Meta-Blogging: October 2005 Archives

Searches

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I'm currently gettting a Googlanche of hits having to do with Judge Samuel Alito and various keywords: Hispanic, Jew, Jewish, and Nationality. He's not Hispanic, though the Italic name might lead some to wonder. I can't figure out why anyone would peg him as Jewish. His nationality is American. I didn't know you could be a judge in the U.S. court system without being a citizen. The searches were up at least to 60-something an hour for a while. It's dropped off into the 50s now. It's usually half that. I don't know how high it was earlier in the day, but I suspect it was in the 70s or more for a while, because I only looked at the average, and that was as it seemed to be dropping off.

Here are some other searches that caught my eye recently:

penal surgury
Well, that's a pretty strange punishment, particularly if it's going to make you not only spell both words wrong but also fail to click on the "Did you mean: penal surgery" link right at the top of the page, which would have fixed one of the spelling errors (though the less serious one).

naomi zack's reviews of the book thinking about race
I'm trying to figure out why someone would write a review of her own book.

What is the difference between regardless and irregardless
Well, they mean the same thing, but one of them is correct in standard English, and the other is an abomination.

Christian Carnival XCIV Plug

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Wittenberg Gate will host the 94th Christian Carnival this week. The Christian Carnival is a weekly collection of some of the best posts of the Christian blogosphere. It's open to Christians of Protestant, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic convictions. One of the goals of this carnival is to offer our readers to a broad range of Christian thought. This is a great way to make your writing more well known and perhaps pick up some regular readers. For examples of past carnivals, see Matt Jones's list of previous Christian Carnivals.

To enter is simple. First, your post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are about home life, politics, or current events from a Christian point of view. Second, please submit only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival (i.e. from last Wednesday through this coming Tuesday).

Then do the following:

Roundup

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Christian Carnival XCIII is up at White Ribbon Warriors.

GetReligion explains why Catholics proposing withholding communion from politicians who allow abortion and euthanasia need not say the same about Catholics who support the death penalty or war.

Bush hates rich people too!

He's gay, Jim!
From what I've heard about Rick Berman's attitudes toward homosexuality, this might ruin the chances of a Sulu series or even a Sulu appearance in any further stories. [Evidence: See this from 2000, which interestingly points out that one TOS actor and one or two TNG actors are gay. There's a lot more here, but much of that goes way beyond evidence presented. See the Wikipedia entry on this subject for more. Ron Moore confirms that someone in charge explicitly didn't want gay characters, and Kate Mulgrew says it was Berman.]

Tim Challies gives an excellent argument for Christians' participation in Halloween. I think he concedes way too much to those who think the current practice of Halloween has anything to do with paganism in the religious sense, but that's what makes his argument so strong. Even if you concede that, he thinks Christians shouldn't just see it as ok to participate. He thinks it's more like a moral obligation.

Jonathan Ichikawa thinks a proposed amendment to the Texas constitution intended to ban gay marriage is going to invalidate marriage of any kind. He first pointed this out five months ago and raised the issue again recently. His latest volley sort of responds to people taking alternative views, including my comments on both those posts (to the effect that an originalist won't take the conclusion he thinks follows) and the discussion at Orin Kerr's Volokh Conspiracy post. He thinks everyone questioning his view is underestimating how serious this is. I'm not sure he's really dealt with my argument, though. Either way, it's a really funny issue, because if he's right then those opposing gay marriage on the grounds that it will harm marriage as an institution will be fully destroying marriage as a legal institution while getting rid of the possibility of gay marriage.

The 93rd Christian Carnival will be held at White Ribbon Warriors this week. The Christian Carnival is a weekly collection of some of the best posts of the Christian blogosphere. It's open to Christians of Protestant, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic convictions. One of the goals of this carnival is to offer our readers to a broad range of Christian thought. This is a great way to make your writing more well known and perhaps pick up some regular readers. For examples of past carnivals, see Matt Jones's list of previous Christian Carnivals.

To enter is simple. First, your post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are about home life, politics, or current events from a Christian point of view. Second, please submit only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival (i.e. from last Wednesday through this coming Tuesday).

Then do the following:





My blog is worth $172,184.70.
How much is your blog worth?


I have no idea how this is calculated, even after reading the background. Most blogs I checked were worthless. [Hat tip: Tyler Williams]

A small roundup

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  • I've been pretty busy this week, so I'd missed that the Volokh Conspiracy has been having a series recently on the same-sex marriage debate, by Maggie Gallagher, beginning around Monday. I haven't read all of the posts yet, but check it out. I especially wanted to point out this one. Gallagher is arguing against same sex marriage, and is responding to a question about what marriage is supposed to accomplish. She writes, in part:
    Here's my short answer: marriage serves many private and individual purposes. But its great public purpose, the thing that justifies its existence as a unique legal status, is protecting children and society by creating sexual unions in which children are (practically) guaranteed the love and care of their own mother and father. The vast majority of children born to married couples begin life with their own mother and fathers committed to jointly caring for them. Only a minority of children in other sexual unions (and none in same-sex unions) get this benefit. ... Please note: Procreation is not the definition of marriage. It is the reason for marriage's existence as a public (and yes legal) institution. People who don't have children can still really be married (just as people who aren't married can and do have babies).
    I don't think she's quite got the purpose right. I mean, that certainly is a benefit of marriage -- but it's not a fundamental one, as we increasingly see as marriage becomes more and more often just a temporary state, and more and more people get divorced. I suppose this is one reason to try and fight against the increase of divorce. But I digress. While protecting children certainly is for the good of society, that's not the fundamental reason I think we ought to have marriage, and particularly same-sex marriage. I think we ought to have it because God established it. He established it as a permanent, inviolable union which two people, a man and a woman, can enter into. It isn't merely a human institution established for convenience or to foster public good. I firmly believe that it does public good, but I don't think that's the whole reason for having it. Rather, God established it, and since he established it, he defines it. We can't just redefine it on a whim. Anyway, that's probably a topic for a whole different post. But check out the series over at the Volokh Conspiracy.
  • Some sociologists are suggesting that the more rapid growth of conservative churches relative to "mainline" churches is due to differences in birth rates rather than people seeking out more conservative churches.
  • This article has some interesting discussion about trying to prove whether the bacterial flagella can evolve. Unfortunately, it's a bit light on details, but it's part of the ongoing intelligent design debate on the subject. I think ID people are probably smart not to do the experiment, because if they found that the flagella can't evolve in this experiment, they might have trouble getting their results published because people would question their motives. On the other hand, anyone who can evolve it in the lab will have no trouble getting their results published, as this would be a huge discovery.
  • Jollyblogger has a good post (by C. S. Lewis, no less) on reading old books, which I think is important and rather neglected in the present. One key reason: In every era, people have their own peculiar blindnesses. By reading things written in other eras, we get to see through the eyes of people who aren't susceptible to the same sort of blindness that we are.
  • Tim Challies disagrees with many Christians on the issue of Halloween.

Roundup

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Sam has posted more pictures of the kids.

Christian Carnival XCII is up at World of Sven.

New evidence has been unearthed about the political context of Jefferson's infamous "wall of separation" language. [HT: SmartChristian]

There's a new article in Nature about two new techniques for deriving stem cells. These both sound pretty interesting. Some people are claiming that they get around the ethical objections. If they're successful and do get around the ethical objections, we might expect less pressure from those who want to destroy embryos for stem cell research. I doubt it, though. Alternative techniques in the past haven't stopped those who are single-minded in getting this one so far unsuccessful area of research to be federally funded. See Sun and Shield for discussion by someone who understands the science better than I do.

A little while back, Eugene Volokh had an extended disussion of the New York Civil Liberties Union's attack on military recruiting. Most of his post is great, but I think one element is especially worth highlighting. The general sort of approach he's criticizing has an "Any Stick is Worth Beating the Military With" sort of approach. Normally, they'll complain when affirmative action in its two main forms is not applied. The two main forms are lowering requirements for getting in and going out of your way to try to increase the representation of underrepresented groups by targeting those groups and appealing to them in specially designed ways. If someone isn't doing that, then they aren't pursuing diversity. Yet now they're complaining that military recruiters are targeting minority students, as if that's somehow bad.

google search for Arminianism
Keep in mind that this is an AOL search. It was an AOL search searching for someone who had typed out the words 'google', 'search', and 'Arminianism'. Or did someone thing that by adding the word 'google' to an AOL search it somehow could become a Google search?

john roberts wife children are adopted
Well, his children are adopted, not that it's any of your business, but I'm trying to figure out what you mean by saying his wife is adopted. On one reading, any wife is adopted. You're not born anyone's wife. That would be trivial, though. Is there some other possible way of being adopted that his wife could be that wives generally are not?

What Nationality Is Vanessa Williams
I believe you have to be American to be Miss America. Her crown wasn't revoked because of lack of citizenship.

a says b is lying b says c is lying and c says both a and b are lying
When I first saw this, I thought it might be some sort of three-way liar paradox. It turns out this is a consistent sentence structure. Once you know all these things, you can actually figure out who is lying and who is telling the truth.

The 92nd Christian Carnival will be held at World of Sven this week. The Christian Carnival is a weekly collection of some of the best posts of the Christian blogosphere. It's open to Christians of Protestant, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic convictions. One of the goals of this carnival is to offer our readers to a broad range of Christian thought. This is a great way to make your writing more well known and perhaps pick up some regular readers. For examples of past carnivals, see Matt Jones's list of previous Christian Carnivals.

To enter is simple. First, your post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are about home life, politics, or current events from a Christian point of view. Second, please submit only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival (i.e. from last Wednesday through this coming Tuesday).

Then do the following:

parableman.net

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My dad purchased the parableman.net domain for me a while back, and I've finally got the login information to set up forwarding. For now, that domain points here. I need to have the blog itself on the Ektopos server because that's where the blog's software and archives are physically located, but this should make it easier to tell people how to find this blog. I have the option of setting up other stuff at that location and just linking here, but at this point this basically is my primary current website, so I'm just forwarding the root of parableman.net here. It should be easier to remember and easier to type in, and the real address will show up once the page loads.

William Rowe's argument for a self-existent being
Um ... William Rowe doesn't think there is a self-existent being. He's an atheist. He thinks the arguments for a self-existent being are unconvincing. He happens to be much more fair to such arguments than virtually any other atheist in the history of philosophy, but he still resists the conclusion (in a way that I think makes him guilty of what he accuses people accepting the argument of illegitimately doing, but that's an issue for a post that is still forthcoming but will probably come soon).

van inwagen's argument about theism
Which one? He discusses all of the most important ones.

how is race not real to Charles Mills
Um ... Mills doesn't deny the reality of race. He just doesn't think it's a biologically grounded category. It's a social category. It's as real as Republicans, liberals, universities, boundary lines, the Supreme Court, and anything else created by social conventions.

what does the p below x mean in christianity
It took someone who doesn't think in Greek but knows Greek to help me figure out what this was referring to. Apparently it's the Chi-Rho symbolism that comes from the first two letters of 'Christos' in Greek. This is just a very strange way to ask the question, even from someone who doesn't know that there's no p or x in that particular symbol.

jonathan edwards uncovered crossing over
Somehow I don't think Jonathan Edwards would be very happy about being confused with John Edward.

Some recent news

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Here's some things I found interesting in the last few days:

  • This year's driverless vehicle challenge, run by DARPA, went quite well. Competitors, out for a $2 million purse, had to design a vehicle able to drive an assigned course 132 miles through the desert autonomously within 10 hours. Last year the best vehicle only made it 7 miles and no one won; this year, four vehicles made it within the 10 hours and a fifth vehicle finished later. The first vehicle one the purse. Check out this story for details. The technology obviously has military and other applications, and is, in my opinion, pretty cool. This seems like a great way for the military to spur technological innovation without having to shell out too much money. It rather reminds me of the X-Prize.
  • Bill Dembski has an interesting post on how various groups of creationists have problems with intelligent design -- some because ID tends to lean towards "Old Earth" ideas, and others because it, well, see for yourself.
  • Douglas Kern had an interesting Tech Central Station column recently, "Why Intelligent Design is Going to Win". Via Wittingshire.
  • Jollyblogger has a link, and a good post, on the sin of marital dissatisfaction. If you're married, or thinking of getting married, or might eventually get married, don't miss it. In fact, just read it regardless. Before I got married, I had the naive idea that married life would solve a lot of problems. It doesn't; rather, it brings more problems to light. It's great, but it doesn't provide the solution to all my problems. As a result, it is, of course, easy to be dissatisfied. But complaining and dissatisfaction are wrong (at least, as far as we're being dissatisfied with where God has put us, like marriage. There's nothing wrong with being dissatisfied with some things, like being dissatisfied with overeating or pride or various sins.), and God is able to help us avoid even these sins. I could write a whole post on this; maybe I will sometime. But for now, read Jollyblogger's post, and perhaps the one he references, and remember that there is a reason why God has you where you are, if you're a Christian, so don't grumble or complain.

Christian Carnival XCI

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After having managed the archive list of links to all past Christian Carnivals, Matt Jones finally gets to host one of his own. You can find the 91st Christian Carnival at Random Acts of Verbiage.

Christian Carnival XC

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I just noticed that I forgot to link to The 90th Christian Carnival at Attention Span, complete with Gilligan's Island theme.

Searches That Caught My Eye

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nazgul mahna-mahna
Well, it's certainly an interesting thought, but what sort of mind could have come up with such a thing?

pronouns all, either, neither, very, both, whole, none
Um ... 'very' is an adverb, and 'whole' is an adjective or noun. They don't stand for nouns and thus aren't pronouns. The others can all be pronouns, though not all of them will always be pronouns (e.g. I'm sure this isn't exhaustive, but 'both', 'either', and 'neither' can be conjunctions, and 'all', 'either', 'neither', and 'both' can be adjectives; in philosophy jargon, 'all' can even be a verb!)

would god object to me working at hooters
Most certainly. But why are you asking a search engine instead of finding someone with a bit of wisdom to help you think it through on your own?

Dispensationalism vs Christianity
Right. That one goes up there with senators vs. politicians, carpenters vs. skilled laborers, pianists vs. musicians, and legal theorists vs. academics.

The 91st Christian Carnival will be held at Matt Jones' Random Acts of Verbiage this week. The Christian Carnival is a weekly collection of some of the best posts of the Christian blogosphere. It's open to Christians of Protestant, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic convictions. One of the goals of this carnival is to offer our readers to a broad range of Christian thought. This is a great way to make your writing more well known and perhaps pick up some regular readers. For examples of past carnivals, see Matt Jones's list of previous Christian Carnivals.

To enter is simple. First, your post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are about home life, politics, or current events from a Christian point of view. Second, please submit only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival (i.e. from last Wednesday through this coming Tuesday).

Then do the following:

Accusation by Searching

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Why is paganism considered evil when Christians do the same stuff?
I'm trying to figure out why it wouldn't be evil just because Christians do it. Christians do evil things. The Bible even insists that any Christian who claims not to do evil things is lying.

Why christians want to outlaw birth control
What kind of paranoid conspiracy theorist helped inclulcate you in the sort of worldview that would conclude something like this? I've never even heard of someone wanting to outlaw birth control. There are some Christians who believe birth control is always or usually wrong. That doesn't lead them to try to outlaw it. There are some Christians who object to government money being spent to give birth control to kids, on the grounds that they find such a practice to be an endorsement of sex among minors. That doesn't lead them to outlaw birth control.

white evangelicals are racists
I have to hope that my labors in putting together my thoughts on such issues can help such an imbalanced individual see that the world isn't as black and white as those who hate evangelicals would like to think. It's kind of ironic that this is probably from exactly the sort of person who would accuse evangelicals of thinking too much in black and white categories.

Bush support white separatism
Yeah, you wish. Take a look at his cabinet, for frak's sake. The racial separatists consider him a race-mixer. While we're at it, have you seen his brother's kids?

A couple links

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Here are a couple things I thought were worth reading. Some of them are things I would have wanted to write about eventually had I not found these.

  • Pyromaniac argues that pacifism isn't Biblical. And while you're there, see also this post, which relates to how much Christians ought to try and be like non-Christians in order to reach out to them. It reminds me of a book I'll probably be posting a review of soon, This Little Church Went to Market, which deals with some similar issues on a whole-church rather than individual level.
  • Evangelical Outpost has some reasons why it may be a little early to be extremely critical about Bush on the Miers nomination. I keep finding myself tempted to get upset about it, but the fact is I still don't know much about her. Does someone really have to be one of the top legal scholars and judges in the country to be qualified for the Supreme Court? I'm not sure.

Misrepresented by CNN

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I have a history of being misrepresented by media outlets. The student newspaper at Brown University came to a Christian function, and the reporter asked me my opinion about a video that was shown that had something to do with a Christian view on sex. I said I agreed with most of the things in the video. She then asked me if I also thought people might feel excluded or offended by things in it, and I said that some people would be, but that wasn't a reason not to show it. She then quoted me, with actual quotation marks, as saying something very similar to, "I agree with most of what the video said, but I think someone who doesn't believe such things would be offended by it." That's clearly misrepresentation. It makes it sound as if the comment I wanted going on record was not my emphasis, and the one she wanted put into my mouth was my main point.

The Syracuse University student newspaper did something similarly awful. They published a letter to the editor that I wrote. I was complaining that they had criticized the Christian organizations on campus for not going to a Jerry Falwell event about 20 miles north of Syracuse. I wrote that the Christian organizations on campus are non-political and include a number of liberals as well as many who would call themselves part of the religious right, and I pointed out that Jerry Falwell is a fringe element that most evangelicals are embarassed by regarding an event called Jesus Week on campus. I had defended the Christian organizations in my letter. They put a headline over my letter making it sound as if I thought the groups I was defending misunderstood Jesus. My whole point in One of my two main points in writing the letter was to defend them. They'd given a ridiculous criticism of some groups, and I pointed out how ridiculous those criticisms were. It didn't help that they'd also removed a few crucial sentences from my letter. [See the comment below for more detail. I didn't want to make the post any longer by adding the whole story, and I didn't want to delete what I had already said here because of I'm not entirely sure they didn't do something similar with the Falwell letter too.]

Well, it's happened again, and this time it's no student newspaper. It's CNN/Netscape News. I've been misrepresented by the big media misrepresenters. Their website has highlighted my criticism of attacks on the Harriet Miers nomination. Judging by their headline ("Bush's Base is Foaming at the Mouth"), they seemed to have liked the fact that I referred to a certain portion of Bush's base as "foaming at the mouth", but they seem to want to make it appear as if I'm talking about the whole of Bush's base. I would have thought it obvious that there's a foaming at the mouth component of the right wing and a foaming at the mouth portion of the left wing, and all I said is that the one on the right has been saying some pretty dumb things about this nomination. It doesn't follow that I think Bush's base is foaming at the mouth. After all, I'm part of that base, and I don't think I'm foaming at the mouth. I appreciate the link from a major news outlet. Actually, I was shocked to see them giving any attention to my blog. I'm not even offended by this, which wasn't true of the other two instances. I'm much happier for the link than I am regretful of how it summarizes my post. Still, it's unfortunate that the headline linking to my post would misrepresent what I'm saying.

Update: Their link to me is showing up again in this story today. The headline for it is the same. Also, I want to correct what I said above about the Syracuse University letter-publishing incident. I had remembered it as the wrong letter. See my comment below.

Christian Carnival XC Plug

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The 90th Christian Carnival will be held at Attention Span this week. The Christian Carnival is a weekly collection of some of the best posts of the Christian blogosphere. It's open to Christians of Protestant, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic convictions. One of the goals of this carnival is to offer our readers to a broad range of Christian thought. This is a great way to make your writing more well known and perhaps pick up some regular readers. For examples of past carnivals, see Matt Jones's list of previous Christian Carnivals.

To enter is simple. First, your post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are about home life, politics, or current events from a Christian point of view. Second, please submit only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival (i.e. from last Wednesday through this coming Tuesday).

Then do the following:

Comment Issue

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Until further notice (actually beginning last night), commenting is disabled. The spammers have been attacking the Ektopos server, and the host is trying to find a better solution. I hadn't been able to log in to make this known until now. I still can't leave comments, so that must not be resolved yet.

Update: Comments appear to be back as of 12:30 pm EST. You now need to enter a security code, and TypeKey seems to be enabled. We previously had a link to log in, but it didn't work before.

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