23 November, 2016

Party of Prejudice: The Democrats Still Haven't Learned Their Lessons

What is prejudice? To anyone who is etymologically and linguistically sane, the definition is very clear: it's based on the prefix "pre-," meaning "before," and the root word "judice" which is just a fancy word for judging. It literally means judging someone without thorough enough investigation. Based on this definition, the Democratic Party has never ceased being the party of prejudice, and prejudice is bigotry no matter who it's used against.

It all started when Democratic Party founder Andrew Jackson's vice president, John C. Calhoun, came up with the rather absurd idea that slavery is beneficial not only to the slave owner but also to the slave, which is indeed an absurd idea to say the least. From then until the Civil War, the Democrats — and every single slave at the time of the Civil War was owned by a Democrat (this is about slave owners, not slavery supporters, so support of slavery is a red herring in this regard) — would often assume that all African-Americans were property and give them absolutely no civil rights whatsoever. Any stray African-American was pre-judged as a runaway slave even if he or she had entered the United States from somewhere else. It was complete tyranny.

After the Civil War, however, when the GOP began to gain full control, they literally found themselves scrambling. Not only did they proceed to create a militant arm — the KKK — that perpetrated the mass murder not only of African-Americans but also of white members of the GOP, but they also often pre-judged African-Americans as sexual predators of white women to justify lynching. They went on to use this same prejudice — judging people as rapists simply because they're black — in the 20th century to justify their support for Jim Crow laws, which also did not end well.

After this period ended, the prejudice never did. It simply changed forms. How so? Instead of pre-judging blacks, they turned their attention entirely to pre-judging Republicans and other conservatives. They perpetuate the "big switch" narrative despite the fact that, A, less than 20 of the 1600 most racist of the Dixiecrats switched (thanks, Dinesh), and B, the reason why non-racist whites (in the 1980's) and blacks (in the 1930's) switched parties was because of money, not because of racism. They take the positions of people like Strom Thurmond and smear them onto the Republican Party as a whole (hasty generalization), then pre-judge Republicans in general as racist, pre-judge pro-life Christians as sexist, pre-judge Christians in general as gullible, pre-judge those who don't agree with the homosexual agenda in its entirety as homophobes and transphobes, and pre-judge fiscally conservative African-Americans as "coons" and "Uncle Tom" without doing any research whatsoever.

Regardless of whether it's prejudice as a slave, prejudice as a sexual predator, or prejudice as <enter -ism or -phobia here>, prejudice is prejudice, period. Just as Ida B. Welles taught that prejudice must die and just as the GOP of the 1860's and 1870's taught that prejudice must die, so too am I teaching now that prejudice must die. They accuse all of their opponents of being "haters" prejudicially, in spite of the simple fact that prejudice is hate and that pre-judging opponents as hateful is hypocrisy on top of hate.

18 November, 2016

Political Correctness is Verbal Marxism

I get it, just as I didn't like Obama, there are people out there who just don't like Trump. During the early stages of the primaries, when Ben Carson and Marco Rubio were still candidates, I was one of them — it was only after pro-life Mike Pence became Trump's running mate that I gave him a chance. For the most part this anti-Trump sentiment is due to out of context spin, but let's leave that aside: Why is it that when Obama won and McCain and Romney lost, there were no conservatives rioting, yet when Trump won and Hillary lost, there are rampant rioters all over the place, vandalizing buildings, committing the arson of cars, physically assaulting people who voted for Trump, and even murdering police officers? Why is it that Hillary's supporters cried foul when Trump at the debates claimed to have the right to challenge the election results if reasonable suspicion in the form of fraud was granted, yet are protesting against at best and rioting in response to at worst the results of the election now that Trump won?

Their hypocrisy is certainly showing in this move to protest Trump, that's for sure. If they truly were Democratic as they claim to be and not ochlocratic, then they would be accepting the results of an election that Trump won fair and square. "HRC won the popular vote by 2 million" you claim? Aside from the fact that the electoral college is a critical weapon in the fight against the "parish pump politics" — small areas with high population density could force their own local agendas on the rest of the country at whim — of the UK as it was before the Americas were settled, it should be noted that 3 million HRC voters were undocumented immigrants, who by law are barred from voting and whose votes are therefore fraudulent. That alone makes Trump win the legitimate popular vote by 1 million. Add in the number of fraudulent votes cast in the names of dead people (also at least 1 million), the number of votes cast multiple times in multiple states, the number of stuffed ballot boxes, and other dirty tricks that the Democratic Party had up its sleeve, and the problem solves itself really quickly.

The root of this problem is something called political correctness. Basically, there's this notion from the left now, where, essentially, if you don't adhere to relativism, then they have the right to shut you up. They don't even argue, they just attack. In their eyes, anyone who discusses illegal immigration must be racist, when in reality, there are just as many Hispanics and Latinos who hate illegal immigration — that is, because they're documented Latinos who feel cheated by their undocumented brethren — as there are white people who hate it. These same people also label anyone who wants to gentrify the inner cities as racist, despite the fact that when people in the inner cities get jobs, the crime rates go down and African-American prosperity increases. Leftist SJWs are a class of false dichotomy creators: "either agree with us or you must hate us".

This is literally a Marxist tactic. During the early days of Communism, when the Communists tried to take over their first target — Russia — they engaged in much of the exact same stuff. Anyone who didn't support them, they complained, must be a member of the bourgeoisie. Back then, however, Marxism was fiscal. Now, these same leftists are applying this exact same Marxist tactic to social issues, labeling people with all sorts of -isms simply because they don't agree 100% with their agenda. The left has gone from fiscal Marxism to verbal Marxism, branding, with the most hateful of labels, all protected free speech that they disagree with.

Now that the people have spoken and Trump is in charge, the days of this should soon be over. From a millennial to his fellow millennials: Stop crying like babies. Use your education to get jobs and start businesses. America needs to be built up, not torn down — it's already in enough disrepair as is. And please, grow up! Hearing stories of college professors bringing in Play-Doh to quiet college students down (thanks, Sean Hannity) is honestly making me question their mental capacity to even enter a college class in the first place. Then again, this problem of political correctness happens to be the root cause of this immaturity epidemic, so take that political correctness away and it should hopefully get better.

07 November, 2016

Donald Trump is America's Solomon

Although I have been getting praise by a lot of fellow Christians for supporting Donald Trump ever since he became the GOP nominee in order to stop the lying, crooked, self-refuting, illogical, abortion extremist, and, as recently exposed by WikiLeaks, Satanist hag that is Hillary Clinton, I have been getting a lot of flak from others, particularly GOPe holdouts. They allege that Trump has too many flaws to be the nominee, but what do they not realize? That politicians are human, not divine, that Romans 3:23 speaks on this problem, and, perhaps most importantly, that even some of the greatest Biblical patriarchs are the leaders who also were the most flawed.

Take, for example, King Solomon. The man was a beacon of wisdom, to say the least — a master builder who managed to construct the First Temple in, at the time, record speed, a master philosopher, someone who put Israelite national security first and foremost, who strengthened the Israelite military, and, last but certainly not least, a very rich man — he was worth, in today's money, about 10 billion US dollars. What, meanwhile, were his flaws? "Multiplying wives" and (patently false/fallacious) allegations of xenophobia against the Phoenicians and Philistines. Doesn't this sound a lot like Donald Trump?

There are some differences, to be absolutely fair — 500 wives/concubines is *far* more than Trump's history of divorces and remarriages, and while it doomed Solomon, Trump publicly repented of this, allowing Luke 15:7 to apply. Also, Trump's second-in-command — Mike Pence — is not only a *strongly* devout Christian, but also, like Lee Strobel and Greg Koukl, an apologetics prodigal: he left the faith in college while being talked out of it by an atheistic professor, then returned through apologetics. As an apologist myself, I for one would be more than glad to put someone like that in charge of the Senate especially, because he has amendment power: self-refuting bills can be exposed as such through amendments *before* they get to Trump's desk, rendering them unenforceable if signed.

Those who vote third party or stay home — and as someone who voted for Johnson in 2012, I know first hand that this is a grave mistake — are inadvertently helping an anti-Christian, demonic hag get elected. Trump is definitely better than Hillary, and, most importantly, better than Obama. That makes him a general step in the right direction, paving the way for an even better 2024 nominee that would uphold most if not all values that we Christians want represented. Today, November 7, 2016, I therefore encourage you: Get out and vote! We cannot let this country fall to globalist dictators who want to destroy us.

15 October, 2016

Details of Yesterday's Foiled Clinton Hit Attempt

It's time for a little intelligence briefing on the Clintons. For what, exactly? A possible failed hit attempt on me on Friday, October 14, 2016 between approximately 10:15 AM and approximately 11:00 AM in southern Orange County, CA. My father, ex-CIA, ex-Mossad, 4th-degree blackbelt Cliff Strawn and I left home — father in the driver's seat, me riding shotgun — to make three stops: Southern California Skin and Laser in Laguna Niguel (corner of Pacific Park Drive and Aliso Creek Road), where my father needed skin biopsies done; and the Social Security office on Acero Road in Mission Viejo, where some business regarding health insurance benefits needed to get done.

The first stop took about 45 minutes, and my father decided to let me get breakfast at the Starbucks next door. Fine. It was when I was done, however, that something really strange happened: The *instant* I sent out a tweet regarding one of the Podesta emails suggesting that Podesta was the man who *carried out* a hit on Scalia, claiming that Podesta *is* the Clinton hitman in response to someone else claiming that he needed to watch his back, a man in a brown leather jacket stood up out of his seat, and I caught him out of the corner of my eye.

The instant I looked up at the man, however, he not only panicked, stepping backward about 6 feet, but he also slipped an object into the pocket of his brown leather coat that was black and looked suspicious. The manner in which he slipped it into his pocket was also suspicious — quickly and in a panic so as to hide it from me. The only reasonable conclusion one can draw from this pattern of behavior is that this man in the brown leather jacket had a weapon. When I got a closer look before darting out, however — the tall stature, tall face, gray hair, olive skin, and glasses — I knew that this has to have been either John Podesta himself or his identical twin (which he doesn't have one of). This was at about 10:30 AM.

Fast forward to about 11AM, and the setting is different: the SS office. When my father and I get there, I see this same tall man in the parking lot, speaking face-to-face with a short, blond-haired, round-faced, old woman wearing dark attire — a woman who looked just like Hillary Clinton. This time, they're both trying to hide each other from me, knowing that their plan had been foiled. That's when I stepped back and used my phone camera to attempt to take a picture of them, but before I could they were so panicked that they just ran into their cars and sped off.

Fast forward to last night, and there was an actual Clinton rally in San Francisco. They could therefore easily, easily have stopped in SoCal on the way there from somewhere else — this to me was probably the smoking gun, because now I have all the information I need to expose this view of the Clintons as cold-blooded killers to voters.

I can see that there may be a few Podesta lookalikes and a few Hillary lookalikes out there, but the odds of a mere Podesta lookalike in a conspiracy with a mere Hillary lookalike to attempt to kill someone — who, just the day before, was picking the perfect arguments to trap Hillary trolls into logical dilemmas on YouTube so as to shut them up — being anyone but Podesta and Hillary themselves are extremely, extremely low. It was obvious at that point that I had caught Hillary and Podesta in an attempted-murder-for-hire scheme red-handed.

This also gives some valuable information on their M.O., and how to beat them in their game: Their M.O. is to try to catch you purely by surprise. They're cowards: the instant you know what they're doing, they panic. That's why they don't want you to know what weapons they may have in their possession. That's why they deleted all those emails. It's because their biggest fear is getting caught trying to do things like this, so if their intended victims know what they're up to, it foils their whole operation. I therefore encourage this information to be spread to as many people as possible, knowing that this information is highly valuable to other potential targets.

01 October, 2016

The Multiverse Theory is an Inadvertent Faith Leap

WARNING: The following are paragraphs, not individual sentences or phrases, and the whole paragraphs are what combine to provide context. Failure to include the surrounding contexts of quotes in your replies is quote mining.

One thing that atheists seem to be very good at when arguing with intelligent Christians like Sean McDowell, Greg Koukl, J. Warner Wallace, and myself is finding ways to circumvent the cosmological argument. If space, time, and matter all had beginnings simultaneously, according to this argument, then the "uncaused first cause" must transcend space, transcend time, and not be made of matter — all three of which are attributes of the God of the Bible. Atheists often just avoid this argument, how exactly? By positing theories like the "multiverse" that on their own merits are even more impossible to prove absolutely — not just impossible to prove empirically but also impossible to prove forensically and archaeologically — than Christianity.

Right off the bat, there's a problem with calling the multiverse a "theory". A theory must be provable by definition. Is the multiverse provable? If it were, then it would be possible to travel physically from one universe to another and back and live to tell about it. That alone is physically impossible proof, why? Because even at the speed of light, our own universe takes *billions* of years to cross. How many years, therefore, would it take to travel from one universe to another if multiple universes exist? Trillions? The astronauts would be fossils by the time they got there — if it was even possible to leave this universe without the spacecraft self-destructing.

Self-destructing? How can that be, you may ask? Because all the constants within the confines of this universe are just perfect for matter to exist. The instant you step outside the universe and enter something else, you enter a place where matter cannot physically exist! What does a spacecraft, at that point, do? There's no forces outside space-time that can sustain matter, so immediately that presents an enigma if talked about from a purely materialistic standpoint. Put short, even if we could travel outside this universe, we might not make it to another universe (if such a thing exists at all) without first running into a complete space-time dead zone capable of destroying all matter at the subatomic level.

Is the multiverse theory still possible? Of course. Is it reasonable? Based on the Christian definition, yes, but based on the atheistic definition of reason, absolutely not. When people posit theories like the multiverse, what they're essentially doing is copping out. They're trying to replace God with some impersonal entity that not only is it physically impossible to obtain empirical support for — just as with the God of the Bible — but it's also physically impossible to forensically support, and, to add insult to injury, physically impossible to archaeologically support. If you have not only no empirical evidence but also no manuscripts or artifacts supporting a theory, then what you have is a theory that takes more faith to believe than Christianity — hence the title of Frank Turek's book, "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist".

27 September, 2016

Fallacious Politics: Ten Common Logical Fallacies the Media Uses to Silence Us

When media anchors claim to be impartial, I always ask a very important question: Are they logically and intellectually honest with themselves? If there's anything that counts as evidence of bias, it's fallacious logic. If the media were truly unbiased as they claim to be, then they would know better than to commit these ten egregious logical foibles, but do they refrain from doing so? The answer to this question may surprise you, and per my examinations, it's a big fat 'NO'.

1. Quote mining

In June 2015, Donald Trump made a bunch of statistically valid remarks about illegal immigration: Despite liberal claims to the contrary, the ratio of criminals to good people is much higher among illegal immigrants than among both legal immigrants *and* people who stay in countries like Mexico. How did Trump get painted as a racist, therefore? This is how: the media harped on "they're sending rapists… they're sending drug dealers…" while completely ignoring "and some, I assume, are good people". That last sentence is something called a context clue: it provides the entire context of what's being said. Quote mining is exactly this: placing quotes outside of their surrounding contexts and attacking people over them.

2. Ad hominem

"Racist". "Sexist". "Homophobic". "Xenophobic". "Islamophobic". "Basket of deplorables". Should we go on? These have absolutely nothing to do with the topics, the ideas, the key problems that this country has faced since Obama took office. Instead, they're all about attacking people personally. They're a distraction: instead of going after the issue, they're attacking a person's character directly and going off topic in the process. Yup, that's exactly what the definition of ad hominem is, and you wonder why in the world these people who claim to be the logical, reasonable ones are committing it.

3. Association fallacy

Just because someone supports an (allegedly) divisive candidate does not under any circumstances mean that the person in question is also divisive even by the same definition. Accusing people of being racist or sexist merely for associating with people, even if those people actually are, is called the association fallacy, and applying it towards people is ad hominem on top of the association fallacy. This is aside from the fact that when talking about Trump in particular, the alleged divisiveness is a false accusation that one needs to commit fallacy #1 in order to support.

4. False dichotomy

"I respect you as a human being, but don't agree with you on [name key issue]." "Homophobe!" "Transphobe!" "Woman-hater!" "Evolution-hater!" (thank you, my good friend Mr. McDowell, for that one). The assumption in this accusation is obvious: it's that anyone who disagrees with you hates you. Irony: notice how the person responded with name-calling? That makes the liberal twice as hateful as the conservative in this case! If calling someone a f****t or t****y is hateful — and it is hateful indeed, even by my own conservative standards — then calling someone a homophobe or transphobe is equally hateful. A false dichotomy, by definition, is assuming that there are only two options when there are in fact more than two. In this particular case, you have complete agreement at one end of the spectrum, total hate on the other, and tolerance in the middle — three options, not two.

5. Poisoning the well

The fallacy of "poisoning the well" is a fallacy in which irrelevant (and abusive) information about an opponent is presented with intent to distract an audience. Since fallacy #1 (quote mining) is the fallacy that the media used to give people the impression of Trump being a racist, this fallacy was something that the media has been guilty of right from the get-go, and the "basket of deplorables" remark would also qualify as this. So, accusing Trump of committing a hasty generalization, are we? You're committing this fallacy by doing so.

6. No-true-Scotsman

This fallacy is something that secularists obsessively attack Christians over when they try to distance themselves from people who engage in violence in the name of Christianity (which, mind you, is at best Judaizing because A, none of the Old Testament punishments are ever repeated in the New Testament, which makes them descriptive of ancient Israel, not prescriptive for modern Christians, and B, it is completely contrary to the teachings not only of Jesus but of Paul, Peter, John, and all other New Testament writers as well). You'd think, therefore, that the Godless Left, which is loaded with far more atheists and agnostics than the right, would know better than to commit this fallacy, right? Wrong! When someone responds to issues like Islamic terrorism and illegal immigration with "not all Muslims are terrorists" or "not all Mexicans are drug dealers," respectively, they are doing exactly this: claiming to not be a true Scotsman. The statistical realities are that the majority of post-9/11 terrorists are Muslims and that the ratio of criminals to good people is higher among illegal immigrants than among legal immigrants, but liberals love to simply ignore statistics and reverse them thinking that we can take the bait. No, it won't work here.

7. Straw man

Before one attempts to smear an opponent for saying, doing, or wanting to do something, one must always ask oneself if that's exactly what that person said. Simply injecting words into an opponent's mouth without thinking — essentially lying about what an opponent says — is called creating a straw man, and it's a Logic 101 fallacy, as is most other stuff here. This is something that Trump himself actually took to Twitter to condemn, and rightfully so, because of just how fallacious it is.

8. Hasty generalization

This one is related to the false dichotomy and association fallacy, but worth noting. Yes, there are indeed some right-wing nutcases who are just as extreme as some factions of the left, and members of groups like the AoG and Westboro are denounced by the vast majority of us. Trump has denounced David Duke numerous times. He also denounced other members of the KKK that expressed support for him, and to boot, the KKK's main "Grand Dragon" ― Will Quigg ― endorsed Hillary for the presidency, which means that any KKK member who supports Trump is actually rebelling against his own hate group. Does the left care? Unfortunately not. They adhere to the blatantly fallacious view that adherents to these extreme factions somehow apply to the right wing as a whole, when they're really just the right wingtip feathers.

9. Ad populum (bandwagon fallacy)

Is it popular? Yes. Is it a good thing to believe? Not necessarily. When people fallaciously think that what's popular in parts of the country that have the highest population densities is what's right, they have committed this logical blunder. Back home in the UK, prior to colonizing what would eventually become the early United States, the Founding Fathers' ancestors were victims of so-called "parish pump politics" where small areas could use high population density to push local ideas on the rest of the country in a politically corrupt manner. The electoral college solves this problem by giving states with small populations a fair say in who gets elected, thus using geography as a "check and balance" if you will against small areas with high population densities and agendas that people in areas with less population density oppose. Electoral college abolitionism is therefore a commission of this fallacy, because without the electoral college we'd have the very "tyranny of the majority" that the Founding Fathers railed against.

10. Circular reasoning

When the left tries to attack us, do they even think about it? Unfortunately not. When the premise and conclusion are the exact same thing, that's called circular reasoning. Some examples are to the effect of "conservatives are dumb, because… conservatives are dumb," "DNA and homology point to Darwinism and not to OEC because… DNA and homology point to Darwinism," "Trump supporters are racist because… Trump supporters are racist", or, for an example that goes contrary to forensic evidence, "People who think Christianity is objectively true are closed minded… because <repeat>". Failure to use anything other than circular reasoning to defend a position makes you the closed-minded one.

05 September, 2016

Debunking the Anti-Trump Rhetoric of our Enemies

WARNING: The following are paragraphs, not individual sentences or phrases. Picking them apart and responding to individual phrases outside of their whole-paragraph contexts is quote mining.

Where are the accusations of racism from before Trump's presidential campaign began? From 2014? From 2013? 2012? 2011? 2010 or earlier? If there's an article PUBLISHED BEFORE June 2015 accusing Trump of racism, then I want to see it, because all accusations "going back decades" of racism have been raised ex post facto. If ex post facto laws are unconstitutional, then so are ex post facto accusations unconstitutional.

About the Central Park Five: The people involved weren't exonerated until 2002. Could Trump have known in 1989 that all of the people in that case were innocent of all charges? Absolutely not. Granted, he shouldn't have jumped to conclusions about it, but if these people were on death row as long as most are today, then they likely would have been on death row long enough to get exonerated for it before the government got a chance to kill them. Moreover, since 1989, forensic technology has greatly improved to say the least. We have more powerful microscopes. We have more accurate means of collecting DNA that can go almost completely undetected to would-be murderers. We have better training for police detectives in detecting the smallest of small samples. Comparing 1989 with 2016 on accuracy of finding out who's guilty and who's innocent is committing the historian's fallacy.

Now, about that wall, which seems to be the main talking point for those accusations of racism — why is it that Mexico can secure its southern border with Guatemala, and that's not racist, yet it's racist for us to secure our southern border? That's a plank in the Mexican government's eye. Tear down all fortifications ― fences, walls, everything ― on your southern border, Enrique, and then we'll reconsider our southern border wall. Don't even think about citing Snopes on their denial of the existence of the Mexico-Guatemala barrier either, because its staff are Hillary donors and therefore biased. The point isn't whether or not a wall across the Mexican-Guatemalan border already exists, the point is whether or not Mexicans are calling for one to exist, and according to a very popular Mexican newspaper, yes they are:

http://www.elmanana.com/sialmurofronterizo%E2%80%A6peroenelsurdemexico-3351816.html

Translation: "Yes to the border wall… but in Mexico's South." And, to translate the subtitle, using my 3 years of Spanish class and 9 years of experience communicating in Spanish: "In the southeast of Mexico there are two borders: one with Guatemala and one with Belize that don't bring benefits; on the contrary, only problems are induced because those crossings are being used for a new invasion: one of Central Americans using our country to cross into the United States."

The alleged hasty generalizations of all Mexicans as rapists, meanwhile, stopped a year ago. Give me one instance from March 2016 or later in which Trump hastily generalized all Mexicans as rapists or as drug dealers and then we'll talk, because if you still believe that 13 months after he said it, then you're believing old news, for one. Two, what exactly did Trump conclude that paragraph with? "And some, I assume — some are good people." Leaving that sentence out of a Trump quote is also quote mining, which means that whoever is making that charge is making it on a fallacious premise.

Finally, if you go to accuse Trump of being a hypocrite, perhaps you should look at your own candidate and, *especially*, her VP pick first. Tim Kaine claims to be a Catholic. Hillary claims to be a Methodist. On abortion, both the Catholic and Methodist churches use the Bible's position as their own, and the Bible's position is staunchly pro-life (if you attempt to quote a single Bible verse to support a pro-abortion view without also quoting everything else around it, then you're quote mining). What, meanwhile, do Hillary and Kaine both support? The self-refuting lie that is moral relativism: if it's immoral to impose morality, then it's also immoral to impose the moral claim that morality shouldn't be imposed — that entire view is false by its own standard. They think they can have their cake and eat it too on this issue by claiming to be Christian and for abortion at the same time, which is an act of blatant hypocrisy. That is a plank in Hillary's eye (and Kaine's eye) that must also be addressed before they can go on to accuse us of anything.

27 July, 2016

What happens when politics and self-refuting ideas collide

In July, I published a post to this blog pointing out that many of the claims that atheists make don't even meet their own standards. To review that post, those claims are "there is no truth" (that claim can't be true either if that's the case), "all truth is scientific" (that claim is philosophical and therefore false by its own standard), "all truth/morality is relative/subjective" (that statement claims to be true not only for the claimant but also for opponents, making it false by its own standard), "Christians are hypocrites" (A, hasty generalization, B, tu quoque, and C, anyone who tries to arbitrarily make up a standard oneself has the burden of living up to it; if they don't, then they're also hypocrites), and "you shouldn't judge" (A, that statement is a judgment, and B, quoting Matthew 7:1 without also quoting Matthew 7:2-5 at the same time is quote mining). It's the number 3 self-refuting statement — "all truth/morality is relative/subjective" — however, that even some presidential candidates still don't see the problem with.

Who can't see this problem? Hillary Clinton, that's who, and her vice-presidential pick Tim Kaine is just as bad when it comes to failure to call this self-refuting idea — and the self-refuting statement that accompanies it — out for what it is: false by its own standard. It's almost hilarious, really, that Tim Kaine hasn't been excommunicated from the Catholic Church over his relativism regarding abortion in particular, why? He claims that abortion is bad for him and his family but also claims to not care what others who might support abortion think about it. Blatant lie: because moral relativism is self-refuting and therefore false, the only thing that can be true in this regard is a moral absolute, which means that it's either good or evil. Since the Catholic and Methodist Churches, for that matter, both consider abortion to be an absolute evil, both Kaine and Hillary should be excommunicated from their said churches, at the very least.

Ah, but Trump is also an abortionist, you claim, right? For two reasons, that's a false claim: A, just because someone claimed to support abortion 16 years ago doesn't mean that claim is up-to-date (that's a fallacy called slothful induction), and B, there was reportedly a change in his position in 2011 when a friend of his wanted to abort his wife's child only to not go through with it, then seriously regret the contemplation once he met his own child face to face. Further, the Republican candidate for VP — Mike Pence — has a record as governor of Indiana that is about as pro-life as any candidate can possibly get on this matter — he reportedly used state *executive orders* to strip Planned Parenthood of all Indiana state tax funds, and as a result multiple abortion clinics in Indiana are closing down. As VP under Trump and as Senate President, Pence would likely use his Congressional powers to push acts into law that take his actions against PP in Indiana to the national level.

Also, enough with the claim that "it's a danger to women's health" to have a pro-life position! For starters, there's a difference between caring about both the life of the mother and the life of the unborn child vs. caring about the life of the mother at the expense of the life of the unborn child. "The unborn child is just part of the mother" you claim? According to the science of genetics, that's a lie. If that claim were true, then the DNA of the unborn child would be 100% identical to the DNA of the mother. That's not the case. Instead, the instant a sperm enters an egg, the DNA of both fuse together. The result? A genetically distinct cell that is genetically programmed, genetically wired, genetically predestined to grow into an embryo, a fetus, and then, finally, a child outside the womb. To jump to the conclusion that an unborn child is a part of the mother's body simply because of the location inside the womb is to flat-out deny science, and to say "it's my choice to abort" is again an act of believing the self-refuting lie that is moral relativism.

No one that tries to bring self-refuting ideas to Washington belongs in the White House. Claiming to be Christian means refraining from "nullifying the word of God" for the sake of anything else. The Pharisees, according to Jesus (Mark 7:13), "nullified the word of God" for the sake of tradition. The misnomered "Democrats", meanwhile, do the same thing: they "nullify the word of God" for the sake of moral relativism. Either they're pro-life Christians, pro-abortion atheists, or hypocrites. They can't have their cake and eat it too.

14 July, 2016

Calling ANY Field of Science 'Settled' while Claiming to be a Beacon of Reason at the Same Time is Hypocrisy

WARNING: The following is an essay, not individual sentences and not individual paragraphs. Quoting part of this work without also quoting the surrounding context ― the context that is the whole thing ― is quote mining.

It's almost laughable, the nerve that some scientists, particularly those that are also atheists, have. They claim to be beacons of reason. They claim to be rational. They go on to claim that all who don't agree with them and their opinions about Christianity must be deluded simply because they're not 100% materialistic. They group Christianity together with other religions that bear far more radical ideologies, then commit the hasty generalization of assuming that anyone who is against, for example, abortion or homosexuality is just as evil as Muslim terrorists. There's an irony in this, however: What about their own science communities? Is there discrimination there too?

Notice the standard that these accusations imply: Don't stop thinking. Always make absolutely certain to examine every piece of evidence closely. Never jump to any conclusion. This is a standard in which absolute certainty about any field of science is impossible. Do the scientists themselves do this? Do they refrain from jumping to conclusions? Do they keep thinking about everything without stopping their thoughts about anything? Do they explore every possible explanation, regardless of consensus about the evidence that they find, or do they shove all of that evidence through some materialistic worldview filter?

Ah, the answer is the latter. "[Darwinism] is a fact" they claim. "The science is settled." "There is no other possible cause for life than a naturalistic one." This is doing precisely the very thing ― namely, stifling thoughts that they disagree with ― that they accuse us of. Although I do kind of agree with them based on the fact that it's a consequence of the deadly sin that is greed, climate change is also a field of science that people pull this trick on. Same thing when it comes to other modes of politically and (ir)religiously motivated science, like science that pertains to homosexuality for instance. A consensus is NOT an objective truth! It's an opinion of a multitude of intelligent people, sure, but without God, an opinion is an opinion regardless of how many people hold it.

Moreover, if only science yielded truth as atheists claim, then guess what? The claim in and of itself would be false by its own definition. The claim that "all truth is scientific" isn't scientific, it's philosophical. I'm always willing to go back to the Craig v. Atkins (1998) debate on this issue: we have a case in which Peter Atkins claimed that science is the only thing that yields truth, and what is William Lane Craig's response? You cannot use the scientific method to prove math, nor can you use it to prove philosophy, nor can you use it to prove history… most importantly, you cannot use science to prove science itself, why? Because the mathematical formulas that science depends on must simply be assumed true in order for science to even be conducted!

So, without much further ado, it's hypocrisy to be skeptical about everything without also being skeptical about skepticism itself. Whenever you exempt a claim or view from its own standard, what you get is a breeding ground for hypocrisy, and unfortunately, that's exactly what the nature of most of these charges is.

12 July, 2016

The Apologetics of 'Bel and the Dragon'

Is Christian apologetics really 'tyranny of the experts'? Some lay believers seem to think so. They cherry-pick 2 Timothy 3:16 while at the same time ignoring 1 Peter 3:15. That aside, what exactly did the oldest of patriarchs use to defend their views? Did they resort to apologetics as often as we did? As Bill Dyer points out, even Abraham did, by believing that if God can create everything from nothing, then He can also raise Isaac from the dead — granted, Abraham also is told by God not to go through with the sacrifice. Now this is a trivial example, but is it the only one?

In fact, no — at least not if you look to deuterocanonical and/or apocryphal sources. The book of Daniel as we know it — at least the book of Daniel as Protestant Christians (including Lutherans like myself) know it — is not the same book of Daniel that adherents of Catholicism, Greek Orthodoxy, Russian Orthodoxy, and Coptic Orthodoxy know. Why? Because the Hebrew Bible was canonicalized by three different groups of Jews which each canonicalized it in their own entirely different ways.

These three versions of the Tanakh are called, by scholars, the Egyptian, Palestinian, and Babylonian traditions. The version that is present in most Protestant Bibles is the Babylonian one, which is also the one that most modern Jews have in their canons. The Palestinian version, meanwhile, is the one that the Ethiopian Church uses, and the Egyptian version is the one that the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches use. It's in this version of the book of Daniel — particularly the end of it — where things get interesting. It's a story of an idol — Bel/Marduk — and a dragon-like beast, and how Daniel proves both of these to be false.

First, we have the Bel idol. This bronze statue is given food, and it disappears the next day, and Nebuchadnezzar is portrayed in this epilogue as begging the question about this idol's nature, that the idol must be eating the offerings. So, Daniel pours ashes on the temple floor one day. Then, the next morning, footprints in the ashes leading to a secret door are discovered, proving that the idol's own priests are taking the food to a secret area to trick everyone. Then the people see that this idol — the one that Nebuchadnezzar is the most devoted to, mind you — is no more than a fraud, and Nebuchadnezzar's theory is debunked.

The next one is of the dragon-like creature, which Darius the Mede claims must be divine because it does eat and drink. So, what does Daniel do? Poison it. He gives it food that has been contaminated with a poison that, when the dragon ate it, would give off enough gas to make the dragon's stomach explode. The dragon eats it, bursts open, dies, and what does Daniel tell Darius the Mede? Because it's not immortal, it's not divine either. This version then goes on to say that it's for this offense — killing the dragon — that Daniel is thrown into the lions' den.

Notice how in this account, Daniel doesn't just simply assert that Babylonian idolatry is fake. He goes on to provide evidence proving the Babylonians wrong about what it is they're worshipping. That's apologetics, is it not? So, we have Abraham, we have Daniel… why should our faith be any different? We have a whole wealth of arguments at our disposal to debunk worldviews like atheism that present a similar threat to Christianity today, so why not use them the same way the patriarchs did? I for one would rather just get with the program and follow in these patriarchs' and other apolosists' footsteps.

07 July, 2016

Distinguishing Between Biological and Psychological Transgenderism

WARNING: The following are paragraphs, not individual sentences. Picking those paragraphs apart and responding to single sentences while ignoring the rest of the paragraphs is quote mining, and, therefore, fallacious.

In the history of the church, no issue has resulted in more hatred, not only from the church but also of it, than those which are LGBT-related. Just three months ago, Target made highly controversial headlines, how? By removing gender signs from bathrooms simply to support a small minority of the population, one that insists that they are female when really male, or vice versa. Why is it that people would insist this, however? Is it scientific or deluded? Is gender based on chromosomes or on thoughts?

There are, in fact, some extremely rare biological exceptions to the gender issue. One, XX male syndrome, is a genetic disorder in which someone has sex organs that are clearly male but at the same time has two X chromosomes ― thus, genetically female despite masculine anatomy. Another, complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, is a disorder in which someone who has both an X and Y chromosome ― that is, genetically male ― is neurologically insensitive to testosterone and hormones structurally similar to it, resulting in anatomic femininity. These cases are, however, extremely rare ― only 4.5 per 100,000 in the XXMS case, and similar numbers in the cases of CAIS and XYGD. How many people who claim to be transgender actually have these disorders?

Considering that only about 0.7% of the population is transgender, it seems like it's a very high percentage at first. 9 per 100,000 (provided that the figures for XXMS and CAIS are identical), however, is only 0.00009, or 0.009% of the population. What percentage of that 0.7% is this value, therefore? Divide 0.009 by 0.7, and you end up with approximately 0.013% of the transgender community. 0.013% of 0.7% of the population, based on these estimates, is truly, biologically transgender.

What about the other 0.687%? Are they rational or deluded? Psychological studies seem to suggest the latter. Back in April when the whole debate over Target's decision was going on, psychologists managed to perform brain scans of transgender people and compared them to brain scans of people who are of the opposite sex. What they found was that the transgender brainwave patterns seemed to match with the gender with which they identified. The conclusion that the article drew, however, was that the people were not deluded, that they were in fact opposite genders trapped in the wrong body. However, is there another explanation? In fact, there is. Scientists did similar brain scans of people who look at porn, and what they found was that people actually think they're having sex when they look at it. In the same way, wouldn't it make sense that people who think that they're something they aren't, if they think about it long enough, may just end up becoming something they aren't, psychologically? If you're deluded when you do drugs and deluded when you look at porn, then you're also deluded if you think you're not what you are biologically. The scientists who conducted this study completely ignored these precedents suggesting that thoughts can physically alter the structure of one's brain — ignoring precedents is just as un-scientific as ignoring science in general.

So, based on this evidence, are we to sacrifice the rights of the majority to support the rights of a minority as small as 0.7%? Doing so is tyranny of a minority. By trying to support 0.7% of the population, Target is offending 50% of the population at the same time, why? Because it opens up a security hole. Now, all a male pedophile has to do is say "I feel like a woman" to get into a women's restroom, and he'll be able to do all kinds of evils to women and girls who are already in there. Why not just add a third restroom with an "Other" sign on it, a lockable door, and no stalls? From a privacy standpoint, it actually makes even more sense ― just lock the door to the whole restroom and you'll have even more privacy than those who use the stalls. No, instead, they would rather use the bathrooms with less privacy in the name of equality, twisting the definition of "equality" in an Orwellian manner. Hopefully Target learns lessons from the resulting boycott that I happen to be participating in; if not, then shareholder action to oust the current CEO must be taken.

09 June, 2016

Atheism and Self-Defeat: The Burden of Non-Contradiction Is On The Claimant

One of the first questions I ask, before even getting into an Internet debate at all, is "Does the claim that I'm about to refute meet its own standard?" Why? Because any claim that doesn't meet its own standard is false, by its own definition! Such a claim is called a self-refuting or self-defeating statement. Below are just several examples, and I don't know about you, the reader, but I can spot their own admissions of self-defeat just by asking that question, starting, of course, with the obvious.

1. "There is no truth": If this is the case, if there is really no truth, then this very claim cannot be true either! This admission of self-defeat, however, doesn't stop atheists from using it. I've encountered it on the Internet all too often, and more than once it's used by people who claim to be beacons of reason and logic, as atheists often claim to be. Anyone who claims to be a beacon of reason only to make a claim like this one is not only contradicting his own claim in the debate but also contradicting his claims to reasonability in the process.

2. "All truth is scientific": Is this claim scientific in nature, or is it a philosophical assertion? Can one test this claim using the scientific method? Look at a written or printed copy of this claim under a microscope to see if you can find hard proof that the claim itself is true hiding somewhere in the pixels that make up the hard copy of the claim? No. It's a philosophical claim by nature. It's false, therefore, even by its own standard!

Moreover, even science itself hinges on unprovable assumptions, as William Lane Craig alluded to in a debate with Peter Atkins back in 1998. Can one prove Einstein's general theory of relativity using the scientific method? No. We have to simply assume that the general theory of relativity is true in order to conduct physics experiments. Since science also depends largely on mathematical truths — again, can we prove math using science? No we can't. We have to simply assume that, for example, F=(Gm1m2)/d^2 in order to calculate what kind of gravity an object has, or that water consists of 2 parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. Are these science? No, they're mathematical truths that science presupposes. In his book, Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to Make their Case, Frank Turek does a fantastic job of going over this problem.

3. "All truth is relative/all morality is subjective": If all truth were relative, then why is the claimant making this claim if I can hear or see it? If all truth is relative, then so would the claim that all truth is relative be relative! Is it? Not if proclaimed publicly. The person telling me that I can't force my truth or my morals on him or her has just claimed objectively that all truth is relative, regardless of whether it's stated implicitly or explicitly — see the problem? The instant it's shouted out loud, this claim undergoes logical decoherence from truth to falsehood.

4. "All Christians are hypocrites": This claim commits the tu quoque fallacy, for starters. Just because a worldview's adherents are hypocrites doesn't mean it's not true. Secondly, who has the burden of coherence when it comes to living up to a moral standard? The one who makes up the standard in the first place, that's who. If there is no God, then morality is either relative or arbitrary. If it's relative, then point 3 applies. If it's arbitrarily defined by people, then those people have the burden of living up to the moral standards that they arbitrarily define. If they don't, then they're also hypocrites! They, therefore, cannot raise this charge if they're guilty of it themselves. Third, only some Christians are hypocrites, not all of them, which makes this a hasty generalization to boot.

5. "You shouldn't judge": Is this claim a judgment? You bet it is. It's a self-defeating judgment not to judge! But wait, didn't Jesus make this same judgment not to judge? Those who say this have committed the fallacy of quote mining. The passage in question is Matthew 7:1-5. In this same passage where Jesus says "judge not, lest you be judged," Jesus also tells us to "take the plank out of our own eye before taking the speck out of a brother's eye". Taking the speck out of another's eye is making a judgment, is it not? Jesus was simply telling us that if we judge, we must make sure we're not also guilty of the same thing that we're making the judgment about. Much different from the self-defeating claim of "don't judge, period".

There are, of course, countless others, but these are the most common ones. I hope that by posting this I can make sure fellow case-makers can be empowered to use this law of non-contradiction to debunk these rather silly (if thought about) claims — let's be clear: if one claims to be a beacon of reason only to make claims like these, he or she is doing a terrible job of living up to that reason claim.

17 May, 2016

Why I Am A Christian and Not An Atheist: The Historical/Legal Method

Update 6/7/2016: Warning: The following are paragraphs, not individual sentences. Either read them as entire paragraphs and attempt to refute them as entire paragraphs, or your entire response hinges on the quote mining fallacy, and, therefore, is a baseless argument.

Is the Bible really accurate in its claims? I mean, as a middle schooler (and on the fine line between Christianity and atheism at the time), I had quite a few doubts about its reasonability. It wasn't until 9th grade (2007-08) that the first of those doubts began to get debunked, and it wasn't until I learned the historical-legal method in my third full year of college (2014-15) that I began to really see how accurate the claims in the Bible are (I did indeed believe the Bible to be true before the apologetics lessons of March 2014, March 2015 [McDowell], and March 2016 [Koukl], but didn't have all the answers to give for why I believed), since that's when Sean McDowell (who just turned the big 40 today — congrats!) showed up at my church and used the same method to prove that the Bible is accurate in its claims. This post, therefore, is dedicated to going through how I got to that conclusion in detail.

Let's start with the Honesty Test: The claims that women are the first ones to discover the empty tomb (in ancient Israelite culture, women's testimonies were seen as completely worthless), that one of the Apostles denied Jesus three times, that, in the OT, an Israelite soldier by the name of Achan steals an offering during the Conquest and provokes YHWH's anger as a result, and that the writers of Exodus claim that their ancestors were slaves (the chronology and archaeology are different topics altogether, but one should also take note that all who conclude that the Exodus did not happen do so because they all look in the wrong chronological period) all fall under the criterion of embarrassment. Further, the introductory statements to certain Gospels, like that of Luke for example, that don't claim to have been written by an apostle make claims that the writers *investigated* all the content available to them, using Roman forensics methods, not unlike what J. Warner Wallace did back in 1996. Conclusion: not only do the Gospel writers claim to care about truth, but the entire Bible is *loaded* with embarrassing admissions that serve to back that claim up.

So, fine, they cared about truth, but that was 2,000 years ago, so how do we know that's what they said? That's where the Telephone Test comes in. For the New Testament alone, we've got 24,000 (and counting) copies or portions (not counting mummy mask teardowns, which are making that number even higher still), not to mention a time gap of only between 25 and 50 years in the case of the Rylands Papyrus P52, and in the case of the 1st century Mark fragment obtained from a mummy mask teardown, less than 40 years. Compare that to Cicero, where the earliest manuscript dates to AD 400 and there are only 15 manuscripts available, and we have a situation in which the New Testament is (24000/50)/(15/400) = 480/0.0375 = 12,800 times more reliable than Cicero. Try to use Sallust and it gets even worse: we've got 20 manuscripts — slightly more than Cicero, sure — but the earliest manuscript is from — wait for it — the 10th century AD! We're talking a *quadruple-digit* time gap in Sallust's case, which would make Sallust and Tacitus tied at 1,000 years removed with only 20 manuscripts. This results in a situation in which the New Testament is (24000/50)/(20/1000) = 480/0.02 = 24,000 times more reliable than both Tacitus and Sallust, and this is based on the most conservative estimate possible. What about Caesar's own works, that he himself allegedly wrote? We've only got 10 manuscripts in that case and also a time gap of 1,000 years, making the case for the historicity of Jesus 48,000 times stronger than the case for the historicity of Caesar if self-published sources are preferred. Plato? Even worse: Try 1,200 years removed and only 7 manuscripts available. Thucydides? 1,300 years removed and only 8 manuscripts to choose from. Suetonius? 800 years removed, only 8 manuscripts to choose from. Even the Iliad, which is already in second place to the Bible with regard to this test, only has 1,757 manuscripts available and a time gap of 500 years! So, does one affirm the historicity of Jesus, doubt the historicity of both Caesar and Jesus, or is he or she a hypocrite? Because these numbers are incriminating evidence that affirming the historicity of Caesar while at the same time doubting the historicity of Jesus is hypocrisy.

Ah, but wait, do others outside the Bible also affirm claims within it? Some people are too hostile, so that's where the Corroboration Test must be applied. It's funny, really, that Tacitus, whom we know almost everything about ancient Rome from, despite being hostile towards Christians and despite epically failing the telephone test in comparison to the NT, happens to make the assumption that Jesus was indeed historical (see Annals 15.44.3). Tacitus certainly does not assume other radical claims like those mentioned in the Bible, but he does indeed assume that Jesus existed — why? Same thing with Josephus (Antiquities 8.3.3), a Jewish religious leader, who goes even deeper still (some claims may have been edited in by Christian scribes, but only a minority of them). Pliny (Letters 10.96-97), despite being given orders to persecute Christians, also makes a claim — the claim that the earliest believers worshipped Jesus "like a God" — that just assumes that this Jesus whom they worship actually existed.

So, honesty test — pass, telephone test — EPIC pass, corroboration test — pass. If the Bible passes all these tests, then it must be true, and if it is true, then all the claims within must be true, and if all claims within the Bible are true, then Christianity itself is true. The lesson I learned, however, is this: Although we Christians must be ready to defend our faith and make sure people know that the "blind faith" charge is patently false, blind unbelief is just as irrational as blind belief. One needs to examine (and cross-examine) both sides before taking a side.

27 April, 2016

The Biblical Connection to Lower Egyptian Dynasties XIV and XV

In my previous post, I made a rather strong case against the habit of looking for Exodus evidence in the wrong time period. Towards the end of the post, however, is a claim that refers to Khamudi as being the Exodus Pharaoh, as opposed to someone from Dynasties XIII (Rohl) or XIX (mainstream). Little do people realize, however, that the archaeological pattern from Avaris and other associated sites matches much more closely with the chronology of the lower kingdom of Divided Egypt than anything else. So, I'm using this post as an explanation for why I personally think that the Lower Egyptian dynasties are far more important, Biblically speaking, than the dynasties from Upper Egypt or from a unified Egypt.

A very important discovery was indeed made, right at the beginning of the earliest possible Avaris settlement. A Syrian-style house, very similar to the kind of house that Abraham, Isaac, and/or Jacob would have built in their hometown of Harran, Syria, was found at this location, and was subsequently flattened. On top of this flattened house, a palace was constructed. This palace was huge. It contained courtyards, speech chambers, a robing room, a front entrance with 12 pillars supporting it, and a garden in the back containing 12 tombs. Note this interesting pattern of 12's here: There was only one Semitic culture at this time, bar none, that considered 12 to be a number of cultural significance, and that culture was ancient Israel.

The one tidbit that *really* gets interesting, however, is that one of these 12 tombs behind this Avaris palace was shaped like a pyramid. Extremely unusual, why? Because only Pharaohs and queens had pyramid tombs at this time — not even viziers had pyramid tombs! Imhotep certainly didn't. Neither did any other highly important vizier in ancient Egypt, before this period or after. The person buried in this tomb, however, was a foreigner. His cult statue shows him with red hair (!), yellow skin (!), a throwstick (!) across his shoulder, and painted to look like he's wearing a multi-colored coat(!). Either this is indeed Joseph himself, or his career is identical to Joseph's.

The Pharaoh who was ruling at the exact same time that this palace and tombs were constructed in Avaris was Amenemhat III. His statue is a much more drab complexion compared to Joseph's: he's depicted with ears turned out so as to listen to people's concerns, and with a facial expression that is much more indicative of worry than of prosperity. It was during his reign that "Bahr Yussef" — the "Waterway of Joseph" — was constructed to divert half the water from the Nile into the Faiyum, a marshy lake that was used to grow crops like rice and wheat during times of plenty. Making it bigger means it's possible to grow more, and according to the Bible, Joseph interpreted the dreams of Amenemhat as seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine, correct? During a time of drought (definitely a famine-causing phenomenon) on the Nile, the Faiyum would have still been large enough to hold water for much longer than 7 years.

After Amenemhat III, however, something really interesting happens: One kingdom becomes two. Dynasty XIII (the one that Amenemhat was a member of) rules Upper Egypt, and a brand new Dynasty XIV — Joseph's dynasty — rules Lower Egypt. Amenemhat was probably *so* impressed with Joseph's famine-foiling tactics that he decides to give half of his kingdom to Joseph and his descendants as a gift — the fact that he's buried in a pyramid tomb, the *only* vizier throughout Egyptian history to do so, seems to suggest exactly this.

But wait, what about the "Pharaoh who knew not Joseph"? Skip forward about 200 years to the reign of Upper Egyptian pharaoh Djedneferre Dedumose II. During his reign, Egypt goes from two peacefully coexisting kingdoms — Upper and Lower — to civil war. How did this happen? Right around this time, Dynasty XIV is replaced with Dynasty XV. A coup d'état occurs in Lower Egypt, and this new dynasty, instead of being friendly to the Upper kings, is hostile to them. This dynasty is also Semitic, but not Jewish. It was a dynasty of pagan Semites, who worshipped not Yahweh but Baal, Har, and other false idols along those lines, and the first king in that dynasty was a powerful one indeed: Sheshi. He certainly would have a motive to enslave the pious Jews, and it's to persecute them for worshipping one God instead of many.

Supporting this hypothesis is what happens when the Israelites reach the border with Canaan but decide to grumble instead of conquer (Numbers 14:33), then conquer 40 years later. If they had absolutely no contact with this region, why did the Israelites grumble? It was the promised land! How did they know about the Canaanites and Amalekites and how horrible they were if they went through that land hundreds of years earlier and found no one there? The only feasible explanation for this is that Dynasty XV, which began with Sheshi and ended with, that's right, Khamudi, happened to be of either Canaanite or Amalekite origin.

Making Khamudi the Pharaoh who confronted Moses (and, by extension, Apepi II as the Pharaoh that instituted the drowning policy and whose daughter adopted Moses, according to Exodus 2:23) would also make perfect sense from a standpoint of how this powerful Lower Kingdom was able to get overrun and how this bloody civil war ended so abruptly: The plagues and the Red Sea crossing would mean that Khamudi would suffer the loss of his slave force, the loss of his crops, the loss of his firstborn, and the loss of his army. The Exodus would weaken the Lower Kingdom, sure, but the Upper Kingdom? The Upper Egyptians would be saying "You know this Lower king, Khamudi? His slave force is free, his army is under the Red Sea, and all his firstborn are dead — here's an opportunity for us to take him out." Right after the Exodus, this is exactly what happens: Khamudi is killed by an Upper Egyptian Pharaoh by the name of Ahmose I, who conquers the now largely abandoned Lower Egypt and founds the reunified New Kingdom on top of the Lower Kingdom's plagued, pillaged, abandoned, tattered ruins.

25 April, 2016

The Absurdity of Hollywood's Flawed Biblical Chronology

It's almost laughable, really: Why is it that some people make claims that there "was no Exodus"? If there is archaeological evidence, where is it? When does it date to? This last question, little do people realize, is the only one that deniers get wrong. On Saturday, April 16, 2016, two days after my 23rd birthday which happened to also be the day when the mocked incident occurred, there was an SNL skit that simply reinforces this problem. It was a mockery of John Kasich — *sore loser* John Kasich — and how he linked the Passover and Last Supper together. Apparently the woman — would have to look her up to find out her name — who was hosting this SNL episode used chronological snobbery to deny that Jesus' last supper was a Passover Seder and accuse Kasich of "fanfictioning" Jesus into the Passover. Accusations aside, when did this SNL host claim that the first Passover occurred? "Around 1300 BC", right? Wrong!

This is based on Exodus 1:11, which makes a mention of (Pi-)Ramses as the city that the Israelites built. This city only has a brief history, archaeologists claim. The question is, is this an anachronism or a hard marker? Genesis 47:11 also makes a similar claim — the "land of Ramses" was also mentioned hundreds of years before the city existed as the place where Joseph's family settled. So, is Genesis 47:11 an anachronism, is Exodus 1:11 an anachronism, or are both of them anachronisms? Not only is this a problem in the Bible, but also in Egyptian chronology — Ramses' son, Merneptah, made a record of a battle in which Israel was mentioned as having an already established political presence, and a century before Ramses, Amenhotep III also made a stele recognizing Israel as already existing. Moreover, the city was only known by that name — Ramses — for that short period, but Pi-Ramses is itself built on top of a much older city. Unlike Pi-Ramses, where there are in fact no Asiatic (Semitic) settlements at all, this older city is loaded with artifacts that are clearly Semitic in origin. What exactly is the name of this older city that Ramses II himself named "Pi-Ramesse" happens to be built right on top of? Avaris.

What Bible verses do we have regarding the chronology of the Exodus, that are in fact far more explicit references than Exodus 1:11, and may in fact point to Avaris as the site of this reference? For starters, we've got 1 Kings 6:1. According to this passage, it was 480 years since the Israelites "came out of Egypt", emphasis on "came", that Solomon started building his temple, which was built in 966 BC according to the chronology that most scholars use. Meanwhile, since 1 Kings was written much later than the Pentateuch, there was a 480-year time gap here, and during that time gap, Egypt's borders expanded to the point where the Jordanian, Sinai, and northwestern Arabian Deserts became part of Egypt at the time 1 Kings was written (around 1000 BC — the Assyrians and Babylonians didn't push the Egyptians out of the Jordanian Desert until much later). Since "coming out of Egypt" would therefore mean "crossing the Jordan River" to the target audience of 1 Kings, this likely means that the conquest of the Promised Land occurred 480 years before 966 BC, which would be 1446 BC.

Ah, but the year of the conquest wasn't the first time that the Israelites reached the Jordan, according to Numbers 14:33. No, they first got to the Jordan 40 years before that, when, what happened? Instead of conquering the Promised Land, they see the walls of these fortified cities — Jericho, Hebron, Hazor, etc. — and grumble in fear, flee, and wander the deserts for those 40 years. 40 years before 1446 BC would mean that this event occurred in 1486 BC.

This, then, raises another question: How long did it take for the Israelites to get to the Jordan River in the first place, before grumbling in fear and coming back? According to Exodus 16:35, the time it took to go from the Red Sea, to the Ten Commandments sermon, to the "manna" and quail in the deserts, to the "border with Canaan" that would have been understood as the Jordan River to these people, was a total of, that's right, another 40 years. Start at 1486 BC and go back an additional 40 years from there, and what you end up at is a very significant year indeed: 1526 BC.

This late 16th century BC date marks a time that's just as important in Egyptian chronology as it is in Biblical chronology: it's the end of the Hyksos Period. Yes, that's right, the Hyksos, a people who brought countless artifacts of Semitic origin into Egypt, and the Israelites are one and the same people according to this reference. The ideas that the events occurred in 1300 (or 1250) BC, and that Ramses II was the Exodus Pharaoh when Khamudi is a far more likely candidate, are ideas that therefore must die. They're based on very "flimsy" Biblical indicators, according to Trinity University Professor John Bimson, despite the existence of far more explicit references to other periods, including the three I gave here that combine to point a finger directly at Avaris as being the site of the Biblical Goshen. But no, in Hollywood, this chronology-denying ignorance still abounds, unfortunately.

25 March, 2016

"You Cannot Do Them All At The Same Time": Why Moral Relativism is Self-Refuting

Ever get into a debate in which the only response out of someone who finds out that you're Christian is "LOL" or something similar? I have, many times. Atheists claim to be intelligent. They claim to know everything, yet what is coming out of their mouths or off their fingers? Numerous capitalization, punctuation, and spelling errors, for one, and for two, profanity, ad lapidem, ad hominem, proof by assertion, and other grave logical fallacies, regardless of whether the logical fallacies in question are inside the context of the discussion or in a discussion with an entirely unrelated topic.

The issue, they claim, is "Who are you to force your opinion on us?" If it's an opinion, then why are they even bothering with it? The only possible way to remain truly neutral is to simply stay out of all positions, period. Claiming to be neutral is one thing, but the minute anyone attempts to persuade anyone to take any position, regardless of whether the position in question is political, (ir)religious, (a)theological, cultural, or even scientific, the claims of "neutrality" refute themselves. A classic example of this is a former president of Planned Parenthood, who once claimed that "teaching morality does not mean imposing my moral views on others". She then, in blatant violation of her own claim, went on to lobby the government to silence the pro-life crowd. There's a word for this: It's called hypocrisy.

Notice that there's also an irony in the very claim being made? The claim that "you shouldn't impose your moral views on others" is inherently an objectivistic claim. In order for it to even be made, one needs to contradict his or her own view, then get back to it. It's as if so-called "relativists" are hiding objectivism in a closet and only want to use it when they feel it supports them; no different, for the record, from the claim that "there is no truth" which would in itself be false if its premise were true.

That claim is not the only objectivistic claim raised by them, however: What about the so-called "problem" of evil, or, to put it more plainly, the evil dilemma? If there's a good and powerful God, they say, then why does evil exist? Notice how they have to make an assumption that there is indeed evil in the world. What does relativism claim? It claims that there are just different points of view on what is good and what is bad. This reduces the very topic of this dilemma ― evil ― to an undefined variable. Evil can only exist if there's a standard of good to hold someone's actions to. Therefore, the skeptics who bring this issue up have a dilemma of their own:
  • If moral objectivism is true, then evil has only one definition and therefore does indeed exist
  • If moral relativism is true, then evil is undefined, and if evil is undefined, then everything is good and evil is impossible
This is also true for religious pluralism. As some of you probably know, Professor Greg Koukl, president of Stand to Reason, spoke at my church just three weeks ago on this very issue, and some of what Greg taught has greatly influenced this blog post. My notes from that very discussion are here for those who might want to read them. He puts this plainly: "When you die, you either go to heaven or hell, or lie in the grave, or go to 'astro worlds', or get reincarnated, but you cannot do them all at the same time. All religions cannot be true because they have contradictory truth claims."

On this day, Good Friday, March 25, A.D. 2016, my thoughts, prayers, and logic all go out to those who still insist on believing this flawed content, even as I grow in my faith and put it into practice by posting stuff like this. It's sad, really: some have become so hostile to even the remotest possibility that Christianity might be true that, instead of investigating their objections as J. Warner Wallace, Josh McDowell, C.S. Lewis, and, yes, I did (had some doubts as a middle schooler that I chose to investigate while in high school), they choose to raise stuff like this that takes "unreasonable" to an even greater low than the low that they claim Christianity is at, not even realizing how unreasonable their objections actually are.

04 February, 2016

Biological Evidence of the Need for a Savior, Part 1: The Fight-or-Flight Response

One of the most common questions raised by atheists, and I have seen this raised countless times, to be fair, is the question of why a good God would send people to Hell. This question fails to take into account that all 7 billion people on this planet, not to mention billions of ancient people to boot, are in rebellion against God by nature, for starters — people who rebel get separated, that sounds like a natural consequence to me. In response to this assertion, one atheist on YouTube replied that he thought we were good, and not evil, by nature, at which point I had to give him a little history lesson. There are in fact several biological factors that are evil by nature, and the one I'll be covering in this post — the fight-or-flight response — is the beginning of a multi-part series on biological evidence explaining why we need a savior.

Has anyone reading this ever gotten this sudden urge to lash out in anger when a certain trigger is flipped? When provoked in a certain manner? When physically attacked, to want to just attack in return? I confess, even I have in the past, to my (and this is a serious understatement) ultimate regret. When certain triggers are tripped, the adrenal glands release large amounts of epinephrine. Heart rate increases. Breathing rate skyrockets. The person quivers. At this point, he or she has only two natural, biological instincts: lash out in anger, or be a coward, run away, and let sloth take over. This, by definition, is the fight-or-flight response.

Note how anger and sloth — the products of this biological reflex — are two of the Seven Deadly Sins. What did Jesus preach on the Sermon on the Mount about this matter? He told us to love (!) our enemies, to, "when slapped on one cheek, turn the other", and to keep going the extra mile. Doing all this means suppressing this response that is hard-coded into not only human beings but also into animals of all sorts. Without divine intervention, suppression of the fight-or-flight response is physically impossible.

This, therefore, brings us to the ultimate reason why we must believe to be saved from eternal separation: it's just one of several pieces of evidence (others of which will be covered in other posts in this series) that human beings, all 7 billion of them, are evil by nature. And if we're evil by nature, then it's only by acceptance of the gift of substitutionary atonement that we can possibly get out of this.

Since it is physically impossible for us to suppress this reflex, we have Jesus, who *never* used it on another human being — even when threatened with crucifixion — and became the ultimate sacrifice, as God incarnate, to atone for these natural-yet-sinful instincts, to pay for them so we don't have to. Stay tuned, because every Thursday from now until March 3, another member of this series will be posted.

05 November, 2015

AQAP Stronghold Becomes Tropical Cyclone Magnet: More Divine Retribution?

Cyclone Chapala was, once again, a storm for the record books, to say the least. In the western hemisphere, this behemoth would be called a Category 4 hurricane, but this cyclone formed not in the Atlantic… or the eastern Pacific… or the western Pacific (where they're called typhoons)… but in the Indian Ocean. Not unprecedented if it happened in the Bay of Bengal, but in the Arabian Sea? Yup, that's precisely where this monster formed. Also not unprecedented, but most storms there end up either being fish storms or making landfall in western India. Where exactly was the landfall location of this beast, by stark contrast? The typically extremely arid city of Al-Mukalla, Yemen.

Cyclone Chapala as it approached the Yemeni coast on All Saints' Day, 2015. Two days later, on the day immediately following All Souls' Day, this beast would hammer the city of al-Mukalla, occupied by AQAP throughout much of 2015, with hurricane-force winds, storm surge, and a decade of rain in less than 24 hours, causing a flood of biblical proportions.


The devastation (and devastation potential) was certainly hard to underestimate, that's for sure. Tropical cyclones not only bring fierce winds and city-busting storm surge with them, but also typically dump double-digit rainfall wherever they make landfall. This area, however, typically gets less than 2 inches of rain per year. The soil there is very much like Arizona's as a result: extremely impervious to water. When it rains in the desert, it floods, and when the desert gets a decade worth of rain in less than 24 hours, it floods big time. As if that deluge wasn't enough, guess what? Another tropical depression just formed, and is forecast to hit the same area as another hurricane-strength storm in the next week or two (Update: this one has been given the name Megh).

Making matters worse, the country has been in a civil war for decades. While the government has tried to keep the country in order, Islamist groups like Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have tried to tear Yemen apart. So, without much further ado, what city is AQAP's de facto capital? Al-Mukalla. This arid city turned tropical cyclone magnet is also a city that such notorious terrorists as Nasir al-Wuhayshi, founder of the AQAP branch, and Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi, commander of the two men who perpetrated the Charlie Hebdo shooting, called (and their group still calls) home.

In October 2014, I wrote and published another post that makes a hard case about areas where persecution of Christians takes place and how natural disasters are often precariously timed to coincide with days following Jewish and Christian holidays. Cyclone Chapala made landfall on November 3. November 2 is All Souls' Day — or "la Día de los Muertos" in Spanish — and at least in the Catholic Church is a very, *very* important holiday. Could Cyclone Chapala be yet another example — in addition to the AD 79 Vesuvius eruption and 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake/tsunami 1-2 punch — of this kind of divine retribution at work?

The interpretation of this is up to the reader, but it definitely makes sense. Av 10, December 26, and November 3 are all days immediately following important Jewish (Tisha b'Av) and Christian (Christmas, All Souls' Day) holidays, to be sure. Although A.D. 79, 2004, and 2015 are all worlds apart in a historical context, these disasters IMO are a reminder of who's in charge here.

19 July, 2015

Dolores Deluge: Rare July Precipitation Event with an El Niño Fueled Tropical Connection

19 July 2015. For the past two days, conditions have seemingly gone topsy-turvy for some here in Southern California during what is typically the driest month of the year. An Angels game had to be cancelled due to "inclement weather" for the first time since 1995. Two formerly raging wildfires, including one that scorched 20 cars on the 15 freeway, are now 100% contained thanks to extremely high humidity and rare July rainfall. People in an assisted living community had to evacuate, not due to fire, but due to flash flooding ― and this is in July, when average annual precipitation is only 0.02 of an inch. People have been quick to directly blame El Niño, but in actuality, it's really only indirectly related.

Hurricane Dolores as a Category 4 storm Wednesday evening, hammering Socorro Island. Eventually, after dissipating over cooler waters, this system shot a plume of moisture up the coast as a tropical storm, then made landfall in SoCal as a remnant low
The real source of this rare July bonus moisture was, yes, that's right, former Category 4 Hurricane Dolores. On Wednesday, Socorro Island, a volcanic island about 200 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas that contains a Mexican naval base, got hammered by sustained winds clocking in at 130mph, coupled with a 15-foot storm surge and horizontal rain, all from this beast. After that, the storm began to move into cooler waters and, naturally, weaken... ah, but slowly. Dolores remained a weak tropical storm as far north as Vizcaíno ― rare for July ― and produced tropical storm force winds even after becoming post-tropical, as far north as San Clemente Island. The result? A boatload of tropical moisture streaming over Southern California during what is usually the driest month of the year.

El Niño years tend to make this more likely to happen, for several reasons. One is the weakening and/or reversal of the trade winds. Normally, they blow from east to west ― that is typically why hurricanes also move in that direction. When the trades weaken or reverse, westward movement slows. Second is the large-scale collapse of blocking patterns that typically dominate over much of the North Pacific during the summer months. This allows low pressure systems to form in the North Pacific even during the dry season ― troughs that can grab tropical cyclones and pull them north. Third, with the resulting overall lack of upwelling, waters immediately off the California and South American coasts become much warmer than normal, giving tropical cyclones more overall fuel that can sustain them further from the tropics than usual. All of these factors put together can cause some rather interesting effects as the hurricane season in the eastern Pacific basin (which happens to be the very source of the wind shear that suppresses Atlantic activity) rolls on up.

Although this kind of situation is definitely the first of its kind for July in the known historical record, it's not the first of its kind period. In September 1997, for example, moisture from Hurricane Linda ― which currently holds the record for strongest in Eastern Pacific history, although probably not for long ― streamed across California, causing torrential rains and even hail the size of golf balls in some locations. That same year, moisture from the much weaker Hurricane Nora also managed to cause some interesting totals, especially in the Inland Empire, where flooding was rampant. Going further back into history, one of these eastern Pacific behemoths made landfall in Long Beach as a strong tropical storm back in 1939 ― also an El Niño year ― and even further back, in 1858 — again, El Niño — a Category 1 hurricane brought 85mph sustained winds and 10 feet of storm surge to San Diego.

Given how many impacts we've had already ― heck, even way back in May and early June we had some remnant moisture from Hurricane Blanca as well ― it shudders me to think of possible impacts later in this season, including possible repeats of the 1939 and/or 1858 events, given that 2015 accumulated cyclone energy is already ahead of 1997 levels. Although, I for one would definitely take a direct hit from a tropical cyclone as an added bonus on top of already extreme winter El Niño impacts over this drought any day… catch-22, I guess. These are definitely exciting times indeed.

06 July, 2015

July 2015 ENSO update: Equatorial anomalies, WWB's continue to ramp up

If I haven't been posting much to this blog in recent weeks/months, I apologize. Part of the reason has been my exceptionally high Twitter activity… ah, and activity there tends to be a distraction. Anyhow, I've been using a myriad of tools to track this pending El Niño event – everything from retweets, to WWB time-lon forecasts, to surface current anomalies, to observed SST anomalies, to SST anomaly forecasts, and all of them are beyond impressive.

SST anomalies: Exceptionally impressive to say the least


My last update (in May) showed a marginally warm strip along the equator. Now, however, it's July. What do we have here? Well…



Compare that to May, and clearly it's a sign that this event is, hands-down, the strongest since 1997. Do SST anomalies alone tell the whole story? Of course not, but it goes to show just how impressive this event is, with more WWB's and downwelling Kelvin waves (next paragraphs) on the way. What makes this map clearly differ from 2014 (especially) is the Banda Sea cold pool: it forces high pressure over Indonesia, thus keeping the atmospheric response locked in place.

Westerly trades: Cross-equatorial tropical cyclones, redux


You may recall that what initially kickstarted this event was a pair of tropical cyclones on both sides of the equator at the same longitude back in March: Cyclone Pam (yes, that's right, that monster, the one that ended up being a direct hit on Vanuatu, completely obliterating heavily populated portions of the island) on one side of the equator, and Tropical Storm Bavi (which never made it to typhoon status) on the other. Fast-forward to July 1 Australian time (technically late June 30 in California) and that exact same thing happened again: TS Chan-hom on one side of the equator, Cyclone Raquel (also a TS when the Saffir-Simpson Scale is applied) on the other. Although Cyclone Raquel was clearly weaker than Pam, it was still paired with another cyclone on the opposite side of the equator. When this occurs, it's like a WWB pitching machine: winds rotate counterclockwise north of the equator, clockwise south of it, and between the two, winds have only one way to blow: from W. Here:


As you can clearly see, what we're looking at is easily the most powerful westerly wind burst since March, and moreover, when Raquel dissipated, the Southern Hemisphere Booster followed right behind. Now, there's a pressure gradient of high in W, low in E, which can keep that WWB progressing further E. In ~5 days, this westerly wind burst could reach the far E Pacific, where more hurricanes (starting with Dolores) should form. For a review: the word "typhoon" is only used W of the date line; E of it, they're still hurricanes.

Kelvin waves: 3 and counting


You may recall that the April/May Kelvin wave was set off by the westerly wind burst induced by the Pam/Bavi cross-equatorial pair. However, the May westerly wind burst set off a second downwelling Kelvin wave. While the Kelvin wave in April only contained small patches of +6°C anomalies at depth, this one brought with it anomalies at depth of +6°C across the board, with patchy +7°C T-Depth anomalies. Then, Chan-hom and Raquel pitched in, and the result was a third Kelvin wave. Although it doesn't look too impressive at the moment, it's very fast-moving: in just a matter of, like, 3 days, it's gone from 165°E to the date line, and the WWB that spawned it continues to move east as well. On top of that, there's now a strong MJO superimposed on top of the Niño signal, adding to those westerly anomalies, and as mentioned above, there's also anomalous cooling of the Banda Sea helping to lock that signal in place.

Conclusion


So, we've got everything coupled… it's just a waiting game now. Let's see how strong this event gets, shall we? It would definitely mean the world to us in CA, especially in conjunction with cooling AMO, since cool Atlantic in general tends to want to shift the storm track south, and with the Hudson Bay now also heating up with warm anomalies, blocking should reposition over Canada… everything looks to be coming together. Everyone, this is going to be a wild ride.

03 July, 2015

6 Hours with a Nexus 6: By Far the Best (Albeit Biggest) Phone I've Used

Google's Nexus devices are certainly an awesome, developer-friendly bunch, to say the least. Being a registered (albeit student) Android and Chrome OS developer myself, it makes sense to have access to the latest and greatest software features Android has to offer, and that's where the Nexus phones deliver. Before November 2014, however, with AT&T, there was one caveat: Nexus devices simply weren't upgrade options. Until now.

This afternoon, I was able to, between last month and this month, come up with enough cold hard cash to pay off the remainder of my AT&T Next installment plan from last year and upgrade. Finally, I have what I've been waiting for: a Nexus 6, which is arguably the powerhouse of the whole line.

There's no doubt it feels great, despite its massive size: The phone is about as tall as the iPhone 6 Plus, but wider by about a half inch. Physically, it looks more tablet than phone: AT&T actually had a promotion where I got a free LG G Pad 8.3 with an upgrade. The G Pad 8.3 and Nexus 6 superimposed on each other look only marginally different in terms of the sheer size of the devices!

Although that may be a turn-off to some (and I don't blame them: even my huge hands cannot possibly wrap around the thing when I'm touching the screen; to make a call, I have to dial with two hands and THEN hold the phone up to my ear with one, or hold the phone with one hand and dial with the other), to me, it's simply part of the challenge of having a powerhouse: phones that are bigger also tend to be more powerful.

And the Nexus 6 is no exception. Sporting 4 cores of raw 2.7GHz Snapdragon power, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, a 13MP camera capable of shooting 4K video (that should come in handy for El Niño storm chasing this coming winter, in the best quality possible), and a screen resolution coming in at a whopping 2560x1440 (that's right: even the *screen* is near-4K), it's definitely among the most powerful phones on the market. Even the similarly large iPhone 6 Plus only has 2 cores, 1GB of RAM, and only half the screen resolution of this powerhouse.

Unlike similarly powerful phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, LG G3, and Samsung Galaxy S6 (which my mother now has), however, the Nexus 6 is developer-friendly no matter what carrier it came through. AT&T, you may recall, is notorious for locking bootloaders on its devices. Not the Nexus 6: a fully unlockable bootloader on my new phone was only a single toggle away. Yup, that's right: even the AT&T model is that easy to unlock! Oh, and the number of bloatware apps automatically installed on setup: Zilch. Zero. That's especially surprising given AT&T's track record, but it only makes the experience feel that much better.

Also, with access to M developer preview images, I hope to flash one of them soon, which should get rid of that hideous boot jingle and AT&T splash screen automatically. Of course, beta software means beta bugs, but as a developer with experience reporting bugs for other Google products (including Chrome OS Canary — that's right, I'm the one who figured out how to get Canary builds on my Chromebook, all on my own), I know precisely how to handle them.

For now, I'm just going to enjoy this phone as is. It's fast, it's powerful… oh, yeah, and it's as timely as humanly possible when it comes to OS updates, no doubt about that. It's clearly the device to beat.