Monday, September 30, 2013

Anti-Christian genocide is underway in the Islamic world

Photos of the Nairobi attack and the Peshawar attack. The photos are hard to look at.

Christians are being targeted for extermination by Muslims in Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, Kenya and throughout the Middle East. Many of the Christian communities being exterminated date back two millennia.

Jews of course would be targets as well, but they have the very capable protection of the IDF and they have largely left or been driven out of the areas in which they would be in immediate danger.

Who is protecting the Christians?

The mainstream media doesn't give a shit-- in fact, it's helping to cover it up.

But it is genocide. Underway. Now. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Magdi Allam and the Catholic Church



From John Allen Jr. at the National Catholic Register:


Amid the generally positive reaction to Pope Francis, Monday brought a dissenting note. The most celebrated convert of the Benedict years announced he has abandoned the Catholic church, primarily for what he sees as its overly indulgent view of Islam as well as distaste for the "papal idolatry" aroused by Francis' election.

Magdi Cristiano Allam, an Egyptian-born politician and essayist in Italy, rose to fame by styling Islam not as a religion but a violent ideology akin to fascism and communism. He was personally received into the church by Benedict XVI during the Easter vigil of 2008 and announced in the pages of Il Giornale on Monday that he now considers his Catholicism "expired in conjunction with the end of his papacy." 
Allam adds that a positive reference by Francis to Islam in a recent speech to diplomats was the straw that broke the camel's back. He remains a Christian, but no longer identifies himself as Catholic. 
Reaction has tended to splinter into three broad streams: 
  • Pious backlash saying that if Allam is leaving for these reasons, he never understood what it meant to be Catholic in the first place.
  • More neutral essays saying the defection illustrates the challenge Francis faces of trying to hold a fractious church together.
  • A bit of insider schadenfreude over the embarrassment to Italian Archbishop Rino Fisichella, who engineered both Allam's conversion and Benedict's personal involvement.
Unfortunately, in thinking about why Allam took this step, most people haven't gotten past the headline. If you consider the entire essay he published March 25 outlining his thinking, it makes for very interesting reading.
Allam says he's leaving Catholicism because of what he describes as four "physiological" features of the church he can no longer tolerate:
  • "Relativism," meaning the fact that the church "welcomes inside itself an infinity of communities, congregations, ideologies and material interests that translate into containing everything and the opposite of everything."
  • "Globalism," meaning the church "takes positions ideologically contrary to nations as identities and civilizations that must be preserved, preaching the overcoming of national boundaries."
  • A tendency to being "do-gooders," meaning "putting on the same level, if not actually preferring" the interests of people outside one's community with the community's own interests.
  • A "temptation to evil," which Allam blames on "imposing behaviors in conflict with human nature ... such as priestly celibacy, abstaining from sex outside marriage and the indissolubility of marriage, along with the temptation of money."

I agree with Allen that Allam is right that the first three characteristics are those of the Church. They are also those of Christ.

"Relativism" and "Globalism" used in the sense Allam uses it is a good thing; the Church must avoid sectarianism and exclusion to the greatest extent possible. Certain ideologies must be anathema-- Marxism, Nazism, atheism, for example-- but the world's only truly global organization must not be captive to pointless sectarianism.

And a tendency to be "do gooders"? Goodness gracious, that is what the Christian life is. We are called to radical do-gooding, by the original do-gooder Himself.

Some of Allam's criticisms of the Church's supposed accommodation with Islam resonate with me a bit as well, but I trust the Church. She alone has fought Islam for 1400 years. She understands the issues as no other entity does. Defiance has its place, for sure, and I share Allam's general assessment of the totalitarian nature of Islam, but lives and souls are at stake, and the Church's policy of engagement and respect has much to say for it.

I trust the Church.

Allum's fourth "physiological" feature which he can 'no longer tolerate' is raw nonsense. The Church is right on all of these issues.

The Church doesn't always do what I would be inclined to do. Before I became a Catholic, the Church and I were at odds on any number of things. But again and again I have come to see that She was right whereas I was wrong. I am inclined nowadays to listen and contemplate Her teaching.

The Church is a Spiritual Body as well a human institution, and Her wisdom so far exceeds mine as to bring me to my knees (and not only in Mass).

I am thankful that Allam remains a Christian, and I applaud his heroic and largely accurate critique of Islam. His voice is needed. But his duties as a individual Christian are not identical to the Church's duties, which must deal with issues on a far larger and longer scale.

Allam's apostasy suggests that he didn't understand the Catholic Church to begin with.  

Friday, September 27, 2013

"Secular tyranny"

Newt Gingrich warns of the emerging repression of Christianity:


Gingrich Warns of ‘Secular Tyranny’

By Katrina Trinko

Talking about the changing political landscape, former House speaker Newt Gingrich expressed concern today that religious Americans may soon face a “secular tyranny.”

“The great danger is that you’re going to see a real drive to outlaw and limit Christianity,” Gingrich said at a National Review breakfast briefing. “It’s okay to be Christian as long as you’re not really Christian. It’s a very serious problem.” 
“You can’t actually have an adoption service that’s run by Catholics unless they’re willing to be not Catholic,” Gingrich remarked, alluding to the Catholic organizations that refuse to consider gay couples for adoptive parents and have had to close as a result. 
“That should bother people,” Gingrich continued. “You’re now beginning to see a secular tyranny begin to set in that is very dangerous, and we need to have a national debate about it.”
Talking broadly about history, Gingrich mused, there remains a “long struggle between paganism and Christianity. It’s nothing new. Paul wrote about it all the time.” 
On gay marriage, Gingrich anticipates that the GOP will be “torn” on the issue, although he expects that most will continue to back traditional marriage. 
In contrast, he predicted that Democrats who don’t kowtow to the party line on gay marriage would face a difficult political future in their party. 
“What should the Democrats do about the Democrats who have still refused to cave into the gay-rights lobby?” Gingrich asked. “How likely is it that at the 2016 convention a Democrat will be allowed to make a pro-traditional marriage speech? Zero. Maybe a negative number.” 
“But we worry about how Republicans will be treated,” he said with a hint of exasperation. “We accept that the Democrats will in fact be tyrants about dissidents."

Yep. This is a war dating at least to the 19th century, with the Klux Klux Klan's "separation of church and state" oath, which came to fruition when the KKK got one of their own on the Supreme Court and got the unconstitutional "separation" bigotry enshrined in jurisprudence, to judicial immunity afforded to atheism's creation myth in biology classrooms, to incessant attacks on mangers and crosses and Commandments on public property, to the contraception mandate and the bestowal of a legal imprimatur on "gay marriage".

This has happened elsewhere. In revolutionary France, in Russia, in all communist countries, in Mexico in the 20th century, in Spain in the 1930's, in much of the Middle East today where Christians are being repressed and massacred.

The gay blogger at twogaybullies put it succinctly:

For years, the doctrine [of separation of church and state] has been used as a weapon against people of faith, and that’s great. That’s what it’s supposed to [be] used for...

We need to understand what's happening.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Actually, it's twenty two years

Twenty Two Years Of No Actual Global Warming



Steven Goddard at Real Science:
RSS shows 17 years of flat temperatures, but it is worse than it seems. 
In 1991, Mt Pinatubo erupted -reducing the amount of sunlight hitting the earth’s surface. This masked three years of El Ninos, and depressed global temperatures by about half a degree from 1991 through 1994. Without the eruption’s effects, temperatures would be flat to down for the past 22 years.

The Green Apocalypse is taking its sweet time.  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Same-sex marriage and same-race marriage

Supporters of gay marriage have asserted that opposition to gay marriage is analogous to opposition to interracial marriage.

No. The analogy is the opposite.

After Reconstruction, many states, including all of the Democrat states of the South, outlawed racial miscegenation, which included outlawing interracial marriage. The anti-miscegenation movement, which included support for racial segregation, was a Progressive movement that grew with particular fervor following the election of President Woodrow Wilson, the first Progressive president who, in keeping with Progressive ideology of government social engineering, was a fervent segregationist.

Shortly after assuming office, Wilson segregated the federal government, banning blacks from many positions. The federal government had been integrated by the Republicans during the half-century following the Civil War. It was segregated by Progressives.

Marriage itself, obviously, has nothing to do with race. Men and women of different races have married for millennia. Laws prohibiting interracial marriage were Progressive social engineering.

The Supreme Court in 1967 banned anti-miscegenation laws, ruling correctly that the imposition of racial engineering schemes on marriage had no basis in reason or natural law.

Laws against interracial marriage was marriage-meddling, which is the social-engineering.

In the past decade, another Progressive social engineering project has risen to meddle with marriage, by the same Progressives who imposed the last social engineering scheme on marriage.

The addition of same-sex criteria to marriage is no more apropos of real marriage than was the imposition of same-race criteria on marriage.

Conservatives are right to reject both same-race and same-sex criteria on marriage, and defend true marriage, which is simply the union of a man and a woman, without regard to race.

Social engineering schemes-- racist or gay-- have no place in marriage, which is the most important and fundamental human institution. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Religion of Peace goes to the mall, shopping for Christians

Survivors reveal how gunman executed non-Muslims - after asking them to name Prophet Mohammed's mother.

Another example of the anti-Christian genocide going on in the Muslim world.

The media and governments will, predictably, play down the anti-Christian aspect of this slaughter, because it does not fit the narrative.

Christians are under attack around the world. This is starting out as a very bloody century for Christian martyrs. Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ, and for all of the innocents targeted by these demons. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Who's racist?

James Taranto:

 Who’s the Most ‘Racist’? What a new poll does and doesn’t tell us.

Blacks are more likely (by 7 percentage points) to think most blacks are racist than to think most whites are. Moreover, they are 11 points likelier than liberals (regardless of race) to think most blacks are racist, and 9 points likelier than Democrats. And blacks are 3 points less likely than liberals to think most whites are racist. 
All of which suggests that the people likeliest to believe most whites are racist and most blacks are not are those who are both liberal and white. Which reinforces a point we’ve made often in this column: that a lot of what drives the futile debate over race in America is white liberals’ psychological need to feel morally superior to other whites. 
And to silence them.
Liberal bleating about racism is just race-baiting. It accomplishes a lot for them: it makes libs feel superior, it shuts down debate, it helps them pander.

Racism is still a problem. There is racism against blacks, and it is execrable, although it is much much less pernicious than other problems blacks face, such as family disintegration, crime, corrupt government, etc.

Being called a n*gger is nothin' compared to never knowing your father, being shot in a gang war, and living in a city governed by political gangsters.

Racism is a problem for whites as well. Affirmative action is blatant racism, and interracial crime is overwhelmingly black on white. Whites suffer, and die, because of racism. It's just not p.c. to say it.

And of course racism has soiled our polis in a particularly catastrophic way. We recently elected the worst president in American history, twice, based on his race. The effects of those self-destructive acts of racism will play out in our nation for decades.

Racism plagues America, but not in the way liberals claim.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

"This Time"




Beautiful music video from Kansas lead singer and producer John Elefante. The song is based on the true story of his adopted daughter, who was saved from death by her young mom, who decided on adoption rather than killing her child.

Elefante:
“I can’t imagine life without my daughter, Sami, and it just breaks my heart that pregnant young women much like her birth mother, instead of choosing life for their babies, are denying them the chance to be born,” Elefante said. “If our song can in any way bring attention to this issue and encourage those who are considering abortion to choose life through options such as adoption, then we couldn’t be happier.”

We need to take back the culture. Beautiful work like this in the arts is very powerful.

Speaking of which, have you seen Bella yet? It made a crusty old neurosurgeon cry.                                                                                                                                                                     

Friday, September 20, 2013

Now you can see why she was recalled

A Colorado gun-grabber legislator who was kicked out of office in recall because of her idiot gun control advocacy makes a fool of herself (again).

She claimed that the Navy Yard was full of people with guns (the fact is that it was a strict gun-free zone) and that the shooter couldn't have passed a background check (he passed one to get his shotgun, and he had a military security clearance.)

Goodness gracious these gun-grabbers are stupid. If they weren't so deadly, they'd be funny.

As the post points out, luckily for her she made the brain-dead comments on MSNBC, so nobody was watching. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Jerry Coyne goes on Polish television to talk about atheism

Jerry Coyne is traveling in Poland, and he's been invited by a Polish television station to talk about atheism.

Jerry's post, with my commentary:

I am astounded that this is even happening, but what I’m told is a fairly large nationwide t.v. station will interview me tomorrow morning (Monday) at about 9:30 a.m. The show is called “Good Morning, Poland,” and the amazing thing is that they want to talk about—atheism!
Jerry is under the delusion that he's going to teach the Poles something they don't know about atheism. The Polish people have a long intimate experience with atheism.
Remember, this is a country where “insulting religious feelings” is a crime punishable by a fine and, in principle, jail.
Blasphemy laws are terrible. I'm sure Jerry agrees that it shouldn't be illegal to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of any idea, anywhere, anytime.
Right now, as I mentioned in an earlier post, it’s big news that a nonbelieving policeman has asked that a crucifix be removed from his office (crosses are everywhere!), and for that simple request he’s being prosecuted. He may be fined, lose his job, or even incarcerated, though I doubt he’ll see jail time.
In Poland, criticizing God will get you into trouble. In America, criticizing Darwin will get you into trouble.
Religious education–always by priests or nuns—is obligatory for two hours a week beginning in kindergarten (!) through high school—and although students can opt out, it’s done in a way that stigmatizes them.
In America, indoctrination in atheism's creation myth is obligatory for public school kids. They can't opt out.
The religious instructors are chosen by the local bishop and they can neither be fired nor told what to teach. This forced indoctrination, and the blasphemy laws, are the two biggest things obstructing the secularization of Poland.
The main thing obstructing secularization in Poland is the Polish people's memory of the last time Poland was secularized.
So atheism is pretty much a taboo subject in a country whose inhabitants are 95% Catholic...
Atheism isn't a taboo subject in Poland. It is discussed continuously. The history of Poland from 1945 to 1989 is the history of atheist rule in Poland.

... and a t.v. interview is good opportunity for me to spread the gospel (so to speak) in a way that I hope will be persuasive.

Atheism is a "gospel"? The Poles will be interested to learn what aspect of their half-century experience with atheism was "good news".
The t.v. folks have submitted a lists of questions that they might ask me, and suffice it to say that those questions are both straightforward and provocative.

Questions for Professor Coyne:


"Could you please describe that state of political and religious freedom in Poland under the half-century of atheist rule?

"When atheists and Nazis divided Poland in 1939, why was it that Polish refugees tended to flee from the half of Poland occupied by atheists into the Nazi-occupied half?"

"From 1945 to 1989, atheists who ruled Poland committed crimes against humanity on an historic scale. Why should Poles accept the re-emergence of atheism in their country, given that contemporary atheists won't even admit the crimes atheists committed just a few decades ago?"

"Who was Fr. Jerzy PopieĊ‚uszko?"

"What famous Pole said "Being an atheist . . . means not knowing the true nature of created reality but absolutizing it, and therefore ‘idolizing’ it..."?

When Pope John Paul visited Poland in 1979 after 34 years of atheist rule, millions of Poles chanted "Chcemy Boga!" What does Chcemy Boga mean, and why were they chanting it?"

I believe the interview will take place outdoors, in the lovely town square of Cracow...
For a discussion of the impact of atheism on Poland that will resonate with the Polish people, perhaps Jerry should conduct the interview in the town of Katyn.

(Cross-posted on Evolution News and Views)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

In response to Navy Yard shootings, gun control advocates demand legislation to make gun free zones in gun free zones gun free zones

Law enforcement personnel respond to another mass shooting
in a gun-free zone in a gun-free zone


[Dissociated Press] In the wake of the horrific Navy Yard shootings in Washington, D.C., congressional gun control advocates held a press conference in the nation's capitol to outline their new approach to preventing mass shootings.

Congresswoman Shirley Dupe, (D) Maryland, proposed the new legislation:
"We are horrified that another mass shooting has been perpetrated against defenseless Americans... "
A man in the back of the room interrupted the congresswoman:
"Wasn't it gun control advocates like you who made them defenseless? "
The congresswoman ignored the question, and continued:
"We need to ban assault weapons." 
The man replied:
"The shooter didn't use an assault weapon. Most mass shooters don't use assault weapons. The worst mass shooter in American history-- at Virginia Tech-- killed 32 people and used two pistols."
The congresswoman continued:
"We need background checks." 
The man replied:
"The Navy Yard shooter legally purchased his shotgun and had obtained a high level military security clearance. He passed extensive background checks." 
The congresswoman continued:
"Washington D.C. is a gun-free zone. The Washington Navy Yard is a gun-free zone in a gun-free zone. Yet a gunman just killed 12 people. So the solution is obvious."
She paused.
"We need legislation to make gun-free zones in gun-free zones gun-free zones." 
The man spoke again.
"Congresswoman, nearly all of the mass shootings in recent years have been in gun-free zones. Columbine, the Long Island Railroad, Westroads Mall, Virginia Tech, Clackamas shopping center, Red Lake High School, Northern Illinois University, the Amish elementary school,  the University of Alabama Huntsville, Chardon High School, the Binghamton immigration center, Santa Monica College, Fort Hood, Oikos University, the Aurora movie theatre, the Washington Navy Yard are all gun-free zones. 
Doesn't this latest massacre demonstrate once again that not only are gun-free zones ineffective in preventing mass shootings, but gun-free zones seem to attract mass shooters?" 
The congresswoman scowled.
"And why, pray tell, would a shooter choose a gun-free zone, when he knows full well that by carrying a gun with a high capacity magazine in a gun-free zone he is breaking the law? And why would a shooter choose a gun-free zone where he knows no one else will have a gun?"
The man stared at the congresswoman, then sat down, and put his head in his hands.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Global warming computer model # 66 is gonna be the charm

From Sun News:

[A] German study released last week that claims all 65 climate-model computers used by the IPCC to predict the future impact of CO2 on climate - every last one of them -has failed to foresee this 17-year pause in temperature rise. 

This is like a comedy skit.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Jerry Coyne on Divine Command Theory

Jerry Coyne: God shouldn't tell people what to do. That's my job.


Jerry Coyne takes a break from searching college catalogues for illegal courses that mention God and tackles Catholic ethics.


Jerry "this will now go to the lawyers" Coyne doesn't like the Divine Command theory of ethics (he prefers commands from lawyers at the Freedom From Religion Foundation). He is particularly annoyed with the Catholic Church (with my commentary):


Take, for example, the Catholic Church. Many of its adherents take their morality directly from Scripture (i.e., from God) because they think that whatever Scripture says, or however it’s interpreted by Church authorities, is moral simply because the Church says so. Things like the following, for example, would probably never be arrived at by secular reason alone. It takes religion. Catholic dogma sees these things as moral acts or opinions:

•Opposition to birth control (even to prevent AIDS)

Birth control doesn't prevent AIDS. The explosion of AIDS over the past 50 years correlates positively and strongly with the use of birth control.

Some people claim condoms help reduce the spread of AIDS. The problem is that condoms encourage the behavior that gives rise to AIDS, so the practical question is: does the protection offered by condoms outweigh the risks of the behavior engendered by condoms.

Answer: condom use has skyrocketed since the advent of the Sexual Revolution, and so has AIDS.

Oops.

Coyne omits mention of the most effective "condom": chastity. Always available and no need to worry about micro-tears.

An old Catholic idea.

•Opposition to abortion (based on the view that life begins at conception... 

Coyne is a biology professor, so it's surprising that he doesn't know that in organisms that reproduce sexually life begins at conception. If life begins after conception, then the embryo/fetus is a part of the mother up to a point, then it transforms into a human. The transformation of formed offspring from a part of the mother is budding, which is a form of asexual reproduction, and is characteristic of flatworms.

Coyne should correct this error in his classroom lecture notes.

... when the soul is instilled)

The soul is the form of the body. It exists from the moment life begins.  The spiritual soul of a human being is created by God at the moment life begins.

•Opposition to stem cell research (same reason as above)

The Church opposes "human" embryonic stem cell research that kills humans. It teaches that all human beings at all stages of life deserve to be protected and cherished. The Church is quirky about that.

The Church supports adult stem cell research, which doesn't kill anyone, and is the only kind of stem cell research that actually works.

•Opposition to divorce

The Church teaches the truth that marriage is a sacrament-- a manifestation of the Holy Trinity in human life and an eternal commitment between a man and a woman.  Coyne believes that this view couldn't be arrived at by secular reason alone. He's right.

•Opposition to homosexuality (viewed as a “grave disorder” or, if acted on, a “grave sin”)

Homosexual conduct is a sin. Homosexual desire is concupiscence, and is not sinful in itself.  The Church has millions of people with homosexual desires. Some of the most beloved and heroic of the Church's sons and daughters are gay.

•Control of people’s sex lives

The Church doesn't "control" anyone's sex life. It has no enforcement power whatsoever. I've never had a priest arrest me or sue me or threaten me in any way about anything.

Jerry Coyne threatens people with legal force all of the time.

•Oppression of women

The Catholic Church liberates women. Women are cherished in Catholicism, and the Church was a pioneer in the in historical struggle to respect the full humanity of women. The social disintegration wrought by militant secularism has been catastrophic for women, who now raise families alone, are much more likely to be sexually abused and assaulted, who are pressured to have abortions, etc.

I should point out that the abortive/infanticidal morality of Coyne's secularism has been responsible for the worst femicide in history-- 100 million missing women in Asia.

Perhaps we should ask the vanishingly few women in the New Atheist movement how they feel about New Atheism and respect for women.

•Instillation of fear and guilt in children

Coyne is confident that children are reassured by The Sexual Revolution. "Honey, Mommy and Daddy don't like each other any more and we've found people who are much sexier, so our family is breaking up. But look at the upside: we decided not to kill you when you were in Mommy's tummy".

The Sexual Revolution is such liberation from childhood fear and guilt.

And the ready availability of contraception has made young girls so much happier and safer from sexual assault, much less likely to get pregnant, and so much less likely to be used by older men.

And young boys are particularly reassured by normalization of male homosexuality.

Whew.

Our emancipation from Divine Command Theory marches from triumph to triumph. Jerry's dreams are being realized, in our broken families and our abortion clinics and our infectious disease wards. Liberation is even bearing fruit at New Atheist conventions.

How surprising that the abandonment of objective morality and transcendent accountability would have consequences. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday Morning

One of Johnny Cash's great performances, a duet with Kris Kristofferson singing Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning". I love the song. It strikes a chord with me. When I was younger, before I was married and had kids and became a Christian, I felt this kind of emptiness, and it did seem to come over me on Sundays, in the morning.

Great song. It hits home.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Heh

A Pinterest account that features Taylor Swift and inspirational Hitler quotes.

From the Daily Caller:
Pinterest user Emily Pattinson has been uploading photos to the “Real Taylor Swift Quotes” board of the country singer emblazoned with Adolf Hitler’s most uplifting quotes on the human experience and attributing the quotes to Swift, BuzzFeed first noted. (Pinterest, for those of you who aren’t 24-year-old Mormon mommy bloggers, is an image-sharing site where [mostly] women upload “inspiration” boards, much like a middle-schooler’s bulletin board.) 
The Taylor Swift board has been up for nearly two months, and the photos have been “repinned” hundreds of times. But nobody noticed that these actually aren’t Real Taylor Swift Quotes, but are actually things said by one of the most evil people in all of human history.


Friday, September 13, 2013

First Lady tells Americans to drink more water, forgets to tell nation to urinate.



[Dissociated Press] Public health officials across the United States scrambled today to address a health crisis spreading across the country in the wake of a public health advisory by First Lady Michelle Obama telling Americans to drink more water.

Deputy Surgeon General Dr. Walter Micturate held a press conference at noon today to describe the crisis:

The First Lady this morning began her latest public awareness campaign to encourage Americans to drink plenty of water. Within hours of airing of the First Lady's public service video, White House telephone banks were overwhelmed with calls from millions of Americans complaining of progressive lower abdominal pain and distention. 

Dr. Micturate sighed, and continued:

Since the First Lady's announcement, emergency rooms nationwide have been flooded with patients complaining of abdominal bloating and pain, which has really strained our efforts to implement Obamacare. The crisis seems to be most serious in Blue States with high levels of public confidence in the President and the First Lady, and several Organizing for America regional offices had to be closed because personnel were rushed to the hospital. 

Administration officials said that the First Lady is now working on a new public health initiative, scheduled to be rolled out tomorrow, titled "Americans Need to Pee More, Too".

Plans for the First Lady's initiative "Americans Need to Eat a Lot More Fiber", scheduled to be introduced next month, have been postponed indefinitely.  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fighting back against atheist thugs

The Discovery Institute is fighting back on Ball State University's egregious double standard. After Ball State president Jo Ann Gora's cowardly capitulation to the threat by Jerry Coyne/FFRF over the (superb) course in astronomy on the philosophical implications of modern science, it turns out that some atheist English professor is teaching an honors seminar at Ball State that trashes Christianity and pushes atheism.

Joshua Youngkin has a great post about it at ENV, and the DI has issued a statement.

I am evolving on this issue. In the past I have supported a low-profile approach, avoiding legal confrontation with atheists and appealing for strong academic freedom even although our enemies deny it to us. But the fact is that the thugs are just getting away with it, and our meticulously principled approach is making it easy for them to do it.

Time to fight. Bravo to the DI for calling Ball State to account. They should commence legal action if these bastards persist in this double standard.

Atheism and materialism are taught on government property and with public money in schools and universities across the country. Our kids are being indoctrinated in this shit, on our dime, in our schools. We need to take a more pro-active approach. No more double standards. The denial of natural purpose and intelligent agency in science has the same degree of religious implications as the affirmation of such. If ID and the Christian perspective is verboten in schools, then so must materialism and atheism be banned.

We need a Project Veritas for schools and universities nationwide. Every instance of atheist and materialist indoctrination needs to be called out, and in publicly funded institutions it needs to be kicked out. Let's root this atheist/materialist crap out, expose it, toss it out, and demand real government neutrality. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dr. David "Orac" Gorski: It's only a pity party when it happens to me.

Gorsky: *sniff*


Dr. David Gorski is a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute specializing in breast cancer surgery, where he also serves as the Medical Director of the Alexander J. Walt Comprehensive Breast Center Associate Professor of Surgery and Oncology at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. He has blogged for many years under the alias "Orac" at his blog Respectful Insolence. He's a hard-core Darwin fan-boy: he thinks that evolution is-- umm--indispensable to his research, which is on breast cancer. He and I have tangled on a number of occasions, mostly about the role of Darwinism in medical research and education.

Gorski has for years been one of the nastiest and most vindictive Darwinists in the blogsphere. His specialty is personal and professional attack, often implying that his interlocutors-- fellow doctors and scientists-- are professional embarrassments or liars or criminals.  He has repeatedly attacked the Christian beliefs of professionals who disagree with his scientific views. His screeds are raw meat for hoards of Darwin Youth who undertake attempts at professional destruction of fellow physicians and scientists who disagree with Gorski.

All of Gorski's incitement, of course, was made under his pseudonym Orac, and never under his real name. 

But Gorski (still under his pseudonym Orac), lately, has been sad:

An anonymous critic complains to Orac's employers...
First off, it’s a lot of work grinding out these epic posts of pure awesomeness. It really is. You can tell when the constant blogging is taking a toll on me when occasionally I actually do a post under 1,000 words—or do a somewhat navel-gazing post like the one I’m writing now. Secondly, there’s a price to pay. Sure, now that I’m approaching the end of my ninth year of blogging and am amazingly considered an established skeptical and medical blogger, I actually get invited to do speaking engagements at skeptics’ meetings like TAM. I actually blog under my real name elsewhere. Reporters sometimes contact me for interviews about alternative medicine or Stanislaw Burzynski. I’m on podcasts every so often and even, when I’m lucky, invited to be on the radio from time to time. Oh, sure, it’s nowhere near as often as often as some of those bloggers at more prestigious blog collectives (ahem, Forbes—cough, cough—Scientific American and Discovery), but I suppose that’s just the price of using a pseudonym—or of being one of the more “prickly” skeptics when it comes to quackery. 
Lest my readers think it’s all sweetness, light, and wheelbarrows full of money, I do have to point out that there is a dark side.
Orac-Gorski is now taking a step from the cyber-gutter to a More Prestigious Blog Collective, having recently been appointed managing editor of Science-Based Medicine, a blog by atheist doctors who don't like people who disagree with atheist doctors. Atheist? Yea, they gush about Christian-bashing at their skeptic atheist conferences. Of course Managing Editor Gorski keeps Orac in the closet. Gorski substitutes humorless arrogance for Orac's less erudite slurs. The effect is unconvincing. It takes a lot to make me sympathetic to anti-vaxers and acupuncturists. SBM is doing it.

But for Orac-Gorski blogging is not only about speaking engagements and radio invites and hoping to get the tap for one of the Even More Prestigious Blog Collectives.

There's a dark side. 
There are problems. There are even, somtimes, hazards. For sometimes, every so often, a true believer learns The Truth. Normally that’s not such a big deal. They just try to poison my Google reputation by writing an attack post against me, as the denizens over at the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism like to do from time to time. (But do they have a Wikipedia entry, I ask? No, most of them do not, with the occasional exception. I do. It’s just one of the fruits of my labors bestowed upon me by skeptical Wikipedia editors who came to view me as having enough prominence to rate a Wikpedia entry.) Such attacks started way back in 2005 and seems to happen ever several months or so now. 
However, sometimes, one particularly nasty, motivated crank will try to complain about me at work, apparently not realizing that this is my hobby...

Orac-Gorski's "hobby" is using a pseudonym to call other professionals who don't use pseudonyms ignorant creationists, disgraces to their profession, blinded, flaming stupid, and permanent embarrassments, because they disagree with him about a scientific question.
... that I put up as many firewalls between my blogging and work as I can (not to mention disclaimers that you should never, ever mistake my blather her for anything resembling the opinions of my university or cancer center), and that my bosses know about my blogging. This has happened so many times over the years, that it now barely causes my pulse to accelerate by more than a beat or two a minute when I learn of such a complaint, compared to the past where it really disturbed me. It turns out that my bosses at two different institutions have been a lot cooler than I had feared they would be. It also helps to work for academic institutions, which generally highly value academic freedom and are usually loathe to do anything that even gives the appearance of trampling on the free speech of their faculty.
Orac-Gorsky goes on to lament particular episodes of people who've contacted his workplace complaining about his pseudonymous attacks on the reputations and religious beliefs of named physicians and scientists. 
So why did remembering these incidents make me sad? After all, I and my blog survived them. Thanks to these, and several other incidents not mentioned here, I lost my fear of cranks, quacks, and antivaccinationists “outing” me, trying to poison my Google reputation, or even contacting me at work. These experiences made me stronger and better as a blogger. They did, however, also make me more cautious. I’m no longer as free-spirited in my writing as I used to be and write everything with the assumption that my cancer center director and surgery department chairman might read it.
So Orac-Gorski now writes blog posts for which he's willing to take responsibility. That's a step forward, ethics-wise. Ethical people don't write one thing while wearing a hood, and another when they show their face. I, for example, am happy to have all of my supervisors, colleagues and patients read everything I've ever written. My blog is well known at my medical center, and many colleagues of mine read it. Most who've spoken to me seem to like it. A few disagree, and we have regular and friendly discussions about the issues. I always use my real name when I blog. I stand by what I write, without any shame at all. I will never write anything that I won't stand by.

It is cowardly and beneath reproach to demean fellow professionals by name and deliberately damage their internet reputation with ad-hominem screeds when you're blogging under a pseudonym.

Here is what Orac wrote about me, for my patients and coworkers and supervisors to read:
Dr. Michael Egnor posed as a parody of the most ignorant creationists there are, spouting truly inane and long-debunked canards about evolution for a month and a half, all in an effort to snooker us evil Darwinists into attacking him... I have to admit that it’s depressing to have to contemplate again the fact that Dr. Egnor actually believes all the pseudoscientific and antiscientific (not to mention downright false and ignorant) attacks that he’s been launching on evolution. I hate to have to admit that a fellow surgeon can be so blinded by his religion and ideology... After all, Dr. Egnor is still around and still laying down the flaming stupid... Dr. Michael Egnor must really want to operate on my brain because he’s sure as heck doing his best to cause it damage with his latest antievolutionbroadsides" ... the Discovery Institute’s new resident medical “expert,” creationist neurosurgeon extraordinaire Dr. Michael Egnor. There’s a reason for that, and it’s quite simple. As I’ve said before, I don’t want this blog to become “all Egnor, all the time.” There is such a thing as too much of a good thing (having a good laugh at the expense of Dr. Egnor... Second, I am somewhat sympathetic to the complaint that I’ve occasionally heard voiced that Dr. Egnor is just so ridiculously–nay, flamboyantly–wrong about evolution that he’s not worth the effort that it takes to debunk him... Dr. Egnor['s]... latest mangling of logic claiming that evolution “is of no use” to understanding cancer. It’s almost as though he’s asking for yet another dose of Respectful Insolence™... You know, I used to joke about putting a paper bag over my head in embarrassment at Dr. Egnor’s antics. I was kidding then. Maybe I shouldn’t have been. In fact, given that Dr. Egnor has seemingly settled in to become a permanent fixture and a permanent embarrassment to the profession of surgeon, maybe it’s not too late to get the more permanent solution that I hadonce mentioned, namely a Doctor Doom-style metal mask. In the meantime, while having the Doom mask forged by Tibetan monks, I could wear a hockey mask. Most amusingly of all, Dr. Egnor adds some more rockets to the stupid, enough to blast it to Mars, here, where he basically claims that all science is based on the Judeo-Christian “design inference.” ...the only surgeon who has ever tempted me to cover my face with an iron mask to hide the shame of having someone capable of spouting such nonsense about evolution in the same profession as I, Dr. Michael Egnor... Slinking away in shame over my profession yet again (another surgeon behaving badly over evolution) It’s starting to look again as if I’m going to need something more durable than a paper bag to cover my head in shame...
The abstract:
Dr. Michael Egnor posed as a parody of the most ignorant creationists... I hate to have to admit that a fellow surgeon can be so blinded by his religion and ideology... After all, Dr. Egnor is still around and still laying down the flaming stupid... Dr. Michael Egnor must really want to operate on my brain... Dr. Egnor has seemingly settled in to become a permanent fixture and a permanent embarrassment to the profession of surgeon... Slinking away in shame over my profession yet again (another surgeon behaving badly over evolution) It’s starting to look again as if I’m going to need something more durable than a paper bag to cover my head in shame...
There's a ton more, but you get the drift. 

Ironically, Orac-Gorski worries about his own google reputation. Yet his own specialty is personal and professional destruction, while wearing a hood. 

Of course, I too got a lot of calls to my workplace demanding that I be fired and goodness knows what else. Many of the calls have been quite vicious. I've gotten a few emails that border on threats. No doubt quite a few of those love-notes were inspired by Orac's venom. But unlike Orac-Gorski, that doesn't make me sad. I'm pleased to challenge these people. I often ask myself: "Am I pissing them off enough, or do I need to step it up?"

But David Gorski MD PhD is made of more fragile stuff. Orac is a tough guy, but Gorski is sad about the people who call his workplace, asking why they employ a jerk who pseudonymously spews anti-Christian hate and slimes colleagues by name. Orac-Gorski writes two kinds of things about other people on the internet: things Gorski wants his name associated with, and things Orac doesn't want his name associated with.

But there's another aspect to this. I betcha this is what makes Gorski sweat.

Imagine that you are one of Gorski's medical colleagues. Most doctors and medical researchers don't think that evolutionary biology plays any significant role in treatment or research. Evolution isn't taught in medical school, for obvious reason. Doctors are practical folk, and they know b.s. and hype when they see it. Now, as a colleague reading Orac-Gorski's blog, you know that Gorski thinks you're "blinded", "ignorant", a "creationist", and a "shame" to the medical profession, because you don't share his Darwinian fundamentalism.

Beads of sweat are forming on Gorski's upper lip.

It gets worse. Now imagine that you are one of Dr. Gorski's patients-- a woman with breast cancer. You're probably a Christian, and quite likely a creationist. Most Americans are creationists, of one sort or another. You are going through the most difficult time of your life, and your faith in God is very important to you.

You google your doctor (most patients do), and you find out that your oncologic surgeon uses your faith in God as an insult-- "ignorant creationist", "blinded", "flaming stupid", "permanent embarrassment", "shame".

Beads of sweat are dripping off Gorski's upper lip, trickling in a rivulet down the front of his sheet. 

Most internet Darwinists are arrogant anti-Christian bigots. Gorski hews to type. With Gorski's doppelganger disclosed, ordinary people-- colleagues and patients-- now can see what he thinks of them and of their religious faith. His patients-- who are struggling with cancer-- only have to google him on the internet, and they can read in Dr. Gorski's own words what he thinks of "ignorant creationist[s]" like them.

This makes Gorski sad. 

*Sniff*. 

What you generally find, when you scratch a Darwinist, is a coward. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Will robots be capable of evil?



The burning question from Adam Frank at cosmos & culture:

Can You Trust A Robot? Let's Find Out
When they come — and they are coming — will the robots we deploy into human culture be capable of evil? Well, perhaps "evil" is too strong a word. Will they be capable of inflicting harm on human beings in ways that go beyond their programing? 
While this may seem like a question for the next installment of The Terminatorfranchise (or The Matrix or whatever, pick your favorite), it's a serious question in robotics and it's being taken up by researchers now. 
Yes, it is a bit early to worry about robots planning to take over the world and enslave their former masters. That would require the development of artificial intelligence (AI) in machines (a milestone which always seems to be about 20 years away, no matter when the question is asked). But it is not too early to ask about the safety of robot-human collaborations, which are already happening on a small scale in areas likemanufacturing and health care. And that is why a team of scientists in England has started the Trustworthy Robotic Assistant project. 
The goal of the project is to understand not only if robots can make safe moves in their interactions with humans, but to also understand if they can knowingly or deliberately make "unsafe moves." 
Without AI robots are, of course, just slaves to their own programming. But given the complexity of those programs, along with the requirement to interact with sometimes-unpredictable, non-artificial intelligences (i.e. you and me), "trust" in working with robots has become an operative concept. Can we safely rely on the robots we will be working with? 
As the project's website RoboSafe.org puts it:

The development of robotic assistants is being held back by the lack of a coherent and credible safety framework. Consequently, robotic assistant applications are confined either to research labs or, in practice, to scenarios where physical interaction with humans is purposely limited, e.g., surveillance, transport or entertainment. 
The Trustworthy Robot Assistant research program's ultimate goal is to get robots out of these cloistered environments so that they can be put to good use out in the world — among us. To make that leap, researchers need to understand what limits both the realities and perceptions of robot behavior. 
As Professor Michael Fisher of Liverpool University put it:

The assessment of robotic trustworthiness has many facets, from the safety analysis of robot behaviors, through physical reliability of interactions, to human perceptions of such safe operation. 
It will be interesting to follow the project's progress since their results may very well shape the fine-grained texture of our potentially robot-saturated lives a few decades in the future. 
At this point it's worth reminding everyone of The Three Laws of Robotics so presciently set down by Isaac Asimov more than 70 years ago: 
1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 
2) A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 
3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. 
Lets hope so.

Can robots do evil?

Evil is a disorder of the will. The will is a power of the rational soul, which is possessed in the natural world only by man. Machines are artifacts, not natural substances, so they have no soul, no rational soul, and no will. 

Machines can of course be instruments of human evil. They can also be instruments of human error. They can also exhibit agency as a result of chaos, or accident, or mechanical dysfunction, or as a result of dynamics that were not predicted by the designers. All of that will be enough to keep robot designers busy for the foreseeable future. 

But evil-- primary evil that is a disorder of the will-- is not a power of machines, which are artifacts without rational souls.

So, no. Robots will not be capable of evil.

However, people who speculate about evil robots will continue to be capable of silliness. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

"Arctic summers ice-free 'by 2013'"!



Oops.

Sorry Irthers: The Arctic Ice Cap Has Returned!


Guess what? The Arctic ice cap has returned in force. Daily Mail is reporting:

Record return of Arctic ice cap as it grows by 60% in a year with top scientists warning of global COOLING [LINK] 

Science has spoken! The debate is over. Global warming is dead. 
Of course, for some people this is going to come as a very inconveniently cold truth. For the rest of us it’s just reassurance of what we’ve known all along. 
But there is a silver lining here. We can all have fun looking back at the whacko predictions #Progressive geniuses were making just a few short years ago...

The arctic ice cap has grown this summer by nearly a million square miles of ice-- right at the time warming loons predicted complete disappearance of the ice cap, and CO2 has reached the climategeddon level of over 400 ppm.

The global warming hoax is crashing straight into the ground-- with the engines at full throttle. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

"Within that household the human spirit has roof and hearth. Outside it is the night."

Catholic writer Hilaire Belloc, in an open letter to an interlocutor who hated the Catholic Church:

There wholly escapes you the character of the Catholic Church .... You are like one examining the windows of Chartres from within by candle-light but we have the sun shining through . . . . For what is the Catholic Church? It is that which replies, co-ordinates, establishes. It is that within which is right order; outside the puerilities and the despairs. It is the possession of perspective in the survey of the world .... Here alone is promise, and here alone is foundation. Those of us who boast so stable an endowment make no claim thereby to personal peace; we are not saved thereby alone .... But we are of so glorious a company that we receive support, and have communion. The Mother of God is also our own. Our dead are with us. Even in these our earthly miseries we always hear the distant something of an eternal music, and smell a native air. There is a standard set for us whereto our whole selves respond, which is that of an inherited and endless life, quite full, in our own country. You may say, "all that is rhetoric." You would be wrong, for it is rather vision, recognition, and testimony. But take it for rhetoric. Have you any such? Be it but rhetoric, whence does that stream flow? Or what reserve is that which can fill even such a man as myself with fire? Can your opinion (or doubt or gymnastics) do the same? I think not! One thing in this world is different from all others. It has a personality and a force. It is recognized and (when recognized) most violently hated or loved. It is the Catholic Church. Within that household the human spirit has roof and hearth. Outside it is the night. 
In haec urbe lux
sollennis,
Ver aeternum, pax
perennis
Et aeterna gaudia.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Science apocalypticism is modern man's most lethal plague

Steven Goddard at Real Science:

Climate Alarmists Have A 97% Failure Rate

Now that the Arctic sea ice scam has collapsed, as far as I can tell every single Hansen et al alarmist prediction has failed miserably. This is by far the biggest junk science incident in history. 
Ten years from now, people like John Cook will be publishing fake papers claiming that scientists never believed in global warming. It was all media driven, but scientists always knew that solar activity drives the climate.

Actually, Darwinism is the biggest junk science incident in history, but who's quibbling. The Darwinian prediction that most of the genome is junk DNA has impeded molecular genetics research for decades and squandered countless millions of research dollars. Only recently have leading researchers and journals come to admit that the Darwinian prediction was spectacularly wrong

Eugenics was Darwinism's lethal spawn, and America's earliest plague of science apocalypticism. With "natural selection" hindered by modern compassion and public health, Darwinists insisted that we must cull "defectives" in order to save mankind from degeneration.  "Excepting the case of man himself, hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed" Darwin explained. Based entirely on the Darwinian understanding of human origins, we sterilized 60,000 people against their will in the U.S.. The Germans took Darwin's warning even more seriously

But if you're talking about mere lethality, no junk science has killed as many people as pesticide hysteria-- at least 60 million people have died unnecessarily of malaria and other insect-borne plagues because of pesticide bans imposed by rich countries on poor countries due to anti-pesticide junk science. 

Well, actually, overpopulation hysteria is probably mankind's biggest junk science killer, even more lethal than pesticide hysteria and eugenics. At least 200 million babies-- mostly in China and India-- have been aborted or killed at birth because of population control junk science, and 100 million-- 100 million-- girls and women missing in Asia. The rape epidemic in India likely traces in substantial part to the large population imbalance between women and men. If you're a girl in India, and population control doesn't get you killed in the womb or dumped in a gutter at birth, it gets you raped when you grow up. 

Science apocalypticism is modern man's most lethal plague. Global warming is merely the most publicly refuted modern junk science, and the only one that's entertaining

Steven Novella on evolution the Second Law of Thermodynamics

Steven Novella has a post on Granville Sewell, a scientist and mathematician who has for years pointed out that, on the basis of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, evolution by natural selection is an inadequate explanation for the extraordinary specified complexity of living things. Sewell is highly qualified in this debate: he is a professor of mathematics at the University of Texas and has a background in mechanical engineering.

Sewell has a new paper in the journal Bio-Complexity. This is Sewall's abstract:
It is widely argued that the spectacular local decreases in entropy that occurred on Earth as a result of the origin and evolution of life and the development of human intelligence are not inconsistent with the second law of thermodynamics, because the Earth is an open system and entropy can decrease in an open system, provided the decrease is compensated
by entropy increases outside the system. I refer to this as the compensation argument, and I argue that it is without logical merit, amounting to little more than an attempt to avoid the extraordinary probabilistic difficulties posed by the assertion that life has originated and evolved by spontaneous processes. To claim that what has happened on Earth does not violate the fundamental natural principle behind the second law, one must instead make a more direct and difficult argument.
Please read Sewall's whole paper. It's a superb precis of the argument that, based on considerations of entropy, life calls for an explanation other than undirected natural selection.

Novella begins his critique of Sewall's argument with the usual Darwinist ad-homineum:
Creationists will just not let go of an argument, no matter how many times it is pointed out to them that their argument is unsound. They simply find new twists of logic and distortions of science to resurrect their precious argument, clinging to it more tightly than Golem held onto his ring.
Novella is having none of these entropy arguments:
Such statements may be persuasive to the masses, but not to scientists and intellectuals... every scientist familiar with this creationist argument knows why it is fatally flawed. The earth is not a closed system, it receives energy from the sun. The total entropy of the earth-sun system is spontaneously increasing, and the local decrease in entropy of the earth’s biosphere therefore does not violate the second law.
Novella's effort to enlighten the benighted masses falls short.

This is why.

Sewall:
these [arguments entail] the same assumption—viz.
that all one needs is sufficient energy flow into a
[non-isolated] system and this will be the means of
increasing the probability of life developing in com-
plexity and new machinery evolving. But as stated
earlier this begs the question of how a local system
can possibly reduce the entropy without existing
machinery to do this.

Sewall is right. Merely asserting that "the sun did it" is not adequate to explain a local reduction in entropy. If it were, one could explain the existence of anything-- a building, a computer, a jet plane-- just by asserting "the sun did it", without invoking any other mechanism.

So the question that Novella fails to address is this: how can evolution be a sufficient mechanism to explain the dramatic reduction in entropy in living things?

Bizarrely, Novella asserts:
Life can use energy to decrease entropy – that one simple statement obliterates Sewell’s entire paper.
Which obviously begs the question. We are trying to explain how it is that life can reduce entropy. Novella's assertion that life can use energy to reduce entropy merely assumes the thing-- life-- that we are trying to explain.

Let's look at the question about entropy and life with a bit more rigor.

The remarkable decrease in entropy associated with living things is in need of explanation. Entropy can locally decrease in a system, but we are right to ask for an explanation.

Darwinists offer evolution as the explanation. But evolution is a vague term-- certainly Darwinists don't mean that the fact that populations of organisms change with time is an explanation for life.

The Darwinist explanation for complex low-entropy life is natural selection. Natural selection is differential reproductive success.

How could differential reproductive success explain a reduction in entropy?

First, it should be noted that differential reproductive success doesn't create low entropy. It only preserves low entropy organisms that, as it happens, are more reproductively successful than their neighbors.

So how can low entropy states in living things arise in the first place, in order to be available for preservation by natural selection?

There would seem to be two ways. The first is law-like: matter can aggregate in low-entropy ways in accordance with natural laws. Gravity draws clumps of interstellar rock into planets and solar systems. Quantum mechanics orders atoms and crystals.

But natural selection acting on random variation is surely not like this. Natural selection isn't law-like at all. Adaptations are dependent on the ecological niches in which critters happen to find themselves, not on laws. There is no "law" of natural selection that ascribes reproductive success to wings or gills. If you're living in trees, wings may help. If you're living in the ocean, wings get in the way. If you live in air, gills won't do much for you. Gills are a big help if you live in water.

Natural selection depends entirely on natural history, which is the adaptation of organisms to environments in which they happen to find themselves-- one damn thing after another. Natural history is not law-like.

Natural selection-- adaptation to an ecological niche-- does not reduce entropy in living things like the laws of quantum mechanics reduce entropy in crystals.

The second way that natural selection could reduce entropy is if it were intentional, in the philosophical sense that it could be like a mental construct imposed on nature. If natural selection could plan organisms, like an architect, it could locally reduce entropy.

But of course natural selection is a blind watchmaker, and plans nothing. That was Darwin's radical claim-- that he had discovered a mechanism by which complex life could evolve without intelligence.

Only two mechanisms are known to be capable of reducing entropy locally: physical laws and mindfulness. Natural selection is neither law-like nor mindful.

As Sewall points out, a critical scientific look at Darwinist theory fails to support Darwinist claims. The earth and sun together is a closed thermodynamic system, more or less. Entropy can decrease locally in a closed system, of course, as long as total entropy increases. But local decrease in entropy requires a mechanism sufficient to explain it.  Natural selection can't explain local low entropy: it is neither law-like nor mindful.

Teleology and intelligent design, on the other hand, are law-like and mindful.

Jerry Coyne and Clarence Darrow on free will

Jerry Coyne continues his defense of his view that hard determinism is true and that we have no free will with a paean to Clarence Darrow.

Clarence Darrow (1857-1938), a Chicago attorney who lived only two blocks from where I now reside, is one of my heroes. You’ll surely remember him as the defense attorney in the Scopes “Monkey Trial” in 1925, the man who conducted a brutal cross-examination of William Jennings Bryan about the veracity of the Bible. 
But the Scopes trial was only one case in a long and distinguished career, one in which Darrow fought relentlessly for the underdog, whether that be socialists, laborers, or blacks. He took on many unpopular causes, and was one of the founders of the American Civil Liberties Union. 
I don’t have the space here to recount his many achievements, or explain why I admire him...
Coyne provides some video highlights of his hero, and continues.

[Coyne] Reading Darrow’s writings, and his closing argument in the Leopold and Loeb case, I was struck by how often Darrow brought up his view that criminals have no choice about their actions... Darrow’s philosophy is evident in his moving speech for Leopold and Loeb:

[Darrow] Why did they kill little Bobby Franks? Not for money, not for spite; not for hate. They killed him as they might kill a spider or a fly, for the experience. They killed him because they were made that way. Because somewhere in the infinite processes that go to the making up of the boy or the man something slipped, and those unfortunate lads sit here hated, despised, outcasts, with the community shouting for their blood. . . I know, Your Honor, that every atom of life in all this universe is bound up together. I know that a pebble cannot be thrown into the ocean without disturbing every drop of water in the sea. I know that every life is inextricably mixed and woven with every other life. I know that every influence, conscious and unconscious, acts and reacts on every living organism, and that no one can fix the blame. I know that all life is a series of infinite chances, which sometimes result one way and sometimes another. I have not the infinite wisdom that can fathom it, neither has any other human brain. But I do know that if back of it is a power that made it, that power alone can tell, and if there is no power then it is an infinite chance which man cannot solve.
[Coyne] That was not a rhetorical strategy: Darrow really did believe that. 
Here’s another quote from Darrow on the “delusional” nature of free will:
[Darrow] “There are a lot of myths which make the human race cruel and barbarous and unkind. Good and Evil, Sin and Crime, Free Will and the like delusions made to excuse God for damning men and to excuse men for crucifying each other.” 
Coyne provides Darrow's money quote:

[Darrow]The reason I talk to you on the question of crime, its cause and cure, is because I really do not in the least believe in crime. There is no such thing as a crime as the word is generally understood. I do not believe there is any sort of distinction between the real moral condition of the people in and out of jail. One is just as good as the other. The people here can no more help being here than the people outside can avoid being outside. I do not believe that people are in jail because they deserve to be. They are in jail simply because they cannot avoid it on account of circumstances which are entirely beyond their control and for which they are in no way responsible. [emphasis mine]

Coyne:
Darrow was prescient in realizing that the lack of free will had serious implications for the criminal justice system. If you want to read more about his views on free will, see Tamler Sommers’ short essay, “Darrow and determinism: giving up ultimate responsibility.

Coyne is right. Darrow was indeed prescient in his insistence that the assertion that we lack free would would have profound implications, on the criminal justice system and on our civilization.

Deterministic denial of free will, and the denial of the relevance of actual guilt and innocence in the conduct of human affairs, would shortly assert itself with force in several of Darrow's socialist utopias, both of the German national socialist and the Soviet international socialist types. Hannah Arendt, in Origins of Totalitarianism,  noted the essence of totalitarian rule:

Totalitarian rule confronts us with a totally different kind of government. It defies... all positive laws... but it operates neither without guidance of law or is it arbitrary, for it claims to obey strictly and unequivocally those laws of Nature or of History from which all positive laws always have been supposed to spring... Its defiance of positive laws claims to be a higher form of legitimacy... [and] can do away with petty legality. Totalitarian lawlessness pretends to have found a way to establish the rule of justice on earth, something which the legality of positive law admittedly could never attain.

Arendt concludes:

Totalitarian lawfulness, defying legality and pretending to establish the direct reign of justice on earth, executes the law of History or of Nature without translating it into standards of right and wrong for individual behavior.

Arendt understands that it is precisely the concept of guilt under law that totalitarians extinguish. In the totalitarian state, positive law (actual laws as enacted) are not the standards of state action against the individual. The totalitarian state is uninterested in whether an individual has broken statutory law-- uninterested in actual legal guilt for having committed a statutory crime. The totalitarian state is interested in Natural and Historical Law, which is not statutory but rather ideological.

In a totalitarian state, a cold-blooded murderer is not guilty if his act is in accordance with Natural Law. His victim is not innocent if his life in a violation of Natural Law. Positive law-- actual guilt according to written laws-- is irrelevant to totalitarianism. The state treats individuals in accordance with "higher" laws of Nature and History.

Darrow's (and Coyne's) embrace of hard determinism and denial of free will is not merely the denial of guilt under the law. It is the cornerstone of totalitarianism. It is the denial of innocence. If no one is guilty under the law, then no one is innocent under the law. The state, in the Darrow/Coyne utopia, is not an agent of retribution under the law, but an agent of sequestration, rehabilitation, and deterrence (to use Coyne's chilling words).

In Darrow's and Coyne's deterministic utopia, actual guilt for having committed an actual crime is no longer the sole justification for legal intervention. Without law based on actual guilt or innocence, it is the responsibility of the criminal justice system ("justice"?) to sequestrate and deter-- that is, to stop deviance before it occurs.

Darrow again:
I do not believe there is any sort of distinction between the real moral condition of the people in and out of jail.
Why do Darrow and Coyne believe that the failure to distinguish between the people in jail who committed actual crimes and the people out of jail who did not commit crimes would necessarily lead to fewer people in jail? If there is no moral distinction between people who break the law and people who abide by the law-- if it does not matter to the criminal justice system whether an actual crime has been committed-- then there's nothing to stop the state from incarcerating people for the purpose of sequestration, rehabilitation, and deterrence ("Arbeit macht frei"), regardless of whether they have broken any law. 

In Darrow's and Coyne's determinist utopia, one suspects that prisons would fill up briskly. But why speculate?  Suspects generally outnumber perpetrators. Were the gulags and the concentration camps ever lacking for rehabilitatees?

Retribution, for all its distasteful connotations, respects man's dignity. It pays a man back for what he has done-- no more, no less. It is the only moral basis for criminal justice. It should of course be tempered with mercy (an old Judeo-Christian idea), but the concept that the criminal justice system should only intervene against an individual when that individual has actually committed a crime and been judged guilty thereof is a cornerstone of human liberty.

Sequestration and deterrence without adjudication of legal and moral guilt are methods appropriately limited to livestock management.

Human liberty depends on recognition of free will. The deterministic denial of free will, which eschews retribution and replaces it with sequestration, rehabilitation and deterrence, leads not to utopia but to Dachau.