Please see my new testimony page, in which I explained how I became a Christian by answering the survey questions.
Yesterday I linked to the story about Obama’s decision to weaken our nuclear capabilities, and a while back I blogged about the ACORN lawyer’s cuts to missile defense, just as North Korea was ramping up its medium-range missile program.
Here is a quick refresher:
Total cuts in missile defense: $1.4 billion or roughly 15%. Cancel second Airborne Laser (ABL) aircraft, keep the one remaining ABL prototype as a testbed and revert to pure R&D. No increases in Ground-based Interceptor (GBI) deployment in Alaska. Remaining silos will stay unfilled. European GBIs will be decided on later during the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). Termination of the Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV) program.
Well, now we can add Iran to the list of nations emboldened by Obama’s weak foreign policy.
Earlier this week we mentioned Iran’s defiance and nuclear ambitions, President Barack Obama’s too-friendly request to enter into talks with Iran, the necessity to build agreed-upon missile defense shields in Poland and the Czech Republic, and Israel’s desire to take more aggressive action against Iran. Today’s post reaffirms why we blogged about these issues.
My Way News reports that Iran test-fired an advanced missile today, with a range far enough to hit Israel, southeastern Europe, and our bases in the Middle East. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made this claim. So, despite Obama’s “tough” words of warning, Iran is busy developing and apparently testing its ballistic missile capability.
That Iran doesn’t have nuclear capability at this very moment is beside the point. A team of U.S. and Russian scientists just released a report stating Iran would have such capability in as few as five years. In light of this recent missile test-fire, will our president take a more aggressive approach to dealing with Iran, or will he stand by his decision to give the rogue nation a year-end deadline?
Here’s Nile Gardiner and a leftist journalist on MSNBC:
And I’m only here to tell you that I believe with all my heart that our first priority must be world peace, and that use of force is always and only a last resort, when everything else has failed, and then only with regard to our national security. Now, I believe, also, that this meeting this mission, this responsibility for preserving the peace, which I believe is a responsibility peculiar to our country, and that we cannot shirk our responsibility as a leader of the free world because we’re the only ones that can do it. Therefore, the burden of maintaining the peace falls on us. And to maintain that peace requires strength. America has never gotten in a war because we were too strong.
We had 8 years of constant terrorist attacks with the Democrat Clinton. We had 7 years of security, liberty and properity with the Republican Bush, who had the moral clarity, (from his Christian worldview), to oppose tyranny. Let’s see how well Obama’s diplomacy works. Somehow, I don’t think Obama’s appeasement of torturing, murdering dictators will be as effective as peace through strength.
UPDATE: Gateway Pundit links to details on the missile. Range is 2000 km, two-stage solid fuel.
The Heritage Foundation reports on Obama’s proposed regulations on fuel economy.
Time for practice. Time to pile into the…Toyota Prius? Maybe the Yaris. Or surely the Smart Car will do. Those are three of eleven cars that meet President Obama’s new emissions standards that include “nothing larger than a midsize sedan, even when you include hybrids.”
Eleven choices of vehicle? The soccer moms will not be liking that.
But it gets worse. It’s going to cost another 50,000 jobs added on to Obama’s massive count.
See Table VII-1 on page 586 of the NHTSA analysis. NHTSA estimated that the TC=TB option, which I’m using as a proxy for the Obama plan, would result in the following job losses among U.S. auto workers:
Compared to the Bush draft final rule, this is 37,000 more jobs lost.
Since I know this table is inflammatory, I will anticipate some of the responses:
- This is an estimate for the job loss from the TC=TB option analyzed by NHTSA in 2007. This is the closest proxy for the Obama rule, and I’m convinced it’s a good proxy until someone demonstrates otherwise. But technically, it’s not a job loss estimate for the Obama proposal.
- This estimate was done in a different economic environment (late 2008), and before the U.S. government owned 1.5 major U.S. auto manufacturers. My guess, however, is that these changed conditions should push the estimated job loss up from the above estimate, rather than down.
- There’s a false precision in the above table. It’s just what NHTSA’s model spits out. …I don’t put any weight on the precise annual estimates.
And it gets even worse than that.
The Obama administration’s proposed mileage standards that will be announced today may kill more Americans at a faster rate than the Iraq War — his signature issue in the 2008 presidential campaign.
Obama’s standards will require automakers to meet a 35 miles-per-gallon standard by 2016 — four years earlier than the same standard imposed by the Energy Security and Independence Act of 2007.
As discussed in my new book Green Hell, the only way for carmakers to meet these standard is to make smaller, lighter and deadlier cars.
The National Academy of Sciences has linked mileage standards with about 2,000 deaths per year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that every 100-pound reduction in the weight of small cars increases annual traffic fatalities by as much as 715.
In contrast in the more than six years since the Iraq war began, there have been 4,296 deaths among American military personnel.
The Iraq war cost 550 billion and 4300 lives. And for this we got more liberty and security. Obama is spending trillions and trillions of dollars, and he wants to kill 2,000 Americans per year? I am not even talking about his subsidies to kill more unborn babies at home and abroad. This is on top of that!
Last week, I posted a list of 13 questions that Christians could use to get discussions going with their atheist friends. We got 10 responses to the questions. On Monday, we took a look at the minimal requirements for robust, prescriptive morality. On Tuesday, we evaluated whether the minimal requirements are rationally grounded on atheism. Today, we’ll evaluate Christianity.
The case for Christian theism
Christian morality is based on the objective truth of the Christian faith. So, let’s recall how people argue for Christianity.
Arguments for theism:
- The argument from abstract objects
- The argument from contingency
- Kalam cosmological argument
- Fine-tuning of cosmological constants
- Galactic, stellar and planetary fine-tuning
- Origin of biological information in the simplest replicating cell (Advanced article – First Things)
- Sudden origins of all major body plans in the 3-5 million year Cambrian explosion (Very Advanced – peer-reviewed paper!)
- The moral argument (see below)
- The argument from non-physical minds
- The argument from near-death experiences
- The argument from irreducibly complex molecular machines (Michael Behe)
- The argument from evil (yes, that’s what I said)
- The arguments from mathematical effectiveness, simplicity and beauty (Eugene Wigner)
- The argument from the incompatibility between naturalism and rationality (Alvin Plantinga)
- The argument from the natural limits to biological change (Ray Bohlin)
And then there are arguments for Christianity in particular:
- The minimal facts case for the resurrection
- The argument for the resurrection from changes in Jewish belief and practice
- The argument from fulfilled prophecy
- The argument from accuracy in describing the human condition
- The logical consistency and testability of Christianity
- The superior moral character of authentic Christians in history
And here are the rebuttals and refutations to the arguments against Christian theism:
- Postmodernism, relativism and skepticism
- The problems of evil and suffering
- Divine hiddenness
- Religious pluralism
- The fate of the unevangelized / divine sovereignty vs free will
- Incoherence in the concept of God
- Isn’t faith supposed to be irrational and evidence-free? (only for atheists, not for Christians)
- Materialist speculations against the kalam and fine-tuning arguments
- The progress of science
So, let’s assume Christian theism is true, and go on to see if it rationally grounds the minimal requirements for morality.
1) Objective moral values: GROUNDED
Objective moral values are grounded in God’s unchanging nature. His own character is the standard for what counts as good and evil. The standard is not variable, but fixed, by God’s unchanging nature.
2) Objective moral duties: GROUNDED
Objective moral duties are grounded in God’s commands, which flow from the values in his nature and become duties for his creatures.
3) Moral accountability: GROUNDED
On Christian theism, there is a final judgment after death in which good will be rewarded and evil will be punished, proportionally.
4) Free will: GROUNDED
On Christian theism, each person is a union of a material body and a non-material mind / soul. The actions of the non-material mind / soul are not determined by material processes, and humans are therefore able to make real choices.
5) Ultimate significance: GROUNDED
On Christian theism, death is not the end of the story. Each moral action performed is part of on ongoing relationships with God, and people. So, no action is meaningless, because all your actions relate to God, who exists eternally, or to other people, who also exist eternally into the future.
Christian theism grounds all of the minimal requirements needed for rational morality. In Christian theism, we see the fusion of prudence (Acting morally is what I am designed to do in order to flourish, i.e. – “eudaimonia”) and submission to a loving God (I will act morally to respect God, because he loves me the most). More to come on the latter point!
Tomorrow, I’ll post my own answers to the 13 questions, since Commenter ECM and moderate-leftist unitarian Rick demand that I do.
You can get the full story on the requirements for rational morality in a published, peer-reviewed paper written by William Lane Craig here. You can also hear and see him present the paper to an audience of students and faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008. The audio is clipped at 67 minutes, the video is the full 84 minutes. There is 45 minutes of Q&A, with many atheist challengers.
The video of this lecture is the best material you can get on this issue, and the Q&A from the hostile audience is vital to the lesson. More debates on atheism and morality can be found on the debate and lecture page.
You can find a post contrasting the morality of an authentic, consistent Christian with an authentic, consistent non-Christian here. A post examining how atheism is responsible for the deaths of 100 million innocent people in the 20th century alone is here. A post analyzing the tiny number of deaths that religion was responsible for is here.
In this American Spectator piece entitled “Obama the Destroyer“, Quin Hillyer recounts the many deeds that Obama performed in order to weaken America.
If somebody were deliberately trying to undermine the very fabric of these United States, he would first vow not just to change its policies but to completely “change America,” and then would do just about everything Barack Obama already has begun to do as president.
He then lists some of the specific areas that Obama has weakened:
- contract law (which is part of the foundation of capitalism and free enterprise)
- strict interpretation of the Constitution
- counter-terrorism (released interrogation techniques)
- responsible spending and size of government
- energy production
- missile defense
- military preparedness and research
- border security
- transparency and free/open debate on legislation
- freedom of choice in health care
- the integrity of the voting/census system
- diplomacy and foreign policy
I could name at least a half-dozen more areas not on that list, such as the Western Experience’s post about Obama’s decision to weaken our nuclear capabilities. In fact, Jason has a whole article on the Obama’s naive, weak foreign policy.
But foreign policy is one thing, what about the cost of the trillions in spending? Writing in the Weekly Standard, Irwin M. Stelzer explains that there are only two ways out of the massive deficits that Obama has run up: Higher taxes, which destroys economic growth and ships jobs overseas, and hyperinflation, which impoverishes the poorest among us by making them pay more for everything.
He lists all the mistakes that the ACORN lawyer has made, and concludes:
We are also certain to see the portion of our pay that we actually get to take home decline significantly. The debt that Obama is running up will have to be repaid. Already, there are grumblings in the market about the future of the dollar, with the Chinese not the only one of our creditors worrying that we will inflate our way out of our obligations. Run the presses, make dollars cheaper, and use the debased currency to repay debts.
…But inflation is not the only possibility. Instead, politicians, remembering the fate of Jimmy Carter when he allowed inflation to climb towards 20 percent, will try to restore fiscal sanity by raising taxes. Harvard economist Martin Feldstein, who supported the president’s stimulus package, puts the needed tax increase at $1.1 trillion over the next decade; the International Monetary Fund puts the figure at $1.9 trillion, a sum the magnitude of which is better understood when written as $1,900,000,000,000.
And don’t forget the looming problem of entitlements. You remember. Social Security and Medicare? Costs ballooning out of control? Matthew Continetti writes about it in the Weekly Standard:
The trustees conclude that a combination of lavish benefits, an aging population, and a moribund economy has brought the United States’s social insurance system close to bankruptcy. Medicare is already running a deficit, and the trustees say that it will be totally out of money by 2017. Social Security will be in the red as soon as 2016. That’s a problem not only for Social Security. It’s a problem for the federal budget.
…Meanwhile, bizarrely and perversely, Obama and the Democrats on Capitol Hill say that the only way to fix America’s spending problem–we are not making this up–is to spend more money. More on energy. Health care. Education. The three pillars of the president’s “new foundation.” Don’t worry about the cost, Obama says. The rich guy at the other table will pick up the bill.
What sort of person would spend trillions of dollars in a recession with a looming entitlement crisis? Oh, I know. An unqualified spendthrift who can’t even keep his own financial house in order.
Gateway Pundit reminds us that the Democrats understand that their cap and trade bill with hurt the poorest people the most. And they don’t care! Most of them are probably like Al Gore, who owns assets that will benefit from the unnecessary government regulations.
Gateway Pundit writes at the American Issues Project:
The potential cost of the democrat’s cap and trade policy is enormous. It will likely cost $700 to $1,400 dollars per family per year. The Department of Energy estimated that a similar bill, S. 2191, the Warner-Lieberman cap-and-trade proposal, will increase the cost of coal for power generation by between 161 percent and 413 percent. Human Events reported that the DOE estimated GDP losses (see chart) over the 21-year period they forecast, at between $444 billion and $1.308 trillion. There are estimates that the bill could increase unemployment by 2.7 percent or about 4 million jobs.
White House Budget Director Peter Orszag was on “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos in March. During his interview Orszag admitted that Obama’s proposed cap and trade energy legislation will increase energy costs for everyone. The Heritage Foundation reported that cumulative GDP losses for 2010 to 2029 approach $7 trillion. Single-year losses exceed $600 billion in 2029, more than $5,000 per household. Job losses are expected to exceed 800,000 in some years, and exceed at least 500,000 from 2015 through 2026. In Missouri and the Midwest where energy is “cheap” the democrat’s legislation would cause electricity rates to double. Even the far left Huffington Post admits that the approach taken by the Waxman-Markey bill does not alleviate the problem whereby household consumers will pay higher energy costs.
The article continues here.
Remember when Obama said this in 2008?
“Under my plan of a cap and trade system electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Businesses would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that cost onto consumers.”
What? You voted for Obama and the MSM didn’t tell you that he said that? I’m shocked.