Daily Archives: 13 Feb 2010

Another Quote of the Day

The next time you write, do so a little less papally…  –  Emil Brunner

A Warning To All You ‘Anonymous’ Bloggers and Commentators

You need to read this eye opening report in the Chicago Tribune

“A lot of people think they’re anonymous online. You’re really not.” Write something threatening or defamatory and the mask of anonymity can be removed. It’s technologically simple to track the source of a comment; the more difficult question is when it should be done.

Certainly everyone should know already that you can’t hide- even online- when you defame or harass. Just ask Raphael Golb.

Anyway, isn’t it more honest just to be yourself? If you aren’t willing to speak in your own voice, why say anything at all? And if you’re afraid you’ll lose your job, aren’t you being a bit hypocritical anyway, thinking one thing and saying it anonymously while simultaneously saying something else, or nothing at all, for consumption by those who know you?

That’s why I reject anonymous or pseudonymous comments. If I don’t know the person, and they hide, I’ve no interest at all in what they think about anything.

Our culture is full of people living dual lives; one in their own heart and mind and the other at work. I think it’s ‘dis-integration’ and the very source of the ‘dis-integration’ of society. ‘In-tegration’, ‘in-tegrity’ – those are the characteristics worth valuing.  And those are the characteristics which anonymous and pseudonymous remarks mock.

Quote of the Day

I do not believe in your unbelief. — Karl Barth

Sued For A Book Review…

This is truly bizarre.  As Chuck Jones remarks on Facebook, if you review books or are the editor of a Journal, you need to read this.  It begins

On 25 June 2010 I will stand trial before a Paris Criminal Tribunal for refusing to remove a book review written by a distinguished academic to which, however, the author of the book in question took exception. The matter is of serious concern to EJIL, but more generally to academic book reviewing in general. At this point, it would be best to allow the written record to speak for itself.

Amazing! Read the rest- he’s documented the entire crazy episode.

Don’t Try This At Home…

Nothing says “I love you” like a half-mile wide heart made out of manure. A southern Minnesota man created the Valentine’s Day gift for his wife of 37 years in their farm field about 12 miles southwest of Albert Lea. Bruce Andersland told the Alberta Lea Tribune that he started the project with his tractor and manure spreader Wednesday and finished Thursday.

That’s almost as bad as what Chris Tilling did for his lovely wife Anja- he tore pages out of Barth’s many volumes and spelled ‘I Heart You’ in the middle of the busiest street in Battersea.

Take a bit of advice from someone who has been married since 1983- if you give your wife a manure gift, you’re liable to get it thrown back at you.  I once bought a German dictionary for mine and received it in return very swiftly.  Learn from my mistake, dear brothers…  or suffer the consequences.

We Are The World: A Moving Video Indeed

It aired for the first time last night right before the Olympic opening ceremony. It’s an amazing song with so many famous singers and a few people that are a bit of a surprise. Like Vince Vaughn. What’s he doing in there?

A Forthcoming Volume To Watch For

Thanks to Gavin Rumney for mentioning this book, due to be released mid March here in the States.

The blurb asserts

Christianity will teach modern readers things that have been lost in time about how Jesus’ message spread and how the New Testament was formed. We follow the Christian story to all corners of the globe, filling in often neglected accounts of conversions and confrontations in Africa and Asia. And we discover the roots of the faith that galvanized America, charting the rise of the evangelical movement from its origins in Germany and England. This book encompasses all of intellectual history-we meet monks and crusaders, heretics and saints, slave traders and abolitionists, and discover Christianity’s essential role in driving the enlightenment and the age of exploration, and shaping the course of World War I and World War II.

Any book that covers any subject over the course of its existence is ambitious. If anyone can do it, it’s MacCulloch, whose Reformation is just stunning. I’m looking forward to my copy arriving.

Global Warming…

The Washington Post has a great story this morning titled ‘Global Warming’s Snowball Fight‘.

…warming theory suggests that you’d see trends toward heavier snows, because warmer air carries more moisture. This latest snowfall, though, is more likely the result of a strong El Niño cycle that has parked the jet stream right over the mid-Atlantic states. Still, there’s some rough justice in the conservatives’ cheap shots. In Washington’s blizzards, the greens were hoisted by their own petard.

Anyone who’s hoisted by their own petard is guaranteed to get a mention here. So here’s the rub-

For years, climate-change activists have argued by anecdote to make their case. Gore, in his famous slide shows, ties human-caused global warming to increasing hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, drought and the spread of mosquitoes, pine beetles and disease. It’s not that Gore is wrong about these things. The problem is that his storm stories have conditioned people to expect an endless worldwide heat wave, when in fact the changes so far are subtle.

Yes- when you make stupid claims which lack substantive evidence, you ought to expect pure and unmixed mockery.

Other environmentalists have undermined the cause with claims bordering on the outlandish; they’ve blamed global warming for shrinking sheep in Scotland, more shark and cougar attacks, genetic changes in squirrels, an increase in kidney stones and even the crash of Air France Flight 447. When climate activists make the dubious claim, as a Canadian environmental group did, that global warming is to blame for the lack of snow at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, then they invite similarly specious conclusions about Washington’s snow — such as the Virginia GOP ad urging people to call two Democratic congressmen “and tell them how much global warming you get this weekend.”

The whole global warming argument, is, in fact, based on very slender evidence.

Argument-by-anecdote isn’t working. Consider the words of Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), chairman of the energy committee, who told The Hill newspaper last week that the snow “makes it more challenging” to make the case about global warming’s danger to people who aren’t “taking time to review the scientific arguments.” Scientific arguments, too, are problematic. In a conference call arranged Thursday by the liberal Center for American Progress to refute the snow antics of Inhofe et al., the center’s Joe Romm made the well-worn statements that “the overwhelming weight of the scientific literature” points to human-caused warming and that doubters “don’t understand the science.” The science is overwhelming — but not definitive. Romm’s claim was inadvertently shot down by his partner on the call, the Weather Underground’s Jeff Masters, who confessed that “there’s a huge amount of natural variability in the climate system” and not enough years of measurements to know exactly what’s going on. “Unfortunately we don’t have that data so we are forced to make decisions based on inadequate data.”

Read the entire report. It’s tons of snowy fun.

Total Depravity: The Murdering Professor Edition

After she gunned down three of her colleagues- because she wasn’t granted tenure- she was heard to say ‘it didn’t happen’.   Yes, it did happen.

A Harvard-trained biology professor is facing murder charges in the shooting deaths of three faculty members at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, police said early Saturday. Authorities said Amy Bishop wounded three other employees Friday. She was arrested outside the sciences building where the shooting occurred, authorities said.

Crazy, and depraved. All she cared about was herself and her situation so she shot 6 people, killing 3. What evil madness. The love of money is truly the root of all sorts of evil.