Open-minded liberal Dave Rubin talks to moderate conservative Larry Edler

Two lions fight it out and... hey what is this?
Two lions fight it out and… hey what is this?

My friend Kris found this and she sent it to me. I watched both parts, and found a PragerU video to go with. I liked the first part better than the second part.

Here is the first part:

And the summary:

Date:

January 15th, 2016

Topic:

Which group, progressives or conservatives, have reality-based policies that can be defended with evidence?

Summary:

  • Larry Elder’s family background, upbringing, education and career
  • What is the definition of conservatism?
  • What is a libertarian?
  • Why does Larry Elder support pushing social issues down to the states?
  • Why does Larry Elder support Bush’s decision to go to war with Iraq?
  • Why doesn’t Larry elder refer to himself as an “African-American”?
  • Why does the Democrat Party get 95% of the black vote?
  • Is there such a thing as “systemic racism”?
  • Do white police officers treat black people worse than white people?
  • What is the REAL problem facing the black community?
  • What is the number one cause of death for young black men?
  • Black conservatives are called names by the left: is it racism?
  • Does the black community agree with Democrat Party on abortion policy?
  • Does the black community agree with Democrat Party on education policy?
  • Does the black community agree with Democrat Party on retirement policy?
  • Does the black community agree with Democrat Party on marriage policy?
  • Why does the left want to reduce border security and import more refugees?
  • What are some non-conservative that Larry Elder holds?
  • Is Hollywood tolerant of different political views?
  • What do black people think about illegal immigration?

There was another conversation a year later, which you can watch here. It’s not quite as electrifying as the first one, but I definitely recommend it to Trump supporters. Trump, and the response to Trump, is discussed.

Here is part 2:

That’s all very well and good, but this is the shocking part – Dave Rubin, who is in a same-sex marriage, actually now identifies more as a conservative than as a progressive. Why? Because he thinks that his classical liberal views are closer to conservatism than progressivism.

What this Prager University video to see why:

I had to look up where he was educated: Binghamton University. That’s probably why he is so open-minded.

I’m fine with people who are on the left, as long as they don’t come after me for my views. I’m particularly happy with people like Rubin who can at least understand why I hold the views I do, and I don’t mind that they don’t agree with me. I just don’t want them to come after my job or attack me with violence. Dave Rubin is a lot better than the armed “antifa” fascists who are pressing their views with violence and vandalism. The worst part is that the mainstream media supports these little Stalinists. I’m pleased that classical liberals find that alarming. I would classify Rubin as a libertarian now – a big improvement from being a leftist.

Are solar eclipses common? What has to be in place to observe a solar eclipse?

Christianity and the progress of science
Christianity and the progress of science

If there were a Designer of the universe, what would He have to do to allow creatures living on a planet to observe a solar eclipse?

Consider this article from Discovery Institute.

Excerpt:

A rare convergence of events allows Earthlings to witness not just solar eclipses, but perfect solar eclipses, where the Moon just barely covers the Sun’s bright photosphere. Such eclipses depend on the precise sizes, shapes, and relative distances of the Sun, Moon, and Earth. There’s no law of physics or celestial mechanics that requires the right configuration. In fact, of the more than 65 major moons in our Solar System, ours best matches the Sun as viewed from its planet’s surface, and this is only possible during a fairly narrow window of Earth’s history encompassing the present. The Moon is about 400 times smaller than the Sun. But right now, the Moon is about 400 times closer to the Earth than is the Sun. So, the Moon’s apparent size on the sky matches the Sun’s. Astronomers have noted this odd coincidence for centuries. And, since the Sun appears larger from the Earth than from any other planet with a moon, an Earth-bound observer can discern finer details in the Sun’s chromosphere and corona than from any other planet. This makes our solar eclipses more valuable scientifically.

The recent pictures of solar eclipses sent back from the Opportunity rover on Mars nicely illustrate how much better our solar eclipses are. The two small potato-shaped Martian moons, Deimos and Phobos, appear much too small to cover the Sun’s disk, and they zip across it in less than a minute.

Not only do you need things to be finely-tuned to see the eclipse, but you also need observers to be there.

More:

It’s intriguing that the best place to view total solar eclipses in our Solar System is the one time and place where there are observers to see them. It turns out that the precise configuration of Earth, Moon and Sun are also vital to sustaining life on Earth. A moon large enough to cover the Sun stabilizes the tilt of the rotation axis of its host planet, yielding a more stable climate, which is necessary for complex life. The Moon also contributes to Earth’s ocean tides, which increase the vital mixing of nutrients from the land to the oceans. The two moons around Mars are much too small to stabilize its rotation axis.

In addition, it’s only in the so-called Circumstellar Habitable Zone of our Sun–that cozy life friendly ring where water can stay liquid on a planet’s surface–that the Sun appears to be about the same size as the Moon from Earth’s surface. As a result, we enjoy perfect solar eclipses.

Why would the Designer of the Universe want his observers to exist in exactly the right place to observe the solar eclipse? What is the point of seeing a solar eclipse?

Here is the point:

Our ability to observe perfect solar eclipses has figured prominently in several important scientific discoveries, discoveries that would have been difficult if not impossible on the much more common planets that don’t enjoy such eclipses.

First, these observations helped disclose the nature of stars. Scientists since Isaac Newton (1666) had known that sunlight splits into all the colors of the rainbow when passed through a prism. But only in the 19th century did astronomers observe solar eclipses with spectroscopes, which use prisms. The combination of the man-made spectroscope with the natural experiment provided by eclipses gave astronomers the tools they needed not only to discover how the Sun’s spectrum is produced, but the nature of the Sun itself. This knowledge enabled astronomers to interpret the spectra of the distant stars. So, in a sense, perfect eclipses were a key that unlocked the field of astrophysics.

Second, in 1919, perfect solar eclipses allowed two teams of astronomers, one led by Sir Arthur Eddington, to confirm a prediction of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity–that gravity bends light. They succeeded in measuring the changes in the positions of starlight passing near the Sun’s edge compared to their positions months later. Such a test was most feasible during a perfect solar eclipse. The tests led to the general acceptance of Einstein’s theory, which is the foundation of modern cosmology.

So, you’ve got fine-tuning for the eclipse, fine-tuning for the observers, and with that in place, the observers can collect scientific evidence… including evidence that confirms cosmic fine-tuning as well as general relativity. General relativity is important because if gives us the expanding universe – one of the evidences for the Big Bang cosmology. The Big Bang cosmology states that the entire physical universe came into being out of nothing, about 14 billion years ago. Who could have caused that? If we don’t have eclipses, we are losing out on evidence of cosmic fine-tuning and cosmic creation.

There’s a new Discovery Institute podcast featuring Jay Richards, co-author of the amazing book “The Privileged Planet”.

Details:

On this episode of ID: The Future, CSC Senior Fellow Jay Richards explains how perfect solar eclipses are the tip of an iceberg-size design argument found in a book he co-wrote, The Privileged Planet. The conditions for a habitable planet (right distance from the right size star, a big but not too big moon that is the right distance away to stabilize Earth’s tilt and circulate its oceans) are also conditions that make perfect solar eclipses from the Earth’s surface much more likely. And perfect eclipses aren’t just eerie and beautiful. They’ve helped scientists test and discover things, and are part of a larger pattern: The conditions needed for a habitable place in the cosmos correlate with the conditions well suited for scientific discovery. As Richards notes, this correlation is inexplicable if the cosmos is the product of chance. But if it’s intelligently designed with creatures like us in mind, it’s just what we might expect.

The MP3 file is here.

If you have not seen The Privileged Planet, you can get the same argument as in the book in just over an hour. You can either buy The Privileged Planet DVD, or click here to watch it on YouTube. And it’s narrated by John-Rhys Davies.

Making monergism make sense: a middle-knowledge approach to salvation

Lets take a closer look at a puzzle
Lets take a closer look at a puzzle

This article at Free Thinking Ministries was written by my friend Tim Stratton. In it, he tries to rescue Calvinism from the horror of double-predestination.

Excerpt: (links removed)

Many reformed folks (freely?) choose to reject Molinism because they contend that this theological view “smells of synergism.” What is this stench that reportedly makes John Calvin turn over in his grave? Simply put, synergism is the view that man plays at least a small part in his own salvation process. Monergism, on the other hand, is the view that God is the author of salvation from beginning to end.

Since Molinism affirms that man is free to choose to reject God’s saving grace or not, many Calvinists jump to the conclusion and assume that Molinism must be synergistic. This does not necessarily follow.[1] Consider one possible model:

1- God, by nature, is a volitional unmoved mover who is free to choose between options in accord with His nature. (This is supported via the Kalam and the Argument from Time).

2- By God’s grace, humans are created in the “image of God.” By nature, then, we are free to choose between options in accord with our nature. (This is supported via the Freethinking Argument).

3- Adam & Eve freely chose to disobey God and this sin completely separates humanity from God. This is what it means to have a “totally depraved sin nature.” (Every aspect of man is separated from God).

4- In this state of depraved separation from God (sin nature), humans do not even know God exists if merely left to our own devices.

5- If humans do not even know God exists, then, left to our own devices and apart from God’s grace, it would be impossible to choose to love and follow God (thus, Pelagianism is impossible on this view).

6- God, in His love for all people, provides amazing prevenient grace to all people (Romans 1:20), writing the law on the human heart (Romans 2:15), conviction of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8-9), and draws all men (John 12:32). This is commonly referred to as “common grace.”

7- Therefore, by God’s grace, human nature has changed from a “totally separated from God nature” to a nature that has now experienced enough divine revelation (influences) allowing all mankind to start making some free and volitional choices in accord with our new nature; namely, to choose to resist God’s grace and revelation, or not.[2] Mankind is without excuse because we do not have to resist what God has made clear (Romans 1:18-20).[3]

[Note: According to Calvinist, Matt Slick (albeit inadvertently), Mark 4:10-12 implies that if an unregenerate person gets access to clear and accurate information, then they possess the ability to become Christians!]

8- If one does not reject or continually resist the grace and revelation God provides them, then God will continually provide more and more until the person reaches the point of “no return” and will become saved.

Thus, God does ALL the work in salvation from beginning to end on this Molinistic model; all the human can do is freely resist God’s grace and revelation, but he or she does not have to! The human does nothing to gain salvation apart from God’s grace on this Monergistic Model of Molinism.

I think that Stratton’s formulation above does indeed keep God as the sole initiator of salvation. And that’s good. But it also makes sure that human resistance to God is allowed, and that’s good. We want salvation to be 100% by faith alone in Christ alone. But we don’t want God to be the cause of people not being saved (because he is the ONLY ONE who can save them, and he chooses not to save them). On Stratton’s view, God wants everyone to be saved. If anyone is saved, it’s because God did ALL THE WORK to lead them and secure their salvation with the death of Jesus on the cross. But, on Stratton’s view, humans do get a choice – the choice to trust God or not. And so, if a person is not saved, then it’s their fault – not God’s. This works.

Read his whole post, and see what you think about it.

Are the Galapagos finch beaks evidence of Darwinian evolution?

I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery
I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery

Jonathan Wells has an article about it at Evolution News.

It says:

When Charles Darwin visited the Galápagos Islands in 1835, he collected specimens of the local wildlife. These included some finches that he threw into bags, many of them mislabeled. Although the Galápagos finches had little impact on Darwin’s thinking (he doesn’t even mention them in The Origin of Species), biologists who studied them a century later called them “Darwin’s finches” and invented the myth that Darwin had correlated differences in the finches’ beaks with different food sources (he hadn’t). According to the myth, Darwin was inspired by the finches to formulate his theory of evolution, thoughaccording to historian of science Frank Sulloway “nothing could be further from the truth.”

In the 1970s, biologists studied a population of medium ground finches on one of the islands in great detail. When a severe drought left only large, hard-to-crack seeds, 85 percent of the birds perished. The survivors had beaks that were about 5 percent larger than the average beak size in the original population. The biologists estimated that if similar droughts occurred once every ten years, the population could become a new species in only 200 years. In a 1999 booklet defending evolution, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences called the finches “a particularly compelling example” of the origin of species.

But after the drought, birds with smaller beaks flourished again, and the average beak size of the population returned to normal. No net evolution had occurred. No matter; Darwin’s finches became an icon of evolution that is still featured in most biology textbooks.

In the 1980s, a population of large ground finches, with larger beaks than the medium ground finches, migrated to the island. When a drought in 2004-2005 again reduced the food supply, the medium and large ground finch populations both declined. But since even the largest beaks among the medium ground finches were no match for the beaks of the large ground finches, the latter pretty much monopolized the larger seeds and the former had to make do with smaller seeds. This time, the medium ground finches that survived the drought had beaks that were smaller than the average size in the original population. Biologists studying the finches argued that birds with smaller beaks were better able to eat the tiny seeds that were left after the large ground finches ate the big ones, and they concluded that this was again an example of “evolutionary change.”

[…]Wait a minute. Average beak size increased slightly during one drought, only to return to normal after the rains return. Then average beak size decreased slightly during another drought. A region of DNA is correlated with beak size. And somehow that tells us how finches evolved in the first place?

There is an important distinction to make between micro-evolution and macro-evolution. Changes within a type is micro-evolution. Evolving a new organ type or body plan is macro-evolution. There is plenty of evidence for micro-evolution, but no evidence for macro-evolution.

What needs to be proven by the Darwinists is that the same process that results in different average beak size in a population of finches after a drought can create the finches in the first place. I think that Darwinists are credulous – they believe what they want to believe because they want to believe it, even if the evidence is incredibly weak. Darwinists must demonstrate that heritable variations can result in the generation of new organ types and body plans. Changes in average beak size is not interesting. What is needed is to show how the beaks, much less the wings, evolved in the first place.

Icons of Evolution

Jonathan has actually written about a number of  misleading things that you may mind in Biology textbooks.

Here are the sections in his book “Icons of Evolution“:

  • The Miller-Urey Experiment
  • Darwin’s Tree of Life
  • Homology in Vertebrate Limbs
  • Haeckel’s Embroys
  • Archaeopteryx–The Missing Link
  • Peppered Moths
  • Darwin’s Finches
  • Four-Winged Fruit Flies
  • Fossil Horses and Directed Evolution
  • From Ape to Human: The Ultimate Icon

Dr. Wells holds a Ph.D in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California at Berkeley.

City Journal publishes comprehensive profile of Southern Poverty Law Center

First, recall from this article posted at The Federalist that the Southern Poverty Law Center was the source of the “hate map” which was used by convicted domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins in his attempt to shoot and kill everyone at the Family Research Council. He was stopped by a security guard, and the video above is the footage of the attempted mass murder.

Excerpt:

Corkins would later admit that he had located Family Research Council’s office on a “hate map” produced by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and he planned to shoot people in the building and smear the Chick-fil-A sandwiches on them.

[…]Much of the ensuing media coverage ignored or downplayed Corkins’ motives, which the Washington Post referred to as “a detail sure to reignite the culture wars.” A year later, Southern Poverty Law Center founder Morris Dees was still publicly defending the inclusion of Family Research Council on the organization’s “hate map.”

Just to be clear, this gay activist was convicted of domestic terrorism, and received 25 years in prison.

Let’s find out more about SPLC, courtesy of this article from the centrist City Journal, a very respected source.

Here is the article from City Journal.

Excerpt:

Ironically, the SPLC not only overlooks most of the real hate groups in operation today, along with overtly race-based organizations, such as the pro-Latino National Council of La Raza and MEChA, but also labels moderates with whom it disagrees “extremists” if they deviate from its rigid political agenda, which embraces open borders, LGBT rights, and other left-wing totems. The SPLC has branded Somali-born reformer Ayaan Hirsi Ali an “anti-Muslin extremist” for her opposition to female genital mutilation and other oppressive Islamic practices, and designated the respected Family Research Council as a “hate group” for its opposition to same-sex marriage. Likewise, the organization deems mainstream immigration-reform advocates such as the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) as hate groups. British Muslim activist Maajid Nawaz—regarded by most observers as a human rights leader—is suing the SPLC for listing him as an extremist.

Not just the Family Research Council, but the Alliance Defending Freedom and Liberty Counsel, too. Defending religious liberty at the Supreme Court and winning your case apparently makes you a “hate group”.

More:

Critics of the SPLC accuse the lavishly funded organization of peddling fear and smearing political opponents—mostly conservatives—as bigots. Its “Hatewatch” list is avowedly ideological, acknowledging that it “monitors and exposes the activities of the American radical right.” Few left-wing organizations—and no Islamist groups—are branded in this way by the SPLC. Nevertheless, the SPLC, founded in 1971, has burrowed itself into the civil rights movement, the organized bar, the cloistered culture of large law firms, the education system, and even law enforcement as a champion for “the exploited, the powerless and the forgotten.” Its executives are richly compensated, some in excess of $400,000 annually. Operating from palatial six-story quarters in Montgomery, Alabama (sometimes called the “Poverty Palace”), it enjoys a $300 million endowment, including more than $23 million in cash.

The non-profit rating group “Charity Watch” gives the SPLC an “F” rating. This is the lowest grade possible.

More:

The SPLC frequently rails against public figures as “enablers” not technically designated as hate groups or extremists, such as Texas governor Greg Abbott, former congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul, radio talk show host Glenn Beck, Fox News commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano, and Kentucky senator Rand Paul. Rush Limbaugh, the Breitbart News Network, the Boy Scouts of America, and Focus on the Family (founded by psychologist, broadcaster, and best-selling author James Dobson) have also earned the SPLC’s wrath.

And finally:

What many of the individuals and groups condemned by the SPLC have in common is a conservative orientation. Favoring traditional marriage becomes the moral equivalent of cross-burning; opposing illegal immigration or amnesty for illegal immigrants equates to advocating genocide; resisting the spread of radical Islam invokes Timothy McVeigh; and anti-tax Tea Party groups are now indistinguishable from armed militias or Holocaust deniers. Thus, dissent is de-legitimatized, and political foes are demonized.

[…]SPLC senior fellow Mark Potok, a 20-year veteran of the organization and editor of its “hate list”—a quarterly publicationhas admitted that “our aim in life is to destroy these groups, to completely destroy them.”

How far would the SPLC go to “destroy” their enemies? Well, the SPLC-inspired attack on the Family Research Council is not the only time that the SPLC has been linked to violent left-wing extremism.

Consider this story from the radically leftist New York Times.

They write:

It was a little after 5 p.m., a quiet time in a quiet neighborhood, before many people had returned home from work on Tuesday, when two women called 911 to report multiple gunshots and screams echoing through a condominium complex here near the University of North Carolina.

By the time the police arrived, three people were dead — a newlywed couple and the woman’s sister. They were young university students, Muslims of Arab descent, and high achievers who regularly volunteered in the area. A neighbor, a middle-age white man, was missing — then under arrest and charged with three counts of murder.

[…]Mr. Hicks, appeared to have a deep dislike of all religion. On his Facebook page, nearly all of his posts expressed support for atheism, criticism of Christian conservatives or both.

Let’s take a look at what’s on his Facebook page:

His Facebook Likes included the Huffington Post, Rachel Maddow, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Freedom from Religion Foundation, Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” Neil deGrasse Tyson, Gay Marriage groups and similar progressive pages.

Previously, I blogged about a peer-reviewed study published in the journal Academic Questions, found that the SPLC “…fails to use objective criteria in determining which organizations should be labeled a “hate group”…”. Something to keep in mind when you hear the left-wing media invoking the SPLC as an authority.

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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