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Saturday Selections – Oct. 7, 2023

The challenges and reality of climate modeling (5 min)

Steven Koonin is a scientist whose experiences include time as undersecretary of science at the Department of Energy in the Obama administration. He’s also written Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters and the point he’s arguing here is that scientists need to speak with a lot more humility in acknowledging the uncertainty about the conclusions their climate models come to, since they are built on assumptions upon assumptions. For his 1-hour-long interview on the same topic, click here.

What makes a man manly? (10-min read)

Evolution and God have two very different answers to that question, as Nancy Pearcey explains.

Evolution leads to bad science example #6819: human tails

Once every few hundred million times or so, a child will be born with what looks somewhat like a tail. Charles Darwin pointed to these instances as examples of our evolutionary origins – throwbacks to tailed ancestors we once had. Then:

“In the 1980s, scientists took this theory and ran with it. They argued that a genetic mutation, evolved by humans to erase our tails, could sometimes revert back to its ancestral state.”

It took a long time, but the facts finally overwhelmed the evolutionary assumptions – these are not evidence of our origins, and not tails at all, but major mishaps, typically associated with an improper fusing of the spinal column.

Ranked Choice Voting (RCV)

Though I myself am a fan of Ranked Choice Voting – where you rank all the candidates from your first preference down to your last – it does have its downsides, which are explored in the article above.

While there is no perfect electoral system, some are better and others worse. For example, electronic voting machines are touted for their convenience, but their coding is most often a proprietary secret, which is just one reason they don’t allow for the accountability and transparency that pen on paper ballots can offer. And of course, the problem with all democratic systems is that voters can be very wicked and they may just get what they voted for.

COVID-19, hygiene theatre, masks, and lockdowns: “solid science” or science veneer? (15 min read)

“In an ideal world, there would be some process by which our public health agencies, at least, could come to recognize and admit how badly they managed to ‘follow the science’ on COVID-19, and how vast was the gulf between their expressions of absolute certainty and what the scientific literature showed at the time was, in fact, a sea of uncertainty. Until such a ‘truth and reconciliation’ process takes place, it is hard to see how public trust in public health institutions might be restored.”

Unintended consequences: a reason for restrained government

Chesterton is said to have quipped “If men will not be governed by the Ten Commandments, they shall be governed by the ten thousand commandments,” his point being that if men won’t be restrained by God, then the government will have to step in, and they’ll do a hodge podge of it.

As opposed to God’s divine law, governmental rules and regulations are a clumsy tool, devised as they are by fallible men and often at a great distance from the problems they are trying to address. So it is then, that governmental “solutions” often cause bigger problems – unintended consequences. Understanding this reality, lawmakers should, in humility, use the tool of lawmaking only when they absolutely must.

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Saturday Selections – Sept. 30, 2023

Click on the titles below to go to the linked articles. Everything has to be working just right, right from the start (2 min) For a baby to grow, all sorts of systems have to be working just right, and have to have been developed all at the same time. So how could evolution ever get over such a "hurdle"? Overcome your enemies by dying Peter Krol has a rather unexpected strategy for effective Christian engagement – he wants us to "overcome enemies by dying." "God does not ask his people to live as idiotic simpletons or punching bags. God wants his people to overcome strife and evil (Rom. 12:21). But the way you overcome it matters. To win the fight in the wrong way is to lose." Just as you can win badly, there is also a way to lose gloriously. Krol's point is that the outcomes are up to God, and the methods are up to us, so, win or lose, do so with His glory in mind. Krol also lays out five strategies on how best to do so. How to lose your pastor in 365 days There always seems to be a pastor shortage. Might it be worth asking ourselves, how do we in the pews make their job attractive or unattractive? Here are 11 ways to show some appreciation. Why we can't trust the science journals - a climate scientist explains "...a climate scientist has written that he pulled his punches in a climate-change article in order to be published by the prestigious journal Nature." Samuel Sey: Why I am not a "Christian Nationalist" If you support a Christian think tank or lobby like ARPA Canada or the Colson Center that advocates for laws that abide with God's commandments, then by the way some define the term, you are a "Christian Nationalist." But as Samuel Sey notes here, there are a lot of folks fighting for this term, bringing different definitions to it, and the way some others define it, you most certainly aren't a "Christian Nationalist." Unmasking "Christian nationalism" (90 minutes) John Stonestreet, Rusty Reno, and Hunter Baker debate the usefulness of the term "Christian nationalism" and debate also whether Christians should even be trying to bring in Christian laws. Isn't that top-down "Christianization"? That's a good point, and a reason why, in our efforts to bring in laws that align with God's commandments, we should do so as Christians, seeing the public square as just one more opportunity to glorify God. Then, when a Christian law is adopted, it won't be forced from the top down but will have been adopted because we've convinced the country that God's ways are best. This is a long listen – an hour and a half – but worth the time for the sort of discourse happening here: some disagreement but done in the spirit of digging down to the truth together. More on Christian nationalism: legislating morality (2 min) While there's reason to question the usefulness of the term "Christian nationalism," all Christians should want and pray for their nations to be governed by God's Word. While apologist Frank Turek is Arminian, in the video above he makes a good, concise point that all legislation is moral in nature. If it isn't justified as being about right and wrong, then it is simply capricious, based on the whims of whoever happens to be in charge. Is that what anyone is after? No, we want our laws based on the only real standard: God's. Where Turek gets it wrong is that he thinks this law is self-evident. There is a sense in which that is true: God tells us His law is written on our hearts (Romans 2:15). But we also know that with work and effort, we are quite capable of blinding ourselves to what is true. Shucks, we have people who believe it is all right to murder a baby so long as one foot is still inside its mother's body, or that the government should fund the mutilation of children who are confused about their gender. So, the law isn't always self-evident; it is often very much in need of proclamation. Thankfully, God has given the world His Church to do that!...