Monday, May 18, 2009

Palin's First 100 Days

This is a great evaluation of her many missteps.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mocking the Tea Party Protests

Chances are you saw the CNN reporter and the tea party protest.  To my shock Obama mocked the people all over the country for daring to challenge his his policies.  This is just more of Obama's guns and relgion comments. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Google Holidays

I noticed that today Google had a special page in celebration of Earth Day. Google celebrates with a special logo for every holiday from Darwin's Birthday to Monet's. But on Easter the central holiday of the world's largest religion was not considered worthy of celebration.

I guess in this religion-phobic world it is a pretty venial thing. Especially, when you realize that Google is doing the heavy lifting of totalitarian censorship for China. Maybe Easter was just was not communist friendly enough.

I guess you could argue that Google is learning that when you are big you go with the lesser of two evils. There of course have been the questions of privacy from this company who records everything from tool bar searches to photographs of your neighborhood. Google map's street level maps of, well everything, have caused some worry not just to local populations but also police.

Don't Be Evil?

Don't be naive.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He Is Risen! Hallelujah!

I am celebrating the victory of the Living Lord over death. I wish you all a beautiful Resurrection Sunday.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Today we are remembering the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Verse of the Week 3/10

The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him a habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. Exodus 15:2

Friday, March 06, 2009

Obama's Plan

You can always count on The Onion to give us the news straight.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Scaling The God Delusion

Here is an excellent serious on Richard Dawkin's God Delusion. By the Apologist Veritas.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Debate

Please watch this debate I feel it shows a strong defense of Christian historicity.

Debate 2 from atheist debate on Vimeo.

I actually, got this wonderful debate from a website called "The Intelligent Zone" which is either a very irrational defense of atheism or some sort of parity of the New Atheist Movement.

Monday, September 29, 2008

End of Plague

I have ended my debate with the Next Turn on the topic of plague. He has pretty much given up and I hope to speak with him about other topics in the future.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Only Prayer

TheNextTurn sent me the following email. He is trying to limit the debate to prayer and not religious practice. I feel like when push come to shove he has begun to agree with my main point (which is good). Also, I feel like he has been acting like an adult so he has won my respect.

HI Poetsong,

I think I found why we seem to be talking past each other.

"To clarify our argument was "Did religious practice contribute the suffering during the plague or was it a help?”" but then I protested that we should only look and Christian religious practice and you did not have problem with that."

You see I was under the assumption that we are debating if prayer and repentance specifically helped or hurt the effort to defeat/stop the black plague.

We better clarify this before we continue.

If the debate is did religious practice as a whole help or hurt during the plague I would say it both helped and hurt depending on the specific situation but I would certainly say it would have been way worse if religion was not there and there was nothing to replace it


Here was my reply.

Hi TheNextTurn

I think it will be really difficult have any meaningful debate about just prayer and repentance as a method of combating the Black Plague for a couple reasons.

1) You come into this, disqualifying any possibility of miraculous mercy from God, which I think very possible. Any debate we have will really be about this and I don’t believe either of us will be able to prove our positions.
2) The context of this topic is going to be really Catholic and with the Catholics (and some Protestants) there is not always a sharp distinction between things like worship, repentance, and prayer. Prayer can be an action.

Repentance has to be an action, it can be things like talking to a priest or going on pilgrimage (which would seem unhelpful) but it can also be caring for the poor and giving back stolen things (which you would find helpful).

3) There is no real alternative except things we will both have to make up, prayer and spirituality have always been part of human society. There is no “control set” as it were.

Also, in general our disagreement is really starting to be the point of me being a Christian and you being an atheist. We might be well served to move on to another topic.



Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Plague: Other Arguments Answered

He said {“I don’t know how this is suggestive that people might have been better off if Europe had not had religious beliefs. “
You keep saying that I am suggesting that people were better off without religion. That is a completely different argument and I am not arguing it here. I am saying prayer itself did nothing to find a cure to the disease and those prayers did nothing. Other prayers asking for strength to survive this plague certainly would have helped people.}

I don’t understand, that sounds circular: prayer did not help because prayer does not help. I have all our conversation on my blog and our topic was the role of the Christian religion, which you felt made things worse.

He said {“Finally, spiritual needs of the people, while you don’t consider it real, was very urgent to the people at the time and it is an articulated need of most of humanity to this day. It was in this area that the people felt most cheated.”
No I think spiritual needs are real.}

I am glad to hear it.

He said {“Even in early Middle Ages before the plague there was a wide market in anti- rodent remedies (Kelly 65).”
Its too bad they didn’t investigate this as a possible solution, unfortunately it was much later when people realized that rodents are notorious for spread disease. Now that’s a secular idea that should have been investigated.}

It would not have helped, more cleanliness would have helped but the people knew that. People were doing their best to control rats, obviously they could not.

You said {“Why didn’t God clearly explain germ theory, or explain the dangers of letting the rodent population get out of hand?”}

Look this is a what is called “begging the question”. You are saying if there was really a God, He would have had to tell people about Germ Theory and since we were not taught germ theory there is no God. However, there could just as easily be a God that did not teach us germ theory.

Here is an example:

Tommy: My dad is a jet fighter pilot
Bill: Have you ever been up in a plane?
Tommy: No.
Bill: Well, if you Dad were really a jet fighter pilot he would have taken you up in a plane.

He said {Why did God only provide help which was already obvious to people, such as cleanliness?
“It was not oblivious. It is only oblivious to you since you were raised in a society where this was common knowledge.”
Obvious may be too strong of a word I would say that the effects of an unclean situation were within the grasp of the average person, since unclean situations provide sensory information.
Your eyes can see how disgusting bodies are when they rot.
Your nose will smell the awful smell when an unclean situation arises.
You hands can feel the dirtiness, sliminess etc.}

This is more of the same argument that I rejected above. Your questions about what God should have done don’t really show anything. However, would like to point out that you are right we do find filth naturally repulsive but there are more and less effective ways of dealing with this. Galin for example suggested smelling flowers and burning fires to cover up bad smells. I would consider this an unhelpful answer.

He said {In the end I would say that secular and divine did happen, I have changed my mind to the frequency of the secular causes. But every prayer to God asking him to stop the plague or provide a solution to it was just as mush of a waste as Astrological investigations.
Do you think these specific events were a waist of time?}

Your question assumes that prayer is never in and of itself helpful which I (like most people) disagree with you about. However, I have endeavored to show that people prayed in addition to and not instead of taking action. Christianity does not teach people not to take actions but to pray and take independent action, as I show Biblical quotes to prove. They would have been better off avoiding Galin based medicine anyway even if they took no action but prayer.

Astrology was a scientific dead end so was the alchemy and magical thinking the Christians were struggling to suppress. Only when these died could European minds start making their strongest advances. But even Astrology has to thank the Christians for their intellectual tools such as writing, numbers, as well as Greek, Roman and Arab sciences.

It would not be until the monk Mendel made his famous experiments with beans that we would get the foundation for the biology necessary to create the antibiotics which to this day remain the only helpful treatment for this disease.

The only other tool against this disease is a religiously derived on…..Quarantine. Which is still the a major strategy used to combat this disease today.

He said {1..“Since religion dominated life in seventeenth-century Italy, prayer was naturally an important weapon against the plague. When the plague worsened in Florence during the summer of 1633, an order came from the Commissioner of Health requiring nuns to pray continuously for the next 40 days for divine.”
13. “Flagellants, religious fanatics of 13th-century Europe who proclaimed the imminence of the wrath of God against corruption and, as a religious rite, practiced public, self-inflicted scourging. The sect arose in Perugia, in central Italy, in 1259-60 and is said to have numbered 10,000.”
15. In 1348, Pope Clement VI led a pilgrimage to Rome for mass prayers to appease God. However, over 90% of the pilgrims fell prey to the very plague that they had tried to prevent.}

Would these uneducated nuns have developed antibiotics? The Flagellants are heretics and many of their teachings were pagan. Would these traumatize people have been inventing the scientific method of prayer were taken away from them?

He said “Considering my other sources that says repentance was used as the main weapon against the plague also shows that a lot of time waited asking or hoping God would provide the answers. This time could have been used to figure out what natural causes spread the plague or least developing a method to figure out the unknown.”

I think that it should be clear that people would not have been looking for a scientific answer if prayer was unavailable. Fatalism and not inquiry marked the unbelievers at this time. Astrology taught nothing but fate and a wild mysterious universe that can not be known. The science of the time had failed these people and instead they were seeking God’s help for this life and the next one.

The Bible offered hope of a knowable universe that could be investigated and had rational natural laws as well as reveled spiritual ones.

These spiritual warnings in Amos could have prevented this plague and repenting (changing behavior) might have limited the recursions of the disease. This was possible not by quick medical answers but by people using their existing medical knowledge to protect the poor from unhealthy conditions.

Take Care,