Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The Intellectual Death Toward which Secularism is Taking our Society, part 3

             Take notice also of the wholesale failure of secularism to, by rational means, achieve the very autonomous freedom it is seeking on its own terms.  Indeed no potential grounds exist for expecting its ultimate success for the reason that the challenge which lies in its way doesn’t consists of a few missing pieces to a puzzle that will surely soon be discovered.  The problem is rather of a systemic nature which forces the choice between either embracing rationality wholesale and consequently following the facts where they lead,[1] or settling for increasing disintegration of the foundations which societies have de-pended on for their security.  My worldview (based on Scripture) is that nature is not a chaos but very demonstrably[2] a cosmos (the Greek word meaning “orderly arrangement”).  That the created order is, as the term suggest, a cosmos means logically that the current secularist posture of playing loose with rationality cannot endlessly continue, for the reason that our rational[3] Creator (John 1:1-3) has infused into his handiwork inviolable laws extending from physics all the way to morality.  Consequently, in today’s contention between theo-centerism and autonomy, one of these viewpoints cannot prevail!

               In Isaiah 59:14, the prophet spoke during one bleak period in Israel’s history of rebellion against the authority of God in terms in terms of violating the concept of truth by mourning, “Truth is fallen in the public square.”  Although the Bible doesn’t define truth, it everywhere employs that concept in a manner consistent with Aristotle’s views that:  1) truth is an assertion of fact which in fact harmonizes with the state of affairs that it describes, and 2) truth is a concept which one is obligated to obey. 
Nevertheless, the absence of truth that Isaiah bemoaned was (and is) limited in scope.  Truth has in actual fact NOT fallen in either heaven or God’s creation.  In addition to the truthful character of His own Being, He has also instilled order into his creation both morally and ontologically.[4]  Nevertheless, whatever we do in defiance of his will results in chaos in our every interaction with it.  It is out of God’s love that He designed us to live in harmony with His will.  Just as symphonic orchestra players must follow their conductor to produce beautiful music together, so we are called to be reconciled to our Maker and Redeemer through His Son Jesus Christ.  God invites each and every person to turn away from our independence from Him, and take the step of receiving His salvation and forgiveness (2 Cor. 5:17-6:2).  It by this course alone the He can set us into both a harmonious relationship with Himself and restore us into a functional relationship with His created order.  Yet this is also the only means to know harmony with God’s creation and redemption, both individually and across society.  I fully acknowledge that my forthcoming conclusion may broadly be received with ridicule.  Yet in fact, the present course of our culture yields no indication that it is progressing toward the better.  Nothing less then is called for than turning from our present course and participating together in Christian salvation and reformation.

[1] Former atheist Antony Flew employs Plato’s words to describe his journey into deism in his book, There is a God. (Harper 2007), p. 56 .
[2] See my pamphlet, “His Prints are Everywhere!” Op.cit. (19).
[3] The Greek word designating the creator in this passage is logos, from which our word “logic” (and rationality) is employed.
[4] Ontology is a branch of knowledge which considers the very nature of existence in all its material aspects.

Friday, November 1, 2019

The Intellectual Death toward which Secularism is Taking Society, part 2

                Furthermore, secularists commit the double-standard fallacy by imposing alternative absolutes onto others with a level of conviction that resembles moral authority, while they at the same time deny moral absolutes on their allegation that they are not a rationally-valid category of argumentation.
               Equally bewildering is the propensity of secularists to subordinate scientific data to a merely pragmatic[1] (as opposed to absolute) role, thereby betraying their true indifference toward the authoritative role science ought to play before us all.  It is after all because of its long-acclaimed deference to science as the ultimate arbiter in scientific truth matters, that secularism derides “religious” people for elevating creeds above scientific facts.  I actually affirm the privilege of scientists to identify as scientific[2] truth what is discovered by following where evidence leads, independent of religious dogma.[3]  So it is galling for secularists to then deride Christians for opposing scientific evidence[4] when the former ignore it too when (because?) it conflicts with, to give but one example, the transgenderism (TG) movement.[5]  TG persons insist not only on the right to use whichever showers they desire; they also demand that society as a whole identify TG people by the gender they each prefer, irrespective of their anatomical and genetic constitution.  Furthermore, bureaucrats have recently legally obligated citizens to ignore these facts under the threat of debilitating lawsuits.  At bottom, biological facts concerning genetic and anatomical realities are officially being suppressed [6] to the end that ideology is now trumping science.

Furthermore, it isn’t only members of TG, but public educators too, who although mandated to instill critical-thinking skills in the light of reality, instead propagandize students away from the facts of life (in the larger sense).  This ploy undermines the very consciences of the latter.  In addition sadly, the scientific community, despite the guidance our society expects it to provide; by its failure to rebuke these falsehood instead encourages the intellectual travesties to continue unchallenged.  None of these errors are complex to such a degree as to require formal training in philosophy in order for lay people to discern their flaws, provided they aren’t badgered into silence.  Both errors violate the golden rule of “doing unto others what you would wish to be done unto you” (Rom. 2:1-3), while the second error also entails “cherry-picking” which facts to embrace and which to ignore based purely on their own private wishes.  Notice that St. Paul’s very first reference to sin in his Letter to the Romans entails suppressing evidence that, in his context, pertains to confronting and thereby convicting sinners that there must be a Creator of all things (Rom. 1:18-20).  In addition, the rest of that chapter prophetically narrates the path toward self-destruction which logically follows from denying God’s rightful lordship in the first place.             To be continued...

[1] Pragmatism considers whether a given proposition seems beneficial as opposed to whether it is actually true.
[2] That is, scientific conclusions only. Theological conclusions are based on revelation which is manifest through the Bible.
[3] See my essay, “Defusing the Alleged Conflict Between Scientific Fact and the Text of Genesis 1,” which can be accessed, together with all of my essays, at my website: www.christianityontheoffense.com.
[4] I do concede that Christians partly contribute to the secularist’ impression I just described by their misinterpreting Scripture. See my essay,   “Does the Bible Permit Denigrating Science in order to Maintain our Faith?” Op.cit. (19).
[5]I am NOT passing on persons experiencing sexual identity confusion, but on the irrational ways this matter is treated by societal leaders.  
[6] See my letter to the editor of the Everett Herald, “Self-Contradictory Policies of ‘Liberal’ Transgenderism Public Policy.” Op.cit. (19).

Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Intellectual Death toward which Secularism is Taking Society, part 1

                Scientifically-minded people may appreciate science fiction as a means to retreat from the pressures of everyday life, or as a catalyst to assist their imaginations in thinking outside the box; but they won’t ordinarily[1] seek from it the details for solving concrete problems concerning the actual world (e.g. getting to the moon and back or building a bridge from both ends).  Human beings cannot create our own reality.  Neither can we even manipulate it in violation of the laws of physics and nature in general.  For example, despite our perception of light at the quantum-level in physics that implied to renowned physicist Dr. Niels Bohr that we by our very observation of light actually makes it behave differently than it would if we weren’t watching it, further scientific analysis has concluded otherwise.[2]

               The 41 story, 514 foot Rainier Tower in Seattle, Washington rests on a base that is far narrower than are the building’s horizontal dimensions.  On first sight it seems to be very vulnerable to toppling, especially in the midst of the earthquake-prone Puget Sound region.  Yet despite its apparent defiance of the laws of gravity when observed at ground level,[4] the extensive cement base that extends downward 87 feet below grade and is surrounded by the appropriate rock and gravel fill, has ensured that it would stand secure, just as it indeed has for over 40 years.  It is certain that no contractor would ever seek to construct a structure (as opposed to compose a fiction) that ignored the facts of nature. Yet our increasingly autonomy-driven[5] culture imagines that it can ignore time-tested rational principles in its determination to create a new utopian society.

From the initial rupture of public sexual boundaries in the 1960s, all the way to the denial in certain cases[6] of even a semblance[7] of boundaries, including both personal[8] and society-wide ones[9] in a span of just six decades, we are witnessing the disintegration of both the glue and the discriminative[10] tools that are absolutely vital for holding civilizations together.[11]  Our culture is currently entangled in two fundamental self-contradictory errors; the first of which commits internal logical inconsistencies, while the second seeks to create “new realities” on the basis of conceptually-impossible incongruities.

               As for the first error, it is ironic that at the same time that secularists are casting off so-described “hindrances” derived from moral statutes grounded on traditional religious authority; with the same fury as the “religious fanatics” that they decry, they are imposing a very different set of imperatives onto society.  These strictures can only consist of rules naively grounded on auto[12]-inspiration[13] which carries no metaphysical weight.[14]  Also they can be upheld only by threats from unaccountable leaders clinging to absolute authority who, as Mao Zedong conceded, maintain their power by “the power of a gun.”[15]  The notion that autonomous humans can evade this dilemma out of a belief that we are objective thinkers and morally sound, is entirely untenable in view of the bleak track-record of the human race.[16]  In sum, those who would cast aside morality in order to achieve an idealized freedom seem to be utterly oblivious to the reality that they are merely replacing a moral code with a self-derived one for which they force their power and agenda onto the rest of society by means of unnamed and un-elected people.        To be continued...

[1] There are exceptions. See https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/02/08/jules-verne-prophet-of-science-fiction
[2] Hugh Ross. The Creator and the Cosmos: How Latest Scientific Discoveries Reveal God, 3rd ed. (RTB, 2018), pp. 153f.
[5] A self-guided conscience and will that is independent from either from God or His moral standards.
[6] With respect to certain perspectives on sexual identity and “identity politics.”
[7] As of February 13, 2014, ABC News writer Russell Goldman identified 58 gender options for Facebook users (https://abcnews.com).
[8] In the 60s the societal plea was for acceptance of homosexuals (HS). In the 70s the demand was shifted to affirming HS as a valid lifestyle. In the 80s it was demanded that HS couples be treated as married couples if they so desired, which then led to the insistence that HS marriage be declared the equivalent in both status and privilege to heterosexual marriage.
[9] Vocal advocates of the Democrat political party, with virtual unanimity, decry the concept of controlled borders between the U.S. and Mexico.
[10] The very fact that popular culture decries the notion of discrimination is in itself an indication that our society is in the process of intellectual disintegration. Although popular culture takes the term to stand for employing a double-standard as to how separate parties of people can treated unequally, the term actually stands for employing both a fair and thoughtful standard for picking between options on the basis of the best available evidence that is independent of personal preferences.  In the absence of such reflection, mistakes are sure to follow.
[11] Social critic C.P. Snow once stated, “Civilization is hideously fragile and there’s not much between us and the horrors beneath, just about a coat of varnish.” Cited in the American Family Journal, (November, December, 1991), p. 19.
[12] The term, “auto” appears frequently as a preposition in this paper.  It basically means “self,” just as automobile means “self-mobilized.”
[13] That is to say that, at the same time that they may be idealistic, they evade the notion of being accountable to a higher judge.
[14] A chief tenet of secularism is that humans are solely physical entities who possess neither soul nor psyche that is separate from pure matter.
[15]Every Communist must grasp the truth that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun" and, “Our Principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party,” are statements from Chairman Mao Zedong in his message, Problems on War and Strategy found at the website: Mao Zedong on War and Revolution. http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/special/china_1900_mao_war.htm.
[16] Reinhold Niebuhr. https://www.christiancentury.org/article/2014-06/unoriginal-sin. It is vital to clarify here that our society one need NOT take the term “gun” literally for the reason that threats of lawsuits are equally as threatening or constricting!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Inconvenient Climatic Facts Chronically Neglected part 3

Secondly, CC alarmists heap untenable burdens onto ecologically sound nations while poorer nations (including, ironically, rising super-power, China) are exempted from addressing their sorely deficient practices.  Yet if CCAs sincerely believe we have but a decade before reaching our ecological “point of no-return,” then common sense would urge redirecting our focus to cleaning up the practices of the latter now!  While it makes sense then for richer nations to financially assist poorer ones, it is absurd to post-pone redressing the latter’s ecological inadequacies by waiting fully a decade later.
Thirdly, global warming alarmists are purchasing beach front homes for themselves even as they persist in warning that such property will soon be buried under water.[1]

Fourthly, in the absence of outcry by either academics (who generally prefer left-leaning causes) or the media who encourage the same, my hometown of Seattle recently re-placed its viaduct with an underwater tunnel along its harbor that has an entrance at close to tidal level.  How does that make sense at all in the face of rising sea-levels?

These points indicate that the driving force of their agenda isn’t neglect, but outright hypocrisy.

I fully understand that no one (myself included) lives in a manner completely consistent with one’s convictions.  Yet this paper highlights a disconnect within the CC front that is far deeper than commonplace human fallibility.  It instead entails a willful neglect of vital evidence such as is in glaring violation of the scientific method. The true impetus of the charge CCAs herald rests on suppressing counter-evidence of a kind that is game-changing.[2]   This tactic is so intellectually dishonest; it should compel any competent judge to throw it out.  For despite posing to be scientific, their case is framed not by a scientific spirit, but on an ideology porten-ding to be science, so as to advance an unnamed agenda which cannot be justified by science.  For example, it is a matter of demonstrable fact that financial rewards are showered onto CCAs and “green” industrialists, but withheld from CC “deniers” who are instead censored and belittled.  It is on this pseudo-scientific basis that uninformed people are thereby needlessly alarmed.[3]  A far better motivation for properly caring for our ecological world has already been mandated in the Holy Bible (Genesis 1:28; 2:15), which is grounded not in fear, but in the context of reverent stewardship built upon an enthusiastic trust in our Maker and Redeemer. 

For this reason, it is imperative for principled scientists to rise up in protest over this deception in order that the integrity which ought to guide all scientific research be restored!  Furthermore, it is urgent for the rest of us to discipline ourselves to discern between truth and falsehood to the end that we govern ourselves in accordance with truth as opposed to hysteria.

[2] The scientific method insists that every hypothesis be submitted to the scrutiny of all relevant evidence in a welcoming spirit.
[3] Lay people groundlessly fear not only ultimate planetary death, but the depletion of forests, water, and other species. Op.cit (7).

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Inconvenient Climatic Facts Chronically Neglected part 2

It is vital to note that these details are based NOT on “conservative” or “Trumpian” opinions, but on scientific facts brought to light through scientifically-disciplined investigation.  In regard to Seattle for example, the scientific evidence for the glacier that buried that region consists of parallel north/south ridges (drumlins) along the direction of the glacier that are separated by rounded valleys, and vast layers of moraine (glacial gravel) and “erratics”[1] (boulders) carried there by glaciers, but later left behind when the glacial tongue melted.

  It is also crucial to note that these ice masses began retreating 16,000 years PRIOR to the 2nd Industrial Revolution (dated in the mid-1870s) with its introduction of mass-production and use of fossil fuels to power industry and transportation.  This neglected fact, in and of itself, refutes the alarmists’ assertion that people are a necessary cause of “runaway” global warming.  Indeed alarmists can only maintain their agenda by both ignoring such evidence and limiting their analytical timeline (AT) to about the last 150 years.[2]  For example, in my “google” search on the topic, “scholarly articles for shrinking glaciers and global warming,” of the first 65 web-sites (where I arbitrarily stopped), virtually all of them worked within the above AT, and neither of the two exceptions referencing older dates (4,000 y.a.) sought to reconcile them with con-temporary charges of human-caused CC.[3]  By way of illustration, retreating Athabaska Glacier (AG)[4] lying just north of the border between Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada, has heightened the allegation of our complicity in global warming.[5]  Yet that glacier is merely a tongue to what once was an immensely larger glacier, which is now (again, conveniently) never referenced in this context.  The rounded aspect of the huge valley trough which routes the famous “Icefields Parkway” proves that it was carved by 250 miles of glacier,[6] flowing two directions from a common beginning point, that vanished at the end of the last ice age.[7]  It is fully reasonable to assume that if these references to geological history didn’t challenge the CC agenda, the alarmists would eagerly refute the challenge that I am posing.  So, their silence is palpable and their chronic failure to concede the above data is very telling.

If we are to really believe that it is the purpose of the CC agenda to save our planet, then questions demand to be asked which confront the following incoherent circumstances:

Firstly, at the same time that CC alarmists (CCA) insist on overhauling both our society’s economic philosophy and our industrial means of production and transportation, they themselves exhibit no signs of self-reform in their own personal, private lives.

[3] Boldface mine.  Search dated September 24, 2019, beginning 9:20 am.
[4] Pictures from differing time periods can easily be accessed on a search engine under the words, “Athabaska Glacier.”
[6] Pictures from differing time periods can easily be accessed on a search engine under the words, “Icefields Parkway.”
[7] Provincial Museum of Alberta Publication. A Nature Guide to Alberta. (No. 5, 1980), p. 326.
                                                                                             To be continued...

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Inconvenient Climatic Facts Chronically Neglected part 1

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…?”[1]

An article on climate change in a recent paper was not news that is useful in resolving debated matters, but merely propaganda.   Titled “Poll: 64% disapprove of Trump’s climate change views,” it lacked a single, solitary, scientific fact in support of global warming (GW) which might indicate the relative merits (or demerits) of either party in this contention.  Instead the writers merely assume the correctness of the GW position and, on the basis of assumptions, commit the begging the question fallacy by berating deniers for their so-called “anti-scientific” worldviews.[1]  In reality, nothing in this article pushing the “climate-change” agenda indicates a commitment to scientific methodology at a level which sharply distinguishes scientific findings from popular opinions, a matter I will address in my closing paragraphs.  To give but one hint here, the mere appeal to scientific “authority” just because many “scientists say so” does not qualify as a scientific fact when no vetted supporting evidence is provided.    

One does not need to be an expert in climatology or even a scientist in another field in order to evaluate the trustworthiness of “climate change” (CC) pronouncements.  The relevant data behind this aspect of CC rest not on obscurities that are confusing to non-specialists,[2] but on substantial climatic events whose evidence, by their public nature, cannot be swept away as if they didn’t happen.  Scientific credibility is indeed wholly compromised when unequivocal evidence is admitted only when it advances a desired agenda.[3]

CCs’ first red flag entails the shifting of their banner term from “global warming” to “climate change.”  Notice that this alteration disables the criteria by which evidence (was it by drought, or blizzard?) is sought to confirm a cause to an ambiguous event.  It also contradicts a core aspect of scientific hypotheses[4] which requires that they all be specific and falsifiable.  Every scientist, irrespective of their perspective on CC, should be expected to already know this.

The second flag concerns their illegitimate omission of relevant data.  The driving force behind CC alarmists isn’t specifically the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, but their allegation of human culpability behind retreating or dead[5] glaciers, melting Arctic ice flows, rising sea levels, and the alleged elevated extinction of animals[6] because of human contribution to the eleva-tion of green-house gasses.  In light of this charge, it is imperative to grasp that around 18,000 years ago a vast portion of Canada lay under 2 vertical miles of the Laurentian Continental Ice Sheet,[7] while southward-extending “tongues” of that same mass, up to 3,000 feet thick, once rested on top of what includes both today’s city of Seattle[8] in the west and the Great Plains and Great Lakes regions to the east.[9]  For the same reason, and correspondingly at the same time, the land “bridge” extending between America and Asia (due to such a massive accumulation of snows lowering the sea levels) permitted human travel between these continents; that is, until the ice-age temperatures reversed upward and caused the sea to re-flood that “bridge.”[10]  Both the (unknown) cause of that upturn in temperature, and its result, were catastrophic.[11]  Yet the authors draw no implications at all as to its bearing on the assertion that CC is human-caused.

[1] By A.P. writers Seth Borenstein, Nicholas Riccardi and Hannah Fingerhut appearing in The Daily American. Somerset, PA, 9/14/2019, p. A 10.
[2] Of course details that are scientifically established can have a vital bearing on climatology with respect to the question of our contribution to climate change.  On this matter, however, it is reasonable for the general public to ask why we aren’t hearing either hard facts or hard statistics.  In addition, the very fact of the “neglect” that I reference in my title serves to heighten the question of the credibility of the evidence that CC proponents do claim to have.  After all, neglectful research in one arena which we can perceive is a sure indication of bias in another.  
[3] Indeed the scientific spirit is so determined to follow evidence where it leads that it seeks to disconfirm the hypothesis under consideration.
[4] A hypothesis is a research plan for determining whether or not the available evidence confirms or excludes one’s theory.
[6] www.climate-change-guide.com/extinction-of-species.html** On the other hand see American Museum of Natural History. www.amnh.org/ dinosaurs-ancient-fossils/extinction. “The largest mass extinction event happened around 250 million years ago when perhaps 95 percent of all species went extinct [while an] … extinction that occurred 65 million years ago wiped out some 50 percent of plants and animals.
[7] https://serc.carlton.edu/vignettes/collection/58451.html
[9] “The Retreat Chronology of the Laurentide Ice Sheet During the Last 10,000 Years and Implications for Deglacial Sea-Level Rise.” serc.carlton.edu/vignettes/collection/58451.html