May 2011


Gallup just released a new poll on abortion.  Historically, more Americans have identified themselves as “pro-choice” than “pro-life.”  This trend reversed in 2009.  For example, last year 47% of American adults identified themselves as “pro-life,” and 45% identified themselves as “pro-choice.”  The new poll indicates that the tables have reversed themselves again.  Now a slight majority self-identify with the pro-choice label (49% vs 45%).

While labels are helpful in gauging public opinion, people have different understandings of what “pro-life” and “pro-choice” mean.  For example, someone could understand these terms to refer to one’s position on the legality of abortion, in which case a person who is personally opposed to all abortion but thinks people should have the legal right to an abortion may identify as “pro-choice.”  The real test of Americans’ views on abortion comes to light when more specific questions are asked.  For example, when asked whether abortion is morally wrong, 51% agreed while only 39% disagreed.  This confirms that many adopting the pro-choice label do so as a reflection of their political views related to abortion, not their moral views.

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Justice Lamberth

Last summer I informed you that Justice Lamberth ruled Obama’s embryonic stem cell policy illegal, arguing that it violated the Dickey-Wicker amendment which prohibits the use of federal funds for destructive embryo research.  Lamberth slapped a preliminary injunction on the policy, suspending all use of federal money for embryonic stem cell research.  Shortly after, an appeals court lifted the injunction while they were considering the appeal against Lamberth’s decision.  On April 29, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington finally ruled against Lamberth’s interpretation of the Dickey-Wicker amendment, 2-1.  President Obama’s policy stands.

Given the number of non-apology apologies that are routine today, I must commend Ed Schultz for offering a truly apologetic apology to Laura Ingraham for calling her a slut on his radio program.

It appears that Harold Camping has gone the way of so many other false prophets in spiritualizing his false prediction.  The AP quoted Camping as saying, “”We’ve always said May 21 was the day, but we didn’t understand altogether the spiritual meaning.  The fact is there is only one kind of people who will ascend into heaven … if God has saved them they’re going to be caught up.”  The AP added, “The globe will be completely destroyed in five months, he said, when the apocalypse comes. But because God’s judgment and salvation were completed on Saturday, there’s no point in continuing to warn people about it, so his network will now just play Christian music and programs until the final end on Oct. 21.”  How convenient.

I wonder what his excuse will be when 10-21 comes and goes without incident?

When it comes to abortion, we always hear about women’s rights.  Currently, the law allows a woman to abort her child without the father’s knowledge or consent.  Fathers are completely excluded from the decision.  Why are fathers’ rights being denied?  For example, fathers who want to abort their child – but are prevented from doing so because the mother will not consent to an abortion – lack both the freedom to determine the fate of the child they co-created as well as the freedom to decide whether to financially support the child.  Why should a man be legally obligated to pay for a child that he did not want?  If a woman can abort a child she does not want to support or care for, why can’t a man?  If a father cannot choose to abort his child, then he should not be forced to support it.  The law unfairly discriminates against men by saying fathers have no rights to determine the fate of their children in utero, and yet also saying fathers have obligations to their unwanted children after birth.

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I’m sure you’ve heard about it.  Harold Camping has predicted that judgment day is tomorrow, May 21.  He and his followers are expecting the rapture to happen, but it won’t.  Unfortunately, many Christians’ hopes will be dashed, and some will probably give up their faith in Christ.  His followers should have learned from his first false prediction that the Lord would return in 1994 that Camping is a false prophet.

I would love to hear Camping’s radio program on Monday.  What kind of calls is he going to get?  I would imagine that he’d receive calls from irate followers who spent their life savings to advertise “the end” Camping predicted and guaranteed.  There will be irate callers who racked up their credit cards in expectation that they would never have to pay them back.  There will be scoffers who just want to rub it in his face.  It’s my understanding that the day after his 1994 prediction failed, Camping acted like nothing happened on his radio show.  Perhaps he’ll do the same again.  Or perhaps he’ll decide it’s time to retire.  Hopefully the latter.

A mother whose unborn child was diagnosed with spina bifida tells her story of the choice to abort:

I said at that stage, a termination was out of the question. I felt such strong love for this baby already and I wanted to nurture and protect him. … As an adult, I felt a woman should have the right to terminate a pregnancy — but that was a view forged from rational thought, not personal experience. I never once imagined it was anything I would do.  I believed that choosing to keep a baby, whatever its disability, was the mark of a good mother. How fate mocks our lofty ideals.
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A popular maxim advanced by naturalists and atheists is that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”  This maxim is often invoked in discussions about the existence of God and the resurrection of Jesus.  These are extraordinary claims, they say, and thus require extraordinary evidence.  Not surprisingly, those who advance this maxim think Christian theists have failed to provide the required evidence.

J.W. Wartick wrote a nice article questioning the truth of this maxim.  He notes that on first blush the maxim seems obviously true, but upon further reflection it can be shown to be obviously false.  Consider the claim that I am a giant pink salamander.  This is an extraordinary claim, and yet the claim could be evidenced in rather ordinary ways.  For example, one could come to my home and observe me.  If I appear to be a giant pink salamander (one who talks and types), then the extraordinary claim is justified.  If one is not convinced by their eyes, then perhaps they could take a DNA sample and compare it to other salamanders.  Such evidence is ordinary, but sufficient to verify the rather extraordinary claim that I am a pink salamander.  It is false, then, that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.  All that is required to justify an extraordinary claim is sufficient evidence.

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On Tuesday May 10, 2011, the Presbyterian Church (USA) changed its ordination requirements to allow open homosexuals as clergy.  They are the fourth major church body to do so (following the lead of the Episcopal Church (US), the United Church of Christ, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America).

HT: Albert Mohler

Theists argue that the fine-tuning of the physical constants of the universe provide evidence that the universe is designed.  For example, if gravitational force was 1/100,000,000,000,000th (1/100 trillionth) degree stronger the universe would not have expanded to form the terrestrial bodies.  If the force was 1/100,000,000,000,000th degree weaker the universe would expand at rate too fast for matter to coalesce into terrestrial bodies.  The ratio of electrons to protons is fine-tuned to 1 part in 1037, meaning if the ratio was altered by just 1 part in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000 complex life would not be possible.

To give you a sense of the specificity involved, Hugh Ross asks us to imagine covering the entire North American continent with dimes, all the way up to the moon (239,000 miles high).  Do the same thing on 1,000,000,000 other continents of identical size, “[p]aint one dime red and mix it into the billion of piles of dimes.  Blindfold a friend and ask him to pick out one dime.  The odds that he will pick the red dime are one in 1037.”[1]

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