Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hitler and Darwin

One is an analysis of how the plant and animal kingdoms appear to behave while the other is a twisted suggestion about how a certain group of humans should behave.

I don’t see why anyone thinks that would sense to compare them.

Some animals will eat their young. That is a scientific fact. If some group comes along and says humans should eat their young and we tried to blame the scientists for observing that behavior in animals that would be a really twisted interpretation.

Nazi behavior is the fault of the humans who engage in Nazi behavior and blaming anyone else is just making excuses for Nazis.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Christian Leaders who pander by attacking science

The specific trigger for this post is yet another article in yet another conservative publication suggesting that science is suppressing free speech in class rooms by teaching only theories supported by evidence.

Well we are talking about people who use religion to increase hate. Tomorrow they may be walking the line about hating the sin but loving the sinner when they act like they hate the sinner and envy him at the same time.

But today they are working on Evolution. Since the Discovery Institute was outed by the leak of the wedge document, many rational conservatives have assumed they mean what they say in the wedge - to replace science with something more in line with their religious beliefs.

And yes, that's the wedge strategy and I don't doubt they "mean it" and have some repressed level of their minds convinced that what they do is good.

But we who are either scientists or people with strong interest in learning about our world and the people in it need to look beyond the obvious. We can't just take then at the "secret word" any more than at their regular word...

I think if you look at what goes into a movement favoring heavy handed Christian government you will almost always see lot of small well intentioned workers, money, both big money and as well as a few dollars from granny's social security she couldn't really afford to send.

At the outflow you see good works, often high profile good works but never enough for what went in. Other outflows are political contacts, the ability to make phones ring and to give or take heat to politician and a much improved life style.

In short we are talking about for profit power building and using machinery. I doubt the leaders know or care much about evolution - Playing on fear in this day or any other can be just a convenient way get the masses to move the stones to build your pyramid.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Why Fred Thompson is right to not sign the "No increase in taxes" pledge.

There are atleast three good reason a Presidential candidate should not take the pledge.

1. The President is to uphold the constitution - not choose every decision in advance

2.We can’t keep living on Chinese credit cards - the paid for the Iraq war but we spent money the government does not have.

3. Grover Norquist - why would any American want to follow him or anyone associated with CAIR, Hamas and Hezbollah?

The vulnerability of the American economy is discussed in political but its a slow story, not sexy at all. But it is real.

When a household greatly increases their spending but the father stops working his second job that family goes into debt. If they owe money to bank of America, they are beholden to Bank of America but BOA wants basically the same things the family wants, a strong, secure economy so BOA can make money. This was the situation when the Reagan administration took us deeply into debt. We mainly borrowed from the Japanese and since our military keeps Japan safe that wasn't such bad people to owe money to. And the second job is the analogy is extra taxes. Like a father with a second job, high taxes have a real cost to the American family.

Under the Bush43 administration, the borrowing is largely from the Chinese. That's not quite as bad as a father borrowing from a loan shark, but China is not our friend. This makes us vulnerable to Chinese threats to disrupt our economy if China wishes to punish us.

The next President need to stop borrowing so much money from the Chinese. The Bush43 tax cuts were empty tax cuts - paid by borrowing not by cutting spending. If we cannot cut spending the President needs the option of raising taxes (or at least threatening to raise taxes) or we find that we owe China so much money our independence is threatened.

>>China threatens 'nuclear option' of dollar sales

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Last Updated: 8:39pm BST 10/08/2007

The Chinese government has begun a concerted campaign of economic threats against the United States, hinting that it may liquidate its vast holding of US treasuries if Washington imposes trade sanctions to force a yuan revaluation.

Fistful of dollars - China's trade surplus reached $26.9bn in June

Two officials at leading Communist Party bodies have given interviews in recent days warning - for the first time - that Beijing may use its $1.33 trillion (£658bn) of foreign reserves as a political weapon to counter pressure from the US Congress.

Shifts in Chinese policy are often announced through key think tanks and academies.

Described as China's "nuclear option" in the state media, such action could trigger a dollar crash at a time when the US currency is already breaking down through historic support levels.

It would also cause a spike in US bond yields, hammering the US housing market and perhaps tipping the economy into recession. It is estimated that China holds over $900bn in a mix of US bonds.<<

Friday, September 07, 2007

Defense of Marriage, One Man One Woman, Polygamy, Contract Families

I think the only long term solution to the split is society is not for one side to win but to separate the kind of marriage that the government recognizes and gives incentives for (i.e. Marriage - one man, one woman) from the kinds of households that people have a right to form by legal agreement, contract families, for lack of a better name.

Contract families could be semi-traditional - a heterosexual couple that is not married, a Grandmother and grand kids or two widows living together. But it could also be two women, two men , or three consenting adults anything we don’t have a constitutional reason to ban.

Contract families would not be anything we have to encourage - not anything the church needs to bless and not anything the government has to call marriage. They are the consensual relationships the people wish to formalize that the government has no right to interfere with. This could work just like any other contract - we don’t limit contracts by gender or how many people can sign a contract.

So that would exclude polygamous cults that force young girls to marry, and would exclude any arrangement with a child below the age of consent, incest, nonconsent, coercion, and anything else there is a constitutionally valid law against.

I don’t think we are ready but I see this as the logical, most workable solution to an otherwise intractable dispute.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Judge strikes down part of Patriot Act

>> NEW YORK - A federal judge struck down parts of the revised USA Patriot Act on Thursday, saying investigators must have a court's approval before they can order Internet providers to turn over records without telling customers.<<

I’ve said from the begining that parts of the Patriot act violate the Fourth ammendment.

>> The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.<<

While we try to be constitutional originalists but we have to deal with things that did not exist in 1789.

Clearly the right to bear arms includes guns. When side arms are ray guns it will include ray guns. But it did not include the right to buy a house next to the Capital and keep personal cannon pointed at congress. Likewise the right to bear arms now should not include nuclear weapons.

Likewise, personal information that would have been stored as papers should now be protected like our our papers. That means electronic records. The court is right. The President is wrong on this particular issue.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Democratic presidential contenders trash NAFTA

>> Free Trade is NOT free when the playing field is unequal.<<

Well, we are never going to prevent other countries from having lower wages. So you can have variants on three choices:

1. Have trade with them with no agreement
2. Put up trade barriers to stop trade
3. Have trade with them in an agreement that forces as much of the same regulatory burden on them as there is on us.

NAFTA, President Reagan’s dream is the best deal we could get. Free Trade agreements are like democracy - for all their faults, they are still better than the alternatives.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Senator Harry Reid has renewable energy plan to leave coal in the dust

Renewable energy?


So we are going to use our coal as much and as cleanly as possible until they get nuclear ramped up? Great!

Oh... they mean diverting the food supply to fuel and still staying dependent on oil from dictators.

Bummer. I thought for a minute we had a rational Senate Leader instead of a panderer with no common sense except for how to get elected.

>>In the week since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would do everything he could to block three proposed coal-fired power plants in Nevada, this much can be said:

He probably can carry off his threat, especially since they would be constructed on federal land. Just look at how he has stalled a waste repository at Yucca Mountain, where so much more is at stake for the nuclear power industry, which is clamoring for a place to bury radioactive fuel rods.

Environmentalists are embracing Reid's bold pronouncement, welcoming the high-profile addition to their campaign to shift the country away from fossil fuels at a pivotal moment.

But as the Democrat joins a growing chorus of politicians and environmentalists trying to distance the nation from coal, skeptics say he is putting his own state at risk because the nascent alternative-energy industry isn't ready to take on all of Nevada's energy needs.

Doug Fischer, a utilities analyst with the investment firm A.G. Edwards, said coal opponents, including Reid, could "put us in a bind where we're not going to have the energy we need."<<

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Zimbabwe passes eavesdrop law

>>”The government defended the new law saying it was necessary to protect the country from international terrorism and espionage.”<<

The problem is this is exactly what you say when its true but also exactly what you say when its an excuse for a power grab. Either way its an invitation to abuse so...

If the reason is real, its still key to keep checks and balances in place.

And that is my concern about our government. I have no doubt the threat is real and the solution is sincerely directed at meeting that threat. I’m concerned about the inevitable tendency to mission creep into abuse and the removal of checks and balances.

Not because I think this government is going to come get me in the night - its because this is too much power to give to future Presidents. The unitary executive is too much like a king and not enough like an American President should be.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Is there ANYTHING physical science majors can't do?

There are exceptions to every rule, including this one....

1. Go out with Cheerleaders, Models or Actresses prior to the IPO or buyout

2. Pass up an opportunity to point out how much more grounded in reality we are than mathematicians and how much more grounded we are in science than engineers.

3. Know less than three jokes in each of the following categories: cows, Microsoft, mathematicians and engineers

Disclaimer: Point #3 only applies to those scientists who are functional enough to communicate with normal human beings.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Water, Evolution and God (Is our vision of God too small?)

From a discussion on related to a story on World Net Daily called
Research: God did speak world into existence
Student's scientific documentation offers evidence of biblical account

>>1."Where did the water come from?
why is this a question as if it shows God cant exist?

2.Evolutionists cant explain it, yet say that Evolution is a forgone conclusion, and nothing else can be taught in schools...?

3. If the Evolutionists cant explain where the water came from ...why can they teach Evolution as Fact? yet God is
disproved by it??? <<

1. Water (on earth at least) is largely the product of volcanic outgassing (i.e. it came out of volcanoes) (footnote A)

2. Much of the water predated life on earth and thus it isn't primarily an evolution question but the early life forms added to the water content. (footnote B)

3. The theories related to evolution in no way disprove God. It was actually through the study of science and seeing the beauty, majesty and symmetry of the universe that I became open minded enough to be ready to believe when the time came and I had a personal experience with God. There is no conflict between exploring and learning about the universe and belief in God. Man, during the time the bible was written would not have been able to understand beyond the level of detail in the bible. We did not yet have concepts like "billions" or light years or atoms. (footnote C)


Footnote A. Other gasses produced by outgassing include carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrochloric acid (HCl), methane (CH4), ammonia (NH3), nitrogen (N2) and various sulfur gasses sulfur gases. BTW, the CO and the CO2 were largely used up by the weathering of minerals. That likely why there is so much calcium carbonate (limestone, seashells, chalk marble etc.) and silica (sand, quartz and part of limestone). There is some debate about the water content- there is a competing model called the accretion theory but it is contradicted by the banded iron formations and sulfide minerals.

Footnote B. I'm only a physicist - you could probably get a better answer from someone with a biology related background. But basically there was no free oxygen - rocks older than about 2 billion years contain banded iron layers that would not have formed if there was very much oxygen available. Outgasses from volcanoes contain basically no free oxygen so the oxygen of the atmosphere is almost completely the product of the photosynthetic activity of green plants.

Footnote C. Some of the things that led me to be open minded were the way that the math for the flow of water and the math for electricity are so similar - the way that the number pi appears everywhere from the tiniest particles to circles to distant stars and the way that everywhere we look patterns are found among seeming chaos. I concluded that my vision of God was too small - that he is not limited by what he told Abraham and the other prophets. It makes me wonder what else there is that we are not yet ready to understand. It make me want to try harder to examine creation and better under. I suspect my vision of God is still too small - I just don't know in what way it is too small, much as Abraham couldn't forsee what we would later learn about chemistry and physics..

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Al-Sadr looks to lie low, outlast U.S.

Al-Sadr personally may not survive us but people who think like him will outlast the dominant American presence in Iraq - barring some sort of nuclear disaster, there will always be radical anti-western Shiites in Iraq and we will not always have large numbers of troops there.

So the question is not "will Sadr's ilk outlast us in Iraq?" - the question is "Will we leave in place a government that will protect both the rights of the majority and the minorities while having the strength and determination to deal with extremists whether they are Shiite or Sunni or Iranian/Syrian invaders?"

If we want that question answered in such a way that American interests will be protected and those Iraqis who have supported us will not slaughtered then we cannot just pick up and leave on any arbitrary time table.