Monday, November 30, 2009

Can Atheists Be Good Without God?, by Paul Copan

Reporting on the New Orleans Conference - Come, Let Us Reason.

Without attending a talk on this, my answer would be, "yes, and no". Yes, as good as anybody else (prior to regeneration) can be, but, if the standard is the goodness of God, or the standard of goodness to which God holds us, then, "no".

Christ wasn't impressed with the goodness that the best that self-righteous Judaism offered up -- and nobody tried harder than the Pharisees. And when someone called Christ good, he asked, "why do you call me good -- there is no one good but God alone". So, if the question is, can an atheist behave decently, the answer is a resounding "of course". But, if the question is can an atheist be truly, intrinsically good to the core, the answer is, unfortunately, no. In other words, an atheist falls into the same sinful boat as the rest of us. Christians recognize their sinful state, and have a Remedy in Christ. Atheists, if they do recognize their short-comings, are rather stuck, aren't they?

Note: The following is an indiscriminate summary of points made by Paul Copan interlaced with commentary by me. So, the following may be him, it may be me. If you like the point being made, let's just say it's me.

Paul Copan started his talk by contrasting two documents:

1. UN Declaration of Human Rights: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood". This he took as a simple asserting of human rights.

2. Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal [and] endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights". This actually offers a foundation for human dignity and worth.

"I don't need God to tell me how I ought to be treated". Ans: of course you don't, you were made in God's image and have an indwelling moral sense. Jesus implied as much, and Paul said as much in Romans.

Moral relativism -- "you shouldn't impose your moral values of others". J. P. Moreland responded to this moral relativism by breaking into the student's residence and stealing his stereo. The student was indignant! The point: "when convenient, you will say that morality is relative -- but not when it is you that is being sinned against".

Morality is fundamental to humanity. C. S. Lewis considered moral values as "properly basic". Kai Neilson atheist -- bedrock and right to believe in morality.

RIGHTS -- Knowing vs. Being.

Michael Martin atheist recognizes rights. But this is at the knowing level. The issue is at the being level -- how did these rights come to exist? The theist has great resources to such questions -- the materialist, sadly, does not.

Without God, human dignity and rights are ungrounded.

J.L. Mackie atheist - objective moral values make the existence of God more probable. (I would argue more strongly than this -- without God, objective moral values are not only impossible, the very idea is absurd)

Is right-and-wrong invented by human beings, or discovered by human beings?

(If right and wrong as categories are created by a mindless, amoral process called evolution, how seriously should rational thinking beings take them?)

"Morality is just built into us to survive and reproduce". Apply the same to belief in atheism, theism. Evolution is uninterested in truth. The only thing it cares about is brute survival and reproduction. Moral duty and obligation, if indwelling, must be rooted in nothing more than this mindless, amoral process. How seriously should thinking, sentient beings take these?

Michael Ruse -- morality is an illusion - we are self-deceived into thinking objective moral values exist -- a corporate delusion.

Dawkins -- we dance to our DNA.

If naturalism is true, how do we move from "is" (way things are), to "ought" (way things should be) -- descriptive vs. prescriptive. (Indeed, if naturalism is true, on what grounds can someone say there is anything wrong with anything -- is not everything that occurs by definition and of necessity just part of the natural order -- killing, raping, stealing, lying, over-using the earth's resources?)

Michael Shermer - why should we be moral - same as asking why we should be hungry -- simply built-in. (Sounds like the "brute fact, don't think too hard about it" strategy -- we just are, we just are!, it just is!, it just is!).

A Natural History of Rape. Rape can be explained biologically -- we see it in the animal kingdom -- why not in human beings (who do we think we are!) -- rape is as natural as eating or urinating or defecating.

If we are merely wired to survive and reproduce, we could have evolved like termites -- live in dark, eat each other's waste, eat our dead. Why are human beings "special", or "different" (who do we think we are!)

Being created in the image of God makes sense of this; being the product of an indifferent, amoral process, in which categories such as worth, value, etc. are utterly meaningless, does not and cannot.

* * *

As usual, theism offers a more plausible, more coherent, more comprehensive, more satisfactory explanation of reality than the dreary story-lines offered up by atheistic materialism.

8 8 8

Paul Copan is the author of "When God Goes to Starbucks: A Guide to Everyday Apologetics."

He also referred to a book by Alvin Schmidt: "How Christianity Transformed the World".

Another Feminist Bites the Dust

I thought feminists thought that men and women were equal, as in, you know, "the same"? Equally endowed, equally capable, equally suited for, e.g., mortal combat, firefighting, working in a coal mine (although after a generation of feminism, unlike careerist type positions, the ratio of men to women coal miners remains tragically imbalanced, if coal-mine death statistics are to be believed -- evidence that patriarchy and suppression of women lingers on in the dark pits of the mines away from watchful feminist eyes).

But, I digress. Here's today's topic:

"do we seriously think that a female teacher sleeping with a male pupil is on a par with a male teacher sleeping with a girl pupil?"

Gee, I thought, you know, before the law at least, we were all, like, you know, equal. But, I guess not. Some of us are more equal than others (hello, Caledonia?!)

"And there lies the rub – should the law be treating male and female pupil victims equally when male and female teenagers are so different?"

So. Different. Rock my world!

Another feminist bites the dust.

The Man From UNcle

Rajendra Pachauri is the laugh-a-minute chair of the IPCC, the "world's leading authority on climate change" (picture and article here). I guess that makes him one of the most important persons on this over-heated pot-boiler of a planet. He wants to be in your living room, your bedroom, your bathroom, your car -- he wants to be in your everywhere.

Today he is defending the scientist-fraudsters and accusing the whistle-blower.

"I really think people should be discreet … in this day and age anything you write, even privately, could become public and to put anything down in writing is, to say the least, indiscreet … It is another matter to talk about this to your friends on the telephone or person to person but to put it down in writing was indiscreet."

So, you've had sex with your neighbor's wife, and then chatted about it in an email. The real indiscretion is not the er, indiscretion, it was being indiscreet about it. Chatty Cathyism, not scientific fraud, is the real threat to the planet!

This is the intellectual world that the man from UNcle lives in: "He said an independent inquiry into the emails would achieve little, but there should be a criminal investigation into how the emails came to light." Read that one again slowly. Right. This time, let's say you've slaughtered the family next door, but someone slipped into your house and shipped the bloody knives to the police. Let's investigate that person -- thief!!!

Pachauri said he doubts that trust in the IPCC will be damaged by the affair. What planet is he living on? Oh yeah, Planet Gore.

He pointed out that five days after the emails were made public, Barack Obama was still gung-ho on Copenhagen.

Right. Just repeat these words three times as needed: "peer review!". And don't cancel your first-class tickets to Copenhagen.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Where Have You Gone, Joe Agnostico?

For months climate change believers have railed against my climate change skepticism. I was labelled an anti-science ignoramus. It was suggested that my faith in Jesus Christ ("based on NO evidence!") had addled my brain.

Where are my detractors now? Specifically, where have you gone, Joe Agnostico? Are you out there? We're waiting to hear from you. The global warming believers have fallen silent. Enlighten us.

Meanwhile, the rest of us can chew on this, the Ball Bounces quote of the day:

"Legitimate scientists do not doctor data, delete data they don’t like, hide data they don’t want seen, hijack the peer review process, personally attack other scientists whose views differ from theirs, send fraudulent data to the IPCC that is used to perpetuate the greatest hoax in the history science, provide false data to further legislation on climate change that will result in huge profits for corrupt lobbyists and politicians, and tell outright lies about scientific data."

Bloated Foot Syndrome (BFS): The Pandemic Is Upon Us

Forget about H1N1. A REAL pandemic is upon us, and doctors need to step up to the stethoscope and get with the program:

"Doctors should give patients advice on climate change, a leading body of medical experts has claimed."

Something about the need to shrink bloated feet: "Their controversial plan would see GPs and nurses give out advice to their patients on how to lower their carbon footprint."

Reducing footprints?

I'm a size fourteen.


The planetary goose is cooked!

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The CBC Reports On Climategate!!!

Credit where credit's due. We thought the left-leaning, alarmist-loving CBC would prevaricate and obfuscate while eschewing coverage of Climategate.

And we were wrong!!!

Full coverage by Canada's taxpayer-funded CBC here.

Way to go, CBC!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Insufficiency of Naturalism by Robert Stewart

Robert Stewart was the soft-spoken chairman of the Come, Let Us Reason Conference recently held in New Orleans. He spoke on the insufficiency of naturalism. Here's a summary of his talk.

1. All world-views tell a story -- basic beliefs we reason from, rather than to.
2. Everybody has one.
3. They are prescriptive -- they tell us both the way things are, and the way things ought to be.
4. They can be critiqued. Even though they exist deep-down and are fundamental, like an OS, they can be swapped or modified.

World-views answer four basic questions:
1. Who am I - identity
2. Where Am I - setting, context
3. What's Wrong? "Every world-view believes there is something wrong with the world"
4. What's the solution?

World-views can be critiqued based on the criteria of
Coherence -- Is it internally consistent or contradictory?
Correlation (correspondence) -- Does it match our experience of life?
Comprehensiveness -- Does it answer all the relevant data?
Consistency -- Is it livable in practice?
Contentment -- Does it provide existentially satisfying answers to life?

Camus -- central question of life -- what can I devote my life to?

The Naturalist World-view.

1. The Naturalist Story. "The universe is all there is, all there ever has been, and all there ever will be. It consists of material objects. Life emerged from the accidental combination of the right elements and has evolved through the eons as the result of gradual mutations coupled with natural selection, i.e., the survival of the fittest"

2. Naturalist Answers to World-view Questions
a) Who Am I? Cosmic accident result of impersonal physical forces
b) Where Am I? Inhabit tiny portion of eternal universe
c) What Is the Problem? I have been superstitious believing in supernatural causes and consequences.
d) What Is the Solution? Embrace reality and construct a meaningful life and society

Naturalist Praxis.
1. Reductionistic science - law of parsimony, Ocham's razor - abductive reasoning - reduce everything to science
2. Darwinian faith.
3. Inherent goodness of humanity.
4. Centrality of the self.

Critiquing Naturalism.

Coherence -- holds within it a great contradiction -- what is the source of human rational thought -- must be a material source -- mind nothing more than chemical reactions, molecules in motion, thoughts are no more, no better than this. The mind finds its ultimate grounds in mindlessness.

Corrrelation -- Most people believe that choice is not the same as an involuntary knee-jerk in a doctor's office. But, if materialism is true, then free-will goes out the window. Same with love -- we cannot love freely.

Comprehensiveness -- Cannot adequately explain consciousness Ned Block - no conception to explain consciousness. Dawkins, Steven Pinker "beats the heck out of me". Zilch. Researchers are stumped. Purpose -- is utilitarian. "Why did my fingers move as they did when I typed out my notes last night?" Can answer the mechanics of fingers moving, but not the motivation for typing, or the conscious choice of what to type, cannot count for the "I" directing the movement of the hands to type

Consistency -- unliveable. Michael Ruse and Wilson - we are deceived by our genes into thinking that there is objective moral code existing above individual human desire and outside of, in some sense, biology, e.g., Dawkins "the illusion of purpose which so strikes all who contemplate nature"

Contentment -- what we think of as a real choice is merely a chemical reaction. Morals are, ultimately, either a trick of evolution or based on purely subjective human preference. We are fooled into thinking human beings have intrinsic worth, fooled into thinking we have intrinsic purpose, fooled into thinking that conscience imposes objective moral constraints on us, fooled into thinking that we freely choose, fooled into thinking that biological creatures are designed, fooled into thinking we have a mind as well as a brain, and, indeed, fooled into thinking that there "I" exists in some way apart from or in addition to my body and brain, which are purely material entities existing as chemicals and chemical activities.

"There is no immaterial, supervisory self".

Comment: Atheists like to say that atheism is not a world-view, it is simply this standalone belief that there is no God. However, it does have implications. Perhaps the stronger issue is not theism vs. atheism, but world-views -- OK, you say you are an atheist. What is your world-view?

Wired For Belief by Michael Murray

Reporting from the New Orleans Come, Let Us Reason Apologetics Conference.

Dr. Murray presented arguments from neuroscience and cognitive psychology that suggest that human beings are pre-wired to believe in a super-knowing, super-perceiving, super-powerful immortal, Creator-God.

We come pre-loaded with intuitive dualism.

We are not blank slates but rather hard drives preloaded with both data files and software programs.

Tip: Dr Murray recommends Oxford's Justin Barrett's book "Why Would Anyone Believe in God?" demonstrating the naturalness of religious belief. For more on this, go here.

How To Respond When God Gives You The Silent Treatment by Gary Habermas

Reporting from the New Orleans Come, Let Us Reason Apologetics Conference.

Dr. Habermas began by saying, "I believe that God is very active in the world today".

He referred attendees to the following source materials:
Moreland - Kingdom Triangle
Near Death Experiences - Habermas/Moreland book - Beyond Death: Exploring the Evidence for Immortality
Habermas - new book coming out in 2010 -- Why Is God Ignoring Me?: What To Do When It Feels Like He's Giving You The Silent Treatment (Paperback - 2010-03-01)

He addressed the "My Favorite Promises" syndrome with the following tempering points:
a) We need to consider contrary statements in the same biblical book
b) Immediate contexts for the promise or statement must be considered
c) the example of Jesus -- life was not always great! -- tired, hungry, had to learn things, made perfect through his sufferings

Habermas linked disappointments to a theology of suffering. When disappointed, we should ask:
1. "Do I deserve to suffer less than Jesus did?"
2. "Do I learn faster than Jesus did?

Further Thoughts on the Matter:
1. Prayers/Promises are not unconditional
2. Put scriptural promise or statement in context of rest of book
3. God doesn't take saints away from suffering -- he promises to use suffering to build godly character, if we let him

1. Expect to suffer - in the world you will have tribulation
2. Look forward to your resurrection - better, far better to die and be with Christ
3. Keep in mind that your worst pain usually has an emotional source -- what you are telling yourself about a) God, b) yourself

God is not guilty of abandoning you or breaking any of his promises: "He couldn't be even if he wanted to, which he doesn't"

Weed the lies out of your life.


* Much Christian teaching focuses on "The Mind: The Battleground of Faith". This talk falls into this category.

* I was greatly impressed by Dr. Habermas' pastoral sensibilities. He talked about spending four hours on the phone addressing a grieving woman's complaints. He is a scholar and yet also a humble Christian pastor.

* I suspect that the kingdom promises that Jesus made (e.g., "ask anything in my name...) come neither automatically nor easily, and must be prayed into by "men who take the kingdom by force". We must not forget that the Enemy's strategies are aimed at frustrating the word and will of God and he will not easily let go of what he's got, or easily allow us to enter the kingdom of God.

Today's Forgotten Apologists by Timothy McGrew

Reporting from the New Orleans "Come, Let Us Reason" Apologetics Conference.

Dr. Tim McGrew gave a talk entitled, "New Atheists, Old Atheists, and Old Apologists".

"The arguments of contemporary atheists against Xy are for the most part borrowed from atheists and freethinkers of centuries gone by. Those arguments were answered, sometimes brilliantly, by apologists and scholars whose work is now largely forgotten. The history of apologetics... provides a rich array of arguments and insights of contemporary relevance."

New/Old Atheists say/said:
1. Gospels written long after events e.g., Dawkins 2006; Strauss 1835
2. Nobody knows who wrote the four gospels e.g., Dawkins 2006; Paine 1804
3. Miracles, by definition, violate the principles of science e.g., Dawkins 2006; Hume 1748

These objections have been answered brilliantly by today's forgotten apologists:

A. William Paley.
Natural Theology 1802 - the original "watch" argument.

A View of the Evidences of Christianity 1794 - this book was required reading at Oxford for 100 years

Horae Paulinae 1790 - First and perhaps greatest apologetic by Paley. A careful exploration of the "undesigned coincidences" between the Pauline epistles and the book of Acts, arguing for the genuineness of both. "The cumulative force of the argument is overwhelming".

B. Richard Whately - brilliant Oxford professor who made Humean skepticism appear silly
Historic Doubts Relative to Napoleon Bonaparte 1819 - the consequences of Humean skepticism applied to a living person

Elements of Logic 1826 - analyzes the fallacy of objections. As his daughter wrote, "we are compelled to rely on testimony for a great many things we believe, in ordinary life, every day".

C. Thomas Cooper - former preacher who rejected his faith, and then came back; self-educated genius who taught himself 14 languages.
The Bridge of History Over the Gulf of Time 1871 - origins of Xy, examines authorship of the Gospels
The Verity of Christ's Resurrection From the Dead 1875 Special focus on the skeptical objections and the "mythic" theory of Strauss

Assessment: A valuable presentation by a person enthusiastic about his subject.

Research Tip: Check out

Us Reason: Why Christian Knowledge Matters by J. P. Moreland

Notes from the Come, Let Us Reason Conference in New Orleans.

Three competing world-views: 1. Scientific naturalism. 2. Post-modernism. 3. Theism/Christianity. (what about African worldviews?)

View is that only scientific or empirical knowledge is certain knowledge. Christianity may be true -- but we cannot know that it is true.

The focus on scientific naturalism has resulted in the emergence of a new personality type: "the Empty Self"
* inordinately individualistic
* infantile
* passively addicted to entertainment and consumption
* can't give themselves to something bigger -- no one would know what that would be

Three types of knowledge:

1. Knowledge by acquaintance (experiential). E.g., the way we can know a person. We can know God this way.
2. Propositional knowledge. A true belief based on adequate reasons. We can know God this way. We do not pray, "Our Father who probably art in heaven".
3. Know-how or skill. You can know all about bicycles and riding them, but not know how to ride a bike. You can know all about water and swimming methods, but not know how to swim. We can know God this way. Know how to operate in the gifts of the Spirit, hearing God's voice, etc.

Five social shifts resulting from the abandonment of non-empirical knowledge (1930s):

1. Xy - emphasis goes from knowing to "blind faith" The make-up man becomes more important than the speech-writer.

2. Emphasis on character shifts to emphasis on satisfaction of desire. Until the 1930s we believed that we could know what was right and wrong just like we could know that water = H2O. Now we have salvation through sensuality - sex, music, food.

3. Nature of freedom. Shifts from the power to do what I ought (e.g., I have a musical gift, I also have the freedom to develop this gift) to the right to do what I want. Freedom comes under knowledge of reality, but if we can't know reality, then we are "free" do what we want.

4. Shift from virtue and duty to rights and self. The abortion question is framed not in terms of what a woman of character would do, but on what her rights are. Kids in a Just Say No to Drugs class all say they are saying no to drugs for matters of personal fulfillment -- so I can play soccer, etc., not, e.g., so that I don't bring dishonor to my parents, or, e.g., so that I can be a useful contributing member of society.

5. Shift in the meaning of tolerance. Classic definition starts with the assumption that something that really matters "X" is wrong, but tolerated. Again, this assumes that you can know something. The contemporary view is that you are not even to make the judgment that the other person's beliefs or behavior is wrong.

Assessment: An accessible, socially-relevant talk on epistemology without using the term!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Science Is Unsettled

Ever since I switched sides and became an AGWTB (true believer), things have gone downhill. I was heartened to hear that some icebergs have calved off of Antarctica and one can only hope that sea levels will rise to catastrophic levels, and soon, but....

Elizabeth May is debating on climate change next week in Toronto -- and I just may go!

The National Post's Peter Foster writes:

"Ms. May, co-author of Global Warming for Dummies, is presumably unlikely to revise her work with the new title of “We Were the Dummies,” but she and Mr. Monbiot will now doubtless be concentrating on damage control."

And I will be there, rooting for Elizabeth May!

Because, as I truly believe, "dishonest science should never stand in the way of defective science".

And that's the way the true-believer Ball bounces.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's Not True Until the Left Says It's True

I'm not sure if climate believerism vs. skepticism is a left/right thing, but I suspect it is. The skeptics generally question these things:

1. The completeness of man's understanding of climate.

Two sub-points follow from this:

a. The ability to accurately portion past/present climate behavior to specific factors such as CO2

b. The ability to create accurate predictive climate models that are sufficiently solid to justify political/economic/social revolution, i.e., "world government"

2. The association of AGW with the ideology of western guilt and the west-must-pay mentality. Whatever this is, it is something other than science.

3. The motivation of some climate change advocates. Climate change is big business. It is government grants squared and writ large across the spectrum of the scientific enterprise. Want a grant? Link whatever you are doing to climate change. Grant granted. This inconvenient truth is so apparent, it should be taken for granted. From this follows a skepticism towards the scenarios of predicted climate change effects -- increased prostitution, wars, mass migration of populations, massive increases in ocean levels, etc. etc. etc.

So which mind, the mind of the left or the mind of the right, is the most sober, sound, and rational? At the moment, you have to score one for the right. Warmergate has shaken even the true believers.

Look what Mark Steyn writes:

"Meanwhile, fellow Settled Scientist Tim Flannery is sounding ...kinda unsettled:

We’re dealing with an incomplete understanding of the way the earth system works… When we come to the last few years when we haven’t seen a continuation of that (warming) trend we don’t understand all of the factors that create earth’s climate...We just don’t understand the way the whole system works… See, these people work with models, computer modelling. So when the computer modelling and the real world data disagree you’ve got a very interesting problem… Sure for the last 10 years we’ve gone through a slight cooling trend.

Really? Golly, when I said as much a few months back, the excitable lads in the George Soros typing pool at Media Matters denounced it as a "false claim". Apparently, it's now safe to say it in polite society."

In other words, when the right expresses something, it's just wacko discardable opinion.

* * *

Another example occurred a few years back. The right in Canada had been saying for years that we should look at fresh options in healthcare. The left kept insisting that any tinkering with the publicly funded system was unthinkable. Better to let Canadians suffer than tinker with healthcare. If we're going to do anything, just pour more and more unending funds into this heavily unionized, special-interest laden maw. Want to see an interesting YouTube? Just watch Jack Layton spitting out the words "for-profit healthcare". The guy practically needs healthcare after he says it, he gets so worked up.


Until the Supreme Court of Canada (!) issued a ruling that waiting times were unconscionable and that it was OK for Canadians to consider other options. Yes, my American friends, in Canada the Supreme Court tells us what is socially acceptable to think. And the Supreme Court is, in case you missed it, and almost exclusively left-wing ideologue camp.

So, this is the way the world works.

It's not true until the left says it's true.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

NEVER Call Someone a Vegetable

Human beings may suffer various degrees of mental impairment, but they remain human beings. They do not become "vegetables". Ever. And it is wrong and dehumanizing, to suggest they do and to label them as such -- just like we get around the inconvenient fact of the unborn child by using the impersonal term "fetus" and we disassociate ourselves from evil human beings by referring to them as "animals". All are human beings created in the image of God, however undeveloped, marred, or damaged this image may be.

This comes too late to help Terri Schiavo who was, effectively, murdered (or something very close to it) with the support of a substantial percentage of American society.

But perhaps it may result in a little less arrogance and a bit more humility among those both in and outside the medical sciences who are quick to label other humans "vegetables". And an increased awareness of the continuing humanity of even the most severely handicapped among us.

Let's resolve to never, ever refer to someone as a vegetable.

Update May 2011:

Spelling errors corrected. h/t Canadian Cynic -- thank you.

Regarding the linked article, 
Laureys later concluded that messages attributed to Houben through Wouters' facilitation were not, in fact, coming from Houben after all.... Dr. Novella attributed Dr. Laureys's prior error to likely insufficient experience with facilitated communication.[4]  Source: Wiki.
This does not negate the thrust of this post; people never become vegetables, and it is de-humanizing to refer to them as such.

Update July 2011:

‘Brain dead’ Quebec woman wakes up after family refuses organ donation

‘Brain dead’ woman recovers after husband refuses to withdraw life support

Same Old, Same Old

We stand in solidarity with our Coptic Christian brothers and sisters who face Muslim wrath in Egypt.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

You're Off Google, Way Off

Just got the above in a Google-placed ad.

Don't know what I've been clicking on that made Google make the connection between me and a Catholic singles dating service, but, there you go.

Google, if you're reading this, you're off, way off.

And that's the way the happily married Ball bounces.

Anybody else out there had misplaced Google ad placements?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Downtown New Orleans

I headed downtown this morning. Dropped in on the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) /Evangelical Philosophical Society (EPS) conference being held at the Sheraton and the JW Marriott. Memo to self: must look into membership.

Memorable moments: Ran across Christian apologist Mike Licona speaking to a guy in the hallway. Later in the day, ran into Craig Evans, one of the world's top New Testament scholars and spoke to him briefly. He conducted a seminar in Charlottetown a few years back and I met him then.

Had lunch at K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen. Cheeseburger soup (!) and hot cajun curry. Delicious! Later, I swung by Café du Monde for a helping of beignets and chicory-laced coffee. Tip: don't wear black pants when eating the beignets. Trust me on this.

Attended the Apologetics Conference this evening, up at the NOBTS. I'll summarize the talks in a bit.


New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

The Come, Let Us Reason Apologetics Conference is taking place on the campus of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. What a magnificent campus it is! Spacious southern-style grounds and buildings. A magnificent chapel. NOBTS -- I've got a new acronym!

It's Friday morning; I'll be commenting on the presentations, but, for now, I just want to show you a few pictures, including the Jeep rental SUV I got -- how did that happen?! Travel tip: book your rental cars on Travelocity. Trust me.

I'm headed downtown. Beignets!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Come, Let Us Reason Apologetics Conference

I'm on my way to New Orleans for the Come, Let Us Reason Apologetics Conference.

I'm in the Buffalo Airport, waiting for my flight down to Atlanta, hoping I can skirt the FAA problems the US is experiencing today and arrive in time for J. P. Moreland's keynote address at 7pm.

I plan to update this blog with session reviews, as time and internet access permits.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lawlessness in Caledonia

Having been born, raised, and educated in Ontario and as a consequence committed all my life to the peaceful rule of law, I can only say that
this story fills me with something that feels more like fury than anger.

Am I the only one?

What this family has endured at the hands of lawless, coddled individuals should be made into a movie for the whole world to see. Better yet, maybe the the lovable CBC should just do its thing and turn this sorry episode into a laugh-a-minute sitcom -- call it Little House Near the Reservation.

We're supposed to be equal before the law. Apparently, some of us are "more equal than others".

And that's the way the Ontario-born Ball bounces.

Please keep any comments respectful and decent.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thou Shalt Not Steal?

Quote of the day from the US Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas (I once did some work for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, but that's another story for another day): "The more demand you steal from the future, the less future demand there is for you to steal".

To which I offer the following insightful commentary on rampant and wanton US, Canadian, European etc. stimulus spending:


Here's the question: are we skillfully recovering the car from a skid, or are we fish-tailing towards the cliff??!!

And that's the way the are-we-gonna-get-out-of-this-alive? Ball bounces.

Monday, November 09, 2009

I'm Not The Only One...

The U.K. Telegraph's Toby Harnden captures the essence of what was wrong with President Obama's speech to the nation in the aftermath of the Fort Hood massacre: "Completely missing was the eloquence that Mr Obama employs when talking about himself."


Apparently I wasn't the only one who was struck by the sheer incongruity and inappropriateness of President Obama's speech.

He's a young man; he'll mature. Let's hope he does so while he's still in office. And, in the interim, let's hope he surrounds himself with a higher grade of advisors going forward. (Come to think of it, Obama's ill-choiced advisors is probably another post for another day.)

Meanwhile, for Christians reading this, let's remember the apostle's admonition, "Pray for those in authority".

And that's the way the US-gazing Ball bounces.

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