Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Missing the Point with 'PowerPoint'

The following quote is from an article that exposes the mind numbing effects of the powerpoint technology:

PowerPoint: Killer App? Like all forms of torture, though, PowerPoint degrades its practitioners as well as its victims. Yes, boring slides were plentiful in the pre-PowerPoint era -- remember the overhead projector? Yes, it can help the intellectually inept organize their thoughts. But the seductive availability of PowerPoint and the built-in drive to reduce all subjects to a series of short-handed bullet points eliminates nuances and enables, even encourages, the absence of serious thinking. Really, why think at all when the auto-content wizard can do it for you?

The article does not mention the use of PowerPoint in Worship. I would argue that the most disturbing development in the world of PowerPoint is not its migration to the schools; but its migration to Churches. While St. Paul speaks of worship as the offering of ourselves in living sacrifice which is our 'reasonable service', PowerPoint Christianity flattens worship into sappy feelings fostered with color and sound which may be appealing but leave the mind untouched.

A technology which hinders clear thinking in science and education should have no part in reasonable (which means: truly spiritual) worship.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Repeat a Lie Often Enough,. . .

And people will beleive it. Here we go again:
War Mom vs. Peace Mom: "Bush yesterday repeated a misleading assertion that he first made Tuesday: That critics of the war in Iraq are also calling for an immediate withdrawal of troops from the broader Middle East.

'An immediate withdrawal of our troops in Iraq or the broader Middle East, as some have called for, would only embolden the terrorists and create a staging ground to launch more attacks against America and free nations,' Bush said.

Yesterday morning, three news organizations -- Agence France Presse, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times -- called attention to this mischaracterization. See yesterday's column for links.

But today, several news organizations -- including The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press and Knight Ridder -- published Bush's assertion unchallenged."

This quote brings to mind another, from Hitler's propaganda minister

"There was no point in seeking to convert the intellectuals. For intellectuals would never be converted and would anyway always yield to the stronger, and this will always be 'the man in the street.' Arguments must therefore be crude, clear and forcible, and appeal to emotions and instincts, not the intellect. Truth was unimportant and entirely subordinate to tactics and psychology."

It is sad and pathetic to see both sides of the war controversy; the president and his detractors, trying to manipulate public opinion putting a sacrificing mother against a grieving one; reducing the debate to character assessination tactics.

The problem should be obvious, they are trying to justify actions appealling to emotions, disregarding the facts which are misconstrued from the beginning.

Regardless of which mom appeals more to your symphaty, the fact is clear: our culture is being driven by nothing but manipulation.

President, President: There's a Problem,

It is a president unable to recognize his failures. That is the problem.

First Step? Admit There's a Problem: "To pursue anything like the Beazley strategy, Bush would have to admit that his policy hasn't worked -- to himself, if not to the public. Could Bush's willingness to embrace the flawed Iraqi draft constitution be a signal that the president is radically scaling down his expectations (and ours) in preparation for the 'repositioning' that Beazley describes?"

Some are arguing that there is still a small chance to save Iraq from becoming a complete fiasco. But that chance depends on a miracle. It depends on president Bush admitting that he was wrong. Which honestly implies that there is no chance at all. Stay the course is the only option, regardless of the consequences, and even when it is too late, the emperor will carry his nakedness with the same stuborn resolution of him who is always right no matter what.

Resolve isn't enough : Repeating the Failure of Vietnam,

Before It's Too Late in Iraq: "The growing chorus of voices demanding a pullout should seriously alarm the Bush administration, because President Bush and his team are repeating the failure of Vietnam: failing to craft a realistic and effective policy and instead simply demanding that the American people show resolve. Resolve isn't enough to mend a flawed approach -- or to save the lives of our troops. If the administration won't adopt a winning strategy, then the American people will be justified in demanding that it bring our troops home."

A 'realistic and effective' policy is what this administration lacks almost by definition, because it has been driven by ideology. As with Gas prices, The time for reality check in Iraq is coming near. I doubt that this administration has what it takes to learn from its mistakes, before it is too late. My bet is that it will continue to play image over substance until the end. Which, as with Gas prices, may turn out to be a good thing, as people begin to realize how foolish it is to elect leaders based on image and ideology and nothing more.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

When Caesar Overrides Jesus

If you want an example of what happens when American imperialistic ideology leavens the whole lump of the gospel here you go:

WorldNetDaily: Robertson: Time to assassinate Chavez: "About the Fidel Castro ally, Robertson said: 'You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination. But if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.' "

"It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop," Robertson added. "But this man is a terrific danger and the United ... this is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen."

Let's see, what part of the Sermon of the Mount inspired this American to approve the plan to assessinate a duly elected leader of a sovereign foreign country? Hum!...?

Just a reminder. The religious leaders who plotted Jesus' assessination justified themselves with what they thought was the best interest of the Nation. Chavez is not Christ, of course. But in the worst case scenario Christ said: 'Love your enemy,' not 'figure out if it is convenient to assessinate him'

Robertson, has chosen to line himself up with those who proclaimed, 'We have no king but Caesar'. Christians ought to know better.

No More Split Personality

The following quote is from an article which presents a pathetic vision of the situation of scientists who are also believers. We can call it, split personality.

The presupposition of the article is that real science is incompatible with religious belief. Therefore, all scientist who dare to proclaim personal faith must learn to live with a split between their mind at work in science and their heart in belief.

Scientists Speak Up on Mix of God and Science - New York Times: "Although they embrace religious faith, these scientists also embrace science as it has been defined for centuries. That is, they look to the natural world for explanations of what happens in the natural world and they recognize that scientific ideas must be provisional - capable of being overturned by evidence from experimentation and observation. This belief in science sets them apart from those who endorse creationism or its doctrinal cousin, intelligent design, both of which depend on the existence of a supernatural force."
This is an attack on scientist holding intelligent design. It is part of a propaganda campaing by materialist scientist whose faith is that there can not be any effects denoting supernatural causes, regardless of all evidence.

What is wrong with this picture? The unspoken materialistic assumption which defines science as naturalism. The article adopts materialism as necessary for 'scientific' truth and then goes on to describe the split personality of some scientist who seem to accept it and still manage to hold faith somehow through some sort of irrational belief, as if that was the only 'scientific' option.

Truth is that if you assume at the start that only natural causes must be behind all observable effects, regardless of the evidence, you have conceded a-priori the whole foundation of true faith, and you must end up with a split personality between the truth of science and the truth of religion.

But there is another scientific option that the article dismisses by branding it as religious doctrine, (of course following the naturalistic definition and pressuposition.) That alternative is called Intelligent Design. In simple terms is an attempt of scientist to think science outside of the biased naturalistic-materialistic closed box. Naturalism is in crisis and at war against Intelligent Design. That is why this materialistic article dissmisses ID as unfounded belief which resists the true scientific method, without even a serious argument.

But, Take the evidence as it is, without the materialistic assumption that only material causes can be admitted, and it turns out that the evidence speaks loudly confirming our natural intuition that indeed there is purpose and design in nature, and the effects of an intelligent casues can be observed at many levels.

Plato and Aristotle acknowledged this long ago, and now thanks to ID scientist, it seems that finally science will be able to liberate itself from the materialistic shackels that had enslave it so badly.

Scientist will not have to take any more the split personality that materialistic naturalism imposes upon them, and will be able to recover the freedom of science outside materialistic dogmatism. But it wont be without a fight for truth.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Truth About Oil

The Breaking Point - New York Times:
"''You look at the globe and ask, 'Where are the big increments?' and there's hardly anything but Saudi Arabia,'' he said. ''The kingdom and Ghawar field are not the problem. That misses the whole point. The problem is that you go from 79 million barrels a day in 2002 to 82.5 in 2003 to 84.5 in 2004. You're leaping by two million to three million a year, and if you have to cover declines, that's another four to five million.'' In other words, if demand and depletion patterns continue, every year the world will need to open enough fields or wells to pump an additional six to eight million barrels a day -- at least two million new barrels a day to meet the rising demand and at least four million to compensate for the declining production of existing fields. ''That's like a whole new Saudi Arabia every couple of years,'' Husseini said. ''It can't be done indefinitely. It's not sustainable.'' "

In other words. Do not count on the price of Gas to stop rising, but until we suffer a drastic rescesion.

There is no turning back on the clock for oil. We must prepare for a time of dastric economic adaptation as our dependence on oil begins to suffer the inevitable effects of its unsustainable abuse. Now one has to think twice before buying that SUV because it may be that before one is able to pay the loan running it may cost as much as running an airplane.

But you know what, that may not be as bad as it sounds. Getting out of our cars may actually increase the quality of our lives, as we begin to walk again pass our neighbours. We will see.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Ideological Thinking: Pay Attention

When the War Won't Stay at Bay:

" In 2004 the president told a Washington Times reporter that he doesn't watch news on TV or even read the newspaper except to scan the front page. 'I like to have a clear outlook,' he explained. 'It can be a frustrating experience to pay attention to somebody's false opinion or somebody's characterization, which simply isn't true.'
Bush clearly dislikes being challenged by reporters. "

This is exactly why Bush is an awful president. A person who is not willing to undergo the frustration of having to wrestle with a contrary opinion is not able to lead others with a sound mind. An ignorant person must be a manipulator, as he lacks any other means of legitimate persuasion.

Yes, Mr President, it can be frustrating to pay attention to someone with a false idea. But, how will you know that an opinion is false if you pay no attention to it? Only if you know all the answers already, and whoever disagrees with you must be wrong by definition.

This is ideological thinking. It is dangerous even when right. The ideological thinking of this administration has lead us into this mess.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Why Not?

As the 60th anniversary of the first dropping of an Atomic Bomb over a civilian population approaches the whole debate concerning the justification for that action is alive again.

From the military perspective the argument may have no end. But from the moral and religious perspective the decision is more clear.

Within the boundaries of Christian Just War theory, the targeting of civilians is indefensible and rightly identified as a terror tactic. It cannot be justified for pragmatic, hypothetical or ideological deliberations.

One cannot wage a war deliberately targeting civilians no matter what, or one crosses the line between a justifiable war and a terrorist tactic.

Let me give you a quiz; who said the following:

"there are no innocent civilians in war, everyone is doing something, contributing to the war effort,"

an Al queda militant or a US soldier?

for the answer go to:

It is a sobering thought to remember that the first and only Nation ever to use WMD upon civilian populations, destroying two cities, is the same Nation that used the fear of these weapons to justify a war of aggression against another Nation which was not a real threat (Iraq).

These thoughts should give us pause to meditate, so that those American people who love truth more than nationalists pride may not be as ready to accept and justify the deceptive discourse of its leadership when they ignore the moral principles that judge their actions.