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News

Saturday Selections – April 27, 2024

Click the titles below to go to the linked articles... Strawman and other logical fallacies Here's a fun way to get our kids to really understand how logical fallacies can be used – deliberately or not – to misdirect and confuse discussions. Watch below, and click the title above for a list of fallacies (including the strawman) you can work with.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Brett Pike (@classicallearner) Horribly neglected patient "chooses" euthanasia A quadriplegic Quebec man, stuck on an emergency room stretcher for four days, developed a bed sore so bad it left bone exposed. After being denied even the bed he needed, Normand Meunier then "chose" to be euthanized. Having doctors murder patients is portrayed as compassion. What it really is, is cheap and easy. "Even the compassion of the wicked is cruel" (Prov. 12:10b). Are you financially literate? 5 questions to find out Christians are called to be good stewards of what God gives us but it isn't harder for some than others. Here's 5 questions to help you figure out where you are at. Why is teen anxiety on the rise? The author of Why is my Teenager Feeling Like This? shares 4 thoughts... Caring for the adopted child Our kids' frustrating misbehaviors will often be a matter of déjà vu for parents who recognize they acted similarly when they were kids. But adoptive parents can face the additional challenge of dealing with behaviors they haven't seen before, perhaps because of their children's very different history, or physiological repercussions that might have come from having an alcohol- or drug-addicted birth mom. So how can adoptive parents be sensitive to their child's different needs, without succumbing to the temptation of just excusing bad behavior? Two biblical counselors offer some helpful biblical advice. Global warming isn't making weather more extreme If you listen to David Suzuki, Al Gore, or Greta Thunburg, you'd have every reason to believe that global warming was causing an increasing number of, and severity of, droughts, floods, hurricanes, and forest fires. But a new study by the Fraser Institute says, it simply isn't so. Click on the title above for their report, or watch the video below for Dr. Judith Curry's take. And for why we might consider them both more credible than their more mainstream critics, see my "Catastrophic Global Warming? A brief biblical case for skepticism." ...

News

How much government is too much government?

In its recently released The Size of Government in 2022 report, the Fraser Institute detailed the levels of government spending across the country as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP, or how much the country produced including both goods and services). Canada overall – counting all three levels of government, municipal, provincial, and federal combined – spent just under 41% of the country’s GDP. This is down from the 52% they spent during 2020, which was higher because of both the COVID spending that took place that year, as well as the 5.5% drop in GDP that occurred due to the lockdowns. The Fraser Institute report also broke things down by province… and the range was enormous. In three of the maritime provinces, the three levels of government combined to spend more than half of GDP – Prince Edward Island (58%), Nova Scotia (63%), and New Brunswick (58%) – while on the other end, Alberta’s spending was 6 percentage points lower than anyone else at 27% of GDP. So what’s the right size of government? The Fraser Institute suggests that the optimum level is somewhere between 26% and 35% of GDP, basing that on studies that say that gets you the most economic bang for the buck. However, the prophet Samuel, in his “warning against kings” (1 Sam. 8:10-18), cautioned that the king might presume to demand the same percentage as God Himself required, 10%. Our governments presume much more, starting with more than double that. Presumption is evidenced also when our government recognizes no boundaries on their involvement. Sometimes their overreach is enormous, as when they run education, a parental responsibility. And sometimes it is just ridiculous, as was on full display south of the border this last month, when the White House announced it was going to investigate the problem of “out of order” soft serve ice cream machines. Ironically, it might be a good thing for the government to look into this, as they may be the source of the problem. Government rules seem to be blocking anyone but the manufacturer from repairing the machines. When the government is involved in everything, then whenever there is a problem it’s almost certain they are a part of it. So whatever the right size of government might be, it’s smaller and less presumptuous than what we currently have....

Music, News

Taylor Swift’s explicit evolution

Last week, Taylor Swift released her 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department, comprised of 16 songs. Hours later, she dropped part two of the album consisting of another 15 songs called The Anthology, creating a double album. In this latest effort, Swift says the f-word more than her first ten albums combined – one Reddit user says, “If you extrapolate this data, five albums from now she will have to release an album that says roughly 24,000 times.” Swift’s earlier music had been known for clean pop love songs, her country music devoid of explicit language and even incorporating biblical themes, such as in her 2007 song “Christmas Must Be Something More,” where she sings, “So here's to Jesus Christ who saved our lives.” That made her a favorite of many parents. That said, even her 2006 self-titled debut album, with its focus on cheating boyfriends, and Taylor longing after another girl's boyfriend, wasn't kid-appropriate. However, her latest album takes a darker turn, featuring explicit sexualized language and blasphemous lyrics mocking Christ’s death and resurrection. In her song “Guilty as Sin,” she sings,  What if I roll the stone away? They’re gonna crucify me anyway What if the way you hold me is actually what’s holy?  Another song, “But Daddy I Love Him” bashes Christians, calling them: …the most judgmental creeps Who say they want what's best for me Sanctimoniously performing soliloquies I'll never see  The rest of the material can be seen through a long X thread that asks “Is this the music you want your kids listening to?” Young people are impressionable, so it’s crucial to be mindful of the messages they’re exposed to.  Despite the album’s title, Swift is not a tortured poet; rather, she is praised by millions of fans worldwide. With a significant influence, especially on young girls, Swift’s dark turn is one parents need to know about. This is not the Taylor Swift of ten or fifteen years ago. Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6)....

News

Saturday Selections – April 20, 2024

Painting without a license could soon be illegal in Minnesota Government growth is like the slowly rising temperature that eventually boils the frog in the pot alive – so long as the red tape grows only bit by small bit, we don't really protest. Here then, is a cup of cold water (or some sharp scissors if we're going with the tape metaphor) to shake things up and highlight how the government will regulate everything if we give them the chance. Christians should lead the resistance to growing government, since we understand that God didn't entrust our leaders with the responsibility of managing every aspect of citizens' lives. And we know that limited fallible human beings aren't up to the enormity of that task. 3 things a Christian should consider before serving in the military This short piece has an American focus but offers thoughts for Canadians to consider too. Since it was written in 2017, both nations' militaries have taken an ideological turn, so more could be said, which Aaron Renn does here. Today's music really is angrier, more egocentric A new study says it isn't just your imagination, Mom and Dad; song lyrics really are getting more repetitive, "me" and "mine" are popping up more often, and the tone of the lyrics has gotten angrier over the last 40 years. We're all Christian Nationalists now I prefer the term "Christian patriotism" to "Christian Nationalism" due to the latter's many conflicting definitions. But, as Larry Ball suggests, if we run with the definition of Christian Nationalism that the secular media is increasingly using – as Christians who think our rights come, not from the State, but from God Himself – then we are all Christian Nationalists now. What are the reasons disability exists? (10-minute read) AJ was struck with a progressive neurological disability that put him in a wheelchair as a young man. He had questions for God... and he went to Scripture to hear what God had to say. Were the Greek gods real? Douglas Wilson makes things clear with this "yes and no" answer. ...

News

Oregon abandons decriminalizing hard drugs

“America’s most radical experiment with drug decriminalization has ended, after more than three years of painful results,” The Atlantic reported in early April. Increased overdose deaths and “chaos in the streets” has the state of Oregon going back to criminalizing hard drugs. When the state decided to decriminalize drugs in 2020, 59 percent of voters supported it. Decriminalization advocates wanted to focus on a strategy of reducing the harm that drugs cause to users. Over $260 million was spent on services to help make this a reality. Three years later, 64 percent now want to go back, with support particularly strong among African American and Hispanic Oregonians. The New York Times reported that a wide range of officials supported a rollback in policy, citing surging homelessness, street protests, “an exodus of downtown businesses, record numbers of homicides, the rapid spread of fentanyl and soaring overdose deaths.” British Columbia followed Oregon’s lead by decriminalizing many hard drugs in 2023. Adults in possession of heroin, fentanyl, crack, meth, ecstasy, and some other hard drugs, so long as they are for personal use, will not be charged. This is an experiment being run until 2026. The province’s NDP government is already being criticized by mayors of smaller cities in the province who are reporting public disorder similar to what’s been experienced in Oregon. Yet BC is pressing on with its experiment. An underlying motivation for decriminalizing hard drugs and providing “safe supply” of drugs, even at the taxpayers’ expense, is the belief that drug problems will lessen if we ditch the stigma associated with drug use. If we stop treating it as shameful and immoral, then, so the argument goes, more people might seek treatment. But as Romans 7 teaches us, the law plays an important role “in order that sin might be recognized as sin.” Secular society may succeed in changing its laws to reduce the stigma of sin, but as we’re seeing in Oregon, making sin seem less sinful isn’t the answer. That will only serve to hold sinners in bondage further. What is needed is something that the law can never accomplish. “Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25)....

News

One step forward, two steps back in Online Harms bill

What do pornography and hate speech have in common? Well, the federal government says they are both harmful. That’s why they’ve wrapped these issues up together in their recently announced Online Harms Act, otherwise known as Bill C-63. As the government’s news release stated, “Online harms have real world impact with tragic, even fatal, consequences.” As such, the government is of the mind that the responsibility for regulating all sorts of online harm falls to them. But the approach of the government in Bill C-63, though it contains some good content, is inadequate. BACKGROUND In June 2021, the federal government introduced hate speech legislation focused on hate propaganda, hate crime, and hate speech. The bill was widely criticized, including in ARPA Canada’s analysis, and failed to advance prior to the fall 2021 election. Nonetheless, the Liberal party campaigned in part on a promise to bring forward similar legislation within 100 days of re-election. Over two years have passed since the last federal election. In the meantime, the government pursued a consultation and an expert panel on the topic of online harms. Based on these and feedback from stakeholders, the government has now tabled legislation combatting online harm more broadly. Bill C-63 defines seven types of “harmful content”: a) intimate content communicated without consent; b) content that sexually victimizes a child or revictimizes a survivor; c) content that induces a child to harm themselves; d) content used to bully a child; e) content that foments hatred; f) content that incites violence; and g) content that incites violent extremism or terrorism. The hate speech elements of Bill C-63 are problematic for Canadians’ freedom of expression. We will address those further on. But though the bill could be improved, it is a step in the right direction on the issue of child sexual exploitation. DIGITAL SAFETY OVERSIGHT If passed, part 1 of the Online Harms Act will create a new Digital Safety Commission to help develop online safety standards, promote online safety, and administer and enforce the Online Harms Act. A Digital Safety Ombudsperson will also be appointed to advocate for and support online users. The Commission will hold online providers accountable and, along with the Ombudsperson, provide an avenue for victims of online harm to bring forward complaints. Finally, a Digital Safety Office will be established to support the Commission and Ombudsperson. The Commission and Ombudsperson will have a mandate to address any of the seven categories of harm listed above. But their primary focus, according to the bill, will be “content that sexually victimizes a child or revictimizes a survivor” and “intimate content communicated without consent.” Users can submit complaints or make other submissions about harmful content online, and the Commission is given power to investigate and issue compliance orders where necessary. Social media services are the primary target of the Online Harms Act. The Act defines “social media service” as: “a website or application that is accessible in Canada, the primary purpose of which is to facilitate interprovincial or international online communication among users of the website or application by enabling them to access and share content.” Further clarification is provided to include: an adult content service, namely a social media service that is focused on enabling its users to access and share pornographic content; and a live streaming service, namely a social media service that is focused on enabling its users to access and share content by live stream. Oversight will be based on the size of a social media service, including the number of users. So, at the very least, the Digital Safety Commission will regulate online harm not only on major social media sites including Facebook, X, and Instagram, but also on pornography sites and live streaming services. Some specifics are provided in Bill C-63, but the bill would grant the government broad powers to enact regulations to supplement the Act. The bill itself is unclear regarding the extent to which the Commission will address online harm besides pornography, such as hate speech. What we do know is that the Digital Safety Commission and Ombudsman will oversee the removal of “online harms” but will not punish individuals who post or share harmful content. DUTIES OF OPERATORS Three duties laid out in Bill C-63 apply to any operator of a regulated social media service – for example, Facebook or Pornhub. The Act lists three overarching duties that operators of social media services must adhere to. 1. Duty to act responsibly The duty to act responsibly includes: mitigating risks of exposure to harmful content, implementing tools that allow users to flag harmful content, designating an employee as a resource for users of the service, and ensuring that a digital safety plan is prepared. This duty relates to harmful content broadly. Although each category of “harmful content” is defined further in the Act, the operator is responsible to determine whether the content is harmful. While it’s important for the Commission to remove illegal pornography, challenges may arise with the Commission seeking to remove speech that a user has flagged as harmful.  2. Duty to protect children The meaning of the duty to protect children is not clearly defined. The bill notes that: “an operator must integrate into a regulated service that it operates any design features respecting the protection of children, such as age-appropriate design, that are provided for by regulations.” This could refer to age-appropriate designs in the sense that children are not drawn into harmful content; it could refer to warning labels on pornography sites, or it could potentially require some level of age-verification for children to access harmful content. These regulations, however, will be established by the Commission following the passage of the Online Harms Act. The Liberal government says that its Online Harms Act makes Bill S-210 unnecessary. Bill S-210 would require age-verification for access to online pornography. In its current form, however, the Online Harms Act does nothing to directly restrict minors’ access to pornography. It would allow minors to flag content as harmful and requires “age-appropriate design” but would not require pornography sites to refuse access to youth. As such, ARPA will continue to advocate for the passage of Bill S-210 to restrict access to pornography and hold pornography sites accountable.  3. Duty to make certain content inaccessible Finally, Bill C-63 will make social media companies responsible for making certain content inaccessible on their platforms. This section is primarily focused on content that sexually victimizes a child or revictimizes a survivor and intimate content communicated without consent. ARPA has lauded provincial efforts in British Columbia and Manitoba to crack down on such content in the past year. If such content is flagged on a site and deemed to be harmful, the operators must make it inaccessible within 24 hours and keep it inaccessible. In 2020, Pornhub was credibly accused of hosting videos featuring minors. Additionally, many women noted that they had requested Pornhub to remove non-consensual videos of themselves and that Pornhub had failed to do so. At the time, ARPA Canada submitted a brief to the Committee studying sexual exploitation on Pornhub. Our first recommendation was that pornography platforms must be required to verify age and consent before uploading content. Second, we recommended that victims must have means for immediate legal recourse to have content removed from the internet. This duty to make content inaccessible will provide some recourse for victims to flag content and have it removed quickly. Further, the Commission will provide accountability to ensure the removal of certain content and that it remains inaccessible. The Act creates a new bureaucratic agency for this purpose rather than holding companies accountable through the Criminal Code. The Criminal Code is arguably a stronger deterrent. For example, Bill C-270, scheduled for second reading in the House of Commons in April 2024, would make it a criminal offence to create or distribute pornographic material without first confirming that any person depicted was over 18 years of age and gave express consent to the content. Bill C-270 would amend the Criminal Code to further protect vulnerable people. Instead of criminal penalties, the Online Harms Act would institute financial penalties for failure to comply with the legislation. Of course, given the sheer volume of online traffic and social media content and the procedural demands of enforcing criminal laws, a strong argument can be made that criminal prohibitions alone are insufficient to deal with the problem. But if new government agencies with oversight powers are to be established, it’s crucial that the limits of their powers are clearly and carefully defined and that they are held accountable to them. THE GOOD NEWS… This first part of the Online Harms Act contains some important attempts to combat online pornography and child sexual exploitation. As Reformed Christians, we understand that a lot of people are using online platforms to promote things that are a direct violation of God’s intention for flourishing in human relationships. This bill certainly doesn’t correct all those wrongs, but it at least recognizes that there is improvement needed for how these platforms are used to ensure vulnerable Canadians are protected. Most Canadians support requiring social media companies to remove child pornography or non-consensual pornography. In a largely unregulated internet, many Canadians also support holding social media companies accountable for such content, especially companies that profit from pornography and sexual exploitation. Bill C-63 is the government’s attempt to bring some regulation to this area. … AND NOW THE BAD NEWS But while some of the problems addressed through the bill are objectively harmful, how do we avoid subjective definitions of harm? Bill C-63 raises serious questions about freedom of expression. Free speech is foundational to democracy. In Canada, it is one of our fundamental freedoms under section 2 of the Charter. Attempts to curtail speech in any way are often seen as an assault on liberty. Bill C-63 would amend the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act to combat hate speech online. But the bill gives too much discretion to government actors to decide what constitutes hate speech. HARSHER FOR “HATE SPEECH” CRIMES The Criminal Code has several offences that fall under the colloquial term “hate speech.” The Code prohibits advocating genocide, publicly inciting hatred that is likely to lead to a breach of the peace, or willfully promoting hatred or antisemitism. The latter offence is potentially broader, but it also provides several defenses, including: the statement was true the statement was a good faith attempt to argue a religious view the statement was about an important public issue meriting discussion and the person reasonably believed the statement was true Bill C-63 would increase the maximum penalties for advocating genocide and inciting or promoting hatred or antisemitism. The maximum penalty for advocating genocide would increase to life in prison instead of five years. The bill would also raise the penalty for publicly inciting hatred or promoting hatred or antisemitism to five years instead of the current two. Bill C-63 defines “hatred” as “the emotion that involves detestation or vilification and that is stronger than disdain or dislike.” It also clarifies that a statement does not incite or promote hatred “solely because it discredits, humiliates, hurts or offends.” This clarification is better than nothing, but it inevitably relies on judges to determine the line between statements that are merely offensive or humiliating and those that generate emotions of vilification and detestation. ARPA Canada recently intervened in a criminal hate speech case involving Bill Whatcott. Whatcott was charged with criminal hate speech for handing out flyers at a pride parade warning about the health risks of engaging in homosexual relations. Prosecutors argued that Whatcott was promoting hatred against an identifiable group by condemning homosexual conduct. This is an example of a person being accused of hate speech for expressing his beliefs – his manner of expressing those beliefs, but also the content of his beliefs. NEW STAND-ALONE HATE CRIME OFFENCE The Criminal Code already makes hatred a factor in sentencing. So, for example, if you assault someone and there is conclusive evidence that your assault was motivated by racial hatred, that “aggravating factor” will likely mean a harsher sentence for you. But the offence is still assault, and the maximum penalties for assault still apply. Bill C-63, however, would add a new hate crime offence – any offence motivated by hatred – to the Criminal Code, and it may be punishable by life in prison. It would mean that any crime found to be motivated by hatred would count as two crimes. Consider an act of vandalism, for example. The crime of mischief (which includes damaging property) has a maximum penalty of 10 years. But, if you damaged property because of hatred toward a group defined by race, religion, or sexuality, you could face an additional criminal charge and potentially life in prison. ANTICIPATORY HATE CRIMES? Bill C-63 would permit a person to bring evidence before a court based on fear that someone will commit hate speech or a hate crime in the future. The court may then order the accused to “keep the peace and be of good behavior” for up to 12 months and subject that person to conditions including wearing an electronic monitoring device, curfews, house arrest, or abstaining from consuming drugs or alcohol. There are other circumstances in which people can go to court for fear that a crime will be committed – for example, if you have reason to believe that someone will damage your property, or cause you injury, or commit terrorism. However, challenges with unclear or subjective definitions of hatred will only be accentuated when determining if someone will commit hate speech or a hate crime. BRINGING BACK SECTION 13 This is the first time the government has tried to regulate hate speech. The former section 13 of the Canada Human Rights Act prohibited online communications that were “likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt” on the basis of their race, religion, sexuality, etc. As noted by Joseph Brean in the National Post, section 13 was passed in 1977, mainly in response to telephone hotlines that played racist messages. From there, the restrictions around hate speech were extended to the internet (telecommunications, including internet, falls under federal jurisdiction) until Parliament repealed section 13 in 2013. Joseph Brean writes that section 13 “was basically only ever used by one complainant, a lawyer named Richard Warman, who targeted white supremacists and neo-Nazis and never lost.” In fact, Warman brought forward 16 hate speech cases and won them all. A catalyst for the controversy over human rights hate speech provisions was a case involving journalist Ezra Levant. Levant faced a human rights complaint for publishing Danish cartoons of Muhammad in 2006. In response to being charged, Levant published a video of an interview with an investigator from the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Then in 2007, a complaint was brought against Maclean’s magazine for publishing an article by Mark Steyn that was critical of Islam. Such stories brought section 13 to public attention and revealed how human rights law was being used to quash officially disapproved political views. Bill C-63 would bring back a slightly revised section 13. The new section 13 states: “It is a discriminatory practice to communicate or cause to be communicated hate speech by means of the Internet or any other means of telecommunication in a context in which the hate speech is likely to foment detestation or vilification of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.” A few exceptions apply. For example, this section would not apply to private communication or to social media services that are simply hosting content posted and shared by users. So, for example, if someone wanted to bring a complaint about an ARPA post on Facebook, that complaint could be brought against ARPA, but not against Facebook. If a person is found guilty of hate speech, the Human Rights Tribunal may order the offender to pay up to $20,000 to the victim, and up to $50,000 to the government. This possibility of financial benefit incentivizes people to bring forward hate speech complaints. British Columbia has a similar hate speech provision in its Human Rights Code. ARPA wrote about how that provision was interpreted and enforced to punish someone for saying that a “trans woman” is really a man. The Tribunal condemned a flyer in that case for “communicat rejection of diversity in the individual self-fulfillment of living in accordance with one’s own gender identity.” The Tribunal went on to reject the argument that the flyer was not intended to promote hatred or discrimination, “but only to ‘bring attention to what views as immoral behaviour, based on his religious belief as a Christian’.” Ultimately, the Tribunal argued that there was no difference between promoting hatred and bringing attention to what the defendant viewed as immoral behavior. NO DEFENSES FOR CHRISTIANS? As noted above, when it comes to the Criminal Code’s hate speech offences, there are several defenses available (truth, expressing a religious belief, and advancing public debate). These are important defenses that allow Canadians to say what they believe to be true and to express sincere religious beliefs. But the Canadian Human Rights Act offers no defenses. And complaints of hate speech in human rights law are far easier to bring and to prosecute than criminal charges. Criminal law requires proof beyond reasonable doubt. But under the Human Rights Act, statements that are likely (i.e. 51% chance, in Tribunal’s view) to cause detestation or vilification will be punishable. So, hate speech would be regulated in two different places, the Criminal Code and the Human Rights Act, the latter offering fewer procedural rights and a lower standard of proof. Bill C-63 clarifies that a statement is not detestation or vilification “solely because it expresses disdain or dislike or it discredits, humiliates, hurts or offends.” But again, the line between dislike and detestation is unclear. Human rights complaints are commonly submitted because of humiliation or offence, rather than any clear connection to detestation or vilification. Section 13 leaves too much room for subjective and ideologically motivated interpretations of what constitutes hate speech. The ideological bias that often manifests is a critical theory lens, which sees “privileged” groups like Christians as capable only of being oppressors/haters, while others are seen as “equity-seeking” groups. For example, in a 2003 case called Johnson v. Music World Ltd., a complaint was made against the writer of a song called “Kill the Christian.” A sample: Armies of darkness unite  Destroy their temples and churches with fire  Where in this world will you hide  Sentenced to death, the anointment of christ   Put you out of your misery  The death of prediction  Kill the christian  Kill the christian…dead!  The Tribunal noted that the content and tone appeared to be hateful. However, because the Tribunal thought Christians were not a vulnerable group, it decided this was not hate speech. By contrast, in a 2008 case called Lund v. Boissoin, a panel deemed a letter to the editor of a newspaper that was critical of homosexuality to be hate speech. The chair of the panel was the same person in both Johnson and Lund. Hate speech provisions are potentially problematic for Christians who seek to speak truth about various issues in our society. Think about conversion therapy laws that ban talking about biblical gender and sexuality in some settings, or bubble zone laws that prevent pro-life expression in designated areas. But beyond that, freedom of speech is also important for those with whom we may disagree. It is important to be able to have public dialogue on various public issues.    GOVERNMENT’S ROLE IN REGULATING SPEECH This all raises serious questions about whether the government should be regulating “hate speech” at all. After all, hate speech provisions in the Human Rights Act or the Criminal Code have led and could lead to inappropriate censorship. But government also has a legitimate role to play in protecting citizens from harm.  1. Reputational harm and safety from threats of violence Arguably the government’s role in protecting citizens from harm includes reputational harm. Imagine someone was spreading accusations in your town that everyone in your church practices child abuse, for example. That is an attack on your reputation as a group and as individual members of the group – which is damaging and could lead to other harms, possibly even violence. Speech can do real damage. But Jeremy Waldron, a prominent legal philosopher and a Christian, suggests that the best way to think about and enforce “hate speech” laws is as a prohibition on defaming or libeling a group, similar to how our law has long punished defaming or libeling an individual. Such a conception may help to rein in the scope of what we call “hate speech,” placing the focus on demonstrably false and damaging accusations, rather than on controversial points of view on matters relating to religion or sexuality, for example. Hatred is a sin against the 6th commandment, but the government cannot regulate or criminalize emotions per se or expressions of them, except insofar as they are expressed in and through criminal acts or by encouraging others to commit criminal acts. That’s why we rightly have provisions against advocating or inciting terrorism or genocide, or counseling or encouraging someone to commit assault, murder, or any other crime. When the law fails to set an objective standard, however, it is open to abuse – for example, by finding a biblical view of gender and sexuality to constitute hate speech. Regrettably, Bill C-63 opens up more room for subjectivity and ideologically based restrictions on speech. It does nothing to address the troubling interpretations of “hate speech” that we’ve seen in many cases in the past. And, by putting hate speech back into the Human Rights Act, the bill makes many more such abuses possible. We suspect it will result in restricting speech that is culturally unacceptable rather than objectively harmful.  2. Harm of pornography As discussed earlier, Bill C-63 does introduce some good restrictions when it comes to online pornography. In our view, laws restricting pornography are categorically different from laws restricting “hate speech,” because the former laws are not designed to or in danger of being applied to censor beliefs, opinions, or arguments. Restricting illegal pornography prevents objectively demonstrable harm. Pornography takes acts that ought to express love and marital union and displays them for consumption and the gratification of others. Much of it depicts degrading or violent behavior. Pornography’s harms, especially to children, are well documented. The argument is often made that pornography laws risk censoring artistic expression involving sexuality or nudity. But Canada is very far, both culturally and legally, from censoring art for that reason – and Bill C-63 wouldn’t do so. Its objectives as they relate to pornography are mainly to reduce the amount of child pornography and non-consensual pornography easily available online.  CONCLUSION While the Online Harms Act contains some good elements aimed at combatting online pornography, its proposed hate speech provisions are worrisome. Unfortunately, the federal government chose to deal with both issues in one piece of legislation – this should have been two separate bills. As Bill C-63 begins to progress through the House of Commons, we can continue to support Bills S-210 and C-270, private members’ bills which combat the online harms of pornography. Meanwhile, head to ARPACanada.org for action items related to the Online Harms Act. ...

Indigenous peoples, News

Private property rights finally planned for Indigenous British Columbians

Few Canadians realize that the majority of Indigenous peoples in BC aren’t allowed to own land like everyone else can. They are shackled by the federal Indian Act, first passed in 1876, which forbids private property ownership for Indigenous people living on reserves. Instead on-reserve housing is provided, with the houses owned by the Crown and controlled by band councils. That may be changing in British Columbia. On April 2, the province introduced Bill 13 to specify that First Nations who are recognized by the federal government as Indian Act bands will finally have the legal ability to register and own land. This is a very different attempt at reconciliation than what the same government recently attempted with a plan to allow First Nations to co-manage all public lands in the province. If brought to fruition, such a change would effectively hand over veto power to First Nations for how most of the province is used. But Bill 13 is fundamentally different. In their press release, the government lauded how the proposed changes “reduce discriminatory and racist barriers.” They are right, though questions remain as to how it will apply to individual members of the many First Nations. It also remains a question how this legislation would align with the federal Indian Act. Private property rights for all people, regardless of race, is both biblical and an important ingredient for human flourishing. As ARPA Canada shared in one of its first policy reports, on the broader topic of aboriginal affairs, “property rights are essential for economic productivity and thereby have a direct impact on employment rates, which in turn impacts the living standards, housing conditions, health, and morale of an entire community.” God established private property as a right and codified it in the 8th Commandment “you shall not steal.” Owning land is an important step for creating employment and wealth, while instilling responsibility and stewardship. Given that reserves are owned by the government, there is little surprise that the housing conditions are often deplorable. For far too long, Canada’s federal and provincial governments have focused on handing out more money and more blame, rather than allowing Indigenous peoples the same opportunities and responsibilities as all other peoples....

News

Saturday Selections – April 13, 2024

Click on the titles below to go to the linked articles... If people did everything as a trick shot Evolutionists have no explanation for the origin of life Christian chemist James Tours has been challenging "origin of life" researchers to put up or shut up. He has offered to take down all his published videos and never speak on the topic again, if only someone will show how they are making any real progress in explaining how life could come from non-life (as evolution would require). Tours did get a chance to debate, but under hilarious conditions. He agreed that after his 20-minute talk, that in the dinner discussions that followed, he would not talk at all unless asked a question, and if interrupted, he would stop talking. The linked article and video are not an easy read or watch, but even the gist of it underscores how the opposition isn't guided by the science, but by their ideology. Though the science shows that life can't come from non-life (scientists can't even create life on purpose, let alone explain how it could happen by chance), the scientific establishment still clings to the notion that it must have, because they need it to have done so to justify their rebellion against God. Euthanasia as a cost-saver for public healthcare Luc Van Gorp, head of Belgian's biggest health care fund, Christian (?!?) Mutualities is saying the quiet part out loud – they could save a lot of money if they murdered their old people. Once murder is medicine, it becomes quite the attractive treatment: cheaper and quicker than anything else. In related news, Belgium has lightened the penalties for "illegal euthanasia." It will no longer be treated as murder. They did it because if doctors had to fear getting charged with murder every time they murdered someone without following the approved procedures, then there might be less doctors willing to murder people. So one way to save lives here in Canada might be to ensure that "illegal euthanasia" is treated as murder. Maybe we can scare bloodthirsty, but self-preservation-seeking "doctors" from this line of business. How is our economy really doing?  The Fraser Institute argues that while Canada had one of the better expansions of its economy compared to other G7 countries, the real picture is horrible when you consider just how much the population increased. So they are pitching a better measure than just GDP – GDP adjusted for population. Big surprise for me here is that two Liberal PMs – Chretien and Martin – did better by this measure than the last two Conservatives. Atheist Richard Dawkins likes Christian culture Dawkins might be the world's most famous atheist, and he made news last week for praising Christian culture: "If I had to choose between Christianity and Islam, I’d choose Christianity every single time. It seems to me to be a fundamentally decent religion in a way that I think Islam is not." But as John Stonestreet notes, you can't have Christian fruit without the Root. The strange truth about the pill The birth control pill was embraced because it enabled sex outside of marriage by separating sex from conception. But as this BBC article highlights, the pill's nine different hormones come with side effects, some of which "have subtle 'masculinizing' effects." Identifying misinformation (5 min) In an online world awash with misinformation, here are three simple ways to identify what's not true. ...

News

Saturday Selections – April 6, 2024

Click on the titles below to go to the linked articles... Quite the fish story! (8 min) How do salmon find their back to where they were first spawned? Elon Musk gets folks talking about problems with the Pill Of the many gods in the world, unfettered sex is among the biggest. So it shouldn't surprise us that information that might hinder worship of that god could get pushed to the side. That's what's happened with the side effects of the birth control pill, which largely seem to be unknown. Christians should be aware of one that's not touched on in this article – the third action the Pill can have, of being an abortifacient. J.K. Rowling uses her influence to fight Scottish "hate law" J.K. Rowling might be best known for popularizing witchcraft in her bestselling Harry Potter series and normalizing homosexuality by declaring a principal character, Dumbledore, gay. But this past week she made headlines for her stand against a new Scottish "hate law" that could be used as a weapon against anyone who says men aren't women. So, Rowling did just that, on Twitter. And she promised: “If they go after any woman for simply calling a man a man, I’ll repeat that woman’s words and they can charge us both at once.” Canadian man wants a set of both genitalia A Canadian man says that Canada's anti-conversion therapy law means the government has to pay for him to get both sets of genitalia. He might win his case, but he won't get a "vagina." What he'd get amounts to an open wound that he'll have to dilate weekly or even daily for the rest of his life, lest it heal up. Sadly, his isn't the only experiment being performed in the name of trans affirmation. Surgeons are leaving folks looking like Barbie dolls, with no genitalia at all. The silver lining? The world is starting to get horrified too, but they don't really have a basis to be. So, brothers and sisters, this craziness is an opportunity to point them to the reality, sanity, and salvation that comes only with repenting and believing in Jesus Christ through whom we were made male and female. Sweden had the lowest mortality in Europe from 2020–2022 Sweden didn't do the lockdowns like the rest of the world, and the "experts" said they were going to pay a high cost for it. But, Sweden didn't. How do I respond if I'm asked to state my pronouns? Greg Koukl explains why we should never "give our pronouns" and how we can use questions to steer the conversation in our direction. ...

News

St Catharines challenged for censoring pro-life messages

ARPA Canada is taking the city of St. Catharines to court. In September 2023, the city passed a bylaw that forbids delivering any image of a fetus to a private residence unless it is placed in a sealed envelope with a warning label on it. In their application to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in late February, ARPA Canada (ARPACanada.ca) argued that the bylaw is a violation of the Charter-protected freedoms of conscience, religion, and expression, and is beyond the authority of a municipal government. They believe that “the bylaw’s true nature and purpose is to suppress pro-life or anti-abortion content,” because it doesn’t apply to any other gory images. Such a bylaw could impact the Canadian Center for Bio-ethical Reform (EndTheKilling.ca) which has long used abortion victim photography to show the public the gory reality of what abortion is. As the organization explains on its website: “By studying effective social reform movements of the past – from the British Abolitionists, to the National Child Labour Committee, to the civil rights movement – we can see how they changed the unchangeable by exposing injustice using visual evidence, and confronting the culture with that evidence.” ARPA Canada doesn’t use abortion victim photography, but does include ultrasound pictures of living unborn babies in its campaign materials, so they’d also be required to put a warning label on their envelopes. “The bylaw requires ARPA and its volunteers to mislead people about our message,” said John Sikkema, ARPA’s legal counsel. “Ultrasound photos are common and innocuous, not offensive or disturbing.” St. Catharines is the latest Canadian city, along with London, Woodstock, and Calgary, that have passed bylaws in an effort to prevent the sharing of pro-life materials. Photo is of ARPA Canada material that would require a warning label if delivered via the mail....

News

Dominion Report: a free and solidly Christian news source for Canadians

The Dominion Report is a Canadian news website (DominionReport.ca) and newsletter that offers up a Christian perspective on the week’s events. It delivers that perspective via two- to six-paragraph introductions to articles they link to from other media outlets. If you’re familiar with RP’s weekly Saturday Selections column, it’s a lot like that, but the Dominion Report goes a little longer and has more of a specifically news focus. As an example, last week’s edition offered up: Canadians' beliefs on the Resurrection a conservative student forced out of a university election a Chinese military hacker who was allowed to become a Canadian permanent resident how Toronto auto thefts have doubled since 2021 and a few more “quick hits” They’ve been online since mid-2023, and their past 35+ weekly newsletters showcase what sort of Christian perspective they are offering. I don’t know if it is specifically Reformed, but it is certainly a conservative sort of Christian, and strongly pro-life, with writers regularly turning to Scripture for guidance. Importantly, it doesn’t seem to be over-torqued. WORLD magazine, one of the very best Christian publications, has as one of their slogans, “sensational facts, understated prose.” We live in pretty outrageous times, so we don’t need anyone to hype up the hysteria, and from what I’ve read, the Dominion Report presents the facts with a pretty level head. Check them out at DominionReport.ca, and if you like what you see, be sure to sign up for their weekly newsletter. (Their RSS feed is DominionReport.ca/feed and you can find out how to use it here)....

News

Saturday Selections – Mar. 30, 2024

Rich Mullins: Creed (4 min) Rich Mullins riffing off of the Apostles' Creed. How C.S. Lewis predicted the pronoun push... ...and in a passage in The Horse and His Boy, he taught us how to respond. Bug zappers might do more harm than good Sick of mosquitos? Your bug zapper might be the problem. A couple decades back two universities tested how many mosquitos actually get zapped and found that of the approximately 24,000 bugs their zappers killed, just 39 were mosquitos. Less than o.2 percent! The rest included bugs that actually eat mosquitoes, which means the bug zappers might actually be making your mosquito problems worse. The Road to Socialism and Back Again – a free e-book This free e-book charts the fall and rise of Poland's economy, stagnating for decades under centralized communist management, then quadrupling once some freedoms were returned. It's history we need to share. However, while this notes that socialism doesn't work, it doesn't dig into what God says about the why: that a centralized economy doesn't work because it lacks humility (a distant leader knows how to run all our lives better than us?), it fosters envy over what the rich have (breaking the 10th Commandment), it requires men to be angels (working hard with no thought of gain for themselves), and in eliminating private property, it violates the 8th Commandment. No wonder then that it doesn't work. Christians aren't ready to argue against AI-generated porn When it comes to pornography, Christians will point out the harm it does to "performers," highlighting the dark, dark side of porn production. It is dark, so that argument is certainly valid. But that the performers are harmed isn't the foundational reason pornography is wicked – the underlying problem is that porn conflicts with God's plan for sexuality. And now, with the advent of AI-generated, actorless films, talking about the harm done to the actors, rather than mentioning anything about God, won't work as an objection anymore. The conclusion to the linked article is both spot on, and really, really sad, because it makes it seem as if talking about God is the very last thing any Christian would want to do in the culture wars. But is that true? "This will be uncomfortable, because it will force Christians to make moral arguments that appear irredeemably at odds with the secular society. The benefits of emphasizing things like exploitation is that such concepts resonate with non-Christian audiences. There’s nothing wrong with seeking this common ground, but the reality is that we’re not going to have that ground at all very soon. The arguments against consuming or licensing pornography that will matter in the age of AI will be moralistic arguments: arguments rooted in the goodness of embodied sexuality in the context of marriage, and the destruction that occurs to hearts and emotions by feasting on a fake version of sex that collapses us inward. 'This is somebody’s child' will have to become, 'You are somebody’s child.' "Here will be a good stress test for Christian moral theology. Western Christians can articulate a vision of life that makes sense in a radically fractured, technologically isolated context. But that vision requires helping people get beyond the 'Does it harm anyone' framework, not simply appropriating the question. So it seems very likely that Christians will have to bring God into the discussion. When there’s no one to exploit, there is still God to offend. When there is no one to be trafficked, there is still God who sees. And when there is no one to stand over your shoulder to intervene or care, there is still God who saves." Pre-natal screening: should we do it? Some prenatal testing – specifically the sort that is called "invasive" – comes with a risk for the unborn, and so Christians should question why we'd want to get such a test at such a cost. As the article above and video below explain, "non-invasive" tests come with a different sort of "risk" for the unborn... though not when conducted by pro-life Christians. ...

News

Health minister will protect kids from nicotine, but not castration?

Last week, the federal government announced that it will “explore legislation and regulatory options” to address the growing popularity of youth using certain “stop smoking” aids.  Specifically, the government is focusing on restricting access to nicotine pouches, which are tobacco pouches placed between the gum and cheek, with the intent being to counteract nicotine cravings. Zonnic is one of the popular brands approved in Canada, with Health Canada stating that the 4 mg per dose “is usually recommended for adults who smoke 25 or more cigarettes a day and want to quit smoking.” These pouches release the same addictive chemicals found in cigarettes, vape products, and chewing tobacco. In July 2023, Canada approved Zonnic as a natural health product, allowing it to be sold at any store with no restrictions.  But these products have been marketed to teens with different candy-like flavors and colorful packaging. Federal Health Minister Mark Holland was having none of that: “To the tobacco companies that continue to look for ways to use loopholes to addict people to their products: Get away. Stay the hell away from our kids.” The BC government already took action last month, ensuring this product can only be sold over the counter in pharmacies.  Yet, this same “keep away from our kids” minister, just last month, criticized the Alberta government for new policies that focused on protecting minors from gender transition hormones and procedures, banning males from female sports, and giving more parental control over sexual education curricula. Holland stated that the policies are “deeply disturbing.”  Holland listens to the science regarding addictive drugs harming minors. Yet, when it comes to so-called “gender-affirming care” that does irreversible harm to children including sterilization, castration, and other genital mutilations (more harm than nicotine products could do), he would rather align with an ideological stance that fails to affirm a child's God-given sex. ...

News

Election day delay could cost taxpayers millions

On March 20 the Liberal/NDP government proposed bumping the 2025 election date back a week because the election would otherwise be at the same time as Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Critics have noted that moving election day back a week would also guarantee that any MPs first elected in 2019 would now be eligible for pensions that they wouldn’t have gotten if they’d lost. An MP needs to serve 6 years to be eligible for a pension, and for those elected on Oct 21, 2019, the 2025 election date of Oct 20 would have left them a day short. If current polling numbers persist, the government could expect a lot of their MPs to lose, but this election-day delay would give them a going-away pension bonus. Among the other electoral changes being proposed are an expansion of 2 more days of advance polls, giving voters seven days in total – six advance days and election day – to be able to vote in person. The government also wants to make it easier to vote by mail, and allow electors to vote anywhere in their electoral district. These changes are being done in the name of “encouraging participation in the electoral process.” However, that doesn’t seem a pressing issue – over the last 30 years, electoral turnout has stayed consistently within 60%-70% of eligible voters. Looking south of the border, we can see that what’s more important is the perceived trustworthiness of the election. Canada has not had allegations of stolen elections, as is almost commonplace in the US. That’s because Canada’s federal elections, as they have been run over the last many decades are the most verifiable in the world, with each voter checked off a list at their poll, and every ballot evaluated by two Elections Canada agents as well as representatives from each major party. These competing interests provided the ultimate verification for each election. Mail-in balloting and vote-anywhere initiatives might make it marginally easier to vote, but cause complications – last election 90,000 mail-in ballots arrived too late to be counted – and muddle the transparency. The more heated our politics become, the more important it is that our elections are not only trustworthy, but are obviously so....

News

Saturday Selections – Mar. 23, 2024

How to undermine election trust The title of this video – "how to steal an election" – isn't as much the issue here as the fact that results become more disputable, and more controversial, when in-person voting is replaced with mail-in balloting. This is an American case, but applicable to Canada and elsewhere. Why chromosomal differences do not create additional sexes The Christian apologetic group Stand to Reason has made this short and to the point, but with plenty of links to go explore deeper. Sadly, Jordan Peterson still isn't Christian Aaron Renn argues that Peterson is basically New Age. Only God as Trinity can offer Atonement Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and other prominent atheists have equated Good Friday as nothing more than a case of "cosmic child abuse" – a vengeful Father venting His wrath on His innocent Child. That's a charge shared by Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons (so lock this in for the next time you hear a knock at your door) and others who deny that God is indeed Three in One, because then the Cross is indeed a god punishing some "entirely other" being. But, as we know, at the Cross it is a just God also showing mercy by voluntarily taking on our punishment. In the linked article, Jeremy Treat explores this truth from two other analogous angles. Yes, teens, virginity is good for you Virginity doesn't just provide freedom from sexually transmitted diseases, but it also lowers incidences of all sorts of other risky behaviors, such as smoking and drug use. Are biblical counselors unbiblical? (20 minute read) Secular psychologists who ignore the spiritual world can, at best, treat only half the person: their material body. Biblical counselors can turn to the wisdom God has written in His Word to treat the soul too. But how much should biblical counselors rely on, and turn to, what God has also revealed in His Second Book, the "book" of Creation? That's where an important debate is being had. Astonishing fly can breathe underwater even after losing its underwater lungs (6 min) This fly as a larvae has organs that allow it to breathe underwater, but it loses those in its adult stage. But it still lives underwater using a completely different system to get its needed oxygen. That all happened by chance? You have to be willfully blind to miss God's creative genius here. ...

News

More Canadians are “Alberta bound”

“It’s good to be Alberta bound” sang Canadian folk legend Gordon Lightfoot. Looking at Statistics Canada’s Quarterly Demographic Estimates, many Canadians are taking this to heart. 45,194 moved in from other provinces in 2023 alone, more than to any other province. The two factors being cited by the mainstream media are Alberta’s “more favourable” tax environment and lower housing prices. These factors are very real, as Alberta doesn’t have a provincial sales tax nor a land transfer tax. The average sale price of a home in Alberta has gone up in the past year, but is still well under $500,000 (compared with $957,000 in BC and $853,000 in Ontario). Albertans also make more money per week, on average, compared to all other provinces. But Alberta has had lower home prices and lower taxes for many years. So, what accounts for the recent exodus from places like BC and Manitoba? One clue may be found when we look at shifting population trends in the US, where Republican states (known as “red states”) have seen a significant increase in population in recent years. The fastest-growing states from 2022 to 2023 were South Carolina, Florida, Texas, Idaho, and North Carolina, all of which voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020. Although Canada is very different than the United States, Alberta has been led by the United Conservative Party government since 2019. Both their past Premier Jason Kenney and their current Premier Danielle Smith are known throughout Canada as being more supportive of freedom and smaller government compared to other Canadian provinces. When people feel unable to change their political environment, a common outcome is to “vote with your feet” by leaving the environment and going to a location that is more desirable. In this respect, Canada may not be so different from the US after all....

News, Sexuality

Leaked documents show “gender medicine” is neither science nor medicine

Leaked internal files from WPATH, the world’s leading transgender medical association, reveal doctors openly acknowledging patients’ regrets, painful complications, and life-threatening conditions resulting from the double mastectomies and genital amputations and mutilations involved in transgender “medicine.” The World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) created standards for such “procedures” that have been adopted by doctors around the globe (including many in Canada). Significantly, WPATH is also a vocal advocate for “gender transitioning” of minors. Mia Hughes is a women’s rights advocate who curated the recently released 250-page leaked report. She summarized some of the alarming findings: “WPATH-affiliated health-care providers advocate for the destruction of healthy reproductive systems, the amputation of healthy breasts and the surgical removal of healthy genitals as the first and only line of treatment for minors and mentally ill people with gender dysphoria, eschewing any attempt to reconcile the patient with his or her birth sex.” The documents reveal that WPATH-affiliated healthcare providers endorse irreversible and damaging interventions, such as hormone treatments and surgeries, even in cases where minors may not fully comprehend the long-term implications. Videos from leaked Zoom calls show doctors openly admitting that children have little to no understanding of what they are consenting to. One doctor even stated that they are “explaining things to people who haven’t even taken biology in high school.” Doctors within WPATH have also stated they are aware of severe complications, including cancer, resulting from these interventions. One doctor shared that a 16-year-old female patient had developed cancerous tumors with an oncologist and surgeon confirming this was a result of the prescribed hormones. Moreover, the documents reveal there is a disregard for the psychological and emotional struggles of patients, with clinicians dismissing concerns and proceeding with treatments despite serious mental health issues. We are regularly urged to “trust the science,” but the gender debate shows how twisted the world’s “science” can become. But for those with eyes to see, reality aligns with God’s Word, that we are designed to be “male and female in His image.” For more, see Matt Walsh's podcast below about the leaked documents and the origins of WPATH. ...

News

Saturday Selections – Mar. 16, 2024

Click on the titles below to go to the linked articles... If $50/hr is a good minimum wage why not $100... or $1,000? (9 min) A Californian legislator recently proposed raising the minimum wage to $50/hr, or approximately $100,000 US/year (or roughly $135,00 Canadian). And, as the video below shares, Batman himself thinks it's a great idea. But if $50/hr is good, why not $100/hr... or $1000? These minimum wage proponents and transgenderism activists share one thing in common: both believe that wishing can make it so. But simply declaring everyone worth a certain wage doesn't change reality. Older employees, still skilled but slower than they once might have been, and lower skilled or inexperienced workers aren't going to be able to bring $50/hr in value to their employers. That means this minimum wage is going to price them right out of the labor market. And that's true of every minimum wage, no matter how well intentioned – they declares a minimum value for labor, and anyone who can't meet it, or can't meet it yet, is legislated out of any chance at a job. Childless China: coercive population plan implodes "Kenneth Emde of Minnesota, who came of age during the Swinging Sixties, recently explained why he is childless today. 'I was a college student when I read Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb,' he said in a letter published by the Wall Street Journal. 'I took it to heart and now have no grandchildren, but 50 years later the population has increased to eight billion without dire consequences. I was gullible and stupid.'” This is a secular piece, so it doesn't make the case for how Emde could have known better. He needed to listen to the real Expert, who says in His Word that children are a blessing, not a curse. On the cost of business subsidies, and the trouble with electric cars The Fraser Institute was busy this past week, issuing two eye-opening reports. The first was on the $52 billion Canadian governments spent on corporate welfare in 2022. We can't agree on much in this country, but can we at least agree not to take money from some companies to prop up other companies? From 2007 to 2019, PEI, Quebec, and Manitoba spent all or nearly all of their corporate income tax revenue on business subsidies! The second report was on the impossibility of meeting the new electrical demands that will come if all new cars from 2035 onward have to be electrical. We'd need the equivalent of 10 new dams, each of which, if history serves, would take 10 years to plan, another 10 years to build, and cost $16 billion each. So what happens if we have the cars but not the electricity? March 16 is the 4th anniversary of "15 days to slow the spread" In this look back a professor explains how he got fired from Harvard for refusing to be vaccinated (he'd already had COVID), and got fired from the CDC for being too pro-vaccine. Dissenting opinions, whatever the direction, weren't allowed and that came with a cost. "Sweden was the only major Western country that rejected school closures and other lockdowns in favor of concentrating on the elderly, and the final verdict is now in. Led by an intelligent social democrat prime minister (a welder), Sweden had the lowest excess mortality among major European countries during the pandemic, and less than half that of the United States. Sweden’s Covid deaths were below average, and it avoided collateral mortality caused by lockdowns." When the pope isn't Catholic This is a lament from Canada's pro-life and mostly Roman Catholic media outlet LifeSiteNews, highlighting the ways the pope is targeting established Catholic doctrine. Roman Catholics dealing with a corrupt pope face a situation a little like Martin Luther, who wasn't looking to start a new church but was left with no choice once he was kicked out. We can pray that when orthodox Roman Catholics are kicked out of today's Roman Catholic Church, they'll finally stop putting their trust in this institution. Bluey: the beach (7 min) Our family just learned about a cute Australian dog named Bluey, and so far we are about 20 episodes into the first season. Our kids are older than the target audience, but the whole family is enjoying the accents, the energetic (and generally respectful) kids, and the super fun dad (mom ain't bad either). This is a current show, so I was wondering if it would take a turn for the weird some time soon. But so far so good, and from what I could read online, it does seem pretty solid. We found it on DVD from our local library, but some episodes can be watched for free online. This one will play everywhere except, unfortunately, Bluey's native land. ...

News

Saturday Selections – Mar. 9, 2024

Click on the titles below to go to the linked articles... College isn't for everyone (3 min) Christians listening to this Mike Rowe clip might hear echoes of Paul's message in 1 Cor. 12:12-31, about how the Body has many members. We're not all the same, so we shouldn't presume that university is for everyone. This is a clip from Rowe's free 20-minute mini-documentary called The Case for Trade School. Good news: the Earth is getting greener Even NASA is sharing this, though with a negative spin (they can't get away from their cataclysmic take). Millions of Americans are banned from pumping their own gas Under the pretense of "safety" millions of Americans are prohibited from pumping their own gas. But is it really so unsafe? No, as all of us who manage to pump our own gas without blowing ourselves up can attest. So then what's the real reason for the ban? It's a case of private interests using the levers of state power to fight off their competition. And that's far from unusual. When is a question better than an answer? John Stonestreet – riffing off of Christian apologist Greg Koukl – offers 6 simple, great questions that'll help you stand up for the truth. "Time to admit genes aren't the blueprints for life" Have you heard that your cellular DNA is the instruction sheet or blueprint for your cell and body? Well, now it seems that was a gross oversimplification. This article is complex too, but here's the key: scientists keep discovering the life is more and more complex than they'd previously thought. And evolution only makes sense if we are simple enough to have come about without design or direction. Equal pay for equal work laws hurt (4 min) Milton Friedman offers up a practical objection to "equal pay for equal work" laws, no matter how well-intentioned they might be. ...

News

Lawyer learns she should double-check ChatGPT’s work

Last month, a BC lawyer was caught submitting an AI-generated legal application to a family court. Chong Ke was representing a father asking that his children travel to China so he could have parenting time with them there. Ke used ChatGPT, a text-based generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), to write the application, which cited two fake cases. ChatGPT does not provide links to its sources which makes its fabricated content hard to spot. To the AI’s “success,” the case was won, finding it was in the best interest of the client's children to visit their father. Although the fake cases were put into the application, they were never presented in the hearing, so the courts kept the initial ruling. Shortly after the ruling, the lawyers for the mother tried to track down the cases referenced, even asking for copies from the opposition. After not receiving any copies the team hired a researcher to find the cases. This matter was then taken to court where Ke apologized for her actions. "I acknowledge that I should have been aware of the dangers of relying on Al-generated resources, and been more diligent and careful in preparing the materials for this application. I wish to apologize again to the court and to opposing counsel for my error.” The process of preparing legal documents can be arduous, and although AI technology might be a tool to help with this, we should not be naive about its capabilities. Ke was ordered to pay the costs associated with the time and resources the other counsel used to discover the fake cases. In attempts to make court applications easier, the lawyer ended up doing the opposite, deceiving others in a scramble to seek truth in the application. In the court case against Ke, the judge reminds us that AI is not a replacement for humankind. “As this case has unfortunately made clear, generative AI is still no substitute for the professional expertise that the justice system requires of lawyers."...

News

Saturday Selections – Mar. 2, 2024

Click on the titles below for the linked articles... How did we get the Bible? (12 min) Was the Bible authorized, or simply recognized, by the Church? 10 astonishing alien underwater photos Here's a Top 10 of an award-winning National Geographic photographer's underwater shots showing some of the amazing diversity of life God has crafted under the water's surface. For more, check out his website - it's in French, but you don't need to know that to appreciate his pictures. 10 diagnostic questions for your marriage Do you and your spouse laugh together? Kevin DeYoung's friend suggested that "the couple that laughs together lasts together." That got DeYoung thinking: "What are some other questions that can help diagnose the health of our marital life? Here are ten that may prove useful." 10 best evidences confirming a young earth The folks at Answers in Genesis have a lot here for us to chew on! Why the world is running out of babies "Only 3% of the world’s population currently lives in a country whose birth rate isn’t declining. ...Italy, Spain, Portugal, Thailand, and South Korea will lose half their populations by the end of this century." Why? Even protesters are blessed by oil Everyone instinctively understands that hypocrisy is bad – that's one of those truths God has written on our hearts (Romans 2:15) – but like many truths, it can be deliberately obscured. So showing that someone is a hypocritic isn't enough anymore. We need to spell out in detail the implications of their double standard. The spoof below highlights even oil protesters' dependency on all sorts of oil products in their daily lives. Until someone somewhere starts living without oil themselves, what we are all demonstrating (anti-oil protesters too) is the blessing of oil for meeting so many of our daily needs. The video is PG-rated for one mention, and one inference, of the word "ass" so don't watch it with the kiddos. ...

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