WND column

Weekend at Bernanke’s

It’s perfectly understandable why so few people are paying attention to the crisis that is threatening the global financial system, even though the professionals are biting their nails like little children about to embark upon their first rollercoaster ride. In addition to all the confusing and esoteric terminology being thrown around more freely than medical terms on a hospital show – before being introduced to “House,” I didn’t realize that all medical conditions, no matter how rare, are treated with either surgery or steroids – it is hard to distinguish between the gravity of a Dubai corporation asking for a loan extension and the Italian government collapsing for the 343rd time since Mussolini fled Rome.

There is a certain amount of crisis fatigue now, even among those of us who pay close attention to the ups and downs of the global markets and the economic statistics. One can only anticipate disaster so many times before being tempted to throw up one’s hands and assume that the global economy is going to muddle through somehow, all apparent reason and evidence to the contrary.

NFL Sunday

Not much to say this week. AD is out, so about all Vikings fans have to hope for is Jared Allen going after the sack record and learning if Christian Ponder can play at this level.

The season is shot, but at least Minnesota parents are still bringing up their children properly. This little girl is not only a true Vikings fan, she’s already well-prepared for the worst life can throw at her.

On polemic and prosaic license

I have long felt that Terry Pratchett is badly underrated as an author. Despite his massive success, the manner in which his book are marketed – a fabulous romp – tend to significantly underplay both the intelligence and the sensitivity of his Discworld novels. His books are simultaneously less superficially funny than they are supposed to be and more intellectually entertaining. Whereas the humor in the earlier novels tended to revolve around slapstick gags, obvious subversions of genre tropes, and puns, it gradually gravitated towards an amusing form of social commentary wherein he addressed everything from Hollywood film-making, women in the military, and the theory of fiat currency to the precarious nature of technology investment. While his conventional and fundamentally decent form of humanism has always been the foundation of his commentary, (usually shown from the perspective of his most fully developed character, Sam Vimes), he has seldom permitted it to override either the plot of the story or the ojbective of entertaining the reader.

Read the rest at The Black Gate.

The secularist’s dilemma

It’s hard to feel a whole lot of sympathy for the secular scientists who, in their ignorance of history, failed to understand that by attacking Christianity, they were opening the door to much less reasonable opposition:

Professors at University College London have expressed concern over the increasing number of biology students boycotting lectures on Darwinist theory, which form an important part of the syllabus, citing their religion. Similar to the beliefs expressed by fundamentalist Christians, Muslim opponents to Darwinism maintain that Allah created the world, mankind and all known species in a single act.

Steve Jones emeritus professor of human genetics at university college London has questioned why such students would want to study biology at all when it obviously conflicts with their beliefs.

He told the Sunday Times: ‘I had one or two slightly frisky discussions years ago with kids who belonged to fundamentalist Christian churches, now it is Islamic overwhelmingly.

What is particularly ironic is that the only reason all of those Islamic students are at English universities is because the secular humanists have lobbied for and defended open immigration for decades. It should be interesting to see what form the cognitive dissonance will take once the Islamic students start beating up their professors for theological impurity as they are known to do in their own countries. I suspect our brave secular scientists will be recanting their belief in Darwinian evolution faster than you can say “Neo-Darwinian synthesis”.

It’s rather like watching a Lovecraft novel in real-time. “We’re just going to open this little dimensional gate here. I’m sure whatever walks through will be friendly and behave in perfect accordance with my beliefs.”

No doubt all this will inspire an even more fervent attack on the danger to science posed by Christian Creationists and stickers on elementary school textbooks by the usual suspects. Then again, it may not be long before the first Somalis begin to show up in the Fowl Atheist’s biology classes…. It is funny. It is also well-merited. But don’t be mistaken, it is going to be ugly indeed. The only good that may eventually come of it is that the secularists may finally get on board with the great clash of civilizations that has been inevitable ever since the oil-hungry West woke the sleeping giant of expansionist Islam. But it’s entirely possible that they may prefer the collapse and/or subjugation of the West to the restoration of Christendom, once they realize that their shiny, sexy, secular society isn’t going to happen.

It’s all fun and games

It’s all fun and games being a neocon, invading other countries, and spreading world democratic revolution, right up until the moment that someone accidentally pokes a nuclear power in the eye with “collateral damage”. If “well, we didn’t mean it” doesn’t work for kids, it’s probably not going to work for nations either:

NATO helicopters and fighter jets attacked two military outposts in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, killing as many as 28 troops and plunging U.S.-Pakistan relations, already deeply frayed, further into crisis.

Pakistan retaliated by shutting down vital NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, used for sending in just under a third of the alliance’s supplies.

Pakistan should cease all cooperation with the US military. Why should they tolerate the US killing Pakistani soldiers in Pakistan any more than we would tolerate the Pakistani military killing American soldiers in the USA?

Mailvox: atheists are thankful too

MD drops a note:

Although we don’t have thanksgiving here, I admire the sentiment so I must give thanks to you for (although often infuriating; & even just sometimes plain wrong) relieving the tedium of the working life. Although I disagree with you at least as much as I agree with you, you are at least (& rarely for most of the media) both clever and interesting and free-thinking. Anyway, us Brits don’t do love-ins, so that’s enough til next year.

Clearly someone needs to set him straight about this being an atheist-hating, anti-science echo chamber of stupid Christards waiting for Round Two…. The truth is that I’m always glad to see intelligent and well-educated critics participate in the discussion and challenge my views, either privately or publicly, so long as it is in a straightforward and intellectually reasonable manner. I don’t expect anyone to agree with me on everything; my family and my best friends never have, so why would you or anyone else?

No one gets it right all the time. Certainly not me. Religion doesn’t claim to contain all the truth – now we see as though through a glass darkly – and any honest scientist is open about the limitations of science. How can we, who are mere mortals, possibly think to either know it all or even possess a proper understanding of what “all” means?

But I would encourage MD to give thanks to God rather than to me. Even if he doesn’t believe in Him… especially if he doesn’t believe in Him. After all, if He doesn’t exist, then what could be the harm?

Destroying the currency to save it

Apparently no one thought through the obvious implications of refusing to recognize an obvious credit event:

[P]erhaps the biggest sin of the lot was effectively to render all credit default swaps (a form of insurance against default) on sovereign debt essentially worthless, or void, by making the Greek default “voluntary”.

This has made it impossible to hedge against eurozone sovereign debt purchases, and thereby destroyed the market. Worse, it’s made investors believe that the euro cannot be trusted, that it’ll repeatedly find ways of reneging on contract. That’s the point of no return. This is no longer a serious currency.

It’s really astonishing that the European Union has refused to recognize that Greece has gone bankrupt. In trying to save the banks holding sovereign Greek debt, they went and destroyed the value of all the trillions in credit default swaps. It’s like declaring that corpses aren’t really dead, so therefore the insurance companies don’t have to pay out on any life insurance policies. That might save a company or two in the short term, but it destroys them all in the intermediate term for the obvious reason that no one is ever going to waste their money on life insurance again.

The future of eugenics

Steve Sailer contemplates a potential problem in human progress:

In general, the 19th Century British were just more effectual at dog breeding than are moderns. I strongly doubt that they had better techniques. They just had better goals. For example, the reporter goes to visit a man who has been breeding a healthier English bulldog for 40 years, but nobody much cares.

That reminds me that you occasionally read, although less often now than a decade ago, of somebody claiming that genetic engineering of humans will, Real Soon Now, change everything. I pretty much asserted that back in the 1990s.

Well, maybe, but leaving aside all the technical questions and consider this: humans have near-complete control over dog breeding today, and yet we are lousier at it than a century ago.

What Sailer clearly fails to keep in mind here is that the decline of canine breeding results can be blamed upon the democratization of dog breeders and the insidious pressures of the free market. Naturally, the breeders have oriented themselves towards the lowest common denominator, which is not necessarily the most efficient, effective, or objectively desirable by any scientific standard.

The new eugenics will not be left in the hands of interested amateurs, but will instead be based upon a sound foundation of genetic science and guided by scientific technocrats making wise, science-based decisions. What could possibly go wrong?

VPFL Week 12

72 Moundsview Meerkats (7-4-0)
53 RR Redbeards (4-6-1)

66 Macau Marauders (4-6-1)
41 Greenfield Grizzlies (7-4-0)

73 MS Swamp Spartans (6-5-0)
72 GroverBeach Quixotes (4-7-0)

91 Cranberry Rhyneauxs (4-7-0)
62 Bane Sidhe (5-6-0)

52 Green Reverends (6-4-1)
52 Bailout Banksters (6-4-1)

Happy Thanksgiving

There are many things for which I am thankful to God today. Among them, if not necessarily at the top of the list, is this eclectic collection of individuals who, for one reason or another, make up what passes for the online community here. I appreciate the critics because they prevent me from lapsing into carelessness and intellectual laziness. I appreciate the supporters, because they give me a reason to start putting a post together even when I’m not particularly in the mood to do so. And most of all, I appreciate those who contribute new ideas and open up new pathways for intellectual exploration.

As anticipated, this past year was difficult for many, if not most of us. I expect the next year will be much the same, if not even more “interesting”. But I am confident that regardless of how it turns out, there will be no shortage of reasons to once again give thanks to our Creator, to our Lord, and to our Savior.