Friday, October 31, 2008

Ich Bin Ein Humanist!

This just in from today's National Post --

Ms. Lise Thibault was the Queen's representative in Quebec for 10 glorious years. Now the party's over and she's been accused of misspending $700,000. Her defence? She said she was “more of a humanist than a manager.”

Wow! What a defense!

For $700,00 I'm ready to be more of a humanist too. And my management skills are already sub-zero!

She dismissed criticism of her spending taxpayers’ money on golf, ski trips, fishing expeditions, travel expenses, meals, parties, photo shoots, gifts and alcohol, claiming she brought joy to those she met.


Give me $700,000 of OPM (other people's money), and I'll bring joy to a lot of people, too. Guaranteed. Or your money back (unless it's already spent).

Then she goes a bit dark, or, at least, murky.

“As much as I have respect for true professionals, I pray to Heaven not to send to hell the people who have broken human lives,” Ms. Thibault said.

There may be a threat in there somewhere but I really haven't a clue what this means. However, I suspect if I were a true humanist, I would, and, for $700,000 I'm willing to learn!

Most people's defense consists of speaking to a judge or jury. In Ms. Thibault's humanist case, it consisted of speaking to herself: “I am 69-and-a-half and I said to myself the day before yesterday, ‘If I saw a woman of my age before a committee, I would say, poor old woman, poor old woman.’ ” You can see her inner-humanist at work!

For $700,000 I too am willing to speak to myself! In fact, I do this already, so it really wouldn't be Rick stop blathering on and get to the point.


Turns out the $700,000 in unjustified spending is just the bit from Ms. Thibault’s federal allocation -- she may have misspent TEN TIMES AS MUCH from her Quebec budget.

That's a lot of humanism!

Apparently Ms. Thibault claimed her job as lieutenant-governor — opening the National Assembly, confirming Cabinet nominations, giving royal sanction to laws, etc. etc. etc. — was a 24-hour-a-day job, so she did not need to justify her spending.

For $7,700,000 I too am willing to claim to work 24/7, and am prepared not to justify a single dime of what I spend!

Finally, in her defense, Ms. Thibault claimed that Quebec's auditor-general Mr. Lachance had never spoken to her about her expenses. However, Lachance said he had met personally with Ms. Thibault three times, once with federal auditor-general Sheila Fraser.

For $7,700,000 I'm willing to forget meeting with the auditor too.

Forgive and forget, that's what I say.

Because, I Am A Humanist!

And that's the way the hale and hearty humdinger of a humanist Ball bounces.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

This just in from Switzerland: The Swiss lowlands have received the most snow for any October since records began.

Zurich received 20cm, beating a record of 14cm set in 1939.

That shatters the previous record by almost 50%.

Remember: when it's cold, it's weather, when it's warm, it's climate.

Snow Blankets London For Global Warming Debate

Sometimes the comic AGW (anthropomorphic global warming) headlines just write themselves. This is one of them.

Here's the gist from the UK's Register:

"Snow fell as the House of Commons debated Global Warming yesterday - the first October fall in the metropolis since 1922....

"The bill creates an enormous bureaucratic apparatus for monitoring and reporting...

"Recently the American media has begun to notice the odd incongruity of saturation media coverage here which insists that global warming is both man-made and urgent, and a British public which increasingly doubts either to be true....

"Yet anyone looking for elected representatives to articulate these concerns will have been disappointed....

"It was all deeply sanctimonious...

My take on AGW?

It's a secular religion fueled by western guilt and tinged with western self-hate, draped in the great mythological construct of our day: pseudo-science. Mixed in with a bit of genuine science.

And that's the way the snow Ball bounces.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Robbie Burns 1995 - 2008

Robbie was our cairn terrier.

He was the best dog ever.

He died today.

Say "Merry Christmas" Only If You Dare

We got an invitation letter from Merry Maids the other day. It informed us that "the holiday season is fast approaching and in the spirit of the season..." followed by a donation request to support Merry Maids' designated charity.

To which I would ask: "what holiday is that?", and, "the spirit of what season?".

Of course, we're all supposed to know. It's C - h - r - i - s - t - m - a - s, but don't say it too loudly. Might offend somebody.

Then there's World Vision.

It's one thing for a liver-lilied secular organization to wish someone an anemic "happy holidays", but a Christian charitable organization?! Is this the point we have reached -- where Christians cower in fear to wish their sponsored children a "Merry Christmas".?

World Vision states: "World Vision works in many countries where the majority of the people are not Christian. These countries include Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Jerusalem/West Bank/Gaza, Sri Lanka, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nepal and Senegal".

They go on to explain, "We must use great sensitivity in the wording of any messages we send to sponsored children and their families in these countries. This includes the enclosed Christmas card and the stickers that go with it."

Show sensitivity, or what? You get your head chopped off? The country cuts off Christian aid, offered by Christians in Jesus' name?

Does World Vision really think that these countries don't know that World Vision is a Christian organization, and that its supporters are believers in Jesus?

As far as I recall, our sponsored children do not even live in any of the countries on World Vision's must-not-offend list. Still, here's what we get by way of a Christmas greeting to the sponsored kids:

Happy Holidays!
Your friend in Canada

And an inoffensive picture of a winter scene with some nice furry animals. No manger. No Christ Child. No angels or shepherds. No mother of Jesus.

To which I ask -- if this is what commemorating the birth of Christ has come to, why bother?

And that's the way the Keep-Christ-in-Christmas Ball bounces.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quote of the Day: "The Horrid Doubt Arises..."


"...the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy."

Indeed. Imagine a mind created by thoughtless, mindless processes, with no outcome in mind, whose only utility is supporting survival. Truth doesn't come into it. Morality doesn't come into it. The only thing that drives it is survival value. Why would anyone believe anything that comes out of it, especially and particularly in the realms of abstract thought, reason, and moral thinking?

Darwin went on to ask:

"Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?"


But why stop there? Would you trust the emanations of a slug's mind? A frog's? Pond scum's? A plant's? Remember: none of these minds (or non-minds) was either designed or created, and the only criteria is survival value.

Belief in darwinism undercuts the rational basis for belief in darwinism.

Rational beliefs can only be rationally believed if we posit that our minds were in fact designed for rational thought. But that necessitates a Creator who is bigger and smarter and more powerful than we are.

Otherwise, rationality is just one of those weird burps produced by a mindless, unfeeling, uncaring darwinian universe.

Strangely, this is a universe that supposedly rational creatures actually prefer to dwell in; it's their habitat of choice.

As for me, I've got my mind set on "things above".

Sunday, October 19, 2008

All You Need Is Love

All you need is love -- no argument there. Except this truth exists more as a slogan more than as a reality. Very little love is shown in this world, beyond that towards ones immediate family. The most notable exception would be Christian missionaries who sacrifice to bring health and healing to disadvantaged peoples around the world. Establishing churches, schools, orphanages, medical clinics -- now that's love.

Oh yes, and the persons, mostly Christians, who support children in third world countries. That's love, too.

All you need is love.

If there is one thing I've learned from reading blogs it is that enmity and hate far outweigh love and goodwill in the unguarded human heart. Check out almost any blog and you will find that this is so. Canadians are, it seems, especially hateful. Hatred and enmity, it seems, come naturally. Love, as an obligation, needs to be taught.

All you need is love -- but what you mostly see is enmity and hate.

It appears that the Bible's assessment of the human heart is accurate. The only question that remains -- what about its assessment of the penalties and remedies? If it is right in its diagnosis, does not this indicate that it may also be right in its statement of the penalty, and the remedy?

Once we understand that we are sinful, does the imposition of a penalty by a righteous God not seem reasonable? Not only does it appear reasonable, one could argue that it is necessary for God is to maintain his position as the moral author, arbitrator, and authority of the universe.

What goes beyond reason is the revelation that this God who ought to punish us actually cares for us, actually seeks our good, and has gone to an astonishing length to procure our pardon.

For, "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ", by way of the Cross.

Now, that's love.

Have a good Sunday. See you in church.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Tale of Two Madonnas

Madonna is in the news. Fit, and fifty, she is engaged in a highly disciplined regime to retain her youthful appearance.

It is a battle she will lose.

Inevitably, she will go the way of all flesh, and become an old woman (if she's lucky). And what will she have at the end? She will go down in history as a role-model for casting off sexual restraint and promoting sexual licentiousness. A generation of young girls follow in her steps. Perhaps that's one reason why authorities want to inoculate 5th graders against sexually transmitted disease.

There once was another Madonna.

She was a young Hebrew woman, a devoted servant of Yahweh. She was engaged to a man named Joseph. Sexually conservative, she kept her purity, her honour, as she lived her life before Yahweh and kept the traditions of the Jewish faith.

She, along with Joseph her godly betrothed, showed a restraint that once was taken for granted in our society but would now be treated with disbelief and scorn.

God chose her to bear the Saviour of the world.

One Madonna will fade away. The other, along with all those called by Yahweh and endued with the righteousness that comes from above, will shine forever like the stars of heaven. One will fade away and be soon forgotten; the other will be called forever blessed.

Like a virgin.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shanghaied in Shanghai

I'm just transiting through Shanghai's Pudong Airport. At least I'm trying to. Unlike most modern airports, you can't just remain in the secure terminal area when in transit-- you have to clear China customs in, check-in for your flight, and then turn around and clear customs out.

Even worse, when I got to the Air Canada check-in counter I learned that they expected me to have my checked luggage with me, even though the bags had been checked through to Canada in Singapore and I had the claims check to prove it.

To add insult to injury, they cheerily told me they would be closing the check-in for the flight in about 45 minutes.

I had to negotiate my way back into the arrivals area ("turn left at the Burger King") locate my bags (which had been removed and chained together, and then dash back to the Air Canada check-in.

Followed by another trip through immigration control to "exit" China.

Followed by another visit through security.

I arrived in the lounge hot, sweaty, and bothered.

Next time I have a chance to transit through Shanghai, I think I'll take a pass.

And that's the way the shanghaied Ball bounces.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Tale of Two Abortionists

Dr. Anthony Levantino used to be an abortionist. He describes the wonderful, liberating act for which Supreme Abortionist Canadian Henry Morgentaler has just received Canada's highest honour:

"Once you have grasped something inside [the uterus], squeeze on the clamp to set the jaws and pull hard - really hard. You feel something let go and out pops a fully formed leg about 4 to 5 inches long. ... Reach in again and again with that clamp and tear out the spine, intestines, heart and lungs.

"The head of a baby that age is about the size of a plum and is now free floating inside the uterine cavity. ... You will know you have it right when you crush down on the clamp and see a pure white gelatinous material issue from the cervix. That was the baby's brains. You can then extract the skull pieces.

"If you have a really bad day like I often did, a little face may come out and stare back at you."

A suitable Order of Canada medal for Dr. Mortgentaler would be exactly that -- the image of a little, dead face staring back at him -- he would be staring reality in the face, instead of hiding behind equivocations, and that most cowardly of all euphemisms, "a woman's right to choose".

Unlike Dr. Mortgentaler, who descended to the heights of the abortion industry in Canada and has become its chief spokesman and proponent, Dr. Anthony Levatino ended his career as an abortionist after personal tragedy struck. Here's his story:

"[My wife and I] were unable to have children, and after several years of effort, we were very, very fortunate in being able to adopt a little girl whom we named Heather. As sometimes happens, after years of effort -- and I mean three surgeries on my wife's part and everything else -- we finally adopted a child, and my wife got pregnant the very next month. We ended up with two children just 10 months apart. We were very blessed that way.

"On June 23, 1984, my son was trying to cross the street, and my daughter, who was always the little mother, was running after him to tell him not to do that, and she was struck and killed by a car.

"If you haven't gone through that kind of tragedy, you don't have a clue. You may think you can imagine it, but trust me: You have no idea what it's like to lose a child, in any way.

"What do you do after a tragedy? You mourn for a while and you try to get back into your routine. I don't know how long after her death I had to do my first D&E abortion. I remember reaching in and literally ripping out an arm or a leg and looking at it in the clamp and I got sick. When you start an abortion you can't stop. If you leave anything behind, you [can] bet your patient is going to come back infected, bleeding or worse.

"I soldiered on and I finished that abortion."

But Levatino knew that something had changed.

"For the first time in my life I really looked at that pile of goo at the side of the table, and all of a sudden I didn't see her wonderful right to choose, and I didn't see the $600 wad of cash that I made in 15 minutes, and I couldn't think about what a great doctor I was because I took care of her problem. All I could see was somebody's son or daughter."

Will God accept Dr. Levatino's repentance and welcome him if he turns to him? To his credit and glory, it can be said with assurance, yes he will. God does not delight in the death of the wicked, and does not desire that any should perish, but that all should set aside their rebellion against his rule and embrace the offer of mercy extended through His Son.

He would likewise welcome Dr. Henry Mortgentaler, should he have a change of mind and heart before it's too late. Otherwise, would not the One who rules in the heavens be justified if he should decide to exercise his prerogative to "abort" Henry Mortgentaler?

Or do only women have "a right to choose"?

Dr. Levatino is now a medical advisor for Priests for Life. (All priests should be priests for life.)

Monday, October 06, 2008

Mona Lisa, Yes; Leonardo, No.

It always amazes me to hear a materialist arguing for darwinism.

It's like someone who can't stomach the idea of a Leonardo da Vinci. He explains the Mona Lisa by breaking the painting down to the individual brush-stroke level. Once we understand that there are paint molecules, and self-organizing canvas, and once we realize that paint can attach itself to canvas, drop by drop, what need is there to consider where the paint and canvas came from, whether there was a brush, and, if there was, who was wielding it? Sure, it's beautiful. But that's just a lucky by-product. Sure, it "looks" designed, but that's another phantom. Leonardo simply isn't needed, and anyone who wants to cling to the notion of a designer is anti-science, superstitious, and, frankly, stupid. "You say there was a Leonardo: prove it." I hear this all the time. How can one prove the self-evident? How can one prove that which requires no proof?

Which is more exquisitely and wonderfully made: the Mona Lisa, or the person who was Leonardo's subject? Are you really willing to say that a two-dimensional paint image of a person must be the product of mind, will, and personality, but the person whose image is painted on the canvas, a billion times more complex and valuable, cannot be?

According to the materialist, the answer is an emphatic "yes".

He who sits in the heavens, the One who hides himself from the "wise and prudent", surely cracks a smile.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Numbers: Prime Evidence for the Immaterial

Most atheists are materialists, i.e., they believe philosophically, and assert via science subverted to a materialistic worldview, that the material universe of matter and molecules is all that exists. They generally deny the objective reality of consciousness, will, mind, etc., which, according to a materialistic view can be nothing more than ill-defined emanations of a human being's molecular makeup and chemistry.

To which I say, "phooey" -- materialism makes a mockery and absurdity of all that makes us truly human.

One of the lines of argument I have been making on this blog has to do with the apparent reality of immaterial things. A committed materialist just cannot let the foot of the immaterial in the door. Once the door is opened a crack...

Anyway, to my delight and surprise I have discovered that others have made the same observation about reality, and make the same argument -- that reality consists of both the material and the immaterial.

Two such immaterial things are numbers and mathematics. Numbers exist. They exist whether or not they have a correspondence in the material world. What do I mean? Well, the number two exists, and it has a correspondence in the material world, for example, I have two feet (both left).

But what about numbers that exist for which there is no equivalence in the material world? They still exist. And they are immaterial.

I've said all of this to talk about this article that appeared recently. Seems that mathematicians at UCLA have discovered a 13-million-digit prime number.

Prime numbers are divisible by only two whole positive numbers: themselves and one. 7 and 11 are two examples (which makes going to a 7-Eleven a doubly prime experience).

Mersenne Primes (named for their discoverer, 17th century French mathematician Marin Mersenne) are expressed as 2P-1, or two to the power of "P" minus one. P is itself a prime number. For the new prime, P is 43,112,609.

It took brilliant minds and awesome computing power to discover this latest prime.

And it was there all the time, waiting to be discovered.

The question is: Who put it there?

And, in a purely materialistic universe, why should such things exist?

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"