Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Language of God

The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief by Francis Collins is the best book I have read on the intersection of faith and science. Collins, a former agnostic who converted, heads the Human Genome Project. Collins sees no reason that faith and science must continually butt heads. My thoughts prior to reading: God created the earth and used evolution to some extent, although I have trouble with the idea that we are descended from apes. I also found the ideas of Intelligent Design appealing (such as how evolution has trouble explaining the development of the eye). Collins seeks to convince atheists and agnostics that there is a God and he appeals to Christians to stop rejecting science as threatening to their worldview. He uses his knowledge of biology and genetics to challenge young earth creationists and Intelligent Design in a respectful way. Collins argues that the theory of evolution has been validated by genetics in ways Darwin never imagined and that unless we think God is trying to trick us, we should embrace what creation tells us about how life developed. Macroevolution has largely been rejected by Christians, but I am beginning to be convinced that this is akin to insisting on a 10,000 year old planet (which I believe requires the belief that God is trying to trick us). The appeal of Intelligent Design is the idea that evolution can't fully explain life, so there must be a God taking care of these discrepancies. However, promoting this "God of the gaps" theory leaves believers with smaller and smaller places to stand as science fills in the gaps. I am still thinking these issues through, but I highly recommend this book.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Global Warming Debate

Al Gore's film has sparked considerable debate on global warming. This has surprised many people who had not heard the arguments of the other side. If you are interested in this subject, listen to this podcast of a debate held on NPR (PDF transcript also available) to be exposed to the arguments of experts on both sides. I also recommend Michael Crichton's book State of Fearfor a more biased view. I believe that Christians are called by God to take care of this planet. The planet has warmed by half a degree celcius. CO2 levels have increased, which should increase global temperature, but no one knows by how much, since other factors play a large role: the sun, urbanization, water vapor, clouds, and thousands of others. Global temperatures have been either rising or falling since creation. Sea levels have been rising since the last ice age. Is the current global temperature optimal? Do we have the power to keep the earth at a constant temperature? Is trying to (when we know so little) worth the trillions it would cost in slowing the global economy? I would argue that tackling poverty and disease is a better use for our money (click here to do that). In the NPR debate, Sheik Yamani, the Saudi oil minister is quoted as saying "the Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stones." Pollution is bad, but technology will advance, lowering our CO2 emissions, without the Kyoto Protocol demanding it.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Rasheed From Long Range

Did you see this shot? On Monday night, the Nuggets had the ball with 1.5 seconds left, leading the Pistons 98-95. Then... Guess who wins in overtime.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

New Hillary Poll

Hillary is not looking too good in a recent poll. She may be the leading candidate for the nomination, but after that the wheels fall off, and not because of the story on the left. A Harris Interactive poll released today asked likely voters if they would vote for Clinton for president if she won the nomination. Half of those polled said they would not. More than one in five Democrats would not vote for her even if she won the nomination. 56% of men would not vote for her, 45% of women would choose another candidate. Half said they dislike Hillary's political opinions and Hillary as a person. 52% said “she does not appear to connect with people on a personal level.” As much as a Hillary Clinton presidency scares me, maybe it wouldn't be so bad if she won the nomination.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Exploding Dead Whale

Having a bad day? At least a 60 ton dead whale didn't explode on you. The whale was on a flatbed truck in Taiwan, on its way to be examined by researchers, when gases caused by internal decay blew up the whale's entrails, showering everything and everyone nearby. As the bride in my favorite Geico commercial would say, "This is not awesome."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Algore on the Hill

Gore waddled up to Capitol Hill today to try to spread his global warming alarmist propaganda. Never fear, the "scientific consensus" Gore claims for his gloom and doom message just isn't holding up (perhaps he should join Rev. Jesse Jackson's Million Snowman March against global warming as reported in the Onion). The U.N.'s latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which the alarmists have claimed as their gold standard, must be of particular concern to Gore. The report stated the worst case scenario for sea-level change in the next century is 23 inches, a slightly lower than Gore's claims of 20 feet or more in his documentary. Steven Hayward of National Review Online offers further evidence of the growing consensus: Gore is misleading the world on global warming.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Does helping the poor become self-sufficient sound preferable to giving handouts? Microloans are a pretty cool way to give. The basic concept is that an organization loans small amounts of money to entrepeneurs in developing countries. Without these microloans, the poor of these countries would have no access to credit. A microloan may help them out of a difficult situation that could take away their livelihood, or it may help them expand their business, taking on new employees, and improving the quality of life of their family and community. Slate has a good article here. However, being Slate, they excluded WorldVision, where I give, for being a Christian organization. WorldVision's website provides a lot of information about their microloan program. Most loans are $100-$2000 and 96% are repaid on time. Your donation will be used again and again to help families and communities gain self-sufficiency.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"I Have No Recollection"

Perhaps before getting too hopped up about the firing of 8 US Attorneys, Hillary should look back to what her husband did while in office - in an unprecedented move, he fired ALL 93 US Attorneys, effectively killing the Whitewater investigation and an investigation into then Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski. This allowed Clinton to appoint his friend Paula Casey as the U.S. Attorney for Little Rock. Casey, suprise, suprise, did not issue any indictments for Whitewater. Now, perhaps because she can't recall her husband's position on this issue, Hillary claims Bush is playing politics. Actually, it was the attorneys who were playing politics. Several of the attorneys were fired for ignoring substantial evidence of voter-fraud by left wing organizations. Check out the WSJ editorial for more info. Also, the Onion came up with a good way for Hillary to improve her popularity.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

I bought the new album from these Montreal rockers last week, hoping that it would be at least in the same league as their masterpiece, Funeral. It is a great album that you will like if you were into Funeral. However, it does pale in comparison to their debut. The songs don't build up to the same intensity as on Funeral and in general, just aren't as good. Win Butler's voice fails to rise above the orchestra, strings, and rumbles on much of the album, in contrast to Funeral. Neon Bible definitely has a more muddled sound to it than their debut. The album grew on me over the weekend, but I didn't have the same emotional reaction to it as Funeral. However, comparisons to Funeral aside (which is one of my favorite albums in the last ten years), this is indie-rock at its finest. The wall of sound created by the 7-8 piece band and Win Butler's lyrics create an album that is interesting, dark, and beautiful. Just don't go into it expecting anthems and you'll enjoy it more.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Right to Bear Arms
The DC Circuit came to an important decision on the Second Amendment: the right to bear arms means that you may actually bear arms (in this case, handguns). The decision overruled D.C. gun control laws that for the most part, outlawed the private ownership of handguns. Read on in the American Thinker.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Pardon Libby
Let me get this straight. Joseph Wilson lies through his teeth about his investigation into yellow cake in Niger and publishes a book full of lies. He says his information proes that Iraq did not seek uranium in Africa and that the CIA told Bush the evidence was sketchy before he used such information in his 2003 State of the Union address. The 9/11 Commission later determined that Wilson's findings actually bolstered the case that Iraq was seeking uranium in Africa and that the CIA had not expressed concern about the evidence. He tells everyone that Cheney sent him on his trip to Africa. The White House says they've never heard of him. Next thing you know, Robert Novak publishes a column informing the public that Valerie Plame, a CIA agent and Wilson's wife, sent him to Africa, not the White House. Who gave Novak the name? Obviously, say the Dems and their cohorts in the media, someone from the White House - trying to destroy Wilson for criticizing the President. However, two problems: Plame was not a covert agent (so no crime was committed) and Richard Armitage (Bush critic) revealed her name to reporters. However, while trying to help the investigation, Scooter Libby mixed a few things up, easy to do if your memory is not perfect. He was not responsible for the leak. However, the media never lets the facts get in the way of a good Bush - White House scandal. Read more at American Thinker.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Jack Bauer interrogates Chunk

I'm a sucker for these video mashups, or whatever the kids are calling them these days.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

And the Oscar for Best Propaganda goes to...
Al Gore has won the Oscar for his documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." I call it propaganda, a noted climatologist calls it science fiction. The main gist of Gore's argument is that because of carbon dioxide emissions from human activity, Greenland's 630,000 cubic feet of ice will melt into the sea and raise sea levels by 20 feet or more, wrecking havoc around the globe. There are several problems with this theory:

  • According to the U.N.'s recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's estimation (which I would trust with all my heart, since the U.N. knows all), sea levels are predicted to rise 8-17 inches by 2100. And this estimate is based on rapidly increasing levels of methane, which haven't increased over the last seven years. 8-17 inches (which I wouldn't count on) vs. 20 feet. I'd go with the guy who invented the internet.
  • According to satellite data published in Science in 2005, Greenland is losing 25 cubic miles of ice a year. This sounds like a lot, but it is only .4% per century! And the latest data, published last month in Science, shows Greenland is now gaining ice instead of losing it.
  • Over the last century, global temps have gone up by .7 degrees Celcius. We have no idea what percentage of this increase is due to carbon emissions, urbanization, or changes in solar activity. Global temperatures have gone up and down since God created the planet.
  • For more info on what the Kyoto Protocol would do to stop global warming (little to none) and our economy (a lot) check out George Will's column.