All posts by Wintery Knight

Democrat bill to ban public expression of Biblical morality passes California assembly

Young people seem to like gay marriage more than they like individual liberties
Young people seem to like gay marriage more than they like individual liberties

I hate California, and would never live there. I would never pay money to Sacramento Democrats to waste it on their secular, socialist priorities.

California is banning the free speech rights of Christians. That’s not my headline, that’s sensible David French in National Review:

[…][T]he California State Assembly is set to vote on a bill that would actually — among other things — ban the sale of books expressing orthodox Christian beliefs about sexual morality.

Yes, ban the sale of books.

Assembly Bill 2943 would make it an “unlawful business practice” to engage in “a transaction intended to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer” that advertise, offer to engage in, or do engage in “sexual orientation change efforts with an individual.”

The bill then defines “sexual orientations change efforts” as “any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.” (Emphasis added.)

This is extraordinarily radical. Christian orthodoxy is simple — regardless of a person’s desires (their “orientation”), the standard of right conduct is crystal clear. Sex is reserved for marriage between a man and a woman. When it comes to “gender expression,” there is no difference between “sex” and “gender,” and the Christian response to gender dysphoria is compassion and treatment, not indulgence and surgical mutilation.

Put another way, there is a fundamental difference between temptation and sin. California law would intrude directly on this teaching by prohibiting even the argument that regardless of sexual desire, a person’s sexual behavior should conform to Biblical standards.

This bill has actually passed in the California assembly.

I just want to point out that David French has a JD from Harvard University. He’s not an idiot – this is what Christians of all walks of life are expected to believe. I’m not quite as successful as David is, but I haven’t even kissed a girl on the lips. I certainly would never have sex with a woman outside of marriage – what would that even communicate to her? So yes, we really do take these rules seriously, and not because we’re stupid or poor or ignorant.

When I say that people should not be having sex outside of marriage – gay or straight – I walk the walk. And I ought to be able to freely speak my view. I ought to be able to lend someone a book expressing my view, too. I ought to be able to buy a book that takes the Biblical view of sexuality seriously. This bill outlaws all of that – and violators would be persecuted using money taken from them in taxes.

You can read more about the bill here, on the California Family Council web site.

Can people change their “sexual orientation”?

A friend of mine decided to post some peer-reviewed evidence that people can and do change their “sexual orientation”.

Here is what he wrote:

Here’s the data I’ve seen:

“Among the 14% of Dutch adult males who reported ever having physical attraction to other males, about half noted that these feelings disappeared later in life”
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-006-9088-5

“Only 38% of exclusive same-sex attracted females stayed in this group with the rest moving into ‘occasional’ same-sex attraction (38%) or exclusive opposite-sex attraction (25%). One half of female and one third of male 21-year olds with occasional same-sex attraction only had opposite-sex attraction as 26-year olds.”
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-006-9088-5

“Although most (97%) heterosexuals maintained their heterosexual identity, nonheterosexuals frequently changed their identity label over the life course: 39% of gay males, 65% of lesbians, 66% of male bisexuals, and 77% of female bisexuals.”
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-006-9088-5

“The instability of same-sex romantic attraction and behavior (plus sexual identity in previous investigations) presents a dilemma for sex researchers who portray nonheterosexuality as a stable trait of individuals”
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-006-9088-5

“in a 5-year study… of young adults (Dickson et al., 2003)… only 65% of the men with same-sex attraction and 40% of the women with same-sex attraction did so [maintained a consistent rating of attraction over 5 years]”
http://midus.wisc.edu/findings/pdfs/1153.pdf

“in a longitudinal study of women who identified as lesbian, bisexual, or unlabeled at the first time point, 67% had changed their identity at least once over a period of 10 years (Diamond, 2008).”
http://midus.wisc.edu/findings/pdfs/1153.pdf

“Research shows that women’s sexuality tends to be more responsive to normative influences [peer pressure] than men’s sexuality (Baumeister, 2000)”
http://midus.wisc.edu/findings/pdfs/1153.pdf

If non-heterosexuals change their attraction that much on their own, I think it’s worthwhile to rigorously study therapy to find the best practices and see what can be done.

That’s the science. As a Christian, I have every reason in the world to speak about this evidence to people who are experiencing unwanted same-sex attractions. I have a right to read it in a book. I have a right to buy a book that says it. I have a right to give someone a book that says it. California would take my money and pay themselves to prosecute me for all of that. If you’re a Christian, it’s the wrong place to live. Pay your taxes in a state where the politicians respect your liberties.

Dave Rubin interviews my favorite economist: Thomas Sowell

Economist Thomas Sowell
Dr. Thomas Sowell – the best economics teacher you will ever learn from

Two half-hour interviews with my FAVORITE economist, Thomas Sowell. If you haven’t read any books by Thomas Sowell, then you don’t know how wonderful economics can be. Thomas Sowell stands for the proposition that before you adopt an economic policy, you have to consider what incentives it will create for everyone involved. And he backs up his ideas with studies that span the whole range of times and places. It turns out that many bad ideas have already been disproved in different times and places, and Thomas Sowell knows them all. Thomas Sowell is a man of facts and evidence.

Description of part one:

Dr. Thomas Sowell (Economist) joins Dave to discuss his Marxist past, free speech on campuses, distinguishing between classical liberalism and libertarianism, and his new book “Discrimination & Disparities.

Part one:

“This idiot has stumbled on something that will ruin us all”. LOL!

Description of part two:

Dr. Thomas Sowell (Economist and Author) joins Dave to discuss the role of government, the problem with minimum wage laws, his experience as a black conservative, debunking systemic racism, the importance of common decency, and his new book “Discrimination & Disparities.”

Part two:

In the comments, Dave explains that YouTube has demonetized the video. I suppose that this is because the video contains conservative ideas, and YouTube is owned by the far-left Google.

Anyway, I recommend getting your hands on some Thomas Sowell books.

This one seems to be a collection of introductory essays:

The Thomas Sowell Reader

I haven’t read it, but it has the highest reviews of any of his books. What I would recommend is picking up one of the OLDER versions of his “Basic Economics”:

Basic Economics

You can get a used one for a couple of bucks. I read the second edition a while back, and I remember that just reading the first 3 chapters knocked my socks off. Some crazy person even uploaded the audio of the edition I read to YouTube. Just listen to the first 3-4 chapters, and you’ll see what I mean. No one who wants to understand how the world really works can ignore Thomas Sowell.

One that I still haven’t read that’s short and sweet is:

The Vision of the Anointed

But a later book that is similar is actually my favorite Thomas Sowell book:

Intellectuals and Society

I also liked this one a lot:

Economic Facts and Fallacies

I once dated a homeschooled girl who came from a large, rural family. This family produced brilliant children, but the parents didn’t really believe in college. I told the girl that to marry me, she would have to get a college degree. She and her parents didn’t really like that, and we broke up. However, I did tell her that she should read Thomas Sowell, because she had some left of center views on public policy, e.g. – health care. I found out later that she went on to read SIX Thomas Sowell books in two months. After that, she went on to get a BA in economics via distance learning, with a 4.0 GPA! I think part of that transformation is due to the Thomas Sowell books. Thomas Sowell changes lives.

I have to include this clip of Thomas Sowell from a long time ago:

He understood the things we are fighting about today decades ago. This man should have been our first black president.

By the way, Dave Rubin does a lot of good interviews. This one that he did with Larry Elder was worth watching.

There is evidence of collusion to get a presidential candidate elected

Left to right: Comey, Lynch, Clinton, McCabe
Left to right: Comey, Lynch, Clinton, McCabe

Nobody knows American politics better than Michael Barone. In this article for Real Clear Politics, he explains what we now know about collusion during the 2016 presidential election. This piece was tweeted by Brit Hume AND Hugh Hewitt (of MSNBC) so you know it’s fair and balanced.

First, here’s the status of the Russia collusion investigation:

The Russia collusion charge had some initial credibility because of businessman Donald Trump’s dealings in Russia and candidate Trump’s off-putting praise of Vladimir Putin.

It was fueled by breathless media coverage of such trivial events as Jeff Sessions’ conversation with the Russian ambassador at a Washington reception — and, of course, by the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel. But Mueller’s prosecutions of Trump campaign operatives were for misdeeds long before the campaign, and his indictment of 13 Russians specified that no American was a “knowing participant” in their work.

Now there’s talk that Mueller is winding up his investigation. It seems unlikely that whatever he reports will fulfill the daydreams so many liberals have of making Trump go the way of Richard Nixon.

So much for that story. Just think of how much the mainstream media talked about a story that turned out to be a big nothingburger.

But here’s another collusion story that’s emerging:

Meanwhile, the evidence builds of collusion by Obama administration law enforcement and intelligence personnel in trying to elect Hillary Clinton and defeat and delegitimize Trump in and after the 2016 election.

The investigation of Clinton’s illegal email system was conducted with kid gloves. FBI Director James Comey accepted Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s order to call it a “matter” rather than an “investigation.” Clinton aides were allowed to keep her emails and destroy 30,000 of them, plus cellphones. They were not subject to grand jury subpoenas, and a potential co-defendant was allowed to claim attorney-client privilege.

On June 27, 2016, Lynch clandestinely met with Bill Clinton on his plane at the Phoenix airport — a meeting that became known only thanks to an alert local TV reporter. Lynch supposedly left the decision on prosecution to Comey, who on July 5 announced publicly that Clinton had been “extremely careless” but lacked intent to violate the law, even though the statute punishes such violations whether they are intentional or not.

Contrast that with the collusion of Obama officials with the Clinton campaign-financed Christophe Steele/Fusion GPS dossier alleging Trump ties with Russians. Comey and the Justice Department used it, without divulging who paid for it, to get a FISA warrant to surveil former Trump campaign operative Carter Page’s future and past communications — the “wiretap” Trump was derided for mentioning.

Similarly, when Comey informed Trump in January 2017 of the contents of the then-unpublished Steele dossier, he didn’t reveal that the Clinton campaign had paid for it. Asked on his iatrogenic book tour why not, he blandly said he didn’t know. And maybe he doesn’t actually realize he was employing J. Edgar Hoover-like tactics to keep his job. Maybe.

In any case, after he was fired, he immediately sent four of his internal memos, at least one of them classified, to a law professor friend to leak them to the press, with the intent of getting a special counsel appointed — who turned out to be his longtime friend and ally Robert Mueller. Collusion, anyone?

I wonder if the mainstream media will be as excited about reporting on this one? The mainstream media seems intent on presenting Comey as some kind of superstar public servant. But the truth is very different.

Trump needs to appoint people to these law enforcement agencies who will investigate actual crimes that were committed by the previous administration and their allies in the media. I’d like to see people who use government as a weapon put behind bars. We have to know for certain that using the government as a weapon to influence elections has consequences.

Radical feminists oppose shutdown of underage sex-trafficking site

Women's March
Women’s March

Wow! Read that tweet by the organizer’s of the Women’s March (which doesn’t even represent all women). A web site that facilitates “sex work” was shut down by the FBI, and the Women’s March is upset. What can it mean?

Well, here’s an article from The Federalist to explain. (H/T Sean M.)

Excerpt:

Last Friday, the FBI seized Backpage.com, a website well known for facilitating the sale of trafficked minors, mostly girls, for sex all over the United States. On Monday, seven top Backpage officials were arrested after being indicted on 93 counts, including money laundering and facilitating prostitution, 17 cases of which involve trafficking victims as young as 14. The Washington Post says Backpage earned an estimated $500 million in prostitution-related revenue since its launch in 2004.

The National Center on Missing and Exploited Children reports that 73 percent of all child sex trafficking cases it has handled involved Backpage.com. According to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Backpage reached 97 countries and was the world’s largest single facilitator of sex trafficking. NCOSE also reports that from January 2013 to March 2015, 99 percent of Backpage’s global revenue was attributable to prostitution advertising. During that time, it made nearly $51 million from prostitution ads in California alone.

The rest of the The Federalist article makes clear that nothing in that web site’s operations made sex-trafficking “safer” for women. In fact, the whole “sex work” business is dangerous for women:

While it’s impossible to say all women in prostitution are trafficked into it, numerous young women and girls tell us they were sold into sex against their will into the industry that traffickers, sex buyers, and their supporters try to legitimize with terms like “sex work.” We do know, thanks to the research of Melissa Farley at Prostitution Research and Education, that 70 percent of those in the sex industry link their entry to prior sexual abuse.

Most say they entered as minors, which in the United States qualifies as trafficking. Many enter feeling they have no other options, reducing the sense of free choice in the matter. Once they’re in, 89 percent of “sex workers” say they want to get out of the industry but feel they have limited options. You don’t call an industry safe when women are coerced into it and have difficulty getting out.

According to Farley’s comprehensive studies, as many as 99 percent of those in the sex industry have said they experienced violence within it. Thanks to ladies like Marian Hatcher, who leads the human trafficking division at the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, we know that 37 children and adults between 2007 and 2016 were killed as a result of online sex ads like those at Backpage.com. You don’t call an industry safe when women face threats to their lives and agency within it.

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to look back and see how we got to this point. Just a few decades ago, women generally did not have sex before marriage. Instead, they avoided sex with hot bad boys, found a man who could do husband roles early on, and got married. We had a lot of 40, 50 and 60 year marriages. Lots of children and grandchildren. Photo albums full of pictures. Family, relationships and community. In those days, women were more comfortable with the obligations of relationships, and they were happy to give up some freedom in order to have a strong family and home.

Today, things are different. Feminism won. Women don’t look for men who would make good husbands and fathers. Women don’t marry early because they see marriage as boring and sexist. Unfortunately, having a lot of fun with bad boys in your 20s isn’t a plan for the next 60 years of your life.

Instead of backtracking on their mistakes, the radical feminists are now telling us we have to go forward. How far forward? We have to normalize prostitution and sex-trafficking, too. Once upon a time we had rules around sex, and men played by those rules. Now, the old rules that protected women are gone, and the radical feminists are the ones driving it. Their ideology means more to them than women’s happiness and safety.

And it’s not just harmful sex work that the radical feminists support. Radical feminists also championed sex-selection abortions, which allows mothers to terminate their children for being the wrong sex. Radical feminists also support race-selection abortions, which allow mothers to terminate their children for being the wrong race. And no-fault divorce law were championed by radical feminists and their trial lawyer allies, resulting in an epidemic of fatherless children. Fatherlessness is really bad for little girls, and little boys, too.

Well, maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t see how radical feminism has made the lives of women, born and unborn, better. Just because a few women made poor choices with men, and got angry at all men, that isn’t a reason to let them burn down the institution of marriage. Maybe we should just encourage young women to make better choices about when to marry and who to marry than the bitter feminists did? That’s what we used to do, and it seemed to me that women were a lot safer and happier with that.

Tactics: the worst mistake a Christian can make when doing apologetics

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

So, this is just an advice post for doing apologetics.

Here are three situations I’ve run into while doing apologetics in the last month.

First situation. I was talking with a lady who is an atheist. I had a copy of “God’s Crime Scene” in my hand, and she asked me about it. I told her that it was a book written by the guy who solved the homicide case that I asked her to watch on Dateline. She remembered – it was the two-hour special on the woman who was killed with a garrotte. She pointed at the book and said “what’s in it?” I said, it has 8 pieces of evidence that fit better with a theistic worldview than with an atheistic one, and some of them scientific. Her reply to me was – literally – “which denomination do you want me to join?”

Second situation. I was talking with a friend of mine who teaches in a Catholic school. She was telling that she got the opportunity to talk to her students about God, and found out that some of them were not even theists, and many of them had questions. So she asked them for questions and got a list. The list included many hard cases, like “what about the Bible and slavery” and “why do Christians oppose gay marriage?” and so on.

Third situation. Talking to a grad student about God’s existence. I’m laying out my scientific arguments for her, holding up the peer-reviewed papers for each discovery. I get to the Doug Axe paper on protein folding probabilities, and she holds up her hand. One question: “Am I going to Hell?”

So think about those three situations. In each case, the opponent is trying to reject Christianity by jumping way, way ahead to the very end of the process. When you do Christian apologetics, you do not take the bait and jump to the end of the process dealing with nitty gritty details until you have made your case for the core of the Christian worldview using your strongest evidence. Let me explain.

So, your strongest evidence as a Christian are the scientific arguments, along with the moral argument. Those would include (for starters) the following:

  1. kalam cosmological argument
  2. cosmic fine-tuning
  3. galactic and stellar habitability
  4. origin of life / DNA
  5. molecular machines / irreducible complexity
  6. the moral argument

The problem I am seeing today is that atheists are rejecting discussions about evidence because they think that all we are interested in is getting them to become Christians. Well, yes. I want you to become a Christian. But I know perfectly well what that entails – it entails a change of life priorities. Both of the women I spoke to are living with their boyfriends, and the kids in the Catholic school just want to have fun. None of them wants to believe in a God who will require self-denial, self-control, and self-sacrifice. Nobody wants God to be in that leader position in their lives. Christianity is 100% reversed from today’s me-first, fun-seeking, thrill-seeking, fear-of-missing-out travel spirit of the age.

So, how to answer all these late-game questions? The answer is simple. You don’t answer any late-game questions until the person you are talking with accounts for the widely-accepted data in your list. These are things that have got to be accepted before any discussion about minor issues like one angel vs two angels at the empty tomb can occur. When we discuss all the basic issues where the evidence is the strongest, then we can go on to discuss issues where the evidence is debatable, then finally, in the last bits before the end, we can discuss these other kinds of questions.

How to explain why this process must be followed to the person who asks specific questions about minor issues? Simple. You explain that your goal is not to get them to become a Christian right now. That you want to let them believe anything thing they want. That’s right. They can believe anything they want to believe. As long as what they believe is consistent with the evidence. And what I am going to do is give them the evidence, and then they can believe whatever they want – so long as it’s consistent with the evidence.

So, for example, I’m going to tell them 3 pieces of evidence for a cosmic beginning of the universe: the expanding universe (redshift), the cosmic microwave background radiation, and the light element abundances. That’s mainstream science that shows that the universe came into being out of nothing, a finite time in the past. And I will charge them not to believe in any religion that assumes that the universe has always been here. For example, Mormonism is ruled out, they believe in eternally existing matter. See how that works? Hey, Ms. Atheist. You can believe anything you want. As long as what you believe is consistent with the evidence. 

I think this approach of not letting them rush you to the end at the beginning is important for two reasons. First, we can get our foot in the door to talk about things that are interesting to everyone, in a non-stressed environment. Everyone can talk about evidence comfortably. Second, we show that we hold our beliefs because we are simply letting evidence set boundaries for us on what we are allowed to believe. We can’t believe not-Christianity, because not-Christianity is not consistent with the evidence. And you start with the most well-supported evidence, and eliminate worldviews that are falsified by the most well-supported evidence. Atheism actually gets falsified pretty quickly, because of the scientific evidence.

So, that’s my advice. Had a friend of mine named William try this out about a week ago. It went down like this:

William to me:

This guy I know messaged me and bragged for a while about how easy he can dismantle Christianity. He said: “present the gospel to me as you understand it. I’ll simply ask questions to demonstrate it is not worth your belief.”

WK to William:

First of all, he isn’t allowed to just sit there and poke holes in your case, he has to present a positive case for atheism. Second, don’t discuss Christianity with him at all until you first discuss the evidence for theism – start with the good scientific evidence.

And William wrote this to his friend:

The way I’m wired is that I process all competing theories and go with the best one. By doing a comparative analysis of worldviews I find that Christian theology easily explains the most about the world I find myself living in.

I’m pretty sure that a God of some sort exists because of the scientific evidence for the origin of the universe and the fine tuning in physics. From there I find it quite intuitive that if a God went through the trouble of creating and tuning a universe for life that this God likely has some sort of interest in it and has revealed Himself to humanity in some way.

From there I can look at the major world religions and compare them to see which one explains the past and the present the best. Christianity easily comes out on top.

And then a few days later, I got this from William:

I finally got the agnostic to tell me what he thinks about origin and fine tuning. When I started pointing out that his views were unscientific, he blew a gasket, called me dishonest and told me he didn’t want to discuss anything further.

And that’s where you want to be. Cut off all discussions where the challenger tries to jump to the end and get you to debate the very last steps of your case. Present the strongest evidence for your core claims, and get him to account for this evidence within his own worldview. Lead the discussion with public, testable evidence. All warfare depends on picking the terrain, weapons and tactics that allow you to match your strength against your opponent’s weakness.