Birthers, Truthers, Deathers, and the Failure of Empiricism

Last Wednesday, President Obama decided to release his birth certificate to the general public in order to silence the “birthers” and the numerous people who doubted that he was, in fact, born in the United States.

Today, the president had decided not to release a photo of Osama bin Laden taken post-mortem.

In both instances, there are people doubting the validity of the claim. On the birth certificate issue, people are saying that the certificate is doctored up, or there are other bits of evidence that contradict the certificate. On the death of Osama, others are saying that we won’t produce a photo because Osama is actually dead (but even if one were produced, you know you’d have so-called ‘experts’ out there showing how it’s photoshopped).

We also have the “truthers” who deny that 9/11 was caused by a terrorist cell based out of the Middle East (the most simplistic explanation). Prior to the birth certificate, upwards of 20% of Americans doubted that Obama was born in the US. In a recent poll, upwards of 30% of Americans think the US government had something to do with 9/11. And rest assured that a multitude of Americans will doubt whether or not Osama bin Laden is actually dead.

What is going on in America? Do we just have an abnormally large number of people who are crazy, or is it something else? I would contend it’s something else. Continue reading


Random Thoughts for the Day

* A government that believes its citizens have no need or would never have a need to revolt against it is a government that must be revolted against.

* Obama should forgo using Linda Douglass. Using videos from the last two months to counter a video showing that Obama is changing his rhetoric to get a bill passed, a video that uses proof from previous speeches, is substandard propaganda. Instead, Obama should bring someone on with similar ideology and who is an expert at propaganda, like Joseph Goebbels.

* The problem isn’t the health care system – it’s the health care cost. At the same time, the reason the United States has a good health care system is because of the amount of money pumped into it from the private sector.

* If just 10% of the conservative orthodox Christians in the United States did what they were supposed to do according to the words of Christ, the issues of welfare, universal health care, public eduction, and homelessness would no longer exist.

* If you don’t believe that Jesus was God, that He resurrected from the dead, or that He was born of a virgin, then why bother to call yourself a Christian? I believe Muhammad lived, I believe he existed, but I don’t consider him special; this is why I don’t call myself a Muslim (among other reasons).

* Is it better for a man to have lived 90 healthy years, acquired vast sums of wealth, but fail to be a positive impact on people’s lives, or is it better for a man to have lived just 20 years of poor health, lived in poverty, but have touched the lives of many?

Moral Equivalency

When asked what the biggest hurdle to the Middle East peace process was, Jimmy Carter said it was the Jewish settlements in the West Bank. I have to ask – did Carter fall down and hit his head somewhere between 1980 and the present day? 

Let’s look at a few facts:

* The biggest obstacle is most likely the fact that Hamas – the biggest governmental party for the Palestinians – does not recognize Israel as a legitimate nation

* It is the express intent of such terrorist organizations to “drive the Jews into the sea,” not back to the pre-1967 borders

* Like it or not, Israel won those lands in a battle against 6 different Arab nations. They didn’t take it from the nation of Palestine, because such a nation did not exist. Rather, those lands were owned by Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. There was no Palestinian government (or solidarity movement). It is the equivalent of saying the US needs to return the Southwestern portion of the United states to Mexico, or make it its own nation, even though we won that land in a war

* All land is taken from someone. The land of Israel is no different. It is currently owned by the Jews. Before that, the British. Before that, the Ottoman Empire. Before that, the Muslim armies under Saladin. Before that, the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. Before that, the French. Before that, the Muslim armies. Before that, the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire. Before that, the Roman Empire. Before that, the Jews. And the list goes on and on. Multiple nations have staked claim in Israel. To say that it belongs to the Palestinians – a bedouin people who decided to settle there – is quite absurd. 

* Israel often takes harsh actions against the Palestinians because the Palestinians are known for blowing Israelis up

* Even if we say the terrorism is a response to what Israel has done, does that make it right? Israel targets military targets surrounded by civilians, which inevitably leads to collateral damage. The Palestinians target civilian targets – the death of Israeli citizens aren’t collateral damage, they are the targets

* The Israelis have shown they wanted peace and want a co-existence with the Palestinians. The Palestinians have shown they want peace by the eradication of the Jewish government

Regardless of one’s religion or views of Biblical eschatology, from a purely rational point of view, Israel is in the right. Israeli settlements may hinder the peace process, but they are a far cry from the biggest obstacle. Every time Israel has done something to move toward peace, it has been met with rocket launches and bombs…and silence from those who want “peace” in Israel. Carter, Obama, Clinton…all of them are silent when rockets fall in Israel or busses are blown up. But the moment those Jews build a house on land they won in a war, well that’s just the biggest obstacle to peace. 

A nation with leaders such as these, leaders who are blind and don’t understand the first thing about justice, is a nation that will not survive, nor does it have a right to survive.

Obama’s “Fair-Minded” Plea

Recently, President Obama called for a “fair-minded” discussion on abortion. My question is quite simple; does he actually understand the severity of this issue? If a fetus is a human being, then abortion is murder. If a fetus is not a human being, then pro-life advocates are advocating the restriction of women’s rights. The consequences on both sides are drastic, so it’s hard to find a “middle ground” on this issue. 

Thus, I offer up the following arguments against abortion. With great apologies to Peter Kreeft, I have followed a similar thought pattern that he presented in his book The Unaborted Socrates. The thought pattern comes from chapter one of his book as do some of the arguments (however, once can go back to some of my previous articles, specifically the “Christianity and Abortion Series” to see that many of these arguments are ones I’ve used for a while).

Continue reading

“No, Donny, these men are nihilists, there’s nothing to be afraid of”

There is no doubt that we are entering a cynical age – every idea, every glimmer of hope, every statement made by an authority figure – everything is to be questioned. Barack Obama was seen as this great hope and savior until he started listing some of his plans and ideas. So long as he simply said, “there is hope” and “there is change coming” people didn’t question how this hope or change would come about. Now that he is mentioning some of his plans, he has become nothing more than another joke on The Daily Show, another false hope produced by a secular society.

Generation X and, even more so, the generation following it (those born 1984-2000) has grown up an extremely nihilistic generation. I do not mean nihilistic in the way The Big Lebowski means it (where they care about nothing), but instead in what I believe to be the mantra of nihilism: de omnibus dubitandum (“everything is to be doubted”). Many people associate this saying with Descartes, but I believe it is Nietzsche that understood the real impact of the term.

In the beginning of Beyond Good and Evil Nietzsche uses this term and applies it to all previous Enlightenment thinkers, including Descartes. He argues that Descartes, Kant, Rousseau, and even Hume all took this mantra for granted by never questioning their own existence, their own thinking, their own absolutes, or in the case of Kant, his own synthetic a priori judgments and categorical imperatives. Nietzsche, instead, argued that we should question everything and that we may not come up with an answer to the question – we should simply question. Continue reading