Lonnie E. Schubert:

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This article is truly worthy of a thorough reading.
I’ve added Dr. Provan’s book, Seriously Dangerous Religion, to my wish list. I hope to read it before long. RJS has said quite enough to make me eager to read it.

I admit I was surprised to find only a couple of years ago that many people hold it as a difficulty that death existed in God’s good creation before the fall in the Garden.

I’ve withstood young-earth-creationism my whole life, and I had not before come across people who held death-before-the-fall as some sort of litmus test regarding creation assumptions.

I don’t know if I simply missed such people by chance, or if this emphasis on such a contrived element of the creation story is relatively new, in which case I might have missed it because it was unknown to the people I’ve argued with over the years. I suspect the latter. I suppose some fundamentalist was looking for an emotionally driving narrative and revulsion at the notion that God made the good earth with death built in was hit upon and circulated through the followers of Morris et al. Regardless, as indicated in RJS’ article, the biblical narrative clearly indicates death was understood. Further, God clearly states His own responsibility for death and destruction elsewhere in the scripture. (For instance, http://biblehub.com/isaiah/54-16.htm ) I really don’t understand how the problem arose.

Fundamentally for myself, I just don’t see the whole “Problem of evil” issue. Life is hard. God made it that way. Pain and suffering aren’t inherently evil. Like fire, it is powerful and consuming, but unless someone caused the pain and suffering, it isn’t actually evil in the sense we generally ascribe to that word.

At a funeral, Pastor Gary Bohanon stated matter-of-factly that we all die young. That brought into focus something I’d always understood. Time is a gift, and we just don’t get much of it. There is no intrinsic evil nor slight on God for a short, hard, painful, brutish life.

For me, there is no problem of evil. There is no argument against theism in pain and suffering. Dying is simply a part of living. Pain is simply a fact of life. Suffering is as natural as childbirth itself. Of course, there is still the problem of evil committed by one man against another, but some against others. Yes, that is evil. That really is what we usually mean when we decry evil. We are calling for the love-walk in all. We all agree with the prophet Micah (http://biblehub.com/micah/6-8.htm), we know what is right. We innately understand that our whole duty is to live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before God. Every honest man does, at least we try. Some are more successful than others.

Originally posted on Musings on Science and Theology:

France_Paris_Notre-Dame-Adam_and_Eve-dsHaving explored the Old Testament view of God and of the nature of humanity in chapters 3 and 4, Iain Provan (Seriously Dangerous Religion) turns to the age old problem of evil and suffering in chapter 5. If there is a personal, benevolent God why do evil and suffering mark the world?

Genesis 3 plays an important role in Provan’s approach to this question … “it is the embrace of evil, our biblical authors claim, that explains much of the suffering that arises in the world.” (p. 106) The word “much” is quite intentional, and quite significant. Provan puts forward a view that many will find surprising. He does not think the biblical authors had any intention of attributing all pain and suffering, particularly so-called natural evil including earthquakes, windstorms, accidents or disease, to the fall of the man and woman.  The proposed absence of these…

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Lonnie E. Schubert:

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Don’t expect the alarmist hype to end any time soon. Think of the “last day” prophets, like Harold Camping. Despite the fact that most of those prophets admitted they were simply wrong, many still have followings. Alarmism sells. Those who jump on the bandwagon rarely find cause to get off. “Why jump off the gravy train?” Or for most researchers, why walk away from the feeding trough? It is hard enough to get grants even if you toe the political line.
I guess it will be 15 to 20 years before the climate alarmism fades from memory. I suspect the horrific and dishonorable “denier” meme will die out sooner, but probably not for a few years. It is disgusting to see people came it is a valid descriptor. No, it is derisive and childish. Never appropriate. It is also demeaning to those millions who lost their lives and loved ones in WWII. We need to stop that label.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

NPR_officesFrom InsideClimate News: (hat tip to Michael E. Mann)

NPR has cut back on the number of staffers focused solely on the environment and climate change.

Earlier this year, the news outlet had three full-time reporters and one editor dedicated to covering the issue within NPR’s science desk. One remains—and he is covering it only part-time. A few reporters on other desks occasionally cover the topic as well.

The move to shift reporters off the environment beat was driven by an interest to cover other fields more in depth, said Anne Gudenkauf, senior supervising editor of NPR’s science desk.

“We’ll think of a project we want to do and the kind of staff that we need to do it, and then organize ourselves that way,” she said. “One of the things we always do is change in response to the changing world.”

Gudenkauf also said…

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Lonnie E. Schubert:

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Even the alarmists are starting to acknowledge the problems in the alarmist predictions.
For reference.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Guest Post by Bob Tisdale

The post Ocean heat storage: a particularly lousy policy target + Update at RealClimate finally presented a few realities of the global-warming metric known as ocean heat content—realities we have discussed numerous times.  But they weren’t completely open about it and the other ocean temperature-related dataset, sea surface temperature.

That post by RealClimate founder Stefan Rahmstorf countered the 2014 comment Climate policy: Ditch the 2 °C warming goal by Victor and Fennel published in the journal Nature.  Faced with the realities of the slowdown in surface temperature warming, Victor and Fennel proposed using a number of other metrics as indicators of global warming, including ocean heat content.

I’m not sure if Rahmstorf realizes what he has done. His post at RealClimate will be used enthusiastically by skeptics for years to come. Rahmstorf’s post will raise it’s lovely head every time alarmists, like those at SkepticalScience…

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Lonnie E. Schubert:

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Good points, and some very good comments below the main article.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Eric Worrall writes;

Mike Whitehorn, chair of analytics at Dundee University, has written a fascinating article on The Register, about why data analysis is always contaminated by the value judgements of whoever is doing the analysis.

According to Whitehorn; “Evidence-based decision making is so clearly sensible because the alternative — making random decisions based on no evidence — is so clearly ludicrous. The “evidence” that we often use is in the form of information that we extract from raw data, often by data mining. Sadly, there has been an upsurge in the number people who move from the perfectly sensible premise of “basing decisions on data” to the erroneous conclusion that “the answer is therefore always in the data”.

All you have to do is to look hard enough for it. This strange leap of non-logic seems to apply particularly to big data; clearly the bigger the data set the…

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Lonnie E. Schubert:

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Not much we can do about it, but be warned.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

The potential for a massive solar flare directed at Earth is looming large.

Sunspot-AR12192-Jupiter-EarthAn SDO/HMI view of the visible sun showing the largest sunspot of solar cycle 24, AR12192. Image via http://www.thesuntoday.org

Since rotating into view, the sunspot group AR12192 has continued to grow in size and complexity, becoming the largest sunspot of the current solar cycle, cycle 24 (SC24.) The region has produced numerous C and M-class flares including an X1 flare.

Xray[1]More at the WUWT Solar Reference Page

Animation of sunspot AR2192:

AR12192-animGIF-fullsunImage via http://www.thesuntoday.org

NASA’s Spaceweather.com reports:

Solar activity is high. During the past 48 hours, monster sunspot AR2192 has produced a series of seven M-class solar flares of increasing intensity. The eruptions crossed the threshold into X-territory with an X1-class flare on Oct. 22nd. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded a powerful flash of extreme UV radiation in the sunspot’s magnetic canopy at 14:30 UT:

Remarkably…

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Lonnie E. Schubert:

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For the information.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

While not our usual fare, I provide this guest essay for discussion without comment, as it is concerned with an issue of great interest and impact to millions of people – Anthony

NegativePressure_Qualitair

Guest essay by Alec Rawls

Negative atmospheric pressure sounds climate related, but it is just an analogy to the inward draw of air that contagious disease laboratories and isolation rooms use to keep pathogens from escaping. The only way to make it safer for Ebola hot-zone residents to stay put and keep the current epidemic from spreading is to use immune survivors to separate and treat the sick, a strategy developed by the Greeks 2400 years ago, but our national policies are working ever more powerfully in the opposite direction, creating strong incentives for infected and possibly infected people to flee to the United States from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.  Given this rapidly changing climate of contagion…

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Lonnie E. Schubert:

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Yes, religious liberty is still a big deal in our country.

Originally posted on Reflection and Choice:

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 10.26.39 PM

Over at First Things, Mark Movsesian has provided an adequate summary of “what’s happening in Houston.” The mayor’s office tried to subpoena documents from local pastors. The pastors cried foul, even though the mayor’s staff might have had legitimate grounds for the subpoenas. Movsesian thinks that the subpoenas won’t be allowed in this case.

Then he provides this analysis:

Still, even if these pastors succeed in resisting the subpoenas, significant damage has been done. It’s hard to see how this episode will not chill religious and political expression. Most people, quite rationally, want nothing to do with lawsuits and subpoenas. They don’t want to make legal history. The lesson they will draw from the episode is this: If you want to avoid trouble, don’t make politically-charged statements about religious convictions that the government doesn’t approve, even if you’re at a private meeting in your own church. In…

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Writing for the New York Times,  gives us a dozen interviews with philosophers.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/philosophers-on-religion/

Warning, these are about religion, not necessarily supportive. Still, good fodder for deep thinking.

JOSHUA A. KRISCH, OCT. 13, 2014, writing for the New York Times, here, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/14/science/haunted-files-the-eugenics-record-office-recreates-a-dark-time-in-a-laboratorys-past.html, describes an exhibit set up to remind us the horrors of eugenics.

It is insightful. I particularly liked the following paragraph.

My comments:

When the Eugenics Record Office opened its doors in 1910, the founding scientists were considered progressives, intent on applying classic genetics to breeding better citizens. Funding poured in from the Rockefeller family and the Carnegie Institution. Charles Davenport, a prolific Harvard biologist, and his colleague, Harry H. Laughlin, led the charge.

First, the founders of eugenics were not “considered” progressives, they WERE the luminaries of all things progressive and liberal minded. The were the very definition of then-modern leftist thinking. They had no compunction regarding compulsory policies and imposing their will on others. The inferiors owed it to the progressive elites. The sacrifice for the betterment of the elite would be taken for granted, but the elite would understand. Those poor inferiors, those experimented on, those forcibly sterilized and worse, were simply the price of progress. The same applies today in climate alarmism and public education. Yes, two so disparate fields are being treated the same by the elite. The elite simply expect us to submit, to comply, to die as the subjects of their experiments.

Note the names in the paragraphs. Could not a paragraph on the Common Core State Standards be written changing a very few words and the names? The Gates Foundation comes to mind. Follow the money. Follow the power, the control. It is the same, and it is just as evil. Yes, CCSS is just as evil as eugenics. Likewise with climate change alarmism, but it is enough different I’ll leave it here.

The entire article can apply point for point, almost word for word, to the experiment we call public education and the contrived experiment of the Common Core State Standards constrictions being applied to it.

CCSS is progressivist. Anyone how supports it is progressivist, liberal, leftist. Interestingly, many political Democrats do not support CCSS. It is too liberal for them. Sadly, too many political Republicans hold out for the CCSS. Who can tell why. My first suspicion is that they are more elitist and more progressive than even most left-leaning elitists.

And this:

“The Eugenics Record Office was built around very systematized ideas that still might be seen as legitimate today,” said Noah Fuller, an artist and co-curator of the exhibit. “At the time, this was widely accepted as legitimate science.”

It was settled science. It is still accepted today as evidenced by the flood that became CCSS. That flood that is being turned back by angry mothers and caring teachers.

Don’t pretend you, we, are too sophisticated to institutionalize such policies today. We did it. We, the hoi polloi, are turning it back and cleansing our society of this sin, but the elites are fighting. Progressivists and liberals are in it for the long game. They will not relent. We must never relinquish our freedoms, our rights, and our responsibilities. It is up to us. Resistance is not futile.

There are truths here, and lessons to be learned regarding immigrants too. Don’t be part of the problem. Those wanting to come here are mostly good and good for us and our society. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Mr. Micklos sat in a wooden chair and thumbed through a few of the files. “This is pretty much exactly what it would’ve looked like,” he said.

He shook his head and added, “Think of all the people whose lives were completely out of their own control.”

This statement applies exactly to millions of our children in our society today! Let it not stand.

Lonnie E. Schubert:

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Skunk Works

That makes it legit but not necessarily successful.

Patience is required, not exuberance.

Update: Apparently this thing is expected to run on the D-D reaction. I doubt it. I won’t assume they are too dumb to figure it out, but the D-D reaction requires just over 100 times higher temperature than the D-T reaction. I’m not convinced it is doable at all. We shall see. Skunk Works folks are used to getting things done, and done better than people expected.

Further, there are still neutrons (less than D-T and lower energy). Neutrons are bad. Neutrons are really bad. The real reason we cannot do it yet is because of the neutrons. And while there are no atmospheric emissions from the potential methods of fusion energy production, any of them that produce neutrons activate the equipment, the entire vessel. The entire thing will be radioactive waste when it is no longer practical to operate.

A final note, there is a significant advantage to not using tritium, namely, there is no tritium. We have to make it for everything we use it for.

This youtube was over a year ago.

Moving slow.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

WUWT reader Paul Ostergaard  tips us to this article from Aviation Week and Space Technology – video follows

Lockheed Martin aims to develop compact reactor prototype in five years, production unit in 10

Hidden away in the secret depths of the Skunk Works, a Lockheed Martin research team has been working quietly on a nuclear energy concept they believe has the potential to meet, if not eventually decrease, the world’s insatiable demand for power.

Dubbed the compact fusion reactor (CFR), the device is conceptually safer, cleaner and more powerful than much larger, current nuclear systems that rely on fission, the process of splitting atoms to release energy. Crucially, by being “compact,” Lockheed believes its scalable concept will also be small and practical enough for applications ranging from interplanetary spacecraft and commercial ships to city power stations. It may even revive the concept of large, nuclear-powered aircraft that virtually never require…

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Lonnie E. Schubert:

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Newspeak!

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

As many WUWT readers know, I have been using alexa.com for quite sometime to gauge the performance of WUWT. Reader “Pat” brought this recent strange disparity to my attention. When you see things like the Drudge report plummet and MSNBC soar, you know immediately that something isn’t right:

Those who run watchdog news websites are scratching their heads and trying to make sense of the latest data released by a California company that measures website traffic.

According to data for July through September, almost every major website – from WND to the Drudge Report and Breitbart – saw its rankings drop on Alexa.com while pro-government sites mostly went up.

Source: WND

The claim seems to be true when you look at Alexa’s publicly reported traffic graphs. Here’s the Drudge Report according to Alexa:

(Lower numbers are better, for example, Google is #1)

drudge[1]And here is MSNBC according to Alexa

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Lonnie E. Schubert:

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I’m inclined to agree. Seems counterproductive on the part of the mayor to say the least. Bad idea on her part regardless of legal consideration.

Still, don’t we stand for truth? Expose all the truth in every way possible. All pastors in Texas should send every sermon they ever prepared. Give the mayor and her layers all the truth and love possible.

Odd that I had known nothing of the Houston mayor. Now I’ve read about her twice this week.

It is said we can’t legislate morals. Yet the preachers of tolerance try to criminalize such whenever they gain the power. Love and understanding are the touchstones, and it’s a two way street. Tolerance is only a small single step toward what we all owe each other. We are all fellow travelers. We are in this together. We are only here a moment. Make the best of it, and do some good.

Originally posted on COLLIN GARBARINO:

The sky is falling here in Houston.

The mayor’s office has subpoenaed sermons from a handful of pastors. The request seems to be a bullying tactic aimed at pastors who have opposed the city council’s “Houston Equal Rights Ordinance,” which protects gender identity along with categories such as race, sex, and creed. The biggest point of contention is that the law requires businesses to allow people to enter public restrooms based on their self-proclaimed gender identity rather than their biological sex. Who’s surprised that some Texans are disturbed?

Houston’s churches are leading the resistance against the new law, and it seems that the mayor’s office is trying to intimate this resistance by requesting copies of sermons and other communications.

It’s a petty move.

It’s constitutionally disturbing.

It’s a violation of the separation of church and state.

But why don’t they just give her the sermons anyway?

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Lonnie E. Schubert:

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Data.
There is nothing happening now that hasn’t happened before.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

A new study using a reconstruction of North American drought history over the last 1,000 years found that the drought of 1934 was the driest and most widespread of the last millennium.

Using a tree-ring-based drought record from the years 1000 to 2005 and modern records, scientists from NASA and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory found the 1934 drought was 30 percent more severe than the runner-up drought (in 1580) and extended across 71.6 percent of western North America. For comparison, the average extent of the 2012 drought was 59.7 percent.

farmer and sons during a dust storm in Cimarron County, Oklahoma, 1936

This photo shows a farmer and his two sons during a dust storm in Cimarron County, Oklahoma, 1936. The 1930s Dust Bowl drought had four drought events with no time to recover in between: 1930-31, 1934, 1936 and 1939-40.Image Credit: Arthur Rothstein, Farm Security Administration

“It was the worst by a large margin, falling pretty far outside the normal range of…

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Writing for the Witherspoon Institute Public Discourse,  writes an insightful article. 

The Fundamental Case for Parental Rights.

I invite you to read her article. I recommend it.

I agree with her without reservation until she gets to “The Role of the State in Educating Children.”

At that point, she simply doesn’t go far enough. She states that coercion by the state should be as limited as possible, but I assert that it is possible to entirely proscribe state interference and coercion. 100%, no coercion. All coercion is immoral. The state, all governments at all levels, must add to their charters, their constitutions, that they shall make no laws regarding establishment of education, and they shall not restrict the free exercise thereof. There should be an even wider separation between education and the state than there is between religion and the state.

Fundamentally, there are no public goods, no needs of society, no compelling state interests that override the sovereignty of the individual over himself. This goes for children just the same, and the parent has the fundamental right and full responsibility to raise the child personally, as partners in the family, free of compulsion and interference of the state.

The state’s obligation, the state’s compelling interest is in protecting the rights of the parent and the child, of the family, to act sovereign within their family to grow and become good people, productive members of society, competent citizens free from any outside coercion. The only true function of the state is to protect us from the outside, too protect us from infringement of our rights overtly. It is just a much the state’s obligation to protect our freedom to mess up.

“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” and “Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err. It passes my comprehension how human beings, be they ever so experienced and able, can delight in depriving other human beings of that precious right.” Ghandi

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