VPFL Managers

Email me if you’re on this list. The draft is Sunday, September 6th at 3:30 PM Central. I’ll assign teams and send you the end of year roster this afternoon; please send me your keepers (max 3) by Saturday evening.


Ian – if the WB isn’t playing this year.

Mailvox : abortion and libertarianism

RC wonders about the potential use of force to prevent abortion:

For years, I thought criminalizing abortion was consistent with libertarian principle. I can no longer see how. Libertarianism is not against all aggression. For an act of aggression to be criminal under a libertarian legal code, it would have to violate rights. Acts of aggression against cats and dogs wouldn’t be illegal under such a code. Why would unborn children have rights? Do you support the criminalization of abortion on theonomistic grounds? I don’t see how any degree of theonomy is consistent with libertarian principle. You seem like someone who would be familiar with these issues; maybe you’d discuss this on your blog.

The reason unborn children have human rights is that they are human. They exist, they are human, ergo they have the same right to life, liberty and property that their mothers and fathers do. As Ron Paul, a fine and upstanding libertarian, has pointed out, there are few acts of aggression more violent and unprovoked than those involved in murderously vivisecting an unborn child.

There is not a single pro-abortion argument that stands up to science and reason. Every single one is not only spurious, but easily demonstrated to be spurious. It is not necessary to bring religious arguments into the debate to conclusively settle the matter in favor of the pro-life position, in fact, the Bible-based arguments against abortion are, in my opinion, weaker than the rational and scientific arguments.

Criminalizing abortion is no more questionable from a libertarian position than criminalizing murder. It is an act of lethal, unprovoked aggression, often state-supported and sometimes state-dictated, of the sort that every libertarian, religious or secular, should vehemently oppose.

The crash will be big

The Market Ticker explains the fraudulent nature of the market rally:

So let me see if I get this right. 2.126 billion shares traded in four stocks [Citigroup, Fannie, Freddie, and Bank of America -VD]… These four stocks represented thirty seven percent of all shares traded today. Today 3,162 different stocks traded on the NYSE. These four represent 0.13% of the total, yet they comprised 37% of the volume.

And to top it all off, two of those corporations are confirmed to be insolvent. But, on the plus side, at least we know where that money the Federal Reserve doesn’t want audited is going….

UPDATE – And here’s a contrarian indicator: Investors Intelligence, which tracks the market views of about 130 independent investment newsletter editors, said 19.8% of the letters now are bearish on stocks, down from 23.1% the previous week and the fewest since the 19.6% reading of October 2007.

The mathematical likelihood of God

Blackblade calculates it… from his own perspective.

To each his own… and yet I have to ask if he honestly only places 10 percent weighting on historical and documentary evidence in contemplating other matters. If so, I can’t imagine he spends much time reading books and newspapers. Actually, I have another question. What is meant by the “Belief” factor? I’d also consider substituting “Direct Personal Experience/Observation” for “Lack of any directly observed interaction”.

This will be fun

Richard Dawkins makes the mistake of claiming he’s going to prove evolution is a fact:

Evolution is a fact. Beyond reasonable doubt, beyond serious doubt, beyond sane, informed, intelligent doubt, beyond doubt evolution is a fact. The evidence for evolution is at least as strong as the evidence for the Holocaust, even allowing for eye witnesses to the Holocaust…. Evolution is an inescapable fact, and we should celebrate its astonishing power, simplicity and beauty. Evolution is within us, around us, between us, and its workings are embedded in the rocks of aeons past. Given that, in most cases, we don’t live long enough to watch evolution happening before our eyes, we shall revisit the metaphor of the detective coming upon the scene of a crime after the event and making inferences. The aids to inference that lead scientists to the fact of evolution are far more numerous, more convincing, more incontrovertible, than any eyewitness reports that have ever been used, in any court of law, in any century, to establish guilt in any crime. Proof beyond reasonable doubt? Reasonable doubt? That is the understatement of all time.

Richard Dawkins has barely begun making his initial claims and already he’s talking about bishops and fudging his case. Evolution is an inescapable fact… that is inferred after the fact. As I said, the ex-scientist has lost his fastball; I suspect he’s made a huge blunder in writing this book because the primary defense of modern evolutionary theory relies upon the ability of its adherents to hide behind its mutable nature. One cannot take down the constantly morphing tautologies due to their dynamic nature, but one will at least theoretically be able to take down Richard Dawkins’s best case for evolution due to its static nature, which for the purposes of public discourse will arguably be even more effective.

I can’t be certain on the basis of this excerpt alone, but I suspect that Dawkins may have also made a very amusing mistake in selecting the metaphor of the detective. If Dawkins is actually operating under the popular notion of detectives making inferences to lead them the responsible culprit, the metaphor is going to blow up in his face. Anyone who knows much about the way the police actually catch criminals understands what I mean by that.

And yes, I’m desperately hoping that the magical replication fairies from The Selfish Gene make another appearance.

There is no “marital rape”

The Bahamas consider a legal oxymoron:

“I think the bill is a very good thing because I believe that a husband can rape his wife. No is no. I don’t care if you’re married or if you’re not married. No is no, and once you force yourself on someone, whoever it is, it is rape. I agree with the bill 100 percent,” she said.

First, there is no such thing as marital rape. Once consent is formally given in public ceremony, it cannot be revoked; the form in which marital consent is revoked is well-established. It is called divorce. This isn’t a religious issue, although many on both sides will attempt to view it that way, it’s a simple matter of when consent is revocable and the specific form that revocation must take. I invite those who believe that consent may always be granted and revoked at will to consent to join the U.S. Army, then attempt to withdraw their consent. That should serve to clarify the matter for them; one hopes they will enjoy their extended holiday in Afghanistan. The attempt to create a legal concept of “marital rape” is no less than an attempt to destroy the basic concept of marriage. If the husband or the wife has no more claim to the spouse’s body than anyone else, then the marital vows are meaningless and the marriage is a charade. Once consent is withdrawn, the marriage has ended.

If a woman wishes to preserve her right to sexually reject a man at will, she has a perfectly viable means of doing so. Don’t get married. It’s really not that hard. But, once married, neither husband nor wife has the right to reject the other’s marital claims. This does not mean that it is wise for anyone to abuse one’s marital rights, as doing so on a regular basis will tend to lead to the legally correct abrogation of those rights. One is always free to respect the other’s wishes and refrain from exercising one’s rights in the same way that most Americans fail to exercise their right to bear arms most of the time. But failing to exercise one’s rights is not the same as failing to possess them.

Men contemplating marriage would be wise to sound out their prospective brides on this issue. If a woman believes in the concept of marital rape, absolutely do not marry her! It would make no sense whatsoever to marry a woman who believes that being married to her grants her husband no more sexual privilege than the next unemployed musician who happens to catch her eye. And if a woman who believes in the existence of marital rape pushes you for marriage, just assure her that while you respect the institution, you believe it is much more important to defend her unqualified right to say no.

That the “marital rape” concept is not only legally oxymoronic, but deeply undesirable for both sexes, is exemplified by its implications for sex that by definition precludes consent. Let’s face it, any man or woman who believes in the criminalization of wake-me-up sex is not an individual with whom any decently hedonistic being would want to be saddled for a lifetime.

Full faith and credit

This woman’s letter to WND made me laugh:

I am an avid reader of WorldNetDaily and a staunch conservative, and I can’t believe that you would run Vox Day’s article saying that there is no deposit insurance on people’s bank accounts. This scare tactic has the potential to do great harm to this nation. What are you trying to do, start a run on the banks?

If people lose faith in the FDIC and begin withdrawing their money from the banks, it will be the proverbial straw that will send us into a deep depression.

The loss of people’s money in banks and credit unions was one of principles causing the length of the Great Depression of the 1930s. How could you in good faith sponsor a distrust of the safety of people’s deposits in banks? Faith in our financial system is necessary to help our country survive these trying times. Shame on you for publishing such material.

The funny thing about this complaint is that everything I said in that column was taken directly from the FDIC. It’s not a “scare tactic”, its the facts taken directly from the FDIC Quarterly and the press releases they issue every time they seize a bank. She shouldn’t fret about the negative balance in the Deposit Insurance Fund, though, she should worry that Bloomberg News will actually get its hands on the emergency loan records that the Fed is trying to keep hidden.


Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad:

Ben Bernanke’s self promotional media blitz culminating with Orwellian Madness “Bernanke Saved The World”, was a stunning success for Bernanke in his bid to be reappointed Fed Chairman. Unfortunately, Bernanke’s win is everyone else’s loss.

Watch, and despair….

Mailvox: five questions

Travis requests responses to what he considers to be five of the New Atheists’ most effective arguments:

#6 (Occam’s Razor) Sam Harris says, “Any intellectually honest person will admit that he does not know why the universe exists. Scientists, of course, readily admit their ignorance on this point. There is, in fact, no worldview more reprehensible in its arrogance than that of a religious believer.” While I think this can be turned on the atheist it certainly cannot be turned on the agnostic. Being a Christian means one has to presuppose to know things that he/she does not know. Shouldn’t one accept the least amount of beliefs that cannot be provided with sufficient evidence? Holding to unneeded presuppositions leads to bad conclusions to the things we do know or should know.

That is a very stupid statement on Harris’s part and serves to demonstrate his ignorance of the Christian religion, among others. First, on what basis does Sam Harris claim that arrogance is reprehensible? Second, what evidence does Sam Harris actually offer of any religious claims explaining why the universe exists? In contradiction, I note that in both the Old and the New Testament, the Bible is very clear that Man CANNOT understand God’s reasoning or His purposes in Creation.

Job 36:26: “How great is God—beyond our understanding!”
Corinthians 13:12: “For now we see through a glass, darkly.”

On the other hand, many atheists, including Sam Harris, deny nihilism even as they claim there is no basis for any belief in purpose in life. This is both philosophically incoherent and, to the extent that one knows it is philosophically incoherent but pretends otherwise, inherently dishonest. I furthere note that one should always be suspicious that Sam Harris doesn’t know what he’s talking about and is simply making something up when he writes “in fact”.

Now, as for the remark about arrogance, this appears to be psychological projection as well as a good example of the deceitful atheist predilection for redefining words. Arrogance means “offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.” Synonyms: haughtiness, insolence, disdain. Antonyms: humility, modesty, diffidence. How, one wonders, is the Christian worldview an offensive display of superiority or self-importance? Indeed, there is no religion that places more explicit importance on humbling oneself before God or more completely stresses that all are fallen, including the believer. And are very few things more haughty, insolent, and disdainful, very few more ostentatious and overt displays of claimed superiority, than the New Atheist insistence that every religious, agnostic, or atheistic criticism of their reliably incorrect assertions is based on stupidit, evil, or ignorance. This is why I am forced to distinguish between atheists and New Atheists, as any neutral observer must admit that the New Douchebags would have been an equally fitting title for the latter.

Should one accept the least amount of beliefs that cannot be provided with sufficient evidence? Why? Parsimony is for scientific logic, not belief. No one, including the New Atheists believes anything this way; as one who is well-read in both economics and military history, I can easily demonstrate that each of the New Atheists and virtually every single atheist is badly guilty of harboring beliefs in direct contrast to all of the available evidence. To single out Christians and Creationists while letting millions of Labourites and Democrats off the hook for refusing to accept the Law of Supply and Demand, the logical impossibility of central planning, or the failure of public education is a reprehensible double-standard. #6 isn’t just a spurious and baseless argument, it is one that is damning to the New Atheist, not the religious believer.

#7 Non-reductive physicalism) There is no empirical evidence and/or reason to accept the concept of a non-material soul. Christopher Hitchens brought this up in a recent debate with a Jewish Rabbi at New York City. Non-reductive physicalism makes the most sense when analyzing human behavior. Why do we see our grandparents lose all sense of awareness? Or a particular disease makes someone change their entire demeanor. What about Phineas Gage? It appears to be obvious that all our behavior stems from physical components and that there is nothing outside of the material world in creating cognitive thoughts as well as our temperament.

All the New Atheists have to do now is solve the problem of life and consciousness and then they’ll actually have an argument to present. This is medievalesque logic, not science. You cannot talk about empirical evidence out of one side of your mouth and then make appeals to appearances out of the other. Moreover, there absolutely is empirical evidence that something goes missing when a being transitions from life into death, which is why the early physicians tried weighing bodies after death to try determining the weight of a soul. Now, you can certainly elect to call it electrical impulses or bio-software if you prefer, but there is certainly empirical evidence of what can quite reasonably be called a soul, which is neither personality nor behavior.

#8 (New Testament contradictions). My below quote is taken from “Jesus Interrupted”. While Ehrman is an agnostic the new atheists certainly can utilize his findings. On the side you mentioned that the new atheists “have come and gone”. Ehrman’s book, “Jesus Interrupted” is #116 in Amazon book sales. Judging by Amazon rankings anti-apologetic books are certainly selling at a large quantity. “It would be impossible…to argue that the Bible is a unified whole, inerrant in all its parts, inspired by God in every way. It can’t be that. There are too many divergences, discrepancies, contradictions; too many alternative ways of looking at the same issue, alternatives that often are at odds with one another. The Bible is not a unity, it is a massive plurality. God did not write the Bible, people did.” (p. 279).”

While this is an assertion and not an argument in itself I can provide one small concrete example. Jesus is said to be born while Herod the Great was alive (Mat 2:1-2), and while Quirinius was governor of Syria (Luk 2:1-7). Unfortunately Qurinius became governor ten years after Herod died.

Ehrman was around long before the New Atheists and he isn’t even an atheist, so I don’t see what that has to do anything. The main problem with Ehrman is that he purposefully ignores the giant elephant in the room, which is that there are more and earlier copies of the various books of the New Testament than there are of any historical document from the ancient world. The Bible is extremely reliable by every secular standard for historical documents; it is arguably the most reliable ancient text in human history by those standards. If you’re going to reject the historical veracity of the Bible – which has repeatedly proven to be more accurate than the contrary assertions of archeologists and historians – then you must likewise reject the entire written history of Man.

This argument represents a failure to understand the significance of the Bible being written by men inspired by God. The occasional contradiction may well trouble the hardcore Biblical literalist, but since I am multilingual and have read at least parts of the Bible in three languages, I know that there are a number of trivial differences from text to text. Ergo, they are not all flawless; they cannot be. Since the filter is imperfect, the message we receive is necessarily imperfect… which is exactly what we are told in the Bible!

As for Quirinus, it could be an inconsistency or it could simply be that our historical knowledge is incomplete. The fact that historical scholars, who know that there was a previous citizen census three years before, find it difficult to believe that the Romans would have taken a non-citizen census in Judea while Herod was alive does not mean that the Romans did not. Given the long list of historians who were certain they had proved the Bible to be incorrect, only to eventually discover that they were wrong, I would avoid placing too much import on apparent inconsistencies regarding the dates surrounding an undated event. Are you willing to accept the historical truth of the Bible should documentation eventually be discovered which demonstrates there is no Biblical inconsistency surrounding Quirinus? If not, you cannot reasonably reject it on that sole basis either.

I’ve read far too many minor inconsistencies in otherwise reliable historical works to be bothered about the possibility of something like this; it would be much more problematic if Luke had identified someone who did not exist at all as the governor… or the king. But this is one reason why I regard total infallibility doctrines, be it of the Bible or the Pope, to be pernicious. My belief is that because we cannot be certain of what is perfectly expressive of God’s Will and what is clouded by Man’s inability to perfectly transmit that Will, the wise Christian will not overly fuss about the details but instead focus on following what are for the most part perfectly clear instructions on how to live.

#9 (History of Man) Christopher Hitchens has used the history of early man often to show that the Christian viewpoint doesn’t make much sense. I’m sure you heard it already…humans have been around for 100,000 years. Throughout 90,000 of the years humans have experienced droughts, disease, famine, and all the nastiness that Mother Nature can provide. However what wasn’t provided for them was any inkling of who God is and what Jesus did for their sins. It is only 2,000 years ago when God reveals the concept of what “good news” is. Why would God wait so long in order to present such good news? I’m assuming you heard this point by Hitchens, therefore I won’t say much more about this argument.

The Book of Job presaged and answered this argument long before Hitchens was born. I would merely add that arguing about God’s motivations or character is not a rational means of disputing His existence. My personal belief is that God is far less concerned with every individual human being than most people, atheists and Christians alike, would like to believe.

#10 (Everlasting Hell) Pertaining to the concept of hell Sam Harris states, “People actually believe is that, one, they’re rewarded after death in certain circumstances; there’s a difference between an eternity of happiness and an eternity of suffering, and it really matters what name you call God, and what you believe, and the precise kind of [religious] practices you engage.” Considering very few people have heard and accepted the gospel why wouldn’t God do more in helping change the hearts of man? If God is all loving and all powerful how can he take delight in knowing the majority of his creation will be gnashing at their teeth for all of eternity? From a pragmatic sense eternal hell makes no sense. From a loving sense eternal hell makes no sense. From a justice sense eternal hell makes no sense. Considering this topic is so important why wait so long to educated people about it? The concept isn’t clearly drawn up until the N.T. is written.

First, God isn’t “all-loving”. He doesn’t love everyone equally and this is pointed out numerous times in the Bible. These sorts of arguments put the lie to claim of the atheist making them to have read the Bible. He has His favorites. He hates “the wicked and those who love violence”. He “opposes the proud”. (Yes, yes, I know… please keep in mind that my public thoughts are not the totality of my self.) Second, where is the indication that God takes any delight in the irreparable imperfection of the greater part of Mankind? He will destroy those who fail His test, the chaff will burn, but my interpretation is that this is little more than throwing out the useless garbage.

I don’t think any game designer or serious gamer has any problem with conceiving of a God who designs a Creation for a purpose beyond the capacity of the creatures who inhabit it to understand. I’m certain that the ice troll who gets killed by adventurers in the caves of Dun Morogh only to respawn and get killed again, over and over, must have some very serious questions about the character and existence of Rob Pardo.

Mailvox: expanding Medicaid

In which a question is posed:

I don’t want to ask this question in public for fear of looking a fool cuz maybe somewhere, somehow, this has been addressed and I missed it. But with all this health care/health insurance reform and changing EVERYTHING, why isn’t the government just revamping medicare and medicaid to catch that group that does NOT have health insurance? Am I missing something?

Yes, you’re leaving out the financial angle. Medicare and Medicaid are already spending more money than they’re taking in and are going to go broke in about eight years. This is why so much of the talk about health care reform has centered around rationing. At 7.2 percent of GDP, Medicaid and Medicare make up a little less than half of the 15.3 percent of GDP ($2.1 trillion) spent on health care, so the would-be reformers need to get their hands on that other $1.1 trillion in order to redistribute the services it pays for to the uninsured. Everyone will still pay roughly the same amount of money in, but the government will determine who gets the benefit of it.

Simply expanding Medicare and Medicaid wouldn’t work, because then the government would have to figure out how to bring in the additional money to pay for the expansion. Since Washington is already running an annual deficit of nearly $2 trillion, that’s simply not going to fly.