Monday, December 24, 2007

The fuzzy issue of Ron Paul on abortion.

After a somewhat heated debate on the local Ron Paul meet-up group mailing list, I decided it was time to tackle this topic.

This has been one of those grey areas of the Ron Paul campaign for awhile now and I've seen it put in a variety of ways by members of both the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice camps in order to claim support for Ron Paul from both sides of the proverbial fence.

One of the first things I wanted to show was the difference between the way he presents his views in two recent media appearances.

First is his interview on the television talk show The View:

And then we have his speech to the Family Research Council:

You'll notice how in the first video he carefully approaches the issue by making it an argument about late term abortions, which are already illegal under Roe v. Wade unless a physician deems it necessary to protect the woman's health. He makes almost no mention of the right of choice for early term abortions, opting to make an obvious emotional plea that doesn't line up with the facts.

The central holding of Roe v. Wade was that abortions are permissible for any reason a woman chooses, up until the "point at which the fetus becomes ‘viable,’ that is, potentially able to live outside the mother's womb, albeit with artificial aid. Viability is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks." The Court also held that abortion after viability must be available when needed to protect a woman's health, which the Court defined broadly in the companion case of Doe v. Bolton.

He opens his argument with the following exchange with Joy Behar:

Joy Behar: What about Roe v. Wade? I don't want the government telling me what to do with my body. How do you justify that?

Ron Paul: Well, I think the question is whether a baby that is unborn that weighs eight pounds, in the seventh, eighth month of gestation has any rights. Is it a person.

Joy Behar: Oh That's... but what about the first month, you know, when you usually get an abortion?

Ron Paul: Ok, so you're not for all abortion?

Joy Behar: I don't know, it would have to come up in a specific case.

Ron Paul: So you thin the line... so you don't want me to do an abortion on somebody that has an 8 pound normal baby.

Joy Behar: No of course not, but the... but if the...

Ron Paul: Ok, So you're not for abortion really.

He tries to establish here a false dichotomy, in almost clear contradiction with what Roe v. Wade actually covers, a point which will become rather relevant in a moment.

In the second video he openly rails against what he calls "one of the most despicable of all court rulings" and calls for the overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision and the removal of the abortion issue from Federal jurisdiction.

Dr. Paul states in this speech:

And for my time that I've spent in politics as well as medicine, I've thought this issue through rather seriously and have written even a booklet on the right-to-life issue and the importance of the unborn. And I frequently tell the story about when I was a resident, that this issue came up. It was in the 1960s, when abortions were still illegal, but my professor was doing abortions and permitting abortions to defy the law. And I accidentally walked into a room where they were doing an abortion, and they delivered a two-pound fetus, an infant that was breathing and crying. And they took this baby and put it over in a basket in the corner, and they waited, pretended they didn't hear it and let it die.

That is an outrage.

And unfortunately, since that time, our Supreme Court has institutionalized that, and that is why I think one of the most despicable of all court rulings has been the Roe versus Wade, and that should be our goal, is to repeal Roe versus Wade.

This latter stance raises a few issues of its own which I'll attempt to address.

First off is the fundamental matter of the Constitutionality of Justice Harry Blackmun's decision.

The opinion of the Roe Court, written by Justice Harry Blackmun, declined to adopt the district court's Ninth Amendment rationale, and instead asserted that the "right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment's concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment's reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy." Douglas, in his concurring opinion from the companion case Doe v. Bolton, stated more emphatically that, "The Ninth Amendment obviously does not create federally enforceable rights." Thus, the Roe majority rested its opinion squarely on the Constitution's due process clause.

What this means is that there are certain rights that are fundamental to man and cannot be abridged. Consider the comments of Justice Arthur Goldberg (joined by Chief Justice Warren and Justice Brennan) in their concurring opinion in the case of Griswold v. Connecticut (1965):

[T]he Framers did not intend that the first eight amendments be construed to exhaust the basic and fundamental rights.... I do not mean to imply that the .... Ninth Amendment constitutes an independent source of rights protected from infringement by either the States or the Federal Government....While the Ninth Amendment - and indeed the entire Bill of Rights - originally concerned restrictions upon federal power, the subsequently enacted Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the States as well from abridging fundamental personal liberties. And, the Ninth Amendment, in indicating that not all such liberties are specifically mentioned in the first eight amendments, is surely relevant in showing the existence of other fundamental personal rights, now protected from state, as well as federal, infringement.

The emphasis at the end is mine.

In this vein the Roe v. Wade decision defends those fundamental personal rights, that of a woman's right to privacy and the right to control her own body.

This also relates to the rights covered in the 10th Amendment of the Constitution:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

What these together illustrate is the principle that a woman has the fundamental natural right to privacy and the right to control her own body, that the founding fathers and the Constitution recognize the principle of these rights and that they defend those rights through several of the Amendments in the Bill of Rights in a manner which precludes infringement upon them by either the state or federal governments.

So in his speech, Paul first makes a case about what he describes as a viable (his implication) fetus that was discarded in a trash can and left to die, before Roe v. Wade ever happened. Roe v. Wade actually moves to prevent such an act by forbidding late term abortions except to protect the mother's health, only allowing the mother the choice of control over her own body and not specifically over that of the fetus. This makes the issue not one of whether or not the mother has the right to kill her own child, but of whether or not she has control of her own body and whether or not to continue a pregnancy. If the child can survive outside of the mother, it is thus protected under Roe v. Wade.

If Paul's intention was truly to prevent late term abortions, he would be attacking Doe v. Bolton, the case that actually allows late term abortions in cases of a physician's decision to protect the health of the mother, not Roe v. Wade which prevents them after viability.

Given these issues, it becomes clear that his intention is not to benevolently remove the federal government from meddling with our right to choose, thus allowing the states to decide for themselves, or even to prevent late term abortions. His intention is specifically to remove the Constitutionally protected status from the issue as recognized by Roe v. Wade in order to facilitate the criminalization of abortions on the state level, something that cannot be done currently because of the Supreme Court's recognition of the natural rights of the woman that are reflected in and protected by the Bill of Rights.

With those points hopefully addressed, I'll move on to a more specific facet of this debate raised on the local meet-up mailing list.

There was a statement made about supporting Ron Paul because he supported a woman's right to choose not to fund abortions with tax dollars. The specific statement was as follows:

Ron Paul supports my pro-choice decision not to be COMPELLED to fund Abortions through TAXATION for women who make their own choice to have one.

This was followed by several other similar statements about sex education, public education, freedom of religion, medical history, border protection, welfare and charity.

The whole statement was meant to be a play on the "Pro-Choice" stance by actually turning it around to mean that Ron Paul gives the woman the choice not to support abortions with her tax dollars etc.

At first glance this may seem like a sound statement and a clever way of showing why she supports Ron Paul. However, this is another case where the issue is not as simple as it may seem at first glance. The actual reality of the issue more likely has the opposite effect of what she and the Pro-Life camp seem to think it would.

Under Paul's plan, he asserts that control of the issue would move out from under Federal control and become a state issue.

Currently federal tax dollars cannot be used to fund abortions since the passage of the Hyde Amendment over 30 years ago (Passed in 1976 with additional wording to allow for exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother in 1977).

However, on the state level 17 of the 50 states currently support the use of state tax dollars to fund abortions. Thus Paul's removal of federal government involvement would not change the issue of tax dollars being spent on abortions because the issue simply does not really exist to begin with. This is a case of smoke and mirrors.

Based on the 10th Amendment of the Constitution, the states would have the right, independent of the federal government, to continue to fund abortions with tax dollars and to keep abortions legal. Based on Paul's own Constitutional platform, the federal government would have no right to intervene in the state choices on the matter.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The only possible recourse Paul would have to fulfill his desire to ban abortion through the abolishment of Roe v. Wade would be to violate the very fundamental tenets of his Constitutional claims of wanting the federal government out of the issue, and thus attempting to pass wholly hypocritical legislation at the federal level to prevent the states from exercising their own Constitutionally protected right to govern themselves and create their own legislation on the matter. This would be acting precisely in the same vein as the Roe v. Wade legislation he decries as the federal government interfering in our person lives.

Thus we're left with quite a conundrum.

Now we could probably take this a few different ways, and from what I've seen that is precisely what people are doing.

On one hand you could argue that Paul is downplaying the issue to most media outlets and actually intends to have Roe v. Wade overturned and thus implement legislation that would abolish the right to have legal abortions by cutting the head off of the proverbial snake at the federal level.

On the other hand you could argue that while he personally might be strongly against abortion, he is simply playing to the desires of his different constituents in an attempt to achieve the larger goal of removing federal involvement in our personal lives and that he really does believe in the Constitutionally protected right of states to govern themselves, whatever ends that may lead to.

Fortunately we have Dr. Paul's own words to give us a clearer idea what his intentions really are.

Now, there's a couple of ways that that can be done. Of course, we could wait until we have our Supreme Court justices appointed for them to, when the time comes, to rehear a case like that and rule differently; that's taking a long time. We've been living with Roe versus Wade since 1973, and it hasn't happened.

My approach -- I certainly support that, but my approach is a little bit more direct, and it could happen much quicker, and that is accepting the principle that we can, as a legislative body and as a president -- we can remove the jurisdiction of this issue from the federal courts.

I have a bill called the We the People Act, and this addresses several subjects -- prayer in school, the marriage issue as well as the abortion issue -- which literally just takes it away from the federal courts, which means any state could pass a law passing a prohibition that could not be heard in the federal courts.

Now, the question I have and something I don't have the answer for is I wonder why we haven't done better with this approach in Washington. I don't get the support that I think we should have. We haven't had the support in the Congress. We had the majority for a good many years, we've had a pro-life president, but we have not moved in that direction, and we say, "Oh, yeah, I'm going to appoint judges, and we'll take care of that." This would go into effect immediately, and it occurs only with majority vote of the Congress.

So don't give up on that method. Make sure that when you're promoting your issues and promoting the cause of life, that you remember that principle. It can be found in my bill called We The People's Act.

He wants to pass legislation that would remove the possibility of these issues being Constitutionally protected at the federal level as the natural rights that they are. This would not only allow the states to pass legislation that would in effect be in violation of the Constitution's protection of natural rights, but would prevent anyone from having any recourse to have their grievances heard at the federal level and thus Constitutionally protected.

This seems to me to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of the Constitution in protecting the natural rights, freedoms and liberties of all of us.

This is the second troubling issue I've had with Ron Paul and his comments about roles of state and federal government, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. The first issue was with a series of comments Ron Paul made about Christmas and I wrote an article on it entitled "Ron Paul makes some serious fallacious claims."

I want to be clear that I still definitely support Ron Paul for the 2008 Presidency, but I don't believe any decision to elect a candidate for such an important position should have such fundamental issues overlooked without due diligence and critical assessment.

It reminds me of the words of our 26th President and fellow Republican to Ron Paul, Theodore Roosevelt:

"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else." -President Theodore Roosevelt - Kansas City Star, May 7th 1918

Should we do any less for a candidate for that position? Given the opportunity to address issues before a candidate might gain that office?

Perhaps in closing we should ponder a few words by the great Thomas Jefferson, who Ron Paul has often been compared to.

Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights. (January 8, 1789)
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. (January 6, 1816)
Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day. (April 24, 1816)
We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it. (December 27, 1820)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Thank Senator Dodd for filibustering the FISA update!

Check out for all the information on the filibuster by Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn) of the Unconstitutional update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (which I mentioned in my previous post "Hello, Congress? This is the Constitution calling.").

The major media coverage of this event was slim at best, generally just stating that Reid had delayed the legislation, with no mention whatsoever of Dodd and his filibuster.

Thank you Senator Dodd!

Hello, Congress? This is the Constitution calling.

I am seeing in the news lately a lot of talk about legislation being passed that will retroactively exempt from criminal prosecution actions done by persons or companies acting illegally in the interests of the current administration.

Some of the legislation I'm referring to includes the cases of the new Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) update which will grant retroactive immunity to the telecoms that illegally assisted the NSA under Bush's direction in illegally wiretapping US citizens, or the government in 2006 passing the Military Commissions Act which provided retroactive legal protection to those who carried out waterboarding and other coercive interrogation techniques along with a slew of other criminal acts.

I am astounded that it seems that there isn't more attention being brought to the fact that the United States Constitution clearly states in Article I Section 9:

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

No two ways about it, no Law can be passed after the fact to grant retroactive immunity for illegal activities. Article I Section 10 goes on to set this same limit against the State Governments as well.

Not to mention that Article I Section 9 also clearly states:

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

And yet, having no rebellion here at home and no invasion, Habeas Corpus is being suspended for anyone the government arbitrarily deems an "enemy combatant" or "person of interest" etc.

On what it means to be an American.

In responding to an article on the Backyard Beacon entitled "No Ron Paul relief for New Orleans", I went on a bit too long and decided to post my comment as an article on here and simply link to it.

I could probably have continued on, touching on things such as the government and media denial of the North American Union, despite a variety of news coverage, already passed legislation, government meetings and even government websites detailing parts of the plan etc. But I'll leave that for another post.

For now, here is my comment:

I think what binds us is that we share a common privilege of being part of what was founded as the greatest nation on Earth, primarily for the reasons of its diversity and freedoms. We were a nation that ensured equal status for people of any nationality or religious belief. People could come here from foreign countries for a new start and know that they would have the equal grounding to begin from. This was the great American dream of coming here to rise through the ranks through hard work and provide for your family and descendants etc.

We are united in the patriotism we feel that we were a nation that threw off the shackles of a foreign imperial power to fend for ourselves on the world stage and through American ingenuity and hard work became the dominant world power, based on the principles of freedom and equality for all engendering a spirit of progress and competitiveness.

Americans take pride in being a part of the "land of the free and the home of the brave". They like to feel that the government is here to protect that institution and preserve the sense of liberty and freedom espoused by the founding fathers.

Many of these points could probably be argued when contrasted with the historical facts or motivations of particular people, but the point stands that most Americans feel and believe in these ideas. Just as the soldiers who sign up to fight and die in foreign lands believe so strongly in their hearts that they are fighting and dying to protect those most precious principles.

What Paul proposes is not to completely cut off the current system, but to return to the rightful system of states' rights and states' responsibilities. A state has a right and an obligation to govern its own people as it sees fit, to make laws on the state level and to provide for its people on the state level.

The Federal Government's role is that of arbiter of international conflicts, interstate commerce, interstate disputes etc. It is not to govern the people of every state individually, that is the role of the state government.

If a city floods, that is the role of the state government. If a drought hits or a depression occurs that affects the nation as a whole, that is a national disaster.

First off there should not have been a city built on the gulf coast in the line of hurricanes that was below sea level and relying only on a levee wall to keep it from being submerged. Secondly the state should have been responsible for ensuring the safety of a city built in such a foolish location. It is not the responsibility of other states to have their tax dollars used to fund the fools errand of protecting a city below sea level hundreds or thousands of miles away.

I think it almost goes without saying that if a city is built in such a foolish location, they should have planned ahead and created emergency procedures, evacuation routes etc.

To rely on the Federal government to use billions of tax dollars from across the nation to take care of them, and then bail them out when everything goes wrong is to demand and rely on a welfare state. A socialist government that takes from one man to give to another. Not a free society of individual responsibility and opportunity.

I hear over and over again that the government failed in their responsibility to the people of New Orleans, but the reality is that the Federal Government had no such responsibility to the people to begin with and was in the wrong in creating such bureaucratic monstrosities such as FEMA and the DHS to begin with. They should have never been responsible for building the levee. They should have never been responsible for bailing the people out or taking care of them after the fact.

There is a problem here with confusing State Government with Federal Government. People cannot seem to differentiate the two. They just ignorantly see "government" and expect to be taken care of it.

I should point out that I am in Michigan and thus did not see the disaster first hand. My cousin is in the National Guard and spent several weeks in New Orleans helping with the rebuilding etc. In the interest of full disclosure.

I worked for a Tribal Government here in Michigan for several years and we had implemented a variety of disaster related procedures. Evacuation routes, rescue procedures, locations for different bases of operation, methods for cooperation between law enforcement, medical, government, media, etc.

There was nothing preventing New Orleans from planning for this possibility and having a system in place to facilitate a disaster prevention and recovery operation, moving the people out of danger zones, providing safe refuge through the storm, channeling relief supplies and coordinating volunteers to assist in the recovery etc.

There is nothing preventing the nation from an outpouring of assistance and volunteering, from one end of the country to the other. But it should have been the responsibility of the state to coordinate these things and channel the proper funds, goods and personnel to the proper places.

Instead what we got was a bunch of Federal Government bureaucracies and mercenaries creating a perfect storm of red tape, government largesse, unConstitutional actions, incompetence at essentially every level and a waste of tax dollars at a staggering level. Interference, if not outright prevention, of independent relief efforts at every turn etc.

I'm sure that many of you who were there could vouch for these things better than I.

The point is that many many mistakes were made here in almost every possible aspect of the situation, starting from years in advance up until the present day situation of refugees still languishing in squalor, still waiting for the hollow promises of the Federal Government to bail them out.

The solution is not to hope in vain for the Federal Government to solve the problems while pointing the finger at them for their failure to prevent it, but to look more closely at the factors that led to this. To understand the responsibility of the different parties involved on both the State and Federal level and the important differences between them. The failures in state and local preventative planning. And possibly most importantly, looking to the future and in how to avoid a repeat of this disaster, which may very well include the obvious option of leaving the area.

There are lessons to be learned from this, but they are certainly not that we should sit idly by relying on an authoritarian government to police and provide a welfare state for the entire nation, but that we are a nation of proud patriots that celebrate our freedom and liberty and can take care of ourselves on the state and local level when left to do so. That we don't need a Statist big brother to direct our lives and provide for all of us by taking from one neighbor to give to another just because one neighbor might have a better job or been luckier. That we can rely on ourselves to govern ourselves and to support our communities and our neighbors. To have faith in the human spirit of accomplishment, of compassion... the great American spirit of Adventure, of Discovery, of Invention... the great "American Ingenuity" that was spoken of in years gone by.

We need to return to the great nation our founding fathers built for us and turn away from this horrible descent into a Statist and Socialist Authoritarian and Totalitarian Theocratic Dictatorship.

The direction we are heading is in every way, and at every step, the very antithesis of what our founding fathers intended and created for us. Suspension of Habeus Corpus, suspension of Posse Comitatus, suspension of due process, of right to privacy, of right to bear arms, of separation of Church and State, of freedom of speech, of right to protest, right to property, of protection from search and seizure, of representation and on and on.

Our Constitution and our Republic are being openly and systematically dismantled before our eyes under the ageless guise of trading our most fundamental freedoms and liberties for an utterly false sense of security.

We need to take responsibility for our actions. Take pride in our communities and in our country. Respect the rights of our fellow man to his life, liberty, beliefs, property and pursuit of happiness (all of which are mentioned in the documents which founded our nation). Respect the rights of foreign sovereign nations to govern themselves by their own laws and customs. To aid only those foreign countries in need and only by consensus of the people as laid out in our Constitution and not to wage preemptive wars or enter entangling alliances with foreign powers. To return to a sound currency for our nation instead of relying on an unbacked paper currency implemented by a private bank to control every aspect of our society and government from the very top to the very bottom. To abolishing the income tax and returning our country to the Constitutional government system we had before 1913 where a man was free to enjoy the fruits of his own labor, thus enabling a great amount of income to go back into the hands of the people to be used directly in the economy and not instead go into the government coffers to be used at the whim of a bloated government acting largely in the interest of corporations and lobbyists, where companies take the profits but the American people pay the price of failure, thus perpetuating a one way flow of wealth away from the people.

When I look around me and see all the hallmarks of the fascist states we so soundly denounced over the past half century, I am appalled. When I hear what so many of my international friends, and the friends in foreign lands of all of us American people, think of our current government... it deeply saddens and disheartens me. When I see our media lying to the people and covering up the most important events of our time, because a handful of powerful companies own essentially all the sources of mainstream information and are in bed together with the government that enables them... it angers me. When I see our government openly being converted into a theocracy in violation of the Constitution, Creationism and biblical fundamentalism displacing the teaching of scientific fact and critical thinking skills in our schools, of a nation increasingly devolving into divisions of race, gender, sexuality and beliefs... echoing the unconstitutional change of our national motto from "E Pluribus Unum (out of many [come] one)", which celebrated the strength of our nation through its diversity, to the divisive "In God We Trust", which states that to be an American is to be a Christian and espouse Christian beliefs, which in turn shuts out millions of Americans who hold different beliefs or whose lifestyles don't match the arbitrary biblical morals of the Christian majority... I am pressed to rise up, to speak out, to rage against the criminal injustice being done to our nation as a whole.

We are showing almost all of the symptoms of the most heinous regimes in modern history and it is frightening to the extent to which the American people seem apathetic to and unaware of the dire warnings history holds for us.

There are countless direct parallels today between the United States and Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Fascist Italy, Communist China, etc. The American heart and soul recoils at such claims, but the reality is there for those brave enough to look, see the evidence and act as true patriots to protect our country, our people and our Constitution which is at the very heart of it all.

God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
-- Thomas Jefferson, November 13, 1787

So stated by the author of our own Declaration of Independence. A true patriot seeks always to guard against the consolidation of power by the government, to be ever vigilant in protecting our liberties. To maintain a spirit of resistance. To call the government into account for its actions.

I feel the desire to go on about how we cannot be set right as to the facts, as Jefferson proposes above, because our government has invented scores of illegal "top secret" classifications that violate the rule of law, because they have invented ways to prevent people from speaking out about what is being done to them, because they have destroyed vast amounts of incriminating evidence, in direct violation of the law, because they openly state that they are not beholden to the law and have the absolute authority to grant themselves any powers they so choose, at their own discretion and without the need to reveal their actions to anyone.... and on and on.

I can only hope people can start to open their eyes to what is happening. To what history tells us. Look at the facts and the evidence. Don't be afraid to ask questions, to research, to try to understand. Use your common sense, reason, critical thinking skills, rational and logical thought gain a greater understanding of the world you live in... of the great country you are a part of that is in imminent danger of fundamentally losing it's very foundation.

(There is so much more to these issues, but I must stop at some point and submit this... I fear that I've gone on too long as it is... I lack the gift of brevity it seems.)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ron Paul is the Thomas Jefferson of our time and the only viable 2008 Republican option.

As Allen Holm states in his The Conservative Voice article Reasons for Republicans to Vote Paul, "Ron Paul is going to win the nomination of the Republican Party or the party is going to lose in the general election. Take that as a guarantee. One I would bet money on."

He closes out his excellent article with a number of quotes that I literally thought were from Ron Paul when I started reading. They so poignantly illustrate how Congressman Paul's stance echoes that of the author of our Declaration of Independence and one of the most influential founding fathers of our country.

We should also take a moment to note that yesterday Ron Paul set another campaign record by raising over six million dollars in 24 hours, beating his previous record of $4.2M in 24 hours, which was itself a record in the GOP.

We should also take note again of the blatant, if not criminal, bias being shown by the mainstream media in openly trying to keep Ron Paul out of the limelight.

"You say Ron Paul doesn't have a chance? But who is giving you that idea? The major media outlets."

“I am for preserving to the states the powers not yielded by them to the union; and for preventing the further encroachment of the executive branch on the rightful powers of congress. I am for a government rigorously frugal and simple, and for retiring the national debt, eliminating the standing army, and relying on the militia to safeguard internal security, and keeping the navy small, lest it drag the nation into eternal wars. I am for free commerce with all nations, political connections with none…. I am for freedom of religion, and for freedom of the press. And against all violations to the Constitution to silence our citizens” - Thomas Jefferson on his positions for the 1800 election.
“Paper is poverty…it is only the ghost of money, and not money itself” –Thomas Jefferson
“I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power, the greater it will be” –Thomas Jefferson
“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them” –Thomas Jefferson
“I sincerely believe that banking institutions having the issuing power of money, are more dangerous to liberty than standing armies” –Thomas Jefferson
“It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God; it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” -Thomas Jefferson
“I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its Constitution.” —Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Paine, 1798

Restore the Republic. Restore the Constitution. Restore Freedom and Liberty to our nation.

Please vote for Ron Paul for President of the United States of America in 2008.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tea Party '07!

It's time for another record breaking day for Ron Paul!

The Nov 5th donation drive netted the Paul campaign over $4M in one day! Let's see if we can't soundly surpass that record today!

Let's return our nation to one based on the principles of our founding fathers and under the rule of the Constitution and the people, not a power hungry dictator.

Compare the live graph of today's fundraising with that of the Nov 5th drive:

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Preposterous wishful thinking.

I noticed a link to a blog in a Google ad earlier while reading my e-mail and decided to have a look. What I found both saddened and angered me while simultaneously causing me to laugh out loud at its claims.

Answer The Skeptic

I felt compelled to write a lengthy comment denouncing what I read, which led me to notice something else; almost every overtly religious blog I've run across moderates their comments and tends to only allow comments that they agree with. This shouldn't really be a surprise, considering that it is precisely the mentality of such religious people; to only acknowledge points of view and information which seem to support their belief while willfully avoiding at all costs acknowledging any information or facts to the contrary. Confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance at their most pronounced.

With that said, I'm including my comment below as I'm not sure it will show up on the other site. Here is the original post that prompted my initial response (which grew to encompass other points on that site etc.): Humans are different from other animals

I think the important thing to note here is the obvious statement that "I don't care if the evidence proves that we are related to monkeys and just another animal, I don't want to believe it because I don't like it, so I'm going to argue that my feelings are more important than factual reality."

Science proves that we are related to the great apes etc, and are just another animal in the animal kingdom, evolved in the same way as the rest. Religion on the other hand is still trying to cling to the ancient mythology that we are some magical, divine being created wholly separately from the rest of the animal kingdom.

They only grudgingly, and wholly hypocritically, admit pieces and parts of the truth while still trying to hopelessly cling to the ancient myths.

My frustration with this behavior is such things as teaching Evolution still being outlawed in more socially behind the times areas such as the southern states etc... Creationist mythology being dressed up to pretend that it's not just religious wishful thinking and pawned off on our children under the false pretense of it being scientific... a claim which has been soundly disproven in courts of law.

This kind of primitive and dishonest thinking is slowly turning our country into an intellectual backwater where scientific research and education is taking a backseat to primitive mythology and superstition. Modern technological and medical advancements are now being made overseas and the United States is losing its place at the forefront of human scientific progress. Our children are left a mockery to more educated industrialized countries, left unable to fully comprehend global scientific, political, social and cultural issues... being blinded by the cognitive dissonance and fog of internally conflicting facts and myths, reality in front of their eyes and heads full of ancient fairytale stories about the world they perceive. When these things inevitably conflict, they are left in a sort of cognitive daze.

It's not hard to look and see what this religious wishful thinking and desperate denial of reality is doing to our country.

As final food for thought in response to some of the desperate and off-base claims made by the article referred to in the post... consider that dolphins have been shown to understand time, the concept of future rewards in relation to investment etc... and other animals such as elephants and gorillas have been shown to understand the concept of mortality. The dolphins were trained to pick up litter in the pool and return it to the trainers for a reward. The dolphins on their own came up with the idea of hiding a piece of litter at the bottom of the pool and tearing off pieces of it to get more fish at later times.

Here is another good article that covers this general theme:

In short, your wishful thinking, despite the reality around you, is a problem. If you simply started accepting the facts of reality around you, you could open your eyes to the vast and mind boggling wonders of the universe that REALLY EXISTS around you. This is vastly more wondrous and awe inspiring than the small minded myths invented by ignorant and primitive sheep herders thousands and thousands of years ago when people still thought the earth was flat, the sky was a mechanical dome, the sun was a light that orbited the earth, that the world was only a few thousand years old, that knew nothing of other continents, dinosaurs, atomic structures, physics, sickness and health, flight and on and on and on.

Putting that mythology behind us and pursuing real knowledge of the world around us has enabled mankind to fly, to leave the bonds of mother earth and step foot upon other worlds, gazing back at our planet through the vastness of space... to understand the world we cannot see in provable ways which enable us to harness atomic energy, to create the very computer you're reading and typing on at this very moment, that allowed us to send out probes which have flown far beyond the reaches of our solar system into the vast expanse of interstellar space...

Clinging to primitive myths despite facts and evidence proving otherwise is blasphemous to the very nature of the human mind. Reprehensible to human progress. Such religiously based willful ignorance and defiance of reality would have all of us still living in mud huts, fearful of a vengeful sky god who would smote us with spears from heaven if we were bad, or strike us down with plagues for our sins... sicknesses which we would be ignorantly praying for salvation from rather than harnessing our scientific knowledge to cure them ourselves.

Religion is the ceaseless denial of the greatest accomplishments of mankind, of mankind's greatest potential. It would have us all remain servile and ignorant sheep and that, to me, is an abomination.

Reading some of the other articles on this blog saddens, frustrates and even angers me with the insult it does to humanity and our own common sense at the very least. Arguing about evil when the bible itself states that God CREATED evil... a vengeful, jealous god that creates good and evil, creates sin, lives in darkness, lies to his creations, creates a flawed angel whom he allows to rebel and take one third of all the angels with him to earth to further torment his less loved creations, angels being held closer to him in both favor and locale, allowing humanity to sin and then punishing them for it when he created that sin to begin with... refusing to forgive the sin or simply remove the sin, but preferring to subject humanity to an eternity of suffering for what HE CREATED... then creating a son to be sent to earth to suffer and die horribly for nothing more than a show... STILL not removing that punishment for sin... leaving humanity no better off than the moments after Eve ate from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil... the list goes on and on... and what's worse is that it's ALL A STORY! A provably ridiculous myth written by primitive people thousands of years ago! And you people still cling to it as FACTUAL REALITY!?

Articles about science not being able to YET fully explain the origin of the universe, or FULLY understand the physical functioning of the human brain... SERIOUSLY!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? Science has taken mankind from believing the ignorance of the bible to being able to travel between planets! To fly through space! Science has allowed us to map the functions of the brain, enabling advanced brain surgery and greater understanding of mental impairments and diseases etc...

Your desperate claims to point to Science not FULLY explaining some of the most profoundly complex problems of our time when you have NO PROOF WHATSOEVER for your beliefs, and not to mention that they are even more ridiculous in light of the MOUNTAINS of scientific PROOF to the contrary... you have the audacity to point to modern astrophysics and call it a fundamental failure that they haven't PROVEN the creation of the universe when the best your ignorant shepherds millennia ago have come up with is that a man in the sky created everything one day!? LISTEN TO YOURSELF!

If the Universe requires a creator because of its complexity, then how can the creator, being necessarily more complex than the universe, not also require a creator? And if the creator does not require a creator, then the universe, being less complex, would certainly not either and would be more likely to have simply sprung into existence.

The logic behind that simple statement is enough to explain the foolishness of your beliefs to even a child. And fortunately we have mountains and mountains of scientific evidence and proof from centuries of research and understanding and human achievement to bring us, through a preponderance of convergent evidence, to the enlightened understandings we have today of the REAL WORLD AROUND US, an understanding that compels us to leave the ignorant and primitive myths of our ancient ancestors where they belong... by the wayside along with all the other gods and myths man has worshipped, believed and inevitably left behind on the road of human progress.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Ron Paul's November 5th Fundraising - Are there server limitations holding it back?

From the look of the graph, the line appears too even for too many hours straight.

It appears to me that it's possible that they are running up against some limit in the donation system. It doesn't appear to be bandwidth, possibly something in the back-end system that actually handles the donation processing?

I guess maybe we'll find out later, but it would be highly disappointing if there could have been even more donations, but they were held back by limitations in the donation system, thus preventing the campaign from setting a historical record in Presidential campaign donations for a 24 hour period.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Washington Post explicitly lists 1st through 4th, and 6th place winners. No mention of Ron Paul.

Ames Iowa Republican Straw PollSeveral of the Mainstream Media outlets today reported on the Iowa Straw Poll results and conspicuously failed to make any mention of the fact that the "long shot" candidate Ron Paul had beaten both Giuliani and McCain by a sizable margin, with over four and a half times as many votes as Giuliani and McCain combined. Not only did they not report on that important fact, many of them simply neglected to mention him at all, completely skipping his place in the top 5 candidates as they listed the results. Probably the most egregious of these omissions was that of the Washington Post article on the Straw Poll results.

The Washington Post article explicitly lists the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and then 6th place candidates, conspicuously skipping over Ron Paul at 5th place. They even go on to discuss the 7th, 8th and 10th place candidates.

No mention of Ron Paul whatsoever in the entire 1,361 word article.

They discuss Giuliani and McCain, both of whom Ron Paul beat in the poll and they even discuss Fred Thompson, who is not even a Presidential Candidate.

The only people not discussed besides Ron Paul were the 9th and last place (11th) candidates, Duncan Hunter and John Cox.

It's odd that the candidate that finished in the top five, and had the unanimous recognition elsewhere of having easily the most visible, enthusiastic, and large crowd of supporters, only rivaled in size by Romney's group but not in enthusiasm, would not be mentioned. That the candidate widely called a long shot would garner almost 10% of the votes and place in the top 5, ahead of both McCain and Giuliani who are considered big name front-runners.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee finished second with 18 percent of the 14,302 votes cast, and Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas ran third with 15 percent. Huckabee and Brownback had waged a fierce battle for the allegiance of Iowa's social and religious conservatives. An ebullient Huckabee said Saturday night that the outcome will give his campaign a significant boost and vowed to coalesce those conservatives in Iowa and other early-voting states.

Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, the most outspoken opponent of current U.S. immigration policy, finished fourth with 14 percent. Former Wisconsin governor Tommy G. Thompson was sixth at 7 percent. He had said he would quit the presidential race if he failed to finish in the top two, and his campaign said late Saturday that he would make an announcement within 48 hours about his candidacy.
Fox News also conspicuously fails to mention Ron Paul at all in
their article, along with MSNBC following suit in their article. CNN lists the poll results in a sidebar, but makes no mention of Dr. Paul in their article either.

On the other hand, the LA Times mentions Dr. Paul a few times in its article on the Straw Poll, and Reuters also included Dr. Paul in their coverage. The New York Times has an excellent article with a few paragraphs about Ron Paul's great genuine support where supporters came from all over the country of their own volition, unlike the Romney and Brownback supporters who were bussed in and had their tickets paid for.
Iowa Straw Poll Results for the 2008 Republican Presidential Candidates
Candidate Number of votes Percentage of total votes
Mitt Romney4,516 Votes31.6%
Mike Huckabee2,587 Votes18.1%
Sam Brownback2,192 Votes15.3%
Tom Tancredo1,961 Votes13.7%
Ron Paul1,305 Votes9.1%
Tommy Thompson1,039 Votes7.3%
Fred Thompson203 Votes1.4%
Rudy Giuliani183 Votes1.3%
Duncan Hunter174 Votes1.2%
John McCain101 Votes.7%
John Cox41 Votes.3%
14,302 Total Ballots Cast

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Important letter about Ron Paul and the Iowa Straw Poll.

Ron PaulI received an email in my In-Box this morning and wanted to be sure to spread the word.

We can already see the spin in action with the results of the debates Monday morning, where in spite of overwhelming support for Ron Paul and his absolute dominance of the ABC on-line poll afterward, Mitt Romney was hailed as being the strong winner and so on. Having read the actual poll data (PDF) from the ABC poll (not the on-line poll) that the article was based on, I noticed some interesting statistics. While 62 percent had previously been contacted by telephone by the candidates' campaigns, 72 percent said they'd never visited any of the candidates' websites. This further reinforces the idea that the polls are out of touch with the more "wired" or "connected" younger generation who are generally only available by mobile phone and are much more likely to have done on-line research of the candidates.

(On a related note, an obstacle for Ron Paul's campaign also comes from the fact that many other party voters, including a good portion of Democrats, are also supporting Ron Paul and are thus, because of their party affiliations, unable to participate in the early polls and primaries etc. This prohibits them from being able to support Ron Paul fully until after it may be too late unless they switch their party affiliation for this election to allow them to participate in these early stages.)

Below is an explanation of what happened and the attempts being made to prevent it from taking place at the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames on August 11th, in only 4 days. If you can, please do your part to make sure a fair and honest poll is taken in Ames! This is a poll that can make or break campaigns!

That link is a must read to understand what is going on in Ames, only 4 days from now!
Dear Friends of Liberty:

Please read the following two articles and then watch the two videos.
Iowa Republicans See Romney As Straw Poll Winner

an informal survey of Iowa Republican Party leaders, conducted by Real Clear Politics, shows high expectations for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

Of the 30 Republican officials - representing county parties around the state and the party's Central Committee - who responded to the survey via email, 93% picked Romney to win in Ames.
Complete article here:
Protecting Ron Paul, the Rest of the “2nd Tier” and America

(Thanks Bob for this valuable information.)

Now picture this:

On Tuesday, August 7, 2007, a letter is delivered to the Iowa Republican Party and the State and County Boards of Elections. The letter is signed by various good-government and election reform organizations and holders of $35 tickets that entitle them to vote in the Ames Straw Poll. The letter says that unless the following 10-point program is agreed to, a court order will be sought to enjoin and prohibit the Ames Straw Poll until the reforms are agreed to:
Ron Paul Delivers the Best Moment in the GOP Debates

Please watch the video here, and then scroll down the page to Ron Paul on Fox News “Big Story”:

This week in Ames, Iowa is critical. Any and all help will be much appreciated.

We Need Your Help!


Joe Thornton
It's shocking to note that in the article on Real Clear Politics, Ron Paul did not register in any of the 4 different polls they did.

Not only did they make the following statement about him:
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, a libertarian in the truest sense of the word, did not receive a single vote in the poll. The lone anti-war voice on the GOP stage, Paul would be unlikely to earn support, or even notice, of people involved in Republican circles enough to be an elected board member.
But he was not even listed as a result in the 3 other polls:
  • Candidate with the most to lose in the straw poll
  • Candidate with the most to win in the straw poll
  • Candidate most likely to win in 2008
So according to the 30 "Iowa Republican Party leaders" that Real Clear Politics selected to poll, none of them felt that Ron Paul was even significant enough to mention.

To put that into perspective, even John Cox, who ranks the lowest out of all 2008 Republican candidates, who has not attended any of major debates and has the least donations of any 2008 Presidential candidate, was ahead of Ron Paul and was picked as more likely to win the 2008 Presidential election than John McCain, Mike Huckabee or Sam Brownback.

But Ron Paul, who has attended all of the major debates, dominated the on-line polls, has good funding and a higher ranking in the overall polls, doesn't even register a blip on the radar or even a mention in 3 out of their 4 polls.

Real Clear Politics contacted almost 300 officials from the Iowa Republican Party and these statistics were based on the responses of the 30 officials who responded.

I also noted the stances of some of the other Real Clear Politics editors, here are some of their other comments about Ron Paul:
"He has no chance of winning the 2008 Republican nomination." --Mark Davis
"We know one element of the comparison is already apt [Between Ron Paul and Barry Goldwater]: Paul will not be President of the United States." --Gregory Scoblete
I think it goes without saying that these mysterious 30 "Iowa Republican Party leaders" are not representative of the American people or even necessarily the Iowa Republican party constituency, representing less than %0.001 of them.

Back on the straw poll itself, just to add insult to injury, let's have a look at the system they're using for the polls. Pay special attention to the equipment they're using.
Next Saturday, from 10 am to 6 pm, more than 25,000 residents of the State of Iowa will arrive on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames. They will be 18 years of age or older. They will be there to choose one man from a list of eleven men as their choice to be the next President of the United States of America.

At one of 60 vote stations they will receive a paper ballot. They will pencil in an oval next to the candidate of their choice. They will enter the paper ballot into a machine that will scan the entire ballot and record the vote. After voting, each voter will place a thumb into a container of purple ink.

After scanning each ballot the machine will deposit the ballot into a “black box” within the Diebold machine. At 6 pm each machine and black box are transported to a centralized “tabulation” room. The door to the room will be closed to the public.

The ballots are not removed from their black boxes or counted. Instead, a button on the machine is pressed. In response, the machine ejects a slip of paper showing the number of votes recorded by that machine for each candidate. The results are tabulated. Someone then leaves the room and announces the results of the vote to the assembled media representatives. Each person casting a vote will have paid $35 to do so. The ten men on the list are all Republicans. The Iowa Republican Party is sponsoring the event, which is known as the Ames Straw Poll, also the Iowa Straw Poll.
For a little background on Diebold:

Diebold has a notoriously bad reputation, and the use of their systems here only increases my apprehension.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Where did God tell the truth and where did the serpent lie?

Let's do a little analysis of Genesis chapters 2 and 3 and see if we can't ascertain where God told the truth and where the serpent lied.

We start with Genesis 2:8-9:
8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
and Genesis 2:15-17:
15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
With that, the stage is set. God creates Adam, Eve, and the Garden of Eden. In the Garden of Eden he has 2 trees, the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Of these two trees, he forbids them to eat from the second tree (the tree of knowledge of good and evil), but makes no mention of the first (the tree of life). He tells them that if they eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they will die.

With this God has created the first temptation, the first command and the first deception.

This brings us to Genesis 3.

First let's look at Genesis 3:1-5:
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' "

4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
Pay close attention to what the serpent says here. He says that while God has told them they will die if they eat from the tree, and Eve affirms that if she touches the tree she will die, the serpent clarifies that she will actually not die, but instead gain the Knowledge of Good and Evil like God.

Which brings us to Genesis 3:6-7:
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Here Eve, prompted by the desire of knowledge and wisdom planted in her by God, listens to the advice of the serpent who tells her that she will not die if she eats from the tree, but will instead gain God's knowledge. She eats from the tree, shares with Adam and they both gain the knowledge of their own nakedness and clothe themselves.

Which brings us to Genesis 3:8-10:
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"

10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."
Here we have God actually walking, as a physical being, through the Garden, where Adam and Eve hear him coming and hide themselves. God cannot find them and calls out to them, upon which they emerge and explain why they had hid themselves.

This brings up a few interesting points. First the question of why an omnipotent God would not be able to find them. Second, why was he physically strolling through the garden? We'll get to the latter point, and another related point, in a bit.

Next we have Genesis 3:11-13:
11 And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"

12 The man said, "The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."

13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?"
The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
Here God questions how they gained the knowledge of their nakedness and Eve places the blame on the serpent for deceiving her. (A bit humorous, given the context, as we'll see shortly.)

Upon hearing this, God proceeds to damn both them and the serpent for disobeying him, and in the process catching him in a lie.

Genesis 3:14-15:
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this,
"Cursed are you above all the livestock
and all the wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.

15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel."
We see that God curses the snake to be reviled for eternity and be the enemy of man to be crushed under foot etc.

Then God proceeds to curse Adam and Eve for their part in the discovery...

Genesis 3:16-19:
16 To the woman he said,
"I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you."

17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,'
"Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.

18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.

19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return."
Here he not only curses Adam and Eve and all their descendants for eternity to suffer in every aspect of lives through pain and toil, as an added bonus he makes sure to point out that Eve (and all women thereafter) will be subservient to her husband as the master who will rule over her.

And this brings us to the key verses that tie it all together...

Genesis 3:21-24:
21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
And there we have the clincher... God admits that instead of dieing, they did indeed gain his knowledge of good and evil just as the serpent said would happen, and that lest they eat from the other tree which he neglected to mention and become gods themselves, he makes sure to banish them from the garden and plant an angel with a flaming sword at the gate to make sure they can never get at that tree and gain the other half of what he has and become gods themselves.

So the question stands in its simplicity... Where did God tell the truth, and where did the serpent lie?

In case you missed it, notice that God specifically speaks of "one of us". Early Hebrew religion was polytheistic and anthropomorphized. The Gods were physical beings who strolled about the garden with Adam and Eve. They had human emotions and acted as humans, albeit with great knowledge, power and eternal life.

The particular God referred to in these chapters first creates Adam, then Eve, then tries to keep them from gaining his knowledge by threatening them with certain death if they eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He avoids mentioning the tree of life, as if they ate from that they would gain eternal life. The serpent then comes along and points out that God had lied, and that they would not die like he said, but gain his knowledge if they ate from it. When they ate from it, instead of dying like God had said, they did in fact gain his knowledge. God was enraged when the game was up and cursed the lot of them and all their progeny for eternity to lives of suffering, torment, enmity and death and then quickly cast them out before, by his own words, they could gain eternal life on top of the knowledge of the gods and become one of them (the gods).

A few points in closing. The Hebrew religion did not become a unified, monotheistic religion with a God that transcended this world until the time of Moses, when the Hebrews fled from Egypt. There are also a number of other glaring contradictions in the first two chapters of Genesis such as two conflicting stories of the creation and the more modernly understood errors of considering the sun and moon to be two of the same objects, and the stars something different from the sun. Or the fact that the light appeared before the objects, which were thought to be two different things, the sun and the stars, were created to give that light.

Let's address these points as well, just for thoroughness' sake.

In Genesis 1:6-10 we have God separating the waters into the ocean of the sky and the ocean of the Earth, which were believed to be as two oceans. He then further separates the ocean of the Earth from the land beneath it and creates the oceans and continents.
6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.
See Psalm 148:4 for another verse that backs up this stance:
4 Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
The heavens were considered a type of physical dome that separated the oceans on earth from the oceans of the heavens. Upon this dome were the stars that moved fixed in their rotations.

Then we have Genesis 1:11-13:
11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
Here God first creates plant life, which relies on photosynthesis to survive, before he gets around to actually creating the Sun which they depend on for their nourishment. He also states that days are passing when there is not yet a Sun created to facilitate the passage of days. This belies the obvious lack of knowledge of photosynthesis, and a puzzling disregard for what had been known for millennia at this point as the cause of the passage of days, beyond the other glaring errors I'll address momentarily.

Which brings us to Genesis 1:14-19:
14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.
Here we have God creating the Sun and the Moon as two like bodies that create the day and the night, after already pronouncing day and night previous to their creation, and then creating the stars as separate entities. He then specifically notes that due to the creation of these, there was evening and morning, the fourth day. Which specifically clarifies that the days spoken of in creation were the literal days as we know them. The rising and the setting of the sun and the traversal of the moon during the night.

First let's have a look at Genesis 1:11-13:
11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
Here all plant life is created on the third day, with Man not created until the sixth day.

Then, let us contrast that with Genesis 2:4-9:
4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens- 5 and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground- 7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
This further clarifies that the biblical authors had no concept of photosynthesis, but instead believed in their primitive ignorance that plant life relied solely upon water for its nourishment. So by their reckoning, there was no problem with creating the plants before there was ever a Sun to provide light for photosynthesis.

Beyond that, if we look specifically at verses 4-7 above, we see that in this tale of the creation man is created before the plants. Whereas in the previous tale of creation, only one chapter prior, the plants were created a full 3 days prior to the creation of man.

Now as we move beyond these first contradictions and fallacies, we come to the first instances of things in which man, in his original state, should have had no interest, being devoid of knowledge and of worldly things...

Genesis 2:10-17:
10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
Here God extols the inherent values of the lands being replete with Gold and Onyx, although Man at this point is supposedly bereft of the knowledge of such material things. Then God explicitly claims the aforementioned curse of death upon eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

This basically brings us full circle, without delving into even more issues such as the animals of creation being specifically the livestock (cattle, sheep, goats etc) of the contemporary biblical authors, as well as numerous other aspects that have been proven to be absolutely impossible as written in the bible.

Apologists will try to claim a variety of things to reconcile these biblical narrations with the reality we live in, but it takes very little effort indeed to relegate them to the inconsequential realm of primitive mythology where they belong.

A simple example is thus: "If all the supernatural claims of Christianity, and the requisite Hebrew religion, are nothing more than metaphors, then why should we ascribe any inherent supernatural power or godlike authority to a teacher who came along and contradicted the teachings of his own religion and created his own sect, and whose only authority comes from its explicit link to that prior Abrahamic God?"

We can go on at length, book by book, chapter by chapter, verse by verse and debunk this belief system as the conglomeration of shams that it is.

(I've been doing some further research into various aspects of early Christianity, its links to astrology, formation under Constantine, lack of any resurrection story for the first several centuries, lack of any virgin birth story for the first several centuries, lack of any contemporary mention of Jesus whatsoever for the first several centuries. It's rather easy to state at this point that the New Testament as we know it is a wholly fabricated and plagiarized collection of stories that retroactively created the Jesus Christ we know today. A person who never existed in reality, but was instead a creation of a vast array of authors over the centuries, pulling often times verbatim excerpts from other previous historical and religious texts.)

Never be afraid to question.

Friday, August 03, 2007

A meta-post on Atheism, Agnosticism and Faith.

I've been having another discussion/debate on another forum and felt like sharing some of the exchanges. All quotes are written by myself unless otherwise specified.

This was written as part of an ongoing debate on a forum and is simply copied from there verbatim, so the language used may reflect that.
Justifying the existence of God by saying that the Universe requires a creator is nothing more than creating a problem in order to find something for your "solution" to solve. And your solution is to create something necessarily even more complex than the universe to create it. Which would then require an even more complex creator, ad infinitum of increasing complexity.

It's simple to say that the Christian God simply does not and cannot exist. And even the God of the "The universe requires a creator" cannot logically exist. And if the universe could just spring into being, or have always been in some form or another, then there is no requirement for a God, and no reason to create an infinitely more improbable and complex "God" to fit a problem that doesn't necessarily exist in the first place.

"That which can be claimed without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." and as I've said before, we have a hell of a lot of evidence that says that God doesn't exist. And frankly your excuse is rather simple minded and childish.

Calling something like that "God" implies that you have a need to have some "god" figure, so you're willing to call anything "god" just to fill some gap in your brain so you can feel comfortable. You're absolutely inventing something out of thin air without even the "benefit" of a bunch of other people's shared wishful thinking. Just your own over active (and sadly off kilter) imagination.

Just because something is here doesn't mean it required a creator. A rock lying in the street didn't need a creator. Natural forces create all kinds of things around us. Sand dunes, mountain ranges, forests, entire planets formed from the naturally occurring physical forces of the universe. Gravity, atomic attraction, atomic reactions etc.

As it's said "we are all made of stars". Everything you see around you today was once a part of a star. All the complex elements etc.

Just because you might not yet know the answer to something, doesn't mean that you can come up with some utterly improbable or downright impossible reason off the top of your head and think that makes your idea somehow valid or even plausible.

That's the funny thing about this universe and this world we live in. There are certain physical laws and natural rules that govern everything around us. You can't physically be both where you're sitting right now and sitting here at the table with me. 5 is not equal to 0. If you walk outside and toss an apple into the air, it is going to fall back to the ground, unless you physically tie a balloon full of hot air or helium or hydrogen or something to it to counteract that very real force of gravity.

In reality those forces have to be taken into account and they are on a daily basis. You don't drive your car into a tree at 70 miles per hour because it's going to smash it horribly and those very real physical forces have a good chance of killing you. Wishful thinking doesn't make them go away.

In a nutshell, if the universe requires a creator, so does God, which creates an infinitely more complex recursion (which is even more improbable than the universe just springing into being, for the record). If God doesn't require a creator, then neither does the universe, negating the need for God in the first place. So God is impossible and irrelevant either way.

Atheism. From it's Greek roots simply means "without theism". A lack of religious belief, or even active disbelief. It doesn't denote the "evil" tones that Christians would like it to. It simply means you know enough to make a rational, logical and informed decision not to believe in absolutely unprovable and impossible fairytales that cannot ever, by their very nature, be proven or disproven because they simply do not exist. They are figments of the human mind, created by simple minded and ignorant people to assuage their fears of the unknown.
M.I.N.A.S. said:
and the fact still remains that stars wouldn't exist without some sort form of creation. A world of -completely nothing- is unimaginable by the human mind. You can just picture a huge white space...but the problem there is that a world of completely nothing wouldn't even have black or white colors. Colors wouldn't exist either. It's something beyond human comprehension.
And that justifies your impossible and childish "god" "answer" how? :)

Just because you can't understand the real reason for something yet, doesn't make your made up fairytale answer correct by any stretch of the imagination.

The problem here is with the definition of "creation". Stars were produced as a result of physical forces after the Big Bang. And right now scientists are working on what preceded the Big Bang.

Just as our knowledge has moved from the primitive and ignorant explanation of a father figure that created the universe, and life specifically as we know it, meaning cows, pigs, sheep, birds and us, in 7 days, around 6,000 years ago... to the modern understanding of actual cosmology, astrophysical forces etc that enables us to ascertain the actual age of the universe and the bodies within it etc... which led to our understanding of the Big Bang... so does science continue to progress and broaden our knowledge to the point where in the future we should have an even greater understanding.

We now understand the actual age of our planet and the vast array of life that has evolved here over the course of millions of years... long before cows and sheep of the bible's creator. The life that the primitive and ignorant authors of the bible did not, and likely could not have, known about. They wrote their fairytale explanation based on what they saw around them and their incredibly limited understanding of the world around them, much less the workings of the "heavens" above them.

The solution is not found in clinging to utterly unprovable and impossible ancient fairytale explanations, but instead on actual scientific and empirical studies. Ignorance of science is in no way proof of primitive superstitions.

If you contrast what we know today with what we knew then, you get an idea of how far we've come, and how far we can still go in our understanding. That should be our noble goal. Not wallowing in the ignorant superstitions of the past.
M.I.N.A.S. said:
It's a metaphor. I even stated I was just using that as an example so I could get the point across. I hardly consider the big bang a legitimate answer to the existence of either life nor matter.
It's the best answer we have right now. :) A hell of a lot better than using primitive metaphors for men in the clouds.

And what point do you think you were getting across? You haven't made a valid point yet.

What you've tried to describe so far could only by stretching even be called deism at best and certainly not theism. Aside from the fact that I've already shown how incorrect your assertions are even on that front.

Even Einstein who made figures of speech about God was expressly non-religious and resented having his words taken out of context.
The more a man is imbued with the ordered regularity of all events the firmer becomes his conviction that there is no room left by the side of this ordered regularity for causes of a different nature. For him neither the rule of human nor the rule of divine will exists as an independent cause of natural events. To be sure, the doctrine of a personal God interfering with natural events could never be refuted, in the real sense, by science, for this doctrine can always take refuge in those domains in which scientific knowledge has not yet been able to set foot.

But I am convinced that such behavior on the part of representatives of religion would not only be unworthy but also fatal. For a doctrine which is to maintain itself not in clear light but only in the dark, will of necessity lose its effect on mankind, with incalculable harm to human progress. In their struggle for the ethical good, teachers of religion must have the stature to give up the doctrine of a personal God, that is, give up that source of fear and hope which in the past placed such vast power in the hands of priests. In their labors they will have to avail themselves of those forces which are capable of cultivating the Good, the True, and the Beautiful in humanity itself. This is, to be sure, a more difficult but an incomparably more worthy task... --Albert Einstein
It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. --Albert Einstein
I do not believe in immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it. --Albert Einstein
As I believe I said in the beginning... Agnosticism is nothing more than the juvenile form of Atheism. As you grow to understand the reality you live in, and the facts involved... your primitive supernatural idea of God becomes a veritable impossibility.

If you understand medicine, how it works etc... you don't continue to call it magic. You have grown beyond the primitive wonder at something which you did not understand and hence ascribed to it a supernatural power.

The same goes for the world we live in and the universe we live in. When you grow to understand these things, you no longer need to use ignorant and primitive language to describe it.... you simply call it what it is and address the unknown as the unknown, but only in the context of all that you do know to be factual. You take a holistic view of the body of human and scientific knowledge and see that such primitive notions have no place in an educated, rational mind.

Childish metaphors are for children who cannot understand or speak of the reality of things. The Stork for child birth for instance... when you grow up you forget that childish explanation for the wonder of pregnancy and birth. You speak of it in educated terms. So it should be for your childish metaphor of the birth of life and everything as we know it.