June 16, 2009 - June 9, 2009
She was the best. Ever. Now she's gone. But you can read
about her here.
But this is all you need. There was a time when young women were sexy.
The founder of The Weather Channel has delivered the most stinging
condemnation of the Global Warming frenzy ever reported in the media.
Here is a link to the text of a
speech by John Coleman to the San Diego Chamber of Commerce. I'm
providing a few teaser excerpts below, but that's no substitute for
reading the whole thing. I urge every reader of this site to email the
link to 10 other people and urge them to do the same thing. Because the
impossible has happened. Our present economy and our future as a
civilization are being seriously sabotaged by a con job. This state of
affairs can't be permitted to stand.
Now get busy with those emails.
argument for why atheism is an absurd philosophical position is simple
in its basics. Most of the complications that arise in the debates
between atheists and non-atheists are due to assumptions made by
atheists. How many of them begin making their case, for example, by
attacking the Bible and the supernatural beliefs of Christianity? The
decisions people make to accept individual religions are, indeed,
matters of faith and largely irrelevant to the principal question. But
religious faith is not the sole alternative to atheism. There are at
least two more alternatives that allow the subject to be framed more
The agnostic position is an acknowledgment of not knowing. There might be a supreme power of some kind, and there might not be. The agnostic accepts that he doesn't have enough evidence to be certain one way or the other.
The second alternative is what I will call the deist position, which I know has various connotations of its own, so I will define my use of it as precisely as I can: The deist is one who subscribes to no particular religion or specific incarnation of divinity, but he rejects the premise that something can come from nothing and that a universe governed by myriad natural laws could exist at all without some precipitating higher intelligence, even if that intelligence is intrinsic to every particle (or string) of the universe.
And to restate the obvious: The true atheist is certain that there is no supreme intelligence present in or behind the creation of the universe. All that is simply is.
To be fair, there are also what I call pragmatic atheists. Their position is more lawyerly than philosophical (and there are more of them than admit to it). They believe that even entertaining the question philosophically is an irrelevant distraction, because the answer can't possibly matter in the here and now. Therefore, atheism is for them simply a working assumption that enables them, they think, to keep a clearer, more objective mind in matters of real life than those afflicted with speculative fancies about life, the universe, and everything. Importantly, these are not true atheists. They are merely the incurably incurious left-brained know-it-alls who have always been impatient with matters of deep philosophy. It's conceivable that their approach is an efficient one, but it is entirely disconnected from the subject of truth and meaning, about which they are obsessively scornful and dismissive without ever being responsive. Interestingly, they also tend to be the population of self-styled atheists who are the quickest to attack when atheism is questioned as a position. Because they don't ever ponder the underlying philosophical issues, they are the most outraged when someone points out just how thoughtless and mundane their mental processes are.
Doesn't this simplify the legitimate scope of disagreement? Now, the atheists love to take the position that any perspective but their own is the one that bears the burden of proof. Prove to me that there is a God. If you can't, I win.
What should be obvious to fair-minded rationalists is that the most defensible, if least risky, position is that of the agnostics. I don't know. The question is a lot bigger than I am. This is the only person in the debate who has a right to demand proof without accepting a reciprocal demand for same. When an atheist demands proof that there is a God, he does so secure in the knowledge that the agnostics are right about the difficulty of doing so. But he almost universally rejects the notion that he has an equal obligation to prove there is no god. Because contrary to popular belief, it is possible, under certain conditions, to prove a negative. The problem is that atheists are not operating under those conditions. The field of potential sources of refutation is not the finite box of intellectual experiments; it comprises everthing that ever was, is, and will be. So when they attempt the feat of proving their position, they almost invariably engage in the same kind of argument by anecdote they decry in the foolish sectarian religionists who sally out to do battle with them. Their arguments are generally preoccupied with a false premise -- that to prove individual instances of so-called miracles natural instead of supernatural, they have stripped the universe of divinity. What they disregard is that the natural universe and its workings are, ipso facto, the best possible rebuttal of their position, not an endorsement.
Even if one could prove to a certainty that there is not, and has never been, an interventionist divinity at work in human affairs, it would not prove the absence of divinity from the workings of any part of the universe, including human affairs. Scientific deists may take comfort in positing a supreme intelligence capable of devising laws of physics and a field of mathematics that set the universe in motion like some clinical experiment never to be interfered with until it winds down of its own accord, but they have no solid philosophical basis for doing so. They have simply chosen, like the ancient Israelites, to cast god in their own image, as a remote and superior observer behind the screen. There is nothing -- no principle of science whatever -- to rule out the possibility that an intelligence capable of generating the universe, from string or quark to multi-galactic infinity, would not also be capable of observing or participating in everything, in perpetuity, without ever violating the laws of his own creation and yet accomplishing his will in everything. It's not that the scientific archetype of divinity is impossible; it's just that it's typically anthropomorphic and lacking in any kind of evidence.
Now if we posit the agnostic sitting on the judicial bench between the two sides who might reasonably be asked to produce proof of their positions, we can begin to assess the scale and quality of the arguments that might be made on each side. It is here that the relative frailty of the atheist position versus the deist position begins to be obvious.
1. First Causes. The atheist is constantly bedeviled by the question of "before"? If he subscribes to the Big Bang Theory, that the universe begins with a tiny speck and explodes into the reality which has obtained ever since and whose laws and effects we study, he has not answered the question of the beginning. What put the speck there? A black hole from yet another universe? Perhaps. But that only puts the question of origins at one more remove. It does not resolve it. If he accepts the laws of physics he uses to understand the function of the universe, he is also accepting that energy is neither created nor destroyed but merely changes form. Here's the ugly paradox. The atheist has a greater responsibility to account for the origin of the energy that makes and drives the universe than the deists do. The deists accept at some level that the energy which has continually changed form since the beginning of our universe arose, much like the probabilistic multi-states quantum mechanics describes for electrons, from a kind of unreal potentiality we might describe as the energy of intention. The history of quantum mechanics is rife with the unsolved ramifications of the apparent role of consciousness in the behavior of electrons. It is the atheists who have to explain all this away in other terms. They have to accept a universe that has no beginning -- an eternal law-driven universe with no originating or architectural intelligence of any kind (uh, a philosophical paradox), or they have to posit a universe which violates a fundamental law of physics, i.e., that a universe-sized field of energy can spontaneously arise from nothing at all (an, uh, scientific paradox). In comparison, the deist position is common-sensical, even a demonstration of Occam's Razor. Before there was matter, there was an intelligence which imagined matter and the laws governing it; then there was intention; and then there was a manifestation in reality. Which is not a paradox. It's a process seen many many times in our own experience. Ontogeny recapitulates philogeny. Except that the atheists have to reject that easily verifiable truism as well.
2. Mathematics. This is its own universe. It overlaps our physical universe very substantially but is not identical with it. One could, I suppose, belittle the aspects that don't overlap (i.e., unreal numbers, which have no counterpart in the reality we can apprehend through the senses), but since they have proven vital to innumerable technological breakthroughs which demonstrate their utility and consistency with the rest of the universe of mathematics, Occam's Razor would again suggest that mathematics is its own universe, a conceptual one that straddles the worlds of physicality and intellect, suggesting that the universe itself is at least part intellect. For the atheists this is another fatal paradox. They must postulate the existence of algorithm and principle without originating intelligence. When I see a house, I am also seeing evidence of an architect. And here, the existence of math prodigies is also valid evidence. Pascal's tutor gave his young student the first postulate of Euclid. That same day, Pascal recreated the rest of Euclidian geometry. There is an order and consistency in math which betrays the deep order of the universe, and because it is not purely physical, it entirely refutes the phantasm of a brain-dead, designerless universe.
3. Human Intelligence. We are all stuff of the universe, created from the same particles and atoms and laws as every other part of the universe, and thus we are part of an entity which is capable of asking questions about itself. What are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going? What does it all mean? The atheist position -- that we are a pointless emergent property of a soulless, mechanical universe -- is still another hopeless paradox that defies the observations of science and even the theory of evolution upon which so many atheists depend for their foundation, like Atlas standing on the free-floating tortoise of Greek mythology. How much of their scientific certainty rests on their belief in the prescriptive power of DNA, that what we are is what the process has made us? How diligently have they sought to demonstrate that what we are is an adaptation of what we have been before, that hands come from fins and abstract thinking from synergies of reptilian, avian, and mammalian brains? But where lies the precedent for any of this in the geology of stars and planets? The brute fact is that higher intelligence, as we conceive of it in ourselves, does exist. On what basis do we rule it out as one of the principal properties of the universe in which we live? Whence the observed phenomenon that matter inevitably complicates and complexifies itself until it is capable of asking philosophical questions? So that a handful of arrogant Philistines can declare themselves superior to the universe itself, which as we must remember in the atheist model, is undesigned, unintelligent, directionless, purposeless, and amoral.
Here's what the true atheist is declaring to the rest of us. He is superior to the entire universe, explored and unexplored. Because there is no intelligence involved in its cause, design, development, and current incarnation. Which makes him, who has not yet penetrated that universe's most arcane secrets of physics and biology, capable of declaring that universe a meaningless but wholly unexplained accident of an existence he does not yet possess the vocabulary to define in terms of a beginning, an end, a scale, or an outcome.
QED. Atheism as a philosophical position is a rank absurdity. An act of extraordinarily conceited and conveniently narcissistic faith. Agnostics are philosophical cowards who probably haven't looked at the facts much more than "pragmatic atheists." Deists are like non-practicing Vegas card-counters; they know the math but don't have the guts to take a risk. And the faithful are the army of gamblers at every game in the casino. They know the odds are hopelessly against them, but they have learned that the reward is in the playing, not in the cold-blooded automatons who deal the cards and handle security.
I haven't looked at comments from the last post since the first one or two. I don't think I will (although I might). Fact is, I'm still laughing at atheists assaulting Rachel and then taking my bait. You're all tools.
MSM isn't much for remembering its own recent past, but here and there
one can find contrarians who look backward at times for a better view
of today. Here are some examples of relevant journalistic archeology,
all of them worth reading in full despite their length. I'm giving you
teasers only. What you do with them would be up to you.
Neal Boortz occasionally turns up a nugget of gold among the dross. This 1993 article from the New York Times is one of those. But those of us who continue to maintain that climate is more complex than computer models indicate are the ones supposed to be in denial.
The Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge is back in the news, with John
McCain reiterating his absurd comparison of that
off-the-edge-of-the-world locale with the Grand Canyon. Helpfully, one
of the editors at the National Review decided to dig up Jonah
Goldberg's account of his visit there in 2001. The whole piece is
long but engagingly written and chock full of details about all the key
variables, from the oil fields and their crews to the lives of the
caribou herds the armchair environmentalists think they are saving with
their oil-drilling ban.
Has the riddle of Barack Obama's 20 year association with Reverend
Wright and the Trinity United Church been resolved to everybody's
satisfaction? Well, maybe you missed this essay by the National
Kurtz, which dared to dig through the archives of Chicago
journalism for a profile of Obama written in 1995. There's more
evidence of what's going on in Obama's mind here than in the sum total
of the reportage you've received from the MSM during the campaign.
Finally, and just for fun, Mark Steyn is so good at what he does that
he regularly reposts old op-ed pieces of his, as requested by readers
of his blog. This one dates from the end of the Clinton Administration,
when he summarized that epoch for us in a useful A to Z format.
Okay. That's a lot of reading I've given you. But I guarantee you it will
be more illuminating than anything you find today at the Drudge Report
or RealClearPolitics. Because sometimes old news is, if not good news,
at least more informative than sensational.