Cuddihy's Cut

Cuddihy's Cut on the events of the day....

Friday, January 21, 2005

Pathetic dung beetles on the ass of history.

Derek, your own words damn you. Your choice of words reveals your mindset--which mimics that of the wire service. Unsuprising since you admit that's your only source for the news on which your opionions are based. You doubt the LTC's estimate of enemy dead, ascribing it to 'best guesses by commanders on the ground.' Yet what information do you have to refute it? An article written by someone who TOURED the area FIVE DAYS after the battle was over. Whose source of information is more likely to be accurate? But perhaps Dexter Filkins does have a better source of information than the commanders on the ground. What would that be? Where would it come from? Could it be the insurgency press release that declares they got away without major injury? The MSM (and your own) admitted insistence on placing less trust in the word of the American military than on the word of Baathist and Islamist thugs reveals exactly why the average American finds his opinion of you lower than Iraqi shit, you despicable dung beetle on the ass of history. You cannot claim to value the life of an American soldier when you openly distrust the American soldier and willingly swallow every morsel of shit the Islamists flick in your direction.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

trackbacks and more ID

ok I just started trackbacks using Haloscan, we'll see how well it works. Of course, by the time I got it figured out the posts I was linking to were hopelessly out of date. c'est la vie, it's all about the practice.

UPDATE 2321 2005.1.4: Here's a further link to more of the ID discussion at Rand's site.
Logic would dictate, of course, that we aren't all correct--either there's a God or there isn't, but then, logic only applies if one's belief system thinks that a requirement. Which is why it's impossible to prove something to someone whose means of attaining knowledge isn't logic driven, and who uses a different set of axioms.
It's entirely plausible to me that for those who feel His presence, God is as real as anything else in this existence. But not for me. And because of this, while what happened in south Asia this past week is unspeakably tragic, it disrupts my worldview not at all. I have nothing with which it must be reconciled.

I do feel the presence of God, and tragedies like this disrupt my worldview not at all either.

I just watched tonight's Scarborogh country where they debated the same topic. Joe's finally back. It's fun seeing Jennifer Giroux duking it out with Rabbi Shmuley. What, did Joe not watch the chaos that ensued with these clowns 'moderated' by Pat Buchanan while he was gone? Whatever. They invite these guests for the same reason people (used to) watch hockey--for the fights. Fun, but not very instructive. Jennifer Giroux was taking the unlovely position that the tsunami disaster was a warning from God to repent. Rabbi Shmuley was taking the equally unlovely position that it is justified for humans to be angry at God for cutting off so many lives, and that we should--what, yell at God and shame him into acting nicer to us? Well, they always were a stiff-necked people.

My own view is that if disasters like the tsunami did not occaisionally happen, I would not be able to believe in free will. My experience of God and every understanding of real interventions that God has taken in human history have been for one purpose and one purpose alone--freedom. Specifically, the maximizing of free will with the minimum of human discomfort. In fact, it's a very enlightening lens with witch to view all of biblical history. You don't even have to believe in the literal validity of it, just use it as a filter. First he made himself known to Abraham--freeing his descendants from worship of other, less friendly (human created) Gods like Baal that demanded human sacrifice. Then he handed down a code of behavior to Moses (the Ten Commandments) that promoted social integrity and lawfulness while still maximizing human freedom. These strict rituals and rules freed at least fellow Isrealites from slavery and being terrorized by local strongmen and enslaved by human weaknesses. Next, when the foundation was built, he sent Jesus to loosen the bonds of ritual and blood--to say that all humans could lay claim to the freedom provided, and that they did not have to follow the rituals of Judaism solely for the sake of ritual--but reconsidering every aspect of ritual and religion has become the quitessential Christian experience from the very first council of Jersusalem to the reformation and beyond.

I'm too tired to flesh it out right now, but standby, I'll get back to it...

ID Debate boucing around the Blogosphere

It looks like the Tsunami, along with calling God into question for some simple souls like the Archbishop of Canterbury, has spawned a monster Intelligent Design debate. The best discussion is over at Rand Simberg's blog, but lots of others have weighed in. Rand's obviously thought about this a lot more than I have, and despite the fact that I'm a very committed Catholic, I don't disagree with a single point he makes about the ID 'debate,' especially this:
The problem with creation theories is not that they're inconsistent with the evidence--they are totally consistent, tautologically so, as Eugene [Volokh] says. The problem is that they tell us nothing useful from a scientific standpoint. In fact, there are an infinite number of theories that fit any given set of facts. I can speculate not only that all was created, but that it was created (complete with our memories of it) a minute ago, or two minutes ago. Or an hour ago. Or yesterday. Or the day before. Or, as some would have it, 6000+ years ago. Each is a different theory (though they all fall into a class of theories) that fit the observable facts. They are all equally possible, and all (other than some form of naturalistic evolution) untestable.

As a Catholic I've always been curious just what exactly the thought process is behind fundamentalist philosophies to explain why a God who created the world in seven days and seven nights would leave around so much evidence that it took..well, rather longer. Did the Devil come along after the fall and go around salting Mongolia with dinosaur skeletons and the Galapagos with evolutionary oddballs? Did Jesus do it? Maybe it was the angel Moroni, fresh from telling Joseph Smith that one woman really wasn't enough, and still a little miffed that Joe had saddled him with a name that looks like the second declension plural of 'moron.' So he put evidence of evolution in there just to bedevil the doubters. It's a test, you see:

UPDATE: ok, I just spent about 40 min looking for some coherent reasoning from a solid creationist source for why so much evidence exists that contradicts the '6000 yr old earth' theory. I'm looking for a substantial counterargument. There is none. Apparently, creationists do not deal with the existence of evidence as a whole--that would be ceding the point I guess. Instead they offer lots and lots of internally inconsistent reasons to doubt specific pieces of evidence, ranging from the scientific bonafides of geologists and physicists to the sinister motives of a secret cabal of paleontologists that have been passing off artisitic fakes as dinosaurs, undiscovered for over 150 years. hmm. I've given up on finding a creationist who at least admits the existence of contradictory evidence and deals with it rationally. Even 'the devil did it to make people doubt the existence of God' would at least be rational.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Assurance by inference

Ok I had to comment on this particular type of argument I keep seeing by literal creationists, last seen on a post about the tsunami on Dawn Eden's blog, originated by John Bambanek,

I've heard this before, that animals have a sense of nature that they use to get out of the way of "very bad things". We've known this for awhile, and it would seem intuitive that some animals wouldn't be able to get away from this, but that doesn't appear to be the case.I mention Darwin because this goes completely against the grain of evolution. People simply don't have the sense of nature around them. It's pretty much a fact that in strict survivability terms, the human race or at least the first pair that came from apes would be weaker and LESS likely to survive.Natural selection would explain why we never would have existed, not why we do.

The crux of his argument seems to be that intuitively some animals shouldn't have been able to get away from this,yet they did anyways. John then makes the intellectual leap that this is somehow contrary to Darwin. It's not. There's no corollory to the theory of evolution that says that because some undesirable traits have been selected against in the past (such as, say, the urge to go to the beach after an earthquake) that therefore there will always be large amounts of animals that exhibit these undesirable traits, to be selected against when disaster strikes again. Nonsense. Natural selection suggests that nearly all animals are decendants of previous tsunami survivors--therefore except for the small numbers of mutants who no longer have "after eathquakes stay away from the beach" instincts, most animals should be ok. In other words, natural selection would predict exactly the result that took place. What would have been a big suprise would be if hundreds of thousands of animals perished.

It takes a lot of arrogance about human knowledge to use the tsunami as an argument in the ID debate. Assuming that we know enough about nature to be able to say that there is no evolutionary or biological explanation for any one event is preposterously arrogant. We don't even have enough knowledge to be able to stop a sub-life packet of protein like HIV from running rampant--yet somehow we have the omniscience to say that there is no scientific explanation for the animal 'sixth sense?'

More to point, I jsut don't understand the conflict between the theory of evolution and creation. If God could beget an only son both human and god, and who is One with the Father and the Holy Spirit yet at the same time Three--surely it's not a stretch to say that same god could create a man out of clay who also happens to fit perfectly Darwin's theory of evolution.