John Lennox vs Michael Shermer and Christopher Hitchens

UPDATE: Audio and video from a  panel discussion with Hitchens, Craig, etc. is linked here.

I found this debate between Michael Shermer and John Lennox, with video and audio, here. Shermer is, as usual, completely unable to bear his side of the burden of proof. He does not present a single argument other than the problem of evil, and that isn’t presented with any rigor. Lennox presses several scientific arguments from the progress of science, including the big bang. He also argues that atheism makes life and moral behavior meaningless. Shermer does not understand this simple maxim: before you can show why a belief is wrong, you need to show that a belief is wrong.

In other news, Lennox will be facing-off against Christopher Hitchens in Birmingham, AL in March 2009.

The Samford University Socratic Club is sponsoring a debate between leading atheist and acclaimed journalist Christopher Hitchens and Christian apologist and Oxford Professor John Lennox in what promises to be a thought-provoking evening.

“Is God Great?” will take place at 6:00 pm on March 3, 2009 at Samford University’s Wright Center in Birmingham, AL.  Doors will open to the public at 5:15, and the event will last until 8:00 with a booksigning to follow. Books will be on sale in the lobby.  Both men debated each other before for the first time this past fall at the Edinburgh International Festival over the question of whether or not Atheism could save Europe. Click here for the DVD of that event.

Tickets can be purchased through Samford University
$20 each / $10 for Samford Students

For questions or other inquiries, call 205.807.4477
For more information, see the
Socratic Club website.

William Dembski to speak at SES in May 2009

Just noticed this up at the SES home page:

Dr. William Dembski is coming to SES

May 11-16, 2009

Intelligent Design

Dr. Dembski is an internationally recognized authority on Intelligent Design and Design Theory. He will be teaching a Summer Module on that very topic.

The public is welcome to sign up for this module.*

To register for this course, click here

For new students please contact Duke or Nora Hale: 704-847-5600, Ext. 216.

For an introduction to intelligent design, look here.

Two ways to conduct a Tea Party revolution against socialism

GatewayPundit is reporting that the economic news is getting even worse.

Along with raising taxes on businesses, raising taxes on the “rich,” and allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire…
President Obama will also announce the implementation of an expensive cap and trade energy policy this week to battle pretend global warming.

He cites Human Events’ report that we will lose between between $444 billion and $1.308 trillion of GDP output, and unemployment would increase 2.7% (= 4 million jobs lost), mostly in the manufacturing sector.

Well, we’re doomed. Or are we? I’ve found a couple of clever ideas for dealing Obama’s plans to plunge the United States into socialism.

The first idea is from Biola University professor Doug Geivett, who is a first-class evangelical Christian scholar. I met Doug at a philosophy conference on Providence and Open Theism at Wheaton College, IL in 2000. I remember asking him whether investments were a form of gambling. He explained that investing was not gambling, because investments fund the creation of new products and services that grow the economy.

Doug starts by noting Rick Santelli’s rant against Obama’s socialist policies which involve wealth redistribution from those who produce to those who consume. (Note: there is now a new rant up, with supply-sider Larry Kudlow).

In his post, Geivett enumerates the points made by Santelli:

First, fiscally responsible Americans don’t want to pay the bill for borrowers who can’t keep up with their mortgages.

Second, fiscally responsible Americans shouldn’t have to pay the bill for borrowers who can’t make their payments.

Third, this plan doesn’t rob the rich to give to the poor. It takes from every tax-paying American and turns it over as free cash to people who can afford to rent but can’t afford to buy.

Fourth, there are ways to get the federal government to pay attention, ways the government is totally unprepared for.

Santelli suggests that responsible, productive Americans may want to consider a revolution – a kind of Chicago Tea Party. Right now, the banks are being more careful about who they give credit to. This is not a problem for responsible people with good credit history. The government is giving out bailouts to banks in order to ease credit for irresponsible consumers – the same ones that got us into this mess in the first place.

Geivett describes what he thinks this Chicago Tea Party might look like:

For example, what do you think would happen if 30% of all Americans with an income of $50,000 or more organized to do the following two things:

  1. Convert all of their assets held in the stock market and at banks and credit unions into cold, hard cash (or gold bars holed up in their bank’s safe deposit boxes)?
  2. Refused to pay income tax for 18 months (or indefinitely)?

This would remove the money that banks use for consumer loans. If no one can get credit, then no one can default, and there is no need for bailouts to these delinquents. By refusing to pay income taxes for a period of time, the government would have no funds available for bailing out their favorite special interest groups. People might finally have to stop spending and start working and saving again.

Geivett goes on to describe how this plan should incorporate reduced consumer spending, which I agree with. Somehow, America has gone terribly wrong. We use to be a nation of workers and savers. But the progress of left-wing socialism, with all the redistributing of wealth from producers to free-riders, has caused us to drift into an irresponsible, immature, hedonistic culture.

Geivett’s plan made me think of a post I read before on “Going Galt”. What if all the people who produced wealth just stopped producing?

Do you ever wonder after dealing with all that is going on with the economy and the upcoming election if it’s getting to be time to “go John Galt”? For those of you who have never read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, the basic theme is that John Galt and his allies take actions that include withdrawing their talents, “stopping the motor of the world,” and leading the “strikers” (those who refuse to be exploited) against the “looters” (the exploiters, backed by the government).

Obama talks about taking from those who are productive and redistributing to those who are not — or who are not as successful. If success and productivity is to be punished, why bother? Perhaps it is time for those of us who make the money and pay the taxes to take it easy, live on less, and let the looters of the world find their own way.

The National Taxpayers Union explains who pays the taxes that Democrats are redistributing to their freeloading constituents. The top 50% pays 97% of all income taxes collected! The lazy half the country is freeloading off of the productive half.

The second idea that I found for responding to Obama’s socialist bailouts is to move to Canada. Captain Capitalism had this post in which he compares the two economies and concludes that Canada has a better future than the United States. Canada has a smaller deficit, a smaller debt, and is not facing a meltdown from entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security, like we are.

Investor’s Business Daily reports that:

By 2041, Social Security will be essentially broke, having exhausted its trust fund, those dollars amassed through decades of surplus payroll tax revenues that Congress will have already squandered on general budget expenditures. Medicare’s future is just as bleak. It is already spending more than it is receiving in payroll taxes.

The prime minister of Canada right now is economist Stephen Harper, a strong fiscal conservative in the mold of F.A. Hayek.

UPDATE 1: Michelle Malkin has even more ideas on what to do here.


Democrats caused the recession and Republicans tried to stop it

Who caused this economic downturn and what should we do about it?

Almost no one realizes that this entire subprime lending mess was created by the Community Reinvestment Act, which was passed by President Carter, a Democrat, in 1977. Later on in the 1990s, Bill Clinton, another Democrat, passed laws to enforce the original bill. The purpose of the CRA is to force banks to make risky loans to people who can’t afford to repay those loans.

The extremely left-wing Los Angeles Times explains in 1999 that the CRA was passed to force banks to make risky loans.

Under Clinton, bank regulators have breathed the first real life into enforcement of the Community Reinvestment Act, a 20-year-old statute meant to combat “redlining” by requiring banks to serve their low-income communities. The administration also has sent a clear message by stiffening enforcement of the fair housing and fair lending laws.

In 1992, Congress mandated that Fannie and Freddie increase their purchases of mortgages for low-income and medium-income borrowers. Operating under that requirement, Fannie Mae, in particular, has been aggressive and creative in stimulating minority gains… Fannie Mae has agreed to buy more loans with very low down payments–or with mortgage payments that represent an unusually high percentage of a buyer’s income. That’s made banks willing to lend to lower-income families they once might have rejected.

The extremely left-wing New York Times noted in 1999 that the GSEs gave out the risky loans under duress from Democrat Bill Clinton.

Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.

In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates — anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.

According to the New York Times in 2003, George W. Bush tried to stop the Democrats from ruining the economy with these forced loans. He was blocked by Democrats like Barney Frank.

The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

”These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ”The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

Here are some video clips to prove that the Democrats opposed regulating  the GSEs. They are responsible for this mess, along with the irresponsible people who signed up for these loans that they could not repay.

Timeline of the events in the crisis: Bush was the first to recommend regulating the GSEs in April, 2001. In 2003, Bush tried to create a new federal agency to regulate the GSEs. He was blocked from doing so by the Democrats in the Senate. In 2005, Alan Greenspan warned that failing to regulate the GSEs could be a catastrophe. Again, Democrats blocked the effort to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The video shows Democrat Chuck Schumer protesting that regulation is not needed. In 2006, McCain and other Republicans introduced a bill to regulate the GSEs. Again, the Democrats voted against it and nothing happened.

Republicans and Democrats in their own words on the GSE accounting practices: Here we have Republican Rep. Richard Baker, Democrat, Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters, Democrat Rep. Gregory Meeks, Republican Rep. Ed Royce, Democrat Rep. Lacy Clay, Republican Rep. Christopher Shays, Democrat Rep. Arthur Davis, Democrat Rep. Barney Frank, Republican Rep. Don Manzullo. Shays notes that the GSEs make many contributions to Democrats who are blocking their regulation.

Fannie Mae CEO addresses Democrats: Fannie Mae CEO calling Obama and the Dems the “Family” and “Conscience” of Fannie Mae. The Democrats obstructed the regulation of the GSEs while taking political contributions from them, especially Obama. Franklin Raines, Jamie Gorelick and Jim Johnson were all executives at the GSEs and are all Democrats. Other Democrats like Penny Pritzker ran other mortgage banks into the ground, and now work for Obama.

According to Human Events, Obama himself sued banks on behalf of ACORN, to force the banks to make these risky loans.

Obama sued Citibank under the Community Reinvestment Act in a typical ACORN-style lawsuit to force the bank to make these risky loans.  ACORN filed many of this type of lawsuit alleging racism in all of them.

According to opensecrets.org, Obama was also the second-highest recipient of political contributions from the GSEs. The American Spectator notes that he included 5.2 billion dollars of taxpayer money for ACORN in the porkulus bill.

UPDATE 1: The Achoress just posted even more of the history of this mess here. She has a link to Nice Deb’s post which contains about 2 dozen warnings issued by the Bush administration about the looming crisis, including 17 warnings in 2008 alone.

UPDATE 2:  Here’s an even better timeline than mine, by Roger Kimball.

Jim Demint presses Democrats to vote on free speech

Senator Jim Demint
Senator Jim Demint

James “Jim” Demint is my favorite senator, (although he’s nearly tied with James Inhofe). Demint introduced the Broadcaster Freedom Act to protect free political speech in January, and he’s trying to force the Democrats to vote on the so called “Fairness Doctrine” so that their views on free speech over the radio can be made clear. If the Fairness Doctrine passed, free political speech on the radio would be effectively abolished. This is dangerous because talk radio is predominantly conservative just as the news media is predominantly leftist.

This NewsMax.com article notes that Senator Debbie Stabenow, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Tom Harkin all support reintroducing the Fairness Doctrine. Their article explains what would likely follow from passing the bill.

Since talk radio is overwhelmingly dominated by conservative hosts, and progressive talk radio draws few listeners, the “equal time” provision would likely force many radio stations to pull popular conservative hosts from the air rather than air low-rated liberal hosts.

If they do go ahead and ban political speech on the radio, I wonder what they will call the bill?

Remember that his Freedom of Choice Act abolishes the right of medical personnel to choose not to performing abortions.

The Family Research Council says:

If FOCA is passed, it would automatically overturn:

  • Forty-six states’ conscience protection laws for individual health care providers
  • Twenty-seven states’ conscience protection laws for institutions

And remember his Employee Free Choice Act abolishes the right of workers to choose not to join a union.

The Heritage Foundation says:

Abolishing elections deprives workers of a fun­damental democratic right. Elections guarantee that all workers can express their views on whether they want to belong to a union. Under card check, how­ever, workers who have not been contacted by union organizers have no say in whether their workplace organizes. If organizers collect cards from a majority of workers, all workers must join the union without a vote.

Maybe the bill to ban free speech on the radio will be called called the Happiness, Ice Cream, Apple Pie, Sunshine and Nothing To See Here Act?

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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