William Lane Craig’s March 2009 speaking engagements

For some reason, Bill’s March newsletter has not been posted on the RF web site yet. As one of his financial supporters, I get an early version of the newsletter e-mailed to me. So, I think I will share some of that early newsletter with you all.

During March two events stand out as especially challenging: on March 16 at Westminster College in Missouri I have a dialogue on the kalam cosmological argument with Dr. Wes Morriston, a philosopher who has published several articles critical of the kalam argument. Then two days later I have a debate at Northwestern Missouri State with the self-described “internet infidel” Dr. Richard Carrier on the resurrection of Jesus.

…I’ll also be doing some teaching for Impact 360, a high school ministry, and will be speaking several times at the Christian Book Exposition in Dallas. I round out the month with a Veritas Forum at Florida State.

I already blogged about the panel discussion he is doing with Lee Strobel and Christopher Hitchens at the Christian Book Expo here. And here is a bit more on his recent speaking engagement at Columbia University in March:

On the first evening I debated professor Shelly Kagan of Yale University on the question “Is God Necessary for Morality?” Actually, this was not a debate but a dialogue. After we each gave our opening statements, we had a very substantive discussion. Kagan has Christian colleagues at Yale, like Robert Adams and John Hare, who defend moral values and duties based in God, and I was struck by the respect with which he treated the view.

He surprised me by not arguing for his own view of ethics, which is a radical consequentialism. He holds that if torturing a little girl to death would somehow result in greater overall good as a consequence, then that is what we should do! Instead he defended a social contract view of morality, according to which our moral duties are whatever rules perfectly rational people would agree to as a way of governing society. I responded that this makes morality a human convention, rather than objective.

Kagan also affirmed in our dialogue that he is a physicalist and determinist. I charged that determinism strips our actions of any moral significance. We also disagreed over the importance of moral accountability. I claimed that the absence of moral accountability on atheism makes morality collide with self-interest and robs our choices of significance, but Kagan maintained that we don’t need a sort of cosmic significance in order for our moral choices to be significant. All in all, we had an affable and substantive exchange which fairly presented the alternatives.

One feature of our dialogue that pleased and surprised me was how clearly the Gospel emerged in the course of our conversation. Talking about moral values and accountability led naturally to the subject of our failure to fulfill our moral duties and how to deal with that. I was able to explain our need of God’s forgiveness, moral cleansing, and rehabilitation.

Kagan then asked me how Jesus fits into the picture. That gave me the chance to expound on Christ’s atoning death and the fulfillment of God’s justice in Christ’s bearing the penalty for our sin. I was gratified that the Gospel could be shared so clearly and naturally with the students present.

I hope I will be able to purchase all 3 of these debates (Morriston, Carrier and Kagan) from the Biola Web Store later, as I love to lend these out to my non-Christian friends. I would encourage you to support the ministry of the most able public defender of Christianity operating today. Bill is the St. Paul of our day.

If you have not seen any of his debates, go here right now and listen to his debate with Walter Sinnott-Armstrong of Dartmouth College, on the problem of evil and suffering. The book version of that debate, (and another debate), was later published by Oxford University Press and you can purchase it here. This is a great book to put on your desk at work to show people that God is not a matter of blind faith.

In case you missed the previous updates, check out the details from Bill’s Ontario speaking tour, his appearance on the Michael Coren TV show, and his Quebec speaking tour, as well.

Fred Thompson broadcasting in Bill O’Reilly’s old spot

Thompson was my pick in the 2008 primaries, since Jindal and Sanford weren’t running.

Story here.

Former Tennessee senator and presidential candidate Fred Thompson will launch his nationwide radio talk show on March 2, opening with 125 stations, according to the Westwood One syndicate.

The show will air from noon-2 p.m. Monday through Friday opposite Rush Limbaugh, though some stations may delay the broadcast to later in the day. The only Tennessee station signed up thus far is WWTN 99.7 FM in Nashville.

Thompson gave up his role as the district attorney on television’s Law & Order in order to run for president.

This is a great move for Teh Fred, provided that the Broadcast Freedom Act passes. Kate at SDA notes that you can listen here. You can probably find more streaming stations here once he gets started in earnest.

(Source: Small Dead Animals)

Obama’s plan to eliminate the right of workers not to join unions

According to John Boehner’s blog, Obama wants to pass a piece of legislation called the “Employee Free Choice Act”. EFCA would deny employees the choice to not surrender a significant portion of their wages to left-wing unions, for use in left-wing political activism, (e.g. – redefining traditional marriage in California).

The post by Kevin on Boehner’s blog explains:

Yesterday, President Obama promised union bosses that “We will pass the Employee Free Choice Act,” referring to the mis-named official title of the bill popularly known as “card check.”  Unions came within a few votes of passing “card check” last Congress – and after giving $450 million to the Democratic Party this past election cycle, union bosses are cashing in on their investment by demanding the swift passage of the anti-worker “card check” bill.

Kevin also links to this must-see 6-minute video, produced by the pro-business Chamber of Commerce:

EFCA would cost American jobs because some companies would simply shut down work sites that use expensive unionized labor, rather than pay the additional costs for the same amount of production. They would just ship their plants and jobs overseas. A short policy paper from American Enterprise Institute is cited by Kevin makes the point:

Card check should be seen for what it is: an attempt to rebuild the private-sector union movement by making it dramatically easier for unions to organize American workers.  Adding card check to the already heavy burden of U.S. labor and employment law that companies face today will cost the U.S. economy additional jobs.

Allison Kasic of the Independent Women’s Forum released this short research paper on EFCA last week. I think it is ironic that the party that loudly advocates for “making every vote count” and the right to “privacy” would pass a law that hurts voting rights and privacy rights. Allison explains:

Since Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in 1935, most workplaces have organized through secret ballot elections monitored by the National Labor Relations Board. Once organizers have collected signatures from at least 30 percent of workers expressing the desire to unionize, the union submits the information to the company and requests recognition.  Companies can choose to recognize the union based solely on this card check, but more regularly request an election.

The privacy of the secret ballot system protects workers from strong-arm tactics by either the unions or the company in question before and after a vote.  All of that would change under the EFCA. Elections would no longer be necessary.  Instead, a union would be recognized once a majority of workers publicly signed a card supporting unionization.  In fact, once a majority of cards have been signed, holding an election would be illegal.

The Heritage Foundation has a slew of papers on EFCA here, including this recent short research paper by James Sherk, which has a lot more detail on EFCA.

Obama raises taxes on oil and gas to stop global warming

UPDATE: Welcome, visitors from the Cato Institute! Thanks for your link from here. New visitors, interested in economics make want to check out my posts on card check, the deficit, Stephen Harper, tax hikes for the rich, cap and trade, porkulus 1, porkulus 2, conscience rightsschool choice and the subprime crisis.

This Reuters article explains how Obama is going to attack energy producing oil and natural gas companies in order to save the planet from global warming. Here is the exact quotation from Reuters:

U.S. oil and natural gas producing companies should not receive federal subsidies in the form of tax breaks because their businesses contribute to global warming, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress on Wednesday.

In the same article, Senator John Cornyn explains the consequences of this policy:

Senator John Cornyn of Texas criticized the tax increases, saying they would hurt independent energy companies that provide a large share of U.S. oil and gas supplies.

“My view is that higher taxes on small and independent producers here in America will make us more dependent on imported oil and gas while we transition to cleaner energy alternatives, a goal we all share,” said Cornyn. “And it will also hurt job retention and job creation in the energy sector, which provides an awful lot of jobs in this country.”

Let me also note that consumers are going to pay the price for raising taxes, because energy producing companies are just going to raise their prices to pay for the tax increase. And if Obama either fixes prices or nationalizes the energy industries, (like he’s nationalized health care), then you can expect energy supply shortages.

When you raise taxes on the producers of a commodity, you get less of that commodity. When supply decreases and demand stays the same, you get a shortage. The price of that scarce commodity rises. If you respond to the rising prices by fixing the prices lower, you get line-ups outside of gas stations. This is what we saw in 1973 with price controls on gas.

Jerry Taylor of the Cato Institute explains why price controls on oil and gas didn’t work in 1973:

Let’s begin with a review of what happened the last time Congress tried to protect consumers from “Big Oil.” When Richard Nixon enacted his strict retail price-control regime in 1971, service stations ran out of gas and motorists were forced to wait in staggeringly long lines to get what fuel remained. Burned by the fiasco, Congress adopted the Emergency Petroleum Allocation Act of 1973 (EPAA), which essentially removed price controls from the pump and instead applied them upstream into the wholesale domestic oil market.

Indeed the gasoline lines and physical shortages disappeared, but the cap on profits from domestic oil production discouraged investment in new domestic supply, increased reliance on imported oil, and increased the upward pressure on world crude prices. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA) tightened the wholesale oil price controls established in the EPAA and exacerbated the economic dislocations associated with it.

Read the whole article. As Santayana urged, we need to learn from history and from the mistakes of other socialist countries, so that we do not repeat their mistakes.

Now on to the secular religion of global warming. Gateway Pundit completely destroys the idea that the earth is even warming:

Arctic sea ice growth finished the year in 2008 at the same level as 1979.
The oceans have been cooling since 2003.
Sea ice is growing at the fastest pace on record.
Greenland’s glaciers are stabilizing.
There are growing fears of a coming freeze worse than the ice age.
Alaskan Sea Glaciers are advancing for the first time in 250 years.
And, for the second straight year the Earth is, in fact, cooling… not warming.

I stole this graphic from his post as well:

US Climate Map October 2007-November 2008

Warning! Now is a good time to stop reading, as I am about to become mean and snarky.

<snarky>So what we have here is a faith-based initiative introduced by Obama in order to appease his favored secular special interests groups, who  substitute recycling for the rigorous demands of traditional, reality-based religion and morality. Do we really need a religious nut in the White House catering to this crowd of anti-science fanatics? Should these dogmatic eco-fascist fundamentalists be influencing the policy of the most powerful nation on earth with their anti-reality delusions? Should we really be acting on the religious doctrines of non-scientists like Al Gore and his Big-Environmentalism-backed propaganda films, which are even now shown to our children in public schools as fact, fact, fact? What happened to the separation of church and state?</snarky>

For my Christian readers, Jay Richards of the Acton Institute did a great lecture on basic economics for Christians and another great lecture on what Christians should think about global warming.

Obama blames Bush for Obama’s 1.75 trillion dollar deficit

Full story over at Gateway Pundit.

Excerpt:

[Bush’s policies] dropped the deficit 4 of 8 years, held an average unemployment at 5.2%, saw the strongest productivity growth in 4 decades and witnessed robust GDP growth.

Bush was able to do this despite the recession he inherited, 9-11, Hurricane Katrina, and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As you can see from this chart, after the Bush tax cuts were implemented the budget deficit was reduced 3 of the last 4 years.

The deficit was reduced in 2005, 2006 and 2007 even with war and implementation of the successful Bush surge of troops in Iraq.
It wasn’t until the mortgage crisis struck the economy, a crisis Bush warned the democratic Congress about 17 times in 2008 alone, that the deficit climbed to $459 billion.

Have you seen this chart? (Source: CBO chart via RedState)

Gateway Pundit also mentions that Bush warned about crisis 17 times in 2008 and was blocked from regulating the GSEs by the Democrats. I proved here that the Democrats are to blame for this mess. In the post, I cited 1999 and 2003 articles from the left-wing New York Times and Los Angeles Times. There are also videos of Republicans trying to stop the crisis and Democrats blocking them.

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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