Thursday, September 05, 2013

Dispassionately Covering Topics about which We're Passionate

When the government (any branch of it) makes decisions we don't like, it is natural for us to be impassioned in our response. We ought, however, to remember to try to set aside our emotions when we respond. I recently came across this link (link) to a fox news story, whose headline epitomizes the problem I'm describing. The headline is "the feds" have "forced" churches to get "baptism permits." Sounds more like 17th century Europe than 21st century USA. Once you dig into the article, though, you discover that all that is being required is that if churches want to use a river in a park to perform baptisms, they need to get permission in advance.

The story goes on to admit:
“As of today, the park’s policy has been clarified to state that no permit will be required for baptisms within the Riverways,” Supt. William Black wrote in a letter to the congressman. “I can assure you the National Park Service has no intention of limiting the number of baptisms performed within the park.”
The problem with such a headline becomes clear when you see the more disturbing news buried beneath that disclaimer:
In Olympia, Wash., a church was denied a permit to hold a baptism at Heritage Park a few weeks ago. Their request was rejected because the attorney general said the religious sacrament was a violation of the state constitution.
That one is far more disturbing, but the reader by now is disappointed to discover that the headline was just hype.

We could say much the same thing about the coverage of the New Mexico decision that says wedding photographers can't turn down clients simply because the clients are homosexuals. Some of the coverage basically made it sound like the NM state were going to be rounding up wedding photographers and forcing them to take good pictures of homosexuals pretending to marry. In fact, the disappointing decision was far more limited.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

"Watchmen on the Wall" 2013 - Ergun Caner

Ergun Caner at "Watchmen on the Wall" 2013 has been posted. He is introduced with the story about being disowned by his family, although no one seems to be able to find any evidence that he was ever disowned by anyone except his non-custodial father.

The supposed subject of the talk is "Radical Islam and its influence in America." Caner does not spend much time on this topic, for which I think we are all thankful. Moreover, his autobiographical comments are very limited. While his brief comments may give a wrong impression, particularly coupled with his various accents, they didn't include (as far as I could tell) the kinds of statements that led to such intense criticism of Caner when he was in charge at Liberty University. There is a moment of irony around 5:35 in the video when Caner alleges that "our culture is terrified of speaking truth."

- TurretinFan

Upstream Flooding?

Steve Hays quotes Noel Weeks thus:
[Noel Weeks] The prominent alternative explanation is that the text is referring to a local flood in the Tigris/Euphrates’ valley. However, in both the Mesopotamian flood accounts and the biblical narrative the ark ends up in the north. The problem is that floods always take things downstream. Floods never take objects upstream. If this was a normal flood in the Tigris/Euphrates’ region, the ark would have gone downstream. The fact that it landed in the north in a mountain range goes against any local flood theory.
In addition to what Steve says, I would add that a massive tsunami can push things a significant way upstream. The following illustrates that point graphically - around nine or ten minutes in, you can actually see a large structure headed upstream at what appears to be about 35 mph:
That said, neither a local flood nor even a local tsunami fully accounts for the ark being moved not just upstream but upstream to a significantly higher elevation. Notice how the tsunami pushes hard upstream within the existing riverbed and even over-flows the bounds of the river bed, yet a position less than 20 feet over the top over the bank of the river remains dry.

If the ark had merely been moved 5 miles upstream, a local flood could possibly account for the ark's movement. But movement upstream and up a significant elevation requires something more than a local flood, even one having the force of a major tsunami.

Given that the fountains of the deep were opened during the great flood, I'm sure that there were tsunami events taking place. It's quite possible that some of the ark's movement was due to a tsunami surge.

Of course, all of this seems rather unnecessary. The flood was world-wide and covered the tops of the mountains. Moreover, the whole reason for the ark was to preserve the life of humans and the air-breathing animals, something that would not have been necessary, had the flood only been local.