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.

Democrat senator imposes religious test to bar Christians from public office

Anti-marriage gay activists vandalize church
Anti-marriage gay activists vandalize church

CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been nominated to be Secretary of State. He would be a great pick, and you can already see from his previous job that he’s well qualified. But what if we decided not to care about his professional qualifications, and instead tried to oppose him based on his religious convictions?

That’s what Democrat Senator Cory Booker did, here’s the video: (and as you’re watching, consider what relevance this has to the job of Secretary of State)

Ben Shapiro, an orthodox Jew, reported on the exchange at the Daily Wire:

On Thursday, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) offered a bizarre critique of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: Pompeo wasn’t sufficiently enthusiastic about homosexual sex.

Yes, this is a real thing.

Booker asked Pompeo, “Do you believe gay sex is a perversion?”

Pompeo is a religious Christian, so presumably he does. He answered, quite properly, “When I was a politician, I had a very clear view on whether it was appropriate for two same-sex persons to marry. I stand by that.” He also informed Booker, “My respect for every individual regardless of sexual orientation is the same.”

This isn’t the first time that prominent Democrat senators have attacked Christian nominees for their Christian religious beliefs.

Remember when Bernie Sanders did it?

Partial transcript:

Sanders: Let me get to this issue that has bothered me and bothered many other people. And that is in the piece that I referred to that you wrote for the publication called Resurgent. You wrote, “Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ, His Son, and they stand condemned.” Do you believe that that statement is Islamophobic?

Vought: Absolutely not, Senator. I’m a Christian, and I believe in a Christian set of principles based on my faith. That post, as I stated in the questionnaire to this committee, was to defend my alma mater, Wheaton College, a Christian school that has a statement of faith that includes the centrality of Jesus Christ for salvation, and . . .

[…]Sanders (shouting): I understand you are a Christian, but this country are made of people who are not just — I understand that Christianity is the majority religion, but there are other people of different religions in this country and around the world. In your judgment, do you think that people who are not Christians are going to be condemned?

So basically, there is Bernie Sanders using the power of government force a Christian to deny the exclusivity of Christian theology. Something that no authentic Christian could do in good conscience. But he’s not the only one.

Here’s Democrat senators Dick Durbin and Diane Feinstein doing the same thing.

This is from National Review.

Excerpt:

This afternoon, during a confirmation hearing for 7th Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein attacked the nominee for her Roman Catholic faith.

Barrett is a law professor at the University of Notre Dame who has written about the role of religion in public life and delivered academic lectures to Christian legal groups. Drawing on some of these materials, Feinstein launched a thinly veiled attack on Barrett’s Catholic faith, asserting that her religious views will prevent her from judging fairly.

“When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein said. “And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.” Feinstein is clearly hinting here at the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, a ruling that Feinstein supports so vociferously that she has even called it a “super-precedent.”

[…]Other Democratic senators took issue with Barrett over her faith as well. Senate minority whip Dick Durbin criticized Barrett’s use of the term “orthodox Catholic,” insisting that it unfairly maligns Catholics who do not hold certain positions about abortion or the death penalty. (Durbin himself is a Catholic who abandoned his previous pro-life position.) “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?” he later asked Barrett point blank.

To me, the more important thing about these stories is how comfortable secular people are about forcing their secular convictions down the throats of others. What they’re essentially saying is this: “I can use power to push my worldview onto you, and I can use power to stop you from living according to your convictions”. You can be certain that Diane Feinstein has answers to all of the same big questions that theists have answers to: “does God exist?” “did Jesus rise from the dead?” “is there a purpose to suffering and evil?” “is there life after death?”, etc. She has different answers to those same questions, but she wouldn’t accuse herself of having dogma. She feels very comfortable pushing her worldview through political power, but doesn’t think that theists ought to be able to do the same. questions with their respective worldviews? The answer is simple.

Why are Christians perceived as irrational? Atheists perceive Christians as having a worldview that is not based on fact. And they perceive themselves as having a worldview that is based on fact. How did this happen?

Well, simply put, Christian leaders made it happen, by refusing to focus on apologetics and evangelism. For better or worse, Christian churches (from fundamentalist Pentecostal to conservative Presbyterian) have decided that evangelism and apologetics are not important enough to focus on at church. And the result of this is that as non-Christians work their way through school and into the workplace, they never encounter any intelligent Christians who have reasons and evidence for their beliefs. Not just Christian beliefs, but policy beliefs, too. The church has failed to teach their members and adherents the importance of having answers, and this (along with the Sexual Revolution) is one of the main reasons why America has gone secular.

Even if you spend your childhood and teen years in church, you will never hear serious discussion of whether God really exists or whether the Bible is historically reliable. These things will be assumed to be true. You will be shamed if you ask questions, and you will even be shamed if you study apologetics to know how to answer these questions. This is considered pious by most church leaders, no matter what denomination you’re in. Atheists are not blind to the fact that most people who profess Christ are ignorant of competing views, and cannot explain why they hold their views using reason and evidence. And that’s why they are comfortable bullying us.

Can a person believe in both God and Darwinian evolution?

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

The term for a person who believes in fully naturalistic evolution but who also believes in God is “theistic evolutionist”.

Terrell Clemmons takes a look at one organization of theistic evolutionists “Biologos”, and makes a distinction between their public statements and the real implications of their public statements.

Here is the PR / spin definition of theistic evolution:

Evolutionary creation is “the view that all life on earth came about by the God-ordained process of evolution with common descent. Evolution is a means by which God providentially achieves his purposes in creation.” This view, also called theistic evolution, has been around since the late nineteenth century, and BioLogos promotes it today in a variety of religious and educational settings.

And here is the no-spin definition of theistic evolution:

As Dr. Stephen Meyer explains it, the central issue dividing Bio-Logos writers from intelligent design theorists is BioLogos’s commitment to methodological naturalism (MN), which is not a scientific theory or empirical finding, but an arbitrary rule excluding non-material causation from the outset. “Unfortunately,” Meyer writes,

methodological naturalism is a demanding doctrine. The rule does not say “try finding a materialistic cause but keep intelligent design in the mix of live possibilities, in light of what the evidence might show.” Rather, MN tells you that you simply must posit a material or physical cause, whatever the evidence.

What this means, according to BioLogos’s own epistemology, is that God is objectively undiscoverable and unknowable—a tenet that sits squarely at odds with Christian orthodoxy, which has for centuries held that God is clearly discernible in the natural world (e.g., Romans 1:20). Obviously, this is theologically problematic, but Meyer also points out that theistic evolution faces problems from a scientific standpoint as well, as the technical literature among evolutionary biologists is moving away from the Darwinian mechanism.

Whenever I talk to theistic evolutionists, I try to stop them from talking about the Bible or their faith, because that’s not what is interesting to me. I don’t really care about their history as a religious person, or where they go to church, or who their pastor is. When I talk about origins and evolution, I only care about the science. What the ordinary process of scientific inquiry tells us about nature? Does nature have the capacity to create all of the varieties of life without any intelligent agency playing a role? Or, are there parts of nature that are similar to computer programs, blog posts, and term papers, where the best explanation of the effect is an intelligent agent choosing how to arrange the parts to achieve functionality?

I don’t accept molecules-to-man unguided evolution. This is not because I start with faith and let faith override the findings of science. It’s because I think that if you look at specific areas of natural history, there is clear evidence of intelligent agency, such as in the origin of life, or the Cambrian explosion. These effects in nature are well-studied and well-understood, and they look much more like the code that a computer scientist (like me) writes than the simplistic “order” created by wind erosion or crystalline patterns or anything the blind forces of nature could produce. Blind forces are observed to make small changes – short or long finch beaks, fruit flies with 4 wings and no balancers, bacterial resistances.

What’s also interesting is how often theistic evolutionists drop the theism but keep the evolution.

Consider this article about Stephen Matheson from Evolution News:

Biologist Stephen Matheson is a longtime critic of the theory of intelligent design. His extensive attacks on Stephen Meyer’s Signature in the Cell, for one, ranged from the substantive to the trivial and personal. The tone was frequently…abrasive, and we responded at the time. With Arthur Hunt, Dr. Matheson has debated Dr. Meyer in a forum at Biola University. Formerly a professor at an Evangelical Christian school, Calvin College, Matheson is still listed as a Blog Author at the theistic evolutionary website BioLogos, where it notes that he enjoys “explor[ing] issues of science and Christian faith.”

Well, his theistic evolutionary explorations have now terminated. As he reports on his personal blog page, where he took a hiatus of more than five years along with a break from his teaching, he is “happily” no longer a Christian.

OK. Now that’s just one case, but what about Howard Van Till, also of Calvin College?

Salvo magazine takes a look at what he wrote in a recent book:

In what follows I shall use the term “naturalism,” when unqualified, to represent neither more nor less than the rejection of supernaturalism. Stated positively, naturalism is committed to the belief that all events that occur within this Universe are consistent with and adequately explained by the system of natural causes. This commitment necessarily entails the additional belief that the system of natural causes is fully adequate to account for all events that transpire. Focusing on the issue of the Universe’s formational economy, we can say that naturalism—as here defined -entails the RFEP.

He now gives presentations for atheist groups entitled “From Calvinism to Freethought”. Freethought is a euphemism for atheism.

Now, for the big three Western monotheistic religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. To deny supernaturalism IS to deny the robust theism present in the world’s big three monotheistic religions. Van Till denies theism as commonly understood now. And again, this isn’t because of the science. His heavy handed naturalistic assumption squashed out any kind of serious inquiry into areas like the origin of the universe, the cosmic fine tuning, the origin or life, the Cambrian explosion, biological convergence, so-called junk DNA, deleterious mutations, and so on. Places where you can see that naturalistic forces cannot do the creating that Van Till has faith that they can.

And for the record, I am an enthusiastic supporter of the standard Big Bang cosmology, and a 4.5 billion year Earth. My problem with evolution is not Bible-based, it’s science-based. If the science shows the need for intelligent causes, and I think it does, then I think that the naturalists need to adjust their assumptions and pre-suppositions to match the evidence. We have blog posts and computer science code, that’s evidence for a programmer. We have DNA and proteins and sudden origin of body plans, that’s evidence for a programmer, too.

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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