In his 2002 book Litigation as Spiritual Practice, Felos expresses his belief in the "cosmic law of cause and effect," in which the human mind is not limited by the constraints of reality. More specifically, if one wants a new car, one could make this dream car manifest "out of the ether." Felos claims to have used his mental powers to cause a plane he was passenger on to nearly crash. By simply asking himself, "I wonder what it would be like to die right now?" the plane's autopilot program mysteriously ceased to function and the plane descended into free fall. Felos then observed, "At that instant a clear, distinctly independent and slightly stern voice said to me, 'Be careful what you think. You are more powerful than you realize.' In quick succession I was startled, humbled and blessed by God's admonishment."
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday threw out the death penalty in a rape-and-murder case because jurors had studied Bible verses such as "eye for eye, tooth for tooth" during deliberations.Judicial activism gone just one step too far. On top of everything else that has happened recently, this just cracks the camel's back. I am no theocrat - I've long argued that no theocracy led by men (or women) can succeed, because we mortal humans are very fallible - and I have grave misgivings of how the death penalty is applied in this country. But for a judge to vacate a jury's decision because a juror referred to the Bible during deliberations ... it seems to me that the Founding Fathers' vision of a tripartite government of, by, and for the people* has been somehow perverted. *and yes, I know that phrase is Lincoln, not Jefferson/Adams.
Monday, March 28, 2005
Friday, March 25, 2005
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Monday, March 21, 2005
What makes me believe that La Shawn is right that the A-list is functioning as a gatekeeper --deliberately or not-- is that there seems to be a discernable gatekeeper effect. An effect has a cause.Most of the time, that's correct. Most effects have causes. But not all. Some things "just happen that way." Systems do self-organize, and can exhibit seemingly intentional behavior that actually derives from unintentional effects of simple initial conditions.
At the risk of a heresey charge, this is a weak area in the argument for Intelligent Design. I really like Stephen Barr's "Modern Physics and Ancient Faith", but he builds a case for the sphere being an elegant, symmetrical object without discussing a very basic fact: Of any three-dimensional shape, the sphere has the smallest surface area for the enclosed volume. That's not a design feature, it's just the way the math works out.
A drop of water, a bubble, a planet, a star - they're all spheres because that shape is mathematically the smallest package.
Now, then. We certainly could have a discussion as to why it should be that the smallest, most efficient shape for a given amount of matter should just happen to have all these kinds of symmetries. That might closely related to a discussion of why i has a value of nearly 1, when its factors are on the order of plus and minus 10^6. (According to Barr, i controls the relationship fo the strong and weak nuclear forces. If i were much different than 1, the universe would either be all hydrogen or all helium - other elements could not exist.)
"Why should things be the way they are instead of some other way" is a question for deep thinkers and insomniac sophomores, but it's a different question than "Why are things the way they are?"
As parents know very well, sometimes the answer to that question is, "Because that's just the way it is."
Friday, March 18, 2005
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Yesterday I chanched to be listening to Michael Medved's radio show. His guest, an atheist, made a couple of rather absurd claims. In trying to draw a distinction between "rational" science and "irrational" religious belief he claimed that falsifiability was the major test of whether a claim was rational or not. Scientific claims are falsifiable, he said. Religious claims are not.
Sorry, Charlie, but that's simply not so. "Dark matter exists" is a scientific claim that is not falsifiable. You can't prove that invisible matter doesn't exist. (Isn't that what skeptics claim about God?)
Christianity, however, IS easily falsifiable. Habeus corpus Christi. Produce the body of Christ, and the game is over. Find an authentic first-century ossuary, containing the bones of a Semitic man in his mid-30s who had been crucified, preferably with scratches on the left side of the ribcage that correspond to a Roman spear and scratches on the back side that correspond to a flagellum, but intact leg bones. The ossuary should be inscribed "Jesus, son of Joseph and Mary."
It would also be useful to produce solid evidence that the Resurrection accounts are fiction - say, the deathbed confession of the conspirators - just to put the final nail in the coffin.
So I guess that makes Christianity more rational than science, eh?
Michael's guest also said that at the summer camp he runs for atheist kids, they have a pair of invisible unicorns. He has a standing offer of $100 in play money to anyone who can prove that the unicorns do not exist. That's almost too easy. Round up everyone at the camp, and threaten to kill them unless the adults admit that the unicorns are not real. No rational person dies for a lie they know is a lie.
Monday, March 14, 2005
Friday, March 11, 2005
Meanwhile, a 13-hour sit-in on board a Lufthansa plane at the Brussels airport by a group of 56 unarmed European citizens of Iranian origin ended peacefully on Friday morning (11 March). Armin Atshgar, one of the protesters, said according to wire reports, that the group wanted Islamic leaders removed from power in Iran. He asked to speak to members of the European Parliament before leaving the plane. Mr Atshgar is a member of Anjomane Padeshahi, a group that wants to restore Iran's royal family removed during the Islamic Revolution in 1979.I'm really surprised that this story has not been mentioned by Hewitt, Morrissey, or the Powerline gents. I'd've expected them to at least mention it!