, what is the tissue in the mother’s womb before it becomes a human being? It isn’t a non-human species, because if it were, then speciation by evolution would occur with each pregnancy, which is nonsense. It isn’t an unclassified lump of biomolecules, because if it is, then each pregnancy becomes a new origin of life event. And it isn’t a part of the mother’s body, because if it is, then all pregnant women are genetic mosaics and half of all pregnant women are hermaphrodites! Furthermore, if maternal “tissue” turns into a new human being, then humans reproduce like worms do — by budding.

How Many Eyes, Arms, Etc.

It gets worse for the pro-abortion argument. If a fetus is just a part of his/her mother’s body, then it is incorrect to say that pregnant women have two eyes, two arms, two legs, ten fingers. If a fetus is part of the mother’s body, then a pregnant woman has four eyes, four arms, four legs, and twenty fingers! And at the moment when the fetus becomes a separate human being, she loses two of her eyes and half of her appendages!

The assertion by pro-abortion advocates that life does not begin at conception is nonsense on it’s face. There are undoubtedly many laypeople who honestly don’t understand the biological issues, but the same can’t be said of biologists and other knowledgeable scientists who persist in spreading misinformation that is lethal to millions of innocent human beings. 

Denial of the humanity of children in the womb from the moment of conception is the most lethal form of science denial in our culture today. The humanity of all children in the womb from the moment of conception is an established scientific fact. The real abortion debate is this: are all human beings, including the most innocent and most vulnerable children, persons with rights, including the right to life? 

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On Portable Pocket Microscopes

On Facebook, this ad caught my eye:

Best educational toy grabs Child’s interest away from screens

We are proud to announce that over 150 satisfied customers have told us that our Pocket Microscope has cut their children’s television viewing time in half!

Pasiox: Kid’s Portable MicrOscope

You might want to do some comparison shopping, before making a purchase:

For 2019
For 2021

If it gets God’s children better connected to the world around them, then that’s one more point of leverage to win the future.

The Christian Passover V

Quotes from book The Christian Passover: Agape Feast or Ritual Abuse?, by Stephen Perks. Get the free PDF here.

This material from the Kuyper Foundation: Post Office Box 2, Taunton, Somerset, England, TA1 4ZD, www.kuyper.org

To continue from the earlier posts (Part I) (Part II) (Part III) (Part IV):

(Any bold in the quote is mine.)

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EPILOGUE

Since the original version of this essay was first published in April 2000 I have become convinced that the subject with which it deals is at the heart of an issue of much greater importance, namely the need for further reformation of the Church. The fossilisation of the Church’s social life into a regime of set rituals controlled and performed by a professional priesthood was a major declension of the Church from the pattern set by the doctrine and example of the Lord Jesus Christ himself in his earthly ministry and the practice of the apostolic Church. This declension has had a serious impact on the mission of the Church. Nor is it a problem that is confined to the Episcopal Churches. Protestant Churches have also suffered from the corrupting effects of the same kind of ideology. The differences between Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches with regard to this particular issue have often boiled down to little more than terminology and fancy dress.

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The destruction and fossilization of Christian social life goes a good ways further to pump up secularization than anything the State does.

Conversely, the growth and re-invigoration of Christian society – including the end of controlling specialists ruling over the Lord’s Supper and Baptism – will do more for the health of Christian society, assemblies, and congregations than any number of votes for Republicans or Conservatives.

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As a social order the Church did not develop under this re- gime in a natural, i.e. biblically informed, way. After the apostolic age those aspects of the life of the Church as a social order that survived and flourished eventually metamorphosed into monastic orders under the influence of spiritual ideals that were alien to the Christian faith as understood in terms of a biblical world-view. According to R. L. Cole:

“The most potent of the forces antagonistic to the Agape arose, however, within the Church itself [sic]. The fourth and fifth centuries were the age of the monastic ideal in the Church. It began in the East, but speedily, under Jerome’s example principally, found firm footing in Western Christendom. There is no doubt that the monastic spirit was unfavourable to the Agape. The notion propagated was that if there were to be common meals they should be held inside the bounds of the inner brotherhood of monks; if charity was to be controlled and administered, who could do so like those who had renounced the world and its gains? . . . It is much more than a coincidence that the rise of Monasticism and the fall of the Agape synchronize. There is a causal link between the two facts.

We have also to remember that the same period as saw the rise of Monasticism saw also the birth of a deep interest in the ritual of the Church. The earliest of the great cathedrals were being built, service-books were being produced, and a new sense of fitness and arrangement in public worship was developing. It was only to be expected that people would soon get to recognize the incongruity between the Agape and ceremonial worship. The archaic simplicity of the Love-feast was irreconcilable with the solemn splendour and the stately offices of a Gothic or Byzantine building.72

This had a detrimental effect on the wider Church since, as Gerhard Uhlhorn pointed out, it had been on the agape feasts especially that the family-like unity of the Church had been impressed.73

This is not to condemn the life and work of the monasteries completely. It is widely acknowledged that the monasteries preserved learning and by so doing contributed significantly to the development of Western civilisation. But they also preserved much of the life of the Church as a social order; yet they did so in a corrupt form that denied a basic God-given aspect of human nature (sexuality) and that therefore denied the divinely-ordained life of the family as the basic unit of Christian social order. The mediaeval Church rejected the family as the basic unit of the Christian social order and replaced it with the monasteries; the secular Church then became a mere cult controlled by the official priesthood, which maintained its power by means that directly conflicted with the command of the Lord Jesus Christ himself (Mt. 20:25–28). This had a significant impact on how the Church lived as the wider family of God; the result was that the Church came to function as a principality rather than as a nation (cf. 1 Pet. 2:9). Again, this is not to say that the Church did not have a decisive and ameliorative effect on the development of Western civilisation. Much good can be found in the influence of the mediaeval Church on society.74 But it does mean that this influence fell far short of what it should have been, and must be in future if the Great Commission is to be fulfilled.

Of course the Reformation brought a much needed correction to many of the abuses of the mediaeval Church. But it did not go nearly far enough, and naturally retained much from the Church’s mediaeval past. At the Reformation the Church took a great step forward, but she also stepped backwards in some respects. The Reformed Churches abandoned the monasteries, and with good reason, but they failed to realise the potential of the life of the Church as a social order, which had been preserved, albeit in an inadequate and corrupted form, in the monasteries. For example, the welfare role of the mediaeval Church, which was largely concentrated in the monasteries, was neglected by the Reformed Churches, not entirely, but sufficiently enough to create a vacuum that the modern idolatrous secular State has in our own age filled, and it was neglected largely because the importance of the life of the Church as a social order was not sufficiently understood and prioritised by the heirs of the Reformation. Nor did the Reformed Churches abandon centralised bureaucratic control of the Church by a professional clergy that remained focused, for the most part, on prioritising the Church’s ritualised cultic activities as the essence of the life of the Church.


72 Love-Feasts: A History of the Christian Agape (London: Charles H. Kelley, 1916), p. 254f.

73 Christian Charity in the Ancient Church (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1883), p. 252.

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If God’s people don’t do the job God commanded, then expect the God-haters — forever alert to any and every opportunity to extend the impersonal, uncaring power of uniformed men with badges and guns — to step in.

We need a different society to rise up. Something not grounded on lies, envy, bureaucracy, force, and stolen wealth.

We are the only ones who will build it.

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The modern Church in Britain had two official “decades of evangelism” in the second half of the twentieth century. Yet the Church still continues to decline. And she does so because she does not understand her mission. The gospel she preaches is a truncated gospel devoid of the vi- sion necessary to breach the impasse, which can only be overcome by a recognition and acceptance of the truth that the Church is meant to be a social order, and not only a social order, but the true social order, the true society, that must grow until it displaces and then replaces the false and idolatrous social orders of men. For this to happen the Church must embrace a new reformation that will clear away the accretions of false doctrine and practice that continue to vitiate her life as a social order and impede her mission to the world. Only by doing this shall the Church be able to overcome the world and flourish, and as a consequence disciple the nations to Christ.

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In order to obey Jesus Christ and disciple the world, we must ourselves conform to the commands of Christ.

Among other things, this means the rebirth of fellowship as the heart of worship, an end to the priesthoods.

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EXCURSUS

The claim that the agape feasts of the early Church tended to degenerate into occasions of riotous excess is frequently met with in both primary and secondary sources. That there were abuses on occasion is undeniable, as even the New Testament indicates. That these abuses were one of the main reasons for the eventual obsolescence of the agape feasts is a claim that should not be taken at face value. The early Church quickly came under the influence of an extreme spirit of asceticism the origin of which is not to be found in the Bible but in the pagan religious world-view of the age. This kind of asceticism was the way of life chosen by many of the “spiritual” virtuosi who became leaders and teachers of the Church, and as it has been pointed out, ascetically constituted minds frequently took offence at the agape feasts.75


75 Gerhard Uhlhorn, op. cit., p. 252f.

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And now, we get to the super-spiritual Christian types who hates feasts and disdains fellowship. See if you can detect any difference between this personality type and the Pharisees.

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Clement of Alexandra is a good example of this ascetic ideal. He seems to have had a particular aversion to enjoying his food and says of those who do that “They have not yet learned that God has provided for His creatures (man I mean) food and drink, for sustenance, not for pleasure.”76 He complains that “There is no limit to epicurism among men. For it has driven them to sweetmeats, and honey-cakes, and sugar-plums; inventing a multitude of desserts, hunting after all manner of dishes. A man like this seems to me to be all jaw, and nothing else.” Besides being a vegetarian and generally a minimalist in all matters culinary he seems to have had a particular obsession with the evils of sauces (or soups)…

[…]

Clement nicely sums up his abhorrence of the pleasures of food in the following way: “We must therefore reject different varieties [of food—SCP], which engender various mischiefs, such as a depraved habit of body and disorders of the stomach, the taste being vitiated by an unhappy art—that of cookery, and the useless art of making pastry.”77 Not surprisingly wine comes under the same condemnation: “I therefore admire those who have adopted an austere life, and who are fond of water, the medicine of temperance, and flee as far as possible from wine, shunning it as they would the danger of fire.”78

Clement viewed all human desires in the same negative way. “Our ideal” he says “is not to experience desire at all . . . We should do nothing from desire . . . A man who marries for the sake of begetting children must practice continence so that it is not desire which he feels for his wife.”79 Origen, Clement’s student and successor at the Catechetical School in Alexandria, took this kind of reasoning to its logical conclusion and castrated himself.80 And yet this kind of attitude to the human appetites and desires cannot be found in Scripture. “Delight thyself also in the Lord” says the Psalmist “and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Ps. 37:4). Scripture does not teach that human desire per ser is sinful or to be avoided. It is only the unlawful fulfilment or unlawful objects of desire that are condemned in Scripture. The Bible is certainly not a manual of asceticism; the enjoyment of lawful sexual relationships and feasting are both encouraged in Scripture. “Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love” (Pr. 5:18–19). In the Old Testament the Hebrews are commanded to feast three times each year in Jerusalem, using a portion of their tithe for this purpose (Dt. 14:23).

[…]

Clement’s condemnation of the enjoyment of food and of feasting is in stark contrast to the teaching of both the Old and New Testaments. The apostle Paul condemned this attitude of asceticism in no uncertain terms as a departure from the faith:

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. (1 Tim. 4:1–5 cf. Rom. 14:1–4)”


76 Pædagogus (The Instructor), Bk II, Chpt. I (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II, p. 238a), my emphasis.
77 Ibid., passim (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II, pp. 237–242), my emphasis.
78 Ibid., Chpt. II (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II, p. 243a).
79 Cited in Gail Hawkes, Sex and Pleasure in Western Culture (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2004), p. 50. This quotation is taken from Book III of The Stromata (III. vii.57–58), which the editors of The Ante-Nicene Fathers published only in Latin due to the sexual nature of the content.
80 Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Bk VI, Chpt. viii, §1–4 (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. I, p. 254af.).

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There are those who obey God.

And, there are those who refuse to do so, in the name of a superior righteousness and holiness.

Superior to God’s righteousness and holiness in Scripture, the pious ones imply.

I weary of the traditions of men, standing above the commandments of God.

Time to topple some idols.

And idolatrous men, in Christian robes, giving heed to seducing spirits and the doctrines of devils.

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Clement’s attitude towards the human desires and appetites was not a genuine expression of the Christian faith, but rather a corruption of the true faith—i.e. a Christianised version of the Alexandrian world-view that was endemic in the Graeco-Roman world. It is interesting that Clement, while on the one hand rejecting false Gnosticism, on the other hand identifies the Christian as the true Gnostic.81 Speaking of the Gnostics Archibald Robertson writes that “in their attempts at a comprehensive system of religious thought, grotesque and repellent as these attempts often were, they were in a sense the precursors of the great Alexandrian school; not only does Clement habitually use the term ‘Gnostic’ for the fully instructed Christian, but the theology which appears in its developed form in Origen is an endeavour to satisfy, on the basis of the Rule of Faith, the real needs which Gnosticism professed to meet, and to apply in a rational and purified form whatever genuinely philosophical ideas Gnosticism embodied.” In a footnote Robertson explains that “The fundamental difference was that between the esoteric Church of the Gnostics, and the esoteric perception of the meaning of the common faith, at which Clement and Origen aimed.”82 The dualistic world-view upon which Gnosticism was based pervades Clement’s religious outlook.

The ascetic dualism of men like Clement of Alexandria, of which there were many in the early Church, is thoroughly pagan and cannot be justified from Scripture, which teaches man to give thanks to God for the good things of this earth and to enjoy them as an act of worship. The Lord’s Supper is meant to be a feast celebrating our deliverance from sin by the Lord Jesus Christ, not an exercise in asceticism.


81 See The Stromata, or Miscellanies.

82 Regnum Dei: Eight Lectures on the Kingdom of God in the History of Christian Thought (London: Methuen and Co., 1901), p. 152.

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When we get serious about obeying Christ – and not the traditions of men – then the road to divinely ordained victory beckons.

Humans Are A Miracle

A marred miracle – we made a bad decision in a garden, long ago – but still, fundamentally a miracle.

And there is Someone out there, Jesus Christ, working to remove the scars and the flaws of our bad choices.

Even that very first sin, long ago.

For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.

Hebrews 2:10, ESV

Hating Potential, Hating the Future

(You may also be interested in If a Fetus Isn’t a Human Being, What Is It? by Michael Egnor. But I will be focusing on a different article.)

The copy/paste below is from Must We Be Able to Reason to Be Thought of as Human Persons? by Michael Egnor

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Perhaps the most common justification that abortion proponents give for supporting abortion is that the human embryo or fetus isn’t capable of rational thought — and rational thought is the defining characteristic of humanity.

They’re wrong in a fundamental way. How they’re wrong is best understood if we look at the metaphysics of human development. Metaphysics is “The branch of philosophy that examines the nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, substance and attribute, fact and value.” (American Heritage Dictionary)

The philosopher Aristotle (384–322 BC), who provided an important foundation for science, pointed out that humans are rational animals. That is, we have at least the possibility of rational thought, although at some stages of life (e.g., in the womb) we don’t think rationally. Even as adults, we don’t think rationally all of the time.

Biologist and abortion supporter Jerry Coyne denies that zygotes (the first stage of human development) have rational souls, or souls of any sort, when he writes,

And there’s no evidence [a zygote] has a soul or anything differentiating it from the embryos of any number of vertebrate species

Zygotes do have souls, in a quite obvious and non-mystical way. To have a soul (in Thomistic metaphysics, based in part on Aristotle) is merely to have the set of basic abilities and possibilities characteristic of life — the ability to metabolize, excrete, grow, the possibility to think and reason, etc. A soul is just a set of abilities and possibilities.

All living things have souls, because “soul” is defined as the characteristics that make them alive. The specific array of abilities and possibilities a living thing has determines what species of living thing it is. A tree has different abilities and possibilities than a man has. So Coyne is wrong to say “there’s no evidence [a zygote] has a soul”.

If It’s Alive, It Has a Soul

Coyne:

Where, I ask, is the evidence (beyond that asserted by religious authorities) that abortion is identical to murder, even in its very early stages? There is clearly a developmental continuum in a fetus, with an abrupt break when the baby is born, and so drawing a line for when a fetus becomes equivalent to a person with rights, including freedom from “murder”, is purely arbitrary. Many Catholics, though, draw the line at a rationally insupportable stage: fertilization. A “person” is not created at fertilization: we have a zygote that now will go on to continue development. That zygote is an undifferentiated ball of cells without mentation or the ability to feel pain.

Coyne asserts that a zygote is not a person because it cannot think or feel pain. Of course, “person” is a moral and legal term — if it can be killed at will, without legal or moral consequence, then of course it’s not a person.

But does the lack of capacities — e.g., to think or feel pain — mean that a zygote is not a human being in the metaphysical (and scientific) sense? Living things with souls (like zygotes) are composites of two principles — potency and act. Potency is the possibilities that a living thing can have. An acorn has the potency to become an oak tree, if all goes well. Act is what the living thing actually is. An acorn is in potency to become an oak tree, and in act for being a seed.

A human zygote is in potency for the ability to think. A neonate can think, although in a rudimentary way. An adult can think in a more actual way, and an Einstein can think in a profound way.

“Might Be and Is”

At each stage of human life, the human being is a composite of potency and act. Each human being has things she might be and things she now is. This combination of “might be and is” — of potency and act — is what it is to be human. In that sense, the zygote is no different from the genius — they are both composites of human possibilities and human actualities. Every human being is a composite, you might say, of aspiration and achievement.

This composite of possibilities and realities is the essence of what it is to be human. A zygote is mostly potency, and little act. An embryo has more act and fewer potencies (because some have already been actualized). A child has more potency and less actuality than an adult, in the sense that the child can potentially do more things in the future and the adult can do more things now.

As we get older, actualities are realized and potentialities fall away. Human development is the dynamic realization of possibilities.

So of course Coyne is correct to say that a zygote can’t think or feel pain, but that does not mean that the zygote isn’t fully human. To be fully human at day one of gestation is precisely to have the potentiality to think and feel pain, but not the actuality (yet).

Read the rest at Mind Matters News, published by Discovery Institute’s Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence.

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These Darwinians are very good at dehumanizing people they don’t like.

Somehow, the people they so eagerly dehumanize are always the weak and the small, those who cannot defend themselves, and don’t fit in well at the very best parties.

And if they can, they’ll put you in the box of the subhuman too, Black Man:

In his purported manifesto, the shooter asserts that blacks “are a different subspecies of human.” Why? Because “Whites and Blacks are separated by tens of thousands of years of evolution, and our genetic material is obviously very different.” (emphasis mine, p. 14) Elsewhere he suggests that Europeans and Asians are more recently evolved than blacks (p. 17), which sounds eerily reminiscent of the view of countless racists of the past (including Charles Darwin himself) that blacks are the lowest humans on the evolutionary ladder.

You won’t find the shooter drawing on Tucker Carlson or Donald Trump in his manifesto. You will find lots of citations to articles in mainstream peer-reviewed science journals, including Nature Genetics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Psychiatry, Journal of Research in Personality, Personality and Individual Differences, and Current Directions in Psychological Science. You will also find citations to science articles published in media outlets like the New York Times. The shooter cites those sources to try to justify genetic reductionism and his abhorrent belief in black genetic inferiority.

How Science Fueled the White Supremacist Mass Murderer in Buffalo, NY by John G. West

Christians are NOT to go down the road they have chosen.

We must protect the future.

We must uphold the will of God, and not the will of sophisticated, murderous men.

The Law of God protects all mankind: men and women, children and the elderly, the weak and the strong, the rich and the poor, the believer and the unbeliever, the unborn and the genetically flawed (and the genetically flawless, too!)

THAT is God’s Will. And THAT is what we must uphold.

Gardening and Raised Beds

I am not a gardener, not a survivalist, and not even into self-sufficiency.

But… there are going to be hard times.

In the West, I’m sure that we will still eat as usual, if at a higher dollar cost than before. But if you like gardening and don’t mind preserving what you grow, you might want to start looking around YouTube gardening channels (or buy some gardening books, if you are old fashioned and not too trusting regarding the Internet or electricity).

It’s a lot of work. But perhaps a few of my readers are up to it. Even a hobby garden, just to root around in the soil and living things, has its advantages. Especially if children are involved!

“Touch grass.”

Slippery Slopes, and A Failure to Learn

From Uncommon Descent, UK Spectator: “Why is Canada euthanising the poor?” (Slippery slopes dept.)

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April 30:

Since last year, Canadian law, in all its majesty, has allowed both the rich as well as the poor to kill themselves if they are too poor to continue living with dignity. In fact, the ever-generous Canadian state will even pay for their deaths. What it will not do is spend money to allow them to live instead of killing themselves.

As with most slippery slopes, it all began with a strongly worded denial that it exists. In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada reversed 22 years of its own jurisprudence by striking down the country’s ban on assisted suicide as unconstitutional, blithely dismissing fears that the ruling would ‘initiate a descent down a slippery slope into homicide’ against the vulnerable as founded on ‘anecdotal examples’. The next year, Parliament duly enacted legislation allowing euthanasia, but only for those who suffer from a terminal illness whose natural death was ‘reasonably foreseeable’. It only took five years for the proverbial slope to come into view . . . .

A man with a neurodegenerative disease testified to Parliament that nurses and a medical ethicist at a hospital tried to coerce him into killing himself by threatening to bankrupt him with extra costs or by kicking him out of the hospital, and by withholding water from him for 20 days. Virtually every disability rights group in the country opposed the new law. To no effect: for once, the government found it convenient to ignore these otherwise impeccably progressive groups.

Since then, things have only gotten worse . . . [Click and read]

This is the Schaeffer-Koop warning about the incremental undermining of the value of life, and it is a case in point on slippery slopes. Let us hope Canada wakes up and let us not go there. END

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The desire to kill tends to focus on the weakest, then works its way up.

Also, the mere fact of having a judicial bureaucracy with ceremonies and robes does not make you a lawful society.

From Uncommon Descent, Has anything been learned from nearly two decades of keening about science’s replication crisis?

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As Graham Hillard explains in fact-filled article, awareness began decades ago:

Whatever their actual explanation, the failures that had dragged the hard and social sciences under the public’s microscope [by 2014] were stark indeed. According to the Reproducibility Project, a crowdsourced enterprise led by University of Virginia psychologist Brian Nosek in 2011, an attempt to replicate 100 key studies from three years prior resulted in a success rate of only 39%. Similarly distressing was the work of three Bayer scientists, that same year, examining reproducibility in oncology, women’s health, and cardiovascular disease. As stated in analyses eventually published in Nature, the Bayer team was unable to replicate nearly two-thirds of the external studies under review.

Graham Hillard, “The science crisis” at Washington Examiner (April 28, 2022)

But has anything really changed?

To name just one of the horrifying discoveries made in recent months, a meta-study published in Science Advances found that unreplicable studies in top psychology and economics journals are cited more frequently than experiments that replicate. Furthermore, “only 12% of post-replication citations of nonreplicable findings acknowledge the replication failure.”

As has been widely remarked, the reproducibility crisis is not mere inside baseball but a matter of some urgency for a liberal order under fire from both the Left and Right. Until actual science gets its house in order, hysterical worship of “The Science” will remain exactly what it is today: an implausible posture that only emboldens those who would tear down America’s institutions.

Graham Hillard, “The science crisis” at Washington Examiner (April 28, 2022)

Science is beginning to sound like the medieval church, actually. We are now moving on from keening to caterwauling. But nobody working on the inside can actually do anything about it.

Hillard is managing editor of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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Dead priesthoods are dead.

Some know it.

Others don’t. Not yet.

From Creation-Evolution Headlines: Comfort for the Climate Panicked Take heart; the world is not coming to an end. Who says so? Climate scientists.

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All of the following links are to articles by organizations and institutions who believe in man-caused climate change. No climate skeptic sites are included. Is the world at a tipping point to catastrophe? Are the scare tactics constantly emanating from the press (e.g., Princeton 28 April, New Scientist 20 April, Nature 5 April) based on good and complete knowledge? Let the scientists speak.

Less Doomsday Talk, Please

No obituary for Earth: Scientists fight climate doom talk (Phys.org, 4 April 2022). Flavor of this article: “We are not doomed, but rapid action is absolutely essential.” Reading the links below, however, may generate doubt in the credibility of the prophets of doom.

Study: Climatic variability might not drive evolutionary change as much as previously thought (Arizona State University, 11 April 2022). Some panicked reporters assert that animals won’t be able to evolve quickly enough to handle global warming, and so many species will go extinct. This article claims that climate change doesn’t drive evolutionary change as much as evolutionists thought (cf. a paper in Nature 13 April 2022 that proposes global warming drove apes to become humans). There have been big climate swings in the past; “A UArizona-led study … reveals that times of erratic climate change are not followed by major upheavals in evolution.”

News from the climate history of the Dead Sea (German Research Centre for Geosciences, 28 April 2022). It’s worth remembering that there have been long, warm dry periods before. German scientists investigated the Dead Sea in Israel and concluded that it has receded up to 250 meters in historical times, long before fossil fuels and SUVs. […]

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Some people just want something to fear… something politically correct.

Others just want a justification to control others.

The Intellectually Lazy Collectivist

The Ring of Power Only Fits on ONE Hand.

Today, Mises.com reprinted The Fallacy of Collectivism: something worth reading, as it points out the (in this era, explicitly materialist/naturalist) desire to make a god out of men.

“But a mass of men don’t have a single voice, or a single will! What’s the use of a silent, meaningless god?”

“That’s where I come in,” smiles the People’s Leader.

Many Christians, hating the Law and hating the Scriptures, prefer to have God silent. “Preferably forever.”

But, ten seconds after they have tuned out the God of the Bible, they start looking for a Leader Among Men.

“The People’s Voice must he heard!
The People’s Voice must be obeyed!”

Power Over Truth

While there is certainly a place for deductive reasoning — from premises to conclusion — we should also keep inductive reasoning at hand, reasoning from observations to conclusion.

When you see no real challenges, it’s easy to slip to fallacy reasoning: just pointing to Authority or the Majority or the Tradition as your basis of judgement. This saves time, and improves the spread of smug superiority to all of the right sort within the Party of the Rich and Powerful: which at this moment (and for the last century or so) are the Progressive Democrats.

“The People Who Always Win. Always.”

Mainly, this is because the other side has no great problem with the victory of lies… so long as they get theirs. Every good Republican today would have been a centrist Democrat 20 years ago, and a delusional maniac 40 years ago.

Truth Over Power

Christians must be able to think and reason from the evidence. Merely shouting “The Science” or “Racist” isn’t good enough.

Merely pointing to the flaws of the enemy isn’t good enough. We must do better.

We must fight something, not with mere whining, but with something better.

Our Betters need not think: merely sticking with the herd is good enough.

We can’t. We must think. We must gather the evidence. We must lay down new roads, to go to a different destination than Our Betters have planned for us.

From the Mouth of Babes

From Mises.com, Baby Formula: Thank Protectionists and the FDA for the Shortage by Ryan McMaken

—<Quote Begins>—

For parents who rely on baby formula—whether by choice or due to medical necessity—the nationwide baby formula shortage has become increasingly difficult to ignore. According to the Wall Street Journal, Walgreens, Target, CVS, and Kroger have all begun rationing supplies of formula.

Covid lockdowns, combined with a product recall by formula manufacturer Abbott Nutrition has created a very real shortage in a product that is key for proper nutrition in many children.

With the shortage has come the usual half-baked bromides about “evil corporations” and how baby formula companies are supposedly not regulated enough. Throw in a few references to “late-stage capitalism” and you’ll get a good taste of the usual “blame capitalism” narrative that accompanies every bout of shortages or rising prices.

Formula Is Heavily Regulated and Subsidized

In reality, federal government intervention in the formula market is rampant. Thanks to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), formula companies are heavily subsidized by voucher programs which mean that the US government is “provid[ing] more than half of the formula that is used in the US.

Within this voucher programs, funds are funneled to select corporations through programs that grant a formula company “the exclusive right to have its formula provided to WIC participants in the State.” In practice, this means the largest companies with the most lobbyists are able to dominate the subsidized portion of the market. Since the subsidized portion of the market is so huge, that usually means those companies dominate the market overall. This makes it harder for newcomers to break into the market and offer any real competition. This means the marketplace becomes reliant on a small number of large firms. 

[Read More: “Why Are the Feds Subsidizing Baby Formula Companies?” by Ryan McMaken]

The anticompetitive nature of federal WIC policy is just one aspect of how little the formula market has to do with anything we might call “the free market.”

Protectionism Prevents Access to Foreign Formula

Another major and important factor is the restriction on foreign imports enforced by federal law.

The US regime overall is very protectionist when it comes to dairy products in general, and formula is certainly no exception. As one pediatric medical journal states flatly “Infant formula in the United States is highly regulated.” This can be seen clearly in protectionist trade law imposed on formula in the guise of protecting consumers.

As Derek Thompson at The Atlantic notes, Food and Drug Administration “regulation of formula is so stringent that most of the stuff that comes out of Europe is illegal to buy here due to technicalities like labeling requirements.”

These bureaucratic requirements fall under “nontariff barriers,” which in many cases present even greater barriers than tariffs.

[Read More: “Thanks to Nontariff Barriers, ‘Free Trade’ Isn’t very Free.” by Ryan McMaken]

But tariff barriers are significant as well. Thompson also notes that

U.S. policy also restricts the importation of formula that does meet FDA requirements. At high volumes, the tax on formula imports can exceed 17 percent. And under President Donald Trump, the U.S. entered into a new North American trade agreement that actively discourages formula imports from our largest trading partner, Canada.

However, those products that jump through all those hoops face further restrictions. The FDA mandates that even qualifying formula manufacturers must wait ninety days before marketing any new formula.

As a result, not surprisingly, 98 percent of all formula consumed in the United States is produced domestically. Moreover, if that supply is ever endangered—as it has been by lockdown-induced logistical problems and corporate recalls, American consumers have few other options.

Trade restrictions function to prevent reliable lines of importation of foreign formula. Thanks to that ninety-day delay on marketing, foreign suppliers can’t introduce new products to the market quickly, either.

So, if you have adopted children, a double mastectomy, or some other reason for needing formula for your baby, you can thank advocates of tariffs and other trade restrictions for shortages.

Protectionists and Their Excuses

Naturally, the baby formula protectionists have plenty of excuses for why their preferred form of central planning and big-government intervention in the marketplace is “necessary.” They’ll insist that FDA regulations are necessary to protect children—as if European baby formula is not already heavily regulated. European infant mortality also tends to be lower than US infant mortality, so the claim that protectionism is “for the children” is clearly baseless.

These facts, however, don’t prevent Trump-style protectionists from claiming government regulations are good “because China.”

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NlbnNpdGl2ZV9tZWRpYV9pbnRlcnN0aXRpYWxfMTM5NjMiOnsiYnVja2V0IjoiaW50ZXJzdGl0aWFsIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH0sInRmd190d2VldF9yZXN1bHRfbWlncmF0aW9uXzEzOTc5Ijp7ImJ1Y2tldCI6InR3ZWV0X3Jlc3VsdCIsInZlcnNpb24iOm51bGx9fQ%3D%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1524945333234581504&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fmises.org%2Fwire%2Fbaby-formula-thank-protectionists-and-fda-shortage&sessionId=5ae31274eb7ebf0868c0f21cc77b5f286a9d1194&theme=light&widgetsVersion=0577b6d654dbc%3A1652396794909&width=550px

Secondly, the protectionists are likely to claim that government control of formula—and all other dairy-based imports—are important because they “protects jobs.” What protectionists are really saying is that you and your family must just do without essential goods in order to protect a small number of corporations that dominate the formula marketplace thanks to US regulations.

Protectionism Means Punishing Entrepreneurs

Finally, there is little doubt that if the federal government actually allowed some true degree of freedom in the formula marketplace that entrepreneurs would step in to import formula to meet the need quickly.

This, of course, can’t happen because these entrepreneurs don’t want to be jailed, sued, and otherwise destroyed by federal bureaucrats. After all, protectionism must be enforced by federal police and federal courts, and that means fining and jailing any importers who run afoul of the law. Protectionism is fundamentally about using violence against Americans who try to bring goods to market in ways that the protectionists don’t like.

Once again, the anticapitalist “fair trade” advocates and advocates of WIC corporatism who caused these shortages will likely escape unscathed. Formula industry lobbyists will deploy and ensure nothing is done to endanger the protection-induced profits at the dominant firms. Welfare-state leftists will ensure that the federal government continues to subsidize these corporations as well. Rightwing protectionists will continue to insist that foreign goods must be kept out to make America great. 

Somehow, this is all capitalism’s fault. 

—<Quote ends>—

Note that plenty of right-wing humanists, loving State Power far more than the individual, the family, or the ordinary importer/businessman, exalt protectionism as the Way to Protect the People.

When it’s really a way to tax and cripple the ordinary family, in favour of politically-connected financial interests.

Christians must operate under the One Law principle, with equal justice for the native and the foreigner.

As this pleases God, this is the way to prosperity, and a good reputation around the world.

Liberty for the self-governing man is better than unBiblical levels of power in the hands of the Leader and the State, the ones who would presume to govern us all.

“You shall have no other gods before Me,”
says the Lord of Hosts.

Mafia: A Little Game Christians Should Study

From Wikipedia: Mafia (party game)

—<Quote begins>—

Mafia, also known as Werewolf, is a social deduction game, created by Dimitry Davidoff in 1986.[2] The game models a conflict between two groups: an informed minority (the mafiosi or the werewolves), and an uninformed majority (the villagers). At the start of the game, each player is secretly assigned a role affiliated with one of these teams. The game has two alternating phases: first, a night role, during which those with night killing powers may covertly kill other players, and second, a day role, in which surviving players debate the identities of players and vote to eliminate a suspect. The game continues until a faction achieves its win condition; for the village, this usually means eliminating the evil minority, while for the minority this usually means reaching numerical parity with the village and eliminating any rival evil groups.

[…]

In its simplest form, Werewolf is played by two teams: the werewolves and the villagers. Live games require a moderator who does not participate as a player, and identities are assigned by handing out cards, or by other non-verbal methods such as physically tapping players. At the start of the game, every werewolf is given the identities of their teammates, whereas the innocents only receive the number of werewolves in the game, and do not know which players are werewolves and which are villagers.

In an open setup, the numbers of each power role (e.g. militia) present in the game is known to the players, while in a closed setup, this information is not revealed, and in a semi-open setup, only limited or tentative information about the power roles is revealed. Thus, in an open or semi-open setup, if it is revealed that no militia are present in the game, it will not be possible for a werewolf to plausibly claim a militia role.

There are two phases: night and day. At night, certain players secretly perform special actions; during day, players discuss and vote to eliminate one player. These phases alternate with each other until all werewolves have been eliminated or they reach numerical parity with the innocents.

Some players may be given roles with special abilities. Common special roles include:

  • seer — a villager who may learn the team of one player every night;
  • protector — a villager who may protect a player from being killed every night, but can only do so once in each game;
  • masons — village-aligned players who can recognize each other

Andrew Plotkin recommends having exactly two mafiosi,[3] whereas the original Davidoff rules suggest a third of the players (rounding to the nearest whole number) be mafiosi. Davidoff’s original game does not include roles with special abilities.[1] In his rules for “Werewolf”, Plotkin recommends that the first phase be night and that there be an odd number of players (including the moderator). These specifications avoid a tie votes for eliminations and ensure that the game will end dramatically on an elimination rather than anticlimactically with murder as a foregone conclusion.[3]

Night

All players close their eyes. The moderator then instructs all werewolves to open their eyes and acknowledge their accomplices. The werewolves pick a “victim” by silently gesturing to indicate their target and to show unanimity then close their eyes again.

A similar process occurs for other roles with nightly actions. In the case of the seer, the moderator may indicate the target’s innocence or guilt by using gestures such as nodding or head shaking.

Night may be accompanied by players tapping gently to mask sounds made by gesturing.[18]

Day

During the “day” phase, players vote on whom to eliminate

The moderator instructs players to open their eyes and announces who “died” the previous night. Discussion ensues among the living players. At any point, a player may accuse someone of being a werewolf and prompt others to vote to eliminate them. If over half of the players do so, the accused person is eliminated and night begins. Otherwise, the phase continues until an elimination occurs.[3]

According to some rules, the role of dead players should not be revealed; according to others, for example, if the protector dies, nobody should know that.[6][18] In both cases, dead players are not permitted to attempt to influence the remainder of the game.

Because players have more freedom to deliberate, days tend to be longer than nights.

[…]

Results in live play

In live (or videoconference[23]) real-time play, the innocents typically win more often than game theory suggests.

[…]

… the Mafia can win in live play; their best chance of winning occurs when mafioso bond with their innocent neighbours and convince those neighbours to value that bond over dispassionate analysis.[24][26] The game designers Salen and Zimmerman have written that the deep emergent social game play in Mafia (combined with the fear of elimination) create ideal conditions for this.[27]

—<Quote ends>—

Christ knows that the bond of fellowship is one of the greatest strengths of the Christian faith.

So does Satan.

Therefore, Satan works to sow feuds and fights within the assembly of God. He pushes for the incorrect use of both emotion and reason, to divide, to delude, to puff up, to insure that the natural love of Christians grows cold.

As Stephen Perks notes, the sterilization of the Lord’s Supper into a lifeless ritual fit for a funeral – instead of a joyous feast, celebrating our salvation and the Lord Jesus’ sacrifice, resurrection, and crowning – also serves the purposes of evil.

This cannot be defeated by more experts and more powerful leaders and more rules and more gatekeeping and more secret tests.

Wolves need to be driven out by the Shepherd. God may appoint sub-shepherds indeed – from fathers to teachers to missionaries to prophets – but at best, they follow the lead of Jesus Christ.

They exist to serve the flock, and to guide the flock in obedience to God. The flock does not exist to serve them.

The key is the infilling of the Holy Spirit, who grants us wisdom and discernment. Mastery of the Written Word of God is mandatory, to understand what God wants and what God commands.

And we should shun the Traditions of Men, who aims to supplant the very Word of God in authority over the assembly, the people of God.

So,

  • No wolves.
  • Emotions are good, but so is logical, careful thought.
    • They must both be directed by the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit
  • Evidence is key, as is the demand for two or more witnesses.
    • The Law matters, as does truth