Monday, September 8, 2008

The title says it all...

From Slate:

What's the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? Lipstick

A theocrat is a theocrat, whether Muslim or Christian.

By Juan Cole

Oh. My. G-d! Read the article if you can stomach it, at Slate. So the Muslim theocracy is equivalent to the Christian theocracy. Hmm. Let’s see, point-by-point:

How does Islam deal with non-believers? From the Koran: 4.89 : They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah's way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.

Slay them wherever ye find them and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. - 2:191

If you should die or be killed in the cause of Allah, His mercy and forgiveness would surely be better than all they riches they amass. If you should die or be killed, before Him you shall all be gathered. - 3:157-8

But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever you find them. - 4:89

Allah will humble the unbelievers. Allah and His apostle are free from obligations to idol-worshipers. Proclaim a woeful punishment to the unbelievers. - 9:2-3

Fight those who believe neither in God nor the Last Day, nor what has been forbidden by God and his messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, even if they are People of the Book, until they pay the tribute and have been humbled. - 9:29 (another source: ) The unbelievers are impure and their abode is hell. (another source: ) Humiliate the non-Muslims to such an extent that they surrender and pay tribute.

O Prophet! Make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites. Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey's end. - 9:73

When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks, then when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds, then set them free, either by grace or ransom, until the war lays down its burdens. - 47:4

How does Christianity, or Judaism, or any other religion you know of deal with non-believers? Certainly not like this!

How about making friends? From the Koran: 5.51: O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.

If I’m not mistaken, the other religions have no similar rule. The point of this is, Islam is unlike other religions. While Judaism and Christianity (the basis of our culture) has a small set of Commandments, the theology is primarily a personal mindset helping to define the individual’s relationship with the Creator. Islam is very different. It commands the adherent in inflexible, violent ways of personal, societal, military, criminal, civil, and every other aspect of life.

There are no moderate Islamists, because Islam punishes apostasy with death -- except in this country, since Sharia law is (thankfully) not in effect. But if Islam gains strength here, so-called moderates would become orthodox, for fear of punishment.

So the statement “A theocrat is a theocrat, whether Muslim or Christian” is made either in ignorance of the realities of Islam, or were written to deceive. You decide which.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Just who are the Democrats?

There are different kinds of people rooting for Obama. Speaking in the broadest possible generalities, they fall into three groups: the traditional Democrats, airheads, and Socialists.

Old school Democrats are the heart of the party, of course, but losing their stomach for the recent swing leftward. These people are good Americans, who care more for fairness for the little guy than being competitive. They are willing to sacrifice freedom for an assuredness of outcome. They want to get their job and never have to worry about looking for another. They appreciate Unions more than their employers, because the Unions promise them stability and guarantees, while the employers reward value and ambition. The main events of their lives: birth, first job, marriage, kids, retirement, death. The important stuff happens in between, but it’s all day-to-day, Budweiser state fair, tv watching, NFL and NASCAR stuff. There’s nothing wrong with this outlook. To some people, the job and the chase for an ever higher salary is a low or non-existent priority. It’s another hue in the American palette.

The primary target of the Democrat party is the second type. These are the born followers. During the ‘60’s, these were the kids who became non-conformists to fit in with the cool kids, wearing the anti-establishment uniform of tie-dye shirts, ragged blue jeans, long hair, and of course, mind-expanding altering drugs. These are generally intellectually lazy types: In school, they could never master math, never grasped science, and couldn’t handle all the dates in history class. They might have enjoyed art class, poetry, acting, music – all the subjective courses that required simple mimicry to squeak by, instead of mastery of processes of reasoning. [Important note: in the arts, there is no “right” or “wrong”. Everything is relative. Expanding on this nonsense, it is not a stretch to see how the same lack of values has been applied to other areas, such as moral relativism]

Success in this artsy universe requires a smidgeon of talent and recitation of buzzwords, phrases, slogans, and acceptance by the like-minded. This explains why Hollywood leans so heavily to the left. Actors are basically people with no personalities of their own who pretend to be people with personalities. They likewise have no substantial intellect or skills – hence their attraction to Hollywood, despite the ridiculous odds against success there. These people, like fish swimming in schools, will dart in the direction of the group, justifying thoughts by “feelings” and “vibes”. If pressed for something that sounds rational, they will establish an arbitrary “truth” (e.g., Bush lied us into the Iraq war) and draw a pained logic from that point. These people use arguments such as “well, everyone knows…”, “Karl Rove plotted…”, “the NY Times wrote that…”. They don’t question the prevailing left-wing wisdom – ever – they build upon on it.

Successful leftists of the second order are besieged by guilt because, under all the artificiality, they realize at some level that they are just plain lucky. But like the primitives they really are, they are also hoarders. They know there are people less fortunate than themselves who would benefit from charity, but want everyone else to pay for it. This is how they justify social program by the government. They seriously believe it is government’s role to be everyone’s Santa Claus, everyman’s sugar daddy. They take no personal responsibility for themselves or for their fellow man. As Arthur Brooks writes in “WHO REALLY CARES: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism”, Basic Books, 1996:
• Households headed by a conservative gave 30 percent more money to charity in 2000 than liberal families, despite earning less money, on average.
• In 2002, conservative Americans were more likely to donate blood each year, and did so more often than liberals.
• Conservatives are the most giving of their time and their money in every single possible area and every single possible bracket.
• Liberal young Americans in 2004 were also significantly less likely than the young conservatives to express a willingness to sacrifice for their loved ones: A lower percentage said they would prefer to suffer than let a loved one suffer, that they are not happy unless the loved one is happy, or that they would sacrifice their own wishes for those they love.

The third wing of the Democrat party is the most secretive, and most troublesome, and commanding the most control of the party…the true socialists. They do not love America; they just love the American Real Estate. The Socialists want to eradicate our way of government and economics, and even our behaviors, and replace them with a Socialist utopia. In many ways, they have already had some success. Our government is mired in funding all kinds of social programs, most or all of which could be done better in the private sector (more on this in future columns). The socialists want true income redistribution, state ownership of personal property through confiscatory income taxes, and state control or outright appropriation of commerce and industry. What’s in it for them, you may ask? In every historic example of socialism, the elites got to enjoy the fruits of the labor of the masses, while controlling or eliminating competing ideas…at least until the system collapsed under its own weight of corruption.

These Socialists knowingly tell half-truths and outright lies to gain power. They use double-speak as a matter of course. Just look at the jargon:

• Right to affordable health care: sounds innocuous, but what is meant is single-source (government) mandatory health insurance, or even a fully government-run health care system.
• Pro-choice: abortion is the only choice they promote.
• Tax the wealthy: really, confiscate even more money earned by taxpayers and redistribute it to those who neither earn nor pay taxes.
• Conserving energy/Containing Global Warming: really, curtailing your freedom
• Working Americans: non-working Americans and illegal immigrants
• Community Organizer: voter fraud enabler

These Socialists are really running the show, but are doing it in disguise. Obama can talk to both sides of an issue and get away with it…the socialists know when he’s lying, and the airheads have no working memory, they really like Obama because he’s so dreamy! But the traditional Democrats are losing patience. They are in the majority, and have been biting their collective tongue when they hear the doublespeak. These Democrats are not Anti-Americans, pro-abortion, anti-religion, anti-capitalists. They’re just willing to put up with some unwanted government programs so that they get their union jobs and free retirement benefits from Social Security. But enough is enough.

Once the smokescreen is blown away, and the Socialists are seen for who they are, it should not be difficult for the traditional Democrats to switch to the pro-American party. We’ve seen Geraldine Ferraro testing the waters on the other side on the single issue of a woman as a VP. This isn’t the only issue that’s pushing people over the edge. The entirety of the Democrat campaign has been a touchy-feely campaign custom-made to attract airheads. It’s much harder to answer policy questions with sufficient truthfulness without irritating true Americans, whether they are old Democrats or modern Republicans.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

On Evolution, Part I

This is the first in what I hope becomes a series of blathers on the topic of Evolution. Fortunately everyone is of like minds on this topic. But I’ll give it a go anyway, as I am not hearing discussions that hit the key points that I’d like to hear. It’s not that I will only listen to people who agree with my conclusions, rather, I would like to hear certain sub-topics on evolution discussed, whereas they are “tip-toed” around, or worse yet, omitted.

Whenever I start a conversation on Evolution, I am always “forced” to make a couple of preamblic statements, primarily to keep from being summarily ignored, secondarily to keep me from being drawn and quartered.

First off, I do not believe in the literal interpretation of the olde English version of the bible, as translated from Latin, as translated from Ancient Greek, as translated from Hebrew. Call me nuts, but I never believed the bible was meant to be taken as a video-tape-accurate journal of events. And since the Genesis of the Universe was populated by relatively few historians, it would be asking quite a bit to have an accurate play-by-play.

Second, I do not believe that Charles Darwin fabricated a tale of lies simply as an anti-religious manifesto. Actually, there is quite a lot in the theory of Evolution that seems to hold up well to scrutiny. [Here is where I am usually referred to as a bible thumper, knuckle-dragger, flat-earther, or worst of all, a creationist!] But I am convinced the theory itself is deeply flawed, and this defect is made painfully obvious by fossil evidence and observation.

This next statement is another one that brands me a heathen in the scientific community: there is much about living organisms that strongly suggest, or force the conclusion of, Intelligent Design. Whenever I mention “Intelligent Design”, I am officially labeled a “creationist” and summarily tarred and feathered without a trial. But by “Intelligent Design”, I simply identify things that are obviously engineered, not random occurrences. For example, take the DNA molecule. This is really quite incredible. It is the largest known molecule of any kind, far more complicated than any plastic, any medicinal compound.

DNA is not just a molecule. First, it is a storehouse of information. As a brief refresher, the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) resembles a twisted ladder. From my buddies at Wikipedia:

Chemically, DNA consists of two long polymers of simple units called nucleotides, with backbones made of sugars and phosphate groups joined by ester bonds. These two strands run in opposite directions to each other and are therefore anti-parallel. Attached to each sugar is one of four types of molecules called bases. It is the sequence of these four bases along the backbone that encodes information. This information is read using the genetic code, which specifies the sequence of the amino acids within proteins.

Let’s say in the near future we will have fully understood everything about E. Coli -- the simplest single-celled organism we are aware of, with only one chromosome (we humans have 23 pairs). This means we can identify the cell’s internal chemistry, interactions of constituent components, susceptibility to heat, light, gravity, radiation, etc. And further, the interaction of the cell with other E. Coli as well as different organisms…namely its behavior. We would understand every who, what, when, where, and why of the organism and its behavior. If we were to document this bacterium fully, it would take something on the order of 1,000 encyclopedic volumes. And let’s not forget, unlike the first publishing of our future book-of-the-month club underseller, the E. Coli DNA is absolutely complete and correct. We could only hope this would be true with our hypothetical library.

The E. Coli DNA is a bit more efficient at documenting itself, as it is truly microscopic, versus our theoretical “Encyclopedia Escherichia Coliannica”, which would fill a wing of the local library. But even that comparison is misleading, as the DNA does not simply record the information, and do it in incredibly compressed format. Oh, no, it does far, far more than just that. For starters, the data is encrypted in such a way that our greatest minds and most powerful computers still are struggling to understand the most basic information, often incompletely or totally incorrectly. At this point, I like to ask a key question: why encrypt the information? For argument’s sake, let’s posit that somehow DNA was assembled at random. How can it be that nature favored encoding the information stored in the DNA molecule over a straightforward, easy-to-read version. The way the organism deftly deals with its own genetic information, it has no problem whatsoever with encoding and decoding the molecule. Seems to me, the only people who have trouble with this encryption is…US! But the DNA molecule was created literally billions of years before there were human beings around to annoy with an infinitely challenging encrypted, compressed, complex treasure chest of single-cellular information.

...the odds against DNA assembling by chance are 10^40,000 (that's 10 to the power of 40,000 LOL) to one [according to Fred Hoyle, Evolution from Space,1981]This is true, but highly misleading. DNA did not assemble purely by chance. It assembled by a combination of chance and the laws of physics. Without the laws of physics as we know them, life on earth as we know it would not have evolved in the short span of six billion years. The nuclear force was needed to bind protons and neutrons in the nuclei of atoms; electromagnetism was needed to keep atoms and molecules together; and gravity was needed to keep the resulting ingredients for life stuck to the surface of the earth.

--Victor J. Stenger*

But wait, there’s more to DNA than just a compressed, encoded, complete description of the organism. DNA is a mechanism, and an incredibly complicated one at that. It takes the information about the organism and causes the proteins and other molecules that get the organism formed and functioning in the first place. Think of it as the engineering blueprints that create the assembly line. The molecule even creates proteins on its surface that adds another layer of encoded instructions, called epigenetics, just in case you felt the DNA molecule was just too simple! So the molecule isn’t just the rulebook but the rule engine. And here’s where it wins the Ronco multifunction seal of approval…the DNA molecule replicates itself, checks for errors, and corrects itself, too!

Now, let’s look beyond a single celled organism. In a multi-celled organism, like YOU, the same exact DNA is in each cell, telling that cell to be a skin cell, a neuron, a nipple cell, whatever. This DNA molecule is the supercoach, understanding every possible function of the whole organism, and telling each individual cell how to do its job… and not just telling it, but actually setting up the whole environment for it, by producing the proteins that make the cell function. So not only does the DNA molecule tell the liver cell to do liver-type stuff, it tells the whole organism to do stuff…tells the robin red-breast to have a red-breast, tells it what songs to sing, how to build a nest, what to feed the chicks, to beware of cats, what a darkening, humid sky means…it knows EVERYTHING!

And it happened by accident. No, I’m sorry, I cannot even pretend to believe that. The DNA molecule is an extraordinary bit of engineering, far beyond humankind’s ability to replicate. If you watch Star Trek and marvel at the futuristic technology of phasers, transporters, and warp speed, this double helix must really blow you away! It is perfectly descriptive, highly compressed, brilliantly encrypted, self-replicating, self-repairing, and hundreds, thousands, or millions of years more advanced than anything we have developed with any of these attributes. No scientist or technologist can honestly say he is not humbled by the engineering genius of DNA. What tends to steer the scientific community away from admitting the obvious nature of DNA is the resulting question: “if it was engineered, then by whom?”